Saturday, January 31, 2009

Chicken, Wild Mushroom and Roasted-Garlic Sauté

Well, here I am, at my friend Dino's place enjoying a delicious selection of wine brought by all guests and a fabulous meal made by Dino. If you've read other posts of food he's made you won't be surprised by this one. The chicken in this dish melts in your mouth and the mushrooms are just divine. He roasted some elephant garlic and served it with the chicken and mushrooms over this marvelous wild rice mixture from La Ronge, Saskatchewan. There are 8 of us and we are all drooling over our plates. He even started us off with a homemade squash soup topped with roasted walnuts. Here are some of the comments thus far:
- I want to make sweet love to this chicken.
- Awesome.
- I don't know what's more moist, the chicken or...
Ok, i'll stop there. But you get the picture!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Rainbow Peanut Noodles

I probably have about 3 or 4 staples. They've been the same for about 10 years now. Not very exciting I know. But this is one of them. I haven't made this one in a while. It came from the same Asian cookbook I got my Pad Thai recipe from. A girl I worked with about 9 years ago brought the book in and I photocopied a few recipes. Now, there's something very odd about this recipe, the peanut sauce calls for 8 cloves of garlic. The first time I made it I think I put in 6. My husband and I reeked for days and the fridge, well, we just did our best to keep it shut. Ever since, i've only ever put 2 cloves in. But no matter where I check online, it always still calls for 8. Has no one ever found this overly offensive?? Anyway, this dish is wonderful. It's more of a summer meal, but i'm going to a potluck tomorrow and need to bring something. And since my list of what I make is pretty small, this is what they're getting. I omitted the chicken for the potluck just because there will be many other dishes. But below is the complete, original recipe – 8 cloves and all!

What you’ll need
1/2 pound thin noodles, such as linguine, cooked until just tender, rinsed under cold water, drained, and tossed with 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
5 carrots, peeled and grated
2 English (seedless) cucumbers, peeled,halved lengthwise, seeded, shredded, and squeezed dry
2 cups bean sprouts, rinsed and drained
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into thin strings (about 1 cup)
2 cups sliced cooked chicken (cut into thin strips)
1-1/2 tablespoons minced scallion greens
Chinese peanut dressing (below)

What to do
Arrange the noodles in a large serving bowl. Arrange the vegetables in concentlic circles over the noodles and then pile the chicken in the center. Sprinkle the scallions on top. Serve at room temperature or chilled, with the Chinese peanut dressing. (In the case of my potluck, I just mixed everything together kind of as a salad.)

Chinese Peanut Dressing
One 1/2 inch-thick slice fresh ginger, peeled and sliced in half
8 cloves garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon hot chile paste,or more to taste
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter, or more if necessary
1/4 cup soy sauce
3-1/2 tablespoons sugar
3-1/2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar or Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
5 tablespoons Chinese Chicken Broth or water, or more if necessary

In a food processor fitted with the metal blade or in a blender, finely chop the ginger and garlic. Add the remaining ingredients in the order listed and process until smooth. The dressing should be the consistency of heavy cream. If it is too thick, add more water or chicken broth; if too thin, add more peanut butter. Refrigerated, in a covered container, the dressing will keep for 2 to 3 weeks.

Pork, Beef, and Black Bean Chili

My husband makes the best chili. Not just this chili, but every kind of chili he's ever made. Another regular one is his pizza chili, which is probably the best in the world (no i'm not going to have a cook-out with crazy chili makers, but to me it's the best). The one he made tonight was also quite delicious. I have pasted the recipe below; however, my husband has made a couple of modifications. Instead of white sugar he used brown. And instead of water he used dark beer – oh yeah, see what I mean?! Things are just better when he gets his hands on it!

What you’ll need
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound ground pork
1 pound ground beef
1 pound chuck steak, fat trimmed, cut into 1-inch cubes
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups water (or dark beer)
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 6-ounce cans tomato paste
2 teaspoons sugar (or brown sugar)
3 cups diced fresh tomatoes
3 cups diced onions
3 cups diced red bell peppers

3 cups canned black beans, drained, rinsed (from three 15-ounce cans)
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 3/4 cups (about) beef broth
Grated cheddar cheese

What to do
Heat olive oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add ground pork and ground beef and sauté until brown, about 3 minutes. Add cubed beef and garlic and sauté 5 minutes. Add 2 cups water; bring to boil. This photo is not the most appetizing, but the fact that it is meat simmering in beer, well, need I say more?

Add cumin, chili powder, oregano, salt, and cayenne pepper. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 10 minutes. Add tomato paste and sugar and simmer 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, onions, and peppers and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.

Add black beans and cilantro to chili. Add beef broth 3/4 cup at a time, until thinned to desired consistency. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated.) Bring chili to simmer. Ladle hot chili into bowls; top with grated cheddar cheese and serve.

Montclair – Montreal

Downtown Montreal has a plethora of fabulous restaurants. But what happens when you're in Saint-Laurent and you want the same thing? I'll tell you right now, there's not much to choose from, except this great spot that has, because of it's location, become kind of a regular when I go to Montreal. It's a nice little French restaurant on Décarie, which is close to my mother-in-law's and why it has become a sort of regular. If you're looking for something fancy with crazy unique dishes, this isn't the place to go. But for me, it's easy to get to, it's consistently good, the service is fabulous and the prices are very reasonable. Today I happened to be in that area on business and went for lunch. I ordered the Seafood Pizza made with shrimp, smoked salmon, clams and mushrooms and with that came a soup appetizer, a thick and rich tomato soup. Both very good. The service as I remembered the last time I went, was excellent and the place filled up quite quickly. In fact, had we not arrived early, we would not have gotten a table, I almost guarantee it. If you're in that area definitely go here, but I do recommend making a reservation first.

Montclair on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Spinach Ravioli and Asparagus in a Garlic Cream Sauce

Not sure if anyone has noticed our new plates in the last two posts, but I have to say, I really think the food pops on these in comparison to the black. We desperately needed new dishes and we finally found some simple enough for our taste. Tonight's dinner looks fabulous on them and tasted even better. My husband mixed some cream, garlic, tarragon, herbs and spices to create this ambrosial sauce for the spinach ravioli and asparagus. He even heated up some leftover scones from the weekend to go with it. This is true comfort food and was just what we needed after shoveling the driveway (especially my husband who also spent 40 minutes trekking home in the snowstorm).

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Breaded Pickerel with Broccoli and Asparagus

This meal is so healthy I can actually feel my insides thanking me right now. It's a wonderful take on your typical breaded fish. The batter for this one is made with ground flax and wheat bran! What about that sauce on top you say? Yogurt, green onions and coriander. And this actually tastes far better than any greasy fish and chip i've ever had. As i've said before, my husband really knows how to make healthy food taste absolutely fabulous. And to top it off, the pickerel is from the Whalesbone cash and carry store (see previous post), so you know it's sustainable, which means it's been fished without jeopardizing the ecosystems where it came from.

What you’ll need
Pickerel filets
Ground flax
Wheat bran
Egg whites
Curry powder
Chopped coriander
Chopped green onions

What to do
Cook the broccoli and asparagus just enough so it still has a bit of a crunch to it. In a bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. In another bowl, combine the flax and bran. Coat the filets in curry powder then dip in the foamy egg whites, followed by the flax and bran mixture. Place on an oiled baking sheet and sprinkle some salt and pepper on them. Bake in the oven at 500 for 4 or 5 minutes (depending on size). In a bowl, mix the yogurt, coriander and onions. Serve the fish with a dollop of sauce alongside the veggies.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Seared Wild Salmon with New Potatoes and Dijon Broth

This heavenly dish is not a first. My husband made this using wild trout a while back. Click here for the recipe. I wouldn't normally repeat a dish, but this time I want to to point out the salmon. We bought it from the Whalesbone's new sustainable oyster and fish supply shop at 504 Kent Street. They supply fish to a lot of the local restaurants and decided to allow a cash and carry as well. Given that we are just around the corner, this is a pretty good gig for us. They are committed to sourcing shellfish and finfish suppliers who maintain sustainable farming and fishing practices, and because of that have a small product list (although it's a pretty good size to me). And a wonderful product list it is. Aside from a wide range of oysters from New Brunswick, PEI, Nova Scotia and BC, they also carry mussels, clams, scallops, speckle trout, wild walleye, wild yellow perch, wild white bass, wild rainbow trout, wild whitefish caviar, Alaskan sockeye salmon, Thetis Queen albacore tuna, albacore tuna, wild sablefish, atlantic mackerel, female capelin and atlantic herring. Besides the Alaskan fish, all the others are Canadian and come from various regions in BC, Ontario and Newfoundland. I think the combination of an amazing recipe and delicious wild salmon made tonight's dinner and exquisite treat. We also picked up some of the walleye (pickerel) while we were there too. Looking forward to seeing what amazing dish my husband will be putting together with that!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Mushroom, Sausage and White Bold Cheddar Quiche

I couldn't sleep this morning so I decided to get up and make breakfast. We had guests staying with us and I knew they'd be in bed for a while. I went through the cupboards to see what we had. When I saw the two pie crusts in the freezer I knew what i'd be making. This is my first time making quiche, but i've watched my husband make them a million times so I had a pretty good idea what to do. I made a mushroom, sausage, spinach and cheese quiche and I also made a smoked salmon, feta, caper and red onion quiche. And surprisingly, they both turned out beautifully. I also ran up to The Scone Witch and bought some herb and cheddar scones to go with it.

What you’ll need
2 frozen pie crusts
6 eggs
2 x 3/4 cups of whipping cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of garlic powder

1 hot and 1 mild Italian sausage
Chopped mushrooms
Chopped green onions
Shredded white bold cheddar
1 handful of spinach

Smoked salmon cut into small pieces
Chopped red onion

What to do
Cook the pie crusts according to package directions and let cool.

For the mushroom and sausage quiche, cook the sausage then slice into little round pieces. Fry the green onions and set aside. Fry the mushrooms, squeeze out all the excess water and set aside. Heat the spinach for a few seconds in the microwave so it becomes smaller then chop it up. In a bowl, mix 3 eggs and 3/4 cups of cream. Add in all the above ingredients and fold. Poor into pie shell.

For the smoked salmon quiche, fry the onions and set aside. Mix 3 eggs and 3/4 cups of cream as above and then add in the onions, salmon, capers and feta. Stir everything up and poor into the other pie crust.

Cook at 375 for approx. 30 minutes.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Mayflower Restaurant and Pub

This very casual and conventional restaurant offers some of the best breakfast in Ottawa. As usual on a Saturday or Sunday morning, there's a lineup to get in anywhere for breakfast. Fortunately this place is equipped with an extremely efficient wait staff and they can turn tables pretty fast. We got there about 1pm today which is a couple hours later than prime time, so getting a table was very easy. I started off with a refreshing glass of their fresh squeezed orange juice and a warm cinnamon bun. Then I had the Eggs Benedict made with back bacon – so delicious. I've also had the Belgian waffles on another occasion and they were fabulous too. A friend of mine is a big fan of their pancakes and oatmeal. And another swears by the Eggs Mayflower which is a bagel topped with cream cheese, scrambled eggs and hollandaise sauce. The entire breakfast selection is terrific. I don't recall ever eating there other than for breakfast but i'm sure their lunch and dinner menus are great too. I've heard they have great fish 'n' chips, and in the pub at the back serve a selection of single malt scotches and close to 20 beer on tap.

Mayflower Restaurant and Pub on Urbanspoon

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Domus Café

I was on a business lunch today and went to probably one of the most consistently delicious restaurants in Ottawa. I wouldn't say the food knocks you off your feet but you always know it's going to be fresh and highly pleasing. The presentation also makes your mouth water within seconds. One of the best parts of Domus is the fact they are the first in Canadian, regional and seasonal cuisine and have their ingredients delivered directly from local-area farms. Today I had their Canadian Coast to Coast Sustainable Fish Selection which was a fabulous in-house smoked trout chowder. The fish was so flavourful and they were extremely generous with the portions. That along with their fresh bread and blueberry oil for dipping had me ready for a glass of port and an afternoon off. Unfortunately that didn't happen. What I did get to do, and which is unusual for a business lunch, was try the other dishes on the table. I tried the other plate I almost went with myself, the “Domus Cow” Meat Pie made with rosemary jus, roasted potato, root vegetable slaw and delicious tomato apple chutney. I also had a bite of the Canadian Wild Rice and Toasted Pearl Barley Risotto made with Le Coprin mushrooms, goats cheese and herb oil. Although every dish was fantastic, the risotto would have probably been better as a side dish and not a main; however, it makes a great vegetarian option. The service, as usual, was superb and very attentive. Soups range from $7 to $10, salads from $14 to $16 and mains from $18 to $24 on the lunch menu. For dinner, starters range from $8 to $20 and mains from $28-$32.

Domus Cafe on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

French Onion Soup and Gourmet Meatloaf with Sweet & White Potato Mash

This is comfort food at it's best. My husband was going to be late tonight so I immediately perked up and offered to make dinner. I hung up the phone and felt a strange sort of panic. All the other things I had planned to do tonight started racing through my head. I'm not good at winging it when it comes to food, I need a lot of preparation. Then I remembered the Red Apron and my worries vanished. I picked up a marvelous gourmet meatloaf (Berkshire pork, “Kerr” beef and Ontario lamb) with pan sauce, sweet and white potato mash. This lovely meal was $15 for 2.

My eyes were a little bigger than my stomach and I thought it would be a good idea to make a French onion soup with the leftovers from our weekend fondue – to have before our main. Well, by the time I got to the meatloaf I was already stuffed. It didn't stop me tho. I finished every bite, and it was delicious. The soup actually turned out fabulous too! I cut up some whole wheat bread into cubes and filled the soup bowl half way. After heating the leftover fondue broth I poured it into the soup bowls and then topped it with thinly sliced Quebec cheese. We don't have oven-safe bowls so I just put them in the microwave to melt the cheese. Aside from not having the yummy crusty cheese on the edges, it turned out perfect.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Feta and Spinach Quiche with Sweet Potato Hash and Italian Sausage

Because we didn't eat enough last night we had to have a big breakfast this morning. My husband made a delicious feta and spinach quiche and served it with hot Italian sausage and the best hash browns i've ever had. They were sweet potatoes mixed with chunks of smoked bacon, watercress, onions, dijon and horseradish – absolutely fantastic.

Chinese Fondue

Last night we had a terrific evening of eating. My friends Zoya and Marc were in town and since they love eating as much as I do, I figured what better way to spend the evening then eating all night long. We started off with some cheese and crackers, veggies and dip, capers, garlic stuffed olives, homemade nuts and bolts and some salmon stuffed pastries. After a little break, we moved on to the fondue. Zoya brought some chinese meat (thinly sliced beef) since it's much easier to find in Québec and then we made the broth. For the broth we mixed together beef bouillon, red wine, apple juice, onion soup mix and chopped onions. Zoya introduced me to that recipe about 10 years ago and i've always done my fondues that way as it's so delicious. And the best part, you can use it afterward to make french onion soup. For the fondue we wrapped mushrooms, raclette cheese and jalapeno havarti in the meat, so awesome having the cheese just oozing out. For dips we had soya sauce and tabasco, bourguignonne and béarnaise. Below are some step by step shots.

And of course, along with the fabulous meal came some outstanding wine. I have a soft spot for chiantis and Zoya introduced me to what is now my favorite one – Pèppoli. Don't ever even try to compare this one to other chiantis, they will never beat it. We also had an amazing Portuguese wine, Duque de Viseu. This one also came with a great price tag for such a good wine – $13.95. The Pèppoli is a bit more at $21.95 but worth every single penny. Both can be found in the vintages at the big LCBO on Rideau.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Beef Tenderloin with Mushrooms and Salad

This post is unique in that I am blogging before eating my meal. I had to! Look at this MEAT! Even if it tasted like crap just looking at it would change the flavour. But i'm not worried. My friend Dino is cooking tonight and i've eaten steak that he's cooked before, and right now I really can't wait. I just have to stop salivating on the furniture. Alongside this lovely piece of meat will be some fried mushrooms and this delicious looking salad.

In addition to this lovely meal also comes some lovely wine. I'm currently sipping on a Romanian wine, Chevalier de Dyonis. I can honestly say this is my first Romanian wine and it's a great, light Pinot Noir. Bon appétit!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Sesame Seared Tuna and Swiss Chard

My wonderful husband made the most amazing meal tonight. Ok so they're all amazing. But this one was especially good. It's been a while since i've had tuna, and the sauce he marinated it in was absolutely divine!

What you’ll need
Sesame seeds
Soy sauce
Garlic powder
Chili flakes
Swiss chard

What to do
Mix together the soy sauce, honey, ginger, garlic powder and chili flakes. Marinate the tuna in the sauce for 20 minutes. Dip one side of the tuna in sesame seeds and sear for 1 minute. Flip over and sear the other side. In a wok, sautée the swiss chard with onions and garlic. Serve alongside the tuna and sprinkle with onions and sesame seeds. Take the sauce and serve in a dish for dipping. Delish!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

(Mock) Spaghetti & Meat Sauce

This is anything but what you see in the title. The starchy, heavy spaghetti noodles have been replaced with carotene-rich spaghetti squash and the meat sauce is made with ground chicken and spinach. A much healthier version than the original. The best part? You feel comfortably full and energized, not stuffed and tired. My husband does such a great job with meals like this.

What you’ll need
Spaghetti squash
Ground chicken
Tomato sauce
Tomato paste
Italian herbs and spices

What to do
Halve the squash and place face-down on a pan with a bit of water. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. In a pan fry the onions and garlic, then add the ground chicken and cook. Add the tomatoes, sauce, paste, spinach, herbs and spices and simmer. Scoop out the squash onto a plate and top with the sauce. YUMM.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

$15 Out – Benitz Bistro

I've eaten here once before, closer to when they first opened. Although I wasn't in awe by the food, it was still very good and the service was amazing. I thought that now, having been open for a while the food would be outstanding. So when I received a gift certificate from a friend at Christmas time, I was excited to try it again. All the hype the chef gets and delicious sounding meals on the menu, I expected to be wowed by the flavour of the food. Unfortunately I was not. I found a lot of what I ate to be more bland than I had anticipated. I started off with the Hot Soup, a white asparagus and potato bisque. It was ok. For my main I ordered the Seasonal Taster from the dinner specials. Foie gras terrine with apricot coulis, lamb flank topped with olive and tomato ragout, cajun prawn over a pear and cucumber salsa and beer battered cod with sweet potato chips. Sounds absolutely fabulous doesn't it? The only thing that thrilled my taste buds on the plate was the foie gras. Despite the fact the olive and tomato ragout was tasty, the lamb flank was a little on the tough side. The cajun prawns were ok, nothing to celebrate, and the beer battered cod was pretty greasy. My husband ordered the Beet Salad – cast iron roasted and sliced local beets, candied pecans, green onion, honey mustard vinaigrette and crispy panko crusted Ferme Floralpe goat cheese croquettes, and the Beef Tenderloin with garlic mash, swiss chard, foie gras butter and caramelized onion jam for his main. Overall, everything was good, not great. Not for the price you're paying. Apps range between $7 and $14 and mains between $21 and $28. What was exceptional however, was the service. The first time I went I found it so refreshing to have such wonderful service in Ottawa. And that did not change. The wait staff is extremely professional and do everything they're supposed to without you even realizing it. The service is what brought my rating to 2 stars over 1. It's also what made me give out my first tip jar reward – which was very exciting for me. I had $15 accumulated so I added this to our server's regular tip. Despite the food not meeting my expectations, we had a fabulous evening, but will likely spend our money elsewhere at our next restaurant outing.

Benitz Bistro on Urbanspoon

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Roasted Garlic and Dijon Salmon with Watercress

Let the detoxing begin! The one thing I love about January is that I normally go on a health kick because i've eaten and drank so much during the month of December. I'm exercising more because i'm no longer using my spare time finding the perfect gift, and i'm not eating any more sweets or what seems like 5 meals in one. Along with a large glass of lemon, lime and cayenne water in the morning, barley, lemon, ginger and cinnamon tea, i'm also eating fabulous meals. Tonight's was especially healthy as it contained one of the best super-foods out there – watercress. Watercress is a top source of vitamins C, B1, B6, K and E, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese and zinc. My husband is also awesome at making healthy food taste just as good as dessert! Here's what he did.

What you’ll need
Chicken stock

What to do
Roast some garlic in tinfoil in the oven. Remove each clove and mash together with some dijon mustard. Broil the salmon. Lightly saute the watercress in a wok with some garlic (not the one you mixed with the dijon) and chicken stock. Spread the garlic and dijon mustard over the cooked salmon and serve with the watercress. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Shrimp and Tzatziki Spinach Salad

Tonight my husband made a zesty olive oil and lemon spinach salad topped with delicious shrimp, tzatziki, roasted garlic, and feta. I had leftover pasta for lunch so a light dinner was just what I needed. I love my husband to death and am so indebted to him for his amazing cooking every single night. This blog would not exist without him.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Cheese and Sundried Tomato Stuffed Roasted Pepper Agnolotti with Homemade Rosé Sauce

We went to the World Juniors gold medal game last night (yay Canada!) so i've spent the day on little sleep, which often makes me cold and crave pasta. So when I saw what my husband was making I was extremely excited. He thought I may be bored with pasta by now but no way. As long as there's something stuffed with something and topped with a sauce, i'm very happy. The cheese and sundried tomato stuffed roasted pepper agnolotti was again from La Bottega. Their homemade pasta is so thick and full and absolutely delicious. To make it even more delectable, my husband topped it with the best rosé sauce ever. He mixed together some chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, onion, Italian herbs, cream, and very yummy capers – another one of my favorite things. So I have to say, this dish was truly adored.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Lucky Strike – NYC

If you need a pick-me-up for a night on the town when you just don't think you can eat or drink and be merry any more, then this is THE place to go. Not only will the awesome tunes booming from the speakers get you going, their list of delicious drinks have enough to get the most hungover customer on track again. Need I mention it was New Year's day when we went? The atmosphere is fun and almost fancy for the bar style food that is served. But don't get me wrong, the food is great, and exactly what you need when you've just spent the last few days surfing menus of unconventional dishes. I started off with a wonderful Ginger Honey cocktail made with 42 Below Honey, ginger, lemon, honey and orange juice. My next drink was also very delicious, a Vanilla Shanti martini made with Stoli Vanilla, Cointreau, fresh lemon and lime juice, pineapple juice and sugar. Now, onto the food. My appetizer was a delicious French Onion Soup and my main, a heartwarming Spinach Ricotta Ravioli with butter, sage and garlic. All of the above opened the door to a wonderful last night in New York City.

Lucky Strike on Urbanspoon

$12 In – Bun NYC

Well, here it is, my second tip jar submission. I really hate to put this restaurant in this category because the food was so delicious. But the service, oh the service, it just plain sucked. And it probably seemed worse because we were so famished and because the time of day was really unusual (3pm). Before I go any further, I will start with the positive points of this restaurant, it's a really great Vietnamese restaurant in the heart of Soho that has the most unique Vietnamese dishes i've ever seen and a really nice atmosphere. The food itself would have gotten 4 stars had it not been for the service. I started off with the Shrimp Roll – shrimp, Berkshire pork belly, bun, lettuce, mint and supposed to be served with peanut sauce but came with fish sauce. 

Then I tried the Mini Cakes my husband ordered, also delicious, made with diced pork, mushroom and green bean. Then for my main I had the Bun Nem Lamb which was an extremely flavourful dish of lamb balls, spring roll, pickled shaved papaya and herbs. All very impressive. Now for the not so good points. Our food took a long time. My husband's appetizer arrived once my friend and I had completed ours, long after. Then they forgot to make my friend's main course. She finally got it after we finished ours. I also overheard another table asking about a dish of theirs that they forgot to make. We ordered some Vietnamese coffee at the beginning as well, but those were forgotten and eventually came after we reminded our server. I could understand if it was swamped in there and they were short on staff, but our server spent a lot of time casually chatting with other patrons and people who worked there. We did not receive one apology for the poor service or late arrival of food. The temperature in the restaurant was also very cold. Now, all that being said, I would recommend this restaurant. It has a lot of great reviews and the food is definitely worth it. I think we were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Bun on Urbanspoon

Casimir – NYC

We went here for dinner on New Year's Eve and I think it was the perfect choice. It's a wonderful French bistro in the East Village that is very reasonably priced. Everyone at our table raved about their meal and having the honor of trying many of the dishes, i'd have to agree that they were delicious indeed. As per usual I had trouble deciding what to order but finally settled on the Seared Sea Scallops with herb salad, leeks and lemon vinaigrette to start. 

My main was a marvelous Dried Cherry Glazed Duck Breast with the most enjoyable mashed potatoes i've ever had and green beans. One of the other dishes I stole a bite from was the Braised Lamb Shank with porcini mushrooms, risotto and broccoli rabe. This was also my second choice to the duck and was very nice. We also had a wonderful deep, French red wine with our meal, Château du Galoupet from les Côtes de Provence area. The service was exceptional considering how busy they were and contrary to some reviews i've seen of the restaurant. Maybe we were just having a lucky night but I don't think so. Apps range from $12 to $15 and mains from $18 to $28. 

Casimir on Urbanspoon

August – NYC

This is one of those restaurants where I was torn between giving them 2 or 3 stars. Had they been an Ottawa restaurant they would have definitely gotten 3 stars, but I guess because this one is in New York City I expected a little more wow out of the food. The service on the other hand almost made me cave and give them 3 but in the end, I went with 2, which is still good! It's a quaint little restaurant in Greenwich Village with a charming and cozy indoor garden patio at the back with cobblestone floors. Looking over the menu I was torn on what to order. Upon our server's recommendation I started off with the Charcuterie Plate of cured European meats and house terrines. The liver pâté was especially scrumptious. For my main I had the Beef Shortrib Sauerbraten – quark spaetzle, pickled apples, celery and horseradish, also a wonderful choice. A great bottle of wine, Tenuta Friggiali 2004 Rosso Di Montalcino, my closest friends and the excitement of finally getting to NYC after a long drive contributed to a wonderful evening. One of the areas I docked points on the food was the selection. Although I do enjoy a small menu, my friend who does not eat meat felt that a vegetarian and/or poultry dish could have been added to the selection. The Oven Roasted Whole Orata dish she ordered however, was extremely tasty. Apps range between $9 and $15, mains between $24 and $26.

August on Urbanspoon