Thursday, February 24, 2011


Brace yourselves; this is awesome.

I was listening to CBC Radio at work today - I love the CBC. A piece comes on about a local shop in Montreal that's supporting the relief efforts for the New Zealand earthquake. Cool, I thought.

But wait, what was the shop? A PIE STORE. They're called Tourtiere Austrailienne or Ta, and they make New Zealandian (?) and Australian meat pies and desserts and sell them all of 1km away from my apartment.

Let me tell you a little something about pie: I love pie. Fruit pies, meat pies, keish... if you can fill a pastry with something, I will love it. In fact, my first word as a human being on this planet was "pie" - one of my parents was holding me at a party, and someone walked into the room carrying a huge plate of dessert. My eyes widened, my mouth opened slightly, and I pointed and exclaimed, "PIE!"

After work, I skipped every other errand I had planned (I fly back to Saskatoon on Friday morning and needed to get lots done today) and went straight to Ta to buy a steak & mushroom pie.

On the way, I passed the Tam-tams du mont Royal:
This is where stoner hippies play drums on weekends! 

I arrived at Ta:

I walked in the door and the entire place smelled like pastry and pie. It was incredible.

I asked the woman working the till for a steak and mushroom pie, just like I'd heard on the radio. Unfortunately, they had sold out within 30 minutes of the program airing! She offered a compromise: "we have plenty of steak, bacon & cheese pies left".

I thought to myself, can you translate "fuck yeah?!?!" to New Zealandian? I bought the pie and told the woman how "pie" was my first word. She thought that was pretty awesome.

You can buy the pies refrigerated or frozen, and you heat them up in your oven. Their website says, "Microwaving our pastry is a crime and it will result in soggy pastry and is not recommended." Duly noted!

I heated it up for about 30 minutes and it was amazing:

Perfect pastry (apparently it takes two whole days to make), enormous chunks of tender beef, bacon, and cheese with a gravy sauce, and even a few vegetables hidden in there. I anticipated it being too salty but was pleasantly surprised to find that it was not!

Delicious. Now if anyone comes to visit me in Montreal, I can promise I'll have an Australian meat pie waiting in my freezer for when you arrive.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sub Buns!

Today I made buns from this recipe! Just like my casserole making experience, this one starting by Googling "subway buns recipe" and picking the first result.

I was intimidated by the recipe because I haven't made bread or buns since Home Economics in Grade 8 (well, with yeast - I've made biscuits and beer bread but those are "mix all ingredients together and bake" recipes).

Post-rise, pre-bake

I think they turned out perfectly!!

I grabbed a few thin slices of pork from the grocery store and tossed them on the George Foreman Grill for five minutes, and grabbed tomato, lettuce, honey mustard, and a bit of mayo and bam! Delicious sandwich time.
One for supper, one for lunch tomorrow! Also, Rickard's Dark on special for $15 for a 12-pack - hooray Quebec beer prices!

The verdict: Really tasty, easier to make than I thought they'd be. There is a fair bit of sugar in the recipe so they taste slightly sweet - not dessert bun sweet, but sweet like white bread from Subway would be.

I will for sure make these again!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Gas Mine Explosion, Steaks, Balcony View, Potato Bacon Soup


This is an awesome beer with an even more awesome bottle. Coup de Grisou roughly translates to "gas mine explosion". I had a bottle or two of this on Sunday with Scrabble:

On Monday - Valentine's Day - I made a lonely, yet extremely delicious steak and confirmed that the grocery store in my building does indeed have excellent meat:

Also on Monday I decided to stand on my balcony for the first time and check out the evening view in full:
I think I am the only apartment with safety netting and I can't figure out why.

Last but not least, I made some very tasty potato bacon soup this evening, based on this recipe.
Here's what I did differently from the recipe:

  • Used less chicken stock and substituted water. I expected this to be salty and it's even still a bit too salty for my tastes - but still really delicious! 
  • Blended it before adding bacon. The recipe omits this step, and there are some funny comments from people complaining they made "potatoes in broth". Well... blend it, then! 
That's it for now.. looking forward to visiting Saskatoon in a week's time!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Pizza Casserole

I have been a bit lazy with updating my blog for the past few days!

I had supper with Ellen and Vince and their kids on Wednesday, that was a ton of fun. They made cheese fondue (delicious!!) and I got to play with their cute, high-energy kids for a few hours. I got pigeon-holed into reading books for an hour (fun!) and eventually there wasn't any more time for "one last book" (although there were several "last" books).

The only meal (until today) that was noteworthy was an attempt at a sole, scallops & veggies dinner, but the sole completely disintegrated in the frying pan and it was not very photogenic at all! I also made Mongolian Beef which is always delicious! My mom gave me the recipe, and our whole family enjoyed the meal many times before she confessed it was a Weight Watchers recipe - so good!

Oh yeah - Robyn and I booked our trip to Iceland! We're going to check out the land of geothermal heat, scenery, and Vikings from May 20-30! I'm excited.

Tonight I was in the mood for a casserole. I've never made a casserole on my own, but I ate lots of casseroles of different types growing up, and I just had a craving for something hearty on this snowy day:

I Googled "casserole" and the first result was this recipe for Pizza Casserole. Hell yes, I thought!

It was a simple recipe - "boil noodles, fry ground beef, mix together, bake". Boo-yeah.

The verdict: hearty and filling like a casserole should be, but probably not the most healthy casserole option out there!

Tonight I am off to play Scrabble with my engineering pal and some other people, should be good times!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Onion, Leek, Asparagus & Cauliflower Soup

Tonight I made another soup! I fried an onion in some butter, then added all of the vegetables, then added water until the veggies were just barely covered. Then I added about a cup of chicken stock. Then I cooked it, then I blended it and stirred in some cream! The result is a massive pot of tasty soup!

The recipe is based off one I learned with Robyn at our cooking lesson at Hole in the Wall Restaurant. Except I didn't have nutmeg to grate on top, and their version didn't have asparagus. 

Now I have four Gladware containers full of this stuff to freeze... yumm. It was delicious!

Who forgot to tell me making soup was so easy!?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Mushroom Soup & Guinness Bread

My packages arrived today - hooray!
Everything I own.

After work I went grocery shopping (I LOVE having a grocery store in the same building as me) and got a ton of food to make mushroom soup and beer bread for supper!

Here is some delicious homemade mushroom soup, made with white and portobello mushrooms! I used this recipe as a base but didn't have all of the ingredients, so I winged it.

I also made beer bread! This is a recipe that Robyn found a long time ago and we've made a ton of variations. It's the easiest possible bread to make in the world, but you can change the bread drastically by using different types of beer. We've used white beers for light breads, today I used Guinness for a dark, heavier bread:

I need to experiment a bit more with my oven; I don't think it's has hot as mine in Saskatoon. That calls for... more bread!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Beer & Poutine

Last night Scott and I went out out for beers and poutine.

First we went to Le Cheval Blanc, a great neighbourhood bar a subway stop or two away from my place. It snowed like crazy the whole night and I was once again glad I invested in a good pair of boots.

They had some INCREDIBLE beers. We tried four varieties: Blonde, Citra Wiezen, Triple Bock, and Marzen. The Triple Bock stole the show - it was a thick dark beer with hints of coffee, caramel, and fruit. Just sipping it was an experience, as you could taste so many flavours at once - and the multiple flavours didn't clash or override each other. Just awesome.

Around 1:30AM we decided to hike to La Banquiste, a famous 24-hour poutine place that features over 25 different kinds of poutine! The walk normally would have taken around 20 minutes but took a bit longer going through heavy snow.

At 2am the restaurant was packed and there was a line outside. We waited about 10 minutes before we got in; after that the service was fast.

I ordered Poutine B.O.M - poutine with bacon, onions, and sausage on it.
It looked like a brown lump but tasted amazing!!

Scott ordered Poutine Taquise, with guacamole, sour cream, and tomatoes:
Healthy choice! Haha

The portions were comically large and neither of us could finish. By the time we were done the metros had stopped running so we each walked home - it took me about 30 or 40 minutes because of the snow. I finally crashed in my bed around 3am and had my first sleep my new bed and apartment! Comfortable!

Today was a slow-paced day, which was perfect considering the beer and poutine last night. I did laundry, bought a TV, talked to my mom on the phone, and talked my cousin and her family to set up a supper for later in the week. I'm hoping that FedEx delivers all of my stuff tomorrow!

That's all for now!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Settling Part IV: Basically Settled!

I checked out of my hotel today and did most of the final settling in my apartment!

I built the last few pieces of furniture and took an enormous pile of IKEA packaging to the garbage/recycling. I went to la Baie - the Bay - to grab a few essentials like a towel, some sheets, and some pants. I shipped all of these items but if you read yesterday's post you will recall that FedEx is holding everything until Monday.

I grabbed a pair of headphones from Future Shop and walked past another amazing old church:

Okay here are some pictures of my apartment!

Little dining table and two chairs, and my POANG armchair - so awesome and comfortable (and cheap!). My parents have one that's at least 20 years old, if not more, and it's now our dog Yogi's chair. 

A couch that is also a bed, which means that L'Hôtel Neufeld is officially open! 

I went to buy curtains today (because I don't have enough hanging plastic "slats" to close the blinds all of the way) and was disgusted with how expensive they are - at least $9/slat and that's the discounted price if you buy the upper track too. Well I already have a track, I just want some slats! It turns out that no one manufactures slats with the same holes so if I just order slats there is no guarantee they'll work with my existing track. Rage!

I didn't have enough slats to cover the windows in my bedroom either, but I just took my trusty wire snips and trimmed a few living room slats to cover the bedroom windows. I guess I just won't have living room blinds for a while!

Bed. It seems comfortable but tonight is the big test!

The kitchen is starting to look occupied. I have to wash dishes but I keep forgetting to buy cloths. I may just wait until Monday, I shipped a bunch of awesome knitted dishcloths that my Grandma gives away by the bag every Christmas.

My Xbox should be coming on Monday with my FedEx stuff so I think I am going to buy a TV tomorrow - not necessarily for games, but so the Xbox can talk to my server and I can watch my movies and TV shows that are on my server.... aaaand I might have to get a game or two. I'm hoping the Xbox still works, I stole it from my brother and it hasn't been used in at least two years.

That's all for now!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Settling Part III

Sunrise reflection from my hotel window this morning.

I am almost settled in my apartment!

Last night my pal Scott and I built most of my furniture and drank a bunch of beer. I managed to forget a critical piece of my bed at IKEA on Wednesday so I had to go back today - I ended up grabbing the elusive dining chairs that had been out of stock on Wednesday, too.

Hanging out with Scott was great, he brought a Quebec beer that translates to "gas mine explosion" and it took some clever engineering to open the stubborn cork:

That's a piece of my couch/fouton gripping a screw.

I am waiting until tomorrow to post pictures of my apartment because I don't want to take pictures with a mountain of cardboard and furniture wrapping in one corner!! But you just wait. You will have pictures of this flashy and hip apartment soon enough.

Today (Friday) my guitar was delivered to the office. That was the good news; the bad news was that my apartment didn't let FedEx in with any of my moving boxes. So I have wait until Monday and then skip work to receive them (because the depot here isn't open on weekends). Nice. Today I also bought a cheap practice amp from Kijiji for my guitar, and my internet was installed!

COMPLAINT: Internet in Quebec. It doesn't hold up to internet options in Saskatchewan. The best plan I can get in my apartment is 10 Mbps (little "b" is "bits", so that's 10 megaBITS per second = 1.25 MB/s). Also I can only download 120 GB per month! In Saskatoon I could casually download at 3 MB with Shaw with virtually no limit (though that might change soon), and SaskTel has comparable plans. Oh well. I got sweet little ready2serve all up and running and downloading just fine. I named my wireless network THE_THUNDERNET because it sounds AMAZING.

Robyn and I are figuring out all sorts of ways to talk on the phone for free while she is up North! When she's in Saskatoon we'd be able to Skype for free, but her wireless internet really sucks in Rabbit Lake so we've created a combination of cell phone plans and computer-based callings that seem to do the trick.

Unrelated to moving: I got the best accidental text message from my pal Matt today - he sent an "I love you" to me instead of his girlfriend. I replied back with a quote from Tenacious D's Friendship Test, and got an awesome reply:
Yeah we've played a lot of Halo over the last few years.

TOMORROW: Hoping to check out of my hotel, buy curtains for the apartment, grab a few essentials (considering things like towels and sheets and kitchenware are being held hostage by FedEx), and possibly hunt for a moderately-priced television.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Settling Part II

Today there was a lot of snow in Montreal!

After work I hopped in a cab and went to IKEA. The drive out there was scary - it was the middle of a snowstorm and the driver was texting and watching live TV on his cellphone the whole way. I guess that isn't illegal in Quebec like it is in Saskatchewan.

I had supper at IKEA:
Salmon, vegetables, and vegetable cakes made of potatoes and broccoli!

IKEA rules. I bought... pretty much one of everything for furniture. I didn't get much kitchen stuff because I am shipping most of that from Saskatoon. I had three massive carts by the end. Manoeuvring is hard when you have a queen-size mattress right in front of you and two other carts to lug around.

I don't want to publicize how much I spent, but I was pretty impressed at how (relatively) cheap it is to furnish a full apartment from IKEA. The only thing missing was chairs for my table - they were sold out of every wooden chair under $50! Sorry, I am not spending $80 or more per chair when I want to buy four, nor am I buying a bunch of plastic chairs that have a sticker that says "MAX WEIGHT 220 LBS". I'm a big guy, come on.

Tomorrow evening is IKEA delivery and Friday I get internet in the apartment! I have my hotel until Sunday so everything is lining up perfectly.

A buddy from Engineering made contact with me today, turns out he is in Montreal! I revealed I was furnishing with IKEA and he revealed his secret love for assembling IKEA furniture, so we might have a drink-beer-and-assembe-furniture party.

Last point, I decided that I'm going to revive my old Facebook album "Being Domestic" in the form on a blog tag. I'll post about tasty foods, mostly homemade stuff!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Settling Part I

I took possession of my apartment at noon today! Exciting!

When I walked into the unit it was awesome - I was in a bad mood after my first visit because the agent showed me some really crummy suites and I also had a pipe dream about a terrace. So I didn't fully appreciate how good this unit was until today.

No more talk! Pictures! Two nerdy pics first, then apartment pics.

My sweet little 5TB server, ready2serve, getting ready for the trip. I named it after Warcraft II.

All ready to fly. I took this as a carry-on item. I don't trust it anywhere else. 

Here is my apartment! Big! Hardwood! Clean!

This picture and the one above it show part of the same area, the thermostat is your reference point.

Full size stove! Lots of cupboard space! 

More cupboards!

Nice bathroom! Pretty small but I don't need anything fancy.

This is looking into the bedroom. 

A view of the TWO closets from inside the bedroom. So many closets!!!!!!!

There is a taxi stand right outside the building that has a constant buffer of about 10 taxis. Which means it's easy to get anywhere I need that's out of walking distance and not really metro-feasible.

Better view out the window than my last post. That's Mont Royal and Molson Stadium where the Montreal Alouettes play. The cross on the mountain glows bright white at night. 

The bedroom has a corner window so here's a shot of my balcony.

After taking pictures I went to the mall underneath the apartment and spent $90 on cleaning supplies (this shows how exciting I live my life) so that I would just have everything on hand instead of needing to buy things piecemeal. The girl at the Metro (a grocery store, not a... metro) looked at me like I was going to clean up a murder. 

I had supper at St Hubert, which is in the mall under the apartment. If you cross a KFC with a Swiss Chalet, you have the most popular chicken restaurant in Quebec. It was actually really good. Yes, that is half a bun as a side. And it's the only fast-food place I've been to that serves a sub-$10 meal on a white glass plate!

That's it for today! 
Wednesday: IKEA
Thursday: Sit in apartment waiting for IKEA delivery. 
Friday: Sit in apartment waiting for internet installation. 
Saturday: ???
Sunday: Profit