Monday, November 27, 2006

We had another LCBO recipe on Saturday, Dijon Pork Chops with Glacé Cherries, and it turned out pretty good. Once again the recommended wine was a great accompanionment. I had to look up kirsch (a cherry brandy). I had raspberry brandy downstairs so used it instead. The recipe calls for way too much flour in the sauce (I only used 25% of what it said). Also had to look up frenched green beans. Some websites said to use a "specialty green bean frencher". I don't own such a tool, so just cut the beans in half length-wise.

After we met up with Marissa at Mill Street Brewery, which is in the Distillery District (about a 30 minute walk west from our house). We usually have Mill St beers (I like the Mill St Organic) when we're out having a drink. The brewery has been around for a while, and they've just opened the on-site pub. It has a really nice atmosphere, and we'll probably be making a trek or two down there when the weather warms up.

Last night we went to see Casino Royale at the Beaches Cinema (where they've dropped prices to $9.95!) I liked it, but not so much after the poker game finished. The opening scene was really good, as was the first chase scene in Madagascar.

This Thursday some of the stores in the neighbourhood are having a little street festival, that they've called Holiday Wanderlust. It stretches along Queen E between Pape and Jones. We live near Pape, and Maricar lives near Jones, so we think it's custom-made party just for us.

Leo (the neighbour's cat) has been visiting quite a bit lately. He's now waiting in the morning for us to check the mail, and he bounds into the house when the door is opened. Usually he just meows around for a few minutes, checks out the scene in the backyard (he's figured out how to peek through the blinds on the back door), peers into the basement, and then leaves for the rest of his obviously busy day.

We finally had a nice weekend, so I was able to start on winterizing things. Drained the hose and turned off the outside tap, and wrapped our evergreens in burlap. I'm not sure if it makes a difference, but Maricar (who is much more knowledgeable on these things) said the tips would get cold burn and brown on their tips.

We're having asian chicken pot for dinner tonight, I'd better get cooking.

Monday, November 20, 2006

My new passport came in today, and so I can now go traveling again! (Heather and I are going to Morocco in the new year, when she completes her dissertation.) There's a few new things in the new passport -- the photo is scanned and printed (instead of the actual physical photo that I submitted), there's a bar code, and my signature is also scanned and printed. I completed the application online, and submitted in person at the Passport office downtown. There was no line-up at all. It's actually $10 cheaper to have the passport mailed (instead of picking it up in person), and today it appeared.

Heather and I have added Indonesia to the short list for our honeymoon (it's the only place on the list so far). It meets all the criteria: beaches (Bali), ruins (Boronbudur, the last major ruin on my list), cool natural sites (Kelimutu).

Maricar's coming over for dinner shortly, and we're having the grilled steak with bourbon sauce. I bought Jack Daniel's so it will be a true bourbon sauce, and not a whiskey-based sauce. I had the guy at the meat counter cut a 2" t-bone steak for me. He really enjoyed cutting the special order.

I got my car back last Friday, and it looks as good as new. They replaced the damaged panels, so it looks better than it did before, because there's no normal wear-and-tear (little nicks from stones etc). There were only two things that I liked about the rental Chrysler 300 -- the trunk could hold both my golf clubs and my hockey bag at the same time, and it took regular gas.

Friday evening we met up with Kristin (Heather's close friend from her PhD program) and her family et al for drinks at Hemingways. (She was celebrating her convocation). I met a few people in Heather's circles for the first time, that I only had pictures in my head from Heather mentioning them in stories. Afterwards, Heather, Reuven and I went for a bite at the Rebel House. It is an anomaly, a bar with actual history in Toronto. I liked it.

I made Shepherd's pie for the first time last Tuesday. It turned out quite well. Only later did I find out that I really made Cottage pie.

Anyways I should go start cooking.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

I dropped my car off on Tuesday at Bayview Steeles Auto Collision. My rental car is a Chrysler 300. I have no feel for the road in the thing, I'm floating around somewhere in the lane. It doesn't even have heated seats. It'll take about 8 - 10 days for my car to be repaired. Because the other driver was at fault, my deductible was waived, so it's not costing me anything.

On Thursday our hockey game was on the big ice on Rink A. We lost 3-0. Most of the team (including me) came out flat -- nobody had energy, which was made worse with the big ice. I had a couple good chances to score but couldn't get the handle on the puck. We also had three guys returning from injuries, so they weren't in game shape yet. (I couldn't use that excuse though).

Wednesday night I ran another Operations Tour of the Star. My group supports all the computer systems that are used to put the paper together at One Yonge, and then to print it at VPC (our print facility north of Toronto at Hwy 400 & 7). I work with all the groups along the way, so it's easy for me to put together the tour. Years ago (when I first started at the Star in 2000) it used to be run by a director, and the tour was named after her (the "Audrey Burke tour"). She retired in 2001, and I've been running the tours since then. The participants are mostly new hires, from all over the Star. It starts at 8pm at One Yonge, goes to VPC around 11pm, and ends at a distribution drop site around 2:30am. The "drop site" is actually just a parking lot where the trucks meet the carriers to give them the papers. Most people find it amazing after seeing all the high-tech stuff involved in producing the paper, that the last step is so low-tech. But that's how the paper gets to your door.

We have had a lot of rain over the last week, and most of the leaves have now fallen. Wednesday morning was the biggest falling of leaves -- the backyard looked like after a snow fall, except instead of a smooth covering of snow, everything was covered with yellow leaves. I'm not sure what to do with the leaves in the front -- it's all a flower garden covered with wood chips, so it's not possible to rake. I thought about just leaving the leaves to compost, but I didn't want them blowing all over the neighbours. I'll have to see what other people do.

Tried another LCBO recipe last night, Roasted Veal Chops with Mushroom Sauce and Truffle Oil. The recommended wine wasn't available, but the LCBO guy suggested a similar wine, Vincent Girardin 2004 Pinot Noir from Bourgogne. The wine was good, but we weren't that impressed with the recipe. I think the flavours were supposed to be subtle (especially the truffle oil), but Heather and I prefer recipes with a BAM!!!.

Still trying to decide what to do today. I may start organizing the basement, or I may just read my book. I'm almost done the Douglas Adams book.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Here's the damage to my car:

I took Friday off to take the car to the BMW-recommended body shop (Bayview Steeles Auto Collision (BSAC)). Their quote is somewhat higher than the Aviva-recommended body shop; so BSAC has to come to an agreement with Aviva. Then I can drop the car off and get a rental. BSAC thinks it will take 8 - 10 days for the repairs. (I have to check if my insurance has a maximum amount for the rental period.)

Friday turned out to be a poor choice of day to take a vacation day. There was a problem with a water main on our street and we received a note late Thursday that our water would be off from 9am - 5pm on Friday. So I was up early on my day off to be out of the house by 9am. We went to Okay Okay for breakfast; then took the car to BSAC.

The rest of the day we had planned to spend shopping for winter clothes. I got most of my stuff from Max's (on the NW corner of Queen and Pape, about one minute from our house). Went to Island Foods for lunch because Heather had never been to this Toronto landmark (the best roti in Toronto). Then shopped briefly on Queen W before calling it a day.

Got back home around 4pm, and the water wasn't on yet. I talked to the water guys out on the street, and they said it wouldn't be on for at least 3 - 4 hours! We had Tony's 40th birthday party to be at at 8pm, so this was a bit of an inconvenience. We freshened up at Maricar's, taking our bathroom baskets and towels to her house like we were going to the spa.

Tony's party was pretty good. We had missed dinner with the water problems, so spent most of the party around the food table. We got home pretty late, around 3:30am.

Saturday was a write-off. We got up around 10am, had breakfast, and went right back to bed. Woke up again around 4pm, in time to run the errands we had planned. We went to Tomi Kro's for dinner, to celebrate Heather completing her latest chapter. It was excellent as usual. We had a different waitstaff, and our usual waiter came over to make sure that our new waitress was taking care of us. She recommended a very good wine match, so we think we'll be in good hands no matter who is serving us in the future.

We lost our hockey game on Thursday, which meant I was 1-2-1 for the week. (Craig and I have a goal to have a 3-0 week). (We had a doubleheader last Sunday, so had four games in the week).

Just watching the rest of the Patriots-Colts game and then I'm going to bed.