1929

It’s Lindsay’s last weekend in TO for a while, and we had a minor celebration to mark, so last night we grabbed a table at Jacobs & Co. and had a predictably phenomenal meal.

We started with half a dozen oysters, their house white cheddar popovers, and the classic Caesar’s salad. All of this went with a bottle of Taittinger Prelude we’d brought back from Champagne with us.

For our mains we took our usual tack, splitting a large steak — a bone-in Striploin from Guelph, aged 45 days — and a 4oz A5 Black Tajima Wagyu California cut striploin. This we had with onions braised in Armagnac and butter, rapini in anchovy butter and chili flakes, and a 2008 Catena Zapata Nicolas Bordeaux blend I’ve been saving for a while.

Finally, for dessert, the last splurge: cheese (Chateau de Bourgogne; Mimolette; Lindsay cloth bound goat cheddar; Porto Blue), a 1973 Madeira for Lindsay, and a 1929 (!) Don PX for me. UN. REAL.

Old Old Fashioned

Yesterday might be one of my very favourite days.

Lindsay got home very late the night before, so we slept in a bit. Eventually we got up and had brunch at Lil’ Baci. It was Baci’s last day of operation (in its current form, anyway) and it’d been kind of an important place for us. It’s the first place we ate brunch together, and yesterday we actually happened to sit at the same table. It was also our regular brunch spot when we eventually moved into the neighbourhood. Bye, Baci.

After lunch we were sleepy and needed a nap and discovered that Google Home can play ambient sounds like waves crashing and we had the nicest little power nap.

Eventually we needed some more food, so to power up and get in the Olympic spirit, we picked up a little Kaboom Korean fried chicken and kimchi fries.

In the evening we joined our friends Mike and Heather for a concert, preceded by a visit to Birreria Volo. The second incarnation of my old favourite beer spot Bar Volo, I’d somehow never been to this new one. Well, actually, it wasn’t that much of a mystery: I basically never find myself on College west. Anyway, maybe I should — the beer selection was predictably excellent (I had a Collective Arts dry hop sour, a Shacklands/Volo Mezza Note espresso milk stout, and a Rouge River Never Say Never Russian Imperial stout aged in Jack Daniels barrels) and so was the vibe.

Anyway, the concert: we were in that neighbourhood to see Frightened Rabbit. Mike and Heather have seen them many times; I hadn’t seem them since 2009, when they were touring their breakout album The Midnight Organ Fight. That same album is what brought us out last night — they’re playing the whole thing. After a few other songs they launched into it, and it holds up so well, especially live. Unfortunately the Mod Club was a sweaty box of hot, and there were so many rude assholes around us…some woman was practically standing on Lindsay, and some drunk couple behind me spent the last half half a dozen songs slow dancing / grinding / falling over on me. It kind of took me out of the moment for songs like “Keep Yourself Warm”, “Poke”, and “Floating In The Forth”. We left Mike and Heather to enjoy the encore, and found cool air = our sanity outdoors.

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“Well, Clarishe? Have the lambsh shtopped shcreaming?”

Buried at the bottom of this Atlantic article about Silence Of The Lambs is trivia I probably once knew but had forgotten: the first choices for the lead roles.

  • Michelle Pfeiffer as Clarice Starling
  • Sean Connery as Hannibal Lecter
  • Gene Hackman as Jack Crawford

I don’t imagine Gene Hackman would have been a problem, and even Michelle Pfeiffer might have done serviceable work. But the very thought of Sean Connery Captain Ramiusing his way through the role of Lecter has filled me with unsettling dread all morning. I’m going to go watch it just to end the alternate-universe nightmare.

Cover photo by j.s. clark, used under Creative Commons license

“Welcome, Point Break.”

It’s been a weird week. I was so sick that I didn’t go to work Monday. I probably shouldn’t have gone Tuesday either but I had a pile of meetings, and I really wanted to see Lindsay speak at an Akimbo event at 401 Richmond that night. I’m so glad I did — her presentation was so on, and it was really interesting to learn more about digital curation — but that plus dinner pretty much did me in.

Dinner, our last together for a week and a half, was at Byblos, which we loved our last time out, though it might have been a bit rich for 10pm:

  • Lamb Ribs w/ dukkah + buttermilk sauce + carob molasses + red chili schug
  • Tuna w/ jalapeño dressing + radish + squid ink chips + green schug + avocado
  • Short Rib Kebab w/ chemen + truffle tatziki + pine nut dukkah + oregano
  • Mejadra w/ lentil + hung yogurt + fried shallot
  • Roasted Brussels Sprouts w/ halloumi + tahini + yogurt

By the time I got home I was almost comatose, and my body regressed into a state of uberSick. I spent Wednesday in bed, and most of Thursday as well. Then Friday morning, as I was feeling better and getting ready for work, I pulled a muscle in my back. I sometimes strain my back when I stay in bed too long — like, say, when I’m sick — but it’s pretty rare that I actually hurt it like this. I spent Friday hobbling around work like an old man and then came home.

My back’s slowly getting better, as I’ve been trying to mix in some relaxation with intense work catch-up. During my downtime I’ve been watching the winter Olympics and catching up on TV shows and movies I know Lindsay wouldn’t care to see.

I knew Fargo: Season 2 (imdb | rotten tomatoes) featured completely different actors from season 1, but I didn’t know the thread of connection among two of the characters. Just as quirky and violent (moreso, probably) as the first season. Season 3: get in my Netflix queue!

I’d been told Thor: Ragnarok (imdb | rotten tomatoes) was a ton of fun, but from the trailers I couldn’t figure out what it was. It seemed to be about arena fighting but, y’know…Ragnarok. Norse Armageddon. Did not compute. Anyway, it makes sense now, and I laughed all the way through it. Thor’s such an absurd character that full-on humour was a great way to take things.

Speaking of Armageddon, I felt like I had a pretty good handle on what Brawl In Cell Block 99 (imdb | rotten tomatoes) was going to be: pretty much what it said on the tin. I just didn’t expect…that. So much dry savagery. I really wish I’d seen it with a Midnight Madness audience at TIFF. That would have been something.

Another superhero movie that took a new tack, one I also liked, was Spider-Man: Homecoming (imdb | rotten tomatoes). A reboot of the reboot of the…original reboot, I guess, this one played for a generation that knew the Marvel movies, not the comics, and it worked nicely. Different pace, and much funnier than the Andrew Garfield version. (Also: no sooner do I finish watching Fargo than Mike Milligan shows up in Spider-Man.)

Between all of this, and a lot of work, I finished reading my uncle Jim’s book A Short History of the American Revolution (amazon). Back in November when I was in Philadelphia for work, I had a chance to tour the new Museum of the American Revolution. I was speaking there that night (on a totally unrelated topic…we just happened to be using the venue) and did a little research about my family’s history to share during my speech. I’d forgotten about this since I first read it years ago, but Jim summarized it himself in the book:

Today farmers who wrestle a living from the thin soil of Cumberland County in Nova Scotia trace their ancestors to New York State and the exodus when the British finally left the United States.

Of course, ancestry.ca didn’t exist when Jim wrote this book, so I was able to dig a little deeper into history. That digging, and hearing the museum’s director speak about misconceptions and hard truths about the revolution, sparked an interest to re-read Jim’s book, and re-educate myself about the war. There’s so much myth and legend built up around the revolution — being at the museum and re-reading the book reminded me how different the reality was. Also interesting: I’d never connected the dots before between the Cornwallis who famously surrendered at Yorktown to the Cornwallis famous — and more recently, infamous — in Halifax. The former was, I believe, the latter’s nephew.

I still have crazy amounts of work to do today, and my back’s definitely not back to normal yet, so the weekend continues to be weird. Seriously, all I want is a quiet week.

.:.

Cover photo by j.s. clark, used under Creative Commons license

Cover photo by Fio, used under Creative Commons license

It *HAD* been a fun weekend

…right up until I got sick.

On Thursday I showed no signs of catching what had laid half my office low, so we visited Chez Nous for a Cabernet Franc flight (attention proprietors: if you ever want to entice me to visit your establishment, put on a Cab Franc flight) and a cheese board and more wine, and then went to La Carnita for tacos and beer.

On Friday I started to feel sickness looming, but managed to catch up over beers with my friend Bina at the new-ish Craft Beer Market downtown. It’s a huge place, with a distinctly less douche-y vibe than King Taps. Our snacks were tasty, and while there wasn’t an enormous amount of stuff I wanted to try among their vast tap list, they did have the Calabogie Brown Cow Milk Stout, which is freaking outstanding.

Side note: I also got the Dieu du Ciel Aphrodite there, and for the second time in a row (my recent visit to Wvrst being the other) it tasted off. Not the perfect beer I’ve loved for so long, but really bitter and astringent. At Wvrst I chalked it up to a bad batch, but two glasses two weeks apart? Also, there’s all kinds of speculation that Craft can’t possibly keep all those draft lines clean, but Wvrst cleans theirs religiously, so…not sure what’s going on, but I’m really hoping it’s a temporary issue.

Anyway, Saturday didn’t amount to much as I felt like ass. We just sipped coffee and started watching Altered Carbon (and cursed our luck that season 2 of The Good Place isn’t on Netflix yet) and got groceries and finally ordered food. Lindsay drank wine while I watched, hence my choice of bottles.

.:.

Cover photo by Fio, used under Creative Commons license