I came about to learning to make plain cake from scratch after I attempted to make a New York crumble cake I’d seen being made on a Martha Stewart cooking show. Not only was the cake not as expected — we were expecting mostly cake with a modest but tasty crumble crust, instead of the actual small amount of cake and a sizable crumble crust — the cake did not bake well, and I was very disinclined to try it again. The next day, I looked for a plain cake recipe on the internet and found one, which I adapted to my format.
First, two cups of flour were placed in a mixing bowl:
… to which two teaspoons of baking powder were added:
… as well as a quarter teaspoon of salt:
The flour, baking powder, and salt were blended with a fork:
The bowl was then put aside until later.
Margarine was picked up on a piece of paper towelling:
… in order to coat the interior surfaces of the baking pan:
Then, a bit of flour was put in the pan …
… and spread around to coat the margarine:
The baking pan was also put aside until later.
In another mixing bowl, a quarter cup of shortening was added:
The shortening was creamed with an electric mixer:
A cup of sugar was added to the creamed shortening:
… and the sugar and shortening were blended:
An egg was added to the mixing bowl:
… and the ingredients were again blended:
A teaspoon of vanilla extract was added to the mix:
… and again, the ingredients were blended.
About a third of the flour mix prepared earlier, and about a third of a cup of milk, were added to the ingredients:
… and completely blended:
The previous two steps were repeated twice until all the milk and flour mix were blended into the batter.
The batter was then transferred to the floured baking pan:
… and placed in a countertop convection oven preheated to 350F:
At this point, I was getting rather thirsty, so I poured myself some iced tea, and a bottle of my homebrew, a Belgian-style brown ale, made with water from filtered, melted ice from the lake at my cottage:
Since my mom suggested that a lemon drizzle be added to the cake, first a few tablespoons of icing sugar were placed in a bowl:
… to which half the number of teaspoons of lemon juice were added:
… and the ingredients were mixed, then put aside for later:
Soon, the cake in the oven was puffing up and browning:
… and was taken out of the oven after 55 minutes of baking:
The cake was pricked multiple times with a thick needle …
… to allow for some absorption of the lemon sauce which was poured over the cake with a small plastic scoop:
… at which point, the cake looked like follows:
When cooled, a knife was used to loosen the cake around its edges in the baking pan, and the cake was taken out of the baking pan:
A few slices of cake were cut from the cake:
And, of course, the cake was yummy! And mom said “Delicious!”
Although I have already done someposts on my pickled eggs, as per my recent wont of photo posts of me making my various recipes, I took a lot of photos yesterday when I made pickled eggs. Sigh, the stores know how to get me every time when they advertise eggs on sale!
Before I went to buy the eggs, I prepared some extra ice, which would be needed later on once the eggs were boiled:
Then I went out to do some shopping and I purchased three flats of 30 eggs each, for a total of 90 eggs, at the advertised price of $4.44 CDN per flat (14.8 cents per egg).
I took out ten jars with mason openings; although the jars shown aren’t strictly speaking mason jars, they have mason jar threading, and I’ve never had trouble with them.
Of course, I also prepared ten rings and lids (in this case, clean reused lids, since I expect that I will be eating the eggs from most of the jars):
Cold water was put in a pot and heated, for later use when boiling the jars.
I boiled and shelled the eggs over two sessions of 45 eggs each, one after the other.
First, eggs were placed in a pot:
Cold water was added to the pot with the eggs, covering the eggs.
The stove was turned on, and I brought the eggs to a boil, and then boiled them for eight minutes.
During the time it took to heat up and boil the eggs, the first thing I did was pour myself a nice beer:
Yes, that is a double sized, 750mL bottle of beer containing 9% alc/vol; it’s called “Don de Dieu”, and it’s a bottle refermented abbey-style triple wheat beer, from Unibroue, in Chambly, Québec.
Back to work, still while the eggs were heating up and boiling, I prepared some pickling solution:
Vinegar was measured out into a pot (in this case, 7-1/2 cups; according to my recipe, I knew I would need another 3-3/4 cups, as well as the commensurate amounts of sugar, salt, and spices) :
Sugar (in this case, 1 cup) was added:
Salt (in this case, 3-1/2 teaspoons) was added to the pickling solution:
A commercial pickling spice blend (in this case, 3-1/2 tablespoons) was added to the pickling solution:
The pickling solution was covered and put aside, to be boiled later.
Soon, the eggs had reached the boiling point, and the eggs were boiled for eight minutes:
After eight minutes of boiling, the boiling water was immediately drained from the pot of eggs, and cold water was added to the pot of eggs, as well as ice:
The ice water and eggs were gently mixed by hand, in order to quickly and thoroughly cool the eggs, which takes a few minutes. This is necessary so as to avoid the development of a greenish-blackish ring around the egg yolks (which is harmless, but aesthetically undesirable), as well as to aid in the peeling; the sharp temperature change helps dislodge the membrane just inside the shell, which will then make it easier to remove the shells and minimize tearing.
The eggshells were then peeled:
Shelled eggs were rinsed in cool water and placed in a couple of bowls:
Sometimes, there are tears when shelling eggs. In yesterday’s case, there were 25 eggs with tears; however, tears don’t affect the eggs’ ability to be pickled, they just make the eggs not always look as nice. As such, these eggs were merely placed in a separate bowl so that they could be bottled together for personal consumption, and to distinguish them from the nicely peeled eggs, should I decide to give away a jar of the “nice” eggs (see below).
At this point, a few hand tools were needed: Some tongs, a ladle, a jar holder, and a slotted spoon. Not shown: mason jar filler.
At this point, the water which was heated earlier for the bottles was brought up to boiling again, and jars were put in the water once it was boiling:
At the same time, the pickling solution was brought to a boil:
In a third pot — the same one in which the eggs were originally boiled — fresh water was brought to a boil, and eggs (in this case, nine eggs at a time, the number of eggs which fit in the size of jars used) were added, once all three pots were boiling:
Eggs are only kept in the boiling water long enough to take out a jar from the boiling water bath (just as the jars need only be in the boiling water bath for the time it takes to put the eggs in the boiling water bath.)
A jar is taken out of the boiling water bath, and the eggs in the boiling water bath are transferred to the hot jar:
The pot of hot pickling solution — which is kept simmering to boiling on the stove in between filling jars — is brought over, and hot pickling solution is added to the hot jar with the hot eggs:
The lids and rings were individually placed in the mason jar hot water bath and immediately placed on the filled jars.
Seven jars were each filled with nine eggs without tears, and three jars were each filled with nine eggs with tears.
Once all the jars were filled, they were placed in a refrigerator overnight to cool the contents relatively quickly, in order to avoid the development of greenish-blackish rings around the egg yolks (which is harmless, but aesthetically undesirable.)
This morning, I took the jars out of the fridge, and wiped down the jars, since when filling the jars and putting on the lids, sometimes the pickling solution spilled a bit.
This included taking off the rings to wipe down the necks of the jars, which wasn’t a problem since all the lids on the jars formed a good vacuum seal.
I have a computer file of labels I use for my pickled eggs, which I printed out. I do both English and French parts because I live in a primarily French speaking area, and therefore it’s good to have both languages for when I give away and sell jars. I cut out the individual labels, folded them over lengthwise, wrote the date on the backsides, punched a hole in each, and looped an elastic band in the hole of each label.
I placed the labels around the necks of the jars. In this photo, the three jars of eggs with tears are in the front row and on the right.
Since I already had some pickled eggs in stock (a total of 91 over seven jars), which I made about a month ago, I moved them around to make space in the storage room:
Things were moved around, and yesterday’s jars of pickled eggs are now all put away, on the bottom shelf below the existing jars:
As you’ll notice, there are also three extra jars of six pickled eggs in the stock I’d already had, that were not in the above photo; these will likely be given as gifts before I give away any of yesterday’s production since new lids were used when they were made.
And if I don’t give out any jars as gifts? Then I’ll have enough pickled eggs for myself until at least early summer of this year!
ps: And the beer? Of course it was good! It’s a beer I’ve had several times before, it’s from my favourite brewery (Unibroue — no, not the multinational brewery with a slightly different spelling), barring the fact that my favourite beer is from another brewery, and I have a particular taste for Belgian abbey beers and wheat beers.
A relatively long time ago, a neighbour brought over some stuffed pasta rolls au gratin, and they were rather tasty. I liked them so much that I decided to replicate them, and added the recipe to my repertoire of personal recipes.
I recently made a batch of my manicotti, and I took a lot of pictures.
First, I finely ground some carrots in a food processor:
As a side note, I use carrots because I love carrots, and at the time it seemed perfectly natural to me add ground carrots to the filling mix.
I also add ground onions, which to me are also a natural pairing with the beef. The two ingredients extend the beef used in order to stuff more manicotti shells, or conversely, as tasty fillers, reduce the amount of ground beef required.
Then I ground some onions, effectively rendering them liquid:
Ground beef was placed in an electric skillet:
The ground carrots and ground onions were added to the beef in the electric skillet:
The ground beef was broken up with a spatula, and mixed together with the ground carrots and ground onions.
The mixture was fried, while being constantly mixed:
At this point, I was getting a little thirsty, so I served myself some homebrew (an Irish Stout):
Next, some manicotti shells were taken out of their box:
The manicotti shells were then boiled, six at a time, in salted water with olive oil for five minutes:
The manicotti shells were then drained:
At this point, I stuffed the manicotti shells, six at a time, with the cooked meat, carrot, and onion mixture, holding a cooling manicotti shell in one hand, while transferring the meat mixture using a small dessert spoon.
Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of me filling the shells — my hands were dirty and greasy, and I didn’t ask for a photographer’s helper. 🙁
At this point, I may have been getting a bit tipsy from my beer, so I drank some iced tea to help deal with the effects of the beer.
I stuffed a total of 22 manicotti shells. The stuffed manicotti shells were then placed in oven-proof and microwave-safe containers:
Tomato sauce — in this case, a commercial beef and pork tomato sauce — was spread on top of the stuffed manicotti shells.
Mozzarella cheese was sliced off the block and laid on top of the manicotti.
Freezer bags were identified with the intended contents and the date.
The manicotti containers were then placed in the bags, and then frozen.
When cooking, I defrost the manicotti, sometimes add a bit more cheese on top, start to reheat the manicotti in a microwave oven while preheating a countertop oven to 350F, and bake the manicotti until the cheese on the top is a desired level of browned and the sauce is bubbling up on the sides.
One of my Christmas gifts (ie. what I not only requested but actually went out to acquire myself 🙂 ) was a Belgian ale beer kit. The homebrew shop apparently acquired from one of my previous homebrew shops when it went out of business back in 1999 a large fridge and apparently whatever trademarks and (I presume) recipes for a line of beer kits they produced called “SuperBatch”. Basically, the concept is (for them) to create in-store full, ready to add water beer kits using custom recipes, building the kits with various malt extracts in proportions according to given recipes and adding packets of hops and / or other spices (again in varieties and quantities according to the given recipes), as well as the usual yeast packet.
Having a personal preference for Belgian beers, I have been hoping for years to stumble upon a Belgian beer kit, and was finally pleased to find one when I decided to investigate another homebrew shop given that for the past year or two I’d been very slowly been getting frustrated by my up-to-then current homebrew shop over decreasing selection of, and generally decreasing availability of product. The imp that pushed me over the cliff came from somewhere between having found the Belgian kit on the new-to-me shop’s website and having observed that the up-to-then current homebrew shop had also changed distributors, not only not carrying the beer kits I had been using and finding acceptable, but also changing the brand of wine kits I normally (although now rarely) use; I’ve tried a couple of other brands, I don’t like them.
Back on track, I had a beer kit in hand. And, I was up at the cottage over the Christmas holidays, melting a *lot* of snow and filtering the water using my water filter in order to supply my water needs. Having planned this next part in advance, at one point I took out my water container I keep for wine-making and brewing purposes and, instead of filling my drinking water containers with filtered water for my drinking and cleanup needs, I started filling my brewing water container and brought it home at the end of my holiday.
Shortly after coming home, I made beer. The instructions were a little different from the commercial kits in cans out there (ok, stop rolling your eyes). They were vaguely reminiscent of brewing from grain, at least so far as I had to boil the malt extract with about an equal amount of water, and having to add the packet of (in my case, given that it was a Belgian ale) dried fruit and spices. Having added the rest of the water, which was also its bulk, there was little issue with having to chill the wort. I pitched the yeast, covered the bucket with a plastic sheet, and waited and watched.
A week later, I racked the bubbling beer into a secondary fermenter and added an air lock, and waited and watched.
Three weeks later, after the secondary fermentation and then settling, I bottled the beer, priming with my usual approximately 1oz of honey per gallon. For the inquisitive, the kind of honey I used was the type that Costco sells 1kg at a time, not some esoteric organic variety bought from some road-side stand in front of a farmer’s field a couple of hours out of the city. Typically, it takes about two weeks just to get the carbonation completed.
But, it doesn’t stop there: It took another month after the bare minimum (in my books) of six weeks, or in the general area of 10-12 weeks at this point in late March, for the wonderful chocolate tones and other fuller flavours to start coming out. In between, the beer seemed to be a bit disappointingly dull and flat (not carbonation-wise, but taste-wise.)
And … there are two endings to this story:
First, whaddya think, it isn’t any good? Of course it’s good. In a little while when my supplies begin to dwindle, I’ll be getting another Belgian Ale kit from my new-to-me shop.
Secondly, does the fact that it’s made from melted snow filtered to drinking water quality make it taste any better? Well I guess I’d have to have made separate parallel batches with tap water and distilled water to really know the difference, or even try to determine whether there actually is one; certainly, I can’t particularly tell. Of course the beer is good and doesn’t have any off tastes, and fermented well.
But … I expect that the real difference lies in that I have a bit of a story to tell regarding the water source I used for the beer I’m serving, and not much more.
And, back in April before all the snow in the city had melted away, I melted some and filtered it; it’s now patiently waiting for the next time I make some beer for myself (I had no intention of using it for the beer I’ve made for Canada Day. 🙂 )
During the summer of 2012, I bought a Katadyn Pocket water filter. It took a bit of research, but in short order the decision to buy this model over just about any other was clear: Most water filters seemed to have a capacity of a few hundred gallons or maybe up to 1,500 gallons; the Katadyn Pocket filter has a capacity of up to 13,000 gallons, or 50,000 litres. Given the price difference — anywhere from $75 to $250 for most of the rest, and $300 to $350 for the Katadyn Pocket, there was little to decide.
The unit has a 0.2 micron ceramic filter with silver impregnated in it in order to act as a bacteriostatic agent, although you have to be careful about that (see below).
The only thing that bugs me a very little bit about it is that it’s a filter only (albeit very good), not a purifier. Unfortunately, the purifiers don’t have the capacity that this filter has. This works out to the fact that the unit can effectively remove all bacteria and cysts — and of course cloudiness — in water, but theoretically it can’t remove viruses due to their being far smaller than the pore size (unless they electrostatically attach themselves to a particle which can be filtered out by the unit). It also means that it doesn’t remove any other contaminants smaller than 0.2 microns, including the usual nasties one might think of such as dissolved heavy metals, pesticides and other such nasty contaminants, and the more benign but nonetheless undesirable tastes, odours and colours that aren’t due to cloudiness.
There are two ways of dealing with these issues:
1) Choose a clear water source — that you might be tempted to drink without treating it at all (your natural “yuck” factor will help you out with this) — and this will reduce the likelihood that these are problems to begin with. By itself, most people — including myself, a trained water techie — can’t just look at clear water and tell whether it’s contaminated with the poop of 30 deer 100 feet upstream, or the dumpings from some illegal leather tanning shop 200 feet upstream. But, generally, you can tell the difference between clear, running water in the middle of the woods far away from just about anything and that doesn’t have any smells to it, and stagnant, cloudy and smelly water in the ditch surrounding a garage.
2) Bring around a small bottle filled with bleach and an eye dropper (*). I find that depending on the water source and the strength of the bleach (typically 4% to 6% sodium hypochlorite), 1 to 3 drops per imperial gallon (4.5 litres) has worked well on the filtered water. Melted snow from my cottage could do with 1/2 drop per imperial gallon, given that the bleach taste still often comes through quite distinctly on such (presumably) relatively pure water. As a reference, the USEPA (here’s my archive) recommends to use two drops per quart when using bleach to disinfect untreated water, or about 8 drops per US gallon (3.78 litres), or about 9 drops per imperial gallon (4.5 litres).
(*) This won’t deal with a bunch of dissolved metals, and can’t completely deal with tough contaminants, so choose your water source carefully!
Now, putting aside that I’m a water techie, why would I, who stopped being involved in Scouting and most forms of camping and hiking in 1999, need such a device?
The family cottage doesn’t have running water in the winter, and I usually spend a week over Christmas and typically a weekend a month at the cottage over winter, when the water is off. I’ve been starting to get tired of carrying up big jugs filled with water. I’ve been getting tired of running out of water or at least having to be careful about how I use water. And, particularly, I’ve been getting tired of depending on a few neighbours for their goodwill. The operative notion here is “depending”; a lack of goodwill is not the issue, although the variability of whether or not two of the immediate neighbours would be around all the time is a concern alongside the inconvenience of having to go out to get clean drinking water in the middle of washing dishes.
One of the first things I had to figure out the hard way is the importance of keeping the unit clean (go figure, a water techie needing to be reminded of the importance of keeping drinking water treatment equipment clean): Over almost two weeks in the summer, I’d used it three times, and ended up with a good case of diarrhea which took a couple of weeks to clear up. So note to myself, and those considering buying any camping water filter: Keep the unit and the outlet hose in particular clean — it can get contaminated easily — and when you’re going to leave it sitting around for more than a day or two or pack it away for a while, run a bleach solution through it first and dry it out.
So, does the filter work? And do I get the runs any more?
Of course, and of course not.
This year over Christmas, I found it quite useful, although I did bring up a good supply of water anyway to begin with, given that I was coming up for a week and the long-awaited testing grounds had finally arrived. I needed some kind of starting point, in case I found out that “making” water was a lot more work than I’d bargained for, especially given all the freezer cooking (and therefore dish washing) I do over that period.
I also confirmed what I had begun observing for years while melting snow for things that didn’t require drinking-quality water: You’d be surprised how much dirt and debris comes through when melting “pristine” snow in the middle of cottage country, far away from the city. It’s but a little more appetizing for drinking, cooking or rinsing the dishes than dishwater — so of course I don’t bother filtering the melted snow for my “put the dirty dishes in hot soapy dishwater” part, but of course I use filtered water for rinsing the dishes.
Regarding the amount of bleach to use, I have found that the filtered water from melting snow needs about a drop per imperial gallon, while the filtered lake water can handle about two drops per imperial gallon, before a distinct bleach taste comes through. This is a little testing based on working with the filtered water and after having first consulted some tables on how many drops of bleach per litre to use for treating water (here’s my archive) (instead of just calculating it myself). As a reference, the USEPA (here’s my archive) recommends to use two drops per quart when using bleach to disinfect untreated water, or about 8 drops per US gallon (3.78 litres), or about 9 drops per imperial gallon (4.5 litres).
Regarding the “one litre per minute” claim, it mostly works out to that, sort of, I guess — which means, not really. In practice, though, I suspect that that’s based on filling up one litre or one quart water bottles commonly used, especially in camping and hiking circles. For larger amounts of water, it takes longer. The best test I’ve had — since filtering water while being distracted by the TV at the cottage isn’t much of a test — was when I recently filtered about 23 litres of melted snow undistracted for a future batch of beer, and it took me about 40 to 45 minutes. This admittedly but importantly included a stop about halfway through to open up the filter and clean the ceramic filter, which had become sufficiently dirty from the dirt in the “clean” snow that I’d melted, making filtering the water difficult. A comparison between the 100 metre race and the 3,000 metre race in the Olympics would be apt: You sprint in the former race, but you pace yourself at a somewhat slower running speed in the latter in order not to get too tired right away and be able to make it to the end of the race.
Anyway, I like the filter, and it should get several years’ worth of use before I have to start thinking about buying a replacement filter cartridge.
I’m just about finished cleaning and sorting all the beer bottles from yesterday’s big Canada Day festivities in Montreal West, Quebec.
For the past 14 years I’ve held what I believe to be the most critical job — certainly when it comes to efficiency, productivity, and morale — to the success of the event. Hence, with all due respect to the following people, as well as Paula and Joan and all the other critical volunteers without whom I wouldn’t be able hold such a prestigious position:
It’s more important that the Parade Marshall’s job. They just have to dress up, wave a big stick, and walk at the front of the parade.
It’s more important than the Mayor’s job. They just have to make a speech and lead everyone in singing “O Canada”.
It’s more important than the job of the nice guys who set up and light the fireworks. Hey, it’s the fireworks themselves that do the real job there, anyway.
It’s certainly on par with the fantastic people who run the beer tent (Hi Wayne and Sam!)
With this last we’re getting into the critical area: The fantastic people who run the barbecues cooking all the food for the public to come and consume. I’m one of this group. But, my job is more important that cooking burgers, hot dogs, buns, or cutting up all the tomatoes and onions and the like in preparation of the evening.
I serve the beer to, and only to, this fine crew of people who run the barbecues. Heck, I even get to serve the Mayor. (Glad you liked my beer, Mr. Masella!)
Every year for the past 22 years, with about five exceptions, I’ve been involved one way or another at the Montreal West Canada celebrations volunteering to make the event happen. For the past 18 years (plus the first year), I’ve been involved with the barbecues. For the past 14 years, I’ve held the above-mentioned prestigious position.
I love it. I love serving people. I love the accolades. I love the attention. I love bragging in the admittedly deluded way that I am right now that I hold the most important position of the day. And, for the past four years, I love all the extra compliments I get about supplying my own beer. The best part? This year I had three varieties of beer, instead of one variety the first year, and two in the intervening years. And, it seems from the roughly equal distribution of how much beer I have left from each variety, that all three were roughly as popular as each other.
This year I had 33 x 1.14L bottles of my beer, plus of course the corresponding extra regular sized bottles to go along with it. Overall I made about 75L of beer with Canada Day in mind, knowing that I’d have plenty left over of course. That I served the 33 bottles plus another 24 regular bottles says something about how large and thirsty my group is, considering that I also serve wine, water, soft drinks and the like.
One of the things I also found out last night, contrary to my experience last year with only about 20 such bottles, serving out of these 1.1L bottles is a charm instead of having to bottle that amount of beer in regular bottles and then cap them all, and then serve them individually. Although admittedly this last part is actually not necessarily the hardest part. But serving 3-4 beers out of a single bottle proved to be easy and convenient. And keeping track was easy: The big cooler had bottles that either had no elastic around the neck, or did. The third cooler had the third kind of beer. Keeping track, in practice, was quite easy.
And here’s the other part of what has me hyped about this post: The numbers.
33 x 1.14L bottles of beer served — about 37.6L
34 x 341mL bottles of beer served — about 8.2L more served
total of 45.8L of beer served just to the BBQ crew
This is the equivalent of about 130 beers served, if you take out the one 1.14L bottle that didn’t carbonate and was served to the grass. This is pretty strong — if there’s a downpour, I usually serve in the area of 80 beers. If it’s nice like it was yesterday, I usually serve about 100 to 120 beers; one year, I figure I served as much as 160 beers.
Now of that, I had made, as I said earlier, about 75L of beer for the event. So that’s about 61% of the beer I made for the occasion.
And more numbers:
After having collected all sorts of beer bottles off the side of the road, in bushes, and just about anywhere else that my travels take me, today I’ll be returning about 161 SURPLUS empty beer bottles that I’ve collected over the past year. That doesn’t include the 90 that are still full, but then again last year at this time I made a similar bottle return and kept to the order of 80 to 90 such bottles that were either full or empty — in order, of course, to be able to have enough bottles for the following batch of beer.
And of course, the above-mentioned 33 x 1.14L bottles won’t be returned; I’ll be keeping them for next year’s Canada Day beer!
I think that Google Maps is overlooking a basic function: In the real world, people sometimes go east, and sometimes go west.
Yesterday for the third time in a couple of years I relied upon Google Maps for directions and was sent to the wrong place. Caveat Emptor strikes again.
In Montreal, east-west streets which bisect St. Laurent Boulevard (which, no surprise, goes sort of north-south), start their numbering in both east and west directions from there. Hence you can have two equally valid addresses on a given street, given the proviso that one is designated as “East” and the other “West”. (Hey! It’s Captain Obvious!)
Fortunately, the address I was looking for was 151; during an hour of going around the neighbourhood looking for parking around “151 Laurier” (East as proposed by Google Maps), I found out that that address wasn’t a dépanneur that sells a huge variety of microbrewery beers, and looked like it never was, and finally decided to go further down the street looking for similar businesses. I suddenly had a V-8 moment and realized “Ooops what about 151 Laurier WEST?” I high-tailed it in the opposite direction and found the business in question. And to my disappointment, they were out of the particular beer I was seeking — Weizenbock, by La Brasserie Les Trois Mousquetaires, which has replaced my previous definition of ambrosia, Trois Pistoles by Unibroue.
Twice before I have had similar experiences:
About a year ago, while in Western Canada in completely unfamiliar territory on a business trip, I had looked up a client’s address, and not knowing about any local east/west splits that addresses on the Trans-Canada Highway may have in that locality, I tried to find the address, on the east end of town, that Google Maps had provided; I was about 45 minutes late by the time I finally managed to suspect that my client’s address was a “West” address and got there.
And just to quash any participant in the Peanut Gallery out there about to say “Aha well when using Google Maps you should know that in such cases they’ll always send you to the East address, so be sure to always check both!” a couple of years ago I had looked up a local address for client, and Google sent me to Gouin Boulevard West here in Montreal, a solid 45 minute drive away from my client’s Gouin Boulevard East address.
Now the Peanut Gallery may have a point: In the real world, people sometimes go east, and sometimes go west. And when it comes to using a free online service, you get what you paid for. As such, when looking up an address on any online service, one should notice “Hmmm this is an east-west street which may bisect such and such a street and as such have East addresses and West addresses; I should specify both east and west in my address search.”
But I wonder how many other people place enough faith in Google that under such circumstances — such as when they don’t know that there’s an East and West of a given street — they would reasonably expect in the case that a street has valid East addresses and valid West addresses (and likewise for North and South addresses) that Google’s response page would come back with “Did you mean (A) 151 Laurier East, or did you mean (B) 151 Laurier West?” Certainly Google seems good enough at asking such a question when you slightly misspell a street or city name, or decides that it doesn’t recognize the address you supply and provide you with half a dozen options, as often spread across the country as spread across the city.