Tag Archives: Michel Cluizel

Vacation Starts Now

Okay, vacation starts in about 2 hours. But really, I’m so stoked about vacation that my brain has pretty much checked out. Two little hours. One hundred and twenty minutes. Seven thousand two hundred seconds. I can do this.

For those of you that may have forgotten, my younger brother and I are heading to New York City on Sunday. This will be Aidan’s first visit, and my eleventy-billionth. I really can’t get enough of that city. Not much is planned apart from visits to any or all of the following:

But nothing is set in stone as this trip is really free-form. And I love travelling like this, especially since Aidan and I have a way of finding things that are awesome. Or perhaps trouble/adventure has a way of finding us. Either way, adventure is out there and we’re going to take part in it.

The extra awesome part about this trip is that Arlene will be meeting me in New York for a day. I haven’t seen her in far too long and it will be awesome to catch up. Arlene is one of the most amazing people in the history of ever. She’s someone who you can’t help but love. Seriously – I challenge anyone not to lover her. You can’t. It’s impossible.

Anyway, we met in first year – we had a chemistry lab together – but we didn’t really get to know each other until second year. Her mom (affectionately known as Toots) saw me helping people move in – I was an orientation volunteer – and told Arlene “He looks nice, you should make friends with him.” She still takes credit for our friendship. Anyway, after that Arlene has been one of the most important figures in my life, even if I don’t get to see her often. So naturally, I can’t wait to see her and give her a huge hug. Can’t. Freaking. Wait.

But as I said – two more hours – less than that even. W00t!

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Does This Spell The End Of My Wanderlusting?

A get well note for Bernie from his eldest daughter Makenzie.

After visiting the hospital today to see Becky and my brother, Aidan and I headed to Simcoe to visit my parents. We figured it would do all of us good to have a normal family dinner. And it did.

Over dinner we chatted about the obvious; that being my brother and the accident. We also chatted about Christmas and what that would entail. You see, Aidan and I had planned to fly to Europe for three weeks over Christmas and New Years. However, given the current situation with my brother, it seems like a far better idea to stick around and spend time with the family.

But don’t worry folks; this isn’t the end of my wanderlusting ways. Far from it. During our drives back and forth from the hospital, Aidan and I have been chatting about what our plans could be. Clearly we both know that being home for Christmas is the only option. But we also know that travel is still in our very near future. In fact, after our conversation today I think we’ve figured out where were going to go and when we are going to go there. So, without further ado let me present to you the

New & Improved

Dan & Aidan Fun Time Christmas Travel Adventure


Destination: New York City!

Say what? New York City? Again? Weren’t you just in the Big Apple?

Why yes, yes I was, thank you for noticing. But really, this is a no-brainer. Flights are inexpensive. Hotels are inexpensive (for NYC). The time of year is right. I love the city. And even more: Aidan has never been there. This is clearly something that I should have rectified long ago. Regardless, the plan is to hit the Big Apple one more time this year. On our list of things to do:

I’m sure there will be other items added to the list, but this is a good start for now. And as always, I shall keep you posted on my wanderlusting and my adventuring.

Waiting For Rickman

Friday night, after wandering New York, gorging on chocolates from Godiva and from Michel Cluizel, attempting our hand at shopping, seeing The Book of Mormon, and enjoying a most delicious post-theatre dinner accompanied by a very nice bottle of Don David Malbec at Sosa Borella (an Argentine restaurant we randomly stumbled upon), Gerarda, Steph, and I made our way back to On The Avenue hotel.  There we tried some of the 30-year-old port that I had picked up, along with a small bottle of bubbly that Gerarda and Steph had purchased to celebrate our first full day in the city. While this might sound like a wild night it was actually low-key; which was exactly what we wanted given that Saturday night would be anything but – what with the planned wine dinner at Maloney & Porcelli’s.

Gerarda and I searching for tickets.

Anyway, while we were enjoying the port we opted to listen to The Book of Mormon soundtrack – something that Gerarda had on her iPod. While listening to this we decided to investigate a play that we had noticed in The Book of Mormon playbill earlier that day. Specifically, a comedy written by Theresa Rebeck called Seminar, and staring Professor Severus Snape (a.k.a. Alan Rickman in the land of the Muggles). The inclusion of Rickman was enough to tempt all three of us to perhaps open our wallet one more time that day. Amazingly and despite the fact that the official opening was set for Sunday, we managed to snag 3 excellent seats for the Saturday matinee.

The Doctors, ready to take on New York

The play itself is about a group of four friends who gather together to have their writing reviewed and critiqued by Rickman. They all approach writing from different worlds, different views, and for different end points; but they are no match for Rickman’s sharp tongue. The play is engaging, witting, intelligent, and a lot of fun to watch. In a way, it’s a bit of getting to see Snape in action, but without the PG restrictions of the Harry Potter films. As the play shifts from one of the friends’ apartment to Rickman’s home (at the end of the first act), we are granted full access to the experience and wisdom of Rickman’s character. His speech is moving, heartfelt, and also tough to hear. But it resonates because we realize that what he does, he does for love of writing and a desire to see the best writers make it. It’s here that we learn how much of a teacher he really is, despite his questionable methods, his questionable ethics, and his exceedingly sharp tongue.

The play was fantastic and I’d definitely recommend that you check it out if you have the opportunity. I’m so glad that we managed to get tickets to see it. Seeing Rickman live was worth every penny we spent.

For those curious, the play also starred Lily Rabe, Hamish Linklater, Jerry O’Connell, and Hettienne Park. We managed to spot Hamish, Jerry, and Hettienne after the show. Sadly, we were left waiting for Rickman. He and Rabe opted not to sign autographs and greet the fans. No worries – Harry Potter himself (a.k.a. Daniel Radcliffe) was playing just down the road; so Gerarda, Steph and I moseyed off in that general direction in hopes that I might be able to show him my Harry Potter-esque scar. Yup, we truly are that nerdy.

How To Succeed In Shopping Without Really Trying

Having travelled to New York, I fully expected to shop. That is, I came here expecting to buy some new clothes. I could have bought them at home, but I really wanted to try to find some things that I wouldn’t necessarily be able to find (easily) at home. The fact that our dollar is as strong as it is (compared to the US greenback), and the fact that the cost-points in Canada are always greater than in the US, and the fact that the US economy – to be frank – seems to be swirling the drain, may have strengthened my desire to shop here. That is, the prices were all but guaranteed to be excellent.

Happy shoppers, despite not finding any new clothes.

Well, shopping day 1 – that being Friday – didn’t really turn out so well. I mean, we wandered the streets of NYC looking for something, anything that would turn this poor pathetic man into something that would force passerbys to do a double-take. But sadly, nothing. I did see a few things that were interesting, but nothing that jumped out at me. Nothing that screamed “buy me”. All I managed to buy were some chocolates. And that on its own is something to write about, but when one is expecting to find some new clothes and all one manages to find are several bars of chocolate no matter how delicious and wonderful, one feels a bit let down. Gerarda fared a bit better – finding a new Swatch watch. Steph was in the same boat as me.

To drown our failed-attempt-at-shopping sorrows, we decided to celebrate with a very tasty 30-year-old bottle of port that I mentioned in a previous post, and chocolates that we purchased from Michel Cluizel. These chocolates were recommended to me by Jeremy Newton of The Twitter (a.k.a. @NewtonsNoGluten – whom you should follow because he’s awesome). And I have to say, well-played Jeremy, well-played indeed. The combination of the chocolates and 30-year-old port more than made up for our lack of shopping success.

Dear Michel Cluizel, your chocolates are in my belly.

Of course, if one fails one shouldn’t give up. It’s best to get back up on the horse after being thrown from it. Even better – if one can get back up on the horse without really trying. And that dear friends, is what happened today. That is, on the way back from seeing Seminar staring Alan Rickman, we moseyed by Hugo Boss – or for those who know me – my personal form of crack. I discovered Hugo Boss just before my 30th birthday. It was also then that I learned how good an idea it is (fashion wise) to let the salesperson play dress up with you. They are after all, the supposed experts. This doesn’t always make one’s bank account happy, but we’re not focussed on financial smarts right now.

ZOMG - It's Snape!

Anyway, I was fortunate to have Dino serve me. The man clearly knew what he was doing. He found me several pair of pants – that actually make me look like I have an ass – no simple feat. He also managed to find several sweaters; something that I desperately need as I have very few of them. And given the coming winter freeze, something that I absolutely require.

The extra bonus; because of the economy and the Canadian dollar, I didn’t spend nearly as much as I had thought I was going to. In fact, I spent just slightly more than half of what I assumed the clothes would cost. Amazing!

The final verdict: I have somehow managed to successfully shop without much effort. Even better, I feel pretty damn sexy in my new clothes. I can’t put a price on that.

Note: More pictures are coming, but we’re off for more adventuring so they’ll have to wait.

Dear New York: The Doctors Are Coming For You

I can’t believe my next trip is in four days! That’s right folks, I’ll be boarding a plane on Thursday with Dr. Steph and Dr. Gerarda, heading to the Big Apple. This will be about my eleventy billionth visit to New York, and I’m still stoked about it. Okay, maybe not so much my eleventy billionth, but my dad did suggest that perhaps I should just get a place there and ‘vacation’ back here. I’ll have to give that some thought.

Regardless, I’m rather stoked for a few reasons, which I shall present to you in list form of course:

  1. Book of Mormon This play has won a bunch of awards, was written by the guys who created South Park and the guy who wrote the next play (item 2). Gerarda has already seen it, and has raved about it. Clearly, that was enough for me. Plus I love South Park, so seeing this really is a no-brainer.
  2. Avenue Q Since we were going to see Book of Mormon, we figured why not also see Avenue Q – the play created by the other writer of Book of Mormon. Also, it’s a play about puppets. How could I not see it?
  3. Cafe Habana Several trips ago, I was introduced to this restaurant by my friend Mark. The food was incredible and I’ve been raving about it to Gerarda ever since. While we won’t be able to go to the Habana Outpost in Brooklyn (since it is closed for the season), we are going to the original restaurant. My mouth is already watering.
  4. Dear chocolate: I'm coming for you.

    Chocolat Michel Cluizel This will be a first time visit for me. And it all came about because of The Twitter. Specifically, I was having a conversation with @NewtonsNoGluten (also known as Jeremy Newton). He had suggested I try this particular chocolate because he had enjoyed it so much. A quick query of the all-powerful Google informed me that Michel Cluizel has a shop not far from my hotel. Clearly the universe wants me to eat this chocolate.

  5. Maloney And Porcelli Gerarda introduced me to this restaurant on one of our previous trips to the Big Apple several years ago. The wine dinner they offer is exceptional. Great food, and 4 different bottomless bottles of wine. It’s usually a crazy wine filled night, and is always followed by a visit to number 6 on this list.
  6. The Dead Poet A most excellent little pub on Amsterdam Ave. As of my last visit, I decided to join the 100 Pints of Guinness club. The point of the club is simple; drink 100 pints of Guinness. Not in all one sitting of course. Basically, if I manage to drink 100 Pints, I’ll have my name engraved on the list of people who have already accomplished this feat. If I get to 500, they give me my own engraved plaque. Clearly, this is something I have to do before I die.
  7. Crumbs This is a staple of our trips to NYC. Due to the use of butter-cream frosting, I don’t partake in the cupcake-y goodness. However, I have sampled some of their other products and they are awesome. Plus, the bakery smells incredible.
  8. Magnolia Another staple of our visits. This bakery smells like what I imagine heaven would smell like. So freaking delicious.
  9. Dear gin: You're not safe either.

    Breuckelen Distilling Company I discovered this distillery by complete fluke just the other day. That is, I was checking out videos on Vimeo, when I noticed a channel entitled Made By Hand. The channel descriptor suggested that it offered short documentaries about artisans who, clearly, made things by hand. The first episode was about a young man by the name of Brad Estabrooke who, after finding himself unemployed, decided to throw himself into the ring of spirit-making; thus making himself the first gin-distiller in NYC since prohibition. While watching the video I found myself wondering about the gin. Hence, I’ve decided that if I can get there, I’m going to try it. For your viewing pleasure, I’ve linked the short documentary about the distillery below. It’s only about 7 minutes, but well worth the time.

Anyway, New York is always a blast and always offers something new and entertaining whenever I visit. I’m sure this trip will be no different. And it doesn’t hurt that I’ll be travelling with Dr. Steph and Dr. Gerarda; two of the best travelling Doctors that have ever existed.

Made by Hand / No 1 The Distiller from Made by Hand on Vimeo.