Showing posts with label rabbit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rabbit. Show all posts

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Atelier, Ottawa

12-course tasting menu at Atelier ($110)
Optional wine pairing ($75)

Executive Chef, Marc Lepine (bio from Atelier's website):

"After 3 years of culinary school, Marc Lepine spent time working in Toronto, France, and Italy, before accepting his first executive chef position with Bartlett Lodge in Algonquin Park in 1998. Marc decided to move to Ottawa in 2001 with the intent to eventually open a restaurant. He received his sommelier certification from Algonquin College and spent 6 years working as executive chef for the Courtyard Restaurant, where he was twice named 'Ottawa Chef of the Year' by the Canadian Culinary Federation. Marc decided it was time to open Atelier in 2008, and while the restaurant was preparing to launch, Marc went to work with Grant Achatz at Alinea Restaurant in Chicago. In February 2012, Marc was named the Canadian Culinary Champion after winning gold at the finals in Kelowna, BC."



Roasted red beet puree, thinly sliced beets compressed in yuzu, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, shallots, purple cauliflower, baby radish, edible flowers, wood sorrel, carrot sprout

Friday, December 20, 2013

La Joie de Vivre aux Chocolat - A Sweet and Savoury Chocolate Tasting Dinner

On November 18th I was invited to a very special sweet and savoury chocolate tasting. Hosted by Abbey Sharp of Abbey's Kitchen (Twitter: @AbbeysKitchen, Facebook: Abbey's Kitchen), this intimate six course chocolate dinner held at Playful Grounds showcased the talent of husband and wife team Chef Eyal Liebman and Sommelier Rebecca Meir. The duo successfully showed guests that chocolate - often viewed as one of the worlds most luxurious and desired foods - doesn't just belong in dessert.

Inspired by the founding fathers of French cuisine, Israeli-born Pâtissier Eyal Liebman is a culinary artisan whose creations are at once grounded in tradition and influenced by his middle-eastern roots. Having joined the Canadian culinary circle in 2008, Eyal studied under Maître Cuisinier de France Didier Leroy at Didier in Toronto. He has since further cultivated his craft at Pâtisserie Sebastien, Black Moon, Pain Perdu, 417 Restaurant+Lounge, Harbour Sixty Steakhouse, and is now the co founder of L is for... (Twitter: @EyalPastryChef, Facebook: L is Forwith his wife, Rebecca. With seven years of experience in the hospitality industry in Canada and abroad, Rebecca enjoys pairing Eyal's pastry oriented food with local and French wines that compliments Eyal's style of cooking. Rebecca is currently working as the assistant sommelier at Oliver & Bonacini's Luma.

We were treated to a sophisticated sweet and savoury tasting menu where Eyal utilized Valrhona chocolate in all his six courses. Each course was also paired with Stanners Vineyard (Twitter: @StannersWines, Facebook: Stanners Vineyard) wines which were hand-selected by Rebecca. 

Below is a recap of La Joie de Vivre aux Chocolat - A Sweet and Savoury Chocolate Tasting Dinner:

Cascumpec bay oyster & coca nibs infused tequila mignonette
Los Azulejos tequila

Black tiger shrimp, pure Madagascar chocolate mole sauce, frisee cucumber & mixed greens salad
Pinot Gris 2010

Rabbit terrine with pure Dominican Republic chocolate, Celtic Blue (Lancaster, ON), chocolate lavash
Pinot Noir 2011

Friday, September 13, 2013

Toronto Popup with Chef Trish Gill

The organs and trimmings of a butchered animal, or offal meats, often get a bad rep. This bad rep usually stems from the opinions of the "anti-offals" - individuals that can't get past offal’s stigma.  Some anti-offals are not totally against these trimmings; for them it depends on presentation. For instance, a lot of anti-offals eat sausages without realizing that its skin is often made from intestines. Some anti-offals are even okay with devouring chicken liver pâté or foie gras on toast because it is less daunting compared to eating heart or brain. However, if they take a minute and cast aside their biases, they will likely find themselves enjoying these mildly grotesque yet delicate and affordable cuts of meat because they are actually quite delicious, as well as nutritious (using these cuts also shows respect to the animal).

Being Chinese, I've grown up with eating livers, brains, blood, feet and kidneys all my life. Almost every animal part is used in Chinese cooking so I've embraced these entrails ever since I was little. There's always a place in my heart stomach for offal (how sappy) especially offal in different cuisines which is precisely why I was really excited about chef Trish Gill's (@gilltrishoffal-centric menu at Toronto Pop Up (Twitter: @Toronto_PopUp, Facebook: Toronto Popup). Here's a recap of chef Trish's five-course "Curious Cuts" dinner at Monarch Tavern:

First course at the pass and ready to go.

Wine - James Oatley Tick Tok Chardonnay
Craft Beer - King Pilsner, King Brewery

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Toronto Popup with Chef Deron Engbers

Founded by chef Deron Engbers (@TheDeron)Timeless Food made its debut this past Sunday, May 26th at Toronto Pop Up (Twitter: @Toronto_PopUp, Facebook: Toronto Popup.) Engbers, who has always been an advocate of classic cuisine, prepared a charming 5-course tasting menu at Monarch Tavern which took guests back in time by means of "Deron's Delorean time machine." Cheeky ;)

Through Timeless Food, Engbers is committed to providing diners unique and accessible dining experiences. The company aspires to recreate classic dishes using new techniques coupled with Engbers' own creative twists. For this particular "Back to the Future" pop up dinner, Engbers focused on presenting a re-invention of traditional favourites of the past, while using organic and sustainable sources where possible. 

The classic, vintage table settings were a perfect backdrop for Timeless Food's debut dinner.

A couple of cocktails to start the night off:

Madre Teresa (left): Gin, Aperol, orange, egg whilte, bitters ($9)
Timeless Caesar (right): Basil, rosemary and thyme infused gin, caesar fixings ($10)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Hunt Camp

My dinner at HUNT CAMP is without a doubt the BEST meal I've had so far this year. Not only was the food feast itself spectacular, the entire dining experience was INCREDIBLE.

HUNT CAMP (@HuntCampTO) is an exclusive dinner series brought to you by the folks at Farmhouse Tavern (@FARMHOUSEtavern). Owner Darcy MacDonell launched the temporary project on January 30th and since then, the dinners have been happening every Wednesday night at 7:30 pm. Running for 13 weeks until April 24th, the intimate dinners only seats six...and YES, I'm proud to say I was one of the lucky ones who managed to snatch up a reservation (it sold out extremely quick)!

Farmhouse's chef Alex Molitz is also the chef of HUNT CAMP.

 A restaurant within a restaurant, HUNT CAMP takes place in a cozy dining room in the back of Farmhouse Tavern.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Edulis Restaurant

After taking over Niagara Street Cafe's space in the spring of 2012, husband and wife team Michael Caballo and Tobey Nemeth opened Edulis (Twitter: @EdulisToronto, Facebook: Edulis Restaurant). The name Edulis, which means edible and also porcini mushrooms in Latin ("boletus edulis"), pays tribute to chef / owner Michael Caballo's passion for wild foods, mushroom foraging, and influences from his Spanish heritage. With years of experience under his belt in kitchens all over Canada and Europe, him and his wife Tobey Nemeth's (formerly the chef de cuisine at Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar) goal for Edulis, according to their website, is to "combine the warmth and approachability of a classic European bistro with our passion for the forests and farms of southern Ontario" while providing guests "the pleasure of enjoying a gathering around the table to share authentic dishes and to be greeted like a friend; conviviality, feasting, celebrating the craft and tradition of cooking, honesty, and spectacular ingredients".

Within a year's time, chef Caballo's French and Spanish influenced cookingcombined with the restaurant's vision and philosophy, has won the hearts of many; Edulis was named the #1 Best New Restaurant in Canada for 2012 from EnRoute Magazine, as well as being listed as one of Canada's 50 Best Restaurants from Macleans Magazine

My friends and I went to Edulis two Fridays ago. We opted for the $50 Carte Blanche menu. We also added a couple of truffle dishes along the way as well as a cheese board at the end.



Served with dijon potatoes

Friday, November 30, 2012

Hunter's Wine Dinner at Ten Restaurant & Wine Bar

In support of Movember, Ten Restaurant & Wine Bar (@tenrestaurant) in Port Credit hosted a Hunter's Wine Dinner this past Tuesday. The fundraising dinner brought together eight talented chefs who each donated their skills and time for a great cause. In case you live in a cave (that is, a cave with internet) Movember is responsible for the sprouting of mustaches on men during November of every year to raise funds and awareness for men's health, specifically prostate cancer. Personally, I'm not a big fan of facial hair...I like my men clean shaven...makes me kinda glad that today is the last day of Movember :D Sorry I digress...

  The Hunter's Wine Dinner was held on the second floor of the newly renovated Ten Restaurant, a perfect venue for private events and parties.

Rosewood Estates & Winery (@Rosewoodwine) provided all the wines and mead cocktails for the Hunter's Wine Dinner. By the way, I absolutely adore Rosewood! They have such great wines and they throw the best events (I attended All-Stars In The Vineyard and the Bees, Mead & Cheese class earlier this year...both tons of fun).

Krystina Roman from Rosewood giving guests a short intro about their wines and meads.

A stellar line-up of wines for the night. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Boxed Toronto

Pop-ups. It is all about pop-ups nowadays. They may sound a little gimmicky to some but I personally don't mind them. I really enjoy the thrill of not knowing what is being served and letting the chef do his or her thing. So yes, pop-ups are similar to tasting menus in a sense that they both give chefs creative freedom, but unlike tasting menus at a restaurant, the location of pop-up dinners is usually kept as a secret up until the day of the actual dinner. With all communication done on Twitter and email, it genuinely makes me appreciate having a smartphone that much more.

The Boxed (@BoxedToronto) pop-up dinners are run by chef Matthew Sullivan (@GastroMatthew). A former executive chef at both Maléna and l'unita, chef Sullivan has also staged in some impressive restaurants such as Gramercy Tavern in New York and the Fat Duck in England. 

Last Monday, July 16, I finally attended my first Boxed dinner ("finally" because I've always wanted to go). Held at BruDa (@BruDaRestaurant) in Little Italy, guests were pampered throughout the night with fine wine and chef Sullivan's seven-course creation.

The open kitchen at BruDa

Sommelier Christopher Sealy (@ChristopheSealy), co-owner of Midfield Wine Bar and Tavern, paired each course with wines from Coyote's Run Estate Winery

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Feasting Room

The Feasting Room (Twitter: @thefeastingroom, Facebook: The Feasting Room) is not a restaurant, but rather a weekly pop-up that occupies The Orbit Room (@OrbitRoomTO) from Thursdays to Monday nights. A six-month project designed to encourage Torontonians to "eat the whole beast", The Feasting Room focuses on a different animal each week by offering a six course blind tasting menu for $65 ($105 with wine pairing). Conscientious and sustainable eating practices is The Feasting Room's core belief and philosophy. 

The Feasting Room is a joint venture between Noah Goldberg (chef / owner who has worked at Lee in Toronto, DB Bistro Moderne in NYC, St. John in UK) and Mathieu Dutan (general manager who has worked at Bistro Bakery Thuet, Gamelle, La Palette and also trained as a sommelier in Paris) and it serves as a test to gauge the city's enthusiasm for nose-to-tail, off cuts and offal cuisine. A test for what, you ask? Well, a test before they actually dive in and invest in a permanent restaurant location! Smart. Very smart.

Dinner on the patio.

The Feasting Room always provides a diagram of the featured animal with the numbered parts corresponding to the course. Why is #5 floating in air?

Amuse: Rabbit liver parfait

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Splendido: à la carte

After Tasting I, Mother's Day brunch and Tasting II, I was back at Splendido for à la carte exactly a week later. I know it's crazy but I have a hear me out :) 

A friend of mine, Genevieve (@GenevieveNgu), has never been to Splendido and she really wanted to go before chef Patrick Kriss (@Patrickkriss) leaves for the position of Chef de Cuisine at Acadia (@AcadiaToronto), replacing chef Matt Blondin (@chefmattblondin) who has taken the position of executive sous chef at Momofuku Daisho (to open in August). Seeing that it was the last weekend before Kriss leaves, Genevieve and I had to go last Saturday. No choice. Given, I'm sure Genevieve didn't necessarily need my company (LOL) I thought it was a good opportunity to try out Splendido's à la carte menu. So no, nobody pointed a gun to my head and forced me to go to Splendido for the fourth time in the last two months. I wanted to go can I say this.. I think Splendido is awesome? =D

 Another phenomenal dinner. Genevieve, Agatha (@agapod) and I had nothing but praises the entire night. This is what we had:

Beet Juice Champagne and Horseradish

Magdalene Island Scallop - Ramp, Rhubarb and Maple Syrup

Victor's Foie Gras Parfait - Ontario Strawberries, Black Truffle Coulis, Walnut Crumble ($22)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Splendido Tasting II

My Splendido Tasting I in April wasn't complete; I missed several courses at the beginning =( In all seriousness, I have been itching to go back to Splendido ever since that night. I needed to go back for a full, complete tasting 'cause not only is it not right doing things half-ass, I also don't believe in experiencing anything half-ass. Am I anal? Maybe. Maybe not.

I was actually at Splendido for Mother's Day brunch before this tasting. It was fantastic and both my parents and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I didn't take any pictures of the brunch because I really just wanted to relax and spend some quality time with my parents (without any interruptions).

A week later I was back to Splendido for Tasting II which comprised of 17 courses. Hope you will enjoy the food porn =D

Georgetown Storm

Beet Juice Champagne and Horseradish

Australian Blue Fin O-Toro

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Ten Restaurant & Wine Bar

I never eat in Mississauga because I'm hardly in Mississauga. Like I tell everybody, I literally just sleep there. I work, eat and hang out in downtown. In short, most of my waking hours are spent in downtown. And if I'm ever craving Chinese food I would drive up to Markham or Richmond Hill (I'm not a Chinatown gal). In all honesty, except for pho, I have zero urge to eat out in Mississauga (especially when my Mom is such an amazing cook!). There is just nothing good there. So many boring corporate, big chains in Mississauga. Seriously, I don't even bother. In any event, after visiting Ten Restaurant & Wine Bar last week, I realize there is hope! YES!

Actually, by being on Twitter, Ten has already made a good impression on me. Although it seems like the norm for many restaurants and chefs in downtown Toronto to have Twitter accounts, the same cannot be said for restaurants in the 'burbs; most are not social media savvy, to say the least. So it was extremely refreshing to see that both Chef Nic Prong of Ten (@NicCanCook) and Ten itself (Twitter: @tenrestaurant, Facebook: Ten Restaurant & Wine Bar) actively engage on Twitter. 

Chef Nic Prong

Anyway, after reading my blog posts and seeing that I wasn't giving much love to restaurants in the west end, Chef Prong was determined to show me that Ten is different and not like the other cookie-cutter chain restaurants in Mississauga. And after exchanging a few tweets, Chef Prong invited me to his restaurant in Port Credit last week. Over fine wine and an elaborate tasting menu prepared by Sous Chef Jackie and Chef De Partie Ryan (@hamillofficial), Chef Prong, his brother Brendan Prong (@chef_prong), Chef De Cuisine at West50 Pourhouseand I had a very delightful evening chatting (only natural with two chefs and a food blogger, no? =P). And boy, let me say this: plate after plate, I was thoroughly impressed at the level of creativity that Chef Prong is bringing to the table (literally) at Ten Restaurant & Wine Bar .

Spacious and roomy with deep red booths and floor-to-ceiling windows, Ten is a very modern and chic looking restaurant.

We started off with a bottle of Tawse 2009 Cabernet Franc.


East Coast oysters, pickled vegetables, cucumber wine

Monday, February 20, 2012

Enoteca Tasting at Buca

I was completely and utterly blown away by Buca's (@bucatoronto) Enoteca Tasting this past Saturday evening. My friend and I both agree that the Enoteca Tasting at Buca (which came into existence less than a month ago) is easily one of the best tasting menu that we've had in the city recently; it was such an memorable experience for me and I truly have nothing but praises for it. 

What made it so great was not only the food, which was phenomenal, but also our server / bartender, Thomas...he was fantastic! He did an excellent job in describing all the dishes and interacting with everyone at the bar; he was friendly, attentive, and it was evident that he was passionate about what he was doing...and I love that~

The Enoteca Tasting is exclusively offered at this eight-seat bar beside Buca's main dining room.  

Our bartender, Thomas. He took care of us the entire night.

We left it up all up to Executive Chef Rob Gentile (@ChefBuca) to bring us out various small plates and appetizers. I remember Thomas asking us at the very beginning whether we were hungry; my answer was "YES" (when am I ever not hungry?!) Sooooo get ready guys because we ate a LOT! By the way, very important, there were different wine pairings through out the night as well but I didn't get a chance to take pictures of the wines =(

Crudo - Smoked raw rainbow trout fillet with artichoke, juniper caper and liquorice bruton syrup ($18)