Browsing: Restaurant Features

Boston Arrival Day

November20

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Our plane touched down just as the sun was beginning to set on the city of Boston.  By the time we retrieved our luggage and caught the shuttle to the water taxi stand, it was gone but there were still gorgeous colours in the western sky.

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Our water taxi driver was a lovely gal who asked if we minded taking a couple of extra minutes to rendezvous with another boat.  She explained that her parents had arrived by water from their home and had her dinner for her.  Hey, we’re laid-back folk from the Canadian prairies, it certainly sounded neighbourly to us.

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Boston harbour is gorgeous.  I guess we should not have been surprised by the number of huge yachts also enjoying the waterway.

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We came closer and closer to what we found out would be our hotel for our stay-the Battery Wharf Fairmount.

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After a quick check in, we ventured out again to see where we could scrounge up a late dinner. There were a number of cozy looking restaurants all within walking distance of our hotel.  It was going to be hard to choose.

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We had done our research and we knew that we wanted seafood as fresh as we could get it.  An restaurant dubbed the “sea” in Italian presented itself as a likely candidate and we were able to secure the last table at Mare Oyster Bar.

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We commenced with a couple of local beer and knew that we had come to the right city and would be in good hands.  We had been tempted to order the Shellfish Tower which included 18 oysters, 6 clams, 4 jonah crab claws, 4 shrimp cocktail, and 1/2 chilled lobster, when we had seen it delivered to other tables.  I was glad that we had restrained ourselves.

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We cleverly settled for a platter of oysters on the half shell.  They were amazing but our server seemed taken aback when I requested my customary Worcestershire sauce to make them even more stellar.

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Our jumbo shrimp cocktail blew us away.  They were $6 for each shrimp and were so enormous that we had to eat them with a knife and fork like a lobster tail.

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Next up were two absolutely enormous pan seared scallops, the likes of which we had never seen before.

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These were the seafood meatballs composed of calamari tentacles and shrimp.  We were more than satisfied with our first tastes of Boston and decided to stroll and do some more exploring.

Mare Oyster Bar on Urbanspoon

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We walked through this door into Mike’s Pastry a.k.a. cannoli heaven!

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D loved his pistachio cannoli and I managed to limit myself to a single bite.

We couldn’t believe that we had only been in Boston for four hours.  We headed back to the gorgeous Battery Wharf Fairmount  to rest up for the next day.

Kath’s quote: “And this is good old Boston, The home of the bean and the cod…”-John Collins Bossidy

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Love-that is all.

Sydney’s at the Forks

November19

After this past weekend it looks like winter is officially here.  I don’t particularly like winter meaning that I am not into snowmobiling, ice fishing, skiing or the like.  With the onset of the cold and snow I make sure that the cupboards and fridge are well stocked and that we have an adequate selection of red wine and craft beer available.  I do love to read and this is when I get caught up on the stacks of books that have been waiting for me to crack open.  D and I are also hooked on Netflix and TV series available on ITunes.  We often get into our jammies and binge watch a series on a weekend.  As a result, it sometimes takes an effort to get our butts off of the couch and out into our city.

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Sydney’s at the Forks is in a gorgeous setting with views outside of the snowy landscape and Christmas lights strung across a foot bridge.

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Inside is warm and cozy with subdued lighting and the hushed conversations of fellow diners.   Sydney’s has a prix fixe (fixed price) menu where you chose a starter, an appetizer, an entrée and a dessert for $55.  Although the selection is extensive, I find $55 a bit steep.  Our favourite Prix Fixe restaurant is across the river at The Promenade Café where the all inclusive price is $28. Read on for a remedy to offset the expense.

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We both started with the smoked crab croquette.  I particularly liked the  caviar aioli that was dotted around the plate.  Alas, I missed out on the promised beet popcorn, so D shared a couple of his kernels with me.  I was surprised at the smoky taste and wondered if I might like smoked crab as well as I do smoked salmon.

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For the appetizer course, I chose a truffle mushroom ravioli topped with a  chestnut purée, floating in a tomato broth and garnished with sage.  I was a bit disappointed that there weren’t deeper tones of the truffles.  I am absolutely hooked on the pungent, musky taste.

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Even though D was having a pork entrée, he decided on the pork belly appetizer as well. The fatty meat had been braised with apples and bourbon and was perched upon butternut squash succotash.  He couldn’t detect the promised hickory stick crumble.

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By this time, we need a little rest and were pleased with the red pepper/strawberry sorbet that came by to cleanse our palette.

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I was drawn to the main of flounder because the menu promised roasted artichokes.  In fact, there was 1/4 of a marinated artichoke that looked more like the garnish. The fried squash was delicious but I could not detect the pickled jalapeno aioli.  In the mean time though the flounder was plentiful and fabulous.  The searing of the fish in browned butter lent it a salty and nutty flavour as well as keeping the flesh of the fish succulently moist and piping hot.

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As I filled up on the scads of fish, I felt badly for D who was presented with this tiny plate.  He did appreciate the pork tenderloin and single gyoza but would have appreciated a bigger portion of the gyoza at least.

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Normally, we would have not indulged in dessert but because it was included in the one price, we couldn’t resist.  D decided upon the pecan pie, anticipating that it would be as good as his Mom’s.  Unfortunately, it was not.  I, on the other hand loved the flourless gianduja chocolate cake.   Gianduja is a sweet chocolate spread containing hazelnut paste and since I prefer savoury over sweet desserts, it was just my cuppa tea.  I gave the chili brandy snap and white russian ice cream to D who needed more sustenance.

The table service was attentive and polite but a little bit on the robotic side for my tastes.  Case in point: I was enamoured by the way the server indicated that he could make me a special cocktail until I heard him use exactly the same words and intonation with the lady sitting next to me. The evening had some pitfalls but we thought that we came out quite well as we had used a special gift card with a value of $75 that had been purchased for $60 (available from a participating Safeway, Sobeys, PharmaPlus, Real Canadian Superstores). This was accomplished through a program entitled Main St. Offers.  Check out their website to see their other Winnipeg promos at: http://sambadays.com/offer.  If you are celebrating a special occasion, you may want to do the same.  The setting is very intimate and romantic.  Had we dressed a wee bit warmer, we might have taken the opportunity to stroll along the river walk.

Sydney's at the Forks on Urbanspoon

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

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Love-that is all.

Jane’s Restaurant

November18

The first thing that I was struck by when I entered Jane’s Restaurant was the presence of light that flooded into the grand room that used to be a bank.  The windows were huge and the sunlight bounced off the walls.  A beautiful place to have lunch with my eldest daughter-Beep (as the Wee One affectionately calls her).

Jane’s as you may already know is the teaching restaurant of Red River College’s esteemed culinary program.  Many of Winnipeg’s top chefs are graduates of the program and we knew that we were in for a treat.

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A bread basket laden with lavash, focaccia and a three leafed clover bun arrived with plenty of butter that had been whipped up with emulsified red pepper.

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We shared an Asian Salad that was adorned with crispy bites of pickerel (my favourite fish).

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Beep chose a tagliatelle pasta that had been tossed with sage, toasted walnuts and crumbled gogonzola cheese.  She thought that the bold flavours complemented each other perfectly.

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I was saving myself for my entrée of Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin which were succulently moist and pink inside-exactly the way I like it.  The tenderloins were perched upon a barley pilaf.  The garden-pulled rainbow carrots steered me to the other end of my plate.

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A perfectly seared scallop adorned this end of the plate.  Scallop flesh is as sweet as dessert to me and especially so when adorned with a sweet acorn squash.  I was in heaven!

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We had the Triple Chocolate Fudge Brownie wrapped up for another time but I happily ate the thin little cookies and homemade coffee ice cream that decorated the plate.

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As we were leaving I spied a salad being prepared in the advanced culinary lab.  Even though I could not possibly taste another thing, the artistic assembly of the salad was a feast for the eyes.

If you are planning on dining at Jane’s and I strongly recommend that you do, be sure to check out their website for their exact hours as their hours are designated for the needs and requirements of the student’s curriculum http://www.janesrestaurant.ca/restaurant/calendar/.

Jane's on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “…no one is born a great cook, one learns by doing.”  -Julia Child

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Love-that is all.

 

Deer & Almond Revisited

November17

A visit with an old friend was a great excuse for a quick lunch at Deer & Almond.  I painstakingly try to decide what to order on a regular basis so that I can sample and then photograph the maximum number of recipes and dishes.  But what she was selecting sounded so darned yummy that I had to have it myself.

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I did mix things up by choosing a salad with mine as she had a bowl of the soup of the day.  Both were terrific.

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Deer + Almond on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “The most indispensable quality of a cook is promptness, and it should be that of the diner as well.”-Jean-Antheleme Brillat-Savarin

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Love-that is all.

Dinner and a Movie at The Metropolitan Centre

November14

Now that the cusp of winter is upon us in Winnipeg, I am always looking for excuses to get my butt out of the house.  Otherwise I would be perfectly content to get into my jammies and watch TV until spring.  Approximately once a month the Metropolitan Centre holds special Dinner and a Movie evenings.  I visited with a fan of these events in the lobby as I was waiting for “Beep” (as Daughter #1 has now been renamed by the Wee One).  This movie fan shared that her favourite evening was “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie” when the theme for the evening’s menu were recipes from the British Isles.

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The lovingly restored theatre is a joy to be at.

I am not sure if there was a food theme for the screening of “The Princess Bride” but they did feature a Buttercup Cocktail (Butter Ripple and Frangelico liqueurs mixed with milk).  Beep though that it was delicious.  My glass of Annabella South African merlot suited me just fine.  I tried to be fairly discriminating when I arrived at the buffet table, skipping the bun selection and then scooping up just about everything else (I always have good intentions).

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I particularly enjoyed their cheese array which I would have loved as a separate course.

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The salad selection was lovely and I especially enjoyed the Roasted Butternut Squash & Arugula Salad.

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So too, I appreciated the Pan-Seared Pickerel with Creamy Leeks and White Wine Butter Sauce.

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I treated myself to an outside cut of the Maple Braised Beef Brisket.  It was tender and so juicy from the lovely marbling that a brisket offers up.

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This was my well-laden plate that I did my very best to finish.  There were others sitting around us who had no trouble whatsoever and even went back up for seconds.  The gentleman besides us went back for thirds and then didn’t even stay to watch the movie.  He must have concluded that he had already gotten his 35 dollars’ worth.

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Dessert was a chocolate cup filled with almond cream and caramelized apples.  Had I known that popcorn would come around just as the theatre lights were dimming, I would have been happy with just the popcorn as the dinner had already been rich and satisfying.

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Not far from us was a table set up for a large party.  I was thinking that it would be good fun to celebrate a special occasion at Dinner and A Movie especially when December’s movie is “It’s a Wonderful Life”.

“The Princess Bride” is one of my all-time favourite movies.  Did you know:

  • Director Rob Reiner left the set during Billy Crystal’s scenes because he could not stop laughing.

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  • The Cliffs of Insanity are actually the Cliffs of Moher in Country Clare, Ireland, a place we were thrilled to visit a couple of springs ago.

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  • Courtney Cox and Meg Ryan auditioned for Princess Buttercup.  How could any actress on earth play her better than Robin Wright?
  • Cary Elwes (Westley) and Mandy Patinkin ( Inigo Montoya) learned to fence (both left and right handed) for the film.  They actually performed all the fencing in the sword fight scene (author’s note: Inconceivable!)

It is likely to be a long winter folks, so start making plans for all the cozy activities that Winnipeg has to offer.

Kath’s quote: “Death cannot stop true love.  All it can do is delay it for awhile.” The Princess Bride

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Love-that is all.

 

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