To read more about Terrence's American Food Tour, click here.
After a few too many hours in the car on Sunday (nine, to be exact) we arrived safely in Montreal and set out for what may well be a perfect first 24 hours of eating and drinking in Canada's cultural capital.
First, a late dinner at L'Express, a traditionally-styled bistro in the Plateau neighborhood. Fatigue caused me to forget my camera, but I'll have a hard time forgetting my onglet topped with shallot butter, cooked to a perfect medium rare and served with fries and mayonnaise (made with olive oil, which added a hint of delicacy to an otherwise-heavy side). A young Bourdeaux, a hearty country vegetable soup, and plenty of cracking baguette and tart cornichons between courses made this an ideal introduction to Montreal, and the perfect way to start recovering from a little too much time on the road.
The morning began with an excursion to Cafe Olimpico, in the Mile End neighborhood, which struck me as the anti-Starbucks: one barista, who also works the register; no milk-bomb lattes or frappes; not even any drip coffee -- just espresso, cappuccino, and cafe au lait. Skim milk? Not here -- it's whole or nothing. Outside, a welcoming coffee version of the beer garden, with a lively social scene. I was a bit put off by the pre-packaged croissants at the counter, but apparently you're allowed to bring in outside food, and there are numerous tempting patisseries nearby.
"Smoked Meat Sandwich" at Schwartz's Hebrew Delicatessen
This was a knockout. Tender brisket, not too salty or smoky, with a full beefy flavor. A nice bit of mustard to cut into the fat, and a soft white bread to keep it all together. The brisket is smoked daily, and in the front window of the main cafe you can see a number of them piled on top of each other, waiting to be your next sandwich (which sells for $5.50 Canadian, or about $4.75 US). There is one huge problem at Schwartz's, however -- the line:
The Lunch Line at Schwartz's Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen
This was taken at the height of the lunch rush, shortly before 1 p.m., so I can only hope that the line gets shorter in the off-peak hours. But I doubt it -- this place is justifiably famous, and I won't be surprised if I stop by sometime this week after midnight and find an even bigger crowd.
We opted instead for the take-out/eat-in counter next door, which serves the same sandwich, but without the line (at least at the time of our visit). I have a feeling we'll be getting more of Schwartz's brisket to go when we leave Montreal later this week, for some killer sandwiches on the road.
But how do you follow a lunch like this? By following something old-school with a modern dessert, Cayenne Hot Chocolate at Suite 88 Chocolatier:
Cayenne Drinking Chocolate at Suite 88 Chocolatier
I know it doesn't make much sense to get hot cocoa mid-summer, but for much of today there was a light chill, and I am a sucker for anything where spicy meets sweet. This hot chocolate was made with a bar of dark chocolate, some steamed milk, and a healthy dose of cayenne mixed in at the end. Nothing terribly original, but certainly terribly delicious. For something more summery, there are numerous truffles, chocolate-covered pretzels, and marshmallow lollipops with a chocolate coating.
Next was a refueling stop at Bieres Et Compaigne, a short walk from Suite 88 (Dieu du Ciel will have to wait til tomorrow, as it was closed today). Pints of Unibroue beers were on special for about $3.50 US -- I opted for the Maudite, a Belgian dark ale, while my better half went for the fruity (and more seasonally-apt) Ephemere Blackcurrant. I don't normally go for fruit beers, but this was a welcome surprise, with a nice undertone of blackcurrant that didn't overwhelm, and wasn't too perfume-y or sweet:
Unibroue Ephemere Blackcurrant
For dinner? Since Monday seems to be a sleepy day here, we made a trip to Jean Talon Market for provisioning, picking up four cornish hens, some raw milk goat cheese, haricot verts, and a few bulbs of fresh garlic. We also grabbed some strawberries and blueberries for breakfast tomorrow (which we'll have with bagels, of course):
Today’s empires are born on the web, and exert tremendous power in the material world.
Mark Zuckerberg hasn’t had the best week.
First, Facebook’s Free Basics platform was effectively banned in India. Then, a high-profile member of Facebook’s board of directors, the venture capitalist Marc Andreessen, sounded off about the decision to his nearly half-a-million Twitter followers with a stunning comment.
“Anti-colonialism has been economically catastrophic for the Indian people for decades,” Andreessen wrote. “Why stop now?”
After that, the Internet went nuts.
Andreessen deleted his tweet, apologized, and underscored that he is “100 percent opposed to colonialism” and “100 percent in favor of independence and freedom.” Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, followed up with his own Facebook post to say Andreessen’s comment was “deeply upsetting” to him, and not representative of the way he thinks “at all.”
By announcing the first detection of gravitational waves, scientists have vindicated Einstein and given humans a new way to look at the universe.
More than a billion years ago, in a galaxy that sits more than a billion light-years away, two black holes spiraled together and collided. We can’t see this collision, but we know it happened because, as Albert Einstein predicted a century ago, gravitational waves rippled out from it and traveled across the universe to an ultra-sensitive detector here on Earth.
This discovery, announced today by researchers with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO), marks another triumph for Einstein’s general theory of relativity. And more importantly, it marks the beginning of a new era in the study of the universe: the advent of gravitational-wave astronomy. The universe has just become a much more interesting place.
Once it was because they weren’t as well educated. What’s holding them back now?
Though headway has been made in bringing women’s wages more in line with men’s in the past several decades, that convergence seems to have stalled in more recent years. To help determine why, Francine D. Blau and Lawrence M. Kahn, the authors of a new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research parse data on wages and occupations from 1980 to 2010. They find that as more women attended and graduated college and headed into the working world, education and professional experience levels stopped playing a significant role in the the difference between men and women’s wages. Whatever remains of the discrepancy can’t be explained by women not having basic skills and credentials. So what does explain it?
By mining electronic medical records, scientists show the lasting legacy of prehistoric sex on modern humans’ health.
Modern humans originated in Africa, and started spreading around the world about 60,000 years ago. As they entered Asia and Europe, they encountered other groups of ancient humans that had already settled in these regions, such as Neanderthals. And sometimes, when these groups met, they had sex.
We know about these prehistoric liaisons because they left permanent marks on our genome. Even though Neanderthals are now extinct, every living person outside of Africa can trace between 1 and 5 percent of our DNA back to them. (I am 2.6 percent Neanderthal, if you were wondering, which pales in comparison to my colleague James Fallows at 5 percent.)
This lasting legacy was revealed in 2010 when the complete Neanderthal genome was published. Since then, researchers have been trying to figure out what, if anything, the Neanderthal sequences are doing in our own genome. Are they just passive hitchhikers, or did they bestow important adaptations on early humans? And are they affecting the health of modern ones?
The hit new indie release is the opposite of action-packed, yet it’s compelling in its simplicity.
Solitude, it turns out, can be addictive. So I learned playing the new hit indie game Firewatch, where all the action amounts to you, the player, being alone in the woods. You’re a lookout assigned to a summer posting in the Shoshone National Forest of Wyoming in 1989, meaning your job consists of nothing more than wandering around, clearing brush, and calling in any fires you might spot. Most video games equip you with tools and weapons, complex missions, and action sequences. All Firewatch gives you is a map, a compass, and a walkie-talkie—but it’s still one of the most compelling video games I’ve ever played.
It’s the latest in a quiet movement of video games, more psychological products that tap into the atmosphere and wonder of loneliness rather than looking for the simpler thrills the medium usually provides. It’s tempting to trace this trend’s origins back to Minecraft, which launched in 2009 and became a worldwide phenomenon on the back of its extraordinary simplicity. But in Minecraft, you start armed only with your bare hands in a world of monsters, and can eventually upgrade into a city-builder armed with powerful tools. Firewatch is a more intimate affair: a short story, playable over a few hours, that succeeds first and foremost as an emotional experience.
A maverick investor is buying up water rights. Will he rescue a region, or just end up hurting the poor?
On a brisk, cloudless day last january, Disque Deane Jr. stepped out of his SUV, kicked his cowboy boots in the dirt, and looked around. He had driven two hours from Reno on one of the loneliest stretches of interstate in the United States to visit the Diamond S Ranch, just outside the town of Winnemucca, Nevada. Before him, open fields stretched all the way to the Santa Rosa mountains, 30 miles away. But the land was barren. The fields had been chewed down to the roots by cattle, and the ranch’s equipment had been stripped for parts. A steel trestle bridge lay pitched into the Humboldt River.
Surveying the dilapidated structures and the gopher-riddled soil, Deane saw something few others might: potential. The ranch and an adjoining property, totaling about 11,400 acres—14 times the size of Central Park—were for sale for $10.5 million, and he was thinking about buying them.
The number of American teens who excel at advanced math has surged. Why?
On a sultry evening last July, a tall, soft-spoken 17-year-old named David Stoner and nearly 600 other math whizzes from all over the world sat huddled in small groups around wicker bistro tables, talking in low voices and obsessively refreshing the browsers on their laptops. The air in the cavernous lobby of the Lotus Hotel Pang Suan Kaew in Chiang Mai, Thailand, was humid, recalls Stoner, whose light South Carolina accent warms his carefully chosen words. The tension in the room made it seem especially heavy, like the atmosphere at a high-stakes poker tournament.
Stoner and five teammates were representing the United States in the 56th International Mathematical Olympiad. They figured they’d done pretty well over the two days of competition. God knows, they’d trained hard. Stoner, like his teammates, had endured a grueling regime for more than a year—practicing tricky problems over breakfast before school and taking on more problems late into the evening after he completed the homework for his college-level math classes. Sometimes, he sketched out proofs on the large dry-erase board his dad had installed in his bedroom. Most nights, he put himself to sleep reading books like New Problems in Euclidean Geometry and An Introduction to Diophantine Equations.
When four American women were murdered during El Salvador’s dirty war, a young U.S. official and his unlikely partner risked their lives to solve the case.
On December 1, 1980, two American Catholic churchwomen—an Ursuline nun and a lay missionary—sat down to dinner with Robert White, the U.S. ambassador to El Salvador. They worked in rural areas ministering to El Salvador’s desperately impoverished peasants, and White admired their commitment and courage. The talk turned to the government’s brutal tactics for fighting the country’s left-wing guerrillas, in a dirty war waged by death squads that dumped bodies in the streets and an army that massacred civilians. The women were alarmed by the incoming Reagan administration’s plans for a closer relationship with the military-led government. Because of a curfew, the women spent the night at the ambassador’s residence. The next day, after breakfast with the ambassador’s wife, they drove to San Salvador’s international airport to pick up two colleagues who were flying back from a conference in Nicaragua. Within hours, all four women would be dead.
If Bernie Sanders is serious about a political transformation in America, he needs a better plan.
If there’s one thing that fires up Bernie Sanders supporters—and makes his detractors roll their eyes—it’s his call for a “political revolution.” To his base, it’s the very point of his anti-establishment, anti-elite candidacy. To his critics, it’s the very embodiment of his campaign’s naïve impracticality and vagueness.
But now that voters in Iowa and New Hampshire have spoken, it’s time to take the idea of political revolution more seriously—more seriously, indeed, than Sanders himself appears to have. It’s time to ask: What exactly would it take?
It starts with Congress. And here it’s instructive to compare Sanders and Donald Trump. Both rely on broad, satisfying refrains of “We’re gonna”: We’re gonna break up the big banks. We’re gonna make Mexico build the wall. We’re gonna end the rule of Wall Street billionaires. We’re gonna make China stop ripping us off.
Why the Syrian war—and the future of Europe—may hinge on one city
This week, the Syrian army, backed by Russian air strikes and Iranian-supported militias including Hezbollah, launched a major offensive to encircle rebel strongholds in the northern city of Aleppo, choking off one of the last two secure routes connecting the city to Turkey and closing in on the second. This would cut supplies not only to a core of the rebellion against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but also to the city’s 300,000 remaining civilians, who may soon find themselves besieged like hundreds of thousands of others in the country. In response, 50,000 civilians have fled Aleppo for the Turkish border, where the border crossing is currently closed. An unnamed U.S. defense official toldThe Daily Beast’s Nancy Youssef that “the war is essentially over” if Assad manages to seize and hold Aleppo.