Browsing: Restaurant Features

Bistrot by Basil

June29

The little terrace courtyard, tucked in at the back of Bistrot by Basil on Osborne has always been my favourite in the city.  When the Tap and Grill had to close due to a water main break, we eagerly awaited it’s reopening.  We were not among the first to give it a try and had heard some rumblings on Urbanspoon.  In our opinion, the rustic and simply prepared food is almost exactly as we remembered and loved it.

This was a very special night for us.  The evening took a lot of co-ordination because we were dining with four couples who all have young children and whose babysitting resources overlap.  In the end, it all came together.  We were celebrating a special friendship shared amongst these folks and the bittersweet departure of one of the couples for Seattle.  I use that descriptor because our lives are all the richer for having come together, but we are sad that we will no longer see them and their gorgeous children on a weekly basis.

Dinner started with cocktails and some wine and then we got around to ordering.  Actually, one person volunteered to show our server (Vicki, I think her name was) the tapas menu and he said: “Please bring everything from this item down to the bottom of the list”.  And so it was that the small plates started to arrive.

There was such a vast variety and every item equally good as the one before, that exclamations will be difficult for each one, so I will let the pictures do the talking:

Baked Brie with an Orange Fig Compote & topped with Seasonal Berries

Grilled Prawns

Breast of a Bird on a Stick

Sweet Peppered Feta -The sweetness deriving from a drizzle of honey contrasted by a crust of black pepper.  This one might have well been my favourite.

Calamari

Eggplant and Zucchini Chips

Grilled Vegetable Medley

Grilled Pita Platter with Baba Ganuosh, Spicy Feta, Hummus and Tatziki Dips

Grilled Peppers

Classic Fresh PEI Mussels

AND when that had not proven to be enough food:

Baby Scallop (and Pancetta) Pizza,

Classic Margarita Pizza

Siciliano Pizza

For the sweet tooths (teeth?) in the crowd there was

Cinsation Cinnamon Torte

and Five Layer Chocolate Cake

It states on Basil’s menu that tapas is perfect for friends to share and we certainly regard ourselves as close, close friends.  The sharing of food in this manner at this extended table, sealed the bonds of our friendship in a special way.  Hilarity prevailed and we all remarked that our cheeks and our sides were sore from laughing.

Bistrot by Basil on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote:

“Packing up the dreams God planted
In the fertile soil of you
Can’t believe the hopes He’s granted
Means a chapter in your life is through
But we’ll keep you close as always
It won’t even seem you’ve gone
‘Cause our hearts in big and small ways
Will keep the love that keeps us strong”

-Deborah D. Smith

Love-that is all.

 

Stella’s Catering

June22

At this time every year, the fall TV line up is announced by the local stations.  In former (more prosperous) times this meant golf tournaments, steak dinners and lavish prizes of trips; or lunches catered by private chefs in glass-walled board rooms.  As media has converged and down sized for efficiency, those times are history.

But because for this media buyer, it is all about the food, I was delighted to attend the CBC luncheon event this week.  The timing overlapped with a teaching opportunity, so I arrived and hour after the event had begun, just as guests were being whisked off to the presentation room.  This meant that I had the platters of Stella’s Canapes to myself!  I very carefully made my decision of the Pickerel Cheeks which was so sensational, that I scooped up as many as I could recognize and stood at the doorway of the speaker’s room so that I could see and hear and savour my lunch at the same time.

Photos were not an option as I was trying to be discreet about my consumption.  Besides, I did not even remember to bring my camera along, as hurried as my day was.  So even though I cannot offer you the eye feast of this event, I can tell you that the canapes were sublime.

I pulled this list off of their website in hopes that the words might make up for my lack of images:

Asparagus Frittata, Prosciutto, Roast Beef, Shrimp & Egg, Blue Cheese and Walnut, Chevre & Pepper Jelly, Smoked Salmon, Vegetarian Muffaletta, Roasted Asparagus & Chevre, Mushroom and Caramelized Onion, Gravlax (Scandinavian Cured Salmon) and Bison & Saskatoon Jelly.

The artisan breads that they were served upon were equal to the fine ingredients perched on top.  The dessert trays looked just as tempting with bakery made Nanaimo slice, carrot cake, brownies and macaroons.

I highly recommend that you include Stella’s on you list of potential caterers for a casual midday event.

Kath’s quote:  Sandwiches are beautiful, sandwiches are fine.  I like sandwiches , I eat them all the time.  I eat them for my supper and I eat them for my lunch.  If I had 100 sandwiches, Id eat them all at once. -Fred Penner

Love-that is all.

Dim Sum at Noodle Express

June20

We were headed to Dim Sum Garden on Rupert Ave. (the “we” being the 3 Sisters & our Mom) to have a belated birthday supper together.  Unfortunately, there was a note on the door saying that they were closed for renovations.  I had arrived first and because it is a bit of a chore to get my Mom places by car, I quickly scanned around for an alternate spot to dine.  Right across the street is a place that I knew to be formerly called Noodle Express.  Currently, there is a banner blocking the sign that indicates that they serve a Dim Sum Happy Hour where the prices are two for one!

The decor is no great shakes but it is clean and bustling with other diners awaiting their orders.  Carts are not wheeled through the dining room.  Instead you must order from their menu and if you are not familiar with the name of dim sum items, this can be a challenge.  We were in the clear because Sister #3 not only has a stellar memory regarding food items but she actually travelled to Beijing last summer.

I did not get pictures of all the items because: 1) I was too hungry 2) I was talking too much and 3) the steam from the basket was fogging up my camera lens. But I didn’t manage to capture these for you.

Their pork dumplings were very good and in my case that means that they are prepared with a minimum of fat.  Our kids called these dumplings “little brains” when they were growing up.

These were the shark-fin dumplings and we also sampled the shrimp and the shrimp & scallop-all excellent.

We were hoping that these pork dumplings would have come pan fried not deep-fried but no matter, they were fabulous!  We also sampled the barbecue pork buns which were equally delicious.

Our preference is for Dim Sum’s Garden’s sticky rice; Noodle Express’s was just okay.  The highlight was the Gai Lan (Chinese Broccoli)  that we saw being consumed at another table and ordered for ourselves.  The kitchen was at the end of their supply and could only produce a half order but it too, was amazing-perfectly stir fried with plenty of garlic and a butter tasting broth.

The mailing address for Noodle Express is 107-180 King St. but the entrance is on the Rupert street-side right across from Dim Sum Garden.  It may prove confusing to find but make the effort.  Our delicious dim sum feast for 4 came to $27 with Chinese tea.  What a bargain!

Noodle Express on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “I have a total irreverence for anything connected with society except that which makes the roads safer, the beer stronger, the food cheaper, and the old men and old women warmer in the winter and happier in the summer.”-Brendan Behan

Love-that is all.

Le Bebe Rouge

June18

I have a wonderfully, diverse career.  There are times when I spend solitary time writing, other times when I am highly engaged in the media world, learning about new products and strategies and planning and executing them with the assistance of many media partners.  And then there are the times, which I enjoy the most, and that is when I get to teach.   My favourite students are adults, particularly adults who are learning a brand new social media skill or going back into a career world.

On one such day, I was asked to lead a team-building training session for a group of 55+ers.  At the end of this half day, I came away knowing about the hardships and joys and sorrows of being a part of a group of this kind.  And as I often conclude, I came away more educated than when I went to do the educating.

The rural community where the session took place was Ste. Pierre, just south of Niverville on Hwy. 59.  I had always wanted to visit as Sister #3 had friends residing there and had often told me about a little restaurant called Le Bebe Rouge.

So on my way home, after a satisfying day, I stopped in to pick up an early supper.  I chose their signature burger as prompted by Sister #3 and then could not resist the urge to try the poutine.  I was in a rural French community after all, likely similar to the one where poutine originated in the first place.  Now I must confess, I have actually entered into a 12 step treatment program to control my addiction to poutine.  I was successful in limiting myself to one delicious taste and then I sealed the container up again so that I would not be tempted by more.  I did not even allow myself to take a photo of them.  They did not go to waste though, D enjoyed them the next day for lunch.

The burger in the mean time was perfect- a beautifully cooked all beef patty, with appropriate squirts of mustard, relish and ketchup, melted cheese and crispy lettuce.  I am guessing that the bun had been laid a top of the grill because it was sweet, soft and moist.  The burger all comes together like a mystery, my never being able to identify the one clue of its success.

So if you ever find yourself in Ste Pierre or if you ever just need an excuse for a lovely drive south of the city,  Le Bebe Rouge is the first gas station on your left just at the north edge of town.

Kath’s quote:  “It requires a certain kind of mind to see beauty in a hamburger bun. Yet is it any more unusual to find grace in the texture and softly carved silhouette of a bun than to reflect lovingly on the hackles of a fishing fly? Or the arrangements and textures on a butterfly’s wing? ”-Ray Kroc

Love-that is all.

Rudy’s Eat and Drink

June13

My lunch meeting at Rudy’s Eat and Drink was one of those classic adventures where I scoured the dining room room for his familiar face before being sat down in the lounge and then spent the rest of the time looking at my watch and thinking that perhaps I had the day or the meeting time wrong.  In the mean time, he was in the dining room doing exactly the same thing.  He had just sat back down after doing another lap looking for me, when we finally intercepted.

While I was alone, I was entertained and content.  Not only could I get caught up on my Blackberry messages but the bar is equipped with TV screens that displays their Twitter feed and I was challenged by seeing my own message appear on their screen.  So too, the male servers at Rudy’s are particularly gorgeous and I know handsome when I see it (my husband of almost 28 years being quite the catch)!

But, as usual, I digress.  To the food…

My friend had Rudy’s Reuben and was well pleased.  Stacked high with pastrami, it also contains sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Russian dressing.  The latter is very similar to Thousand Island dressing and some say that they are interchangeable.  My guess is that on a Reuben, they would be hard to distinguish, but that is just my hunch.  My eye was drawn by the house bacon that I spotted on the salad.  Bacon in a Caesar is a treat that we like to make at home.

While I had spent time on my own, one of the servers came over and asked if I had dined at Rudy’s before.  When I told him no, he proceeded to tell me the quality story of Rudy’s kitchen and their “from scratch” cooking style including the fact that they cure all of their own meats on premise.  He was very sincere about their philosophy and it was recited in such a genuine way that I was duly impressed.  This, having worked behind the scenes in the restaurant business, is the sign of excellent training.

When it was my turn, I made a combative choice of the Dueling Tuna.  Said to be a battle between carpaccio and tartar, my natural demeanor must have taken over, because they tasted quite harmonious to me.  I do recall having to have some fruit before my dinner time because I was not fully satiated after my light lunch.  Next time I may chose something a bit more substantial.

Rudy's Eat and Drink on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “’Hey, Earthman? You hungry kid?’ said Zaphod’s voice. ‘Er, well, yes, a little peckish, I suppose,’ said Arthur. ‘Okay, baby, hold tight,’ said Zaphod. ‘We’ll take in a quick bit at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe.’”-Douglas Adams

Love-that is all.

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