The Roost & Close Company

January15

In our minds (that is my husband D and mine), we love the gift of an experience rather than a physical gift. Recently our son and his wife, dubbed J1 and J2 in this space, decided that D and I deserved a “thank you” gift. Since they share our love of experiences, they put the wheels into motion for a thank you evening. Remember that I (the Momma), equates food with love. What do you think our gift was?

J1 had four very special restaurants in mind and one of them we had never visited and had always wanted to. A 8 pm reservation was secured at Close Company. They also wanted to kick off the evening with a happy hour (a family tradition) so they picked us up at 6:30 and we found ourselves at another place we had never visited-The Roost on Corydon. As we ascended the stairs, it really did feel as if we were entering a roost. We had a peak out the sliding glass windows to the outdoor patio and know that we will return when the weather is fair to sit among the leaves and birds.

The Roost is a cozy spot with a sloped ceiling that is typical of 100 year old homes in Winnipeg. We sat at the bar so we could watch the Bartender in action. She had an array of ingredients to choose from.

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I had never seen so many bottles of bitters in my life. And she certainly knew how to shake that cocktail shaker! We spent a very long time enjoying the craft cocktail menu.

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J1 and D both decided upon a special that was black in colour from the addition of charcoal. J2 had a Bathtub Gin which must have also been a special as I don’t see it on their current menu. I am actually not prone to cocktails and selected my stand by of a glass of red wine.

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These lovely premise pickles held our hunger at bay until it was time to scouch along to keep our reservation.

And now it is confession time….

  • This fabulous dinner was scheduled just before Christmas. Since then we have celebrated Christmas three times, put the Christmas decor away for the year, traveled to Mesa Arizona for a family wedding and traveled to Lisbon and the Algarve of Portugal as well as Seville Spain. In fact, I just returned from Toronto this morning. I am saying all this as defense because so much has happened between then and now, that the circumstances are not crystal clear.
  • and….I may have had a little too much to drink that special evening.

But without further adieu, Close Company.

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I loved everything about the little spot, the moment we stepped through the door. The ambience was more like entering someone’s home rather than a business. The service was equally warm and hospitable and we relaxed and enjoyed the evening of sips, tastes and chatter.

J1 knew the chef and so we didn’t really order. We just let the chef know that were excited and willing to taste everything.

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First up was Torched Tuna. The tuna itself was satiny and flavourful. The biggest surprise were the clever smoked jalapeños. The cure brought out the peppers’ inherent smoky flavours and eliminated any of the uncomfortable fiery ones. Priding myself on being a French Fry aficionado, I loved the fingerling potato chips.

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I swooned when the Parisienne Gnocchi arrived at the table. Gnocchi must be prepared delicately and simply and this was- with the thinnest of mushrooms, white wine and butter and a soft “snowfall” of hand grated parmesan.

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I am not precisely sure what makes these meatballs Moroccan. Perhaps it is the spiciness of the tomato sauce or perhaps the inclusion of both feta and mint, but I am pretty sure that I could eat those meatballs every day for the rest of my life.

By this time I was ready to cry “Uncle” but the food kept coming. Chef had gone off the menu to prepare us his rendition of Christmas dinner.

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These gorgeous discs of loveliness were achieved by de-boning an entire chicken, pressing it back together again and then cooking it in a cloth (torchon) that holds it in place. It was rich and moist and you might never wanted to eat a plain old roasted chicken again.

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The poultry was accompanied by these fingers of mandatory Christmas dressing. So very good.

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Now here is where I am relying on memory… blanched asparagus topped crème fresh. The crunch of the toasted nuts enhanced both and it was a stellar little dish.

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Of course, no celebratory dinner is complete without dessert and so we shared and loved the citrus tart (imagine your Mom’s lemon meringue pie).

Dinner from start to finish was perfection: the food, the libations, the ambience, the sharing of plates and of course, the gift itself.

Kath’s quote: “Food is a language of care, the thing we do when traditional language fails us, when we don’t know what to say, when there are no words to say.”- Shauna Niequist

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Love never fails.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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