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.

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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.

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Come back anytime bro.

.:.

Cover photo by Patrick Q, used under Creative Commons license

Cover photo by Rob, used under Creative Commons license

Happy 12

Whereas in the past we’ve used our anniversary as an excuse to try the tasting menu at restaurants like Canoe, Scaramouche, and George, this year neither of us had it in us. On the flight back from Halifax yesterday we both agreed a) that we’d eaten entirely too much rich food in the past week, and b) that we didn’t have the energy to sit through a four-hour meal. Plus, Nellie thinks she broke her toe, so getting her into fancy heels was a non-starter.

Instead, we cobbled together a rather ingenious little plan: comfort food + killer wine. And so it was that we drank a bottle of Benjamin Bridge 2003 Brut with a bowl of plain potato chips, walked to Triple A where we ordered food and drank Koval bourbon and Steam Whistle and did whiskey shots with Chuck & Jeremy, and came home to eat pork ribs and chicken+waffles with a bottle of Le Vieux Pin 2013 Equinox Chardonnay. It was all delicious, and it was exactly what we needed.

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.:.

Cover photo by Rob, used under Creative Commons license

All they needed was a retired shooting guard

Another pretty good weekend: the Murphy girls were once again in town. But first I got to see the Raptors game Friday night which, despite the loss to Cleveland, was a pretty momentous game marking the anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s death. Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley, Dikembe Mutombo, and Tracy McGrady were all there.

On Saturday I ran some errands and hit the last couple of days of the Union Station Holiday Market. That night, after the Murphy girls got home we drank some Blue Mountain sparkling and a bottle of Gueuze Tilquin, hit Beerbistro and Triple A and then came home to knock off a few special bottles. This morning we loaded up on breakfast at the Jason George before the ladies left; since then it’s just been a Game Of Thrones marathon. Not a bad weekend.

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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.

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.:.

Photo by Peter Kudlacz, used under Creative Commons license

 

Photo by mlcastle, used under Creative Commons license

“Wanna fight?”

It turns out sweltering heat tends to drive up our movie-watching frequency, but also more or less limits it to what we can pull up on demand at home rather than going outside.

Hence, we watched Jack Reacher (imdb | rotten tomatoes) last weekend. I wasn’t looking forward to it, but for two hours it was reasonably entertaining and rarely annoying, which is better than I expected. So there you go.

Last night that sweltering heat finally broke as a short but ferocious storm moved through Toronto:

A similar deluge hit us a few minutes later. We ducked and covered down the street to Triple A for some grub, some beers, and a shot of bourbon. Once the rain broke we took the streetcar to Bar Hop for another pint — Ommegang BPA for Nellie, Indie Alehouse Broken Hispter for me. We left to find nearly everyone on King Street staring up at the weird cloud patterns and colourful sky left behind by the storm.

The evening’s plans weren’t centered around the storm, actually, but around a screening of Only God Forgives (imdb | rotten tomatoes), Nicolas Winding Refn’s followup to Drive. Anyone who had only seen that film and not the rest of Refn’s work probably left the Lightbox theatre somewhat confused. It was slow and quiet and textured and incredibly violent and overall pretty weird. Which is to say, like most of Refn’s movies — the ones I’ve seen, at least. Amos Barshad did a fantastic piece at Grantland yesterday about Refn and his latest film (beware: it’s a little spoiler-y) which they refer to as “An inversion of Valhalla Rising’s Scottish Highlands”. I thought that was accurate — like Mads Mikkelsen’s One Eye, Ryan Gosling’s Julian barely speaks in the film, and violence bursts through these long, droning sequences which were gray and earthy in Valhalla Rising, but raging neon here. The film certainly isn’t for anyone, and may not be for anyone expecting another Drive, but good for Refn for making his movie and not chasing what was likely a multitude of offers to make practically the same again.

Both Nellie and I have been doing work on this Saturday, but watched another dumb action movie before we got started: The Bourne Legacy (imdb | rotten tomatoes). Which was exactly what you think it’s going to be. So, fine, but boring.

.:.

Photo by mlcastle, used under Creative Commons license

 

Image by GOTSfile, used under creative commons license

“You think I’m not serious just because I carry a rabbit?”

Here’s how we’ve spent our last 72 hours (work notwithstanding):

  • Yummy beers at Bar Hop
  • The Game of Thrones exhibit at the Design Exchange, which was small, but free, and not at all bad. Just got me even more excited for March 31st.
  • Meat at Triple A
  • Dinner at Richmond Station, our first time back since Nellie’s birthday. We didn’t have a reservation, but they managed to find us a table upstairs…a cool space, since you can see the kitchen preparing the dishes. Just like the first time the food was good, and the service/servers were excellent. It’s quickly becoming one of my very favourite places in the neighbourhood.
  • Watched Seven Psychopaths (imdb | rotten tomatoes), made by the director of In Bruges. Very entertaining. Christopher Walken, man. Just…yeah.
  • Safe House (imdb | rotten tomatoes) was pretty meh, but at least it gave us an early preview of Cape Town.

.:.

Image by GOTSfile, used under creative commons license