Saturday, January 28, 2012

Breakfast Gnocchi

If you haven't picked up the new copy of Ottawa Magazine's Interiors Edition, I highly recommend you do. Not only is it filled with images of beautiful local homes, there's also a little food section at the back that's worth checking out.

This delicious breakfast was eaten almost a month ago, but I wasn't allowed to talk about it until the magazine was released. You see, my husband sometimes freelances for Ottawa Magazine and since he worked on the layout of this issue, had a sneak peak at what was coming. The result, his own homemade concoction of the breakfast gnocchi that is available at Art-is-in Bakery. So if you're not lucky enough to have my husband in your home cooking for you, you've got an alternative!

My husband served up two beautifully poached eggs over a toasted fennel and dill baguette and coated them with silky hollandaise. Off to the side, thin slivers of buttery baked potato. The eggs were then surrounded by chopped smoked bacon, halved cherry tomatoes, gnocchi and brussels sprout leaves. Probably one of the best things I've ever eaten in my life. (I must confess that mine was modified with my spelt and kamut bread from Wild Oat and rice gnocchi, you see, I have a frustrating wheat intolerance.)

Later this morning my husband will be treating himself though. We'll be heading over to chez Edgar for the Dutch Baby. Since he layed out the image of that golden pancake topped with caramelized slow-cooked pork belly, he hasn't been the same, waking up every Saturday morning from his dream and questioning "Is it time yet!?"

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Le Kim Chi

So sorry, no food porn to accompany this post, so you'll just have to trust me on this one.

I had my first visit to Le Kim Chi this weekend and it definitely won't be my last.

The appetizers had me drawn in right away, so many delectable choices. My friend Sue and I managed to narrow it down to the KimChi Twikim Mandoo – 4 homemade, lightly deep fried kimchi dumplings drizzled with a creamy spicy sauce. And the Pa Jeon, a delicious seafood and scallion pancake panfried until golden and edged with crispy bits. The pancake was served sliced like a pizza, perfect for sharing.

Sue suggested the Bulgogi to share for the entrĂ©e, but my eyes, being much larger than my stomach, gave me the courage to convince her we needed more. So along with our thinly sliced, oh-so-tender beef (which was served with vegetables, rice, kimchi, seaweed salad and pickled sprouts – somehow I managed to miss that part on the menu), we also ordered the Vegetable Bibimbap. What a beautiful dish. A medley of vegetables and grainy rice arrived in the hotpot (we ordered without the egg yolk). Normally we'd be the ones to mix everything together but I think our server could tell we just had so much on the table and it would just be easier if she did it for us. There's a small dish of hot sauce that comes on the side, it's not that hot so you can add the whole thing. In fact, I would have liked a little more spice. That said, I enjoyed every morsel as it was.

Although we did order a bit too much, I didn't regret it this morning when I served up the leftover bibimbap with some eggs. Yummy!!

Prices at this restaurant are very reasonable. Their wine and drink list is a bit limited but good and fairly priced. Atmosphere cozy and dimly lit with really good service.

Le Kim Chi
420 Preston Street, Ottawa

Le Kim Chi on Urbanspoon

Monday, January 9, 2012

Asian Style Halibut

Amazing dinner from my husband. Halibut, fried quinoa, shredded carrot and snap peas doused in a delicious ginger, soy, wasabi, rice vinegar and sesame oil. Yum!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Few New York Gems

We recently spent a week in NYC and, rather than do a post on all restaurants we went to, I've decided to write only about the 3 that really stood out to me.

The first is Cookshop. After a stroll along the High Line in very cool temperatures (I can only imagine how beautiful this must be in the summertime though), this lunch stop was a massive treat. The menu had me torn between garlic sausage with baked beans and pickle relish, crispy fish tacos with jalapeno-cabbage slaw, or the cookshop mezze salad. I must admit, at this point I hadn't had much in the way of vegetables for quite a few days, so I opted for a parsnip soup with rye croutons and walnut butter to start (and warm me up), and the salad. But this was not your boring old salad. A massive plate arrived filled with garlicky escarole, marinated beets, spiced carrots, farro salad and sauteed kale, braised green cabbage and apples. Oh, and toasted to perfection whole grain naan. I got my veggies for the rest of the week! Service impeccable, portions much bigger than you would imagine, and oh-so-yummy. They're lunch cocktail list is pretty impressive too.

Cookshop on Urbanspoon

The second on my list is Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill. Let's just say, we ate, and ate, and ate. Wakame – seaweeed salad with sesame dressing, Ebi Shumai – amazing homemade shrimp dumplings, vegetable tempura (the onions were to-die-for), Sake Kawa maki – salmon skin rolls, Karai Kaibashira maki – spicy scallop and smelt roe rolls, spicy tuna and tempura flakes rolls and spicy crab roll. Everything super fresh and delicious. Service was also fantastic.

Blue Ribbon Sushi on Urbanspoon

And last but certainly not least, Gramercy Tavern. I'm still in awe about my meal. I began eating before taking a photo. This is one I took trying to piece it back together after devouring my first few bites. I started off with mussels, red beans and chorizo in a delectable cilantro broth. Then came my main, bass (it's normally flounder but they were out of flounder) over yummy spaghetti squash and topped with a sinful walnut and sherry sauce. This heavenly dish still pops into my head now and then. I just want to have it all over again! My wine pairing was also perfect – Txakoli, Txomin Etxaniz, 2009, Pais Vasco, Spain. I even got to share some desserts at the end – pumpkin butterscotch pudding with cinnamon whipped cream and the warm chocolate bread pudding with cacao nib ice cream – wow. With desserts like these, there's always room for dessert. Once again, outstanding service.

Gramercy Tavern on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Beautiful Handmade Gifts

I think this is officially the longest I've gone without doing a post. But it doesn't mean I haven't been eating well! Fortunately, my only excuse is that my blogging time had been eaten up by time spent with family, friends, and travelling. How beautiful is that!? 

And how beautiful are these!? Once again, our lovely friend Jane had us in awe with her delectable, intricate, handmade treats.

I mean seriously, look at the details on these labels and paper ornament. Everything cut and glued, piece by piece.

We've been telling her for a while she needs to start her own blog. I know a ton of people who would just love to have a helping hand at making cookies that look like they should be hung on the tree (but you can eat them!).

Preserves that you thought were only available in your dreams – plum Frangelico jam anyone? or how about blueberry vanilla bean? And mmmm, pickled tomato chutney.

Thank you so much Jane! You rid us of many hunger pangs during some long drives. And cheese will never be the same without jams like these.