Jacobs redux

Last night: the classic. Jacobs & Co.

We didn’t mess with anything. We just let the perfect execution happen.

  • Oysters from the east coast
  • Caesar salad
  • 12oz Ribeye from Norfolk, Ontario
  • 6oz A5 Black Tajima Tenderloin from Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan
  • Sauteed mixed mushrooms
  • Sauteed rapini w/ anchovy butter, chili flakes
  • S’mores vanilla cheesecake w/ marshmallow, chocolate chunks and
    graham cracker crust

    • Glasses of Don PX 1929

 

Forty hours of Montreal

I was back in Montreal ever-so-briefly this week, from Wednesday night to Friday afternoon, and — in between meetings — had just enough time to hit a few old favourites. I was staying at the Hôtel Place d’Armes so I was walking distance to both Tommy and Philemon.

I also got to try a new restaurant: Sinclair, in the St Sulpice hotel. I get that big group dinners aren’t the best way to judge a place, but this one still wasn’t great.

My Friday meetings ended early so I caught an early flight and got back to Toronto for a quick drink or two at Chez Nous before Lindsay joined me post-work.

 

Brassaii

Last night I had a fun work thing at a restaurant I’ve walked by a hundred times but never stepped into: Brassaii. The work event was fun (especially the drinks in their great outdoor space) but the dinner (Caesar salad / salmon / pavlova / mediocre Italian wine) was meh. Not bad, just…meh. I’ll definitely go back to the event again, but won’t exactly go out of my way to revisit Brassaii.

.:.

Cover image from Brassaii’s website

M’eat

Last night we tried a new(ish) neighbourhood place: M’Eat Resto Butcher. It’s a slightly different concept: he gets in one animal at a time, bought from an all-natural producer, and uses every last bit of it. We got there late, ended up talking quite a bit with Chef Cam, and had an absolutely outstanding meal.

  • Samples of two Fairweather beers, a cherry sour and a juicy IPA
  • Duck tataki
  • An exceptional ribeye steak
  • A bottle of Château Viella Madiran
  • A little more duck tataki, a taste of beef carpaccio with truffle that I didn’t even mind, and then a surprise venison tartare, which was also exceptional
  • A little side salad
  • Glasses of Jurançon

We left there and walked next door (more or less) to Chez Nous where we shared a bottle with Laura. Fun night, but we’re a little sleepy today.

Caractère

It was a week of great beer places. So odd for me, no?

The week started with a meetup at Wvrst with my old friend/colleague Amy. We ate mucho sausage, and I drank a Small Pony Jam Hands sour, a Bench Brewing Plum Grove sour, and an Indie Alehouse Breakfast Porter.

On Wednesday I met another friend and former colleague Shannon, this time at King Taps. I ate part of a pizza and drank a Left Field SQUINTS gose, a Halo Chroma Key sour, a Rainhard blackberry sour, and then unpuckered my face with a delicious Clifford Porter. On our walk to the subway after we saw a dude topple over right in front of us and have a full seizure at the corner of King & Bay. Thankfully a few people stopped to help until paramedics arrived, and I remembered what my parents taught me (one of my brothers had epilepsy) about helping someone who’s having a seizure.

Finally, last night after work, Lindsay and I went to The Wren on a whim and, after bumping into Sue B along the way, we settled in for burgers and delicious beers. I had a Bellwoods Jutsu before we shared a Bellwoods Farmageddon 2018 (made with Montmorency cherries) and a Rodenbach Caractère Rouge.

 

 

TIFF18

Plagued, as last year, with a very busy early September, we once again selected only three screenings for TIFF this year. I miss the years of 10+, or even 5, but can’t imagine squeezing in so many these days.

We had an atypical start, going to see the first four episodes of a new Amazon series called Homecoming (imdb | tiffr) at the Ryerson. It’s based on a podcast series, so you know…just gimme ALL the mediums. It stars Julia Roberts and is directed by Sam Esmail, who won my undivided attention with Mr. Robot. They got us hooked by only showing us the first four episodes, then bringing the cast out to talk about it. Julia Roberts was there (and obviously generated a bunch of freakouts, including some dude wearing a tshirt she recognized, who then got on stage and hugged her?!), her old My Best Friend’s Wedding co-star Dermot Mulroney, hometown boy Stephan James, and to the audience’s great delight, Sissy Spacek. Not the best Q&A afterward, but a solid if unconventional start to the fest.

Saturday we had an odd hankering for Japanese, and so booked a table at Katana On Bay (formerly Blowfish). We needn’t have booked; it was dead in there. We still enjoyed our meal (see below) and a whole pile of Old Fashioneds, French 75s, and other cocktails though.

  • tuna tartare w/ negi, cucumber, chilli peppers, dill, sesame oil, scallion oil
  • butterfish sashimi
  • yellowfin sashimi
  • spicy tuna makimono w/ sesame seed & hot garlic kewpie-tossed rock shrimp tempura
  • jalapeño hamachi makimono w/ avocado, tempura bits, cilantro, golden tobiko & spicy garlic aioli
  • wagyu gyoza in a tonkotsu butter miso broth, garnished with crispy scallion & spicy hoisin
  • sea-salted edamame

After dinner we walked over to the Elgin theatre to see the premiere of Through Black Spruce (imdb | tiffr) in the Winter Garden. First of all, we didn’t know until after we booked that they had reserved seating at certain theatres this year, so we ended up in an orchestra box, way off to the side with bad sound mixing and a glaring exit door light that made it pretty hard to enjoy. Second, somehow neither Lindsay nor I knew that this was based on a Joseph Boyden novel (though maybe we should have; it won the Giller) which made it a bit controversial. Producer Tina Keeper and others involved with the making of the film addressed the controversy somewhat, but the applause for Boyden was a bit tepid. Director Don McKellar introduced the entire cast (at length) before starting the screening, delaying things about 45 minutes. The movie itself was okay, but not compelling or terribly insightful. At this point the source material felt dated, or maybe outmatched, given the more recent attention to MMIWG. I think Norm Wilner said it best in his review for NOW:

“I don’t believe McKellar’s film is condescending to, or exploitative of, its Indigenous characters, but neither is it strong enough to survive the storm that’s coming.”

Our final film was the second screening of Girl (imdb | tiffr), which came into TIFF with a ton of buzz. Deservedly so, too — for a first-time actor and a first-time feature director, this was remarkable work. It was beautiful and tragic and sweet and gut-wrenching and important, as film should be. Luckily the director and two stars were still in Toronto and joined us for the Q&A, which was actually quite good, despite some translation challenges. We talked about it all the way home, as well as laying in bed. I woke up thinking about it. Clearly the class of our TIFF18 field.

.:.

Cover image from tiff.net

Harbour 60

Last night I finally had an occasion to try Harbour 60. Somehow, despite it being considered one of the best steakhouses in the city, I’d never been. I was there for a work thing.

I’ve heard a lot of people say they prefer it to Jacobs, but now having tried it I wouldn’t even put it in the same league. Jacobs remains my champ. Going there later this month. Can’t. Wait.

What we ate:

  • Starters
    • seared Ahi tuna w/ jalapano pepper and pineapple salsa
    • crispy Maryland crab cake w/ corn, lime, avocado & tomato, chipotle aioli, crab salad
    • jumbo tempura shrimp w/ spicy coconut-lime sauce, soy-ginger sauce, scallions
    • spicy buttermilk fried calamari w/ sea salt, lemon aioli
    • caesar salad w/ baked croutons, Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Steaks
    • 32oz tomahawk
    • 14oz filet mignon
    • bone-in New York strip special
  • Sides
    • broccolini w/ remesco sauce, roasted almonds
    • mushrooms w/ white wine, thyme
    • mashed potato
  • Wine (they don’t post their list online, so I’m remembering what little I can)
    • 2012 Meursault Chardonnay
    • A bottle of Zinfandel (I don’t remember which one as I didn’t order it, and was nervous ’cause I don’t really like Zin, but it turned out to be fantastic)
    • A 2013 Catena Zapata Nicolas Bordeaux blend (not nearly as good as I remember.)
    • SomeCalifornia cab (again, no idea which; I deferred to the Zin-orderer)
    • Tawny port for dessert

.:.

Cover image from the Harbour 60 website

Kramer

This is Kramer.

img_20180901_2101442

We got him last Thursday from our friends, who rescue all kinds of cats. He was a feral outside cat for over a year, so he’s still pretty wary of us — we can’t touch him, or even get near him. He usually sleeps under our bottom step where we can’t reach him. But he’s started spending a little more time with us, even playing with us a bit.

He’s a project. But he’s also just about the cutest goddamn thing we’ve ever seen.