Elaborating on a future in wine leading to an academic lifestyle last night, it got me reminiscing for the simple things I’ve love to do as hobbies or a retirement/alternative lifestyle. Brew beer. Brew wine. Roast my own coffee. I even got to dreaming about the fancy chocolate at Soma and how I’d love to recreate some of my own amazing concoctions. It was an interesting reminder of my tastes: so much in life, I love things dark, rich, and complex.

Rich, spicy, and fruity wines; thick & complex Imperials, porters, and Belgian beers; dark roasted & spicy or complex coffee roasts; anything less than 60% cocoa chocolate is just sweet!

I love my decor and clothing dark as well. Bold colors (red, violet, blue, dark green) erring on the darker shades. Charcoal greys. Cocobolo & bocote wood. Purple heart & rosewoods. Just so many ways to mix all the dark colors!

I thought I had a goal in mind with this post. Maybe not so much. I’ll blame that on the delicious hot chocolate I made earlier.

    Hot Chili Cocoa

  • 16 oz (2 cups) milk (ideally whole/3.25% fat)
  • 2.5 tbsp Belgian-style cocoa powder (or some other rich, dark variety)
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp dark vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ancho chili powder
  • Bring to just under a simmer over medium heat in a non-reactive sauce pot while mixing continuously (I prefer to slowly stir with a whisk for this). It should be steaming copiously, but not yet bubbling. Dispense & enjoy!

“…because you can’t vote here yet.”

That was the (inadvertent?) kicker I was told earlier this week that got me thinking about considerations of settling in Toronto. I have already had this notion creeping around in the back of my head, but more in the context of settling in Canada, not specifically Toronto. Toronto originally struck me as too metropolitan in scope & scale, but living here has changed that misconception.

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Today’s weekend wandering was encouraged by the beautifully sunny (albeit briskly chilly) weather. I was totally intending to head over to The Green Grind, but after realizing how amazing the walk down Christie Street was after eating breakfast over at The Stockyards, I had more ambitious plans in mind. The trees are all starting to turn (if they haven’t already lost their leaves), and I wondered how the Don Valley was looking, so I planned a longer excursion (despite hauling my laptop for working on anyways).

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…when you’re wearing a college-branded hoodie. At least that’s the impression I’ve gotten the last couple of days. The weather has turned cold enough that I need the extra layer beyond just a t–shirt1, and the pair of coats that I kept from last winter are ridiculously large now2. My poor caffeine molecule sweatshirt has been worn so much that between it’s extra large size and the wear on the fabric, I feel like a local hoodrat wearing the thing, and I can only fathom what others must think I look like3. The two that fit better are my NDSU sweatshirt from my undergrad years, and the UB sweatshirt my doctoral mentor gave me as a going away gift4. So, that’s been my cold weather apparel the past couple of days. Been some subtle yet interesting changes in interactions with people in public and on the TTC during that time. This weekend is going to necessitate coat shopping; I’m holding out that a 1/2– or 3/4–length wool coat will look reasonably good on me. If not, I’m going to be struggling for ideas on what to get for a new coat!

Paying more attention on the commute the past couple days to/from work, I realize I’m extremely antsy to go check out some more coffee locations on College St. The Little Italy neighborhood on College has a small plethora of coffeehouses, of which I know at least Lit Espresso Bar was fairly good (for cappuccino at least). Their cappuccino was at least better than the ones at my usual Sunday productivity haunt (Noir Coffee & Tea, although they make a slightly crack–laden mochaccino), but neither location has matched the richness of de Mello Palheta up north of Yonge & Eglinton. I would love to frequent them more often, but it’s about as far from my place to de Mello, as it is to the University of Toronto. Little Italy is serendipitously (relatively) close to the University and on the route home, if I’m riding the TTC. I really need to just take some evenings to leave work a little early to finish my data processing/writing/whatever–other–computer–work I need to do and check them all out. The Green Grind looks cozy & vibrant for a relaxing atmosphere; I’ve seen good reviews for The Brockton Haunt; Voodoo Child sounds it should be right up my alley taste–wise; Manic Coffee would be perfect for a late evening stay, having a smooth cappuccino while I’m working & treat myself to gelato when I’m done before leaving. This small list is only the places I’ve heard of or looked up so far; there are certainly more, as I haven’t paid nearly as much attention to the south side of College St when I’m riding or walking through it!

I really had more to say, but it’s since evacuated my brain into regions undiscovered. Or that could be the ibuprofen PM kicking in; my back tension has been ridiculous the past week, and it’s to the point I’m starting to take ibuprofen to help deal with the pain of the tension in my trapezius or rhomboid; I’m not entirely sure which it is. Regardless, I need to get an appointment setup to get this examined; stretching & relaxation don’t seem to be helping it. Next up on home remedies will be digging out my heating pad, and laying infirm upon it to attempt to relax the muscle(s) at fault.

However, in the interim, I can’t wait to bathe my tongue is some rich & bold coffee–derived concoctions this week. Well, mostly just tomorrow, if at all this week. Thursday’s free time is being eaten up by a free Midori concert being put on by the U of T Faculty of Music over the lunch break5, and another free concert being put on by the jazz orchestra in the evening6. Friday is the departmental social at the end of the work day, so being inebriated only reinforces wanting to be inebriated; there’s no easy transition from there to coffee, not at that hour of the evening. So, Wednesday it is, lest I wish to wait until next week to get started!

1This usually happens when the temperature finally dips below 50˚F (10˚C) when the sun isn’t out or the wind is really blowing.
2They were just a smidgen on the roomier side last winter, you know, before I lost a quarter of my body weight…
3The waist of the sweatshirt almost hangs past the crotch of my jeans, and the sleeves reach the knuckles of my fingers when my arms are extended. Clearly, not fashionable attire, despite my love of the geeky caffeine molecule structure.
4He has done it for every graduate student he’s graduated, because we apparently all never think to get a UB sweatshirt during our time there (priorities, clearly).
5Yay free music!
6Yay more free music!