Thursday, April 23, 2015

Donating My 1966 "Esso Hockey Talks" Toronto Maple Leaf Collection

In 1966, Esso had a promotion. Fill up your car with Esso gas and receive a Hockey Talks record featuring a different Toronto Maple Leaf every week.

So every week when my dad would go out to get gas, I would go with him, to ensure I got that week's record. The first thing my dad would ask the attendant (no self-serve back then) was if they had the latest records. I remember a couple of times being told no, my heart would stop. My dad would then just say thanks and drive off to the next station.

One side of each flimsy record was about five minutes of the Leaf giving advice on how to play their position, stay in shape, etc, and the other was Ward Cornell or Jack Dennett, the voices of Hockey Night in Canada at the time, give the biography of the player which included Foster Hewitt giving a reenactment of the call of their first goal or big moment of their first game.

Here's a sample of George Armstrong.

I had the whole collection, all ten, stored away for many years, never knowing what to do with them. Throwing them out or selling them was out of the question.

Then at the end of March, I had an opportunity with Heritage Toronto, to take a tour of the City of Toronto Museum Collections. They had some cool Toronto Maple Leaf items in storage which gave me an idea. Why not donate the collection?

I emailed Alex, who had given the tour, and attached the pictures and, yes, they wanted the collection. Apparently the Chief Curator called the collection "amazing"! This evening I took them over and made the donation. Here I am with Alex with the records.

The records are going to have a good home here. Apparently there is going to be a showing of Toronto Maple Leaf items next year tentatively to be called Maple Leafs Forever. They are already considering using one or more or the records from this set.

Alex is very friendly and outgoing and gave Teena and I a quick tour of one of the floors, including the spot where my (theirs) collection will rest.

I feel really good in being able to do this but admittedly a little old knowing I am donating a piece of Toronto's past that is almost 60 years old that I got new in my lifetime.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Beer of the Week - Brasseurs du Monde La Saison Tradition

Saisons are one of my favorite styles of beer. They can be hoppy, fruity, sour and always have a bit of spice to them.  I find them delicious and refreshing.

The style originated in the Wallonia, in the mostly French speaking southern area of Belgium. It is called a farmhouse ale as farm owners would make this style of beer for their workers to have during harvest using whatever grains they had left nearing the end of winter. It's the saison yeast that gives the ale a spicy kick, although some brewers will add spice to their brew.

Quebec breweries seem to embrace this style of beer and I came home from Montreal with a few in my bag, including La Saison Tradition from Basseurs du Monde. Located about 55km southwest of Montreal in the town of Saint-Hyacinthe, the brewery has been in operation since 2011. During the short period of time it been opened, the brewery has won 15 awards for its beer, including a gold medal for its La Saison Tradition in the MBeer category at Montreal's Mondail Beer Festival.

So, how does it taste?

La Saison Tradition pours a golden colour, with a bit of an orange tinge to it. It has a foamy meringue-like head, which reduces to half its size in a minute, but then remains, protecting the ale beneath. Lots of lacings are left behind as I sip. Saisons have a distinctive aroma, one that is present here. It's a little fruity, a little spicy and something else, which I can't describe.

The ale starts off with a wonderful sourness that falls off halfway through with a little spice, maybe pepper, in the finish. This is a beer that I would buy again and although would be great to have anytime during the year, it would be especially appreciated on a hot, sunny summer afternoon.

Beer of the Week Stats 

Beers Profiled 272 
Breweries 242 
Countries 47

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Our BBQ Chicken Hanger Contraption

Recently Teena was in Dollarama buying some play things for our two cats, Morgan and Crumpet. While there, she found a gadget for BBQing chicken legs and wings. Today, we thought we would give it a try.

It's pretty easy to use as you see.

I used Club House La Grille Barbecue Chicken spice on them. I set them on the BBQ and left them for 45 minutes at around 400F (according to the thermometer on the lid). Here they are after 30 minutes of cooking.

Done and ready to eat.

They were so crispy and delicious. We'll be doing this again for sure a few times this summer.

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Last 2015 Regular Season Toronto Rock Home Game

Tonight the Toronto Rock took on the New England Black Wolves in the last home game for the regular season at the ACC. This was their second last game of the year and they went into the game in first place with a 12-4 record. Rochester is hot on their heals just one game back. Of course, Teena and I were there.

Earlier this week the Toronto Raptors clinch first place in their division. The Rock are looking to do the same.

The Rock have six NLL Championship banners hanging high above the ACC. Their last championship was in 2011 and we're hoping to correct that this year.

First comes the team huddle and then the face-off.


The Rock were pretty sloppy in the first quarter, but came away at the end of it with a 3-2 lead. Some action shots.


My work-mate Mathew was at the game too, in the grey sweater.

So were the Toronto Rock Cheerleaders.


In the second quarter was a major slug-fest between Toronto`s Billy Hostrawser and New England`s Craig England. Hostrawser clearly won!


At the half the Rock went into the dressing room with a 5-4 lead. More action.


In the third quarter, the Rock Cheerleaders came out again for a show.


 Iggy was in fine form.


After New England opened the scoring in the fourth to tie the game, the Rock took control and scored the next four goals and ended the third quarter with a 10-7 lead. The Rocks Jesse Gamble got into it with the Black Wolves Mike Manley. It was close, but I think we took that one too.


 No goal as we are clearly in the crease.

The Rock maintained the lead throughout the fourth quarter and took the game 15-12 and in the process set a team record for most wins in a season at 13.

Rochester lost tonight giving the Rock some breathing room at the top. One more Rock win, or Rochester loss means the Rock clinches first place and a first round playoff bye.

The team gathered at centre field and Sandy Chapman took the mike to thank the fans for supporting them all season. I like that touch, which doesn't happen in other sports.

Brandon Miller was sensational in goal making 58 saves, many of them quite spectacular. He was interviewed for the fans afterwords.


Teena and I are looking forward to the playoffs. One great thing about being a season ticket holder is that the first home playoff game is free. We'll be there cheering them on, hopefully for the division championship.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Porzia, West Queen West, Parkdale

Tonight Teena and I were at the spring media launch at Porzia, between Dufferin and Brock on Queen St West.

Led by chef/owner Basilio Pesce, our staff believes in building memories around food and eating. It’s simple: We like feeding people.

We use local, ethically grown and raised ingredients to create menu items that vary depending on the season (our wine, beer, and cocktail lists also rotate). We believe this keeps things interesting for our staff and, most importantly, our guests.

Signature cocktails were made.


Meats and cheese were set out to munch on. It was quite good.


There is an open kitchen in the back. Here are some of the food served. It was quite crowded so I didn't get a chance to sample any. They look good, though.


As Porzia is in our neighborhood, we would like to drop in again sometime to try this place out when it's not so crowded.