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Everything posted by shrek

  1. I agree with Jaymes about the approach to eating well on a cruise ship. We are regular RCCL cruisers and I have found that as long as I stick to the simply prepared foods, then they have excellent flavour and presentation. Even in the buffets I stick to foods that have few ingredients like the fresh wraps and sandwiches, salads, etc. I stay away from the sauces on most dishes as i find them too heavy and salty for the most part. The omlette station is nice in the morning as they will make your omelette to order. The supply of fresh fruit is wonderful, and there is usually a nice variety. We have a rule that we never take an elevator while on a crsuie ship and walking the flights of stairs to and from the cabin will take care of the excess calories.
  2. shrek

    Nota Bene

    Went to Nota Bene last Friday, and like Phoenikia found the service to be exceptional. The food was very good, but certainly not the best meal I have ever had, but very nice overall. I had the grilled octopus with rapini (just an aside, I was in toronto for three days, had three dinners and thay all came with rapini) as a starter. The octopus was superb, nicely grilled, very tender, and the portion was substantial. I also had the suckling pig/boudin tart, thanks to those who recommended it. I found the pork a little bland, but the crsip bacon, the sausage and the tart were divine. My husband had the tuna tartare with avocado, and the small taste that he shared with me was wonderful. He had the steak as his main course, and said it was very good. I was surprised at the size of the portion. We were very full after dinner so opted for the three cheese plate and the flight of dessert wines to go with it. There was a sauterne, a madiera and a tawny port. We had fun trying the different wines with the different cheeses. Our waiter was very attentive, without being obtrusive, and the sommelier was very charming. I had checked out the wine list online before we arrived, only to find that he had just brought in 90 cases of wine, so there was a very large selection to choose from. I did think that the list was fairly high priced in relation to the food pricing. Overall, it was a very nice evening, and we would go back again.
  3. My basic everyday salad is organic greens and sprouts, tomato, boiled egg, evoo and balsamic vinegar and ground pepper. In the winter I use roasted beets instead of tomatoes. I also try to incorporate some protein like roasted chicken or beef, or cashews.
  4. My first meal with my husband was on our first date. We went to a movie and then went to the local pizza place. It happens that at the time we worked in the same office, and no one knew we had eyes for each other. The pizza place was very close to our office and our staff were all regulars at lunchtime. We went in after the movie and ordered a small Hawaiian pizza. The pizza chef gave us a wave since he knew we were regulars. Twenty minutes later our waitress shows up at the table with our pizza and he had made our pizza in the shape of a heart. He must have guessed by the dopey way were were looking at one another, but I guess it was meant to be since we have been married for 16 wonderful years.
  5. I just spent a week in Moncton and had a couple of good food experiences. Had dinner at Little Louis' Oyster Bar, it was a really nice restaurant. After two days of Board meetings I started the evening off with a Grey goose martini - it definitely took the edge off. The service was pleasant, the food was tasty and the wine list was a pleasure. Dessert was delicious too. Also spent a couple of evenings at the Pump House Brewery watching the hockey games. Go Sens Go! They make their own beer which was definitely drinkable and they have a wood burning pizza oven, and they were worth the trip - nice thin crust and fresh ingredients. Had the bison burger on focaccia another night and it was good too. We found two nice coffee spots - Joe Moka and Café Cognito - both served up some nice full bodied fresh coffee. They were located very close to the Delta Beausejour.
  6. Baked beans. No way, no how, not for anything in the world, will I put baked beans in my mouth. I don't care who made them or how they were made, the smell alone makes me gag. The very words "baked beans" bring back horrifying childhood memories. Blech.
  7. I tried some from a Loblaws in Ottawa one day when I was starving and in a hurry, and it's edible, but not very tasty.
  8. I am sitting at my desk drooling over the pictures of your dinner last night. The seabream looks amazing. Thank you so much for your fascinating blog Michelle.
  9. My SIL is probably the worst cook in the family, and mostly due to the fact that she has the attention span of a two year old. Some past food offerings include: Roast beef and potatoes cooked at 400F for four hours in the roasting pan. Result was shoe leather and air filled crispy potato skins. Chocolate cake that was so dry that we resorted to licking off the icing which was edible because it came from a can. Cheesecake that was runny and gooey because she thought that 2 TBSP of Bailey's wasn't enough so she kept pouring till she could smell the Bailey's, and then couldn't figure out why it wouldn't set properly. Angel food cake from a mix, iced with 7 minute icing, because it's her favourite childhood dessert. Tastes like sweet cardboard. Rice cooked on high for 10 minutes - hard and crispy. Her theory was if it takes 20 minutes on low, then 10 on high should do the same job. Ham, that she forgot to take out of the freezer for Easter dinner, defrosted in the microwave and boiled in water on the stove, and then browned on the BBQ - result - soggy, frozen in the middle, charred on the outside, ham. We generally have a large, late lunch when we are expected to have dinner there, and I offer to bring the appetizer so we can have something edible to tide us over till we get home. I'm sure there are more examples, but I have been trying to erase them from my memory.
  10. Nicoise salad for me. Yummy green beans, grilled tuna, olives, tarragon dressing, baby potatoes. I think I have to go make one of these right now.
  11. You mean, like when you throw a package of frozen raspberries in the blender at 2AM to make frozen daquiris, only to find out that red pepper daquiris don't taste so good even at 2AM
  12. Tupac, I loved the garden pictures, and your food pictures are making me drool. Your guacamole picture looked just like the guacamole I made last night. I had to laugh at your picture of the rosemary bush. I also have rosemary in my garden, but it is a pee wee in comparison to yours. It is about 6 inches tall. Our rainy Ottawa spring has stunted its growth. My tomato plants have just now produced blossoms and it will be several weeks before we see fruit. I have Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan and I find it to be an excellent resource. I like to use the cookbook for inspiration, and then do my own thing.
  13. We registered 15 years ago for china, silverware and crystal and we received a lot of the items we chose. We also used cash gifts to complete the sets. We entertain frequently and use the china, silver and crystal every time. It still gives me a thrill to see the table decked out in the lovely things we chose and I wouldn't change a thing if I had to choose it all again. We actually have a place settings for thirteen in the china pattern, because I thought that something would get broken over the years and it would be impossible to replace. So far, no breakage.
  14. Bekta is no longer open for lunch, only dinner. I would suggest El Meson on Beechwood.
  15. That looks really cool. I'd certainly try it. It looks easier to make than a timpano. I made a timpano for a "Big Night" themed New Year's party that was spectacular. It took two days to make but the gasps of awe from my guests made it worth the effort. It tasted really good too.
  16. We have organic vegetables delivered every week, and while we do eat other non-organic fruits and vegetables I have to say that the organic food is better. I think the main reason for that is that with the organic, locally grown produce we are eating food that is in season, and some measure of care is taken in growing it. I like the fact that I know the guy who is growing my vegetables, and I love the variety and different types of vegetables that I receive each week. That they are also organic is a bonus, but not the only reason I buy them. Throughout the winter we have been feasting on white and orange sweet potatoes, purple fingerlings, golden and candycane beets, red, yellow and white carrots, and scrumptious microgreens. They taste fantastic and they look appetizing.
  17. shrek

    Lunch! (2003-2012)

    Panini with hot cappicolo, eggplant, tomato, olives, provolone, mustard. It was yummy.
  18. Cheese. Got to have cheese. Can't go a day without it.
  19. Jim, I hear you. I went to university and discovered that there were hundreds of foods out there that I had never tasted. I loved cafeteria food . Who knew there were peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, lamb, fish? We only ever ate corn, peas, beans and carrots that were boiled within an inch of their lives, and I lived on a farm. I couldn't wait to try all of these new foods. My niece is the polar opposite, she's afraid to try anything new because she might not like it.
  20. I could never figure out why I loved the taste of a blue cheese sauce, but could not eat blue cheese. Every time I tried to eat some I would gag and have to spit it out. It turns out I am allergic to penicillin and I did not know that the "blue" in blue cheese was penicillin mold. Funny how your body knows what to do. As others have mentioned experiencing a funny feeling or taste when they try a particular food, it may be that they are allergic, but have not had a full blown reaction. Allergic reactions are often mild the first time and increase in intensity with each subsequent exposure. My niece is staying with us this year while she attends university and if I have heard "I don't like that" once I've heard it a thousand times these past six months. Our only rule is that she try everything that is prepared at least once, and then if she really doesn't like it she doesn't have to eat it. Well for someone who doesn't like green beans, beets, potatoes, squash, greens, beef, pork and and lamb, she has sure been packing it away and going for seconds. Her mother is really pissed because she still won't eat these items when she goes home.
  21. I just got back from a Caribbean cruise where a group of us bought a horse in the Owner's horse racing derby. We named it Crown Royal, decorated it with purple ribbons and used an empty Crown Royal bag as it's feed bag. It won.
  22. I always buy fresh flowers for the living room and dining room and kitchen. I always use real dishes, no paper for this girl. I make a list of things to be done on the white board in my kitchen and then as the week goes on cross off the things that are done and add new items as needed. I write a timetable on the whiteboard on the day of the dinner party which can be adjusted as required. For newbies I'd say use the best quaility ingredients you can afford, do as much prep in advance that you can, and give yourself the whole day to pull it all together. Once you have done several dinners and are more comfortable with how long everything takes to do you can sqeeze in a quick round of golf before your guests arrive. I love to entertain and I put a lot of effort into the food and table setting, and I think your guests know when you have gone to a lot of trouble for them. We usually judge the success of a dinner party by the number of empty wine bottles and the lateness of the hour that our guests depart.
  23. My tableware addiction is a little different, in that I cannot travel anywhere without purchasing a dish of some sort to bring home to remind me of my trip. I have become ever bolder with each vacation and the size of the prized item increases with each trip home. I used to be afraid that a large piece would break, but so far I have manged to get several large bowls from Italy, platters from Portugal and a large fish platter from Alaska home in one piece. Next stop Ireland.
  24. Chocolate truffles, two whisks from The Pampered Chef, teflon coated tongs, a copy of "French Leave" by John Burton Race, and a Christmas plate.
  25. I have approx 60 cookbooks and I use about 30 of them regularly, 20 or so for special occasions, and 10 more for reference than anything else. I also have about 20 issues of Bon Appetit on the shelf that get used frequently according to the season. Once a year I go through the collection and pull any books that I have not used, and decide whether to keep it or donate it to the library. I often get cookbooks as gifts, and occasionally I get one that I do not enjoy. Those are usually the ones that get donated.
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