March 2006 Archives

Seven spices later

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Picked up spices from the Arabic grocery store facing the Faubourg. It was a mix dubbed "7 spices / Arabic mix" from behind the front counter - $1.50 for a pouch, and I picked up another one they use for making shawarma... Probably cinnamon, carmamom, nutmeg mixed with some other things.

It was meant for making kafta (ground meat with onions, fresh parsley and the "7 spices"), but I instead used the shawarma mix to season the lamb chops. Also prepared half of the merguez sausages I bought - one and a half left for lunch tomorrow.

The seven spices went in the rice, as the aroma was clearly the same from the rice served at Lebanese fast food chains (cinnamon, nutmeg, etc). I cooked some round rice (the calrose kind that people use for sushi), as it reminded me of what we were served in Egypt (I came across an article where they say that the "Japonica" variety made up 95% of the rice production in that country) - which I now recall was probably in fact barley, or some sort of cereal with parts of the shell remaining. I added the seven spices mix, finely cut onions, a slab of butter and, the secret ingredient, a handful of sultana raisins (and also a very bad-quality saffron that didn't color the rice by a bit, despite adding way more than a pinch of it).

I should've added some salt - but making savory rice in our household is already a no-no (unless it's itself a full meal - as for beef rice, Chinese lap mei fan, or risotto). Go figure. No food pr0n, I was too preoccupied with eating.

(So, says my father, it's a Chinese thing -of course-, b/c for each meal you eat every day, you have to have plain rice. As a continuity thing - symbolism, you know? ... Other Chinese people for whom savory rice is a taboo?)

Took a while before it got here. Not from a Japanese label, but an UK one, thus why it was just a month, and not via (which would've made the album twice as expensive as the little 20CAD, shipping included (b/c something else from *via* is still in the mail, delayed by a few weeks).

Anyways, it's going on my player. I can't afford to stay inside another day. 14 degrees in Montreal, and that means summer, even if the winter was not a winter by all norms. I am wearing teh spring shirt. :D

Beau bon pas cher

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Open invitation to anyone up for something exotic in the realm of food. Was told of this restaurant serving Mauritian cuisine in the middle of Verdun (approprietely metro-accessible). So yeah.

Spaghetti Meatballs

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My first time making spaghetti meatballs. First, it takes meat, but then you also have to put some stuff in to make it stick together and not be super-dry. That would be one egg, cream, bread crumbs and onion/garlic. Douse with olive oil, and sprinkle with oregano for taste. Fry the meatballs, place them over the pasta, and top it off with ground tomatoes (the can variety is perfect) seasoned with fresh basil, if you want.

It might still snow in April

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Although the rest of March will be uber-awesome.

Spanish-style chicken

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Spanish-style chicken
Originally uploaded by Smurfmatic.
When my mother used to own the Dunkin' Donuts in Eaton Centre, there was, for the first few years, a Spanish restaurant called "Paella" right next to ours (before it became La Friterie). I was so amazed with their chicken that I asked for the recipe... I don't remember all of it, but I tried re-creating it tonight. For sure it had olives, onions, and peppers, and most probably a tomato base. But what was it that made it so good? I am trying to find out - the paella last week (while I don't think contained any) points to lemon...

B/c that's what people do for stews, I also dumped a good 300mL of cheap white wine. The thing is simmering downstairs in the kitchen and all I hope is that the broth doesn't dry out completely and that the chicken is as tender as it was in my paella.

Kafka on the Shore

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Haruki Murakami's Kafka on the Shore was one of the books I took with me last year (and subsequently didn't read). I finished it in a bit more than a week, which is quite a personal achievement for a 400-something pages book. I forgot all about the synopses I've read, and it was for the best: the review simply told too much about the story to come, just b/c it is simply so hard to describe an initial situation from the first few chapters of the book. Does it make sense? Some reviews on the official author website in North America went as far as using story elements from the 3rd quarter of the book! I won't even go into details about the main characters - best is to take the book without prior knowledge about the story, except that the boy at the beginning took "Kafka" as a name. The book takes you for a hell of a ride, a bit like Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, which I actually borrowed during my 2002 trip to HK, and read on and off without ever going past the first few chapters.

No jazz bar, but yes, some student protests. It's Murakamesque - reality intertwined with portions of dream. Some characters live in the same realm of logic as the reader; others just indiscriminately bend along with the bending reality.

A Saturday Night on Earth

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I felt it sounded like an interesting blog entry title. but I am not sure what I want to say in it. It's Saturday night - my parents have been arguing about the layout to adopt for our house renovations. It's beautiful to see then weigh the pros and cons, agree to a consensus. The process has been draining my parents, but I do find it a remarkable mid-life project to take on and admire the effort they're making to improve our house. My father agrees with me that the bathroom that my brother and I use should be baby blue with mosaic-size tiles - it's retro cool.

I had two mezzo latte at Starbucks on Ste-Cath near Guy this afternoon. One iced, the second one hot. By chance, the original activity my brother planned with my cousins and friends was cancelled and I took the chance to meet up with T. The buzz is still on, as if my body was always two steps ahead of me. Temperatures would hint that snow is never going to show up again for 8 months. The sun shone timidly, a haze of dust surrounded the city. Toronto Maple Leafs fans proudly expressing their preference for tonight's game (which Montreal's team eventually won).

it didn't take us very long to walk from the Concordia area back to Westmount. We each remembered our experiences of Greene street, whose portion between Ste-Cath and Sherbrooke is a microcosm of posh shops - straight out from an old British tale come the time of Christmas. For me, it was strolling, feet in slush, a dark evening of January, from Metro Atwater with my date to her friend's place in order to get a pair of shoes for the evening. I thought the path lost its significance after walking it casually for the next few years - but it barely did.

I feel young in the track pants I'm wearing now. They remind me of someone I've decided to lose a long time ago. They are black, with white stripes on the side - some fake Adidas my grandparents bought a few years ago, in Shenzhen, I guess - and has a slight tear over the right knee, from sliding to catch a frisbee at ultimate in the October mud.

The music currently playing is from SS Cardiacs.


Simple food

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Originally uploaded by Smurfmatic.

Feist - Let It Die

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I like One Evening the best, alongside Mushaboom and Inside And Out. Makes you want to swing to the music, and for the time being leave your petty worries behind.

Feist - Mushaboom
Feist - One Evening
Feist - Inside And Out

Springtime, baby

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It's spring! Officially it is, and also it's been feeling like it alright, especially when you don't have to go out in full winter gear. The scarf, yes, but it's only ornamental.

On Thursday, as the first of at least a few days of temperatures above 4C, I went out for a walk in suburbia. Got myself a sandwich at Dagwood's, and then looked for a cafe to finish my book (the one I remembered being close to home seems to have closed down sometime in the past few months and replaced with a dollar shop...) but instead found that the seasonally open ice cream shop was now open, and has also replaced its Nestle ice cream counter with a real selection of gelato made in the shop! I usually choose not to mix fruity flavours with creamy ones, so went with a triple selection of amaretto, cream cappucino, and white chocolate (with the chocolate not exactly homogeneous with the ice base of the gelato).


It smells like spring. Last year, today in fact, I left for Japan and skipped the transition from winter to spring. It has its experimental value, I guess, although I can't really put it in words. When I came back from Asia, it was already summertime. I will always remember walking between the small houses on the hillsides of Nagasaki, at the exact moment when summery spring stroke (when you actually don't need a coat, think you're better off in t-shirt, and are starting to look for your sunglass clips). In the morning of that same day, I was travelling in Kyushu on the rapid train from Fukuoka, and passed fresh green rice fields. The only picture I thought of taking was on the way back - a blurry pic at sunset which gave the same rice fields a sort of cold blueish tinge.


Petronia has review with links to my photos. I take photos - she writes review. -end-

I thought of Annie as a relatively notorious artist - at least in specialized genres - and for anyone to experience half-empty venue on a world tour must give a kinda meh feeling. I knew the main hits, Chewing Gum and Heartbeat (ha-ha, knowing, b/c I keep on calling it "Heartbreak") and knew what it was about - but it wasn't quite like knowing the Belle And Sebastian. I don't know. If I lived downtown, I'd be a poorer man, but then I wouldn't be so selective about the gigs I actually decide to see.

Bande à part used to be a show on Radio-Canada's Radio One, once a week on Fridays, for quite a while, until they went once a day (recorded version) last year, I think, and then went to become a full-fledged satellite radio station alongside CBC's Radio Three.

So tonight, to celebrate their 5th, they reunited some of the most hyped performers of Quebec's indie scene... a strange mistake I make is to put them all (except aKido, 'cause it's electronica - and I keep being dissapointed that he uses this same trademark musical "twist" in each and every song - but a trademark is a trademark, what can you do?) in the same mental basket, that of "whatever Quebec rock bands". So now, after spending four hours of my life with them right under my nose, I can say that Karkwa is a depressing (in the vein-cutting sense) alternative rock band with a lead singer who sounds like Marc Déry of Zébulon (an equally notorious band of my teen years), the Dales Hawerchuk (having really negociated their band's name with the former NHL star of same name) are very very loud, and Malajube was the act many people came to see.


Malajube says they're "Progressive, Emo and Jam", but I could've said it sounds familiar, like reggae, like surf punk... but not quite - I probably mean this sort of happy upbeat instrumental sound. I don't know. I'm not a music critic. On the other hand, I think that having a single entitled Montréal -40 (music video) helps selling. *g*

Unfortunately, anything the performers sang went down the drain of poor elocution. The crowd was incredibly young (such that Danica and myself felt like old farts). So those are the other people listening to Anyways, they reminded me of the hipster kids who hung out at the newspaper office during cegep. In time, just everything makes sense.

Those bands are unfortunately not close to being favourite bands. They're just quite okay, making quite good music I wouldn't rush out to buy. I might be bored with the rock scene. What I tend to listen to on anyways is their electronica selection, which also sometimes comes up with this weird experimental 15-minute track from artist with 10-word name.

Because it seems as if three teams of the southeast division are going to make the playoffs while the Habs and Leafs will be left out. It's a catastrophe scenario - although it isn't as bad as in Vancouver, where a star-studded (star-stuffed) team has less games remaining, compared with rivals, and in a currently precarious situation in the standings. It's time Marc Crawford leaves, which is exactly what will happen if the Canucks don't make it into the postseason. In a perfect world, ice hockey would belong to where ice grows freely outdoor, and not where it's usually almost exclusively the stuff you find in your freezer.

Club Espagnol (encore)

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Went to the Club Espagnol, prior to Annie show, which was at this Club Lambi across the street. My second recent time there, after first visit in January. It turns out to be a quite good paella, served in its individual metal plate (b/c I have been used to eating fast-food paella in a gang plate). The thing is right precious enough to deserve recognition. The peppers scattered, the shrimp sprinkled, and the mussels guarding - not to forget the chicken pieces (one breast chunk, one thigh chunk) delightfully cooked to perfect tenderness. It's not so often I can be as poetic about my food. It didn't matter though, b/c I gulped it down, and it required a coffee, six hours after consumption of said paella, to wash it down.

It was a good paella, but it didn't look as good as last time. It's a shame that I don't have photos. I didn't have my camera last time, and this time I just assumed I had pics last time. >_> Anyways, the extra two bucks for squid ink is really worth it, b/c it really borgifies (the only imagery I can make about the change of color) the usual natural valenciana paella (I didn't have the vegetarian, but wouldn't a paella w/o seafood or meat whatsoever destroy the purpose?).

[I cannot think about the Annie show, but I have pics, and would like to make a complete post rather than something botched up. Just like for a honest commentary on the first novel I've been passionately reading during this past year.]

More on this later. But just that the characters were eating a paella, I was scheduled to eat a paella later today. Now one of the character is drinking coffeeshop coffee, and I think I need one to wash down the paella...

In The Name Of AMK

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"dan ngo sam lo lo lun!" A band called Superday on the compilation In The Name Of AMK released by Harbour Records. AMK is Adam and Karl, a famous HK indie band of the 90s. Who's on the compilation? My Little Airport, False Alarm, The Marshmallow Kisses, 22cats, Alok, Cafe'inn park, and bunch of others I never heard about, but will be delighted to hear more of.

In the same shipment, a DVD of Harbour Records artists playing at some HK music festival, and at a label party. Maybe if I'm more organized, next time there, I'd try to wander around these shows. Sunny South China days are so pleasant.

One can pick up the Smiths resemblance from 'Don't Lose Faith", and then it does appear that people on Wikipedia pointed out them as a strange mix of The Smiths, Serge Gainsbourg and Joy Division? Although I've yet to pick up the latter two. I would say that there's a bit of "Air-from-Virgin-Suicides" feel, although you can qualify that as sort of remixed-70s-sound.

(So yeah, they're an 'indie' band from Montreal, and this morning is the first time I hear their music. I don't know how notorious they are, but people have been pointing out that they're fairly not indie per their notoriety, whether they play on mainstream radio. Go figure. Arcade Fire are pretty notorious and still labelled 'indie'. Like "independent" films that all the people I know have already seen... end the naive post.)

The Dears - Lost In The Plot
The Dears - Don't Lose The Faith
The Dears - Pinned Together, Falling Apart

It came across that it was the 15th anniversary of Gainsbourg's death this year (ah woaw, 1991 was fifteen years ago!). Were saying that couple of activities would be organized in French-from-France media, but all I can find online is from Quebec? Some five years ago (pour les 10 ans, il va sans dire), I bought an album of techno remixes of Gainsbourg tunes... Intends to be a pingback post at helvetius' Gainsbourg post (until LJ uses pingbacks).

(Besides being known for not-his-music, he brought reggae to French music. Not particularly familiar with the 70s period, but if it's as boring as what my parents listened to, then I'm sure Gainsbourg contributed to diversify. Not that Aznavour et les autres weren't good, but only when you're mentally impaired. Have yet to try. I think that Gainsbourg has some sort of chic appeal to non-French-speakers, so it could pass.)

Serge Gainsbourg - Ballade de Melody Nelson (Howie B.)
Serge Gainsbourg - Là-bas C'est Naturel (Faze Action)
Serge Gainsbourg - No Comment (Dax Riders)

In the name of randomity...

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... petronia and I were invited to a housewarming party at sfllaw, at his new appartment superbly located right across from Parc Jeanne-Mance, otherwise known as the park where the peeps play volleyball across from the park where people play tam-tams on summery Saturdays. Noteworthy, guests prepared food, as it was a potluck, such as cakes, muffins, cookies, a salad that combines salty, sweet, bitter and sour, and a dish with sweet potatos and chicken. We have no merit, and brought sesame balls, bbq pork buns and soya chicken. Gosh it's good to be drunk enough without actually feeling sick. I was even reading pages 80-something of the Murakami book I bought last year while bussing home! Now it's getting late, and I gotta wake up at stupid eight-thirty in the morning. -_-

I should change this MT category from "RL Blues" to "RL Extravaganza" or something.

(Randomness, 'cuz Simon is the dude we met at the Kobayashi show! And his bunch of friends are majoritarily IT professionals! All LJ-equipped! ...)

It was still a gibbous moon tonight. Tomorrow's a full moon I've heard but it's not, since full moon was Wed. But the mood downtown was on the weird side, people were on the streets despite the fact that it was still freezing -10C above ground up here. No incident to report, except that it was St.Patrick's. an exciting evening - after the Piton de la Fournaise, I joined my group of friends at McLean's, a random Irish Pub on Peel Street, and drank two pseudo-pints of Irish beer. $18 not well-spent, as I will try to do better tomorrow. A live band kept chanting Irish hymns, other patrons created atmosphere on the dance floor, and that was well-enough compensating.

Le Piton de la Fournaise

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It's a Bring-your-own-wine, which would explain the out-of-the-ordinary prices. But it was well worth my $35 taxes and tips included, although I should've brought the wine. >_>

I had the cari shark. "Cari" is not the same thing as curry, even if we tend to translate it like this in French. Le Piton de la Fournaise is the name of the volcano dominating the Reunion Island, a territory off Madagascar belonging to France (in fact a French Département). It is also the name of a restaurant that serves cuisine from the Island, located on Duluth, near St-Hubert.

The entree (a watercrest soup) was forgettable (and a bit too salty), but the main dish was teh fabulous. A symphony of taste. The 'cari' is a spicy sauce, but 'spicy' is in the sense of flavour/herbs, rather than hot. I have some difficulty pinpointing the exact taste. It was along the lines of zesty and fruity; a sauce that coated beautiful cubes of shark meat that didn't remind me of what shark usually tastes like (was a bit on the soggy side, and felt more like rayfish - but I might be mixing shark with mahi-mahi). The rice on the side was topped with a delicated leguminous-based sauce, and the dishes were to be optionally seasonned with special spicy sauces (in the 'hot' sense, this time), which came in three different flavours - lemon bits, eggplant and tomatos.

The dessert was a rich and stomach-expanding sweet potato home recipe pie served with a fizz of fresh cream and freshmint leaves that I would pleasantly bite on between each bite of pie. This stuff was God.

It's from Pony Up! (you can download it from their MySpace), one of those bands at that show I missed. It's upbeat, it's sad, it's whatever. The four girls played it live.

Restaurant Jolee

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Wee found this Sri Lankan restaurant off Victoria near Cote-Ste-Catherine metro called "Jolee" (means "joy"). I can't quite make the difference between Indian and Sri Lankan yet. And I feel almost guilty ordering butter chicken, curry or pandoori chicken, b/c it makes me feel as if I'm ordering General Tao chicken in a Chinese restaurant. So I didn't, and went with something called 'kutu roti', which is basically some meat (it was mutton), eggs, onions, and roti chopped together into a indistinguishable mess, and topped with herbs and hot peppers.

For entree, I took a plate of fried cauliflower. Wee saw bigger than his stomach, and ordered two main dishes. I was about to do the same - until I got to 1/3 of my kutu roti. Now I have lunch for tomorrow. The main dishes came in those typical metal trays (b/c it was like this at the last Indian restaurant - but I don't know whether it's really typical), with condiment-like items in each sub-compartment: a puree of yellow beans, some very spicy chick peas, and potatoes in a sauce... Now I realize that the spiciness of my main dish made me forget about tasting my food. It happens over and over, often even without an excuse, and must probably be something I should improve on: take it one bite at the time.

Anyways, incredibly cheap, just like yesterday night. It came to 25$ for both of us, tips/taxes and lunches for days to come included. But then, there was almost no meat in our dishes - minced mutton meat in mine, and a chicken thigh in his. The address is down here:


Also, due to spiciness of food, I predict whipping nightmares tonight. >_>

Patati Patata

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Walked pass by several times, as it's located on the corner of Rachel and St-Laurent, right in the way of usual summer walking routes. i find it surprising how you make the regular 'roi de la patate-ish' casse-croute look so appealing just by changing the decor, adding salads and beer on tap. Actually, the fries in julienne are really good, for the low price of $1.50 for quite a large serving. I was amazed that all and for all (a cheese burger, albeit tiny, with fries and salad, an extra serving of fries *and* a 10oz Moosehead) it was only $10.06 with the taxes. The restaurant is in fact a counter, and there are exactly 15 sitting spots.



And then, we went for another beer at Le Reservoir, on Duluth close to St-Laurent, that place I walked past by a few months ago looking for that authentic Viet restaurant called 'Harmonie d'Asie' (which was ultimately too expensive for our wallets - on top of being full house). I think the menu at Le Reservoir was also too expensive, but this time it was only for their beer. It was $4.50 for a pre-20h pint, so I had some special German-named brew which I forgot the name, and then an Ambrée de Blé, which had a strong aroma that I couldn't identify, but which I approximate to... green peppers?

Sleep notes

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I should keep sleeping notes. With dreams and stuff. In the more practical, perhaps the number of hours, and between what times. It's been very normal for the past two days (inclusive). I'm basically falling dead tired at 11-12, and then waking peacefully at 6-7? That's like how it replaced itself the last time (December) I had the Tokyo time zone in the body. I don't understand.

We have a sliced galette at home. Will it be butter + pate, or nutella + banana?

Radiohead, bluegrass style

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... Totally maniacal; I didn't realize until it got to "The best you can is good enough" from Optimistic.

R.I.P. Boom-Boom

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I'm the typical big Habs fan, but haven't commented on either the Theo trade or whatever other trades at the deadline. I spent part of my day Thursday listening to the NHL trade deadline coverage, zapping between TSN and RDS - it's equivalent-ish to my anime-addicted friends discussion on fannish crack. All those surprises that are bound to happen - exchanges you expect, many that you don't... with the slow clock ticking at the bottom of your screen; recent former coaches and players - Claude Julien and Dave Andreychuk - doing "instant analysis".

Boom-Boom Geoffrion, former Habs hero in the 50s-60s era (second NHLer after Maurice Richard to have scored 50 goals in a season), passes away of a stomach cancer. On the morning of the day he gets his jersey number retired.


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Because, duh. I know they call China the "Yellow peril", but really, what else do you expect. China to be third-world country until the end of times? I think that if you gave China, or any other country with a large pop (India! African nations!) the time to slowly come out of their opium trip, then of course they *will* dominate the world economy, and even, if not dominate, be a proportional cultural force. Quite a few people, friends, I know who're fascinated with China - I just don't know if it's a subconscious animal thing to identify with the nation that's globally on the rise. It's trendy anyways. It's a shame that all I can fluently read is Western lit. Still got plenty of time, do I not? *signs up for level 3 Chinese*

The band's actually a couple for 10 years. They make electropop, are from Montreal, and often sound like artists in my playlist b/c they are incidentally inspired by them. So this is the first of three albums that are supposed to come by mail. In fact, the things that I didn't know was that the label makes this a double CD by including a sampler of other bands signing with them. The album's pleasant - pop at times, experimental at others. Worth giving it a try.

Musical crack

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Something Korean from the 60s called the Pearl Sisters just went by on the radio. I want something similar from Hong Kong. I want to sniff it.

Strange musical occurrences

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One's mind is constantly being stimulated (and if it's not, go see a doctor, read a book, dunno) and tries to find connections between previously unrelated things. Anyways, introductory psychology class. The funny occurence of the day/week is Cowboy Bebop. Because, first, I went to this show and someone mentionned that the pre-show band occasionally sounded like CB (per his limited anime references). Yesterday night, I heard a song on bande a part called "See You Space Cowboy" that was _not_ the one we all know, but rather some rather deep atmospheric music - I think (by thisquietarmy, from obsure compilation). And this morning, Comfort Radio played at least two songs by The Seatbelts.

Cowboy Bebop soundtracks, and in general Yoko Kanno stuff used to be *my* soundtrack to Fantasia 2003, my first time at it (15-ish movies!). I can't wait for summer to come.

Niu Kee

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The Chinese restaurant for people who have enough of General Tao chicken (which, incidentally, I had last week), as the Gazette review coins. We sampled a spicy lamb, some kung pao shrimp (sort of sweetish fried sauce with peanuts, peppers and shallots sprinkled in it), and a dish of fried spinach. We were told the chef is from Henan and the lady managing the service was a Beijing opera singer - and are they obviously a couple, per the pictures on framed reviews outside the dining room?

I haven't been to the old location (St-Laurent, a bit south of De La Gauchetière), but the new one (on Clark, but north of René-Lévesque) is what you can describe as 'cozy'. The ceiling seemed lower, the walls closer, the tables tighter - but it's all good to me (why does its interior make me think of restaurants in Korea/Japan - probably Asia in general?). And it was the food that was we came for. I'm not sure if I can myself appreciate the difference, after complaining that Montreal was a town endowed with Cantonese, Sichuanese, and Cantonese and Sichuanese food, basically. Was it the peppers? Was it some sort of crunchy spice they fry the spinach with? (Maybe the garlic was just not cooked enough :P)

Some items of the menu were marked Szechuanese - I am not even sure what Henan cuisine is to be able to tell if it was really Henan-ese cuisine that we had. (I remember that there used to be a restaurant called "Hunan" on St-Laurent - it's either still there, or replaced by a Vietnamese restaurant, like everything else in Chinatown: pho soup pays rent so much more easily XD;; Anyways, Hunan is not even remotely bordering Henan - I'm mixing it up - Henan makes good ham I think.) In any case, I hail the diversity of Chinese foods. *shakes fish*


The shrimp were good - at first reluctant to order shrimp, b/c in a Chinese restaurant, it stays in my mental book that it will invariably be dry. With that sort of sauce, it can be anything but dry. It actually reminds me of something I ate at the Nam Pak Lao (sorry, this OS doesn't have a Chinese IME) in Causeway Bay, which serves something like the Kung Pao shrimp (maybe it *was* Kung Pao shrimp - although I remember that Nam Pak Lao as serving Beijing food? - but with a twist of a stunt. It has the shrimp on a hot iron plate, then the guests are invited to hold their table napkin open in front of them - as to shield from the sizzling sweet and spicy sauce as it is being cast on the iron dish. This shrimp was less exciting, still 'good', but it didn't please my mood for light food in that case, one should have jiao zi, which Niu Kee also had on the menu).


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In the midst of all this racism-related talk, my brother and girlfriend and friend rented Crash, which we finished watching just now. Definitely a topic more fundamental to treat of. Forbidden loves can wait.

Chicken congee, hmm

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I'm making chicken congee, b/c I can. :D If I could, I'd make something fancier, like pork fillet and thousand years eggs... and actually, what I don't find fancy is plain 'zhouk' with a random meat. We had this rotation going on for too long (ground beef, chicken thighs, fish pieces), that I am intrigued by what I could actually do with a good congee base. And it's not like I've never been to snack-bars serving only congee. There was one I disliked, with pork stew meat and peanuts. I think I had some with squid, but it doesn't add fancy, and is not something I actually feel comfortable having with congee. (I saw ... bacon in the freezer XD) Hey, so what about fusion? I mean, the Italians have risotto, don't they? Chinese 'shrooms are actually standard in congee, and we regularly put porcinis in our 'lap mei fan' (preserved meats rice - modified with, err, ground beef). (Must try to make this blog less of a conversation with myself - it screws up the connections indeed)

Oh, now that I remember it, we sometimes put choy in the congee (something I don't hear of in restaurants), and many times substituted the Chinese variety for rapini? It was so un-good.

Pâté Chinois

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I don't exactly know where I read this article of information on pâté chinois (it wasn't on L'Épicerie alright). The article (I don't even know if it came in paper, or electronically, but it was written for sure) had a few anecdotes on the Pâté Chinois, a French Canadian meal made of ground beef mixed with corn, and a layer of potatoes. Its deeper origins are probably not from this land (as every European nation seems to have their own dish mixing beef, potatoes and corn), and the closest cousin is probably the English Shepherd's Pie (was it made with mutton meat - I dunno), and it other closer cousin from New England. The article in question proposes that the first recipe of a pâté chinois came from a New England town called "China", where many French Canadians emigrated to at the turn of the 20th century. I always thought they are the exact same concepts (and for certain purposes - like producing frozen meals for the entire North American market - they are assumed to be), but there's something in the little things you add/tweak, and where you add/tweak them. Like carrots in the potatoes (I would put mine with the ground beef / corn), or cheese you put on top. Apparently creamed corn is also a variant.

(Actually the info got on Wikipedia (b/c I know it isn't from Wikipedia that I read it), so maybe I dreamt reading the article - which would be really weird)

Typically, I would use ground beef and creamed corn. Lest time I added carrots in the beef too. This time (yesterday night), I had the semi-bad idea (no one in the household complained) of using nibblets instead, which makes the thing awfully dry. Actually, my mother complained it was dry - which is a combination of using nibblets instead of creamed corn, and for once having more mashed potatoes than beef/corn mix. The mashed potatoes has been home-made in recent years. As a kid, I was too lazy - or actually *did not know* (-_-) that it was as simple as it was to obtain mashed potatoes and instead bought the Shirriff brand potato flakes - expensive, and not necessarily tasty.

I really made too much of the mashed potatoes, such that I had some left. I actually don't know, b/c I've been in a sort of food coma, and even "napping", since dinner time (7PM, now 2AM). Too much carbohydrates at once perhaps. It lacked "tasty", and could have used a lot more butter (but I prefer to restrain myself when it comes to particularly bad-for-health types of animal fat). Cheese was shredded swiss non-Kraft brand, but I would want to try with a Cheedar-ish variety (with its spicy spikes).

I'm such a stubborn asshole

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I always made up my mind that Lali Puna is sort of like Ladytron, for having not listening to anything (despite being given the chance on many occasion) from them until 5 minutes ago, but now think they taste more like Stereolab. "Grin and Bear" on Comfort Radio (live feed).

In 2001 or 2002, I fell for a Japanese web-radio fed by a Mac-loving hipster on, now defunct, From there, stemmed my fondness for Shibuya-kei (Cornelius, Takako Minekawa, Karimi Karie, Kaji Hideki, and the rest of Cornelius' old Trattoria label), and for artists like The Brilliant Green, Spitz, Supercar, My Little Lover, Towa Tei. So yeah, my fascination for Japanese muzzak lives b/c of a web radio. Now the Comfort Radio, while seemingly a very minor webradio (I'm the only listener, out of 15 available slots), has been giving me lots of really really enjoyable music for the past week.

Kobayashi @ Main Hall

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Finally, it was by pure chance that we caught the Kobayashi show tonight. It was through Sean, who was coming back from China this week, that I knew about the show and with whom I had a Radio 3 conversation started this morning:

Sean: Oh by the way, do you know this band Kobayashi.
Ced: Hell yes, I do!
Sean: Well, the pianist's my neighbor.
Ced: No shit, cuz the sax used to be my cousin's teacher in high school.

(Well, isn't Montreal a small city...) I was able to relay the info to Sabina, who mentionned the music in her blog for its, err, 'medicinal virtues'... I'm totally making this up, but I find it's true that the music, acid jazz with electronic and funk elements, is entrancing, carries you off sometimes... as soon as the pre-show bands retired, a certain aroma could be felt in the room, and a particular gigantic rastaman proceeded to impede on the view of the whole right wing. A rather tall asian indie boy went to talk to S - turns out to be a freelance photographer taking pics at the show - although I found it rather clumsy that he seemed to have the timer on, and kept on blinking its light in the performers' faces. The girl doing the occasional vocals (no longer the same in the latest album) also stroke a conversation with us between the pre-show bands' performances as we were standing at about 10 centimeters away, err, against the scene, for most of the evening. XD

The pre-show bands were somewhat more low-key. The first band were the Antizario from Ottawa, of whom we missed the first few songs - and caught in time a rapped solo for a jazzy tune. Sean said that the first songs reminded him of 1- Modern Era theme song from Civ3, and 2- Cowboy Bebop. To me, it was a really cool mix of genres, which I have the impression to be so 2000, but really something to smoke up to (at least the more high-beat Kobayashi would be). Then the Soundclash, another band with a more experimental sound in the same jazzy sound, which I couldn't fully enjoy in the state I was in (30 hours straight awake, mind you). I dozed off on my chair, but as soon as Kobayashi came on stage, it was a succession of songs that I knew and which are usually played as "work music", and therefore naturally swung to it in the first row, and cheered as the solos went by.

The ride home was a particularly adventurous one. The new lead singer (a somewhat short girl with a particularly expressive gesture) was saying how she lived in the South Shore, and had to stay over after the show. Time went by quickly, and we left the show early, only to miss the last metro to Cote-Vertu by 5 minutes. S took the metro to Jean-Talon, while I decided for an adventure. It ended up being a succession of very well timed buses: the last 51 from Laurier at 1:08AM to Snowdon. Then up Decarie on the 371 night bus at 1:45 (at that point, I only waited 10 mins) to Cote-Vertu metro. And from there, the 382 on the north path into the West Island. Home at 2:50AM.

CBC Tour here we come!

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Found free full-length tracks of some of the bands playing tomorrow, and instead of hot-linking, decided to take them up on the Tacos. :D

Hexes and Ohs - alive until saturday
Hexes and Ohs - this and other distances
Hexes and Ohs - Whadaya Know? (video)

Hexes and Ohs is a Montreal band (in fact, all four bands playing tomorrow *are* from Montreal) into electropop (with the usual synth). Whadaya Know? is actually what did the sale in my case (as playing on the radio three podcast). "Whadaya know? You're the flavour of the week!", a very fast-paced high-energy track that makes you want to go out and party on a Saturday Night. Really. [credits on the Hexes and Ohs news page]

Pony Up! - Wet Unmastered
Pony Up! - Heard You Got Action
Pony Up! - Speed Of Light

Pony Up! An all-female quatuor quartet. If you have only one to download, "heard you got action" is teh funny naughty girl talk. "Let's talk about baseball!" XD

Comme un homme libre and Alligator Trio are the other two bands performing (more tomorrow).

[Edit: The show is now, and I can't go b/c 1- I woke up late for it, and 2- I have a stack, a heap, a list, a map, and a hashstacklisttable, basically a COLLECTION of work to do. T_T]

The Day I broke LJ (and GJ)

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"To your left, you may see how the LJ feed's html tags are decomposing as the incoherent gt and lt signs are applied; and now, if you turn to your right, this LJ clone isn't faring much better, thinking that the last few words were in fact attribute of themselves in some giant multi-attributes square-braketed tag."

Getting rush of adrenaline from work is extraordinary. Not sure if it's an aperçu of the proverbial work-hard-party-hard(er), or what, but seriously, having to crash my way through to the finish line is simply almost like living a Habs comeback from a 3-1 deficit in first-round series. Gosh, I even squeezed in 15 minutes at the pool!

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