Good luck, bad luck and multi-course dinners with lots of meat – all things that come in threes, apparently, as Greg and I discovered this past week as we tucked in to three very different mighty meaty meals, each amazing in its own way.
On Thursday, November 20th, we joined the brewers at Amsterdam Brewhouse for a fantastic meal that paired each course with both a beer from Amsterdam and a wine from Good Earth Winery. They’ve done a few of these events before and it’s always fun to see which works better with the food – beer or wine. Chef Avaughn Wells sent out some wonderful dishes so we were all happy campers indeed.
Amsterdam does these events with some regularity and at an average of $65 per person, they’re a great deal, especially when you consider the meal included a bottle of Amsterdam’s 2014 Barrel Aged Sour Cherry Imperial Stout to take home.
(Above: Hand-cut fettuccine with brown sage butter, roasted butternut squash, charred collard greens, roasted chestnut and charred lemon. Paired with Amsterdam’s 18 Hands – Rustic Pale Ale and Good Earth’s 2010 Chardonnay.)
The Oliver & Bonacini Group is a diverse collection of restaurants, many of which serve a specific niche, and a specific style of food. Biff’s Bistro is well known for their French bistro cuisine, but the food tends to be more France-French than Quebec-French. Fortunately, O&B also gives their chefs creative license to do special events and dinners, which is how we ended up at Biff’s earlier this week for their Vive le Québec Dîner – a five-course dinner in which Chef Amanda Ray created a menu of the best French Canadian cuisine, all paired with Quebec beers (pairings by Peter Campagna, Certified Ciccerone) and ciders (paired by Mel Hilton).
These dinners are one-off events and most dishes don’t show up on the regular menu, so they’re worth checking out as they really give the chefs the opportunity to offer items and ingredients they they might not normally get to work with or serve. The Vive le Québec Dîner was $85 all in, and included five dishes with drink pairings as well as a welcome drink.
For more info on upcoming dinners, check out the Oliver & Bonacini website or follow them on Twitter or Facebook.
Roving chef Matt Kantor has announced plans to settle down, specifically at a space at 1256 Dundas Street West (at Dovercourt), where he’ll be cooking up Spanish-influenced cuisine. Plans are for Bakio to open in about 12 weeks, but maybe double that to allow for delays and a potential CUPE strike.
Angelo’s on King (791 King Street West) is no longer open for lunch but will continue to open for dinner.
The Golden Apple Confectionery (warning – flash and music!) is coming soon to Liberty Village. They plan to open in April at 171 East Liberty Street, unit #142 where they’ll be offering various types of caramel apples and chocolate delights.
Porchetta & Co. (825 Dundas Street West) brings back the uber-popular porchetta and waffle dinner, this Thursday and Friday after 5pm only.
Remember the sad, tired cafeteria on the 8th floor of the Bay Queen Street? Now it looks like this. The Arcadian Loft is a new event space run by Oliver & Bonacini set to open soon.
Annona in the Park Hyatt Toronto (4 Avenue Road) has introduced a spring sharing menu, featuring dishes suitable for 3-4 people and including lobster grilled cheese, seafood risotto, rack of lamb, and filet mignon.
Tomorrow is FoodShare‘s Great Big Crunch. Register with them and then eat an apple. Yeah, it’s mostly for schoolkids, but apples are tasty and it sets a good example for the kids in your life.
You’ll laugh your butt off at this, then feel guilty for doing so. And when it comes to selling fast food chicken, it’s a bit of a stretch. But who doesn’t enjoy the occasional playful dictator? [Daily Mail]
Old salty – people get freaking out about consuming too much salt, but too little can be just as bad. [Globe and Mail]
This is interesting – it looks as if the US is getting set to allow the slaughter of horses for meat. Which means fewer horses being shipped across the border to Canada for slaughter here. [Chicago Tribune]
You know, part of me really believes that the “drunken office Christmas party” really only exists on TV. I’ve never been to one, and I’ve never known anyone who has been to one. Most workplaces do some kind of demure no-booze luncheon and then send everybody back to work. [Grub Street]
Cooked versus raw – or – maybe this is why people on raw food diets are so slim. [Globe and Mail]
More than 30 years after his death, Colonel Harland Sanders will become a published author – online no less. KFC plans to publish a recently discovered manuscript written by Sanders in the 60s. Part-autobiography, part cookbook, it sadly does not contain THE secret recipe. [Philly.com]
Black Creek Pioneer Village makes a one-mile beer, made with ingredients grown on the museum grounds. [Toronto Sun]
A dirty restaurant bathroom doesn’t necessarily mean that the kitchen is disgusting too. Also, door knobs aren’t that dirty, stop being so paranoid!) [Chow]
I’m a big fan of returning old buildings to their former grandeur, so the plans by Oliver & Bonacini to return the Arcadian Court at The Bay Queen Street to its original art deco elegance get a big thumbs up. The room (along with the sad little cafeteria-style restaurant) will become an event space in 2012. [Oliver & Bonacini blog]
I was lucky enough to be able to attend the media preview event at Oliver & Bonacini’s Bannock at the Hudson’s Bay flagship store (401 By Street) at Yonge and Queen, but those events, while fun and full of free samples, are never really reflective of what the restaurant is like during regular service. Of course, it took a few weeks to get back; Greg and I arrived once without a reservation for dinner and the place was packed. So we popped in for lunch a week or so later and managed to score a table and check out what Chef Anthony Walsh had done with a menu that doubles as a love song to Canadian cuisine and Canadian history.
Teaming up with the Bay and creating a restaurant featuring Canadian comfort food was a no-brainer. As in, why didn’t someone think of this before? The space is both modern and sleek and drenched in history – step into the dining room portion of the space and look up – the ceiling is made from planks of The Queen’s Wharf, a 244 foot long wharf that once stood at the foot of Bathurst Street and was buried/underwater until 2006 when it was unearthed during excavations for a condo tower. The walls, which also look like wooden planks, are actually concrete. How’s that for modern history?