Monthly Archives: February 2012

Goodbye Maya.

Saying goodbye is so hard.

On Saturday February 18th, 2012, at 12:30pm, Robyn and I had to say goodbye to our beautiful dog, Maya.

To say I am devastated would be such an understatement. As I write this, it’s been barely more than 24 hours since she’s been gone, and already I am missing her immensely.

I really miss our walks.

Robyn with Maya on her last walk

I miss her following my every move, especially if I’m doing anything in the kitchen.

I miss her running to the pantry cupboard where we stashed her snacks every time she heard the door open.

I miss tripping over her when you’re trying to do anything.

I miss her loving stares while I prepare dinner. (love of food, of course)

I miss her sitting pretty to watch me when I’m eating, and drooling the whole time.

I miss watching her dreaming while she sleeps, her leg twitching while small grunts and groans escape her mouth as I envision her dreaming of chasing rabbits in open fields.

I miss looking into those sweet brown eyes.

I miss coming home and having her meet us at the door, tail wagging.

I really miss the sound of her nails click-clacking across the hardwood floors.

I miss seeing her happy face in the side mirror during one of her favourite activities- the car ride.

But most of all I miss the companionship. Knowing that when I feel kind of down, I can just sit with Maya, pet her, and let her remind me in her own way of what’s really important in life. Your loved ones.

I miss it all.

Except the farts. Those pungent, lingering, room clearing farts. Those, I won’t miss.

When Maya was 8 months old we took her to the vet and we were told that she had the most severe case of hip displasia that this vet had ever seen in a puppy. We were shaken terribly at the news from the vet that we would likely only have 3 or 4 years with Maya before we’d have to put her down.  I remember us both sobbing all the way home, then drowning our sorrows at Tony Roma’s with ribs. We brought the bones home and Maya devoured them while laying out in the snow. Since then, we knew this day would come eventually.  As it turns out, knowing it’s coming doesn’t make it one ounce easier when that time actually arrives.

The following is a short gallery of some of my favourite pictures to celebrate our good fortune to have her in our lives almost 11 years.

This is one of the earliest pictures of my girl.

She loved her yard.

Occasionally Maya and Maverick got their dishes confused.

Soon this…..

turned into this…..

But seriously, they were the best of friends. (and no, Maya wasn’t the cause of Mavericks cone)

She had a phase where she loved the Chubby Chicken.

And just like her daddy, she loved to eat…..

…And sleep.

She also loved the snow.

And she really loved her walks.

The last few days of her life were filled with sadness for me. I had to carry her up the 2 stairs to the back door because she couldn’t make it under her own steam. You could see the pain she was in every time she sat or got up. She could only enjoy the car ride for a short time before her sore hips let her down and she had to sit instead of hanging her head out the window and enjoying life. She knew she was defeated, and it was so heartbreaking to watch.

In the end, we cradled her in our arms and told her for the hundredth time that day that we loved her very much. The light went out with a promise to never forget her and one last, long, tear-filled hug.

Goodbye Maya, my sweet girl. I will never stop missing you.


Brunch with Baconhound- A Pictorial

Here’s what Sunday brunch looks like at our house today.

Beef bacon from ACME meat market

Cooked bacon. Crispy is better

Sunwork Farms Egg in a red pepper ring

Beef Bacon and Eggs with Herb de Provence Potato Cakes

A little pre-dessert dessert from Molly’s Eats. Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookie

Getting some cinnamon bread oven ready

ready for slicing

bring on the butter!

Suppliers of fine products include:

ACME Meat Market- Beef bacon.

Sunwork Farms– Eggs

Molly’s Eats– Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookie

Indulging my meat tooth at CHARCUT

Every now and then a meal rocks your world so completely that it almost defies words.


This past weekend I experienced such a meal.

Having tried the lunch at CHARCUT last summer, I was anxious  to come back for dinner. And when the discussion began about where to celebrate my birthday this year, CHARCUT immediately jumped to the top of the list.


My wife Robyn and I packed up the car and headed down the Queen Elizabeth Highway toward gluttony. But not before Robyn discovered this wannabe stowaway in our bags….

When we arrived, we were shown to our seats at the kitchenside eating bar where Chef/ Co-owner John recognized us from a chance encounter earlier in the day and made us feel welcome. Sitting at the eating bar gave us a perfect vantage point to the sights and sounds of a busy kitchen dinner service. I enjoyed every minute of that.

And then the feasting began.

Right away a welcome gift of Linguica sausage and organic Turkey Tasso, topped with shavings of delicious St. George cheese arrived for our pleasure. And please it did. The turkey tasso was thinly shaved, and deliciously peppery. I could have eaten a pound of it. By the time I worked back around to the linguica, it was almost all gone! I reasoned that a hungry bird must have flown in and liberated us of our sausage, but then I noticed the sheepish grin on Robyn’s face. I did however manage to get a couple slivers, and I can see why it vanished so fast.

Turkey tasso and Linguica

Seconds later, our next dish arrived at the counter. Warm Raclette Cheese with house made brioche rolls. Rich and creamy, this one really satisfied the cheese fiend in me. However, I actually think the highlight of the dish is the brioche rolls. Warm, soft, and oh so buttery, they were gone in an instant. Although very tasty, I did find myself wishing it was a bigger pot of cheese for the price. ($16)

Knowing that  CHARCUT’s strengths are their house made charcuterie items, we were really excited to  check out the charcut board. And it did not disappoint. Especially the Pig Head Mortadella. House made sausage stuffed with pistachios and truffles never tasted so good.

Trying the specials is a must in a good restaurant. With the Octopus Bolognaise stuffed pasta shells with San Marzano tomatoes, chorizo, and basil coming so highly recommended by our server, we had to give it a try. Neither Robyn or I are big seafood fans, and we both would put octopus on the strong dislike list. However, I have to say that this dish really surprised me. The fishy odour and taste dissipated nicely after the first bite, and you were left with that delicious San Marzano tomato sauce.

The meat parade continued with a Duck Rillettes, flavoured with orange and thyme. The pork version was a highlight of our lunch in the summer, and the duck was also very good. It had all the creaminess, but we preferred the milder flavour of the pork. I’m sure duck lovers will go quackers for it though. (haha, very punny)

As we sat digesting, we discussed the fact that neither of us had ever tried bone marrow, and debated whether we’d ever order it. Moments later, an order showed up at the table, compliments of the chefs. What a perfect way to sample something you’re apprehensive about. We scooped the gelatinous marrow onto the crostini and topped with the  escargot au gratin. Rich, and creamy, and rich… did I mention it’s rich? I found it quite tasty, and Robyn found it utterly divine.  

Finally, we got to our main course with sides. I know, I know, it seems like we already ate enough for a family of 5 (and we did), but I guess that’s what happens when you’re excited to sample the whole menu.

We wisely elected to split one entree, and after much debate we settled on the Pork belly with chanterelles, served atop black truffle cheddar grits. Unfortunately, this is the one dish out of the 10 we tried that we both found to be a let down. I enjoyed the flavour of the grits, but they needed to be a bit more tender for my taste. This being my first taste of grits, I was expecting a more porridge-like consistency, but instead these were more of a pellet form. The pork belly itself, while still moist, just lacked some caramelization and that memorable quality of the rest of the dishes. Everything else was making such a bold impression, that the pork belly seemed very bland in comparison. Sitting atop the pork belly was some crispy cracklins. The idea of crispy fried pork skin sounds pretty good to me, but these were more of a petrified state. So I guess this whole dish was a miss for me.

We couldn’t decide between the duck fat fried poutine and the smashed potatoes with sour cream, rosemary, and bacon. So we got both. (pop goes the buttons)

The poutine was topped with enough rich and meaty gravy to satisfy even Dustin Penner, and the duck fat french fries were a perfect vessel for all that gooey gravy and cheese goodness.

The smashed potatoes were packed with rosemary flavour and topped with sour cream and thin crispy bacon. Good luck finding a fault with that!

As usual, I decided to leave the picking of the dessert to the expert, Robyn. Knowing her addiction to chocolate, I wasn’t surprised when she decided on the Valrhona Chocolate Pudding with Chantilly cream and sweet brioche croutons. It ended up being a really nice, creamy finish to a pretty epic meal.

Happy Birthday to me!

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