Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A Fruitful Experience

One of the last stops of my Canada trip was to Toronto, where my brother was going to move in a month's time. We decided to drive from Montreal, about a 6 hour drive.

I'm not the best passenger, constantly asking for toilet breaks and snacks and of course, endless rounds of "Are we there yet???". So my brother, in order to pre-empt my complaining, tried to make the journey as fun as possible by telling me that we are going to go "fruit-bowling".

Fabulous, I thought, what fun this will be!

What? What? You don't know what fruit-bowling is? Well neither do I. I had visions of knocking down pyramids of fruit by bowling oranges or something but instead I got this:

Yep, that's right, its a freaking big orange! We drove up to this huge orange to have something to eat before heading off.

(Apparently, my brother's girlfriend was telling me, rumours are that inside the top of the big orange is a brothel. Hmmmm... who the hell says, "I'm bored. What shall we do? I know! Let's go to the big orange and get ourselves a nice piece of a$$?" I mean honestly!?!)

Feeling very much like I was in a low budget North American, made for TV film, we walked up to the diner in a haze of thick grease to order from the cheerily dressed waitstaff, a poutine and their famous orange julep, which is dispensed through a big clear vessel, glooping thickly into the cup.

It tasted like a really thick, creamy orange milkshake without the overtones of dairy. It tasted ok but not something you would get to quench your thirst. In fact, I had to go straight back and order a proper drink in order to wash down the thick drink.... oh, and my poutine!!

Haha, couldn't leave Montreal without clogging up my arteries with cornstarch thickened gravy half melting cheese curds over deep fried potato sticks, could I?

In any case, the novelty value over, we left and began the drive to Toronto, stopping at Tim Hortons for some coffee along the way.

I thought that was it. My brother wanted to cheer me up and took me to see a big orange. Ok, fine. I get it. I will behave myself.

Luckily for me, it appears that he had another treat in store for me. In the form of:

That's right, folks! It's a big freaking APPLE! Not content with merely taking me to see a big Orange, my brother thought, as an additional treat, to take me to see the big Apple. Why he couldn't just have bought me a round trip, first class ticket to New York, I don't know.

In any case, it was actually a pie making factory, with a variety of pies and other forms of weird tatty souvenirs for sale.

Well, we couldn't leave without trying a pie, could we? We bought a piece of pumpkin pie to share and a mumble crumble pie, a pie with a crumble topping.

The pumpkin pie was ok but the mumble crumble was way too sweet and commercial tasting.

We were waved off the premises by the scariest looking freaky apple whose eyes swerved left and right. To what purpose, I know not. Perhaps it was to root out those infidels who were heard mumbling about the substandard pie substances served.

Go only if you are driving by. And if you're bored already of the world's largest ball of string.

Restaurant Orange Julep
Boulevard Décarie
Montréal, Quebec
H4P 2H4, Canada
Tel: (514) 738-74867700

The Big Apple
Colborne, Ontario
The Big Apple also has a mini go-kart racing track and a petting zoo. And a huge carpark for tour buses. All of which were desserted when we went.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Stampede to Breakfast

The day after the Stampede, our friend, who lives permanently in cowtown, decided that we needed, or rather, our stomachs needed, to experience the Stampede breakfast. And so we went.

We joined the long, snaking queues of people for our free breakfast, accompanied by a stage with live country singers as well as impressive hoop dancers. There were pony rides for the kids (I'm still annoyed they wouldn't let me on one of the bigger ponies), as well as a faux cow milking contest).

It was very much a community thing, with everyone from the lovely Little Miss Calgary helping us with our plates;

to the knee slapping cowboys flipping our pancakes;

to the weird, pseudo clown/cowboy... I have no idea what he was doing.

In any case, once we got our plates of food, we milled around in front of the stage and enjoyed our two pancakes, sausage and drink. It was great fun and definitely worth doing if you're in Calgary during Stampede time.
Yeee HAW!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Fair-ly Good Food

I'm back from my Great Canadian Escape!

Well, you'll be happy to know, or rather my belly was happy to know that I ate all the junk food that I listed on my last entry. My wonderful friend picked me up at the Vancouver airport, whisked me off for a bowl of "cart noodles" and it was off to Superstore to purchase said junk food.

As I didn't have much access to the Internet, I will not bombard you with descriptions of ALL I ate but I did have much good food. Mostly a lot of the Asian food I was craving.

However, as most people know, one of my weaknesses is junk food. And for this, what better way to describe to you what I ate at the Calgary Stampede?

Ahhhhhh.... Fair food, how do I love thee? There is nothing like it to bring you straight back to your childhood and, for many, while the memories may be fond, they are also mixed with disgust at one food in particular, which brings with it memories of vomit. For some, this may be the venerable candy floss, or, as the French charmingly call it, "barbe a papa". My father has never had a beard of candy floss but to each their own. Many have overindulged, many have also violently expelled the strongly colored spun sugar after a few too many rides which jostle the stomach.

Luckily I was always one to be careful where jostling of stomachs are concerned. I was always much more concerned about fitting all the foods I wanted to eat in. And so it continues.

I began with a refreshing Sno-Kone (as irritating as that spelling is, 'snow cone' just looks too respectable for this dubious treat). I chose blue flavored, having determined early on that the only difference in flavors is the color. Sno-Kones are tricky little devils, consisting of shaved ice with syrup, housed in a flimsy waxed cone that starts to drip impossible to get out dye. I choose blue wisely as I was wearing blue that day.

It is extremely refreshing but almost impossible to eat without getting it all over your nose and your shirt. It also begins to taste like the Kone wrapping towards the end, right before you have to throw it out.

To please my friends by getting something else more share-able, I decided to ask for a stick of candy floss. The man ended up handing me a stick of something the spitting image of Marge Simpson's hair!

In horror I looked at it and asked the man if he couldn't have given me something more manageable when he broke into hysterical laughter. Days serving pimply nosed rat faced teenagers will do that to you. I backed away slowly.

My friends had gone off in a different direction and gone for the mini-donuts. You know the ones, either plain or sprinkled with an excess of sugar and cinnamon. Fresh, warm and so moreish they were selling them by the bucketful. We were conservative and only had a packet of 16 between the three of us girls.

After the rodeo, I felt a bit peckish, mainly for something savory after all the blue sugar I had consumed. Lo and behold, what did I see?? RIBS!! And not just any ribs, bison ribs! It was fate calling me.

It was delicious, full of meaty flavor... just the thing to get me back in the game!

As my friends wimped out and went for the "Big Suck" aka a large slurpee, I went to the Old Dutch promotion stand and paid up for a bag full of snack sized chips, including my favorite of Ketchup and Dill Pickle. Oh yeah, Canada rocks.

I rounded off my day at the stampede with a healthy big old fried up corn dog. I couldn't not have it... after all, I wasn't having any candy apples nor corn on the cob... it was my civic duty to have my corn dog. Which I did. Before going out for Thai food.
Ahhh, the pleasures of holidays.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Ah Canada!

I am 'on leave' to Canada as of Monday the 2nd of July... for 3 weeks! I am not sure I will have the ability to post while away although I will try.

Before leaving you, I thought I'd list out the junk that I've missed while away and will be eating whilst in the land of the maple leaf.

- Cheerios - PLAIN ones please, not multi-grain and definitely NOT honey nut
- Old Dutch Ketchup Chips, my love of which was the subject of this post
- McCain's Deep and Delicious chocolate cake.... ar ar ar ar arrrrrrrrrrr
- Oh Henry Bars.... they have the OH in the name for a reason
- Homemade rice crispy treats - why on earthy do they not sell rice crispies in France??
- Plain animal crackers - since the demise of the McDonald cookies, these have become a favorite plain cookie - all the ones sold in France are covered in chocolate
- Coffee Crisp - wafery, coffee, chocolatey goodness
- Tim Horton's iced cappuccino chili and - a favorite on road trips

In case you think its only me, check out this article...while I don't agree with all of it, namely the Nanaimo bars (too sweet), the rest is quite spot on.

So hopefully I'll post while away, if I can tear myself away from the junk food long enough to tell you all about the yumminess I'm injesting straight into my belly!

Happy Happy Summer Holidays!