Tuesday 30 September 2014

Bobby O'Brien's Irish Pub, Kitchener, ON

I arrived in Kitchener this evening and I'm here 'til Friday (I'm here for a conference).

I felt like hitting a pub for supper so went to Bobby O'Brien's Irish Pub, which is a couple blocks from my hotel.  Gord and I had been here in July 2010 and enjoyed it.

I ordered garlic bread with cheese and wings with Frank's Buffalo.

The garlic bread was good.  The bread was soft with lots of butter and cheese.
The wings were good too ... just the right amount of heat
There were eight wings to a pound and they were a good size.

It was fairly quiet when I got there just before 7pm.

Monday 29 September 2014

Popcorn, Indiana's Chocolate Peanut Butter Drizzlecorn

Gord and I love popcorn!

I like chocolate.

I don't like peanut butter on its own (though Gord loves it!).  But for some reason I like Reese Peanut Butter Cups and peanut butter cookies are my fav!

When I was asked to sample some Chocolate Peanut Butter Drizzlecorn from Popcorn, Indiana, of course, I didn't say no!  A big bag arrived today.

And yes, it is "drizzled" with chocolate and peanut butter just as its name says.

And it's good ... really good!  The chocolate is really rich and the peanut butter is not overwhelming.

National Popcorn Poppin’ Month is in October and Peanut Butter Lover’s Month is in November ... so this is the perfect snack to celebrate!

It is available at major grocery and mass retailers where finer snacking choices are offered, at a suggested retail price of $3.99 - $4.99.

Book ~ "Montreal: Street Photography" (2014) Debra Schoenberger

From Goodreads ~ Montreal as seen through the eyes of a street photographer. 

These unusual images show Montreal and Montrealers from an entirely different perspective. Debra Schoenberger aka "girl with camera" has lived in Montreal since 1979.

The company I work for has its head office in Montreal so I go there a couple times a year.  Plus I like taking pictures.  So I was curious to see what Montreal looked like through the eyes of a photographer.

The pictures are not your usual touristy shots ... here are some samples of the author's work:

mirror, mirror on the bus
passenger on bus 165 one wintery evening
park extension at night - laundramat

You should check out this book if you want to see Montreal through different eyes.

Sunday 28 September 2014

Book ~ "Of All the Gin Joints: Stumbling through Hollywood History" (2014) Mark Bailey

From Goodreads ~ True tales of celebrity hijinks are served up with an equal measure of Hollywood history, movie-star mayhem, and a frothy mix of forty cocktail recipes. 

From the frontier days of silent film up to the wild auteur period of the 1970s, Mark Bailey has pillaged the vaults of Hollywood history and lore to dig up the true - and often surprising - stories of seventy of our most beloved actors, directors and screenwriters at their most soused. 

I like reading gossip about famous people ... and that's why I was attracted to this book.  It's stories about actors, directors, writers, etc. and their drinking habits.

It's divided into four parts:
  1. The Silent Era (1898-1929) - Fatty Arbuckle, John Barrymore, Clara Bow, Marion Davies, W.C. Fields, Buster Keaton, Stan Laurel, Mary Pickford and more
  2. The Studio Era - Tallulah Bankhead, John Carradine, Joan Crawford, Bing Crosby, Frances Farmer, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Errol Flynn, Clark Gable and more
  3. Postwar Era (1946-60) - Humphrey Bogart, Ava Gardner, Judy Garland, Jackie Gleason, Cary Grant, William Holden, Robert Mitchum and more
  4. 1960s & New Hollywood (1960-79) - Richard Burton, Sammy Davis Jr., Dennis Hopper, Rock Hudson, Dean Martin, Steve McQueen, Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, Natalie Wood and more

Here are some of the stories:
  • Humphrey Bogart got himself arrested for protecting his drinking buddies, who happened to be a pair of stuffed pandas
  • Ava Gardner would water-ski to the set of Night of the Iguana holding a towline in one hand and a cocktail in the other
  • Barely legal Natalie Wood said Dennis Hopper could seduce her if he provided a bathtub full of champagne (apparently it burned her sensitive parts, though)
  • Bing Crosby’s ill-mannered antics earned him the nickname “Binge Crosby”
  • Mary Pickford stashed liquor in hydrogen peroxide bottles during Prohibition

In addition to the stories, there is history of the places these celebrities drank in such as the Brown Derby, the Hollywood Athletic Club, Mocambo, Musso & Frank Grill (open), Whisky a Go Go (open), Trader Vic's (open) and Chateau Marmont (open).

If the star had a favourite cocktail, the recipe is included such as Mimosas, Half and Half, Orange Blossom, Martini, Prairie Oyster, Tom Collins, Zombie, etc.

Films with crazy booze-soaked stories like Apocalypse Now, From Here to Eternity and The Misfits, are featured.

Also included are some quotes ... here are some I found funny:
  • "Looks like it's going to get drunk out tonight."  Charles Butterworth, character actor (1899-1946)
  • "Hell, I used to take two-week lunch hours." Spencer Tracy, actor (1900-67)
  • "I'm no alcoholic; I'm a drunkard.  There's a difference.  A drunkard doesn't like to go to meetings." Jackie Gleason, actor (1916-87)
  • "Tequila makes your head hurt.  Not from your hangover.  From falling over and hitting your head." John Wayne, actor (1907-79)
  • "I feel sorry for people who don't drink.  When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they are going to feel all day." Frank Sinatra, singer and actor (1915-98)

I enjoyed this book.  I liked the writing style ... the stories were short and snappy and focused.  At times, the author was sarcastic, which I enjoyed.  As a head's up, there is swearing.

It was a crazy look at the lives of these celebrities ... it's amazing the amount of liquor they consumed, what they did and what they got away with.  It seemed like everyone was drinking with everyone and they were all sleeping with each other.  It would be interesting to see how much (if anything) has changed with celebrities today.

I'd heard of most of the celebrities in the book but I was still often driven to Google them to get more information about them.

Saturday 27 September 2014

"Freda and Jem's Best of the Week", Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, Toronto, ON

Tonight Gord and I saw Freda and Jem's Best of the Week at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre

Freda and Jem are two women who fell in love, had kids and built a family together. When they decide to split up, their family discovers that their love for each other doesn’t have to end at divorce – but it will have to change. A heartwarming story about family making and family breaking.

Source:  Drew Rowsome
I'd read about it in BlogTO last week and it sounded good.  Plus I'd volunteered at my local YMCA back in the 1990s and we had to go through a three month training course. Kathryn Haggis, one of the actresses in the play, was in the course with me.  We've since lost touch but I'm happy to see that she is still working as an actress (she is in Dr. Cabbie, which just came out last week, and My Big Fat Greek Wedding among other things).

Source:  Drew Rowsome
Jem (Kathyrn Haggis) meets Freda (Diane Flacks) and they fall in love.  About twenty years and two kids later (Sadie Epstein-Fine and Stephen Joffe) later, they are breaking up.  No one is happy about it but the fighting has to stop.

Source:  Drew Rowsome
It's a cozy small theatre.  The set was very minimal ... just a raised platform which becomes a bed, a table, etc.

Source:  Drew Rowsome
It was a good story and the actors did a excellent job.  It was funny in parts yet sad in others.  The actors were believable in showing the pain when a family breaks up.   It bounced back and forth from today to the past in flashbacks and it was quite easy to determine where they were.

Lorraine Segato of the Parachute Club accompanied the actors with songs during the play.  I was wondering how it was going to work and I didn't find it intrusive.

I'd recommend this play.

Duke's Refresher + Bar, Toronto, ON

Gord and I saw Freda and Jem's Best of the Week at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre this evening and had supper at Duke's beforehand.  Duke's just opened in December and we've been wanting to check it out.

Skyline Restaurant, Toronto, ON

Gord and I had some errands to run and stopped at the Skyline Restaurant in Parkdale (Queen W/Lansdowne) for breakfast first.  We'd had a good burger there a couple years ago.

The restaurant has been around for a number of years.

Here's the view from our booth ...

Thursday 25 September 2014

Burrito Boyz, Toronto, ON (Adelaide W)

My pal, LeeAnn, gave me a pass for two to see Hector and the Search for Happiness tonight (it opens tomorrow).  My pal, Trish, went with me.

Before the movie, we met at Burrito Boyz (John/Adelaide W) for supper ... it's where we always meet before we see a movie.

After you order your burrito, you tell them what you want on it

Trish is vegan and ordered hers with ground soy and no dairy.

I ordered what I always do ... a chicken burrito.

My small burrito which was huge!
It was delicious!!!!

Hector is a quirky psychiatrist who has become increasingly tired of his humdrum life. As he tells his girlfriend, Clara, he feels like a fraud: he hasn’t really tasted life, and yet he’s offering advice to patients who are just not getting any happier. So Hector decides to break out of his deluded and routine driven life. Armed with buckets of courage and child-like curiosity, he embarks on a global quest in hopes of uncovering the elusive secret formula for true happiness. And so begins a larger than life adventure with riotously funny results.

It was a nice movie and makes you think about your life.  Simon Pegg was Hector ... it was a different kind of role for him and I think he handled it well.  During Hector's travels, he keeps tracks of the happiness rules as he comes across them.  A couple of my favourites are:
  • Happiness is being loved for who you are.
  • Happiness is feeling completely alive.

I would recommend this movie.

Trish and I before the movie started

Burrito Boyz on Urbanspoon

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Food reactions testing

I've been seeing Tara, a naturopath, for the last couple months ... my lower back and right knee have been bugging me so she's been doing acupuncture (I saw her this evening and she used 31 needles!).  I find it's been helping ... yay!

We've also talked about making better food choices.

I'd heard about a blood test that could be done to test for food reactions, which are food sensitivities rather than food allergies. I was curious to see if I had any.

A food sensitivity is a delayed reaction that occurs hours to days after the food is consumed. When a reactive food is consumed, the antibody forms a complex with the food antigen. Normally, the body is able to eliminate these antibody-antigen complexes but with excess antigen, small complexes tend to deposit in blood vessel walls where they can cause tissue injury via the release of inflammatory mediators.  Over time, this tissue injury may contribute to the development of a variety of health conditions. Research has shown that elimination of reactive foods from the diet improves both irritable bowel syndrome and migraine headaches.  Eliminating reactive foods has also been reported to help with eczema, mood disturbances, weight gain, and other digestive disturbances.

I got the results last week and Tara and I talked about it tonight.

Here are my results ...

I don't eat a lot of fish but when I do, it's cod, haddock or halibut.
I put whey protein in my morning shake. 
I drink almond milk rather than cow's milk. 
The only cheese I eat is mozzarella when it's on a pizza or sub.
I like fruit and tend to eat a fair amount.
I knew that bananas upset my stomach but I was surprised
that fruit ranked so high in my reactions.
Wow!  Look at pineapple!
I'm a big fan of meat and have eggs occasionally.
I don't drink coffee.
I drink almond milk rather than cow's milk or soy milk and it
doesn't bother me.  Eating almonds does, though.
I'm not a big fan of veggies.  I'm surprised that green peppers didn't rank
high as they upset my stomach.

Have you done such a test before?