Browsing: Restaurant Features

Lounging at the Chaise

June16

When you are a food lover, the opportunity to taste everything on a menu cannot easily be passed up. But the sharing of food is an intimate experience and although D and I and my sisters and I, do so all the time, it takes a very close friend to share a plate. On this particular day, that good friend had not only joined me for lunch, but it was she who suggested the Prix Fixe Menu at Chaise Lounge, served family-style. When our brand new and enthusiastic server, heard our decision, he said “Well, let’s get cooking and start feeding you.”

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We started by sharing potato salad and their amazing roasted beet and dill chevre salad

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along with mini grilled Caesar salads. All were delectable.

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I had tasted the basil pesto linguine on a previous occasion and it was equally good this time, so too the Toscana spaghetti.

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New tastes for me were the grilled sandwiches. One was prosciutto, brie and pear, the other Portobello, roasted pepper, spinach and more chevre.

The screen is patio was cool and refreshing and we lingered over a fine wine. A perfectly lovely lunch. 

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Kath’s quote: “A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.” –Elbert Hubbard

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Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

 

 

Sherbrooke St. Deli

June4

When traveling in Vancouver this past spring and spending the lunch hour walking through the Gastown neighbourhood, I spotted a restaurant with a lineup out the door and along the sidewalk. Dubbed “Meat & Bread” it served exactly that. In the “every old is new again” category, delis have recently made a huge come back serving…well, meat and bread! The Sherbrooke Street Delicatessen (102 Sherbrooke St.) is one of Winnipeg’s many new offerings in this dining category. Perfectly placed in the great neighbourhoods of Wolseley and West Broadway (in the space formerly occupied by Fitzroy), owner Jon Hochman has gone back to his family roots. The kosher style “New York” deli, doles out traditional offerings like corned beef, smoked meat, beef salami, salmon lox and turkey breast. Our grandbaby loved the latter. Rounding off the cut meat section of the menu is the inclusion of pickled tongue. In university a good friend of mine consumed a pickled tongue sandwich almost every day for her lunch. Suffice it to say, I have never had a hankering.

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My lunch date and I settled on exactly the same thing: corned beef, a vinegary pickle, crunchy cole slaw and my favourite- kettle cooked potato chips, fried to perfection in canola oil.

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I understand from my sister, who works in the area, that the red-beet borscht

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and knishes are also delicious.

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I had my eye on some of the selections more appropriate for dinner, such as the Beef Short Ribs or the Rib-Eyed steak. Seeing how the cooks gingerly carve up the house made meats, I am sure that the bigger portions, would be equally remarkable. When I was in junior high school, I would visit Charlie the grocer and deli keeper on Oakview and Brazier St in East Kildonan. He would often offer up a shaved sample of his corned beef before he wrapped the rest of an order in waxed butcher paper. I remember that taste so clearly, along with the manner in which Charlie wiped his hands on his white butcher’s apron. Indeed, every old is new again.

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Kath’s quote: “My tongue is smiling.”-Abigail Trillin

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Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.  

In the Kitchen with Friends

May29

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As indicated at the end of my previous Canola Connect Camp post, the next stop for campers was the gorgeous Jane’s Restaurant at the Paterson GlobalFood Institute at the downtown campus of Red River College. The teaching restaurant is located in a former bank building with its statuesque pillars and vaulted ceilings.

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We didn’t have much chance to work up an appetite, but there were amazingly delicious appetizers waiting for us including these gorgeous vegetable packets.

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My foodie friend Getty (a Home Economist) and I donned our chef hats and were ready to receive instruction. Getty is the originator of Manitoba Fruit Share and appears regularly on CTV Morning Live.

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We were given the opportunity to assemble an appetizing salad of mixed greens with a berry vinaigrette. My result is pictured below.

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Chef Kelsey Fitzgerald finished her classes for graduation that very day but stuck around to teach us how to construct the “soft cooked egg” in the toast cup. She demonstrated the molecular gastronomy techniques using curried pumpkin for the yolk and cauliflower puree for the white. So cool! You may recognize my culinary teammate Pay Chen formerly of breakfast TV in Winnipeg. She now resides and continues to pursue her passion for food in Toronto.

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Another esteemed chef- Chef Jeremy Langemann, the former Executive Chef at the Velvet Glove and the Fairmount Winnipeg Hotel is on staff at RRC. He is seen above chatting with Virgin radio’s Chrissy Troy while cutting the fresh pasta that we would hand roll into tortellini and then stuff with wild mushrooms. Chrissy is proud to declare that she is a Manitoba farm girl who is passionate about the prominent place agriculture plays in our provinces’ economy and on the world stage.

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My tortellini packets were a disaster and Chef Jeremy patiently discarded them and then rolled out new sheets of dough for me to try again. In the end, the results were nutritious and delicious, especially when pulled braised short rib adorned the pasta packages.

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Simply grilled vegetables accompanied the main and I indulged in my veggie crush-eggplant!

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My friend and Chocolatier Constance Popp knows a thing or two about delectable treats and expertly held the tongs at one of the many donut bar stations.

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Chef Mary Jane Feeke of Benjamin’s Gourmet Foods in Selkirk is RRC’s Chef Instructor for pastries. She instructed foodie friends including hunting and fishing aficionado Shel Zolkewicz and me on the fine art of donut making. Shel also makes regular TV appearances and her food photography is nothing short of exquisite!

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One donut favourite were the S’mores- gingered donuts with madirafolo ganache and roasted vanilla bean marshmallow. Say that three times fast!

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These two donut fusions were also lovingly created and served:

  • A rooibos and citrus infused donut with lemon and orange glaze, and candied citrus peels
  • A cinnamon donut filled with whipped cinnamon cream, and apple compote, drizzled with cinnamon glaze

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My favourite was this sweet and salty invention-a nutmeg donut filled with apricot ganache, glazed with caramel fondant and garnished with crumbled crispy maple bacon. Heaven, I’m in heaven….

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As we headed out of Jane’s and back through the Winnipeg streets en route to our hotel, I looked around at the exquisite room one last time. I noticed this time that the carved ceiling was of fruits and vegetables. Perhaps the former bank was always destined to become a restaurant!

The next day the Canola Connect Campers were off on yet another adventure. Stay tuned.

Jane's on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “Cooking is in an honest profession where you cannot hide and let others do the work for you. You have to show up, work hard and prove you can do it faster and better. And find a mentor who will recognize your talent and push you in the right direction.”-Marcus Samuelsson

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Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

 

 

Ducky’s Fish and Chips

May26

Many of us do our best to avoid deep-fried food whenever possible and perhaps this was the reason why I personally have never found an excuse to visit Ducky’s Fish and Chips at the corner of Notre Dame and Arlington St. For years and years, I have heard that Ducky’s was a “must try” for authentic English-style fish and chips. When one Canstar reader suggested it in our recent reader’s poll, I knew that the time had come.

Halibut, with its firm (some would say “dense”) flesh, has been a favourite of mine since the days when I first tasted the fish and chips at Eaton’s Valley Room restaurant. For those of us who remember, the Valley Room did an excellent job of from scratch cooking and I still think that their version of chicken pot pie is the best I have ever tasted, including my own!

Since those “olden” days, halibut has become dearer in price, making way for the more affordable Haddock and in recent times Cod. Halibut has very little, if any, natural fat and that was why it lent itself perfectly to deep frying. A couple of dabs of Ducky’s tartar sauce added moisture and even more flavour.

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On this day, my lunch companion ordered the shrimp and chips and commented on how light tasting the crispy batter was. She was hard-pressed to finish all of her perfectly cooked French fries, which I admit; I had no trouble in accomplishing.

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In spite of our extensive indulgences, there was still one more to enjoy. Dubbed “Ducky’s Melt” on the short dessert section of the menu, long-time owner (since 1993) Carol Finley, batters and deep fries an entire Mars Bar and then serves it over ice cream. The result was absolutely luscious with hot and oozing caramel and chocolate, cooled down by the ice cream and made crunchy by the crispy coating. Definitely an item you need to experience, even if only once in a lifetime.

Ducky's Fish & Chips on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “There’s a fine line between fishing and standing on the shore looking like an idiot.”- Steven Wright

tree heart

Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

 

Spring Menu at Joey Restaurant

May15

Recently I was invited to attend a media tasting at Joey’s Polo Park location. Having been many times before (in fact I was a paid shopper for Joey for a number of years), I was familiar with their fresh and carefully crafted food. But I declare, with this menu, they have really stepped up their game.

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We started with a Spa Cosmo-a cranberry concoction with muddled cucumber adding a refreshing switch up.

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In addition to a Mezze Plate from half way around the world, specifically the Balkan area of the Mediterranean (east of Greece). I enthusiastic swiped the crispy pita chips through the smooth hummus and sparkling tzatziki. Particularly enthralling was the Macedonian feta which was creamy and not overly salty. The marinated Greek olives added that pungent salty taste.

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Traveling another third of the world, Korea was the next food inspiration. The chefs explained how they cull through cauliflower heads to select bite sized pieces which are then dipped in a tempura batter and fried, before being tossed in a sweet chili sauce. Lastly, white and black sesame seeds and cilantro leaves are scattered on top. And that folks is how you make Korean Cauliflower!

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Blueberry Mojitos arrived next

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along with Sliders Royale so that we could be definitely reminded that summer and patio season was imminent. I was particularly impressed with the texture of the beef. Sometimes burger patties take on a dense texture but when the meat is broken up and then gingerly hand pressed, the “mouth feel” is pleasant and other flavours can share centre stage-in this case a wonderful cheddar. The cheese doesn’t simply top the slider, it has been grilled to bring out the sugars and create a crispy texture. Enhanced with raw onion and “secret sauce” it is no wonder why the Joey sliders have long been popular.

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I had never before tasted a Vinho Verde, a Portuguese “green” (young) wine. I was very impressed with the light and fresh taste especially when paired with Joey’s “500 Salad”; 500 being the calorie count.  Wheat berries are tossed with greens and a new fav of mine-pickled currants. The melding of flavours comes together with a tart dressing. But because we all feast first with our eyes, the watermelon radish elevates an already tasty salad to new heights.

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Next up were the “mains”, as if the assembly of bloggers hadn’t already eaten their fill. I already love Joey’s rotisserie chicken. When it is pulled and layered with crispy green apple slices and served between two toasted slices of fruit and nut bread, it is the perfect balance of crunchy, sweet and savoury. The sandwich was said to also include crispy baked pancetta but I don’t think that my portion did. No matter, it was already pretty sensational.

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Juicy grilled shrimp arrived next perched upon lobster ravioli. The white wine sauce made the rich, silky tastes even more decadent!

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Desserts are not typically my “thing” but when I heard the passionate chefs speak of their care with house made ice cream, apple pie, key lime pie and chocolate lava cake, well, who was I fooling? I dug my fork in and the rest was history.

Joey on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “The qualities of an exceptional cook are akin to those of a successful tightrope walker: an abiding passion for the task, courage to go out on a limb and an impeccable sense of balance.” – Bryan Miller

treeheart

Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

 

 

 

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