liv: Table laid with teapot, scones and accoutrements (yum)
[personal profile] liv
I am going to write about my Canadian trip in list form, because otherwise I'm not going to get round to doing it at all. [personal profile] jack managed more of a proper post, which is probably more interesting for most people to read.

A big feature of the trip was eating lots of amazingly tasty and memorable food, mostly the fruits of [livejournal.com profile] rysmiel spending the last ten years scoping out all the best restaurants in Montreal and trying to show us a decent sample in the space of two weeks, while taking into account that we were a group of six people with various and sometimes conflicting dietary restrictions. This culinary tour included some of the most exciting things I've ever eaten in my life, from really flavourful pike to transcendent chocolate creations via really really good tea and really really good icecream.

Food:
  • Non-sushi Japanese meal at Azuma, including the above-mentioned pike
  • Pasta with a sauce made by lightly cooking a variety of nice tomatoes from Atwater market
  • Excellent Canadian cheeses also from Atwater market
  • Maki rolls from Soba & Sushi, with interesting salmon-based things and something with spiced tuna and lychee
  • Shabbat dinner made by [personal profile] hatam_soferet and UD, with UD's amazingly luxurious brownies for dessert
  • Enormous meals of American diner style food from Reubens (we ended up eating there twice because the location is convenient and also we wanted to try lots of the options), including cheese and asparagus dip, ginormous club sandwiches, sizzling mushrooms, onion soup, memorably good onion rings...
  • Chilli chocolate icecream (and some other good flavours) from Suite 88
  • Luxury teas, served in beautiful pots with proper tea-ceremonies in an environment that looks far too elaborate to be authentic at Ming Dao Xuan
  • Crêpes (proper savoury buckwheat galettes) at La Bulle au Carré Breton and comic themed crêperie
  • Several amazingly wonderful chocolate desserts at Juliette & Chocolat specialist chocolate café; I chose a "shooter" of really rich ganache and a layered thing with raspberries and lemon curd and really exquisite white chocolate, plus tastes of everybody else's desserts that were equally good
  • Cheval blanc Canadian white beer at Belgian-style Bières et Compagnie
  • Combinatorial pasta in North-American Italian fusion style at La Strega
  • Lebanese meze done exactly right at Chase, and then a really nice battered red snapper when we went back to the same place.
  • Vegan pan-Asian fusion stuff at Vegetarian Haven in Toronto
  • North-American Chinese dishes at slightly random places, a chain noodle bar and a bubble tea café, nothing special but a part of the local culture.
  • Vegetarian sharing plate (with the plate itself being made out of injera) at Ethopian House also in Toronto
  • Modern Canadian style bistro food at Fran's Restaurant on our way out of Toronto
  • Hippy healthy veggie buffet at Le Commensal on our way back into Montreal (that was probably our least inspired choice, but it was vegetarian and easy when we'd be travelling all day).
  • Sashimi and tempura at Kashima
  • Impressively good, chocolatey but not sweet dark chocolate and honey icecream at Maple Delight
  • Modern French food – I don't normally get excited about salad but I was leaving room for the giant luxury cheesecakes and gâteaux for dessert and actually the salad I had with gouda and walnuts and rocket was really nice – at Toi, Moi et Café
  • Peruvian food at Villa Wellington
  • More nice tea in a pleasant tea-shop at Cha Noir, I had the chai which was very good, but probably should have chosen another exciting Chinese leaf tea
I'm not normally all that much of a foodie but some of those things were comparably life-changing to seeing Niagara Falls for the first time. And, you know, excellent company throughout and pretty good coverage of four different continents' cuisines in the space of two weeks.

One great thing about travelling is time to read, and it's even better when I'm staying with friends who can lend and recommend me cool new things.

Books read:
  • Vernor Vinge: The Peace War
  • Lois McMaster Bujold: Diplomatic immunity
  • Sarah Waters: Fingersmith
  • Jo Walton: The prize in the game
  • About half of Patrick Rothfuss: The wise man's fear (which I've since finished).

And when we took breaks from eating all the tasty food we spent a lot of time in bookshops, so I should also list:
Books acquired:
    From the second-hand bookshop close by [livejournal.com profile] rysmiel's place:
  • CJ Cherryh: The pride of Chanur, since I've been meaning to read more Cherryh for ages and [livejournal.com profile] rysmiel helped me pick from too many available options
  • Peter Dickinson: Tefuga since I've enjoyed other stuff of Dickinson's.
  • Elanor Arnason: Ring of Swords which [livejournal.com profile] rysmiel found cos it was misfiled and promoted to me on the basis of alien anthropology,
  • Robert T Baker: The dinosaur heresies, again on [livejournal.com profile] rysmiel's recommendation.

    From the big chain bookstore, Chapters:
  • Chris Moriarty: Ghost spin, the final book in the trilogy where I've enjoyed the first two enough to be willing to support the author by buying the book new at full price.

    And from the randomly stumbled on bookshop, ABC Books, near the Village in Toronto (not right in the main part of the Village where the street signs have official rainbow labels on them, which I found partly endearing and partly a little strange, reminiscent somehow of those Mediaeval cities where there's an officially labelled Jewry, but close by and with plenty of signifiers that it's serving a Queer clientèle). We went in because the dollar table outside was high enough quality trash to predict that their main range would be better, and then my eye was drawn to:
  • Jo Walton: The prize in the game, which led me through the alphabet to:
  • Jack Womack: Ambient which was filed close by.
  • That would have been impressive already from a completely unknown bookshop, but I also managed to find Milorad Pavić: Dictionary of the Khazars, which impressed me mightily when I was 14 or so and I had only just discovered the concept of metafiction, a non-linear novel nonetheless, and one based on a subject I'm interested in, the interaction of Jewish, Christian and Muslim mysticism in Mediaeval Europe. I have no idea if I'll still like as an adult reader, but given I've been looking for it for 20 years I was very pleased it showed up.

This is actually an example of being pretty restrained; last time I went bookshopping in Montreal I bought two dozen books, which I could barely carry home. This time I promised myself I would only buy books if I really definitely wanted to own them (not just read them) or if they were particularly cheap. Unlike 2005 I have decent disposable income and access to lots of online booksellers so there's no point carrying random impulse purchases across the Atlantic.

Animals seen: (Not just wandering around in Canada, you understand, but mostly in the Biodome)
  • Iguana
  • Tiny orange monkey
  • Capybara
  • Lynx (omg the ears!) with a fairly young kitten, that looks both adorably kittenish and already rather muscular and powerful,
  • Very well camouflaged caiman crocodiles
  • Bats
  • Just waking up otter, being all stretchy and sleek and with the most beautiful expression of disapproving of mornings
  • Puffins (I think they are the same bird that you find this side of the Atlantic, but adorable anyway)
  • The whole range of different kinds of penguins
  • Any number of birds and fish, but most memorably DUCKS. You wouldn't think I'd go all the way to Canada and make a special effort to visit a nature park in order to see ducks, but the thing that the Biodome has is giant aquariums where you can actually get a clear view of the ducks from below the level of the water. And they are sooooo cool when when they dive!
  • Lots of extinct animals, from stromatolites to trilobites to dinosaurs, at the Redpath Museum in McGill
  • Various items of taxidermy, including a polar bear, yay.
  • [personal profile] hatam_soferet's utterly adorable dog Waan

And, while I'm making lists, here are some of the sources that came up in conversation during the visit, which might be interesting more generally.
Links:

(no subject)

Date: 2013-09-18 02:33 pm (UTC)
jae: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jae
I'm so glad my country offered you such a good time! I feel particularly smug to hear a British person say that there are great Canadian cheeses (because there ARE, you just need to know where to look for them).

-J

(no subject)

Date: 2013-09-18 02:58 pm (UTC)
ajnabieh: The text "My Marxist feminist dialective brings all the boys to the yard."   (Default)
From: [personal profile] ajnabieh
What a great sounding trip! And, OK, I'm both taking notes on where you ate for my trip to Montreal next month, and thinking about getting Biodome tickets for the kid and wife while I conference.

I also record my trips based on "and then I ate this. and then I ate this, and it was DELICIOUS. and then I ate this..."

...I need a Canadian icon...

(no subject)

Date: 2013-09-18 08:44 pm (UTC)
ceb: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ceb
Homestuck is great!

(no subject)

Date: 2013-09-19 04:22 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] rysmiel
I may have been inaccurate in assuming you and [profile] cartesiandaemon had already read my rant about Homestuck here; caveats definitely included, but I strongly feel it's worth it.

I think the term I most like for it is "hypercomic", sensu what hypertext is to text.

(Note also; trivial and incidental though it may seem almost everything in the early bumbling-about bits turns out relevant later on. Sometimes very impressively.)
Edited Date: 2013-09-19 04:29 pm (UTC)

Soundbite

Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

Page Summary

Top topics

March 2017

S M T W T F S
    1234
56 7 891011
12 1314 15161718
1920 21 22232425
262728293031 

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags

Subscription Filters