Sans Pareil

This is the name of the restaurant we went to for our Saturday night date. It roughly translates to “no other like it”, and it lived up to its name. 

The Sans Pareil is a Belgian restaurant. I was expecting it to be fairly snub, so  I threw an an actual dress shirt over a t-shirt to go there. I wore jeans. Surprisingly, the place was fairly casual, and most guys had jeans on. That was a relief because I don’t like stuffy places and I don’t own dress pants. 

The menu is just a couple of letter sized pieces of paper glued inside a Tintin et Milou (Tintin and Snowy). I had L’affaire Tournesol and LovelyWife had Les bijoux de la Castafiore. I hoped she didn’t take this as a comment on wearing make-up.

As an aside, LovelyWife rarely wears make-up, so I knew I was in for quite a night of romance. ::wiggle eyebrows::

Everything on the menu sounded delicious, from the duck confit to the venison medallions. So of course we opted for the weirdest thing on the menu: The surprise menu. The concept is really simple. It’s a 4 service meal: 2 appetizers, the entrée and the dessert, with three glasses of wine – one per appetizers and one for the entrée – but you don’t know what you’re eating before it gets to your table. That works out well for us because I like surprises and LovelyWife can never decide what she wants to order.

We had a Pineau for an aperitif, and I was pleased with the drink. LovelyWife decided to have one as well, which is another event in itself. They brought us a delicious terrine of deer and duck on a cracker. The first appetizer was a salmon duet (wild salmon and fresh salmon) cooked like a Wellignton and served with an avocado puree. The wine was a lovely Pinot Gris. We then had a Pleurote (oyster mushroom) vol-au-vent – well not exactly but it looked like  a vol-au-vent – served with veggies marslala sauce with a nice Cabernet Sauvignon. The entrée was a bison medallion perfectly cooked served with gratin dauphinois, veggies and fried plantains. Dessert was a heavenly mango mousse.

We drove back home to kids already in bed. The place was ours. So of course, LovelyWife promptly fell asleep, leaving me to “wiggle my own eyebrows” if you will. Take away the really great dining experience, and this reminded me a lot of my teenage dating years.

And hey, I’ll take any chance I get to feel 20 years younger. 😉

Un peu en exil, étranger dans ma propre ville

So for you not fluent in Quebecer speach, this could be translated as “Slightly exiled, a stranger in my own town”.

I have one of my bestest friend in the whole world visiting me for a couple of days – in fact, I can honestly say that she’s my best female friend in the world – so we did the tourist thing today: we took the Lady Dive tour. For those of you familiar with the Ottawa-Gatineau region, yes: This is the same company that had one of their “ship” sink to the bottom of the Ottawa river a few years back, killing two in the process. One of them was a very nice man that saved a few children before being sucked at the bottom of the river. Sad.  

Anyhoo, we took the tour and it was fairly cool.

But the very cool thing about today, really, is that Lovely Wife is a fairly good friend of Isabelle, and that pleases me a lot. There’s a lot of my friends that Lovely Wife doesn’t like that much (apologies if this applies to you – really!), so when I can find someone I like and Lovely Wife likes, I’m in Heaven with a capital H.

Now if you factor in that my bestest female friend also likes to enjoy a good glass (or bottle) of wine, I’m really in Heaven.

This is a good night.

Drunk-bloggin is awesome.

Internets, I salute you. These are awesome vacations. 😉

Bonne St-Jean?

June 24 is St-Jean Baptiste day, what’s now called la Fête Nationale, most probably to move away from the religious aspect of this day. After all, it is exactly six months before Christmas – did you start shopping yet? Don’t say nobody warned you! – so you wouldn’t want people to confuse them, right? Everyone: When it’s cold outside, we celebrate the guy with the long brown hair and beard and when it’s lukewarm we celebrate the guy with the short curly blond hair carrying a lamb on his shoulders. Moving on…

John the baptist was the guy who baptized Jesus, by dunkin’ his whole body in the Jordan river. Two thousands years later, Quebecois like to celebrate by dunkin’ their whole body in a pool filled with beer (drink as much as you want) and then drive all the way to Les Plaines d’Abraham in Quebec City to drink more beer and badly sing French Canadian songs of how we French Canadians are oppressed by the English têtes carrées while drinking more beer and then try to jump over the giant bonfire. One time, this guy just climbed over the fence and burned alive while people just stood around looking dazed and confused. It normally rains – which nobody really notices anyways because all Quebecois are drunk starting June 23 at noon until June 25 early evening. All of them. This is like our Woodstock.

When I was younger so much younger than today – help me here – St-Jean Baptiste had a lot more significance than it has for me today. Earlier on, it marked the end of the school year, and the start of a two month hiatus from homework and getting up in the morning and having to do school things at night and on the week-end. Later on it marked the start of hanging around the appartment complex pool from 7 in the morningg until 10 at night, flirting shamelessly with the lifeguard, going out with her and breaking up just before the school year started. Then while in CEGEP, every day slowly became a day off, and after those lovely 7 years, I moved on to the university and the concept of summer vacations slowly died, taking St-Jean Baptiste as collateral damage. 

I used to be a beer-swilling Paul Piché signing long haired Quebecois Pur Laine. Now I drink Single Malt Scotch, listen to Canadian English music and shave my hair. I drive a Japanese car, use an Italian Espresso maker, enjoy French wine, vacation in Cuba, and work… in Ontario.

Maybe St-Jean Baptiste should be called la Fête Internationale.