Monday, June 30, 2008


resetting the regulator on my grill TOTALLY worked. BEST ADVICE EVER! i think when i tried it on saturday i wasn't turning on the propane tank slowly enough after resetting the dials. this time, i spent two minutes slowly cranking the propane tank 1/4 inch at a time and the flames burst forth strong and true. yes! i'm still going to get the barbecue pros in to give it a proper scrub down, but now it's not so dire and i can wait until my next paycheck. success! i feel like such a handy manny (an actual character on playhouse disney...who is...wait for it: a bilingual hispanic handyman.) holy racist, playhouse disney!!! why couldn't he be a hispanic doctor? or venture capitalist? anyway, i feel super capable and skilled after my weekend of building/fixing/cleaning stuff.

last night, our mission for dinner at foxley bistro was aborted because when we showed up there, they were CLEARLY not open for business, were missing a front window, and were in the process of moving a giant pane of plate glass around to presumably fix the whole. they weren't reopening until wednesday. bogus! i then suggested that we head down to delux, which is just down the street from foxley, still on ossington. it used to be the sparrow (i never went) and it's been getting a fair amount of buzz as a neighbourhood resto on the painfully hip ossington and dundas strip. according to a breathless article from that paean to all that is urbane toronto, toronto life magazine,
members from broken social scene have been known to eat there. well, i'll be! look at me keeping such indie company!

that being said, the room is a fairly long, white space, with embossed antique white wallpaper along one side, a row of booths, and a wooden bar at the end. the only adornment on the walls is a long mural with the letters of the alphabet printed in various cool, modern tones. another element is the lighting, which features bundles of spent fluorescent tubes, suspended from thin wires at either end, rigged up to provide a warm, ambient glow. we were lucky to get a walk in table...they take reservations and were continually turning people away who hadn't had the foresight to book ahead (yet another argument to support the fact that it pays to eat early!)

the meal was fairly nice overall. apps are priced at around the 10-11 dollar mark. mains are in the 20 dollar range. desserts are in the 10 area. we started with the charcuterie plate, which featured (from left to right): duck carpaccio with macerated cherries, pork and rabbit terrine, rabbit rilletes with the usual accompaniments. the rabbit rilletes were probably my favorite, with a great, light flavour and some spark from finely grated lemon zest.

i ordered the rabbit and foie boudin, which came on a pool of a fruity sauce with a haricot verts and new potato salad in a mustard vinaigrette. the boudin was very, very nice, with a clean taste that belied the addition of the foie, which added a very gentle, savoury sweetness to the delicate rabbit meat. the texture of the boudin was smooth, with a slight, spongy resistance to the tooth, and the fruit (not sure what fruit) sauce was tangy and sweet. the accompanying salad was a little dull...the vinaigrette was mostly neutral-flavoured oil without enough acid or mustard to cut through the oleaginous coating, but the vegetables were cooked correctly and the beans had a nice snap. the apps showed a deft, soothing hand in the kitchen, with restrained, delicate, flavours.

for our mains, we shared the pressed cubano sandwich (an absolute STEAL at $12!). which featured shaved, thinly sliced roasted pork, melted gruyere, thinly sliced ham, a mustardy dressing, and thinly sliced cornichon coins, all in a crusty, striped, crunchy panini. served with crispy, salty frites and an afterthought of watercress, again dressed with an oily dressing with little to no discernible flavour.

we also got the quebec duck breast which came with a beet soubise, a fennel and basil salad, and a poached apricot. everything on this dish was a little ho-hum, though well executed. it could have used something...the beet soubise was finely textured and full of saccharine beet flavour, but could have used another element to elevate it above a pretty quenelle of pureed beet. the poached apricot was also cooked correctly, but at the end of the day, was still a poached apricot. the fennel and basil salad added a counterpoint to the sweetness on the plate, but wasn't assertive enough. the dish was again, very delicate and reserved. it was good, but not as satisfying as the cubano.

then we got a cheese plate (we're in the habit of doing cheese as a pre-dessert lately). i only remember a couple of them. on the far left is beemster from holland. the creamy one in the middle that looks like a triple cream was DELICIOUS. creamier than most triple creams, with a fantastic, zingy, mouth-tingly lactic tang. loved it. it tasted very much alive (even though it's from pasteurized cow's milk). the one on the far right was very boring and i would never put it on a cheese plate if i had my druthers. it tasted like nothing. snooze! does anyone remember gnarls barkley? i don't!

then we got dessert. the dessert menu was pretty ho-hum. panna cotta, strawberry shortcake, etc. the dotytron ordered the warm chocolate cake with creme anglaise and whipped cream, which, when presented, turned out to be exactly what you want from an iteration of that crowd-pleasing, restaurant safety standby. it was a little, squat trapezoid of oozy, rich, chocolate mud, barely held together by a just-based exterior. we demolished it.

i ordered the "baked to order" chocolate chip cookies with a glass of milk. freshly baked chocolate chip cookies are hard to resist no matter what their faults, and it's a cute, homey dessert to have on the menu, and quite clever too, considering how much urban diners suscribe to nostalgia for an upbringing they rarely experienced, and the paucity of times people can say they've had warm, just-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookies. i do have a quibble though (and i don't know if this a purely individual thing), but the cookies were a little cakey. it's just not my first choice for cookies. i like chewy, soft, delicate, crumbly cookies.

all told, we were in about $100 and change before tax and tip, and that's including all of the above, plus a pre-dinner cocktail, two glasses of wine, and an after-dinner port for captain "special drinks" (that's the dotytron according to my mom). according to him, i was acting like a chupacabra last night. i kind of had a case of the stoops...i kept forgetting the ends of my sentences, and at one point, i used my outside voice to proclaim, "i'm glad we didn't order the halibut. that's a loser's dish." we could do with a little less textbook indie on the speakers. at one point, in between the apps and the mains, we heard the opening sounds of ltj bukem's horizons, which of course made us practically squeal with excitement. we were so pumped to hear it! and then of course, not even 30 seconds in, whoever is running the sound back there decided to CUT it and segueway into elvis costello or some s**t. our mouths gaped open, we were so shocked and disappointed. we got pwned.

then we came home and i messed up knitting this new lace pattern AGAIN (i cast on too many stitches...curses!) and watched "porky's". i don't know about what YOU remember porky's to be about, but i remember it being about sexy stuff and lots of tits and muff. WRONG. it's actually really boring and about taking down porky's (a redneck establishment of ill repute) and battling anti-semitism. snooze!

tonight i came home and cranked out two pies, deviled eggs, and did some errand-running for the big canada day smoke out tomorrow. i was exhausted after all that so we capitalized on a buy 1 get 1 free gyro coupon that came in the mail for messini's on the danforth. that's my pork gyro. oh yes, they put FRENCH FRIES in that mother. apparently those are "authentic" greek gyros. i can totally dig it. i'm trying desperately hard not to let it bother me that i over-cooked part of the crust of one of my pies. i'm trying really really hard to resist the urge to throw it out and start anew. it's paining me. must be less type A, must be less type A. we're getting up at 6am to throw the brisket in. eep! i'll report back with progress shots. it's my first time smoking anything, so i'm aiming low and hoping for the best.

in other news: one of our bbq guests decided to invite along some hippie flakebot (or, at least she was at the time that went to our high school) to my bbq. what the hell? what the hell do people think goes on? do you REALLY think i'm running some rinky dink bbq with like, bear claw burgers and potato salad from the ziggy's deli counter at loblaws?!?!!! is that what you think i do? is that the kind of ship it looks like i'm running? is that the kind of heart you think i'm the captain of? who DOES that? i've dropped a pretty penny on this shindig and i've planned and thought it out. the invites aren't composed willy-nilly. i would NEVER dream of inviting someone random to a friend's dinner invite. it's like last year, one of the dotytron's friends (it's ALWAYS the dotytron's friends who pull this s**t, btw...and they NEVER bring anything), invited a random to LOBSTER FEST. who DOES that? and i'm sorry, but i'm NOT going to listen to you talk about how you breastfed people in guatemala whilst simultaneously digging a well and learning woven handicrafts. i suspect she might get pwned. we'll see. she's actually pretty nice (but we all know how i feel about nice), but i suspect she's really earnest, doesn't share a similar sense of humour, and probably doesn't know important stuff, like...why my postulating that lil' wayne is miles davis' son is funny.

but i'm nothing if not fair. i'll give her a fair shot and bury my resentment at her uninvitedness and give her a chance to prove herself. see how she feels about chris brown. that kind of stuff.


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