Thursday, 20 July 2017

Barbican Malt Beverage From Saudi Arabia and the UAE


As I am on a medication that does not allow me to drink alcohol, I have been looking for alternatives other than pop. Yes, I do enjoy a Diet Coke but am looking for something with a bite. At my local grocers I found Barbican Malt Beverages.

The malt drink of choice for the youth in the region, Barbican is one of the leading malt beverages brands in both market share and brand strength in the category. Originally launched in 1982, it has been proudly produced in Saudi Arabia and the UAE since 2005.

Barbican has always stayed in tune with the youth of the region. It is synonymous with being a brand that understands them and speaks their language. Barbican is courageous, chivalrous, loyal, genuine, and open.

Barbican is available in glass bottles and aluminium cans in a range of nine flavours, from tangy Lemon to fruity Raspberry.

I bought the original malt, lemon and raspberry to try. It turns out that a friend of mine from work spent two years in Dubai and loved Barbican!

Let's start with the unflavoured Malt beverage in the top picture.  It pours amber in colour and I was surprised to find a head on it although it went away rather quickly. As you can see from the picture, it is quite carbonated, which is OK. I like carbonation. There is a little hop and malt in the aroma. It is much sweeter than I expected although that sweetness disappears in the finish. Definitely something I would buy again.

Barbican Lemon

This one pours a lighter amber than the original. There is a little hop in the aroma, which is mostly lemon. In many ways, this reminds me of a ginger ale but a more pleasing one. Whereas the malt comes in at just 50 calories, this one is only 105, much lower than a regular pop. It's very tasty and I have already gone out and bought a six pack of it.

Raspberry Barbican

This pours more of a golden colour with no reddish hue. I had expected a reddish hue. There is a little raspberry in the aroma. It's very much like a raspberry ginger ale but I found it much too sweet for my liking, but it's my work buddy's favorite. This one does come in at 220 calories.

The Middle East may be alcohol-free but they know how to put flavour and a little bite into their beverages.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Book Review - The Ward, The Life and Loss of Toronto's Immigrant Neighborhood

Recently I had to go into the hospital and my friends knowing that I am not only a history buff but also a Toronto history buff, gave me The Ward as a present to read during my stay.

From the 1840s until the Second World War, waves of newcomers who migrated to Toronto – Irish, Jewish, Italian, African American and Chinese, among others – landed in ‘The Ward.’ Crammed with rundown housing and immigrant-owned businesses, this area, bordered by College and Queen, University and Yonge streets, was home to bootleggers, Chinese bachelors, workers from the nearby Eaton’s garment factories and hard-working peddlers. But the City considered it a slum, and bulldozed the area in the late 1950s to make way for a new civic square.

The Ward finally tells the diverse stories of this extraordinary and resilient neighbourhood through archival photos and contributions from a wide array of voices, including historians, politicians, architects, story­­tellers, journalists and descendants of Ward residents. Their perspectives on playgrounds, tuberculosis, sex workers, newsies and even bathing bring The Ward to life and, in the process, raise important questions about how contemporary cities handle immigration, poverty and the geography of difference.

This book is uniquely done. It is a study of the what was known as The Ward, located in the area mentioned above. There are over 60 stories and and essays in the book that were written, today and earlier looking back at the area and so many articles that were written at that time.

The Ward is also full of pictures that look at the Ward from all angles, work, play and the awful living conditions of the area. It talks about the mixture of people, many newly landed immigrants, that found themselves living in the area together. Also told very well are the stories on how these people were viewed by the middle and upper class  citizens of Toronto. It was a very racist view.

I really enjoyed The Ward and would highly recommend it. Thanks, guys!

Here is my favorite picture from the book circa 1930.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

A Visit to the Trinity Bellwood Flea

This morning Teena and I walked to the Great Hall for the Trinity Bellwoods Flea.

We are a monthly curated local shopping event that allows vendors to sell locally and shoppers to buy locally. We strive to a have a good mix of everything and something for everyone. We focus heavily on diversity. Our goal is to connect local shoppers with Toronto's best and on trend fashion, vintage, handmade, home decor and food vendors. Hosting a curated collection of 40+ vendors and artisans each month. We are sure whatever it is you're looking for can be found locally at The Trinity Bellwoods Flea.

We have been here before and walked away with purchases.

Most vendors are downstairs but the upstairs has a dozen or more.

Just inside the entrance was Malty and Hoppy Delicacy. They make jams. chocolate and glazed nuts all from local craft beer companies.

Yes, I bought some jams and will be writing about them and the company this week.

Some views of the market.

I almost bought the miniature vase magnets from this booth. Maybe another time.

It's a fun little market with lots of variety and worth checking out.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Toronto Wolfpack Drop Hamel Stags

This afternoon the 14-0 Toronto Wolfpack took on the 1-13 Hemel Stags from the south of England. A Wolfpack record 7,247 fans came out to the Den at Lamport Stadium to cheer on the Wolfpack in their final regular season game.

The singing of the National anthem of England and Canada

Opening kickoff

On the fly.

Wolfpack captain Craig Hall scores a try worth 4 points.

Hall is also responsible for kicking all the 2 point conversion attempts after a try. He split the uprights on this kick from a difficult angle.

Open field play.

The She-Wolves put on a few performances.

The She-Wolves keep the energy going during the game too.

The Wolfpack led 32-10 at the half. Some second half action.

 At the final horn, the Wolfpack downed the Stags 74-16 to end the season undefeated.

Teena and I on a beautiful sunny afternoon.

The players all shake hands and hug afterwards.

The fans love all of it.

The playoffs are done differently in this league than in North America. Now that the regular season is over, the top 8 teams (16 in the league) play in what is called the Super-eights. It is a round robin where everybody plays each other once. The first place team after the round then earns an automatic promotion to the next level for the following season. (The league has three levels, League 1, Championship league and Super League). The teams that finish second to fifth then playoff to see who earns the right to the second promotion.

The undefeated Wolfpack obviously qualified for the Super-eights and hopefully will earn promotion after the eights directly o the next level, the Championship League for next season.

Teena and I stood above the player exit after the game. This player will have a nice shiner tomorrow.

Players love it. Even the visitors as they are all welcomed by the fans after. Many join in for drinks in the craft beer garden.

Post game pizza for the Pack

The pizza, though, will be cooled down as it takes a long while for the players to make their way around the field meeting fans and posing for pictures.

There was a cheer from the crowd when this players shirt came off.

One of my favorites, Liam Kay

Another favorite of mine and most Pack fans, Fuifui Moimoi.

The beer garden stays open after the game, so the party continues.

As the Wolfpack ended up first in the league, they get to host 4 of their 7 Super-eight games which will be played at Lamport on August 19, and consecutive Saturdays in September, 2-9-and 16.

Teena and I will be there!

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Dufferin Grove Organic Farmers Market

Today I was at the Dufferin Mall and when I came out, I found that across the street was the Dufferin Grove Organic Farmers Market.

It runs from 3pm to 7pm every Thursday year round. I was hoping to find some excellent cheese but that seemed to be the one thing they did not have. Here are some shots of the produce available today.

Not only can you buy vegetables but there are a half dozen or more organic food vendors if you are hungry. If you're in the area, it's a market worth checking out.