Photo by mrmanc, used under creative commons license

“He’s making all of this up as he goes along. You don’t see that?”

While The Master (imdb | rotten tomatoes) featured some of the best acting performances I’ve ever seen, I don’t think I could ever recommend it to anyone. It was…bizarre. Not nearly as good as the original teaser had made me hope. It was interesting (to me, anyway; Nellie began counting lightbulbs in the theatre) as a somewhat critical comparison to Scientology, but drifted badly in the last twenty minutes or so. It certainly looked amazing, in 70mm on the Lightbox screen.

We had dinner after at Luma, right there on the same floor of the Lightbox. It was…fine. Not great. Not bad either, though we did make the mistake of booking dinner during Winterlicious, so the restaurant was somewhat more frantic than usual.


Photo by mrmanc, used under creative commons license

A week of drinking well

Our recycling pile and credit card bill would suggest that we drank very, very well this past week:

On Sunday we had a bottle of 2007 Le Clos Jordanne Claystone Terrace Chardonnay. On Monday we had a 2009 Twenty Twenty Seven Featherstone Vineyard Riesling. On Tuesday it was a 2009 Thirty Bench Triangle Vineyard Riesling. Wednesday was a 2009 Le Clos Jordanne Village Reserve Pinot Noir, and on Thursday (after I had two pints by Great Lakes at Volo, the Katy Brown Ale and the Karma Stoutra) we had a bottle of 2009 Tawse Misek Riesling to go with our Thai takeout.

By Friday we’d decided we’d done our part for the Ontario wine economy and branched out somewhat. We had a few glasses each at REDS (2008 Foreign Affair Conspiracy, 2009 Nuestro Ribera del Duero and 2009 Jean Luc Colombo Les Abeilles Cotes du Rhone for me; 2008 Flat Rock Chardonnay, 2008 Foreign Affair Conspiracy and 2008 Rubrato Aglianico dei Feudi for Nellie) before strolling down to Wellington Street and trying Trevor for the first (!) time. We appeared to be the only non-Winterlicious people in the place, and the bartender expressed his appreciation when we ordered a full bottle of wine; I think we may have been the first to do so that night. We warmed up with a 2008 Bogle Zinfandel (me) and 2010 Bogle Chardonnay (her), and drank a bottle of 2010 McManis Petite Sirah with our mini Kobe burgers, tempura shrimp and truffle goat cheese poutine.

Yesterday we slept in (obv) before picking up supplies for the week, including a bunch of Garrison beer, one of our Halifax favourites which happens to be on feature at the LCBO this week. Last night we had a pretty disappointing dinner at a pub near the theatre where our movie was playing, so we made it up to our taste buds with a visit to Paese before the screening. I know I had a Malbec and a Foreign Affair Cabernet Sauvignon, while Nellie had an Amarone (in fact, they recognized her from the last time we were in and, remembering her affection for the last Amarone they sold by the glass, immediately poured her their new one) and a California Chardonnay; I don’t recall the details beyond that.

All in all it was a smashing good week of wine drinking, punctuated by the odd burst of beer and decadent food. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to the gym.

I think "gluttony" was a foregone conclusion

I knew I was in trouble when I saw all the glasses.

Last night Nellie, T-Bone, The Sof and I treated ourselves to one of Toronto’s Wintercity culinary events, Ex-Communication by Chocolat at MoRoCo Chocolate. This was the description:

“Une soiree of la luxure and sinful indulgence.  Experience a 6-course guided tasting dinner of sweet and savoury pleasures:  3 savoury courses and 3 Valrhona Chocolat dessert courses paired with the finest Champagnes, The Macallan & Highland Park Scotches, Canadian wines, followed by Courvoisier Cognacs as digestifs.”


We arrived last night, queued with the rest of the guests and were immediately handed a glass of Champagne Gatinois Grand Cru. We were brought to our table which was covered in glasses…eight wine glasses, eight whisky glasses, four water glasses and four champagne flutes. It was obvious what kind of evening we were facing. We settled in and prepared ourselves for the theme of the night: the seven deadly sins.

  • Wrath was a shot of 60% dark Valrhona sipping chocolate paired with two scotches: 15-year-old Highland Park and 12-year-old Macallan. I like Highland Park, I love Macallan and I lurve dark chocolate…but my god, I never knew how well they went to together. A bit of chocolate on the tongue followed by whisky and zowie. I had a new hobby. An amuse bouche came out too…can’t remember it exactly, I think it was avocado and citrus on a crispy something or other. Good. As Nellie put it, our bouches were amoosed.
  • Envy was the best food course of the night: Japanese scallops in a white chocolate hollandaise sauce. We all loved it. I don’t even really like scallops. Paired with a 2006 Riesling from Alsace, enough of it to drown a small child.
  • Gluttony was subtitled “duck-duck-booze”, and aptly so: there was duck leg confit (yum!) with a chocolate puff pasty (meh) and slices of deck breast in a dark chocolate and chili glaze (YUM!). Still working our way through the Riesling, obviously.
  • Sloth consisted of a roasted filet mignon in a chocolate port reduction paired with a 2006 Penley Estates merlot. From here on out the savoury was over, and it was all sweet.
  • Pride was something pretty unusual: a chocolate “soda” float. Basically drinking chocolate mixed with soda water, from what I could tell. I didn’t love it but I thought it was interesting. Everyone else was less than impressed.
  • Greed consisted of two parts: a small serving of light chocolate mousse, and a dark chocolate & sweet red beet cake. I loved them both, but Nellie didn’t care for the beet cake at all. At this point we were getting pretty full, and the rich food & booze was starting to weigh on us.
  • The final course, Lust, was just too much. Three warm chocolate truffles apiece, 70% ganache and coated in coconut, sitting in a (rather icky) pool of passionfruit bubble tea sauce. We each had one, and it was quite good. The Sof noticed that the menu described the truffles as “flamed with Courvoisier VSOP Cognac” and we wondered what that meant, right up until the server showed up with a bottle and a lighter. They might’ve rehearsed this part a little more as the poor thing was unable to light our truffles in most cases, instead soaking our truffles through with Cognac. When I tried it…well, it wasn’t the most pleasant experience. I was glad she’d left my third truffle unscathed so that I could enjoy it, but the whole affair was so rich — as was the glass of Courvoisier paired with the truffles and the shot of port to send us off — that we all felt done in.

All in all it was a very enjoyable evening, and a pretty good value in the end: three excellent meat dishes, wine, scotch, champagne, cognac and a formidable amount of chocolate for $125 including tax and tip. Not bad at all. A little much for a Monday night, maybe, especially for a lad with an 8:30 meeting, but there you go. I suspect, cardinal theme notwithstanding, that they could have scaled it back to five courses (dropping the soda and the fiery chocolate boozeballs) and hit the mark perfectly. Maybe next year.

Oh, murgh makhani, how I've missed you

Just back from a Winterlicious dinner at Amaya Bread Bar. It’s the more laid-back, TTC-friendly version of Amaya Restaurant. The food’s the same (which is to say, delicious) though we were limited to the ‘Licious menu. The wine selection was shorter, but that didn’t bother me; I like beer with my Indian. The only one available — Cobra — went nicely with my pakora starter. We shared the four mains — lamb roganjosh, butter chicken, seafood xacutti and a veggie trio — and washed it down with more Cobra. I won’t lie, I enjoyed asking the waiter to bring more Cobra. It’s fun to say. Cobra. Cobra cobra cobra cobra. Cobra.

For dessert T-Bone and I had Greg’s mango ice cream; Nellie and The Sof had the spiced brownie, but neither of them came close to finishing.

Tasty, not too heavy, and reasonably priced. And a quick walk to/from the subway, or would have been, had we not we caught a ride down to Summerhill. We will likely go back. Missionlicious accomplished.