gracecheung604 | write on time: 2017

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Nibbles at Nightingale

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During Lent 2017, I restricted myself to a whole host of dietary rules, meaning that I can only eat poultry and seafood, no pasta and no fast food. One such meal was at The Oakwood. Here is another one I tried at Nightingale.
Our first plate was from their Raw section, the Yellowtail Crudo, dotted with bits of roasted poblano, and a meyer lemon and 'monti iblei' olive oil emulsion. This was tasty, and super fresh. Each slice was delicate, sweet and stood its own with the lemony flavours. 
Our first Vegetable plate was their Roasted Acorn Squash with walla walla onion puree. Then it's topped with crumMacedonianonian feta and crispy sage. The texture of the squash was tender and the feta gave the dish a richness I didn't expect. Crispy herbs are always fun, but the sage flavours really did enhance the squash.
The second Vegetable dish was the Roasted Maitake Mushroom, topped with pecorino and hazelnut on a bed of brown butter. The juicy mushrooms were earthy and the hazelnut crunch was delightful. 
From their Small plates, we opted for the Crispy Fried Chicken. This was probably the most disappointing dish. The chicken was dry and the batter was thick and heavy. The dill and preserved lemon yogurt dip, and the dusting of espelette pepper did little to help matters. 
From the Large plates, we tried the Grilled Arctic Char. This was by far my favourite dish of the night! Chunks of fingerling potato and artichoke salad gave the dish some weight, and the toasted almond silvers had a nice smoky crunch. The lemon lightened the dish and really gave the fish a wonderful citrus flavour.

Second of two amazing meals during Lent, come back for more in the next few weeks!

Nightingale Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Oakwood - Casual, Cozy and Delicious!

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Since Lent started over a month ago, I've been challenging myself to find meals that do not include any of the following: anything that walks on land with four legs (so poultry & seafood are fair game), pasta (including pho and ramen), rice (which excludes sushi) as well as fast food (so no more Sausage McMuffins). 

This seemed daunting at first, but I've found it to be surprisingly easy! Here is one of my more memorable meals at The Oakwood. Stay tuned for more in the next few weeks. 

Passion Gone Sour
Before taking a look at the menu, the cocktail list caught my eye (there's a reason I didn't give up alcohol for Lent!). I love all things tart, such as Sour Keys, Lemon Meringue or Key Lime Pie. So when I spotted the Passion Gone Sour cocktail, I had high hopes that it would bring on a serious pucker, in liquid form. It didn't disappoint! The cocktail is dark rum based, sweetened with mezcal, passionfruit & orange syrup, add a strong sour note from lemons, and made velvety with egg whites. Delicious and addictive! 
Warm Kale Salad
We started with the wildly popular Warm Kale Salad, and I can see why. In addition to kale, there are also cauliflower and brussel sprouts, and some buttermilk fried onions for crunch. All the veg is then topped with a light lemon parmesan dressing. The various textures and slightly tangy flavours almost make you forget that you're eating a superfood. 
Siren's Call
Having been a fan of petit verdot wine since my first exposure to the Pirramimma Mclaren Vale, I was eager to try this offering from Siren's Call (a nod to Green mythology), a wine from the Okanagan. I thoroughly enjoyed this and paired well with our next few dishes.
Pan Roasted Sockeye Salmon
Some people aren't fans of salmon skin, but I am, and the best part of any Pan Roasted Sockeye Salmon is the skin, which was well-seasoned and slightly crispy. The veg that accompanied the salmon included peewee potatoes, daikon, oven dried tomatoes and melt-in-your-mouth confit shallots. The sauce is quite reminiscent of a Chinese ginger and green onion sauce but was actually a charred scallion & ginger concoction.
Seared Duck Breast
Since I'm allowed to have poultry, we decided to share the Seared Duck Breast. It was a perfect medium and came on top of some smoked lentils and brocollini. Commonly paired with a fruit-based sauce, such as berries, orange or even plum, this duck was served with a cherry gastrique. A black garlic puree (made from garlic that has been heated for days or weeks) dots each slice of the breast and a snowfall of brown butter powder completes the dish. This was the highlight of the dinner for me.
Cardamom Chocolate Ganache
Now I'm not one for desserts but I am during Lent. I needed something to round out the meal. The first plate was a Cardamom Chocolate Ganache, with a bit of tartness from the orange gel. The sesame praline crisp was tasty, jam packed with sesame flavours, and the earl grey ice cream balanced out the rich ganache nicely. 
Coconut Custard
Now, honestly, I didn't plan on having a second dessert, but who am I to complain? This next one is the Coconut Custard, its mild sweetness is cut by the blueberry ice cream. A bite of the pink peppercorn meringue crisps imparts a slightly spicy crunch, the macerated strawberries and blueberries give the dish some freshness too. 

Although I had been to Oakwood years ago as part of Dine Out, I'm sure glad I came back to give this place a try. And once Easter has come and gone, I plan to come back and sample their 48 hour slow cooked beef short rib and burger 2.0. 

The plates are meant to be shared so bring a group and you can sample as many dishes as you like. 
The Oakwood Canadian Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Lunch and dinner at Glowbal

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Although I have been to the Glowbal bar many times for drinks, I've only recently started having meals there. This is a compilation of my most recent lunch and dinner over the past few weeks. 

I do love their bar, their bar stars as well as their amazing cocktails. Sigh, maybe I love them too much!

This is their Ahi Tuna Poke with bits of coconut, chunks of mango and avocado, with some cucumber and topped with black sesame and cilantro. The taro chips are amazing, light and crispy. It's a perfect way to have this dish. Great for sharing and a light way to start off lunch. 
I usually opt for a light lunch but since I forgot to eat the day before this, I decided to indulge and have a burger. Not just any burger, but the Glowbal Burger. The patty is topped with a portobello mushroom, some bacon (extra crispy by request) and cheddar. The usual mustard aioli, lettuce and tomato complete the burger, which is served with a brioche bun. After offering a third of it to my date, I tackled this baby as an open faced sandwich. Every bite was excellent, and I definitely inhaled the fries.
My friend chose a much healthier option, their Prawn & Quinoa Salad. I was surprised at how tasty this was. It was served with more prawns than I expected, and the blend of avocado, cucumber, gem tomatoes went well with the crunch of the almonds and the creamy goat cheese. Learn how to make this here
When I went for dinner again a few weeks later, we again got their Ahi Tuna Poke. It was as solid as the first time. Consistency is key! Behind the poke is the Smoked Sablefish Chowder, a creamy chowder with wild mushrooms and double smoked bacon, just a touch salty, but rich and satisfying.
When I went dinner, I opted for another heavy dish, their Short Rib Pappardelle. Chunks of short rib surrounded by mushrooms, spinach and pine nuts. The café au lait sauce was quite mild, and the pasta was done perfectly. I would definitely order this again.
This Bouillabaisse was amazing! Plenty of seafood, including sablefish and salmon, both with crispy skin. Add to that prawns, mussels, scallops and you've got a well-balanced dish. I really like the fact the fish pieces were large and not chopped up into little pieces. This was truly delicious. 
And because two rich entrees aren't enough, we also got their Short Rib Poutine...because fries with meat is a match made in heaven. We enjoyed this because it covers all the bases for a poutine, but I didn't like the large sections of the raw green onions. Personal preference and easy to pick out. It was also a bit on the salty side. The fries were kept warm during the meal with the cast iron pan. It's a good appetizer and side dish. 
To finish off one of my meals, we were treated to an amazing Dessert Assortment. There were macarons, gelees, chocolate nibbles and fresh fruit. What a decadent ending to a great meal. 

I'll be back and I will definitely eat as well as enjoying their drinks at their bar! 
Glowbal Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Pizza Tasting at Firecrust Pizzeria

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A few months ago, I was a tagalong on a pizza tasting at Firecrust. Pizzas are made to order in a gas-burning oven. Yes, you read that right, gas, not fire. That's because of building regulations, a wood-fired oven was not possible. However, as you can see from the crusts, the fire burns hot in that oven.


We tried four pizzas (Margherita, Siciliana, Prosciutto Arugula and a Build Your Own), along with two salads (Chopped and Caprese), as well as their Italian Wedding Soup. 
Now the Margherita is a classic and if done right, the ingredients really speak for themselves. At just $8.95, this pizza was a great deal. It wasn't overloaded with toppings, but each bite showed off the San Marzan tomato sauce. I could have used a bit more basil or would have preferred it to be sprinkled on chiffonade style.
This Prosciutto Arugula pizza was probably my favourite. At $12.95, this pizza features both Romano and Fior Di Latte cheeses with a brush of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Garlic. It's then topped with Prosciutto and Arugula after baking. I liked how there weren't any heavy sauces to detract from the freshness of the ingredients. Give this a try next time you want a nice, light treat! 
To lighten things up, we also got two fo their salads. This one here is their Caprese, featuring mixed greens, tomatoes, basil and some Fior Di Latte.  The dressing of EVOO and Balsamic came on the side. It was really and a good refreshing bite. 
The next salad was a bit heartier and could probably be a meal by itself. It was their signature Chopped salad, with a base of romaine and grape tomatoes, but with some soppressata, cubed chicken and feta on top. The dressing was again on the side and was a simple balsamic vinaigrette.
Now back to another pizza, we got the Siciliana. Meats include Italian Sausage, Ham and Prosciutto, and Fior Di Latte, Romano, on a bed of simple San Marzano Tomato Sauce and Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The is heavy and will definitely fill you up!
They also have an option of a Build Your Own pizza, which we thought was interesting. We chose a base of alfredo sauce and topped it with two kinds of cheese, Fior Di Latte and gorgonzola. For protein, we added some chopped chicken all topped with some grape tomatoes and mushrooms. Flavour additions included chilli flakes and fresh basil.
And for our very last taste, we tried their Italian Wedding Soup, with small meatballs, assorted veggies in a light chicken broth. It was nice and light and good for a chilly day.

All in all, I would say this is reminiscent of Subway, but in a Pizzeria-style. You can order from the standards or you can build you own, made to order. Prices are reasonable but you should be prepared to wait at peak times.

Disclaimer: This was an amazing meal, graciously hosted by Firecrust. All opinions are my own.

Firecrust Neapolitan Pizzeria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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