I have had some excellent food memories; a dinner with my former spouse at Lemon Meringue, and an amazing night at Hoof are two where the food was excellent. There was more to making those nights special and some of my other memories bear that out. A Good Friday searching for rice pudding where it ended up being Kozy Shack, hot hamburger with homemade french fries and my kids' cookies. None of those foods go beyond average nor do they need to. By definition, most of our food is going to be average. What we hope is that our average is higher due to most of our food having something more to them. Soul or love is something that is often brought up as something that is in these moments. Maybe it is hokey but with Valentine's Day around the corner, maybe I will let that pass.
This all came about because I ate at Harvey's. There was a time in my life when Harvey's gave me somewhere cheap to go where I could get fresh vegetables. I had a few vegetarian friends who would just go in and get a bun with a bunch of toppings and veg on them. This week, I went in and had their braised beef. Braising is one of my favourite techniques but this beef seemed as if it was cooked in an industrial process and then added to a flavoured brown gravy mix. It wasn't special and it was below mediocre. I just wonder if at one time I would have accepted that? I don't think so because my dad used to eat home canned beef that tasted similar. He fried onions, popped the top on the canning jar, added the contents. Once they were warmed together, he would serve them with potatoes, normally boiled, and bread. I remember tasting the pickling spices that were added. Bright lemony pepper bursts that I would today know to be coriander seed, hot heat of black pepper and the mellow-sharp bite of onion. This too was mediocre food of a different variety. Ordinary but made with the idea of tasting of something and to put you through times when there was no fresh meat. Too much of today's food is just to fill a gap. Raise your mediocrity to something just a bit more.
- Gillian, a Goose Island brew that I got for a fraction of the price one day at the LCBO when they were launching. I'm not sure how I feel about a $35.00 sticker but I got it for a lot less. An interesting sour beer.
- Stone's Xocoveza. A surprising beer which reads gimmicky but tastes a lot better than that. It is the equivalent of a good Mexican hot chocolate. When they are bad, they are horrid but when they are good, you can't imagine not trying one.
- Finally figured out that drink I was talking about a few weeks ago. It is called The Industry Standard. It looks like diarrhea in the glass but is really a deceptively good sour.
- And my last thing that I thought was interesting was a Vietnamese dragonfruit liqueur that was incredibly vinegary and would probably be better served with a little olive oil and greens.
- A braised beef sandwich and poutine at Harvey's. The less we talk about it, the more likely it will go away.
- Made a peanut sauce using a Thai recipe but immediately changed out ingredients; teriyaki sauce for soy, natural peanut butter for regular peanut butter, smoked maple syrup for brown sugar/palm sugar, and thai chilies for pepper flakes. Added to fried eggplant and fried cabbage
- about what is Valentine's food
- whether I will finally break my food slump
- about this book that I read on cider, but that will be a review this week, hopefully