The Vacation So Far

For those of you who haven’t been following along on the Food Blog, here’s what the vacation looks like so far. I’m due at a crab fest on the Island on Saturday, but unless SOMEBODY pays me before then, I’ll be trapped here. Oh, poor me.

As you can see, it’s a nonstop grind. Oh, the pressure!

Bastille Day at Le Frolic in Yellowknife

Array of Amuses at Le Frolic on Bastille Day

We ARE amused! Array of Amuses at Le Frolic on Bastille Day

Welcome to Yellowknife! Hope you brought a fork!

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It’s not all musk ox bones and walrus blubber up here, ya know! Although some of it is. Some of it is even whale:

Bowhead Whale Hunt by Glenn Williams. Didja bring yer fork?

Bowhead Whale Hunt by Glenn Williams. Didja bring yer fork?

Wanna see the Food Chart the government distributes? Well, you will just have to wait till I’ve figured out how to convert PDFs to PNGs on this damn computer!

Oh, wait! GIMP to the rescue:

Om to the nom nom! The NWT Food Guide!

Om to the nom nom! The NWT Food Guide!

BACK to the future. It looks post-apocalyptic on the NWT Food Guide

BACK to the future. It looks post-apocalyptic on the NWT Food Guide

Yes, that is a rat on the food chart. And seaweed. And fish bones. And a Beluga Whale. And yes, they are endangered.

I heard they had to take the chicken leg in the grocery store packaging out of the new edition, because nobody knew what it was. They eat a lot of what is called “country foods” up here: outside of Yellowknife, something like 45% of families get 40% or more of their food off the land or from the sea. You don’t have to go to the Amazon to find hunter-gatherers, and frankly having sussed out the grocery stores here I’m thinking of trying it myself.

Anyway, not all food comes off the land or the endangered species list. Some of it comes off quite elegant presentations, as you can see from the image at the top of the post. Here`s how it all happened…

So there I was back a few months ago, minding everyone else`s business on social media, as one does (if one is this one), and I found out there was an actual, honest-to-god French chef in Yellowknife. Well, naturally I thought someone was pulling my leg; as far as I know not even Julia Child would have attempted to Frenchify a hunk o’ musk ox.

Boy, was I wrong.

Le Chef Pierre doesn`t mess around. You should see what happened to the last Top Chef in Yellowknife.

Le Chef Pierre doesn`t mess around. You should see what happened to the last Top Chef in Yellowknife.

Le Chef Pierre does exist, and not only does he exist, but he Follows me on Twitter, which as far as I`m concerned is truly the only authoritative signifier of meaningful existence. Naturellement. And once I`d moved up here and he found out I`d been born in France, he went ahead and invited me and my friend MoneyCoach to the Bastille Day celebration at his very civilized French restaurant, Le Frolic.

Now, as we`ve firmly established around these parts, a lot of my favorite words start with F; I don`t need to list them, do I? But the greatest of these is “Free.” Somehow, the psychic Chef Pierre sussed this out (what are the odds, eh?) and that is how I, my camera, and my best YK pal ended up freeloading our own bodyweight in steak tartare and cab sauv under the shadow of a three-story-tall red-white-and-blue model of the Eiffel Tower (where do they keep it the rest of the year?) or maybe that was just me.

Yeah, that was just me. Nancy’s a light eater, and I’m a lifelong believer in the calorie-free nature of food which you didn’t pay for.

In related news: food is also zero calorie if eaten standing up, by the light of the fridge. Very few people know that.

Well, if you flick through the Flickr pix you can see many things: bruschetta, amuse-gueules on a very snazzy steel presentation stand, a assortment of wines the list of which I had in my backpack until it rained, so sorry wine sponsors, no names in the post! and a trayfull of desserts, of which I only tried the butter tart, being a butter tart snob of the old school. Those of you who are Canuck Foodie Purists will be relieved to know that Chef Pierre is solidly of the “no nuts in the butter tarts” school. I’m glad I could take your mind off that worry. I was equally fascinated by the butter tart, as you can tell from the what, six pictures I took of it? Well, it was an uncooperative model, so I did my best. “Look up, baby! Work it! That’s it, that’s it, gorgeous, now more animalistic!” Oh, I tried my best, but the damn tart just wasn’t having it; I felt like David Bailey before he found his mojo (I understand he found it in his other pants).

Shortly after the butter tart posing session, I decided to stumble home, sated, but not before someone took me aside and whispered, “You better eat and drink your fill before the French get here. They bring big handbags, and they leave weighted down!”


Letters to Santa

Santa's on the move

Reindeer are SO 20th Century!

So this may be a weird post, but nonetheless it’s a post that captures the Zeitgeist of right this very second: Kardashians and soul-seeking all on the same page. Actually, I think I’ve spared you Kardashians this time, as I’ve covered actual out-of-the-closet hookers instead.

First, Adult Letters to Santa:

Solitude doesn’t only afflict the elderly, however. “I’m 37 years old and I’ve been deeply unhappy for too long,” one woman wrote this year, in a letter excerpted last week in Montreal’s La Presse. “All I really want for Christmas is to find my soulmate.”

This week, a letter arrived from a soldier-in-training who will be a father for the first time – yes, there are Santa believers on the battlefield. “Dear Santa, I haven’t written to you for a long time. I hope you haven’t forgotten me,” he wrote. “This year for Christmas I ask you nothing more than to give health, happiness and love to my young family.”

Filtered through the missives is a hint that, at a time of shifting religious faith, something of the Christmas spirit exerts a powerful pull on at least some Canadians. Like the middle-aged mother who wrote to Santa to say she was broke, they’re looking for a bit of hope at Christmas.

“Dear Santa, I bet it is a rarity for you to receive a letter from a 50-year-old woman,” she wrote. “This is the first year in my life when I have been unable to give Christmas presents to my family. I am on unemployment this year and my son has not been able to find work. As a mother, it hurts to see my son fighting the frustration of not having work. That would be the gift I would give him if I could this year: A job so he would feel better about himself.”

She said oil in the furnace and saving up for winter tires would have to take priority over gifts. “It has made me rethink Christmas and what it really means to give from the heart.”

Santa, she added, “I am writing to you in the hopes of finding the little girl I lost. You see, no matter how old I get, I know she still exists just as you do. You represent the kindness of a soul who carries himself from home to home in the blink of one night to make wishes come true … most of all you represent the hope that anything is possible. How can I not believe in such magic?”

And now, back to our regular superficial programming:

where the HELL has raincoaster BEEN, man? (raincoaster)
Mr Depp, those clothes have to come off IMMEDIATELY (Ayyyy)
Jon Hamm has a suggestion for you (lolebrity)
Screw that! (ManoloFood)
The world’s greatest horror movie in the works (AgentBedhead)
Justin Timberlake is high-caliber (BusyBeeBlogger)
Mel Gibson sees MUCH younger woman (CelebDirtyLaundry)
Does Julian Assange make your wiki leak? (CeleBitchy)
First couple to fight over eyeliner custody in court (EvilBeet)
Liz Hurley gets the hell out of my way (GirlsTalkinSmack)
Yes, in fact, that IS So Wrong (HaveUHeard)
Look who got the Royal Snub! (INeedMyFix)
John Stamos, recovering nerd (SeriouslyOMG)


Best. Facebook. Thread. Ever.

Best Facebook Thread Ever in history

Best Facebook Thread Ever in history

Thanks, Archie, for the image!

and for those of you who prefer text: (I have the feeling this will go around the internet a couple of times)

Continue reading

Quiz: What diner food are you?

countertop at the Ovaltine by Squeaky Marmot

Since I eat in diners on a regular basis, have actual credit at the Ovaltine, really should have a tag for the O for all my posts about it, and have done a diner tour of the PCH from Vancouver to San Francisco, this quiz has me written all over it. Especially in the following (perfectly accurate) result:

You Are Grilled Cheese

You are easygoing and easy to please. You don’t like change, and people can count on you to be consistent.

You don’t need or ask for much. If you have the basics satisfied, you’re happy.

You are a loyal and true friend. Your friends know to only expect the best from you.

You are a very “what you see is what you get” person and well liked for it. You are simply a delight.

And then we have the following. Also perfectly accurate, and the bizarre juxtaposition of which reminds me of the time we nearly had a tasting of Black Cloud Pinot Noir at the Ovaltine.

Brad Cooper, winemaker of Black Cloud Wines by April Smith of AHA Media


You Are Wine

You may be guilty of being a snob, but at least you’re always drinking good stuff.

You can appreciate a good wine, especially when it’s expertly paired with food.

And while you have a strong preference for wine, you can appreciate any fine beverage.

You’ve even been known to drink beer on occasion, if it’s the right microbrew.

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