Cover photo by Alex Indigo, used under Creative Commons license

I am a negligent citizen

I celebrated Canada Day by working from noon until 10:30pm. Such is life right now, I guess.

Thankfully Nellie didn’t have to work, and dedicated herself to grilling up delicious meals all day…apart from my gigantor cappuccino this morning, which was 100% Fahrenheit. Anyway, here’s what she made:

Lunch was burgers from Sausage King (I used a bourbon-chipotle barbecue sauce), with a Sawdust City Lone Pine IPA for me and a Red Racer ISA for her. We ate on the balcony for the first time this year, goddammit.

Dinner started with four jumbo scallops and two prawns the size of my hand paired with a Benjamin Bridge 2014 Riesling (part of their wine club* shipment last week), followed a while later by New York strip steaks (also from Sausage King) with Ontario asparagus and tomato, paired with a Black Hills 2013 Nota Bené. We decanted this one about 9 hours in advance, and it tasted much better than the one we drank one at Bat Lake in March.

I really only emerged from my work lair to eat and watch a bit of TV (a Daily Show, the first few episodes of TURN), then skulk back to the den to try to un-fuck the rest of my week. Nellie was the hero of the nation this July 1st; she even wore a red tank top all day.

Sorry for being lame on your birthday Canada. I’ll catch you next year.

* We actually dropped out of the BB wine club earlier this week. We love their sparkling, but they just cannot seem to make a decent still wine — their Sauvignon Blanc wasn’t good, their Chardonnay wasn’t good, and the Riesling was decent at best. I get that the vines are young, but given that our family connections in Nova Scotia can get us the sparkling when we want it, it just wasn’t worth paying the premium price (plus shipping) for the other wines in each shipment. We dropped that subscription (and Black Hills) and signed up for Le Vieux Pin‘s club today.


Cover photo by Alex Indigo, used under Creative Commons license

Image by Jen Riehle for Smashing Magazine

Happy Pride & Canada Day Weekend!

A  wise man once said, “The best weekends are spent with good friends and family, but are measured in good wine and beer.” Actually, no one’s ever said that. No one famous anyhow, just me. Like, just now. That wise man was me. So yeah, we drank a lot this weekend, is what I’m saying. But we drank well, and with a  narrative in mind.

On Friday we escaped work a little early and prepared dinner for our friends Kaylea & Matt. That it was #cdnwine day on Twitter (apparently?) was just a bonus. We grilled steaks from Cumbrae’s and drank lots of Canadian wine (with a few others thrown in for international flavour) and beer (courtesy of K&M) and welcomed three of their friends and actually made use of our balcony for pretty much the first time this year. It’s possible that we ate too much and drank too much and didn’t get enough sleep, but it was worth it.  Here’s what went down (our gullets):


  • 13th Street 2011 Pinot Gris
  • Malivoire 2007 ‘Moira’ Pinot Noir
  • Nyarai 2011 Viognier
  • Pearl Morissette 2010 ‘Black Ball’ Riesling
  • Shypoke 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Versado 2010 Malbec
  • Featherstone 2011 Cabernet Franc (thanks Steph!)


  • Beer Academy Hopaweizen
  • Beau’s Festivale Plus Sticke Alt
  • Goose Island Sofie
  • Parallel 49 Gypsy Tears Ruby Ale

The next morning was basically an exercise in how fast we could get a peameal bacon sandwich and giant-ass Fahrenheit coffee into each of us, before sending Matt & Kaylea on their way. Then Nellie and I plopped ourselves on the couch, inexplicably watched the wretched Movie 43 (imdb | rotten tomatoes), and eventually Uber’d up to our friend MLK’s, where CBGBLB were visiting. We enjoyed their backyard while GB made some amazing barbecued ribs. We took along a few more treats for dinner too:

  • Pearl Morissette 2010 ‘Black Ball’ Riesling
  • 13th Street 2011 ‘Arome’ Essence White
  • Tawse 2009 ‘Laidlaw’ Pinot Noir
  • Tawse 2010 Wine Club Syrah

It wasn’t a late night, obviously, given the yesterevening’s festivities. We took a quick stroll through the Pride-related mayhem on Church Street on our way home, and were reminded that it’s totally legit for ladies to go topless in Toronto. Bless.

Sunday, much like Saturday evening, was sunnier and warmer than expected, so we found our way to a patio. The Bier Markt patio, to be exact, wherein I drank two ice cold Erdinger weissbeers and earned myself a sunburn. North of us, the Pride Parade snaked its’ way around central Toronto. We could see the tail from our balcony as it formed, even that far north. In honour of the day, we drank a bottle of Daniel Lenko 2008 ‘Chardonngay’ Chardonnay with dinner.


And then what better way to spend Monday — Canada Day — than watching the White House get trashed, a la how the British/Canadian troops did it in 1814, in the risible Die Hard rip-off White House Down (imdb | rotten tomatoes)? Well, I guess we did come up with a better way: Nellie made a meal of shrimp and scallops and corn paired with a Southbrook 2004 ‘Poetica’ Chardonnay (the label for which featured a poem by Martin Tielli, one of my favourite Canadian musicians) and lamb paired with a Stratus 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon. Canadian food, Canadian wine, Canadian talent. Delicious patriotism!


Image by Jen Riehle for Smashing Magazine

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.

Happy: Canada Day

Oh my, but it’s been a nice Canada Day. We were up pretty early — improbably, Nellie get out of bed before I did — and walked down to the waterfront to catch the ferry to the islands. First we rented bikes (crappy ones, too…next time I need to find a better place from which to rent) from Centre Island, rode to the far end of Hanlon’s Point for some pictures and rode back to the pier. Nice.

Next we walked along the boardwalk toward Ward’s Island, looking out over the lake and the Leslie Street Spit. We stopped for lunch at the Rectory Cafe, which we’ve been meaning to try for years. Man, was it worth the wait. My pulled pork wrap was fantastic, Nellie’s pasta with shrimp, tomatoes and olive oil was simple and tasty, and we had several Ontario wines (Malivoire pinot gris and rose, and Fielding White Conception) throughout. We wrapped it up with an amazing sticky toffee pudding.

As we got up to leave we looked out over the lake and saw one of the tall ships we thought was coming into the harbour for the waterfront festival, but was in fact a ship that sails around the harbour all the time. Still…pretty! Then we walked across Ward’s Island, taking the pictures I’d hoped to get in my ill-fated excursion three years ago. A little good timing with the ferry and we were back on dry land, surrounded by hordes of families decked out in red.

Not quite done with the day yet, we sat on the sunny patio at Bier Markt and had some Canadian beers: Beau’s Lugtread and Denison’s. Then…well, I needed a nap. We came home and I made the couch my lover while we watched a crap movie, and then Nellie grilled up some amazing steak to go with yet more Canadian wine (2008 Rosewood Semillon and a bottle of L’Acadie Alchemy) while we watch the city light up with the minortillery of fireworks.

Happy birthday, country!

Happy birthday, country

Twenty-four hours into my mini-vacation and it still hasn’t quite sunk in yet that I’m off work. I think it’ll occur to me tomorrow morning when I don’t have to get up and stumble in to the office.

So yes, I decided to take a five-day weekend. No big plans (as we’ll be taking off to Nova Scotia soon enough), just down-home relaxation. It kicked off last night with a nice little dinner on the patio at Mercatto. Today, to celebrate Canada Day we took in a Jays game (they beat Tampa Bay handily, 5-0, and we finally got to see some home runs) in the beautiful sunshine with the dome open…no rain in sight, despite the forecast.

We kept the sunshine-loving going by camping out on the Bier Markt patio after the game. Neither of us had been there in nine (!) years, even though we live just minutes away. Either the beer selection has improved over the years, or my tastes have developed to the point where I appreciate having half a dozen frosty cold weissbiers from which to choose on a warm summer day. I went Erdinger-Denison’s (in a fit of patriotism)-Weihenstephan. Nellie started with a KLB Raspberry Wheat and then got into the Koningshoeven Tripel. Did I mention it was frosty cold? It was.

Right now I’m listening to A.C. Newman and Elliot Brood and watching Canada Day fireworks bubble and scrape across the city skyline, thanking fate and random circumstance for plopping me down in the greatest country on earth.

Glorious? Check.

Free? Check.

Happy birthday, Canada.