Jonathan N.

Rocky Patel, Vintage 1992 Perfecto – cigar tasted

In smoke on April 29, 2010 at 4:32 pm

Yesterday I met up with my buddy Isoz to smoke a recent birthday gift from Jeep: a Rocky Patel, 1992 Vintage Perfecto.
What a cigar. This, with the other cigar Jeep offered, was the best smoke in a looong long time.
Complex and flavorful from the first smoke. This especially surprised me. However, oddly got acrid quicker than expected, at the last 1/3 of it.
Rolling superb. Taste delicate, yet flavorful. Constant for the initial 2/3. Then got bitter/acrid.

Would consider it worth it for around 20 CAN.

Wrapper: Ecuadoran Sumatra (10 yo)
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Dominican & Nicaraguan (8 yo)

[publicize on]


Beer Review – Île d’Orléans, McAuslan, Dieu du Ciel

In drink/à boire on January 16, 2010 at 11:32 pm


Here is a review of 3 beers I had the pleasure of tasting/drinking recently.

First up is a beer I found at the Marché des Saveurs, au Marché Jean-Talon.

I walked in to find a Xmas stocking-stuffer for my girlfriend, not knowing what to get exactly. J’ai gambadé de-par la section des bières, and there I found 3 or 4 big (500ml) bottles of beer, each with really great graphic design on the labels. Now, this might depend on where you’re from, but around here (Québec) I have sensed that the trend in micro-brewery circles is to have absolutely terrible label design. Now, wait a sec: I’ve seen great stuff as well (like the McAuslan below) but I have indeed seen truly horrid specimens (in which Au Maître Brasseur specializes, in seems…).

Anyway, it doesn’t matter much since I think we have a really amazing variety & quality of beers made i the region, but yeah, good label design isn’t so hard. Just hire a good student designer and you can get yourself an actual good brand image, and not something that looks like Microsoft Word puked on your label print-outs with Word Art. Anywé.

All this to say that Beer #1, Jean Dit La Forge de la Microbrasserie de l’Île d’Orléans, and all its kin from said-brewery had great labels.

Rating: 7.2/10

Now this is what I remember: it was good, but I was disappointed in its aftertaste. It is labeled as a “Bière Saisonnière” (seasonal brew), a “bière forte, chocolat et vanille” (strong beer, chocolate and vanilla (the French text is pretty comprehensible though)). So it’s a Stout. I forgot about this while drinking it, and when I re-read it after more than half the bottle, I couldn’t see how this was a chocolate & vanilla-flavoured beer. I.E. even after reading the supposed tastes, I didn’t taste them. I didn’t get those flavors. Nope. As it warmed up, I did get a distinctly-stoutesque aftertaste of kalamata olives; not entirely unpleasant — I like kalamatas, out of a beer — but to me that seems to be a sign of a beer that doesn’t deliver a constant approach, from initial mouthfeel to aftertaste (i.e. that’s bad). For is expensive price (about 6 $ CAN) I wouldn’t buy it again. FYI, it’s 10% abv.

Maybe I totally missed the mark though, since ratings are high here.

Beer #2, McAuslan St-Ambroise Stout Impériale Russe, is another with a great label.

In fact, this one is actually good; scratch that — Amazing.

One thing that stuck with me is, it poured like petrol! The thickest beer I’ve probably ever poured (in my 10 years of drinking 2-3 times a week, hah). C’était… d’un autre monde. So good. Its taste was so intense that we repeatedly kept saying that, yes, it was truly a delicious beer, but that sadly, this wasn’t a beer made to drink “à la chaîne”, piling up empty bottles one after another. I shared it with 2 friends, and really I wouldn’t have been able to drink more than 1 bottle myself. Sauf que, considering how good it was, maybe I would’ve tried…

Really, this is a Special Reserve and I should buy more before they stop making ’em. Aussi, interesting to note, is that on the bottle it says “Special Reserve” (yes, yes) and “Bourbon wood-aged” — !!!!! — Really?! Can brewer McAuslan be so finely tuned into the contemporary drinking trends than to know about the recent bourbon re-birth we are seeing these days (or the past 2 years I’d say, around these parts). Really, you have to have your ear to the community to know this is what people are liking right now; though if they did this just for themselves, liking bourbon, well then I wouldn’t praise them any less. FYI, it’s 9.1% abv.

Rating: 9.0/10

Beer #3, Microbrassrie Dieu du Ciel, Péché Mortel

Now for something from my (probably) favourite microbrewery/pub in Montreal, Dieu du Ciel. Mmmm. Everytime someone mentions the name Dieu du Ciel, I just gotta go “Mmmmm”. Mmmmm. So yes, Péché Mortel (which means “deadly sin”) is one of a handful of stouts made by DdC. It’s certainly one of the strongest at 9.5%. I thought it would be a let-down from a bottle since this is the first I haven’t had from the tap of their beers, but yup, DdC delivers ALL THE TIME. Great, great beer. Complex heavy, all the way through even to the aftertaste (not suffering so much from stout-aftertaste-syndrome as the Jean dit La Forge above) and actually lightens your limber spirit by its ethereal esters (yeah, yeah, I really like DdC and you can tell).

Go to Dieu du Ciel and drink the good stuff.

Rating: 9.0/10.

That’s a wrap! I’ll soon be uploading reviews of 4 big manly bottles of Trois Mousquetaires beers. Yum, can’t hardly wait.

NYC visit in November

In food/bouffe on December 11, 2009 at 3:48 am

Last November I went to Parsons in Manhattan, for an open-house event.

I wanted to see what they had to offer with their programs in Design Technologies (i.e. like Computation Arts, which I did in Montreal), in Architecture (they have a sweet dual degree with Lighting design), and in Design Management, mostly (which ended-up just being an online degree, booh…).

Of course, since this is NYC we’re talking about, I had pre-visitedly made a list of places to eat during our stay. We only had a day in the metropole, so it was primordial that I get to eat at a few certain places.

I really wanted to go to Momofuku. That was in the beginning, before I found-out, through my usual perusing of the vast chow knowlegde base, that there were supposedly better & more traditional ramen places in the East Village. Cuz’ I really wanted a good bowl of ramen. Really.

So, anyways, we ended up just eating at 2 ramen places during our 1 day visit.

Here’s the Lodown:

Rai Rai Ken

Went in mid-afternoon.

I’ll admit I might have been sold on the place before I even got there, hearing that it was the most authentic (at least looks-wise) ramen shop in NYC.

The ramen was actually very good. Didn’t blow my mind, but I comforted myself in thinking that it is just ramen, after all. I do think it could be better, somehow. But this is indeed very nice, simple ramen. Definitely amazing comfort food.

Just sit down at the bar of this tiny hole-in-the-wall, order a good bowl of 8$ ramen, and you’ll feel nice and fuzzy, relaxed after after eating something that goes down oh-so easily.

All ingredients were decent/good quality. Nothing to complain about. This is simplicity done right.

No photo, sorry!


Went for supper.

To me, this was the opposite of Rai Rai Ken, so I liked the idea of just trying those 2 during that day.

We had to reserve a spot & return 1 hour and a 1/2 later. Fancy inside, its definitely worth a look.

Entrées were good. I was very satisfied by the beef entrées I chose. BBQ ribs were a choice pick. I don’t remember the 2 others I had but they were good.

For the ramen, I had the Akamaru (the red broth one), while my girlfriend had the Shiro one (white broth).

I was slightly underwhelmed by the taste. Maybe because the combination of simplicity & taste of Rai Rai Ken stuck in my mind, while the combination of flashiness & normal taste here made me expect something more. Was good, for sure. I wonder why I was underwhelmed though.

No I can’t wait to go back to NYC.

I still have a lot of ramen places on my list 😉