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Posts posted by merlin

  1. Too funny...great thread.

    I would have loved to have seen that couple plunk themselves down beside the unsuspecting previous occupants.

    I hope you got "comped" something...even though it was DOV...for obliging the restaurant's request to move. They sat you there after all.

    When visiting family in Oakville ON. I frequent one spot where from looking around it is abundantly apparent that a monied, older clientele have their regular tables but at least mgmt. appears to know this and does not seat unsuspecting "interlopers" there [grin].

    It has been a few years [was Chef Chow once there?] since we were last at BeachSide. Usually only for lunch and we were definitely out of place in our dog walking clothes amongst what was usually a predominantly well coiffed and bejewelled clientele. Remember that they used to have quite a good wine list. First place I had Burrowing Owl and Blue Mountain wines.

  2. If you check the Vancouver Island thread you'll see that the "Real Sparky" confirmed that Brasserie l'Ecole is undergoing significant renovations to its kitchen and had hoped to open soon.

    The Jan/Feb issue of EAT reported that Wild Saffron was going to be closed for most of January for more renovations with a planned re-opening toward month's end in contemplation of a busy Valentine's Day and Dine Around February.

    Not living in Victoria I am not sure about the most recent incarnation of the Herald Street Cafe but the "impression" I got from others and from reading posts at this web-site is that they were having trouble...people, food, service, etc.. Have to say that the past two visits we had there were not particularly impressive.

    Bravo I am not familiar with.

    Perhaps Shelora, Memo or Sparky will chime in with the actual news.

  3. LOL...hey Sparky...real or otherwise [grin]...

    Good to hear from you...Sandy and I hope to be out toward the end of February...mind you with this Albertan winter being as mild as it has been to date a break to Victoria is not necessary as it usually is by this time of the year...mind you a lot can change very quickly in these parts...

    Hang in with the chaos

  4. I think the allocations for Alberta are pretty slim for the Nota Bene.

    I have occasionally seen a few bottles in a couple of wine stores here in Edmonton and if that is the case I expect that the same would hold true for Calgary: the aforementioned Cellar, Kensington's shop and J. Webb spring to mind...

    Your best bet is to sign up for the newsletter from Black Hills and buy at the case lot when the Nota Bena and later, their Alibi are released as otherwise you will be out of luck. Their late harvest Sequentia is not too bad either although I am not a big fan of "stickies".

  5. Muse kitchen is headed by Cam Dobranski. Very talented young chef, ex- of Hardware Grill (Edmonton....

    His former sous, Paul (can't quite remember his last name) is opening up a place with Ritchie Breen (ex- of Teatro) Paul's got just the right mix of experience, creativity and emotional instability to become an amazing head chef...

    So that is where Cam went.

    Too funny, missed the "emotional instability" comment during my first read through.

    Cheers "Q"

  6. Dinah Sarah:

    Thanks for the review. The grouper in particular sounds delicious especially having been cooked the way you describe it, flakey and moist. I don't know Brett Johnson but certainly have enjoyed Muse.

    On visits to Calgary I usually do not get further afield than the downtown core apart from the occasional taxi to the "Red Mile" area and The Living Room, Brava Bistro and the like.

    Really enjoy Divino especially if visiting alone and want to chat with folks like Brian behind the bar who enjoy their food, wine and cheese like I do.

    Have you tried Tribune? It was just about to open when I visited in October but have not been back since.

  7. Looking forward to getting some reviews from you on what is happening in Calgary. As I have stated before, as much as it pains an Edmontonian to admit, C-Town has a great dining scene.

    Edmonton has a pretty good variety but not as dynamic as Calgary or Vancouver. That having been said you can find just about anything you want. Seafood, apart from asian, can be difficult I have to admit.

    Vancouver has a hockey team? Oh yes, the one that lost again last nite against the Flames and before that the Oilers and before that LA....

    MightyQ, you are going to have to set Daddy-A straight...[smile]

    Merry Xmas all

  8. ...Our dirty little secret was that we let Sutton Place Hotel do the cooking - we just drove down and picked it up. ....My brother found out last year and was horrified - so horrified in fact that he is insisting that he cook dinner this year because "I'm not eating hotel turkey for Christmas". ...

    Every time I hear a reference to "hotel turkey" my mind turns to that Stuart McLean Vinyl Cafe episode of when Dave cooks the turkey...I think I have heard it three or four times and it reduces me to tears of laughter every time....

  9. Thank you Mike.

    I hope he "surfaces" somewhere soon.

    I enjoyed several outstanding meals when he was there. In fact, my wife and I were thinking about driving down to Calgary and Il Sogno was one post where we were going to go...guess I have saved myself a few bucks...having just received another Mastercard installment from my Vancouver Island trip that might not be a bad thing :rolleyes:

  10. You do what you can, serve who you can and bill what you can.

    Quite a few years ago I was one of a number of lunch time "regulars" who sat up daily at the "wood" in an Earls in Edmonton Centre. The restaurant was absolutely slammed. An electrical fire in the complex shut off a generator resulting in a lot of smoke and a loss of power except for the blaring alarm.

    We "retired" to another local "haunt" and finished off the afternoon.

    The owner/operator would have lost a lot of revenue for all of those who had to leave EXCEPT for us regulars who returned the following day to find our bills awaiting in front of our customary perches at the bar.

  11. Have heard a rumour that Chef Gieuseppe Di Gennaro has left my favourite Italian restaurant in Calgary, Il Sogno in "Bridgeland".

    Any truth to that?

    I see that their website www.ilsogno.org/ no longer "features" him whereas formerly he was identified as executive chef and co-owner.

    That would indeed be a shame...unless of course he has opened up his own spot elsewhere...as his food was superb.

  12. Thanks for the review and photos.

    I don't know what I miss more....a great meal at Cru or a visit to the Abbey at St. Benoit du Lac with the scenic beauty of the Eastern Townships even at this time of year ...their sparking cider and chocolate covered blueberries from "bleuet" country up in the Lac Saint Jean region are pretty fine as well...

  13. Cafe Brio next evening aced in all aspects vs Rosemead, but of course, the restau did not look like a cold Maple Leaf Lounge.

    Too bad about the Rosemeade. Had heard nothing but good things about it both in the press and from folks in the "trade" in Victoria. We almost went when in Victoria a couple of weeks ago but elected instead to go to our old favourites, Cafe Brio, Brasserie l'Ecole and Zambri's.

    Like you, we thoroughly enjoyed our meal at Brio along with some terrific Cdn. red wine from the Howard Soon's Small Lots Program at Sandhill.

    Do not "follow" the "...the restaurant did not look like a cold Maple Leaf Lounge" observation. May have missed the earlier comment. Can you explain?

    Have to chuckle about this topic. Do you remember how "outraged" this particular site was when Tofino's SOBO made the same list a few years back? A "catering truck" this and that. I do not think it is to be taken seriously at all.

    Those who make the list get some free publicity.

  14. Daddy-A:

    Must be the day for mea culpas on Victoria mistakes.

    In my post above I mistakenly referred to you and your post as Andrew rather than Arne.

    You can blame it on the delayed effects of a myriad of libations or still being on "Tofino Time" and mellowed right out......

    The rabbitt dish sounds delicious. Not surprised by the presence of calvados. I had a glass of coeur de lion calvados that was as good a calvados as I have ever had. On an earlier visit Marc had another with an actual apple inside the bottle like the pear in the pear flavoured eau de vie which was even better and a pommeau de normandie [French cider fortified with calvados and aged in oak barrels] which was also delicious.

  15. Congrats to the BC winners...should have gone to Rosemeade after all when we were in Victoria last week....

    Have to chuckle concerning the success of the Montreal...where I was born and raised....restaurants. Do any of you remember the "gnashing of teeth" at the Montreal section of this website when Tofino's SOBO was similarly lauded. All sorts of muttering about a "bus", catering truck winning an award instead of this Montreal spot or another.

    Anyway, good for all of the spots mentioned.

  16. Andrew/Shelora:

    Missed you folks by a few days. My wife and I got back to Alberta on Saturday after close to three weeks on the Island.

    After a couple of weeks on Chesterman Beach where we met up with Chris aka Tofino we headed down to Victoria.

    Monday nite we were tired and elected to eat in the hotel and dined at LURE. We had met Chris Mustard up at the Wick in Tofino and he suggested that we should look up Camilla if we went to the restaurant. As luck would have it, she turned out to be our server. Charming, friendly excellent server who knows and appreciates her wine.

    My wife had a salad and then the roast duck as her main. The duck was supposed to be accompanied by dijon/goat cheese gnochi, roast veg and seafood dumplings. Both the hostess who seated us as well as Camilla were quick to mention that if seafood was a "problem" it could be substituted. My wife does not enjoy seafood...which of course begs the question, "why the heck do we go to Victoria several times a year?" :blink: ...and true to her "roots" asked for more gnochi. It came crisp, almost spaetzle like which is just how she likes it.

    I started with the tuna carpacio. Brilliant! When it initially came I was a little taken aback as the pieces of tuna were a little larger, like big tapioca pearls, than I had expected. It came with some pickled ginger and was circled by curry oil. The latter really "worked" with the raw tuna. A delicious appetizer.

    I then had their halibut, braised pork belly and apple/fig tarte. Beautiful presentation and delicious combination with contrasting flavours.

    On Camilla's recommendation we tried the Alderlea Clarinet. I had not had this wine before and thoroughly enjoyed it. Camilla brought us a beautiful cheese plate to finish our evening with each cheese accompanied by a different jam, dip or flavour accent. Glasses of NIchol Syrah and Kettle Valley pinot gris finished off the evening.

    Despite our intention to try different spots this trip the next day we ended up at two of our traditional favourites. Lunch at Zambri's and dinner at Brasserie l'Ecole.

    Zambri's did not disappoint. Such good rustic, "honest" food. We shared servings of duck ragu with black olives over a penne like pasta and the roast chicken in a spicy tomato sauce over soft polenta along with half orders of crispy, garlicy zuchinni and sweet braised red cabbage. Both were outstanding. Simple but so full of flavour. I tried to duplicate the chicken dish last nite with not as much success. Washed it down with some decent valpolicella and Campo Fiorin.

    That nite we wandered across the Johnson Street bridge to Brasserie l'Ecole. I won't go into great detail about the food because Andrew's description certainly matched ours...ok, ok...the real reason is that as per usual I willingly participated in an "immersion course" in good valued French wine thanks to Marc's outstanding wine program :wub:

    I love their endive/frisee salad with the nuts and dijon vinaigrette mixing with the lardons. Have never been disappointed. My roast duck was delicious as was my wife's steak frites. The glasses of bordeaux from Fronsac not half bad either!

    We waddled and weaved our way through the torrential downpour back to the hotel.

    Our last day took our dogs on an extended walk through Victoria enjoying the brilliant weather and "characters" that inhabit Douglas past city hall.

    We took advantage of the good weather by having lunch al fresco at Cafe Paradiso on Bastion Square. Nice panini's and salads, some decent bianco from Sicily and excellent coffee.

    That nite we almost went to Paprika and after having read Andrew's post I almost wish that we had...next trip! However, we were not disappointed by our meal at Brio. Great service by Sasha and discussions with Sylvia concerning the art that covers the walls of the restaurant. My braised pork belly appetizer was melt in your mouth delicious as was the "honking" big grilled rib eye that followed.

    Enjoyed a glass of viognier from Kettle Valley before dinner. Viognier was a nice "find" this trip. Had a bottle of La Frenz viognier at lunch at the Wickaninnish Inn when in Tofino which we also enjoyed.

    With dinner I had asked for a bottle of the malbec from Sandhill's small lots program. It was not until we were about a quarter of the way through the bottle that I realized it was in fact their Number 2 rather than malbec. Oh well, it was good wine regardless.

    However, due to that darn "problem" with evaporation we often seem encounter during "wet coast" vacations the empty Number 2 was followed by the malbec...ah yes, so much wine and so little time :rolleyes: Delicious big black fruit, firm but drinking just fine now.

    Once again, another terrific time on Vancouver Island....even bought Loto 6/49 tickets before Wednesday's draw with the fervent hope that I could afford to live there.

    Next trip we will try Paprika and Rosemeade. Both were recommended by servers we talked with in the places we ate at.

    All in all, a great holiday. Decent weather and good hospitality, food, wine and cider...I love the Merridale products.

  17. Shelora:

    Only negative thing about bypassing Victoria en route to Tofino is missing out on Choux Choux...all the talk of sausages, duck confit and pate had me thinking that I would be stocking up the cooler en route up island....will have to stop in after a couple of weeks on Chesterman Beach.

    Any other "egulleteers" going to be out in Tofino next week apart from Chris aka Tofino and Shari-Lynn?

  18. I do not recall the last time I had a doughnut...not for any health reason, just do not have a hankering for them.

    I am with Memo and Badiane when it comes to the automatic doughnut machines...growing up in Montreal it was of course not Woodwards but rather the downtown Eaton's, fifth floor I think with the other food vending machines......

    My preference back then were for those big, dark brown crunchy cake doughnuts.

    Also used to pick up the very soft maple and chocolate glazed ones in Woolworth's.

    However, cannot argue with Deborah either...many Saturday nites, actually Sunday mornings found us in the line-up at the St. Viateur bagel factory en route from the Moustache on Closse Street or Woody's on Bishop or Winnie's on Crescent en route to the east end...."peace offering" to the family for the stumbling and crashing upon arriving home....

  19. My copy arrived in the mail today.

    Although [unlike Andrew] I did not enjoy my one trip to Temple I have to appreciate current chef Garrett Sharpe's sense of humour [?] on pg. 30.

    When asked to describe his "fantasy special sheet" he replied:

    I'm guessing that most of the guys are going to go with some kind of "we live on the greatest island in the world and that we have everything we want right here..."Blah-blah. I'd fly baby seal in from Nunavut, put it on the menu with some bacon, lettuce and tomato, maybe call it the "club". Think it would sell? In Victoria, not a chance.

    Must be the Maritimer in me....

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