warriorsavant: (Quebec sait faire)
Red Velvet. Not the cake (which I like also), but a mixture of a red beer and a cider. Sounded weird but with potential. The first sip was a bit weird, but the taste quickly grew on me. Nice mix of effervescent and tart and sweet and very thirst-quenching and tasty. Tried it at a bistro in the Hochelaga district here in Montreal. They were having a little community festival/sugar shack, and we took the kids.

Sugar shack (cabin à sucre) is a Quebec custom, when the maple sap starts running. Basically go up to a farm house (these days a fake farm house at a maple tree farm) and have a maple-syrup based bouffe (big meal/face-stuffing). The usual breakfasty things like ham and pancakes, but usually everything cooked or seasoned with maple syrup. Here in the city, don't actually have maple tree farms, but they keep the tradition alive at various restaurants and festivals. This one was quite small, and all the food was in one big tent, to which there was a huge line-up, so we strolled up the street and found this little bistro. Just had burgers (with a touch of maple) and fries (and the red velvet for me), but they were really quite good. The bistro apparently has music at night.

Hochelaga was a decaying district, that seems to be coming up now as the artistic neighborhood. Not the artsy neighborhood, which is the next step in urban neighborhood evolution, but where the real artists and musicians live, hang out, and perform. It's an urban cycle. A neighborhood is run down. Therefore artists can afford to live there, so they do. It becomes hip, then the artsy types (a.k.a. posers) move in and raise the rents/property values, then real artists have to move out, and the district becomes entirely plastic. Think Greenwich Village in NYC, although I suspect the phenomenon predates the 1950's… by at least 2000 years.
warriorsavant: (Wedding/Romance)
Happy St Patrick's Day to all my Gentle Readers. Neither Nom nor I are Irish (beyond that everyone is Irish on St Paddy's Day), but it is in fact, the day we met. That was purely coincidently, as we were introduced via the ancient Vietnamese custom of online dating, but we actually met in person on March 17th, hard to believe fully 7 years ago. (A huge amount has happened in those 7 years!) We met for coffee at the coffee shop that is part of a local chain of bookstores. Nom being the forward and shameless hussy that she is, she is sat at the next table from me. Today, to celebrate, we sat at separate tables at breakfast. Well, not really, but I did make her green scrambled eggs. I think it will become a family tradition. Hedgefund loved the famous Dr. Suess "Green Eggs and Ham" when she was a toddler, but we were out of ham, so had bacon instead.
warriorsavant: (Three Musketeers)
"I like to feel a healthy breeze around my privates…" (very minor character from one of the Harry Potter books). Except it never gets down to -17ºC (0ºF) in Scotland; highlands, lowlands, midlands, outer islands, then or now; or they wouldn't have taken up wearing kilts. On the other hand, it was really just between house and car (in which I put a blanket over my bear legs) to and fro to my friend's house for his annual Robbie Burns Night.

Between everyone there, we had a total of perhaps 1.25 Scotsmen, but still great fun. Some food (limited what can be eaten on a keto diet; but a small amount of haggis won't ruin the diet). Some chat. Some scotch (just a wee dram… or four). Some poetry - actually my favorite part last night (even if I cheated and recited Dave Van Ronk). There was something fascinating about sitting in a cozy living room, reading poetry from 2-1/2 centuries ago, with people of 3 (4?) generations. The dark, warm, comfy feeling of being immersed in a warm, slow river of history.

Keto

Jan. 14th, 2019 01:34 pm
warriorsavant: (HHG-Throne of fruit)
I've always felt that most fad diets were exactly that: fads. Body weight is much like a bank balance: if the "gizintas*" are greater than the "gizoutas*" it goes up; if it is lower than the gizoutas, it does down. In the case of weight, we are talking calories, and not very important if one changes the caloric balance by lower gizintas (eat less) or higher gizoutas (exercise more).

I'm scarcely fat, especially by N. American standards, but just before the holidays I realized I was the heaviest I'd ever been. My weight has been fairly stable for most of my adult life. (In rounds numbers, it's been "none of your business.") It went up several pounds after I got out of the Army -> exercised less -> had kids -> exercised less. Still, I was never a huge exercise buff. Most of my life, I kept my weight down by depending on good genetics/high metabolism. The past few years, that hasn't been working as well. (Not entirely sure how gray hairs effects one's metabolism, but they seem to.) No matter what I tell myself, I'm just not going to be exercising that much more, so decided to tra keto diet. My own doc pointed out (and in past I agreed with this statement), that any diet works for 6 months. That having been said, a close friend tried a keto diet with great results. He was seriously overweight, and within a year has slimmed down to merely somewhat heavyset. Nom and I decided to dive in and try it. She's scarcely fat either, but she's no longer a "size 0-0-0" (I'm not sure I believe that's a real size, but she has clothes that claim it is.) On the other hand, "you done have a baby (or two), miz scarlet." On the other, other hand, I have no objection to how she looks. On the other, other, other hand (we seem to need an octopus to keep up with the discussion), it is futile and possibly dangerous to tell one's wife anything about her weight, pro or con. Anyhow, starting New Years Day, we started.

So far, good results. Have started shedding the excess. The diet is a bit monotonous, and sometimes I just don't like the fatty mouth-feel, but some of that will improve as we figure out different recipes. In the long run, we shall see.

*gizinta = that which giz (goes) inta (into) your body/bank account.
*gizouta = that which giz (goes) outa (out of) your body/bank account.

warriorsavant: (Wedding/Romance)
We were almost too tired to go away but wanted to break up the period of "kids off from day care" and of winter cold. Also we'd already booked the 5 days away, so off we went. Any doubts about that's being the right decision were erased when we got to our hotel and stood on the outside walkway looking at the ocean (well Gulf of Mexico to be precise). In the warmth. Had sudden urge to change careers to "inspect sunsets through bottom of beer stein while sitting on a beach." Unlikely to actually happen anytime soon, but very strong urge. (On the other hand, summers there are unbearably hot and humid, so beginning to understand snow birds.) Since not actually moving anytime soon, do need to make sure the kids know how to skate and ski and other activities that make one enjoy winter (at least until they go to Med School at UBC (or possibly U Hawaii).

Downside was the long traveling (basically first and last day spent in transit) and that we all came down sick and spent most of the last day sitting around the hotel feeling miserable and puking. Upside was warm and relaxing and beautiful.

Impressions )

Some specifics )

L'envoi. “Goodbye ocean, goodbye palm trees, goodbye warm weather"
warriorsavant: (Venice)
After the holiday luncheon mentioned last post, I stayed around, cleaned up some paperwork, then had some gentlemen over for the winter solstice Scotch tasting. One of the guys goes hunting (grew up old style Quebec) and brought some caribou rillette that he’d hunted the caribou. I have mixed feelings about hunting. Grew up big-city-hunters-kill-bambi, but I eat meat, and can’t see anything wrong with it as long as you eat what you kill. Anyhow, except for not having cigars, my solstice Scotch tastings with a small group of friends is the one old style, gentlemanly get together that I do. (No cigars, but maybe will add next year, even if none of us actually do smoke.)
warriorsavant: (Venice)
Last day before we break for the holidays. I love my work, but need a break. Usually on the last day we close at noon, then Evil Secretary and I go out for lunch. We'd accidentally already booked some patients at the end of the day, and didn't really feel like sitting in a restaurant, so we just blocked off 2 hours mid-day, and I brought in lox and bagels (and all the trimmings, and a toaster) and we had that for lunch. Also a bottle of wine (only 1-2 glasses each, since had to work later). Had lunch, and a walk (last pleasant day for a while), and a good gab. For the rest of the bottle, if patients were pleasant, we offered them a small glass of "holiday cheer." Good way to finish the working year.

Cheap Chic

Nov. 7th, 2018 11:05 am
warriorsavant: (Cafe)

Pastel,currently thenew 'in' restaurant in Montreal. We went there last night courtesy of MTL à Table, which as mentioned previously, is like restaurant week most other places, but with l'accent français(*1).

 

'Cheap Chic' is our term to going to classy restaurants on the cheap: luncheon specials, late night specials (well, before we had kids), or restaurant weeks. Usually have their best dishes at a fraction of the price. Usually, we don't have drinks or coffee there, so they really make no money on us.

 

Nom made the reservations. Initially we were told they were full up the day(s) we wanted. She called back with a different plan. Eventually they saw reason. Which is to say, the 6thtime she called, I heard someone in the background say, "It's heragain. Give her a dang table or she'll keep calling!(*2) Contrary to the cliché of Asian women, she is about as passive and submissive as the average mule. Make that 2 mules. Or 10. Anyhow, she can be rather persistent.

 

Been there when it was something else. Even in a city with as many good restos as Montreal, there are still just so many venues, and fancy restaurants rarely last that long. When we walked in, Nom introduced herself, and the hostess turned the manager, and said, "it's that annoying Vietnamese woman who kept calling, seat her quickly(*2)." They found us a place in the far corner where the kids wouldn't disturb the other dinners.

 

Avant garde food. Avant garde is French for "overpriced, tiny portions, and totally awful." In this case 2 out of 3. The portions were filling, only if you were a squirrel ("Hey Rocky, watch me pull a dinner out of my hat"). And only overpriced if you went on a regular night, something like 50$/course. Very involved food. I confess I'm a little tired of overly-involved, pernickety, lets-see-how-many-weird-ingredients-I-can-combine dishes. I've come to prefer fairly standard fare, maybe with a slight twist, but very well done. Still, quite good. The true star of the dinner was one of the desserts, Crème bruûléewith fennel sauce. As for filling part, well, let's just say that afterwards we stopped stopped at the burger joint up the street to get some extra fries, calories, and irony.

 

The kids were largely well-behaved. They had wanted to blow out candles. At the resto we went to the other night, they amused themselves by blowing out the little tea candle on the table. We thought we'd be clever and bring some extra candles (found some spare birthday candles in a drawer) that I could repeatedly light for them from the tea candle and they could then repeatedly blow out. Curses, foiled again! They didn't have tea candles, or any other candles, on the tables. Kids were disappointed, so when we got home, I found some matches, set up 2 candles, and let them take turns blowing them out(*3).

 

 

Footnotes:

*1 Which is to say the waiters speak through their noses which are tilted in the air.

*2 Perhaps a slight exaggeration for comedic effect. There will be some of that in this conte

*3 If I'd let them keep going, it would have been hours of fun for them, seconds of fun for me. Did have a dozen turns each, and felt satisfied at that.

warriorsavant: (Time)
For some obscure reason, my municipality doesn't hold its Remembrance Day ceremony on the day itself. They usually hold it on the Sunday closest to Remembrance Day. Maybe so it doesn't conflict with the big ceremony downtown Montreal? Anyhow, since this year Remembrance Day falls on a Sunday, one would think they'd have it on the right day for a change. Uh, no. They had it today. It also isn't wildly advertised, so I only found out it was going to happen late Friday, too late to call City Hall and find out the details. I might have attended, or even marched in the little parade. It actually goes past my house. City Hall is about a block away from me, and the ceremony is at the Cenotaph in front of City Hall. I'm a little shy about attending, what with my uniform being of another country. Last year, for the big ceremony, I was thinking of going with a Veterans group, who would have been happy for me to join, but just didn't feel like being that sociable. From what I could see, there was a small group of older veterans in their dress uniforms (few dozen), then a group from a local reserve unit (again, about a few dozen), two Montreal police on horseback, then a few dozen cadets, Army and Air. 'Cadets' here not meaning officer trainees, but a high school aged organization focusing on leadership, citizenship, physical development, and self-reliance. Kind of like Boy Scouts/Girl Guides, only more so. (Note to self: get more info about Cadets when the kids are a bit older.) Anyhow, I'll look into our local ceremony this week, for consideration for next year.

Further on the list of mis-timed events, Hedgefund's swimming lesson was supposed to be tonight. As we were en route, got a text, first from a friend whose daughter takes lessons at the same time, then from the teacher, saying it had been cancelled because they were doing maintenance on the pool. Grrr. We had already planned on going out for dinner after, so we stopped at a park near old condo (both the swimming and the restaurant were near there) so the kids could play a bit. Well, Hedgefund played, Wallstreet is his mother's son (and especially his late paternal grandmother's grandson) and doesn't like cold, so he and Nom hung out in the car.

The dinner was part of Montreal à Table, an annual 2-week event with specials at different restaurants to encourage people to try them. The one we went to, called Asado, was in the same location, and under the same management, as another place Nom had wanted to try, but had closed before we could try it. Would rate it, "glad we went, but no need to go back." Asado is Spanish for "roast." Not sure I thought the food was very Latin American, but the atmosphere (including the music) was. For some reason, the décor tickled some memory of someplace I once was eating or drinking (or wenching?) in Chile, although I don't remember it well enough to say why.
warriorsavant: (Autumn-upstate NY)
Wallstreet’s 3rd Birthday. Nom is misty-eyed about her baby growing up. Birthday meaningless to him, but seems important to Hedgefund (who does, however, do the equivalent of pointing out that she is older than he is and always will be). She’s asking questions like, “well, will he be bigger tomorrow?” “are his feet bigger today?” At times she is very into being the Big Sister. Sometimes very endearing, and taking care of her little brother (and vice versa), sometimes much sibling rivalry. So, in short, normal relations between the bambini. Anyhow, dinner with Nom’s family. Went to Moishe's, Wallstreet’s my favorite steakhouse. Well, he actually does like steak, although frequently pronounces it “snake.” Clearly has a future in Special Ops.

First Fall weather. The air is crisp. And last week was the last kick of Summer, with sweating running down your back. Ah, Montreal weather, massively fickle. Supposed to have power outage at office today (working on the mains). Figure could just leave the blackout curtains open. Alas, heavily overcast. So far power still on (crosses fingers). At lunch went out to get cappuccino. Of course started raining when I was the farthest away from the office. S'okay, I needed coffee more than I needed to stay dry.

Went apple picking over the weekend. Kids had fun. Hedgefund went on the pony ride. Told me I had to wait outside the ring, what with her being a big girl now.

Had our annual cutaneous lymphoma conference Friday. We didn’t really have our act together, but went okay in the end. We bring in a couple of visiting experts. The first half, they see patients with our group, our most difficult cases. For the second half, we invite outside doctors for CME lectures. Fewer general attendees for the second half than last year. For the first half, we enjoyed the interaction, but can’t say we got a lot out of it. Not that the experts were bad, but we’ve gotten good enough that unless we’re getting one of the top 10 people in the world, they just don’t have that much to tell us.
warriorsavant: (Signpost Ft. Benning)
Entirely separate concepts, on two separate days. I just like the alliteration in the title.

SEA… well BEACH anyhow: Yesterday, we took the kids to the beach. Was supposed to be Hedgefund's swimming lesson, but it got cancelled. We got the call when we were already en route, with bathing suits under our clothes. We tried to think of something else to do, and Nom remembered she always wanted to visit the beach/nature preserve at Cap St Jacques. My usual feeling about beaches is "have a nice time, I'll pack you sandwiches and sunscreen," but it was a family outing. There was an organic farm, which had some animals that you couldn't pet; and lots of flies, which were quite happy to pet you. Then we went to the beach. Pristine water, sparkling sand… okay, not even close. North shore of Montreal Island is a very far cry from a Caribbean island in more than straight-line distance. Murky water and more mud than sand. Still, it was a beach, and the kids enjoyed wading and splashing.

SUSTENANCE & SOCIETY: (Wanted something closer to ethno-cultural identity, but "society" was the best I could manage that would alliterate. Hoisted on my own petard by that alliteration thing.) Yeah, anyhow, for Breakfast had lox and bagels, for Lunch had poutine, and for Dinner had bún thit nuong. Somewhere in there had some tea, even if didn't have Tea. Yup, touched all the ethno-cultural culinary bases in one day.
warriorsavant: (Three Musketeers)
For Young: Took the kids back to La Ronde today. Nothing much different from last time, except one kiddie stage show (I had no idea what was happening, but Hedgefund seemed to enjoy it.) Did note that our season passes are good at any Six Flags amusement park. How many others in Canada? Zero. 'Sokay, if we happen to be in Dubai in the next few months, we're good. Again, all had fun.

For Old (or at least adult): Had my semi-annual Scotch swilling tasting. This is probably the only "guy" thing I do. I talk about drinking Scotch much more than I actually drink it, but a few times per year spend some time appreciating single malt. For my events, it is always a small group (5 guests last night), mostly different fields and reasonably well-established. I'm not very sociable in the usual extrovert sense of the word, but this is how I like to socialize: small group of interesting people. They'd be fun even if we all were sober, which we weren't after an hour or so.

Since the kids are too young to drink, or even make decent waiters, held it at my office. The highlights were Scapa and Edradour. I selected them by a highly effective decision making matrix: I went to the SAQ, took pictures of what they had, texted them to my accountant (who is also my Scotch consultant), then called him to discuss. It worked, as those were really, really good. (Started with the Scapa, then moved on to the Edradour, with some other decent tipples that other people brought in between.) Before we got started, accountant mentioned that some places provide eye droppers to add the water in precisely measured amounts. I did have an eyedropper, but it was contaminated with KOH (Potassium Hydroxide), which probably won't do much positive for your tastes buds, or your health. Instead, I broke out a small syringe, so could measure even more precisely, and we could take notes. "Never interrupt me when I'm doing science!" For the record, 0.1-0.4 ml of water in 2-fingers of Scotch is right. The lower amount for a smoother Scotch like the Scapa, the higher for a more complex flavor like the Edradour. (Yes, "2-fingers" is too a precise, scientific measurement.)

Actually, one of the group, for whom this was the first time with us, actually is a scientist. (Another guest is on the admin side of research, and I dabble, but he is actually full-time, paid to do it, basic science researcher.) He was a little hesitate at first, then asked me if he was invited just so the rest of us could make fun of the nerd later. Sheldon et al from The Big Bang Theory to the contrary, neither he, nor most actual researchers, are massively inept socially, and he fit right in.

Next time, instead of cheese, pate, and such, might break out the BBQ and have steaks. I believe that having different colors of food helps to make a well-balanced diet. In this case, lean red meat and pale amber Scotch. Balance is important.
warriorsavant: (Warriordaddy)
Many will tell you that education is the key to getting a good job, good life, and avoiding manual drudgery. For much of human history, that meant being able to avoid laboring in the fields. So, for the first relatively cool day in a while, we two university-educated parents took our young kids to pick berries. The irony is not lost on me that what is considered horrid grinding work if you have to do it, can be the epitome of leisure if doing it for a lark.

Quinn Farms is about 35 minute drive from where we are. I've always been amazed that for a city of it's size, from Montreal you can be in farm country in 30-45 minutes. I think because Canada has such a relatively small population for its size, the cities are not as widely surrounded by suburban sprawl as in the US or Europe. Quinn Farms is large, clean, and well-run. We got there early before it was too hot or too crowded. First we went to look at the animals. The kids, urban-raised that they are, were fascinated by the future chops, wings, steaks, and bacon animals. Some you could pet (eg sheep), and some you couldn't (eg pigs), which I imagine depends on how likely they are to bite you if annoyed. In with the chickens was one larger, bald-headed bird, which I think was a turkey. Or possibly a vulture (or turkey vulture?). Naw, turkey.

After that, took a ride on a wagon behind a tractor out to the fields. (WS loves tractors, and they had several old ones he got to climb on.) HF was very into picking strawberries, and quickly filled her basket. WS mostly waited for mom to pick some, then ate them. I noticed they had different fields with different crops, which ripened at different times, cleverly allowing them to have tourist custom at all times during the spring, summer, and fall. As part of it's being a working farm, there was an area you couldn't go into: dusty tracks connecting buildings made of sheet metal or of old shipping containers. Reminded me of my Army days.

After that, went back to the main area, had BBQ lunch, then hit the shop (toys, souvenirs, fresh eggs, etc). It was a great day for the kids, and for us. Nom is thinking of going back with her parents. I think her dad might enjoy the new experience, but her mom is more likely of the "we went to university to avoid this kind of work" philosophy. I'm thinking we could create a VN version. Instead of BBQ for lunch, could have pho; instead of sheep, could have water buffalo; and instead of berries, could pick rice.
warriorsavant: (HHG-Throne of fruit)
HF wanted to make "colored" donuts for a while. I finally looked up a recipe for "easy to make donuts." Liars. Nom asked me how they made the holes, and I said we'd need to buy a donut cutter. I thought I was kidding, but when I got to the appropriate place in the recipe, it said to use one. Say what? I thought you rolled the dough into a ring by hand, but maybe that's bagels. That dough is really, really sticky, even if you oil your hands and the board. Managed some globs of food-colored dough, which I then fried. HF and WS put the food coloring into the dough. However, once you fry them, the outside is brown, much to HF's disappointment. Also, the kids sorta expected that donuts are a quick, whip some ingredients together and shazzam! donuts. Uh, no. Especially if Papa has never done this before. They really don't have the concept of "I've never done this before, so I'm figuring it out as I go along, (so stop asking me when it will be done)." I have no problem figuring things out as a go along, even if it ends up a mess, I can usually get to the end result, it just takes time. Anyhow, eventually turned out something donut-like, which the kids promptly didn't want to eat. Seems to be an endemic problem with them, they want a certain thing to eat… until they have it in front of them. Admittedly the brown-fried-dough-globs-with-colored-centers weren't all that appetizing-looking, but didn't taste bad. Well, not too bad. *Sigh*
warriorsavant: (Staten Island Ferry)
Was in NYC week before last. Haven't had time to write about it. 'till now. Family: One of Nom's cousins on her mother's side got married. Big family on that side, cousins in Montreal, NYC, Maryland, California, Texas, and even Paris (France, not Texas). Every 2-3 years someone gets married and they have a family reunion at the same time. I think if no one has plans to get married after 3 years, they hold a lottery and draft someone to have nuptials as an excuse to have a reunion. Maybe not, but still it is a nice touch to have reunions. I usually sit at the table with all the other white guys who married into the family; they're both quite nice. We used it as a reason to have a mini-vacation and so I could see my sister and friends. With two small ones, and the in-laws, driving wasn't practical, so flew, and rented a van once down there. Surprisingly no problems with flights, the only travel kerfuffle was the traffic getting out to Long Island (suburban to NYC, where both the wedding and the reunion were held, 1-hour-ish away). I expect bad traffic in NYC, but it was weird, practically at a stand-still up to a certain point, for no obvious reason: no construction at that point, no accidents, just crawling along, then suddenly moving.


Wednesday )



Thursday )



Friday )
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Saturday )


Sunday/Monday )


Random Thoughts/Comments )
warriorsavant: (Warriordaddy)
Neither of us is very sociable, but we have been claiming we would start being so. Partly we want to set a good roll model for the kids ("there are times you need to be sociable, this is how you do it" and "it is a good skill to have and you might even enjoy it"). We actually do enjoy socializing, with limited number of people and for limited times.

All that having been said, we have been promising ourselves we would start socializing when things were more settled. That probably won't really be until the kids are off to university/the Army, but as far as moving and renovating, we're as "there" as we're going to get. There are a few couples we had mentally marked down as prospects. They have young children, and we want our kids to have friends (unlike ourselves at that age). Mostly they are mixed race couples like us. Mostly they are professionals and/or academics. Oh my, I think we have a "type;" I'm turning into the people I always didn't want to be. An odd part of that is since we became parents at a later age, if our "type" becomes a "set," we will be the (hopefully wise) older couple in it.

Anyhow, we finally bit the bullet and invited another family over for brunch. The daughter is a little younger than Normandie and met in science class. Both parents are in medical research. We invited them over, and had lox-and-bagels and imperial-rolls and croissants. Yup, both ethnicities, as well as franco-cultural milieu. Actually had a good time. They were just getting over colds, and initially everyone planned on "an hour-ish," but ended up a few hours. I suppose easier when much of that is riding herd on the kids and making sure they don't kill themselves (or each other). It took a little while for the two little girls to get into being together, but at some point they were actually playing together as much as 4-year-olds play with each other, rather than parallel play. Something I found interesting and comforting, was that all 4 parents automatically watched out for all 3 children. At one point I had to put something away (in the car or garage). Wallstreet decided to walk on top of a retaining wall, and the other father automatically went over to make sure he didn't fall. It's a little thing, but not really part of my experience.

We have a few more couples in mind to get together with. First just each couple in turn, then if things work out, might even invite 2-3 families at once. We might actually be sociable beings!
warriorsavant: (Time)
Memories triggered by helping Nom & the kids make cupcakes. (Which is to say, Nom making cupcakes with the kids "helping" and my watching fondly.) Some of these are from emails with my siblings too.

First memory was Mom using a flour sifter. It must have been a then-modern labor-saving gizmo, you pulled a trigger on the handle, and a sifter blade swung back and forth over the screen. She also had a Mix-master, precursor of the Cuisinart, which was big, heavy, klutzy, a pain to drag down and set up, and took up half the kitchen table. The odd part, is I remember these things, but don't actually remember her doing much baking (other than later from mixes). My older sibs insist she did bake a lot at one point, but my clearest memory was of her brownies, which she modified from a mix. During one of my deployments, she sent me some of them (and my sister sent "a salami for your boy in the army" from Katz's Deli).

Later she also got cakes at a local place called Garden Bakery (at the local shoppping area/strip mall on Union Tpke, if you care). What impressed me most was they way they'd wrap string around the box of cake. A dozen times one way, then a dozen more at right angles. Always wondered why they did that. I think bakeries always did that back then, less so now, but it seemed cool to me as a small boy. Also remember next to Garden Bakery was Hamburger Coach, a little restaurant where everyone sat around a giant U-shaped table that had a Lionel train track on it. Your plates of food came out on a train of flat cars The waitress stopped the train in front of you and took the plate off the train for you, then sent the train around back to the kitchen. I suppose the U-shaped table was actually a giant O-shape with the other part behind the wall into the kitchen. Totally fascinating to a small boy. I wonder what silly little things my kids will have fond memories of.

Green stamps. Certain stores (I think mostly supermarkets) gave you these stamps for xxxx dollars in purchases. They were actual stamps, like postage stamps. They were all the same size, but different colors for different values (eg green for 1 "green stamp", up to I-forget-what-color for 50). You pasted them into books which could be brought to a redemption center for merchandise. As a kid, pasting them into books was rather fun. I suppose “loyalty cards” and points-back credit cards are a similar idea updated. Occasionally claim I'm going to have loyalty cards using a little syringe-shaped punch for Botox injections, get 9 injections and the 10th is free. (Not serious about that, way too unprofessional, although some doctors do give a freebie after xxx injections, but without the cards.)

Bagels. I think NY bagels were different when we were growing up, less puffy and more flavorful than they are now. Montreal bagels are still like that, and I don’t like NY bagels as much any more. Don’t know if NY bagels really changed over the years, or if it’s my tastes that have changed, or memory playing tricks about "the old days." (And yeah, those danged neighborhood kids need to get off my lawn when I shake my cane at them… oops, those are my kids.)

Although it was article of faith among us growing up that mom was a great cook, in fact she mostly only did very standard fare. Only after I was with my now-ex, who was really a great cook, I understood that. Nom has developed from "can't boil water without burning it," to right decent, to heading towards gonna-be-really good. For a while I did a lot of cooking, and was decent at it. Now, Nom does almost all of it, except oddly enough, pancakes and waffles for breakfast are my domain (Nom doesn’t care for same, but Hedgefund likes them.) Made French Toast once or twice, but have lost my taste for it, and no one else in the household likes it.

Parents did a lot of entertaining when I was very little, but for most of my childhood hardly ever. My memories - or rather my impression - of them are of their not at all being sociable. Maybe it was lifetime phase-specific, or maybe they never really enjoyed it later got tired of going through the motions, or maybe society changed and middle-aged, middle-class people did less entertaining in larger groups.
warriorsavant: (Signpost Ft. Benning)
(That's supposed to read: chúc mừng năm mới. Seems to have changed when capitalized.)

Happy Vietnamese New Year to all my Gentle Readers. (Yes, same lunar new year as other Chinese and other Asian countries.) The festival is called Tết, which apparently just means "festival." I'm coming to realize that many terms in VN (and other languages) which sound so exotic to our ears have very prosaic meanings in those languages. For example, the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur is located at a muddy estuary of the river. In Malay, it means "muddy estuary." And we think Western developers give our housing developments lame names.

Friday Nom took the kids to Temple, to get some modicum of their culture, and charm all the elders with how cute they are (he added, modestly).

Saturday night we went out with the immediate family for traditional food. We went to Snowden Deli. I said traditional food, I didn't say whose tradition. They loved the smoked meat. Less enthusiastic about the potato knish and cheese blintzes (the latter, to be honest, were not great). Hey, if N. American Jews can eat Chinese food on Christmas Eve, my VN relatives can have Jewish Deli for Tết. Maybe next year for Rosh Hashanah, we'll go out for VN.
warriorsavant: (Three Musketeers)
Following my revelation that Robbie Burns was actually Jewish, went to Moishe's Steakhouse the next night. We were celebrating two birthdays, neither of which actually fell on that night, but seemed a good compromise date. Moishe's is an old, very traditional steak house in Montreal, with great service and greater food. The prices usually reflect that, but we're firm believers in "cheap chic" and went for the Sunday special. (Before we had kids, also did the late night specials, but these days we're basket cases by then). After sleeping all day, Nom was feeling better, and the bambini were reasonably well behaved and had a chance to see their cousins.

Steak for the main course for me, of course. Although Nom had lamb chops, which I think were even better. (SIL had fish. What was she thinking?) For appetizers, I had chopped liver for the first time in ages. Very heavy, but yummy. Everything at Moishe's is very heavy but yummy. Not the place if you are on a diet, especially low cholesterol diet. The cole slaw, pickles, and rye bread that served before the meal were absolutely perfect. Deliciously stuffed by the end of the meal, ended up taking dessert home.

Hosting

Jan. 8th, 2018 07:46 pm
warriorsavant: (Wedding/Romance)
We hosted our first real dinner last night. It was meant to be at Hanukkah, then around Christmas, then around New Years, but one or the other of us kept getting sick. So last night it was, the last day of the holidays (I was back for a partial day's work today).

It was Nom's immediate family (parents & brother's family) & us. We'd had them over before, but doesn't really count as "hosting" when you do take out. We (mostly Nom, to be honest) went all out. Only the hors oeuvres and dessert was bought, and only the salad was brought by guests (SIL makes a great salad).
Hors oeuvres: cheeses, taramasalata, pate, prosciutto on rounds of baguettes
Main courses: roast beef, shrimp, rice, oven roasted veggies
Desert: fruit & cookies
It was delicious. I knew there was a reason I married that woman. (Well, there's also the caring, smart, pretty, and likes Jane Austen stuff.) Everyone enjoyed the food and had a great time. We might have a future as being socialable/hosts.

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