Game six

Last night I was lucky enough to be a witness to the greatest moment in Toronto Raptors history. I’d lucked into some tickets — good ones, too, just six rows up from the floor, and within handshake distance of Pinball Clemons, Aaron Sanchez, Dallas Green, Gerry Dee, and others — to game six of the Eastern Conference finals.

For the second game in a row, the Raps — underdogs in the series, given the Milwaukee Bucks had been the best team in the NBA this season — overcame a huge deficit. The bench was great. Kawhi was a beast. The crowd was deafening. And the Raptors won, advancing to the finals in six.

While this is the highest peak the Raptors have ever reached, everyone’s now wondering whether they can scale the next one. It won’t be easy. They’ll play Golden State in the finals, and the Warriors have been a dynasty in recent years. They’re well-rested too, having swept Portland in the Western Conference finals. But Five Thirty-Eight has the Raps as slight favourites (as of today anyway) and Chuck likes them, so…who knows? For now I’m taking a deep breath to revel in the feeling, then getting myself psyched up for game one on Thursday.

Oh, and just before the game we had dinner at the now-revamped Carisma. Gone are the cave-like feel and TV-based fireplace of the old space; it’s now bright whites and soft blues and a buzzier open space, but the food is still stellar, and my wine guy remembered me, so it was a pretty great meal. We had the burratina & sparkling wine, then agnolotti & steak, and a delicious bottle of Morellino.

All shows must die

More than eight years ago, when brother #2 was visiting, he saw an ad for a new HBO show that got him really excited. It was a TV version of a book series he’d been reading for years, but I’d never heard of. The book series was called A Song Of Ice And Fire. The TV show would be called Game Of Thrones.

It quickly became my favourite show. Not the best, mind you — it was always only high-production-value fantasy escapism — but my favourite. I’d anxiously await new episodes, re-watch every new episode the next day, and consume reviews, critiques, and podcasts about it. I ended up reading the books, and — once the show caught up and passed the books, and diverged from them to a yet-unknown degree — felt the same mild thrill of discovery as everyone else watching.

It ended last night, obviously, with more of a whimper than a bang. The last two seasons, as have been well-documented, felt rushed and absurd, given neither the room to breathe nor the grounding in brute reality afforded the earlier seasons. I still felt compelled to watch, and was engrossed in every second, but it didn’t resonate with me, didn’t affect me the next day. No character was developed in these final two seasons, and ultimately the characters were what drew me in.

That said, if they decide to make a spin-off series about Robert’s Rebellion, I’m cancelling all of my Sunday night plans for three months.

Chateau Musar

Last night, after a quick drink at Boxcar Social with CBJ, I met Lindsay at The Civic. We hadn’t been back since they switched up their chef, and I was anxious to try it. We demolished the following:

  • bread & butter
  • lightly cooked scallops w/ cauliflower, raisin, sherry vinaigrette
    • glasses of champagne
  • Perth Farms pork chop w/ potato pavé, savoy cabbage, king oyster, sage jus (Dan)
  • grass fed dry aged ribeye w/ savory bread pudding, charred rapini, shallot (Lindsay)

The sommelier picked that bottle, but I’d been eyeing it already. That winery was featured in a book Lindsay got me a while back called Around The World In Eighty Wines (amazon). In it the author talks about Serge Hochar, son of the original winery owner, who produced vintage after vintage even in the face of war and violence in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. So it was a draw of curiosity for me, but ended up being a goddamn delicious bottle of wine in its own right. Tons of fruit, strong spice. A special wine for sure. Made the dinner, really.

“If I tell you what happens, it won’t happen.”

We had a bit of a day yesterday. After a nice lazy morning of movie-watching, we set out for…uh, more movie watching. But a movie this epic deserves more of a day plan.

So yeah, we saw Avengers: Endgame (imdb | rotten tomatoes), like most of the rest of the earth’s population, apparently. First, though, we had lunch at Peter Pan Bistro, which Lindsay knew well but somehow I’d never tried. It was still brunch — barely — so I had the scrambled eggs & lox while Linds had the shakshuka. We were then just enjoying our cocktails when lo and behold, an order of fresh baked Madelaines w/ lavender lemon curd shows up, courtesy of an acquaintance of Lindsay’s who also works there. How sweet. (Delicious too, obviously.)

So, then, the movie: it was as good as I expected, but also more than I expected. By which I mean, they somehow managed to pull together even more threads than I expected. I won’t say much in case you’re like me and struggled to find time to see it, but it was pretty satisfying as a MCU fan.

After the movie (and a quick, awkward drink at the Hilton’s Tundra bar) we walked to our reservation at Momofuku Kojin. It’s been high on my wishlist since before Toronto Life named it their best new restaurant in the city. And when Lindsay said earlier this week she was craving steak, I saw an opportunity, and lucked into an open table. Here’s what we ate:

  • NB & PEI oysters w/ cucumber & green hot sauces
  • Griddled corn flatbread made from local K2 Mills cornmeal & hominy, paired with Drew’s grass fed butter & spiced honey
    • glasses of Baud Crémant du Jura
  • 14oz boneless ribeye, dry-aged minimum 32 days (Lindsay had shaved foie gras added to hers)
  • Tita’s mash (whipped cheese curds and potatoes topped with crispy Gouda)
  • Crispy Brussels sprouts
    • Ridge Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
  • Ice cream pie made with chocolate, peanut butter, and maple
    • cappuccino

Everything was amazing. The steak was perfect, the sides were delicious, and that corn flatbread with the butter and honey almost melted my brain.

.:.

Cover photo from the Momofuku Kojin site