TORONTO!!!

Wow! Toronto!

I arrived in Toronto with my mom on Saturday, and it has been a blast so far! Wandering beautiful neighbourhoods, shopping along Bloor Street, admiring the architecture AND… American Authors! the Script! ONEREPUBLIC!

One of the best concerts I have ever been to! 3 bands and 4 hours of crazy loud crazy good music! But OneRepublic was amazing. Just amazing. I love their songs because they have a beautiful mix of lyrics, really good singing, and fantastic instrumentals. There was so much energy, the lights and audio were great and it was warm with NO bugs (which in Calgary is a foreign concept). The Molson Canadian Amphitheatre is definitely an interesting venue – the reverberation off of the roof made it a bit difficult to distinguish words and it definitely would have been a greater experience without the roof – but regardless it was still really good. Funny how I ended up in an Amphitheatre after researching them!

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

ciao

Mexican Hot Chocolate Muffins

That’s right, not just your average chocolate chunk muffins, Mexican Hot Chocolate Muffins. For those of you who have never heard of this kind of hot chocolate, its hot chocolate but with a kick! Remember… the movie? Chocolat? 

Now, real Mexican Hot Chocolate is made with pure cocoa, cinnamon, and chiles – so I can’t say that these are perfect – but using hot chocolate mix, ground cinnamon and chipotle spice is certainly on the right track. The addition of hot chocolate to the regular cocoa powder makes for a bit of a creamier taste to the muffins, and also allowed me to decrease the amount of white sugar.

Perhaps these won’t pass as breakfast muffins, but they do have less sugar than a cupcake, so perhaps its best they remain a snack. The chocolate muffin base is based off of a recipe from http://www.cacaoweb.net/chocolatemuffins.html, but I have modified it quite a bit.

Mexicanmuffins

Depending on how spicy you are willing to go you can add more spice to the top of the muffin. I would say 1/8 teaspoon may not be enough! These were delightfully chocolatey and had a smokey undertone with the chipotle. Alternatively I would try cayenne or chili powder to see what kind of different tastes you get!

photo-16

photo-17

 

ENJOY!

Amphitheatres

I have been researching Amphitheatres at work lately and have found some really interesting examples. I admire the simplicity of the form, and how it can be applied at a number of scales and is one of the most efficient ways of seating many people. Though the technical aspects of the amphitheatre has not changed since Ancient Greek and Roman times, architects have played around with the forms, settings and materials to create fantastic spaces to enjoy music or performance.

Altusried

Masonic-Amphitheater-Design-Build-LAB-7-537x357

dtff amphitheater doha

Of all of these, there is one that I have uncovered that I find captivating. The Red Rocks Amphitheatre, located in Red Rocks Park, in Denver, Colorado is absolutely spectacular. Nestled between two enormous rock formations (Ship Rock and Creation Rock) that are taller than Niagra Falls, the amphitheatre can seat almost 10, 000 people.

Red-Rocks-Amp-2012-12-01-16-8

I can’t imagine how breathtaking it must be to experience a concert there, with the two rocks providing perfect natural acoustics. I would imagine it evokes primeval feelings, being so close to animal and plant life fossilized for more than 250 million years. In fact contained in these two walls there are numerous dinosaur tracks, and the fossil of a 40-ft sea serpent!

rr11

For me I like the fact that the setting is so spectacular, and the architecture of both the seats and stage compliment the giant red rocks. The seats appear like the striations in the sandstone, and the stage is thin and skeletal to minimize its presence.

wsp130627_01

Just Cool.