Sunday, March 07, 2010

a night in tunisia

training started in earnest yesterday, with a 20 minute, 2.86km run (a very very slow job, actually), some crunches, weights, push-ups and yoga. it's easy when the weather is all springlike and sunny.

i finally managed to convince the dotytron to go to the castlefield design district so that we could do some research on lighting at union lighting and research some door knobs (i want to replace our brass fittings on all the doors with antique, glass knobs) at the door store. the good news is, union lighting had a pretty decent supply of schoolhouse fixtures that were reasonably priced. we can get stuff that we like for the whole house for about $350, which is way more affordable than i thought it was going to be. the bad news is, antique doorknobs run about $100/knob (minimum...some of them were $285/knob - and the price changes on the knob depending on the finish you want.) because we don't have antique doors but new doors with the new whole drilled in, we have to get these weird converter plates made by a company that allows people with pre-drilled doors to have old knobs fitted. those are a minimum of $30/plate (you need 2 per door) and then to get them darkened is an extra $10 and then to have them re-plated (if you don't like an antiqued bronze look but want pewter or nickle or chrome) is bajillions more.

the long and short of it is: the knobs will be the LAST thing we do. and for all of you homeowners, helping homeowners out there, nice doorknobs are EFFIN' EXPENSIVE!

we had dinner with my friends D and N last night. they're both pretty adventurous eaters so we headed to this tunisian restaurant, djerba ladouce on the danforth. it was SOOOOO GOOD! i couldn't believe it! they don't serve alcohol, so we started our meal off with mint tea. the tea was served hot and poured dramatically from a silver tea pot very high into pretty, tiny, embossed glasses. the tea was tooth-achingly sweet and not particularly my style.

the restaurant is nothing to look at. there are some hand painted murals on the wall and the chairs and tables are standard-issue thrifted from some dated second hand restaurant supply store. you don't go for the decor. the chef proprietor (pictured on the homepage) came and answered our questions about the menu. D asked what the "salad grill mushwa" was and he said it was a pureed salad and that it was fantastic so we ordered that to share. technically, the chef owner said that EVERYTHING was good and recommended the calamari, which, he claimed, was like "no calamari anywhere else." despite that enticing endorsement, we opted to just go with the mushwa instead.

the salad mushwa was DELICIOUS. oh my goodness! according to the online menu it's a puree of garlic, roasted tomato and onion. there are capers and olives strewn about and a bit of hard boiled egg. bits of crunchy pickled cucumbers and a hefty dousing of fresh parsley brighten the rich, smooth flavours of the dish. served with warm pita for scooping it was positively addictive. so freakin' good! it was hard to identify the spicing but alls i know is, it tasted divine.

i ordered the lamb couscous which was a generous, properly braised shank portion on top of impossibly fluffy couscous (every time i make it, the grains clump, but at restaurants, each little bead is always distinct and tender) with a mix of vegetables: tender baby carrots and cabbage predominantly in some gentle spicing. it was delicious and so affordable at $13 for the dish.

the dotytron got the merguez "platter" which featured links of lamb merguez sausage in a hearty, smooth, and intensely flavourful spiced sauce with vegetables and bits of french-fried potato. served with warmed pita for sopping up the delicious sauce.

D got the trout platter which was a huge plate of poached trout covered in a herb sauce that was very rich and creamy but didn't appear to have any cream in it.

everything was amazingly delicious and the bill came to $73 total (incl. tax, without tip, cash only). i'm excited to go back again. the food was unlike any i had ever had before and really satisfying - exciting for the taste buds.

this morning we're doing small futzy things around the house. sunday breakkie will be a BLT with egg on a whole wheat kaiser. we're having goosetang over for an oscar/thanksgiving party. we haven't had an only-goosetang hang since montreal - i'm so excited! it's a slash-thanksgiving party because i got snookered into buying a heritage turkey from the mennonites - i ordered a goose, they convinced me to buy a turkey instead, claiming it was a heritage breed that's like, all dark meat, when i tried to change my order to a duck, they guilt-tripped me saying they had already ordered it and the farmer was weeping silent tears on their doorstep blah blah blah. anyway, i didn't get to cook thanksgiving dinner this year, so i'm doing it now. we're having: roast turkey, sage stuffing, garlic mashed potatoes, gravy, brussel sprout and carrot horseradish casserole, and i'm kicking around the idea of doing another vegetable as well - maybe mashed sweet potatoes with marshmallow topping. but i feel like that already is a lot of food for 5 people, especially with sticky toffee pudding and bourbon caramel sauce for i might hold off.

it's going to be a fun/productive day!


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