Monday, November 30, 2009

A Nice Day for a Niçoise

Sometimes, your body needs a salad. And I'm all for that, but sometimes your body also needs some meat and some protein and some something other than green.

And that's where chicken and salmon and eggs and tuna and nuts come in. Salads can be made of lots of things. And a Niçoise covers so many of these satisfying bases.

Now, if I was Natasha, I'd include fresh, seared tuna. But I'm not, so instead I used canned, though something nice and white, of the Albacore variety. Steamed potatoes and crisp green beans. Hard boiled eggs doused in pepper and chopped capers. Oil and vinegar.

When you put it all together, few things are a greater symphony of flavours.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thank You, Beyoncé

We saw Beyoncé in concert this summer. It was incredible, to say the least. Jeff only got one photo before the battery on our point-and-shoot died. That said, it's a great shot from some amazing seats.

Her ABC special aired tonight, thank God, because it seems the entire world shuts down when America has a holiday! No new 30 Rock! Thursday nights used to be about something. Thanks for nothing, pilgrims!

(Kidding! Happy holidays, Americans. I ate cheese and crackers for dinner. Hope you enjoyed an incredible meal with your nearest and dearest. On this day, I'm so thankful for Beyoncé's thighs.)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ra Ra Ah Ah Ah Roma Ro Mama

I feel like I have things to say about Lady Gaga. I've become obsessed with everything about her. I think she's beautiful and kind of interesting. Her video for "Bad Romance" is incredible and an old school feat of music video production.

I'm being effusive, I know. But I'm . . . fascinated.

(Gaga in her new video, "Bad Romance")

UPDATE: We're seeing Lady Gaga on Saturday! OMG.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Happy Anniversary

It's hard to believe a year has gone by so quickly. Flubs and Tubs were married on a beautiful November day this time last year.

A friend once gave me and Jeff a wonderful compliment, and it suits these two as well. Nick and Natasha are so becoming of one another, drawing out the best and filling in the gaps where they inevitably exist. Marriage, by its simplest definition.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Mambo Italiano

Days are beginning to blur together. It seems I'm existing with a single focus, stumbling through the week, only 6 days between me and another Sunday dinner with Nick and Natasha.

While Natasha is both Polish and Italian, one side really does outweigh the other. She was raised in a very Italian household, her brothers big, sweet galoots and her Dad a quiet, homemade-wine-swilling contractor. She and her sisters are the requisite fast-talking, brassy broads. A sitcom could write itself within those walls.

Tonight she made us a pretty traditional Italian meal: antipasto of arugula and ricotta wrapped in prosciutto, olives, slices of bufala mozzarella, and sun dried red peppers. She followed it with steamed rapini and the best lasagna I've ever had in my life.

Layers of ground beef and veal sausage, her own tomato sauce, crumbled hard boiled eggs throughout. Béchamel sauce and everything: She cuts no corners. With dollops of ricotta sinking into the bubbling crust, it was moist and perfectly crisp, a corner piece on everyone's agenda.

Wine: Cellar No. 8, 2007 California Cabernet Sauvignon. Find it in the LCBO Vintages section. A fantastic value at $17.95 - It has a neat sort of sweetness that is a great counter to the acidic red sauce.

Coffee Time

I like few things more than a cup of coffee in the afternoon. Particularly when I'm at work, needing a pick-me-up, but at home too. So cozy on a quiet Sunday.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

School Me

I was a good student. I liked going to school. I hugged my teachers as long as was socially acceptable. All in all, the idea of school holds mostly positive memories. Which surprises me, really, considering the amount of bullying I withstood. From as early as I can remember until the end of Grade 9, I was tormented by an assortment of boys. And not in a good way.

After that, I settled nicely into the comfort and safety of the Music Department where I was, in relative terms, extremely cool. My best friend Sandi and I rose the ranks and eventually led the department, socially, by way of the Music Council. Like Student Council. For nerds.

This morning Sandi took me for a belated-birthday-brunch at a newish place in Liberty Village. It's called, aptly, School. It's a charming little cafe in, what looks like, a reclaimed auto-shop. They are wholly devoted to their theme, with more academic tchotches than most modern-day underfunded innercity schools.

It's such a neat spot. Matte black paint everywhere, chalkboard-style. A "film strip" on a big screen humming in the background. Great fixtures and chairs and high ceilings.

At first, I thought we'd stepped into Hipster Central - a place for the too-cool-for-school type, but the service was excellent and attentive, friendly and easygoing. The menu is fastened to a clipboard and the rich, gut-rotting coffee is served in giant mugs, rather than can-I-get-a-refill diner cups.

We both got the standard breakfast plate, which was just that: nothing particularly mind-blowing, though the sweet potato hashbrowns were a nice touch. A table nearby ordered a platter of tastes from the waffles and pancakes menu which looked incredible. Our server noted that he just threw it together for them. I like a restaurant that isn't married to its menu.

This was a case of sum total dining: Though our particular choices weren't groundbreaking, the atmosphere and service made the whole thing fun and kitschy. A red delicious apple at each setting and the bill tucked into a cute Progress Report envelope threw everything over the top cute-city.