Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hopes Dashed

I only asked Santa and the Easter Bunny for one thing this year! One thing and their combined forces could not even make it happen. Why do these things always happen to me?

On New Year's Day my horoscope even said "expect things you want this year". Well let me tell you, I expected, but now this. Now you tell me that despite being clean, supposedly, for 3 years that Amy Winehouse was such a train wreck that she got booed off the stage during the FIRST show of her comeback tour and has cancelled the rest!

Granted she was in Serbia and they probably ran out of vodka or something. That would be like me running out of gin, I would boo myself.

Now my hopes of a joint Rufus Wainwright / Amy Winehouse tour stop in Toronto will never happen. Come on Amy. Golly, get it together! I mean you managed to walk across an entire lawn wearing 4 inch heals in your video but you can't sober up?

I guess this is as close to live Amy as I will ever get.....

Friday, June 17, 2011


Okay, so it's not exactly the next day, I know Kitkat has already informed you all of the joy and the Glee kids have probably toured four other cities by now, but since I watched the Glee reality show last night (not a fan) with the boys, I will put my two cents in anyway.

First, the concert. It was a good deal of fun and well worth the price of admission (I was Kitkat's guest and free is always fabulous). The ACC was set up with jumbo screens if you were seated too far back but with a second stage I don't think there was a bad seat in the house.

One stage was dark while the other was illuminated. Not 30 feet in front of us we had the Warblers, Mercedes and more cheerios than were needed. My two favourite, Blaine cuteness aside, songs were also performed right in front of us.

First, Kurt and Rachel's rendition of Get Happy was amazing. And it was not back's turned to us either. They were very good at spinning around on their bar stools to make sure everyone got a look at the goods! Unfortunately, at one point, Kurt ran out of spin and had to just skid around the top. The show must go on as they say. A Friday treat for you:

Second, and no I do not have a crush on Kurt, was his version of All the Single Ladies! He even had his own army of dancers! All you Glee fans have seen that one to death so here is the hilarious version with Justin Timberlake to tickle your funny bone. Hee hee, I said bone. Not as funny without the skit bit, but still.....

Monday, June 13, 2011

Whirlwind Winnipeg Weekend

The Diva is now a married lady and I am tired. Friday at 6:45 AM, Blue Girl from the dollhouse whipped me off to the airport and by 8:00 I was airborne. Not me alone you understand, but I was in a plane that was in the air.

IronMan had packed me a little snack pack for the trip. I truly appreciated that as I viewed the Air Canada menu. They seem to think $6.50 for a very substandard egg McMuffin is perfectly reasonable. I would like to know why an egg, an English muffin and paper thin slice of what they call 'ham' should cost more than a beer? I can get a buzz for $6 and gut rot for $6.50. Hmmmmm...what to do?

Once my feet were back on the ground, I was greeted by Kitkat and his ever so charming parents. They whisked me off to the Pancake House where I enjoyed scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and a bagel for, are you listening Air Canada, for $8.99! Just because you have people by the short and curlys doesn't mean you need to twist it for pleasure.

It was a stitch cool but I was told it was best to enjoy it. Apparently you get about two good weeks of summer in the Peg before Buick sized mosquitoes have you running from building to building.

Apres breakfast we went to the Fort Garry Hotel. Like all the great railway hotels of her day, the public rooms are grand, sumptuous and decadent. The four gays from Toronto were notably impressed. The guest rooms are in desperate need of an update and we quickly discussed what needed to be done to bring them up to snuff.

But they were clean, nice and bright and the pillow top mattresses made everything alright. Kitkat and I shared 206. We wanted 202 but it only had a queen bed and I need a king. 202 is apparently haunted by a lady who hung herself in the closet shortly after the hotel opened.

Why you would pick a tiny little closet when there were so many fantastic ballrooms, bars and quaint little antechambers is beyond me. Heck, even the banister running up the centre of the hotel would give you more space to spook.

We hoped to encounter the ghost as she moved through the rooms on the way to 202 and maybe we did. But as Kitkat pointed out, spirits, ghouls and goblins could have been jumping on our beds, but after 7 hours of an open bar, we didn't notice.

Kitkat is convinced that the haunted nonsense is a marketing ploy as there is no historical account of any one story on record and those that are seem flimsy at best. For example, as a thank you, so legend has it, the hotel invited all the workers and their families to spend a night in the hotel and, depending on the version you hear, the woman did her closet swan song.

Fauntleroy was quick to point out that in 1913 you were lucky to get a shilling for a days wage let alone a night in a luxury hotel. One interesting story about a ghostly encounter at the Fort Garry was documented by 'Alicebathedinblood.'

I have said it before and I will state it for the record again, I am NOT a parent. Alice bathed in blood - I get that. Vampires are all the rage; I like True Blood and am a tent pitching member of Camp Jacob. But booking your 15 year old daughter, who I assume you know has a boyfriend, a night in a hotel? That seemed like a good idea?

Alice also says, twice I might add, that she stayed in room 202 BUT had to "walk up the many flights of stairs to the 6th floor where the room was." Really Alice? Ever been in a hotel before? Maybe you should stay home and do your math homework.

Wow. Tangent. Kilt around my waist, we headed for the church for a truly amazing wedding. Diva is an opera singer and she stacked that church with professional musicians and singers and it was FAB-U-LOUS. She looked, as usual, gorgeous and the weather couldn't be better.

Rice flung, man with the backside of his pants split open informed and subsequently bundled off, bride & groom off in the wedding car we started the hunt for a cab. Winnipeg is no Toronto or NY when it comes to hailing a taxi. They are available at hotels, malls and the airport but forget about flagging one down; especially if two in your party are dressed in kilts.

To help pass the time Fauntleroy tripped a child who happened to look at him and his outfit the wrong way. Mean to be sure, but once it was ascertained there was no permanent damage done, except maybe to the sidewalk where his melon landed, it was worth a good chuckle.

A couple of cocktails and a verbal redecoration of the lobby bar later we made our way to 7th heaven, a.k.a. the 7th floor (that is where all the rooms that start with the number 7 are Alice) for the reception.

The bar was open, the food was excellent (at least I think it was by way of the gin) and Kevin the singer could sing the pants off a snake (that’s a thing right?) Aside from me hearing “Costco” instead of “Moscow” when I asked a table mate where she got her ring, I managed not to embarrass myself too horribly.

I was late to bed but early to rise, I was in the gym by 8:00 and after a more-than-I-should-have buffet, I was off to even loftier heights ~ 10Spa. More on the hamam tomorrow as I have prattled on just about enough now.

But, after 3 hours there, Kitkat and I zoomed off with his parents yet again for some shopping and then dinner at one of Winnipeg’s many casinos. Who knew the Aztecs were famous for their prime rib special? Not I. No sir, not I.

Saying no to the slots, we left his parents to their one armed bandits and took in X-Men First Class. You had me with Kevin Bacon and his chocolate but then you lost me with the flying submarine.

Another 8:00 AM flight got us back to Toronto in time to drop our bags (and do a load of laundry) before heading to the ACC for the Glee concert! As with the hamam, I will detail that experience later.

But I will leave you with this, Air Canada, whether in the air or at the foot of Yonge St. likes to stick it to people when it comes to beer prices. $6 on the plane and $12 at the ACC, you rob the people! And you wonder why I wear a boot flask.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Card Worthy

There are few things I enjoy more than cooking a yummy, delicious, rich, low calorie meal. One of them however is preparing a yummy, delicious, rich meal for people who appreciate it and Kitkat and Fauntleroy not only fall into that category, they helped create it.

They are also wonderful, and willing, guinea pigs. Between the Dollhouse Girls providing me with issues of Martha and Real Simple, LCBO’s Food & Drink and my collection of cookbooks, there are always new creations to create, baked goods to bake and flambés to, well, flambé.

In a fit of cleansing, last week I thumbed through 2 years worth of Martha and tore out an assortment of treats to make. I then hauled the remainder of the magazines to work where they were quickly snatched up from the kitchen.

Aside from a disastrous blending of grilled mini bananas and mascarpone cheese, my boys have been, I like to think, handsomely rewarded via my experiments. And it must be said that I too am spoiled with deliciously satisfying meals from my Thursday night counterparts.

Tonight though, there were not old stand-bys, it was all new. Whenever I make something from a magazine, it is deemed card worthy or not. Another purge / cleansing ritual is to mount the yummy creations on recipe cards and neatly house them in my recipe box. Otherwise, into the recycling bin they go.

We had four card mount worthy contenders this evening. While not the 12 course Victorian era dinner I would like, I do have a full time job you know, it certainly was a nice quarter. Starting to eat at 8:00 PM helps with the prep.

I will concede that the first course hardly counts as such, but when it is paired with what Martha calls “the love child of wine and Champagne”, it earns its own place. I at least hope it was Martha and not that poindexter Jay Sharkey that writes for her. Never met him, but a cake made out of Oreos is NOT Martha, it’s lazy.

Lambrusco, I have decided, will be the drink of the summer. Agreed, it ‘does deserve as much attention as other sparkling wines’, but I hope not too much as the $8.90 / bottle price will surely be a thing of the past. Pair it with presquille from Quebec and a spicy chorizo and BAM! First course complete.

The second course was not ‘new’, but asparagus is in season so in terms of freshness of ingredients, I am calling it such. I have already pickled some of the lovely young pieces as well that will remind me of the spring when winter rolls around again. Did I really just say that?

I then quite literally tore a page from Martha Stewart for roasted parsnip bread pudding that was a side of fluffy goodness dotted with roasted treats. It was paired with a pork roast stuffed with Vidalia onions and rose wine sauce. Both were a tick fussy but not at all complicated and the results were tres tres bien!

And finally, while we watched The Killing (Kalifornia Fauntleroy, that is where she is from) we devoured a rhubarb upside-down cake. The caramelized sides took a scrumptious dessert to a decadent level.

The food was good, the friends were fun and the fizz was fabulous…what else can one ask for on a Thursday?