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!

London (Ontario, that is).

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)