Sunday, September 21, 2008

Have beer, will travel in the city of romance and heartbreak

St. Ambroise has a limited-time-only beer called the Great Pumpkin Ale that Liz found in a specialty grocery store in the Jean Talon market in Montreal and I must say, it's worth mentioning. Who knew hops and barley could live in harmony with the flavours of a pumpkin pie? Toronto, you're missing out.

In other news, some recent drama (that for once I was not involved in) has inspired me to verbalize how fortunate I am to have met a certain someone.


Sunday, September 7, 2008

Summa, summa, summa...time

A few things I have learned this summer:

I can get away with riding home on my bike drunk without much incident. Last Friday was certainly pushing since I, again, don't remember what route or what happened on the journey. This is not something to be proud of but I feel the need to mention it just to acknowledge the horseshoe wedged up my arse lest it may come shooting out at a very inopportune time. I was informed later that I tried to start a fight, and I also fell over riding around in circles.

Always trust your instincts when you first meet someone. There's always room for improvement but more often than usual my first impressions of someone are frighteningly accurate. I used to think I was just being a douche bag but now I have some grown man who does not believe in clean underwear, deodorant, not sleeping in cat piss mattresses, or anything else clean for that matter. The second floor is slowly being contaminated with toxic gases and I fear another months worth of exposure could lead to an environment that will no longer be able to sustain life. Hang in there Davey, we won't leave you behind.

Always bring an extra shirt. You sweaty fucking animal. I sweat a lot in the summer.

University Street is fun to bomb. A route that starts at Davenport and Keele that eventually takes you down University Street (dubbed accurately as the One Love Route) is a fun mash, especially at night. There is a bike lane, lights are pretty good, and it's on a gradual downhill slope which means you get to go really fast.

Seasonal ingredients make cooking a lot more interesting. While this may not be huge news to a lot of people, I found this obvious morsel of fact to be quite inspirational. Cooking with seasonal vegetables or fruits that change quite frequently, you're forced to be more imaginative and ultimately it's more inspiring to let your ingredients dictate your style. I believe peaches are still in season as with blueberries.

I'm sure there more that I haven't mentioned yet but this will do for now.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Epitome of...

Are you someone who leaves the crust after devouring all the "important parts" of a pizza slice? By the time you get to the built-in handle it's usually cold and unappealing to ram into your orifice. Try eating the pizza backwards next time. By backwards I mean crust first. While I let your mind recover after blowing it, I'd like to remind you that the base of this delicious, all-in-one, goombah, dish relies on a specifically crafted crust. If you're throwing it out it just means you aren't enjoying it to it's fullest and you're probably getting ripped off.

Scott Rao, author of the new espresso bible, once asked, "Are you enjoying that?" It's a simple question we often avoid (or forget) asking ourselves because we think we're getting what we pay for. This relegates the more economically endowed to be the sole beneficiary of culinary delight. Get fucked. Why can't you pay a fair price for something that should be standardized as "fair for others to consume".

McDonald's food is by no means cheap (for that you look to ethnic foods) and what you're paying for is certainly not quality but rather, the means for them to skull fuck you through marketing. We don't need to get into the gory with that one because no one is fooled and we know crack-cocaine when we see it. I'm talking about when the other night I stepped into (we'll hide the name for the time being) Pizza Joint X and ordered two, no nonsense, pepperoni slices and scarfed them down round-side first, point-side last, I thought to myself, "This ain't bad, because if the crust is already this good, the rest must be rockin'." And it was. For a mere three and a half dockets I had a decent amount of toppings, gooey cheese, average sauce, and good crust. It wasn't no potato crust, with homemade pesto, topped with feta, artichokes, and smoked salmon joint (made by yours truly) but it was three fucking fifty. Both parties walked away feeling like they didn't get ripped off. Is that really too much to ask?

Cheap food doesn't necessarily have to be shit innit? On the other hand places like Fresh are making a killing off of a trend they can't even claim as their own. They're just capitalizing on the ignorant masses scared into thinking that if they stopped eating a certain thing they'll be able to squeeze into their stretchy yoga pants or maybe their fake'n bake won't look as fluorescent if everything they consumed was CERTIFIED ORGANIC. At least McDonald's created their own image and put in the effort to make up fun-loving cartoon characters. The owners of Fresh should be shot for putting together the words "miso" and "gravy" together. Anyone with any real knowledge knows there isn't even three (cost) dollars worth of food in those fifteen dollar plates of piss-poorly prepared "ethnically influenced" dishes.

The problem, as well, is that food can be subjective on top of economics and you can't tell a dog who's eating shit, that he's eating shit. Someone who is raised on toonie Tuesdays isn't going to have as much of a discerning palette and therefore retain the idea of value = quantity. It's helpless but to each their own. But for some who can actually cook (and cook well) for themselves won't necessarily like things done the same way. Bacon can be done crispy or stringy and sometimes it's hard to discern subjective critics apart from personal preferences. It's not always so clear cut. One way of getting past it is asking the magic Rao question. Deviations from personal preferences don't necessarily ruin the experience but would rather be further enhanced by modifying certain attributes of the approach thus the enjoyment is still present. Other times you're just fucked in the head like everyone else. The acquisition of attaining the "full enjoyment" of a product doesn't require a fundamental change of the original structure, therefore it is clear to discern the level of quality also intentions.

So eating a pizza crust first lets me cuts through the bullshit (MOST of the time) and figure out their intentions. Any takers?