Monday, February 25, 2013

Valentines Day at the Art Gallery of Alberta

I image that for Christina, living with me ever day is Valentines Day. She must think that, as instead of me having to take her out for a big Hallmark Holiday night on the town she decided to take me out.

Around the end of January, she let me know that it was a Sadie Hawkins day and asked if I wanted to know what were going to do. I replied with a serious "Surprise Me" and we didn't talk about it again till the big day. So...after work on the 14th, we went home and I was informed that I wouldn't need to change as it was casual semi-formal dress for the night. I was intrigued.

As it was a surprise, I jumped in Chrissy's car and we headed downtown. We drove into a parkade and hit the pedways East. As we entered Churchill Station the options kept getting smaller until we arrived at the entry of the Art Gallery of Alberta.

Walking in I was pleasantly surprised to see the huge selection of seafood, cheeses, and roast. The program and exhibits accompanying at this point were 'just gravy'.

  • The Art of Seafood: Smoked Salmon Capers, Red Onion, Chilled Lemon Garlic Prawns, Sautéed  Prawns, Shucked Malpeque Oysters, White Wine Steamed Mussels, Little Neck Clams, Saffron Sole Mousse
  • The Art of Carving: Chef Carved Alberta Prime Rib with Red Wine Demi. Served with salad, German buns, horseradish flavoured aioli and mustard.
  • The Art of Cheese: Create your own cheese board from Irish Porter, Spanish Manchego, Canadian Oka, English Smoked Applewood Cheddar, Triple Creme French Brie and Swiss Gruyère, as well as marinated artichokes and olives, mustards, marmalades, preserves, baguettes, crisps and scones.
  • Dessert Station: Featuring a delightful array of desserts sure to satisfy any sweet tooth.
  • Hot and Cold Beverages:Wine, spirits, classic mixed drinks and spiked hot chocolates.

While I usually avoid fresh seafood when not on the coast I couldn't stop myself from pigging out on mussels, shrimp and oysters

As we walked around the different levels we came across a do it yourself corsage/boutonnière station. Surrounded by all the art we took the chance to produce our own works.

Feeling slighty stuffed Chrissy and I walked around the lobby's smelling the flowers, enjoying the sights, sounds and textures.

In the inaugural year for the new Gallery, Christina purchased me and herself a membership for Christmas. While we really enjoyed some of the early exhibits, like Degas, Escher, Karsh, and Warner Brothers we let our memberships go as the exhibits turned to more Canadian fare (call me unpatriotic, but I'm not always a fan). As it's been awhile and I somewhat lost touch with whats showing we entered the galleries...and were blown away!

The Edo exhibit was fantastic as it contained cool prints, paintings, ceramics, lacquerware and samurai armour.

Christina especially liked the samaurai armor and this ferocious fighter with the nipple rings and wide mustache.

Other highlights included It's Only Natural which consists of two life-size bucks whose antlers have gone crazy. It immediately reminded me of Barry Windsor Smiths Weapon X art so I was a fan.

Additionally, really cool was some of the detailed pencilwork prints in the Beautiful Monsters exhibit - my favorites were the biblical inspired work by Albrecht Dürer.

Just for fun the Gallery staff hosted old timey games where I nailed the ring-toss to win my special girl a teddy bear. It wasn't Klondike Days big, but she was happy that she could haul it in her purse.

With the end of the night near I raced down to the seafood and shucked back some last oysters to ensure I got more than my money's worth while Chrissy hit the dessert table.

With our bellies and minds full we left the gallery with a promise that it wouldn't be so long again between visits

 It was a great event, a great location, with great art and food and I feel pretty lucky that I have such a special Valentine in which to share it with.
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