14 December 2006

la vie boheme et bilangue

It's our last night in Montreal until the new year, and the semester came to a close with a musical finale. Tonight we went to see The Dears play a hometown show. It was fantastic. I'm sure Brian will provide more details shortly. Let's just say that any musician who ever gets songwriter's block, would find him/herself instantly cured after hearing/watching The Dears work their magic.

I spent the day at work, just me and a girl from France in the Learning Centre. We were speaking Franglais and laughing at how poorly we speak each other's language. But we were still trying to speak slowly enough to make sense of eachother. Sometimes I feel like a foreign exchange student in this newly-anointed "nation within a nation." Brian thinks he can tell francophone and anglophone people apart by their fashion sense and facial hair. Considering the fact that my sweatpants and scuffed skate shoes were glared at by the doorman at La Senza the other day, you can guess which side of the fashion sense binary we anglos fall on.

I speak French as often as I can, for the health of my mind as much as for the sake of politeness. It's good for the intellect, they say, to keep the mind working in more than one language. Seeing as I won't be in Tanzania for the next little while, my Swahili usage is on hiatus. Speaking of Tz, I want to thank everyone for the contributions they have mailed me, or have given me in person. I'll be sending them off to Sikitu very soon, and your generosity will be very much appreciated.

So, first term has come to an end. In the last 2 weeks I've written more than I did all of last year, I'm sure of it. While my mind has hovered dangerously close to short-circuting, and my muscles are turning to mush, it's been swell. Instead of doing the usual semi-comatose couch lazing thing over the break, I'm looking forward to brisk walks and winter activities...if it ever snows, that is.

I was sitting in an Irish pub last night, drinking with my classmates after finishing my LAST paper. After a few hours, a man wearing a red coat gave me "the gun" and said "Good luck with that," only to disappear mysteriously out the door. Two minutes later the server brought a round of drinks over to our table, compliments of mystery man. How did Santa know another pint of cider was my pre-Christmas wish of the moment?

Maybe it's the vampire novel I'm reading, but lately I've been becoming aware of the nocturnal underworld of all sorts of characters that lurk in doorways, alleyways and local dives. I keep overhearing creepy conversations, see people sic their dogs on other people, and shake my head to turn down street drugs. Our neighbourhood lies just on the outskirts of the posh shopping district. Not long after passing Holt Renfrew, Ogilvy and Betsey Johnson, and before reaching the rich, English neigbourhood of Westmount, you pass through our area. It's a seedy couple of blocks, with places like Club Octopussy and Sexe Cite, and freestylying bilingual vagabonds, and old men yell at eachother over who is the bigger crackheads.

Last night a strange man yelled to my friend and I that we needn't worry about finding a cab, cause he had a limo for all the ladies, yo! Tonight a drunk guy tried to mug me. It was the worst mugging attempt I've ever seen. I laughed in his face, Brian stood there and watched, we asked him if the Habs had won the game, and we went on our way. As we left, his friend yelled after me that he loved my glasses. It's moments like these, my friends, that make memories.

I'm off to Toronto tomorrow, for a few days with the girls, before heading home. I am going to miss the food around here, especially the holy trinity of Montreal cuisine: bagels, smoked meat, and poutine. And now, before I sign off, a few pre-holiday food recommendations.

Source Cherry Chocolate Fondue Yogurt
Mojito chicken
Calabaza soup

And, my newest creation: Carmelized brussel sprouts au gratin

20 or so fresh brussel sprouts
2 tbs olive oil
1-2 tbs milk or cream
small amount of green onions, chopped
1/4 cup crackers or breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp salt
pepper to taste

Method: Cut the bottoms off of the brussel sprouts, and slice an "x" into the base. This helps them cook better. Boil or steam brussel sprouts for approximately 15 minutes or until halfway cooked. Drain sprouts, and transfer into baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil, and milk/cream. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to ensure that the sprouts are coated in the oil and cream. Sprinkle breadcrumbs or cracker crumbs over top. Bake at 350 degrees for 1/2 or so, or until carmelized to your liking.

More food recipes to come during the holidays.


Erin said...

Mmmm, brussel sprouts. So good! I will have to try your recipe, though no one around my house seems to like them but me...

Have fun in Toronto/The Sound!

Jenn said...

I was raving about you to one of my Profs today. Our reason for meeting was life after undergrad, so naturally you came up, and all the wonderful things you are doing. I am like a proud parent. Let's catch up over the break. I'll probably be close by when you get back to school.

syl said...

hey dallas,
i hope everything is going well with you these days.
i have not been blogging in quite a long time, but i am slowly catching up

merry christmas to you :)
i hope to catch up soon.

erin said...

'the holy trinity of montreal cuisine'. hahahaha.

Anonymous said...

I call the area where you're living 'Little Toronto'... but I don't mean that as a dis on Toronto or the sort of Concordia ghetto...

The fashion thing, I think it depends where you are, because too much time in Montreal East, Mile End or by the mountain and you will realize hippy styles are very popular with young french Canadians. The bad West Island/ Ontario-student fashions do work against the anglo population though...