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Steve McLean
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To quote Joe Jackson: I'm the man
To quote Joe Jackson: I'm the man

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Learn about the improvements made at this year’s Toronto Winter Briefest and see what I sampled while I was there.

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One of the many highlights of my time in Laos was visiting the ruins of the Khmer Hindu temple complex known as Vat Phou.

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Entering Laos was forbidden to non-essential visitors during the period I was travelling through southeast Asia in 2004, and I’ve always wanted to return to visit the country. In December I had the chance to do just that. Read more about my introduction to this nation.

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Garage-punk trio The Discarded has released my favourite album so far this year. The band, comprised of Toronto music scene veteran J.P. Wasson and his two teenaged sons, recorded the nine-song album in nine-and-a-half hours with engineer/mixer Ian Blurton last August. You can listen to it at https://www.thediscarded.ca/music/ and attend the band's record release show in the cozy confines of Duggan's Brewery's basement in Toronto on Feb. 25.

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Here are my favourite albums, EPs and concerts of 2016.

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You’d think that I’d eat a lot at an event called the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo, but that hasn’t always been the case. I attend more for the wine, beer, ciders and spirits and the food, for me, is almost an afterthought.

Maybe it was just my imagination, but I thought that there were more food exhibitors and there was more of a focus on food at this year’s event at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre than in recent years. So I paid a bit more attention to sampling edibles, while still getting my drink on, from Friday to Sunday.

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“White Line Fever” is one of my favourite Motorhead songs, but I was overcome with white wine fever at Toronto’s Metro Toronto Convention Centre. After focusing on beers on Friday, trying a variety of white wines was at the top of my agenda on Saturday and Sunday at the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo.

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Toronto’s Gourmet Food & Wine Expo seemed smaller this year, but there were still a couple dozen beers and ciders that I hadn’t tried before (as well as a couple of cocktails and wines) that were available to sample on Friday night.

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Lewis and Harris aren't heavily populated or visited, but they give you an appreciation of the rugged beauty that can be found in the Outer Hebrides islands off the northwest coast of Scotland.

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I made a few new discoveries on Saturday night while venturing to a little known to me part of Toronto for what was billed as a secret show featuring Dex Romweber, Catl and the Zakary Miller Band.
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