Duran Duran …

Remember when you were a teen in those glorious summer days where there was no school and like a cherry on the sundae, there were fantastic rock concerts and music festivals? While concert ticket prices have painfully gone through the roof, there is one benefit to being an old time, concert goer is that you can afford way better food and sleeping arrangements than when you were a teen.


My web gal was thrilled when all those 80s bands hit the road this spring. But for me, being a tad older, I was less than thrilled. Most of those 80s bands give me a headache. But I was willing to go to Seattle and Vancouver to support her, because I knew those cities also have terrific dining scenes that would be my indulgence.

Before we hit the road, we both agreed that Burton Cummings still puts on a great show, even in his early 70s, so we went to his show at the Royal Theatre in Victoria. Nobody in the audience was under 50, but all those fantastic Guess Who and solo hits flowed from Cummings for two plus hours, who said he’s just getting his voice back after two plus years being off the road due to Covid. He wound up his set with Share the Land, with the reminder that he’s said a thousand times from the stage, always remember how lucky you are to live in a country like Canada.

After the show, walking to our car we bumped into Cummings’ drummer Sean Fitzsimons, coming out the side door of the theatre. I proffered a bottle of Storyteller Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 wine I had brought to give to him as Cummings had introduced him as a guy who likes his wine. He thanked me for the thought but told me he hadn’t had a drink in 6 or 7 years. Never believe on stage patter.

Sean Fitzsimons

Next day we hit the road for the Emerald City. Before going into the city proper, we stopped in Bellevue, the Beverly Hills of Seattle, to dine at John Howie’s Steak happy hour. While the fine dining restaurant offers a fantastic, if very expensive steak, their lounge offers a great deal in their happy hour of a sky-high packed burger that is beyond delicious. A 10 oz ground prime & short rib burger with cheese, bacon and a whole bunch of fixings. We’ve never been able to finish it, but leftovers make for terrific late night or afternoon snacking at the hotel.

And speaking of the hotel, we stayed at the Silver Cloud Lake Union. Silver Cloud is a boutique hotel chain throughout the Seattle area, that we’ve had a lot of fun staying with and since their Lake Union hotel was closest to the Climate Pledge Arena (home to the Seattle Kraken hockey team) we decided to stay there. Next day on the way to the Duran Duran concert it was very convenient to leave the car at the hotel and take a bus that was right out our hotel door straight to our dinner I had planned at Maximilien’s at the Pike Place Market.

I’m a sucker for any restaurant that offers authentic, rustic French food which Maximilien’s does. Kicking off our meal was a superb appy of escargots, swimming in the traditional garlic, butter sauce. The web gal always makes faces when I order it, can’t believe that I want to eat snails, so she was fine wandering around the two-tiered restaurant taking pics of that fine view of Puget Sound.

John Howie Steak

After all the meat from the night before the web gal ordered a Salade Verte au Roquefort and bowl of Tomato Bisque but I’m a glutton for punishment, so I went with the waiter’s recommendation of the Cote de Porc, a tomahawk chop of pork, mashed potatoes and Brussel sprouts, with the pork coming to the table a little pink, just the way I had ordered it. While my meal was succulent, could only eat about half of it, all that nice, crusty, French Baguette must have slowed me down. But again, my doggy bag made for tasty hotel snacking later. See why you order your meat a little pink?

Took a bus to the Climate Pledge Arena where we were dismayed to learn that the web gal’s purse was too big and we couldn’t enter the arena with it. Well, the web gal was dismayed, but I was overjoyed to not have to see Duran Duran and walked back to the hotel with her purse. A few hours later she returned to the Silver Cloud, giddy from the concert. She loved the music, but she said the seats were too high up but she could still see the band and she saw other women guest attendees that had purses bigger than hers. Oh well, when we see Aerosmith in the fall, we’ll leave the purse in the hotel safe.

Next day we had fun going to Woodinville, a little north of Seattle to the Chateau Ste Michelle Winery, one of my fav places to taste wine, because it offers a wide variety of wines to taste, with beautiful grounds and a fine staff of wine professionals who know what you’re talking about when you make a request. We tasted through their Limited Release of 2016 Semillon, 2018 Viognier, 2017 Grenache and their 2017 Walla Walla Red Blend with the web gal purchasing the Semillon and Walla Walla Red Blend along with a nice, tasty shrimp and grits dish from their Chateau Kitchen daily menu.

Storyteller Cabernet Sauvignon

We crossed the border the next day for the web gal’s meet-up with her friends who love 80s bands and they were off to the Cure concert at Vancouver’s Rogers Arena. Thankfully, that got me out of it. I was happy to walk down the street for dinner at the Shanghai River Restaurant, a fine dining Chinese restaurant. A restaurant cliché is: if an Asian place is packed with Asians, you know it’s good. And that certainly was true with the Shanghai River Restaurant. I was one of a few Caucasians there and the food was so good. Could order everything on their menu, but their deep fried, jumbo prawns knocked my socks off.

When I reconnected with the web gal at the hotel, asked her how the concert was and she said, some fans were falling asleep just like fans at the Duran Duran concert, and I managed to not reply with I wonder why… Ah, food, music, books, films, it’s all so subjective, but we had a great time that week for sure.