Browsing: Restaurant Features

Arancini in Calatafimi, Sicily

March22

compressed IMG_2446Last evening on my husband’s favourite food show-Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives was the demonstration and recipe for Arancinis.  The literal tanslation from Italian is “little orange” as that is what they resemble in appearance.  These delectable food balls are said to have originated in Sicily in the 10th century (if its not broke-don’t fix it). The version we saw demonstrated last night, was from Di Pasquale’s in Baltimore (you can find the recipe on this link to their site) and were stuffed with cheese, ragu and meat along with the mandatory peas.  Of the two versions we tasted-one was filled with a ragu meat sauce and the other with ham and mozarella. 

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We were in Calatafimi, Sicily the morning we purchased them for a later meal.  They would make the perfect “to go” lunch, but I understand that they are commonly eaten as a snack.  We enjoyed them later in the day with a a taditional Sicilan soup of Pasta Fagioli.

In Calatafimi the roads are steep and the view of the surrounding mountains, exquisite.  We climbed to the highest point near the main church and found the ruins of another ancient church. 

If Jesus had not been born in Bethlehem, I think that it would have been here

If Jesus had not been born in Bethlehem, I think that it would have been here

We had gone to the village not far from where we were staying in Castellammare del Golfo, to “market” shop.  The outdoor market travels the area so that if you miss market day in one village, you can catch up to it in another. 

By happy accident, on the way out of town,  we came upon the Guido Brothers who ran the community grape press and the mule who actually still “motorizes” the job.

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If you are ever considering a visit to Italy-go to Sicily:  full of ancient history, fascinating modern history, beautiful vistas and hard-working people who love their land and celebrate living with food. 

Kath’s quote: “The trouble with eating Italian food is that 5 or 6 days later you’re hungry again.”-George Miller

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Farmer Sausage at The Don

March18

The Don is a little place at the base of an apartment block at 120 Donald St. near Broadway Ave.  There are extra tables by the grocery store as well.  It would be ideal if you worked in the area.  Daughter #1 and I had breakfast there on a recent Sunday and the place was filled with regulars.

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They serve Farmer’s Sausage in a variety of ways.  I had mine with eggs and hash browns. You could request the hand cut hasbrowns with onion and to be crispy-cooked (the mark of a fine breakfast establishment in my opinion).  Farmer’s Sausage is a local treat.  It is also called Mennonite Sausage because of its origins.  If you have never tasted a barbequed Farmer Sausage Burger you absolutely must.  I understand that the sausages (or patties) are made from smoked pork.  They contain little or no fat and stay together obediently on a grill.
The Don Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Sister #2 has been making this super easy Farmer Sausage dip for years.  It is great to have when watching a football game or on the deck at the lake with ice cold beer.  Don’t be scared off by the processed ingredients-once isn’t going to hurt you (and in this case it is worth it!)

Velveeta dip

Place 8 oz. of Velveeta cheese, 1 can or cream of mushroom soup, 1 c of salsa, 1 Farmer’s Sausage that has been browned and crumbled and 1 can of pork and beans into a crock pot and heat on high heat until melted through, then keep on low heat all afternoon.  Serve with a sturdy taco chip.

If you are interested in more ways to cook with Farmer’s Sausage check out “Mennonite Girls Can Cook”.  I discovered this site when I was looking for a Blueberry Platz recipe.  I always wondered if the title is meant to be a declaration or a surprise.

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Daughter #1 had a veggie burger which was made from scratch and had a cottage cheese base.  I MUST find out what else is in the patty because I love cottage cheese and the texture combination of creamy and crunchy.

Kath’s quote: “A daughter is the happy memories of the past, the joyful moments of the present, and the hope and promise of the future.” ~Author Unknown

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Beaujena’s French Table

March11

This entry was made by a dear GF who celebrated her first wedding anniversary with dinner at this St. Boniface restaurant.  Chef Randy sent her the details of the menu that night which I have included below.  She selected the corresponding pics as she did wish to diminish the specialness of the evening with photo taking.

“The whole evening was AMAZING and the atmosphere was casual yet romantic. The staff were incredible making you feel more like family rather than customers. Definitely would recommend this restaurant to anyone wanting a nice evening out with amazing food and company! ”

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“A shrimp cake with green apple salsa and a crab/mahi mahi cake with tarragon aioli. The two cakes were similar in some ways but very different in others. The green apple salsa had a tartness that went well with the sweet potato base of the shrimp cake while the tarragon aioli enhanced rather than over-powered the subtlety of the crab/mahi mahi cake.”
Cream of Mushroom Soup 500
“Cream of mushroom soup. No, not like the kind that comes in a can. This soup used crimini and shiitake mushrooms, sherry and very little cream. It was actually kind of light.”
Tuna_beans
“Coriander rubbed and seared tuna with white beans and spinach. This was a recipe I got while visiting Costa Rica. I seared the tuna for exactly 30 seconds per side then served it on white beans over spinach. Diners really appreciated this dish, saying that they had never had tuna that tasted so good. That’s in large part because most restaurants over cook fish and dry it out.”
“Chicken with apple and leeks on a bed of parslied pasta. The sauce contained apple cider which, along with the apples themselves provided a hint of sweetness to an otherwise savoury dish. The pasta was, as always home made.”
lambshank
“Braised lamb shank with a savoury bacon and olive cake. This lamb was cooked in the oven for three hours in a red wine marinade. Lamb can be gamey tasting but this preparation mellowed those harsh flavours in addition to making it fall off the bone tender. As for the cake, what isn’t better with bacon?”
“Spring greens with French lentils and diced red beets. A simple Dijon vinaigrette dressed this salad which served as a nice, light palate cleanser. “
pear-cake
“Chocolate upside down pear cake. Everyone has heard of pineapple upside down cake. Use your imagination.”
My friends also chose the five glass wine pairing. Menu prices, hours, address etc. are stated in this link: Beaujena’s.

Beaujena's on Urbanspoon


Kathryne’s note: In the month of March their menu is inspired bu Northern Italy and Southern France.  Since my husband and I holidayed there this fall I think we owe it to ourselves to check it out.  I promise I’ll take my camera (romantic dinners went out the window when I became a blogger!).
Kath’s quote of the day: Escargot – “Nobody is sure how this got started. Probably a couple of French master chefs were standing around one day, and they found a snail, and one of them said: ‘I bet that if we called this something like “escargot,” tourists would eat it.’ Dave Barry
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This is the Lunch that never ends…..

February24

For one of our last lunches in Italy, my husband wanted to have an authentic seafood anti pasto.  We chose a restaurant called La Baraccia (named I think for the ancient Northern Italian Village of Baracca) in Monterrosso, CinqueTerreIMG_3034

It was busy with both tourists and locals which we thought was a good sign.  We sat outside on the big covered deck and were placed very close to our dining neighbours so we could see what menu decisions they had made.  I bet they were stunned if they watched the food that D and I put away at that lunch.  The cost was 18 Euros each and the minimum order was for two persons.

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We thought that perhaps we had misordered when the first 6 cold plates came out.  They were very delicious but we thought that the seafood feed had concluded too soon.  Then when the hot dishes came out and kept coming out, we felt silly about our mistake and had to admit that we were blown away.

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The look of a man who has consumed a LOT of seafood!
The look of a man who has consumed a LOT of seafood!

Antipasto means “before the pasta” but needless to say we never had the pasta.  In fact …we even skipped dinner that night. 

Kath’s quote: “Ask not what you can do for your country, ask what’s for lunch?”-Orson Welles

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The Current

February23

I’ve been for many business meetings at The Inn at the Forks but never had a chance to dine at The Current.   Last night was my first opportunity.  I am a rock and stone collector and am soothed any time I am around water and so I was quite taken by the decor of the hotel lobby and the restaurant.

The Current

The Current

Chris was our waiter and although he was busy, he was very attentive.  The evening started with the delivery of an Amuse Bouche (a delightful taste) which was resembled a steak tartare on a crostini topped with a grate of Parmesan.  But this description does not do it any justice because the two and a half little bites were divine!

Amuse Bouche

Amuse Bouche

We then shared the Scallop appetizer which was succulent and gone too soon.

Scallops

Scallops

Awaiting the entree we had some time to gaze out the window where we sat and enjoy the comings and goings at The Forks.  There were many families there for the evening to skate on the central rink or along the world’s longest skating path.  There was a soft snow falling and it was a glistening night.

Rainbow Trout

Rainbow Trout

Pork Rack

Pork Rack

I’m glad that my husband chose the trout because I need help with the stuffed pork loin.  Even with his assistance, I still had enough to make a huge sandwich for lunch today.

We lingered long enough over coffee that we could fit in one more bite and Chris’s assistant helpfully suggested the Lava cake.  Even though I think Sister #2 does a better job of the cake itself-the homemade peanut butter ice cream that it came with was rich and wonderful.

Lava Cake

Lava Cake

The restaurant was bustling with family travellers and business persons.  It was a delicious and tranquil way to spend a Monday night in the winter.

Kath’s quote:”Wine is sure proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”-Benjamin Franklin

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The Current on Urbanspoon

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