Monday, 24 September 2012

Piece of 3.14159265359

I have a friend I've known since high school. I've had some of my best moments with him. The first concert I've ever been to was with him. It was The Chemical Brothers back in 1999 at the Metropolis and was the first time I've ever been star struck when we met the guys in the alley in the back of the building after the show. We went back there again several times for that band and also for The Crystal Method, Amon Tobin and The Beastie Boys. Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland from The Crystal Method were the coolest guys ever. Every time after their show we would go meet them and have a talk about all sorts of things. The first time was around the time when George W. Bush initiated the war in Iraq so we had a very long political discussion about that. The second time around we met them in the back alley and I got my Vegas album signed! But, that wasn't enough. They went in their tour bus and signed us some posters and they took pictures with us and all. And that's just a SAMPLE of what kind of time I've spent with my friend. Also, a funny little anectode, the ID number our social medicare cards start with the first three letters of our last name and the first letter of our first name. In highschool, someone noticed that my friend's ID on his card was FOUF. (Pronounced foof because we're stinkin' cheese eatin' surrender monkeys.) It has been his nickname ever since.

One thing about my friend is that he gets into these phases. In high school he got into running. He would run something like 20km (that's about 12.5 miles) in one shot from the east-end of Montreal to the Olympic Stadium and back. Then he got into chess, then into boxing and probably some other stuff. Lately he met someone who was into chess and he fell back into that phase and was really eager to play with someone. He kept bugging me about it and I had some free time Saturday night so I suggested we go to Café π.

I like this place already!

Café π is a unique little café in Montréal where friends and strangers meet to play chess, backgammon, poker and probably many other games. The ones mentioned were the only ones I saw being played, chess being the popular one as the establishment provides free chess boards and pieces and even game timers. And for the serious players, there was a little bookshelf filled with books that were graciously donated by the local chess grand master Alexandre LeSiège.

Encyklopedija  sahovskih otvaranja, The Slav...
I'm starting to suspect our Friend Alexandre
might be a communist spy from the Eastern Bloc.

Sadly, the place didn't have smart, pretty young ladies looking for a partner for a quick game chess. Instead, the place was filled with nerds and older men looking for some company and a good challenge. Throughout the night there were artists of all sorts that came in. A guitarist came and played some music, later on I think there was a duo that played some of their original songs and there was even slam poetry. It's a pretty cool hangout when you want a simple evening with a good friend where you can discuss about life and current events while racking your brain to figure out your next move on the board.

Café π also featured some artwork by local artists and had newspaper and magazine articles hung up on the walls along with some puzzles. Overall it's a pretty neat looking café. And the red coloured walls gives the place a really intense vibe.

The board says Mat in 2. Can you figure it out?
Post your solution in the comments!

That picture was taken at closing time.
The place was packed when we came in.
We were lucky to even get a table.

When we first got to the café, they were advertising what I guess is their specialty: The London Fog. It's a tall mug of Earl Grey tea with steamed milk and a hint of vanilla. That sounds delicious. So we went in, sat at a table with a chess board, set up our pieces and each ordered a London Fog with a piece of meringue pie. I mean it's Café Pi. We had to order a god damn piece of pie. Otherwise what's the point. Oh, what's that? We should have ordered coffee instead of tea because it's a café? Well, maybe you should order a plastic surgeon to rearrange that ugly face of yours, but you don't see me telling you what to do! Ok, ok, I'm sorry that was uncalled for.

Ready for a night of intellectual combat!
Right after pie...

Anyway, my friend and I got there around 9pm, I think, and we played until the place closed at midnight! Just one game! Seriously, I suck at chess. But, that night I held my ground. Unfortunately, my friend ended up beating me, but I held up for the whole night and I was even surprised at myself! The game lasted so long that halfway through I got a little hungry again, so we checked the menu for some food and I noticed they served a special seasonal beer called La Cuvée by the local microbrewery Boréale. It's an apple-cranberry-honey beer and it tastes amazing. One of the best fruit-flavoured beers I've had so far. I've had apple-flavoured beer before with Unibroue's Éphémère which was very tasty, but the cranberry in La Cuvée added a little bit of acidity and was a perfect mix with a little bit of honey. As for food, they had grilled cheese sandwiches, nachos, soups, paninis and other typical café fare. But, it was past 11 o'clock and the place didn't make any more food except for what was on display in their counter. There was one grilled cheese sandwich left so we had that. It was cheddar and caramelized onions. It was like eating a French onion soup in a sandwich. Coupled with the apple-cranberry beer, it was the perfect match!

After several hours of playing chess with my friend, the place was about to close. My friend just checked me. but we decided to end the game at home. so we grabbed a picture of our board so we could reproduce it. It wasn't really worth it since I eventually lost the game in around four moves. Whatever. Chess is a stupid game anyway...

W King to H-1
B Queen to B-7
W King to G-1
B Bishop to F-2
Check mate.

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