April 23, 2013

Salt (of the earth)

Recently Mark and I treated ourselves to dinner at Salt Wine Bar over on the Ossington strip (Oz). While frequently derided for its status as "hipster ground zero", Oz is always worth visiting for its great--and densely packed-- collection of galleries, bars, and restaurants.

We've been slowly checking out each spot and we finally found ourselves at Salt, which labels itself as "a modern progressive approach to Iberian/Canadian tapas specializing in Portuguese and Spanish wines and a fresh take on cocktails".

Lined with wine bottles and decked out with lovely chandeliers, the space feels like a wine cellar, and we were immediately put at ease by the warmth of the setting.

We started with the house-cured charcuterie board and cocktails. Mark opted for the Charred Cedar Manhattan (Maker’s Mark bourbon, sweet and dry vermouth, house charred cedar bitters, served over a king cube in a pine smoked glass) while I had another cocktail that is sadly not on their online menu (and I can't recall its name).

We then ordered our tapas plates: Quebec Foie Gras Torchon (with black figs, pickled shallots, candied hazelnuts, grilled baguette), Hand Cut Black Angus Steak Tartar  (with grilled baguette, soft egg, truffle aioli, parsley), Crispy Szechuan Pork Belly (with hoisin glaze, jicama slaw, coriander, chili, peanuts), and Crispy Quebec Duck Confit  (with apple, house bacon, celeriac puree, pecans, cognac jus). Each plate was perfectly done and executed and we were absolutely delighted with our meal.

Mark could not resist having dessert, and we shared a yummy Sticky Toffee Pudding (that wasn't sticky enough for Mark!). We totally enjoyed our experience at Salt and also encountered some of the loveliest serving staff we have ever had in the city. A memorable destination.

April 16, 2013

Let's Play Ball

Toronto Blue Jays vs. Chicago White Sox, April 16, 2013 by Stacy Kelly
I attended a home game of the Toronto Blue Jays (est. 1977) earlier tonight, something I have never done before.  I had the privilege to attend the game as a guest in a corporate suite. The last baseball game I attended was a home game for the Montreal Expos (1969-2004) at the Big O. That kind of tells you my relationship to baseball.

The Jays were contending with the Chicago White Sox (est. 1900) and while the visitors ultimately prevailed 4-3 I must confess it was a really fun experience being at the game.

For one thing, the fans were a riot, with their taunts, cheers, and general enthusiasm. The complex itself provided all sorts of musical entertainment during the game to keep folks revved up, and the giant scoreboards helped me keep track of what in the world was going on.

I tend to prefer more kinetic sports, such as soccer, tennis, football, and hockey, but I did come away with a respect for these players, who will likely play over 100 games in a season, and it was quite clear to me that hitting a baseball coming at you at 95 mph remains a tough feat, no matter how experienced you are.

From what I gather this promises to be the Jay's strongest roster since their glory years of 1992/1993. We'll see what happens. Maybe they can be the second Roger's Centre team to bring home the big one this season.