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If birthday wishes were horses

I give up, it seems that, barring me winning the lottery, I won’t have any opportunity to catch up on my writing in the short term so I’ve decided to post again more of less directly and I’ll write my previous entries in my (spare) time…

So another year has come and gone and I have little to show for it. I didn’t have anything specific planned as Invasion Cocktail is already in full swing (but more on that later). In fact, this was probably one of the most subdued day in the past few years.

KeltiaBut before delving into my ethylic endeavours, a quick data gathering note as I came across an interesting take on the Arthurian legends with the Keltia RPG.

Not quite whether it’s a French RPG that got translated into English or the other way around, but it reminds a lot of the classic Pendragon RPG, with maybe a tad more fantasy attached to it… Definitely something to keep an eye out for…

Since I had to devote as much free time as possible for my bar-hopping, I ended optimizing my routes for data collection. That probably meant I got access to less interesting content than usual, but I’m happy with what Ive got.

 

On to Invasion Cocktail, expect a wall of text as the event started last week and I have visited all but 2 of the establishments that weren’t present last year.

Instead of going through a chronological journey, I’ll just list the whole gamut with my notes and appreciation. Overall, it’s been a very good year with a few sour notes but no no-shows like last year.

First my “coup de Coeur”, places that I were pleasantly surprised and will definitely return in the future.

wp-1463338617115.jpgwp-1463338616936.jpgBarraca Rhumerie & Tapas as (DUN, DUN, DUN) a well-stocked Rum list (although, for a weird reason, they didn’t have the one brand that was part of the promotion, Trinidad’s Angostura) was a logical starting point, especially as it’s relatively close by to the Jack of Hearts.

I’ve decided to start with a simple pick, the Scarborough Bomb, which is much like a boilermaker with a shot of Rum resting in a glass of Ginger Beer with a slice of pineapple as garnish. I’m usually more a Mojito fan, but this is relatively high on my list that I could see myself sipping it on the terrace this summer.

Haven’t tried their menu yet but that’s something I’ll rectify on my next visit, especially as it seems I have to give a critique to my boss as she’s interested by this place too.

wp-1463338626282.jpgwp-1463338616796.jpgNext on the list and nearby, is a great wine bar called the Rouge Gorge, I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised by this place and while the wine list is extensive, I have to admit I have a thing for white wine and especially Vinho Verde (I don’t know why but ever since I’ve read a piece in Monocle about Cities that never sleep where they list the usual suspects like New York or Seoul but added Lisbon, mentioning how to a glass of this wine was the perfect drink when the sun rises, I feel the need to get a glass from time to time.

For now, I tried their take on the Paloma, called the Palo-Mont-Royal, with Tequila, Grapefruit juice, Lime, Agave syrup and Grapefruit bitters. It felt more like a Greyhound (with Tequila in lieu of Vodka). Not that there’s anything wrong with that!

wp-1463338620185.jpgNext, Mayfair is an odd duck, a mix of a British tea salon and a cocktail bar, which makes for an eclectic clientele, I kept waiting for the gang of Hustle at one of the tables. The funny thing is that a coworker of mine had actually visited the place a few weeks back and given the proverbial thumbs up, to which I have to concur. Here I tried the Castaway which is Rum, Cointreau, Earl Grey tea, Pineapple juice, Lime, Orgeat syrup and Strawberries and a rim of Sugar and Black Pepper.

 

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Last but not least is Chez Victoire, This bistro-style restaurant is an hidden gem. It straddles the fine between a straight-up neighbourhood joint and New French cuisine with a razor’s edge. I was surprised that it’s from the same group that owns Mimi La Nuit (more on that later) and I can see the similarities.

I decided to try their Mr.Gentleman (Gentleman Jack’s with Lemonade topped with ginger-infused whipped cream and cardamon). While the cream was probably a bit much, I suppose that it’s a way to give the drink a richness that one would probably try to get with egg whites, like in a Fizz.

 

wp-1463338624217.jpgThis year, the people behind the event brought some interesting changes. First, was the addition of bars in Québec City. Even though, I won’t be able to visit this week, I have taken notes for places to visit the next time I head over there.

The other thing is their embracing of places which are focusing as much on the food side as their mixology skills. That’s why i tried the Victoire’s “Smoked” Meat sandwich, which is definitely different than what has made La Cité famous. Still the meat was flavorful and the salad and fries were just as delicious. I find it funny to have it served on what looked like a cutting board as I read that morning that one of critic’s pet peeves on restaurant was their usage of eclectic implements where a plate would be just as good…

Next come the Round 2 gang, places I’ve either visited at last year’s or later on during the year

wp-1463338622503.jpgOn the top of the particular list is the Red Tiger, where I actually picked this year’s passport. I’ve selected the Pear Pressure Dan, a Muscat des Papes, Vermouth, Earl Grey syrup, Lemon & Asian Pear juices concoction. I have to admit that it was a very refreshing drink.

What’s more enticing is that they will be celebrating their first anniversary soon and they are planning to sell caps with their logo on them.

I can’t wait!!!!

 

 

wp-1463338629584.jpgI managed to visit the third and last Distillerie location. Although, each one is a different neighbourhood and as a certain feel to them, they are enough similarities between them that each feel different (which might change once they started selling their Momofuku-inspired fried chicken sandwiches in our their establishments).

I tried their Yellow Brick Road cocktail, with Ungava Gin, Basilic, Green Tea syrup, Lime juice and soda. I’m always intrigued when I come across a drink that will use a fragrant herb like rosemary or basilic, but I’ve rarely been disappointed when I try them

…On a side note, I’ve tried the Pepsi Ginger Cola and I was a bit underwhelmed, the mix of Cola and Ginger was okay, I guess but by the end , it was too much. Maybe had Coke tried it…

 

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wp-1463338621994.jpgOn a similar vein, my visit to what I found out was the original location for L’Assomoir. I was very much disappointed with my visit to their Old Montreal place as I found it pretty much a tourist trap and their reputation as a cocktail mecca to be undeserved. Visiting this place, I can see the “better-than-thou” attitude is a bit turned down at this location but still… It’s a bit too “Old World” for my taste, even the shot of Mandarine Napoléon the barman offered by way of apology for messing a patron’s order. Ironically, the cocktail I tried was called the #IKNOWMYJOB (Jamieson Whiskey, Prunelle de Bourgogne, Cinnamon, Coffee, Pink Grapefruit juice and Plum & Root Beer bitters

 

wp-1463338618582.jpgwp-1463338613091.jpgAs luck would have it, right next to L’Assomoir was the Gros Luxe, I’ve tried their Longueuil location for a Brunch a few months it was okay but definitely not worth all the publicity this place receives. When a place takes pride is selling a Bloody Caesar with a BURGER as an add-on, I’m pretty sure that subtlety has gone out the window.

I’ve tried the Pas Game (Jack Daniel’s, Pineapple-Chipotle liqueur, Smoked Chili bitters and Citrus rinds). Interesting, but at the end of the day, I’m not sure it’s interesting enough to warrant a return visit

 

All and all, It felt like a glorified dive bar

losers

I’ll close this section with the restaurant I visited for my birthday, Mimi La Nuit, which I had visited last year and was a little disappointed. Not taking any chances as I planned to visit this Old Montreal hot spot on a Saturday night, I made a reservation, which provided mixed results as the place I was given was a bit out of the way and it felt that I had only walked in and asked for a place at the bar, I would have been better seated.

wp-1463338614902.jpgwp-1463338614825.jpgOn my first visit, I was deterred from ordering any food but this was not a problem this time around. I’ve ordered the Gyoza dumplings with Quebec Pork as a starter., along a Mac’n’Cheese with smoked Gouda, Pork Shoulder and Jalapeno. The food was top-notch, for the price, and although I expected a little more kick from the Jalapeno, it was still a good meal.

 

 


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wp-1463338619796.jpgwp-1463338621767.jpgFor dessert, I’ve tried their Carrot Cake. I was surprised to see my order arrived as it felt anything but the traditional dessert I expected. Instead, it was a “bizarro” offering with just a minimal amount of scrumptious cookie-like carrot “cake” with a good mix of spiced (was there anise seed in the mix?) and a ton of cream cheese filling. A bit rich for my blood but still a pleasant enough indulgence.

On the cocktail side, I tried the Corpse Reviver No. 4 (Havana Club 5 Years Rum, Vermouth, Lemon juice and Absinthe) and the Kentucky Sour ( Jack Daniel’s Gentleman Jack, Lemon Juice, simple syrup and Red Wine). A much better offering than the last time around, which seems to indicated the staff have fine-tuned their skills. The only reason, why I would be hesitant to return over there was the price they charged for beer and cocktails.

Cocktails on the 12-15$ range, I could live with, but when beer is in the same price range, it makes one wonder whether it’s worth it…A place to grab a drink after work, if they manage to let me in… Interesting side-note, my boss was VERY interested in my critique of the place, as it shares her nickname and she’s keen to visit and I learned from a third-party that a colleague went over there to celebrate her 50th birthday, which fits well the mind’s eye I have for the target clientèle as it feels perfect for a Girl’s Night Out type of outing…

And the rest, places that didn’t quite make the cut, and some that dd not seem to care about it…

wp-1463338629619.jpgwp-1463338619665.jpgThe least worst of the bunch was Quai No 4, an oddly maritime-themed brasserie in the middle of Vieux-Rosemont (far from any water).. I tried their Bramble No.4, which is a mix of locally-made Cirka Terroir vodka, Blackcurrant syrup, Lime juice, simple syrup and berries.A nice enough drink that could be a nice stand in for sangria, but I would have do without the sugary rim as it felt out of place.

Not a bad place per se, but I would not myself see came to this place, as I’m not that much of a seafood fan and there’s already SOOOOOOO many places on my dancing card…

 

The next deserve a special place in Hell they are beyond Bar Rescue and if there’s any justice in this weird, they would disappear in the ether…

wp-1463338619654.jpgwp-1463338616938.jpgFirst is Grenade, a “trendy” (blah!) Asian (BLAH!) Street Food (BLAH!) that is supposedly the latest “it” thing. I had read lots of good things about the place but I was a bit weary as these “flavour-of-the-month” places always hits a sour spot for yours truly.

Haven’t tried their food as the place was packed to the gills and I had to ask for my order 3 times before finally getting it with much (insincere) apologies. As I sipped my Norther (Angostura Rum, Almond liqueur, Red Vermouth, Orange bitters and a MIA caramelized Orange zest, although they gave a piece of chocolate, a nice touch as it complemented the drink), I look around, I recognized the cast of a nightly talk-show that was probably having a post-production party and looking at all the pretty and important people, I made my decision right here and now that I would probably never step back in this place…

wp-1463338621805.jpgwp-1463338629506.jpgAt the other end of the spectrum is Monsieur Smith, a “glorified” Dive Bar form the same people of the above mentioned Barraca and Quai No.4.. Again bad vibes set in as soon as I stepped inside the place as I found myself non-plussed yet again by the atmosphere. I’ve been to a few Dive bars in my day (Hello, Miss Villeray, it’s been a while…) and when it’s done organically, I can live with it. But if you just open a bag of “Instant Dive Bar Mix” and use bad attitude and lukewarm service as your branding, it feels cheap…

Having said that, the Bizarroïde that I tried was good, with Sortilège maple whiskey, White Vermouth, Chili syrup, Lime juice, Five Spice-Ginger-Black Pepper bitters and soda. Enough that I’ll probably try and order at another place but never again over there.

One last thing about this place that really stuck in my craw. For Invasion Cocktail, it’s not surprising to see participating bars use new drinks but they will also showcase some that are on their regular menu, which is fine – especially for some such as I who visit for the first some of these places. But, Monsieur Smith has taken it to a weirdly new level by re-using the same names for drinks on the Invasion menu. For example, whereas the Invasion’s “Viau” was a Cognac-coffee liqueur-Cherry affair, on the regular menu it’s Vodka and Chocolate Milk, WTF???

wp-1463338622230.jpgwp-1463338621509.jpgI don’t always do cocktails,..

…OK, I lied I almost always drink cocktails!

In closing for this first entry, here’s a cool old-style Volvo that is definitely not beige that I saw on Mont-Royal avenue as I was making the rounds…

 

 

Snow-Covered PlainsToday’s MtG Tarot is SNOW-COVERED PLAINS (HA! It seems the Fates have been looking at the weather forecast for the weekend. Hopefully, La Cité will be spared with this but some other ares in La Belle Province are due to receive over 10 cm of snow!

Feels like: Dorky

Playing on CJFL: Jeu De Boussole – Les Soeurs Boulay

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2016, 07:37, EDT in Vox_en

 

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The Labours of Gaetan

Amidst its current reform of the Public Health system, Liberal minister Gaetan Barrette has (unsurprisingly) met a lot of resistance by people in the field. It’s not just the union employees or the doctors trying to defend their gains, but more and more other officials are questioning the validity of a move that would take away vital resources from CLSC (Centre Local de Service Communautaire, an alternative to having to go to an hospital’s emergency room for low-level problems) and isntead creating yet another structure where the private sector will encroach even more, thus creating a two-tier system. Add the fact that he has also put in place a website to allegedly help people find a family doctor, but it’s so flawed that one can end with having indeed a doctor that lives in a separate region that one currently resides, so it’s a bit virtual…

It remains to be seen how much of this reorg will come to pass and how much will be put in the File 13 folder. One thing’s for sure, it’s going to get worse before it gets better…

Barrin's UnmakingToday’s MtG Tarot is BARRIN’S UNMAKING Seems that the Fates are sharing my skepticism about the project…

Feels like: Discontent

Playing on CJFL: Team – Iggy Azalea

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2016, 07:15, EDT in Vox_en

 

Bytown à l’horizon?

Je ne sais pas pourquoi mais depuis quelque jours, j’ai la musique que la chanteuse Karen O des Yeah Yeah Yeahs a composée pour Rise of the Tomb Raider.

Dans les autres nouvelles, il semble que Cloud-9 veut m’envoyer en mission à Bytown dans les prochaines semaines. Il semble que l’option de m’envoyer dans la Vieille Capitale pour la mi-Mai n’est plus sur la table. On va voir ce qui va se développer de ce coté, tout va dépendre de mes jours de vacances qui devraient être autorisés dans les prochain jours…

RaphaelToday’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Tarot (OK, je dois admettre qu’utiliser Heroclix comme source d’avatar apporte son lot de bizarreries) is RAPHAEL

Feels like: Accomplished

Playing on CJFL: Army – Ellie Goulding

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2016, 09:23, EDT in Vox_fr

 

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Frackin’ Corporate

As I was about to leave the office last night, my boss pulled me aside and asked to talk to in private. This was weird as we already had our (supposedly) monthly meeting a few days back and while the idea that I would be once again  Burn Noticed danced in my head for a few seconds, the fact that our director was not there and that doing that would be so far out of her character that the worry evaporated right away.

Not, the reason for this little unscheduled (and technically unremunerated) pow-wow was to give me a scoop. It seems one of my colleagues had told me that she had accepted a job in another department and was leaving at the end of May. What it is interesting about this is that it’s not (unfortunately) one of the Horsewomen of the Apocalypse but rather, one of what I call the Lazytown Three, as they are a trio that seems in sync as far as their attitude of work goes.

The fact that one of the group is leaving might incite the other 2 to move out is intriguing, especially as the social dynamics currently at play in our team makes them outliers (not by choice like yours truly but still) and put them in a bind that they actually would have to work (i know what a novel concept)?

I guess the nature of this confidence was to gauge my reaction and whether or not I would think it would be better to announce it to the rest of the team or let the matter lie and wait for the girl to make the announcement herself. Since I felt that this was more a way for her to “test the waters”

 

Keeping with the  corporate thShadowrun_Hard Targetseme. I’ve picked up Hard Targets Shadowrun. One of the reasons that I decided to pick that particular is that it’s probably one of the first time I’ve come across a version of Havana in RPGs. And by tying with Shadowrun, makes it that much more interesting to use in my game world.

It would be “interesting” if I decided to head over to Cuba instead of Mexico for my Winter getaway, in the meantime, this will do…

 

 

In sadder news, I just came across a facebook post from Le Painnamou, that Korean pastry I discovered a couple of years back near Concordia University. They just announced that would close. I have to admit that I would go for a couple of puff pastries and an espresso from time to time, but what I will miss the most is that it was the only place in La Cité I could get my hands on Mexican Coke an Fanta. #firstworldproblems

2_Wands_revToday’s Tarot draw is TWO OF WANDS (DOMINION) – REVERSED The erosion of power and influence. Failing to articulate goals or establish a vision for the future. Being caught off guard, due to an inability to come to grips with the impact of past decisions. Obstinate and irresponsible leadership. Loss of interest, clarity, or faith in a venture. Well, this is probably for work, so…

Feels like: Accomplished

Playing on CJFL: The Heart Wants What It Wants – Selena Gomez

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2016, 19:14, EDT in Vox_en

 

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Can’t stop this feeling

Is it just me or there’s some weird voodoo going on?

Maybe it’s because I’m feeling increasingly disconnected with the world (I wouldn’t be surprised to actually wake up one morning in my 5-year-old body about to start school, making the past 35+ years some elaborate hallucination by what I can only surmise to be a very active hallucination) and yet, I can’t quite put my finger on what has triggered this latest malaise…

Everything around me is basically the same (not that it means it’s great but still…), so, I’m not sure what’s going on but I feel out of step. In a ideal world, I would take a couple of days off drop completely out of the grid and try to refocus but it’s a luxury I cannot afford at the moment.

So I’ll keep soldier it on until I get through this…

…I guess ?!?

Precinct CaptainToday’s MtG Tarot is PRECINCT CAPTAIN, Funny, I almost expect Captain Jim Gordon to appear… then again, he’s busy being Robo-Batman

Feels like:Weird

Playing on CJFL: I Took A Pill In Ibiza – Mike Posner

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2016, 07:17, EDT in Vox_en

 

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Frères de différentes mères

J’ai toujours eu l’impression que j’avais un ange gardien qui veillait sur moi. Non pas que je courais après le trouble, mais je sentais une main sur mon épaule quand le doute m’assaillait et celui-ci se dissipait comme la brume le matin.

Jusqu’au jour où en regardant dans le miroir, je l’ai vu… Pendant une milliseconde, il y avait quelqu’un debout en arrière de moi, le visage buriné par ce qui a été probablement des années de dure labeur, mais il y avait encore cet éclat dans les yeux de quelqu’un qui malgré les revers de la vie, il ne se laissait pas abattre.

Et malgré le flou causé, l’aura lumineux qui l’entourait, quand nos regards se sont croisés, j’ai su que cette personne ne pouvait être qu’une personne ayant marché dans les mêmes traces que les miennes, qui sait ou mène chaque ramification et chaque décision.

Je ne connais pas les circonstances qui ont fait en sorte que je décide dans le futur de retourner changer mon passé, mais j’espère que ceci va apporter un peu de sérénité…

 

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2016, 07:15, EDT in Vox_fr

 

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Dernier Tango à Halifax

Il semble que ma mère a décidé potentiellement de changer de destination pour cet été car elle semble maintenant intéressée par Halifax en lieu et place de Charlottetown. Je dois admettre que je ne sais pas trop quoi penser de ce rebondissement.

La dernière fois que j’ai visité cette ville, c’était la même année que Charlottetown et le principal souvenir de mon séjour là-bas était le fait que l’on s’est retrouvé en même temps que le Prince Phillip et mon père avait eu la brillante idée de choisir comme endroit, un parc qui était complètement vide, sauf pour les canons qui ont servi à faire une salut.

Pas certain que l’on pourrait refaire le coup aujourd’hui…

D’un point de vue touristique, je perdrai un peu au change car Halifax n’et pas nécessairement pourvu en attraction. En ce qui à trait à la collecte de données, c’est blanc bonnet et bonnet blanc.

À suivre…

Green ScarabToday’s MtG Tarot is GREEN SCARAB

Feels like: Tired

Playing on CJFL: Right Now – Rhanna & David Guetta

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2016, 08:42, EDT in Uncategorized

 

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The Negro Subversive

"Those who say it can't be done are usually interrupted by others doing it."-James Baldwin

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Mithai Mumblezz

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