Browsing: Restaurant Features

Guest Blgger: Sister #3-Juliette & Chocolat in Montreal

August26

On my last evening of a recent trip to Montreal, my niece and I decided to head out for a late dinner.  We really didn’t have a place in mind so jumped on a subway to St. Denis Street to see what struck our fancy.  We happened upon Juliette & Chocolate, at which point Bekah said she had wanted to try it and I realized that I had seen one of their salads on a friend’s Facebook page and I too had it on my “must try” list.

I had the namesake Juliette & Chocolate salad which was an interesting combination of flavours.  Mixed greens with strawberries, pear, goat cheese and a balsamic and chocolate salad dressing, it was topped with a crouton like object made by swirling buckwheat crepe batter in a hot pan.  I was pleased to find that it was not overly sweet but instead the dark chocolate notes and the vinegar was a nice combination with the crunch fruit and the creamy chevre.

Bekah selected the buckwheat crepe topped with pesto, walnuts and goat cheese. We were both satisfied with our choices.

Juliette Et Chocolat on Urbanspoon

“All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt” Lucy of Peanuts – Charles M. Schulz

Love-that is all.

Steve’s Bistro

August20

I was first introduced to Steve’s Bistro by reputation.  A good friend raved about his lunches and special dinner parties.  When I arrived at the location on west Portage Ave., I was surprised to find that it was at the end of the street where we lived when we were first married.  The current manifestation is barely recognizable from its original state ,as Steve’s Place has morphed from a burger stop to a cozy neighbourhood bistro that is beautifully appointed.

I had met Steve on a previous visit.  He is welcoming and gregarious and passionate about the food that he offers his guest.  I did not see him on this day, as we arrived considerably later than the bulk of the lunch crowd.  But the food was just as good as on previous occasions, even without his presence.

My lunch date was a long time friend who I had just fetched from the airport.  We both chose specials and hers was the Shrimp Caesar Salad.  She asked our server about the garlic level and was told that it was not overly garlicky. She remarked that it was absolutely delicious, but garlicky it was as well.  Even after chewing gum, she had to apologize when we were greeted by another friend.

I was tempted by the lemon and Dijon chicken special.  The little strips of chicken appeared as if they were trimmed off larger breasts.  This practice is not only a prudent manner to run your kitchen but offers the guest the most succulent offerings from the bird.  They had been drenched in a hearty and grainy mustard and were beautifully complemented by the rice pilaf AND pita points.  I find this practice of serving two carbs (but no veggies) is typical of Greek cuisine.  I was not complaining because both sides were to my liking, but by the time my evening supper came along, I was craving something green.

I mentioned that I was dining with an old friend.  We met in university and have remained connected through many of life’s joys and heartaches.  We had traveled to Greece together decades previously and had some memorable tales of Greece’s national drink –ouzo.  The special cocktail on this day was an unusual concoction of ouzo and lemonade.  The taste took us back to our younger and carefree days and we knew that we had come to the right place.

Steve's Bistro on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “There are many miracles in the world to be celebrated and, for me, garlic is the most deserving.”
Felice Leonardo (Leo) Buscaglia

Love-that is all.

Guest Blogger: Sister #3-Aux Anciens Canadien in Quebec City

August16

When you walk the streets of old Quebec City you soon realize just how young the western provinces are in comparison.

After a hot day full of walking up the steep hills of this amazing place, we were all ready to tuck into some comfort food.  We were advised to make our way to St. Louis Road to Aux Anciens Canadiens.

Housed in a home that was built in 1675, this quaint restaurant was the perfect setting for an early dinner. The menu du jour is offered until 5:45 p.m. daily and we arrived just in time to take advantage of this incredible value.

We started with a choice of the Portage du jour, Chicken vegetable the day we visited, or the Soupe aux pois Grand-mere AKA Grandma’s pea soup.  I choice the later and was pleased with my choice.

There was a wide variety of main courses to choose from.

Gabrielle selected the Fricassée de suprême de poulet et legumes, like an open faced pot pie of puff pastry with grilled chicken and veggies.

Marie choose the Tourtière du Lac St-Jean aux gibiers which featured a variety of wild meat. It was served with fruit catsup and purple cabbage, which the girls tell me is just how their grandma would have served it.

Chantal and I selected the Saumon à la façon coulibiac et sa fricassée de légumes et crevette and it was decedent and fantastic!  Salmon is mashed with seasoned potato, topped with matchstick vegetables, wrapped in puff pastry and served on a pool of shrimp cream sauce.

Unfortunately they were out of the strawberry pie that they had offered as their dessert of the day.  I should have gone with the pear sorbet which would have been the perfect end to a rich dinner, but I was in Quebec so I had to try the tarte au sirop d’érable, a maple syrup pie that was amazing.

So our dinner included fresh bread, soup, entrée, a glass of wine and dessert.  My bill was $19.95 plus tax.  I told you it was an amazing value.  All of this in a sweet, traditional setting, with good service and the best company.  An evening I will never forget!

Restaurant Aux Anciens Canadiens on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “He showed the words “chocolate cake” to a group of Americans and recorded their word associations. “Guilt” was the top response. If that strikes you as unexceptional, consider the response of French eaters to the same prompt: “celebration.”  Michael Pollan

Love-that is all.

 

Whiteys-Grand Forks

August10

Whiteys Cafe has a rich history in Grand Forks and yet the funny thing for me is that I had never heard of it until recently and I have been traveling to GF for decades.  I suppose it is a local phenomena like Sals in Winnipeg.

We were surprized upon arrival that it was not busier but then again when I was served my salad without utensils and could not catch anyone’s eye to accommodate me, I guess we weren’t so surprized. But D and I are very understanding diners, having been in the business ourselves.  We often think when we see tempers flare by disgruntled guests that they should don an apron and see just how complicated the job can be.

D chose the Caprese Sandwich in an attempt to eat a little lighter after consuming many of his fav American treats-Salted Nut Rolls.  We both love Caprese salads and he thought that this sandwich rendition was a delicious choice.

This is my salad mentioned above.  i suppose I could have picked up and dipped the old school ingredients into the ranch dressing but I opted for utensils.  American cooks sure know how to make a good buttermilk ranch dressing.

I had not been indulging in American sweets so that I could savour a hearty lunch and my meatloaf sandwich was a great choice.  The grain and texture of beef in the US seems different than Canada or perhaps the loaf was a mix of beef, pork and perhaps even ground chicken because it retained a lightness that did not taste like home.  Meatloaf sandwiches are a favourite treat for me and this one was exceptional.

We still had more shopping to accomplish and so we did not linger long.  Whiteys is a great stop to grab a mid day meal.

Whitey's Cafe & Lounge on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “If we aren’t supposed to eat animals, then why are they made out of meat?”-Jo Brand

Love-that is all.

Blue Moose Bar and Grill-Grand Forks

August9

When we travel to Grand Forks, we are inclined to stay and dine (and shop) in the south of the city.  The last time the 3 Sisters were there (with 2 honourary sisters) we ventured further a field and discovered how quaint downtown Grand Forks is.  Perched on the east side of the Red River is a two story row of restaurants that offers a beautiful view of the river, especially at sunset when we were dining.

I was happy to have remembered The Blue Moose as it was one of many suggestions that I listed as options for D.  He had something specific in mind but just could not put his finger on it.  Turns out what he was craving, was exactly what The Blue Moose had to offer.

There are over 40 beers on tap and this made for a tough decision on D’s part.  In the end, he opted for a Smithwicks which was his favourite ale when we traveled to Ireland this spring.  My decision was easier as they had a number of merlots by the 1/4 (more than a glass but less than a bottle).

The Blue Moose is also featuring a new dining style to Grand Forks, that being tapas (our favourite way to dine).  D selected the Head Lettuce Roll and Black & Bleu Balls and I, the Walleye Fingers and Coffee Rub Flat Iron Steak.  We were really impressed when soon after, two tiered towers of small plates arrived at our table.

We thought that the lettuce wraps were a little light on ingredients other than meat but the ground chicken was deliciously seasoned and when coupled with plenty of cold and crispy lettuce cups, made for a refreshing start.

On the other hand the Black & Bleu Balls were sensational!  There were three peppery meatballs smothered in a bleu cheese/Cajun cream sauce-simple yet inventive.

I slathered some of the excess sauce onto a crostini to taste my selection of the coffee rubbed steak.  The steak was tender and a perfect medium rare but the sauce that I added over powered the coffee flavour.  So I had the next bite naked (the steak, not me) and it was lovely.  The plan now is to recreate both dishes on our upcoming time at the beach house.

Speaking of the lake, the pickerel have been biting like crazy this summer and we are looking forward to a feed of our favourite fish.  In the mean time, the Walleye (what they call pickerel on the US side) Fingers dusted in herb flour and Parmesan cheese was a nice twist. But I am a purist with my pickerel and love a simple dusting of flour and a toss in the pan with butter.  That too is on our summer menu plan.

We know that Americans love their sweets and that dessert would be an enormous portion.  Luckily The Blue Moose also features Bite Delights which was the perfect mini size.  The brownie taste was served with two mini scoops of ice cream.

So the next time you are in Grand Forks, head downtown and just over the river.  Good things await.

The Blue Moose Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.”-Mae West

Love-that is all.

 

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