Browsing: Food & Travel

Mediteranean Fund-Raising Dinner at Mon Ami Louis

May16

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People find it increasingly difficult to find a unique way to fund-raise these days. Friends of ours came up with a brilliant idea but you would have to have access to an iconic restaurant and the talents of chefs to pull it off yourself. Our young friend is off to Greece this summer with an organization who works with fleeing immigrants by providing them assistance with their transition and some comfort as the process takes place.

Her boyfriend happens to be on Chef Luc Jean’s team at Mon Ami Louis. The latter graciously made his restaurant available in order to make the event a reality.

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In keeping with the Greek destination the evening’s theme was a Mediterranean one, commencing with a Greek Salad featuring premise-marinated olives that had been warmed to allow the full pungency of the olive to be experienced when tasted. I also detected some orange zest which I appreciated because I sometimes find the traditional recipe of olive oil and lemon juice too tart.

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Even when the salad was tossed around, the effect was beautiful. Mixing the salad allowed you to spear an olive, some feta and one of the veggies with each and every bite.

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Sister #3 who stepped in as Sous Chef always teases me that my life is a journey of searching for that perfect bite.

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The main course was a delectably stuffed Moroccan Chicken that the team managed to keep perfectly moist. The accompanying carrots and rice were topped with a cool dill sauce to offset the subtle spicy tastes of Moroccan spice. I did not see any plate retrieved by the volunteer staff that still had food on it. Everyone consumed every last bite. A sign of a meal well loved.

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Dessert was an espresso panna cotta (Italian cooked cream) with a raspberry coulis. The refreshingly thin fruit sauce complimented the rich panna cotta beautifully.

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In short, the meal was perfect but so too was the company and the setting. All this and creating a little bit of assistance to our lovely friend who is Greece bound.

Kath’s quote: “You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give”.

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Love never fails.

 

 

 

 

Sardinia Smile – Isla Mujeres 2017

May15

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D and I arrived before the time of our reservation because we were so darned excited for the evening to commence. Plans had been made the year prior and that’s a long time to anticipate an evening. We met these precious Australians in person by “accident” in Tuscany in the Fall of 2015. Read the whole story here: http://foodmusings.ca/italy/tuscany-trip-report-day-3-part-2/

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In the time in between their son became engaged to our niece and planned a destination wedding on Isla Mujeres; which was another beautiful story: http://foodmusings.ca/food-celebrations/anywhere-in-the-world-he-chose-our-beach/.

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The first time D and I dined at Sardinia Smile on Isla Mujeres, the evening was so delicious that we sat back and reminisced about our time in Tuscany, and then we remembered that we would be together with G & H when the wedding took place. We sent them a FB message asking them to dinner at Sardinia Smile a year  in advance!

The evening had finally arrived. D was grateful that we were early so that he could study the wine list in advance and make a couple of Merlot selections for the evening. As guests started arriving and we had an opportunity to spend some extra time when G & H and their lovely friends G & A and B & K, the evening just flew by, so it was a good thing that we had the opportunity to gather our thoughts at the beginning.

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This was exactly how I predicted the time would be when we finally were reunited.

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We started with bruschetta and octopus ceviche and whatever else was ordered by the table which included Sister #2 (the Mother of the Bride), my wonderful brother-in-law and old friends of theirs.

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Once entrees came along it was considerably later in the evening and the lighting was not opportune for food photos. This was the shrimp ravioli that D enjoyed.

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H chose the spinach ricotta ravioli and loved it as did I with the fruita de mare fettucine.

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The best choice of the evening was made by G who decided upon this simple mushroom ravioli with truffle sauce. In deed we were all enthralled with our selections, the wine an our time together. I felt badly when I heard that dinners at the other end of the table were less than stellar. Perhaps our anticipation of the evening made everything taste that much better.

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Mini desserts ensured that the time would be remembered as sweet and delicious.

Since that evening we have been planning and dreaming about another traveling adventure. We intend to meet up with G & H, their family an their delightful friends B & K in Melbourne. How soon this will occur? No one can predict, but when it does, I know the time will one again be sweeter than honey.

Kath’s quote: There isn’t any questioning the fact that some people enter your life, at the exact point of need, want or desire – it’s sometimes a coincendence and most times fate, but whatever it is, I am certain it came to make me smile.” ― Nikki Rowe

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Love never fails.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Angelo’s 2017

April6

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One difference of the first half of this year’s sojourn to Isla Mujeres is that half of the family that being our son, his wife and their two little ones, had a different dining schedule than us. When we are typically planning a Happy Hour somewhere, they need to get their girls fed and hopefully maintain a similar bed time schedule to that of home. This meant that on some evenings, some or all of us, would join them for a beverage as they had their dinner and then when they headed “home” (the reason a hotel in Centro was key for this stay), we would depart for our own supper plans.

On this evening we joined them at Angelo’s.

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They graciously poured me a glass of wine, having selected my favourite varietal which I enjoyed

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as I watched them tuck into a Bolognaise with Meatballs

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and a delectable pizza. Between the poufy bread that is always delivered hot to the table

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and the extra effort that the bartender went to in satisfying a chocolate milk request, the little girls were equally pleased with their parents’ choice. We made our way to Fredy’s for our later dinner, but that is another blog post.

Later in our stay: week two, when most of the 83 people that had gathered onto the island for a family wedding, made their way home, D and I returned for our own dinner at Angelo’s. From virtually our first taste in 2005, Angelo’s has been a must visit. We are crazy about both their fruita de mare pizza and pasta. I have said it before and I will say it again here, I am not just saying that these items are great compared to other island offerings, I am saying that Angelo’s rivals dinners that we have eaten in Sicily, on the Amalfi Coast, in Cinque Terra and in Tuscany!

On this second visit, we may have indulged a little bit too much with the vino tinto before dining. While the kittens are away, the cats will play! I took one blurry picture of our pasta

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and another inadequate one of our pizza.

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Suffice it to say, the meals were as stellar as previous visits, but our merry-making made for an inadequate reporting of such. We will try to behave and do better next time.

Kath’s quote: “All is fair in love and beer.”~ Kurt Paradis

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Love never fails.

 

 

Long weekend in Duluth, MN

November15

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D and I often chat about taking a road trip to the Black Hills, or another location within a day’s drive. I have often heard people talk about Duluth as being a quaint location because of its arts and crafts scene and comfy places to stay. D felt that we needed a little getaway. He remembered my mentioning Duluth and did the research about a long weekend away.

We stopped for a brief lunch and numerous pee breaks (we’re getting old) and were in Duluth 7 hours after leaving home. The route that D chose had us driving through areas of both Manitoba and Minnesota that we had never driven before. Except for a short piece at the beginning of the trip, we drove through “Canadian” Shield the entire time. The groves of poplar and pine were lovely and familiar. We knew that Duluth was on Lake Superior but we did predict the elevation of the city. We have yet to visit San Francisco but we predict that Duluth’s steep climbing streets would mimic it.

D chose a hotel across from the city’s mall but we headed right downtown for some browsing. While I was shopping D found Zeitgeist Arts Cafe-a bar and restaurant located in a historic building also housing a performing arts studio and movie theatre. As we perched at the bar, we looked around and saw solo men eating three course meals at the bar top. It was Eat Downtown, Duluth’s Restaurant Week and the special at Zietgiest was a surf and turf option. I spied cheese stuffed and bacon Medjool dates on the menu so we had an appetizer with our refreshing beer.

Zeitgeist Arts Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

It was a quick trip to another fun area where our dinner destination was located. Bellisio is fashioned after the small village of Bellisio, Italy, home to the owner’s ancestry. Located close to the east coast of Italy, we must have been near the region on last year’s trip to Tuscany. Bellisio’s has received Wine Spectator’s prestigious “Award of Excellence” every year since they opened in 1999.

The restaurant was located in Canal Park, as well as numerous other restaurants, shops and bars. We were also going to take advantage of downtown restaurant offer ourselves. We chose a delicious pulled chicken minestrone (tasty but not piping hot) and a Caesar salad chock full of anchovies and garlic.

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Our entrees were Walleye Milanese (topped with a lemon butter caper sauce) on a bed of parmesan mashed potatoes

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and Chicken Pancetta (linguine, chicken, pancetta, shallots and peas in a light broth-style sauce).

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As Bellisio is also a wine bar, we chose an Italy vs California Merlot flight. In the end we may have enjoyed the wine as much as our dinner. At $25 for each multi course dinner and $7 for the Merlot flight, we couldn’t believe the value! Too full for the tiramisu that came with our dinner, we packaged it up for D to enjoy later in the evening as we watched The Crown on Netflix and listened to the Jets game.

Bellisio's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

On Saturday morning, I had some fun shopping at Target for Christmas stocking stuffers. D had a beer tour planned at Bent Paddle but we had an opportunity to try the lunch version at Midi Restaurant which was the hotel dining room for Fitgers Brewery and Hotel.

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BTW-did you know that Bob Dylan hails from Duluth?

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Right on the Lake Superior, we enjoyed an early lunch in the warm sun by the windows. We started with duluth17

Chicken and wild rice soup and another Caesar salad.

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Lunch entrées were a ½ Ruben and amazing French fries

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and a small piece of pork schnitzel, spaetzle and sweet red cabbage. At first when we saw the small piece of schnitzel and half sandwich, we were concerned that we may not been satisfied but it turned out to be absolutely the perfect portion (Downtown restaurant Week price of $10 per). I focused on the fries while D loved the spaetzle. We took our strudel “to go”.

Midi Restaurant & Wine Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

While D was on his tour I checked out the mall across from our hotel. I made my way to Younkers, a department store I had never heard of. An hour or so later, I was shopped out, having purchased a special community coupon book and receiving very pleasing items of black jeans (that fit), black flat boots that I have needed for a year and a beautiful pair of Anne Klein sling backs that I also sorely needed. I walked back to the hotel just as D pulled into the parking lot.

I changed into my new boots and we headed out on another exploring adventure. We drove one of the long bridges between Duluth MN and Superior Wisconsin, shopped for some beer and cheese and headed back to Duluth. Fortunately (or unfortunately) they also had low fat cheese and sour cream Cape Cod potato chips (being our favourite brand since we discovered them on our honeymoon 32 years prior). These became our happy hour snack.

We found a spot in the sun in Canal Park but the wind off the water was pretty brisk so we hopped in the car and drove the narrow peninsula almost connecting Duluth and Superior. But before we did, we were in for a special occurrence. The park is so named because of the unique aerial lift bridge. We got to see the bridge in action as it made way for a sail boat returning to the harbour. We loved Minnesota Ave., the little ribbon of land which reminded us staying on the Airport Strip on Isla Mujeres, where we got to enjoy both sunrises and sunsets from our hotel. This strip of land was even narrower and was populated by inns and houses. We were not sure if they were summer or year round homes.

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We stopped and climbed a sand hill to the beach, just as the sun was starting to set. Once the sun disappeared, it proved to be rather chilly indeed and D had a perfect way to warm up.

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Enjoying another wine flight at Bellisio, Shiraz this time, we also loved the rolled eggplant and olive tray.

We were heading back to the hotel to regroup and then have our final dinner Downtown when D suggested that we order in and see what might entertain us on Netflix. “Chef” starring Jon Favreau, and co-starring Sofía Vergara, Scarlett Johansson, Oliver Platt, Dustin Hoffman, and Robert Downey, Jr. was a lovely light, feel good movie with some delicious food scenes.

Our Chinese food proved to be very plentiful and affordable and we have a bag of it for left over’s this week.

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We stopped in Thief River Falls on the way home, to watch some Vikings football and have one last feed of walleye. A perfect weekend.

Kath’s quote: “If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there would be a shortage of fishing poles.” -Doug Larson

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Love never fails.

Chicago Trip Report

September29

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I have been to greater Chicago many times as The Keg Restaurant in Evanston was my responsibility when I held the position of Midwest Marketing Director for the Keg Steakhouse and Bar. Funny thing though, on all those trips, I never left Evanston. So too, when I was at a conference in Wheaton, I never had the opportunity to venture uptown. My first brief visit was when D and I were en route to Sicily. We took a train directly from the airport to the city centre.

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The architecture of Chicago is amazing. There is constructed beauty everywhere you turn. We got to enjoy the city scape from both a hop on hop off bus tour and a boat tour.

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I loved the architecture itself but the reflections appealed to me even more so.

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The beauty of Chicago is in the details. Check out how exquisite the Target Store is below.

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We stopped in to admire Magnolia Bakery.

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We spent an amazing half day at the Art Institute of Chicago. Their Impressionist collection rivals New York and the Muse D’Orsay in Paris.

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But the art is not limited to the museums. The attitude in Chicago is lighthearted and playful.

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This Picasso is out in the open, right downtown for all the enjoy.

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We did our fair share of shopping. This is Macy’s in the former Marshall Field’s building. It was more like a palace than a department store.

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Kath’s quote: “Chicago is an October sort of city even in spring.” ― Nelson Algren

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Love never fails.

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