Ottawa: Art is in Boulangerie

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I visited Art is in Boulangerie 2 days in a row on my last visit to the Canadian capital. This is a non descript bakery located in an industrial plaza just outside of downtown Ottawa and was named best restaurant in 2012 by Ottawa Magazine.

Croque Madame

Croque Madame

On the first day we tried the pulled pork sandwich which was good but nothing to write home about.  The following day I tasted their Croque Madame.  Overall, well done but to cheesy for me.  I preferred the breakfast sandwich which my colleague ate, a flaky croissant with egg and cheddar cheese.

Sourdough fig and walnut bread

Sourdough fig and walnut bread

Sourdough raisin hazlenut bread

Sourdough raisin hazelnut bread

Kouign Amman

Kouign Amman

Though I was not satisfied with their brunch/lunch sandwiches I was more than pleased with their excellent breads and baked goodies.  I brought home their sourdough fig walnut as well as their raisin hazelnut loaves. Both very well made.  Fantastic toasted.  Their almond croissant is one of the best I’ve had in Canada.  Enjoyed their canelés. Loved their Kouign-Amman (a French Breton dessert of rolled croissant dough sprinkled in sugar).  Great for brunch/lunch or a snack.

www.artisinbakery.com

250 City Centre Ave. Unit 112, Ottawa, ON

Ottawa: L’Atelier

I’m leaving for a business trip today and so I thought I would leave you guys with another entry at a restaurant from my last one to Ottawa.

L’Atelier, one of 2009 En Route’s top new restaurants, is the most experimental restaurant I’ve eaten at in Canada. It incorporates molecular gastronomy, using modern techniques and technology.  Chef/owner Marc Lépine worked briefly with Grant Achatz at Alinea in Chicago and spent time working in Toronto, France and Italy.

His plating was original and meticulous. As well, many of the vegetables and edible flowers used were grown in the garden right behind the restaurant.  Although he took many risks with certain flavour combinations, they weren’t always balanced and at times the dishes lacked substance.

I’ve listed a few amusingly named dishes from our twelve course dinner.

concord grape sphere

Amuse – Concord grape juice sphere with pop rocks. Fun way to kick off the meal. An explosion of fire works in your mouth. I felt like a kid again.

bread and butter in toothpaste tube

I liked the experience of squeezing out my butter onto a dry piece of bread but then I needed to use a knife to spread it.  The butter needed more salt.

L Atelier savage garden

Savage Garden: wild coho salmon, smoked avocado puree, dill flowers, cucumbers, lemon confit, edible flowers and kumquat.  Delightfully presented. Considering the name of the dish, I didn’t expect to see so many garden flowers.  This dish could have reached another level had the chef incorporated at least one or two foraged items.

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Curraty Chops: barley crumble, puréed carrots, pickled and roasted.  An homage to carrots.  I enjoyed that the carrots were prepared three different ways which showcased the various flavours and consistencies.  The barley added extra texture.  However, the flavours didn’t have enough depth.  For instance, I would have wanted the roasted carrots to be much sweeter.

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Bisontennial: bison prepared sous vide with a sweet potato puree, foam of beef bone marrow, pearl onions, roasted brussel sprouts and a shaving of black truffle from Italy. The bison was precisely cooked sous-vide which made it juicy and tender.  The beef bone marrow gave the dish depth.  My only criticism was that the slice of black truffle didn’t add any value. It was dry, wilted and un-aromatic.

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Stick up: lychee sorbet with a strawberry coating propped up on an Australian pine cone (the pine cone was inedible).  Playfully presented.  Fun way to cleasne the palette.  Loved it!

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Hello nasty: nasturtium leaves, nasturtium sponge cake and crumble, chocolate and clementine.  Incorporating vegetables in desserts is a growing trend.  Well done.

L’Atelier has a vital place in the Canadian progressive food scene. However, I felt the flavour combinations needed to be thought through further to generate a more polished final product.

540 Rochester Street, Ottawa

www.atelierrestaurant.ca

Tasting menu price per person = $110

NYC: Blanca (Brooklyn)

For our first and only outing to Brooklyn last December, we decided to try the tasting menu at Blanca.  We first checked-in at Chef Mirarchi’s more casual and hipster pizzeria Roberta’s. Then we waited inside near their bar until we were escorted by staff through a maze of separate spaces and buildings to the Blanca dining room.  We were seated at the bar overlooking the open kitchen in an airy and minimally decorated room.

Blanca

The chef showcased 25 dishes, mostly bite sized with Italian, Japanese and Mexican influences.  Personally 25 courses is a lot for a 2.5 to 3 hours meal.  I’ve been to tasting menus where there were only 6 courses and I enjoyed every single dish.  With 20+ the chef undoubtedly tucks in a few fillers.  As a result, nothing blew my mind.  What I appreciated most about this meal was that I was introduced to a lot of unfamiliar ingredients.

Except for the dining area, all photos were forbidden.  Lately, some chefs are banning photographing food their customers are eating and paying for.  Some of the reasons behind this include protecting intellectual property, preserving the element of the unknown for future customers or avoiding the publication of undesirable pictures.

So I’ll go through just a few of the dishes to peak your curiosity.

Course #2: Glass shrimp with blood orange with poppy seeds. The transparent bottom feeder had a distinctive chewiness but lacked flavour.  The blood orange added freshness and the poppy seeds gave texture.  Overall, a dish that appeared exotic but ended up being lackluster.

Course # 9: Soft tofu with purple kale.  This was one of those filler dishes. If the ingredient can be easily re-created by everyday people, it’s the chef’s job to elevate it to new heights.The chef made the silken tofu from scratch with an apple juice broth with a piece of blanched kale.   The tofu was in fact soft and very silky. Although he wanted to show case his tofu making skills, the dish was lifeless. I did not see how it added value to the meal.  He could have and should have done something much more groundbreaking.  Simply adding juice and a cruciferous was uninspiring.

Course #12: Mini plankton agnelotti.  Plankton are “floaters,” organisms in the ocean including algae, zooplankton (“animal plankton”), phytoplankton (plankton that are capable of photosynthesis), and bacteria. The black plankton purée burst in my mouth with a fresh and creamy sea flavour.  The most memorable savory dish of the evening.

Course #18: For our bread course we were presented with a home-made baguette, wheat loaf and a Hawaiian roll.  I loved the Hawaiian roll.  Instead of three different breads, of which two were just very ordinary, I would have much simply preferred two Hawaiian rolls. The airy half sphere was made with pineapple juice and topped with black salt.  The bread had a honest pineapple flavour without being artificially fruity. There should have been more items like this one on the menu.  Nothing too creative but still very special.

Course #24: Culantro sorbet with horchata (Mexican black rice) ice cream.  Culantro is the spicy cousin of cilantro and sometimes called a Mexican cilantro.  Keeping with the trend of incorporating leafy green veggies into desert items, the sorbet had a very strong healthy flavour.  The black rice foam toned the sharpness of the culantro.

For a satisfactory meal I felt the dinner was overpriced at $195 per person, not including taxes and gratuities. And very few of the dishes were stand outs.  The quantity was overwhelming and didn’t leave me longing for any one item.  The mish mash of dishes clouded my memory.  At one point, in the middle of our meal, I felt like trying his pizza.  So we asked if there was a way to circumvent Roberta’s long wait list.  For your information, apparently customers queue up for up to 2 hours.  The wait staff kindly informed us that they could only add us to the list like every other customer and the optimal time to put our names down would be around 9:45pm, three-quarters way into our meal.  When we were done at around 10:30pm and reported to Roberta’s front desk, there was still a 30 minute wait.  At that point we decided our hunger for his pizza disappeared very quickly.  If a customer is paying top dollars for a tasting in, of all places, Brooklyn, for a passable meal, a bypass to the chef’s more casual fare would be the honorable thing to do.

www.blancanyc.com

Ottawa: Supply & Demand

photo 1On my most recent business trip to our nation’s capital, I left the touristy area of the Byward market downtown to head to the Westboro, a gentrified urban area with lots of charming boutiques.  A few weeks after dining at Supply & Demand, I couldn’t agree more that it was included on 2013’s En Route top new restaurant list.

photo 2“From the Garden” I started with their Beets with parm crema, radish, grapefruit, red onion and pine nuts. The beets were perfectly roasted al dente. The parmigiano balanced the vinaigrette nicely and the grapefruit provided a pleasant bitter punch.

Then I continued with their fresh daily made pasta Beef tongue ravioli with in votto and Bleu Bénédictin.

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My colleague and dining companion thought the beef cheek meat lacked seasoning but the hand-made pasta was well prepared.  The bleu Québécois cheese was the primary flavour of the dish.  I love strong cheeses but it could be overpowering to others. The cheese was a refreshing local twist to a traditional pasta dish.  Le Bleu Bénédictin is the only cheese still manufactured by monks in all of North America.

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To finish off the meal I ordered their Frozen Chocolate Trifle with whipped peanut butter and salted caramel. If you love chocolate this is your dessert.  I felt like this was a frozen Snicker’s bar with ten extra cups of sugar.  Too rich and sweet for me.

Overall, this was a great casual dinner with well executed food in a hipster chic decorated dining room.  Well worth a visit.

www.supplyanddemandfoods.ca

1335 Wellington Street West, Ottawa, ON

NYC: Mission Cantina

Went to Danny Bowien’s highly anticipated sequel to his Mission Chinese.  It’s not authentic Mexican but it still hit the spot on my last trip to NYC. We didn’t have room to order their rotisserie chicken but still filled our bellies with a few reasonably priced tacos.

Guac and shrimp flavored chicharones

Guac and shrimp flavored chicharones

Guacamole and shrimp flavored chicharrones: guac was nothing out of the ordinary but still good and loved the spicy salsa with the chich.

Pork belly (back), lamb and beef brisket tacos

Pork belly (back), lamb and beef brisket tacos

Fish taco

Fish taco

We liked all the tacos we ordered (pork belly, lamb shoulder and beef brisket) but our fave was the fish. It was deep fried in a tempura batter with avocado and crème wrapped in their corn-only house made soft tacos!

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Was a pleasant lunch to break up the day of walking and shopping. Would definitely go back again especially for their Taco Tuesday at $1.

www.missioncantinany.com

172 Orchard Street, New York (LES)

Toronto: Edulis

I’ve heard so many wonderful things about Edulis and especially since it made 2012’s En Route list.  We’ve been meaning to try it but reservations are not easy to come by. Nonetheless, when the restaurant came out with their 8 course tasting menu (including 2 Croatian White Truffle courses) last November I immediately called to reserve to satisfy our addiction to the rare and aromatic tuber.  The décor was homely with added touches charm.  There was a duck press on display and items the owners may have picked up from their travels around Europe.

Edulis-pintxosTo amuse our taste buds we started off with a plate of Pinxtos (Basque style tapas). Guilda olives stuffed with anchovies and peppers and some cubes of homemade toasted bread with Spanish olive oil.

Bread. Baking and cooking are two separate crafts.  One should perfect and specialize their skills to offer their best product.  I’ve been to a few restaurants with home-made bread where they should have just ordered from Ace’s (which I believe makes a fine baguette and is widely available in almost any grocery store in the Greater Toronto Area).  In the case of Edulis, they should continue baking because it is some of the best in-house baked bread I’ve had at any restaurant in the city.

Edulis white truffle 1We then moved on to the first truffle course, which by the way blew my mind.  Raw Portuguese fish with shavings of white truffles. The fish’s clean and fresh flavour brought out the earthy butteriness in the white truffles.  An unusual but perfect duo. My most memorable item of the night.  You can shave truffles on pretty much anything but in my experience, it’s best paired with a simple dish.

Edulis fish with rice crispTheir next  course was an incredible torched mackerel in a cucumber and apple juice with shaved cucumber and puffed rice.  Refreshing with a delightful texture from the cucumbers and puffed rice.  Edulis’ fish preparation is exquisite yet so modest.

Edulis duckGround duck dumpling. Yatsutaki mushroom with a duck consommé with shaved radish.  I liked the idea but the consommé had a gameness which was borderline unpleasant and even for a person like myself who adores duck.

Edulis cooked fishFluke over Japanese charcoal with chanterelle mushrooms with sliced radish, celeriac purée and sunchoak chips. Again another superb fish course but this time cooked. The flavour and texture combinations were just right.  The tenderness of the fluke’s flesh with the crisp chip and creamy purée were a perfect combination.

Edulis potato risotto white truffCelery root and potato risotto with white truffles.  Instead of the typical Arborio, the chef chopped tiny celery root and potato cubes. Creamy, seasonal and comforting.  However, because this dish was salty it somehow diminished the white truffle aroma instead of enhancing it.

Edulis first meat courseHouse made rabbit and pistachio sausage and brussel sprouts, mushrooms and kale.  I’m not the biggest fan of rabbit.  Overall, my least favorite course.

Edulis duck courseRoast duck breast, spelt, kilrabi, carrots and spinach. The duck breast was chewy but the duck confit croquettas were enjoyable.

Edulis dessertDessert was a homemade citrus tart with a side of Ontario kiwis.  Who knew Ontario grew such exotic fruits. About the size or even smaller than an M&M.

Overall, an inspirational and rustic Mediterranean meal.  Comforting and unpretentious dishes using superior ingredients and skillful preparation.  The white truffles were divine and I will be returning tonight for their winter black truffle menu. The dinner started with a big bang with incredible fish, however, after the risotto I felt the meal plateau-ed somewhat. My only major complaint of the evening was that I was freezing cold!  When it’s minus 20 degree Celsius the owners need to crank up the heat.

169 Niagara Street, Toronto, ON

edulisrestaurant.com

5 course tasting menu price per person = $65

7 course tasting menu price per person = $85

8 course truffle tasting menu price per person = $150

Toronto: Splendido

Happy Valentine’s Day!  Hope y’all will be spending time with family and friends you love.  Instead of dining at a restaurant with a special prix-fixe V-day menu, my husband D. and I opted to have our dinner 2 weeks ago at Splendido for their exceptional Winter Tasting Menu.  The price was $125 per person for a 12 course feast,  superb service and delightful ambiance. Some of the best service in all of Toronto with the chef presenting some of the courses himself, soliciting our opinion and answering all of our questions.  They offer a 5 course menu for $75 as well.

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Smoked Oyster Potato & Chive: an incredible start to our 2.5 hours meal. The oyster, on top of a whipped, creamy and velvety potato purée, was perfectly smoked, only with a subtle hint of smokeyness. All topped off with a crisp apple chip.  Unfortunately, our waiter forgot to advise us of the Osetra Venetian Caviar supplement for $30.

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Norwegian Salmon Sashimi Avocado & Nori: the salmon was organically presented on top of a polished stone. The sashimi itself was nothing extraordinary but I did like the crunchy nori tempura and that one slice of spicy pepper which cleared my sinuses.

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Parsnip: Sorbet, Crumble & Foam. The creamy sorbet, bubbly foam and crackling chips were perfectly combined. This was an incredible frosty version of an underused winter root veg.  The sweet and savouriness were well-balanced with a mild but very unique flavour.   My second favorite course for the evening!  What I love most about a tasting is the element of the unknown and this was definitely a very cool surprise.

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Bolero Carrots Ginger, Coriander seed & Pumpkin oil: A four hours roasted carrot, pumpkin seeds and candied granola with a ginger jus. The carrot is taking a prominent role on many tasting menus that I’ve tried as of late.  At esteemed establishments such as at Eleven Madison Park (New York) and L’Atelier (Ottawa), chefs take the ordinary carrot and turn it into an extraordinary fare.  Still, just because you roast something longer doesn’t necessarily make it better. The carrot had a soft stewed consistency and was too sweet. I like my carrots roasted just enough so that the inside is soft and outer layer has a brown caramelized texture. Pumpkin seeds were a predictable pairing and the spiced granola was quite frankly very granola.  Too add dimension, I would have preferred a less familiar toasted seed such as poppy, black sesame or buckwheat.

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Jassen Farms Endive Crème Caramel & Garlic: at the bottom of the espresso cup, there was a layer of crème caramel, then polenta with sous-vide prepared endives, topped with garlic foam and a very generous shaving of Spanish Périgord black truffles.  I loved the silkiness of the crème with the effervescent foam and the bits of tangy endives.  Overall delectable but very sweet.  This was also my first time trying black truffles from Spain. It added some earthiness but overall I prefer the aroma and intensity of white truffles.

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Ingersoll Creamed Burrata Broccoli purée, Hazelnut & Honey:  My least favorite course and redundantly presented on top of another stone.  The poached burrata with puréed broccoli and lemon seemed very much like eating a spread without the cracker, piece of baguette or crudité.  In order to have the cheese stand out, chef Victor Barry could have displayed it in a more playful manner.

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Mille-Feuille Smoked Sweetbreads, Pomegranate navet & Vanilla jus: The sweetbreads were accompanied with button mushrooms and a mille feuille pastry. My sweetbreads were a tad bit too stringy for me but I enjoyed the crisp mille feuille and the tart pomegranate. The mushrooms didn’t add much value as its texture was very similar to the sweetbreads.

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Spanish Périgord Truffle Agnolotti Seti’s Ricotta: The evening’s winner!  After visiting Bologna, Italy, I truly appreciate a well made fresh pasta and Splendido did a phenomenal job. The whipped ricotta inside the agnolotti was frothy. The truffle oil had an enticing aroma and the black truffle bits gave the needed texture to complete a truly decadent dish.

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Hidden Bench Hen’s Egg Smoked Pulled Pork, Garlic butter and Fried chicken skin: I love it when chefs incorporate an interactive component.  In a hot mini cast iron we dropped the piece of herbed butter, cracked our own hen’s egg, mixed in the greens, added the pulled pork and topped it all off with deep-fried chicken skin. The flavour was uneventful but the preparation was fun.   This course was appropriately placed right before our refreshing palette cleanser.

 

splendido23Cornet Blue Spruce Sorbet: Creamy yet still invigorating.  The chef is following the trend of incorporating leafy greens into desserts.

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White Chocolate Tamarind cake, Nutmeg & Orange: Our plate came with a single white chocolate sphere.  The chef poured a hot orange bourbon sauce on top which then melted the chocolate and magically opened up the dessert.  Inside we discovered pieces of blood orange, tamarind cake and ginger ice cream.  The reveal and flavours were grand except the ginger ice cream was quite intense.

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Petit Fours: The maple marshmallow was the most interesting but the other petit endings did not satisfy my sweet tooth as I’m not a chocolate lover.

Overall, a very elegant evening.  A luxurious meal with some exceptional dishes. Definitely a worthwhile fine dining experience in Toronto to celebrate any occasion.

88 Harbord Street, Toronto, ON

splendido.ca

Tasting menu price per person = $99 or $150

NYC: Eleven Madison Park

photoD and I always take an annual long weekend trip to the Big Apple and for the first time we opted to visit during the 2013 holiday season. Our last meal of our 3 day trip was at the 3 Michelin star and No. 5 Top 50 San Pellegrino restaurant (2014), Eleven Madison Park. It was the highlight of our NYC adventure with great company, exquisite food and impeccable service. We dined with another couple, New Yorkers, who also appreciate food which made for a very convivial evening.

Other bloggers may give an elaborate report on each course but I’d rather keep this entry concise without giving away too much. This 15 course feast incorporated fun and creative elements. The 4 hours tasting was much more than a dinner, it was gastronomical spectacle. First of all, the backdrop for this meal was held in a dining space I absolutely loved.  Although the ceiling was 35 feet high, the room felt cozy.  Men weren’t required to wear jackets but the ambiance was still very elegant.  The service was attentive without being too stuffy.  Almost every course on the tasting menu paid homage to all that is New York from local and seasonal ingredients to its gourmand history.  The dishes weren’t overly innovative but were still cleverly presented. I also really appreciated that it was a themed tasting menu and each course was thoroughly thought out.

Upstate New York dry aged duck

Upstate New York dry aged duck

Here are some of my comments about the main course and dessert.  Instead of the venison, we agreed on the upstate New York raised duck which was dry aged for 14 days.  The breast came with a side of roasted turnip and huckleberry gelée. Besides the canette (young female duck) I had at the Rino bistro in Paris a few years ago, this is THE most tender piece of duck breast I’ve ever eaten.  The herbs and spices on the skin heightened the aroma and gave an extra crunchy texture. The aging of the meat added more intensity to the flavour.   All together the crispy skin, layer of duck fat and tender flesh melded perfectly to create a mouth watering dish.  On the other hand, I was not as fond of their deconstructed sweet potato cheese cake for dessert. The sweet potato didn’t have the crisp and tanginess that I often crave with a cheesecake.

If you decide to try Eleven Madison Park I would suggest not reading too many reviews as it may spoil some of the many surprises. I also suggest dining in a group of 4-6 people to enhance your overall experience.

elevenmadisonpark.com

Price per person = USD $225

Toronto: Momofuku Shoto

shoto1After our gastronomical adventures in Paris and Central Italy last fall, I thought it was appropriate to have my first gourmet meal back in Toronto at the highly written-about Momofuku Shoto for our anniversary. I hadn’t really thought of trying it until my friend J dined there for her own anniversary and kept raving about it.  I wasn’t impressed with NYC’s Momofuku Ssam or Toronto’s Momofuku Noodle bar and I also read mixed reviews about Shoto. So I showed up with minimal expectations for the 13 course meal using local/seasonal ingredients with some Asian inspiration. This dinner cost us $150 per head, not including taxes or gratuities, by far my most expensive tasting menu in Toronto.  For those of you who aren’t ready to take the full plunge, Shoto has recently introduced a 5-6 course tasting for $95 per person from Tuesday to Thursday evenings.

I’ll share some of my thoughts and photos on just a few of the dishes to give you a sneak peak..

Amuse bouche: the petit pot had a bone marrow mousse on top of a beet jelly.  The mousse and jelly complemented each other both in texture and flavour.  My first impressions were very positive and continued throughout the meal.

Lamb consommé

Lamb consommé

Lamb consommé poured onto ground lamb with eggplant and tomatoes wrapped in a rice paper roll. The consommé had a very clean flavour. An excellent rendition of a classic Cantonese dim sum dish normally filled with shrimp or ground beef and then topped with soy sauce before serving.

Spaghetti: ramen like noodles sautéed with crab meat in Momofuku’s spicy sauce topped with white kimchi.  The kimchi was crunchy and a bit sweet. Personally, being Korean, I would have preferred a more fermented and sour white kimchi. This was Shoto’s version of a Korean Bee-bim-myun (cold Korean buckwheat noodles sauteed in a red hot spicy sauce).

Foie gras

Foie gras

Foie gras: Le plat de résistance and distinctly presented in an egg shaped bowl. Ontario pickled plums with Ontario walnuts and Ontario Reisling gelée topped with shaved cured foie gras.   I prefer pan seared foie gras but this was one of the most unique, interesting, fun and flavorful ways I’ve tried non-seared foie gras.  I later saw on Serious Eats that this was one of NYC Momofuku Ko’s signature dishes. I’m not surprised that some of Shoto’s dishes are Ko’s original creations with tweaks here and there.  Regardless of the dishes inspiration, it was amazing! Loved it and will be talking about it for a long time.

Brisket: the last savory course and least favorite.  Roasted beef brisket with green onions, cilantro and a white sesame gelato. It was a slab of gourmet smoked meat without any bread to soak up the grease.  A heavy finish before our dessert courses.

Sweet cream and popped corn

Sweet cream and popped corn

Corn: sweet cream, cocoa and popcorn.  Ever since I tried Korean corn flavoured ice cream I love almost any dessert with corn.  The sweet corn flavour and popped corn texture are a fun tasting dessert pairing.

Peach dessert

Peach dessert

Peach: white chocolate, spice cake.  This was a deconstructed pie using Ontario roasted peaches and topped with peach ice cream. D was not crazy about this last course but I love fruit with my desserts as I find it adds a crip freshness.

We thought $150 was pricey for a pleasant but not so impressive ambiance.  Some diners expect a white table cloth setting and service for that price.  The dining room was a U-shaped bar around an open kitchen with leather stools. Pictures of your food are permitted but kitchen staff photos are forbiden (as I was warned twice)! On the other hand, I thought the flavours were balanced and David Chang’s team made appropriate use of fall local/seasonal produce. I whole-heartedly agree with Chris Nutshall’s 2012 review giving it an extraordinaire 4 stars for the food. It definitely tops my list of high end and pricey meals in T.O.

momofuku.com/toronto/shoto/

10 courses five days a week (tuesday – saturday, $150)

5-6 courses including both individually plated and sharing dishes (tuesday – thursday, $95)

Montréal: Lawrence

Enough about Italy (for a few posts). It’s been a while since I’ve been back but I make sure I visit my hometown at least once a year and it’s about time I start writing about it maintenant! Montréal is not only known for its bagels, smoked meat and poutine, its renowned for great food period.  There’s no denying that it is the food capital of the country.  Thanks to the celebrity chefs like Martin Picard from Au Pied de Cochon and David McMillan/Fred Morin’s Joe Beef Montréal is an international food destination. On my most recent trip there, I made a last minute decision to forgo my planned Saturday reservation at an established morning dining institution for brunch at the acclaimed Lawrence on St-Laurent.

Lawrence eng breakfast 2013

At now one of my favorite brunch spots in the city, I tried my first “cold brew.”  Cold brewed coffee is ground coffee steeped in room temperature water from 12 to 48 hours and then chilled until cold and ready to serve.  I’m not a big coffee drinker but it was love at first sip.  It tasted so smooth with hints of vanilla (FYI: nothing was added to the brew).  For the health conscious, cold brews are also lower in caffeine and less acidic than regular filtered coffee.

The English Breakfast is a dream brunch dish for carnivores like moi.  A savory protein feast of English sausage, blood sausage, baked beans, topped with a sunny side up egg and a side of rye toast.

D, on the other hand, ordered the Gloucester pancakes with ricotta, strawberries and bacon. Sweet and savory but we’d go back and both order the English Breakfast encore.

A must return to restaurant for brunch and to try their dinner!

lawrencerestaurant.com

5201 boulevard St-Laurent, Montreal, QC