We have (now a little less than) 700g of feta in our fridge.
It's by far the best tasting feta cheese I've had in a long time (if ever) - it's creamy and smooth. It has a much better balance of brine/salt than most. Did I mention how creamy it is?
Its raison d'être in our fridge was the boy's rationalization that it was "the most authentic looking thing at A+P". Not to mention best bang for buck - I believe the 700g tub was around 15$. Try it if you see it. You can't miss the hideous cylindrical yellow tub with a red top.
Doric Macedonian Style Feta
We have (now a little less than) 700g of feta in our fridge.
The boy and I had planned on hosting a dinner party last Sunday before the mass exodus from London (ours included). With our love of wining and dining guests/friends, we naturally started the cooking craze mid afternoon and guestimated (sorry, I had to throw that in :D) for 5. Honey-wasabi roast chicken! Roasted potatoes with onions and green peppers! Green salad! Apple pie!
Sadly, our friends failed to show (they had valid explainations, and we're no longer too upset at them). Pick-me-ups that evening included homebrewed porter and wheat beers, a few episodes of House and Family Guy, and a bath.
Not all was lost - leftovers made fantastic lunches.
And I managed a mostly decent looking pie for my first ever lattice top!
With gadgets like the SureShot (which still cracks me up every time) you've already done most of the idiot-proofing, Tim Hortons. Yet, there is still room for error and general frustration-provoking encounters. Now of course, this may not be the case in all of your locations, but certainly my last 2 incidences with you have been less than satisfactory.
Location: basement of the SSC.
Incident 1: I was too hungry and cold to wait until going home for food and figured a bowl of mediocre soup would somewhat solve the problem. The accompanying piece of bread is of course, nowhere near the boy's home baked goods, but it'll do. Especially if toasted. Putting on my biggest grin, I asked the lady pleasantly if she would please slice it open to toast for me. "I don't toast! This is small piece of baguette!" Yes, I was aware that it was a mini baguette. Again, I patiently expressed that I wanted it toasted. "No toast! It burn!". Um, actually - it's about same thickness as your mediocre bagels, which never thoroughly toast on one pass (and thus never burn). I ask her again - third time's the charm? "Not my fault if burnt bagel." Yeah, okay. She grudgingly toasts it, cranking the speed on the toaster up to further prevent it from "burning". The result? A pretty unscathed and surprise! not toasted piece of bread. Oh well, it was at least warm. Ish.
Incident 2: I was too hungry to wait until going home for food (again. I should start stocking provisions at the lab - I cringe every time I have to spend money on campus food). The lineup in the basement of the UCC was a tad less crazy than the one upstairs, so off I go again. Mission: cream cheese bagel, twice toasted. I double checked with the cashier - it'll be flipped, then toasted again? Of course, it wasn't she who served me (that would've been too efficient). It was someone who was trying to juggle my bagel and the turkey sandwich order behind me. I eyed her stacking the sandwich hesitantly and messily (did you not see the cheat sheet, noob?). When she took my bagel out and proceeded with cream cheese-ing it, I gently reminded her that I wanted it toasted again. "Oh! It written here already on order!" Then why did I have to remind you? Then, the fatal mistake: she toasted it on the same bloody side. I walked away dissatisfied with blackened innards and untoasted externals.
I miss Montreal.
Including greasy Lebanese fast food - Boustan is absolutely unbeatable. My brief Montreal visit last weekend (new blog post come!) to traipse across the stage in a ceremony of funny hats didn't include garlic potatoes; I figured I'd make up for it today at the food court. As much as I dislike shopping for the sake of shopping, I desperately needed a pair of everyday winter boots to combat slush and cold - it's finally that time of year where my "nice" leather boots stay hidden in the closet until roads have been cleared of snow and salt.
I grabbed a best-of-both-words beef-and-chicken sandwich, all dressed of course. Pickled turnips! Garlic sauce! Mint! But the excitement ended after a few bites. The almost 6$ shawarma from Madina was texturally way off - the garlic sauce was goopy and not smooth, the pickled turnips were soggy, and the beef was... also soggy? I think "mushy" would be the best way to describe it. I'm not sure I want to know how a spit roast would turn mushy...
I'm packing a lunch next time I go shopping.
Watching Iron Chef has become more than just an after dinner sport - in fact, it's been an inspiration for dinner. Take the episode featuring sturgeon: the boy has a "oh-I'm-so-going-to-make-that" moment as Iron Chef Symon whips out a sturgeon puttanesca (or, if you would prefer - the wikipedia article mentions it being the only thing that could be whipped up by a whore between turning tricks). The lovely photo below is from the boy's version 2 rendition, served when his mum was up visiting. Relatives with a cars mean having a chance to explore places that we would've unfortunately missed otherwise (not exactly bike-able or bus-able to beyond the corners of London) : one stop at the Arva flour mill in Arva, and one to White's Cider Mill in Lambeth. Too bad we didn't have a chance to meet Mike at the flour mill - the owner is a friend of the chefs at The Only. Oh well, perhaps we'll meet him at one of his frequent trips to the restaurant and chat bread. Purchases his store included a 10kg bag of flour, some semolina, local eggs and the most wonderful caramels. At the apple cider mill: pressed apples for drinking and cider making, cherry juice, and goodies to ferment cider.
With a lack of capers in our kitchen (something I've yet to learn to appreciate), the puttanesca tomato sauce featured olives, anchovies and chilli flakes, with catfish (yum!) thrown in at the end. The semolina was smooth and elastic, much easier to work with than all purpose flour and resulting in thinner hand-rolled sheets (our next kitchen purchase, after a sharpening stone, may be a hand operated pasta machine). Needless to say, it was absolutely delicious.
I realise that I've been neglecting this blog, so I'll do my utmost to update more often. One of the failed mentions of about a month ago was this: the boy decided to make me dinner. Not that it's a rare thing that he does this, but this - this was fantastic. Braised chicken thighs atop a bed of watercress risotto (what a lovely colour!!), and garnished with freshly shaved parm. Can we say... YUM!
We've landed ourselves in the little town of London, in a 825 sq ft 2 bedroom apartment that's costing us less than the 1bdrm Montreal pad.
Perhaps I should rephrase myself: we're now located in Canada's 10th largest city. Ahem. It takes a little getting used to when you've lived in Montreal for the past 5 years...
My biggest concern moving here was that there'd be a lack of food scene - but I've been proven wrong so far! After 8 weeks of London-ing, we've had beautiful food (outside of our own kitchen, of course) at Garlic's and The Only on King.
A couple of Sundays ago, the boy and I had garlic ice cream. Yes, true to the name of the restaurant, they tried to prominently feature garlic in all of their dishes, including dessert! Pleasantly surprised, it was pretty damn tasty: the spicy kick from the raw garlic balanced well with the vanilla in the ice cream. The waitress seemed to think we were "brave" to try the chocolate covered garlic garnish (that would've benefited from being slightly less sweet) - perhaps most of the patrons are less daring than us. Food was okay - satisfying, but not as creative or original flavours as I would've liked.
The pan fried northern Lake Erie yellow skinned wild pickerel was done perfectly - every time I order fish at a restaurant (which seems to be rare), I wonder why I don't order fish more often! It was served with a little too much remoulade, though (which went well with the potatoes, but overwhelmed the fish if you glopped it on). The boy had the the braised dorset lamb shank, accompanied by a jalapeno & mint jelly. It was nice. Satisfying.
Tonight, we dined at The Only on King - and even had a chance to meet the chefs Jason and Paul and sneak a peak at the kitchen! (drool... I want one of those). The boy's surprise tasting menu was of beautifully autumn, and started with a chestnut soup with apple crème fraîche. An heirloom beet salad with chèvre and smoked bacon on arugula, a gnocchi and perch dish, and cornish hen done just right. Dessert? A deliciously rich and smooth chocolate tart. His mum (who suggested the lovely restaurant after reading in En Route that it was on the top 10 list of new restaurants in Canada) had a fantastically balanced endive salad featuring a blue cheese dressing, apples, and pecans. And a main of perch and dessert of sticky toffee pudding (which came with a fantastic vanilla ice cream). My rillettes to start were accompanied by lovely olives and marinaded artichoke, and the rib eye with creamed spinach and chanterelles was fantastic. The meat was cooked perfectly - and thank goodness they didn't ask how one would like it done, because it precludes the possibility of morons ordering it medium well or well done! And I must confess (rather sheepishly) - this is the first time I've had chanterelles, and I've definitely fallen in love with them. Plating was a little less exciting, but the tastes more than made up for that component.
I'm looking forward to visiting The Only again, and seeing what Jason and Paul will whip up (their menu changes daily). Lovely atmosphere, and a cozy dining area that seats about 30. And part of their decor? They have a meat block and a duck press. How cool is that?
The Only on King
172 King Street; 519.936.2064
**** (of 5)
Garlic's of London
481 Richmond St; 519.432.4092
*** (of 5)
Our lunch visit yesterday to the new burger bar m:brgr left much to be desired. The burgers were good, yes, but definitely overpriced for what they're worth. And it wasn't anything that couldn't have been made at home for tastier. The reasonable burger price of 8.75$ doesn't reflect your total bill (as expected - I'd already peeked at the menu on their website) since toppings add up. A few toppings later, and your burger ends up being closer to 18$. The portobello on the boy's burger were slightly lacking in flavour, and unable to hold up against the beef. My burger, topped with house-smoked bacon (which I will admit was quite tasty) and cheddar that was too mild for my liking (especially against the pickle). Moreover, our foodie companion's fried egg was overcooked (isn't the whole point to have the runny yolk meld with the sandwich?).
The one saving grace? Excellent coleslaw (also as expected - it's the same stuff served at Moishe's, and it's the stuff that turned me onto coleslaw in the first place). Okay, and their lightly battered sweet potato fries were pretty tasty as well. But aren't burger joints supposed to highlight burgers?
I'm glad I tried the restaurant, but the hype is overrated and my first visit was likely my last. Don't be fooled by their tagline "required eating".
2025 Drummond; 514-906-2747
Dinner for 2, before tax, tip and drinks: $45-$75
Anyway, the boy had baked fresh ciabatta for opening night of The Mikado yesterday, for which he had baked 6 loaves of ciabatta for patrons to munch upon. Sadly (well, not so sadly for us), one of the loaves was on the not-so-aesthetically-pleasing side of things, meaning attaching Nankipoo's name to it would've been a little bit of a silly idea. So, we ate the 1/2 that was a little flat.
To celebrate the grand occasion of tasty bread, we opened the bottle of stuff I had picked up from Vielle Europe not too long ago: The Village Press's Barnea Olive Oil. First taste = bitter, flat. Bitter and flat?! Definitely not the way I remembered it at the restaurant. A quick google search convinced us that yes, the oil had indeed turned rancid. Must have been the poor seal of its cap, which of course would've bled air into the bottle.
All of this left me, of course, a little bit sad. I'd been waiting to have my very own coveted bottle of this stuff to consume! Next course of action = email the folks over at the Village Press with a firm but pleasant tone, letting them know that I wouldn't accept anything other than a replacement bottle for this mishap - you know, the standard product complaint email, here's the UPC code, etc etc except that I tried to make it as friendly as possible.
I received a reply from them, one hour later!! I've never heard of such speedy customer service in my life, and was taken aback (pleasantly). Plus they were apologetic - in a rather sincere way (as sincere as one can be in that sector), unlike other customer service representatives I've dealt with in the same domain. And now, a bottle of this stuff is getting shipped here - shipped! I actually only expected to get a voucher for them instead, and I didn't think ask for me to "please send us your address ASAP!!" (!!'s placed by them, not me).
Anyway, I'm pleased. Quite so.
Yes, I'm guilty of having disappeared for the last few months.
It has been a indeed a lengthy while since I've updated here. In fact, there's a massive backlog of tasty photos on my laptop, with many side dishes of accompanying stories. I've been rather busy with the school thing - between working on my thesis and practicing French (yes, I'm taking a French class this semester!), I barely have time to host dinner parties!
And I'm hoping to make-over the blog sometime in the near future, but of course that's yet another form of procrastination. Quite unnecessary as my plate for these 2 weeks has been loaded with 2 presentations, a midterm, and the first half of my thesis due.
I'll be back soon, I promise.
posted by lindsay @ 14:37