Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Un petit peu de Paris en Toronto

Le Neuf outdoor
Checked out this charming cafe this morning - so lovely. It's tucked away at 9 Clarence Square overlooking the park a block east of Spadina and south of King. The staff are wonderful, warm  and efficient and I practiced a bit of French - un cafe au lait avec soya.

There are all manner of gorgeous looking pastries, daily soup and salads specials, quiches, sandwiches and sur le weekend - crepes et galettes. Formidable!

As you will note from the photo they even have a cozy patio for the warmer weather and gazing across at the park one can almost imagine being in Paris (if you block out the construction cranes and tall buildings). I love how the French serve coffee with a little square of chocolate..so civilized. It's alway fun finding new independent cafes which have their own personality and bien sur le style!

Which is an appropriate segue - knowing just the right touch in decor and food can also extend to musical arrangments - in most cases less is more.

Last night we attended a concert called "Tapestries" highlighting the music of James Taylor and Carole King. After the bombastic first 3 numbers I was toying at leaving when intermission came around. There is such a thing as being too clever for one's one good - to the detriment of such fine music...luckily the show was salvaged by the appearance of Arlene Duncan and a great rendition of "Where You Lead" followed by Kelly Holiff and "SteamRoller" and a sublime "You Can Close Your Eyes" with Jake Epstein and Amanda Le Blanc. Jake Epstein did a lovely version (accompanying himself on guitar) on "Something in the Way She Move" in the second half and Arlene Duncan et al on the uplifting "Shower The People". "So Far Away" was poignant and perfect courtesy of Amanda LeBlanc. Jarring tunes? "Fire and Rain", "Your Smiling Face" and "I Feel the Earth Move" ...too bad. It was my husband's birthday last night so it was a mixed bag. I was much more impressed with the "Tapestry" tribute we saw at the Cabaret series at the Young Centre a couple of years back, which featured Jackie Richardson ("Way Over Yonder" - incredible), Don Francks and a stellar cast.

Keep it simple when you're dealing with great music - that's a great part of the appeal of those two performers - just great melodies, lyrics and arrangements...like a warm hug.

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