Reader. Writer. Romantic.

Archive for November, 2014

Restaurant Review: Smuggler’s Inn

Location: 6920 Macleod Trail S, Calgary, AB T2H 0L3
Website: http://www.smugglers.ca

After a long day at work, it was nice to return to the comforting familiarity of Smuggler’s Inn. Smuggler’s has been one of the more affordable steakhouses that I’ve been too repeatedly. I hadn’t actually been back for a few years and usually the wait is about an hour without reservations so when we got in immediately last night, I would say I was delighted. However, that may in part be due to the weather.

The best thing about Smuggler’s that makes it so economical as a steakhouse is that it has an all you can eat soup and salad bar. The price of the soup and salad bar have already been calculated into the price of the entree, so it’s not worth your while to just skip out on it, unless you really hate salad or something or are allergic. I personally am not a huge fan of the salad bar as there isn’t much choice for me. I’m not denying they have a huge selection of items to build a salad, but I generally prefer to have mine already made for me, so I usually go for the pre-made salads available near the end of the counter. Some staples that I’ve seen available there time after time include a noodle salad with bell peppers, coleslaw with horseradish, and a potato salad. I enjoy their soups much more, in particular their Portuguese Sausage Soup. It has just the right amount of heat with a touch of sweetness. And because of the sausage and kidney beans, it could fill me up as much as a main.

Unfortunately, as I went with my family I didn’t have chance to take photos, but also, it’s way too dark in Smuggler’s to get a decent picture. For our mains, I ordered the Chicken Neptune, my sister had the Prime Rib Sandwich, my mom had the Halibut Tarragon, and my dad had what I’m supposing was the Smuggler’s Cut sized Prime Rib. The Chicken Neptune was fantastic. It was served with a rice pilaf. There were two “giant” pieces of chicken that were topped with lump crabmeat and shoelace thin buttered aspargus and of course a bernaise sauce. The chicken was seasoned with some sort of cajun rub that didn’t overpower the rest of the dish, there was just enough bernaise sauce so that you knew it was there and could taste it without the entire dish being drenched in a thick cream sauce. The portion size is perfect for the price and because of the soup and salad bar, I’m never able to finish. My sister’s Prime Rib Sandwich wasn’t exactly what we expected. In fact, the garlic toast it was served with was probably about the size of a crostini and comparable to the size of the Yorkshire pudding if it had been flattened and condensed. But the dish isn’t about its sides, the important thing was that the prime rib was done right. I don’t understand how difficult it is to get the temperature just right because I’ve never cooked a steak or prime rib myself before and I’m sure I’d be more sympathetic if I knew how difficult it is, but I don’t, so judging from a purely taste and temperature perspective. Taking into consideration that they are a steakhouse and are supposedly the experts on it, they should be able to get it right unlike other places where I’ve ordered a well done steak and gotten a six ounce piece of charcoal or conversely when my sister ordered a medium rare t-bone steak and got it blue…My dad’s prime rib came with mashed potatoes on the side…it came in a giant skillet! It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. The prime rib wasn’t actually seasoned that much, the seasoning was probably in the horseradish aioli that it came with, but I didn’t want any of that. But at least it was tender. Both my sister and dad’s dishes came with a side of broccolini. My mom’s halibut looked really appetizing. Though I’m not a huge fan of seafood, I would order that. Her halibut was topped with shrimps and scallops served on a bed of rice seasoned with a tarragon orange cream. My mom said that there was a hint of sweetness, but she would have liked to have tasted a bit more tarragon.
I enjoyed the coffee’s rich and full-bodied flavour. Recently I’ve been drinking a lot more macchiatos and espressos, so I can’t stand a weak coffee. After dinner I had an espresso with my dessert: the black and white brownie. It featured two large triangular pieces of brownie topped with vanilla ice cream, cream, hot fudge sauce, garnished with mint leaves, and served in a skillet. The bitterness of the espresso complimented the sweetness of the brownies perfectly.

The only downside of my experience there last night was the service. I’m not sure if they were understaffed, but there really weren’t that many diners last night, again due to the weather, but our waiter still took forever to bring the menu, get drinks, bring the bill, etc. Normally they are very efficient because of how much money they’d lose if they weren’t, so I was wondering if the weather was yet another factor in the slow service. Whatever their reasons I was slightly disappointed. Despite the disappointing service, I would still return because the food is amazing. I sincerely hope that it was a one time thing and not that their standards are slipping. Everyone has a bad day, so I hope that’s all it was.
With all that to consider I would definitely bring friends back here for a nice evening out and rate it 4/5.

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Faithless

Each day I’m one step closer to my dream
Each day I’m one step farther away from sanity
Exhaustion and self-loathing fill my days
I just dream of a day when life will be better
I dream of a day when I’m standing at the top of the world
Smiling and dancing
As though this process hasn’t killed a part of me
To give up who I am
To become better than who I am
Leaves me sometimes to forget
All the good I already have

It’s important to strive
To dream of better things
But never to forget
Everything that got you there.
Never forget who helped you up
When you couldn’t wait to die

Why can I never be satisfied in the materialistic self-centred world?
What has trained me so?
To become this abhorrent self-absorbed, self-serving beast?
The gentleness of my heart will never penetrate
The inapproachability that I’ve built up
Will no one break down these walls
And show me what’s really worth living for?

Common Courtesy

In a society that is increasingly becoming technological, it is not a surprise that library etiquette has suffered as a result. Though it does not come as a surprise, I am still appalled at how some of my peers can’t even understand the simple concept respect for others. Again, this may be a result of the emphasis on self-interest that is so characteristic of the materialistic society we now live in.
From what I understand, the purpose of a library is to contain a range of reference material, primarily books for to assist in the further education of the students of the institution in question, but as we are in a digital age, we are more frequently seeing digital libraries instead of the traditional cozy libraries of what has become antiquity. Now, there’s nothing wrong with digital libraries and making texts available to students online as I have used quite a few electronic journals in my university career. In fact, the less I have to see and interact with people the better, especially when I’m short on time and need to get a lot of work done. The logical side of me actually applauds this advancement in sharing information. However, the romantic and idealistic side of me mourns for the death of the traditional library. I spent much of my childhood dreaming of owning a library so comprehensive that I’d forget what books I already owned. I dreamt of late nights sitting up in my own library reading everything and anything in it. Heck, I still dream of doing that and will absolutely do it even when the age of hard copy books ends. The romantic side of me is still angry that my university closed off the main library moving all its resources to the new digital library, taking away twelve or so floors of potential study space.
Like many book lovers, I love the musty smell of old books and that provided me a lot of comfort to go up to the higher, quieter floors of the library and write, basking in the smell and silence of the library environment. To find a library like that is rare now. The closest I’ve found is kind of in a basement and is absolutely freezing, but freezing is good. Freezing keeps me awake and I would definitely rather freeze than boil to death. This library is beautiful too, but recently has suffered some reductions in quiet study space. Yes, there are signs posted everywhere saying: “This is a quiet study library,” but hardly anyone respects that anymore. Yes, it’s much quieter than the digital library, but not as quiet as it should be because of the new setup. When I first started at this university, there were rows of carrels upon carrels, next to each other and back to back, but for some reason they decided to bring in more tables to accommodate groups. This has encouraged more talking and it’s frustrating especially since I come to the library to escape from noise as I have incredibly finicky study criteria like the environment must be absolute silence barring some unseen circumstances because I know that sometimes I am noisy (like when I first get to the library and am getting settled). I can make exceptions for situations like that, but what I can’t stand is people who come into the quiet library and talk at full volume for over three hours while I’m trying to write a timed LSAT practice. I don’t care if you’re struggling to get a concept, you do not come to a QUIET library to talk LOUDLY and laugh and generally disrupt everyone around you. Unfortunately there were about six of them and I couldn’t think of a nice way to tell them to shut up. I was so pissed off that my score suffered slightly during my practice and that made me so physically angry that I wanted to kill them. Especially that girl who had a really high pitched and loud voice who wouldn’t stop talking. And if you haven’t figured out from everything else I’ve written, I’m clearly not the nicest person in my head, so I hope they fail that accounting test and everything else in their degree and get kicked out of the business program as a result of it.
Sometimes I wish I had had the courage to tell them to shut up, but I was probably pissed enough that I would have thrown in half a dozen swears and punched something and really, I don’t want to cause that kind of commotion in the library as that would be completely contrary to the result I was trying to obtain. Also, as there were like six of them, if it did get physical, I’d probably be dead.
More and more I am thinking of a future in which I am alone with a hundred million dogs because the more I interact with people, the more I’m finding that I absolutely hate them. Of course there are exceptions because there are people in my life that I absolutely love and spend countless hours talking to, but I am one person and the number of people in my life in comparison to how many people there are in the world is negligible. I know it’s horrible to make a generalization that all people are ignorant assholes who deserve to die, but I’m doing it anyway. This may seem like a bleak future, but I feel that I would be happier this way. As shown by a lot of my other works, I am a giant paradox as most people are and this is exactly how I am now. As much as I’d like someone to share my life with, I’m equally afraid of commitment. This is the constant war I fight in mind. The realist vs. the idealist. Maintaining peace between the two is enough to keep me entertained for a lifetime.

Fruitless Future

Why do we live our lives wishing on
Wells
Stars
And coins

Why do we blow
On eyelashes
Out candles
For our dreams to come true

What has become of this world
To keep wishing for more
Why can’t we open our eyes and see
That we already have everything we could ever ask for

Look around for once
And stop asking for more

When did social media
Cell phones
And message boards
Become communication?
When did things replace people?

So many people hide behind
Computer
You never hear anyone’s voice anymore
Too scared too speak
With so many opinions

I hide behind my work
I am the writing I produce
I am aware of the paradox I’ve become
But why won’t I change

Because like everyone else
The sound of my own voice
The power behind my own words
Startles me
And I am afraid
Of what I’ve become
I am afraid
To show the world who I am
Because I don’t want to hurt again
And I refuse to see
The strength I have
And instead
Write a few lines
About the dreams that I have
The things I should do
And the places I’ll go

In memory

We remember, remember
The fifth of  November
But cannot take the time
To honour those who have died
Fighting for our freedom
Protecting us
And our right to life

How quickly we forget
In times of peace
The boys and the girls
Who died for our dreams

May they rest in peace
May we never forget
That once upon a time
They were just like us

“So take two minutes of time”
“For the boys and the girls who go over”
And may we never forget
That they laid “their lives on the line”
So, “[i]n Peace may they rest
lest we forget why they died.
Take a pittance of time”*

 

*Terry Kelly’s “Pittance of Time”

Video

Lest We Forget

Price of a Woman

Don't cry my little Joanna Artist: Sharandula (DeviantArt)

Don’t cry my little Joanna
Artist: Sharandula (DeviantArt)

Source: http://sharandula.deviantart.com/art/Don-t-cry-my-little-Joanna-397455594

A pain
Resonant and true
In flesh and in soul
Beautiful and blue
A true tragedy

She was the only daughter
Of the only woman
To ravish the seas
And command the respect of her crew

Beautiful but terrible
Like her mother
Only delicate
And terrible for her uselessness

She, unlike her ever feared mother
Was a mere trinket
A trophy to be won
A waste

Immodest
Controlling
She got what she deserved
Playing the field so dangerously

She was a plaything to them
She certainly acted like one
She was of no value
Neither to herself
Nor to them

Used and cast ashore

Here she stands now
Ravished and Torn
In tears

Begging for your mercy
Imploring for your sympathy

But it’s just another game
But this one
Will burn her

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