My friend Megan and I adore theatre, or “theeee-uh-tuh,” a we call it when we’re dressed up fancy and sitting in plush chairs.  Since Meg and I used to dance together, we usually buy tickets to the ballet (the last one was Swan Lake), but yesterday we enjoyed a play called Sylvia at the Gateway Theatre in Richmond.

Sylvia originally premiered in 1995 at the Manhattan Theatre Club, and starred Sarah Jessica Parker as the ‘other woman’ threatening to break up a marriage.  The twist is that she’s not really a woman; she’s a dog!  You’re never quite sure what to expect with a premise like that, but we had a great time; the play is witty, light, and portrays both mid-life crises and the dog/owner relationship cleverly.

Megan couldn’t join me for dinner before the play, but I wanted to get something at a place close to the theatre.  It’s located on Gilbert Road, right across from the chapel in Minoru Park.

I also wanted to make sure it was a light meal, because the combination of heavy food + comfortable seats + a dark theatres usually makes me want to sleep.  And it is unacceptable to snooze at the theee-uh-tuh!  Unacceptable, I say!

If you’d like a traditional pre-theatre meal, there are plenty of options nearby, including Carver’s Steakhouse, The American Grille, and Mad Greek.  I decided on something a little more casual, and went to Flo Tea Room, which is next to 4 Stones Vegetarians and about a 15 minute walk from the Gateway’s venue.  It was disappointing, unfortunately.

The place is quite large and modern, with booth seating and Chinese shows playing on several TVs (I watched almost an entire episode of River of Wine while there).  I wanted a light dinner, so I got the organic green salad ($5.25), salty and chili chicken ($5.95), and edamame beans ($4.50).  For a drink, I chose from their specialty drink list, and got a “Winter Forest” bubble tea with wintermelon, milk, and grass jelly ($4.95).

The salad was just a bowl of greens with dressing and two tomato slices on either side.  Considering you can buy a big tub of Earthbound Organic Greens at the store for $4.99, paying $5.25 for a handful of them was rather painful.

For some reason, I’d assumed the salty and chili chicken wouldn’t be quite so deep-fried, but that was my mistake.  They were like chicken nuggets, but really gristle-y, so you never really knew if you’d be biting into a piece of meat or cartilage.

The salty/spicy batter was really delicious though, so I found myself eating around the meat.  Not exactly the ‘light’ food I was going for.

I ate every last edamame, though those are a pretty simple dish.

My drink was mild and creamy, but the pieces of grass jelly were so big they were impossible to get up through the straw.  Other times when I’ve had it, it’s cut into chunks not much larger than tapioca pearls, so you get the pieces while you’re slurping up your drink.  In order to get at these ones, however, I had to cut the plastic top off the cup and scoop them out with my spoon.  If you took your tea to go, there would be no way to get at half your drink, for which you paid a whopping $4.95.  Unfortunately, I can’t really recommend this place, or at least not the dishes I had.

After dinner, I walked to The Gateway, where I met Megan and enthusiastically told her about our ‘intermission snacks’ I had all ready to go.  We have a tradition of eating dark chocolate during breaks at a show, and I’d picked up ours earlier at La Chocolaterie.  I hadn’t been there in awhile, and was pleased with an excuse to go back.  I chose the dark chocolate bar with coffee beans, and two of their newest creations: pumpkin truffles and pumpkin ganache tarts.

As usual, they were sublime; warmly spiced, smooth, and just sweet enough.  Every gift in the month of October should include pumpkin truffles.

We so enjoyed our evening at The Gateway, and I look forward to seeing more shows there this year.  Support local arts!  Support local chocolate!  They’re both good for you.


Flo Tea Room

7777 Westminster Highway, Richmond BC


Cash and debit accepted

Vegetarian options available


The Gateway Theatre

6500 Gilbert Road, Richmond BC


Sylvia runs until October 27th.  Get your tickets here!