Saturday, April 01, 2006

Black Moss in Spice City

It was a Black Moss kind of night last night. Heard Paul Vasey and Marty Gervais at Mocambo, and had a chance to wave my new book around. Paul had just recovered from laryngitis and a wicked cold but he read well from his novel Last Labour of the Heart, published by Marty's Black Moss Press of Windsor, whence hails our new favourite CBC morning show host. Marty showed off his design and photography skills with his letterpress book Taking My Blood, and read from his new collection Wait for Me, also published by Black Moss.

A couple of nice 'n spicy lunches with ladies this week. We were going to attempt a novelty lunch at the Provincial legislature restaurant, but we were a little late since they close it to the public at 11:30 when the house is in session, and there were a couple of bus tours downstairs taking up space, so we wandered off in search of something else.

Our sure-footed local expert Aurelie took us by the noses and led us to Santiago's, a bright happy Thai, Mexican and tapas place; lively in the evenings and fills up for lunch. It's only a block or so from the legislature, tucked away on Belleville. We got to perch up above the crowd in a booth, while the spring daylight streamed in through the conservatory-like front of the restaurant.The menu includes tapas items which actually seemed large enough for main courses: Thai red curry with shredded squash looked and was confirmed to be amazing; chicken quesadilla is said to be a reliably good standby; and my beef burger with jalapeno relish was very good indeed.

I've walked past The Reef a zillion times, as it's next door to the Yates Street parkade where I often park when visiting Ferris' Oyster Bar directly opposite. I discovered the room is deceptively deep inside and equipped with several comfy booths, each with their own mechanical fish tanks which grind a little strangely in your ear as you read the menu. I'd never had roti, and wondered what it was like, so had one filled with Jerk Chicken, a dark spicy mixture that soaked nicely into the flatbread wrapper. (So the answer is, it's like spicy stuff in a flat bread, and it works!) It came with a fairly bland coleslaw - which was ok given the spice in the roti. I allowed myself to be talked into a noontime Mojito which went a little too well with everything else. We had some plantain chips to start with and enjoyed dabbling them lightly in the spicy Caribbean hot sauce.

Back home, in milder mood, I made a rhubarb custard pie the other night… yum… My recipe also called for a tablespoon of orange peel and a quarter tsp of cloves. You can cover it with a lattice if you like, but it is fine as a single crust.



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