Friday, October 31, 2008

Zoom zoom

Beautiful day outside...warm too.

Just rushed out to Bayview Village, rushed back with 4 wines that should be very interesting. A Chinon, Cahors, Cote de Brouilly, and Tokaji. Had a conversation with one of the guys there, Colin. Awfully nice guy, fairly new at Bayview Village too. Great memory as well - remembers me every time. Talked a bit about the new store at Avenue Rd. Definitely will have to visit and see for myself.

My neighbours must think I've given up job searching and am completely living off my parents now. I don't blame them - it's awkward for me as well.

I'll be drinking some things tonight, and I'm having some friends over tomorrow, so I'll have interesting wines to write about soon.

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2:38pm: I just booked my CSC Book 1 exam on Nov 25, at 2pm. Need to get back into study mode. A few all-nighters will get me into the rhythm again.

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Shit...gas prices at 90.2 today. Where were these prices when I was still driving in and out of Waterloo every week?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Dream Team


Anyone watch Bill Clinton and Barack Obama last night at the Florida rally? First time they've appeared together, in a final push before election.

Hearing Clinton speak made me nostalgic about the old days, when America had a real president in office. Clinton was a president who put sound economic policies first, who placed diplomacy first, and who presided over an administration that collectively made people's lives better. In twenty years, people will look back on the Clinton years and see what being a true statesman is all about.

I say statesman because that's what the next president should be. It's not just about healthcare policies, or an exit strategy, but about understanding what America's role in the international community is. We've gotten away from that - it's like leaders no longer have to care about foreign affairs. The precedent has been set under Bush: If people don't agree with us, we'll turn to the U.N. for economic sanctions and if that doesn't work, we'll bomb the bloody shit out of them. That's what's gotten America into this mess, and that's what will cause its downfall.

Clinton was a master diplomat. It's not about schmoozing people - it's about understanding and connecting with people about complex issues, about cultural sensitivity, and about realism. Bush and his f*cking ideology have gotten America nowhere, and McCain will lead you onto the same path.

Hearing Clinton speak reminded us about his masterful oratory abilities. When you have entire websites dedicated to documenting all the stupid things Bush says, there's clearly something wrong. A president has to represent his country in the best way possible, and Clinton was the greatest President the U.S. has seen since Roosevelt.

If only Clinton was on the ticket beside Obama. That would be a Dream Team indeed.

Wish list


Before I rush out to the LCBO, I have to keep reminding myself that while the mind is willing to give up food for wine, the body is not. I have gladly given up buying clothing for wine - what else can I save on then?

It's been months since I've bought wine to drink. Everything I've bought has been to put away, which lessens the guilt I feel everytime I walk into Bayview Village. I'm investing for the future, and so when I do open the bottles, the cost has been written off. It's a perfect situation - I derive utility from eventually opening and enjoying each bottle, and unlike every other form of capital, I also derive utility now from putting the bottles away. Win-win-win situation because if I don't buy wine, I know I'll piss it on something stupid.

Anyways - there's a bottle of Chinon that looks interesting, as well as a Cahors, which I always try to buy. Some interesting ports as well. Having this much choice is a curse...and I blame my parents for it. If they started getting into wine just 10 years ago, in the 90's, I could be drinking mature clarets and other fascinating wines, instead of having to build everything up from nothing.

In the books

Raptors win, Raptors win, Raptors win! Ohh, I miss Chuck Swirsky - Matt Devlin did a decent job, but really, who can replace the Swirsk?

Raptors looked good tonight, starting from the 2nd quarter that is. O'Neal was doing everything people expected him to do. Bosh and Calderon didn't really surprise. What surprised me was Roko Ukic. Didn't expect much out of him - didn't even see him coming off the bench as the first backup. But he did great - was poised, scored a little, made a few defensive errors, but was otherwise a solid backup.

I was waiting for Leo Rautins to start cussing out Dalembert. Must have killed him having to offer a few limp words of praise, and only because Dalembert blocked Bosh on 2 straight possessions. Why do we have to be damn politically correct on tv?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

2008/2009 Regular Season

Finally, tonight, the Raptors start the regular season. There's been a void in my tv program ever since the Olympics ended. Too many shit-awful tv shows being pumped out. Thank goodness for rapidshare downloads. It's not illegal if everyone's doing it...

Lots of high hopes this season for Toronto. If they don't win 50 games this year with this roster, then they never will. A bottle of wine for everyone who bets against the fact that VC will be traded before Christmas. And someone please tell Chris Bosh to cut his hair. I love the guy but he looks so mangy....

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bouquet of Niagara


I am now convinced that Niagara pinot noirs have this nose, this really distinctive earthiness and warmth. I drank a pinot noir this weekend, and I swear if we had drank it blind, I would have recognized it. I'd like to put together a more comprehensive look at Niagara pinot noirs - drink some of the best side by side. I'm thinking.....Lailey, Flat Rock, Malivoire, Tawse, Le Clos Jordanne, Iniskillin Montague Estate, Featherstone. Of course, I'd love to taste Le Clos Jordanne. Just too damn hard to get my hands on a bottle, troubling considering that it's just been producing wines for 4, maybe 5 years?

Look how orange the rim is. Almost no saturation at the edge. And this is only 4 years old!!


Blue Crab Part II

Wine always follows cuisine. Always. Old World wines are a certain way because they pair with the local cuisine. It's only in the New World that we have these vulgar sipping wines.

Roquefort with Sauternes. Duck with Burgundy. Oysters with Sancerre. So many fantastic, classic, wine pairings. But they're all French. I love French food and definitely love French wine, but what about Chinese cuisine?

Chinese cuisine has only one true classic food and wine pairing that I know of. And that is crab with Shaoxing wine, a rice wine that I absolutely love. The sweetness of the wine pairs beautifully with the sweetness and subtle flavours of the crab. Of course, the pairing calls for much better crabs, but what can you do...this is, after all, Canada.



I love drinking this wine warm. You decant, then place the entire vessel in a pot of warm water. Indirect heat - you never heat it too high, because the flavours disappear and it becomes bitter and tart. I love this set...instead of cups, there`s bowls to drink out of. Classic.

Don't mess around with perfection. Steam the crabs, with a dipping sauce of rice vinegar, minced ginger and sugar. Don't make it all pansy...simplicity is the key.


In true Chinaman style. I love this dish. Steamed crabs with Shaoxing wine, absolutely delicious.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Blue Crab

It's crab season. Live blue crabs, fresh from the supermarket. Usually it's my father who does the preparation, but I guess it's about time I did it. He doesn't get it as clean as I'd like, and despite what he thinks, cleaning crabs isn't as hard as it seems.

The trick is to know their blind spots. Pick them up from behind, and they're helpless. People usually only brush the outside, but like a shrimp, you have to get rid of any waste inside the body. Fold back the rounded part on the backside of the crab. At this point, it'll really start struggling and kicking. Press down, and there's this black line of excrement that shoots out. Get rid of it all, because you definitely don't want to be eating shit.

Look at this monster: A big one that didn't put up much of a fight.




It was this little f*cker that was the most trouble. Never underestimate the little ones. This one was a terror - f*cker almost bit me a couple of times and I was struggling to hold its claws down.



Look at it: 2/3 the size of most of the other crabs and it's clearly the most aggressive. Climbed right out of the bowl.

Another mulberry

I wrote about my mulberry wine my relatives made for us a while ago. I love this wine - fresh ripe mulberry soaked in rice spirits - we`re talking about a 55-60% alcohol liquor. The wine I had last time was wonderful...syrupy and light violet in colour, so complex with ripe berries and dark chocolate in the mouth. Finished it a while ago, so I opened another batch we had made a few years ago.


This one wasn`t as well-made. The fruit obviously wasn't as ripe. Golden in colour, leaner in the mouth. Bitterness of the spirits remain. The fruit has this vegetal, herbacious quality to it. The real treat when you drink this stuff is to eat the fruit. The fruit soaks up the liquor, so it's actually stronger than the actual drink. I ate 8 of them before I left for Rocky's place, so I was pretty good and buzzed. So interesting.




Suntory

I love Japanese whisky. It has that purity and clarity you don`t find in a lot of spirits.

This whisky has this lovely golden colour. The only way to drink whisky is to drink it with a drop of water - it really releases the floral and citrus elements of this whisky. It has this lovely aroma and an oily complexity in the mouth. Wonderful.

Bit disappointed

I was a bit disappointed at this release. I was expecting to get a bottle of 1986 Dow's Colheita Port, but apparently, LCBO only carries one bottle. In Ottawa. But, I did manage to pick up this wine: 1991 Schloss Schonborn Hochheimer Domdechaney Riesling Spatlese.

Looking forward to this wine next year. Yes, I think I`ll hold onto it to at least another year.

Crisps

I pontificate about eating healthy and staying away from junk food, but I have to admit, I love my chips. Or crisps, as we Europeans say. Forgive me, I've been watching a lot of UK television, where chips really mean fries.

There's an alternative though, and one where I can still defend myself eating this stuff. It's making fresh chips. Just buy your own potatoes, thinly slice, fry, and season. So simple, and it's got to be healthier than that shit you buy. And most importantly, it's absolutely delicious.

Funny old man

Just when you're once again unemployed and things are looking as bleak as the weather, you see this:


A delightful old man riding a bright yellow motorized scooter. That's how you get around!!

Maneuvering

Sometimes, the law is unreasonable. Sometimes, it's necessary to make your own sensible judgement.

If I didn't today, I'd be in a police station, in cuffs, locked up for a DUI. Even though I was and am still completely lucid. Sometimes, you just need to take a detour to make it home safe.

Let's be clear, I'm against drunk driving, in any form. I'm also against the police terrorizing innocent citizens in this over-zealous campaign to combat impaired driving. You know, it's a good system if the police have at least an average level of intelligence. The problem is, they don't. A few months ago, I was sitting with my father, who was driving. We came up on a road block, which always happens late at night, on weekends. Sheppard Ave., just west of Leslie. You know the bridge just past the Ikea and Canadian Tire? The stupid police always set up a road block there because you can't see it until it's too late to turn onto another street.

Anyways, my father was driving. I was pretty drunk, but he was sober as a f*cking stone. The cop explains the program they're doing, and asks my father if he's been drinking. My father answer yes, I've drank one beer tonight. The cop looks at me and says, What about you, are you ok? What the f*ck do you think? I reek of fine wine and barbequed pork. I answer, But I'm not driving, am I?! Dumb. Get a f*cking education because you`re just confirming the stereotype of the dumb shit policeman who only went to police academy because you couldn`t get into a real post-secondary institution.

Cops. Society can't do without them, but how come they do such a terrible job? I feel terrified whenever I have a drop of wine at a friend's place and I have to drive home. Patrol the streets of East York and Scarborough for the drunk drivers. Leave us decent uptowners alone.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Day is shot

What a dark day. Today's really turning out to be a terrible, terrible day. We had a fantastic meal tonight as well, but that's all gone to shit. Unf*ckingbelievable. Today's not a good day to be blogging.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

UWP Cupboard



This is what things looked like towards the end of 4th year. I actually drank a lot of nice things - 2005 Ch. La Gasparde, 2001 Beronia Rioja Reserva, 2005 Flat Rock Pinot Noir, a few beautiful bottles of Moulin-a-Vent....what a happy time. The two bottles of white wine you see lying flat on the top right? 2005 Ch. La Fleur Jonquet. Bebe said the label looked really pretty. I just hope it tastes as nice.

Done with exams

It's times like these that I'm glad I've graduated. No more late nights worrying about exams or cramming assignments. No more all-nighters, even though they are a glorious way to be creative and get work done. But then again, those are some of the best work-related memories I have of university. Textbook in one hand, notes in the other, open bottle of fine wine on the table...that's the way to do work my friends.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Contractors

I hate contractors. At least the ones that work in my condo. They're lazy, unprofessional, and generally have no clue what they're doing. Strap some gas-powered leaf blowers onto them, and they turn into a whirlwind of menace.

They're supposed to clear the leaves, but instead blow dust and dirt everywhere. They leave everything in a pile, where the next strong wind will blow it all back onto everyone's driveways. They covered my car in so much dust you literally couldn't see out from the inside.

But, we can't do anything about it. We have no say in who's hired. Our idiot of a condo president, Sam, is fine with these people. Sam is an idiot and so are the people he hires. Idiot.


VintagesOnline


Finally, LCBO has joined the rest of the civilized world and gone online.

They're launching a new website, called VINTAGES Online Exclusives. It's an exclusive group of wines that you can order online, and have shipped to an LCBO store. They follow a monthly release that's not available anywhere else. Interesting...I'm excited to see what the wines are like. Next release is November 12.

Now, if only the nuts in head office will put the entire VINTAGES system online...
And look at the email they sent me when I registered:
Bienvenue à la Boutique en ligne de VINTAGES. Votre compte est ouvert. Vous pouvez maintenant acheter des produits.Veuillez ne pas répondre à ce courriel envoyé automatiquement.
I thought I registered on the English page. Oh well....after all, I do have a little European in me.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Snow

It's snowing outside. Here we go again.




Bye Monsieur Dion

Woke up this morning to a piece in the paper about Stephane Dion doing what everyone's been pushing him to do since last week's election. I've been disgusted not just at the Tories, but now at the Liberals as well for openly forcing him to resign, and blaming their pathetic election results on Dion. Absolutely disgusting and wrong.

Dion was a decent man. Everyone wants an honest politician, someone who speaks the truth - well, here he is, and you just f*cked him over. Monsieur Dion doesn't bullshit, is to the point with his words, and is brutally honest. So what happened?

Are Canadians so f*cking out of touch that they have an issue with his English? He's a French speaker, for f*ck's sake. Why don't you try speaking French and see how that turns out for you?

His carbon tax was revolutionary, and really could have propelled Canada into the forefront of the environmental movement. But the upper middle class and above are so f*cking fat and comfortable that any hit to their income won't be tolerated. No one understands that it's sometimes painful to do the right thing. No one understands that yet. I have a family friend, the neo-con, who argues every time for the Tories/Republicans. Let me tell you one thing: you're full of shit. You're living comfortably now, with a big house, new mid-class luxury sedan, child still years away from University. In other words, why should you suffer for the benefit of this country? The days of sacrificing for the greater good are long, long, long gone.

Monsieur Dion was willing to sacrifice for the good of Canada's future generations. He understood that. Too bad the majority of Canadians, Liberal party included, are so f*cking obtuse that they can't see that. Liberals are done. They had one of the best representatives in Monsieur Dion and they tossed him under the bus. Blaming him for the election loss? You're out of your f*cking minds. Dion was man enough to admit that it was his fault. He's still taking hits for his cancer of a party on his way out. Bravo, Monsieur Dion.

In two years, tops, we'll have another election and I guarantee you that I'll still be blogging and running my mouth off. In that time, I'll have to take a good look at whether I'll be voting Liberal again. It's a sad day for the country, and for democracy.

Monday, October 20, 2008

More irresponsibility

As you can see here, our love for wine drinking not only increased by 4th year, it got a lot more expensive. No more cheap shit!

When I went to the Beer Store to return the empties, the cashier's eyes bugged out. I'm pretty sure that no one's returned more wine bottles at once in Waterloo's history. But then, 40 bottles in 3 months isn't that much, is it?

Irresponsible

Dug up some photos from few years back. Second year photos, when we were living in UWP. Look at the garbage we were drinking. How irresponsible.

Remember this? It was the last day of exams, and we were chilling when Bebe wanted to get a drink. Somehow, we discovered that the vending machine was acting up - it kept pumping out bottle after bottle without charging anything. Yeah, as you can see, we pretty much emptied it out. We didn't even want this stuff....the flavoured water tasted like shit.

Brrrr

It's cold.

Just went through, deleted more than 80% of my MSN contact list. Let's be real - no one talks to more than 10 people on their list, if that much at all. Some people have this obsession about building up their list, as if more contacts translates into more.......popularity. Same goes for Facebook.

A lot of news is startling to trickle in from Bordeaux about the 2008 vintage. Of course, the proprietors and winemakers have an unbridled enthusiasm about this year's growing season. I've read about comparisons with 1983, which was quite a charming vintage. Of course, any vintage anywhere near 1982 is going to be overshadowed, but are we saying that 2008 is 1983's modern equivalent?

2005 was glorious, and 2006 was decent.....but by all accounts, 2007 was awful for red wines. The quality of the white wines was fairly hyped - for my own sake, I hope the quality meets the hype. 80% of my 2007 Bordeaux futures order was in white wines. Prices need to come down for consumers to be confidant in buying Bordeaux again. Come on, this is getting ridiculous. When you look at the prices for 2007 red wines, the fact that they were so high in a poor vintage makes you want to give up and stick to drinking exclusively New World.

Obviously, we'll have to wait until April 2009, when the tastings begin, to gauge the quality of this vintage. If it's as poor as expected, then prices should reflect that. I don't know how my finances are going to be next year, but I will give up buying Bordeaux if the only product they produce is greed.

Decanter Magazine: http://www.decanter.com/news/270371.html

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Indian summer

Just came back from dinner at a family friend's place...they live right on top of the Don River ravine, with a great view of all the autumn foliage.

Beautiful day today. I think we're seeing the last of what little Indian summer we've had this year. Enjoy while it lasts because winter is coming! Scary, let's just hope that we don't have a repeat of last year's snowfall. After all, this isn't Alaska.

Drank a Trius Cabernet Sauvignon for dinner. Typical Niagara red wine. Underripe, overoaked...just a generic red wine. Drinkable yes, but depressingly boring and unimaginative.

Getting excited about this week's release, there are some things that I want. Between Friday's dinner, the wedding, and tonight, I've drank more wine this weekend than I have in a very long time. Feels good, only wish the wine was more..........transcendant. Am I asking for too much?

I want.....

I was at a wedding last night. There was wine, there was food.


I havn't been drinking much Rhone wines lately. Actually, it's been a few months. I love the Rhone Valley - Cotes du Rhone wines were the wines that absolutely fascinated me, and began my interest in wine. They were masculine, big, rough wines that best of all, were value-driven. I'm sorry to say that I've neglected this region these past few years, in my search for Bordeaux, Champagne, and Niagara. But it's important to go back to your roots.

I have 2 bottles of Rhone left. Both from St. Joseph, both of which I've had for quite a few years. Should be interesting - like catching up with an old friend again. I'd love to explore and drink some Northern Rhone wines, but in this age of the super-cuvee, those wines have sadly become exclusive to wealthy, douchey, donkey palates.

It's interesting, the syrah grape. Australians, on a whole, still have no idea how to make sensible, food-friendly syrah. Nor do the Americans. Maybe I'm biased, but I've tasted some interesting Niagara syrah. Lailey, in particular. The intense black pepper on the nose, the spiciness and the liveliness of the wine was amazing. Also, the white pepper character of the Creekside, which was such a surprise because I have little respect for them. I think Niagara's doing some interesting things - I'd like to see where this will go. Great varietal characteristics, yet distinctively cool-climate.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Temporary change

F*ck it. From now until the US election, we're talking politics.

You know what's glaringly missing from this election campaign? From both sides? Talk about the war. How the f*ck is the US going to extract itself from this mess.

No one wants to touch it. The farthest both will go is adamently insist that they're not Bush, that they have different policies, and that they'll do better.

Healthcare, income tax, ideologies.....those are all f*cking fluff issues. When are we going to see a statesman with the balls and courage to face up to what's challenging, instead of always being politically correct? F*ck political correctness when you're in the middle of a war, that's hemorrhaging money by the billions a month. Thats what's killing your economy. Stop prancing around and calling yourself a patriot. You're not a f*cking patriot. End this war and then we can start talking about how much you love your country.

When is the US, and its politicians going to learn that true leaders need to have an international outlook, a respect for diplomacy, and good knowledge of history. Kissinger may have been crafty and shady, but he got the job done. When is the US going to stop sticking its head up other people's asses and start solving it's own domestic problems first. But I guess that's the American way.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Mussels

Moules a la marinieres, absolutely delicious. I ate it with a bottle of red Burgundy that I'd like not to mention. Too embarrassing, and one of the mistakes that I'd like not repeat.

Laguiole


I want to talk about one of my favourite things, my corkscrew. There's just no better instrument to open a bottle of wine with, and everyone should own one.

Corkscrews/sommelier knife, whatever you want to call it, is the most effective cork extraction tool. And no one makes it better than Chateau Laguiole.

They make them out of different materials, but they're all hand made. Mine is stainless steel, with an African Bull horn handle. The weight feels perfect in your hand, and really makes opening corks pleasurable.




Didn't really know what I was doing when I started, but I think I got it down. Cut the foil, screw in off-center, tap the lever, and pull. Simple.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Debate

Did anyone watch the final Presidential Candidate Debate? I did.

You know, I supported John McCain. I though he was battle-tested soldier, experienced Senator, and generally had good judgement over the direction that the US had to go. After watching this debate, there was no doubt left that I was wrong.
Politics is a dirty game. No one tells the truth - that's just the nature of politics. So when you have these 2 men up there talking about their policies, it's all empty words. What it comes down to is personalities. Which person do you think shows better leadership attributes, and can handle the responsibilities of running the world's most powerful country.

Not this f*cking clown on the right. The campaigns of both men have been getting uglier and uglier, but McCain took it to even lower levels during the debate. Completely uncalled for, and they didn't work - they just showed everyone the cynical old fool that he is.

Bringing up Joe the Plumber. Who the f*ck gives a shit about a plumber? How is a plumber representative of the largest demographic in America, the middle-class? McCain mentioned the guy about 21 times, without making a single convincing point. Small-business owners (which Joe is not) are not the majority. Obama makes a convincing point - he will raise taxes for people who make more than $250K a year, and lower them for those who don't.

McCain talks about helping people keep their mortgages, and working to raise housing prices so that those homeowners will actually end up making a profit. Are you f*cking out of your mind? People's life savings have disappeared, bank's are cutting off all credit, the housing market is in the shit, and you have the balls to say you're going to help people make a profit off their houses? People are defaulting on their mortgages and getting kicked out!!! Help those poor f*ckers out first!

When the question got to running mates, that's where the fun began. I love Obama's choice of Joe Biden. McCain actually went on to say he was proud of Palin, and that she was a proven reformer. Right......like how she abused the power of the Governer's office to fire her ex brother-in-law from a state job? Or how her husband spends 50% of his time in her office, and sits in on official meetings? Like how she says she refused funding for a bridge, implying that the money was returned, but that it actually still ended up going to Alaskan projects? Right. Stop pontificating about how great a family and a mother Palin is. She's not. Opposing abortion even in rapes and incest? Your 17 year old daughter getting pregnant a few months after you've given birth yourself? How typical. It's not a stereotype anymore when it becomes true. Palin fits the mold perfectly, and she's got that part of America down pat.

The debate got personal. Obama confronted McCain about his rallies, where people yelled out that Obama was a terrorist and called for his death. McCain had the nerve so say that the people who go to his rallies were patriots and great citizens. In translation, when a Republican says patriot, the rest of the world says redneck.

And hammering Obama about this nonsense about Ayers? Obama was f*cking 8 years old when Ayers was doing his shit!

The part that stood out the most to me was the line that Obama should have run 4 years ago. McCain was defending that he wasn't George Bush. Of course, McCain goes on to say that he's always sided with his party leader when passing legislation. McCain asks Obama whether he's ever sided with his Democrat leader. But didn't you just say that your policies are different from Bush? But you still voted to support him on 4 of 5 pieces of legislation? You senile fool.

The demeanor of both men was so telling. Obama was calm, respectful of the debate, and often nodded when he agreed with McCain. The old man smirked, rolled his eyes, and was foaming at the mouth when he was attacking, which was often in the most inappropriate places. It's clear who won the debate. Wake the f*ck up America! No need for further arguments about who's the better candidate.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Election, Part III

I promise, this will be my last political post....................until the American election of course.

You know what the lowest thing Harper did, in his already putrid campaign? The most vile, childish political maneuver he pulled? Announcing that whoever lost the election would automatically relinquish leadership of their party.

This was a move to get Dion out of politics. Did anyone, Harper included, think that the Conservatives weren't going to get at least another minority? As much of a dumbshit as he is, Harper knew he was going to win - the question was by how much. His guarantee that he would resign as leader of the Conservatives was utter nonsense. His target was Stephane Dion.

This little man's actions are the political equivalent of killing a cat, gutting it, and then parading it through the neighbourhood. Totally unnecessary, totally unprofessional, and totally unbecoming of a true statesman. You've won already - why do you have to force someone out of a job? This is not the conduct of an honourable man. I hope you're all happy......you voted him in and now let's all hope that he doesn't make even more of a mess.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Election, Part II



Cast my ballot tonight. From what the news is reporting, it looks like another Conservative government - in the least, a minority.

I don't like Harper. Not one bit. I don't think he has an economic policy, nor a foreign policy, nor any kind of leadership qualities. He's a smug little man, boring as all hell, with the personality and intelligence of a cheap, imitation neo-con Republican. His refusal to attend the Opening Ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, was an incredible disrespect to China and the Chinese people. His excuse that it was due to a scheduling conflict was absolute nonsense. Give me a break - get off your self-righteous platform. You, a Prime Minister of an internationally inferior and insignificant country calling China out on its own domestic issues? Give me a f*cking break. Ask the board of Bombardier what they think of China. Ask any of the Canadian energy companies that live and die by their business with China. Harper has absolutely no credibility to be talking about international issues, especially those that pertain to a country's internal affairs.

But what this country needs now is stability. I detest the man, but I hope he will provide that. Having a $300 million
election every 2-3 years is not what a democracy should be about.

Dumplings

My palate centres around Cantonese food, but Northern Chinese cuisine offers simple, savoury foods that are absolutely delicious.

Dumplings. We make everything fresh, from the pork based filling to the dough used to wrap them. It's incredibly intricate, wrapping them - we don't take the lazy way, like how you make a ravioli. No, you wrap each one individually, sealing in the flavour with good presentation. Beautiful. Nothing beats the simplicity and flavour of freshly made pork dumplings, dipped in a sauce of rice vinegar, chili sauce, and finely minced garlic.


Election

Election day is today! Heading out shortly to cast my vote. Shouldn't be a surprise as to who I'm supporting. I firmly believe that everyone should go out and exercise their right.

Even if things don't go as you'd like, at least you then have the right to complain about it. You don't deserve the right to bitch if you don't even vote.

Monday, October 13, 2008

A reminder

Just a reminder...to check the main page after reading each of my seperate entries. When I post, I add a listing on my Facebook and MSN Spaces pages, with links to each specific post. As you may have seen by now, I write several posts a day, so I don't want anyone to miss anything.

I'm not good at blogging throughout the day. I sit down, write a bunch of posts and publish them at once. That's why if you follow a link to a specific post, you might miss some of the other stuff I've written that day.

So please, when you finish reading each post, check on the main page. Just click the title: La Cave de Fang. I appreciate my readers very much, and I don't want you to miss anything.

Dinner

Still digesting all the wonderful food we had last night for Thanksgiving. Ate and ate and ate...too bad the wine was awfully mediocre at best.

The turkey was cooked beautifully. Crispy skin, covering a juicy inside, absolutely delicious. We had a monstrous beast of bird - barely got through half of it.

I bought over a bottle of Rheingau Spatburgunder, which unfortunately, was mildly corked. Still drinkable, but......another bottle was brought out. One of those "homemade" wines. There's this place nearby that sells you grapes and the equipement - they make a homebrew for you, so you can tell your friends that you make your own wine. Cheap, imitation alcoholic juice at best. A wine with a "Brunello" lable on it that looks as dark as f*cking soy sauce? Do yourself a f*cking favour, get your money back.

Straight out of the oven



And here's our bird!

Santenay


This was one of the wines I pulled out of my cellar on Friday. 2005 Roux Pere & Fils "Sous La Roche", AC Santenay.

Havn't drank white Burgundy in a long time, but thought it would pair well with the richness of my shellfish dishes.

It did go well. On it's own, this isn't the type of wine I like. Too rich and buttery. However, complemented the sauces I made for my clams quite well. The wine was golden yellow, with a mineral nose I found to be quite similar to the Lailey chardonnay we tasted out of barrel. A bit too heavy on the palate though - it has this lumpy texture in the mouth I found off-putting. Bitter citrus finish, with decent freshness. I've had this wine for about 2 years under sometimes questionable storage - not to say that this wine was damaged in any way.



Sunday, October 12, 2008

Turkey dinner

Why am I writing out cooking instructions? Pretentious, isn't it? I've always been comfortable in the kitchen, but what the hell.....I'm still no Gordon Ramsay.

I can't stand people who complain about not having enough time to cook. That's laziness, come on. Of course, it's not reasonable to expect a 3 course dinner every night, but there's so many simple, healthy dishes that are so easy to make. I just don't understand this fascination with prepared/canned/frozen/reconstituted food. It's not real food!

Times are tight, but still trying to enjoy dinner. Still trying to cook with quality ingredients. A gentleman has got to maintain his standards, even in a crisis, doesn't he?

Big dinner tonight, with family friends. We have this one friend, who we go to for Thanksgiving every year because they're the only one willing to cook turkey. And they got a big old bird this year - 12 kg of succulent delight.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Shellfish dinner

Let's talk about some more cheerful things, because all this negativity is just driving me insane. Friday night, we had our first mussels and clams of the season.

Bought the cooking wine, all the ingredients, and most importantly, fresh shellfish. Mussels from the east coast, and Atlantic clams. Here we go again!

This is what I'm working with. Going clockwise, from the top: herbes de provence, grape tomatoes, onion, minced garlic, unsalted butter, white wine.

Moules a la mariniere. Mussels steamed in white wine sauce.


Hot pan, drop of olive oil. Sweat off your garlic and onion. Smell - don't stop stirring until it smells fragrant. Mix in some butter, to give some richness. Toss in your herbes de provence. Make sure your mussels are brushed clean and run off any excess water beforehand. Toss them into your pan, along with your white wine. You'll be on high heat throughout, so it'll start steaming right away. Cover quickly and let it steam for no more than a minute. Stir mussels around and be careful - timing is crucial. It's so easy to overcook mussels, so take it off the heat as soon as the shells open and serve. Moules a la Mariniere, absolutely delicious.

Sorry...I didn't take any photos. Too delicious to waste time taking shitty cell phone pics. The broth was milky white, fragrant, and as authentic tasting as the mussels I ate in Nice. Not that I'm.......bragging or anything.


My clams. Fresh clam spaghetti in a clam broth sauce.

This is simple. Fresh grape tomatoes, sweated down with onions, garlic, and a touch of parsley. Throw in your white wine. Cook the clams first in water, sea salt and green onion. Keep the broth - this is the base of your sauce. Mix in a lob of butter, to thicken. Pour in your broth with the tomatoes, along with a touch of white wine. Reduce. Throw in your clams, along with your freshly cooked pasta. Mix. Fresh clam spaghetti in a clam broth sauce, absolutely delicious.

Here it is. I drank a bottle of Santenay with this - went decently, not spectacularly. This dinner helped raise my spirits, at least for a few hours. Simple, fresh, seasonal foods.

Post No. 201

Profile - colour

I'm not doing anything, so I might as well write. With the mood around the house...better keep my mouth shut and keep to myself. Why don't I go out and do something? Well, it costs money to go out doesn't it?

Looking back on my previous 100 posts...a lot's happened hasn't it? I guess the most dramatic change is my outlook. I swear things didn't look so bad 100 posts ago, in July. Sigh.....what are you gonna do? What the f*ck are you going to do???

We just all need to keep our heads up. And hope that this horrible year doesn't go from just awful to the f*cking shits. My goodness, let's just get 2008 over with, please.

Next 100 posts - I'll definitely be talking about the wines I brought back from storage. An exciting group...no point in saving them. And what's better than a great bottle of wine to bring a glimmer of joy, in an otherwise miserable time?

It's Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Not exactly in the mood this year to be happy about anything in particular. But, there will be big dinners to go to and lots of great food, so at least that'll be a bright spot. Cooked a big meal yesterday, with lots of seafood, paired with a rich, minerally Burgundy.

Wow, I've been on a tear recently havn't I? Too much cussing, which I apologize for. My friends will confirm that I do swear a lot, but somehow it always comes off harsher in print. No offense intended.

Did I mention I picked up 16 well-aged bottles of wine yesterday? This should last me until the new year. I'm drinking a lot less, but hopefully, I'm drinking better.

Feeling lazy today. It's a beautiful day outside, maybe I'll wash the car.

Friday, October 10, 2008

2000 Pol Roger


I had a busy day today. Rushed all over the place, it seems. Went to Bayview Village, to get those cooking wines. Today's a release day, and I was looking for the 2000 Pol Roger Brut Rose. I love Pol Roger - it's the only luxury Champagne that I buy. And this bottle was luxurious - I hate talking prices, but this was the most expensive single bottle of wine I've bought, at $95. Yeah, it hurts.

Bayview Village didn't have it, so I had to get out to the Avenue Road location. I hate going to Avenue. The ethnicities that live there are.....uncivilized. Won't go into specifics because I'll definitely come across as racist.

But I got the wine! Lovely bottle of Champagne, which I promptly put away into storage, to open on a momentous occasion. Can you believe the nerve of the cashiers at Avenue? The woman looks at me and says "Would you like a gift bag with that?" What, you HAVE to be old and wrinkly and white to buy wine over $15? Go f*ck youself.

Another lot to move

Moved a few more boxes of wine over to a friend's place today. The last time I went was mid July, and over the last 2.5 months, I've been buying a few bottles here and there, as well as picked up some Vintages orders.

I owe a huge, huge thanks to this friend. They have a basement that's lined up, keeping the humidity in and keeping temperature low. I checked today...15 degrees. The best option for me, in terms of wine storage. Here, I know my wine will be safe, and stored in reasonable healthy conditions.

Picked up a few bottles today as well. Picked up some Niagara pinot noir, a sparkling Vouvray, some miscellaneous Bordeaux, and some St. Joseph. Oh, and an old bottle of Valpolicella that I've forgotten about. Very excited to be trying everything. Top of my list - a 2003 Ch. L'Arrosee, a 2003 Ch. Roumieu, and my 1981 Kopke Colheita Port. Let's see how long these 16 bottles will last.

More of the same

Got another rejection today, this time from a program that I really wanted. Fucking hell, another fucking rejection. You know, at some point, you get used to it, but nevertheless....I'm still pissed as all hell.

How much worse can this year get? Fuck me, someone put me out of my fucking misery already. Better yet, someone hand me a bottle of scotch. Fucking hell............

Disgraceful!

I disgraced myself today. I bought 2 bottles of cheap, mass-produced, generic wine today, the exact things that I said would never touch my palate. But there you go - desperate times calls for desperate measures.

Wait a minute...that makes things sound worse than it really is. I bought these wines for cooking, not for drinking. But it didn't reduce the shame. I, David Fang, was buying wine from the generic wine section of the LCBO.

I need cooking wine, because shellfish are in season, and white wine is a must for steaming. I'm not about to spend more than $10 for a cooking wine, so I wanted to find something cheap, yet not hideous.


This is what I came up with. Both are 1 litre containters - on the left, we have a screwcap and on the right, we have a tetrapak. Not promising. Both don't have vintages printed and both don't list the variety. All I know about the wine on the right is that it's a white table wine. I have no clue what's in it.

So there you go. The first and last time I'm buying this shit. And you know what happened? They asked me for ID at the cash! I NEVER get asked for ID!! That's what you get for buying cheap shit. Damn, I'm so ashamed.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Random on a rainy day

It's getting cold, everything's starting to go into hibernation. Hopefully, so will my wine.

Ran 5 km yesterday. Not a lot, but I was exhausted after...why is it always easier to slack off than to keep at something hard?

I read a lot of wine publications - websites, blogs, newspaper, magazines......anything I can get my hands on. And I find that the most interesting are obviously the professional industry types, but also, the gifted enthusiasts who taste lots of fantastic wines and travel to exciting wine regions and vineyards. That's the stuff I want to read about. Trips to Bordeaux, Rioja, Bourgogne, Mosel......

And that's what's lacking in this space. La Cave de Fang is too......narrow-minded, common and just......boring. I admit, I wouldn't be interested either in reading this shit. Thanks so much for those of you that come back regularly, and I apologize. This is getting so damn boring.

Let me keep working at it. I'm going through a tough period, a wine drought if you will. I'm trying really hard to get myself out. This Friday, I'll be pulling some wines out of storage, to drink. Hopefully, there'll be some interesting things to talk about. Also, as I told my buddy Christie already, I'm planning for another trip to Niagara wine country around next February. In the meantime, bear with me - things will get better, I promise.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

LCBO Discover


LCBO produces a series of video podcasts about wine that I find extremely interesting. Look into it. I particularly enjoyed the Discover series - well actually, I enjoyed 3 episodes out of the 8.

The first was The Wine Regions of Ontario. This goes through a few of the lesser known producers, which is a great focus. We should be looking away from Iniskillin and Jackson Triggs and all the big names to the smaller producers, because those are the wines that are going to make Niagara famous.

The second is The Art of Making Wine. This is actually quite a comprehensive look at winemaking. I learned a few new things. Just when you think you know enough about wine..................

The third video I loved was Wines of Alsace. Alsace is a part of the world that I definitely will visit. To me, Alsatian wines are sharp-edged, wonderfully structured and chiselled wines, that speak so much of the gravel and the slate and the mountains they're grown on. Absolutely delicious wines.

---

Check these videos out here.

I know everyone has an iPod so there`s no excuse
!

Monday, October 6, 2008

2 More Lots!

Another Classics pickup today!

Remember that late night call on Friday I got from LCBO Bayview Village? They were about a few bottles of my 2005 Bordeaux that just arrived. It seems like it's been forever, waiting for these wines to get here. Can't believe it's been almost two and a half years since I ordered them.

First up, 2005 CH. Carbonnieux, AC Graves. A wine of Pessac-Leognan. In the news recently - its owner just died. Sad, but at least he remains immortal in the wines.




And my beloved 2005 CH. La Lagune, AC Haut Medoc. A Troisieme-Crus, very well respected estate, and one of my favourites. Classic, classic wine.

These are really going to test my patience. Who thinks I'll be able to last 10 years before opening one?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Tired at K

My buddy/former roommate, had her birthday party last night. Really tired from my trip, but I just had to make it. Great to see everyone again.

It was fun - karaoke isn't really my thing, but we did manage to get through a horribly off-key old school BSB song. Nice.

Happy Birthday Serene! You have my respect, never thought I'd ever see you downing shots like that. How great does the day after feel?

Lobster


Finally. After all that writing, we get to my lobster meal, prepared fresh.

Poached lobsters on a bed of sweet peppers, in a tomato/lobster stock sauce.

Lobsters were featured this week at the supermarket. Fresh, live, and in season. Bought two - we usually never cook lobsters ourselves. My mother doesn't really have a recipe for it, and it never really measures up to the beauties we ate in Nova Scotia.

Killing things is not that fun. You have to think it through and just do it methodically - and try not to prolong the suffering. I laid the lobsters flat on their backs, with legs in the air. Butcher knife in hand, I hacked the head cleanly in two, then cut the tail. Three separate pieces, and the claws. Remember to save the cloudy, grey blood and the soft matter in the head. Nothing wasted.

Tie the tails of the 2 lobsters together. Tie the severed portions of the head together. This keeps flavour, and helps it from breaking up in the water.

Poach in water flavoured with sea salt. Throw in some star anise, green onion, cooking wine. It's a quick process. Save the stock that you get out of it. Remember to taste - it's absolutely delicious. Full of flavour.

Put together your sauce. You're just using a hot pan, touch of olive oil, salt and pepper. Cut your sweet red peppers into nice strands, along with the tomatoes. Slightly sautee the pepper, throw in tomatoes. Let some of the water boil off, put in some butter to thicken and give it that richness.

Untie the lobsters. Separate the meat from the tails. Cut into medallions. I like to sear the lobster a bit before plating - gives the meat some firmness. Lay the sauce over.

Poached lobsters on a bed of sweet peppers in a tomato/lobster stock sauce, done.

I love the flavours - the sweetness and briny quality of the lobster, marries with the sweetness of the sauce. The richness complements the tender lobster meat - you can really taste the lobster here. Nothing's worse than overseasoning. Helps that the lobster was fresh. Too bad I didn't take pictures. I guess I was too busy eating. There's definite room for improvement - I like the flavours, just need to work on execution.

More pics


Me admiring the pigpen. They kind of shit everywhere, but they didn't smell. And the pigs had such coarse hair! Not soft at all!!



I'm on the left. Thinking about wine and how stupid I was for agreeing to come with them.


But at least our lunch was good. If there's anything about us Chinese, we place a premium on eating. We had butane heaters going and everything. Here, I'm admiring my uncle's technique.