Search the blog
Twitter
Powered by Squarespace
Navigation
Monday
Sep082014

Canoe - Taste 60th Parallel

5-years in the making, @OliverBonacini's @ChefHorne takes us to Canada's North.

Canada's North has always interested me, from it's breathtaking landscapes to it's rich culture and history, the North is uniquely Canadian. When Chef Horne first mentioned doing a series of cross Canada tastings, this region was by far the one I was most interested in, and looked forward to. Needless to say, this was a fantastic meal, and really, what meal isn't when you have great company and someone like Chef Horne working with some incredible ingredients. Every bite was smart, thoughtful, and tasted wild.

This was one of the most unique and different menu's I've ever had, I've said that before, but this one was truly special, and from talking with Chef Horne, it's a menu he's never going to do again. Chef Horne demonstrated such skill in bringing together all these different elements, and highlights wild ingredients like never before. From the first bite to the last, the theme of the North resonated throughout the entire meal. Tonight's meal was so special. 

 

Amuse-bouche: Jerky

Left to right: Venison, Seal, and Caribou. Served with Mashed Potato, Red Vein Sorrel, and Mustard Seeds.

Paired with Rosée Lemonade.

Venison was very much on the mild side of flavours, without being told it was venison, it would be hard to tell exactly what it was. The seal was be far the most interesting, looks like any other kind of lean jerky but tastes like gamey fish. Caribou had a more intense game flavour to it. The mashed potatoes mellowed everything out. I'd take a bag of seal jerky any day!

 

 

Course 1: "Unknown Fish"

 

Juniper Smoked Inconnu, Dandelion Purée, Arctic Char Caviar, Fried Bannock, Arctic Rose Cream, Capers, Juniper Berries.

Paired with Coffin Ridge L'Acadie Blanc, Grey County Ontario 2013.

From the Mackenzie River, inconnu is a species of freshwater whitefish that is perfectly suitable for smoking due to it's oily flesh. Aside from being a local source of protein for residents in Canada's north, much of the inconnu caught is sent to Siberia where a large market exists. To Chef Horne's knowledge, this is the first time inconnu has been served in Toronto.

The inconnu was smoked for 4 to 6 hours, and you're served 3 distinctive pieces from the belly, loin, and tail. The smoke profile and texture of the fish changes with each piece; from fatty to lean, a gradient in smoking intensity. For the wild rose cream, the wild roses are harvested, dried, then folded into crème fraîche. The cream with the saltiness from the arctic char roe, and the smoky inconnu, all served with fried bannock, this makes for a perfect bite and a great way to kick off the theme of the evening. On a side note; if the demand for this fish increases and is readily available, this dish would make for a perfect picnic item!

 

 

Course 2: Wild Rabbit Agnolotti

Foraged Mushrooms, Caribou Moss, Wild Cranberry, & Matsutake Mushroom Cream

Paired with Terlan Pinot Noir Montigil Terlano Alto Adige Italy 2011.

Caribou moss, aka reindeer lichen, like most plants in the north, is a slow growing lichen (only 3-5mm per year), and as the name suggests is an essential source of food for caribou. However, it is traditionally used as a remedy for kidney stones and diarrhea, and is usually prepared by soaking until soft and served with berries, roe, or lard. In this case, Chef Horne soaked the caribou moss for 3 days, changing the water every day to clean and hydrate the dried lichen and then fried and used as garnish. 

The rabbit was braised in rabbit stock for 2 hours, cranberries were served fresh as well as powdered along the edges to cut the richness of the matsutake cream sauce that was poured table side. The earthiness of the lobster mushrooms and chanterelles along with the bold flavours of the rabbit provided a nice foundation for the cream sauce and cranberries to balance everything out. Easily one of my top 5 dishes I've had from Chef Horne. 

 

 

Course 3: Arctic Char

Swiss Chard, Preserved Oyster Leaf, Pine Shoot Oil, Wild Rice

Paired with Dr. Büklin-Wold Riesling Trocken Pfalz Germany 2012.

Wild rice is one of the few grains that grows in the north, and is a major source starch. The rice is puffed, and served with the braised vegetables.  This was one of the most interesting dishes of the evening because of the oyster leaf. Raw, these leaves have a salty, complex minerally taste to it. Exactly what you would expect from an oyster. Seriously, it tastes exactly like an fresh oyster. Salted and cured, the flavours are more subtle and worked well with the dish. However, if you were to eat the leaf on its own, we enjoyed the flavours and textures of the raw leaf (pictured below) more than the cured version because of the almost mushroom texture the leaf has and the brighter oyster flavours.

 

 

Intermezzo: Buttermilk snow with sea buckthorn 

 

 

Course 4: Caribou Hind

Fermented Black Currants, Braised Rock Tripe, Rye Berries, and Birch Bark Jus

Paired with Rennie Estate Winery 'G' Assemblage Beamsville Bench Ontario 2011.

Served on a bed of barley and roasted turnips, the caribou hind was simply roused with alder. It took 5-years for Chef Horne to bring in wild caribou to Canoe, and it was worth it. Rock Tripe is also known as 'Wood Ear' for all the Chinese folks out there. This dish brought together the whole theme of the evening for me. Perfectly cooked to a rare finish, the caribou was incredibly tender, moist, and full of earthy gamey flavour. One thing I've learned with game meats is that you want to eat it while it's hot, and this was no exception. As the meat cooled, the irony game flavour intensified, and overwhelmed my companion…more meat for me! It's these big bold flavours that I've come to expect from Canoe over the past few years, and it's the reason why I keep coming back. If there's one place that know their meat, it's Canoe.

 

 

Course 5: Frozen Tundra

Wild Honey Mousse, Berries, Gold Leaf, Balsam Fir Cream

Paired with Midnight Sun.

Once again Pastry Chef Gonsalves out does himself with the dessert. Served white chocolate pearls with a graham cracker filling and with wild blueberries, covered with a white chocolate blanket and wild honey mousse wafers. This arctic white dessert was a perfect end to a very memorable meal.

 

 

Petit Four: Bark

Chocolate and Cedar Gelée

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Sep022014

Soup Opera Prince Edward County

One of the newest restaurants in the county, @soupoperaPEC has some #GoodEats!

My biggest problem with visiting the county is that I just don't have a stomach big enough for all the good food in the county! Chef Sujo Bae is a classically trained chef cooking up a storm in the county. She opened her restaurant in June in a former ice cream parlour, and driving down the road you'd have to look twice to see that there's French bistro in side. Paying homage the building, you can still get your ice cream fix along with a market of French products.

I really wish could have eaten more, because if what we had was any indication of the quality of food Chef Bae can produce, the rest of the offerings from Soup Opera is definitely worth coming back to the county for...as if I need an excuse lol.

 

 

Soup Opera Frites with Aioli, Burbank Potatoes fried in 100% Beef Drippings.

 

Ratatouille. Provençal Vegetable Stew, Nicoise Olives, Garlic, Fresh Herbs, Turmeric Rice

 

Carre L'Agneau (Rack of Lamb) from McColl Farm, Dijon Herb Crust with Lamb Demi Glace, Green Beans, and Gratin. 

 

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Aug212014

Canoe - Snacks

Snack time @OliverBonacini's Canoe Always #GoodEats!

 

 Porchetta with 48 Day Sauerkraut, cooked with bacon fat.

 

 

 

 

Click to read more ...

Monday
Aug182014

Richmond Station

Scallops, burger, and all the desserts @richmondstn w/ @foodinthecityTO. #GoodEats

 

Scallop Ceviche with Corn Chips, Lime, Wild Leeks, and Sriracha Aioli

 

Station Burger with Lettuce, Beet Chutney, Aged Cheddar, Milk Bun, Rosemary Fries, Bread and Butter Pickles

 

Blueberry Corn Cake with Corn Panna Cotta, Tarragon, Coconut, Mint, Blueberry Sorbet

 

Saffron Pudding with Rosewater Sherbet, Nokodchi, Plums, Pistachios

 

Penny Candy Eclair with Peach Cream, Strawberry Sorbet, Almonds, Strawberry Wafer Lemon, Strawberry, and Blue Raspberry Jelly

 

Chocolate Mousse, Whisky Ice Cream, Cherries, Rye Twigs, Hazelnuts

 

Strawberries and Shortcake with Lemon Curd, Hibiscous, Puffed Tapioca, Blueberry Cream

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jul282014

Canoe - Snacks

A quick snack @Oliver_Bonacini's Canoe! #GoodEats

 

Halibut Ceviche, Pickled Watermelon Rind, Puffed Tapioca, Rhubarb Purée

 

Alberta Lamb with Strawberry BBQ Ribs, Roasted Loin, White Eggplant, Sumac Lemon Sheep's Milk Cream, Pickled Green Strawberries, Garlic Scapes

 

Date Pudding (Goat Cheese Semifreddo, Green Apple & Brown Butter Toffee), Chocolate Torte (Okanagan Hazelnut, Praline & Ovaltine Ice Cream), Milk Chocolate & Kernel Peanut (46% Milk Chocolate, Banana Butter & Caramel Ice Cream)

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jul242014

Marben - Sausage League

@MarbenResto annual #SausageLeage, today's contestants @thevaldezTO vs @Caplansky! #GoodEats

 

Valdez: Chorizo Lime and Pan Made Potato Tortilla

 

Caplansky: All Beef Sausage, Bean Cassoulet, Crispy Chicken Skins

 

.....and the winner is Caplansky!

@foodinthecityTO was craving risotto, so here's Marben's Smoked Risotto with Seared Scallops, Chorizo, Sea-Buckthorn, Hazelnuts, and Sea Asparagus.

Wednesday
Jul232014

King Street Social Kitchen Tasting

An afternoon full of #GoodEats by @HyattOnKing's @Chef_Wesley!

Last week I had an opportunity to sample some of the new offerings at Hyatt Regency's King Street Social Kitchen, most of them were part of this year's Summerlicious offerings and at $20 for lunch and $35 for dinner this is a place you want to check out of you're looking for a deal for some good eats! In addition to sampling the licious menu, we were invited to experience their new pool program.

The pool program is complimentary for guests of the Hyatt Regency, but is also open to the public Thursday to Sunday, who can purchase a $39 day pass which included a locker for the day, towel service, and a glass of Hyatt's Signature Sangria. On a beautiful summer day like last week, this would be a no brainer for anything looking to relax by a pool for the afternoon. Due to limited availability, reservations are strongly encouraged, and can be made through their website here.

 

Apple and Watercress Salad with Walnuts, Goats Cheese, Grape Tomatoes, and Pomegranate.

 

Chilled Casaba Melon Soup with Fresh Mint, 10 year aged Balsamic Vinegar and Créme Fraîche.

 

Toasted Portabella Mushroom and Toasted Brie with Grilled Asparagus, and Cold Pressed Truffle Oil

 

 

Grilled Caribbean Jerked Chicken
Captain Jack’s Classic Fish and Chips - Fresh Halibut, Home Style Fries, Signature Tartar Sauce
Pan seared Red Snapper with, Organic Garden Salad, Tartare Sauce and Potato Gratin

Fire charred  Rib eye Steak with Red chili and Tarragon Butter, Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Wild Mushroom and Arugula Salad

 

From the Garden - Coconut Sweet Potato Mash, Summer Garden Veg, Red Pepper and Parsley

 

Dessert - Keylime Pie Tart, Assorted Cakes, Cupcakes, and Macarons

 

 

 

 

The good eats don't stop on the rooftop pool. There's an incredible selection of delectable dishes to fit your every craving. 

Starters include: 

Three Bean Salad- chopped red onions, fresh parsley, scallion, fresh lemon juice-$7.95

Caprese-sun ripened Roma tomatoes, boccachini cheese, basil e.v.o.o-$7.95

Roasted corn and Avocado-Crisp Romaine, charred Ontario corn, soft herbs, house vinaigrette-$7.95

Fresh Fruit -Chopped, mango, pineapple, water melon, summer berries, Bosc pear-$6.95

 

Mains: 

Fire grilled Jerk Chicken –Quinoa salad, pineapple and mango salsa, fresh mint-$11.95

AAA Angus burger-Aged cheddar, juicy tomatoes, crisp ice-berg, regular fixings-$11.95

Swordfish-Thyme and citrus marinate, Orange and Chili salad, grape tomatoes-$12.95

Garden grilled-Aged balsamic, eggplant, asparagus, zucchini, fungi, hummus, flatbread-$10.95

 

Dolce:

Avocado and bee pollen milk shake, made with fresh Vanilla cream-$5.95

Cake n’ Coffee-A choice of 3 fresh cakes and Pike’s Starbucks Coffee-$6.95

Chilled Trifle -Layered custard, angel hair, jello, fruit cocktail, mint cream-$6.95

Hagan daaz-Gourmet ice- cream bars-$4.95

 

Thanks to Hyatt Regency Toronto for hosting us, and Mary Tang for organizing the event.

 

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jul212014

Canoe - Summerlicious 

First #OBlicious @Oliver_Bonacini's Canoe in the 7yrs I've been eating there! @ChefHorne #GoodEats 

Since its inception in 2003 after the S.A.R.S. epidemic, licious has become a twice a year staple event in the Toronto food industry, with many of Toronto's most well known restaurants taking part. It offers guests an opportunity to dine at restaurants with a prix fixe at very reasonable prices; $15, $20, $25 for lunch, and $25, $25, 45 for dinner. 

While I think this is great for the city and the industry, I tend to shy away from restaurants during these two weeks. In past years you would hear stories of the quality of food dropping, portion sizes being reduced, and appalling service. With that said, it's been getting better over the years as restaurants have a tried and true battle plan to ensure a smooth service and consistent experiences for diners. Starting a couple years ago I began visiting restaurants for licious again, two years ago I went to one, and this year a whopping TWO restaurants!

If you know me well, you know Canoe is my favourite restaurant in Toronto. So with some convincing from Chef we headed out to Canoe for the last night of Summerlicious 2014.

Light bright menu perfect for the summer!

 

Course 1: BBQ Trout Escabeche with Pickled 100km Veggies and Sesame Lavash (flatbread).

A Canadian take on a Mediterranean/Latin American dish where fish is marinated in an acidic mixture before being poached. This dish was developed by Chef Bill Osborne before leaving for Stock Restaurant.

Paired with Ziraldo Riesling, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, 2012.

 

Course 2: Sweet Pea Panna Cotta with Tender Shoots, Crispy Roots (Taro Root), Okanagan Hazelnuts, Fava Beans, and Puffed Tapioca.

Paired with Rosewood Estates Sémillon, Beamsville Bench, Ontario, 2012.

 

Course 3: Aurora Chicken Terrine with Holland Marsh Leeks, Scrunchions, and Wild Gribiche Sauce

Garnished with mustard seeds, mushroom caps, capers, and dried croissant. The terrine is made by puréeing chicken thigh and cooking it souside, combined with breast meat, it's then compressed and cooked again. 

Paired with Malivoire Moira Rosé, Beamsville Bench, Ontario, 2013.

 

Course 4: Caribou Loin with Sqush Blossum, Young Sour Apricot, Smoked Honey, Spruce Grits. 

A preview of Chef Horne's next tasting menu, Taste Grain/Prairies, starting next month.

First time I have ever had Caribou! It's a really gamey meat with a iron/metallic aftertaste that lingers. Incredibly tender and lean this was cooked perfectly. The apricots paired well by providing much needed balance and acidity to the meat. 

 

Course 5: Rye Brined Pork Loin with Kohlrabi Slaw, Niagara Stone Fruit Mostarda, Crispy Barley, Wild Garlic Scapes

Easily the winning main for us. Well balanced with varrying textures and super tender and juicy meat. Only gripe with this dish is that the portion was huge!

Paired with Creekside Iconoclast Syrah, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, 2011.

 

Course 6: Bison Bavette & Short Rib with Heirloom Tomato, Watercress and Crushed Alliston Potatoes. 

If you love big bold flavours you're going to like this one. The Bavette comes from the belly of the animal, very tender, economical, and flavourful. This cut is perfect for grilling and has a deep earthy flavour! I had really high hopes for this dish, meats had great flavour but the sauce/glaze was jsut a little too sweet for my liking.

Paired with Mission Hill Reserve Merlot, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, 2011.

 

Course 7: Hewitt's Dairy Buttermilk and Lemongrass Flan with Wild Blueberries, Angel Food Cake, and Green Tea Cream

Paired with Cave Spring Indian Summer Select Late Harvest Riesling, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, 2011.

 

Course 8: Coffee Chocolate Gâteau with Banana Cremeux, Milk Chocolate Chantilly, and Peanut Brittle.

Paired with Lighthall Muté, Prince Edward County, Ontario, 2011.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jul172014

Canoe - Snack Time

Lots of #GoodEats for snack time @Oliver_Bonacini's Canoe.

 

Milk Chocolate & Kernel Peanut - 46% Milk Chocolate, Banana Butter & Caramel Ice Cream.

 

Preserved Seaside Strawberries - Black Sesame Chiffon, Jasmine & Mascarpone Sorbet.

 

St. Honoré Cheese - Flowerless Honey, Biscuits, and Raisins.

 

Vegetarian Spring Rolls - Kozlik's Mustard Plum Sauce.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jul162014

Pangaea - Summerlicious

Just a couple days left to check out some #GoodEats from @MartinKouprie @PangaeaTO!

At $35, it's a great opportunity to check out one of Toronto's staple fine dining restaurants.

 

Tuna Tartare with Shaved Radish, Coriander, Shibori Yuzu Gel, and Crisp Shallots.

 

Ontario Lamb x3 - Oven Roasted Lamb Loin with Charred Lamb Sweetbreads, Sous-vide Lamb Kidney on Cous Cous with Mustard Seeds, Raisins, Ginger, and Almonds.

 

Steamed Halibut with Sous-vide Octopus, Zucchini, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Carrot Parisienne, Saffron Vinaigrette. 

 

Lemon Bar: Frozen Lemon Cheese Mousse, Graham Cracker Crust, Crisp Sour Lemon Meringue.

 

Click to read more ...