Monday, April 26, 2010

Lord help me!

Papa is going through chemo after a clean bill of health for several years since lymphoma first reared its ugly head. Confident, however, is what we all are this time round as his health, spirits and appetite are much better. Even so, we are there to lend as much support as we can.

So, this Sunday I headed to the F-dot planning to spend the night and then drive him to Mississauga in the morning for treatment. As one of my dad’s sisters just celebrated her 75th birthday, the siblings invited her out for a celebratory brunch. Mother asked if I would like to join and as it was a great opportunity to visit relatives I don’t often see, I thought it a fine idea indeed.

For one reason or another, brunch became dinner and a not-the-top-of-my-favourite-restaurant-list was selected as the destination. It was the birthday girl’s choice however, so I strapped on my boot flask and agreed to go back to At the Crossroads (see December 2008).

I vaguely recalled the buffet being somewhat palatable so I thought I would give it a little looky when offered a choice between that and ordering off the menu. And when our way too perky waitress Nicole said the soup of the day was cheeseburger chowder (yes, you read that correctly. Really, I know you don't drink the liquid fire, but how much bong water did you shoot back to come up with that recipe?) I definitely thought things would be better at the trough. But no.

The wise words of Roseanne Barr zipped through my head as I passed the “salad” bar ~ “chicken salad, egg salad, tuna salad…..what difference does it make? They’re all just different words for mayonnaise”.

This is how I envision a brainstorming session in the kitchen at Crossroads:

Chef #1 “Why don’t we cut up cucumbers for the salad bar?”
Chef #2 “And add mayonnaise!”
Chef #1 “How about we add carrots to the salad bar?”
Chef #2 “And add mayonnaise!”

I now know who buys those 5 gallon pails at Costco. I decided to order off the menu.

Captain Highliner did not do my ‘ocean perch’ and favours let me tell you what. I managed to crack through the crust but that didn’t leave much fish for my tummy. I would have filled up on the tartar sauce, but I am pretty sure it was just mayonnaise. Luckily I had sauce in said flask so all was okay.

Everyone thought having sauerkraut with fish was an odd idea, but when your choice of sides includes ‘broasted’ potatoes (no Nicole, battering potatoes, then frying them and THEN coating them with oil and baking them, does NOT make them healthy) and cauliflower, I really had no choice.

I commend people’s ability to resist the drink. I don’t understand it or condone such a practice, but I can respect it. But to me, a little tipple enhances even the blandest of meals. Champagne and OJ at breakfast, a little wine with lunch, cocktails before dinner. And if that is what food tastes like sober, I’ll continue to take my meals in glass.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Glee - Take Two!

I think we can all agree that based on last week’s Glee episode, my previous post was accurate and they should have ended the series. Everything had a bow on it and the storylines were neatly wrapped.

However, having just viewed ‘the’ Madonna episode, I would like to retract my earlier statement and save judgement for another week.

With CJ, the straight bear and Kitkat at my side, we braved another show and, hello, loved it! The hair digs are getting better and the songs were fabulous.

Maybe it was the Madonna. Maybe it was the Hendricks gin. Maybe it was dinner from the Sushi Box ~ which, as Kitkat pointed out had several white walls ideal for a Pearl Harbour motif, perhaps with a Hello Kitty piloting one of the planes. Maybe it was the thought of Finn, Mohawk and Jessie, well, you know….maybe it was all of the above. But my friends, Glee appears to be back.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Phil McKraken

Well now, let’s see….what has happened since last I wrote?

I plumbed for one. IronMan made a fine assistant as I scurried under my kitchen sink this past foul weathered Saturday. With only one extra trip to Canadian Tire (I forgot the silicone sealant) I installed my new chrome finished Plymouth faucet with no leaks! It comes with a 48” hose. Now I like a big hose, but really, that seems a little excessive.

Not only did I discover my handiness with a wrench and plumbers tape, but also my new pet peeve. At least while I am at work. People, come on, why do you insist on having conversations in doorways? Know what, you have your coffee. Maybe someone else would like in the kitchen so they can get some too. ‘Cause without it, you just might find yours going down the front of your pants. Man, and I don’t even drink coffee.

Can’t decide on whether you want to go to the lobby or the main part of the floor. I can, and I need to get to my desk. So move your backside from the black box thingy where I have to swipe my security pass. You can give your Tim Horton’s order standing in the elevator lobby just as easily.

But please, not in front of the elevator door itself. I know it’s Mississauga and TTC protocol probably means nothing to you. But let the people OFF FIRST. And once you’re on don’t hold the door so you can chat. You aren’t the president of elevator world where you can do whatever you want. Gosh.

And you know that Slap Chop, Sham Wow guy? I find him more attractive than I probably should. The man makes a good pitch, what can I say?

I also learned that in the movie Clash of the Titans, when Apollo says “release the kraken”, he should have said “release the krappy movie”. Mission accomplished Apollo, mission accomplished. Sam Worthington didn’t even take his shirt off once. Not once. Although the sarong did wonders for his legs.

In other movie news, Tina Fey stole my ex-boyfriends now famous “it’s not the blood, it’s just the cranberry” line. Substitute cabernet for cranberry, and there you go. That was not a good night, but I learned two valuable lessons. One, a goatee and excessive amounts of alcohol do not mix (you thought holding your girlfriends hair back was bad?) and two, pants made of PVC retain just about anything that lands in the pockets. For days. Food for thought.

Friday, April 09, 2010

One of the ladies that lunch

A life of leisure is what I was designed for. Don’t get me wrong, I am not opposed to working, it’s just that I want to do it when I want to and not when I am told. And 8 hours a day seems a little excessive. I think a 10:00 AM start is more than civilised, a two hour lunch starting at noon (one does need time for a nap) and then wrapping up at 4:00 (assuming you have someone to prepare your tea, if not, finish at 3:30). Then it is cocktail hour so you really are looking at a full day as it is.

Being off during the week is such fun! CJ and I spent the morning trying on kilts at The Scottish Company. Mother, you gotta love your parents, has it in her head that for this year’s Fergus Highland games, we all need to do the 10 km run wearing kilts. At first, I wasn’t crazy about the idea. All I could picture were what my brother calls my “lucky legs” (lucky they hold me up) sticking out from under a mass of tartan.

However, top that sucker off with a vest, jacket, shirt, tie, sporran, clan crested pin, hose, garter flashes, your skean dubh and ghillie brogues I am one hot looking haggis! I, of course, will have to upgrade my sporran for the standard ‘dress’ one. They had on display, an arctic fox version that would go a treat with my new coyote hat. There was also one, I think it was mink, that had the head flopping over the top and the mouth was the clasp.

It was tres Edward Gorey and completely delicious! CJ said veto but I think if I can get Kitkat to have a look, he will side with me. The fox might draw some undo attention to that general area, but then if people ask me “what’s under your kilt” I could always say “the rest of the fox”.

I need Fauntleroy’s official Scottish seal of approval before I proceed and it is good that I have some thinking time. I had settled on the Prince Charlie style but then saw the Sherriffmuir and was instantly drawn to it! Slightly more “look at me” but still classic. What do ya’ll think? Prince Charlie on the left, Sherriffmuir on the right. One has a ‘V’ shape, the other squared off.

Move over Veuve Clicquot

As it turns out, turning 41 is about as easy as turning 40. A smidge easier even as there were no “oh my God I’m turning 40” panic attacks.

All you have to do is wake up and have someone make you a yummy breakfast of bacon, French toast (made using challah bread), eggs and fresh fruit. Oh, and make sure they warm up the maple syrup and put in fresh blueberries. You don’t want cold syrup to ruin nice warm toast and stop the melting butter.

Then you go to the DMV to renew your license and find out that since 40, they have instituted a $60 “city tax” (that was the only bad part of the day ~ David Miller, you stink!) but at least I got in the “if it is your actual birthday today” express line. There is no such thing, but as I walked straight to a wicket, I told myself I was getting VIP service.

When you get home, you need to find a red oval Le Creuset Dutch oven that gets you a little more excited in your pants than it should. You can ignore the card that says “Farting Is An Art” on the front and “Happy Birthday Rembrandt” on the inside. That is just rude.

As nothing says turning 41 like a trip to Costco, you can throw in that too. However, stay away from the cheese samples. I have never met a cheese, or many other things, that I could not swallow, but their “apple cheddar” tasted like I licked that ass of a long dead monkey. So gross, I had to discreetly spit it in my hanky.

If someone happens to ask you what you would like to do for your birthday and afternoon tea is your thing, then the Windsor Arms is the place to go. IronMan had asked earlier in the week what I wanted to do and I hadn’t given it much thought so I booked us in. It was a nice way to spend the afternoon, especially given the cold drizzling weather we had. Not a huge fan to their Colin and Justin make-over in the one room, so we asked to be moved to the “traditional” side.

Oh, and you will enjoy your tea a lot more if beforehand you get a surprise massage in the spa on the fourth floor. Especially if your masseuse is a burly Greek boy named George. The massage was of the Swedish variety, not the Greek. Alas, not every day can be perfect.

And since you are on a tour of Europe, why not wrap things up with a pleasant evening reminiscent of your 40th? Provence Délices is a Cabbagetown restaurant I have walked by numerous times and last night was able to enjoy their wares. IronMan hesitated in making reservations having read some of the on-line reviews, but a friend assured him the food was worth it even if the service was a little lackluster. Kind of like Cuba, but in reverse.

Granted, the waiter’s constant “you are very welcome” sounded a bit forced and I am sure were the result of his reading reviews about himself, and he could have used a shower, but really, to me, that just added to the authentic French experience. As Karen Walker says, “the French, peeyoo and blah blah blah….”

The above mentioned friend also made the evening special by introducing me to my new favourite champagne – Georges Gardet. Before I could order anything gin related, an ice bucket was set on the table and the pop of the cork was heard. So delicious! And as IronMan is a teetotaler, I was forced to polish it off by myself. I vaguely heard something to the effect of “you don’t have to drink the whole thing” a couple times. Luckily, the sound of the bubbles drowned that out.

I indulged, as I am wont to do, in Foie Gras, but have to say that IronMan’s Charcuterie was the blue ribbon winner when it came to appetizers. That, and the piping hot baguette they smack right on the table, would be more than enough for two people.

Much like the new Dutch Oven, my Choucroute Garnie got me more excited in the trouser area than it should have. However, at 41, I hear I should take that movement wherever and whenever I can get it.

If you simply follow the above steps, substituting things you like to do where applicable of course, you too can ease into your 41st year.