Anthony’s Classic Grill … more of the “same ol’, same ol'”?

I was excited when I heard that a new restaurant was being put into the same place where Luciano’s was located.  Don’t get me wrong, I liked Luciano’s food.  I just got bored with the same Italian food.

Last night I thought that I would take the plunge and try out Anthony’s Classic Grill.  I will have to say that it is “far from your classic grill”.  It has a very clean and “homey” atmosphere.  He has seating for 37 people, and that’s a pretty amazing feat for such a small dining space.  I was greeted at the door by 2 waitresses, one of which I recognized as a server from another one of the local restaurants.

She took me to my table, and gave me the menu.  Upon looking at the contents of the menu, I was pleasantly surprised at what AJ (the owner and head chef) has to offer his patrons.  He has some of your typical appetizers (escargots, etc.), but that’s where the difference ends.  His entree menu has many things that Wainwright has never experienced locally:  Chicken Diane, Prime Rib & many other delicious offerings.

I decided on the Prime Rib with mashed potatoes (you get a choice of mashed potatoes, wedge fries or a couple of other sides).  With each entree, you get a choice of soup or salad, and a bun.  Tonight he had a Cream of Potato with Halibut & Salmon, so I went with that (and, yes, he does make his own soups … they don’t come out of a package).  I really loved this soup!  It had a very rustic flavor to it.  This is the kind of soup that I could sit down to on a cold winter night, and it would warm me from the inside-out.  It also had a very nice texture:  it didn’t have huge chunks of potato, but you could see the potato in it.  It had a very smooth consistency.

Now, for the “Big Daddy”.  My meal came to me, and I couldn’t believe all of the food that was on my plate.  I had 2 good pieces of medium-rare Prime Rib, a healthy portion of Yorkshire Pudding, rice, broccoli and a scoop of fresh mashed potatoes (not the junk you would get out of a packet).

I first dug into one of my pieces of Prime Rib, and I loved it!  It was tender and succulent.  It literally melted in my mouth!  After devouring my first piece of Prime Rib, I had my Yorkshire Pudding.  It was excellent!  The sauce on the Prime Rib complimented the flavor of both the Prime Rib and the Yorkshire Pudding.

The broccoli was done beautifully!  It was just crisp … not overdone.  The rice was a nice accompaniment to the meal, and the mashed potatoes brought the whole meal together nicely.  My scoop of mashed potatoes was nice and smooth, and had great flavor and texture.

As I finished my meal, I decided that I would try something from their dessert menu.  They have your typical cheesecakes (Cookies & Cream and other flavors), Deep Dish Apple Pie & other lip-smacking offerings.  I decided on Bananas Foster (a sauce of bananas cooked in Kahlua with brown sugar & butter, topped on vanilla ice cream).  I looked in awe as I saw the dish arrive at my table.  I almost didn’t want to dig into it; it looked heavenly!  As I took my first taste of this delicious work of art, my taste buds exploded in rapture!  This was incredible … I thought that they had taken flight to heaven.  I don’t know what else to say about it … but “get it”!  Rich and velvet-like is how I would describe it.

Overall, I had an excellent meal, and the service was equally matched.  For my meal, dessert & gratuity, I spent $41 (and change).  I’m willing to pay a little more for quality food, and “Anthony’s Classic Grill” fits the bill (no rhyme intended) quite nicely.  This is a great change to what I have been accustomed to since I arrived in Wainwright 11 years ago.  Keep up the great work, AJ, you deserve success!  (And Wainwright deserves more than just your typical “pizza and hamburgers”!)  Run down to Anthony’s now & try him out!  You won’t be sorry!

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Pogoplug … great NAS solution, or just another rip-off?

When I saw the PogoPlug on TekZilla last week, I thought “What a great concept! I wonder how well it works.”. So, I went shopping online at TigerDirect and NCIX. It was only about a dollar more expensive at NCIX, but would get here sooner than TigerDirect. I bought it on Wednesday, and it showed up at my work on Friday. Kewl!

I got it home after work, and got it out of the package with eager anticipation. I couldn’t wait to get it hooked up. I was like “Little Ralphie” in “A Christmas Story” (not quite a “Red Rider BB gun”, but what the heck!) … that was my prize for all those times that I wished I’d backed up that crucial data.

I powered down both of my external drives & placed them in my new home on my library stand. I proceeded to follow the installation instructions. It wouldn’t find the PogoPlug, but it wasn’t long before I figured out that it was a faulty network cable that came with it. Luckily that’s one thing that I have plenty of.

After I activated my PogoPlug, I downloaded the software for my MacBook Pro & my Windows 7 box. I installed the software, and it works like a charm. Now I can access all of my files at home or when I’m on the road.

The PogoPlug is what I’ve been looking for, and it’s well worth the $140 price tag. I give this a solid 4 1/2 stars out of 5 (not quite perfect, ‘cuz it didn’t like me using a “secure” password). Tsk tsk! If you want/need remote access to your files, I would still recommend that if you pick up the PogoPlug.

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New Dr. Who 2-parter airing on-time in Canada!

After getting plenty of disappointment here in Canada with the Dr. Who Xmas specials (airing up to a year late on Space), we are getting a bit more satisfaction here in Canada.  This years’ 2-parter will air (back-to-back) a day later than BBC1’s final episode, but better late than never.  Here’s the great news from (ironic, but DW is a BBC/CBC co-production, and SpaceCast is owned by CTV-TeleglobeMedia … their competition!):

In DOCTOR WHO: THE END OF TIME, PART ONE the Doctor embarks on what he knows to be his final journey. There’s only one problem; his psychotic nemesis, the Master, has been reborn. With both determined to cheat death, the battle rages from the wastelands of London to the mysterious Immortality Gate. Meanwhile, the alien race Ood warn of an even greater danger, as a terrible shadow falls across the Universe.

In PART TWO the Master’s plans hurtle out of control. With the sound of drums growing louder, and an ancient trap closing around Earth, the Doctor and his companion must fight alone. But sacrifices must be made, and the deadly prophecy warns: ‘He will knock four times.’

David Tennant stars as the Tenth Doctor; guest stars include John Simm, Bernard Cribbins, Catherine Tate, Timothy Dalton, David Harewood and June Whitfield.  DOCTOR WHO: THE END OF TIME, PART ONE and PART TWO is written by Russell T Davies and directed by Euros Lyn. Producer is Tracie Simpson.

DOCTOR WHO: END OF TIME marks Tennant’s and Davies’ final collaboration on the iconic series before they pass the baton to actor Matt Smith and executive producer Steven Moffat.

We are signaling the end of the Tennant era, and heralding the entry of DW # 11, Matt Smith.  I’m looking forward to see what the new Dr. will be like.

The Best Thing About Toronto …

I visited Toronto, Ontario last week, and I will have to say that the best thing about Toronto is leaving it. Now, don’t get me wrong, I just don’t like the crowds and the traffic.

I did visit the CN Tower, and it is truly a marvel of engineering that should not be missed if you ever do go there. I loved seeing the entire city in the evening from the Sky Top at the top of the Tower. That was such an awesome view! I also loved the 17-minute movie of the history of the CN Tower, and how they built it. I even picked up a hat & t-shirt combo for $20.

I also loved the diversity of their food. There was so much to eat. Between our hotel (off of Eglington and Mt. Pleasant) to the course (on Eglington and Yonge), there was a culinary cornucopia of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indian, SW American, deli-style, and many other types of foods. I could never get that kind of variety in food here in Wainwright!

I just don’t like traffic. There’s no other place that I’ve ever been where I have heard some sort of siren (EMT, ambulance, police or other) every 20-30 minutes. I also don’t like the fact that the vehicles line up 40-thick to race to get through the traffic light. And, come on, people! Read the traffic signs. When it says, “No cars can turn left”, don’t try to turn anyways. This is why you will deservingly get a horn from a TTC bus driver shoved up your backside!

With all my gripings aside, I did have a great time meeting up with an old buddy of mine that I haven’t seen in many years. We went down to Mandarin for a Chinese buffet on Friday night, then went to see the hilarious ghoul-romp Zombieland at the Yonge-Eglington Silver City. After that, we finished our evening at Philthy McNasty’s Sports Bar on Eglington. I had a great time there … especially talking with the “Lady of the Law”.

My little blonde Ukranian waitress and I had a lot to talk about. I never did get her name (we all have regrets … some more than others), but I did “bust her balls” about why she had no handcuffs … LOL (she laughed about that joke)! Thanks for the “Sour Cherry Maynards”! And I didn’t even get a picture to remember the whole experience. Yet another regret of my excellent evening!

But I do remember why I don’t drink. Boy, did I have a “head like a hat” in the morning! Ouch! Unfortunately, Rickard’s Red is one of my weaknesses (so are good looking blondes!). I’ll have to remember this for the next time when I run into a couple of jugs of Rickard’s Red. Choose the blonde over the beer for the next time! LOL!

BEV HD is the way to go!

After lamenting on it since I got my Sony Bravia HDTV a week ago, I finally broke down today and bought the BellExpressVu 6131 HD receiver (aka Dish Network Solo VIP 211k). I came to the conclusion that watching regular SD TV on a Hi-def TV just doesn’t cut it.

Luckily you can turn the 6131 into a DVR by adding an external USB hard drive, so I got a 1TB external USB hard drive. Too bad for me that I won’t be home for another couple of days to connect everything. I booked my appointment for later next week (some confusion on the *exact* day). I will be able to get some of my channels before the installer gets there, since my old dish is still on my building.

The install will be sh*t-simple for the guy: re-aim the dish to Nimiq 1 (91W) & put the additional LNB on the dish’s arm … then I’ll be good to go.

I picked out most of my HD programming today (thanks to a very helpful phone tech at BEV named Cal). I’ll be able to plug in my receiver and watch some of the SD channels when I get home, but won’t be able to “revel in all of HD’s glory” until the installation tech does his miracle.

Since my current cable provider (Persona/Eastlink) just doesn’t seem to care about bringing HD programming to my neck of the woods, I guess that I will be saying, “Sayonara, cable!”. Fare thee well, cable, you have served me well. Meanwhile, Persona has lost one more customer to Hi-def satellite TV. They’re just charging too much for their Motorola digital TV box. Take this as “words of wisdom”, Persona, because you’ll continue to lose more customers if you don’t upgrade sooner in my area.

My unimpressive Friday

Yesterday was not a good day for me.

I receive the new Logitech V470 mouse that I ordered from Westworld Computers in Edmonton. Through trial and error, I discovered that it isn’t compatible with Mac OS X 10.6.1 (apparently the sales guy didn’t know that Apple was seeding 10.6.1 already … until I told him about it!). Well, I guess I’ll be going back to my semi-working mouse until I go into the city next week. I’m be returning it then. Stee-rike # 1!

During my trial and error process to see if my mouse was working, the power supply on my PC desktop decided to go on a permanent vacation. Stee-rike #2!

The good news is that I ordered a Flip UltraHD (I will review it when I get it!) from Staples/Office Depot, and I should get it either on Monday or Wednesday of next week. I’m looking forward to getting the camcorder so I can record some videos for YouTube and my MLSP page.

The Soloist is phenomenal!

I watched a movie last night called “The Soloist” with Robert Downey, Jr. and Jamie Foxx.

This movie is based on the true story of LA Times columnist Steve Lopez when he happened to find a musical prodigy, named Nathaniel Ayers, living on the streets. It turns out, after making a few phone calls, that Nathaniel dropped out of Julliard after nearly 2 years due to a mental condition.

Steve Lopez (played by Robert Downey, Jr.) develops an article about Nathaniel (superbly played by Jamie Foxx), and befriends him. Steve wants to get Nathaniel back to music, because it seems to be an escape to a different world for Nathaniel. He seems to have a purpose and a deep love (some would almost call an “obsession”) for music.

Steve, through his many contacts, is able to get Nathaniel a place to live within the LAMP Community program so he can get established. At first, Nathaniel is deeply opposed to Steve’s help, but eventually accepts Steve’s help.

Steve also finds Nathaniel’s sister, Jennifer (played by Lisagay Hamilton), as the 2 were estranged due to Nathaniel’s mental condition.

I highly recommend you watch this movie. You won’t be sorry that you watched this movie. It’s just a great movie!

My new & improved Mac

I received my copy of Snow Leopard (Mac OS X 10.6) on Wednesday, and decided to install it last night.  The 60+ minute (yikes!) install went very smoothly, and is up and running perfectly.  It even got rid of my old Symantec anti-virus that I installed (and it wouldn’t even work ‘cuz it wasn’t fully Intel compatible).

The only glitch is that I discovered that the installation gave me a version of Adobe Flash player with some sort of vulnerability.  (Tsk tsk Apple!)  A quick download fixed that this morning.

Now I just have to wait for my copy of Windows 7 to get here in the last week of October (and I have to get 4 more GB’s of RAM and a bigger hard drive).  My ol’ 80 gigger just doesn’t cut it anymore.  I’ll also be running Windows 7 64-bit.  It won’t be a bad little system though.  It will be a fast little system (Asus M3A78-EM, e-GeForce 7200 GS, 8 GB RAM, 1TB WD Black HDD, and a TSSTCorp SH-S223Q DVD burner).   Not a bad little basic system … it does what I need it to do.  And since I don’t play any games, it’ll hold its own for a long time.