From the category archives:

Consumables

Yes, it’s another Greek tasty, malaka. But Greek food is tasty and also happens to be my very favorite. If you want to write about the gross food that you dig, like pineapple pizza, get your own damn blog. I’m just throwing Hawaiian pizza out there because I think it’s the single most vulgar thing going that isn’t seafood.

Janet graciously reminded me it was Tuesday, suggested and IM’d me an idea (from the next room) and even offered to marinate the chicken. When my mother eventually yelled up the stairs “David, it’s almost 6pm and we’re starving” I stopped my all-important Scrabulous game and headed down to the kitchen. Sure enough, there was a bowl of poulet soaking in the fridge and I got right to work working my culinary magic.

The recipe Janet followed for the marinade is here, but I just shot from the hip. Not knowing Janet had brought some little skewers with her from Boston, I asked my mother if we had any and she told me to look behind a cabinet in the laundry room. There I found a pair so big they may have bee souvenirs from her days chumming on a Japanese whaling vessel. They may also have been designed for use on a BBQ. I fired up my beloved TFal and decided to put two orders on each skewer and get on with my life. I chopped up hunks of onion and green/yellow peppers and assembled the slimy shafts of souvlaki.

souvlaki

I found 4 good sized pieces of President’s Choice naan bread in the freezer and popped them into the oven on a cookie sheet at low heat. Then, while the kebabs sizzled I whipped together a reasonable Greek salad using kalamaata olives, peppers, lettuce, radicchio, broccoli and feta. I made sure to carefully flipping the meat regularly – as that was something I failed to do adequately last time. I got all the meat to a nice brown color, evenly cooked throughout. I then heated a pan and quickly grilled the naan bread a little before plating as I wanted it to be slightly crunchy and the oven alone hadn’t sufficed.

For presentation I filled half the plates with salad and laid the naan almost flat on the other half. I slowly slid the souvlaki off the skewers so that it would remain “shiskibobby” looking and not fall off every which way. Then I ran a tzatziki streak (which is not actually a Greek super hero,) parallel to the meat and veg. Finally, the magic was topped off with a dollop of tzatziki in the center of the kebabs with a kalamaata olive on top.

chicken-souvlaki

The Highlights

  • The fam-damily loved it. My Dad ate more of his dinner than I’ve seen him nosh in a long time.
  • The naan from Loblaws and the tzatziki from Costco might as well have been sent over from Crete.
  • I didn’t have to do the dishes

The Lowlights

  • Halfway through cooking I had to slide a few rungs off of each skewer, as the end pieces of the chicken weren’t cooking properly.
  • Could have definitely used some retsina as Operation: Garage aggravated my touchy back a little bit today.
  • Limited variety of vegetables on hand to skewer.

I’d call tonight’s tasty another success. It’s good to be 2 for 2, but I’ve yet to try anything really out of my comfort zone. If anyone has any recipes they’d like to share, please do so in the comments – as long as they don’t include sharkhead pizza. Have a peek at a few more mouthwatering photos.

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Appetizer: What was the last game you purchased?
Janet and I bought my Dad a Nintendo DS a year ago so he could play memory and brain exercise games, of which there are quite a few. After he showed little interest in the thing, and my Mom started commandeering it for a crossword game, I decided to see what else was available. Since then I have picked up hockey, football, best of Konami and golf games and some of them are quite fun. I also recently learned about a project which allows you to download and play free, pirated ROMS for the thing – which I may or may not do (insert Terrence Maddox wink here). Last week in Walmart I found a game entitled My French Tutor which I scooped up and played with on the plane to Florida. It’s surprisingly good, great for individual word memorization if nothing else and if you follow the last link you’ll find an objective and in-depth review that will have you dropping croissant crumbs all over the tiny screen in no time. Or something.

Soup: Name something in which you don’t believe.
It’s a toss up between Santa and Superman at the moment. Although I really want the new Blade Runner 5 Disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition, so I should tread carefully. This Amazon description sounds like the coolest DVD box set thingy in human history:

“In celebration of Blade Runner‘s 25th anniversary, director Ridley Scott has gone back into post production to create the long-awaited definitive new version. Blade Runner: The Final Cut, spectacularly restored and remastered from original elements and scanned at 4K resolution, will contain never-before-seen added/extended scenes, added lines, new and improved special effects, director and filmmaker commentary, an all-new 5.1 Dolby® Digital audio track and more. Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Edward James Olmos, Joanna Cassidy, Sean Young, and Daryl Hannah are among some 80 stars, filmmakers and others who participate in the extensive bonus features. Among the bonus material highlights is Dangerous Days, a brand new, three-and-a-half-hour documentary by award-winning DVD producer Charles de Lauzirika, with an extensive look into every aspect of the film: its literary genesis, its challenging production and its controversial legacy. The definitive documentary to accompany the definitive film version.

The Ultimate Collector’s Edition will be presented in a unique 5-disc digi-package with handle which is a stylish version of Rick Deckard’s own briefcase. In addition, each briefcase will be individually numbered and in limited supply. Included is a lenticular motion film clip from the original feature, miniature origami unicorn figurine, miniature replica spinner car, and collector’s photographs, as well as a signed personal letter from Sir Ridley Scott”

Salad: If you could choose a celebrity to be your boss, who would you pick?
He’s sort of like marmite or anchovies in that you either love him or you hate him – but I think the world of Gordon Ramsey. It’s not so much his cooking canon and repertoire, that’s not really up for debate. It’s the no-nonsense, brutal tough love approach to seriously effective business advice that he brings to flailing restaurants in the “Kitchen Nightmares” series. If you know him only from screaming at French kitchen porters or a fat guy named Dewberry from the English and American versions of Hell’s Kitchen – then you’re probably right in assuming he’s an arrogant, narcicisstic prick. If you’ve seen the amazing way in which he can completely transform and save a business on Nightmares – from staff motivation to getting owner’s heads out of the clouds to wedding favors to deep cleanings to simplifying the menu to even decorating the bloody dining room – he is incredibly saavy, genuine and brilliant. “Do you know that, big boy?” On one episode of the English series two (I have been watching Ramsey’s shows for almost a decade), I was thrilled to see him take one of the owners to The Fat Duck in Bray. The restaurant has gone on to international acclaim and celebrity chef status for the owner, Heston Blumenthal, but it started as a little out of the way place which just happens to be located beside the pub I worked at for two years in the late 90s. Heston even bought the Hinds Head a couple of years ago and I have written about him before. The original Hinds Head website was the first site I ever built back in 1998, and my then girlfriend and I were one of the first people to eat at the Duck which was voted Restaurant of the Year in 2001 by Michelin – and if you know anything about the international restaurant game – that’s like winning best director, actor and film oscars for the same flick. Anyway, I pick Gordon Ramsey. “Have I gone soft in the fucking head, or summink?” No, just the midsection.

Main Course: What was a lesson you had to learn the hard way?
Don’t watch my father’s dirty movies when he goes for a motorcycle ride. Because the motorcycle might start making a funny noise forcing him to come home 4 hours early as a result. I remember that day, and look at him now, and it’s a complete mindfuck.

Dessert: Describe your idea of the perfect relaxation room.
One which features walls made of opium and contains furniture fashioned from Macadamia nuts. There’s a TV playing one of those fish tank DVDs and some sunglasses which double as x-ray specs. The only noise is generated by the subtle grunts coming from the Swedish Women’s Volleyball Team as they repeatedly touch their toes in front of me. Every hour on the hour they break to make me a very large sandwich. This is going nowhere, fast. Good luck with your last minute Christmas gift getting and all that good stuff.

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It’s sad and quite a bit shitty to be sitting alone on what is usually my very favorite night of the entire year. The night before American Thanksgiving is when you’re supposed to travel back to your home town, hit a local bar or house party and get sillier than a horn of plenty with your high school friends whom you only ever see once a year on this night. When I returned from England in 1999 after about 5 years away from the Concord scene, I thought the tradition was long since dead. Little did I know the fun we had yet to have over the next 7 years. The Red House, the reunions, the Razzi. Many of my contemporaries couldn’t care less about staying in touch with their old school crew and that’s their prerogative – God forbid I should someday have a family and “normal life”. But I wouldn’t have had it any other way, and I sure miss y’all tonight.

The best Thanksgivingy passtime I could come up with for my self this evening was to sift back through folders and folders of old photos and assemble my favorites into a 60-deep Ghosts of Thanksgiving Past gallery. I hope you laugh if you were there and snicker a little bit even if you weren’t. At the very least you can watch us lose our hair. I’ll surely be tasting Jimmy’s deep fried turkey tomorrow as I catch up on work while all my American clients take the day off to stuff their respective faces. Great memories, great friends and trust me kids – there’s no way I’ll miss it two years in a row.

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Turkey. A Holiday From Workey.

by Dave on October 9, 2006

in Consumables

The Boston Financial District is like a ghost town today. There wasn’t a bomb scare or a New Kids reunion at the Tweeter Center – it’s Columbus Day. It’s also Canadian Thanksgiving – so I may be one of the few people on this continent who was asked to come to the office on this fine Monday. I got a text message this morning from a colleague “Are we really working today?” I shrugged and slid towards my desk through the post-Haymarket slime trails without trying to think too hard about it.

I left my iPod at home by accident, so I eventually had to form cognitive thoughts during my enviable 10 minute walking commute to stay awake. What makes a holiday optional, exactly? And is Columbus Day just about the famous explorer, or is there something more to it? I decided to investigate.

“Italian-Americans feel pride in the day due to the fact that Christopher Columbus, an Italian sailor, sailed to the Americas. Other Americans are embittered by this victory for Columbus because of the ensuing genocide of Native Americans after Columbus’ arrival.” I knew of this paradox already. Although if it hadn’t been old Chris, it would have been Portugal, Spain, France or England doing the intrusive manifesting of the destinies. So let me head off the next on-campus protest – I say let the parade continue, unless you’re prepared to move your white behind back to the Caucus Mountains and stop using electricity.

“In the state of Minnesota, Columbus Day is not celebrated, because many people in Minnesota believe that Vikings arrived in North America before Columbus.” It certainly would stink to have to change the name on all of your NFL merchandise, at any rate. And I firmly believe that there is no better mascot for a professional sports team than drunken, womanizing, bearded maniacs with horned helmets. Plus, the “Minnesota Flava-Flaves” isn’t nearly as catchy.

All this controversy has left me wishing I was in Ontario f’ing up a turkey right now. Hey JV, save me some stuffing. I’ll be there in 2 weeks. A bridesmaid would be nice, too.

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When the Pork Ass Challenge sputtered out, only a week before it was due to end on July 4th, I’d lost a reasonably exciting 10 pounds. In the meantime, I’ve packed 7 back on, and am currently having a fat day. Meaning my pants feel tight and I spent a good chunk of the morning crying whilst being coaxed out of a bathroom stall.

I have some social engagements over the next couple months, at which I’d like to appear a heck of a lot more svelt than I do now. My thoughts again turn to healthy ways to get that little bulge down. No, the other little bulge. I conquered the first one a long time ago when I taught myself to picture Jessica Tandy in that scene from Batteries Not Included where she’s bending over the little cheeseburger robot naked and covered in olive oil. Works better than thinking about baseball.

So I’m standing in the Au Bon Pain, staring at the yogurt, fruit cups, salads etc – and I realize I think I’d rather frigging starve myself. I honestly think it would be easier for me just to not eat, or subsist solely on shakes of some sort, than get through a bunch of watermelon or a rice cake. DVS and I hit the Sports Grille Friday night for some wing dings, buffalo tasties and my beloved poppers. It was heavenly. I look at a pineapple slice and I’d rather lick the razor I was threatening to slash myself with back in said bathroom stall.

So what’s the solution? Exercise obviously. It’s a simple equation – eat less, burn more, lose weight. But I can’t help but wonder, and I’ll be Googling this in a minute – is there, or has there ever been, a mayonnaise diet? That’d work for me.

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“Three tonnes of ammonium nitrate, thrice the amount used by Timothy McVeigh to demolish a government building in Oklahoma City. Cellphone detonators. Switches. Computer hard drive. A 9-mm pistol. Soldering gun. Camouflage gear.” – Toronto Star

This weekend’s terrorist arrests (read this) in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) will hopefully bring a renewed – or first-time to be more specific – sense of urgency to Canadians, and are incidentally of absolutely no surprise to me. Thank God this new awareness of the realistic domesestic threat level is going to stem from this news – and not an actual flattening of the ACC, Rogers Center (Skydome) or CN Tower. I have long maintained, and you can ask multiple people who’ve been bored to tears by my theories, that Canada will be the next Western country hit by a major terrorist attack. The new government was a welcome power-shift for me, and Harper’s era is probably just in time. Harper, from yesterday:

The raid that netted 17 Toronto-area youth and men proves Canada is not immune to violent attacks. Canada is a target because we value freedom, democracy and the rule of law.” I’m going to take a stab at another translation here, and it’s not because he was speaking French – Canadians are perceived as infidels by extremists, just as surely as Americans are. We’re all North Americans, and we’re all fair game. A flag-on-the-knapsack works well on rude German waiters, but it might as well be a bullseye to the radicals, mon ami.

I will never forget walking back to my Boston apartment on September 11, 2001, watching people crying into their cellphones as they tried to reach or get news on their loved ones in New York City. I worked near a bonafide potential target, so was sent home around noon on that day. At the time, I had a pretty devious analog cable descrambling method, and was able to get a live feed from MuchMusic which is the equivalent of Canadian MTV (except they actually play music videos). They filled a room with high school students and passed a mike around – the opinions expressed were painful, and resonate with me to this day.

To paraphrase: “Yeah, well… like… maybe now the States will wake up and see that they can’t, like, push the rest of the world around anymore or nuthin’.” This distancing sort of opinion has only gotten worse over the last five years, and Iraq – regardless of how you feel about the motivations – is the first American-involved conflict that Canada has not contributed forces to in over a hundred years.

I am not going to pretend to have any special insight into world affairs. But I do read the news every day, from multiple sources, and consider myself reasonably informed. I was worried at the dialogue coming out of my home country, and I am exstatic that these bastards were nabbed by the CSIS before they could do anyone any harm. I take a great comfort in the new awareness that will likely stem from this incident. That was a close one, and there’s a silver lining.

This isn’t just slumming with jihad. For the benighted who claim that the war on terrorism is terrorism: Here is your war.”

UPDATE: A great editorial from the Globe and Mail.

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I Like The Vodka Sauce.

by Dave on February 26, 2006

in Consumables

I have had penne with vodka sauce a few times recently here in the North End. Last night at Assagio’s, for example. It’s gosh darn tasty, and I found myself wondering what the heck it actually is after a few forkfulls. It doesn’t sound especially good. I mean, vodka’s great and everything, but in your red sauce? Here’s what I discovered…

Apparently it’s quite common. I found a ton of recipies – ranging from ham to salmon – and it’s no misnomer. You actually have to fire in a whack of vodka while you’re reducing the sauce. Usually 1-2 ounces. It’s usually creamy, and always ridiculously tasty. Did Russian troops occupy Italy at the end of WWII and run out of chicken stock? I simply don’t know.

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Between getting my tooth fixed, and running reports, I’ve had little time to come up for air today. But perhaps I can take just a moment just to talk about the amazing salads coming out of Emilio’s at the moment. Coal miners are dying, a mummified woman was found in front of her TV, Lou Rawls shuffled off and Alito’s on deck – but none of this will ever interest me as much as a South American Fire Anthill-sized mound of feta cheese. Except maybe the fact that The Shield starts tonight.

Did a loose, giant Greek mouse make this salad? I don’t know. I can sort of picture one, with a moustache and a bottle of Ouzo – sneaking into the kitchen and getting all crazy with the fromage, before then sodomizing anything with a pulse. I mean, this was truly remarkable. Like a remake of Close Encounters with Dreyfuss using crumbly white goodness to sculpt that mountain in his house instead of mashed potatoes. Just like that.

Whoever was working the lunch shift today obviously had no idea how much feta costs. And I sincerely hope they don’t read this site and get clued in all of a sudden. Because I hear I’m big with the Brazilians. I would instead encourage them to think of it as a sort of condiment. Emilio, when you throw the 5 bags of ketchup in the bag, go ahead and fire in a $7 block of my own personal dairy crack right on top. No, it’s fine. Grows on trees and costs less than matchbooks. There’s a good Emilio.

I need to go home.

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What Is The Deal With Chunky’s?

by Dave on July 22, 2005

in Consumables

Has anyone been to this new place Chunky’s? I guess the two-word elevator pitch would be “Indoor Drive-In”. There’s one in Pelham and one in Haverill. I’m seriously considering getting a dog team, a compass and a flare gun together to see if I can go find one of these joints. It’s like Chuck E. Cheese with a DUI.

Well what we do here at Chunky’s is pretty amazing. First, we seat you at a table in one of our spacious cinemas. Depending on the cinema your movie is playing in, our tables are designed to accommodate 2 to 8 people. Your leather chair is the driver or passenger seat from a Limousine and will have one armrest, recline, and is on wheels. Your waiter or waitress will take your order so you don’t have to miss any of the good parts! Our menu selections currently include beer & wine, soft drinks, and a variety of pub-style food selections. Most theaters will open at least an hour before the movie starts. You may also order throughout the movie.

Is it somehow intrinsically wrong that I really want to go see Wedding Crashers at Chunky’s? This seems like a great idea that would be very popular in theory – so why does one need a sherpa, a Mohican scout and a divining rod in order to get out there?

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Can’t We All Just Eat Poutine?

by Dave on July 12, 2005

in Consumables

Here’s a very timely photo I just got from my old friend Heather. I went to CCHS with her here in MA, but she has Canadian relatives with an insane island-bound cottage North of Sudbury Ontario you can only get to by boat. You can’t get much further North and probably shouldn’t unless you’re mining nickel. I figured I’d share, as it’s a nice, idealistic reflection on how I wish relations between the USA and Canada actually stood.

The Maple Leaf and Old Glory, proudly overlooking a sunset… and some sort of wounded woodland birdlet. Yanks and Canucks living together – mass hysteria. I wish the Liberal Moonbat segment of Canada, and the Right Wing Conservative faction of the USA, could be genetically melded into some semblance of a resonable and measured human being. If we need extra body parts for the effort, we’ll just use some Quebecers. And we also have a lot of very mouthy NHL players who could be put to better use right now. I dub thee effort “Hands Across The Great Lakes” and will remain steadfast in my resolve to not hold my breath for a second until things change.

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Monday night I was watching Dennis Miller Live and he told a joke that just set me to giggling. The punchline went something like: “That guy has more intestinal fortitude than a Calcutta restaurant critic”. I guess you had to be there. But if you have a quick look at this article, I’m sure you’ll agree – source material for that sort of humor is as prevalent now as it was back in 1984 when we first watched Indiana Jones and Willie Scott eat chilled monkey brains.

People all over India are now turning to cow urine to cure what ails ’em. The practice is generally frowned upon within families so many folks just grab a bottle from the local cow shelter (goshala), take it to the park and chug it like it was a 40 of O.E. On the D.L.

Cow urine filled my mind, and I came up with a funky rhyme, UGH! Mama never said stop drinking bovine piss, but she would have. I know she would have.

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Hey you know what? A round cookie with one bite out of it looks like a C
A donut with one bite out of it looks like a C – but it’s not as good as a cookie!

Oh and the moon sometimes looks like a C, but you can’t eat that, so…

C is for cookie, that’s good enough for me, yeah!
C is for cookie, that’s good enough for me,
C is for cookie, that’s good enough for me,
Oh, cookie, cookie, cookie starts with C!

Did you hear about this? I mean – did you fucking hear about this?! In an attempt to battle childhood obesity Cookie Monster, who sat on my stuffed animal shelf and watched over me for the majority of my first 10 years on this planet, is having his entire identity stripped away. Read this great article and see if you can guess what ‘C’ word I currently have on the tip of my tongue to describe PBS’s social engineers. And here’s a great related Fark Photoshop Contest.

Listen, can we rename him “Liberal Monster” instead? Like.. have the character roam around the neighborhood (while Oscar acts as lookout) puncturing the jugular vein of Janine Garafalo behind a dumpster the next time she guest stars? I’ll miss ya, my little blue buddy. Thanks for all the cookies.

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Gobble Gobble: Turkey Day In Concord, MA.

by Dave on November 24, 2004

in Consumables

No word of a lie, this may be my favorite day of the entire year – The night before Thanksgiving. “T’was the night before Thanksgiving, and all through the house. Not a creature was stirring, especially not the headless turkey thawing on the counter.” I typically travel out to Concord to hang out with my high school buddies. Tonight is always a ridiculously fun marriage of old friends, nostalgia and alcohol abuse on a level that might make W.C. Fields wince and check into a clinic.

And it doesn’t stop there – Thursday morning is the football game: My alma mater, Concord-Carlisle High School, against the evil and incestuous Bedford. Fans supporting both schools cheer from the sidelines and the gridiron is ablaze with questionable sportsmanship while the vast majority of the Concord kids who swore the night before that they’d “go to the game this year” sleep it off somewhere else.

As for the horn of plenty/cornucopia stuff, I always eat at my buddy Jim’s house. This year we’re attempting to deep-fry the turkey, which is apparently all the rage. Speaking of raging, I’ll be standing about 20 feet behind Jim with a fire extinguisher in one hand, and a Bud Lite in the other. I was told by another friend last night to use peanut oil and to make sure the bird is thawed before firing it into the fryer. I should probably call Jim and make sure he knows all of this so I don’t show up at his house tonight to find Joan of Arc waiting for me.

Friday is always one of the classes’ 10-yr reunions. Mine was back in 2001 and this year it’s my sister’s. Most of the C-town contingent heads into Boston regardless of whether they’ve got a reunion or not. I crashed the class of 1992’s event with about 10 guys in tow and we had a great time. But we’re a little long in the tooth to do that anymore. The class of 1994’s event is being held at Monster and Bobby’s favorite bar, Vinalia. The bar will be firmly closed to them, as they’re not alumni. So if I do end up attending, it will be because I was summoned there by a hostage negotiator.

Have a great holiday, everyone. I’ll be back on Friday or Saturday with some silly stories or maybe a Boston Police report scan to share. Until then, gobble gobble.

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Money is a wonderful motivatior. An evil, corrupting, soul-stealing motivator. We all got up at the crack of dawn this morning and spent the entire day in the same 2 square foot area, didn’t we? And the older you get, the more prone you become to the horrific influence of filthy lucre. I learned this in practice when I was around eleven years old – as I went from staunch refusal, to willing participation, in a little under a year. Hold on and let me explain… this doesn’t involve digital rape of any kind. Just Greek food. And yes, I know the two are usually synonymous.

Red Snappers are a type of fish found in various areas all over the world. They’re a very popular food source due to their unique texture and ample size, (God if I had a nickel…) and are treated as endangered in countries that care. They’re huge – the largest ever caught was over 50 pounds and they’re the ugliest form of aquatic life this side of the giant squid. Or Michael Moore in a Speedo.

The kid holding the red snapper isn’t me, so I attached a sweet shot from Sears Portrait Studio in the hopes you’ll be able to picture what I looked like circa the tale I’m about to tell. Alternately, you can imagine the kid holding the red snapper at about 15 pounds heavier and wearing nothing but Star Wars Underoos, and you’ve pretty much got it nailed. My Mom, Dad, Sister and our old family friend Terry Jackson were supping at the best Greek restaurant in Montreal – Molivos. I always loved it when we’d go out for Greek, because my seafood aversion was in full swing by 1985 and there were always plenty of other things on the menu. My parents would be happy because of the plethora of seafood available, and I’d be in fried cheese/hummous heaven.

About 3 bottles of Kourtaki into the meal, my Dad and Terry began to pick on me. A ginormous red snapper had just arrived at the table, and they started berating me for not wanting to try any. As I stared into the cloudy, dead eyes of the steaming snapper Terry must have noticed a visible shudder of revulsion. “You’re such a little wimp. Try one bite.” To which my father added “Don’t waste your breath on the little chicken. More for us.” Terry wouldn’t give up, and pretty soon he had a forkful stabbing towards my face. “You couldn’t PAY me to eat that ugly thing!” I whelped. Terry looked at my father and a most treacherous smile began to creep across both of their faces. Terry produced $20 and my father quickly matched it. $40 is a fortune to an eleven-year-old kid, a huge score, and suddenly the small nibble of white meat didn’t look all that terrible. “OK!” I recanted and reached for the fork.

Oh no, kiddo. It ain’t gonna be that easy if this much money is involved.” They both simultaneously surveyed the aquatic corpse. “You’re going to have to eat… the eyes!” My mother and sister gasped in horror as my dreams of a lifetime supply of Popeye Candy Cigarettes and Fun Dip came to an abrupt halt. The red snapper’s dead eyes resembled poached eggs, and I felt saganaki start sloshing around in my stomach as I tried to imagine eating them. I curtly told my antagonizers to forget it, and decided I’d rather put up with their taunts for the rest of the evening.

But a child’s motivations invariably change as they get older. When I next saw Terry about 9 months later, he was visiting us at our home on Springhill Drive in Lorne Park, Mississauga – and I had a new friend. The just introduced Nintendo Entertainment System. The retsina was again flowing, and I could see a red snapper smoking on the BBQ. I waited until after dinner (until they were good and drunk) and then casually mentioned the Montreal incident. “I’ve really regretted not taking you guys up on that bet. But I could have never eaten those gross eyes.” Terry fell right into my trap. “David, let’s make it $50. Gordo – cough it up“. Next thing I knew, there were five $20 bills fanned out on the dining room table in front of me. I looked up, smiled, and I’m pretty sure my father flashed a “we’ve just been hustled” look momentarily over his face. I grabbed a butter knife and began scooping the gelatinous white blobs out of their sockets.

Laid out side-by-side on a coffee saucer, they didn’t look quite as threatening. I was followed over to the kitchen sink by Terry, my father and about 4 other dinner guests. I filled the biggest glass we had with water and grabbed the first eye. It came apart in my hand, and I saw to my dismay that while the exterior was eggish, the core was a rock hard little marble. I slapped a greasy hand over my mouth, swallowed, gagged and then chugged the water. The second eye went down in much the same fashion. I turned around triumphantly to a series of pale faces – but mine was covered in an enormous smile. Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out was coming out the next week.

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There’s a little gem (dive) at 14 Bromfield St. in Boston called The SideBar. It’s near Silvertone, The Beantown Pub, The Orpheum, etc. It’s famous for it’s cheap wings, immaculate bathrooms, courteous service, $6 pitchers and now a little slice of endangered Canadian cuisine: Poutine.

I stopped in at The SideBar on my way home from work tonight to help send off a friend of mine who’s moving to Colorado (Good luck, Dan!). I love the food there, and as plate after plate of cheese fries kept flying out of the kitchen I asked Ronnie, one of the owners, if he’d ever heard of Poutine.

Poo-what? Jesus.” he replied. I explained to him that it was French-Canadian in origin, and very popular North of the border. “Hell, you can even get it at Wendy’s up there.” I said. “Well what the hell is it?” he asked. “Sounds f*cking disgusting!”

Not as f*cking disgusting as it looks.” I assured him.

In a nutshell, Poutine is a bowl of fries, cheese and gravy. Where are you going? You should really hear me out on this. It’s been getting a lot of press in the U.S.A. recently (even Disney characters are getting in on the action) and I told Ronnie his could be the first bar in Boston to serve it. He could help spearhead the Canadian invasion which you should have already realized is imminent by now. Jason Priestly. Shatner. I don’t even need to go any further.

I asked him if he had any gravy in the back. He said he didn’t, but then disappeared into the kitchen for a few minutes – obviously contemplating something. Obvious only because he had ceased swearing for 45 seconds. He then walked back behind the bar to serve some new customers who probably thought they had already heard every possible use of the ‘F’ word known to man before walking through the front door.

Then Ronnie went back into the kitchen and returned with an enormous bowl of what was quite possibly the most beautiful incarnation of Poutine I have ever seen in my life. He laid it out in front of me and my friends and slammed a fistful of forks down onto the bar. We dug in – cheese and gravy flying everywhere. “This is f*cking good, dude.” Ronnie admitted.

I’ll spare you the complete history, but Canadians in general – and especially the French – have weird eating habits. I bet before reading this, you thought our national cuisine consisted of nothing but tomato soup, grilled cheese sandwiches, hot dogs and Kraft Dinner. And you were right.

But we have our proud Poutine too, and now an establishment in Boston where it can be enjoyed. Ronnie and the other owner Sebby, are intrigued – but still reluctant. I implore everyone to a) visit the almighty SideBar the next time you’re in the area and b) Ask Ronnie or Sebby to make you some Poutine! This could catch on. But I need your help, Boston. And some Alkaseltzer. And definitely not in that order.

– “What do I owe you for dinner, Ronnie?”

– “Nothing. You’re all set.”

– “Well I should hope so, since you f*cking ate it all.”

– “Get out.”

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