Browsing: Restaurant Features

Tio’s Mexican Restaurant and Bar

March26

I spotted Tio’s Mexican Restaurant as I was heading south on St. Mary’s Rd. (754 to be exact). one afternoon and made a mental note to put it on my “must try” list.  Unfortunately, my list is very long and there are only so many times that I can justify going out for dinner.  But, if a new friend suggests that we meet at a restaurant that she thinks that I would enjoy, the decision is made for me.  I just had to go out again, didn’t I?

Even though the sun is changing locations in the sky and sticking around for longer in the evening, it is still not spring time in Winnipeg.  This, I believe is the perfect time to savour the tastes that remind you of warm places like Mexico!  For me, the combination of tomatoes, limes and cilantro transport me to a place and time where the sun is warm and always shining.

It was cold and blustery, the night that we met, but the tidy and cheerful décor was warm and inviting. The helpful server was truly glad to take care of us and shared her stories of warm places that she has traveled to.  Dinner started with chips and salsa and we ordered guacamole just for good measure.

Tio’s makes their guacamole to order only when avocadoes are in season, which I think bodes well for their commitment to quality.  We agreed that the recipe needed a little bit more zing so we added a pinch of salt and more lime juice.

My supper mate chose the Combination Plate and was cheerfully accommodated when she requested a mix of chicken and beef items, instead of one or the other.  Her platter of a beef burrito, chicken taco and chicken enchilada came with a cheese quesadilla, Mexican rice and re-fried beans.

I went with the Shrimp Tacos and both of us had to take leftovers home for lunch the following day.  The next time we meet for chips and salsa again, it will be in Mexico (I am counting the sleeps)!

Post Script:  I obviously wrote this a little while ago because I have been to Isla and my tan has already washed itself down the shower drain.

Tio's Mexican Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “Grilling is like sunbathing. Everyone knows it is bad for you but no one ever stops doing it.”-Laurie Colwin

Love-that is all.

Guest Blogger: Daughter-in-law Jen-Buick Encore Culinary Adventure, Part 1

March6

When we were invited to attend the Buick Encore Culinary Adventure we weren’t sure exactly what to expect. We arrived in Toronto on Sunday evening and were greeted by the very friendly Lisa Calvi and her trusty sidekick Gary.

They escorted us to the Hotel Le Germain and we were invited to dine in the hotel restaurant – Victor Restaurant.

I had a project that I had to finish up, so instead of dining in the restaurant, I ordered some room service and dined on a delicious feast of Linguini with aged goat cheese, fennel, eggplant and olives.

Jeremy took the opportunity to head down to the bar and ordered two items. The first was off of the restaurant’s Toronto Tasting menu which was described as being food designed based on different spots or neighborhoods across the city. He had the “Corktown, King and Parliament” which bore the description simply of ” ‘Fish and Chips’, tartar sauce and malt vinegar”. He chose this based on the recommendation of the bartender. When the food arrived, Jeremy thought there must have been a mistake in the kitchen because he had never seen any “Fish and Chips” like this before. The fish and chips were put together like a small cake with slices of potato being the fluffy cake and the fish acting as a soft icing layer in between. This “cake” was then panko crisped, slightly fried, and then opened up to absorb the amazing house made tartar sauce. Served on a pool of malt vinegar jelly with a classic lemon wedge garnish. Needless to say, it was amazing. The portion was small, by design, so Jeremy went back to the menu to find another tasty treat. There were so many great options, he went back to the bartender for another recommendation.

The next item was a sushi pizza. He was wonderfully surprized a secnd time with this course.  Having never eaten a sushi pizza before, Jeremy was able to enter in with no expectations as to what would appear on his plate. The pizza was a marinated tuna filet wrapped around a crisped rice base, covered in a slew of pickled vegetables. On the plate there was a spicy soy sauce jelly, a miso puree, roe, avacado spread, and a wasabi blend. Each bite was different as the presentation allowed the diner to mix and match particular elements from the plate. After being pleasantly surprised a second time, Jeremy was content to sit back and enjoy snippets of the Academy Awards on TV while sipping on a nice Amsterdam KLB Nut Brown ale.

Victor Restaurant and Bar on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “I strongly believe that culinary love is not about having a French Passport, but about what you feel” –Albert Roux

Love-that is all.

Guest Blogger: Sister #3-Gangnam Style, Platea Sushi & Korean

March5

Korean culture is making a splash in North America.  Not only does PSY’s song Gangnam Style flood our radio airwaves, but Korean food is starting to establish itself in our neighbourhoods.

This winter I had the privilege of hosting the most delightful young lady from Korea.  Yujin was as excited to introduce me to Korean food, a I was excited to learn.

We started simply, as she made me authentic Ramen Noodles that she brought with her from Korea. Unlike the over salted, chemical tasting version, we all ate too many of in college, these were hearty noodles in a delicious spicy broth into which an egg is dropped at the end of cooking to add a scrambled texture and further enhance the yumminess.

One night I decided that we should try the Korean restaurant that is on my block of Corydon while I had access to an expert to advise me on menu choices.  Platea at 590 Corydon is a quaint little place in a house much like my own.  Maybe that is what made me fall in love with it the minute we walked through the doors.  I also loved the touches of beautiful pottery that adorned the table and was used to serve our tea and food.  Owner Sun Me, was very attentive and so pleased to meet such a lovely fellow country woman.

We started our dinner with an eggy pancake called Chun.  It was filled with spring onion and shrimp and served with a great sauce for dipping.

Next we ordered our mains: Osam Bulgoki – a combination of pork and squid with a sweet and spicy sauce served with fluffy white rice and Dol Sot Bibimbap – served in a very hot stone bowl, it was a combination of rice, beef and vegetables cooked in gochuchang paste, topped with a raw egg.  As you stir the ingredients together, the heat from the bowl finishes the cooking process and the egg makes the rice a bit crispy the longer it cooks.

Platea Sushi & Korean on Urbanspoon

A few nights later, Yujin would get brave and try her hand at making Chun and Bibimbap at home.  After a quick visit to the Korean market, she was ready to get busy in the kitchen to tackle two dishes she had never actually cooked before. Yujin put kimchi (fermented cabbage) and green onion into her chun and I was amazed that she was able to replicate the texture of the pancake by guessing the amount of egg and flour.  For her Bibimab, she cooked numerous items, one at a time including: pork in soya sauce, carrot, onion, kimchi, mushrooms and eggs.  Placing each item in a section over her large bowl of rice, she added a good sized portion of chopped nori type seaweed and topped it all with a mixture of gochuchang paste and honey and at tableside mixed it all together to serve.  The results were shocking, especially to Yujin – absolute perfection!

Kath’s quote: “One of the delights of life is eating with friends, second to that is talking about eating.  And, for an unsurpassed double whammy, there is talking about eating while you are eating with friends.”-Laurie Colwin

Love-that is all.

Guest Blogger Sister #3: New York City-How You Doin?

March4

I live in the part of Winnipeg known as Little Italy but these days you’ll find more sushi shops than Mom and Pop Pizzerias.  But in cities like New York and Chicago there are Italian restaurants everywhere not just in their vibrant Italian neighbourhoods. We ate a lot of Italian on our recent trip to New York, even having two Italian meals in Chicago on our stopover on the way.

We had time for a quick lunch at the food court at O’Hare on our way through Chicago and I was lucky to find Reggio’s Pizza.  They serve traditional Chicago deep dish pizza with what they call their “butter crust” and I must say it was buttery.  I was happy that D was willing to share this with me because even though it was a personal pizza size, it’s depth meant it was full of rich tomato sauce, Italian sausage, mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

Our first night in New York brought the storm serge from a tropical storm. (Thankfully we were not there when Hurricane Sandy hit as this rain was fierce enough for me).  As a result, we chose not to wander too far from home and ended up at a cute little restaurant at the corner of our street called Finestra on the corner of E 73rd and York. Its a real neighbourhood place with an extensive menu.  The service was good and the food was just what we were looking for on this damp, late fall day.

D had the capresse salad and bruschetta al Pomodori, while B and I were more indulgent with

Spaghetti Carbonara and

Penne Alla Vodka.

Finestra Italian Restaurant on Urbanspoon

One evening we wandered to the Time Square area to enjoy dinner at Carmine’s for family-style Italian.  This restaurant is huge and there was a line up out the door.  Thankfully D had made a reservation weeks before.  If you plan to dine at Carmine’s be sure to bring your appetite.  All the dishes are served family style, so regardless if there are ten in your party or 3, as in our case, you still get the same gigantic platter of what ever dish you select.  Your entrée is served with a big basket of assorted bread and rolls as well as an equally huge platter of salad.  We had left over of both salad and pasta and could have feed ourselves an entire meal the next day had we not been leaving for the airport first thing in the morning.  The menu is simple – you choose a pasta, a sauce and a meat if you would like.  A tough thing to do if there are a number of you with different tastes all planning to share.

We were having a hard time making a selection when our server told us about that night’s feature; Farfalle with mushrooms, chicken, asparagus, roasted red peppers and black olives in olive oil and broth. It was delicious and the perfect choice for us.


Carmine's on Urbanspoon

On our way back from New York we had a bit longer to spend in O’Hare and decide to sit down for a meal at Tuscany Restaurant. The dishes featured fresh herbs and you could taste the quality of the ingredients.  We enjoyed the caprese salad, margherita pizza and fetucinni alfredo with chicken.

Comfort food for weary travelers.

Kath’s quote: “Food, like a loving touch or a glimpse of divine power, has that ability to comfort.” –Norman Kolpas

Love-that is all.

 

 

 

 

Guest Blogger Sister #3:New York City-Rockefeller Centre

March1

 

When planning this recent trip to New York, I not only thought about what shows to see, what museums to visit, what tours to take, what stores to shop, but what restaurants to visit.  I was so happy when I was able to knock off two on my wish list in the same afternoon.

We took a tour of Rockefeller Centre including at trip to the Top of the Rock-seventy stories in the air with a 360° view of Manhattan.

We were at standing in front of the NBC Today show set when I looked behind me and noticed Bouchon Bakery. I had planned to go to the one at Columbus Circle and had no idea that this location existed. I don’t think it was there a few years ago when my sisters and I were at NBC at the crack of dawn to see a taping of the Today show.  It was the perfect location to stop for lunch at the end of our tour. Bouchon is the invention of Chef Thomas Keller. Over the years I have discovered a few of his desert recipes that have become my all time favourites including his lemon tart and molten chocolate tart.  You can find them both easily via Google.  It is my dream to one day dine at his famous restaurant “The French Laundry” in California’s Napa Valley.

D and I ordered the grilled cheese sandwich, melted fontina and Gruyere cheeses on buttery bread served with San Marzano tomato soup.

B had the French ham and Emmenthaler cheese sandwich on baguette with the house salad.  Simple food but made with the very finest ingredients.

Another icon NYC bakery that I was lucky enough to come upon that day was Magnolia Bakery.  Again I had planned to visit their other location on Bleeker Street so was surprised to come across this location. This bakery became famous for its cupcakes when featured on Sex and the City.

I stopped in to scope out the place, thinking I would come away with one of their famous cupcakes but instead I was drawn to the tiny red velvet cheese cake. There are no seats in this bakery so you need to take everything to go.  My cheesecake and I then proceeded to walk to Macy’s for a “one day sale”, take the subway back uptown to the Upper East-side and walk the 10 blocks back to our apartment.  I then shared it with B in celebration of our birthdays.

It was a bit bumped around, but lovely none the less.

Kath’s quote:  “Food should be fun.” –Thomas Keller

Love-that is all.

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