Monday, September 7, 2009

Sleeping Under the Stars and an Iron Chef Competition

John didn't make it home from diving on Saturday until about 7:30pm. He took public transit with all of his heavy, heavy dive gear all of the way from Hamilton, so he was understandable exhausted when he got home. He was happy though because his first freshwater dive was a success (no nosebleeds!) and he saw more fish that he had expected. We decided to stay in for the night, so we put together a little nest on the balcony. I mixed a pitcher of Southern Comfort, vodka, orange juice and maraschino cherry juice (So-Co&O as I call it), found some beers, and put together some snacks and we curled up under a blanket and just chilled for the evening. We accidentally fell asleep out there. I don't think I've ever spent a night asleep outside without at least a tent before. It was so warm though! We woke up at dawn with sore backs and stumbled into the apartment. I went to bed but I think John stayed up.

When I finally got up for real we headed to the Pickle Barrel for brunch. It was comparable to brunch at Your Father's Moustache, bulky carbs and hollandaise sauce from a mix. It was alright though. From there we headed down to the Harbourfront Centre (seems like we've been going there a lot lately) for the Hot & Spicy Food Festival. The festival was so-so but we got to see an Iron Chef competition that was really fun.

The theme ingredient was Ontario beets and the chefs each had to come up with one spicy dish incorporating the beets in 30 minutes. There was a Vietnamese and French chef from New Mexico who made a spicy marinaded chicken breast with a gorgeous looking sauce, sauteed beets and mango and lime salsa. His competitor was a Canadian chef who owns a restaurant in downtown Toronto who made a very complicated dish involving beet encrusted chicken breast, some sort of sautee with chicken livers and more beets, a beet sauce and some other cut of chicken that was wrapped in bacon. The New Mexican chef won, I suspect because he was finished on time where the Canadian was not. I think that must be a good feeling to travel to another country for a competition and coming home a winner. This was only the semi-final round though that we watched. I don't know who won overall. The event was sponsered by and I recognized one of the judges from TV.

From there we caught the Spadina streetcar and stopped in at Chinatown on our way home. Produce is so cheap there! We bought a ton of veggies, fruit and berries and it only came to $10. Whole pineapples were $1.50 as were pints of blueberries. We also found a great Chinese pastry shop! It's called the Ding Dong Bakery and it has the biggest selection of Chinese pastries that I've seen since we moved here. We got red bean filled mochi balls, a pineapple cake, little coconut tarts, bbq pork pastries (my favorite!!), and sesame balls, all for under $10. They make everything fresh onsite and you can see them working in the back. So far, everything we've tried has been really yummy.

We walked along College to the subway station and headed home from there. I'm finding that these weekend walks are slowly helping me get a better feel for where things are in the city and how far apart everything is.

We fried up some lamb steaks and made some coucous and roasted peppers for supper and settled in to watch a recording of UFC 102 which we had missed. Best fights I've seen in probably the past five UFC's. The Couture-Nogueira fight was some of the best technical fighting I've seen in a long time. It reminded me of how much I'm bothered by the sort of non-confrontational style of fighting that's becoming more and more common thanks to Silva and Machida. And a new fighter named Duffee was introduced, that I would love to see fight Brock Lesnar. He's big enough, fast enough and seems to have the right attitude that it would be a really interesting match-up.

Today we're just waiting around for the phone and internet guy to show up. He's supposed to be here by two. We're going to try to get some more unpacking done, but that's about it. I don't think anything is open today since it's Labour Day.

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