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Posts posted by merlin

  1. Sorry Daves:

    Did not intend to get melodramatic about the drive and get you concerned.

    In fact especially at this time of year when you should not have a string of "Winabozo's" to get around, the pavement is snowless and you are travelling during the day, it is a "fun" drive.

    So long as you are not in a hurry and you pay attention to the signs and when it says 35 km. especially on the descent you drive that way should not be a problem.

    I tend to have a bit of a lead foot so Badiane comments are good. We had to pull over at the rest stop when you come to the Ucluelet-Tofino junction because one of our golden retrievers was "car sick"....that came from yours truly driving a mini-van like it was a sports car thinking he was "Sterling Moss".

    Have a good trip

  2. Zucchini Mama:

    I think the spot in the former mens' club is Danbry's. Had lunch there one day when I did not feel like joining the buffet line-up at the Delta down the street where I was attending a conference. Interesting look. Food was just ok. I think at the time they had either just changed chefs or were in the process of doing so.

    Of course lunch may not give one a true appreciation for a place.

    Nearby is Golf's Steak House. At least I think that is the name. Flaming torches on the outside wall. Renovated...thank goodness...funeral parlour I believe.

    I ended up there on the Sunday nite of my arrival after having walked what felt like miles trying to find an interesting spot....unfortunately, contrary to what I had read on the internet the The Creek in Cathedral Bistro was not open on Sundays.

    Real "old school'. Lots of dark, heavy furniture, red upholstery and carpet, waiters in tuxes with papillon bow-ties. Usually exactly the type of spot I avoid. However, my meal and service were both excellent albeit predictable.

    It seemed that a number of the hotels in the area had steakhouse themed restaurants.

    Agree with reverendtmac about the Mediterranean Grill if it is the same place I am thinking of. Quite a ways out to the eastern suburbs of the city in amongst the strip malls and box stores? I had been "warned off it" by other posters but had quite a decent meal of black and white sesame seed coated salmon. Friendly service and a better wine list than most of the spots I tried.

    Owned by the same fellow or group who also own the Tapas restaurant and a sushi place I was told.


    How are you enjoying the "deep fried" fare of Charlottetown? If I never see a deep fried clam and a plate of fries again it will be too soon :rolleyes: Thank goodness for On Broadway, Sirenella and somewhat surprisingly, The Merchantman Pub. I have heard good things about the Pilot's House. Have you been?

  3. Daves:

    Back on topic...I agree with all of Tofino's recommendations.

    I probably would not go for dinner at Shelter or the Wick's Pointe with children more out of the adult nature of their menus and ambience but you are getting the latter thanks to the Wick's staff in any event.

    Otherwise, Tofino is generally "kid friendly"

    If the Interpretative Centre is still open at Wickaninnish Beach within the National Park [it usually is closed when we visit] it was usually a nice spot to get a bite and enjoy the view.

    Enjoy your trip. Hope the kids see lots of whales, eagles and the like and you all leave refreshed and revitalized as only Tofino can do.

  4. Enjoy the drive from Port Alberni to Tofino  :biggrin:

    Wayne, the drive has not changed much [actually it is a little better] even if your last trip was 2001. :rolleyes:

    We flew out in June but usually drive.

    I love sitting in the Wick's Pointe restaurant for example and figuring out who are first time visitors. Yes, I have been told that I possess a rather "warped" sense of humour [?].

    It is usually the ashen faced couple who down their first drinks quickly and inquire, "Tell me is there ANOTHER way out of here?".

    Telling them that it used to be worse, logging roads where the "toursits" were definitely secondary concerns, is no consolation.

    I remember one of my trips when all of a sudden a logging truck made a corner and seemed to be taking up half my lane that I saw my life "flash before my eyes".

    Looking forward to getting back out there in October...this time taking the van rather than the plane...can only afford...and then just barely...one "Rock Star" self-indulgent trip per year at best

  5. ...With Blue orders communication rules, even if the waiter isn't sure initially its better to ask the customer again his exact preference.  If you cook it right it's a good investment in getting a repeat customer as I have learned that those who order "Blue" and get it their way become very loyal....

    Agreed. I like my steaks blue rare and usually qualify my order by asking what the restaurant considers blue rare stating, "I want it as rare as possible but with the meat still being warm inside".

  6. Lemon Curd/Ayanna/Junior:

    Thanks for the chuckles. As I posted earlier in this thread whenever I see the phrases "family dining" and " Greek ribs" I start to snicker and instantly think of Saskatoon.

    Calories was certainly a "God Send" when we "discovered" it late in our trip.

    Does that spot made up of a number of train cars near the tourist information centre still exist? What about St. Tropez?

  7. Zucchini Mama:

    Certainly agree with your recommendation of the Creek in Cathedral Bistro. I had several meals there during my last visit to Regina and enjoyed speaking with the lady who owns it. It was my favourite.

    The Cathedral Village Free House was a bustling, busy pub with the standard fare you would expect.

    Have you or your friends there tried Willow or Willows on Wascana in the marina area? Another place had previously been there when I did a Google search before heading to Regina but had closed when I visited. I have since read a couple of decent reviews.

    Cheekycook, I hope you post after your visit and I think I'll be heading to a course in Regina in November or Janurary...yes, yes I get all the "plum" trips...it may even be at Depot Division "to boot" [smile]...oh well, I will bring lots of "taxi money".......

  8. BC in BC:

    First of all congrats on the anniversary.

    Agree wholeheartedly with your assessment of Cru and their ability to read their clientele.

    We have only been the one time last year when on a quick visit to Vancouver. We took friends from North Van who were equally enthusiastic about their experience.

    I wonder if your server was Marnie. We got to know her over at Victoria's Brasserie l'Ecole before she moved to Vancouver and began working at Cru. Top notch server and more to the point, person. Knows her food and wine "to boot".

  9. Checked out Lure today. ..These guys make the Empress look every bit her age!

    Andrew, what were your impressions of LURE?

    We only had appetizers and glasses of wine [good list] during our stay but will be back out at the Delta come Fall.

    Won't keep me away from Brasserie L'Ecole or Brio but when you are staying there and just want to relax and have a bite to eat and some good wine certainly is improved over the Boardwalk and Rickey's that used to be there....the long gone Victorian on the other hand was a terrfic spot to dine.

  10. annadev:

    Those are two "solid picks" that are usually mentioned whenever someone inquires about "higher end" dining in Edmonton. I have not had dinner at either recently but lunches are good at both.

    Murietta's Grill [original in Calgary and second location in Canmore] had a "soft opening" on Tuesday in the space within the Varscona Hotel on Whyte Ave. which formerly housed a Sorrentino's and the L'Attitude.

    Food requires some quirks to be worked out but mgmt. is very solid. Do all the right things encouraging feedback, willing to listen.

  11. Two Sundays ago :

    Joan orders a martini.

    I order a bottle of St. Henri.

    "Sir, that does not come by the glass, only the bottle ! "

    "That's OK - I'll be fine ! :biggrin:  :biggrin:

    LOL...a kindred spirit!

    The bottle I really miss from Earls' wine list is the Lake Aileen Cabernet the Fullers bottled in conjuction with Gallo...it was delicious

  12. To no one's surprise I am sure, I would second Memo's recommendation of Brasserie L'Ecole. Top notch dining if like French bistro fare, good friendlyservice and an excellent wine program....[hey Marc Morrison quit "lurking" and join the rest of the eGulleteers [grin]]

    We have stayed in the Ocean Pointe the past several visits. You inquired where it is in relation to the Empress. I am no good with "north-south-east-west" directions but if you were on the steps of the Empress facing the inner harbour and looked off to the right you would seen the Ocean Pointe just across the Johnson Street [blue] Bridge.

    If you can, get a full harbour view. Great stuff so long as you do not mind getting "buzzed" by the seaplance traffick.

    It is in close proximity to Chinatown, Bastion Square. shopping and restaurants [il Terrazzo, Don Mee's, Canoe Club, Wild Saffron, Brasserie L'Ecole, Herald Street Cafe, etc.].

    There is a water taxi stop immediately in front of it should you want to bob along the inner harbour or up the Gorge waterway.

    You would be right on one of the walkways that borders the inner harbour and an nice stroll past the condos to a pub like Spinnakers.

  13. ^I showed one of the guys I'm dating this website and he was like, "My God, there are people who take pictures of FOOD?!!"

    That's all I needed to know that nothing will come of the relationship.  :laugh:

    Too funny! The August issue of Bon Appetit contains a short note on the 5 megapixel Olympus Stylus 500 digital camera which apparently inlcudes a setting just for "us"..."cuisine mode" ..."lets amateur photographers shoot their favorite food in the most flattering light by accentuating warm tones and softening the flash."...the article concludes with the writer's observation, "Now, if only it had a "wash the dishes mode."

  14. Try to be served by the Rooster - the best waiter that ever lived. Frenchy at Fortes' is simply one of his many proteges...

    LOL...too funy...thanks for the morning laughs.

    I first met Russ at Jack's Grill before he headed to Hardware...I thought that I had met him before. We got to talking and some how the topic of seared tuna came up and I mentioned having had it at Saltimbocca. Russ replied, "ah yes, my good friend Ken Bogas"...then I put it all together, Russ had served us at Joe Fortes several years earlier....

    Had lunch at Hardware awhile back...I understand that they had to put new doors on the entrance so Russ could get his head in after than newspaper article [smile]...good guy, quite the character!

  15. Fid is my favourite, but Onyx is pretty fabulous, too.  Pricey, but fabulous. 


    I am not familiar with Onyx. Where is it located.

    Our last visit we dined at Bish [multiple occasions as we were befriended by a delightful server who made us feel right at home], da Maurizio, Il Mercato [i think the Bertossi's should be able to retire after a few of our visits], FID, Sweet Basil, Bacchus [i hear that it has since closed], Maple [same thing too I understand...anything replace it in that beautiful space], Chives and the Press Gang.

    Past visits we have gone to O'Carroll's, Upper Deck, 5 Fishermen, the Bistro...hey I even took my wife and introduced her to the place where all my student loans were spent during university days in the '70's, the Midtown.

    Seven has been recommended to me. Anything else you would suggest?

  16. Sweet is right - Dennis and Monica are pretty delightful. 

    I certainly agree with that statement. My wife and I last visited Halifax three or four years ago and we had an outstanding meal at FID. Probably the best piece of halibut I have ever had.

    First time tourists were treated like long time regulars.

    I had hoped to get to Halifax this year. Unfortunately, did not work out. Hopefully next year.

  17. Il Portico actually "fits the bill" for your after dinner meanderings but that will not work if you are already having dinner there. Patrick Saurette will be able to help you out with some suggestions. I think it was the Corsi brothers from Vancouver who originally opened it. Not sure if they have any current interest in it.

    I cannot think of a Chambar, Parkside or Cru equivalent in Edmonton. Perhaps "Chromedome" can jump in with some suggestions.

    However, the Suede Lounge on Jasper and 118th Street [il Portico is just south of Jasper on 107 Street], the Savoy on Whyte Ave. or Culina on the southside [likely full of diners at the hours you mentioned] might work.

    Otherwise, weather permitting you probably will be back at the Mac's Confederation lounge or on the patio.

    Next door the Marriott has a beautiful patio. However, not sure about the food nor the wine list as it has been quite some time since I have gone there.

    The Sorrrentino's [a local chain of Italian spots] Group has opened a location up at Whitemud Crossing which has a lot of nibblies on their lounge menu. Big, patio. It may be a little out of your target area given its location.

    Close by is Century Grill. Downtown is the newly renovated Lux [formerly Chance] which I commented on last week with its big, "New York City" style bar. Not sure about the appetizers and the like for things you might want to nibble on.

    The best wine & liquor store in the downtown area? I think that that would be the 123rd Street Store. 123 rd Street and approximately 106 Avenue. It is housed in an old ALBC store. Good prices, vast selection.

    Alternately, you have 4th and Vine in the Oliver Square area. It has a wine bar immediately adjacent to it which may be a good spot as the wine selection is decent and the menu I have read is expanding.

    Then there is DeVine's just north of Jasper Ave. which is very good too.

    Hope this assists.

  18. koosh:

    Thanks for the suggestion. I had lunch at Lux today.

    Overall, pretty good. Will it replace my normal "haunts" downtown, i.e. Sorrentino's, Hardware, 4 Rooms, on a sunny Friday the patio at the Mac? No.

    I initially was seated in the main dining area. For those who have not been to Lux or its predecessor Chance, the room is shaped like a keyhole with a long bar leading from its door off the ManuLife/Commerce Court comlex to the round/rectangular dining room off 101 Street.

    I hate booths and banquettes [except for the one at Cru which I found much to my amazement to be comfortable] but unfortunately that was where I was sat. I ended up moving back to the bar.

    The room itself is very attractive. Somewhat "warmer" than I remember Chance. More chocolates and beige. New wall hangings. New backs to the booths which run parallel to the large, long "New York" bar in the lounge.

    Menus are good. Varying from fish [halibut, salmon, tuna] to steaks. Prices varying from about $8 to approximately $15 for the beef carpaccio. Steaks ranged from the steak sandwich which was about $16 up $30 plus for other cuts. At nite the steaks went from about $25 for a 6 or 8 oz filet up to about $45 for a bone-in NY strip [proviso: going strictly from memory so may be off].

    I am assuming that the steaks come with your choice of several "demi's". Same for the sides of wasabi mashed potatoes, "uptown" poutine and the like.

    A mix of salads and sandwiches for the lunch-time munchers.

    Paul Greene is not the executive chef but rather, the general manager.

    I am not sure that the menu has changed all that much from the time it was Chance.

    I ended up deciding on the halibut. [$19]

    Yes, yes I know, why the heck did I order fish in a steakhouse? After a week of great seafood in Tofino and Victoria I have been "overdosing" on Alta. beef at home. It was not bad. A tad overcooked. However the green pea risotto upon which it was served along with orange foam [Feran Adria has had his influence upon Alberta as well] was tasy. Better still were the excellent veggies, a combination of "candy-cane" beets, crisp yellow beans, pea pods and asparagus.

    Wine list is pretty good. Some decent buys in the Australian area if you are thinking of "trophy wines" like RWT, Bin 707 and the like. The "by-the-glass" options are relatively limited but decent nevertheless. Expect the bar is more interested in the "martooni crowd" than wine drinkers.

    Better than average. Their competition will be Sorrentino's, Madison's Grill, The Harvest Room and Hardware Grill.

    Hope you are doing well at Ric's. Have only been there the one time. Your tuna appetizer was quite good. Say hello to Bob Parsons for me.

  19. Do you know what cut/s of Kobe beef they are using in their burgers?

    Jamie, I do not know that answer but expect that it would ordinarily be the trimmings. However, nothing else on the menu suggests the use of "Kobe" beef which begs the question, trimmings of what or hamburger of what?

  20. ditto and ditto to James' recommendations.

    If you are there in August you will certainly prefer to stay in one of the Lakefront [formerly Beauvert] suites which are adjacent to the 18th fairway of the golf course.

    It can get mighty hot in the mountains in the summer and although the JPL has changed the windows on many of its wood cabins/A-frames they nevertheless, not having AC, can get stifling.

    The Lakeside suites are like condo units with concrete construction and as a result stay cooler and are much more quiet than the other units. They also have been "spruced up" significantly.

    Rob White is a fine fellow. He has taken care of us during our past visits and especially our golden retrievers...hey, they usually get more attention [rightfully so] than we do anyway.

    At the Moose's Nook a fellow named Lyle Beauregard [sp?] is now working. Lyle had his own restaurant in Edmonton for awhile and enjoys/knows his food and wine and is now....according to a post I saw at another "foodie" website...working there.

  21. Koosh:

    Have not been as of yet but may drop in one evening after work to have a "look see".

    It may have been the Journal or perhaps one of the community papers that did a generally favourable review of it last week. Seem to recollect a comment that the kobe beef burger's tasted was overwhelmed by the chipotle mayo.

    I never did "get" Chance. It opened with much fanfare, limousine, white glove service, etc. etc. A lot of attitude IMHO but did not deliver the goods. Seemed to be a "revolving door" vis-a-vis chefs.

    As far as I know the LaChance family purchased it and Century Grill on the southside with "dad's dough" and the brothers, apparently with some experience in the nite club industry, ran them. How well? Depends upon who you ask.

    Ryan Smyth of the Oilers was an investor. I expect but do not know, that he still is. If that is the case, I am not surprised about the conversion to a "high end" steakhouse. Sort of fits into that hockey player dining circuit one associates with the NHL [if they ever get back to playing] like the Chop House in Calgary or Gotham's in Vancouver.

    It may work because I personally do not think that this city has a decent steakhouse.

    You mentioned a "plethora" of steakhouses in the area. Which ones?

    Apart from Hy's [which really needs a refit], what others?

    River City Chophouse is now a drug store, the Carvery is long gone and the Sawmill is quite a distance from the downtown core hotels with their travelling businessmen and sports figures which I suspect is its "target" audience.

    I expect Ric's Grill would be their closest competition but suspect that they are targeting a higher end market.

    I heard that Paul Greene [ex of Dante's, Madison's Grill] is the new chef. He knows "his stuff".

    You mentioned Kobe beef. Are they serving steaks or just their high-end burger using Kobe?

    A few spots in town have used Wagyu beef from a farm in Alberta or imported from Snake River, Idaho. Sonny Song at Sorrentino's did a superb carpaccio with it some time ago.

  22. Is the JPL worth it?

    Is the Wickaninnish Inn worth it? Is anything in Whistler worth it? Is the Sooke Harbour House worth it? It the Aerie worth it? [maybe James can "chime in" given his experience at at least two of these locations]

    ....we celebrated our anniversary at the JPL in May and yes it was worth it...we celebrated my birthday at the Wick last week, and yes...gulp...it was worth it...could we do it all the time? Not a chance!

    At that time of year...I expect it remains high season...I am not sure that staying one night at the JPL, especially after having driven the better part of the day stopping at all the attractions the Icefields Parkway affords, makes sense. This is particularly so if you are going to get up and drive back to Calgary or Banff.

    If you are going to golf, swim, spa or take advantage of the other ameneities that the JPL offers that may be another story.

    If you are going to relax and watch the elk drift in the evening and see the sun set behind Mt. Edith Cavell or get up in the morning and walk around Lac Beauvert or use the JPL as your starting point to head up to Maligne Lake or the Maligne Canyon picinic spots that may be another story.

    Jasper offers a number of other alternatives. We have stayed at the Tonquin, Lobstick, Sawridge, Marmot in addition to the JPL. All have their pluses and minuses...the variety of rooms and amenities differ greatly within the location itself.

    Beckers Bungalows, Pyramid Lake Resort have been mentioned favourably but we have not stayed at either.

    But if all you are wanting is some place to "put your head down" after a day of driving and a good dinner I probably would not recommend the JPL. If you do opt to go that route the Lakeside Suites [formerly called their Beauvert Suites] are superb and unlike much of the accomodation totally soundproof and reasonably cool given the absence of air conditioning and the heat generated even at that time of year in Jasper.

    As far as dining you have the Edith Cavell Room at the JPL, Andy's Bistro in town [recommended by many but pretty mediocre the time we visited] and our favourite Fiddle River. The latter specializes in seafood so you know that it isn't line caught, freshly delivered but they do a good job.

    Much of Jasper is dominated by Greek-influenced spots as the Greeks pioneered Jasper's service industry. L & W, Villa Caruso, Karouzo's, Tonquin Prime Rib Village all reflect their background. There are Korean, Japanese and other spots. An Earls', A & W etc.. Papa George's in the Astoria Hotel is similarly affected but is good for real home made style food like roast chicken sandwiches and the like.

    If you do go, please let us know what you tried and if you liked it. We'll be back en route to and back from Tofino come fall.

  23. Well we had an outstanding but too short visit to the "not so Wet" Coast returning looking like a boiled east coast lobster thanks to the great weather Sunday in Victoria.

    First stop was the Wickaninnish Inn in Tofino. Had a terrific time. Thanks to Chris a.k.a. Tofino everything worked out perfectly. Drinking good wine staring out at the waves crashing into Chesterman Beach is a wonderful way to spend the day.

    Enjoyed talking with Yvonne Ouwekerk the Pointe Restaurant Manager and one of their sommeliers, Sogol Jalali. Had many good bottles of wine and was particularly impressed by some from the Small Lots Program at Sandhill.

    The food at the Pointe has most certainly improved under the direction of Andrew Springett.

    I had a lunch course of butter baked halibut that was without a doubt one of the best pieces of fish I have ever had. There was some lemon confit or garnish of some sort that unexpectedly gave the sauce an extraordinary bite. It was topped by a quenelle like sized mixture of finely chopped beets and horseradish that was equally good.

    Our other meals were equally good.

    Service was top notch. Professional but not pompous. Polished as befits a resort with its high prices but knowledgeable enough to know how to "read" a table to know who are, "sir, madam" v. "Mr. and Mrs" v. "Bob & Sandy".

    After a couple of days that flew by too quickly we headed to Victoria where we had another good meal at Brasserie l'Ecole and some appetizers at LURE in the lobby of the Ocean Pointe. I think that LURE will be a nice addition.

    We are looking forward to returning in the Fall when we hope to have more time to visit Choux-Choux, Zambri's, Brio, Rosemeade and also get into Tofino to see what Mathias Konradi [sp?] is doing at his cafe/deli across from the liquor store and behind the Schooner.

  24. I've had steaks at Hy's, Gotham's, and Morton's, and my favourite slab of meat is the ribeye at Morton's. I asked for it rare, and it came bright red in the center--perfect. Nicely seasoned, well-marbled, juicy, flavourful....what more can you ask for from a steak?

    I'm going there again on Saturday to try the filet mignon (after lunch at C Restaurant--what a glorious day, food-wise.  :biggrin: )

    Sounds like a protein filled week-end Ling.

    Veritable Surf'nTurf...fish at C and boeuf at Morton's

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