Photo by Peter Kudlacz, used under Creative Commons license

“Mmmm. Gueuzy.”

Well, that was a beer-y weekend. It actually started Thursday night when Nellie and I found ourselves near Volo and stopped in for some Great Lakes drinks (Chill Winston for me, Audrey Hopburn for her) before some dinner at Mercatto. At that point we’d momentarily switched to wine, and decided to watch Red Obsession (imdb | rotten tomatoes) while we drank a bottle of the Tawse wine club T-Blend Red.

My Friday afternoon was spent on a boat cruising around Toronto harbour for a work event, during which I consumed quite a few bottles of Steam Whistle. We were dropped off a few minutes away from the Amsterdam Brewhouse, so a few of us secured a table until Nellie and our friends MLK arrived. The food was pretty decent and I kept to the lighter beers (until the one-off Boxer (10 Count) farmhouse ale with Brett) so I could remain more or less coherent. After dinner we retired back to ours where we shared a (spectacular) bottle of Five Rows Sauvignon Blanc.

We took it easy on Saturday, just lying about and running a few errands, before meeting our friends JP + Sue at Triple A for some barbecue. We ate our ribs and steak and brisket and sausage and drank Camerons California Sunshine APA (mostly), then made a quick stop at our place to share a bottle of St. Louis Gueuze Fond Tradition on our balcony before heading to C’est What for a few more. I’m glad I picked up a bottle of that gueuze before the LCBO ran dry.

And now…I need a nap.



Photo by Peter Kudlacz, used under Creative Commons license


“Well they’re not moon burns, goddammit.”

While Nellie was away this weekend I managed to squeeze in a few more movies between errands and work: one of last year’s best and a classic I’d somehow never seen.

All Is Lost (imdb | rotten tomatoes) was a showpiece for Robert Redford, and a very different kind of film. It opens with about 60 seconds of monologue, and apart from that there’s probably less than twenty words in the whole script as Redford sails through the Indian Ocean. Redford is the only actor to appear on-screen, though you could make a case for his ship being another character, and for the ocean being the antagonist. It’s remarkable, actually, how much Redford can express with just his face, or his sighs, or a slump of his shoulders, or the length of a look. It was an aquatic, effects-free Gravity, though it still didn’t net Redford an Oscar nomination the way it did for Sandra Bullock, presumably because the Academy didn’t like the thin script — though Redford himself blamed lack of distribution. But for a pure visual experience and a master class in acting, this is hard to beat.

I don’t think I realized how much of Close Encounters Of The Third Kind  (imdb | rotten tomatoes) is embedded in pop culture. I’ve always known that sequence of tones was famous but I guess I never really knew why. Also: MAN, Richard Dreyfus in that era was fantastic.


Last weekend, by the grace of good friends Matt & Kaylea, we made our now-annual pilgrimage up to a cottage in the Kawarthas. We stopped in Barrie on the way up to pick up a passanger and to eat some pizza & charcuterie cured meat, cheese, and Peruvian olives. We made it to the cottage that night, and crashed shortly after.

The next morning I woke up to this:

…met a new friend:

…went for a swim:

…lay in a hammock:

…ate some lunch, with a very special bottle of wine: a Benjamin Bridge 2004 Brut Reserve:

…smoked a pork shoulder (well, watched Matt smoke it):

…and went for another swim:

See how calm the water is there? Yeah, so did the resident mosquito population, and they ate me alive. Could be worse though: I could have gotten as badly sunburned as Nellie.

Friday was a rapid-fire drive north through traffic, and Sunday didn’t amount to much other than rain and buttermilk pancakes, but Saturday…bacon, sunshine, swimming, sparkling wine, swimming, pulled pork, swimming, camp fire…Saturday was glorious.

Get the di taleggio

It’s been more than two years since we visited Prince Edward County, which was entirely too long. I almost forgot how much we love it there.

The love came rushing back to me pretty much as soon as we arrived at Norman Hardie‘s for some tastings and wood-fired oven pizza. The food and wine, the fresh air and green fields, the County camaraderie…it’s starting to feel like home out there. After Hardie we hit stops from our previous trips, including Rosehall RunThe Old Third (where there was a chocolate lab puppy so cute I wanted to just eat her like candy), Closson Chase, Hinterland (where they fed us pulled pork sandwiches outside), and Lighthall. We also hit a few new ones like Hubbs Creek, Broken Stone, and Trail. Hubbs Creek was really good — nice Pinot Gris, decent Pinot Noir, and a very interesting Sussreserve Gamay rosé.

We checked into our room at the Newsroom Suites, had a little nap (I’d sampled a lot of wine), and walked across the street for dinner at East & Main. It was, as always, terrific. Nellie had mushroom ravioli and the steak frites while I had the scallops and the duck special. Our server recommended a bottle of Karlo Estates Quintas to go with it, and it lived nicely indeed amongst our two mains.

The next day I got up early for breakfast at The Tall Poppy while Nellie slept in. Soon we were on our way again, checking in at Huff Estates and and TerraCello for early-morning tastings. TerraCello was a new stop for us; we liked that they’re doing very different wines there, like a straight Vidal and a De Chaunac. They also do wood-fired pizzas, though they weren’t quite up and running yet that morning due to an overnight power outage. No problem though; we just skipped back over to Norm Hardie’s for round 2. Bumped into an old colleague while there too, which was a pleasant surprise.

And with that, we were off back to Toronto. Here’s the motherlode we brought home:

  • Broken Stone 2013 Pinot2 (x2)
  • Closson Chase 2011 KJ Watson Pinot Noir (x2)
  • Closson Chase 2012 South Clos Chardonnay (x2)
  • Hinterland 2011 Sparkling Rosé
  • Hinterland 2013 Whitecap
  • Hinterland 2013 Borealis (x2)
  • Hinterland 2012 Lacus (x2)
  • Hubbs Creek 2013 Pinot Gris (x2)
  • Hubbs Creek 2011 Pinot Noir (x2)
  • Hubbs Creek 2013 Sussreserve Gamay Rosé (x2)
  • Huff Estates 2007 Cuvée Peter J. Huff Sparkling
  • Huff Estates 2011 South Bay Chardonnay
  • Huff Estates 2012 Cabernet Franc Rosé (x2)
  • Lighthall 2011 Muté White Port
  • Lighthall 2012 Mes Trois Fils Pinot Noir
  • Lighthall 2012 Gewurztraminer
  • Norman Hardie 2013 Calcaire (x2)
  • Norman Hardie 2012 County Chardonnay (x2)
  • Norman Hardie 2010 Pinot Noir (x2)
  • Old Third 2012 Pinot Noir Blanc (x2)
  • Old Third 2011 A La Volée Sparkling Pinot Noir (x2)
  • Old Third 2013 Golden Russet Cider (x2)
  • Rosehall Run 2012 Pixie
  • Rosehall Run 2011 The Swinger Syrah
  • Rosehall Run 2011 Pinot Noir
  • Rosehall Run 2012 Gamay
  • Rosehall Run 2012 Certain Ratio
  • Terracello 2013 Riesling
  • Terracello 2012 Vidal
  • Terracello 2013 De Chaunac
  • Trail 2013 Unoaked Chardonnay
  • Trail 2013 Sauvignon Blanc

À la prochaine, county.


“Here’s to swimmin’ with bow-legged women.”

I know Narragansett Lager doesn’t have a great rating, and I don’t think I can even buy it in Ontario, but I really want one now. From Fast Company:

From Spuds MacKenzie to Sam Adams, there have been many beer spokesmen over the years, but none of them can beat Quint, the Narragansett chugging shark hunter from Stephen Spielberg’s Jaws. Played by Robert Shaw, Quint was a survivor of the U.S.S. Indianapolis who watched hundreds of his fellow sailors eaten alive by sharks. For sheer manliness, Quint’s the kind of beer spokesperson that makes Dos Equis’s The Most Interesting Man Alive look like a milksop.

So to celebrate both the film’s 29th anniversary and the Fourth of July weekend (when all of Jaws‘s shark attacks happened), the company is re-releasing the beer with the now iconic 1975 can design.

Image from

“Little shakin’, little tenderizin’, an’ down you go.”