Monday, 25 March 2019

Green Mango Express, Toronto, ON

I had a late lunch today at Green Mango Express (on the Queensway between Kipling Avenue and Islington Avenue).

In the early 2000s, I worked downtown in one of the office towers in the Eaton Centre and ate at the Green Mango at Yonge/Shuter A LOT (it's long gone).  I conducted an enrolment seminar in Etobicoke today and was happy to come across Green Mango Express on my way home.  I checked and it's part of my old Green Mango's chain.  Apparently it's been there for about three years and I've never noticed.  They recently got a new sign so the old sign obviously didn't jump out at me.

I ordered the Chicken Curry with Jasmine Rice luncheon special ... it was a lot of food for $10 so a great deal!  I'm not a big fan of veggies so focused on the chicken and carrots.  The sauce was sweet and surprisingly spicy ... I liked it.

Not sure what the purple things are but they are pretty

I'll be back!  The guy at the counter was friendly.  He cooked it up fresh for me so next time I'd ask for just chicken and carrots in the sauce.

Green Mango Express Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, 23 March 2019

The Woods are Dark and Deep, Factory Theatre, Toronto, ON

Gord and I saw The Woods are Dark and Deep this evening ... our pal, Dewey Stewart, is in it.

“The Woods are Dark and Deep” is based on a little known historical fact that during World War I, immigrants who were living in Canada, but who came from countries that Canada was in war with, ended up interned. Italians, Ukrainians, Croats, Serbs, Austrians, Hungarians, Germans, Turks ... 

More than 8,500 people were kept in camps and receiving stations, used as a working force to clear forests, create roads, national parks and villages. Our story follows three Serbian men and a Ukrainian family, parents with two children. All of these characters came to Canada to work and earn a better life for themselves and their families, but through no fault of their own ended up locked up and forced to do manual labour for several years. 

 This show gives us a glimpse into the history of immigrants in our country and the ordeals that they had to go through to integrate into the fabric of modern Canadian society. It will reminding us how tough our ancestors were and how their sacrifices informed our legal processes and our today's social freedoms.

It's playing at the Factory Theatre (Bathurst Street/Adelaide W) and is a Pulse Theatre Production.

They have a cute lounge but the theatre isn't licensed so you can't bring alcoholic drinks into the theatre when watching a play.

The story is set during World War I.  Janko (Dewey) and Claire (Sophie McIntosh) are young and in love ... he is Serbian and she is Canadian.  During the war, though, any immigrants who were living in Canada who were from countries Canada was at war with were put into work camps.  This included Janko ... the play focuses on his time in the camp along with two fellow Serbians and a Ukrainian family who had come to Canada for a better life.  During his time in the camp, Janko and Claire remain in love and devoted to each other by exchanging letters.

I didn't know this had happened ... I bet most of us don't.  So from a historical aspect, it was interesting and a learning experience.

The theatre is the right size for the play.  The actors used the space well (at one point, Claire left her bag and hat next to Gord's seat, which made him feel a bit protective of it ... ha!).

I thought the actors did an excellent job.  My heart went out to them for having their lives temporarily taken away from them and I was hoping for a happy ending for Janko and Claire (you'll have to go see it to find out).


We sat with Dewey's friends and family ... his parents, Jim and Kim (we'd met Jim in December), brother, grandmother, friends and even former school teachers.  Most had driven almost two hours from his hometown NW of Toronto ... great support for Dewey!  It was nice to chat with them before and after the play.

Dewey and his proud mom, Kim

The play runs until Wednesday, March 27, so you still have a few more days to go see ... and I think you should!

Northern Maverick Brewing Co., Toronto, ON

Gord and I had supper at Northern Maverick Brewing Co. this evening (on Bathurst Street just north of King Street W) before we saw The Woods are Dark and Deep at the Factory Theatre across the street.   We'd been there before and had had a good meal.

Friday, 22 March 2019

Book ~ "Missing Daughter" (2019) Rick Mofina

From Goodreads ~ Life can change in an instant. For Ryan and Karen Lane, it happens on the morning they discover their twelve-year-old daughter’s window open, their beloved Maddie missing from her bed.

Police investigate. Suspicions swirl. A teenage boy admits he was outside her bedroom window the night she disappeared. A halfway house for convicts recently opened in the neighborhood. The Lane family is thrown into turmoil, then detectives turn their sights on them.

No one is ruled out. Not Karen, with her tragic past, who argued with her daughter. Not Ryan, with his violent streak. Not Maddie’s thirteen-year-old brother, Tyler, who heard voices in her room the night she vanished.

Days, weeks, months, then agonizing years go by without answers, the Lanes fearing that Maddie is gone forever… until a stunning twist shocks everyone, plunging the family deeper into a world of buried secrets whose revelations threaten the very foundation of their lives. 

The Lanes seem like a normal family.  Ryan is struggling running his late father's business.  Things are tough financially and Ryan is stressed about it.  Karen is working extra shifts as a cashier at the grocery store to bring in extra money.  Their son, Tyler, is a typical 13-year-old teenager and their daughter, Maddie, is 12 going on 21 ... she wants to start dating, something that her mother has refused to let her do, so they fight often about it.

One morning, the family discovers Maddie is missing.  Tyler had heard voices in her room in the middle of the night but assumed Maddie was talking to one of her friends on her cell phone.  Mud is found on the carpet near Maddie's bedroom window and a ladder is discovered under the window.  Ryan and Karen immediately call the police and the investigation begins.

The police interview everyone ... family, friends, the residents of a halfway house on the other side of the woods, neighbours, even the pizza delivery guy.  No one knows anything and the police feel that her family are involved so never let off the pressure.  Years go by until the family and police finally discover what happened to her.

I've read a few books by this author and liked this one.  It is written in third personal perspective with the focus on wherever the action is.  There were lots of twists and turns with possible "whodunnits.  Just when I thought we found out "whodunnit" and the story was over, there was a final twist.  There was a revelation at the end that I didn't think wasn't necessary or needed.  As a head's up, there is swearing.

I look forward to reading more books by this author.

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Boston Pizza, Cobourg, ON

I had a late lunch today at Boston Pizza.

I sat on the dining room side

I felt like pasta and created my own ... penne, tomato marinara, diced chicken, spicy Italian sausage and baked cheese.  Boston Pizza used to have a broken lasagna I liked that they've taken off their menus so I tried to replicate it.  It was good and tasty.  I would pass on the diced chicken next time, though, as it was diced too small ... it would be better if it was chunkier.

Best Western Plus Cobourg Inn & Convention Centre, Cobourg, ON

My home away from home last night was Best Western Plus Cobourg Inn & Convention Centre.

Here was my room ...

End tables on either side of the couch were odd ...
I'm assuming it's a pull-out couch?

Monday, 18 March 2019

Book ~ "The Matchmaker's List" (2019) Sonya Lalli

From Goodreads ~ Raina Anand may have finally given in to family pressure and agreed to let her grandmother play matchmaker, but that doesn't mean she has to like it - or that she has to play by the rules. Nani always took Raina's side when she tried to push past the traditional expectations of their tight-knit Indian-immigrant community but now she's ambushing Raina with a list of suitable bachelors. Is it too much to ask for a little space? Besides, what Nani doesn't know won't hurt her.

As Raina's life spirals into a parade of Nani-approved bachelors and disastrous blind dates, she must find a way out of this modern-day arranged-marriage trap without shattering her beloved grandmother's dreams. 

When Raina's Indian mother was 16, she got pregnant by some white guy (Raina never knew who her father was).  Her mother popped in and out of her life sporadically and she was raised by her mother's parents in Toronto.  Raina has a demanding job in finance and owns her own condo.  Her grandfather has since passed away and she is still close to Nani, her grandmother.

Raina's best friend, Shay, is getting married soon and as Raina is now 29-years-old and unmarried, Nani feels it's time that she also find a husband.  So she puts together a list of eligible men for Raina to date.  Raina, though, is still love with Dev, a man she dated when she lived in London a couple years ago.  Raina begrudgingly goes on the dates, which for various reasons there are no connections.

Nani is able to keep coming up with more and more men who contact Raina for dates (and Raina should be freaking out more when she finds out how but she doesn't).  Finally unable to handle it anymore, Raina lets Nani believe a lie which has the desired effect in having Nani back off.  Around this time, Dev comes back into her life which, in addition to being part of Shay's upcoming wedding, adds even more pressure for Raina.

For the most part, I liked this book and the writing style and look forward to reading others by this author.  It is written in first person perspective in Raina's voice, though there are some chapters written in third person perspective which go back in time when Raina was younger.  As a head's up, there is swearing.

The author describes herself as a "romantic comedy" author.  When the story started, I thought it was fairly light-hearted and it was funny reading about the dates ... but then it got heavy, which I wasn't expecting, and I didn't find the book in general romantic or a comedy.

I found it odd that Raina would let herself get pushed so much around by her grandmother.  Granted I'm not Indian so don't understand the pressures of the culture but Raina is supposedly modern, educated and self-sufficient financially.  Instead of standing up for herself, she was wimpy and lied.  I did find it interesting, though, learning about the Indian culture and its expectations.

I found Nani at times funny and caring but other times she is bossy, manipulative and not likable at all.  There's nothing nice to say about her best friend who is also Shay's mother.

I don't know why Raina was hung up on Dev as it sounds like he treated her like crap, even when they were together.  He was very self-centered ... it was all about him, his job and his phone ... yet two years after they broke up, she's still hoping they will get back together.  Really?

There seems to be a happy ending and it comes together rather quickly.

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Book ~ "Every Day Easy Air Fryer: 100 Recipes Bursting with Flavor" (2018) Urvashi Pitre

From Goodreads ~ Everybody knows how difficult it can be to get a delicious meal on the table night after night, not to mention a healthy one made from real and readily-available ingredients. Enter the air fryer, the must-have, revolutionary kitchen device. 

As Urvashi Pitre will show you, the air fryer makes home cooking easy. Every one of the recipes in this book can be made in an hour or less, and many are on the table in as little as 30 minutes. 

You won't find "cream of anything" cans in the ingredient list; instead you'll start with fresh ingredients - healthful meats and vegetables - and let the air fryer do the hard work. 

In her signature way, Pitre will walk you through the simple process so you can learn to use your air fryer like an expert in no time. And there is no shortage of flavors - with recipes inspired by authentic Indian, Korean, Mexican cuisines and more, including Poblano Cheese Frittata, Thai Chicken Sate, Chicken Fajitas, Shrimp Scampi, and Chinese Spare Ribs, to name just a few. And because you're using an air fryer, you won't need to cook with loads of oil to get incredibly tasty results. 

Gord and I received an air fryer as a Christmas gift in December.  We liked it so much that we bought a second one.  Since then, I've been looking for fun things to cook in it.

The content of this book includes an introduction, a few words about the recipes (easy, authentic, fresh foods, etc.), how an air fryer is different from an oven, why air fry, air fryer myths and realities, helpful accessories and troubleshooting.

The recipe sections are:
  • Eggs & cheese
  • Vegetables
  • Chicken/poultry
  • Seafood
  • Beef, pork & lamb
  • Desserts
  • Sauces & spice mixes

There were lots of delicious sounding recipes that didn't sound too hard that I would like to try.  This cookbook was different than I was expecting as instead of having "American" food, for example, like chicken wings, home fries, pork chops, etc., the recipes were more "ethnic" like African Piri-Piri Chicken Drumsticks, Tandoori Chicken and Indian Mint & Chile Kebabs.  Plus she made personal comments about the recipes ... like how she grew up eating Chile-Cheese Toast, how through trial and error she adapted some recipes, etc.

I liked that prep times, cooking times and dietary considerations (grain-free, nut-free, gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, etc.) were provided.  It would have been nice if the nutrition (calories. amount of fat, protein, carbs, etc.) had been listed.

There are full-colour pictures accompanying some of the recipes.  I read this book on my iPad and it was formatted well for it.

Here is a sample recipe that had a picture ...

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Toronto Rock 15, Rochester Knighthawks 13, Scotiabank Arena, 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 Rochester Knighthawks, a new team to the league.  The Rock were leading in the eastern division and the Seals were leading in the western division.

Our friends, Rona and Jacob, joined us.  Jacob moved here from Italy in the fall.  He is a big soccer fan and this was his first lacrosse game ... in fact, this was his first game that was held inside.

Because it's St. Patrick's Day weekend, there was a pipe and drum band.

Scotty Newlands sang the American national anthem.

Walrus Pub & Beer Hall, Toronto, ON

Rona, Jacob, Gord and I had supper this evening before the Toronto Rock game at the Walrus Pub & Beer Hall (on the NE corner of Bay Street/Wellington Street).