pain is the staff of life

Lucien of Hogtown (an unforgettable dining experience)

Posted in Uncategorized by ruthanzo on March 5, 2008

Drove to Hogtown last Thursday with Ylli for a do that was taking place on the weekend. We arrived late in the evening saving our hunger (like virginity? fighting off Timbits along the way) so that we could fall into some cosy little bistro and extasize over a mignonette de boeuf & frites washed down with some claret. Ylli pointed out that a lot of the ‘new’ bar-restos in Toronto have one word names like Eleven, Pravda, McDonalds..After much dithering, I chose an eatery called Lucien. It was Lucien Carr that came to mind, Kerouac and Ginsberg’s handsome sidekick who is said to have shot a pesky suitor named Bill Kamerer and thrown his body into the Hudson River or maybe it was the great British painter Lucian Freud that I was reminded of, famous for his portraits of blotchy fat white men and of course his controversial rendering of a pregnant Kate Moss, the most successful CK girl ever, whom he managed to make look like Mrs. Shrek. In any case, the decor at Lucien’s, an unfamiliar combo of spanish bordello and morgue moderne was the first warning sign. We each chose two starters: the onion soup and a salad with a glass of wine, not wanting to overeat before bed. As it turns out there was no danger of that happening and should have walked out when the soup arrived at table minus the soup, just a big empty bowl with the garnishes, one crouton, one glob of something called gouda foam and a small tired caramalized onion.The broth was in a teapot and when added to these elements formed a brown sludge in which the gouda foam started to bubble like an overflowing septic tank and smell like same. I immediately lost my appetite. This witch’s brew was followed by the ‘heritage’ (biafran?) beet salad consisting of two ball bearing-sized beets with a red stain of something or other on an oversized plate. Ylli started to giggle in disbelief. When a wobbly construction of 3 stacks of dumpster-grade spinach arrived with no dressing but with the red stains, a rondelle of petrified persimmon and more bubbling foam, this time blue cheese, I gagged. We were had. This was a first for us, cuisine vidangeur (catch of the day from the garbagetruck.) The sadistic smile on our waiter’s face (and the Hogtown Sanitation Dept logo on his shirt) confirmed our suspicions and we sat there in stunned embarassment. I got the uneasy feeling that a lot of these ‘new’ establishments in Toronto’s historic gaslit downtown, the resto-bars and the bad art stores, are fronts for the Russian mob. After this ‘dining’ experience, the only Lucien I was reminded of was Lucien Rivard, the wily Québec bank robber and folk-hero who escaped over the walls of Bordeaux Jail sometime in the early 1960s, by sweet-talking the guards into giving him a very long garden hose so that he could flood the prison yard skating rink all on a balmy Spring day. This outrageous event was commemorated by my clever and beautiful cousin A.-M. Fauteux in her epic poem The Ballad of Bordeaux Jail. Her poem was acted out by the local morning man at Montreal’s CJAD radio and released as a 45 rpm single. When I find the written words and/or the recording I will post it here.

Bon appétit!



Rufus Wainwright and his wonderfully wilde and wacky travelling show. (safe for the lactose intolerant) Saturday, Jun 16 2007

Posted in Blogroll, Uncategorized by ruthanzo on June 15, 2007

June 15 2007

Rufus played the Salle Maisonneuve in Montreal on Thursday night and I think it might have been the best live show I’ve ever seen though I admit a certain bias given the warp and woof of our shared genetic material. He does all his own band arrangements and their musicality and modernity was astounding. It’s an all male show, beautiful sounding horns and duelling electric guitars, Rufus’ voice was in the best of shape and his piano playing was deft, romantic. There lots of testosterone coming from the bass and drums and other good stuff that guys can do like singing really high and really low. No curdled girl back-ups…Prince has cornered that particular cheese market.

Later, driving up the Main, we caught sight of a bride in the back of a cab. Big stiff white veil on head. She was with two friends. We wondered where they might be headed for at 1 a.m..Maybe Toronto? When we pulled up beside them the bride was holding a sign out the window that advertised “I suck for a buck.” Seemed cheap. Those are outsourcing rates. More evidence that Montreal is turning into a third world city. It was all very funny. A huge contrast with Toronto where last week people stood in line for the chance to idolize a big blue crystal that cost over a 130 million loonies.

Rufus asks, ‘Do I Disappoint you?’ Great song. To answer your question, papillonant though you might be, “Never.”

Naan St-Agur


lily Says:
June 16th, 2007 at 7:02 pm edit
never a truer word was ever said. show was amazing. girl backups are still ok though…. haha.

zj Says:
June 16th, 2007 at 8:14 pm edit
ditto darlings

ruthanzo Says:
June 16th, 2007 at 9:13 pm edit
girls suck!

Wan Raw Dry Guys Says:
June 17th, 2007 at 10:44 am
While I agree with the tenor alto and bass of the original writer, I detect an air of consanguinity mixed with liberal media bias. I think R should record his version ( fair & balanced) of Foxy Lady™ and give it to Senor O’Really. Having sais that, the` show was superlative. I hope that the next tour will see the brass replaced by bongos.

A Song Update Says:
June 17th, 2007 at 4:33 pm
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t Blog Up the Hall