Friday, June 26, 2015

An uninvited guest at Linda's buffet

Thursday, for a variety of reasons we went to Charbar in East Village. It's in the old Simmon's mattress factory building. It wasn't so long ago this building was fenced up, and the entire area was a no-man's-land where the homeless and the addicts fought for turf. It wasn't a place to be in broad daylight, and I can only imagine what night was like.

After decades of neglect the area is being spruced up. New buildings are going in. There is a young hip vibe happening. It's a nice place to be. The riverwalk is a wonderful place for a stroll. We were hoping for a table on the roof top patio, but it was all booked. We sneaked up their after dinner anyway, and it's really nice. There's a lovely view of downtown, and the river.

I'm not big on doing restaurant reviews, but here's a mini review. The food is all a la carte, and it's pretty good. The problem is that pretty good doesn't cut it for an expensive place. Once seated we waited for a while to get drinks, but after that everything else arrived in a quite reasonable time.

We talked about the niche they're trying to fill, and we aren't sure if they nailed it. For a dinner out, it doesn't quite work. For drinks with buddies, I'm not sure it works, since the munchies are decidedly non traditional. I'm sure there is a niche that doesn't mind dropping lots of money, but I don't know if enough of them will find their way there.

We likely won't be back. Not that we are unhappy, it's just that there are many other places to try, and some old favourites we haven't been to in a while. We got out of the habit of eating out when I wasn't working for a year, and Linda is a better cook than what the food indicates for many restaurants. And nobody does rack of lamb like I do.

The big thing is that when we (mainly Linda) cook, we know what's been done to it, how it's been stored, where and when it was purchased. There are many food safety regulations, and it's depressing reading how many places are written up for various violations. We can make it exactly the way we like, for the time we want, and in the quantities we want. I would be surprised to learn there is a restaurant patio with a garden as nice as ours. Doing dishes after is a small price to pay.

I did get a really good picture of Linda there, though, so there is that.

Here's the uninvited breakfast guest. Not shy at all about strolling up for a mouthful. It wasn't afraid of me, though it was wary. I didn't want to startle it onto the street where there were a few cars, and just our luck it would choose that moment to bolt.

 Later in the day my neighbour texted me that it was snoozing over by the skateboard park. Here's the actual bit of breakfast.

Swim warm up took a long time. A really long time in the dive tank, slowly working it, and undoing the creakiness. I'm not sure why, but I'm sure feeling beat up. Then one of the swim teams left and we got into the 25 m pool. I banged out a 18:10 1000m so I'm really pleased about that. Fastest in a long time. Considering I could barely walk getting into the building, I was happy with the race pace flip turns. Well, all but a couple of them.

And then TEDxYYC. I'm glad I went. Most of the talks were good, though I should have worn my ear glasses. I found it very hard to make out the person talking about printing 3D food. I was fascinated by the guy who had a brain tumor the size of an apple, discovered accidentally. There was a 30 second time lapse video of the tumor being removed. His talk props were a 3D skull made to be a model of his, with a flap showing where they cut his skull open, and a bright red blob of something to represent the tumor. He called for more open medical data, and got the only standing ovation.

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