• Travel, Movie Reviews, And More Musings

This Week: Checking Out A Local Lebanese Buffet and Canada’s Best Restaurants Are Located In the Lower Mainland And The Winners Are….
by Staff Writer

Have you heard the news? Canada’s finest restaurants are located in  the lower mainland but keep in mind that if you want to dine in one of these restaurants, reservations are a must. Stay posted for the top restaurants which will be revealed later on in this article.

But if you want to eat and have no time for reservations, check out the Lebanese buffet located on the corner of 6990 Victoria drive. It’s hard to miss the lunch and dinner buffet signs. We dined at Tibishti Grill and Restaurant on a sunny day recently and were greeted by the affable owner, Khairi, who was happy to explain the different types of salads and meats available there.

Certainly, the salads were superbly fresh! There were at least 10 different Lebanese salads to choose from and all were refreshingly tasty. The meat entrees were equally appetizing, and ranged from two types of lamb served with gravy, to chicken and beef. Tea came free with the $15 buffet lunch price.

All was good but I admit to being confused over the pricing since outside, the buffet price for lunch said $11.95 but we were charged $14.95 each. Although the owner explained that the lower price was for the week day,  it wasn’t mentioned on the sign. Still, despite the confusion over the pricing, the food was filling, satisfying and hearty.

A meal of this quality also called for desserts. But alas, on this day, the owner said they didn’t have any today. Can’t wait to eat there again, and hopefully, dessert would be available to end a fine meal.

The morale of this article is that if you can’t get at reservation at any of the restaurants below, don’t forget about the lesser known restaurants. They are equally as good and also less pricey. Yes, I guess my biggest beef  is why all the top restaurants rated excellent are usually top-dollar and a bit out of range for families, students and those who want to stick to a budget.

Vancouver entrepreneurs are you listening! There is a market for great restaurants for people who are price-conscious, vegan, vegetarian, eco-friendly, and budget-friendly.





Top Restaurants In The Lower Mainland

Recently, a panel of esteemed judges voted for the top restaurants across Canada. For 2017, a selection of restaurants were chosen in the West including:

Hawksworth Restaurant
Kissa Tanto
Vij’s Restaurant
Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill
Savio Volpe
Wolf in the Fog
Masayoshi Sushi Bar
Ancora Waterfront Dining
Blue Water Cafe
Ask for Luigi
La Quercia
Le Crocodile
Bearfoot Bistro


March 27th

General Interest

Vancouver Strangers Dine Out Together To Celebrates The Year Of The Rooster
by Staff Writer

What better way to bring in the Lunar New Year than dine out with friends, family members or even complete strangers. Heard about Meetup.com? It’s a global way where people can meet new people in a variety of social settings, such as hiking, playing scrabble, dancing, and dining.

I added my name to a few social groups and got many invites to join strangers dining out on New Year’s festivities. The menu is definitely not for vegans, so beware. But those who are meat eaters can feast on many delectables, such as Peking Duck, crispy Shanghai chicken, Rock Cod with mixed vegetables, black-pepper crab or prawn.

So if you are new in town, and one of your resolutions is to meet new friends and enjoy  the sights and sounds of Vancouver, check out meet up.com/Vancouver.

If you are shy, not to worry. There’s even a shy people’s group.

Okay. Are you ready for this? This is Wisertraveller.org‘s first annual predictions for the Year Of The Rabbit. Are you listening, Vancouver?

  • -The city of Vancouver will put a ban to plastic bags and  plastic cups. Finally. After all, the city hopes to be the greenest city and ending this wasteful item will help solve the problem of plastic ending up in the landfill and in our oceans.


  • Grizzly trophy hunting will stop in British Columbia. Yes, believe it or not, people with big bucks spend thousands of dollars to book a trip for the sole purpose of shooting a grizzly. Every year, between 300-400 grizzlies are killed by hunters who feel that shooting a grizzly gives them superiority over nature. To help stop the hunting, consider this site: https://www.change.org.


  • Spring will come early and so will be the return of Pamela Anderson, grey jogging pants, milk tea drinks.  Really?


  • The Vancouver Canucks will make it to the playoffs and win the Stanley Cup. There will also be a ticker-tape parade.


  • Über will enter the Vancouver market in a test capacity and be available during peak months, and weekends.


  • More refugees and people from all over the world will choose Vancouver to live –thanks to the new United States President-elect Donald Trump.


  • Vancouver will open it’s first high-tech restaurant. Order food on a tablet and food will be served by regular servers.


  • Vancouver will hold a Peace concert featuring the likes of Yoko Ono, Paul McCartney, The Who and many others.


  • Vancouver will open its first cat-friendly park. Why not, folks? We have dog-friendly parks.


  • 4 major Vancouver employers will pay its employees to take public transit to work.

So there you have it! Gung Hay Fat Choy! If you see these events come to fruition this year, remember that you read this here first!





January 30th


Asian Actors Discuss Barriers Still Exist for Asians At The Vancouver Asian Film Festival
by Staff Writer

Diana's grateful and angry speech at VAFF wakes up the audience.

Diana’s grateful and angry speech at VAFF wakes up the audience.


Special To Wisertraveller.org

This was definitely not your normal panel discussion about Asians working in the film industry.

Indeed, when it was time for Diana Bang’s turn to speak during a packed panel discussion, she let her anger fly –boy, she sure did in a big way. Bang, who has appeared in film and television roles in The Killing, Bates Motel, Entanglement and Master Cleanse, presented a slide show that including words like “Thank You,” and the swear word, “F#** You!”

She started off by saying how grateful she is to be working in the film industry, which brought about a “Thank You” slide. About her former acting professor who told her she wasn’t suited to work as an actor, she yelled out an expletive and showed the “F**** You, ” slide.

She continued her lively presentation, alternating from saying “Thank You” to “F**** You” when she reminisced about her encounters with facing roles that involved stereotypes: playing an Asian fortune-teller, sex worker, etc. She says she felt like a “yellow-faced puppet” and often had to choose roles that involved a Chinese accent.

Another actor, Agam Darshi echoed a similar sentiment. She explained that when she was first starting out, when no one would cast her, she wrote and produce her own films. She wrote and directed Fade Out (2014) and Bollywood Beckons (2008) which screened at numerous festivals. Despite the hardships, she is now a busy actor who advises beginning Asian actors to create their own opportunities by creating their own works.

More encouragement came from the likes of William Yu, who launched the viral online campaign, #StarringJohnCho. He wanted to show what Hollywood movies would be like if they cast actor, John Cho as their leading man. His project has lead to a whirlwind 1 billion web impressions world-wide and has opened up the debate over the lack of Asian-American representation in film.
He advised Asian creators to try to stand out and “don’t be humble.” If good fortune does arise, he tells creators to be proud of themselves and “don’t say it happened by accident.”

Kevin Li took the stand to defend his successful online creation, “Ultra Rich Asian Girls.” While he acknowledged facing criticism over the show, he stated that the young women in his show are hardworking, career-oriented, educated and definitely not rich Asian stereotypes.

The panel discussion, which featured several other people in the industry, was part of the schedule for the 20th Annual Vancouver Asian Film Festival, Nov 3-6.

If you haven’t checked out any of the films yet, there’s still a little bit of time to a catch some films and participate in a contest. Check out the website, http://www.vaff.org.

And don’t forget to catch some great Asian comedy on TV. Watch Kim’s Convenience on CBC. Diana Bang would like that. After all, her sister, Andrea Bang, plays a recurring role as the daughter in the show.


November 6th


Vancouver Folk Music Festival Thrills: Photos Capture Spirit of Brilliant Festival Featuring Artists like Bruce Cockburn, The New Pornographers, And A Global List Of Musicians
by Staff Writer

Summer’s here and that means it’s that time of year for one of Vancouver’s favorite music festival, the 39th annual Vancouver Folk Music Festival, to carry on it’s tradition of entertaining people of all ages. For 3 days, July 15 to 17, thousands of people flocked to hear and see from a eclectic list of performers who astrummed, sang and danced at various stages set up at Jericho Beach Park.

Selected photos taken during the 3 days show only a selection of the dozens of performers who entertained the largely enthusiastic festival crowd.

On Friday night, people got a sampling of hoedown music, courtesy of Mandolin Orange, Sarah Jane Scoulten, and The Bills.
On Stage 2, British performers, Lucy Ward, The Young’uns and the Moulettes faced the friendly crowd with lively music. At another stage, famous slam poet, Shane Koyczan and the Short Story Long, amazed people with his enthusiasm and his powerful words.

Canadian Elage Diouf took to Stage 3 with his upbeat, rousing Senegelese-inspired music. He thrust out his hands in enthusiasm, much to the delight of the audience. (see photo below).

The schedule for Friday also saw Vancouver’s own, The New Pornographers, (below) take to the stage full of the raw power of their carefully crafted songs.

On Saturday, there were more new performers who enthralled the audience. Some artists came as far away as China. Dressed in partly traditional gear and performing traditional instruments,(see photo below) Aginai’s music was a careful blend of electric guitar meshed with hypnotic and eastern Mongolian folk music. Even if people didn’t understand the singer’s nonEnglish lyrics, it was all easy listening.

Over on Stage 6, a big, sweaty crowd danced to a group of performers, including Venezuela’s ensemble group, fronted by Betsayda Machado. (pictured). The feel-good Afro-Latin American music got people smiling, happy and dancing with enthusiasm.

The weather was mostly favorable throughout the weekend, except for Sunday, when a few showers showed up for a brief, few hours.

By the time the incomparable, Bruce Cockburn, took to the stage at 8 pm, the rain disappeared and many people who brought rain gear, doffed it off as quickly as they put it on.

Around the festival grounds, one could see a few young people dressed up in fun, festive gear. On ocassion, one could see unique sights: like a man walking with a book on his head, or an older man wearing loose-fitting clothing twirling around to the sound of the music. (see photos).

In the kids’ area, young children were busy with plenty of activities, such as going on stilts (see photo below), playing instruments, or swinging the hula hoops.





IMG_7084Left: Bruce Cockburn











If You Plan On Going To One Festival This Year Go See: The Vancouver Folk Music Festival
by Staff Writer


Photos: Left: Bruce Cockburn and Ajinai plays the Folk Fest this year. (Photo courtesy of VFMF media centre)

Are you ready to have fun? Do you have friends in town or if you are planning a staycation or have the weekend free, you must go to the world’s friendliest and hippest music festival, The Vancouver Folk Music Festival. From July 15-17, performers from all over the world will show off their talents at 7 beach front stages at Jericho Beach Park.  How many performers? Well there’s more than 60 acts from more than 18 countries.

You’ll hear music from all over the world. Here’s just a partial list of some amazing performers.

-There’s a fusion of experimental Afro-beat from Jojo Abot.

– Ajinai (China) offers up ancient sounds from Mongolia. Unknown-5

-Folk, gospel, soul music comes courtesy of Birds of Chicago.

-Desert Blues is offered by Faris Amin. (Italy, Algeria).

-Grammy awards nominee, singer-songwriter, Hayes Carll from Texas, offers up some clever, roots-oriented lyrics.

-Music legend, Bruce Cockburn, will dazzle the audience with lots of heart-felt songs from his 40-plus career as a singer-songwriter.

-Slam poetry champion, Shane Koyczan (British Columbia)  comes back to the fest, bringing along his back-up band, the Short Story Long. If you have never seen Shane perform, you are in for a treat. In fact at one live showing, one of his poems hit a nerve and tears were streaming down my face. Wow. That’s truly up close and personal.

-BC’s own, The New Pornographers takes to the stage with their creative, lively and wonderful music.

-For a taste of Algiers, catch the talented Karim Saada who will show audiences his smooth voice and his skill on many instruments, including the banjo, the mandol, and the guitar.

To get a full list of the performers and to get ticket information, go to : http://thefestival.bc.ca/2016-home/

Don’t forget to bring extra cash because you have a chance to meet some of the performers and buy their music at the festival.

Another wonderful thing about the festival is it’s laid-back atmosphere. You will meet regulars who come to the fest annually. There are even tents set up by attendees who relax before and after the concerts, and many people of all ages get up and simply dance. You may also see men and women of all ages, swing the hula hoop.

The festival is family-friendly because there’s even a childrens’ area called, “Little Folks Village.” Children can learn to make crafts, get their faces painted, and also listen to interactive story-telling.


I also like that the festival promotes green initiatives.

No bottled water is sold at the festival so people are encouraged to bring their own bottle.

Compostable cups and cutlery are provided at the site.


Below: from a previous festival, a woman shows off her hoola hoop skills.


Current Family Friendly Events
Bring the whole family to see tons of top performers and musicians. The Kitsilano Showboat has been entertaining locals and visitors for decades. On a recent visit, I attended showboat and listened to the amazing big band sounds from the Royal City Concert Band.

To see the schedule go to: http://www.kitsilanoshowboat.com


Below the Royal City Concert Band.



July 10th

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