Friday 31 December 2010

New Year's Eve

In the nine New Years Eves we've spent together, Gord and I have only celebrated at a bar once. The other years (including our first), we've laid low at home.

This evening we watched the Canada - Sweden World Junior hockey game (alas, Canada lost).

Gord BBQed steaks and baked potatoes for supper which were delicious!

We had a bottle of 2004 Hillebrand Merlot wine with supper. We've had it for a couple years and it seemed fitting to have it tonight (it was a $35 bottle of wine).


Ringing in 2011 will have us watching it on TV (Halifax, Toronto and Niagara Falls), sharing a bottle of bubbly with Gord at midnight, and calling Sister Sarah to wish her a happy new year.

Wednesday 29 December 2010

The Auld Spot Pub, Toronto, ON

Gord and I had read about the Cavalcade of Lights on College Street so we walked there to check them out. It was less extravagant than we thought it'd be.

While we were in the area, we stopped for a late supper at the Auld Spot Pub.

I really enjoyed the Chicken Drummies with honey-ginger sauce I'd had in November at the Danforth location so I ordered them as an appetizer.

Gord had the Shrimp and Cod Cakes (he'd had them at the Danforth location) and liked them.

Then I had the halibut and fries.

The fish was good but I was pretty full from the wings (my eyes were bigger than my belly!).

Gord ordered the duck breast special with truffle au jus with root veggies.

He's not a fan of root veggies so I shared my fish and fries with him.

The Hogtown Pub and Oysters on Urbanspoon

Graffiti's Bar & Grill, Toronto, ON

Gord and I walked to Kensington Market and checked out Graffiti's Bar & Grill ... we'd never been there before.

It's a small but cute place ... we sat at the bar.

Kitgut Stringband was playing and they were really good. On their Facebook page, they describe themselves as an oldtime stringband ... they sounded bluegrass with some Celtic reels thrown in. Apparently they play there every Wednesday night. Two fiddles, a guitar, a stand-up bass guitar and a banjo ... great combination!

You've got to love a place that has a Nova Scotia flag above the bar ... I'm from Nova Scotia and apparently the owner of the bar is too.

I'll be back!

Graffiti's Bar & Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Ballroom Bowl Bar Bistro, Toronto, ON

After Gord and I saw The Fighter, we went across the street to check out The Ballroom.

It is a new bowling alley/bar/bistro where Montana's Restaurant used to be (at Richmond W/John Street).

Though we didn't bowl, we had a beer while we watched others.

Looked like fun!

There's Gord checking out the prices.

It's $50 an hour per lane before 5pm and $75 an hour per lane after 5pm. Shoe rental is $5.

The tunes were good and and the place is loud. There are big screen TVs all over showing sports.

Upstairs is the bistro where you can have a bite to eat or play ping pong while you wait for a lane.

Craft Burger, Toronto, ON

Gord and I walked to Craft Burger on King Street W this afternoon and had a late lunch.

Here's the menu board.

We've been wanting to check them out for a while but it's always really busy ... as you can see, it's not a big place (there are only four tables).

Gord had a cheese burger combo with onion rings. I had a classic burger combo with fries ... here's mine.

The burger was really good ... the fries were so-so. Next time, I'd just get a burger.

If you are craving a burger, you should check it out!

Big Smoke Burger on Urbanspoon

Monday 27 December 2010

Bâton Rouge Steakhouse & Bar, Toronto, ON

Gord and I had supper at Bâton Rouge on Yonge Street this evening.

The place was jammed with shoppers but we managed to get a table.

It had been a while since Gord had been to one and he was craving the Chicken Tenders.

And that's what we both ordered ... I had mine with garlic mashed potatoes and he had fries and baked apples.

They were good! Yum!

Christmas downtown

Gord and I wanted to see True Grit today so we caught the 3:15pm show at the AMC.

We walked through the Eaton Centre to get to the theatre.

Man, it was jammed with shoppers hoping to still get a deal! The biggest line-up seemed to be at Abercrombie and Fitch.

The Swarovski Christmas Tree is still up.

A tough U.S. Marshal helps a stubborn young woman track down her father's murderer. Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon and Hailee Steinfeld.

It is based on the book rather than the original movie with John Wayne (I've only seen bits and pieces of the movie). I gave it 6/10 and Gord gave it 8/10 ... it's probably a guy thing.

After the movie, we walked through Yonge Dundas Square on our way to Bâton Rouge for supper and looked at the lights.

Hollywood on the Queensway, Etobicoke, ON

We met Gord's fencing coach, Nik, and his wife, Crissa, for brunch today.

The restaurant we were going to meet at had an hour wait.

We headed to some other restaurants down the street ... but discovered they don't open 'til 11:30am.

So we settled on Hollywood on the Queensway since it was open and in the area.

I had asked our server how the Spicy Chicken Curry was and he said amazing ... so I ordered it.

Alas, it wasn't amazing ... it was barely just okay. Gord wasn't overly enthused about this Cajun Chicken Wrap either.

And here we are ... Gord, me, Crissa and Nik.

It was nice to catch up with them.

The restaurant is run down and the booths looked like a herd of kitties had been let loose on them to scratch. I doubt I'll be back.

Sunday 26 December 2010

Book ~ "Accidentally Yours" (2010) Susan Mallery

From Amazon ~ WANTED:

-Single mom seeks billionaire's pocketbook to fund dying son's research cure. Will seduce if necessary. Blackmail is not out of the question. Miracles welcome.

-Cynical billionaire seeks working mom with a heart of gold for PR campaign to improve his standing in the community. Must be willing to attend social events. Anyone looking for love need not apply.

It seemed like the perfect match … until the unthinkable happened.

Kerri's son is dying and money is needed to fund the research to save him. So she manipulates Nathan in contributing millions of dollars to find a cure. Even though his son had died of the same disease, he remains cold. It's not until he realizes that he needs her wholesomeness that he agrees. Plus throw in Nathan's crazy bitter sister.

Though this was a romance novel, it had a sad storyline since a child was dying ... not my usual kind of book. I enjoyed the writing style and the story moved quickly. I'd recommend it.

Was there a happy ending? Did Kerri's son die? You'll have to read it to find out.

Boxing Day

Gord and I had planned to see True Grit today downtown.

But we'd forgotten about Boxing Day shopping.

We heard on the news this morning that shoppers had started lining up at 9pm last night at a downtown electronics store. Eeek!

Change of plan!

We decided to head downtown tomorrow instead and see the movie and have supper afterward.

Here is a picture of the Eaton Centre, the mall downtown, today.

Source: Toronto Sun

Lots of people in the downtown core ... they would have made me cranky getting in my way. Grrr!

We made the right decision ... instead we had a nice lazy day. Gord watched football and hockey (Canada beat Russia ... yay!) and I read. I did a pork roast and mashed potatoes for supper.

Happy Boxing Day!

Today is Boxing Day, a continuation of the Christmas holiday in Europe and the Commonwealth countries.

In feudal times, Christmas was a reason for a gathering of extended families. All the serfs would gather their families in the manor of their lord, which made it easier for the lord of the estate to hand out annual stipends to the serfs. On December 26, the lord of the estate would give practical goods such as cloth, grains, and tools to the serfs who lived on his land. Each family would get a box full of such goods the day after Christmas. Because of the boxes being given out, the day was called Boxing Day.

In Canada, Boxing Day is observed as a holiday, except for those in the retail business. Boxing Day and the days immediately following are when many retail stores sell their Christmas and retired model products by holding clearance sales. Some shoppers will line up for hours for retailers to open their doors. Retailers often open their stores earlier than usual, such as 6am or 7am.

Saturday 25 December 2010

Book ~ "Hand of Fate" (2010) Lis Wiehl

From Amazon ~ When Jim Fate, a radio talk host in Portland, OR, opens a padded envelope addressed to him shortly before going on air, he releases a poison gas, possibly sarin, that soon kills him. The package also contains a copy of Talk Radio, originally a play, later a movie, about the true-life murder of Denver talk show host Alan Berg. Caught in the subsequent investigation are three young professionals with links to law enforcement: federal prosecutor Allison Pierce, who's pregnant; FBI special agent Nicole Nic Hedges; and Cassidy Shaw, a TV crime reporter, who formed the Triple Threat Club after a high school reunion. Readers will identify with these very real women as they try to uncover Fate's killer, and each battles a personal demon—Allison her fear of miscarriage, Nic her fear of her daughter's criminal father, and Cassidy her prescription drug addiction.

This is the second book in a series with the three main characters. It's the first book I've read by this author and it will probably be my last.

I didn't mind the writing style too bad. It got annoying at times having things explained (for example, how court proceedings work). Though each of the women had traumatic things happening in their lives, I didn't really care about them. I didn't feel pulled emotionally to them.

I like mysteries ... I found the premise to this one not overly exciting. I wasn't buying the ending with the person who did it. Whatever.

I didn't dislike the book enough to not finish it ... but I was happy when it was done.

Christmas Day

Gord and I don't celebrate Christmas the traditional way.

We don't buy each other gifts ... we don't really need anything. Instead we ordered tickets for two plays for the upcoming Stratford Festival a couple weeks ago (we're seeing Grapes of Wrath and Camelot next summer).

We spent today watching The Big Bang Theory marathon (season one) on the Comedy Network. We recently discovered this show so it was fun to see how it all started.

Rather than having a turkey for supper, we have cornish hens ... we've been doing this for almost as long as we've been together.

Here's supper ... a cornish hen stuffed with Stove Top and Shake 'n Baked along with some chicken rice.

We had a bottle of Trius Brut Rosé with supper.

We had gotten it during the summer as part of our membership in the Hillebrand Wine Club and saved it for a special meal.


Merry Christmas!

Friday 24 December 2010

Christmas Eve

I had today off and Gord got off work early this afternoon.

We took a walk to the Cadillac Lounge to have some liquid Christmas cheer.

They are open 'til 9ish tonight ... whenever the bartender feels like shutting down. There were a handful of people there.

The bar is decorated very festively.

And here are Gord and I.

Just before we left, they started playing segments of the old variety series, The Midnight Special. Very cool!

BTW, it was nine years ago today that Gord and I had our first date!

Wednesday 22 December 2010

Book ~ "The Life And Soul Of The Party" (2009) Mike Gayle

From Goodreads ~ Meet Melissa and Paul: Five years after they split up he's still looking for love in all the wrong places while she wants the one thing she can't have: Paul.

Meet Chris and Vicky: They're so in tune they even brush their teeth in time with each other. So what is Chris doing risking it all for a meaningless affair?

Meet Cooper and Laura: He wants to settle down, she wants to take a grown-up gap year but can their relationship really survive a year apart?

Set across a year of leaving dos, birthday parties and anniversary celebrations The Life and Soul of the Party is a warm, funny and moving tale celebrating love, life and those special moments we've all spent in the kitchen at parties.

I enjoy Gayle's novels and it's been about three years since I last read one.

I liked this one. The style is different in that the chapters are short and snappy and each is written by one of the characters so you get to see how the various characters react to something.

They get together quite often at parties to celebrate something.

Gayle could have tied all the loose ends up at the end and have everyone get what they wanted and live happily ever after. I'm glad he didn't choose to go that route. I was happy with the way it ended.

My only complaint (and it's not really a complaint) is that there are so many characters that at first it was hard to keep them straight. But once I got into it and got to know them, I was fine.

I'd definitely recommend this novel.

Tuesday 21 December 2010

World junior hockey, Canada 4 - Sweden 1

The company I work for had box seats for tonight's exhibition world junior hockey game at the ACC between Canada and Sweden ... and I got two seats so Gord and I went.

Canada and Sweden warming up.

During the Canadian national anthem, this huge flag was passed among fans in the audience. Very cool!

Because we were in a box, we had all the hot dogs, wings, rib, chicken fingers, pizza, quesadillas, veggies, etc. we could eat.

Also, Natasha, our server, gave us as many beer as we could drink.

Here are Gord and I between the second and third periods.

Here are Neil, one of the fellas I work with, and I.

There were a lot of Canadian fans ... the ACC was a sea of red!

These fans had CANADA marked on their bodies!

Not a lot of Swedish fans ... here are a couple in yellow.

Canada won 4 - 1 ... yay!

The games start on Boxing Day (December 26) in Buffalo.

Go Canada!