Browsing: Restaurant Features

Barney Gargles

October4

Thanks to a reader, I have now experienced Barney Gargles.  We can easily take an alternate route to the cottage to include a drive through Selkirk.  We arrived at 6 pm and there was a line up out the door.  Now I’ve only seen lines like this at Red Lobster and Olive Garden, so to be frank I was a little skeptical (and impatient).  I had saved my calorie, fat and carb quota for the day to have this dinner and I was good and hungry.  But the crowd at the door was an amicable bunch and anything worth having is worth waiting for.

The bustling servers are all female and very pleasant.  Ours looked looked like a young Goldie Hawn (read: a young Kate Hudson if you are of a younger generation) or so D thought.  The decor is not my cuppa tea but cottage-like and after all, that’s we were heading.  D started with a soup of cream of potato and dill and I had the garliest Cesar salad I had ever tasted.  I love garlic, but this was enough to keep all those new and handsome vampire types at bay.  D also treated himself to a flagon of chocolate milkshake.

We thought that their specialty must be fish and chips because we saw many of the plates zoom by us from the kitchen.  But no, their famous chicken fingers are batter fried like cod and halibut.  I do prefer other versions but D quite liked them and we both agreed on the fresh-cut French fries.

We got a good look at all their desserts since we spent so much time in the lobby: an ABC pie with crumble topping (Apples, Blueberries and Cherries),  Turtle Pie and Nanaimo Bars (as big as a diary) all caught our eye but alas, they’ll have to keep for another calorie accumulation.

Barney Gargles on Urbanspoon

Urbanspoon rocks!

My husband declared that he was so full that he could not possibly get back into the car without a walk around but because the sun had just set, he wanted to walk around indoors.  He was totally setting me up-because my favourite place to bargain shop is in Selkirk and so we “strolled” through Big Dollar before making the rest of the ride north. Boy I love my man!

The sky to the west was still aflame and the silhouette of the trees and geese made it a lovely trek.

Kath’s quote: Do not be afraid to talk about food. Food which is worth eating is worth discussing.”-X. Marcel Boulestin

Mesa Grill NYC

September30

We saved the best for last.  It was the final day of our ladies’ adventure in NYC.  We packed up and set out for a neighbourhood shop of Gramercy and Flat Iron. And so our last meal was on 5th Ave.: 102 to be exact at Bobby Flay’s urban masterpiece.-Mesa Grill.  I was immediately impressed by the soaring ceilings and showcase bar.  We settled in to a big round table right in the middle of the lunch time scene.

Comfort food of burgers and fries came out in portions so huge that only half was being consumed.  Thankfully we ordered prettier little morsels that were sublime.  A warm basket of cornmeal muffins arrived almost immediately.  I started with a smoked salmon cake and proceeded to the eggplant stuffed Chiles Relleno.   People who know me well, are aware that I am a Chiles Relleno fanatic, an eggplant aficionado and am crazy about New York city-so how could I be in a better place?

Lingering over each savoury bite, I did manage to save room for the peach bread pudding with raspberry coulee for dessert.  All this for an amazing $24. as it was still restaurant week when we were there in August.


Mesa Grill on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “A cook, when I dine, seems to me a divine being, who from the depths of his kitchen rules the human race. One considers him as a minister of heaven, because his kitchen is a temple, in which his ovens are the altar.”-Marc Antoine Désaugiers

Mitzi’s

September29

I had worked downtown for years and had never had an occasion to try lunch at Mitzi’s on Garry and St. Mary Ave.  I arrived considerably after the lunch hour and the place was packed!   How did all of these people know about this place if I didn’t (pretty ego-centric thought I admit)?

I went with the intention of sampling their famous chicken fingers and so did not have a very long read of the menu but could not help but notice that Mitzi’s is primarily a Chinese food restaurant.  Who knew?  Every other option surrounds their signature chicken fingers.  You can order one chicken finger or 48 and almost any number in between.  The fingers are available on their own or with fries and cole slaw, Caesar salad, tossed salad or mixed greens.

The fingers themselves are said to be “homemade” which I know means made on premise, why do so many restaurants use the homemade label?  They are delicious-using fresh chicken breast strips in a crunchy breading.  Once you take a crunchy bite, the meat inside is tender and juicy.  There was no dipping sauce which was okay because on this occasion, I ate my lunch at the bus stop.

Mitzi’s is open for lunch and then reopens for dinner time.  Their menu indicates that they also cater banquets and parties.

Mitzi's Chicken Finger Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote:  “I never see any home cooking. All I get is fancy stuff.”-Prince Philip

Can’t Explain

September23

I have lived in River Heights for almost 18 years and think that this restaurant has been on Waterloo and Corydon for at least that long but I have never tasted a Santa Lucia Pizza.  I can’t explain how this happened.  Sister #3 claims its Winnipeg’s best pizza and I would be tempted to agree.  But I would love your opinions on this topic if you have other favourites.

Earlier this week I was in what you might describe as a middle aged woman’s heaven: I got together with two women whom I love and we ate pizza, then a banana log Jeannie’s cake, washed it down with a fine German Riesling and watched the premiere of this season’s Dancing with the Stars!  Hard to decide what was the best part but the pizza was definitely outstanding.  We ordered the Santa Lucia’s Aloha which is double ham, double pineapple and cheese and a large feed four of us to satiation with a couple of pieces left over for lunch.

Now we are a home-made pizza family and I am very picky about my pizza.  I figure if I’m going to eat a day’s calories at one meal-it better be worth it.  Their crust tasted very close to the bread dough recipe that I use.  There was the perfect amount of robust sauce on it and once you add their toppings and cheese-yummers!

This photo is not a Santa Lucia Pizza-we ate it to quickly for me to take a one.

Kath’s quotes:  “Life is so brief that we should not glance either too far backwards or forwards…therefore study how to fix our happiness in our glass and in our plate.”-Grimod de la Reynière

John’s of 12th St. NYC-Pt 2

September22

The menu offerings at John’s of 12th St. are time-tested and as authentic Italian as it gets.  The kitchen still does its own butchering and baking.  The current chef has been there over 30 years and was trained by the chef before him.  Because as I’ve said before, taste is a multi-sensory experience for me, my meal was full of all the joy and all of the sorrows that have been celebrated and observed within the walls.

I could have pictured our young, handsome server in many of the trendier spots in the neighbourhood, but was really endeared to him for choosing this place.  Perhaps he was family. He was attentive, efficient and delightful.

We started with a tomato, basil and Buffalo mozzarella  salad and was duly impressed by the homemade cheese which was creamy and firm at the same time. The home baked bread basket was emptied very quickly, not because it was not well laden but because of the taste treats that it held.

The girls ordered Chicken and Veal Parmesan along side spaghetti and were well pleased.  I was tempted to try the evening’s special which was a pasta with black truffles but opted instead for Eggplant Parmesan which was rolled and stuffed with a full-bodied ricotta cheese-I was in heaven.

Too full for the array of authentic dessert, we strolled home.  Thankfully the walk was a number of blocks as we had extra calories to burn that warm August evening.

John's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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

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