Monday, October 17, 2011

WIAT - Casse Croute Edition

My uncle's long awaited casse croute (a frites-stand, in local English; a snack bar in standard English, according to Google) opened in the land of my ancestors (where, you may have guessed, some people, but not all, speak French, after a fashion). It's actually a cantine, which I would also translate as snack bar, although I've heard the English in those parts call it a canteen, which barring the military origin, makes some sense.
In any case, it did not take me long to try out his frites (french fries, for the terminally French impaired) and one of his hamburgers (No translation here, if you can't figure that one out, you are on your own).
More photo, and details (both juicy!), after the jump.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What do I have in my Pocket? Part II.

There are a lot of things I like in this life, and pocket squares are some of those things. Hand made goods are as well. Repurposed items also. Imagine my delight, Gentle Reader, when I was presented with four brand new pocket squares, hand made, from repurposed material, as a gift. Brilliant. Thank you, A. Wonderful.

Details and photos to follow...

Monday, August 15, 2011


"Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats."

-H. L. Mencken

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Killing and Grilling - A special edition of WIAT

Warning: Graphic photos ahead...

Ah, Summer. It's hot here on the island, no doubt about it. Not long ago, A. suggested we do something nice. I figured, "It's summer, lets grill something." It just so happens that I know she likes grilled corn, and an increasing awareness of lobster led me to choose it as an accompaniment to said corn.
Full disclosure: I am not the world's biggest fan of lobster. 
My family, on the other hand, loves it, and at least once a year, sometimes more, my uncle will arrive with a cooler full of 2-3 pound monsters.  When I was a young boy, this feast would most often take place at my Grandparent's house in Gaspe, with newspaper spread on the table, and carpenter's hammers to break the shells, and the lobsters straight from the wharf. Lobster juice everywhere. Good times.
Lobster has been on the radar. On a recent trip to Metis, my fatherland, A. and I shared a lobster roll. It was good, and, it was my first. I've had shrimp rolls, but never lobster. I hear there are some good ones here in the Old Port, but I haven't found them yet.
Anyway. Lobster on the brain, and I decide to grill one up, something I have never done before.
Serious Eats did a piece on lobster rolls the other day, which included a philosophical foray into the morality of killing lobsters.
I was comforted/encouraged by this, and I knew that A. has some experience killing lobsters in a professional kitchen. At worst, I figured she could walk me through it/take over if I panicked. Emboldened, I purchased two very nice specimens. And I killed them. With a knife. Fun times.
I later described the experience to my mother (who hung up on me when I had told her my plans the day before; my uncle buys his lobster pre-cooked, clearly) as grim.
Tasty, but grim. I'll likely get over it. I'm with the Serious Eats fellow on this one.
More pics (all taken by A., who has some talent at these things) inside the Hall...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

On Meat...

I read an article recently, at the prompting of a colleague I met recently, by Mark Bittman, food writer for the New York Times. It concerns meat, and how we, as the West, and now, increasingly, the developing world, eat meat. How much of it we eat, primarily.
This follows close on the heals of a post I read on of Serious Eats, which also concerned meat, more specifically the killing of it by those who intend to eat it, as opposed to the killing of it by professionals bent on profit. In truth, what I know about the meat packing industry might suggest that they are not all professionals, but I can't swear to it without more research. I think this idea originates with Fast Food Nation, now surely some years out of date.
Much of this is also related to Mark Zuckerberg's recent declaration that he kills his own meat.
In any case, I also happened to have a lovely lunch at a vegan restaurant this afternoon, The Green Panther, close on the heels of another pleasurable vegan meal, and some astounding 'milk'shakes, at Strongheart's, in Syracuse, NY. A meat-free lenten fast also helped clarify the vegetarian lifestyle, or a reasonable facsimile thereof.
All told, it means I'm slowly beginning to think through the implications of my own diet choices, which, as I am often fond of saying, could be described as ideologically carnivorous. Another of my favorite food writers, Michael Pollan, in his Omnivore's Dilemma, argues convincingly for meat eating, at least in the case of food one has killed oneself. Recent debates with friends and colleagues suggest that meat itself is not an issue so much as the industrial production of meat in North America, which I understand can be  unsettling.
My own philosophy has not yet been successfully hammered out. I have, in the past, hunted, and likely will again in the future. I am unlikely to give up meat all together, but I have made attempts in the past few years to reduce my consumption. Days at the Rodeo are an exception, obviously.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Out and about... Granville Island style

I'm recently back from a leisurely trip to the west coast. Vancouver, to be exact. While there, I fell in love with the English Bay, a very nice little bay indeed. I may not compete, as far as overall fondness is concerned, with the bay on Le Fleuve, which my ancestral home overlooks. But English Bay, with its mist and it mountains, and the anchored container ships waiting like slumbering beasts, great hulking marine beasts, waiting for the run into the harbour, is surely well up on the list. Said the Whale has a really nice tune about it, as well.
My first day in Vancouver, my family (a sizable chunk of it, anyway) and I decided to check out the public market on Granville Island, reachable most easily via pedestrian ferry.
My lifelong love of boats and I were most impressed, and my new-found love of Sperry Topsiders was not to be disappointed, either, although I had left mine safe at home, preferring to risk my beater boat shoes to the perils of the road.

More photos (and Topsiders!) inside the Hall...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tie-Day Friday.

Inspired by several worthy gents on the internet, I decided I'd wear a tie on Fridays. I though, "hey, I'll call it Tie-day Friday, and it'll be fun". So I did. A few Fridays in a row. And I put it on facebook. SOme of my friends, they seemed to think it was a good idea, so I kept it up. Maybe they did too.
It's a bit of an attack on Casual Friday. I had started making sure I was less casual on Fridays quite some time ago, and when people asked why (if they noticed), I'd say, "'cuz it's casual Friday."
But the Tie-day thing, that's relatively new. I like it though, and I think it's here to stay. I'd be happy if it caught on, too, so if you happen to have a tie, wear it on a Friday, and let me know about it.


Friday, April 22, 2011

Once again... dear friends...

Two points here. On Monday, [you_have_broken_the_internet] posted a bit of a rant about the state of menswear blogs as it stands. En bref, they point was to produce original content, and not simply reblog everything that comes your way and call yourself a blogger. Actually, there were some really good points made, and while I have no real pretension to this particular site being any more than a idiosyncratic extension of my own ego, I took some of his words to heart.
Nevertheless, this site, Indexed, does produce it`s own content. And even if it usually doesn`t overlap much with The Hall`s main areas of interest, it did today, and, reblogging aside, I thought I`d share.
This debate rages constantly on the internet, and within my own discussions as well with friends, but I have rarely seen it so well summed up:

Monday, April 18, 2011

Out and about... Red Touque Edition

Radio silence from the Hall there for a while... Busy, busy, busy...

Nevertheless, as I was walking from the metro the other day, the weather forced me in to my red touque (watchcap to the rest of the world, but hey, nobody is perfect). It was cold. Sunny, but cold. In any case, I rolled it once more than was my custom, and to see how it looked, I snapped a few self pics. Happy with the results, I thought I'd share.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

WIAT (Breakfast/Rant edition)

No pictures today, Gentle Reader. I've been remiss in my photo-documentation, and to be honest, I don't feel very badly about it at all.
But I see no reason that should stop me from writing a What I Ate Today post. While pictures are undoubtably worth a thousand words, words are also worth words, although the ratio falls closer to 1:1. For very good words, like "scintillating", it might hit 1:3, maybe 1:5, but still...
In any case, I don't suppose I'll need a thousand words. It's just breakfast, after all.
This morning, I had a cupcake for breakfast. Not only that, it was a cup cake made from a boxed mix, and iced in a prepared icing purchased from the same supermarket the mix came from. None of it, not a whit, made from scratch. Why? Because I wanted cupcakes last night, and I got lazy. There. I said it.
Not only that, but, because I was still hungry after my little cupcake adventure, I also had some pizza. A few month ago, I had chips for breakfast. Potato chips. And pie was breakfast for a while (admittedly, most of the pie was made from scratch).
Where, you might ask, am I going with this? Good question, one I asked myself, just now. Well, let me elaborate. Breakfast, they say, is the most important meal of the day. Good. Fine. Should have protein, and produce, and should be at least 400 calories, and maybe more. Great.
Bollocks. I have more than enough rules governing my life already. Deadlines, office politics. Academic writing. Propriety. White pants and Labour Day. And for years now, I've tried, quite successfully, to eat a healthy, balanced breakfast.
There is a lot of pressure out there to eat a certain way, and a lot of pressure as to what is and is not legitimate, or authentic, or good. And not all of that pressure is bad. I support quite a bit of it. But all things in moderation, even good advice, and local, fresh, organic or biodynamic produce.
But I can't do it every day any more. The routine is crushing. There are chips out there, my friends, and cupcakes. Just begging to be eaten for breakfast. It's time to have fun in the morning. I can (and often do) eat well at lunch, and dinner (or dinner and supper, if you prefer). But a man (hell, a woman too) needs to have fun, sometimes, no?
Look, I know I'm not the first person to eat pastry or pizza for breakfast. Far from it. But it's liberating, and, man, if we can't enjoy this little life of ours, then I ask you, what's the point?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Out and about...

This was quite some time ago, but I was happy with the look, so I thought I'd try to capture it. It's damn hard to keep my chin out of these shot, and apparently, just as difficult to smile.

Of note: Merino wool cardigan vest, cord blazer

Friday, April 1, 2011

Out and about... Spring

I couldn't resist somehow. Maybe it was the new brogued boots, or the spring cotton trench, or possibly the sunshine, on a perfect Saturday afternoon with someone special. For whatever reason, I snapped some shots and felt I might share.

It was probably that last reason more than anything else, come to think of it.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Made in Canada

American menswear and lifestyle blogs and sites all seem to place a premium on American-made goods. And I understand the argument. As a Canadian, however, I've begun to notice that the Made in Canada idea doesn't seem to get as much traction. I've talked about this with some of my friends, but we've never really come to any conclusions or had any major insight. Market size, I suppose. Or Canada's long standing habit of buying from the US.

In any case, I've been keeping my eye out for Made in Canada stuff, and today I came across a company that makes ties, called Dolbeau, right here in Montréal.

Ties. Gotta love 'em. I'm thinking of instituting some sort of Tie-day Friday (get it? do ya get it? Friday, Tie-day?).

Sigh. Look, let me know if you know any good Made in Canada stuff, and whether or not you wear a tie, especially on Friday, k?

Monday, March 28, 2011

WIAT (Purim Edition)

Clearly, for those of you conversant with Jewish holidays, this is not strictly speaking what I ate today, but rather some days ago.
Purim is a Jewish holiday celebrating the deliverance of the Jewish people from the Persians, by the actions of Esther. The story, which I do not feel I am really well informed enough to tell here, involved some feasting, like many good bible stories, and no small amount of slaughter, also a hallmark of good biblical narrative. It also involved a rather unlikable fellow named Haman, who meets a grim end on the gallows, I gather. In any case, one of the traditions on Purim is to eat hamantashen, which are named after Haman's ears, or maybe his three cornered hat. Any way, people eat them on Purim, which I did. First introduced to hamantashen last fall (not anytime around purim at all) I looked forward to getting my hands on some again. And so, while out and about with a certain someone, I, rather, we, picked up a box. Along with some cupcakes. I don't have any pictures of the cupcakes, as I hit them pretty hard, and few survived long enough for photographic evidence. But I saved some of the hamantashen for breakfast the next day.
Here we are:

And hey, look at that. Everybody has these plates. I know.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Spring. Requires a good hat. And here we have one...

I've been reprimanded lately for so called boring posts. I feel this has something to do with the lack of substantial introductions and substantial captions for the pictures. I am making a serious effort to rectify this situation. Writing, after all, is fun. Nevertheless, sometime, a picture really is worth a thousand words, and, as it is late, I will save myself the hassle. I present to you, Dear Reader, a spring hat. By the way, you should get one, maybe, if you don't already have one.

Key notes: Wonderful pattern. Vintage. Also, great hair.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Buckles and Brogues

I purchased new boots. They have brogueing on them. I should not need to tell you, Dear Reader, how awesome that is. To celebrate this, and to immortalize a pleasant moment in the spring sunshine with a dear friend, I snapped a few pictures. Her boots have buckles. I shouldn't need to explain the awesomeness there any more than with the brogueing. Boots are good. Two pairs are better. Life lessons, people. Learn them.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Since it is very much beginning to feel like spring here in Montréal, I thought I'd post the last of my winter photos this week, to avoid too much cognitive dissonance. Here the first batch of two. My mother and I decided to try out some professional trails at a local cross country ski club. This is the chalet. I love the grey color of old, weathered wood.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Came across some pictures I took of my mother's quilt. She makes them entirely by hand. I have no idea how long it takes her, but I do know her stitches are a helluva lot better than mine.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Pi Day

In honor of the Year of the Pie, I give you... Pi Day.

Pi shaped Pie at Serious Eats.

Pie Chart at Savage Chickens.

Some kinda semi-official looking Pi Day website at Exploratorium.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Year of Pie... Gaining in Popularity...

Elsewhere, I have written about how luck I am to seem to attract friends who want to feed me. Among these is a colleague at my department, a wonderful baker, who always seems to have baked goods for me. Bene. In any case, I may have mentioned to her that this was the Year of Pie, and lo and behold, she showed up at our last meeting with miniature pies. All hand made. Pumpkin. Different shapes. Flaky as hell. Delicious.

Gentle reader, we have a few months left. Let's make the Year of the Pie a real thing. Let's bake some G-d damn pies, shall we?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Tapping into the Zeitgeist

Mumford and Sons, a bandwagon I have recently jumped on, announced a new tour, based around travel by vintage rail. It seems my recent fascination with trains (or rather, the recent revival of my lifelong fascination with trains), seems to be related to some sort of undercurrent in the wider world. Could just be coincidence. One never knows with these things. Nevertheless, I'm topical. In any case, I'd really like to see this happen with the Year of Pie, as well.

Pie it on up out there. Let's go.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Out and about... Freight edition

Went skiing with my mother, saw a train. I love trains, on some visceral level. We can hear the whistle of one, twice a day, from my mother's house, and depending on how loud it is, she can predict (and I am learning to predict) the weather. Some thing to do with barometric pressure, it seems. Or relative humidity.
In any case, a train...

Monday, February 28, 2011

Old School...

There are times, friends, when one has to tuck one's pants in. No matter what they say in NYC.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Pork fat Pizza

Today at Serious Eats:

"The griddle-cooked Sicilian flatbread-style pizza at Otto is adorned with thin, semi-translucent ribbons of sliced lardo and finished with chopped rosemary and fruity olive oil. The ethereal ribbons melt gently into the warm pizza crust, acting something like a glorious animal butter."

And I quote: Glorious animal butter.

God have mercy on us all.

Pig House

I am told there are no pigs there these days. Which is too bad, given my love of pork in (almost) all forms.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Maybe She Was Right About my Vanity...

Upon Apparel by John Bunyan (From

XVI. Upon Apparel.
God gave us Cloaths to hide our Nakedness,
And we by them, do it expose to View.
Our Pride, and unclean Minds, to an excess,
By our Apparel we to others shew.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"

Surely, in North American culture, the apple pie is the King of pies, Emperor or all Tartes. Arguably, here, in Québec, the tarte au sucre deserves mention, and of course, the pecan pie is, as always, a dark horse.
But, Gentle Reader, I have had apple pie my mind, on account of having been served it over the weekend, at the end of what had to be one of the most enjoyable family meals (outside of my own family, of course) I've had the pleasure of attending in quite some time. And so, I set out, as it is, of course, the Year of the Pie, to make, for the first time in my life, apple pie.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sunday, February 13, 2011

What I Ate Last Week Some Time (a special edition of WIAT)

Sometimes it's hard to make everything come together at once. Life, academics, friends, family, work. Blogging. It all takes time. Luckily, there are hamburgers to take the edge off...

More after the click...

Sunday, January 30, 2011


"Moreover, the correlation between good bagels and egg sandwiches in New York City is and will always remain low. Good bagels are for schmears. They are for whitefish and belly lox. They are not for making into some kind of goyische morning Dagwood to be eaten in a pickup truck on the way to the hardware store. That is what bad bagels are for."


I spend some time last weekend combing through some church basements, looking for a few key pieces to round out my wardrobe.  I found what I was looking for, mostly, and because I took a friend, I had a good time doing it.

More details after the break. Read on...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

WIAT (weekend edition)

Because I ate several nice things this weekend, this is not so much what I ate today as what I ate this weekend...

First up: Home cooked pulled pork sandwiches with coleslaw. Very nice.

Complete list and more photos in the Hall...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Montreal Collegiate...

A student produced video about cold weather fashion at my university...

I'm often on campus, and I often see people dressed much better than the people in this video. Still, it addresses some key issues in a cold climate, and offers a glimpse of campus clothing. Not tres preppy, though. Need some school colours in there...

Monday, January 17, 2011

Style vs. Fashion

I'm not going to flat out say that I agree with everything The Effortless Gent has to say about style and fashion. Sometimes, this debate seems to get a bit vicious, with the style camp looking down at the fashion camp. This is actually addressed in a post at Dappered this morning. Style, according to Dappered, includes class, and class means not judging others.
But there are a few interesting points raised, even if the Gent seems to get a bit judgemental. The Gent's ultimate point, is after all, to be oneself in one's clothes, to "Be real. Do you".  This is solid style advice, and can be applied much more broadly than clothing. Indeed, Dappered's admonition concerning class is a good one as well.
Good day to dress like a man, apparently.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

WIAT, or rather, What I ate on Sunday...

Sunday, the day of rest. Or Brunch. Which ever. Maybe both.

My buddy invited me over last Sunday for smoked salmon. Home-smoked smoked salmon.

More pictures inside...

Friday, January 7, 2011

WIAT (What I Ate Today)...

Today, I ate an Omelette aux échalotes, herbes salées et fromage. Cooked, I might add, in butter. As it should be.

Edit: I also had Bangers and Mash at The Burgundy Lion. Very tasty.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


The Sartorialist is one of the first clothing/fashion oriented blogs I began following, about a year ago.  It's a very good blog, with some very good pictures.

Also, Intel just made a short movie about the blogger behind it all. I enjoy some of the things he has to say:

Like I said, Brilliant.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

What I Ate Today (W.I.A.T)

Second instalment:

Soft polenta w/ butter and cheese
topped with
Crumbled Italian sausage in homemade tomato sauce.

Very nice.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

What do I have in my pocket?

One of the major projects I undertook this holiday season, besides relaxing like it was actually a thing to do, was to make a few pocket squares for myself. This was inspired by one or more of the menswear blogs I read regularly (I do not remember which, or I would point you, Gentle Reader, in the right direction). Luckily, my mother is a relatively accomplished seamstress, and so, I had plenty of guidance.  In addition, as I had discussed this possibility with her previously, my Christmas presents included some lovely flannel with which to begin.

More photos (close-ups and details included) after the jump...

What I Ate Today

In what I hope will be a regular feature here in Turriff Hall, I'll occasionally list what I eat in a day, in order, hopefully, to make you jealous of my epicurean pleasures.

To begin, what I ate today (yesterday, in reality. I was lazy...).  In no particular order, and brunch only:

Homemade fève au lard
Pan fried potatoes with herbes salé
My Aunt's tourtière
Breakfast sausage
Baked ham
Boudin noir
Scrambled eggs
Cucumber relish
Orange juice

There was my Grandmother's multigrain toast with cretons as well, but I was full. Painfully full.
And we forgot to put out the cheese plate. Dommage.
And that, Gentle Reader, is what I ate today.

Prep is not Trad: A mystery explained

Prepidemic has a useful explanation for the difference between Prep, Trad, and Ivy styles.

This is one of those times where I didn't think I needed to know something, but am better off for having learned it.

Inspired me to maybe pick up a new watch for the New Year, maybe, as well.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

My Back Yard...

Some shots from the trails we walk this time of year...

More photos inside, Gentle Reader...