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On Friday, when I logged into bloglines, I saw the following announcement:

As you may have heard, we are sorry to share that Bloglines will officially shut down on October 1, 2010.
More detail can be found on the Ask.com blog – http://blog.ask.com.

It came as a big surprise. I followed their very-clear instructions, and exported my RSS feeds into Google Reader; an RSS reader that I had previously dismissed because, while I could read the feeds on multiple computers, I didn’t like the interface very much. Read the rest of this entry »

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Meal outlaw is a good example of a web 2.0 site.

It relies completely on user-entered data; providing only a format in which to display your data, and ways to distribute it. There are several such services, but the others tend to associate with large databases of recipes. This one does not.

I discovered Meal outlaw through a link provided in the comments of a post about menu planning. To use Meal outlaw, you have to join. You can either sign up with your facebook account, or create a Meal outlaw account. The creation is a simple process, akin to all the other web 2.0 signups, except it asks for a security question and answer for password retrieval.

According to the about page, the idea for Meal outlaw came from Matthew Amster-Burton’s blog Roots & Grubs. Mr. Matthew Amster-Burto is a food writer living in Seattle. In the article that inspired Meal outlaw, explains the inspiration for listing what he’s eating this week as:

Aside from the purely voyeuristic element, hearing about what other people are making for dinner gives me ideas for what to cook myself.

When I entered my first week of menus, I went to the calendar, clicked on a day, clicked on “add a meal to this day” then entered the information. It was a lot of clicking for adding a title, some tags, a link and any notes. But when it was done, I had a week-long calendar of meals that I could print either from the screen or into PDF. There is a quicker way to add data – right from the front page in fewer page-refreshes and clicks.

Overall the service is a nice one. It allows you to subscribe to your calendar of meals – or anyone else’s via RSS or iCal. You can also add comments and photos to your meals, and comments to everyone else’s.

The creator of the service, J.R. Tipton, welcomes suggestions and even provides his own email address on the about page. I completely concur with Mr. Tipton’s statement that there is a wide proliferation of threads, web sites, and blog posts about what to make for dinner. I’m glad I found Meal outlaw, but it made me wonder about all the other ones out there.

Vinnie Gambinis
Montreal Marche Centrale, Quebec
951 Cremazie O
Montreal, Quebec H4N 2M5
Tel: 514.387.8464

Vinnie Gambinis is a posh-looking Italian restaurant with high-backed booths, comfortable chairs and dark wood decor. Our party of four was seated near the bar, and the waitress immediately mixed a plate of olive oil and balsamic vinegar for us.

Service was polite and prompt. Fresh bread came on-demand from the kitchen and the waitress regularly asked if we wanted more bread before we could ask ourselves.

I started with their hearty minestrone soup. It had large chunks of winter vegetables, beans and corn floating in a rich tomato broth. My friends had the beef and barley and made very appreciative noises as they ate it.

I chose the Ravioli d’Aragosta é Grancchio (>Lobster and crab stuffed ravioli with madagascan peppercorns, garlic, sun dried tomatoes and brandy in a rosé sauce) . The peppercorns were soft and delectable, the sauce had a haunting flavor of garlic below the rich cream and brandy tastes. The Ravioli was a bit clumped near the top and the sauce was thick on the pasta, but each ravioli has a good bite of lobster and crab visible inside as small chunks and not paste.

My partner had Spaghettini con Ragu di Carne (Spaghetti with meat sauce) and meatballs. The three meatballs were huge and seated artfully around a mounded bowl of spaghettini. The sauce was thick and had flecks of color that belied its otherwise smooth taste.

My friends had the Pollo Pavorotti (Lightly floured chicken fillet sauteed with prociutto, shallots, and sun-dried tomatoes, in a marsala sauce) and the Pollo Lombardi (Stuffed chicken fillet with sun dried tomatoes, mushrooms and mozzarella cheese in a demi-glaze sauce). Both enjoyed their meals and all were suitably impressed with the quantity and quality.

This is not the first time I’ve eaten there, and I confess I was impressed with the decor of the restaurant and the style shown in their service and menu. They serve their Romano cheese out of a hollowed-out half wheel of Pecorino Romano cheese. And are free with offering both the cheese and the pepper.

Overall it was a highly enjoyable event with good food and great service.

Prices: $20-30 entree’s
Table D’hote: $18-30
Reservations available, but not required.
No children’s menu.

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