Cover photo from Goodhood

Shake By The Riverside

Welp, I’m exhausted.

Wednesday was the big move. Between the movers showing up late and the new building being a slight pain to move into, things ran long and I had to help a lot more than I should have for that cost, but whatever. All my stuff arrived, more or less intact. The problem is that it’s still sitting on my floor.

See, Lindsay arrived that night so I didn’t have much chance to do much, just unpack the essentials (fresh sheets for bed; Champagne; chargers), eat some Korean fried chicken from Kaboom, and pick her up at the train station.

Thursday I worked a full day and then met brother #1 for tacos at La Carnita before showing him the new digs.

Friday we worked from home as a Bell tech was coming by and I had some condo/lawyer related errands to run. We had coffee and pastries at Boxcar Social, then after the Bell guy left we took a break from work to grab a killer lunch at White Lily Diner. I had the pastrami sandwich; Lindsay had the smoked fish (tuna, trout) platter, and both were fantastic. My friend Jeff even strolled in as we were finishing up. Great meal. We hit Sugarloaf bakery on the way home for coffee and some delicious-ass treats.

After we finished work for the day we shut everything down and went our for a nice quiet dinner: first a glass of wine at the new all-Ontario wine bar, Chez Nous (me: Cab Franc; she: Meritage, both from Ravine) before trying out Peasant Table. I’d been here before, but only for brunch. The food was a mix of hits and misses, but the decor and feel of the place was just…weird. Given all the other great local options I’m not sure we’ll his this one again for dinner, but brunch is probably worth another try.

Today we were up early, so I grabbed coffee and breakfast from Dark Horse before we packed. We filled up big time at L’il Baci before grabbing more coffee from Sugarloaf to get us over the hump and into a cab. Now we’re off to Lisbon — more on that soon.

By the way, the title is from this song which has been stuck in my head since Thursday:

 

Cover photo by Paul Downey, used under Creative Commons license

Leaving St. Lawrence Market

Almost ten years to the day after moving into this condo building, I’m moving out. I have a new place a few minutes east of here, in a cool new neighbourhood. I’m (almost) all packed and ready to go.

I’ve lived in two different units in this building, but I was one of the original occupants and this place definitely feels like home. Ten years is far longer than I’ve spent in any other building, apart from the family farm as a child.

But it’s time. Time for a different (smaller!) place, time to explore a new neighbourhood, and most of all: time for a change. Like our grandfather always said, a change is as good as a rest…and believe me, I could use the rest. It’s been a pretty ridiculous and stressful April.

In between packing and work and whatever else, I’ve been saying goodbye to my favourite things about the neighbourhood. The parks, the weird little alleys. The market, obviously, though I’ll be back in upcoming weekends. Fahrenheit, where I learned to love coffee. Triple A, still my favourite bbq in the city — thankfully, there’s another one near my new place. C’est What, one of my original craft beer experiences and source of so much comfort food. Batch, which took over a seemingly-cursed location but looks healthy. XO Bisous, my every-morning stop and home to the best pastries and nicest ladies ever.

Now, I’ll move to a neighbourhood with its own excellent restaurants and brewpubs and cafes and stuff. I can’t wait. I loved St. Lawrence Market, but I think I’ve done all it has to offer. It’s time for some change. It’s time for a new home.

I sure will miss this view though:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/ltdan/4760700793/sizes/l/

.:.

Cover photo by Paul Downey, used under Creative Commons license

Cover photo by Tom Arthur, used under Creative Commons license

Well, NOW I fear the deer

One of these days the Raptors will win a game one, and I’ll be there (maybe) to see it.

Today was not that day.

I did get to go to the game — a colleague had an extra ticket, which I happily bought — but the Raps didn’t win. Not even close.

In fact the Raps got blown out by the Milwaukee Bucks tonight. The fourth quarter was a serious letdown, but before that the stats were mostly even, apart from shooting percentage from 3-point land. There, the Bucks were twice as effective, which made all the difference until garbage time.

Game 2, Raps. Let’s go.

17883829_10154982593895673_4568376405954742038_n

.:.

Cover photo by Tom Arthur, used under Creative Commons license

Daisho

Last night a bunch of colleagues and I were taken out for dinner, and I finally got to try one of the Momofuku restaurants: Daisho. We pre-ordered the pork. I repeat: we pre-ordered the pork.

I mean, technically speaking, we pre-ordered the Bo Ssäm: a whole slow cooked pork butt (cured overnight, then slow roasted for 6-8 hours with a brown sugar and kosher salt rub), a dozen oysters, white rice, bibb lettuce for wraps, topped with Ssäm Sauce (Korean bbq sauce), kimchi, pureed kimchi, and ginger scallion sauce.

Before and with that, there was a whole slew of starters and sides:

  • char tartare w/ orange, jalapeno, spicy hozon mayo
  • buttermilk biscuits w/ garlic butter, chili honey
  • chicken steamed bao buns w/ ssäm sauce, pickled carrots, scallions
  • cured niagara ham w/ red eye mayo, sourdough
  • grilled wedge salad w/ olive tapenade, halloumi, dill
  • duck wontons w/ shrimp, chinese celery, sesame
  • roasted rice cakes w/ spicy pork sausage, chinese broccoli, tofu
  • roasted trout w/ prosciutto, jerusalem artichoke, bc shrimp
  • brussels sprouts w/ fish sauce, puffed rice, mint
  • potatoes w/ togarashi, kewpie mayo, spiced ham

We paired all of that with a magnum of Norman Hardie Pinot Noir, Mathieu Barret Petit Ours Brun Syrah, and a Loire Cab Franc I can’t recall but which was delicious. Apart from coffee, no one had room for dessert. A few of us took home enough pork and potatoes for a whole other meal. Speaking of which, I’m off to the kitchen.

Dance Song ’97

Pitchfork’s focus on the 20th anniversary of OK Computer a few weeks ago got me thinking: there were a ton of great albums made in 1997.

I came to them late — I’d just moved to Toronto that year and was far from current with this stuff — but once I found them, they took root. These albums pretty heavily in my rotation even today, and would probably all show up on my list of favourite albums of all time.

  • The Dandy Warhols . Come Down
  • Bob Dylan . Time Out Of Mind
  • Mogwai . Young Team
  • Neutral Milk Hotel . In The Aeroplane Over The Sea
  • Sleater-Kinney . Dig Me Out

To say nothing of Spiritualized‘s Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space, The RheostaticsDouble Live, or Bardo Pond‘s Lapsed. Man. What a year.

“Meek and obedient you follow the leader.”

When I was in London a few weeks ago the route my taxi took to my hotel traversed a route I’d not taken before in previous visits. This time we drove along the Thames, and across the river lit up at night I could see the Battersea power station. It’s a massive thing, known to me mainly as the image from the cover of Pink Floyd‘s Animals album.

It prompted me to listen to the album on the flight home, and again once or twice since. Even forty years on it’s still a sharp economic criticism — not of communism, as the animal/pig-themed title echoing Orwell would suggest — but of unfettered capitalism. Open Culture covered it yesterday, suggesting that rather than losing something over the years, it’s become even more relevant.

And after a while, you can work on points for style.
Like the club tie, and the firm handshake,
A certain look in the eye and an easy smile.
You have to be trusted by the people that you lie to,
So that when they turn their backs on you,
You’ll get the chance to put the knife in.

Cover photo from the Domaine Mugneret-Gibourg site

Until the fall, Montréal

Once more, and probably for the final time this spring, I spent the weekend in Montreal.

Thursday

Work. Flight. Pizza. The usual.

Friday

I spent the morning in our Montreal office after picking up a capp and croissant from the nearby Café Myriade.

 

After that I made a quick stop at Le Creuset, then had a burger at La Belle Et La Boeuf and grabbed a shit-ton of sweets at Cocobun before heading home. Then it was back downtown for a talk, followed by a snowy cab up to Maison Publique where we had a typically excellent meal:

  • tomato, mozzarella, pepperoni
    • with Closson Chase Chardonnay and a cocktail
  • fresh scallop crudo, smoked celery, squid ink + onion sauce
    • with Tawse sparkling Riesling
  • cappellacci pasta with veal
  • herbed roasted bass
    • w/ Sperling Pinot Noir
  • pôt de crème, pear ice cream

It was all good, but the scallop dish was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.

Saturday

A day of complete relaxation: we slept in, relaxed, laid about, watched Arrested Development, and ate leftover pizza and cocobun treats. Really, we had no plans until dinner at Le Filet. And, holy shit: what a dinner. The food was stellar, and the wine (a bit of a splurge) was transcendent.

  • oysters: 2 plain, 2 jalapeño & maple crisp, 2 baked in miso gratin
  • hamachi w/ sesame, sumac
    • with Francis Boulard brut rose Champagne
  • tataki of Wagyu w/ eggplant, miso
  • maple-glazed smoked duck w/ topinambour, chestnuts, Cremona mostard
  • cavatelli w/ foie gras, veal cheek
    • with Domaine Mugneret-Gibourg Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru Pinot Noir
  • maple syrup square w/ whipped cream, pecans
    • vin Santo
    • cognac

Sunday

Like the last Sunday I spent there, we had brunch in Mile End and grabbed beers after.

Brunch was at Nouveau Palais, a diner reformed into…well, a slightly more fancy diner. The brunch was outstanding though — Lindsay had eggs benny and I had the smoked meat hash with fried eggs. There were some service hiccups because they were so busy, but overall it was very solid indeed. Relatively cheap too.

After that we happened upon SW Welch and bought some used books, bought some coffee at galactic hipster nexus Le Cagibi, and walked to Vice et Versa, which we’d tried and failed to hit on a previous visit. It was terrific: Lindsay had a Bière de Coin d’Rue, I had a Dunham LaPatt robust porter, and we split a bottle of Dunham Oro Zurr (Batch 1 – Mosiac).

 

We left there and made delicious nachos at home before my flight. Au revoir Montreal! See you in…the summer, maybe?

.:.

Cover photo from the Domaine Mugneret-Gibourg site