The night before I went out to buy cheese at a wonderful new cheese shop, I drank overly hot cocoa and burned my tongue. I'm sensitive to hot temperatures. When I'm staying with C.'s family, good Brits all, my tea is finally cool enough to drink by the time someone comes around to ask if I want another cup. Tasting delectable cheese with a burnt tongue just isn't the same as tasting them with fully-functional tastebuds.
One lunchtime, C. and I feasted on cheese. It was good. I could properly taste all their rich complexities.
Now there's less cheese than there was, but it's still all very good cheese and needs eating. Lunch seemed like a good reason to eat cheese, but it was all wasted on me. Thanks to my cold, I have temporarily misplaced nearly all of my senses of smell and taste. It's hard work being healthy enough to enjoy good cheese this week.
A Tale of Parking Woe
Our apartment comes with a parking spot which we hardly ever use. We don't have a car, you see, but we do sporadically host guests who have them. It's mighty useful having a parking spot available. But our downstairs neighbors, despite the landlady's reminders, keep letting their friends use the spot. It's a two-car garage, and they've already filled their half with mattresses and wheelbarrows and bicycles. I've been willing to work around this predilection of theirs in the past since I am entirely too nice. I've left them notes, giving them twenty-four hours notice that I want to use the parking space. Sometimes, it works out.
Friday, however, was one of those times when it didn't work out. As of Friday afternoon, when my parents arrived in their rental car, the garage was still entirely full. While they, along with C., went downtown to meet up with double0hilly for cream tea, I was madly attempting to dash across town in a traffic-delayed streetcar to buy them an on-street parking permit from city hall before it closed for the weekend. I made it in time. The rest of the party kindly delayed ordering their scones and finger sandwiches until I arrived. The cream tea was a cloak of comfort which temporarily helped me forget the orange BMW taking up my parking space.
For the first time, I managed to have conversations with everyone who attended the pub night on Thursday, held so that C. could more easily visit with his Toronto friends. Usually, I find it too easy to fall under the spell of a given conversation or two. On Thursday, I followed the lure of reunion, of talking to friends not seen in months. One had just come back from Paris; another was temporarily in town in the midst of family sorrows. Some could only come briefly; others stayed until the pub closed. The service was flighty, the company good.
Inspired by the wonderful January Winterlicious meal with saffronjan and John, in which I really discovered the joy of good cheese and sea salt, I made a reservation for Square on Saturday. I gave my mother poor directions for driving up to Eglington and Mount Pleasant; we were just late enough that I fretted a great deal, but not so late as to really be a problem. We found a rare parking spot more than a block away, then later discovered the restaurant offered valet parking. The waitress remembered me from the one other time I ate there, continuing a recent trend of similar recognitions. I'm beginning to be unnerved by its frequency.
We were seated in the balcony, a feature I hadn't even noticed the last time we were there. Service was hampered by the size of the party at the next table, and the odd minor confusion. I ate C.'s halibut-filled amuse bouche. Happily, although congested, I hadn't lost my taste buds yet. They were reduced, but I could still taste. For the second time, i found that scallops could taste wonderful - my appetizer was a scallop carpaccio, slender slices of raw scallops in a lime dressing with mango sorbet. I resisted the tempting Square Waldorf because my main, Australian lamb, also featured a "Stilton crême brûlée". The lamb was pink and succulent, soft and seasoned on the tongue. The consummé jelly did less for me.
C. thoughtfully ordered the chocolate fondant, which delayed our desserts long enough for my appetite to be partially restored. The deconstructed banoffee pie was tasty, but ultimately not a patch on Café Concerto's. It's a good thing I'll be able to go back to York this summer and have it again.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to... oh, maybe not...
We bought tickets online for the opening night of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and showed up half an hour early to meet friends and grab decent seats. Well, that was our intention. When we arrived, the show was sold out. C. and I had four tickets. theengineer showed up, as he said he would, but ticketless due to our misunderstanding. Since C. and he had had so little time together, the only sensible thing to do was to give him my ticket and see the movie some other time. saffronjan and John came for the other two tickets, and I promised to meet them at a coffee shop afterwards.
But seconds later, cwjat, G. and J. showed up. They didn't have tickets either so we retired to Young Thailand restaurant where I savored the wonderfulness of J.'s tom yum soup and cwjat's noodle dish. I chose the papaya salad poorly. Despite not having seen C. yet, they were tired and left short before the movie left out. Inspired, I dashed to the bookstore and bought a second of papersky's novels, dashed back to the coffee shop and settled down to read for five minutes with juice in hand. No one questioned the pretence when they arrived from the movie, presuming I'd been reading and sitting there for the previous two hours. At least, they didn't verbally question it. C. said he knew something was amiss because I hadn't drunk enough of my juice and was far too cheerful.
I've been cleaning the house, sorting through papers, reorganizing, compacting - but I had yet to start working on the main bedroom. The landlady came yesterday afternoon to repaint the trim in the bedroom, so all the clothing, the bed, the dressers, the Playmobil, the clothing, drying rack, ironing board, boxes... everything needed to be moved out of the room or, in the case of most of it, to the middle of the room. The bed became a mountain of clothing and coats, barricaded in by the rest of the things. The landlady didn't have time to finish painting all the trim, but we had a nice conversation. She's coming back next weekend to paint the rest of it.
I came back late in the evening last night from a small gathering in honor of cwjat's visit. I was sick and tired and my bed was entirely surrounded and covered. Defeated, I took shelter on the air mattress. Thank goodness for a backup bed.
I could put the bedroom back to how it was... but the landlady will be working on the space all over again this weekend. I'm not sure it's worth the effort. I will have to reorganize the barricades though, even if I don't tear them down: it's mighty awkward to put together a coherent set of clothing when my dresser and half the contents of the closet were caught up in it all.