Boat Names – Boatyard Eatery – Good food in Midland, Ontario – Who Knew?


On the shores of the Georgian Bay, hard by Ste Marie among the Huron’s – you will find the town of Midland. We cruised Main Street on our way to the harbor and our destination – the Boatyard Eatery. We got distracted briefly by the Crow’s Nest – a wonderful bric-brac store with a collection of collectibles – ranging from junk, to vintage jewelry, silver plate, and the occasional true treasure. We bought 12 silver napkin rings for $10, a silver plate Ewer with a strangely curvy shape, and then moved on.

The Boatyard reminds me that it’s location, location, location. And the location is superb. The large wooden deck with its tables, umbrellas, and dappled shade overlooks the harbor with its working boats like tugs, and it’s pleasure boats – primarily cabin cruisers of the 32 to 50 foot range.

The food isn’t bad either! We order draft beer and onion rings while we peruse the menu. Most in our group opt to try the Pickerel – a fish my hosts tell me is native to this area of Ontario, while Anais orders pork ribs with absolutely yummy Sweet Potato Fries. I remove the ‘fried’ skin, and just pick at the delicious white flaky fish. The rice it’s served with is good, but I definitely should have gone for the Sweet Potato Fries. For dessert, Anais gets ‘fried’ cheesecake, which given the speed with which it disappears, must be truly delicious.

After our yummy meal, we relax and just enjoy the good company and the great view, until Anais and I decide it’s time for a closer look at the boats.

We start to play the name game – trying to pick out the best. Not all boats have names, a puzzle we find odd. Why would an owner not name their boat? It’s a question we cannot answer – but we do find all the names a lot of fun – and this list we share with you!

Knot Mov’n
Knotty Bouys
Dealing with the Devil
Knot a Dream
Island Time
The Bottom Line
Night Moves
Naudi Impulse
Naudi Moves
Naudi Dreams
Naudi Girl
Windancer
The Honey Bee
The Office
Sea n’Dubble

Picked your favorite yet? We decided on Naudi Dreams!

Signing off – The Soup Lady

The Boathouse Eatery on Urbanspoon

Sainte-Marie among the Hurons – A must visit Museum!


Sainte-Marie among the Hurons – Midland, Ontario. Not just your average Museum

Several years ago I was lucky enough to visit this Museum and Living History Re-creation, and my memories were so strong, I insisted that we go again. I didn’t have enough time to really look hard at the museum, the outdoor portion is so outstanding.

A little history as background – From 1639 to 1648, here in an isolated and seemingly abandoned part of Canada, the Jesuits established and maintained a settlement among the Wendat (Huron) Indians. Their purpose was to convert the natives of course, but the trading opportunities were of great interest as well. Eventually – attacks by the Iroquois became too much for the colony to continue, although the loss of the founders – Fathers Jean de Brebeuf and Gabriel Lalemant – might have been the determining factor.

This museum/living history exhibit attempts to recreate the settlement in great historical detail. The exhibit starts with a 15 minute movie – which ends with the screen opening to reveal the entry to the outdoor component. There we find an entire settlement, numerous costumed interpreters available to provide explanations and in-depth descriptions of the soldier’s barracks, the Stone Bastions, the Granaries, the Gardens, the Cookhouse, the Hospital, the Chapel, and my favorite – a non-Christian Longhouse. Still in use during reenactments, the Longhouse smells of smoky fires, and feels full of Wendat Legends and tales.

It’s wonderful.

But even better is the museum, which starts with the cobbled streets of Europe of the 1630’s. There are movies galore – available in both English and French with the press of the correct button. There’s a sideshow describing a canoe trip from Montreal to the Midlands done in traditional clothes – which means full habits for the Jesits – 39 portages, and numerous rapids. In another section, there are a series of short videos of Wendat stories and tales. The walls of the museum start off resembling the towns in Europe, and end off becoming the woods of Northern Ontario. Among the birches and pines are set the exhibits, examples of tools and axes typical of the period, books of Jesuit prayers, the bits and pieces of everyday life in Northern Ontario in 1650.

Remarkable and well worth visiting.

Posana Restaurant – Ashville, N.C.


Yes – I know – I’m bouncing around in location – I actually ate at the Posana on June 15, 2013 – and only got around to reviewing it today – because missing this one was not an option!

Located right opposite the downtown city park, the Posana is a beautiful restaurant owned and operated by Peter Pollay, a graduate of the CIA (culinary Institute of America). Since this is my daughter’s alma-mater – I’m always intrigued to see what other graduates are up to – and this seemed a great opportunity – prices weren’t crazy, the restaurant looked lovely – and the ‘100% Gluten Free’ advertising slogan said – modern cuisine to me.

Without reservations – on a Saturday night – we were going to have to wait – but just 10 minutes. Hardly a problem. The hostess suggested we sit at the bar – so we decided to see if the bartender could make a Caipirinha – the Brazilian National cocktail that my sister is enamoured of. Yes – he could – and he had no problems giving me a glass of 1/2 white wine, 1/2 soda water. Great. We add lettuce wraps as an appetizer – and sit down to wait. Curiously – our table is ready before our appetizer – and the hostess requests that we settle with the bar before she escorts us to our table.

I’m a bit surprised by this request – I don’t think there are more than a dozen tables – how can they not figure out how to move a bill from the bar to the table. But never mind, we pay up – go to the table – and only once there get our appetizer of lettuce cups with chicken and veggies. Not quite as good as PF Chang’s version and definitely a lot less food – but good just the same.

This slows down the ordering process a bit – with the net effect that getting our dinner gets delayed – and we will end up taking over 2.5 hours to eat. Why is this a problem? We’re an hour away from ‘home’, and that means a long drive in the dark with deer. Oh well – Be Calm and Carry On I suppose.

I order fish, which eventually is served as a tiny, but yummy portion. My sister gets a chicken dish – also consumed with delight. The Posana advertises itself as 100% Gluten free and Organic – I guess that explains the size of the portions.

Two points of critique – I had ordered soda water at the bar, after asking the price and being told it was free since they were ‘making’ it themselves. I repeat the order at the table, and when the bill arrives – am disappointed that they charged $2 for it. Hey – $2 for a 1/2 of a glass of soda water? Sorry – I’m not impressed. To the waiter’s credit – when I question it, it is removed from the bill. Nice response, but just a little late.

My other complaint – and I’ve made this before – the chef comes out of the kitchen and is chatting with the people at the table right next to us. Would it be too much to ask for him to at least turn around and smile in our direction? Guess so. Moral – Chefs – if you walk into the dining room – say hi to every table – regardless of how difficult it feels. Your guests will appreciate it more than you can imagine. And yes – we do notice if you ignore us!

Bottom line on the Posana – beautiful restaurant, delightful if tiny portions, and great location. B+ from this reviewer.

Posana on Urbanspoon

Posana Cafe on Foodio54

Lakeview Restaurant – Lake Lure, N.C. – Brunch is definitely a “Skip It”


Lakeview at Wynham – Great location – lousy Breakfast

We had decided it would be fun to do a Sunday Brunch before heading off homeward. After consulting with Tripadvisor – and finding out that the Larkin – where we’ve already eaten two meals is a top restaurant in this area – we figure out that the nearest brunch place is the Lakeview. Reviews are a bit mixed – dinner gets high ratings, other meals less so – but hope beats eternal…

The location is great – overlooking Lake Lure and a beach, and just minutes from the condo. We opt to sit outside on a lovely porch, clearly designed to make the most of the view. So far, so good.

Unfortunately, the ‘buffet’ is forgettable at best. There’s a omlet station – that would have been great – but with only one server, who clearly has little idea how to handle the station, the line waiting is too long for our schedule. We still need to get me to the airport on time. Ok – so let’s stick to the prepared foods. There’s no eggs – you are supposed to use the omelet station. The bacon and potatoes ‘bins’ are empty, and there’s only one piece of French Toast left. Good news – a young man reassures us that more food is coming in a second.

There’s a nice fruit selection – so I make do with that, and return to our table. My sister has ordered coffee (extra charge – sorry), which I enjoy with my fruit. I return to the buffet – and by now they have replenished the bacon and the French Toast. Oh yum. Best bacon ever – crisp – which is surprising, and delightful. Worth waiting for. The French Toast is ok, but the ‘fake’ syrup is disappointing for someone from Quebec.

The bread options are truly disappointing – come on people – there’s more than just white bread in this world.

Bottom line – get a server who can cook if you can only afford one on the omelet station – or at least put a platter of scrambled eggs out for those of us who just can’t wait 40 minutes in line. And please – include the coffee in the price – it’s annoying to get an additional charge for something that really costs almost nothing. And offer more than the cheapest possible bread and pastry.

Oh well – we were warned. I hope other’s who come to this area heed the subtle warnings in the Tripadvisor reviews.

Lakeview Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Spencerville Mill Heritage Days – Living History can be so much Fun


The War of 1812 is big news in Canada – at least the part along the St. Lawrence River. In the Canadian History books, we are the winners, and the War is a source of pride. And given that this is 2013 – We are in the middle of a series of 200 year celebrations. Spencerville Mill Heritage Days is a part of that – and like most 1812 celebrations – it’s free.

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As Napoleonic Reenactors – we’ve come to be a part of the celebrations. On Friday there are dance lessons followed by a pig roast. On Saturday – more dance lessons, a 45 minute skirmish between the Americans (bolstered by a member of the French Imperial Guard), and a series of planned lectures – including one on dueling, another on medical expertise in 1813, and two rather boring historical lectures on clothing. At night will be the Grand Regency Ball. On Sunday the schedule includes more lectures – including one called ‘Petticoats on the Battlefield’, another called “Period Cooking”, visits to sutlers (period correct craftsman and women), and finally clean-up.

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We are 3 – my husband who will be re-enacting as Imperial Guard during the fighting, and then coming to the ball as Royal Horse Artillery, I’m doing a period grand lady – Lady Bertram carrying Pug to be specific – for the ball. During the skirmish, I’ll do ‘Vivandaire’ duty – which puts me on the battlefield but behind the troops. Meanwhile, my granddaughter will also be ‘doing’ a grand lady for the ball, and a fellow camp follower during the day.

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So much for our plans. How did it turn out? Well parts exceeded expectations – a very good thing. My favorite parts – the ‘medical’ lecture which was so interesting, we actually went twice. Pug even volunteered for brain surgery. He loved the laudanum, and did better at staying still than the next volunteer, who screamed dramatically from the ‘pain’.

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And I adored the English Country Dancing! There were probably about 60 dancers in total – many of them with a great deal of experience. This means that it is a lot easier to look good – you can rely on your partner to guide you if you get confused.

For those who don’t know English Country Dancing from Ballet – a quick description. Generally English Country Dancing is done in long lines – men on the right, women on the left – with a caller. The practice sessions differ from the Ball in two ways – first everyone wears period dress to the ball, and second, the caller takes a bit more time going over the dances. So if you’re a ‘newbie’ – you just go to the practice sessions! Another important fact about English Country Dancing – it’s considered very rude to only dance with the person you came with. The idea is to change partners on every dance – never doing a repeat if you can avoid it. This way you get to meet other people – and since it’s the expected way to behave – your partner can’t get upset about it. I think it’s fun!
And my third highlight – the fireworks! They were amazing, done by a local fireworks company called Han Fireworks – they lasted at least 15 minutes – and it’s was finale after finale.

For the skirmish – there were 2 cannons – one on each side – plus our side – the Americans has a Blunderbus – a hand carried musket that creates an unbelievable amount of noise. Unfortunately, the British are the victors – out numbering and overwhelming the Americans – who end up having to flee with they fix bayonets and charge. We tried for an orderly retreat – but ended up fleeing with our lives to fight another day.

Bottom line – fun for the participants – fun for the spectators – and you even got to learn something about living history. The perfect definition of a Win-Win situation.

It’s my 65th Birthday!


Send a card! PLEASE… I adore cards… I got 64 for my 64th birthday – let’s beat the record this year! (And late cards are completely acceptable..)

Thanks for following me – I totally love comments – I love feedback, and did I say something about cards?

PS: People who already sent cards – and you know who you are – Thanks!

Hugs

Leslie
aka: TheSoupLady
aka: Montreal Madame….

Restaurant Budapest – Simply Yummy!


Ok – I know you need more details – but trust me on this – the bottom line is Yummy.

The Budapest is a tiny storefront restaurant that we fell into the other night. We were intrigued by the combination of flowers, tablecloths, and smiling hostess/chef. I generally won’t walk into a restaurant that is empty, but we were short of time (on our way to a fringe play), and the prices looked great. Every entre was under $10 – and the list, while short, sounded delicious – Schnitzle, Goulash, and Chicken Cordon Blue. What can you lose.

Our waiter, surprisingly, announces that he is normally the violinist! On Friday and Saturday nights – reservations required – they offer a special 3 course meal for $25 – and there’s live Hungarian Music. We immediately start thinking of people we can invite who would just love that.

This night – being a Wednesday – was music-less – but we were ok with that. We quickly ordered one each of the 3 main entries, told our hosts that we were a bit pressed for time – and were asked if we’d brought our own wine. Oh – it’s a BYOB. Make a note for next time!

Reassuring noises immediately started coming from the tiny kitchen – and it’s clear our meal is being prepared to order. Now that’s great news – both Chicken Cordon Blue and Schnitzel are tons better made fresh.

The meal arrives, it looks great – and the portions are prefect. The Goulash is served with fresh spaetzle, pasta made by dropping the dough into boiling water. It’s fabulous – and the Goulash was clearly made long long ahead – exactly as Hungarian Goulash should be.

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My Schnitzel portion is huge – and served with roasted potatoes (simple and so good), and a bowl of purple cabbage that was absolutely delicious.

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The third entre – Chicken Cordon Blue, a chicken Schnitzel stuffed with ham and cheese, also comes with the potatoes and the cabbage. Oh my, are we loving dinner.

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For dessert we order one Palachinta – a thin crepe folded over apricot jam and then served with hot chocolate sauce. Enough said. The waiter is amazed that we only want one for the 3 of us – but dinner was so filling! And we still need to stay awake for the theatre.

To say we rolled out happy is an understatement. I’m definitely coming back to the Budapest!

Budapest Roma on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Budapest on Foodio54

Where you sit makes all the difference!


Where you sit makes all the difference!

A man on a chair that towers over the heads of all around him has a different perspective on life – and “Chairs, a Parable”, the new play by Sebastien Archibald takes a radical approach to the idea of perspective.

The play starts simply enough – 3 guys are sitting on the floor – all equals, all sharing in the tasks and experiences that have gone before – and lie ahead. A shadow play behind them shows the passage of time – and evantually becomes a window on the world outside of the theatre stage.

Drawing heavily on works by Pinter – and with the occasional nod to Theatre of the Absurd, the actors in “Chairs” craftily draw the audience into their world view.

Once the first chair – with it’s drastic change in perception – comes on stage – the relationships between the 3 characters begins to change – in increasingly radical ways. At first it’s 2 on the floor against the one with the chair. But eventually it dawns on the 2 that they could build a 2nd chair, slightly shorter than the first one. But it isn’t clear which of them should get the ‘seat’.

Eventually, one is ‘promoted’, and now you have a ‘superior’, a ‘supervisor’ and a worker. The character in the middle position twists and turns trying to see the world from both sides – sometimes successfully – sometimes with very discouraging results.

To describe the play as facsinating would be an understatement. But it’s not just well performed, it asks important questions in a very approachable way. Throughout the whole play I kept thinking about how I look at life – am I guilty of looking at the world only from my point of view? I suspect that most of us do that without realizing it – so isn’t intriguing to watch a play that through the approachable conceit of chairs exposes our inability to recognize our own blinders.

“Chairs, A parable” being performed twice more here in Montreal – on Saturday June 22, 2013 and Sunday June 23, 2014. Make an effort to see it – you will not be disappointed.

Fringe at it’s Best – Alex Cross and his Rise to Fame


Going to Fringe is always a bit of a risk – particularly because the shows at the Montreal Fringe are not picked by a jury – they are pulled out of hats. So many out of the hat for Canadian productions, so many from the hat for English Productions, so many from the hat for French Productions, so many from the hat for Foreign Productions – you get the idea.

So how does a Fringe goer with limited time pick and choose from over 90 productions? There are tons of different methods. Some people go to a specific production because they know someone in the piece. Some people go because they read a review. Some people go because they heard good things from other Fringe goers. But I go because I like the location – and it fits my time slots!

Not perhaps the most scientific of methods, and I will admit to occasionally going based on Fringe goer reviewers, but I’ve rarely been disappointed. The Intrepid Traveler thinks that perhaps I’m too easy to please – but I think I just pick well!

In any case – I do like Mainline – it’s got lots of room for the performers – less room for the audience, and lousy toilets. But the sound quality is good, and the chairs are quite comfy. So – after being tossed out of 2 for Tea (so they were sold out – surely 3 ladies could have squeezed in) – I said – hey – Alex Cross – it’s at my favorite Theatre. So we hiked over, bought tickets and settled in.

The story of Alex Cross summarized in the play-bill – “A talentless loser’s drive for fame leads him to making a deal with the devil for his soul. Join Alex’s journey during his rise to fame until he learns the truth from a conspiracy theorist who attempts to expose the hidden satanic agenda behind the music industry.”

What they don’t tell you is how well the story is going to be told. There are 11 performers on stage – in addition to Alex, the Devil, and Gavin, the Conspiracy Theorist, there’s dancers that perform when Alex is on stage as back-up, there are women who act as the Devil’s handmaidens – dressed in extremely revealing fashion of course, there’s the ultimate bad guy Baphomet – and there’s a narrator. So lots to watch and see and enjoy.

The acting was good by Fringe standards – and ranged to excellent in the surprising cases of the Devil (straight-faced business man with an evil streak) and the Conspiracy Theorist. He’s so good that when he does his excellent speel to Alex on how the Devil is taking over the music industry – the audience applauded. So he bows – and then comments shamefaced to Alex – I often pretend that there is applause right there.

Too funny, too well done, and great Entertainment.

And they end the story in 3 different ways! I have no idea what endings 2 and 3 are – because we saw ending 1.

Biltmore Day 2 – Better than Day 1 – how cool is that?


Today is Saturday – Father’s Day – and we’ve been warned. The one lane road that goes from the ticket booth to the Biltmore (about 5 miles long) – can take up to 45 minutes – it gets that crowded. So show up early – or else.

So early it will be. We manage to get up, get breakfast, take 2 mile ‘fast walk’, shower, do laundry, and still leave the condo by 9:05. Not bad – our target had been 9:00. So congrats sister team!

Naturally – we are there so early – it’s no problem to do the drive (lovely – a different vista with every snake-like turn of the road – a stream here, a pond there, a bamboo forest here, a hardwood forest there. Ormsted (landscaper of Biltmore, Central Park – and Mount Royal in Montreal) was no fool. This is awesome landscaping. We hazard a guess as to the number of gardeners – naturally – we’re off – it’s actually 55. Which honestly – feels low given the size of the gardens and the year-round nature of their care. Guess they have a tight scheduled. Today the Rose Garden, tomorrow the Azalea, then we mow some lawn.

Our specialized tour today is the Architecture tour – but first we check out the indoor pool, the pictures of the construction (George V knew this was going to be amazing – so he has before and after pictures – hard to believe it was that barren before. Such vision), the kitchen (again), and the laundry rooms. So cool.

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For the architecture tour – our lovely hostess starts with a down and dirty history – this is where we learn that Cornelia actually deserted her family when times got tough, leaving her husband and kids (and grand kids) to maintain the house. Then we walk up 250 stairs to the roof – and visit the attic, pat some of the gargoyles, and take pictures of what our hostess refers to as fantasies (and Wikipedia calls ‘grotesques’). The difference? Gargoyles – gargle. When the water goes thru them, they make a noise – hence the name. Fantasies don’t allow the water thru – they are just for fun. Check out the pictures (bit X rated – sorry)

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On this tour – it’s not so much what we see as what we hear that is cool. Our hostess shares tons of tidbits – and that makes it really fun.

Lunch today is shared sandwiches from the bakery. I have to say that the food options are outstanding – they really do a good job. Later I learn from my daughter – a graduate of Culinary Institute of America – that lots of the interns come here – and the ability shines thru. They have their ‘food’ act together!

Finally – we are hitting the gardens. And they are spectacular. It’s hard to explain why acres and acres of grounds should be so special – but it’s the variety and the twists and turns that makes this place so cool. You literally never know what will be around the next corner. Could be a stone wall, a fountain, the Italian gardens with their highly structured layout, the huge glassed in Conservatories, the Bass Pond for boating, or the Spring Garden – a riotously joyful explosion of flower and plant. We spend way too long, and way too much money in the garden shop. In my defense – it was probably the best garden shop I’ve ever been in, and finally drag ourselves back to the car. We still plan to visit Ashville!

But before Ashville – we must stop at Antler Hill Village and Winery. This is the home of the Inn at Biltmore – a monster of a ‘Hotel’ that towers above the ‘village’ with it’s collection of shops, an exhibit on the Vanderbilt’s, a maze, a kid’s Land Rover Course (you know you want to drive a midget Land Rover over rock bridges and obstacles don’t you), the farm, the barn, the kitchen garden, and the miniature winery. We’re not impressed with the winery – they don’t even grow their own grapes – but the rest is cute if way over priced. Maybe we’d feel differently if we’d had kids – but the off-key singing of the musician on stage was extremely off-putting.

So now it’s on to Ashville. Cute town, cute shops, great little ‘art’ market, and my favorite – the Mast General Store. Dinner, drive home (avoiding all deer), and bed time. Tomorrow is check out and leave. So much fun, so quickly done.