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Everything posted by merlin

  1. I know that Jamie is speaking of the Vancouver area but here in Edmonton finding an Asian restaurant with a solid food and wine program is similarly problematic. Most of the spots here, if they have wine at all, are limited to a jug of this or one of those pre-poured carafes of mediocre plonk like Castelbello, Domaine d'Or a.k.a. "Garage Door" and the like. Two that spring to mind are "Lemongrass Cafe" off 51 st Avenue I think it is, west of Calgary Trail and "Wild Tangerine" on 104th Avenue "kitty corner" to the Sidetrack. I mention the first with some reservation because the one and only time I went to the Lemongrass Cafe I did so at least in part because of the positive comments I had heard about the wine list. It was good and I ordered a bottle of sauvignon blanc from CA's Blockheadia Ringosi [sp?]. Unfortunately it was corked. I sent it back. Staff tried to convince me that that was the way the vintage tasted. No. Got another bottle. Much better. Have not been back. I will not put up with that kind of crap. The second is much better. Wilson and Judy Wu used to operate "Polo's" a fusion-styled spot near the University Hospital. It always had a very good wine list as Wilson knows his wine. It was a higher end spot. They closed it some time ago and went back to visit Asia. They now have opened the Wild Tangerine. I "reviewed" it some time ago. I really like their more casual approach to asian-influenced dining. They have a smaller wine list but it is well chosen. A fair number of good wines by the glass. Blue Mountain Gamay Noir, d'Arenberg Hermit Crab Marsanne-Riesling and quite a few more that escape me at the present. Getting hungry maybe I'll head there for lunch today as Judy's "popsicle shrimps" with wasabi-yoghurt sauce and their 5 Spice Marinated Octopus salad are to "kill for".
  2. Bux: Thank you for the detailed reply. I was not so much thinking of pairing a wine with each course but just in very general terms finding a wine ...assuming a bottle of red, a bottle of white, some sparkling over the evening...suitable given...as you have pointed out...the varying nature of the courses and some that might not be wine friendly. The suggestion of Cava and perhaps a still wine or sherry is a good one which I would not have thought of before reading the other comments here. I know, I do have to get out of "fortress North America" and experience Spain [smile]. Seems "strange" but a welcomed phenonmenon that wine does not become the overwhelming factor in such a gastronomic experience. No question in North America a "second mortgage" would be required for the wine pairing and such a feast especially given the prices charged for the former. Coming from Western Canada our experience with Spanish food is at best limited and unfortunately, at least partly as a result, our knowledge of sherry and its suitability similarly constrained. Thanks again.
  3. Last evening the Canadian FoodTV Network aired Anthony Bourdain's one hour show featuring Ferran Adria and El Bulli. The credits indicated that it was completed last year but I do not know whether it has already been broadcasted in the U.S. It began with a sampling of jamon in Barcelona continued with the chef's team at work researching in their "workshop" and then went on to dinner at El Bulli. I was stunned. Great "theatre" and captivating dishes. Oh to have been at that table to sample what Bourdain was obviously enjoying. I envy those of you who have already eaten at or are anticipating eating at El Bulli. I do not mean to be crass...ok, ok I do mean to be crass ...what is the approximate cost of a meal at El Bulli? I appreciate that this falls into the likely realm of "if you have to ask, you cannot afford it" but to put the entire picture into context I would appreciate this information. I went to the Spanish web-site and noted that they are sold out for 2005. What is the customary wait for a reservation if I were to plan to be in Barcelona and want to visit "foodie heaven"? El Bulli must have quite the team of sommeliers to pair up wines with so many different and interesting courses.
  4. What about Rebecca's in Victoria. It was on Wharf Street immediately adjacent to Bastion Square [now D'Arcy McGee's] with a nice view of the inner harbour. This was in the late '80's and '90's. Our regular haunts were Camille's and Chauney's [now Pescatores] until we discovered Rebecca's and that became our favourite. Nice sunny front room for lunch, take out counters with salads, desserts and opened up further toward the back in the evening. Interesting, inventive food. Then one year it was gone. No one seemed to know why or who was/had been behind it....that was in the days before websites like this one existed. The Johnson Street bridge area had not been developed like it is becoming now apart from the Market. No Ocean Pointe Hotel...condos just starting to go up.
  5. I "resemble" that remark Good post Keith. Chuckled while visiting the Montreal forum where someone questioned who had the best restaurants, Montreal or Toronto. I was going to reply suggesting Vancouver but having read some of the posts elected not to be a "troll".
  6. Ed, I am not familiar with the term "floater" in the context of overproof rum. What does it refer to? Went to school in Halifax with a terrific fellow from Bermuda who introduced me to Gosslings Black Seal rum and ginger beer. Of course being in the Martitimes meant that overproof rum was generally readily available having been acquired from Ste. Pierre & Miquelon. London Dock was the prefered "jet fuel" of that time...ie, the late '70's.
  7. Junior: Nice to get some input from the prairies. If it's the Catch group probably the chef came from the Wildwood Brewing Co. off 14th Avenue [used to be the Mission Bridge or something to that effect where the street eventually ties into McLeod Trail South] affiliated with Catch and Bonterra. Did have lunch at Danbry's. Interesting atmosphere with the "old boy's club" look. Also had dinner at the steak house close by. The one that used to be a funeral parlour I think with the torches outside. Golf's. Real old style, papillon bow tie servers...red plush rugs...dark furniture...not where I would usually eat but the food quality and service were all top notch.
  8. Pam, that was our impression initially of Saskatoon as well. Hence the comment about "Greek ribs" and "family restuarants". It reminded me a lot of Jasper when it comes to restaurants. That town is dominated by Greek ownership as many of them "pioneered" the hospitality trade in the early days. All sorts of food but probably started by someone of Greek ancestry. I am not sure about Calgary or Edmonton in that regard. A real multi-cultural environment in both cities with lots of Asian, Lebanese, Ukrainian, German, Italian, Greek and other nationalities represented but I do not think one group dominates as much as say Saskatoon or Jasper. Of course more "national chains" and multi-restaurant "higher end" groups in both those larger centres as contrasted with smaller communities.
  9. I doubt it...City of Calgary bought it and converted it into subsidized or low income housing...then again When I first moved out here there was the Tiki-Tiki in Edmonton. No longer in operation. Those quasi-polynesian spots were quite popular for awhile. I remember going to the Kon Tiki in the Mount Royal Hotel..at least I think that that was the name...in downtown Montreal...with the high school grad "crew"...coconut drinks, pineapples hollowed out, dry ice spewing "fake" volocano drinks....finger food....I am glad that there too they kept the lights low...probably would not want to have seen it fully lit up...to say nothing of the hookers and travelling "suits" who filled up the rest of the place
  10. I was in Regina about this time last year and one spot which I would highly recommend is the The Creek in Cathedral Bistro. Very different food [lots of "family" restaurants and steak houses] from what I was accustomed to seeing in town and some interesting, albeit expensive, wine selections. I had lunch and dinner there on several occasions and enjoyed chatting with the friendly servers and charming owner. She told me that she has done some travelling and so, when she returned to Saskatoon wanted to open a place which did not serve the "regular" menu items. I did read somewhere of a new spot opening up on Lake Wabasca [sp?], Whispers or something like that. I am not sure if it is the marina there or not. Perhaps someone from Regina can assist. I had a decent meal at the Mediterranean Grill out in the eastern end of the city off the highway amidst a sea of stripmalls and suburban developement. Less success back in town at La Bodega which I think is owned by the same person or group. Overall, The Creek in Cathedral would be my choice. I can still taste that cold lamb sandwich with basil and hot mustard that I tucked into before carrying on to the airport.
  11. Zucchini Mama: Ah yes Calories. That fine little spot was our "culinary salvation" during one particulary stressful week in Saskatoon. After having our fill of "Greek ribs" and "family restaurants" we were strolling in the Broadway and discovered it. We hung around for its opening at lunch at ate lunch and dinner there the next few days. Its food and some particularly fine people and fellow dog-lovers who befriended us during our stay evoke fond memories [one of our goldens was being tested and treated at the vet school].
  12. Could not agree with you more James. Thank goodness it is just about lunch time as just thinking of that salad has me even more ravenous. The way the warm lardons and the bacon fat mix in with the mustard vinaigrette...yummm....Marc's wine service certainly helps with their pricing program. Read with interest "editor@waiterblog's" review of the Aerie first here and then the expanded version at his site. If memory serves me correctly the picture of that deuce in front of the window facing down the fjord at his site is the table where my wife and I dined when we met you years ago. Striped bottle of Blue Mountain Pinot Gris as I recall. Wanted more but having to drive back down the pitch black Malahat to the hotel....for a change I exercised some wholly uncharacteristic restraint. I fondly remember the food as well as the beautiful sky which changed a myriad of pastel colours as the sun set. We are heading off to Tofino at the end of June and then a few days in Victoria. Perhaps we'll make up to the Aerie. If not this trip, maybe in the fall when do the same thing but this time driving.
  13. I am getting ravenous. Both of those chicken dishes sound terrific. I think I can taste the wine reduction and I sure can smell the truffle oil combined with the garlic. When so much chicken is of the boneless variety nice to read of places doing it the flavourful way.
  14. starter: Victoria's Cafe Brio Seared albacore tuna floating in a "puddle" of bright green asparagus veloute topped with crisp grilled, proscuitto-wrapped asparagus tips topped with a bright yellow and white fried quail's egg. Tasted delicious and was also a sight for the eyes with all the colours. lunch: Victoria's Zambri's Duck ragu with green olives served over grilled polenta Perfect comfort food on a cool Fall afternoon...nothing involved...just very good "stick to your ribs" homestyle cooking.
  15. Great thread...I have been chuckling at some of the wit...some intended, some maybe not...expressed in the prose. I sent a congratulatory email to someone whose restaurant won an award with the proviso that I was not sure how "seriously" they took this type of award. The reply was "spot on"...[decidedly "tongue in cheek"]...omething to the effect of when we win we take the award very seriously but if we don't...heap copious quantities of scorn on the event ...dubious credibility based upon comped meals to food critics and free booze..... edited to add the "tongue in cheek" reference to insure the restaurant owner's humour was not misinterpreted
  16. wabi: First of all, hope you enjoy your trip to "God's Country". The Cabot Trail in particular is a wonderful drive. We were last in PEI and Nova Scotia some years ago so my information may be dated but here are some wining and dining suggestions. Halifax: da Maurizio's: in the restored Keith's Brewery Bldg. [some of the best Italian food I have had anywhere - excellent, Italian dominated wine list with all of the "heavy hitters"] Bish: part of Bishop's landing just off the harbour - same owners as da Maurizio [varied menu - good list] Il Mercado: Spring Garden Rd. [third of the 3 spots in dowtown Hlfx - another in suburban Bedford - owned by the Bertossi family - trattoria - tile - lots of antipasto selections] FID: just off Spring Garden Rd. on Dresden Row [limited menu and wine list - chef/owner & partner - always changing and interesting menu] Chives: Barringston St. [restored old bank building including table in the vault - regional fare - funky, interesting] Sweet Basil: Historic Properties [thai/asian influenced fare if you are looking for a change] Five Fishermen: downtown - near the Metro Centre [ice rink/stadium] [often "put down" as being a "tourist trap" but I have had several decent fish meals there and even got my non-seafood eating wife to try their mussels from the mussel bar] The Press Gang: restored historic bldg. near the trendy and popular Economy Shoe bar [i mention it although I cannot recommend it as it was the one disappointing expensive meal we had during our last visit to Hlfx. - however, I may be in the minority in this regard as others have "raved" about it] Others that have been recommended are Seven, La Cave , Fiasco, The Bistro, Janes on the Common [comes recommended as a nice neighbourhood bistro], McElvies [again I would not recommend it although others would it - I found it fit into the standard fish filet with an ice cream scoop of white rice and typical diced carrots and peas type of place] Do avoid Salty's, Murphy's On The Wharf and the like unless you want steamed mussels or deep fried this and that. This is a good web-site for more info on dining in Halifax: www.eatinghalifax.ca/ Annapolis Valley: Grand Pre Winery: [can dine outside under their Pergola or in the restaurant - pricey but good particularly the home cured meats and cheese - the bugs can be bad outside attracted by the smells of the wine and cider being produced] Newman's: Annapolis Royal [terrific food - good wine list] Blomidon Inn: Wolfville [had a nice lunch in this restored Victorian home - there is another that most people recommend in Wolfville whose name escapes me] Tempest: Wolfville [this is strictly 3rd hand info - have not been to it nor have I heard much about it here or at other "foodie" web-sites - however was featured on the Food Network's "Opening Soon" program and if it survived may be good - others may be able to "chime in" Sherbrooke: On the drive up to Cape Breton you may stop in at the historical village in this town. There is a period restaurant in a restored building outside the village itself where we had quite a good meal. Malagash: Jost Winery: [we had a nice picnic lunch with meats, bread and cheese bought in the tasting room] Pictou The Consulate Inn: [stayed and ate one dinner here - better than average food] Cape Breton: Inverness: Casual Gourmet: am advised that it has moved from the location where we ate as part of a campground and trailor park [this was our "find" of our last visit - backhanded complement - better than we had expected as a lot of Cape Breton is pretty basic when it comes to food] Chedicamp: [cannot really recommend one spot over another here - hopefully others can] Ingonish: [Keltic Lodge - have not eaten here as it is usually shut down for the season when we have travelled] Baddeck: [much like Chedicamp - we have eaten and stayed at the Telegraph House - great oatmeal cakes - down home basic cooking - nostalgic spot as my late godmother used to cook there - we had terrific food in a small inn - 3 or 4 rooms - across from the bigger Inverarry Inn but I cannot for the life of me remember its name and it may very well be gone by now] Louisbourg: [we stayed and ate at the Cranberry Cove B. & B. just adjacent to the road to the restored fortress - accomodations were excellent - the food o.k.] PEI PEI is a nice spot especially if you are a golfer or are a family with children who are looking for a cottage to relax at. However, we found it a tad "desperate" for two adults who were there for 10 days. Deep fried foods seemed to dominate the menus. Charlottetown: Our favourite spot "McAssey's" I am told was closed after our visit. The food did not go over with the locals I was advised. We did enjoy: Sirenella [sp?] [mediteranean fare - I had some great grilled squid] Off-Broadway [may be On Broadway] [best wine list we saw in Charlottetown - as Francois said above - you may want to stache a few bottles of wine before taking the ferry or the bridge to PEI as the selection is pretty poor - if I had a nickel for every bottle of Jackson-Triggs White Label Chardonnay that we saw being drunk, I likely could retire - there is however a local winery Rossignol that is worth the visit - some of their wines were not too bad although we found their fruit wines better that those from grapes] Kim's Bisto: [we were disappointed - others recommend it - house smoked fish is reputed to be very good] Gahan Pub: [standard pub fare with very good micro brewed ales on the premises] Merchantman Pub [adjacent to the Delta Prince Edward Hotel - much more than standard pub fare] Water-Prince Store: [missed this one - we walked right by it and mistook it for what it had orginally been, a corner store - basic, fresh seafood that others have heartily recommended] The Pilot House: [was not there during our visit but others from PEI have told me that it is/was the spot to go for fine dining] Charlottetown also houses a cooking school and I am told that its dining room is quite good. We tried but could not get reservations. Montague Windows On The Water: [as the name suggests - small spot near the wharf/docks - good steady home cooked fare] Souris The Inn at Bay Fortune: [we stayed here for a couple of days and had two outstanding dinners - the inn itself is ok vis-a-vis accomodations but a short drive brings you to beautiful ocean views and beaches - the wine list was eclectic and interesting] St. Peters The Inn at St. Peters: [we stopped here for lunch en route back from the The Inn at Bay Fortune - very good food - staffed by graduates of the culinary school in Charlottetetown and others] Prince Edward Island National Park Dalvray By The Sea: [had an excellent lunch here in the historic building just inside the park - well worth the drive even if staying in Charlottetown - touristy yes, seasonally run with a lot of students doing the serving - everything we had was good as was the service] Hope this assists and look forward to reading your post upon your return because your "interests" mirror ours.
  17. Looks like quite the impressive line-up of wineries...a number of familiar names but a few that I do not know at all...Okanagan keeps on expanding
  18. merlin


    ...missing Tofino is a very big "drag" but having to do so to extend one's stay in Victoria is not too bad IMHO...look forward to hearing/reading your comments...still do not "get" Temple so hope to hear your comments....
  19. No kidding Paul? Sounds like the making of an old SCTV sketch.....adding to the "colour" or is that "color" of the area..Oyster Jim is/was an American wasn't he? We hope to be in Tofino in late June for a short stay and back again for 10 days after Thanksgiving...perhaps this year the resort will be open for a lunch time meal and lots of Nota Bene...if not perhaps we can coordinate a meal with Chris and Shari-Lynn at the Wick or our rental.....lots of wine on hand...awaiting deliveries of the Burrowing Owl Syrah and Meritage and Blue Mountain Stripe Label Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir....these spring releases just clobber the bank account [smile]
  20. Steve: you must have missed Chris' update on Tofino...apparently Oyster Jim has shut down with little info as to why...too bad
  21. LOL...welcome to the club...I just mailed my cheque to get copies of EAT from Victoria...
  22. awaiting the details...sent the email this morning...keep up the good work
  23. LOL....Hey Jane how about Edmonton as well? Seems like every time we are in Victoria the table beside us in from Edmonton...Brio and L'Ecole love those WestJet seat sales! How about a few copies to the hotel concierges? We usually stay at the Ocean Pointe and they did not have any copies on hand. I was surprised when I asked about where I could find a copy at the Tourism Victoria building on the edge of the inner harbour that they did not know. That would seem to be to be a prime location for a publication like yours with all its "foodie" advice for local restauranteurs and producers. Turns out diagonally across the street there was a distribution box where I managed to snag a rather weatherbeaten copy that I replaced with the one from the up scale cooking shop on Trounce Alley. We are back out in June...can you send me a copy? [smile]
  24. Yes, there is an Earls' on Bourbon Street in WEM. I think it opened up prior to Xmas. I have only been there the one time [like most residents of West Edmton we have a "love/hate" relationship with "da mall" and usually go to the Earls' on 170 Street and Stony Plain Rd. instead] but was quite impressed by the look. They have obviously spent a lot of money and it is quite attractive...and no Jamie Maw I am not "just" talking about the hostesses......that having been said, no I better leave it at that...... Interesting location. Right beside a Moxie's so they are going head to head.
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