Browsing: Restaurant Features

Food Bloggers Canada 2015 Recap-Second of Three Parts

October30

Our table mates for dinner on Friday evening were pre-determined for us, a FBC custom that I particularly love. I had the pleasure of sitting with Heather Travis of Heather in Heels who I met when she chose me to be a Beef Ambassador for Canada Beef a number of years prior. It was lovely to get caught up. I also came to know Kimberlie better, however she was across the table and so our conversation was limited.

I missed our traditional Thanksgiving Turkey dinner a couple of weeks prior as we had been en route to Milan from NYC. So I was pleased to know that Turkey Farmers of Canada was the host and that Tasty Turkey was the theme of the evening. Turkey in some form was incorporated into every course offering including a turkey confit-rillette salad, turkey paupiette and turkey sausage wonton (my personal fav)

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and a turkey skin brittle which garnished our brioche bread pudding. I heard a number of my fellow bloggers comment that the dessert was a miss and that the chefs at the Westin should not have made this attempt. I personally thought that it was very inventive.

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I loved the cheese course! Entertainment that evening was a variety of short food films, curated by Devour the Food Film Fest.  Some films were non-sensical, others I very much enjoyed. I really appreciated the Jackson-Triggs Reserve Merlot that was served to accompany the meal.

The next morning Burnbrae Farms and Gourmet Garden put on a scrumptious breakfast. I chose such a decadent omelet: ham, mushrooms, smoked cheddar and a truffle brown butter sauce!

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These pecan croissants were delicious too.

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Key note speaker Ricardo delighted the audience by sharing his tumultuous journey and making us cookies!

 

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Dairy farmers of Canada put on our lunch of cream of tomato soup and a variety of grilled sandwiches. I selected a half crocque monsieur and another half of tuna melt.

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Canadian Lentils hosted Saturday’s entertainment and dinner. A number of cirque troupe artists from Cirque Eloize performed for us intermittently throughout the evening. I am impressed over and over by the skills of Montreal-trained cirque performers.

Our appetizer of smoked and fresh trout tartar was accompanied by a apple, lentil sprout and fennel salad as well as a red lentil hummus and lemon crème fraiche and was inventive and delicious. I thought that the brown lentil blini was chalky and less successful.

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The lentil strudel curry on braised beef cheek was immensely satisfying and the inclusion of spinach, cashews and a lemongrass coconut sauce was a lovely offset of the richness. I avoided the lentil chocolate cake as I was concerned that the chocolate might keep me awake that evening. I loved the Australian Wolf Blass “The Entertainer” wine that accompanied our feast.

Running out of space for these musings, so see Monday for part three.

Kath’s quote: Food is our common ground, a universal experience.-James Beard

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Live Simply, laugh often, love deeply.

 

Food Bloggers Canada 2015 Recap-First of Three Parts

October29

I am proud and grateful to be a part of Food Bloggers Canada as a Regional Ambassador representing Manitoba and Saskatchewan. In 2013 I attended their first conference and last year I was unable to do so as it was my youngest daughter’s wedding day. I was very fortunate with the dates this year. I had just returned from Tuscany and New York two days prior and after enjoying a couple of lovely days at home, I repacked and jetted off again. I added a couple of days prior and post-conference for a variety of reasons and as I write this, it is the Tuesday morning after the conference and my 5th day in Montreal.

I speculate that there will be other conference recaps written that will detail the wisdom disseminated by the presenters. I intend to write about, what I always write about, the people I met and how we bonded over food.

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Arriving on Thursday afternoon with fellow Manitoban Ashley Fehr, The Recipe Rebel, we checked in and headed up the street to Old Montreal to have a nibble to tide us over until the evening.

A silky bowl of carrot soup and a thirst-quenching local Griffon Blond at Le Bistro Du Magasin did the trick as we got to know each other a wee bit. We had previously me but only briefly in the middle of a Manitoba cabbage patch. Le Bistro is a cozy spot attached to a fabulous gift shop.

That evening Montreal blogger Evelyne of Cheap Ethnic Eatz organised a group dinner at BEVO Bar + Pizzeria, within walking distance of the hotel. Even on the walk over, friendships were being forged. Kimberlie aka The Finer Cookie sat kitty corner from me and as soon as we made eye contact, I knew that we would become fast friends and so we did. Also present were my roomie Charmian Christie, The Messy Baker, Marlene Cornell, of Urban Cottage Life and Joann Blondin of Joann Blondin. Little did I know that evening that these fine ladies and I would become new friends.

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An overflowing plate of charcuterie and marinated vegetables not only sustained me that evening but also provided my Monday lunch. BEVO was very accommodating of our large group and I understood that their fennel, orange, pecan salad was a huge hit.

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BEVO Bar + Pizzeria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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The next morning I found my way to Maison Charles Faure, a patisserie that I discovered when I visited Montreal in July of this year. A really tough decision was made between the almond croissants and the chocolate one that I ordered. When my fork penetrated the crispy/ flaky exterior the air swooshed out and deflated the pastry like a flat tire. The internal texture was soft and chewy. As I sat with my cafe latte in the beautiful sleek white shop, I watched the neighbours as they nipped in for their croissants to go.

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Thanks to Marsha Knapp of You Gotta Eat This for the her copy of the photo and permission to post it.

I attended Andrew Scrivani’s photography workshop to learn to explore the capitalization of natural light and about how props can assist you in the telling of you tale.

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Of course we all took photos of the working lunch of wraps that was served.

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That evening we assembled for a networking cocktail party with a variety of sponsors displaying their products. Eggs, molasses, mushrooms and lentils put out delicious fare including a devilled egg with the twist of crispy bacon, marinated beef skewers, falafel, romesco & Havarti bites, beetroot & lentil bruschetta and mushroom crostinis. I could have just eaten these fabulous treats for supper.

Running out of space for these musings, so see tomorrow for part two.

Kath’s quote: “What draws people to be friends is that they see the same truth. They share it.”-C.S. Lewis

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Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

Dim Sum Garden, Pembina Location

October26

Dim Sum Garden was not the first Winnipeg place I had ever tasted the Chinese “snack” of dim sum. That momentous occasion was at the Hong Kong Snack House, many years ago with a good old friend, appropriately from Hong Kong. But the “Garden” in all of its manifestations, first on Rupert Ave. and now on King St. has been the restaurant that I have frequented most often when I get a hankering for these delectable morsels. Dim Sum is an integral part of Chinese cuisine, closely associated with the tradition of yum cha, or “taking tea”. Since I have always been a fan of savoury over sweetness, this custom sure makes sense to me.

Having said this, I had never visited the second Dim Sum Garden located at 2677 Pembina Hwy. Based on the multi-page menu that I thumbed through while my to-go order was being prepared, this busy place offers more than snacks for tea. When I arrived the place was full of an even split between Asians and Caucasians but by the time I departed with my order, I was definitely in the minority. I understand that this is a sure fire way to evaluate authenticity.

The order did take the kitchen a lengthy time to prepare but this is because their dim sum is made to order and not delivered by the customary carts. One of my selections did not “hold” terribly well on my lengthy drive home, but all the items were still pleasantly warm, which is the temperature that I deem perfect for dim sum consumption.

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The circular pork and chive dumplings had been steamed and then quickly placed on the grill. Even though there was not a container of the pink vinegar that I enjoy with these, white vinegar was an adequate, if not quite so pretty accompaniment. I also appreciate how the many chives peeked through the transparent wrapper.

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Eggplant stuffed with shrimp was deeply satisfying. The meaty, white flesh of Chinese eggplant offset the enormous shrimp. A pleasantly salty, translucent black bean sauce was drizzled over top.

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Chinese perogies are typically the only deep-fried dim sum item that I indulge in. The sweetness in the dough is a surprise when stuffed with a ground meat in a gravy-like sauce. Kind of like eating a jam buster stuffed with meat. Don’t knock it until you try it! This was the item that got a bit soggy by the time I sat down to my affordable lunch.

Service is friendly and pleasant. Any communication difficulties were on my part, not theirs. If you want authentic, this is par for the course.

Dim Sum Garden Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kath’s quote: “Talk doesn’t cook rice.” Chinese Proverb

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Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

Casa de los Suenos-Isla Mujeres

October21

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We all our have favourite views from Isla Mujeres. I personally love the crashing waves on the Caribbean side, but my first stay on Isla, many years ago now, was within walking distance of Casa de los Suenos and I love to return there to eat up the view and recently (I am happy to say), the food!

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These were the chicken nachos that we ordered when we stopped for a snack on what we call “golf cart day”.  They were nothing short of sensational; in fact the best chicken nachos that the four of us had eaten anytime, any where!

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Just in case you needed another perspective on the nachos…..

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V & D selected the cheese and bean barritos which were pretty darned good, but the nachos….did I mention we loved the nachos?!

I have never had a full meal at this restaurant. Chime in if you have. We typically go after snorkelling at Garrafon or for Happy Hour but based on this recent experience, we cant wait to go again when next on the island.

Kath’s quote: I have a chip on my shoulder. It’s a nacho, not a sense of bitterness.” ― Jarod Kintz

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Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

 

Bahama Mama Breakfast-Isla Mujeres

October18

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After loving our dinner the evening before with friends Jan and Bruce, I was right back at Bahama Mama’s to introduce it to V and D. The guys joined us once they had finished their tennis match as the courts were in the vicinity. We are all food lovers but even more so when every breakfast offering has a five buck cost. D and I each selected potato omelets. We love fluffy egg cakes filled with potatoes at one particular restaurant back home and we sometimes try to find a place that replicates the taste  when we travel.

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V selected the Mushroom omelet and was well pleased.

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Don chose the pancakes and fruit.

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We all loved the cheery ambience of the family owned restaurant.

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The husband and wife team are passionate about their food, including the fresh ingredients, the preparation techniques and the final picture on the plate.

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So much time has past since they shared their story with us but I think that at least one of them is originally from Isla, the other from Cuba and one or both have spent time in the Bahamas, hence the name. We had a hunch that it was not our last visit and that proved to be true.

 

Kath’s quote: “Hand go, hand come.” interpreted as: As you give, so shall you receive. -Bahamian saying

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Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

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