Photo by jp1958, used under Creative Commons license

On the east side

Last weekend we introduced four friends to Harlem, a local place with some amazing southern food. We had catfish Lafayette and short ribs and crisps and plantains. We had southern fried chicken (LOTS of southern fried chicken) and jambalaya and Guinness-marinated stewed chicken and jerk meatloaf. We had corn bread and mac-n-cheese and cocktails and Red Stripes. We were all stuffed, but it was so good. Four days later I’m still thinking about it.

We also polished off a bottle or two of Ontario wine back at ours, namely a Bachelder 2009 Niagara Chardonnay, a Daniel Lenko 2007 Signature Chardonnay, a Hidden Bench 2010 Felseck Riesling, a Kacaba 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, a Norman Hardie 2009 Niagara Pinot Noir, a Southbrook 2009 Whimsy “Renewed Vows” Cabernet Franc, a Stratus 2007 Red, and a Thirty Bench 2008 Cabernet Franc.

God, I need a vegetable and some tap water.


Photo by jp1958, used under Creative Commons license

"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.

"Just because she likes the same bizzaro crap you do doesn't mean she's your soul mate."

It’s been too nice to blog this weekend (as that would mean sitting inside), so here’s the point form version:

Friday night CBGB, Nellie and I went to Harlem, a place right around the corner from us that we’d just never made it to. We’re bad at that. Anyway, it was pretty fantastic. The starters (chicken lafayette, bourbon baby back ribs and seafood fondue) were all good, and while my main (jambalaya) and Nellie’s (barbecue chicken) were pretty good, everyone agreed that CBGB’s fried chicken was the winner. I ignored the giant cocktail list and drank Red Stripe all night. We book-ended dinner with drinks on the balcony. Awesome night.

Saturday was a day to get stuff done. I returned two ill-advised purchases: one at MEC (which I traded in for a pair of shorts) and another at Harry Rosen: a dress shirt that I somehow exchanged for two Etro shirts, which were on sale but would normally each be more expensive than the shirt I was returning, and still had a $60 credit left over! I considered this quite a coup, but my guy at Harry pointed out the downside: that I could now be developing a taste for very expensive shirts. After all that we set to the painstaking task of sitting on the Bier Markt patio and drinking cold, cold beer. I enjoyed my Weihenstephan so much we popped by the LCBO on the way home and picked up some more.

Today was movie day. We saw Funny People, which was good-not-great, and  500 Days Of Summer, which was fantastic. We then came home and watched Burn After Reading, which was mildly amusing (mainly for Brad Pitt) but not that impressive for the Coen brothers.

No work tomorrow. Thanks, obscurely named civic holiday!