Dec 22, 2009

The Sparrow or The single-ish syndrome.

My job is pretty chill, thanks to my recruitment supervisor. And thanks to my super-active manager who is doing a damn good job for the staff appreciation events and never misses to be the life of the party. We’re indeed having our annual Christmas party at The Sparrow. I heard from an en-vogue girlfriend this gastro-pub located in the Mile-End is tremendous. Plus, the designed flyer said it’s open-bar - in canary yellow characters – and what a good way to celebrate their newly-acquired liquor license. I already imagined myself sitting at the European style bar in a cute sparkling dress, just as happy as a cheerleader, ordering a fancy and super-alcoholic cocktail, engaging in a small talk with the British bartender, eye the bosses of my company from the corner, and discreetly order another one. 

It’s mot!@*rfuck**g COLD outside!” The first brake to my flawless plan is that the little engine I am, can’t wear a lovely dress neither sexy heels tonight. So here I am, trapped in basic pants and frizz hair, when the heat rises at 6 pm with homemade cocktails dedicated to our company: Grand-Marnier, Prosecco and grapefruit juice with a blackberry embedded inside. Interesting attempt but my palate doesn’t like bitter taste. Well, my manager seems to enjoy, given she drinks as fast as the lightning speed, while a certain someone remains glued to me about a conversation which – I’m sorry - I can’t remember the topic. Fortunately I enjoy the traditional atmosphere of the place. The warm wood, cozy lamps and sparrows’ wallpaper are a perfect mix between my Grand-ma kitsch and the revisited vintage style of today. 
About to have dinner, I consider my options. 1 – The bosses are sitting at the bosses’ table. 2 – Each department is respectively seated together following the same hierarchy they have in the office, except the French-speaking people who tend to form a “mixed” crowd. Needless to say, there is in reality no option but the empty seat. I end up with a awesome and very-scoped-on-the-goose man #1, a quite cute man #2, a man #3 with crispy adventures, an usually cold copy-editor who’s actually quite nice, and of course my particularly tipsy manager. Amazing how Super-Santa-Claus has the power to bring people together. 

Cool, someone engages the conversation on where everybody comes from, until someone else dares to talk about Montreal's winter. Well, too bad, the mot!@*rfuck**g coldest winter in the whole galaxy apparently deserves an entire conversation - How do your ears feel when it's -25 outside and you forgot your hat at home? And what are your reactions when you're running late for work and need to plow your car for two hours? To break the ice, the hors d’oeuvres are then served by a courteous waitress: delightful oysters with a spicy sauce, veal breast nuggets with anchovy, and also sweet caramelized onions spread on bread.  The main course is composed of a German dish called Spaetzle (basically home-made noodles with onions and artichokes) and braised lamb shoulder with olives, accompanied by fried potatoes, roasted roots and a surprising plate of Brussels sprouts with bacon and chestnuts, all served in disparate vintage plates. Original, unique and very rich in calories - Hey, it's Christmas after all! Mission accomplished for the Britishhh chief, I feel like I am in an old cottage deep in the wet and foggy UK. It’s so good but so heavy that I have to detach the button of my pants if I want to swallow at least one very-tempting profiterole. And I still manage to respect my personal policy to only do number two at home - agreement apparently not shared by all (!!!). 

The party is then going on with our intimate guests. As a real gossip lover, it’s really interesting to find out who dates who and scoping the place out for a funny looking couple. Of course, I can’t actually say anything out loud because it’s very childish; but I am also supposed to say something like they look great and can’t put a word on how happy they look – just to help them forget the 30 pounds they respectively gained since their wedding. This is a very single-ish syndrome. To summarize, I think my co-workers may mind their manners a lot (or might have been as stuffed as I was feeling). Indeed, apart of a few tipsy employees and a couple of typical 80s dance steps, the wildest thing seem to be  the office manager who takes her blue-electric-5-inches-Christian-Louboutin off. Ok, been there, done that.


Dec 10, 2009

Cafeteria & Suco or The kitty on fire.

She and I walk on St-Laurent Street toward Prince-Arthur and scop out the scene. Her blind date is an incredibly hairy dude, salted with a super-visible belly and peppered with unbearable effeminate manners. It just feel like we are unintentionally witnessing the "Hell Date" show. "It's not exactly what I expected", she says. I scan him from the head to the toes and reply, "Anyway, let's see what he got". 

The three of us move to one of my Montreal favorite spot, Cafeteria, a trendy restaurant-lounge located on the Plateau. The red light special rising in a modern-art décor provides an amazing atmosphere. The Heartbreak Tuesdays are usually perfect for a girls night out to devour Roman style fried calamari ($13 before taxes and services for a generous plate) or Homemade cheese tortellini in a creammmmmy pink sauce ($16) and get warmed up with a few martinis (6 bucks each). Chic and cozy, this is it!

I’m just starting to be comfortable in my role as candle of the night, when I notice he is already fidgeting on his sit like a kitty on fire, who's in a hurry to rub her pussy on the dance floor. I drink half of my Lychee Martini in one sip praying he would stop jiggling before he breaks the chair. He finally opens his mouth to mention that he is the best dancer of Hip-Hop ever and this little lounge is too small to shake his booty. I just can’t resist swallowing the whole lychee saying to myself “I can’t wait to see your moves dear little pussy!”. Needless to say, observing him totally sweating over two songs and a half, while she is desperately trying to maintain a conversation, is not the kind of heat I need before getting my freak on at Suco. Well, there’s always a little selection of men who make your cheeks blush, while, more commonly, there's an impressive gathering of others who are pain in the ass…

Even if it was bound to happen at some point and it now makes perfect sense, I am slack-jacked. We are at Suco, the sophisticated lounge of the Hotel Opus and basically the place to be on a late Tuesday night. And this super hairy overweight guy obviously doesn’t know how to dance. Firstly, he starts to rotate his arms in a counterclockwise direction, and then shuffles back and forth while keeping his legs wide apart and slightly bent, in another words, here is MC Hammer in the 90’s. He secondly executes tragically the outdated moonwalk, and soon after he lifts his palms heavenward while jutting his arms up and down like a hyperactive swimmer. And of course…he never stops. At 3 A.M, she – whom he had barely given attention during these 2 hours of extreme work-out - eventually has to pull him by the arm to leave.  

The whole thing appears so hilarious that I am wondering if I'm not watching Albert Brennaman dancing in the movie Hitch, but no, I've just been at Suco with two goofy who dared to look for a date on a random website, with their personal ads cramming between an ad for two Gabon parrots missing, one broken table set to give away, and a “earn $1000 a day online without spending a dime” proposal


Dec 4, 2009

Tiffanie's or Being clumsy in the kitchen ain't easy.

 It really bugs me when people ask me to cook for their little fragile stomachs which like this and don't like that, want it cooked this way and not that way, with no this and extra that. Simply because the boomerang effect of being a perfectionist by nature is that I suddenly become the fourteen years old girl with acne and braces, all panicked and clumsy...

On one side, there is a twenty-something nice gift package, who spends every Sunday at his dear parents house in order to eat THE perfectly cooked spicy beef with sticky rice, of a very present mum listening to his every needs, whom will surely be cooking enough to put the leftover food in labeled tupperwares for his lovely son to take home. On the other side, there is me, a funky-looking young girl, from a scattered worldwide family, with some juicy family reunions happening once in a while, and who happens to cook for others every 36th of the month, trying to keep her concentration on a few pots on the stove and a dish in the oven and ends up looking like an elephant in a porcelain store.

For once, I decide to prepare something for somebody but this time I’m going to take it easy. I'm going to cook rice, buy a whole roasted chicken and these bags of magic powder that miraculously change with some water and a little boost into a three-peppercorn- Dijon-mustard-and-Armagnac sauce. So, after passing ten nail places, fifteen corner-stores, twenty massage places, one French restaurant and thirty-three Chinese ones (It's  insane how easy it is to eat at a chinese restaurant and hard to do a grocery when you live in the middle of nowhere!);  I finally have all my ingredients to make up my little lie.

The story is that I forgot the sauce on the stove while I was putting my black eyeliner. The rice was overcooked and the meat extremely dry. A minute later, I was opening the door to a way too punctual sexiness, with black make-up on my cheeks, smelling burned food, and presenting my disaster in a very refined style: a ball of rice surrounded by three strips of chicken breast with a fillet of three peppercorn sauce on a square plate. Having of course my biggest Colgate smile on. Well, a smile is an inexpensive way to change your look, isn’t it?

  • Post-it on my fridge: Put 400g of Tagliatelle in boiling water. Meanwhile sauté two cloves of crushed garlic, one onion finely chopped and 300g of fresh shrimps. Add 60ml of white wine, 2 cans of peeled tomatoes and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Let thicken 15 minutes. Add a can of pitted black olives, 400g of drained and cut artichoke hearts and a few basil leaves. Drain the pasta and mix them with half the sauce. Add Parmesan and the remaining sauce. AND, take a shower – Of course shrimps taste good, but certainly not on you, honey.