Dec 18, 2002

What time is it?

I've set aside this evening for packing my suitcase for Hong Kong. At the moment however, the said suitcase is still sitting, empty, in my closet. My clothes, also resting in the closet, look rather satisfied, with no sign of any inclination to move themselves into the suitcase. The suitcase itself doesn't look like it wants to come out and open itself either, so it might be a moot point to ask anything of the clothes. Apparently, gentle coaxing and peaceful negotiations don't work well with suitcases. Should this one continue to remain closed against the requests of the closet inspectors, I will have to resort to using force and dragging it from its rightful place at the closet floor.

Moving to more nutritious matters, it looks like the food girl has gotten tired of waiting for restaurant and movie reviews and she's contributing some of her own. To make up for the lapse, let me recommend the Top o'the Senator in Toronto, which is really a jazz club instead of a restaurant. One website told me that it's located on top of the Senator steakhouse, hence the name and the facility for a dinner and show. From what I could observe, the Senator is dead and now replaced by the Torch Bistro, which provides the dinner before the show. A dinner reservation gets you a reserved seat upstairs for after dinner, but the price of the meal does not include the $14/person cover to get upstairs later.

The restaurant ambience is rather dry, the aged hardwood floors need refinishing to give this establishment the sense of elegance it needs. Curtained booths add a sense of privacy and cut down the noise for decent conversation, but the 7 foot waiter towering above the table was a bit disconcerting regardless of service. Appetizers ($7-10) were mediocre, and the chocolate cake ($?) was dense, but not impressive. Both the lamb sirloin ($28) and the duck leg confit ($26) however, came across nicely. As I found out with a little research afterwards, a confit is a meat preserved by slow cooking in its own fat. Kinda like deep frying at lower temperatures. Doesn't sound particularly healthy, but it certainly ends up very tender and extremely tasty. Given the decor though, the food seemed overpriced - perhaps if they waived the cover it'd be a good deal (2.5/5).

The club upstairs was long and thin, with the band on the near end, table seating at the far end, and benches and bar tables in between, running the length of the room. It's reminiscent of the Village Vanguard down in NYC, with considerably more atmosphere (read dimmer lights and denser crowd) than the restaurant below. Music from the Eliana Cuevas sextet the night I went was very latin, but varied from ballads to quite lively (4/5).

The past week has been a continuous rainstorm here, with periods of drizzle interspersed to alleviate the monotony. I normally don't notice much except on the drive to and from work, but I guess this is how the weather makes up for the last six months of cloudless skies. I'm just disappointed that I didn't choose to go up to Tahoe either this past weekend, or the coming weekend, considering they've gotten about 10' of fresh white stuff in the last week or so. Who am I kidding. I'm not going to complain about missing out on a white Christmas for fears of bitterly cold Torontonians. I'll leave you guys with a happy Canadian-wannabe, since I'm gonna have to go drag that suitcase out for a bit of stuffing.

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