Cover photo by Chris Connolly, used under Creative Commons license

Cava

Apart from a brief visit for a drink about two years ago, it’s been nearly ten years since my last dinner at Cava. Which is strange, because a) it’s two minutes from my office, and b) it gets consistently stellar reviews. We’d planned a small work outing there on Thursday, meant to be a couple of drinks and some snacks, and it turned into…more.

Everything — the wine, the food, the dessert — was absolutely outstanding. I need to go back. Soon.

The plates we shared:

  • pincho of valdeon with sherry-roasted figs
  • manchego
  • shishito peppers
  • pincho of gamay-poached foie gras
  • ceviche of argentine shrimp, cassava, rocotto chili, and cucumber
  • roasted broccoli with blood orange, dill, and whipped jamon fat
  • jamon iberico
  • grilled king oyster mushrooms, pipian, chayote, and queso cotija
  • eggplant with queso fresco, bonito, & tomatillo sauce (twice!)
  • roasted sablefish with black rice, and collard greens (twice!)
  • venison anticucho with warm red cabbage salad
  • bavette steak with artichoke, campo real olives, and charred ramp mojo
  • bitter orange cake with saffron and labneh
  • churros con chocolate (twice!)

The bottles we shared:

  • 2011 Losada Vinos de Finca Mencia (Bierzo)
  • 2009 Bodegas Pittacum Mencia (Bierzo)
  • 2011 Bodega Rejadorada Novellum (Duero)
  • 1962 Bodegas Toro Albala Don PX Gran Reserva (Montilla-Moriles)

 

.:.

Cover photo by Chris Connolly, used under Creative Commons license

Chimps Batch Jays Owen

That was a busy-ass week. Fun too.

On Tuesday we grabbed some dinner at Wine Bar and then went to see a talk by one of Nellie’s heroes, Jane Goodall. Such an impressive human being, and her final story of the night (shown below) pretty much says it all.

On Wednesday we grabbed dinner at Batch with our buddy GB, visiting for the week.

On Thursday I met my buddy Joe at the new Bar Hop (my first visit, believe it or not) where I had an excellent Burdock session saison and then availed myself of one of his Jays tickets, with which we watched the Jays beat the Yankees. Labatt’s acquisition of Mill Street at least meant I could have a 100th Meridian to go with this view:

Last night we went over to our friends A+A’s place and had a seemingly Dan-tailored evening: grilled meat and charcuterie, stellar beer (including a Gueuze Tilquin they brought back from Brussels, bless their little hearts), cool music that made me want to start collecting LPs again, and a cat named Owen who blithely tolerated my attention. We turned into pumpkins on their couch. It was, after all, a busy-ass week.

Cover photo by marnie webb, used under Creative Commons license

Chrash

Back in October I blogged about the amazing start to the Montreal Canadiens season: eight wins in eight games. That had never happened, even during the dynasty years. Things looked promising.

Then things went in the shitter. Carey Price got hurt, and ended up sitting out the entire season. He wasn’t the only long-term injury: the Canadiens are third in man-games lost this year, and as this chart from mangamelost.com shows, more injuries tends to equal fewer wins.

They were effectively out of the playoff race months ago. They didn’t even finish the season that badly — they didn’t tank so much that they’ll get a top-5 draft pick.

It could be worse though. I could be a Leafs fan.

.:.

Cover photo by marnie webb, used under Creative Commons license

Cover photo from pukka.ca

Solid; genuine; authentic

It’s not often that we find ourselves on St. Clair West, but last night we were moving with purpose: trying out Pukka for the first time. The reviews said it was Indian fusion, with solid wine pairings. So yeah, we went to that.

First, though, we had a drink at their sister location down the street: Concession Road. Again, solid wine selection (Nellie had a glass of rosé; I had a Closson Chase Pinot Gris) and the menu looked interesting enough that we decided to come back soon.

But the main event was Pukka (which was packed!) and it didn’t disappoint. We started with a trio of sharing plates: “gunpowder” king prawns with moong bean salad + pineapple chutney; tandoori calamari with coconut chutney + citrus salad; and chicken 65: south Indian fried chicken with chili + tamarind curry leaves. Nellie stuck to her rosé and I had a Viognier, before we moved on to a Vermentino and Riesling respectively. The wines were clearly hand-picked for this food, which was just nicely spiced (not hot).

We had glasses of Pinot Noir and Tempranillo with our next order: the garam masala duck breast with blueberry +chilli-lime curry, along with rice and naan. By this time we were totally full, and took most of the duck & rice to go. It’s in our fridge and I am going to eat the hell out of it tomorrow.

Of course there was no room for dessert, but since we were that far west we decided to swing by Midfield on our way home and continue the wine adventure. Nellie kept drinking rosé (!) while I let Giuseppe guide me wherever he wanted. That turned out to be a Trebbiolo, a Sancerre Rouge (which claimed to be 100% Pinot, but tasted to everyone as if it must contain some Cab Franc), and a German Pinot Noir.

Wineventure: complete!

.:.

Cover photo from pukka.ca

Cover photo by Alex Proimos, used under Creative Commons license

“Okay, I want you to walk back in there and very calmly, very politely tell the risk assessors to fuck off.”

We finally watched The Big Short (imdb | rotten tomatoes) last weekend. It was good, but not quite as good as I’d been led to believe by the reviews. That said, it was still FAR better (and funnier) than I ever would have guessed the movie could be after I reading the Michael Lewis book it was based on. So…a win, I guess?

.:.

Cover photo by Alex Proimos, used under Creative Commons license