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Kerry Beal

The Ladies Who Lunch (Part 1)

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If I may be indulged enough to post a 'Husband and Wife Who Lunch'?

Yesterday we did a sort of Grand GTA tour while getting our male pup's brace repaired in TO.

First to Sweets Galore in Pickering for some cocoa butter bars to try tempering chocolate using Chef Eddy's method. Then over to Kitchen Stuff Plus for an oil mister, two very thin silicone spatulas...one for me and one for my friend...perfect for tall jars... and a couple of party tubs. The huge plastic tubs were only $6 and perfect for dog toys and for feeding our annual Dog Weekend gang. On to Lee Valley for one of their darling little mortar and pestles combos. The pestle completely fills the mortar opening. Meanwhile DH went to CTC for a heat lamp lightbulb for me to experiment with keeping sugar solutions in a liquid state longer. The brace was repaired and refurbished.

Lunch was Chinese pastries from the Pacific Mall. One of the outside strips, Brothers Bakery. Oh so good. We did pig out on custard buns, sweet red bean buns and walnut cookies. Often Chinese pastries promise more than they deliver. These were delicious. I found the mall(s) too big to even contemplate, let alone explore, for a short visit.

Then, finally, finally, my first visit to Longo's...one of the Markham ones. If only we had such a store near Peterpatch, I would be in 7th heaven. The produce was incredible. We'll go back on a day when we are not trying to do 3 dozen things. Bought 2 huge day old eggplants for only $1.49 for this weekend's Moussaka.

Edited by Darienne (log)

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You haven't lived until you've been invited to Anna's Danish lunch. Today was the day and I was one of the lucky invitees. Anna has been preparing for a couple of weeks - between cleaning and cooking.

When I arrived about 11 am the house smelled wonderful - Anna was putting the finishing touches on the pork and apple - one of my favourite of the lunch dishes.

Multiple small plates are placed on the table, along with lots of fresh slices of substantial bread. Everyone assembles their own open faced sandwiches from the abundance of wonderful food.


My place at the table - a beer glass, a glass for aquavit, a listing of what's on the table. Can't see the nice container of goose fat cooked with onions that makes the perfect bread spread instead of butter.







A variety of herring in various sauces, mussels in a tomato salsa, cured salmon and perfectly cooked shrimp. Missing from this years Danish lunch - due to the time of the year - was the smoked eel served with scrambled egg.


Thinly sliced cucumber slices in a sweet vinegar sauce, red cabbage and crispy onions. Top left - Anna's wonderful pickled beets. On the left peeking out from behind a water glass you can see the goose fat.





The meats - chicken, goose (I missed the picture of the duck breast) and my personal favourites - pork and apples with sauteed onions and frikadeller - moist danish meatballs cut into slices.

Somehow managed to neglect a picture of the baskets of bread and a few of the other items on the table - hopefully Anna will be able to post a couple in the next few days.

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Back in the late 1980s when my husband and I both pulled in decent salaries we made a few visits to Mye Japanese Restaurant in Oakville. Today, while driving through downtown Oakville looking for an interesting place to lunch we passed Mye and I mentioned to Kerry how much I had loved this place. She suggested we go there but I was sure they did not open for lunch. Kerry insisted we walk up to the place and check the opening hours. Thank goodness she did!

The service was still prompt and pleasant and after we placed our order we were offered warm towels for our hands, a lovely tradition.

We studied the menu and in contrast to our usual custom of ordering different dishes so we could sample more of the menu, we both opted for the Makunouchi bento. We were offered a choice of soup or salad to start and I chose the soup while Kerry went for the salad. When the salad was brought out I was bit disappointed as I recalled a salad so amazingly fresh and so perfectly dressed that it has stayed in my mind for all those years. Kerry’s salad, however, looked rather plain and the dressing was simply dumped on top. Even the bentos, though served in beautiful laquered boxes, lacked the carved vegetable garnishes of yesteryear. Perhaps it is different at dinner than at lunch but the presentation definitely fell below my expectations.



However, the miso soup was excellent and we both enjoyed the bentos. The tempura shrimp and lotus root were superb and the beef was tasty and incredibly tender. We had both passed on the offer of white or brown rice and the kitchen had given us extra vegetables in lieu of the rice.



Apart from a table of business men and one with a family, the other diners were just like ourselves – ladies who lunch. Kerry noticed that the diners arrived later here than at most restaurants and guessed that the price point appealed much more to the social crowd and the upper echelon of the employed.

The décor is sparse as one expects in a Japanese restaurant but the wall of sake cups was really eye-catching. Each cup was labelled as to its owner and when we asked about a couple of empty spaces the server said that the owners had moved so I guess their sake cups went with them.


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You Canadian ladies sure know how to lunch! I'll make an effort to gather my Chicago cohort together and add to this terrific topic.

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Yesterday Kerry and I dined at this bistro. I think Kerry had not quite got Montreal out of her system. She knows this place well but it was my first visit and I hope it wont be my last!

My water arrived rather attractively garnished with lemon and a cranberry:


Kerry had coffee.

We shared the Pot of Moules with white wine, tomato and fennel broth with a side of frites (low carb went out the window this time.) The mussels came with a baguette slice to soak up the sauce and Kerry asked for mayo to accompany the fries.



We also each ordered the Frisee aux Lardons. This was my first experience with this quintessentially French salad and I enjoyed it.


What I enjoyed most though was the ambience in this small restaurant. We sat in a booth with very high banquettes and the impression was of being alone. The noise level was such that we could converse with no strain whatsoever which was good since we had lots to catch up on after Kerrys visit to Montreal.

Edited to add:

The service was attentive without ever being obstrusive. Our fellow diners were mostly other "ladies who lunch" and all seemed happy to linger so that there was very little coming and going which only added to the feeling of intimacy. I would rate this as one of my favourite lunch spots so far.

Edited by Anna N (log)

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Finished my job at the Men's Mission a little early yesterday - so had the opportunity to meet up with my friend Rob for lunch at Montfort, a local Mediterranean chain. Stretching it a bit to call him one of the Ladies who lunch - but he is one of my favorite girls!

We enjoyed Mazza for two - choosing Hummous, calamari, falafel and bathenjane (one of my personal favorites - eggplant salad).




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So this was confused-fusion day for me and Kerry. We chose a place to eat rather randomly but as we approached the door of Royal Jasmine Kerry asked, “Didn’t we have Mexican here before?” Me, always taking my cues from words not objects, vehemently swore that we had never eaten here. Wrong. As soon as we entered there was a familiarity about the place and sure enough the walls were in the earth colours one expects in a Mexican restaurant and as we glanced about us we concluded that the only changes that had been made were in the art work on the walls which now reflected something more Asian than Mexican.

Let’s start in the restroom:


This fabulous photo taken by Kerry epitomizes the confusion. Reflected in the obviously Mexican mirror is an equally obvious Asian leaf against the backdrop of “adobe” coloured walls.

We were the only “ladies who lunch” in this restaurant. One table was occupied by a group of men who were about to be members of a wedding party, another table was occupied by four business men one of whom seemed much more interested in his I-phone than in his meal or his companions and there was no evidence of other females except for the servers who were all female.

The menu as you can see from the website is confused-fusion. From General Tsao’s Chicken to Korean Bulgogi to Indian Paneer. We played along and ordered three dishes to share: a Thai chicken dish with pineapple, basil and lemon grass; an Indian butter chicken dish; and the Korean bulgogi. We asked them to hold the rice – ha – not a chance – we had enough rice to feed hordes.

The dishes came with Tom Yam Soup with pieces of paneer in it. But there’s more: All of the dishes arrived in Japanese lacquered bento boxes! Each of the three bento boxes contained the main dish along with a salad, two harumaki (sort of spring rolls) a huge mound of rice and a segment of orange whose purpose we were not quite sure of but did nicely to dress the salad.

The bulgogi was quite tasty and tender but without the notation on the menu I doubt I would have recognized it as such; even more so the butter chicken although again it was certainly palatable. The stir fry of chicken and pineapple was quite tasty but not particularly remarkable.


Butter chicken.jpg

chicken with basil.jpg

The harumaki were by far my favourite and I brought 4 of them home with me to enjoy as my “dessert”. If you are low-carbing it’s amazing what constitutes dessert.

The service ranged from a bit intrusive to down right slow when you really needed it as for instance when waiting for the damn bill!

On a scale of fine dining experiences this one would not rate highly but because we approach our lunch dates with a sense of adventure rather than as a search for haute cuisine I would say this place met our expectations. I know I enjoyed every minute of the experience.

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In my quest for the best fish taco in Portland, ME, I have settled on El Rayo Taqueria-- went there for lunch with the hubby today and had one fish taco and one carne asada. The fish was definitely better than the carne-- though the latter wasn't bad, just not as good. The fish had a nice spice on it and the sauce was excellent. Definitely going there again!

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Thanks all for sharing and "taking" me out to lunch with you!


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Today the ladies were involved in delivering a new Sumeet grinder to my students from Mississauga who are starting up a new chocolate business. It's the Asia grinder - the big one - 750 Watts - to be used to make hazelnut paste from organic hazelnuts.

I had a long chat with one of the girls about just how much research has to be done when starting up a business - they discovered that simply coming up with a recipe is not enough!

Anna and I discovered a little cluster of thrift stores that we hadn't been to before - so that kept us occupied for quite some time. Anna found several cookbooks and an Anthony Bourdain novel if I'm not mistaken. She also found a next to new Braun coffee grinder that will come in handy up north this summer. I picked up yet another barely used foodsaver. Now - who was it I was looking for one for?

We stopped in at a grocery store that was having some excellent sales on fresh fruit - picked up nice looking pineapples for $1.77 and strawberries and raspberries for 99 cents. At least that's what we thought - Anna perusing her bill discovered the raspberries were organic and they had charged us $4.99. Well - she came back out of the store with the money in her hot little hand - and an extra box of berries the manager had thrown in to appease her!

So it was getting rather late by then - and we were getting peckish - so we stopped at our favorite pho joint (if I'm not mistaken it's the one we started this thread with).


On the table we noticed a little dish containing two of the tiniest bird peppers we'd ever seen.


We were half way through the rolls when I realized I hadn't taken out the camera - did I mention we were peckish?


Of course you need the greenery with your soup.



Anna had the beef brisket version and I had the chicken pho.

We dropped in to the Philippine grocery which is now right next door to our favorite pho joint and picked up some chicceron - the perfect food for the low carb we are following at home (not so well when we go out to eat!).

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Oh, a nice bowl of pho! That's painful to see. Every detail is right, down to the stolen "Laughing Cow" logo on the bowl's rim. Was that in Toronto? I'll be there in July, and I'd love to have a good bowl of pho before going back to Halifax.

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Oh, a nice bowl of pho! That's painful to see. Every detail is right, down to the stolen "Laughing Cow" logo on the bowl's rim. Was that in Toronto? I'll be there in July, and I'd love to have a good bowl of pho before going back to Halifax.

Here is a link to the Toronto location. We were at the Mississauga location (Dundas and Cawthra) and often eat at the Hamilton location,

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This week Anna and I headed out on a Tuesday to visit with a student of mine who is running a chocolate business in Waterloo. She wanted to learn a bit about panning, so I took my DeBuyer pan that fits on the Kitchen Aid. She had some dry ice and some almonds waiting for us for the experimentation.


Of course dry ice just begs to be played with.

Lunch was at Johnny Fresco's - a mediterranean fast food joint that we have enjoyed before.

I had pork souvlaki on a salad, Anna and Trish had the lamb burger. We also had a side of zucchini tots.




After lunch Anna and I headed off to a restaurant supply - which turned out to be very disappointing - as they didn't have a showroom.

Enroute to the disappointment - we eyeballed an interesting looking thrift store. I managed to pick up some great english pub half pint beer glasses, a nut grinder and a couple of good books. Anna will have to report on her finds - as I have forgotten already!

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I'm going to be heading up the soon to be reopened 'in patient unit' at the Salvation Army - part of the Shelter Health Network. So today I met with the nurse who will be in charge and one of the nurses who was involved in it's previous incarnation (before the funding went south).

We met for lunch in Hamilton at a popular Westdale haunt called 'The Bean Bar'. We watched lots of fabulous looking sandwiches head past - and some pretty amazing looking desserts as well.

I'm sure they will get accustomed to the weird doc that needs to take pictures before they are allowed to eat!

I opted for the warm portabello salad with candied walnuts, roasted garlic and goat cheese.


Sweet potato fries.


A pear and gorgonzola salad.


And a chicken caesar.


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I'm very excited, as a week from today, I'll have a new lunch partner! Dear friends will be visiting us, and while the two men are off judging beer for the NY State Fair competition, us two ladies will have a whole day to ourselves! No clue what we'll do or where we'll wind up, as it'll be at least somewhat weather dependent, but I'll try to remember to bring a camera!


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It’s been a busy week for me but I’m finally getting around to post about lunch on Wednesday. We debated between breakfast for lunch or BBQ in Hamilton and I opted for breakfast at Kerry’s favourite diner, The Mount Royal Restaurant and Tavern in Burlington.

Servers in a diner always strike me as being a unique subset of staff in the restaurant business. They are usually rushed but manage to somehow remain friendly and accommodating and the server here was no exception.

Kerry stuck like glue to low-carb options and had eggs and crispy bacon and asked that her plate NOT be garnished with an orange section which she admits annoys the hell out of her. She got tomatoes instead. She also declined the offered toast.

I couldn’t face another egg in any guise so I ordered a very high-carb Hot Beef Sandwich. Honest I barely touched the potatoes or the bread, ate the green beans as if they were some sort of coke as I was feeling very much vegetable deprived and tried hard not to notice the yellow beans which along with okra and lima beans are on my “unfit for human consumption” list.

eggs and bacon.jpg

Hot beef.jpg

None of this food rates anywhere on the list of gourmet delicacies but both meals met the “comfort food” criterion very well.

Before lunch we had wandered through Goeman’s Clearance Centre which is a high-end appliance store and drooled over some of the offerings. We were intrigued by the steam ovens and I almost fell in love with a stainless steel ‘fridge – all ‘fridge! But when we opened the door we found it to be a counter-depth model. Despite the outward appearance of roominess the shallow shelves were enough to banish any regret I might have that I could never afford it anyway.

After lunch we headed over to our favourite bargain centre, the Re-Use Centre. Kerry found a great stainless steel utensil holder which she allowed me to claim as my vessel for chilling custards for ice cream. She also found two absolutely square heavy-duty cake tins and then found Pat Chapman’s “Curry Bible” for me. I have a shelf full of Indian cook books and have worked as a recipe tester for more than one Indian cook book but this was a new discovery for me and I have read and re-read it and will start cooking from it today! The total bill for all our purchases came to less than $7 and there was more items that I have forgotten.

curry book.jpg

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We were on a serious mission yesterday to find a new garlic press for Kerry and new scissors for me as my kitchen scissors have been useless for ages. On the way to find a place for lunch we dropped into a HomeSense store and spent a happy hour scrabbling through the bargain bins. We both spent more money than we should have but left highly satisfied with our buys. I am pretty sure Kerry didn’t get a garlic press! I did find scissors, an adjustable cheese plane, a serrated peeler, 3 cookbooks and guess what? A garlic press for me that I didn’t know I needed.


After that much retail therapy we were more than ready for lunch and returned to a place we had enjoyed many months ago.

Chang & Huang click

is a Thai and Hakka Restaurant situated in a plaza with more restaurants than are usually found in a single location. We could have chosen Italian, Mediterranean, Japanese, Popeye’s Chicken, Asian and even more. We scoped out most of the restaurants and decided to return to this one as a sure bet. It was the right choice.

The calamari was not the best we have had but it was perfectly adequate. It was crispy on the outside and a bit too chewy on the inside but we managed to finish most of the platter.


We asked for the grilled chicken and at first the server indicated that it was not available at lunch time because it takes a bit longer to prepare and most diners are business people with limited time for lunch. But we arrived at the tail-end of lunch time and we obviously didn’t appear very business-like so our order was honoured. The chicken looked a bit burned and over-cooked as you can see in the photo but it was tasty and amazingly tender and juicy.


The crisp fried vegetables, however, were the star of this meal. The broccoli had a crispy exterior and an amazingly creamy interior. The onions, mushrooms, and carrots were tasty and, carnivores that we are, we debated for a fleeting moment the possibility of becoming vegetarians.


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Today lunch followed a trip to the metal supermarket to pick up some caramel bars for my friend in Owen Sound. The restaurant is called Coriander Green in Oakville. It appeared to have good reviews on-line. We were the only folks in there!


The interior.


Pappadams - nice and crispy - love the cumin!


Onion Bhaji with Tamarind sauce (and a mango drizzle!). Sauce tasted more like cranberry than tamarind though.


The grill plate - kebab, tandoori chicken, chicken tikka on a bed of grilled onions and peppers. An interesting yogurt mint sauce served with it.

Great scores at the thrift stores today. I got 2 3/4 sheet pans, 5 cookbooks including "the Gift of Southern Cooking" and 4 Time Life Good Cooking Series books, two novels, a pristine little tart pan and a nice Sadler brown betty and got change back from $20.

Anna scored the Sandwich book from the Good Cook Series, a couple of novels and a couple of Australian Women's Weeky cookbooks. A couple of others items that I've forgotten.

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well, it was "a moderate" 98F today after the first set of errands and the gym though the humidity was much more than yesterday. there were two gents at my house reconditioning my kitchen cabinets - oh, the horror is about to begin!!!!- who i amply tipped for their work and inconvenience so i opted for a bar lunch before the second round of errands and kitty sitting for a neighbor.

i have to tell you since the economy went south a few years ago i try to eat out once a week at one of a few local places for lunch. my husband, johnnybird, and i eat out maybe 4 times a year since a) he is sweet but a bit fussy and b) i'm a pretty good home cook. where i do indulge myself and sometimes my dangerous dining companion, 'chelle, is at lunch. we are the scouts and if i can find something that he will find acceptable to eat i will bring him.

thai? bring on the curry puffs, thai iced tea and tom yum gai. my

pad thai and thai fried rice is more to johnnybird's taste.

chinese? not so much... see thai

italian? found a great place with the owner in residence making fresh

pasta and good, fresh seafood for him and homemade cheese

ravioli and ethereal polpette for me. another place that

makes a great bolognese sauce that is used to make a fresh

pasta lasagna - without tons of ricotta and chewy mozzarella

mexican - real mexican not tex mex? got my eye on a few places to try

barbecue? take out for a co-worker and me next monday.

today it was an old standby: The Warehouse Grille. i can walk into this place any day and feel comfortable sitting at the bar with my book or magazine to read. usually it is a Stella but since i had more running around to do it was an Arnie Palmer(non-alocholic) also known as a half and half - half lemonade and half iced tea. the perfect thing for the weather here in nw nj today. i had major oral surgery several months back and it takes time to get your mouth back. today i was feeling strong so i ordered the beef sliders (2) with special(horseradish) sauce and fizzled onions minus the american cheese and was able to actually eat them!!!! all that i needed to make it perfect would be some coleslaw....

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today it was an old standby: The Warehouse Grille. i can walk into this place any day and feel comfortable sitting at the bar with my book or magazine to read.


Ah yes! To have a place where you can feel comfortable alone and with reading material. Such places are getting much harder to find. Thanks for sharing.

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A girlfriend and I went down to San Leon, Texas today for lunch and birdwatching at the TopWater Grill. The restaurant had been destroyed by Hurricane Ike in 2008 but had finally reopened earlier this year. The TopWater has its own fleet of shrimp boats, which are docked just outside the restaurant. The view from our table:


After our waitress took our order, she went out on the dock to take some of her own photos of the pelicans waiting for scraps from the fisherman that were pulling up just outside our window. "Everybody look at the camera and say FISH"


I had the Special – Blackened Cobia (fresh caught by the owner this morning) topped with a crab and butter sauce and two grilled shrimp, rice pilaf and a veggie medley of zucchini, yellow squash, onion, and red bell pepper. Very good! I forgot to take the photo until after my first bite!


After our meal, we went out by the docks to get a closer view of the pelicans. There was a tug of war for one of the fish skeletons tossed by the fisherman cleaning their catch. Note that most of the fish is already in the pouch of the bird on the right.


It was so gratifying to be able to enjoy super fresh seafood from our Galveston bay waters and to see healthy, happy birds after all the bad news about the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

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robirdstx- that was a feast for the eyes and the heart. Makes me hungry as well of course.

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the last few days have been on the road running errands and trying to find hardware that won't look too bad on our refinished cherry kitchen cabinets circa 1960.

this necessitates some quick stops for what I feel is fast food - one from an old standby and one from a new place found by accident.

wednesday off to a 1230 appointment so i swung by Thai Nam Phet. tom yum gai and curry puffs. i can't eat more than that - and not even all of it as i brought one puff and half the soup home. the curry puffs (4) and the sauce - i know it is supposed to be for the "salad" that comes with it - are to DIE FOR!!! not too spicy a filling and with a wonderful flaky crust that gently enrobes the filling then crumbles to the tooth.

today was another venture to find hardware - YES!!!! - ordered and here in 10 days or so. on the way i noticed a place that said it was thai and vietnamese. no time to sit down so i got an order of pho - house special though i couldn't work the tendon too well. the beef was perfectly cooked and the broth is to die for. some noodles then a slurp of the broth, some crunch sprouts and a touch of sambal then a slurp of the broth. i will go back and try some other things here for sure.


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First chance Anna and I have had for lunch since we got back from the north and I got back from Ann Arbor.

We needed some serious comfort food - so it had to be pho! We hit Pho dau Bo in Hamilton. We had a whole day to play before I had to go back and pick up the rug rat from day camp - and since I'd received a call which forced me in to Hamilton to fill out a few prescriptions at the Sally Ann - this was the perfect choice for pho.


Anna and I are certainly creatures of habit when we need comfort food - so we started with some calamari. Not the best we've ever had - always a shame when you get the frozen pre-battered stuff.

The soup came in very short order - and being a little out of practice I forgot to take pictures before we started to eat. So here we have the herbs and spouts after we'd raided them. A bowl of rare beef and well done brisket for Anna, chicken and rare beef for me.




We hit a couple of other places in our travels today - the first a pottery supply place. I wanted to go there in order to buy a 16 inch round cordite kiln shelf to be used as a pizza stone. Other things we found there - a couple of silicone/rubber sheets with patterns on them that are used with clay. I can see the utility of them with chocolate - one is fish scales, another like roofing tiles. I also grabbed a couple of clay working tools that should be helpful with chocolate. The most interesting thing is this - atomizers. I'm interested in whether this might just be a perfect quiet little airbrush for a quick decorating job. Anna picked up a nice little stainless tamis.

We also hit Lee Valley - the home of many great items - we were both after rare earth magnets - that can be used to hold all number of things in the kitchen.

There was also a quick trip in to Liquidation World - Anna got a couple more of the kitchen timers that can be hung around your neck and we both got one of these little tool carrier bags. Anna's will go in her portable kitchen gear - mine likely in the chocolate room to hold tools.

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Kerry and I were on a very short leash yesterday as she had only a couple of hours between work assignments. We had seen The Big Smoke a few times when we drove along the Lakeshore in Oakville and we finally decided to check it out.

There is little on the lunch menu that is low-carb but Kerry figured that she would order the pulled pork sandwich and ditch the bun and I would do the same with the beef brisket.

We asked for the sandwiches to be cut in half so that we could swap and both sample the pork and the brisket.

We ordered the onion rings with the horseradish aioli and both went with a salad.

onion rings.jpg

Kerry had the Caesar salad and I had a garden salad with a maple-balsamic dressing.

pulled pork.jpg


The patio was open and it was a pleasant enough day so we decided to eat outdoors. This was the best choice of all. We had built-in and free entertainment! A couple of business men at a nearby table received their lunch shortly after we sat down and were instantly swarmed by wasps. We stared in amazement as one of the diners began catching wasps between bare hands, slamming them onto the ground and then stepping on them. His skill in catching them was quite amazing. But then the inevitable happened. A wasp landed on his thigh without his knowledge and when he dropped his arm down – womp! The wasp stung him on the inside of his forearm. That was the end of his and his companion’s al fresco dining and discretion being the better part of valour, Kerry and I grabbed our plates and cutlery and retreated indoors.

I was taken with the lovely white platters and Kerry found this sputnik-like pepper shaker quite fascinating.


After lunch we headed to one of our favourite charity stores where I loaded up on reading material including a copy of the Time-Life Series The Good Cook’s Preserving. Kerry found one of the gadgets for cooking a chicken vertically on a BBQ (think beer can chicken) and you will be hearing much more about that later this year.

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