Food Musings

A Winnipeg blog about the joy of preparing food for loved ones and the shared joy that travel & dining brings to life.

Bisita

November4

How many readers remember when Corydon Ave. was Little Italy? In my humble opinion those were the good old days. Then the village went through a Sushi phase and now, I am happy to say, there seems to be a new era of ethnic restaurants popping up. The Georgian restaurant Saperavi for one and Bisita (837 Corydon Ave.) serving excellent Philipino food.

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There were four of us celebrating a sibling’s birthday so we were perfectly comfortable sharing plates. We split an appetizer of Lumpia Shanghai. Lumpia are mini spring rolls and are a mainstay of Philippine cuisine. These were chock full of minced pork and veggies, then drizzled with a sweet soy sauce and sriracha mayo. We were off to a great start.

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Three dishes arrived at the same time to share as our entrée. Beef “Pares” Short Rib which is one of the most famous street foods in the Philippines. The ribs were seasoned in a special blend of spices until perfectly tender, served atop a bed of garlic sautéed bok choy and then garnished with crispy fried onions. Pancit is the Philippine’s version of chow mein.

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Pancit is the Philippine’s version of chow mein. Our Classic Pancit was adorned with crispy pork belly, grilled chicken and sautéed shrimp.

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My favourite was Lechon Kawaii where once again pork belly was brined, then fried to a delicate crispiness resulting in a treat that was crunchy on the outside but meltingly tender within.

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As a treat, owner Roddy Seradilla, also brought us a serving of Pork Belly Sisig. He explained that the dish was typical of food that you would serve to your friends when they assembled in your backyard for an afternoon or evening of drinking beer. In this case pork belly was marinated in a sour liquid, braised with aromatics and spices and then roasted to super crispiness. The concoction was delicious on its own and sensational with the addition of a perfectly cooked quail egg.

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Since we were celebrating a birthday, dessert was in order. We chose a sampler of Buko pie, Ube cake (made with purple yams) and Leche Flan. All delicious.

If you are heading to Corydon Ave, and are looking for a surprising alternative to sushi, I highly recommend you stop in at Bisita.

Bisita Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kath’s quote: “Pork fat rules!” Emeril Lagasse

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Love never fails.

Tuscany Departure Day Trip Report-Part Two

November3

Our lunch stop in Lucca was at a place called La Collona on one of the village piazzas but not a large (or significant one). D spotted hot dogs and hamburgers on the menu but luckily they also served traditional dishes. D loves carbonara and chose it with the inclusion of Italian eggs.

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The dish was very yellow and truly looked like scrambled eggs and pasta.

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I knew that it would be my last chance for authentic Italian eggplant. I was not disappointed. The portion was petite but the flavour was huge. The eggplant was smooth & silky and sparkled when combined with the tomato sauce. I think that the dish had been baked without breading and frying the eggplant first. I thought to myself “I am going to have to try this version at home”.

The nicest part of our lunch was meeting Jeremy & Sarah Northcott from Cornwall where he is a retired teacher, now writer and photographer and she is a police crime investigator. They had a similar charm and wit of our friends Dave and Elaine and I have a hunch that we will stay in touch.

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This was the spot where we decided I should stay put until D found the car.

We lingered for longer than we had anticipated and then I got us lost. D wanted us to follow our path back to the car but I insisted that would mean back-tracking and I thought I knew better. D ended up doing the brunt of the walking to retrace our original steps, find the car and pick me up. Unfortunately, the car keys were in the backpack that he asked me to hold and so he ended up making another lap across town to fetch me on foot. He was lovely and patient with our delayed exit of Lucca.

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We drove through a long valley to make our way back to the autostrata and Milan. The sun was setting over the mountains to the west and kissing the ones to the east with patches of sunlight. We were sadly leaving Tuscany and in order to do so we had to cross a section of the country where the autostrata was elevated and there were hairpin turns. To make it worse, there was construction which resulted in two way traffic. I was happy to get back to flatter land but my relief was short lived. Grid locked traffic was encountered the closer we got to Milan and instructions on the Googled maps that I had were cryptic. Once again I regretted that we had not acquired a GPS when we had picked up the car.

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We were blessed by this beautiful sunset that I captured as we were speeding by.

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The view from our room at the Hilton.

I was stressed and worn out by the time we checked in. We had a pretty pedestrian supper in the Hilton which otherwise was a pretty decent hotel. D took care of gassing up and we headed to the airport with time to spare to avoid undue surprizes.

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Our last Italian meal was pizza at the airport and we were off to New York City.

Kath’s quote: “My idea of heaven still is to drive the gravel farm roads of Umbria and Tuscany, very pleasantly lost.” ― Frances Mayes

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Love never fails.

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Tuscany Departure Day Trip Report-Part One

November2

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We kind of felt as if we had been given a bonus day as we had expected to have to get right up and leave for Milan. Instead since it was almost on our way anyway, we spent the afternoon in Lucca. In fact we spent way more time in Lucca than we had hoped. One reason was a pleasant one and the other…well not so much.

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After parking in an unmarked parking area we made our way into the maze of ancient streets.

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In particular I was taken with the circular piazza

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where I found a beautiful shop with an ancient stone wall exposed on one side. The clerk was lovely and she must have assumed that I spoke or understood more Italian than I did because she merrily chatted away and I really did not have a clue what she was trying to say to me.  In spite of my inability to understand her language, I would say that we had a lovely visit nonetheless.

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I was originally going to use my birthday money to purchase a trio of ceramic hearts but when it was decision time, I switched instead to two drift wood pieces adorned with ceramic pieces of orange and turquoise. The images included a heart which had initially attracted my attention and an interpretation of Lucca’s tower. The pieces are now hanging in our new kitchen and I am very happy with my choice.

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We continued to wander through the quaint streets and shops of Lucca until it was meal time.

Kath’s quote: “I love the language, that soft bastard Latin, Which melts like kisses from a female mouth, And sounds as if it should be writ on satin With syllables which breathe of the sweet South.” -George Gordon Noel Byron

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Love never fails.

 

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Tuscany Trip Report-Day Five, Part Two

November1

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On this rare day, I still had enough energy to do another walk through Montecatini (this wouldn’t have been the case if we had driven to Florence).

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D had discovered a brand new spot where they served every beverage you might imagine including more beer taps than D had seen on this particular trip.

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The owner was just putting out offerings of meat and cheese. He said they do so every evening free of charge so that patrons will stay and continue to imbibe instead of heading home or out for dinner.

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I wandered through Montecatini before we headed home to get ready for our last Tuscan evening.

For dinner, we went back to Toscano Doc where we were anticipated by Francesco, the waiter we had befriended earlier in the week.  He was busy in another area of the restaurant but had a chance to send us over a complementary focaccia.

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It was so simple and so exquisite! The crust was a thin as a cracker and as crispy and flaky too. The char from the wood fired oven was delicious as was the drizzle of oil and sea salt that we applied.

We started by sharing a pasta dish of sea bass and gnocchi. D loved the fish and I remember thinking that the gnocchi was the lightest I had ever tasted, anywhere. I guess made sense given our locale. Earlier in the week D had ordered the fried seafood and I had been so taken with the dish that I selected it again.

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Doug’s eye was caught by pork tenderloin served with crispy red onion and rosemary potatoes.

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We returned to the hotel to get organized for our departure the next day.

Kath’s quote: “My idea of heaven still is to drive the gravel farm roads of Umbria and Tuscany, very pleasantly lost.”  ― Frances Mayes, Under the Tuscan Sun    

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Love never fails.

 

 

 

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Mushroom Foraging, Final Thoughts for 2016-by Guest Blogger Alice Kulyk

October31

It’s the last week of October and I have, with a heavy heart, come to the realization that mushroom picking season is over for 2016. This year was very gratifying and successful for certain varieties but also disappointing. I went foraging for chanterelles about 5 times and came home with 2-3 pounds each time. It was only enough to share with friends and enjoy them for breakfast and suppers during the growing season.

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From friends, I heard that there were huge quantities of chanterelles and peepdenky growing in Dryden and Kenora. I discovered a new, incredible spot for peedpenky which yielded more boxes of mushrooms than I could handle. We picked 8 full boxes and several bags in two hours. They weren’t buttons but they were very solid, meaty and delicious.

If conditions are favorable next year this new spot will be amazing. I will have to remember not to leave town in the first week of October as I almost was panicking that I would miss the peedpenky picking completely. What was disappointing was that I did not find any boletes. I did go out to my never-fail spots 5 or 6 times to find none growing.

The other very sad event that almost made me cry, was to arrive in my favorite picking spot for 30 years in the Belair Forest only to find that the vast section of the forest was being clear cut. But maybe this is to rejuvenate the forest with young trees. Next fall I will be hoping that the stumps left behind may grow wonderful and abundant mushroom gardens.

Whether you are in the forest for picking mushrooms or quadding, enjoy the beautiful ferns and mosses growing there. There is nothing more refreshing than a walk in the forest and taking in the natural beauty. I will spend the winter researching mushroom books and watching videos on mushroom picking. Can’t wait till spring.

Kath’s quote: ”It’s the forests where silence has lease; It’s the beauty that thrills me with wonder, It’s the stillness that fills me with peace.”-Robert W. Service

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Love never fails.

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