“It’s a good job I’m in the Navy and you’re in the Army.”

 

This was supposed to have been a very productive weekend for our work. It…was not that, in the end.

Friday after work we managed to get a table at The Wren, one of our very favourite places in Toronto. Cool vibe, stellar food, top notch beer list. We split duck wings for a starter, then Lindsay got a burger and I had one of the best pulled pork sandwiches I’ve ever tasted. We started with the tap list (a Muddy York Haberdasher Hefeweizen and Bellwoods Jelly King for me) then we split bottles of the Bellwoods Weft & Warp 2017, the Bellwoods Dark Sour on Cherries, and a Boon Oude Geuze.

 

 

 

On Saturday the Bellwoods binge continued at La Carnita where we had a stellar brunch: chorizo verde, churro pancakes, and a couple of tacos to go with our bottles of Jutsu.

 

After brunch (and ice cream from Sweet Jesus) Lindsay went to find a quiet place to work; I went in search of a brand new brewery, Saulter Street, just around the corner. They appeared to just be opening for day #2; I took seat at the bar, sampled their Pilsner, and took home a howler (half-growler) for later. Nice little place.

 

After that Lindsay treated me to the deferred portion of my birthday gift: Dunkirk (imdb | rotten tomatoes) at the VIP theatre, followed by dinner at King Taps. I’d tried to get to King Taps before, after work once, but it was rammed. Like, lineup thirty deep out the door rammed. We figured it would be less busy on a Saturday night, but man…that place was like a pre-club hotspot. Weird crowd, most of whom seemed to be drinking cocktails or generic beer, not the absolutely outstanding rotating craft list or deep big-buy bottle list. We had a Duchesse de Bourgogne and a Bellwoods Jelly King and a Bench Simcoe Grove Dry Hopped Sour and a SBDL x Henderson Meyer Lemon Grisette and a Nickel Brook Redshift Cherry Sour and a very exciting bottle: a Cascade Brewing Noyaux sour. The 100 point rating on ratebeer was well-deserved — it was outstanding. Happy belated birthday to me! The beer, and the excellent food, made up for the douche-y vibe. Apparently craft taps are $5 on Sundays, so I think we have our game plan for next time.

 

We ended the night at Chez Nous, with plans for two glasses but only stamina for one. Boo.

Sunday we tried a place that’s pretty new at brunch: Eastbound. It was amazing. Lindsay had house-made sausage with eggs; I had an insane “sandwich” of maple bacon pancakes, eggs, and a piece of spicy fried chicken. Oh, and cheese biscuits with lobster butter. We rolled the fuck home.

20626243_10155363134575673_6905291432536154901_o

In the afternoon we were very generously invited to the beautiful backyard of some of Lindsay’s colleagues; we brought over some Benjamin Bridge rosé and Grange cab franc, and drank a bunch of their wine and enjoyed the weather.

 

We got a little day-drunk, bought some frozen yogurt, ordered pizza, had a tiny nap, and ate pizza while we watched Game Of Thrones.

We’re trying to take it easy this holiday Monday. So far so good, but I have a lot of beer in the fridge right now, so I’m reserving judgment.

Gusto 101

In between a bunch of other tasty outings this weekend (The Wren, Mean Bao, beers on Dark Horse’s patio, Boxcar Social, BQM, and our first time at I’ll Be Seeing You), we had a weird outing to Gusto 101. My realtor, who is awesome, treated us to celebrate the sale of my old place, so believe me, I’m not complaining. I’m just…a little baffled. I’d heard good things about Gusto, but man…that place was weird.

There were so many douches. So many neck tattoos. So many 905ers just carbo-loading before heading out to find bottle service. The vibe was just…weird. And yeah, I’m old. I get it. But it just felt like amateur hour at the Chef Mario’s School for Italian Restaurant Owners.

To be fair, our food wasn’t bad. The bufala mozzarella was great. The shishito peppers, while not terribly Italian, were good. Our pastas were decent. And our Barolo was fantastic right up until our server, sporting a man bun — a man bun — and never taking off his mirrored sunglasses, poured the bulk of the wine into a decanter with a bunch of water in the bottom. He also didn’t know what a decanter was called until I told him. Or how to pour wine from it. Sigh.

Look, it was a free meal, so I’m more than appreciative. It was just…very unusual for an Italian place, where smooth, knowledgeable service is the norm.

Luckily, we salvaged the evening at Chez Nous wine bar, where we bought a bottle of Grange Cabernet Franc and relaxed, free of poseurs.

Cover photo from Goodhood

Good hood

Last night I took a quick jaunt over to my (almost) new neighbourhood, met up with M2, and enjoyed a few more of the places which will soon be mine. Like KABOOM, a Korean fried chicken joint. And Hi-Lo, a dive-ish bar with decent beer and excellent music (Seriously, they played The Amps and Jay Reatard and a lot of other great stuff.) and we got all caught up. We also walked by Chez Nous, an all-Ontario wine bar which seems to have soft-opened.

I’m going to like it there, I think.

.:.

Cover photo from Goodhood