Happy 3rd gotcha day anniversary, Kramer

Three years ago, give or take, we adopted Kramer. Year by year we’ve seen him progress in terms of how much he trusts us, and how affectionate he becomes. This is how I described his progress last year:

In the past year, and especially in the five months since COVID hit here, he’s continued to warm up to us. He now lets us pet him all the time, and in fact demands it. He half-meows outside our bedroom in the morning until we come play with him. He sleeps near us most of the time. He purrs, occasionally. He’s even jumped up on the bed or couch with us, if we lure him with treats.

It’s hard to even imagine, given what he was like two years ago.

If we thought that was hard to imagine, his progress since moving into the house ten months ago has blown us away. He routinely demands pets, scratches, and now belly rubs, to the point where he’s become a bit insatiable. Each morning when we get up he runs to greet us and flops at our feet to get scratches, or rubs against our legs. He sleeps on the stairs between floors to maximize the amount of affection he gets per day. He even slept on the bed all night with us a few times in the winter, when it was colder. He still gets freaked out easily and scratches us sometimes, but then is right back looking for more love.

But really, it’s the belly rubs that are the most significant development. It’s a sign of trust, of vulnerability, for a cat to expose his belly like that. Guess he loves us. And he’s soooooooooooo soft.

Re-Treadwell

We’ve just arrived home from ~48 hours in Niagara on the Lake. It was mostly for work, so we barely got to do anything else except…well, eat and drink. The only meal we’d booked in advance was Treadwell (our go to every time in NotL) for dinner Friday night; we liked it so much we managed to weasel our way into coming back for lunch the next day.

First, though, we had dinner Thursday night at Tiara, the restaurant in the Queen’s Landing hotel, where we were staying. Like every other restaurant in Ontario right now, they were short-staffed and had limited seating, but we got one of the last tables. Our servers were lovely, and we could more or less see the river from our table, which was nice.

We had glasses of Saintly rosé to start, then shared the roasted heritage beet salad w/ micro greens, smoked goats’ cheese & burnt honey dressing and the butter Fried Scallops w/ pork belly “Wellington”, forced rhubarb & celeriac remoulade, all of which we paired with an excellent DIM Riesling.

For our mains I had a grilled medallion and braised short rib of VG Farms Beef w/ parmesan whipped potato, mushrooms, beans & red wine hollandaise. Lindsay had the roasted Ontario lamb rack & saddle w/ rainbow carrots, lamb fat fondant potato & smoked garlic rosemary jus. We paired it all with a bottle of 2014 Chateau des Charmes Equleuus.

I spent most of the next day out doing work stuff while Lindsay chilled in the room (it was too hot to do much else), then I had a nap while she got ready for dinner at Treadwell. It is a go-to every time in NotL, and didn’t disappoint this go round. After a walk along the river we sat down, tucked in, ordered some 13th Street blanc de blancs to sip on while we strategized, and then got into our four courses:

First

  • D: Monforte sheep’s milk fresco cheese, heirloom tomato & peach salad, sherry vinaigrette (Sixteen Mile rosé)
  • L: Chilled peach gazpacho with Quiet Acres peaches and pickled chilies (Sixteen Mile rosé)

Second

  • D: Pan seared east coast scallops, roasted corn, crisphy chicken skin (Arneis)
  • L: Mussels a la Nage, white wine, fresh herbs, grilled bread (Five Rows Sauvignon Blanc)

Main

  • D: Maple glazed Muscovy duck breast, Ohme Farms turnips, Ontario blueberry jus (Nebbiolo)
  • L: Shallot crusted fillet of Ontario beef, Lyonnaise potato, summer mushrooms, shaved truffle, red wine jus (super tuscan)

Dessert

  • D: Lemon & basil tart with honey and fennel pollen ice cream (Big Head botrytis-affected Chenin Blanc)
  • L: Selection of cheeses (Big Head botrytis-affected Chenin Blanc)

Utterly delicious, top to bottom. I think Lindsay was a little jealous of my orders though. Also: since we were in Niagara I didn’t bother taking note of the non-Niagara wines!

Before we left, we asked if they had any space left the next day for lunch. We didn’t have time to do much before leaving the city except eat a good lunch, so rather than hunt for something else we just took a swing. And we connected! They had a table for us. We left, knowing we’d get an encore in ~14 hours. On our walk home we had to scurry away from a family of skunks (!) chowing down on Queen Street tourust leavings.

Unearthing ourselves from the hotel bed Saturday morning wasn’t easy, but we managed it. We arose, cleaned up, packed, checked out, and drove downtown. We found a parking space, helped an elderly gentleman pay for his parking with a QR code (we just paid for it, actually…it was easier than explaining it) before getting a coffee and wandering around a bit. When we arrived at 11:30 we were sat outside, which seemed like a good idea at the time, but ended up being torturously hot. Anyway, that’s hardly their fault.

Still a killer meal though: Lindsay had Chardonnay-steamed PEI mussels w/ fennel pollen cream & grilled bread (paired with a glass of 13th Street blanc de blancs) and a lobster club on duck fat fried sourdough, double-smoked bacon & whipped goat’s cheese w/ local salad greens & summer truffle (paired with a Pearl Morissette Chardonnay). I had roasted summer beets w/ whipped goat’s cheese, toasted hazelnuts & dill vinaigrette, and duck confit w/ summer succotash, frid egg & red wine jus (paired with a Fourth Wall Cabernet Franc).

This time I think Lindsay enjoyed her meal a little more than I did, but it was still a smashing idea to double up. We chatted about wine, and wineries, and winemaking with the staff, and they thanked us for coming back the very next night. I suppose that must be the best compliment for a restaurant.

Thus stuffed, we set out for home, stopping to pick up a wayward case of wine from The Farm, and arriving home to find our cute little bug, lightly traumatized from his first two days alone in the new house. As I write this, though, he’s purring and rubbing against my chair, so I think he’s forgiven us.

Work promises to summon me down to the peninsula more often. Frankly, I couldn’t be happier about that.

.:.

Cover photo from the Sekai Wagyu site

Return of the Black Tajima

Last night we made our first visit to an all-time fav since before the pandemic: Jacobs & Co. It was…just! so! delicious! Here’s what we had:

  • A dozen oysters
  • Caesar salad
    • Vilmart & Cie “Grand Cellier” 1er Cru Champagne
  • 14oz Canadian Prime Ribeye from Guelph, Ontario, aged 55 days
  • 8oz A5 Black Tajima Wagyu California Cut Striploin from Miyazaki Prefecture, Japan
  • Duck fat french fries, Bok Choy, and mixed mushrooms
    • 2010 Antinori Solaia
  • Ice cream
    • 2009 Chateau Guiraud Sauternes
    • Graham’s 20-year Tawny Port

The highlights were the Wagyu and the Solaia, as well as the service — it seemed such a treat to have someone knowledgeable banter and teach and bring us steak & wine. Not the kind of meal you can snap off regularly, but certainly worthy of coming back from such a long absence.

A note on the neighbourhood: Jacobs is one of the very few reasons we’d actually go to the entertainment district, and MAN were we blown away by how many people were out. Sidewalks were full, patios were full, clubs looked open…it was like a normal Friday night down there. Pretty crazy compared to the relatively sedate east end.