Sunday, 4 December 2016

Toronto Marlies Come Back Victory

Today my friend Roger and I went to see the Toronto Marlies take on the Hartford Wolf Pack at the Ricoh Centre. The Marlies came into the game in third place in their division while the Wolf Pack were in seventh and last place in theirs.

Opening face-off.

Hartford quickly went up 2-0 in the first few minutes of the game, but the Marlies fought back in more ways than just on  the scoreboard.

The first period ended with the Marlies down 2-0. The mascots came out for a game between periods.

Toronto put on the pressure when the second period started.

The game was televised.

Toronto scores just 38 seconds into the second to cut the lead in half.

Roger and I.

More Toronto pressure in the third.

Toronto score to take a 4-3 lead in the third.

An empty net goal sealed the win for the Marlies. Toronto ended up with a 5-3 victory.

Marlie games are fun and reasonably priced. I'll be going to more games this season.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

David Wilcox in Concert with Kim Mitchell

I am a huge David Wilcox fan and so is Teena. When we heard he was going to be playing at the Phoenix, we had to be there.

The concert hall has a capacity of 1,350 and it was full.

Wilcox was his usual fabulous, energetic self. I have always enjoyed his music and feel he outperforms most musicians onstage.

Here is the first David Wilcox song that I ever heard, My Eyes Keep Me in Trouble.

Kim  Mitchell followed. He played songs he had done on his own in the past and when he was with Max Webster. The fans loved him.

It was a fun night. David Wilcox is very unique and I look forward to seeing him play again sometime.

Beer of the Week - Hopworks Organic Abominable Winter Ale

In this month's Canada Craft Club delivery, I received a 650ml bottle of Organic Abominable Winter Ale from Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB).

The brewery opened in 2007 in a city that is very high on my list pf places to visit, Portland, Oregon, which maybe the craft beer capital of the world. The family owned brewery, started by Christian Ettinger very small, now employs over 130 people in two brewpubs.

In December 2012, the Oregon Sustainability Board presented the brewery with the Governor’s Oregon Sustainability Grand Champion Award which promotes the use of sustainable practices in the private sector.

When looking at notes on the Abominable, I noticed they use Salmon safe hops.

Salmon safe hops .. what?

Salmon-Safe is a non-profit organization that works to keep agricultural watersheds and urban areas clean enough for native salmon to spawn and thrive.

And the beer?

The Organic Abominable Winter Ale pours brown with a slight orangy hue and white head. Lacings, of course, line the inside of the glass after each sip. There is a definite pine aroma to the nose.

The ale starts with a nice little bitterness, maybe a little citrusy, before a fabulous pine bite takes over. I have been craving pine needle bitterness lately and this ale has it. It is not an overpowering bitterness but nicely balanced.

The Abominable is dangerous as it is delicious but goes down easily like a session ale, but comes in at 7.3% APV in a 650ml bottle.

I really wish I had another as I really enjoyed the one I received.

Beer of the Week Stats

Beers Profiled 337
Breweries 309
Countries 49

Friday, 2 December 2016

Book Review - The Bologna Cookbook

I'm a big fan of bologna. Always have been, always will be.

When Teena and I were in Newfoundland a few years ago, I was delighted to find breakfasts came with a large serving of thick fried bologna.

One question: Why is bologna spelled like that? Ba-lone-ee is how it is pronounced, but spelled like it should sound like Bow-Log-na. Maybe it is thinking about this kind of stuff which makes me forget some of the things that Teena wants me to do.

Anyway, Teena was in Stephenville Newfoundland on business and saw The Bologna Cookbook sitting  on a shelf at a grocery store and picked it up for me.

Ex-military man and Canadian patriot Kevin Phillips grew up in Cape St. George, where he developed a love for the traditional dishes of his Newfoundland home. After high school, he joined the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and served for thirty-three years before retiring as a master warrant officer. During that time, he never forgot the old Newfoundland recipes of his youth. So, immediately upon his retirement from the CAF, he rekindled his passion for cooking and began his new career as a chef!

From Military to Culinary Kevin’s initial plan was to resurrect and share some of his favourite old-time recipes online. He intended to focus on old, lost recipes, but as the number of bologna recipes increased to well over two hundred, he decided to concentrate entirely on bologna. Kevin quickly realized that bologna was not exclusive to Newfoundland. In fact, this sausage was enjoyed by people from all parts of the country, as well as by many of his readers overseas! 

The Bologna Cookbook is Kevin Phillips’s first book, and the first ever all-bologna cookbook, featuring two hundred recipes whose main ingredient is . . . you guessed it . . . bologna! The cookbook outlines easy-to-make recipes for mouth-watering dishes that are a feast for the eyes and a delicious treat for the soul, such as Bologna and Eggs with Havarti, Bologna Caesar Wraps, Cheesy Bologna Calzones, Balsamic Peppercorn Bologna Steak, Bologna Stroganoff, and more!

In his introduction, Kevin states that over 1.365 million pounds of bologna are sold every year across Canada. One third of that, around 462 million pounds, are sold in Newfoundland alone which is about 9 pounds for every man, woman and child in the province. Wow!

I like how every single recipe in the book has an accompanying picture. I'm looking forward to trying many of these recipes and of course will be writing about them. Some of them will be:

Eggs in Bologna Cups
Toonie Bologna (how Canadian is that!)

Creamy Mushroom Walnut Bologna
Bologna Cordon Bleu

Fried Bologna and Spaghetti in Butter Sauce
Bologna Stroganoff
Dick Stoyles Legacy (Stuffed Bologna with Blood Pudding)

When we came home from our Newfoundland vacation, I made fried bologna and eggs for breakfast and posted it on Facebook. There were immediate comments from Newfoundlanders that I had used the wrong kind of bologna. Maple Leaf is the only accepted brand to use.

It looks like I'll need to pick up a big chunk of it. I'm looking very forward to trying some of these!

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Beer of the Week - Whitewater Brewing Class V IPA

When I think of whitewater, I think of rafting down the Ottawa River on a warm summer day. It's been decades since I've done that but when I saw Whitewater Brewing sitting on the shelf of my local LCBO, it took me back to that trip.

Just now, when I stepped outside into the cold with a hint of snow in the air to take the above picture, whitewater rafting was the furthest thing on my mind. Maybe I should have put on shoes and socks instead of bare feet in Crocs was my prominent thought instead.

The brewery was opened in 2013 by three white water rafting enthusiasts. The three of us have had many adventures that have taken us from the incredible rivers of Ontario & Quebec to the mountain-fed creeks of British Columbia, from the deep canyons of the Colorado River, to the Great Barrier Reef of Australia. One constant that has remained strong throughout this journey is our return to the heart of the Ottawa Valley to share our great adventures with great friends.

Our epiphany came on a rafting trip: The Ottawa Valley was already home to some of the best natural ingredients involved in creating true hand-crafted beer, as well as great people deserving of a local beer to share with friends. Whitewater Brewing Company was conceived.

A year later they changed from just a brewery to a brewpub (pictured below) in Foresters Falls, Ontario. Another place I would like to visit someday.

And the beer?

The Class V IPA (whitewater rapids are graded by class 1-5 with a 5 being the most dangerous) pours amber in colour with a nice off white head. There is pine and a just a hint of citrus to the nose. It starts of a touch malty, but just for a moment, before the piney hops bitterness comes through. Where citrus bitterness are quite nice during the hot summer months, I really enjoy a piney IPA instead when the colder weather comes. The Class V fits that bill very nicely.

I can see more of these coming into my fridge in the coming months.

Beer of the Week Stats 

Beers Profiled 336 
Breweries 308 
Countries 49

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Live Theater - "Come From Away" at the Royal Alexandra Theater

Tonight Teena and I saw Come From Away at the Royal Alexandra Theatre.

This is the first show since the theatre underwent renovations and restoration this summer. The seats are now wider and more comfortable, there plus there seems to be more leg room. Everything has this fresh, bright newness about it, throughout this historic 109 year old building. I was quite impressed.

Now on to the play.

This is the final stop before it goes to Broadway. Performances there start on February 18, 2017 with opening night being on March 12.

Come From Away is the breathtaking new musical that played record-breaking engagements in La Jolla, Seattle, and Washington D.C. Written by Canadians Irene Sankoff and David Hein, this is the stunning production from Tony-nominated director Christopher Ashley (Memphis) that the Los Angeles Times calls “an affecting and stirring new musical.”

In a heartbeat, 38 planes with 6,579 passengers were stranded in a remote town in Newfoundland. The locals opened their hearts and homes, hosting this international community of strangers–spurring unexpected camaraderie in extraordinary circumstances.

On September 11, 2001 the world stopped. On September 12, their stories moved us all.

This show is 100 minutes with no intermission.

The play is fabulous! As Teena and I were leaving, I said to her that this is one of the best plays that I have ever seen. She laughed and said she was about to saw the same thing to me.

Many things make this play what it is and perhaps mostly is that all the stories are true. They don't end the way a writer decides they should end but end they way they actually did. The twelve actors on the stage were fabulous, playing citizens and officials of Gander trying to deal with the chaos of their town suddenly doubling in size in a moment and without warning.

They also play multiple other roles throughout the play. In the cast listing, their roles are listed with their Gander names first followed by "& others", such as Joel Hatch playing "Claude & others".

Much of the success of the play is due to the work of Joel Goldes, who is the Dialect Coach. The Newfoundland accent was well done by all the cast, who had to slide from one dialect to another throughout. Lee MacDougal, for instance, was British, American and a Newfoundlander.

It was funny, sad and dramatic and should it come back to Toronto, I would go see it again. I'm looking forward to hearing how well and what awards it wins when it reaches Broadway.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

My November 2016 Canada Craft Club Delivery

It must be the Christmas season as Canada Post is delivering packages on Saturdays now. That meant I didn't have to go to the post office to pick up this month's Canada Craft Club delivery tomorrow. Instead the doorbell rang today and there was a mailman with this months package in hand.

We did all the work so you don't have to. We've scoured the planet and found true gems especially for our members — delivered direct to your home or office every month.

Our packs are delivered in discreet packaging (so no one swipes your brews) and prices include shipping. You can trust that every single beer has been hand-selected for your pack by Canada Craft Club’s experienced tasters and experts, some of whom sit on tasting panels in prestigious worldwide brewing competitions. What this really means is that we tasted, tested and rated every single beer before giving them our stingy stamp of approval for our treasured members. We try to shake it up for you, and fill your pack with beers you might not have had or can’t get anywhere else.

Both bottles in this month's package are from a city I would absolutely love to visit for a week ... Portland Oregon, which boasts over 70 craft beer breweries.  The beer cards says that both bottles are hoppy pale ales. Yay!

I received a 650ml bottle of Scrilla from Gigantic Brewing Co. and a Organic Abominable Winter Ale from Hopworks Urban Brewery. I'm sure looking forward to both.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Beer of the Week - V Bines Wet Hopped IPA from 5 Paddles Brewing

A few weeks ago I was coming home from my mother's place north of Belleville and stopped into 5 Paddles Brewing in Whitby. It's interesting that what I craved the moment I got out of my car was not beer but a sausage on a bun as the Great Canadian Meat Company is in the same complex and were cooking up sausage.

The brewery had its grand opening on June 13, 2013. The name is interesting. I saw a canoe hanging from the roof and thought that might be where the name came from but was wrong. It's not a canoe paddle they were referring to but a mash paddle. According to What's Brewing:

A lot of people ask them where the name 5 Paddles Brewing Company came from. After bantering about potential brewery names for a few weeks, they came up with the name based on all of them having a hand, or mash paddle for that matter, in the brewing process. All five of them are brewers and are active in the direction of the brewery, the recipes that they create and the actual brewing process and it is for these reasons that they are called 5 Paddles Brewing Company.

They have a sampling area.

They also, of course, sell brewery merchandise.

I came home with some V Bines Wet Hopped IPA.

So how was it?

Wet-hopped really means fresh hopped, adding hops that come fresh from the vine. The hops in this beer were picked on a September morning and were used for the the brew that same afternoon.

V Bines pours amber colour with a white head. There is lots and lots of citrus in the aroma.

The citrus also comes through right away on the first sip but not in a bitter way. Just as a nice citrus addition. Then quickly that full flavoured citrus is followed by a bitter citrus which carries right through to the finish. It's one delicious beer for sure!

I doubt I'll get out to Oshawa before these are sold out but am happy I had the foresight to buy three bottles. My next trip home from my mother's will include a stop into this industrial complex for more 5 Paddle beer and some sausage.

Beer of the Week Stats

Beers Profiled 336 
Breweries 307 
Countries 49