Browsing: Restaurant Features

The Current Revisited

December16

Our original plans had been foiled and we were looking for a convenient (parking) but upscale spot to have a celebratory girl’s lunch.  The Current at Inn at the Forks turned out to be a perfect spot.  I have been to this beautifully appointed restaurant a number of times before and each time, I am escorted to exactly the same table.  And so on this day, I felt right at home.

Laura is a chicken and turkey salad aficionado and she declared The Current’s to meet her high standards.  Their chefs include tarragon and toasted walnuts.  I noticed that something was topping the mixture and it was a grilled Granny Smith apple slice.  This came with fantastic french fries and a just- made savory gravy.  I am especially complimentary about the fries to justify my reaching across the table to Laura’s plate on repeated occasions.

Karen went for the Moroccan Chicken Burger which would definitely get my vote next visit.  The spicy chicken breast was accompanied by a green apple and rhubarb chutney, brie and a coriander mayo.  She chose a crisp Caesar salad to go alongside.

When I am dining, I often don’t make a decision until the server comes to the table.  I declare to lunch dates that “I like to work under pressure” but the true reason is that when confronted with a decision, the most spontaneous answer is almost always the correct one.  In this case, I over thought my decision.  I was really tempted by the pickerel and chips but thought that I should make a “lighter” choice.  So I ordered a shrimp omelette that came with spring greens.  

My Dad showed me very early in life, how to prepare perfectly scrambled eggs and omelettes.  The eggs are to be lightly and quickly whisked  so as to introduce air and infiltrate the yolk and white, but not so much so that they are over mixed as they will become tough.  In addition, I like my eggs to always be served wet as a dry egg is an overcooked egg (imho).  Perhaps this was the case with my choice that day.  I twittered the restaurant to ask if they happen to use a pre-mixed product and Ben assured me that they use only vita fresh eggs.  

With our timelines, the choice was perfect as the server was accommodating and efficient and we enjoyed a lovely visit in a equally lovely locale.

The Current on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “I have had, in my time, memorable meals of scrambled eggs with fresh truffles, scrambled eggs with caviar and other glamorous things, but to me, there are few things as magnificent as scrambled eggs, pure and simple, perfectly cooked and perfectly seasoned.”-James Beard

 

Elements

December9

Elements is the long awaited bistro and dining room created by Chef Ben Kramer of Diversity Foods.  I’ve been for lunch, twice now.  The first time was a number of weeks ago.  While I awaited my lunch date. I saw a table of people that I recognized.  It was their first time as well.  They invited me to sample the bowl of Spicy Bacon Carmel Popcorn that sat on the middle of their table.  Simultaneously salty and sweet, it was a yummy treat.

My date sampled the Baked Macaroni & Cheese made with more bacon, chevre and cheddar (not exactly lo-cal).

But her salad offset the indulgence.

I chose the linquine with onions, garlic, feta and hazelnuts.  I topped mine with chicken.  I found mine to be heavy on the onions which dissuaded me from trying it a second time.

Yesterday’s lunch started with a yam and peanut soup and then two shrimp tacos.

A friend choose this combination as well but opted for the onion soup and had her taco stuffed with chicken.

The third member of our klatch, slurped (in a polite way) the 3 step Raman noodles: choosing egg noodles, hot and sour sauce and shrimp as well.

Since there were three of us to share dessert and we were in a festive mood, we ordered the vegan chocolate cake.  I am assuming that this meant it was eggless and they went unmissed.  The cake was rich and moist and the combination of blueberries and the dark chocolate was divine.

The room is light and airy and has windows along two walls.  On my second visit, there was such a blustery wind blowing outside that we were able to watch passers by hang onto their hats!

The restaurant is a welcome addition to a fairly lengthy strip of Portage Ave. without an upscale eatery.  The constant expansion of the University of Winnipeg, will certainly change this over time.  Elements has set the bar high for future prospects.

Elements on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “What science demands more study than Cookery?     You have not only, as in other arts, to satisfy the general eye, but also the individual taste of the persons who employ you; you have to attend to economy, which every one demands; to suit the taste of different persons at the same table; to surmount the difficulty of procuring things which are necessary to your work; to undergo the want of unanimity among the servants of the house; and the mortification of seeing unlimited confidence sometimes reposed in persons who are unqualified to give orders in the kitchen, without assuming consequence, and giving themselves airs which are almost out of reason, and which frequently discourage the Cook.”-Louis Eustache Ude (1813)

New Restaurants for Winnipeg in 2011

December8

Winnipeg has a vibrant restaurant scene and always so many choices from which to declare the year’s best new entry.

 I was introduced to business partners Kyle and Marc when I visited Unburger Restaurant/Café at 472 Stradbrooke Ave. for my first time. The little place has a fresh, crisp and clean design.  I sampled the “Unburger”-grilled pineapple, balsamic onion & tomato relish, caramelized onions, bacon, cheddar, herb mayo & a sunny side up fried egg!  The addition of pickled beets was just my cup of tea. 

The newly relocated Deseo Bistro is at 696 Osborne St.  There was some debate as to whether Deso should be considered new as they were formerly located on the main floor of the Royal Albert Arms.   But since Deseo was the hands down winner when I asked my cyber-circle for their favourite, I declare it to be Winnipeg’s best new restaurant.  I’ve been twice -once for a savoury lunch of sweet and sour figs and chorizo sausage and a second time for a cozy dinner when I sampled Chef Scott Bagshaw’s BC Clams tossed with pancetta and brussel sprout kim chee, and Caramelized Pork Belly accompanied by sour pear, crispy chicken skin and succotash.  Deseo’s small plates are nothing short of exquisite. We were warmly hosted by the other Deseo partner and lovely gentleman-Alejandro Moro.

I was surprised when no one remembered or (faced up to) loving Smoke’s Poutinerie which drew such a crowd when it opened in the Exchange this past summer.  Being the poutine aficionado that I am-I was duly impressed by the savoury gravy and real cheese curds.

 

My Blogging friends had this to add:

Carbone Coal Fired Pizza on Taylor is my new favourite pizzeria. The coal-fired oven creates the best crispy-thin crusts that cook in as little as 3 minutes. The peppino is a must-try with cherry tomatoes, prosciutto, arugula, parmigiano and a splash of olive oil, and keep room for the ferrero dessert pizza topped with nutella and roasted bananas.

The new Stella’s at Plug In 460 Portage Ave. in the Buhler Centre across form the University of Winnipeg is the perfect place to grab a big fluffy cinnamon bun and coffee on the way class or work. If you have time to sit down in the sunny dinning room enclosed in floor-to-ceiling windows, order the Mexican Breakfast. www.sucrefarine.blogspot.com

My new fave restaurant isn’t really a restaurant per se, but a coffee shop.  Parlour Coffee at 468 Main Street has finally filled Winnipeg’s need for a place to get an incredible cup of properly prepared coffee.  Its simple design and warm, friendly atmosphere (and staff) will definitely have you fixin’ for your daily cup of joe. www.thefood-online.com

Kath’s quote: “If you never try a new thing, how can you tell what it’s like? It’s men such as you that hamper the world’s progress. Think of the man who first tried German sausage!”-Jerome K. Jerome (1889)

 

Over Easy in Toronto

December1

Almost three weeks have past since our sojourn to Toronto.  One of our favourite meals was at Over Easy in the Entertainment District.  As the name implies, they serve breakfast all day long.  So why has it it taken me so long to write about it?  Because I would have to admit to y’all that I had poutine for breakfast and loved it!

Now in my defense, it wasn’t really poutine (even though they called it such on the menu).  It was more like a hearty breakfast casserole with the inclusion of authentic cheese curds instead of grated cheese.  Specifically, there was a layer of hash browns topped with bacon and smoked ham, cheese curds, and two poached eggs.  That was smothered with a lemony hollandaise.  The meal was loaded with carbs, fat and calories and my oh my, was it delicious.

D very sensibly chose eggs Florentine which included fresh spinach.  This great place also serves home made brown toast and an excellent glass of oj.

Unfortunately, the coffee was horrible or I could have sat there all day.  The decor was cheerful and cozy and I loved the fresh colours.

Over Easy on Urbanspoon 

Kath’s quote: “It was a nice breakfast – two hard boiled eggs, a piece of Danish, and a Coca-Cola spiked with gin.”-John Cheever

Sydney’s at the Forks

November29

Our evening at Sydney’s was near perfection, right down to the soft fluffy snowflakes that were falling on the courtyard of the Forks, when we were the last satisfied patrons to leave that night.

When I say “near” perfection,  Laura had done her utmost to reserve a round table six weeks prior to this special evening and when she was escorted to a rectangular table which is not as conducive to inclusive conversation, she was told that someone would come to speak to her.  Well, that someone never materialized and the request was ignored or forgotten.

But no matter, I anticipated that the evening would be stellar as I had recently followed the Gold Medal Plate competition and knew that Chef Michael Schafer had taken the bronze.  So we were in for an award winning evening.

We started the merriment off with the Ceasar that the server suggested.  We detected the addition of horseradish and I noticed as we raised our glasses for a festive toast, that my glass was reducing in contents more quickly than the others.

You may already know that Sydney’s provides a seasonal menu for one price of $55. per diner (with the option of a couple of more expensive choices), which capitalizes on the fruits of the local harvest.  The offerings are a fusion of Asian, French and Italian influences.  Since these are my personal favourites (with the exception perhaps of Mexican), I knew that I would well pleased with everything that came my way.      

Some started with split pea soup which tempted me as I spotted the inclusion of truffle and house-made ham.  But I opted for something lighter to start and was satisfied with my gorgonzola and walnut topped, beet salad.  Statisfied until I tasted D’s prawn and veggie kakiage……

Kakiage is a tempura of mixed vegetables and often includes shrimp or prawns as this one did.  The was a pocket of wasabi powder in the mix which was well balanced by the citrus ponzu sauce.  I was coveting D’s choice.

 

The next course included a gorgeous beef liver pate sampled by some and a pumpkin risotto that caught my eye.  The pistachio crumble, sage oil and parmesan crisp were delightful and I was content.  That was… until I tasted D’s savory bread pudding. 

The choice, which I thought was unusual at first, was the perfect blend of seasoned bread and a savoury sausage.  It might have been the surprize hit of the evening.

The courses were divided by a cleansing sorbet and then the “mains” began to arrive.  This double lamb shank, pictured above was enhanced by a rosemary, dijon crust.

  

Laura and Sue opted for the spicy garlic rock lobster tail and tiger shrimp.  I had a nibble and was duly impressed.  D enjoyed his salmon with warm olive salad and I, my bone-in pork chop with an apple stuffing.  Perfectly cooked to a medium rare with juices still flowing, it was gorgeous.

By the time dessert arrived, we should have been linking arms for a stroll in the snow but picked up our spoons once again.  D let me taste his satisfying chocolate crepes with a marscarpone fig cream.

I was over the moon for my apple tart with blue cheese ice cream and a brandy snap.

 

What could enhance this circle of friends, celebrating Christmas?  Well did I mention that Santa is one of my friends?  Here he is making his selections of the evening’s fare. 

And again, just before we departed for the evening.

Sydney's at the Forks on Urbanspoon

I truly hope that your festive season, gets off to as good a start as mine.

What I don’t like about office Christmas parties is looking for a job the next day.”-Phyllis Diller

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