Quel weekend

Oooh, that was nice. Every weekend should be a 4-day long weekend. I know, I know, then they wouldn’t seem as special, but think of the bar sales!

Wednesday night we picked up two bottles of Rosewood Estates wine (the 2008 Semillon and 2008 Süssreserve Riesling) and some Cumbrae’s steaks by way of provisions, before kicking off our long weekend at Beerbistro (too crowded inside, too cold outside) and Duggan’s (just right). Not a long night, though…we were pacing ourselves.

I’ve already talked about Thursday — Canada Day — over here.

By Friday the weather was really picking up…good timing, as we’d decided to take the day off work. We began the day watching the orange jerseys parade along King Street toward Betty’s for the Netherlands-Brazil match before finding a less crowded seat at the Jason George from which to watch. Holland won and King Street went mad; we did a little furniture & art shopping, raided St. Lawrence Market, cleaned up our place (finally!), went for a run, made some ploughman’s lunch and drank a bottle of Firesteed Pinot Noir from Oregon.

Saturday started much like Friday: back to the Jason George to watch the Germany-Argentina match before hitting the farmer’s market and taking a stroll to the Distillery District. I needed a walk, Nellie needed wine glasses, and we both wanted to check out some art. Naturally we ended up sitting in the Mill Street brew pub, watching the excellent second half of the Spain-Paraguay match. When we arrived home Nellie completed her preparations for barbecued ribs, which were a tad on the spicy side…by which I mean they tasted like Satan had pissed hellfire in the sauce. Tasty, but they hurt my ever-so-delicate mouth.

Somewhere in there, between enjoying the outdoors at ground- or balcony-level, we watched a bunch of mediocre movies: My Best Friend’s Girl (imdb | rotten tomatoes), Green Zone (imdb | rotten tomatoes) and Thirst (imdb | rotten tomatoes). Actually, My Best Friend’s Girl was shit, but it was free, so I feel less bad about watching it.

Sunday was, sadly, the beginning of our return to reality. While we had fun taking pictures of all the hubbub of the Queen’s visit to our neighbourhood cathedral and relaxing on our balcony for the morning, it was back to work for me in the afternoon.

"Someone's ear is in danger of having hair brushed over it…"

I learned something this weekend: that there are three indispensable ingredients of a great weekend. These are, in no particular order: beautiful weather, ample time and people with which to share it.

On Friday I did have to go to the office, but it was nice enough outside that I could walk there, and I didn’t stay long. By noon I was home, fed and ready to enjoy the unseasonably warm day. Nellie and I strolled down to the Bier Markt patio for sunshine and beer (me: Erdinger weiss, Weihenstephan weiss, Spaten lager and Delirium Tremens; she: KLB Raspberry Wheat, Big Rock Grasshopper, Okanagan Spring pale and Koningshoeven Tripel) on a lazy Friday afternoon. Nellie had an urge for an Urthel Hop-It so we wandered up to the Beerbistro in search of one; alas, they had none. So we availed ourselves of the rest of their collection (me: Maudite and Trois Pistoles; she: Durham Hop Addict and Koningshoeven Quadrupel) while making dinner reservations at nearby Harlem. We’d been there once last year and liked it and it felt like the right fit on a lazy Good Friday. One ill-advised cocktail later and were into the starter (catfish Lafayette…yum!) and then our mains. My pork hocks were okay, but Nellie wisely got the fried chicken. I didn’t mind that I missed on some of the flavour. The relaxation was tasting delicious enough.

Saturday was the first day in about two months that I haven’t had to go to work, so I celebrated by sleeping in. Despite it being another beautiful day we didn’t really get out and about that much as we were prepping for dinner with T-Bone and The Sof. Well…Nellie did the prepping, I just cleaned up and provided moral support. Anyway, after a great meal (baguette w/ honey, balsamic and goat cheese; sausage-stuffed pasta with pancetta and sage; steak from Cumbrae’s and three kinds of cheese) this is what our table looked like:

Just for the record, that’s:

  • Marie Stuart champagne (which we brought back from France last fall)
  • Nino Franco prosecco
  • Stratus Icewine
  • Z52 Zinfandel
  • Hidden Bench Fume Blanc
  • L’Acadie Alchemy
  • Noval 2001 Port
  • Blanche de Chambly
  • Christofel Nobel
  • Doppel-Hirsch Doppelbock

And yes, in case you’re wondering, Nellie does like to drink her beer from a wine glass toward the end of the evening.

Sunday was, blessedly, another lazy day. A good lie-in, brunch at the Jason George, a nice long talk with my mom who turned 60 (!) today and Zombieland (imdb | rotten tomatoes), which was excellent. Tomorrow it’s back to work, in spite of my best efforts to take a day off, but for the first time this year I feel like I really got my money’s worth out of a weekend.

Oh, and the other ingredient for a perfect weekend? Consecutive shutouts.

On the first four days of Christmas…

Here’s what we’ve been up to in the four days since we left you:

On boxing day we enjoyed the main part of Nellie’s gift to me: gold seats at the Air Canada Centre for the Montreal Canadiens / Toronto Maple Leafs game. We were eleven rows from the ice, right at one of the blue lines, and had a great view of the ice. I was actually surprised by the number of Montreal fans in attendance…I’d say maybe 20% of the fans were cheering for the Habs. It was amazing for me to be that close to the ice — in my previous visits to Canadiens games (both in Montreal) I’d been in the nosebleeds — and to see and hear everything. It was also nice to see my team win for a change (the Habs won 3-2 in overtime) as the first two games I saw were losses. Nellie had fun too, eating a hot dog and drinking beer and making eyes at Carey Price. It was a blast, and an experience I was worried I’d never get to have in Toronto. Top-notch Christmas gift, baby!

.:.

December 27th was actually our anniversary. Typically we’d go out to dinner to celebrate, but it being Sunday everything was closed. We hung out with CBGB for a little bit and generally just took it easy.

.:.

Yesterday we thought we’d get out of the house and see what all this Avatar fuss is about, so we walked in the freezing-ass cold to the Scotiabank to buy tickets. Little did we know that tickets to the IMAX screenings had been sold out for days. Bah, forget it. We cut back across King Street and decided to stop in at the beerbistro so that the afternoon wasn’t a complete loss. I had a Tilburg’s Dutch Brown Ale and a Maudite, while Nellie had a Durham Hop Addict and an Urthel Hop-It, which I think is her new best friend. We went to movie plan B at home, watching Defiance (imdb | rotten tomatoes) on the PVR (it was okay…given the subject matter it probably should have been a little more engaging than it was). Then we got ready for dinner.

Much like North 44, Scaramouche is such a quintessentially Toronto restaurant we couldn’t hardly believe we hadn’t yet tried it. An anniversary seemed like an ideal time for such an adventure, and it was settled. First, the room: pleasant, if a little dull & dated, and while we were seated at the window to appreciate the famous view, the evening’s snow squalls made it difficult to see much. Second, the service: a little off, to be honest. Our server was efficient enough but not exactly friendly, and somewhere between dessert and the bill he just disappeared. We never saw him again, and after several minutes of waiting we finally got someone else’s attention and they tag-teamed our bill, etc. So that was weird. Third: the food, and this — most importantly — was the best part. I had warm duck salad, venison wrapped & roasted in smoked bacon and coconut cream pie for dessert. Nellie had butter poached lobster, a grilled kerr farms filet mignon and her dessert was three kinds of cheese. We had various glasses of wine before dinner and with our apps, but the real star of the evening was the 2006 Petite Sirah/Zinfandel/Mourvèdre ‘Phantom’ Bogle. Excellent without the food and downright superb with it, neither of us wanted to finish the bottle, but we couldn’t help ourselves. Nellie’s port and my Calvados with dessert were good, but I know we were both thinking about that wine. Oh, and the restaurant did make a nice final flourish with our dessert plates:

scaramouche dessert

.:.

Today was a bit more pedestrian: grand plans of shopping withered on the vine when we realized it was -20 with the wind chill, so we opted instead for leftovers, chocolate, napping and more movie-watching. Today the PVR served up the Warner Herzog documentary Encounters At The End Of The World (imdb | rotten tomatoes). Really, I could watch anything by that man and be happy, but from a strictly mechanical sense it did precisely what documentaries are supposed to do: answer some questions and raise still others.

Tonight the plan (well…my plan) is to watch Canada’s junior team play the Slovaks, and then tomorrow it’s back to work for a bit. In other words: wow, it’s been a relaxing vacation.

I don't know where Tilburg is, but I want to go to there

Just had dinner at beerbistro with Nellie and Stanzi, who’s in town for a momentous occasion. More momentous than dinner with us, that is. We were just an appetizer before the main course.

Dinner was fantastic. Frites, pakoras, cheese fondue, bacon-wrapped shrimp. Nellie had two tripels from Allagash, and Stanzi had their wit. I had a Maudite and a Tilburg’s dutch brown ale, of which I’d never heard but of which I became damned fond.

And now…sleepy. I had an 8am meeting this morning. I have another 8am meeting tomorrow morning. I have a 7am (!) meeting Thursday morning. Thank god daylight saving time ended this week.

Crazy shakes

I had a lot to do. I was supposed to work out. 30 Rock was on. The apartment’s messy. I have stuff to read. The cats are (presumably) feeling neglected. I had all this to take care of and much more, and yet…

We had dinner at beerbistro. And a drink. Or two. And “two” might have been Delirium Tremens. Which might have been tasty.

Bratterscained

Sorry I haven’t been writing much. Normally my brain is spinning with so much delicious wit, razor-sharp criticism and profound innovation that I find I need to spill some of it onto the blog, but lately I find I have only two modes: “work” and “recover from work.” I’m glad it’s a long weekend; I may yet be able to reclaim one of the other settings on that dial.

.:.

And how will I do that? By watching hour upon hour of college basketball, interrupted only by sleep and rich food. Yes, it’s March Madness time and while I haven’t been able to give it the attention I’d like, I’m still doing pretty well in my pool, so there’s that. In between games: dinner with M2 at beerbistro on Thursday (which I think made me sick in some weird way) and dinner tonight at Tutti Matti with CBGB.

.:.

Also in between games we’ve been trying to clear off the PVR. We have it down to about 50% now, having watched two movies and an episode of Extras. We waited a long time to watch the second season — not on purpose, we just never got around to it — and so far the episodes have been fairly funny, but this episode with Daniel Radcliffe killed me. Not because of Radcliffe (though it was pretty funny to watch Harry Potter throw a rubber at James Bond’s wife’s head) but because of a scene between Stephen Merchant and Warwick Davis. That might’ve been the funniest 60 seconds I’ve seen on TV in months.

Anyway, the two movies we watched were Bobby (imdb | rotten tomatoes), a terribly dull movie about a terribly interesting man, and Beowulf & Grendel (imdb | rotten tomatoes), not the recent rotoscoped film with Ray Winstone and Angelina Jolie, but the one with Gerard Butler and Sarah Polley. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t that good either. As much as I love Sarah Polley, she seemed out of place here.

[tags]march madness, beerbistro, tutti matti, extras, ricky gervais, daniel radcliffe, harry potter, stephen merchant, warwick davis, bobby, beowulf, grendel, sarah polley[/tags]

If there were a market for sleep, I'd be a buyer

I’m tired. More tired than I should be. We went out for dinner last night with my old friend CBJ and his wife. They swung by to see our new place first, then we supped at beerbistro. We weren’t out that late, but I just couldn’t get my ass in gear today. I’m feeling awfully lazy and run-down. Apart from taking out the recycling and starting some laundry the most ambitious thing I did today was watch Jaws. Nellie, however, went to the One Of A Kind Show with CB; now that they’re home GB will come over to join us and we’ll watch the new Battlestar Galactica movie.

Oh yeah:  an hour ago the Snowbirds were flying around over Lake Ontario, and they actually swung around right in front of us…closer than the air show planes in the summer. I guess they’re here because it’s Grey Cup Sunday.

[tags]beerbistro, jaws, one of a kind show, battlestar galactica razor, snowbirds, lake ontatio[/tags]

Dan Dickinson's Day Off

Yes, just like Ferris Bueller, except I wasn’t pursued around the city by a sex offender.

Around 2:00 yesterday afternoon I got the best news I could possibly have received: my class got an extension on our assignment. I had my weekend back! Oh, frabjous day! Calloo! Callay!

After plowing through a bunch of work and a last-minute crisis (deftly handled by T-Bone and, in a supporting role, myself) I arrived half an hour late to meet Nellie and CBGB at beerbistro. A glass of Stiegl Pils and some frites later I put the Blackberry away and settled into the weekend. I had butternut squash ravioli with sliced plums (delicious!) paired with a Brooklyn Brown Ale (ditto!) and a piece of chocolate swirl cheesecake for dessert. We all called it an early night after that; it was a long-ass day and we had plans for the early morning.

Today’s been both productive and relaxing; it’s like found time for me, so I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. We got up early and hit St. Lawrence Market for some pastries, seafood, tofu and vegetables, then grabbed ingredients for dinner at the Dominion on the way home. We sucked back the pastries while we watched Friday Night Lights and The Office on the PVR. Next leg of the trip was to walk up to Henry’s and collect some prints we’d ordered online. We’re planning to put some of our pictures on our walls, so we got some B&W prints from recent trips.

After dropping those back at home we struck out for MEC to buy me a jacket, stopping at Chapters on the way back and then grabbing lunch (all-day breakfast, in truth) at
Over Easy. On the way home we bought some picture frames for some of the afore-mentioned pictures and picked up dry cleaning. Back out we went to the {shudder} Eaton Centre, grabbing some more picture frames and a very nifty little charging station at Pottery Barn before escaping the mall as rapidly as possible. One last stop at The Bay for towels and our credit cards were begging for mercy.

Home again we gave the place a much-needed clean and then turned to neglected email accounts and feed readers. Tonight we’re laying low, enjoying the pardon (ok, reprieve) and looking forward to tomorrow.

.:.

Good luck, Atlantic Canada. Hold on tight.

[tags]ferris bueller, beerbistro, st. lawrence market, friday night lights, the office, over easy, eaton centre, pottery barn, hurricane noel[/tags]

Once more with litigation

It’s gray. It’s cold. It’s fall!

.:.

Apparently my blog post from Thursday night made CBGB hanker for the beerbistro, but when we got there last night at 5:00 it was jammed full. Plan B ended up being the Jason George, just down the street, where we started drinking a variety of beer but were all drinking Blanche de Chambly in the end. They came back to ours for one of the bottles of wine that followed us home from France.

.:.

My new musical obsession: the song “Oh My” by Office. Here’s the video.

By the way…girlfriend du jour: Jessica.

.:.

Your daily dose of dumbassery*:

(* apologies to Sam Javanrouh)

[tags]autumn, beerbistro, jason george, blanche de chambly, office, oh my, ian curtis, joy division, control movie, buffy, once more with feeling, lapel pin, bill maher, daily dose of imagery[/tags]

Late nights, great whites, snowy heights and winter rites

Just once this week I’d like to get home before 9. Uh, actually, I guess that’ll happen tomorrow. Unless we go back out.

.:.

Had drinks and a bite to eat at beerbistro tonight with M2. He caught me up on his Rockies trip (and returned our guide books), and stoked my desire to return in the spring.
I always kind of forget about that place, even though it’s just around the corner, and every time I go I’m reminded how much I like it. ‘Twas cheap, too; two pints of Dennison’s weissbeer and a yummy pizza only cost me $30, tax in.

.:.

New holiday in February = bitchin’ = hooray for a Liberal win = perfect weekend to visit Montreal and see a real hockey team. I’m thinking of making it an annual hockey season trip. Hark…is that a plan I hear hatching?

[tags]beerbistro, rockies, dennison’s, new ontario holiday[/tags]