Category Archives: Eat & Drink

What Happens in Montreal Becomes Blog Fodder

Last Friday, my friend, Lorraine, and I took a quickie weekend trip to my hometown of Montreal because she scored free train tickets, so she brought me, her teenage daughter and her friend.  Train rides are not bad!  In fact, Via Rail is almost too much fun.  The ADHD people are tuned into their laptops and those who aren’t have booze stashed under their seats.  And those that have the booze, sway in the corridor and speak loudly.  It turns out most men are uncircumcised and the ladies who love them don’t appreciate it.  This is what we learned on Coach Number 3, according to the foursome by the loo, somewhere around Kingston.

Neither here nor there, we arrived at midnight and my brother picked us all up and the three of them went to a hotel and I got to go bed in my favourite place to actually sleep in the world.  Y’all know I suffer from the insomnia.  I can fall asleep just fine, in the middle of a conversation even, but I wake up with those middle of the night ruminations that make mountains out of mole hills and cause me to toss and turn and scratch like a meth addict.  Brother has a tv room off the kitchen that has a couch that turns into a flat bed with no head-board.  There is also no door and the room is facing the hallway to the rest of the house.  The whole thing is awkward and quite public in the morning but it’s my special spot. There are actual bedrooms I could sleep in but for some reason when I am in there,  I feel safe.  Of course because it was so late and I was wired from train partying and I feel the itchiness of other people’s train dander, I am not so sleepy.  I was also overjoyed because I scored a reservation at the hottest restaurant in town, Joe Beef, for Saturday at 6:30.  So my first night was  restless.  I wake up early, watch morning tv which is the Lohan version of Parent Trap. I break for Lindsay Lohan, I feel so sorry for her, but that’s for another time.  I watch the entire movie until noon and want to Brunch! Lunch! Eat!  Drink!  But my peeps in their hotel down the street don’t answer the phone. 

I have learned to live with all kinds of frustration, let me tell you.  But hunger is not one of them.  I go to lunch by myself somewhere in Old Montreal at 3 Brasseurs which turns out to be a big old chain brew pub, otherwise known as 3 Brewers in Toronto.  My peeps in the hotel wake up and call me mid-chew.  They are ready to rock and roll.  It turns out that because the kids slept on the train ride the whole way, they were also bouncing all night and walked around and ordered pizza until 4.  The darkness of the hotel drapes and the beauty of urban white noise made them sleep like bears.

Lorraine and I meet up, the youngsters go shopping at Simons.  They pronounce it all kinds of ways, “Simmons”  “Simoh-z” so I don’t really know what they are talking about at first.  “Oh!  Simons!  Like Simon Says!”  I say.  I can tell they don’t believe me but off they go.  Lorraine and I go to Sir Winston Churchill Pub on Crescent.  Pronounced:  Win-STONE Church-HHHHILL, that’s just for taxi drivers.

Here is how our afternoon played:  We get a seat on a covered patio, with heat lamps, as you know the end of October gets quite nipular.  It’s mid-afternoon and the patio is really busy because there is a Habs vs. Leafs game on later that day.  Everyone is in a good mood.  There is a group of about a dozen men in their thirties at the other end of the patio.  There are a gregarious, mostly standing around, talking to two young women seated in a nearby table.  Lorraine and I order our beers and check out the guys in the group.  I like the big dumb looking one with the hat and she points out one with an ass that could carve butter.  “Oh my God!  He looks like Jon Bon Jovi with a proper haircut!”  He is something else.  And he’s chatting with the blond woman in the next table.

We sip our beers, continue watching and it doesn’t take long for Blondie and Jonnie Bon Jovi to be standing around together, poking each other the way kids do in the playground.  By the time we order our second beer,  the couple in question have their arms around each other and the  are making out like teenagers.  Blondie has somehow rolled the waistband down on her skin-tight jeans to expose a pink thong and two acres of ass flesh.  “Check out my tattoo!”  she shrieks.  It is one of those ubiquitous tramp stamps just above her thong tag but in order for all the guys to see it, it is imperative that her entire top comes off.  She bends over.  Her bra forgets its function, because it is too small, and her girls spill out.  Now these “girls” are mere toddlers so she doesn’t really get the reaction she hopes for, so she swings her hair around.  It becomes clear what she does for a living. 

Our waitress confirms this by giving us a play by-play.  “They are saying that they have to go to work at 5 and the only shifts that start at that time are in strip clubs.”  It’s almost 4:30.  Blondie and Jonnie are groping each other like the Titanic is about to sink.  I say to Lorraine:  “If those two go to the washroom to finish this off, I am going in!”  I felt they owed to us for over an hour of public foreplay.

It turns out they didn’t need any privacy.  As the other guys milled around, Blondie pulled her jeans down even lower.  Jonnie grabbed her from behind.  With his back to us, we watched his butt curl under, then thrust, and then again.  It’s actually happening.  The whole thing was watching like a Rottweiler on top of a blow up doll that looked like it was about to explode.  Blondie’s friend shut it all down, she was the sensible one, and fetched her purse so they wouldn’t be late for work.  They said their good-byes, no numbers exchanged.  It was awesome.  This could only happen in Montreal.  I think I might move back.

If not for random public fornication, then definitely for Joe Beef.  After the pub incident, we got to Little Burgundy by cab and in time for our 6:30 reservation.  It’s a small restaurant, apparently getting a reservation is like getting a golden ticket, but we all got  to sit at the bar (best place in any eating establishment) right in front of the oyster shucker.  We got the stories, and I bought the book, The Art of Living According to Joe Beef, and you should too.  Christmas is coming!   There are recipes and pictures of the city and the history of the real Joe Beef from the 1800s.  He was an ex-soldier and opened up a tavern to feed the poor.  “Red flag!”  said Lorraine, ” Never trust a man who wants to hang out with indigents!”  And she is right.    He had a plethora of  eccentricity that disguised his douchebaggery, ie. pickling his dead wife’s body parts and keeping a drunk bear as a mascot.  All in all, an interesting tale, worth a screenplay methinks!  Or not, maybe some bears should just stay sleeping.  And I am happy to say I slept really well that second night.  I bet Jonnie Bon Jovi did also.

And here they are, Fred and David AGAIN, two blog post in a row!  I am just way too in love:

Advertisements

See Me, Feel Me, Beer Me

This girl has it going on.  Kate and Pippa could take a style lesson from her.  Did I not say that the fascinator would be big this summer?  I made one out of an old bike pump but it’s not nearly as chic as this Steam Whistle one.  I ran into her last night at The Beer Festival at the CNE, which goes on August 5, 6, and 7th, click here for the details.  If you can’t make it this weekend, then mark it on your calendar for next year because this was probably the funnest night I have had since I have been old enough to drink beer.  Which is younger than some of you because I grew up in Quebec where the legal drinking age is a state of mind that doesn’t require a birth certificate, just a pair of tight jeans and an attitude.  And between you and me, I have always loved beer, even as a little kid I would beg for a sip from my dad’s glass.  My mother thought (and still does)  that it’s trashy to drink beer straight from the bottle or can and I can get behind that because it’s easier to keep inventory what you left.  And  have you ever been to a party and picked what you thought was your beer bottle when in fact, it was the communal ashtray?  Gross!!!

No chance of that at the Beer Festival.  Upon admittance you are given a clear plastic 8 ounce cup that is yours for the night and if you lose it, you have to buy another one for 20 bucks or share.  I am sure people are more likely to lose their cell phones than their plastic cups.  Lorraine and I got to the grounds around 6, I was like a kid on Christmas Day waiting to open presents and Lorraine was dying to unwind after a stressful work.  We had a special passes thanks to her ex-husband Lido and got in lickity split but the shock and the horror set in when we saw the line up for beer tokens.  Every 4 ounces of beer was worth a dollar token.  I had enough time to wait in line to figure out 40 dollars would be worth around 5 pints in a standard Toronto pub.  Or so I thought.  I don’t even know how many ounces in a pint and am unsure if they are on the same measuring system, is one imperial and the other metric?  Are their enough toilets in this place for all this beer to go at some point?  As I inched my way toward the front of the line, I smiled smugly to myself knowing that my Tena pad would save the day in case the answer to the last question was no.

Once we got our tokens, I have to say, the rest was a blur.  A super fun blur, I might add.  It was like a giant frat party.  Everyone was young and really drunk.  There were bands, interesting beers to choose from (my favourite was called “Dead Elephant”), and really great food including Edo’s 7 dollar Kobe hotdog that I had at The Ex last year and raved about, Oyster Boys shucked by girl shuckers, AND the beacon, the star of my summer, the object of my affections:  The Caplansky Truck.  I don’t really know how many ounces of beers we drank, I do know that I have a bunch of leftover tokens so my math is not so good.  And then I realized when do I actually drink 5 pints of beer?  Never!  Or hardly ever! Lol!  More ridiculous math and geometry:  A 26-year-old guy asked for my phone number and I gave it to him in the correct order because why not? Cougars rule!  I think the perfect weather and the crescent-shaped moon put everyone in a great mood.   A few more fun things happened but I can`t say because my mother reads this but at least I still have my plastic cup.  All I have to say is there is something about copious amounts of beer that  gives you license to lose your dignity and not feel bad about it the next day.  It`s the Canadian way!

 

 

I Love You, Caplansky

And now I’m going to share with you a personal too-much-information tidbit:  A few years ago, when I was going through a Hard Time, I went for some professional therapy.  I was mooning over some dude and the therapist, a man by the way,  listened to me for an hour lament/whine/wail on about how broken hearted I was and how this lost love was the most tragic thing EVER.  He was having a nicotine fit the whole time, crossing and uncrossing he skinny little legs, chewing on his gnarly fingernails with his yellow and brown horse teeth.  At the time, I remember thinking:  Why aren’t you saying anything?  Why don’t you help, for Godsake?  And finally, when he did speak at the end, he said to me:  “Well you obviously don’t know the difference between love and lust.”  What an idiotic, dismissive thing to say after I opened up all my emotional baggage.  I never went back to him.  It turned out that non-professional therapy, ie. drinking gallons of wine while watching Dr. Phil, was good enough for me.  Gradually the mooning stopped, time is a great healer.  However, I still run into the heartbreaker often enough and when I see him, I get a pang.  And I get a little wave of nostalgia, and I think:  Man, I really miss those dry rubbed baby back ribs you used to make on the bbq, I could suck on those all day!

Maybe the crackpot therapist was partially right, I mix love up with hunger.  It explains a lot:  My butcher crush, the way I always hang out with the oyster shucker at parties, and my latest obsession:  The Caplansky Deli Truck.  Last night I went to the Beaches Jazz Festival, which is always a lot of fun but I go more for the street meat than the actual music.  I knew through the Twitter feed Caplansky was going to park his truck at the foot of Elmer so I made a bee-line through the freak show that is local beachers in Birkenstocks and sarongs swaying and gyrating to the honk and tweet that is jazz.  The truck was there, Zane Caplansky himself was there (read about him here), and I was there.  The universe converged us together.  Now I had already eaten dinner, believe it or not: A SALAD, but there was still room for more of course.  My eyes scanned the menu and fell upon:  Maple Bacon Donuts.  Oh. My. God.  I ordered 6 and don’t get in my grill.  They are little balls, kind of like beignets from New Orleans, coated in maple infused with bacon.  I realize this is kind of girlie food, a sweet and salty PMS remedy but I was ovulating when I had it.  It was sublime.  This morning I woke up thinking about it.  And tonight I will go back.  Until then, I will leave you with this classic maple bacon lover:

From Prom to Ruby Watchco

I never went to my high school prom which was a smart move because all those that went are still being haunted by Facebook taggings.  This is the kind of thing that mortifies me even by proxy.  One boy, who shall remain nameless but let’s call him Moose Knuckles, was somebody’s older brother and mercy date to a girl in a see-through dress who forgot to hone her eating disorder in a pre-Spanx era.  He wore trousers so high-waisted and tight that his junk had nowhere to go but up and sideways.  And forever emblazoned in our memories.  Oh how I love to creep on that profile when I am sad and having a bad hair day.

And here we are today, this is Evangeline and her brother, Freddy, on prom day last Friday.  We had a gaggle of girls (and some parents) over for a pre-prom primping party.  They graduated from Rosedale School of the Arts which is not the usual Abercrombie crowd we’re talking about.   If you’ve ever been on Bloor and Castle Frank when school lets out, you know what I’m talking about.  I am sure some girls wore dresses crafted out of hair grown on their heads.  There are also slim pickins of boys at the school.  Because of lack of male escorts  (IT DOESN’T GET BETTER),  Evangeline and her prom posse all went as one girl power unit.  They took the streetcar!  How cute is that?

So what we saved on limos, some of the elders decided to go out to dinner.  We had a 9:00 reservation for Ruby Watchco in Riverside.  I gave my car key to my neighbour, Ann, and made her drive us there.  So what we saved in cab fare, we made up for in cocktails.  Really?  No, not really, we would have had those anyway.  We got to the restaurant right on time and it was so exciting.  Ruby Watchco is Chef Lynn Crawford’s  popular newish Queen Street East restaurant with a cryptic name.  No, it is not The Rancid song which is actually Ruby Soho but it doesn’t stop me from changing the lyrics and singing incessantly before we arrived.  Ruby Watchco was actually a sign found in one of the restaurants featured in the Food Network show, Restaurant Makeover.  In case you didn’t know, Lynn Crawford (former executive chef at The Four Seasons NYC) is a host on this show AND and was an Iron Chef competitor against Bobby Flay. Again, in case you didn’t know, Bobby Flay makes burgers and stars in my current fantasy, “Would You Like Fries With That?”

“Any dietary restrictions?” was the first question our charming waitress asked.  This is because you have no choice!  This is heaven to me, you eat what you get, homestyle, and you are served all the courses in Le Creuset baking dishes.  Even as a low funtioning cook in my own kitchen, I can tell you, it is a goal of mine to own a Le Creuset pot in every shape, size, and colour.  I would just look at them and dream of bubbling cheese.  I do have a nice sized green one, though, that is the vessel to my famous Chicken Rinaldo every Monday night.  Here is the Ruby Watchco website and you can see what’s on menu of the day.

While I would never admit to having  dietary restrictions, I will confess to having certain dietary malfunctions which are sparked by peaches, ice cream, and seafood.  The first item makes my face bulge, my tongue swell, and my hair follicles super itchy.  The second thing makes me poop immediately.  So what?  I make sure I eat it at home. The third makes my stomach churn first and then poopalooza.  Again, so what?  “Take the pain,” I always say to the weaklings in my Tom Berenger voice.  And on the menu was fish which I love, by the way, but it doesn’t love me back which is the saddest and purest love of all.  The other courses were so delicious, fresh and local.  There was is a salad with baked prosciutto (“Always invite pork to a party,” said a wise host), and the wait staff was fantastic.  They saw us fighting over the last piece of bacon, and they brought us a whole bunch more IN THE CUTEST LE CREUSET DISH OF ALL.  The fish, which was Halibut with shrimp salsa, was phenomenal.  We ended it with “thermalized” cheese and chocolate mousse dessert.  It was awesome and the best restaurant experience I’ve had in Toronto for sure.  Chef Lynn came to our table and chatted us, and we were all completely smitten with girl crushes.  She is a culinary Goddess.  And between you and me, even going to the washroom was magical.  I swear it smelled of lavender in there.

 

Non-Sequitur of the Week: I Heart Scotch Eggs, Blockbuster Closes

You learn something new every day.  For a few weeks now I have been palpitating with excitement to go and visit Table 17, one of the new bistro wine bars on Queen Street East in Riverside.  Sometimes I wake up on Saturday or Sunday and I feel I am missing Noah’s boat because I don’t “brunch.”  I don’t do this because I have no one to go with and I can’t do this kind of activity alone because it only takes me two seconds to read a newspaper courtesy of my Grade 6 teacher who decided to teach a select few *gifted* students how to “speed read” which was all the rage in the 1970s.  Stupid idea, and the precursor to all the information overload, overstimulation of the modern world.  Yes, Mrs. Drury, I am so gifted, I always have ants in my pants, fidgety fingers, and I confuse right from left.   If I read slow, I would eat slow.  If I ate slow, I would poop slow.  If I pooped slow, I would read more.  So yeah, reading fast has not done me any favours, thank you very much, Mrs. Drury.   Anyway, brunch in a trendy Toronto bistro/wine bar is for the elite few who have people props or are able contain themselves with reading material for 45 minutes or longer.   Somehow on Sunday, I managed to wrangle a slow moving posse together and by the time we arrived, we were so starving (and cranky) we would have eaten each other (except one of us was on her lady time).  I got a free Mimosa for checking into Foursquare for the first time in weeks. I am weening myself off social media because I think it is causing my insomnia;  Facebook, you are still my wife, and Twitter, you are my mistress 4evah, #loveyoubaby.

I ordered something called a “Scotch Egg,” not knowing what it was, nor caring at that point.  It had to be good because cheese and charcuterie came with it.  And I was right!  It turns out a Scotch Egg is a hardboiled egg, peeled, then coated with sausage meat SOMEHOW!  It is magical!  Then another coating of breadcrumbs and deep fried.  Holy Oprah:  I have found my new food obsession.  I will try this at home and report back.  In the meantime, I will bring a really thick book to Table 17 and go again soon.

And finally, my local Blockbuster is closing its doors.  Super sad!  I still don’t get “watching the computer FOR FREE” with these all these tease sites that bung the computer up then make me you pause for 20 minutes.  I AM TRAINED FOR SPEED!  I CANNOT POSSIBLY WAIT AROUND FOR THINGS TO RE-LOAD!   And that Netflix is probably owned by the Taliban, don’t kid yourself.  I loved my Blockbuster and the funny dudes that worked there and their extreme knowledge in all things Will Farrell.  I will miss it terribly.  Right now they are selling off all their stock and I got “Inglourious Basterds” which I watched last night.  Even during those cringing head-scalping scenes, all I could think of was that Scotch Egg, and I probably need a better kitchen knife.  And a deep fryer.

Wishing and Hoping and D.I.Y.

“You can have your cake and eat it too by farting the candles out”   FilthyRichmond on Twitter
 
Yesterday was my birthday (yay, me) and my brother sent me some photos of birthdays past.  Here I am at age 7, blowing out the candles of my cake, making some kind of wish.  I bet it was for a puppy.  I did get one a couple of years later but he ran away and got hit by a car (sad!!!!)  I still want a puppy but now I want one with a tool belt and not with the bone in his mouth, if you know what I mean.  Seriously, I currently have some blue chores around the house:  my washing machine doesn’t spin, my dryer doesn’t heat, there’s still a hole in my kitchen ceiling from that leak a few posts ago, and a crack in the door on the third floor.  THERE IS ALWAYS SOMETHING!!!  When I look at that photo of myself at age 7, I want to tell that little girl to not bother wishing for anything because sometimes when you get what you think you want, it doesn’t really know how to use a power drill at all.  If you know what I mean.
 
One of my birthday traditions since childhood has involved a bucket of KFC.  But as you know if you follow the blog, The Righteous Teenage Daughter, has made us seek out happy farm animals for our unapologetic carnivorous ways.  So I stick to the one butchershop I stumbled upon in January, The Friendly Butcher on Danforth.   They had me at wild boar.  So instead of my usual birthday bucket of the Colonel’s mutant chicken, I decided to take the concept of the “Double Down” and recreate it in a more civilized manner.  Here is what I did, step by step:
 
1. Flattened out 3 boneless chicken breasts (they are Mennonite, by the way, so they might not be happy but they are virtuous)
2. Smothered them in plain Greek-style yogurt
3. Rolled them in cornflake crumbs with coarse sea salt and some Cajun rub
4. Baked in oven at 350 for about 40 minutes
5. Lay out 6 wild boar bacon strips in George Forman grill and let it sizzle until the dog went into a frenzy
6. Put two bacon strips on each breast and drizzed with chipotle aioli and folded over like a sandwich-ish
 
It was messier than the KFC version but way better tasting.  As far as I’m concerned, I would put wild boar bacon on my birthday cake if I had one.  So I didn’t make yet another futile wish this year.  I find just taking matters into your own hands far more effective.  If you know what I mean.
 
 
 

The Boy, The Butcher, The Burger, The Bomb

Last weekend was Freddy”s 15th Birthday.

Me:  What do you want?

Freddy:  Nothing.

Me:  New shoes?

Freddy: No I like my old ones.

Me: What about a bike? A jacket? A day at the spa? A party? A cake?

Freddy:  Nah, no, NO, no, I hate cake.

So pretty much nothing it was!   The evening before was that dreaded Earth Day where you have to turn off your lights for an hour.   Evangeline was at a party so he and I spent the night in the dark, secretly watching television with the volume on low so the neighbours couldn’t hear and judge.  We watched 127 Hours which was the most riveting movie I’ve seen in like, 127 years.  Maybe because the first hour was watched on the down low which made it more compelling.  Anyway, I forced Freddy to watch it even though he didn’t want to but he ended up liking it, so that was my gift to him.  Happy Birthday, Freddy!  Enjoy your right arm!

The next day was his birthday, which by the way, was exactly like the day he was born:  Cold, crisp and sunny with some snow on the ground.  I always remember that morning, looking out the window of St. Mike’s Hospital while I was in labour at the KFC billboard and thinking:  ” Lunch, please be out before lunch.”  And sure enough, as soon as I hunkered down on all fours, out he came like a rocket.  My little Freddy had a bullet shaped head and he didn’t even cry.  And right away, after I manoeuvred myself over the birth goo and umbilical cord, he clamped on to my tit and began his feast.  And the rest is history.  Freddy is off the boob (at least mine) currently a burger aficionado, hence all the burger blogging I have been doing:  The Burger’s Priest, The Burger Shoppe, The Great Burger Kitchen and now my own glorious creation:  The Giant Mother Burger Cake!

Ever since The Righteous Teenage Daughter made the declaration four months ago that she will only eat meat from happy farm animals, I have been hunting butcher shops all over the city.  I found my favourite, The Friendly Butcher, on the Danforth just east of Broadview.  I’ve said this before, butcher men are hotter than oyster shuckers or firemen so make sure your bra is on tight and you don’t have lipstick on your teeth because the testosterone in that shop could cause spontaneous pheromone eruptis, if you know what I mean.  And they are helpful.  So when I decided to make a Giant Mother Burger Cake for Freddy Birthday I went there and got two pounds of ground beef and some Tamshire bacon (and the range of bacon they have from Perth Pork, click here and check it out,  is pretty interesting).   So here is what I did:

Wove all the bacon (Tamshire)  from the package into a square and broiled it until the fire alarm  went off (true….but until it looked done)

Made a giant beef patty out of : 1.5 ground beef, 2 eggs, Italian bread crumbs, Worcestershire sauce, frozen placenta (haha, kidding, but occurred to me had I the wherewithal back then), then fried it over the stove, salting both sides with coarse sea salt.  Fried up burgers are the best, keep all the juices in, I learned that on The Food Network.  You know, that Bobby Flay could probably take someone’s chopped arm make a burger out of it.  Sigh.

Cut open a sourdough loaf of bread, put the burger on it, the bacon weave on top of the patty , and some grated sharp cheddar!  Finally, I dug some holes in the bread for candles and Happy Birthday to You, Freddy!  Bon Appetit!  It took 4 days to eat that burger!  XOXO