SoHot Climaxxx: not a porn star

After last weekend’s trip to PEC and the subsequent week of eating rather poorly, Nellie decided to undertake a wee project this past weekend: make fantastic meals all weekend and eat them at home. It sounded good to me. I’d been away at meetings for three days and wanted some real food. We decided we’d (finally!) set up the balcony for summer, take care of some shit around the condo and enjoy our meals at home all weekend long. So naturally we started off with drinks and snack down the street at Origin.

What? Look, it was Friday afternoon, the sun was out, we got out of work/meetings early and I wanted to have a bite and a glass of cold wine on a patio. So we ate overpriced snacks and drank some good wine (Norm Hardie Melon de Bourgogne and Riesling; Hidden Bench rosé, and some Vinho Verde that I can’t remember) and soaked up the day’s remaining sun.

Friday night we aimed low: nachos, beer (Denison’s for me, Coors Light — seriously — for her) and Project X (imdb | rotten tomatoes) on TV. We were saving our strength. The next morning we got up early, bought seventy pounds of stuff at St. Lawrence Market, had bacon and eggs and tomatoes for breakfast and got to work on the balcony. We got the tile down and the benches cleaned off just in time for us to have lunch: prosciutto on fresh ciabatta (mine: pecorino cheese, spicy bordeaux mustard; Nellie’s: parmesan, honey, black pepper) and grilled veggies, with the bottle of Lighthall rosé we picked up in PEC the weekend before. I don’t normally like rosé, but this one (a Cab Franc) was pretty good.

Not a bad setting either, right?

While we continued to work around the condo and begin the prep for dinner Nellie made us a fantastic batch of lavender lemonade, with lavender from our stop in PEC. We also opened a bottle of Le Clos Jordanne 2009 Village Reserve Chardonnay. Between that and knowing we’d have more Chardonnay with dinner we found ourselves in the mood to watch Bottle Shock (imdb | rotten tomatoes) so, with a little downloading, watch it we did.

Dinner that night was a new one: saffron chicken & basmati rice. Admittedly it needed a little extra flavour, so we threw in a little SoHot Climaxxx sauce (lime, garlic, cayenne) to perk it up. But the real star of the show was the Hidden Bench 2008 Tête de Cuvée Chardonnay. It was beautiful and creamy and buttery like a California chardonnay, but somehow still tasted like Niagara. We both wanted to marry it. Marry it hard.

Apologies for the poor-quality photo…I wasn’t paying attention to the exposure on my Android and had to use a pic from Nellie’s old iPhone. Anyway, there was no dessert — unless you count the rest of that bottle of Clos Jordanne. Which we did.

Sunday I was up early and availed myself of the St. Urbain bagels, strawberries and raspberries we’d bought at the market the day before. Then, by the time Nellie was up and we’d run a few errands, it was time for lunch: maple & chili glazed trout with a thai cucumber salad (w/ lime & fresh basil). I’d decided to pair it with a Clos Jordanne 2009 Village Reserve Pinot before I knew the trout would be in that kind of sauce, so admittedly the wine didn’t go at all. Still, all components of the meal were tasty on their own, so we toughed it out.

Note that Nellie needs a napkin, whereas I am generally able to not spill food on myself. Anyway. Partway through the afternoon I realized that lunch hadn’t been very substantial, and so made another prosciutto-on-ciabatta. It was just too good to let go.

Some cleaning up and bedroom-rearranging later, it was time to start prepping the final meal of the weekend: pizza two ways (the rest of the prosciutto with a shredded pecorino cheese, and a spicy genoa salami with a softer, melted pecorino), both done with Nellie’s homemade dough and marinara sauce. I’m never sure what wine goes with this kind of pizza, so we just had the bottle of St. Laurent we picked up at Harwood last weekend. I’m not sure it matched, but it didn’t not match either. So we’ll call that a draw.

So how did we do? Well, first and foremost it was all delicious. What’s more, a little math suggests that we spent about $90 on all the ingredients that went into all seven meals, notwithstanding the wine (which was paid for long before Nellie decided to do embark on this adventure). That’s less than we’d spent at Origin for a link of chorizo, four curry shrimp and two glasses of wine apiece, before tip. So yeah, there might be something to this whole eating-at-home thing after all.

It's like spaghetti, except it's more square than round

What a goddamn enjoyable day. No one stellar thing to trump all others, just a collection of goodness. Examples:

  • Eating rosemary/olive bread and cloth-bound cheddar and pineapple for breakfast, which sounds disgusting but was awesome.
  • Getting some work done. (Okay, so this isn’t particularly fun, but it feels good to get it out of the way and not have to go to the office.)
  • Listening to the new Elbow album, which is excellent, and the new PJ Harvey, which I hated at first but now cannot shake from my head.
  • Lunch at La Bettola di Terroni which, despite being right around the corner from us, we’d never tried. It was fantastic. I had the braised beef agnolotti in a sage brown butter sauce; Nellie had the chitarra pasta in a lemon cream sauce with sausage & truffles. We also helped the couple sitting next to us, in town from North Carolina, to find a place to spend the day (the Distillery District) and eat dinner (Origin).
  • Gathering supplies at a less-crowded-than-normal St. Lawrence Market, as well as two bottles of Flat Rock (Riesling, Pinot Noir) for this weekend’s meals.
  • Espresso. For which I have apparently developed a taste (need?).
  • Submitting 2010 taxes avec healthy return.
  • Running 4.5km and feeling pretty good doing it.
  • Eating a fairly tasty meal from Golden Thai (after we found out the even-closer Thai place, Ivory Thailand, had been replaced by a French bistro some 3 hours earlier) along with the afore-mentioned Riesling.
  • Watching many episodes of Sons of Anarchy (imdb).
  • Admiring the supermoon.
  • Booking a kick-ass campsite for this fall’s excursion.


I’m getting too old for this.

Last night wasn’t a late finisher so much as it was an early starter. Dinner at Fieramosca (with a bottle of wine), then drinks with co-workers at The Pilot, then more co-worker drinks at Volo, and finally dinner at Origin. I think our meal was good. I know it was long. The ending gets a little fuzzy. The next morning was even fuzzier.

How fortunate, then, that we were scheduled to get on a boat and cruise around in the hot sun for most of Saturday afternoon. Our friend CB had arranged a little celebration for husband GB’s birthday, so nine of us piled on a catamaran and prepared to enjoy the weather. My stomach wasn’t quite ready for that, though; the first few minutes while we were tied up made me queasy, but as soon as we were underway I felt better. A little nap below decks helped.

We reached Centre Island, had a bit of a stroll and (somewhat inadvertently) took in the sights at Hanlon’s Point Beach. Then the skipper cooked lunch, which we ate on the grass, by the water, in the sun…pretty awesome. Back on board and birthday cake in hand we set back out, cruising through the harbor and all the way around the islands. It gave me a look at parts of Toronto I’d not seen before, like the north side of Ward’s Island and a bird colony on the Leslie Street Spit. I got to relax on the deck of a boat for a few hours, a cool breeze tempering the hot summer sun. Shaky start and a little sunburn aside, it was a brilliant day.

Yeeeeeaaaaah, I need a rich friend with a boat.