Friday, October 31, 2014

Porkoras at The Bristol

Teena is coming home tonight from a work trip in Vegas. The idea is to have a pizza when she gets in around 9PM. I needed a snack to tide me over before that so I stopped in to The Bristol, an English pub in our neighborhood.

They have English food on the menu. No nachos or wings here. At first I was at a loss as to what to get, but then the Porkoras jumped out at me.

As you can see above, they look good and tasted great. The mild heat was a little unusual tasting, then when I did a quick search on the web, found that they are an Indian dish, and might have a little Indian spice, maybe a mild curry, which I don't usually like.

I loved the huge chunks of bacon and the apple chutney on the side which match well with the porkoras and helped to tone down the heat. They aren't really hot. I just have trouble doing spicy heat these days.

Bot my stout, which was followed but a terrific IPA matched well with the dish. This is something very different that I wouldn't hesitate to order again.


Thursday, October 30, 2014

The White Squirrel Alive in Trinity Bellwoods Park

Back in August, it was reported that the albino white squirrel of Trinity Bellwoods Park was found dead after being electrocuted. Some people thought it was the only one, others said they had seen two together.

I last saw one two years ago about this same time of year and got some nice shots.

Tonight while walking back from taking pictures of KC's tree, I saw a couple with their cameras out taking pictures of something in the tree. Behold, another white squirrel. There is more than one!

KC's Colourful Tree

Our dog, KC, passed away back in 2011. Teena went out soon after and paid for a tree to be planted in her honour in Trinity Bellwoods Park, one of KC's favorite places. The tree was planted in the fall of 2011 along with a great plaque.

On the way home from work tonight I stopped in and checked on the tree. Two weeks ago I came over and took pictures as it was starting to turn. Now it's wearing it's full fall colours. It's a healthy tree, one that I think KC would love to sniff then leave her mark on.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

My October Beer of the Month Delivery

I really look forward to the last week of the month as that is when my Beer of the Month delivery arrives! This is the eighth month that I have received one and they all have been fun. Seems that our cats, Morgan and Crumpet, somehow managed to save up enough money from somewhere to get a subscription to this for my birthday.

The first six packages all contained three beers of two different styles form two breweries. A dozen a month. Last month and this month that changed to four beers of one style from three different breweries. Again, a dozen in all.

So, what did I receive this month?

From the newsletter:

Fall brews are traditionally more flavourful and more substantial than summers brighter quenchers, offering a mouth-feel that leans more towards the creamy side of the beer spectrum. Colours get deeper and flavours get toastier as the tastes of the harvest table call out for malty partners.

This month we are pleased to showcase a pair of limited edition, seasonal offerings along with a beautiful, hand-crafted blonde ale.

 I love the name of the first one, Pissed Off Pete's Pumpkin Porter from Nickel Brook Brewing. Adding pumpkin to a porter should be very interesting. Next up is a Pumpkin 3.14 from Taps Brewhouse in Niagara Falls. The blonde ale is Farmhouse Blonde Ale from Maclean's Brewing. That will be a nice change of pace from the pumpkin.

You see, pumpkins have more uses than just making jack-o-lanterns and pumpkin pie!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Beer of the Week - Forked River Hop Salad Session Pale Ale

I enjoy going to breweries, looking around, talking to the owners, having the tour, and sampling their beers. Last week Teena was in London on business and got to do just that.

While having supper at a restaurant the first night, she order a Capital Blonde Ale from Forked River Brewing, which she quite liked. When she found out that the brewery was located in London and was only minutes away from her hotel, she emailed me as to what beer I would like her to pick up for me.

What a great gal I married!

I gave her three to get and one afternoon she headed over to the brewery. While there she had a chance to look around, talk to the owners, all the stuff I like to do. Needless to say, all the pictures except the beer shot above are hers.

Forked River brewing is located in an industrial mall with a very unassuming entrance.

The brewery has been opened just over a year ago in June 2013. Before opening Forked River, Dave Reed worked in a manufacturing environment while both Andrew Peters and Steve Nazarian were biotechnology scientists. Dave Reed, who is a mechanical engineer, had built his own homebrewing system and both Andrew and Steve were home brewers too.

Currently they are brewing 14,000 bottles a month and finally gained a listing with the LCBO for their Riptide Rye Pale Ale. They told Teena that three stores in the Toronto area will be carrying their beer and by coincidence one of them is in our neighborhood.

Forked River beers are quite popular in London bars and pubs and they have some on tap in Toronto too.

The brewery also has a barrel program where they age beer in wine and whiskey barrels.


And the beer?

The Hop Salad was definitely my favorite. It pours a golden colour, maybe a very light amber, with a white head. Fragrant citrus comes through in the aroma. When I sip, nice lacings are left behind on the glass. The beer starts a little watery in mouth feel but then the citrus from the hops comes through along with a long, nice citrusy bitter finish. This is a very good beer that I would get again.

Hey! Teena is going to be back in London in a couple of weeks. While you're in London, Honey, could you ...

Beer of the Week Stats 

Beers Profiled 255 
Breweries 228 
Countries 46

Friday, October 24, 2014

Book Review - "Where I Belong" by Alan Doyle

I have enjoyed Great Big Sea's music for years and have seen them a few times in concert, so when the group's lead singer, Alan Doyle, wrote a book, Where I Belong,I just had to read it.

Singer-songwriter and front man of the great Canadian band Great Big Sea, Alan Doyle is also a lyrical storyteller and a creative force. In Where I Belong, Alan paints a vivid, raucous and heartwarming portrait of a curious young lad born into the small coastal fishing community of Petty Harbour, Newfoundland, and destined to become a renowned musician who carried the musical tradition of generations before him and brought his signature sound to the world. He tells of a childhood surrounded by larger-than-life characters who made an indelible impression on his music and work; of his first job on the wharf cutting out cod tongues for fishermen; of growing up in a family of five in a two-bedroom house with a beef-bucket as a toilet, yet lacking nothing; of learning at his father's knee how to sing the story of a song and learning from his mother how to simply "be good"; and finally, of how everything he ever learned as a kid prepared him for that pivotal moment when he became part of Great Big Sea and sailed away on what would be the greatest musical adventure of his life. 

 Filled with the lore and traditions of the East Coast and told in a voice that is at once captivating and refreshingly candid, this is a narrative journey about small-town life, curiosity and creative fulfillment, and finally, about leaving everything you know behind.

When I first opened the book, I thought it would be about Alan Doyle's years with Great Big Sea, with perhaps a short history of his life before that but I was wrong. Usually I dislike it when I read an autobiography of a famous person and they go on and on about their childhood. No, just give me the story of your famous life!

That's not the case here. The book is all about Doyle growing up in Petty Harbour and it's a great, fun read. It sounds like Doyle rarely got out of Petty Harbour until his teens, but he has many great stories about living there. Who knew that an entire chapter on cutting cod tongues could be so entertaining? (I had cod tongues a couple of years ago when we were in St. John's. Perhaps they weren't cooked properly but the texture and taste was nasty!)

What I found quite interesting is that I could hear the Newfie accent in everything he wrote. Teena and I were at an interview with Alan Doyle recently about his book.  He told many great stories there too and he explained that if something did not sound right on paper, he would go down to the small recording studio that he has in his home and record him telling the story. That's why everything in the book feels like he is sitting with you telling the story because the book truly is in his own words, accent and all.

I got a kick out the end of the book where he puts in a Glossary of Terms (mostly for Mainlanders) It's very funny and don't dare flip to it until you've read the book.

Where I Belong is hopefully just his first book. I will definitely read his next. I highly recommend it.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Vikings Against the Bills at the Ralph

This morning three of us from work, Craig, Mark and I, left Toronto and headed to Buffalo with Elite Sports Tours to see the Buffalo Bills take on the Minnesota Vikings at Ralph Wilson Stadium, also know as the Ralph. After a great tailgate party, we headed into the stadium.

We had end zone seats. It was a nice cool afternoon, perfect for football.

Mark and Craig


Some shots of the game.



More action.


I took a walk around the stadium.


The colours were turning outside the stadium.

The temperature dropped in the 4th quarter but it didn't stop these two from showing some skin.

With just one second left to go and down 16-10, Kyle Orton hit Sammy Watkins for the winning touchdown. I wasn't looking through the viewer when I took this shot, just shot from the chest and cropped afterwards. It was the only picture I cropped in this post.

It was a fabulous end to a great day. Can hardly wait to do this again next year!

Buffalo Bills Tailgate Party

Today, Mark, Craig and I, who work together, went to the Buffalo Bills - Minnesota Vikings football game at the Ralph,(Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo) with Elite Sports Tours.

The bus left Yonge and York Mills at 7:10am sharp and took us just over three hours for to cross the crowded game day Peace Bridge between Fort Erie and Buffalo, clear customs and pull into our parking spot outside the stadium.

Mark on the left, Craig and I.

Up in one corner of the lot, our food was already hot and ready for us. The feed included hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken wings, pulled pork, mac salad and other snacks. The pulled pork seemed to be the favorite.


There were two coolers of ice cold beer that were constantly being restocked. Elite Tours did not skimp on anything!


There were thousands of fans everywhere.


The guys in this mini bus must have season tickets.

Viking fans.


Food and games around the lot.


This girl playing beer pong was very proud of her bow.

A couple of mounted police. They must have been bored as everybody was having a great time and not causing trouble.

Just before the game a Vikings fan came up to Mark, handed him a Buffalo Bills football and said he had just found it and didn't want it. Time to celebrate good luck.

The trip was well organized and fun, and we were well looked after. I would recommend Elite Sports Tours to anyone. For me, this will become a yearly event.

Here we are on the bus on the way down. Thanks Luke for sending me the shot!