Monday, March 30, 2009

kabir's taj.

kabir's resto le taj is consistently rated the best indian resto in town for good reason it really is good everything there is good all the dishes are really delicious of course i love butter chicken and its excellent there and at a's prompting last time i had chicken tikka masala and it was great and again at her welcome and recurrent prodding i had the garlic naan which again was just so tasty and really amplified the general goodness of all the other dishes and it's generally just always a good time with kabir with whom i always enjoy interesting interlocution

Sunday, March 29, 2009

someone to be kind to in between the dark and the light

i didn't know i liked the eagles so much. but their music animates me, their songs inspire emotion in me. and so all of a sudden; it was only last summer that i began listening to their music.

i was sitting at dunn's waiting for my hot dog as i was wont to do last summer at six am, post-imaginationhouse, and i commented to the tall fellow that i liked the song playing, to which he gave his unbeknownst-to-him fateful response, 'it's the eagles, man'. the eagles ... a spectre that loomed in the back of my western-influenced mind, a band that i knew existed and was important, but which i couldn't recall having ever heard. of course, just like with frank, i was wrong: i knew many of their songs but didn't know it. 'desperado' i knew because of that seinfeld episode; 'tequila sunrise' i knew because of interview with the vampire; 'hotel california' is really famous of course, but i had spent an entire summer some years previous loving the gipsy kings cover. and so i discovered that the eagles were an embedded component of this society's social imaginary - the background repository of images and narratives - the vernacular, pop culture which i have, over the years, absorbed without intention, which to me is still remarkable considering one where i grew up and two that so many young people from here don't know much about the past while it seems to be familiar to me.

but these above-mentioned songs were not the songs that turned me, really. it was the slow, forlorn songs. 'i can't tell you why' was the first. it's a song about the banal reality of two people trying to come to know one another, amidst their conflicting, entrenched perspectives on life: "look at us baby, up all night, tearing our love apart", he says; "nothing's wrong as far as i can see; we make it harder than it has to be", he concludes. the song begins with only the bass, but continues into a slow percussive rhythm, punctuated by a dreamy and ethereal synth, and concludes with an almost two-minute guitar solo that single-handedly and instantaneously incited in me an appreciaton and love for the electric guitar in particular, and rock music in general. the song's lyrics, just like most of the eagles' fare, are sensible and sensitive, capturing in an instant a depth of emotion without sacrificing comprehensibilty or grammar. much of the same is evident in 'the best of my love', a song which tackles similar subject matter in similar musical style: "every night i'm lyin' in bed/ holdin' you close in my dreams/ thinkin' about all the things that we said/ and comin' apart at the seams". the chorus is longing and mournful, both lyrically and musically, inspiring the same in the listener.

the title of this post is a line from one of my favouritest songs, 'one of these nights', delivered in a falsetto and pace that contrasts the previous lines and bars, which makes it stand out immediately. of course the genius of their songs, generally, is that they are expertly executed both musically and lyrically. their meaningfulness is conveyed effortlessly by don henley's almost unremarkable voice, were it not for its remarkable range, augmented by its lightness, which allows it to move seamlessly into his falsetto, the natural, graceful beauty of which acts as a juxtaposition against the deepness of his lyrics. they move together, the music and lyrics; the same sentiment is conveyed by both, they complement each other to make a unified whole, a symmetry: beauty incarnate.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

other good burgers

a tangible facet of my life has been the pursuit of burgers. i'm not alone in this; in fact, it's a very 'stuff that white people like' sort of thing, and it occupied the content of an entire episode of himym, the epitome of white lameness. but, leaving aside that throbbing reality, there are a few good burgers i've had, though i know i'm far from where i need to be, in terms of the global human experience. let us concentrate on mtl, as you retain the possibility of being entranced by local fare, and that would be most beneficial to our future discussions on the subject as it would place us on common ground. the lamentable closure of pipeline (opposite club 281) was both mysterious and unhappy, as i didn't know it had shut and when i found out i was sad. i kept driving by, promising people the best burger in town, with its wonderfully rye bread, and being all juicy and tantalising. but it, like an anal of history, was shut. though when it was open it didnt shut till two in the morning, a big selling point for me as i like everything that stays open till the times i'm available to avail myself of them. if a burger place shuts at ten it's likely i won't go there often. like dilallo; it shuts early. but, moe's, on the other hand, is up all night. it's the oldest diner in mtl, open 24 hours, it's cheap, dingy, right next to the forum (which was a very profitable location for decades), and its really tasty. it's not called moe's anymore, but the burgers are still just so good, with the relish and the cheese and the pickles. all the stuff that other burgers have, i suppose. but, for example, nickel's isn't good, though it has the ingredients, it lacks good taste. nearby nickel's, though, is mr steer, which has always been considered among the top in town. their burgers are smaller in diameter, which is kind of cute, but they're fat, so still quite fulling. these are really tasty and i have two at a go. further down st cats is reuben's, which is a smoked meat place, yes, but still has one of the best burgers around, the berghoff's beer burger: a well-chargrilled patty, all the necessary ingredients, but with the addition of this beer-ketchup sauce, which puts it over the top. if we come back up the street, we'll pass by firegrill, which has a good, decent burger for the sort of place it is. if one continues perambulating, one will miss m:brgr, because it's out of the way a bit, but now this is a place that is dedicated to burgers. it has every option you could have thought of, mushrooms, truffle oil, all the cheeses, kobe beef, lettuce wrap instead of bun, the most expensive champagnes. well, it's expensive, this place. the first couple of times i went there i didn't see what the hullaballoo was, i didn't like the sweet potato fries that much, though i was much impressed by the giant choc chip cookie with ice cream (!), and i loved with nostalgia the floats and milkshakes, which looked the ones archie and the gang used to drink together in the 50s at pop's choclitt shoppe. or like the ones in norman rockwell paintings. that's more representative of a definite nostalgia, perhaps. despite all that, though, i had, last month, their special, which was a kobe beef burger, with monterey jack cheese, caramelised onions, shitake mushrooms, and truffle oil. and it was spectacular. really, really good. and it's silly of me to like the coke bottle, but i did. people from here only had them decades ago, so the kids here didn't grow up with them, but people like me, from the rest of the world, still use bottles, and we grew up with them. now, if we take a hike to another part of town, we see mamma's pizza, who have this wonderful mamma's burger, which comes in a tight aluminium foil. it's a big, big, juicy burger, but the relish is the thing with this one. our imaginal friend introduced me to it, and we both used to order it all the time, and one time i had called up and he had just placed his order, and the girl knew it was us two cuz we both asked for no bacon. further along, on duluth, one finds the famous au pied de cochon, who have a foie gras burger. now this is very interesting, and one finds it in some places, and it is worth a go. a couple of other interesting places in mtl are newtown, which actually has a great burger; dundee's has a good mushroom burger; some people like dunn's burger (metcalfe and st cats), for me the big selling point is it's open all the time, you can have steak at 4 in the morning; the st james hotel in old port has a beautiful dining room, with a burger that has an amazing tasting patty, but is far too small for the bun, which itself is very lacklustre. in some of the cities i visit a lot, there are places i go for burgers also, for example, in vancouver i always loved the burger at the garden cafe at the four seasons. it really is good and was my favourite for many years; it's a formal burger, with the traditional ingredients, such as onions, lettuce, tomatoes, with a well-positioned bun, and a carefully prepared patty, and the chips are well-cut and thin. vera's, on the other hand, is a chain that has excellent burgers, but, again, come in aluminium foil, are messy and big, and have lots of options, but, like they say, you can't beat vera's meat. in london i've always liked the tootsie's burger. it really is good, it's semi-formal, really, but it's best with the white chocolate milkshake. ah, five guys burger and fries, the burger from dc that spurred my somewhat-infamous moment-of-passion email some years ago; this is a burger. it's a fast food place, but, the thing is, it just tastes so good. it is so good. really good. in bangkok i like the burgers at the intercon hotel, and the hyatt has a good one too. these are wider in diameter, as hotel burgers tend to be, more formal, as stated, sticking to traditional ingredients, with well-grilled and well-made patties, topped with nice, melted cheese. it's the quality of the ingredients at the hotel burgers that makes them good. this has been a long exposition of a subject that i can imagine a number of you will not like at all, but some of you will understand and appreciate my appreciation. it's the sort of thing that the sort of people who like this sort of thing will find that it's the sort of thing they like.

Friday, March 27, 2009


what happens to your facebook profile if you die?

a cheap trick (illusion, really): the despite-or-maybe-because-of-$3.75 so good dilallo burger.

the chain with the name dilallo: i frequented it frequently this past week, as my gustative peregrinations took me there on sunday night, some twenty-odd hours subsequent to my first experience there when i ingested two of the namesake delicacies as well as an entire french fried, and i again visited the scene of this crime of passion on tuesday night, when my enjoyment was, once again, plain and evident, like a piece of cheese in a mousetrap baiting its prey. the dilallo pattys are flimsy and unsound, nestled between a top bun that looks like a sexy bottom bun and a bottom bun that looks like a top-heavy bun, punctuated with hints of tomatoes, a lavish hit of onion, a Mr Pickle Two Slice, and pleasurable mustard, all topped with a grease that allows one's fingers to slip and slide, reminding one of the tenuousness of youth's pleasures, and the frivolity of trying to hold on to them. the first time the burger and my mouth met, the world was bright - it was a sunny day. there was an initial shock, followed by a rapturous engorging. the chemistry was palpable.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

la clafouti sandwich

the place is packed. at lunchtime the lineup's a winding snake, people all waiting to gobble down the sandwiches, the fruits, the soups, all 'healthy' foods for cheap. the demography, all ppl taking lunch breaks, is noteworthy for its aesthetic quality, which is a surprising contradiction to the eatery's dark, cavernous atmosphere. in the summer, ppl/one cross the street (drummond) to the mini-park and eat there. that's what we did the first time i was taken there a few years ago by my old friend al-bookthief, who told me, quite correctly, that the sandwiches were great and cheap. i've never had anything else except the tuna sandwiches and i've never looked back. but here's what it looks like if i did look back:

Thursday, March 19, 2009


dancing, an exaggerated human movement in rhythm to music. it is enlivening, to be sure, though i shan't make any etiological inquiries here. let us say for now that rhythm is indeed a dancer. mosaica ... the mcgill dance company. it's always a fun show. there's such a variety of styles and songs, hip hop to hipster, coldplay to collins. and loads of britney. (seems everyone likes britney, even though all her songs are about how no one likes her.) but the show really was quite good and fun, and it always impresses me that people design the dances themselves, it was the co-ordinators, who themselves are students. and they all put in so much effort. just imagine. the dances were very interesting, some telling stories, most were just raw expressions of the passion that music inspires; through different sounds they played around. but, both the music and the style of dance was very 'stuff that white people like'; a lot of hipster and a lot of sadness. sadness is legitimate in post-enlightenment liberal society, we wallow in it here, though in the islamic conception, despondency is a sin; 'failures should be forgotten and new efforts made'. we don't wallow in sadness, it's not legitimate. regardless, the dancing itself wasn't perfect; they had problems keeping in synch with each other in every dance. but, it's excusable, i think, because one the dances were fun and the music was interesting, two it's students, and three they're soft young girls. if they were not pretty young girls would it be any good? it would not. would one have liked the show otherwise? i think not. what do i know about dancing as art, really? very little, but i enjoyed watching them move around nonetheless. dancing has to be done by soft, lithe young girls, otherwise it's just fat people jumping up and down. (see here.)

everyone loves christian bale

chris bale is pretty cool. he's patrick bateman, bruce wayne, and a terminator terminator. that is pretty cool. he's always been dedicated to his roles (see the weight change between machinist and batman begins). see how deeply he delves into bateman. his first role was as a kid, in that spielberg picture. they said he was going to be great. and he is: he's got a huge cult following (re: the way cool but lame 'equilibrium', and 'american sycho'), and TWO franchises (batman + terminator = dollar dollar bills). so, why were people ragging on him about his on-set rant? it's obviously annoying when someone repeatedly disturbs your conccentration, regardless of what field you're in. i hate it when someone interrupts my thought-trains. obviously the guy was annoying, and someone should definitely trash his lights. hear the original here. and the amazing remix is "oooh good". the remix is great, lots of fun driving around to, so funny, and makes us like chris bale more. (alternate viewpoint).

Saturday, March 14, 2009


it's basic. it's for kids, for young people. it reeks of simplicity, like pesto pasta, another of my lusts. it's sometimes disparaged by people who fancy they've sophisticated palettes; sometimes not. but it can't shake that sense of innocence, that sense of easiness, of being at the beginning, something from which one graduates. i never craved it in my minority. i never remembered it in the early years of my maturity, eschewing pasta generally. but, it's overcome me now and i've never wanted it more.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

there's something about aranciata ... and pellegrino, generally.

of course i like limonata, but there really is something about the orange that i like (my love for orangina has already been documented). aranciata is very popular in italy, where san pellegrino has been produced for six hundred years. the company has been the number one beverage company in italy since the seventies and its water now sells for about ten dollars a bottle in restaurants on this side of the pond. i have always preferred the softness of their frizzante to perrier's difficult hardness, but it's pellegrino's style that really catches the eye: the light blue label, the harsh red star. and the new matte-coloured aranciata/limonata/chino bottles in the deps/cafes are very modish and colourful. certainly, i used to enjoy the aranciata cans on hot days in italy, but the glass bottles add to the genuineness of the taste, offering less harsh carbonation, and an easier and cooler sip from the tip. (the drawback is the bottle holds less, and the price is higher. and one needs a bottle opener; though cool its annoying). but still, frizzante drinks are very refreshing - they're the first choice in italy - and the aranciata is the icing on the cake. aaaaaaranciatah!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

yann martel of montreal and spain and my heart.

the first time i encountered his words i was stunned. and in the coming days i saw his book in the hands of so many humans waiting at airport gates, and i wondered if they had all had the same shock as i had, and i was surprised at the wherewithal of the hoi polloi to experience his words' beauty as deeply as it had struck me. i never finished 'life of pi', i barely read it at all. i couldn't really understand it, though i came to learn that it was an important cog of our social imaginary, an expression of society's ethics. but yesterday i read the first page of 'self', and his turns of phrases hit me one more time. i bought it today, and, in reading it, felt my insides soften. how can he manipulate the words in this way, with such perceptiveness, such creativity. how can his mind create such things that ignite my stomach, that spark a burning, a covetousness so hot that its steam spills out my eyes.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

nuit blanche

all right, so nuit blanche; 165 activities, till six in the mornin'. freezing night, couldn't it have been like yesterday? every time we walked around it was just too cold. 9pm: old port, me aditi aabida, walk around, check out galleries; margot's place, galerie pangee, with the wicked graffiti exhibition, paper on the walls, drawn on by prominent mtl graffiti artists, like omen; walk across to our new friend lexie's place, the ever-psychedelic espace b51. it was so freezing ... 10pm: head down to place jacques-cartier, check out the ice slide, very very cool; what's hotter is the open air electronica concert, the sound system is amazing and its mesmerizing. 11pm: burger king; 372 st cats, floors of art galleries, super super hipster, crazy exhibit on sound where they're also making grilled cheese sandwiches; we stand in line twice to take warholian picture of us, second time's really the charm. 12am: planetarium; see saturn; lineup longer than the trail of haley's comet; head to grange with kabu and sabu, it's dead. 1am: old port again, freezing cold, beaver tails. 2.30am: wicked onetop tshirt competition at w; rubbish sound system at the club. 3am: contemporary art museum, incomprehensible video on light, spectacular claude tousignant exhibit. 3.45am: planetarium again, line still long in super cold minus 10 but feels like minus 15; exiting chaps declare exhibit's rubbishness, we laugh and leave. 4am: jive on st laurent, rockabilly dancing, super smelly; feel like maleek at the pipa show, exit hastily, return, exit again. 4.15: 2 dollar noodles, really good, agree gladly with aditi that we did alot. 4.39am: enter driveway, see "that guy's" sl55 is not in its usual spot, realise we should have perhaps stayed out longer.