SalivAte – July 2010

We ate some fine and tasty stuff this month. Have a look…

First up, I attended the A9 Fenadegas Winemaker’s lunch at C5, featuring wines from Portugal.

This BC wild halibut cheek and scallion pancake were paired with a Veercoope Via Latina Alvarinha 2009, as well as a Adega Pegos selected Harvest 2009.

This is a very rare Cumbrae farms 60 day aged ribeye with potato hash and piri piri. Paired with 3 reds from Portugal – an Extra Madura 2008 Syrah, a Cabeca de Burra Reserva 2007 and a Adro de Se Reserva 2008.

We ended the afternoon with a chocolate and rhubarb cheesecake paired with a 2004 vintage Port from Santa Marta.

Greg and I were invited to the opening of the O&B Cafe Grill (33 Yonge Street) in mid-June. Since we’re not much into restaurant openings, we actually sneaked out and had a real meal in the restaurant to check it out. Above is a fabulous beef carpaccio with wild and tame mushrooms, arugula, capers, shaved Thunder Oak gouda & truffle oil.

Best burger presentation ever. This is O&B’s classic burger with coleslaw, fries and onion marmalade.

This is from O&B’s “contemporary Asian” section of the menu – sesame seared yellowfin tuna on a green mango & crispy rice noodle salad with julienned jicama, snow peas, crushed peanuts, mint, coriander & spicy Indonesian yoghurt. Look at that tuna – this is a brilliant dish – fresh, bright and flavourful.

This chocolate marquise cake might look pretty plain and simple but this milk chocolate torte with hazelnut praline crunch is like the cake version of a Ferrero Roche candy.

We were so happy for Rachelle and Scott Vivian and the opening of their new restaurant Beast (96 Tecumseth) in the former Amuse-Bouche location. The couple are doing everything themselves, and the spot has a really sweet Mom and Pop feel that we adore. (Mom and Pop personally serving you and beaming with pride while they do it doesn’t hurt!) Rachelle makes all of the pastries, including the amazing bread that comes with every meal. Her Parker House rolls take us back to childhood.

Beast’s seared scallops with mussels and red pepper sauce – perfect for soaking up the amazing bread.

This seared elk was a hearty portion (there were two big pieces this size), and were served atop wilted lamb’s quarters with spaetzle and mushrooms. Scott changes up the side dishes from week to week, working with what’s fresh and in-season so these aren’t always the same.

Everyone who’s been to Beast is talking up the beignets. Rachelle takes cannoli wrappers and fills them with chocolate fondant. The sauce is salted caramel. Lick-the-plate good.

And on a hot summer night, if chocolate seems too heavy, the strawberry tart served with lemon thyme ricotta ice cream is sweet and refreshing. Loved our meal at Beast, can’t wait to go back for more!

And finally, a few tasty odds and ends. Above is the Kako Khmer from Khmer Thai Restaurant (1018 St. Clair Avenue West). It’s Chicken, Green Papaya, Green Jack Fruit, Green Chili, Egg Plant, Coconut Milk, Long Bean with Rice.

This little beauty is the Tarte Nicoise from Le Select Bistro (432 Wellington Street West). There was duck confit for the main course, but I… well, let’s just say it disappeared before I could get the camera out.

Le Select has all of their menus online except dessert, so I’m missing the exact name of this. But it’s a hazelnut ice cream terrine with praline and fruit. Really, really good on a hot summer night.