Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Aware, What?

Monday and Tuesday saw me attending a seminar in downtown Toronto. A course on management. A two day, 9-5 course on management. With working lunches. And you know what? It was utterly exhausting, and one of the most rewarding seminars that I have ever been a part of.

But even more excellent? It afforded me the opportunity to have an excellent dinner with an excellent co-worker at Kultura.

Oh, the eats - the eats, they ruled. Served tapas-style (like everyone else in the city, it seems), and we ordered the following to share:

  • Salad of arugala, regianno, enoki and shiitake with a light citrus vinaigrette
  • Chilled vegetarian terrine of roasted mushroom, carrot, onion, eggplant and chevre
  • Crispy Thai tofu on a puddle of hoisin and nam prik
  • Mushroom orecchiette in a cheddar and cream sauce served in a ball-shaped earthenware bowl that allows the chef to bury a Malivoire pear right in the middle

The orecchiette was one of the most amazing pasta dishes I have ever ate, and the crispy tofu was absolute perfection. The vegetarian terrine was perfectly prepared and balanced veg, spice and cheese in an amazing way.

The room itself was incredibly beautiful and hip without giving me a headache.

Lovely, lovely.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Foot-Cheese Burp

Last night, my friend Brad and I ate at Perigee. It was an incredibly fun night, more so because of the company then the food. That's not to say that the meal stunk, because it didn't. It was quite good, but it didn't knock the socks off my ass, like I had wanted or expected it to do.

I really liked the concept of the open kitchen, and we were seated kitchen-side, in fact, right in front of where that guy who isn't Chef Pat Riley is standing in the picture of the dining space to your right. You could see the Chef and his sous working on dishes as you dined, and every time a server would drop off our plates, Chef would come over, stand in front of us, and tell us all about what we were about to eat.

There were a couple of things with the food that didn't make me freak my shit. For a kitchen that has been rated as highly as they have both in the press, in food forums and on other blogs, I think that each element on a plate should be able to stand on its own. When tasted separately, they should shine and be absolutely delicious on their own, and when eaten with the other bits, should send you into a seizure of delight. That didn't happen. And there was too much food all around. We ordered the 5 course tasting menu, which really turns out to be eight or nine, all-in. I don't really know what Brad had, excepting the dishes that I was able to sample off of, but it what I didn't have looked good.

Here's what I out in my belly:

  • Amouse Bouche - 4 pieces, shared between the two of us. Nothing memorable enough for me to make mental note of
  • Bread Plate - Bread made in restaurant. Slices of country bread, bread sticks and mini buns served with a butter that they churn themselves, an olive spead, and oil for dipping.
  • First - Savoury mini bread pudding with pan fried crispy eggplant strips. The bread pudding was lovely though the edges were a little too dry, and the eggplant was great. When eaten together, the flavours of both came together nicely.
  • Second - Braised celery root on a bed of something or other. Not as flavourful as I would've liked.
  • Third - Grilled avocado on a bed of something or other that had a nice pickle-y-citrus-y flavour, accompanied by mini vegetable tempura. The grilled avocado really was a brilliant idea that I am going to have to steal. The tempura was bland.
  • Palate Cleanser - One was a shot of child citrus and vodka, and the other was a spoon of bellini-style ice.
  • Fourth - Cabbage roll filled with rice and raisins on a bed of something or other. Being brought up on cabbage rolls as a child, I wasn't expecting it to taste good, but the cabbage leaf was paper thin, and nearly melted on the tongue. That, matched with a well seasoned savoury rice and raisin stuffing made me wish that THOSE were the cabbage rolls that I had been familiar with!
  • Pre-desert - Me: a mini banana brulee, but not with banana pieces, with the banana mixed into the creme. Brad: four mini sweet gnocchis in a kiwi reduction. The banana brulee was heavenly, and I want to try to make it myself. The kiwi reduction made the gnocchi.
  • Dessert - chocolate mousse rolled in crushed hazelnuts placed on top of a wild raspberry reduction. Brad had a cheese plate instead or dessert, and there were three cheeses - a soft, stinky like a foot goat cheese, a soft cows milk cheese, and a hard goat cheese. The hard goat was my favourite, but a bit more mellow then I like my cheeses. The stinky goat was pretty dirty tasting, but I'm not a fan of stinky cheese in general.
The end.

PS: That's right, my ass wears socks.

PSS: Kate, when Brad sends me the pictures he took of me lovely frock, I'll send them to you!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Today is My Birthday

It is, it is! I freaking love birthdays so much, I can't even begin to tell you.

Here's what happened last year. This year? I bet it'll be EVEN BETTER. Because my birthdays? They rule.

Updates tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Soma Chocolate - Recommendations, Please

On Friday, I will find my fine self in the Distillery District of Toronto, as I shall be a-Birthday dining at Perigee. But that got me thinking...what other lovely things are in down there? What other, lovely, tasty things made of chocolate? Oh, right, Soma!

So I need your recommendations on products. Please keep in mind that I like dark chocolate, the kind that sits at 70% cacao content, and I'm not too fond of whole nuts.

Okay, GO!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

HaHa, PT Cruiser!

The PT Cruiser is the funniest car on the planet. Funny because it's disgustingly ugly while pretending to be cool. And funny because it's whole initial marketing plan revolved around the idea that people who didn't like the PT Cruiser simply didn't "get it".

People who have "it", apparently, have a horrid sense of styles and taste.

When I went on my first inter-province business trip with my current supervisor (hi, Lorne), I made him rent a PT Cruiser as our conveyance from airport to hotel, as I thought it would be incredibly funny to (a) ride in one, and (b) make him drive one. It wasn't until we sat down in the damn thing that I realized what a bad, bad decision we had made. The interior of the car was seemingly designed with the needs of a spastic monkey in mind, and ranked a -10 on the human-machine ease-of-use scale.

I bring this up because ever since, in separate incidents, both Lorne and I have been forced to travel in PT Cruisers, against both our better judgment and wishes. In fact, TODAY, while traveling on out to an off-site location with some co-workers, we were driven there in a PT Cruiser. It pained me to hold in my snickers as our driver pointed out her ride.

The end.

On a completely different note, Sunday marked the return of the most awesome team to ever appear on reality TV. Oh, Oswald and Danny from Season 2 of The Amazing Race, how I love you, and how I hope you leave every other team in the dust (psst: especially the intensely annoying and culturally offensive Myrna and Charla. Rrrrrrrrrrrrr-AAA-p-EEEE-doooooo, indeed).

Saturday, February 17, 2007


But because I am an ass, I have a hard time being serious when cameras are involved.

I also tend to think I'm the funniest person on the planet.

HAIRBAND! Seriously, short short hair can give you so many options.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Etsy Releases the Artists, Artisans and Crafters

It does, it does. Which is awesome, but also problematic. If there was one thing that I could change about Etsy, it's to be able to filter members by Country. Because me? I like to support local artists, if possible. And also, I hate having to deal with duties and taxes that come with cross-border shipping.

That being said, my current favourite Etsy stores belong to Victoria, BC-based leather artisans:

I love Bonspiel's prints and amazing use of colour, and am THIS CLOSE to asking her to custom make me a purse with theme there lovely owls at the top of this post.

I am also pretty down with Hollyhawk's leather cuffs. Leather cuffs! Brings me back to my indie rock roots. If indie rock was played in the middle of a forest. With an audience comprised of corduroy and backpack wearing birds.

Oh, there's one more thing that I would change about Etsy. I would wish that they'd set up RSS feeds for each shop so I could be notified of additions to my favourite stores instead of having to continually having to come back to visit them. But that's just because I am demanding. And a geek.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

I Rue the Day

That I expressed serious concern about the warm, sunny, no-snow winter my part of the world was experiencing. Because the cold, and the dark, and the snow? It has settled in. And it is chapping my ass, both figuratively and literally. Windchill, my ass, indeed.

And as much as I love Chicago, I hate the way it is currently sending mountains of snow and windchills that are naught but deathly my way.

PS: Guess episode of CSI:NY aired in France, oh, say, an hour ago?

Monday, February 12, 2007

Blogging Regrets

Ever post something that you regret? I think we all do. With me, it's not a case of regretting posting things that are too intimate, or to revealing, as I have no shame, but posting something that brings a bargazillion people here because I feel like it inflates my stats.

Waaaaaay back in April 2006, I blogged about the end of an episode of CSI: NY. In my usually assy way, I made fun of it. Because that's what I do. Little did I know that in all of the months following, I would get between 5 and 1500 visits a day from people entering a very unique word that was featured prominently in the episode into search engines.

On the upside, I've learned a lot about how US TV productions have episodes aired following their North American premiere around the world. And maybe I've encouraged some of those thousands of visitors to return and read the other things I've written.

PS: Here's an image that pops up when you Google "Blogging Regrets".

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Problem Solved

Here's how:

Frustration is a Dead Hard Drive

Or rather, not being able to recover any data from a dead hard drive, so that you have to start from scratch on the new one that was installed this morning. And don't even talk to me about should-ofs and back-ups, okay? Lesson learned.

That being said, I can't transfer my music from my IPod to my new hard drive, as ITunes is telling me that my IPod is synced with a different computer. It makes the excellent offer to sync my IPod with the new hard drive, but only if I'm willing to erase everything off of my IPod. Which, I'm pretty sure, is the OPPOSITE thing of what I want to do.

I do so wish for Obi Wan-type intervention. Anyone?

Friday, February 09, 2007

My Poor Little Computer

She is sick. And, in fact, she may be dead.

This morning, while i was in the middle of geeking out before heading to the gym and then work, she froze up, and when I attempted to reboot, said, in ominous tones, "Primary Drive cannot be found".

Ahhhh, crap.

So she's at the hospital now, and my little work laptop has come home with me.

Please wish her a speedy recovery - or, at least, a recovery of my goddamn data.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

I Have a Bad Habit

When it the year starts to creep up to February, I start to celebrate the idea of my birthday by purchasing birthday presents for myself.

So far, here's the haul of goodies that I've given to myself:

And this hilarious contact lens case, which I blame on Amblus:

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Who knew that the Internet society would mature to a point where social media sites would be used for more then spying on people from our pasts? I KNOW! But it's true.

I joined today. You can find recipes, and share your own. And you can comment and suggest alterations on the recipes that you've tried out. Hot, and also, damn.

If you do decide to join the community, I'm going to be tacky and as that you do so by making use of this link: Join You may just help me win a new kitchen. And then I'll make something insane and tasty in it for you.

While you're there, take a look at the first recipe that I posted to the site:

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Its Former Co-Worker Week

Over at ItsAMonkey.

That's right, and it's delightful. Today, I met with June Li, now of ClickInsight, at Crazy Sushi (who have a quite nice vegetarian sushi offering). And Thursday, the ItsAMonkey Car Service will be picking up Kate from the local GO station and making sure that we fill our bodies full of caffeine in coffee format. Or maybe that will be just me.

Anyone else want to get in on the action?

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Consider This A Placeholder

Because I don't think any of you have a birthday in the immediate future, and mine ain't until the end of the month, but I don't want to forget about, and then lose this awesome picture that my friend Pamela found.

Also, a coworker asked me what I blog about. I didn't hesitate to tell him "Robot monkey pirates". I have suspicions that there is something very, very wrong with my brain.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Things That I Like About Calgary

  • My friend Dani
  • The King and I. Specifically, the Pad Tofu Long Song with brown rice at The King and I.
  • Cindy at the Traders Grill at the Marriott. I swear, the woman must see a bargazillion people in a year, and yet she remembers me, even though I only come to town two or three times a year, and the off-menu items I get with my breakfast. "Melissa!" she says, "Go sit at your usual table! I'll get your bottle of water and your bananas!" It makes me feel like Norm from Cheers. But without the testosterone and beer.
  • Today, the flirty piece of not-ordered baklava (even though I don't like baklava) that found it's way into my take away bag alongside my falafel sandwich this afternoon.
  • Remembering that Alberta is right in the heart of Old Dutch country, and the bag of Sour Cream and Onion chips that will be coming home with me. As an aside, rumour has it that Old Dutch's take-over of Humpty Dumpty will see the Old Dutch brand making it's way back into Ontario this year. Which may have made me cry tears of joy.

Because I love you, here is a picture of what I will be tomorrow morning, as I finally come on back home. To stay. For a little while, at least.