Breadworks, the bakery recently relocated to Charlottetown (off the alley between the Atlantic Technology Centre and David’s Tea), makes the bread you wish you always had ready access to. I’ve been working hard to work a bread-pickup into my weekly routine; so far we’re managing to pick up a loaf every Saturday afternoon. This is truly the kind of place that can change your relationship to bread.
Phở Hưng, on the water end of Queen Street near the Delta Hotel, not only makes tasty Vietnamese food, but it is owned and operated by some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. I have now achieved the status of being able to walk in, nod yes when they ask “the usual?”, and have a plate of seafood fried rice in front of me a few minutes later.
The new Nordic Breakfast at Receiver Coffee is my new favourite meal there: toast (from Breadworks bread), smoked salmon, vegetables, pickled onions and cheese. I would have it every day for breakfast if I could afford it. Take note that the kitchen is more consistent during the week, so I recommend you start out with a weekend morning Nordic to experience it at its best and then use that as a baseline.
We signed up for an Access 2 card this summer; a product of an initiative of Easter Seals and various theatres and cinemas, it entitles one person accompanying Oliver to free admission. So far we’ve used it only at Cineplex, but there’s a long list of theatres and attractions that accept it.
We’ve been the beneficiaries of Air Canada’s excellent services for customers with special needs over the last year. This includes accommodations for Ethan to travel in the cabin with us, to a free companion fare for Canadian flights for someone accompanying Oliver. The Air Canada Medical Office is staffed by friendly, efficient people who answer phone calls and emails promptly and helpfully. It is a model for other airlines.
On the way to and from Oslo last month we transited through London Heathrow, and in both directions we booked a room at the Thistle Hotel (a day room on the way there, an overnight on the way back). It’s a quick Hotel Hoppa ride from Terminal 2 (Air Canada), and Terminal 5 (British Airways) is a quick ride by automagical POD from the back parking lot. We had some service glitches on the overnight stay related to Ethan staying with us – a cab refused service, the hotel dining room initially told us Ethan couldn’t eat with us, a 20 pound “pet fee” was tacked on to our bill – but these were so quickly and deftly dealt with and apologized for by the manager as to endear me to the property. We’ll stay there whenever we’re passing through Heathrow.
Once we discovered that our Airbnb rental in Oslo was up a steep hill from public transit, we rented a Ford S-MAX, a minivan the company only sells in Europe. It comfortably accommodated 7 people, and was, it turns out, a joy to drive. It also had fuel economy of 5.5 litres per 100 km, which is about twice as good as the 2000 Jetta sedan (which uncomfortably accommodates 4 people) we drive at home.
Twice this summer we rented a car from Avis to drive back and forth to Halifax, reasoning that it’s best to preserve the Jetta’s last years for on-Island puttering. And both times we ended up with the same white Chevy Cruze hatchback. Despite my strong feeling about gratuitous use of the letter Z, the Cruze turned out to be a joy to drive and I’d happily rent one again. It also turns out to be super-easy to rent from the downtown Charlotteotwn Avis office if you book in advance and are an Avis Preferred member; it’s not quite “walk in, receive keys,” but it’s pretty darned close. To the point where life-after-Jetta might be simply rent-on-demand.
Watching and Listening
I really enjoyed the Steven Spielberg film Bridge of Spies. It was beautifully shot, well-acted and directed, and has a lovely score by Thomas Newman.
Here are the fall TV shows I’m enjoying: Downton Abbey, The Blacklist, Scandal, The Affair, Quantico, Madam Secretary, Modern Family, Homeland, Narcos,The Bridge and Mr. Robot. Of those, Homeland and Downton Abbey are the ones I’m most passionate about.
I’ve been promiscuously flipping back and forth between Rdio, Spotify, Google Music and Apple Music subscriptions to stream music into the office. The the arrival of an Apple TV developer box a month ago, I’ve settled on Apple Music for the time-being; I eagerly await the arrival of the Android Apple Music app as a result.
Podcasts in my Pocket Casts app on my phone in regular rotation: This American Life, Serial, Radiolab, Planet Money, 99% Invisible, Invisibilia, WTF, StartUp, Reply All, Canadaland, Mystery Show, and Kermode & Mayo’s BBC Film Reviews. Pocket Casts, by the way, is a great podcast app for Android that gets better with every release.
I’ve switched, at least for a few months of testing, from my stalwart text editor, BBEdit, to using Sublime Text. The transition was mostly smooth, and I really like the Git integration in Sublime Text. I’ve not 100% the switch will stick, but signs are good.
I managed to render my Moto G second generation useless the day before we left for Oslo (I tried to trim down a full-size SIM card and managed to get it stuck, and then managed to damage the screen while levering it out). Needing a phone for our trip, I simply replaced it with another Moto G from Staples (where they’re sold unlocked and are generally in stock). It’s not the perfect phone, but it’s relatively cheap (less than $300) and capable enough for almost everything I want to do with a phone. On occasion I lust for the sexiness of a iPhone 6S or a Nexus 6P, but I can’t imagine carrying around a phone that costs more than $1000 in my pocket.