Cover photo by Patrick Q, used under Creative Commons license

In which brother #2 and I eat and drink our way around Toronto

Brother #2 arrived Friday night, hungry and thirsty after a week of local work. We fixed that.

Friday night we had beers and food at C’est What, along with a surprise Burlchester sighting, and a wee bit of bourbon at home after.

Saturday we started with coffee and scones at XO Bisous, did a little tasting at Left Field, had lunch at The Wren, had one more beer at The Only, saw Star Trek: Beyond (imdb | rotten tomatoes) which was crap, and finally had dinner at Triple A.

This morning we got extra-large coffees from Fahrenheit and then, after running a few errands, ate brunch at Batch. Then he was off, like he was never here except a few pounds heavier.

Come back anytime bro.


Cover photo by Patrick Q, used under Creative Commons license

Photo by Peter Kudlacz, used under Creative Commons license

“Mmmm. Gueuzy.”

Well, that was a beer-y weekend. It actually started Thursday night when Nellie and I found ourselves near Volo and stopped in for some Great Lakes drinks (Chill Winston for me, Audrey Hopburn for her) before some dinner at Mercatto. At that point we’d momentarily switched to wine, and decided to watch Red Obsession (imdb | rotten tomatoes) while we drank a bottle of the Tawse wine club T-Blend Red.

My Friday afternoon was spent on a boat cruising around Toronto harbour for a work event, during which I consumed quite a few bottles of Steam Whistle. We were dropped off a few minutes away from the Amsterdam Brewhouse, so a few of us secured a table until Nellie and our friends MLK arrived. The food was pretty decent and I kept to the lighter beers (until the one-off Boxer (10 Count) farmhouse ale with Brett) so I could remain more or less coherent. After dinner we retired back to ours where we shared a (spectacular) bottle of Five Rows Sauvignon Blanc.

We took it easy on Saturday, just lying about and running a few errands, before meeting our friends JP + Sue at Triple A for some barbecue. We ate our ribs and steak and brisket and sausage and drank Camerons California Sunshine APA (mostly), then made a quick stop at our place to share a bottle of St. Louis Gueuze Fond Tradition on our balcony before heading to C’est What for a few more. I’m glad I picked up a bottle of that gueuze before the LCBO ran dry.

And now…I need a nap.



Photo by Peter Kudlacz, used under Creative Commons license


Photo by pwbaker, used under Creative Commons license

Marble and mud

It seemed ridiculous that we’d never been to Hawthorne, since we could probably hit it with a well-aimed golf shot off the roof of our building. So, on Friday, with a few friends over and my appetite suddenly recovered from the flu, we went.

It was pretty dead in there, but the lone server kept the five (eventually six) of us us well-supplied. Poor guy. He put up with a lot from us, but since he gave us free coffees to end the meal I guess he found us more funny than annoying.

The meal, by the way:

  • Starters: smoked salmon cakes, roasted squash salad, quinoa salad
  • Mains: buttermilk fried chicken, beef brisket & tongue dip, smoked pork ribs, farmer’s sausage, ricotta gnocchi, pulled pork poutine
  • Wine: Kew Vineyards Marsanne Viognier, Kew Vineyards ‘Soldier’s Grant’ Cab Blend, Organized Crime ‘Pipe Down’ Cab blend

The whole thing was family-style, especially when friend #4 showed up at the end and ate what was left on everyone’s plate.

We made another stop back at our place before grabbing a few late-night beers at C’est What. I drank the C’est What Big Butt, which is almost as much fun to say (c’est?) as it is to drink.


Photo by pwbaker, used under Creative Commons license


Project FiftyBrew

About a month ago Troy Burtch — author of the Great Canadian Beer Blog — reposted a speech by Steve Beauchesne, the co-founder of Beau’s Brewery entitled “What If Ontario Had A Beer Revolution?“.

What if Ontario had a beer revolution?

What do I mean by a beer revolution? Well revolutions usually involve overthrowing tyrants, and instituting a new form of governance, but my revolution is maybe a little less violent than that, although by no means is it less radical.

Right now in Ontario, 1 out of every 20 beers drank came from an independent, Ontario brewery. By beer revolution, I mean, what would happen if Ontarians chose to drink an Ontario-made independent beer 1 out of every 2 times they drank beer?

Mr. Beauchesne goes on to make an economic argument for Ontario craft beer which doesn’t actually work all that well, but no matter: there are benefits to supporting local — if not necessarily independently owned — brewers. Besides, no living human should be made to drink the likes of MolsonCoors CanadianLight or its ilk. I felt, after reading the transcript of his speech, that I should try to drink primarily local beers. But it was the summer, and it was boiling hot, and goddammit I love me some German weissbier.

Then, this past Thursday, Nellie and I ducked into Smokeless Joe on our way home from the TIFF box office. There we met the charming and gracious Kaylea from WineNotOntario who recommended the Dieu du Ciel foursome on feature. I was no stranger to DdC, having enjoyed their Rosée D’hibiscus and struggled through their Péché Mortel (seriously, man…it tasted like a peach fucking ashtray) but I wouldn’t have noticed them all tucked away down there on Joe’s chalkboard had she not pointed them out. So I tried. I liked. And I decided: I should do with beer what we’ve been trying to do with wine: drink Canadian whenever possible. Uh, this October trip to SanFran/Napa/Sonoma notwithstanding…vacations don’t count. Aaaaaaaaanyloophole, I needed a plan. It wouldn’t do to swear off all non-Canadian beer, that’s just too drastic. But I figured I should make an effort to at least try the best local stuff, especially those I might not normally try. Hence: Project FiftyBrew.

Here’s the project plan:

  1. Go to and download the list of what, according to their users, constitute the top 50 Canadian beers (DONE!);
  2. Mark off the ones I’ve already tried (DONE!);
  3. Vow to try the remaining 33 (subject to availability) over the next…oh, I don’t know. Whenever. No rush, right?

I’m looking forward to scouring the LCBO, Volo, Smokeless Joe, Beerbistro and C’est What for the unconquered bottles. I’m sure we’ll also plan a trip to Quebec ’cause, uh, they’re nearly all from there…Unibroue, Dieu du Ciel and McAuslan alone make  up more than half the list.

Also, by the time I finish these fifty I’m sure the list will have changed, but I look forward to trying the new entrants too. I may be coming at this from a somewhat different angle than Mr. Beauchesne, but I do hope one of his bottles of Beau’s climbs into the top tier.

Wish me luck.

Sunny! Breezy! Pleasant!

Nice day so far. We slept in until about 10:00 (following yet another delicious, spur-of-the-moment dinner at Fieramosca last night), had a bit of breakfast and watched last night’s episode of Battlestar Galactica (gripping! exciting! sing-songy!) on the couch. The morning’s rain cleared off shortly after that, and off we went.

And whooooooeee, is it ever nice out there. Sunny and warm, but with a nice breeze too. We had lunch on the patio at the Jason George (well; I had lunch; Nellie’d already eaten her leftover pasta) and it almost got a little too warm. Also: when is smoking going to be banned on patios in Toronto? Whenever it is, it can’t come soon enough.

After lunch we walked along Front Street to Staples to pick up a filing cabinet (the one we ordered earlier in the week having been canceled for lack of stock). We checked out the eee PC laptop (tiny! adorable! sufficient!) that I want to get, but didn’t buy one, just getting a small desk/cabinet combo for Nellie. We brought that home and went back out to enjoy the day a bit more. Now Nellie’s happily putting together her new furniture and looking forward to dinner. See, I made the mistake of reading out the new beers on tap at C’est What (courtesy of Bartowel news) and once she heard “Church-Key Cranberry Wheat” her mind was made up.

[tags]fieramosca, battlestar galactica, jason george, staples, eee pc, c’est what, bartowel, church key cranberry wheat[/tags]