Monday, February 13, 2017

My Week - 2017 - 6

Finally, I am a day late. After six weeks, I finally get to a point where I am a little late. Well, I guess the subject of mediocrity is a good one then?

I have had some excellent food memories; a dinner with my former spouse at Lemon Meringue, and an amazing night at Hoof are two where the food was excellent. There was more to making those nights special and some of my other memories bear that out. A Good Friday searching for rice pudding where it ended up being Kozy Shack, hot hamburger with homemade french fries and my kids' cookies. None of those foods go beyond average nor do they need to. By definition, most of our food is going to be average. What we hope is that our average is higher due to most of our food having something more to them. Soul or love is something that is often brought up as something that is in these moments. Maybe it is hokey but with Valentine's Day around the corner, maybe I will let that pass.

This all came about because I ate at Harvey's. There was a time in my life when Harvey's gave me somewhere cheap to go where I could get fresh vegetables. I had a few vegetarian friends who would just go in and get a bun with a bunch of toppings and veg on them. This week, I went in and had their braised beef. Braising is one of my favourite techniques but this beef seemed as if it was cooked in an industrial process and then added to a flavoured brown gravy mix. It wasn't special and it was below mediocre. I just wonder if at one time I would have accepted that? I don't think so because my dad used to eat home canned beef that tasted similar. He fried onions, popped the top on the canning jar, added the contents. Once they were warmed together, he would serve them with potatoes, normally boiled, and bread. I remember tasting the pickling spices that were added. Bright lemony pepper bursts that I would today know to be coriander seed, hot heat of black pepper and the mellow-sharp bite of onion. This too was mediocre food of a different variety. Ordinary but made with the idea of tasting of something and to put you through times when there was no fresh meat. Too much of today's food is just to fill a gap. Raise your mediocrity to something just a bit more.

- Gillian, a Goose Island brew that I got for a fraction of the price one day at the LCBO when they were launching. I'm not sure how I feel about a $35.00 sticker but I got it for a lot less. An interesting sour beer.
- Stone's Xocoveza. A surprising beer which reads gimmicky but tastes a lot better than that. It is the equivalent of a good Mexican hot chocolate. When they are bad, they are horrid but when they are good, you can't imagine not trying one.
- Finally figured out that drink I was talking about a few weeks ago. It is called The Industry Standard. It looks like diarrhea in the glass but is really a deceptively good sour.
- And my last thing that I thought was interesting was a Vietnamese dragonfruit liqueur that was incredibly vinegary and would probably be better served with a little olive oil and greens.

- A braised beef sandwich and poutine at Harvey's. The less we talk about it, the more likely it will go away.

- Made a peanut sauce using a Thai recipe but immediately changed out ingredients; teriyaki sauce for soy, natural peanut butter for regular peanut butter, smoked maple syrup for brown sugar/palm sugar, and thai chilies for pepper flakes. Added to fried eggplant and fried cabbage

- about what is Valentine's food
- whether I will finally break my food slump
- about this book that I read on cider, but that will be a review this week, hopefully

Sunday, February 5, 2017

My Week - 2017 - 5

I am really regretting the name of this series. It doesn't quite do what I want in terms of creating something interesting. However, it does drive me to at least post once a week. I would be embarrassed to see the number creep by two. So, this is where I am. I had a bunch of bits and pieces planned but I am pre-empting it.

My son didn't make his program for high school and what I had planned seems to pale in comparison to what is happening in his life. He doesn't want to talk about it and wasn't interested in eating. That is a big deal. It is tough to want to help someone through something that they aren't ready to talk about. It is not the time to try and talk through what happened. He is too old to be comforted by a hug, platitudes and a kiss on the sore spot. He would rather sleep and be alone. So, I trudge to the grocery store to try and make some comfort. Nothing homemade, nothing complex. Something that will let him know that I care and that I kinda get it. So, hamburgers, fries and steamed veggies. Mostly mass produced but dependable. Hopefully he will at least eat something and realize that tomorrow will be different and there are some things in this world that don't change much. It may be some small buffer against the feeling that everything is wrong and always changing. The horrible feeling of not being in control. It is not time to point out what could be done differently. Now is the time to just be for a little bit.

So, horrible segue but change is also happening in food in Toronto. We have already heard about many closings in the past while of institutions. Add Dangerous Dan's to the list. At the corner of Broadview and Queen, it is being pushed by gentrification. Rents went up by 80% and they don't think they can continue to make a go of it. So, it will be closing at the end of May.

Big House Pizza is dropping a new menu starting on Monday. Minor changes to the menu with a few added pizzas and a meat sauce. I'm thinking, perversely, of ordering some of their veggie pizzas with this meat sauce.
- A great beer by a Cobden brewery, Whitewater Brewing, called Whistling Paddler. They also got called out for their sexist marketing by Ben in Ben's Beer Blog. Worth a read. And I remember tweeting about their can a while back.
- Some odd oolong tea that I had to add milk to. It is sweet and not sure how I feel about it. However, bulk barn had a sale and I can be a sucker for flavours I have not had before. Give this one a pseudopass. I think it will find its way into a dessert of mine.

- Neal Brothers has a take on Masala potato chips called Vij's Delhi-licious. Having had a few of these type of chips lately, my son likes this one the best.

- Doctored white miso soup with some togarisa. I use that shit on top of most of my soups. So good.

- Do we really need a coffee and tea festival?
- How much does locally roasted matter if the beans are sourced like everyone else's? Is it just to give some roastery jobs or is there some other value?
- The connection between emotions and appetite; sometimes I stress eat and other times, I cannot stomach any food.