Downtown Sasquatch

My celeb sightings in Toronto this year:

Caleb Landry Jones
Chris Rock
Rosario Dawson
Cedric the Entertainer
Jay Pharoah
J.B. Smoove
Leslie Jones
Michael Che
Kevin Smith
Miles Teller
J.K. Simmons
Nick Kroll
Rose Byrne
Bobby Cannavale
Joel McHale
Brit Marling
Hailee Steinfeld
Benedict Cumberbatch
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
Channing Tatum
Steve Carell
Mark Ruffalo
Xavier Dolan
Justin Chon
Josh Hutcherson
Jemaine Clement
Dan Stevens

Toronto streetcars are what I imagine public transportation in hell is like.

The urban planner in me wonders why streetcars run down the centre of streets. Driving in Toronto must be maddening, as people boarding streetcars block all traffic in the same direction. It's stop-and-go traffic with stoplights too.

The Toronto subway line that runs along Bloor Street is also known as line 2.

Bloor – "Line 2," heh.

Tweets I didn't tweet while in Toronto:

» I found all the septum piercings in the world. They're in Toronto.

» Today I separately encountered two blokes smoking cigarettes in workout clothes.

» Nothing makes you feel like a shit American than having to swipe your credit card and sign a receipt.

» April Fools' Idea: A software update that causes smartphones to auto-correct Canadian English to American English. cheque > check

» Idea: A crowdsourced database of hotel and coffee shop WiFi passwords.

In my search for Nanaimo bars in Toronto, Yelp directed me to Snakes and Lattes.

Oh I've seen that place. It's across the street from La Carnita.

I trek out to College and Bathurst and discover that I had seen Snakes and Lagers, the spin-off. Snakes and Lattes is at Bloor and Bathurst.

Next: Shakes and Ladders at Dundas and Bathurst? Board game creamery…

Snakes and Latkes (board game deli)
Snakes and Lettuce (board game salad bar)
Snakes and Lardons (board games and bacon)

off the 'riffstagram

The city is my church

It was funny about magic, how messy and imperfect it was. When people said something worked like magic they meant that it cost nothing and did exactly what you wanted it to. But there were lots of things magic couldn't do. It couldn't raise the dead. It couldn't make you happy. It couldn't make you good-looking. And even with the things it could do, it didn't always do them right. And it always, always cost something. [208]

I just finished reading The Magician's Land by Lev Grossman, the Return of the Jedi of his Magicians trilogy.

At the top end you had some fairies squeeing at supersonic pitches; fairies thought all this military stuff was pretty silly, but they went along with it for the same reason that fairies ever did anything, namely, for the lulz. [40]

Drinks were a lot like books, really; it didn't matter where you were, the contents of a vodka tonic were always more or less the same, and you could count on them to take you away to somewhere better or at least make your present arrangements seem more manageable. [60]

In my later life I have known alcoholics, more than a few, and I recognized in their faces some of what I saw in Martin's. Loyal prophets of an indifferent god. [178]

Looks like she was planning to ride this bomb down like Slim Pickens. [267]

Adam Riff™ Clip of the Week

37. Sharpie Card Trick (Wizard Wars, S01E04)


Honourable Mention

  • The anguish of Rosarita (Matador, S01E09)
  • Wheelchair drag (Sons of Anarchy, S07E01)

Stray Observations

  • The host is Bizarro cartoonist Dan Piraro?! (Utopia, S01E01)
  • String instrument Metallica! (The Leftovers, S01E10)
  • The Leftovers Season Grade: B-
  • Sex in a Beastie Boys shirt (The Strain, S01E09)
  • RT: "Juice ducked off in the cut eating tuna out the can and doing naked pushups in the dark. Crazy as cat shit." (Sons of Anarchy, S07E01)
  • David Wallace! (The Bridge, S02E10)

(Top Chef Duels, S01E06)


Next year, I'm just gonna live in Toronto for the month of September – and Philadelphia for the month of August. And Seattle for July…

You're all those things and then you're none

Today marks the 14th anniversary of Adam Riff™.

Three years from today, this website will have occupied HALF MY LIFE.

Of course, three years from today, this website may not exist.

Oh who am I kidding?

I'm not sure how I feel about being able to revisit my headspace at any point in my adult life.

Adam Riff™ Clip of the Week

36. Keyser Söze'd (You're the Worst, S01E08)

Stray Observations

  • "I'm a looter." (The Strain, S01E08)
  • Rick Baker cameo – buying wine at a convenience store! (The Strain, S01E08)
  • Jim! (The Strain, S01E08)
  • "I'm awaiting authorization!" (The Strain, S01E08)
  • The topicality of Libby's storyline (Masters of Sex, S02E08)
  • Bill Draper. Will his brother commit suicide too? (Masters of Sex, S02E08)
  • What even is Jaimee's voice? (MasterChef, S05E15)
  • "Jaimee, can you do this?"
    "Hell yeah."
    "Courtney, can you do this?"
    "Yes, chef."
    "Christian, can you do this?"
    "…Yeah, I guess…" (MasterChef, S05E15)
  • Heh. Ve hired all the alums to work on Mockingjay (Face Off, S07E07)

Neville's bishop (Face Off, S07E07)

(The Bridge, S02E09)

  • Charlotte! (The Bridge, S02E09)
  • "I like it when they clap for Bill Murray." (You're the Worst, S01E08)

(You're the Worst, S01E08)

  • A black lad named Trayvon? A black lad named Trayvon (Black Jesus, S01E05)
  • "He supposed to die on the cross, not the Escalade!" (Black Jesus, S01E05)

(The Knick, S01E04)


The Number of the Beast

So the three films I most wanted to see at this year's Toronto International Film Festival – Gone Girl, Inherent Vice, and Birdman – are skipping TIFF to be the opening night film, centrepiece film, and closing night film, respectively, of this year's New York Film Festival.

Moreover, Lionsgate pulled Arnold Schwarzenegger's indie zombie drama Maggie, and screenings for the Bill Murray showcaser St. Vincent and Sweden's much ballyhooed Force Majeure went off-sale before my ticket selection window.

But: Lemonade.

$600 lemonade.

Petrochemical America

Idea: Hire a private investigator to follow podcasters and see if they actually use

Idea: An all-homeless-people season of The Real World. "This is the true story, of seven homeless strangers, picked to live in a house, work together, and have their lives taped."

A war vet, a gutter punk, someone who's HIV positive…

Film Idea: My Black Friend. A white dude desperately wants to have a black friend. After unsuccessfully trying to make one, he resorts to paying a black dude to be his friend. They, of course, end up legit friends. It's a variation on The Toy.

Eater's Digest: Vancouver, BC

[from April (I know, I know...)]

pidgin / meat and bread / the pie shoppe / mancakes bakery / cuchillo / the flying pig / bao bei chinese brasserie / the fish counter / black rook bakehouse / dunlevy snack bar

Oyster Shot (Pidgin)
apple, horseradish

Beef Brisket (Pidgin)
miso gorgonzola crust, beets

Brisket with a gorgonzola crust sounds odd, but tastes fabulous.

Meringue (Pidgin)
passion fruit curd, almonds, white chocolate, lime

Stupendous curd.

Porchetta Sandwich (Meat and Bread)
salsa verde

One of the best sandwiches I have ever eaten. Exceeded the hype. The accompanying mustard is terrific too.

Chocolate Pecan Pie (The Pie Shoppe)

I effort to try a chocolate pecan pie in every city I visit.

Chocolate pecan pies in Canada are dismayingly just pecan pies with chocolate drizzled atop. I prefer chocolate pecan pies with chocolate incorporated into the filling.

This chocolate pecan pie had a stick-to-your-teeth toffee-ness that I kinda dug.

ManCakes Toolkit (ManCakes Bakery)
buffalo wing / rum and coke / tequila pineapple / whiskey lime / chocolate red wine / pizza / pink peppercorn grapefruit / bacon chili chocolate / apple brie / breakfast / king kong / chicago

So. ManCakes. Cupcakes for men. Interesting on paper, uneventful in my mouth. And some –

– I struggled to finish, despite being tasting-sized.

Nanaimo Bar (Black Rook Bakehouse)

Black Rook Bakehouse was somehow the only place in Vancouver where I found Nanaimo bars. Its Nanaimo bars are excellent.

[Close Encounters of the Food Kind S04E01: Jon eats lunch with Pinder in Gastown (April 2014)]

Bone Marrow Cheezy Bread (The Flying Pig)

The bone marrow just made the cheese taste rancid, and the bread was tough, like it was microwaved. No me gusta.

Chipotle and Sea Salt Dusted Fry Bread (Cuchillo)

Pulled Duck and Cracklin' Taco (Cuchillo)
roasted garlic, blackberry habanero jam, corn tortilla

Molé Lamb Albondigas Taco (Cuchillo)
sardo parmesan, browned garlic popcorn, red corn tortilla

House Guacamole, Tapenade Manzanilla, Huitlacoche Salsa (Cuchillo)

Chips and tapenade – only in Canada.

Albacore Tuna and Pipián Rojo Ceviche (Cuchillo)
warm peruvian double-smoked bacon causa

Oh mon Dieu.

Shao Bing (Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie)
sesame flatbread with cumin lamb sirloin, pickled red onion, green pepper, cilantro, and salted chilies

Kick Ass House Fried Rice (Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie)
smoked duck breast, kohlrabi, jade daikon, yao tsai, thai basil, chili bamboo, spiced soy

Bao Bei: Good white guy Chinese. Would come again.

Pork Belly Bun (Dunlevy Snackbar)
cilantro, chili, lime gochujong

Korean Fried Chicken Bun (Dunlevy Snackbar)
lime mayo, house kimchi

Turmeric Sweet Soy Rice Noodles (Dunlevy Snackbar)
broccoli, pickled mushroom, green onion, chili, toasted cashew

More white guy Asian. If Bao Bei is Momofuku, then Dunlevy Snackbar is a pop-up in a Bushwick art gallery.

Its washroom is through the dark opening behind the DJ.

Som tum, gua bao, bibimbap, matcha cakeFood Network Star judges might question its culinary point of view.


I covered most of them in this post.

Double Dutch Calamari and Tzatziki-Flavoured Thick Ripple Chips
Still haven't opened this souvenir.

Awake Caffeinated Chocolate

The fella over there with the hella good hair

// Montreal, QC

Jägermeister poutine at Brutus, an all-bacon restaurant: Bacon, caramelized onions, cheese, and "Jägermeister sauce."

// Toronto, ON

Idea: Sideshow Mel-kshake – a banana milkshake topped with blue cotton candy and a meringue bone.

// Ypsilanti, MI

Do not adjust your screen. Eastern Michigan's football field is grey.

// Las Vegas, NV

There's eclectic, and then there's Mötley Crüe leading into Ariana Grande – which you can enjoy for free with an obstructed view!

// San Francisco, CA

Hiro Sandwich at Urchin: Three meatballs "sandwiched" between a slice of baguette and two roasted marrow bones, served over fries.

// Seattle, WA

4 discs, 17 films, but only one of them stars Kiefer Sutherland, and it's a television movie from 1986 about teenaged vigilantes.

So it's not 24, nor is it 24 hours of films starring Kiefer Sutherland.