Let me splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.*

Things have been, even for an unemployed bum like me, busy around here lately. I have an opportunity to do some AutoCAD drawings for a custom steel fabricator that I have sent work to in the past. They have created a lot of steel “thingies” for various movie sets that I have drawn. They also make lots of steel stuff for other people too. This particular project they haven’t quite landed yet and is all very hush hush but looks quite fun. My only worry is that I will need to be able to create some pretty simple shop drawings of some fairly complex geometry. This will require some accurate 3D modeling that will allow for accurate laser cutting of steel. I have been creating most of my recent 3D models in a program called SketchUp. It is great for visualizing and even accurate enough for film; perhaps not high end real world projects. So, I have been trying to learn how to use all of those really swell 3D options in AutoCAD. This would usually be fun for me, but a month or so ago, I was working on my laptop (that is powerful enough to handle such 3D tasks) while enjoying a nice tall, cold glass of water which was situated beside the computer on the desk where I was working comfortably. At my side was my beautiful wife, T, and soon to join us would be our cuddly little furball of a cat, Keith. All was good in life. For a moment. Then the cat got startled and spilled the water all over T… and the laptop. Fizzzle.—– blank screen. It is being fixed now. Hopefully.
Until it is returned, I am left using my Dell Dimension 8100, with a few minor RAM upgrades to try to eek out some 3D wireframes. This circa. 1999 computer leaves a little to be desired in the 3D performance arena but isn’t faring too bad with some of the simple test models that I am creating while learning “the 3D”. So, I’ve been a bit busy with that.

Also, my father-in-law was in the hospital for some “routine” day surgery that turned into a 4 day stay. It seems that the bumping and grinding in what they were doing to him was more than his body was willing to take to allow him to just get up and leave a few short hours afterward. He is home now and improving and will be back to his normal self soon. So, there were hospital visits and a dog-in-law to walk to keep us busy for the last few days.

Now, I am dealing with a chest cold that I surely caught at the hospital even though I was using the Purell hand wash stations every time I saw one. I am writing this through a bit of a NyQuil haze so please forgive me for huge grammatical errors, punctuation problems and general non-linear writing.
Since my last post, over a week ago, there have been a few things that I have wanted to write about and surely I shall in the future. But today is a very important day for me and, I would argue, for T.

Two years ago, with the encouragement of some close friends of mine (and T’s), I agreed to go to dinner with them to meet a woman. They were convinced that we would hit it off. As you may have figured out, that woman was T and she would become my wife and I her husband.

It is hard to believe that it has only been two years when it already feels like so much longer. Mike was saying that he was unable to imagine life with children before Figgy and now he can’t imagine life without.  It is much the same for me with marriage.  I always wanted to fall in love and get married.  I just had trouble imagining it, seeing it.  Now, I have trouble imagining life without my partner and our dreams.

We celebrated on the weekend by going to the restaurant that was the location for our first ‘official’ date with no chaperones.  It is a place on the edge of greek town in Toronto, near the corner of Danforth and Broadview, called Globe Bistro.  We absolutely love this place.  It is not purely an emotional attachment to this place either.  This place has some of the best food that I have eaten.   The elements on each plate compliment each other so well that after each bite, I usually am barely able to control my urge to jump up on my chair and declare to the world with fist pumps and ‘oh yeahs’ that I am enjoying what I am eating.  Usually.  We dine there whenever money and the occasion allows.

Here is a run down of what we had on this occasion:

Drinks:

T: A wonderful non-alcoholic cocktail called a San Francisco. Highlights of this drink include: the barely noticeable (until told) hint of thyme infused simple syrup,  grapefruit juice, other juices and egg whites.  Not a bad choice for the designated driver. Better than just plain old fizzy water.

Me: I loves me  a Manhattan. With Bourbon. Yummy.

Fizzy water

Amuse Bouche (always amusing my bouche!):

A delicious spoonful of white bean puree that was smooth as silk ( almost like soy milk come to think of it), with a pork infused crouton topped with dried cherries that had been soaked in ice wine.  This was simply divine.  I was contemplating hiding our plate with the spoons to try to get us another round.

First Course:

T: Chèvre and Beluga Lentil Salad.  This was perhaps the best dish of the night.  A lot of cheese but so damn good that one can’t help but eat it all!   Poppy seed crusted chèvre croquettes served with romaine hearts, white truffle vinaigrette, blood orange and pine nuts.  So good.  I must make this one myself.

Me: Crispy Seared Creemore Rainbow Trout.  In my attempt to eat more fish, I ordered this and loved it.  It would have been great as a meal on its own.  Crispy skinned rainbow trout poached with Creemore Springs lager seved on a bed of pickled savoy cabbage with 4 black potato pierogies  and a sour cream foam.  Again, each element on the plate worked incredibly well with the other.  The sour cream foam complementing the savoury black potato pierogi, that had more of a piecrust-type shell than the usual egg-noodly pierogi, balanced nicely with the mild, sweet, tang of the pickled cabbage.  The faily neutral flavour of the trout with it crispy skin was able to be enjoyed with each of its partners on the plate.  I finished this with a big smile on my face while looking longingly over at T’s quickly disappearing masterpiece.

Mains:

T: Canada’s Finest Plate. This is a special that the restaurant comes up with that is supposed to showcase the best that Canada has to offer.  This time it was: a “twice cooked” skirt steak that was oh so tender and buttery; a butter-poached lobster claw; oyster mushrooms; fennel; some fois gras; all with a veal reduction of some sort.  There was really too much on this plate to remember everything.  This dish, while each and everything on it was good, was too much.  Here, I feel, the usual  complimentary relationship of each element on the plate was lacking.  It seemed like one of those absurd plates that someone would order just to say that they had the best of everything on the menu.  It didn’t seem to have a clear direction in the flavours that were to be enjoyed. T said that it was too ‘bourgignon-y’ and I tend to agree.  The powerful flavours of each of the rich items on the plate, though individually sounding delicous when the waiter describes it, muddied each other and competed too much for the tastebud’s attention when put together on one plate.  The result: a less than exciting experience.  The simplicity was lost here by putting too many big items on the plate.  More was not better. A minor disappointment. T still finished it all but will not likely have it again.

Me:   Braised Cumbrae’s Short Rib.  One large, braised beef short rib with delicious meat falling from the bone. It was served with a cider reduction, heirloom turnip purée, a horseradish foam, avacado and a savoury pound cake.  This was so good.  I love short ribs.  I usually like them Korean style which is to say, a thinly sliced strips of meat with little bitty rib bones still in the strip; kind of like beef bacon.  This was cut ‘English’ style;  about 3 inches thick with a single bone.  The meat was perfectly braised and the reduction helped to accentuate the richness of the meat.  The king of the plate here though was the savoury pound cake.  This little round cake was filled with rich, bacon flavour that reminded me of a really good corn bread.  The texture though was much smoother than cornbread and it melted on the tongue.  It was sturdy enough, however, to soak up the delicous cider reduction and braising liquid.  When the richness of it all became a bit overwhelming to the tongue, and I needed a switch in flavour, the circular, crown shaped molded chopped avacado gave an instant change in texture and flavour that served well as a neutral palette cleanser.  This allowed me to dive in again to the rich meaty flavours on the plate with a renewed desire to taste them again.  Unfortunately, as is usually the case, I ate this dish way too fast to actually remember having the horseradish foam.  I’m sure that I did but I really need to slow down in all of the excitement of this great food and learn to savour it more slowly.  I just get so excited.

Dessert:

We were both so very full that we didn’t dare overstuff ourselves by having dessert…. so we split one.

Banana Pavlova.  Delicious white chocolate cream, with vanilla kissed banana pieces in a pavlova shell served with a carmelized banana fluff and grapefruit sorbet. Sinfully delicious. Bananas, vanilla, white chocolate… ’nuff said.

With this we had some great teas:

T: Blood orange, Rooibos.  A sweet, citrus flavoured,  nutty cup of warm goodness.

Me: Chocolate Sensation.  A strong hint of chocolate with an afterbite of chili heat. Exciting.

In the end it was a fantastic dinner.  Not just because it was great food in a romantic, hip environment.  It was fantastic because, as I sat there, I stared into my darling wife’s beautiful eyes and realized that I would be able to do so for many, many years.  It doesn’t matter if I am eating Kraft Dinner or Beef Wellington, my soul will always be nourished by the love that I see in her eyes.

That is my main course of choice.

The rest are just delicious sides.

*The title is a quote from the Princess Bride.

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3 comments on “Let me splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.*

  1. I believe this is the first written record in history of a man’s (Nyquil induced) Vision Quest.

    Excellent usage of Inigo Montoya’s funniest line in that movie (and that’s saying something). Here’s hoping T’s Dad is feeling tip-top. Congrats to both of you on completing two years together. They pass by quickly; enjoy them.

  2. Since theVet and I met I’ve been introduced to the wonders of Korean short ribs (kalbi, or galbi) — I believe it’s technically the “flanken cut”. We keep meaning to either wheedle the recipe out of her mom or to try this one as it seems un-intimidating. Two things to note — it tastes wonderful cooked over charcoal, and the last time I grilled it, I kept roughly half the grill covered in aluminum foil; start on the foil to make sure it’s cooked through without burning, then move it onto the bare grill for a nice sear.

    I find it strange how the older I get the faster the years go; 0-10 years took forever, 10-20 didn’t seem quite so tedious, 20-30 went by without notice, and now, nearly halfway through 30-40, there’s a fair amount of WTF.

  3. THIS SHORT RIB RECIPE ROCKS
    marinating for ten to 24 hours is essential

    KOREAN-STYLE GRILLED BEEF SHORT RIBS AND SCALLIONS

    six 1 1/2- to 2-inch-thick beef short ribs, trimmed of excess fat on the meat side
    5 garlic cloves, forced through a garlic press or minced
    1/2 cup soy sauce
    3 tablespoons Oriental sesame oil
    2 teaspoons minced fresh gingerroot
    3 tablespoons sugar
    2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
    2 teaspoons sesame seeds
    1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    18 scallions, roots trimmed

    Cut through the meaty side of each short rib to the bone at 1/2-inch intervals, leaving the meat attached to the bone. In a bowl whisk together well the garlic, the soy sauce, the oil, the gingerroot, the sugar, the vinegar, the sesame seeds, and the pepper and coat each rib thoroughly with the marinade, transferring the ribs as they are coated to a large resealable plastic bag. Add the scallions and any remaining marinade to the bag, seal the bag, and let the mixture marinate, chilled, turning the bag occasionally, overnight.
    Grill the ribs, the marinade discarded, meaty side down, on an oiled rack set 5 to 6 inches over glowing coals for 8 minutes, turn them, and grill them for 6 minutes more for medium-rare meat. Grill the scallions, turning them occasionally, for 4 minutes, or until they are just browned.

    Serves 6.

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