Wednesday 31 January 2018

Niko's Restaurant, Winnipeg, MB

I was craving Greek food so I had supper at Niko's Restaurant.

I ordered the Chicken Souvlaki dinner with two chicken skewers.  Instead of a salad, I got roasted lemon potatoes and rice pilaf, which came with warm pita bread and tzatziki.  It was a good meal.  Everything was hot and seemed freshly cooked.  The chicken and potatoes had a bit of a bite, like a hot sauce or spice which I'm not used to when I have Greek food.  The lemon on the potatoes didn't really come through.  The rice was nice and fluffy.  I'd get it again.

Tuesday 30 January 2018

Red Lobster, Winnipeg, MB

I had supper at Red Lobster (on Portage Avenue).  There is a hockey game this evening and the arena is downtown.  I figured the restaurants would be jammed around there so I ate a restaurant away from the downtown core.

I'm not a fan of seafood but I figured Red Lobster would have chicken ... and they did.  I created my own combo and ordered two fire-grilled chicken breasts with mashed potatoes.  I thought $21.99 was a lot for what I got.  The potatoes were warm and good, though a bit salty.  The chicken was hot when it arrived.  It had a funny rubbery texture and was salty also.  I wouldn't get this again.

AC was my server.  She was friendly and took good care of me.

Red Lobster Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday 29 January 2018

Book ~ "The Wanted" (2017) Robert Crais

From Goodreads ~ When single mother Devon Connor hires private investigator Elvis Cole, it's because her troubled teenage son, Tyson, is flashing cash and she's afraid he's dealing drugs. But the truth is devastatingly different. With two other partners in crime, he's been responsible for a string of high-end burglaries, a crime spree that takes a deadly turn when one of them is murdered and Tyson and his girlfriend disappear. 

They stole the wrong thing from the wrong man. Determined to get it back, he has hired a team that is smart and brutal, and to even the odds, Cole calls in his friend, Joe Pike. But even they may be overmatched. The hired killers are leaving a trail of bodies in their wake. A few more won't make any difference. 

Elvis Cole is a private detective and he is hired by Devon to find out what her teenage son, Tyson, is up to.  She has discovered in his room a lot of cash, some flashy clothes in his closet and a Rolex watch.  As Elvis investigates, he discovers that Tyson and two of his friends are responsible for robbing eighteen houses.

In the meantime, two thugs are on the hunt to find Tyson and his two accomplices to get back something they'd stolen ... and they won't stop until they get them.  Elvis has stumbled into something bigger than he has signed up for but it's up to him and his friend and partner, Joe Pike, to ensure the teenagers stay alive.

I discovered the Elvis Cole series in the 1990s.  What attracted me to it was that Elvis was funny and tried to be charming ... the books were a fun read.  It's been a couple years since Crais has put out a book (I've missed Elvis and Joe Pike!) and this one is reminiscent of an earlier Elvis.  It's not as heavy as the last one and the humour in the writing style is back  (yay!).  Though it's #17 in the series, it works as a stand alone.  As a head's up, there is some swearing and violence.

The book is written from different perspectives.  It's first person when it's Elvis' voice and third person when it's everyone else ... the beginning of the chapters are labelled so you know.

Browns Socialhouse, Winnipeg, MB

I had supper this evening at Browns Socialhouse (at Portage Avenue/Donald Street).  It just opened in September.

There were heaters and mini fire pits on the patio,
though it was too cold to sit there (-29 with the windchill)

Sunday 28 January 2018

Ice Castle, Winnipeg, MB

I'd heard about the Ice Castle a couple weeks ago and was happy to see that it would be here when I was in town this week.  I walked to the Forks, where it is, this afternoon to check it out.

Utah-based company Ice Castles set up structures that reach as high as 15 metres and they take up an acre.  They are made 100% by hand using just water and icicles and took about four weeks to make.  The structures are embedded with LED lights that twinkle along with music at night.  I was going to check it out this evening rather than this afternoon to see the lights but it was really cold this afternoon (-21C with a windchill of -30C) and I figured it would be even colder tonight.

There are different spaces such as the kids slide area, ice throne, fountain courtyard, maze, ice forest and more.

Admittance on the weekends is $17 if you get your ticket online or $20 at the gate (which is what I did).  It was fun to check out and I'm glad I went.

Looking up to the "ceiling" in the Dome Room

The Forks, Winnipeg, MB

I walked to the Forks and back this afternoon (about 1.5km each way from my hotel).

It's a historical site downtown. For at least 6,000 years, it has been the meeting place for early aboriginal peoples, and since colonization has also been a meeting place for European fur traders, Métis buffalo hunters, Scottish settlers, riverboat workers, railway pioneers and tens of thousands of immigrants.  On the grounds today, there is a market with vendors, shops and restaurants, visitors' information centre, theatre, Canadian Museum for Human Rights, a hotel, a railway museum and outdoor space.

Despite the cold (it was -21C but felt like -30C with the windchill), there were lots of people around either walking or skating on the rink or on the Red River.  I walked along the River for a while.

Carbone Coal Fired Pizza, Winnipeg, MB (St. Mary Avenue)

I had an early supper today at Carbone Coal Fired Pizza.

To be authentic, pizzas are baked in a coal oven at 850F
and take five to seven minutes

Saturday 27 January 2018

Toronto Rock 21, New England Black Wolves 9, Air Canada Centre, Toronto, ON

Gord and I are season ticket holders for the Toronto Rock lacrosse team games ... the Rock is a professional lacrosse franchise in the National Lacrosse League (NLL).  This is our sixth year going to the games and our fifth year having seasons tickets.

Tonight the Rock were hosting the New England Black Wolves.  If Toronto won, they would be tied with the Black Wolves for first place in the eastern division.

We watched the Rock players warm up.

Scotty Newlands sang the national anthems.

Book ~ "Talk to the Paw" (2018) Melinda Metz

Jamie Snyder is thirty-four and single but NOT ready to mingle. After suffering through The Year of the Non-Commital Man, The Year of the Self-Absorbed Man, and The Year of the Forgot-to-Mention-I’m-Married Man, Jamie’s ready to celebrate The Year of Me - and MacGyver, of course. MacGyver is an adorable tabby with a not-so-adorable habit of sneaking out at night and stealing things from the neighbors. That’s right, MacGyver is a cat burglar. He’s still the only male Jamie trusts - and the only companion she needs.

MacGyver knows his human is lonely. He can smell it. It’s the same smell he’s noticed on their neighbor, David. David is a handsome young baker who’s tired of his friends trying to fix him up. But now MacGyver’s on the case. First, he steals something from David and stashes it at Jamie’s. Then, he steals something from Jamie and leaves it with David. Before long, the two are swapping stolen goods, trading dating horror stories and trying not to fall in love. But they’re not fooling MacGyver. When humans generate this much heat, the cat is out of the bag.

Jamie is in her mid-thirties and her mother recently passed away.  She was left enough money so she could move from Pennsylvania to Los Angeles to spend a year finding herself.  She is a history teacher and wants to figure out what she wants to do with her life ... she's declared it "The Year of Me".  She has a tabby named MacGyver (I'm a big fan of tabbies!).  Her nosy neighbours mean well but they keep wanting to fix her up with their loser godsons, dentists, etc.

David's wife passed away three years ago and he's still grieving.  His best friends think it's time he moved on and have signed him up to a date app.  He doesn't want to but his friends are bugging him.  he goes out on some disastrous dates.

MacGyver smells loneliness between the two and makes it his mission to get them together, even though David has a bonehead dog.  So he sneaks out at night and steals things from David's house and leaves them at Jamie's.  He leaves things that belong to Jamie at David's house.  When Jamie and David realize what's happening and meet, they see it as a solution to their problems ... they will pretend to date to get the neighbours and friends off their backs.  MacGyver also tries to hook up other people in the neighbourhood who need each other.

This is the first book I've read by this author and I thought it was cute.  I've been reading some heavy serious stuff lately and was looking for something light and fun and this did the trick.  It is written in third person perspective from the point of view of Jamie, David and MacGyver (it was funny to get into the head of a cat).  I liked the characters, though I found Hud a bit much and annoying.  He is a (former) actor who played a private detective on a long ago TV series and still acts like that persona today.

Friday 26 January 2018

Pi Co., Toronto, ON (University)

I had lunch today at Pi Co.  It recently opened this location on the NW corner of University and Adelaide W.  I was downtown for an appointment and stopped in for lunch on my way home.

You can order a Margherita pizza or "craft" your own,
which is what I did
There are lots of ingredients to choose from ...
you can put as little or as much as you want

Wednesday 24 January 2018

Book ~ "S is for Silence" (2005) Sue Grafton

From Goodreads ~ Cases don't get much colder than that of Violet Sullivan, who disappeared from her rural California town in 1953, leaving behind an abusive husband and a seven-year-old named Daisy. But P.I. Kinsey Millhone has promised Daisy she'll try her best to locate Violet, dead or alive. Kinsey tries to pick up a trail by speaking to those who remember her - and perhaps were more involved in her life than they let on.

But the trail could lead her somewhere very dangerous. Because the case may have gone cold, but some peoples' feelings about Violet Sullivan still run as hot as ever.

It's 1987 and Kinsey Millhone is a private detective in Santa Teresa, CA, in her mid-thirties.  She is hired by Daisy to find out once and for all what happened to her mother, Violet, who disappeared in 1953.  Daisy was seven-years-old and the last time she saw her mother was when Violet was getting ready to go out for the evening.  Violet, her brand new car and her puppy were never seen again after that night.  Violet had a trampy reputation around town (which was justified) and no one knows whether she is dead (killed by her jealous husband who had a history of beating her up) or took off with another man.  Either scenario could be true.

This was an interesting story but could have better.  I found it a bit confusing because there were so many characters.  Plus it jumps back and forth from 1953 and 1987 with the same characters.  It's written in first person perspective in Kinsey's voice in 1987 and third person perspective in 1953.  None of the characters were really likable.  I found the ending wrapped up really quickly and I went "huh?" when the whodunnit was revealed.  There was no explanation as to how or why.  As a head's up, there is swearing and adult activity (between minors).

This is the nineteenth in the "alphabet series" featuring Kinsey Millhone.  Though it is part of a series, it works as a stand alone.  I discovered this series in the mid-1990s and have read them all.  I started rereading them last year.  With the author's recent death, Y is for Yesterday will be the end of the series.

Tuesday 23 January 2018

Book ~ "Beautiful Scars: Steeltown Secrets, Mohawk Skywalkers and the Road Home" (2017) Tom Wilson

From Goodreads ~ Tom Wilson was raised in the rough-and-tumble world of Hamilton - Steeltown - in the company of World War II vets, factory workers, fall-guy wrestlers and the deeply guarded secrets kept by his parents, Bunny and George. For decades Tom carved out a life for himself in shadows. He built an international music career and became a father, he battled demons and addiction, and he waited, hoping for the lies to cease and the truth to emerge. It would. And when it did, it would sweep up the St. Lawrence River to the Mohawk reserves of Quebec, on to the heights of the Manhattan skyline.

With a rare gift for storytelling and an astonishing story to tell, Tom writes with unflinching honesty and extraordinary compassion about his search for the truth. It's a story about scars, about the ones that hurt us, and the ones that make us who we are.

Tom Wilson is a musician in his late fifties who was/is in the groups Junkhouse, LeE HARVeY OsMOND and Blackie and the Rodeo Kings.  This is his story.

Wilson was raised in Hamilton, ON, the son of Bunny and George, who were older than his friend's parents.  He always felt that something was off and found out about five years ago that he was adopted.  It explained a lot about what he was feeling as he was growing up.  A couple years later it was confirmed that he was not the only child of Irish-Canadian George and French-Canadian Bunny but was actually the illegitimate son of a young Mohawk woman, someone who had been in his life all his life.  He eventually found his half-brothers and half-sisters, children of his father, also a Mohawk.

Wilson was always drawn to music.  Though George and Bunny didn't have a lot of money, he was able to scam instruments while in school.  He did whatever he had to do to make money ... performing, selling drugs, busking, etc.  He met Sandy when he was in this twenties.  They ended up married with two children but his wild ways and lifestyle drove them apart.  He went into rehab and is clean.  He has a good relationship with Sandy, his two children and two grandchildren.

I didn't know who Tom Wilson was before I read this book, though I had heard of the bands he was/is in.  I'd read about his book in the newspaper and thought he had an interesting story to tell, which he did.  I liked the writing style and found he's quite honest about the experiences he's had in his life.  As a head's up, there is swearing.

Saturday 20 January 2018

The Trillium Park, William G. Davis Trail and Ontario Place, Toronto, ON

It was such a nice day today ... sunny and about 5C.  Gord and I felt like being outside ... we haven't had much of a chance to be outside because it's been so cold.  We headed to the The Trillium Park and William G. Davis Trail, which opened during the summer.  I walked there and back often in the summer and fall ... today was the first day I was there during the winter.

We parked near Coronation Park and walked through it.

The Trillium Park and William G. Davis Trail is the province's new landmark park.

Previously a parking lot, the park and trail is 7.5 acres of public green space on a spectacular part of Toronto’s waterfront.

The design is inspired by Ontario landscapes and is the culmination of discussions with people from across Ontario, including the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation. As a result of public consultation, key features are included in the final design, including a pavilion and washroom facilities.

The Trillium Park and William G. Davis Trail is a first step in transforming Ontario Place into a vibrant, year-round waterfront destination.
  1. William G. Davis Trail 
  2. The Ravine with Moccasin Identifier 
  3. The Pavilion 
  4. Romantic Garden 
  5. Fire Pit 
  6. Bluff
  7. Summit

It's a great park and the trail is about 1.3km, which loops back.