Sunday 30 November 2014

D'Arcy McGee's, Ottawa, ON

I had supper tonight at D'Arcy McGee's on Sparks Street.

I'd spent most of my day on the train and was starving.  I started with Shepherd's Pie Mini Yorkies.  I'd had them a couple months ago at their sister restaurant in Toronto, Fionn MacCool's, and liked them.  They were good but they weren't hot ... they were barely warm.

Book ~ "The Chris Farley Show: A Biography in Three Acts" (2008) Tom Farley Jr. and Tanner Colby

From Goodreads ~ No one dominated a stage the way Chris Farley did. For him, comedy was not a routine; it was a way of life. He could not enter a room unnoticed or let a conversation go without making someone laugh. Fans knew Chris as "Saturday Night Live"’s sweaty, swaggering, motivational speaker; as the irresistible Chippendales stripper; and as Tommy Callahan, the underdog hero of "Tommy Boy". His family knew him as sensitive and passionate, deeply religious, and devoted to bringing laughter into others’ lives. 

But Chris did not know moderation, either in his boundless generosity toward friends or in the reckless abandon of his drug and alcohol abuse. For ten years, Chris cycled in and out of rehabilitation centers, constantly fighting his insecurities and his fears. Despite three hard-fought years of sobriety, addiction would ultimately take his life at the tragically young age of thirty-three. Fame on "SNL" and three straight number-one box office hits gave way to a string of embarrassing public appearances, followed by a fatal overdose in December 1997. 

Here is Chris Farley as remembered by his family, friends, and colleagues - the true story of a man who lived to make us laugh and died as a result. "The Chris Farley Show" is an evocative and harrowing portrait of a family trapped by addiction, a father forced to bury a son, and a gifted and kindhearted man ultimately torn apart by the demons inside him.

I liked Saturday Night Live back in the beginning and had stopped watching it by the time Chris Farley (1964 - 97) was on it in the early to mid-1990s. I hadn't seen a lot of what he was in (he'd only been in ten movies and starred in four of those) but I thought his story would be interesting ... and it was.

It's written by one of his brothers, Tom, and starts back when they were kids.  Chris was a football jock and always wanted to get laughs.  He barely got through university and went to work for his family's business, which was run by his dad and started by his grandfather (his dad had to quit school and give up his dreams to take over the business when his grandfather got sick).  Though he eventually quit so he could pursue his dream of getting into comedy, Chris never stopped seeking his father's approval.  

Like his father, Chris had an addiction to food and alcohol.  No one acknowledged that their father had addictions, though (his father was over 600 pounds when he died a year after Chris).  Chris was in and out of rehab for food, drugs and alcohol over the years.  He eventually was clean for three years but something drove him back into it the last two years of his life.  He couldn't get work because no one would insure him until he was clean for two years, which didn't happen.

I liked the structure of the book.  Instead of Tom telling the story, it is told by his brothers, friends and co-stars (like Alec Baldwin, Tim Meadows, David Spade, Chris Rock, John Goodman and Lorne Michaels).

It's a sad story.  Chris had so much going for him but he couldn't control his demons.  He was religious and went to mass every week, had priests for friends and helped so many people ... but he couldn't help himself.

Saturday 29 November 2014

"Avenue Q", Lower Ossington Theatre, Toronto, ON

Gord and I saw Avenue Q this evening.

"Avenue Q" tells the story of Princeton, a bright-eyed college grad who moves to NYC with big dreams and a tiny bank account. The only apartment he can afford is way out on Avenue Q, where everyone’s looking for the same things he is: a decent job, a stable relationship and a “purpose.” Eventually, Princeton learns to embrace the ups and downs of city life and realizes that “the real world” isn’t so bad, after all! *Not intended for children. 

It's playing at the Lower Ossington Theatre, which is in our 'hood, 'til December 21.

I've resisted seeing it over the years because it looked dumb.  Puppets?!  Seriously??!!  But since it's playing in our 'hood I figured it was a good opportunity to check it out since I'd heard good things about it ... and I'm glad we did because it was more than good.

It's really funny and definitely not for kids.  There is lots of swearing and there are adult activities and themes.  I was wondering what it would be like seeing puppets and also being able to see the people working the puppets.  It was interesting because the people working the puppets had the same facial expressions the puppets would have and surprisingly it wasn't distracting.  The dialogue was funny as were the songs.

It seemed at times, though, that the music was a bit too loud and it was hard to hear what the singers were saying.  Plus I found that Christmas Eve's (Phoebe Hu) accent was too strong so I had a hard time understanding what she was saying at times (plus she spoke fast), which is too bad because Christmas Eve is a hoot!

I enjoyed it and am glad we went to see it.  I'd recommend it!

Rock Lobster, Toronto, ON

Gord and I had supper tonight at Rock Lobster on Ossington Avenue.  He'd had their lobster mac 'n cheese in the summer and liked it and wanted to try their lobster roll.

Gord ordered their Rock Lobster Roll.  He said it was okay ... a bit small.

Trius wine club - November 2014

We picked up our November Trius wine club box today at the post office ... they'd tried to deliver it this week but we weren't home.

Gord and I have been members of the Trius Wine Club for over ten years.

Every month, 2 bottles of our best wine will be delivered to your door along with Winemaker Craig McDonald’s tasting notes and Chef Frank Dodd’s recipes.

The cost is $43 a month and it's only available in Ontario.

Here's what we got this month ...

  • Trius Red 2012 ($22.95) ~ The recipe included that pairs with it is Spiced Beef Chili
  • Trius Bruit ($24.95) - The recipe included that pairs with it is Tempura Batter for veggies and seafood

November's boxes are our favourite because there is always a bottle of bubbly!

Friday 28 November 2014

Mennonite shoppers in Elmira, ON

I had a seminar to conduct in Elmira (which is about an hour and a half NW of Toronto) this afternoon.

That area has a lot of Mennonites.  It was interesting to see their horses and buggies parked in the lot of a grocery store ... it's something I don't see everyday!

Retro Suites Hotel, Chatham, ON

I spent the last couple days in Chatham (three hours from Toronto) doing client seminars and stayed at the Retro Suites Hotel Wednesday and last night.  I stayed here in April 2013 and liked it.

The Retro Suites Hotel combines historic elements of the King William Block with modern amenities, providing an unparalleled experience for guests to the region.

The buildings that encompass the Retro Suites Hotel have undergone a series of renovations, with an emphasis placed on preserving their original character and architecture.The Block has some of the finest examples of Victorian architecture in the city. T.J. Rutley designed the George Stephens hardware store in the 1888. The store featured a glass façade — the largest windowpane in Chatham at the time. The Chatham Tri-Weekly noted in its newspaper that “…Mr. Stephens is to be congratulated upon the enterprise and success.”

Later, the building housed Zink Hardware. The entrance faced the market square, where Chatham-area residents purchased their fruit, vegetables and meat products from local vendors. Today, the Stephens’ building has been painstakingly restored and now features the hotel’s hospitality suites.

The staircase, in the hotel’s lobby, dates back to 1895, when it was a part of the Merrill Hotel. The terrazzo floors and tin ceilings, along with the contemporary art and furnishings, give the Retro Suites Hotel its unique appeal. 

Here's the lobby area ...

The reception
As you come in the door

Thursday 27 November 2014

Glitters Fun Eatery, Chatham, ON

I had supper this evening at Glitters Fun Eatery.  They recently celebrated their 30th year in business.

There are two sections.

The dining room section (the original restaurant) is to the left.

And the bar section is to the right ... and that's where I sat.

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Book ~ "John Wayne: My Father" (1998) Aissa Wayne

From Goodreads ~ In "John Wayne: My Father", Aissa Wayne delves into her father's childhood, his film career, and his life off the screen. The result is an affecting portrait that offers a new perspective on one of America's most enduring hero's humanity.

I wasn't a fan of John Wayne's (1907 - 79) but I wasn't not a fan.  I like reading memoirs/bio and I thought this would be an interesting one.

It's written by his oldest daughter of his third marriage (the fifth oldest of his seven children).  She tells us of his childhood.  Born Marion Morrison and teased about his feminine name as a child, his parents didn't get along and eventually split up.  His mother paid more attention his younger brother, Robert, and the author feels this is why as an adult he always needed constant assurance of everyone's love for him.  She also tells of his experiences making movies, his friends, his wives, his relationship with his kids and dealing with cancer.

Though it was interesting, I found that it was more about the author, though, than it was about John Wayne.  Because her parent were concerned about her getting kidnapped, she led a sheltered life.  As a child, she had elephants at her birthday parties, got to wear diamond for magazine photospreads and traveled the world with her parents.  She was born when her father was about fifty so he wasn't as hip and happening as her friends' dads.  The book seemed to focus more on her reactions to having John Wayne as her dad rather than him.

The book could have been tighter ... she went into a lot of detail at times and it was all about her.  But all in all, it was an interesting rea.

If you watch Amazing Race, the author is the mother of Jennifer Wayne who was on seasons 22 and 24.

Chilled Cork, Chatham, ON

I had supper tonight at the Chilled Cork in Chatham.  I'd been here in April 2013 and liked it.

I ordered the pork chop special with tomato scalloped potatoes.

Brittanie, my server, started me with yummy rolls and butter.

Wild Wing, Scarborough, ON

I had client meetings today in Scarborough and had lunch at Wild Wing a couple blocks away.  I've been to a couple Wild Wing restaurants in downtown Toronto and have liked them.

I got there at noon and the restaurant was quiet and sad.

There are many flavours to choose from.

There are nine wings to an order.  I hadn't had breakfast and knew I wouldn't have supper 'til late so ordered a double order with Dill-icious Honey and Whiskey Girl sauces.  I got them "naked" aka no breading.

I'm glad I ordered a double order.  Despite the sign on the wall behind me boasting that their wings are plump and juicy, mine weren't.  Mine were mostly small and overcooked.  The dill sauce was good but the BBQ and honey garlic sauces that were on them was mild ... so mild that I couldn't tell which was which.

Tuesday 25 November 2014

Book ~ "You Have to F**king Eat" (2014) Adam Mansbach

From Goodreads ~ From the author of the international bestseller "Go the F**k to Sleep" comes a long-awaited sequel about the other great parental frustration: getting your little angel to eat something that even vaguely resembles a normal meal. Profane, loving, and deeply cathartic, "You Have to F**king Eat" breaks the code of child-rearing silence, giving moms and dads new, old, grand- and expectant a much-needed chance to laugh about a universal problem. 

A perfect gift book like the smash hit "Go the F**k to Sleep", "You Have to F**king Eat" perfectly captures Adam Mansbach's trademark humor, which is simultaneously affectionate and radically honest. You probably shouldn't read it to your kids.

This is the sequel to Go the F**k to Sleep.   Like the first one, it's cute and funny.  Parents can relate.  You definitely shouldn't read it to your kids!  Here's a sample page:

Bryan Cranston has recorded the audiobook for it which is available free until December 12 at You can listen to a short clip here.

I received a copy of this book at no charge in exchange for my honest review.

Trius wine club - October 2014

Our October Trius wine club box arrived today.  There had been an issue with my VISA (the expiry date changed so they called to update it) so October's box was delayed.

Gord and I have been members of the Trius Wine Club for over ten years.

Every month, 2 bottles of our best wine will be delivered to your door along with Winemaker Craig McDonald’s tasting notes and Chef Frank Dodd’s recipes.

The cost is $43 a month and it's only available in Ontario.

Here's what we got this month ...

  • Showcase Wild Ferment Chardonnay "Oliveira Vineyard" 2012 ($35.20) ~ The recipe included that pairs with it is Crispy Crab Roll - we're not fans of barrel-aged chardonnay so it will be a gift to someone
  • Trius Cabernet Franc 2013 ($14.95) - The recipe included that pairs with it is Rack of Lamb with Pistachio Crust

While Gord and I will enjoy what's in the box, Morgan tried to enjoy the box!

He jumped right in it
And then settled in for a snooze
And then Crumpet came along
Poor Morgan!

The box is now empty.