A Saturday Night Lady Date : Movie, Dinner and Drinks

A few weeks ago I received a notice from the AGO that they were screening the new documentary about artist/photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, called “Mapplethorpe : Look at the Pictures”, at their in-house theatre, Jackman Hall.

Having seen an exhibition of Mapplethorpe’s photographs at The Guggenheim at an impressionable age, his work, particularly his portraits and images of flowers, had a great impact on me and played a major role in the reason I got my first slr camera back in the early nineties, beginning a lifelong passion in photography.

Also, I recently read and absolutely loved Patti Smith’s book, Just Kids, about her experiences with Mapplethorpe in New York City during the late 60s and 70s, so I was totally into seeing this movie and clicked right over to get tickets. I was met with a bunch of all-caps messages stating it was “SOLD OUT” across the board. I was disappointed but, of course, life goes on.

Then, a few days later, my friend Meghan emailed to say that she had a couple of tickets for the 2pm showing on Saturday, and wondered if I’d like to go with her. “Yes, please!”

(Note : I now see that they’ve added more opportunities to see the movie and there are tickets still available for future screenings. It runs until February 11 – see here. Or, you can see it via HBO via their site here.)

We both thought it was an excellent documentary, and were left raring to discuss it.

We went in search of a drink and something to eat. Since it was the very day for Chinese New Year celebrations, and the AGO is so close to Chinatown, we headed over there. We found a small parade on the sidewalk, winding its way southbound. Aside from that, the area looked like any other day, so we continued to walk into Kensington Market.

↑ I’d never noticed tangerines bundled up and tied with ribbon like this in Chinatown before, so I looked it up. It turns out that, “Tangerines and oranges are one of these auspicious Chinese New Year symbols. Tangerines in Chinese sounds similar to the word ‘luck’ and orange sounds like the Chinese word for ‘wealth’.” ↑

We stopped at Maison Close 1888, a relatively new spot in the market and somewhere neither of us had been.

Located in one of the old Victorian houses on Kensington Avenue, it was a uniquely furnished, cosy choice, that we were happy to have checked out.

We ordered a couple of appetizers to share – the “Year of the Rooster Dumplings” and the “Buffalo Cauliflower” and some beer. All was very tasty.

Finishing up there, we did a bit of shopping in the vintage shops along there. (See a previous post here about the awesome vintage shops in Kensington Market. In fact, this evening I happened to be wearing the shirt I bought during that previous shopping trip!)

Then, we decided another drink and snack were in order, so went into a place I’d not yet been, but that is one of Meghan’s favourites — El Rey Mezcal Bar.

Dark and rustically furnished, with a mysterious bohemian feel, I understood why Meegs likes this place so much.

After receiving a good explanation about Mezcal (it’s a distilled alcohol made from any Mexican agave plant, tequila being a common example), we started by sharing a flight of their “floral” ones, with a side of spicy popcorn.

The mezcal was interesting to taste, however, in all honesty, not being a big drinker of straight alcohol, the nuances were lost on me and I don’t think I’d order that again. But if you enjoy scotch, you’d probably like this. I loved the popcorn though!

Then we sampled their Grilled Octopus Tostada, while enjoying a house cocktail, the details of which I now forget, but that was delicious. Being somewhat fixated on vintage glassware, I appreciated the pressed glass goblets the drinks were served in.

We closed out the evening by sharing a piece of chocolate pie, accompanied by softly whipped cream.

All in all, a great Saturday evening, spent with an open-minded, curious and fun person!

Thanks for reading,