05 February 2007

Catsup. Or. catch up.

Well, it's official. I am officially unemployed for the next few weeks. Wow. It's hard to get my brain around. I keep feeling like I should be remote desktopping into my office, or coughing when I answer the phone "just in case" but nooooo... this is how G-d intended this... time off, healthy and housebound cause it's freezing cold outside. It's fantastic, all in all.

So we've had quite a few big meals of late. Dinner's with friends, Superbowl extravaganza, that sort of thing, so let me start at the beginning of the "roll" --

Two or three Friday's ago was a winterlicious dinner at Far Niente. For those of you not familiar with winterlicious (or it's sister, summerlicious) let me tell you it's the value of the year. During this promotion, which has been running for about three years, I think, you can book reservations at many of Toronto's nicest restaurants, and have a prix fixe three course dinner for around $35. Quality varies, as does service, but we have had so many fine meals this way, we book the second reservations become available. Often, the restaraunts will also have a special value cocktail or wine and it's really amazing.

So a few of us started this year's with dinner Far Niente. The dinner there was outstanding. For starters, we had a choice between two things I didn't get, and a fantastic smoked bacon, scotch bonnet and collared green soup. The soup was hot and brothy and smokey and fantastic. I couldn't believe how delicious it was. It was thinner than anticipated, and the greens were more of an accent, but truly spectacular.

The main course spoke to the core of me... baked chicken breasts with fontina cheese and truffle oil macaroni and cheese. Oh my stars. Just look at this bad picture of this great food:

The dessert course? Who can remember? Some sort of chocolate-y butter tart, I think.

All good... so I am reading this book, the Omnivore's Dilemma, which is really changing the way I think about food. It's so fascinating. But of course, whenever I read about the evil's of processed food, I crave it (I think this is a uniquely American reaction)... anyway, so stayed up ate reading last week and promptly had to start the morning with McD's... It was the first McD's in many weeks, and likely the last for some time to come...but yes, despite it's corn-iness, it was delicious...


So on goes the awful week, tidying up the bad job in pursuit of the three weeks off that will bring me to hopefully the new good job and all that... The last day of my most current employment (Friday) brought me leaving early in order to take a friend from Barrie out to dinner in the great downtown core. Did winterlicious come knocking? Oh yes it did!

We had a great lunch at Brassaii on King Street. Now in fairness, the prices aren't so high that I wouldn't eat here normally, but man, what a diverse and delicious lunch this was. The appetizer was baked goat cheese with greens... fine, good, yeah for goat cheese. But the main? Oh yes, it spoke to me in the primal tones of hamburger... hamburger with aged cheddar, smoked bacon and love. Okay, the love part wasn't on the menu, but it was present in the food! The hamburger:

Now again, I am reading this book and the feedlot info is making me really start to question my meat consumption. I am doing some research to see the differences between feedlots in the US, which Michael Pollan discusses, and those in Canada, but am not having tons of luck... if anyone has anything, please let me know, because I really do want to start buying more responsibly. His chapter on Whole Foods... oh my.

Anyway, dessert there was wholly unnecessary, but a fine little mix of chocolate pate and a too lemon-y creme brulee. But all in all, it was enjoyable. I was so full after (plus the two glasses of sparkling chardonnay AND a cup of coffee) that I had to go home and rest for an hour!!!

The next morning brought a new opportunity for brunch. Now I have been craving brunch at Sneaky Dee's, but many of my friends find the atmosphere there too... young... so they don't want to go there. But Peter was game, so we had a delicious breakfast of Burro Favorito (I think it's called), which is eggs, sausage and cheese scrambled together, placed in a flour tortilla, lightly grilled and then covered in red chili sauce and baked off. Served with small salad, rice and refried beans, I honestly might as well just eat nowhere else... I mean look at this beauty:

Everyone seemed to enjoy their little bundle of brunch, I know I did! I have some more pics to post, but I am running out of battery power on the macbook, so am going to have to wait until later.

Cheers everyone, and send those restaurant ideas my way!

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