Sunday 13 January 2019

2018 Year in Review #2018BestNine

2018 is already old news, but before I dive into my adventures of 2019, this is a look back at the fun I had last year. 2018 Best Nine has put @PinkTeaLatte Instagram account through its algorithm and it looks like you love sweets and colour as much as I do! 

The rainbow is well represented and so is my obsession with sweet baked goods and hot cocoa. Prominently centred in the middle is the cutest pink Unicorn-themed hot chocolate from Soirrette. How fitting considering my blog has the colour pink in it! 

Beverages were a big part of 2018 for me and not limited to the three in the #2018TopNine. The pink unicorn might be cute, but True Confections' Torched Devil Hot Chocolate was badass! A massive slice of their rich dark chocolate devil's food cake sat on top of the gorgeously toasted meringue and to finish, another generous swirl of meringue. There is something about piped meringue torched to a caramel brown. It just accentuates the sexy folds and ridges of the pillowy white marshmallowy goodness. Top right you will see a particularly fascinating drink, a Pink Tea Latte! Prado Cafe allowed me to celebrate my blog's third birthday at their Fraser location and to my surprise, they featured a beet Pink Tea Latte!

The only savoury item to make it into the #2018TopNine are the salmon crab cakes from Wedgewood Hotel's restaurant Bacchus. I got to go not once, but TWICE for a private tasting at Bacchus in 2018. However, I was more fascinated by their drinks, specifically Singapore Sling because the garnish for the drink is two strawberries carefully carved into luscious red roses. 

My favourite Beta 5 cream puffs seemed to have made the cut. The Mandarin Cream Puff make their annual appearance for Lunar New Years. The puff shells are filled with a mandarin orange curd that encases an almond financier. Rice pudding mousse domes the puff that is then given the perfect mandarin orange colour and a chocolate stem and leaf for garnish! 

On the other end are Noms By Mon's mini fruit tartlets which are made entirely from scratch, from the shell to the silky custard inside it. I have yet to meet a single person who has not fallen in love with these fresh fruit tartlets. Just below is Butter Baked Good's iconic Birthday Cake that is flecked with sprinkles all throughout in the vanilla sponge and vanilla buttercream! 

Speaking of rainbows, my all-time favourite mural in Vancouver along South Granville is the final picture. I saw this mural being painted a few summers back and since then it has become an integral part of Vancouver's urban art scene. I only hope to own a piece of Kristofir's work. Great art incites emotion and this mural brings me pure joy. 

2018 was a great year despite its rocky ending for me. I am glad it is over because now I can start making 2019 the best year yet! 


Friday 4 January 2019

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

The holidays and Harry Potter go hand in hand. With the exception of three movies,Harry Potter movies have made their debut in theatres mid November. Not to mention when I was a kid, the CBC and CTV would run Harry Potter marathons during winter break. Harry Potter is practically a new holiday tradition! 

This year was no exception as Potterheads were given their second glimpse into the latest Harry Potter trilogy, Fantastic Beasts. I made certain to carve out some time in my absurdly busy work schedule to catch a showing. After all, it would be a crime in itself to not watch Harry Potter in theatres. As I rarely go to the movies, I like to spoil myself by getting tickets to Cineplex’s VIP Theatres. The seats are massive and are upholstered in a plush faux leather and an extraordinary amount of legroom. You can also order food and drinks (alcohol too!) from the comfort of your seat. If you are worried about spilling things on yourself, you will be happy to know that every seat comes with their own retractable tables. 


Speaking of crimes, the second instalment of Fantastic Beasts explores the atrocities committed by the infamous wizard Grindelwald. The beasts definitely take a backseat in this movie; however, we are still introduced to fabulous new magical creatures. My favourite happens to remain the Niffler, this time though we meet three adorable little baby Nifflers who continue to snatch everything glittery and shiny in sight. On the not so cute end are the Matagots, black eerie cats with massive glowing eyes. The Matagots are protectors of the Ministry of Magic in France. The most captivating creature was the elephant-sized giant Zouwu. At first it looks like a ferocious wild cat, but then you notice its massive tail that moves with the fluidity of a ribbon and reminiscent of a  Chinese dragon. 

The CGI work on the beasts was top notch and blended seamlessly with the actors. A far cry from when the first few Harry Potter movies were released. CGI was in its infancy. It is hard to forget the blue flying car in the second movie and how it stood out atrociously against the background. 

As mentioned earlier, the beasts were not the primary focus of this movie. Grindelwald spends the movie rallying purebloods together with the goal of taking over the no magics. He was specifically interested in recruiting one wizard, Credence. Oh yah, turns out, Credence did not perish in the last movie with the obscurial engulfing him into a menacing black ball of smoke. 

Now I do not want to give too much away, but you also get to learn the origins of several key characters in the original Harry Potter series. My favourite happens to do with the darkening of the Lestrange lineage. Yes, the very family from which my favourite dealer hails from, Bellatrix Lestrage. 

My primary critique of this movie is that it felt drawn out. By the end of the movie, it becomes apparent that the writers were focused on setting up the story for the third and final movie of the Fantastic Beasts trilogy. Perhaps Crimes of Grindelwald simply fell victim to the second movie curse. I think what made the original Harry Potter movies such a success was that each movie had its own clear storyline and focus. There always was the overarching storyline of Voldemort, but it did not detract from the core story in each instalment. Needless to say, I tend to not gravitate towards trilogies. 

To sum up Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, it is a movie that dives into the past and lineage of some of our favourite Harry Potter characters and how they came to be. Would I re-watch it, probably so I can soak up more details. Is it going to become as revered as the original 8 Harry Potter movies? I doubt it. 

Curious to know what your thoughts are on the movie in the comments below!