Wednesday, January 28, 2009

We Will Rock You

Welcome to winter, again. It sure has snowed a lot this year. I took this photo about an hour ago while I had Simon out for a walk.

Looks pretty, doesn't it? Simon goes crazy in the snow. He just loves it.

He sticks his whole face right in the snow. He such a funny dog.

Jim & I have tickets to go see We Will Rock You on Sunday. I'm really looking forward to it, having been a Queen fan for many years.
Someone else who will rock you is Dynise and her cocktails! Here's a sampling of some of the drinks that will be included in her upcoming book "The Urban Vegan: 250 Street-Smart, Animal-Free Recipes". A few of these I've already shown you.

Like John's Summer Sangria

John's Copacabana Caipirinha

And the delicious, delightful Bajan Rum Punch

Jim & I celebrated New Year's with Dynise's Prosecco Spritzer

Snobby Margarita

Opinionated Cosmo

Minty Mojitos

This looks like a glass of red wine, but it is actually Kir, an apéritif made with white wine and crème de cassis, which is a black currant liqueur.

If you substitute champagne for the white wine, it then becomes a Kir Royale.

The totally indulgent Rico Suave

These are ridiculously delish!

Sweet Gimlet which is also scrumptious.

Have a good weekend! Drink responsibly. Until I return, here's a video to watch. Queen was touted as the band that stole the show and named 'Greatest Live Gig Ever' at Live Aid in 1985.

Freddie Mercury was voted #2 for the Greatest Voice In Rock and Roll (only after the beloved Robert Plant) by Planet Radio. For those of you reading this that weren't even born yet or are too young to remember, and for us more "mature" folks who were glued to their TV's watching that incredible event take place, here's an example of what Queen did at Live Aid. Enjoy!

Rest In Peace Freddie. Your passing was a real tragedy and you certainly are missed.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Pane Fresco and a Delayed New Year

Ooops! I apologize for repeating myself in the last post. I put up a couple of shots of test dishes that I'd already posted (spaghetti con salsa fresca & foccacia). They were really good though and there is certainly no harm in showcasing them again.

A little while ago, my friend Michelle and I met up for lunch at one of our favorite places, Pane Fresco.

We've been fans of this bakery for a long time. Jim did some work for the owner, Marc, before they even opened the bakery. They agreed on a bit of a trade - some of the labour would be paid off in bread. Well, I couldn't have been happier about that! During the first few months of them opening, I think we tried every kind of bread they had, some croissants, danishes, biscotti, etc. That credit got used up years ago and we're still going back for more bread.

The aroma is intoxicating! How many times when someone is asked "What is one of your favorite smells?", do they answer "fresh baked bread"? It's certainly one of my favorite smells.

They have a cafe-style set up and lunchtime is busy here. Michelle & I planned to hit it around 11:30am to get a jump on the lunch crowd. Good thing we did because just as our food was arriving at the table, the place was really filling up.
We started with soup. These are made fresh everyday and there are usually only 2 kinds available - Wild Mushroom and Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato. Every time we go Michelle gets Wild Mushroom -

and I get Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato

The soups are so rich and thick and delicious! A little bit pricey, but worth every spoonful. Quite often we'll split a sandwich, but we were both very hungry this particular day, so we opted for pizza!!

One of the best in Burlington. Again, a bit pricey, but this is how a pizza should taste. They offer up 6 different pizzas and 3 of them are vegetarian. We chose the Mediterraneo, my personal favorite. The menu says "Pizza Bianco with mozzarella cheese, oven roasted vegetables, goat cheese and sundried tomato drizzle." HOLY! Heaven on a plate.
Pane Fresco also offers homemade gelato.

The lemon is especially tasty, but I was quite full so I just got a coffee (Americana please) and a hazelnut & almond biscotti.

These are full of whole nuts. Just yummy! And just a great way to finish off lunch.

The family was supposed to get together for New Year's Day, but Mama Rita came down with a lung infection, so everything was postponed. Once she was feeling better, we had an afternoon of nibbles, chats, laughs, then dinner & a special dessert.
For some reason, everyone was in a silly mood that day and when the camera came out, it was time for silly faces.
Jade is always acting up for pictures and today was no exception.
Aaron doing.....I'm not sure what

I think I might have been doing some lame vogueing here.

Jim was called upon to mash potatoes, but he still participated in his own special way.

Even Aunt Peggy got in on the act.
Ummm....not sure what this is all about.
Mama Rita had enough of all the shenanigans. She thought we were all nuts, so she sat with her wine glass. No, seriously, she was carrying on as much as the rest of us. For some reason, she never did get caught on camera with a silly face. She's slick I tell ya!
Dinner was great and dessert was a recipe test for Dynise's "The Urban Vegan: 250 Street-Smart, Animal-Free Recipes". I present to you.....

Booze-Infused Layer Cake. The fun thing about this cake (aside from the booze in it) is that you get to choose what liquor you use. That will determine what flavour your cake will be. One cake recipe, but with many options. I love it! For this particular cake I chose Kahlua! The recipes gives liquor measurements as a guideline and not quite knowing how this would turn out, I stuck towards the middle of the measurements. Next time I'll go (as Dynise says) the full monty. There was just the tiniest hint of Kahlua and I would like more.

After I made the cake part, I was out of regular Kahlua, so I used French Vanilla Kahlua in the frosting. It was delicious! And very moist. Everyone ate big pieces. Mama Rita's friend, Gina, came by later and had a slice with her tea. She kept saying how good it was. Thumbs up all around.
The day was fun, the cake was a hit, and that is all from us for now. Peace out!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Last Week's Catch-Up

**I usually upload my photos sized medium. This time I tried it on large. Let me know in the comments which you prefer.
When I last left you, we were gearing up for the hockey game. We took the GO Train in early and went for dinner at this really good Italian restaurant we happened to stumble upon by accident. I had the Linguine Pomodoro which was superb. All fresh vegetables and fresh made pasta. It was too dark at our table for me to take a photo. Maybe next time. Anyhow, I had my back to the entrance of the restaurant and Jim was sitting across the table from me. We were having some wine and enjoying our meal and I could see Jim intently looking at something behind me. He said "Holy shit. There's Doug Flutie." I turned around to see this nice looking guy hobbling along being escorted by the manager to the back of the restaurant. We continued eating and then Jim does it again. "Holy shit. It's Pinball Clemons." He was also being escorted by the manager, but he was smiling away like always. I swear he's one of the happiest people on this planet. Of course this whole time, my camera is in my coat pocket, so I dug it out and as luck would have one else came in. We inquired with our waitress and she said there had been some Argonauts alumni thing happening the day before or that morning. I guess they just came to hang out and have dinner.
We finished eating in good time to leisurely walk back to the ACC and wandered around the arena before the game. It turned out to be an excellent game with the Leafs beating the Senators 3-1.

He shoots, but didn't score on this one.

Tempers flare and boys are boys. This is always good for getting the crowd riled up.
Since this game was nationally televised, there were a few more commercial breaks than other times. While the TV station is doing it's thing, they show random stuff on the big screens on the time clock over center ice. During the third period, they were just showing shots of people in the crowd because we all like to be seen. Low & behold, Jim & I were up there! Wooooo! My 1.5 seconds of fame. Again, my camera was not ready, so no photo.

This is the Leafs mascot, Carlton. I love him. It was also Armed Forces night and it was great to see a lot of military men & women enjoying the game.

After, they were invited to come down onto the ice with their families and have their pictures taken. A great night all around.

A few days later, we got hit with snow. I took Simon down the the park for a walk and saw all these geese sauntering around.

As calm & blue & beautiful as it can be sometimes, Lake Ontario can also be grey, cold & dismal.

Simon has found something particularly interesting in this bush. Isn't he just so cute!

Less than a week after the hockey game, we were back on the GO Train, heading to Toronto for AC/DC!!

Another AMAZING show! We had better seats this time and were totally blown away again.

Angus delighted everyone with a KICK ASS guitar solo. If they are around your way, go! You will not be disappointed. You might have fuzzy ears for a day or so, but it's soooo worth it.
I have more pictures from the first concert and this one up on Facebook. If you use Facebook, but we haven't connected yet, look me up. I'll gladly add you as a friend.

Of course there has been recipe testing going on. Here is a sampling of what I've made.

Coco-manda muffins

Chocolate-Chipotle Chili

Bajan Rum Punch

Spaghetti Con Salsa Fresca


Pumpkin Risotto with Sage & Sun-dried Tomatoes

Smoky Split Pea Soup

Nouveau Pot Au Feu

Def-Jam Bars

Farfalle with Fennel

Poivrons Farcis

Sogni Dori ("Sweet Dream" Cookies) - Santa was very excited about these. Rudolph & Yukon Cornelius were just as impressed. Bumble was out of luck. He has no teeth.