Pie & Twenty

We just got back from a couple of nights away in Niagara-on-the-Lake. I worked from there on Friday, which gave us a nice excuse to stay an extra night. We stayed at 124 On Queen for the first time (big win; nice rooms and super central), had a couple beers at the Irish Harp Pub, and dinner — as always — at Treadwell:

  • Bread w/ 13th Street Blanc de Blancs
  • First
    • D: Whiskey Cured Atlantic Salmon, Creamed Sweet Potato, Maple & Birch Syrup w/ a Nebbiolo rose from Piedmont but I can’t remember which
    • L: Chilled Pea & Mint Soup, Chive Crème Fraiche, Preserved Lemon, Brown Butter Crumb w/ a Loire Chenin…just can’t remember which one
  • Second
    • D: Pan Seared Scallops, Maple & Chili Glazed Pork Belly, Apple & Yuzu Puree w/ Flat Rock Nadja’s Riesling
    • L: Herb & Upper Canada Ricotta Gnocchi, Green Garlic Pesto, “Pingue” Guanciale, Shaved Pecorino w/ Azienda Agricola Molino Arneis
  • Mains
    • D: Honey & Black Pepper Roasted Duck Breast, Charred Endive, Orange Marmalade, Hoisin Sauce w/ Stephane Aviron “Chénas Vielles Vignes”
    • L: a dinner special of trout crusted with chorizo w/ 13th Street “June’s Vineyard” Unoaked Chardonnay
  • Dessert
    • D: Pistachio Tart with Vanilla Whipped Cream w/ Meldville Sparkling Muscat
    • L: a dessert special of panna cotta, rhubarb, and some other stuff w/ Meldville Sparkling Muscat

This morning we slept in, picked up two pies from the new Pie Plate store, stopped at Leaning Post for what was supposed to be a few bottles but turned into twenty, and drove home. I must say, just being able to pull into the garage and unload things sure beats dropping off a rental car and shlepping our tired asses home.

2 mom visits in one month

When I returned from Halifax last week, my mom came with me. She spent Saturday night here, and on Sunday I drove her out to Guelph. There she spent a few days visiting her sister, and on Thursday I drove out to get her, spending a good chunk of the day there and eating dinner with my aunt & uncle & cousins. It did my soul some good; I know you’re not supposed to have favourite relatives, but they were always among my favourites.

On Friday we did a bit of a walkabout, ran a few errands, checked out the new Jimmy’s Coffee in the neighbourhood, and picked up my niece from Union Station. She spent the evening with us, and we ate roast chicken and potatoes and salad and many, many desserts. The next day, before my niece left, we went to White Lily for brunch. It was my first time there since before the pandemic, and we carried on the tradition of bringing everyone we know there (though we somehow missed bringing brother #2 and his wife — this niece’s parents — when they visited) and everyone we know loving it.

After the niece departed we watched all the available episodes of Only Murders In The Building (imdb | rotten tomatoes), ate some of the chicken soup mom had made earlier in the day, and then crashed. This morning we just relaxed a bit, and I took her to the airport. It was a treat to have her here, to be able to see & hug family again, to show my mom the “new” (we’ve been here nearly one year!) house, and to bring her to see her sister.

After putting her on the plane I walked up to King Street and — because it’s a gorgeous day, the likes of which we may not see again this year — I stopped at the Wvrst patio for a couple of pints.

The Torch Bearer

At the base of the pylons is the Torch Bearer standing near a statue of a young dying soldier. The Torch Bearer has taken the torch from the figure of the Spirit of Sacrifice. He then takes up the fight, and strains up to the highest points on the twin white pylons toward the eight figures representing The Chorus [ed: Justice, Peace, Faith, Honour, Hope, Charity, Knowledge, and Truth]. This is a reference to one of the most famous poems of the First World War, ‘In Flanders Fields,’ by the Canadian Army Medical Corps officer, Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae.

From the Vimy Memorial site


Cover photo from Veterans Affairs

Happy Canada Day

We just got back from a couple of nights at Mike & Heather’s cottage. The weather was beautiful. The drinks were plentiful. Ken was there (with his wife Michelle) and I hadn’t seen him for years, so that made me happy. The food was fantastic. We felt like freeloaders as we decided at the last minute we could still make it, and then decided on the spot to stay an extra night. We sat on the dock. We took a boat ride around the lake. I got lots of play time with Brody the big black dog. We played asshole and drank vintage Veuve I’d sabered open.

We had to leave early on Canada Day to get home to catch ourselves up (we’d planned to come back Sunday afternoon but couldn’t bear to leave) but still — what a beautiful weekend.

Cover photo by Alex, used under Creative Commons license

For-profit weather

One of the most shocking things about Michael Lewis‘ last book, The Fifth Risk, was about the weather. While the whole book is a collection of jaw-dropping reasons to be terrified of the Trump regime that aren’t all that visible, the weather portion made me do something other than shake my head: it made me uninstall an app.

From an article by Jeremy Olshan in MarketWatch:

NOAA and the National Weather Service, which fall under the U.S. Department of Commerce, may employ 11,000 people and a fleet of satellites, but the agency operates in obscurity — in fact, it’s forbidden by law from promoting itself or the accuracy of its forecasts.

Instead, and this is the crux of Lewis’s argument, private companies like AccuWeather take the government’s data and repackage it and sell it to corporations and hedge funds.

Donald Trump’s nominee to take over NOAA? AccuWeather CEO Barry Myers. This may seem to be a logical choice, until you hear that Myers has little background in meteorology, and his company has a long history of lobbying to make the government data less available to the general public, and even helped block a plan by the National Weather Service to release an app.

So, yeah. Trust me: if you read the book, you’ll uninstall AccuWeather too. You can buy the book here, by the way.

Also, that article had the best summary of Michael Lewis’ books I’ve ever read:

Lewis, as always, assembles a cast of iconoclastic characters determined to paddle upstream on a river of stupidity, blindness and conventional wisdom.


Cover photo by Alex, used under Creative Commons license

Pre-holiday training

In all the hubbub before our vacation I forgot to mention what a busy weekend it was, imbibing-wise:

Dec 12: I had dinner and worked at Batch while Lindsay met up with a friend.

Dec 13: we shared a special bottle of Lightfoot & Wolfville Pinot Noir with Laura (owner of Chez Nous)

Dec 15: work holiday party, so we drank the good stuff before we even left.

Dec 16: hangover breakfast at White Lily Diner, and late lunch at La Carnita with Lindsay’s friend Tess from home

Dec 17: I had an espresso at the John Street Dark Horse (nee Smokeless Joe) before seeing the new Star Wars, which I really liked. Later that night we went to The Wren for dinner. I don’t quite remember why; it was a school night.

Dec 18: I had a beer at Hi-Lo while Lindsay shopped, and she joined me for a couple more. The Saulter Street Brewery gang was there and bought us one of their Pilsners!

Dec 20: one last brunch hit at Bonjour Brioche before our flight.


Century since

My whole life I’ve been fascinated by disasters. Canadian disasters, specifically, probably because the Halifax Explosion was such a significant part of Nova Scotia lore. I’ve always been especially interested in the Frank Slide (which I hope to hear the Rural Alberta Advantage sing about tomorrow night), but most of my obsession over the years has been with the explosion. I still think of it every time I’m in the city, especially when I drive across either bridge or walk past City Hall.

Today is the 100th anniversary of the blast, the largest man-made explosion until Hiroshima and the biggest disaster in Canadian history. A century later Halifax still bears the scars. It ought to be remembered.


Cover photo from the Globe and Mail


Viewpoint estate

Things haven’t really slowed down after that epic long weekend. On top of a busy week at work, the eating and drinking has still come thick and fast.

Tuesday: I finished my last meeting of the day at Sin & Redemption,with a Rodenbach, a Duchesse de Bourgogne, and a few Erdinger dunkels.


Wednesday: after a work event I stopped in at Richmond Station for a beautiful little glass of Pearce Predhomme Pinot Noir, then met Lindsay and some friends at Batch.


Thursday: we met Lindsay’s friends for dinner at Museum Tavern (duck buns, seared tuna sandwich, lamb shoulder), but first stopped for drinks and pizza at Buca Yorkville.


Friday: we split a bottle of wine of Rioja (the Olabarri Reserva 2008) with a friend at Cava, then went big: dinner at Jacobs & Co. It was Lindsay’s first time there, and I think it lived up to all my hype. Here’s what we ate:

  • the usual white cheddar popovers | Perrier Jouet Champagne
  • Jacobs Caesar salad | Verum Chardonnay, Domaine d’Albas Viognier/Vermentino
  • a 28oz USDA swinging ribeye from Kansas aged 35 days + a 4oz california cut striploin A5 Black Tajima Wagyu from Miyazaki Prefecture, Japan + sides (sauteed rapini, duck fat french fried potatoes, king oyster mushrooms) | Achaval Ferrer “Finca Mirador” Malbec 2011, from Mendoza Argentina
  • creme brûlée, espresso, petit fours


Saturday: a much-needed lie-in, then the market for supplies, coffee at XO Bisous, late lunch at The County General, a very cool exhibit at Inter/Access called Bread and Circuses, and a stroll around The Artist Project.


Sunday: we finished watching Dope (imdb | rotten tomatoes) after falling asleep partway through the night before. Excellent movie, by the way – killer soundtrack too. Then, after finishing the last of the leftover Jacobs steak and banging out some work (over a few bottles of craft beer) we got some killer tacos at La Carnita, explored the Aquarium for the very first time, and then made an amazing batch of pasta at home before completely crashing out, exhausted from the weekend. Phew!

I need a busy week just to recover.

0 for 3


My superb weekends in Montreal are becoming too numerous to count. Here’s the really, really short version.

  • Thursday: an easy taxi / flight / taxi combo had me from door to door in 3.5 hours; late-night Pizza Hut (the BEST)
  • Friday: a little leftover pizza to tide us over; shrimp pizza and beet salad at Café Parvis; an exhibition at the Musée d’art contemporain; beers at the Benelux Brasserie; a game of chess; our usual stellar meal at Maison Publique (albacore tuna crudo, calamari in its own ink and aioli, TH Wines Viognier, Garganelli pasta with pesto and walnuts, duck breast, Burrowing Owl Cabernet Franc, pôt de crème, butterscotch cake) with some extra drama thrown in when some dude passed out during dinner and had to be taken away by ambulance.
  • Saturday: sausage rolls and almond croissants; a few hours of work; an attempted visit to supposedly-top beer joint Vices & Versa waved off due to how crowded it was; a visit to Birra instead, which was outstanding; an espresso stop at Caffe San Simeon; dinner at Hostaria (burrata, gnocchi, strigoli pasta with duck ragu, some kind of rolled veal+spinach+mozzarella covered in prosciutto and mushroom sauce, and an absolutely stellar bottle of Cavaliere Michele Satta 2011 Sangiovese)
  • Sunday: brunch at Mamm Bolduc; Canadiens vs. Oilers at the Bell Centre (another loss; that makes three games I’ve seen in Montreal, all of them losses); lunch at Brutopia; TV and cheesies; a messed-up trip to the airport (Uber doesn’t know where the Montreal airport is, apparently) and a snowy flight home.

À la prochaine, Montréal.