Friday, 10 July 2020

The Heartbreak Chef, Toronto, ON

We had a power blackout last Friday night so we sat outside with some of our neighbours, had a drink and chatted.  The chat turned to fried chicken and Andrew and Nonna said how good the fried chicken is at the Heartbreak Chef (Queen Street W/Brock Avenue in Parkdale).  It's been in our heads all week so that's where Gord and I picked up supper this evening.

We both got three-piece fried chicken dinners ... the dinner came with tator tots and cole slaw.  The chicken is boneless and there are two sauces for it ... buffalo and jerk.  Gord got his with no sauce and I got jerk sauce on the side.  I'm glad I did ... I love jerk sauce and this was too spicy.  I'm not a fan of cole slaw so gave mine to Gord and he said it was really good.  The tator tots were fun ... they were a bit spicy (but in a good way).  The chicken is boneless and tasty.  I dipped mine in the creamy Frank's Red Hot and it was good.  There was lots of food and we both have leftovers for tomorrow.

Jerome was friendly and chatty.  Thanks, Jerome!

Book ~ "Outrageous Misfits: Female Impersonator Craig Russell and His Wife, Lori Russell Eadie" (2020) Brian Bradley

From Goodreads ~ Craig Russell was an internationally admired entertainer and actor, known for his outrageous impersonations of some of Hollywood's greatest female celebrities: Mae West, Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler, Carol Channing, and Judy Garland, to name a few. Lori Russell Eadie, a shy theatre lover, was Craig's No. 1 fan and, eventually, his wife.

Together they were fun, fabulous, and eschewed convention. But behind the curtains, Craig and Lori's lives were troubled by their mental health, drug addiction, sexual assault, and abuse.

Through nearly one hundred interviews and extensive research, Outrageous Misfits reveals the life and legacy of one of the world's most popular female impersonators and his biggest fan. 

Craig Russell (1948 - 1990) was a Canadian female impersonator and actor.  He was born and passed away in Toronto.  To the disappointment of his father, growing up he was more interested in girly things.  As a teenager, he started a Mae West fan club and realized his dream by briefly working and living with her in California.  When Craig returned to Toronto, he worked as a hairdresser and started pursing his career as a female impersonator in gay clubs around Toronto.  Eventually he became famous worldwide doing impersonations of Carol Channing, Bette Davis, Mae West, Barbra Streisand, Tallulah Bankhead, Marlene Dietrich, Bette Midler, Anita Bryant, Shirley Bassey, Peggy Lee and Judy Garland.  In 1977, he starred in the film Outrageous!, based on a short story written by a friend and former roommate, and it won film festival awards.  In 1987, he starred in the sequel, Too Outrageous!.

In 1982, Craig married Lori Jenkins (1958 - 2008).  Lori was obsessed and in love with Craig and catered to his every need.  At times he found her suffocating and would push her away but other times needed her in order to feel loved.  They spent many years apart (Craig's choice while he lived in Europe) and she took him in when he moved back to Toronto penniless a couple years before his death.

After Craig's AIDS-related, Lori became a dresser, working on some of the larger theatre productions that came to Toronto.  When she passed away from cancer, she was buried next to her husband in Port Perry, ON.

I like reading bios/autobios and this one caught my eye because Craig and Lori were Canadian and from Toronto.  I'd heard of Craig Russell but had never seen any of his work.

Both came from messed-up abusive childhoods ... Craig reacted by being as loud and flamboyant as possible and Lori was quiet and compartmentalized everything.  Lori loved Craig but he didn't love her back.  No matter how badly he treated her, she always stayed with him.  At some points, Craig had it all ... fame and fortune ... but he blew it all on drugs, alcohol and partying.  He had mental illness, which wasn't talked about then as it is today.  He acted out a few times and lost everything including money and respect.

I liked the writing style and it was obviously well-researched ... the author spoke with their family, friends and colleagues and had access to Lori's journals and daytimers.  Not only does it discuss Craig and Lori's life but it also gave background about what it was like being gay in the 1970s right up today.

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Fat Bastard Burrito Co., Toronto, ON (Queen Street W)

I love love love burritos and picked one up at Fat Bastard Burrito (Queen Street W/Dovercourt Road) for lunch today.

As of today, you have to wear a mask inside everywhere in Toronto.  It wasn't enforced here and weren't worn either by customers or the employees (I wore mine).

I ordered a "big" burrito, which is their in-between size.  I got chicken, refried beans, cheese, rice, mild salsa and burrito sauce.  It was okay but could have used more salsa and/or burrito sauce as it was a bit dry.

Monday, 6 July 2020

Book ~ "The Brideship Wife" (2020) Leslie Howard

From GoodreadsEngland, 1862. Charlotte is somewhat of a wallflower. Shy and bookish, she knows her duty is to marry but with no dowry, she has little choice in the matter. She can’t continue to live off the generosity of her sister Harriet and her wealthy brother-in-law, Charles, whose political aspirations dictate that she make an advantageous match.

When Harriet hosts a grand party, Charlotte is charged with winning the affections of one of Charles’s colleagues but before the night is over, her reputation - her one thing of value - is at risk. In the days that follow, rumours begin to swirl. Soon Charles’s standing in society is threatened and all that Charlotte has held dear is jeopardized, even Harriet, and Charlotte is forced to leave everything she has ever known in England and embark on a treacherous voyage to the New World. 

It's the the early 1860s and 21-year-old Charlotte is living with her sister, Harriet, and brother-in-law, Charles in England.  The sisters were left penniless when their parents died and Harriet was lucky that Charles married her.  Now it's Charlotte's turn to find a husband and she's being pressured to marry a man in Charles' social circle so it will advance his political aspirations.  Charles and Harriet have set her up with George but it turns out he is not the man they think he is.  When Charles learns that George is not happy with Charlotte, he banishes her on a brideship which is bound for Victoria, British Columbia.  With a shortage of women because of the gold rush in western North America, this ship is carrying 60 women who have no other options and are looking for new opportunities in their live.

This is the first novel by this author and, though I'm not a fan of historical period pieces, I liked it.  I liked the writing style and thought it flowed well.  It is written in first person perspective in Charlotte's voice.  I found the story interesting and learned much about a piece of Canada's history that I hadn't known much about.  It's amazing how different times are today.  A woman's role was to be a wife and mother and it didn't matter if she liked a man she was supposed to marry ... the accepted goal was to marry well and keep her mouth shut.

My Roti Place, Toronto, ON (King Street W)

I've been craving a chicken roti lately so headed to pick one up for lunch today at My Roti Place (King Street W/Strachan Avenue).

I love love love chicken rotis.  Here you "build your own", choosing the filler and sauce.  I got a chicken (it's white meat) roti with Classic Curry sauce.  It's been a while since I've had a roti and it was okay.

Sunday, 5 July 2020

Book ~ "Cappuccinos, Cupcakes, and a Corpse" (2015) Harper Lin

From Goodreads ~ Francesca Amaro moves back to her hometown of Cape Bay, Massachusetts, and takes over the family business, Antonia’s Italian Café. She spends her days making delicious artisan cappuccinos, until she stumbles upon her neighbor’s dead body. When the police discover Mr. Cardosi was poisoned, Francesca becomes a suspect.

The victim’s son, Matty, happens to be Francesca’s old high school friend. Together, they uncover the secrets of the locals in order to find the killer in their idyllic beach town.

Francesca is in her mid-thirties and working in New York for many years when her mother recently passes away.  So she moves back home to run the family Italian café in a small town in Massachusetts.  As she is taking a shortcut home one day from work, she discovers Mr. Cardosi dead in a chair on his porch.  Mr. Cardosi is the father of Fran's childhood friend, Matt, and they assume Mr. Cardosi had had a heart attack ... until the autopsy report comes back that he was poisoned.  Mr. Cardosi was a cranky easily annoyed man but who would want to murder him?  Because she found Mr. Cardosi, Fran feels the need to investigate and see if she can find out what happened and Matt encourages her to.

This is the first in the Cape Bay Cafe Mystery Series and the first I've read by this author. It is written in first person perspective in Fran's voice.  The "whodunnit" and ending came together really quickly.  It's a quick light read and I look forward to reading the rest in the series.  It's a "cozy mystery" so there is no swearing, violence or adult activity.

Saturday, 4 July 2020

Levetto, Toronto, ON (Sudbury Street)

Gord and I got supper this evening from Levetto, which is in our 'hood (at Dovercourt/Queen W).  They have been closed for a while because of Covid-19 so it's great to see them open again.

I got a large Pepperoni pizza ... it's the first time I've seen it on the menu.

Gord got a large Affumicato pizza (his usual).

The pizzas were really good and we have leftovers for tomorrow!

Click to add a blog post for Levetto on Zomato

Friday, 3 July 2020

Book ~ "The 20th Victim" (2020) James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

From Goodreads ~ Some people like to shoot. Some people like to kill.

Three victims, three bullets, three cities.

The first of these simultaneous serial killings occurs in San Francisco, Sergeant Lindsay Boxer's jurisdiction and reporter Cindy Thomas's beat. The shooters are precise, as is their target selection. Each one of the men and women down excels at an illegal and deadly activity that is dominating public debate. As the casualty list expands, the fear and fascination with this shooting gallery galvanises the county.

Are the shooter villains or heroes? And who will be next?

This is the twentieth in the Women's Murder Club series (I've read them all). Though it is part of a series, it works as a stand alone.  There are four members of the Women's Murder Club who have been friends for years ... police officer Lindsay, reporter Cindy, medical examiner Claire and prosecutor Yuki.  As in past books, though, the four aren't solving a murder together so what kind of a murder club is that?!  The only time the four women got together was at the end to party.

There are killers murdering people around the country who are selling drugs and Lindsay and her partner, Rich (who is living with Cindy), are part of the San Francisco team investigating.  Cindy was especially annoying ... she got mad at Lindsay because Lindsay wouldn't reveal confidential information pertaining the case so Cindy couldn't get the scoop ahead of everyone else.  Claire was basically non-existent because she has lung cancer (huh??!!) and has surgery to remove half a lung.  Yuki is prosecuting a young man who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time ... he was driving a car for a drug dealer who shot a police officer and took off.  The young man isn't talking so is charged with everything and Yuki doesn't think this is right.

As in previous books, I wondered if the two authors had written different chapters and hadn't read each other's.  Or the editor(s) slacked off.  For example, we learn in detail that Brady, who is Lindsay's boss, is married to Yuki.  Then a couple chapters later, basically the same paragraph appears.  Yep, I know ... I didn't forget who he is.  It's like they were introducing a new character but weren't.  This happened a couple times.  Or we learned that Joe's university buddy, Dave, gave Joe and Lindsay a safe ... and a couple chapters later we're told about it like we'd never heard the backstory.

I liked the short choppy chapters.  The point of view shifted ... it was first person perspective when the focus was on Lindsay and third person perspective when the focus was on others such as Cindy, Yuki, etc.  But at one point, Claire and Lindsay are talking and Lindsay's voice shifted from first person to third person back to first person again.  As a head's up, there is swearing.  The end came very quickly and was pretty lame.

The book could have been more focused ... there were some side stories that had nothing to do with anything.  Joe goes off to help Dave whose father had just passed away.  Dave suspects his father's doctor had murdered his dad and doesn't hide his suspicions.  Joe's not sure whether Dave is delusional because he's grieving or if the father was, in fact, murdered and is determined to find out and help his friend.  The ending to that side story was really lame.  Cindy is stuck working with a sleazeball named Jeb and the ending to that was really lame too.  Within a week of having half a lung removed because of cancer, Claire is out eating and boozing it up with her friends.  Seriously?!

I'm so glad I borrowed this ebook from the library rather than paying for it.

Thursday, 2 July 2020

Fan and feather dish cloth

I knitted a fan and feather pattern dish cloth tonight ... I like this pattern and have made many over the years.

I used Bernat Handicrafter Cotton Yarn (Poppy) cotton yarn and size 4.5mm knitting needles

Cast on 42 stitches (or a multiple of 18 plus 6)

Knit 3 rows of garter stitch for the border

Row 4: Knit

Row 5: K 3, P to last 3 stitches K3

Row 6: K3, *(K2 tog) 3 times, (yo, K1) 6 times, (K2 tog) 3 times, rep from * to last 3 sts K3

Row 7: Knit

Repeat Rows 4 - 7, keeping first and last 3 stitches in garter stitch, until piece measures desired length

Knit 3 more rows of garter stitch to make the bottom border

Cast off and darn in ends.

Honeycomb (aka Newfie) knitted mittens

I was in Walmart on Sunday and wandered into the yarn section.  This Red Heart Super Saver Stripes (Polo) yarn caught my eye because it was so colourful so I picked up four skeins.

I just finished knitting a pair of Honeycomb (aka Newfie) mittens with it.  I usually have black as the main colour and something else as the second colour but this time I just used this yarn and I am happy with the way they turned out.  Very colourful!  I used 5mm double pointed needles.

  1. Cast on 42 sts
  2. Knit 1, purl 1 for 18 rows
  3. Purl
  4. Purl, increasing 2 stitches on each needle for a total of 48 stitches

  1.  *Knit 4, slip 2 purlwise*, repeat to the end of row
  2. Repeat this row 4 more times (5 in total)
  3. Purl 2 rows
  4. Knit 1, *slip 2 purlwise, knit 4*, repeat to the last three stitches, knit 3
  5. Repeat this row 4 more times (5 in total)
  6. Purl 2 rows

  1. In step 12 above, purl 2, put 7 stitches on a stitch holder for the thumb and cast on 7 stitches, purl to the end.  Purl 1 row.

  1. Knit the pattern until long enough (I did 6)
  2. Knit 1 row
  3. *Knit 4, knit 2 together*, repeat to the end
  4. Knit 2 rows
  5. *Knit 3, knit 2 together*, repeat to the end
  6. Knit 2 rows
  7. *Knit 2, knit 2 together*, repeat to the end
  8. Knit 2 rows
  9. *Knit 2 together*, repeat to the end
  10. Thread the yarn through remaining the loops and pull tight
  11. Weave end inside

  1. Pick up the 7 stitches from the holder
  2. Pick up 7 stitches around the thumb hole for a total of 14 stitches
  3. Knit to fit length of thumb
  4. Knit 2 together all around
  5. Thread the yarn through the remaining loops and pull tight
  6. Weave end inside