Posts tagged ‘food’

What do you do when your wife’s favourite restaurant closes?

lobsterroyaleDeborah’s favourite restaurant is closed.  Forever.

Lobster Royale was the Duchess of Thornhill’s best kept secret.  It was to her, what “Freddy’s BBQ Joint” was to future TV POTUS Frank Underwood.  All the stages of loss apply, most particularly shock, then denial.  Acceptance is still a ways off.

Lobster Royale was a family staple.  It had a hidden gem quality to it.  Something about the staff, the food, the decor resonated and felt like home.  It could be a longing for her Mi’gmaq homeland and the deliciousness of the sea.

So…  what DO you do when your wife’s favorite restaurant closes?  You send a thank you note to the owner.


From: Bob Goulais

Date: Tuesday, April 28, 2015 at 9:51 PM
Cc: Richardson, Deborah
Subject: Thank You, Lobster Royale

Dear Lobster Royale:

Thank you for the years of great dinner and special occasions.  I was disappointed to drive by today and find out that you have closed your doors.  Lobster Royale was indeed a favorite of our family, and my wife’s absolute favorite restaurant!  Many a birthday dinner for her was celebrated there.  We always brought our family and friends, and referred business your way.

We always enjoyed the service, especially the older lady and the older gentleman.  We will miss the the menu, lobster bisque, fresh lobster, my wife’s king crab and the ample garlic buns.  I liked approaching the counter to pay the bill just so I can have a few extra After Eights chocolates.

I hope you closed on good terms and not because we didn’t patron your restaurant enough, or send enough repeat business.  I wish you all well.

Sincerely, thank you so much.

Bob Goulais

Random Thoughts today…

lobster_brkfJust waiting for a conference call to start so I thought I’d put a few thoughts on paper.

BREAKFAST – This morning I had fresh maritime lobster with a fat-free cheese slice, egg white omelet (6 points on Weightwatchers).  Check out the photo.  The lobster kinda looks like when my Dad used to deep-fry bacon for his famous, moose-bacon cheese burger on fry bread (21 points).

TODAY’S BLESSING – “Gzhemnidoo (Great kind spirit – the Creator).  I look to you, in a humble way, for your help in my quest to lose weight and make healthier choices in life.  I’m having some difficult times in staying positive and following-through.  Today, I ask the Spirit World, the Grandmothers and Grandfathers all around me, to help me in this important personal goal.  Please look after me in dealing with my diabetes, that I stay focussed, take my medicine everyday and live healthy.  I think about all those, like me, living with diabetes and I ask that you look after them and their daily struggles.  Today, I give thanks for all your great works, for Creation around us, for this good and beautiful life, mno-bimaadiziwin.  I thank you for this wonderful Mide life, mice bimaadiziwin.  I give thanks for all your gifts, for my family and the health of others during this holiday season.  I broke my fast today with a tall, glass of clear, fresh water, nibi/mide-waaboo.  That sacred water that flows to us, with great kindness, from that third level above us.  I give thanks for the water and for the food that grows on Shkawkamig-Kwe (Mother Earth).  Miigwetch (thank you), Grandfathers and Grandmothers.  Take pity on us, Gzhemnidoo.”

FOOTBALL – It was a very interesting night in NFL football.  The Bears won.  The Packers came back after I had all but given up on them.  The Vikings upset the high-flying Eagles.  My Midewiwin family must be really happy today.  Quite a few upsets this week as well.  My Broncos and miracle quarterback Payton Manning losing to the Chargers was a bit of a shocker.  Pats lose.  Saints lose.  One social media comment I seen summed the whole weekend:  “Mediocrity prevails yet again.”

CHEYENNE SAUCIER – I had a great time at the Assembly of First Nation’s annual Christmas Party last Thursday.  It’s been a long while since I attended as it usually isn’t my kind of thing.  The dinner was amazing, the company was fun and interesting and the entertainment was top-notch.  Had a chance to listen to and meet young Cheyenne Saucier from Wikwemikong.  I bought her latest CD of country covers called The Nashville Sessions Vol. 1 to play in my car.  The level of talent among Anishinaabek youth is astounding.  She’s going to go far and I wish her luck in her career.

HOLIDAY PLANS – Holiday Dinner will be at Junior and Laurie’s place this coming Saturday.  We’re looking forward to a great feast, albeit, a feast of small portions for me.  Deborah and I are bringing a fresh, roasted, bone-in ham with a honey mustard glaze.  Griffin and Miigwans are Florida bound with their mom and Val for their holidays.  They depart this Friday so I won’t see them until next year.  Fortunately, they will be staying with us this Thursday night so we can exchange gifts.  Katherine Faith will be home on Christmas Eve.  Although she will be visiting her boyfriend Jake’s family over Christmas.  Deb and I will be on our own for Christmas night.  No fancy dinner planned.  We might go to a movie like we’ve done in the past.  In all likelihood, Deborah, myself, Katherine Faith, Jake, Jasmine and Fiona will head someplace warm for the holidays.  We will celebrate New Years in the warm climate of a five-star resort.

Struggling, struggling to take off pounds


Do you know what the hardest thing in the world is to do?  Not climb Mount Everest or tame a wild Siberian Tiger, but to change mindless, life-long habits and a way of life.  To set aside a life spent in gluttonous bliss, consuming all matter of fats, creams, oils and sugar in satisfying quantities. To dismiss carbohydrate deliciousness, and eat limited portions of not-as-satisfying, lean protein and vegetable-based agony.

I’ve been on diets before.  About six of them… in the past three months.  You can probably guess how well I’ve been doing but my favorite diet is. venus factor diet.

The habits probably started at breakfast, long ago, with a well-oiled serving of either fried weiners or fried balogna and eggs, over-easy with buttered toast.  Pretty much every breakfast throughout grade school, with a few loaves of french toast to break up the monotony. I remember those breakfasts quite fondly and once in a while, I break down and have a nostalgic re-creation at home.

Success, I guess, comes down to habit, choice and desire.  Changing my habits.  Making conscious choices.  Having the desire and drive to live healthier. I started to study the effects of supplements. One purported benefit of MK677 is that it helps in the oxidation of fat thus preventing weight gain.

But it’s pretty friggin’ hard.

Last night I had a melt down. I called my support sponsor, my wife, who proceeded to listen to me rant, quite vigorously, on speakerphone, with Jasmine in the car.  I eloquently and soliloquely blubbered about my unsatisfying life, my ridiculous bird-like dinner in a downtown food court, with Burger “King”, the A&W bear and the Colonel staring me down in jest.  All this while I’m powerwalking, uphill, on rue Guy in downtown Montreal.

She spoke to me about friends like Waylon Scott, Candice Paul, Ljuba Irwin, her BFF Fiona and my brother Dennis Jr. who’ve all moved towards a more healthy way of life. They are all real life role-models. She encouraged me to keep at it.  To find that desire to make good choices. To try to stay away from those bad habits.

As I add sugar to my morning coffee, I remember that I need to tell the front desk to add that $3.50 Snickers bar to my hotel bill when I check out.

It’s a struggle, man. I long for my fried breakfast delight, lovingly made by my old-fashioned Momma. But I just finished my veggie egg-white omelet, dry whole-wheat toast with fruit.  I guess I’ll carry-on.

In the three weeks I’ve been back on Weight Watchers, I’ve only lost a few pounds.  But my blood sugar was 6.0 this morning.  At least my diabetes is doing well.

That’s a tangible benefit that I can celebrate over my tofu sundae and lettuce wrap that I know awaits me for lunchtime.

Domino’s Deep Dish a Crusty Delight

dominospizzaToday, I’m motivated to blog about pizza.  Yes, that simple, delectable, Love or hate it, Italian-American dinner pie.

I’m not much of a pizza person.  Sure I’ll eat it when we order it.  (I don’t miss many meals no matter what it is)  But I think the Domino’s Pizza commercial caused me to order a couple of medium pizzas today – my day to cook.

I was interested in trying Domino’s version of the “pan pizza”.  I do prefer the Chicago-style to the New York style.  The deep-dish, eat-with-a-fork-and-knife pie, is more dinner-like than the quick, fold-it-in-half fast-food NY pizza.  To me, they’re two different products.  One is serve in a plate.  The other is served on the street.

I must have been was drawn to the mouthwatering visuals on TV, the hot stringy cheese, the fluffy gluteneous crust, abundant meat and the brownish-red crisped edges and encrusted mozzarella.

It also helps that I can place my order online and they arrive in about 30 minutes.

The medium pepperoni pan pizza, with free provolone cheese was only $6.99.  Despite the price, it was pretty good too.  I especially liked the thick crust at the end.  Normally, crust is… well, just crust.  But the slightly burnt cheese with the thick crusty edges were delightful.

Give it a try, it’s good value and good taste.  Enjoy.

Farmers lost in the Monsanto, GMO debate

farmercornThere are a lot of arguments on both sides of the genetically modified organism (GMO) debate.  GMOs are harmful…  GMOs are not harmful, et cetera.  Most of these arguments go around in circles as each side is convinced that they are right.  Each side has their own biased data to prove their point.

Today, I’m not going to wade into that debate, really.  I am going to focus my comments on farmers and the Monsanto controversy on this, the international day to protest the American agribusiness powerhouse.

I’ve seen a number documentaries and articles, which include compelling evidence and testimony from farmers themselves, that the Monsanto monopoly is a burden to the family farm.

I have a great respect for farmers.  They feed all of us.  They feed the cities, the politicians and business people.  Yet, when it comes to obtaining some benefit from the best high-yield crops, farmers have to pay through the nose.

You see, in order to be competitive in the agricultural business, farmers need to plant the best crops from the best seed.  The best seed is also the most expensive because they have been engineered by companies such as Monsanto.

If they do use these seeds, and their crops happen to sprout their own seeds, they cannot plant the offspring seed or risk ending up in court.  Since the beginning of agriculture, farmers have always been able to plant, harvest, reuse and share their seeds.  But in today’s agricultural business, this tried and true method of farming is next to impossible given the patents that are held on the seed.

Monsanto and companies like it wield a very litigious business philosophy.  They won’t hesitate to take any farmer to court no matter how big or how small their operations to enforce their biological patents.  Family farms have been ruined by the heavy hand and deep pockets of the world’s largest agribusiness companies.

We’re talking soybean and corn, folks.  Crops that can be found in thousands of other food products that end up on our tables each and every day.  Whether you are for or against GMOs, you eat them.

I’m not advocating for the socialization of farming and agribusiness.  But lawmakers need to work harder to protect farmers.  Courts and public policy have focused more on protecting patents and big agribusiness than they have on protecting farmers.

We need more fair and sustainable models of agribusiness so farmers can obtain benefit from larger crop yields so they can turn a profit and feed us fat cats.

For the opponents of GMOs, I’d caution on your use of the broad tar brush.

Everyone, especially farmers, benefit from larger crop yields, healthier grains and plant resistance to insects and disease.  A successful farmer means more food for all of us.  A successful farmer means they stay in business and that means that someone is tending to the soil.

DandelionWe need farmers to feed the masses who live in ever growing, expanding urban centres.  While cities are sprawling, farmland is shrinking.  The reality is, we all need the scientific, biological and genetic benefit we can to maximize production of food.

We also need to further encourage food research and agricultural science.  There are as many benefits as there are concerns.  We can’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.  Remember, science has eradicated some diseases and made us immune to others.  I have no doubt that science will someday cure cancer and diabetes, and you can bet the farm, that those miracle breakthroughs will come through genetics and pharmaceutical science.

At the same time, we need to balance that with the need for food safety.  I still have confidence in Health Canada but they have let us down in the past.  We need more public investment in inspection, monitoring, enforcement, food research and an eye on the GMO industry.  We also need to find a way to create a labeling system for those who choose not to consume GMO products.

Until such time, we all have a choice.  For those with GMO concerns, there are a lot more organic choices than ever before.  There are also plenty of farmer’s markets where I encourage you to get to know and support your local producers.  Shop local and you won’t go wrong.

Profound Thoughts From Vacation (on Technology, Food and the Spirit)

Ahhh… vacation!  It’s not only a time to relax and spend time with family and friends, it’s also an opportune time to become one with your own Spirit and commune with the Spirit World.

Sure, it wounds kinda hoaxy.  (Hey, Bob’s gone new age.  He’s been away from home for so long that he must have lost it. )

No, it’s completely true.  If you are moving too fast, whether it is physical (speeding along the interstate or whoofing down your lunch) or mental (too much time on your iPhone/Blackberry or obsessively planning) you never really get to be in touch with your own Spirit.

The best moments of this vacation were spending time laughing with friends, telling stories among family, floating along in the ocean, and for me, listening to the bullfrogs and crickets and looking up to the stars and our beautiful grandmother Moon in the sky at night.

I’ll never forget the words from our Mayan elder who married Deb and I back in May.  During the ceremony she said: “place yourself in the here and now.  Feel the earth beneath your feet and the sand beneath your toes.”

If you don’t stop, or if you’re always thinking ten steps ahead, you’ll never truly enjoy or fulfill what you are doing.  You’ll always be moving along to the next thing.

I’ve noticed that technology seems to be a significant barrier.  Yes, I’m guilty of it when it comes to using my smartphone.  Most days, usually when I’m on the government dime, I’m checking the thing 24/7.  You’ve all heard it before…  we’re more accessible than ever.  But technology didn’t make things easier for us, it just gave us a lot more work.  Work that we’re now taking home.  We even bring our work into our bedrooms at night.  When I’m not on it for work, I’m watching movies, reading books, playing games, all by the light of my magnificent Android tablet.

I really noticed it observing the children during our road trip.  Instead of talking and visiting as a family, or enjoying the stunning views of the Appalachian Mountains or the Atlantic Ocean, they’re texting, playing video games, Facebooking and on their headphones listening to music.  Our kids are being transported to Katy Perry’s vacation home or LMFAO’s back seat, instead of finding themselves a part of the world around them or a part of a great family adventure.

Although I am totally addicted, I’ll never truly understand the allure of fast food.  It must be the mindless calories, fat and deep-fried heaven that overtakes the common sense.

A couple of times during our holidays we stopped for the “quick bite”.  Through a Tim Horton’s or McDonald’s drive-thru, we occasionally picked up the odd breakfast sandwich or burgers and fries.  It comes out fast, goes in fast, then comes out fast again.  (Too much information, I know).  It tastes great, but is it truly enjoyable?  When a vacation-time family meal only lasts 10 minutes, there must be some kind of problem with that.

The answer, once again, lies in the Spirit.

The food that is provided to us by the Spirit World, through the abundance of our Mother Earth, is good and wholesome.  The food has a Spirit all to itself.  That food is sacred.

The potatoe, even though I’m not a fan, was grown in the soil within our Mother herself.  The not-so-sacred cow, although domesticated, gives up it’s life for us to live and grow.  From the cucumber that makes up the pickle, to the bright, red vine-grown tomato, to the cream and spices that make up the Big Mac sauce – at one point were wholesome, sacred foods.

When they are enjoyed in their raw, natural state these foods are decadent.  Even when they are cooked, by the hands of our wives, husbands, moms, mother-in-laws, friends and step-dads, the food is prepared with Love.

Unfortunately, nowadays, these plants and animals are grown using hormones and pesticides, then are sliced, diced and blended en masse.  The recipes are conceived in a laboratory and cooked in a factory.  The food is then re-assembled, flash-frozen, boxed and shipped.  Upon ordering, it is then fried, pressure-cooked, microwaved, and re-assembled.  Then, ultimately, passed from the fast-food window through your car window.

It’s not wonder there is little social, spiritual or nutritional value place on our food.  Endulging the quick bite is a long way from being in touch with the Spirit of sacred food.

The best anecdote of being in touch with the Spirit comes from our wedding adventure in Mexico.

One of our favorite pastimes in snorkeling.  While we were in Tulum, quite a few of our friends and family gathered at the beach and spent our time in the shallow pools snorkeling for critters.  We turned over rocks to observe the krill, shrimp, and tropical fish.  But it’s the small rock crabs are so fun to handle.

While I was skimming the surface, young Cayden joined me.  This happy-go-lucky, rambunctious 7 year-old paddled circles around me and splashed around, all the while we were looking for the elusive inch-long crustacean.  Finally, after all the sea-life abandoned our location, and without seeing anything for ten minutes or so, I took young Cayden ashore.

While cleaning our diving masks, I explained how our Spirits need to be in touch with the Spirits underwater.  We were entering their realm, and we need to silence our bodies and our minds in order to receive the gift of their presence.

When we returned, Cayden and I floated quietly and respectfully through the coral reef and rough bottom, finding the sea-life we were looking for.

When we quiet ourselves, and spend time “in the here and now”, we can truly observe this amazing world around us.

Movie popcorn has fat of 12 hamburgers

Megan Ogilvie
Health Reporter
Toronto Star

The Dish: January 28, 2011

  • DISH: Medium bag of popcorn with butter topping
  • RESTAURANT: Concessions at Cineplex Odeon Queensway Cinemas
  • LOCATION: 1025 The Queensway, Etobicoke
  • PRICE: $5.79 for the popcorn; $0.79 for the butter topping
  •  Serving size: 217 grams
  • Calories: 1,319
  • Fat: 97 grams
  • Sodium: 651 mg
  • Protein: 15 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 96 grams
  • 26 Weight Watchers PointsPlus!!
  • 10 PointsPlus for the Butter Topping!!

Let’s cut straight to the facts: A medium-sized bag of popcorn with butter could get you up to 97 grams of fat, depending on how liberally the topping is applied. That’s more than what most men should consume in a day, and is between 130 and 200 per cent of the average woman’s daily allotment.

Cineplex Odeon disputes the 97-gram tally. Nutrition sites estimate a medium bag of popcorn without butter rings in at 60 grams of fat. Adding butter (especially without tracking the amount) sends the snack into the stratosphere. For some people, 97 grams is almost two days worth of fat — in a snack.

“I almost fell off my chair,” says registered dietitian Shannon Crocker, who provided comparisons to underscore just how much fat movie goers could consume while munching handfuls of popcorn.

“That amount of fat is the same as what’s found in 12 hamburgers from McDonalds. Or in 10 slices of sausage mushroom melt pizza from Pizza Pizza. Or in five large hot fudge sundaes from Dairy Queen.”

Cineplex Entertainment, which runs the Queensway Cinemas from which we purchased this bag of popcorn, is the largest movie theatre chain in the country with 132 theatres and 1,366 screens that entertain more than 70 million people a year. In 2010, Cineplex sold 7 million pounds (kernel weight) of popcorn.

Cineplex should get some nutrition kudos for switching its popping oil from coconut oil, traditionally used by movie theatres to pop kernels, to a proprietary popping oil called Vegetol. The company says this blend, launched in 2007 and which includes canola oil and artificial butter flavour, is lower in calories, fat, saturated fat and trans fat than coconut oil. Instead of going to the movies and eating their fatty popcorn, think about renting a movie and popping your own popcorn. Here are some popcorn popper reviews. It’ll not only help reduce the amount of fat you consume but also save you money.

“Regardless,” says Crocker, “97 grams is still way too much fat even if it’s a heart-healthier kind.”

The 1,319 calories — half a day’s worth for most people — is doubly offensive since one cup of plain air-popped popcorn only contains about 33 calories. People who make air-popped popcorn at home would have to eat 40 cups to equal the 1,319 calories found in this blue paper bag.

“I recommend popcorn, just not movie popcorn,” says Crocker, adding air-popped popcorn is a good-for-you snack because it is a whole grain that provides a hit of fibre. The high calories are due to the popping oil and the butter topping (Cineplex offers Lactantia clarified butter and Becel popcorn topping; we chose the real butter to test).

At 651 mg, the sodium is the least worrisome of the big three nutrition numbers. Though at about half of what the body needs in a day, 651 mg is not completely innocuous.  According to Cineplex, movie goers can get nutrition information for concession foods by asking the Guests Services team.

Few things will make movie popcorn healthy. But Crocker says there are some ways to make it a better option: Choose the smallest size. Skip the buttery topping to save between 200 and 300 calories. Steer clear of the salt shakers to avoid added sodium. Split the small size with a friend. And order water, not pop.

“A medium-size soda at the movies can run about 300 calories. You don’t want to do any more damage.”

  • DISH: Nachos with cheese sauce
  • RESTAURANT: Concessions at Cineplex Odeon Queensway Cinemas
  • LOCATION: 1025 The Queensway, Etobicoke
  • PRICE: $5.99

Compared to the bag of popcorn, the tray of nachos with two dipping pots of cheese sauce is a calorie lightweight. But with 485 calories, 25 grams of fat and 715 mg of sodium, it’s still not a healthy choice.

“It’s just not as high in calories and fat as the popcorn,” Crocker says.

The 500 calories is more than double what the average person should aim for in a snack. The 25 grams of fat is between one third and one half of what a woman should consume in a day. And the 715 mg of sodium is about half of the recommended daily allotment.

If you are a nacho lover, it’s probably best to split this tray, says Crocker. There’s not a lot of nutrition here, mostly just empty calories with fat and salt.

“It’s not the same as sprinkling cheddar cheese and chopped veggies on your nachos at home.”