Posts Tagged ‘Seafood’

Southern Cooking in the Windy City

April 4, 2010

Gary and I had scheduled a Monday morning meeting in Chicago that required us to go there Sunday. So we decided to make the most of inconvenience and go out for a very good meal that Sunday night.  And what a meal we had.

We knew about the meeting a month out so we had time to decide and get a reservation. So we created a list of possibilities and narrowed the list down to Table 52.  This is Chef Art Smith’s place in Chicago which features Southern Cooking. I have seen Chef Smith several times on Iron Chef America and Top Chef. He was Oprah’s personal chef,  recently cooked for Lady Gaga and President Obama and Michelle ate at Table 52 for Valentine’s Day so there was a really good chance it was going to be memorable. And it was.

Gary started his meal with the Southern Pickles. The dish came with several house-pickled cauliflower, carrots and okra with micro greens, onions, two kinds of salt, baguette, smoked gouda and jelly on the side. The idea was to make your own pickle sandwich out of the ingredients trying the different ingredients. I like participation dishes like this where you can choose your own combination of food so when Gary offered a taste, I went for it.  The pickled vegetables were tender and sweetly pickled but not to the point where the taste of the vegetable was lost or the crunch was gone. The rest of elements added interesting tastes of sweet jam and salty salts along with different textures of crusty bread, crunchy pickles and gooey jam. Combining the different elements of the dish was fun but we both agreed that although the gouda cheese was fine on it’s own we couldn’t find a combination that matched well with the cheese.

I went for the Beet Salad for my first course.  The salad came with nice portions of  two colourful beets, whipped goat cheese, thyme crumble and Myer lemon puree. For what I thought was going to be a simple salad turned out to be a very complex dish by the various combination of items you could put on your fork. The sweetness of the beets matched well against the tartness of the Myer Lemon Puree and the almost metallic flavour of the Thyme Crumble. The textures of the dish also provided a spectrum of densities, firm beets, semi soft Whipped Goat Cheese and thick puree.  We wanted wine with the meal and had our waiter match a glass of wine with each course. For this course we had Acustic from Montsant (Catalonia, Spain) named ‘unplugged’ in the same way that you find ‘naked’ (oak free) Chardonnay.

For Gary’s second course, he went for the classic southern dish Fried Green Tomatoes. The two large heirloom tomato slices were lightly battered and then pan-fried giving the tomatoes a light crunch with a soft center.  Along with the tomatoes came fresh greens, creme fraise and a light tomato puree.  Like an old married couple, Gary and I ended up sharing tastes from each others dishes so I can report this version of the southern classic was great.  The sweetness of the fried tomatoes contrasting nicely with the spicy tomato puree.  The crisp greens and silky puree matched well also.  For this course, our waiter recommended the Eyrie Chardonnay from Oregon. I found the wine to have a light oakiness and a little bit fruity. A nice match for both the Fried Green tomatoes and my dish.

For my second course, I also went for a southern classic in Low-Country Shrimp and Grits. I lived in Florence, South Carolina back in the 80’s so I tried grits many times but never became a big fan but when you are at Art Smith’s restaurant you give them another try.  It was great!.  These grits were Stone-ground White Corn Grits and so different from my memories of the 80’s.  These grits were more like a risotto than the cream of wheat memories.  These grits were nice and creamy as a whole but the individual grits still had a bite to them as in “el dente” pasta. A very nice consistency.  The Wild-Caught Shrimp were tender, sweet and well-cooked.  The Spicy Tomato Sauce contrasted well with the sweet shrimp and creamy grits. Basically a very simple dish but well executed with excellent ingredients.

For Gary’s main course, he went for the Fish of the Day special, which was Halibut. I forgot to bring my recorder to get all the details of the dish but from my memory, the fish was pain fried and topped with a variety of vegetables and greens.  I got to taste the fish and it was perfectly cooked with flakes falling off with just the touch of your folk.  Halibut is my favourite fish and Table 52 did it right.

For the main course we decided to order the Braised Collard Greens with Smoked Turkey as our side dish.  Collard Greens are about as “southern” as you can get but the smoked turkey was different twist I had not seen before. The more common version I had seen when I lived in the south was with ham hocks.  The turkey version turned out fine with greens taking on a light sweet taste of the turkey but not the saltness of the ham version.  The greens were well-cooked, infusing the turkey into the vegetable but stopping the cooking before turning the veggies into mush.  This was the best dish of collard greens I have ever eaten.

For my main course, I went for the Maple Sugar Short Ribs.  These were the most tender short ribs I ever had in my life. Just using your fork you could twist the meat and it would flake off into single strands of flavourful meat.  The carmelized maple sugar matched well with meaty flavours of the short rib. The dish came with red wine reduction that match well but I was so focused on the tender meat.  A potato puree was the matching starch and a carmelized onion accompanied the dish. Our waiter recommended the 2007 Cristom Pinot Noir to go with the dish.  I thought this was an interesting recommendation given Gary’s fish and my short rib selection but it ended up being perfect for both of us.  Not overcoming the fish and not under powered for the ribs.  Nice wine selecting Justin.

I have had the privilege to eat in several celebrity chef restaurants; Emeril’s, Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill, BLT Prime, Daniel,  over the years but one thing was always missing, the celebrity chef. Until this visit. Making several tours of the dining room during our three courses was owner/celebrity chef Art Smith.  He stopped at every table checking to see how the meal was progressing. I thought the treat of the evening was going to be this photo of the two of us but it got better when Art joined us at our table as the restaurant thinned out at the end of service.  They say that television puts pounds on you but this thinner and fitter version of Chef Smith has been dieting and exercising lately and looked the healthiest I have ever seen him. I wish I could say that about myself but after this great meal, I wouldn’t have much credibility would I. 

It gets worse, Gary and I agreed that we were going to pass on dessert as we were both pretty full from the three courses, wine and cocktails we had already consumed. But as we sat there with Chef Smith he had the staff big over some desserts for us to try.  First came the Smith Family Twelve-Layer Chocolate Cake.  Delicious, light and a great chocolate flavour. The cake came with Vanilla Gelato and Strawberry for contrast.

Next came the Peanut Brittle.  I remember peanut brittle as a Christmas treat during my childhood but this was the best brittle I ever had.  The thick rich harden caramel sauce was chock full of fresh Georgia peanuts.  I was amazed at how thick the brittle was.  It was very good and very sweet.

Finally Executive Chef John, formerly of Charlie Trotter’s restaurant, brought over Art’s Hummingbird Cake.  I had my share of cake when I lived in the south but never had Hummingbird cake.  If I had most likely I would still be in the south cause this is great cake.  Art make his version with Banana and Pineapple flavours three layers high all coated in Cream Cheese Frosting. Served on the side is a wonderful Vanilla Gelato.  It was delicious with all the different flavours going on and amazingly light.

We had a great chat with Chef Smith during our 30 minute sit-down talking about everything from the making of Iron Chef, his diet and exercise plan, to who’s cooking in Chicago he likes (and who’s he doesn’t) and where he likes to go hear the Blues in Chicago.  The evening ending amazingly with Chef taking us to his favourite Blues Club in Chicago and having a couple of cocktails listening happily to the blues.

It was an amazing meal that will, most likely, never happen again.  Thanks Gary and Chef Smith for a great meal and a great story.

Read other reviews about Table 52 here, here and here.

Table 52 52 Elm Street, Chicago, IL  – 312-573-4000

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Eating Fish in the Desert of at least on San Antonio’s Riverwalk

November 23, 2009

I went to San Antonio, Texas for the weekend and went out for Friday night dinner with a group. Anytime you get to go to dinner the big question is where do you go?  I figured since we are in Texas, we would go for some authentic Tex-Mex but the group felt more in a Seafood mood so we good a strong recommendation from the hotel conceriege and went to Pesca on the Riverwalk. Even getting there was fun as we made the taxi driver stop at the Alamo for a quick photo so I can prove I was in San Antonio if need be. LOL

I am a big fan of getting the Signature Cocktail at the restaurants I visit so when the waiter described the house special Margarita here at Pesca, I went for it and it was great. This one was made with Añejo Tequila, Grand Marnier and Lime Juice. The Anejo tequila made the drink a little smokey and a little smoother than white or silver tequila that were in most of the margaritas I have had up north in PA. The Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice provided a tartness and freshness that went along with the sweetness and orange flavours of the Grand Marnier. The top shelf ingredients required that the drink was served on the rocks with a small squeeze of lemon.  Despite the cool wet temperatures that night (did I say Texas and desert later) the drink went down well. I show restrain and managed to keep to just one.

We decided to share the Shells, Tails and Claws Shellfish Plateau as a group Appetizer. The impressive display of Clams, Oysters, Shrimp and Lump Crab Meat was a great start to a great meal.  Along with the fresh seafood items came three sauces for guests to doctor (sorry couldn’t resist since we were at a medical convention) their seafood choice. The Clams were served freshly shucked and raw. I found them Sweet and Very Meaty. Their size was impressive two-three times bigger than steamers from back home. The Oysters were also fresh and large but not as big as the clams. The Oysters were both Sweet and Briney at the same time making them a study in contrast. The Jumbo Shrimp was large in size and dense to the feel but were disappointing with a lack of flavour.  They were fresh but left a great deal of flavour somewhere else. The highlight of the Plateau was the Jumbo Lump Crab – Dense, Tender and Sweet.  There was no need to add sauce as the crab could stand on its own. This was a great sign for me as I had ordered the Crab Cakes for my main.

The Concierge at our hotel also suggest that if we go to Pesca make sure we try the Sea Scallops. Sure enough another good recommendation as we all got to try one scallop.  Served with Arugula, Lotus Root, Ginger-Sweet Chili in a Coconut Broth, the perfectly cooked scallops were excellent. Slightly carmelized on the outside, sweet and light on the inside. The Crispy Arugula and Dense Lotus Root were good contrasts to the light density of the scallops.  the Ginger and Chili went well with the sweetness of density. This was the Signature Dish of the restaurant and worth getting if you visit.

We also got to share the Heirloom Tomato Salad.  The giant pieces of tomato were seasoned simply with Salt and Pepper with some Olive Oil.  The simple presentation highlighted the flavours of the heirloom tomatoes that taste so different than the bright red tomatoes I usually buy at Giant Foods. This is the way tomatoes should taste.  Thanks Paige.

For my main course, I ordered the Crab Cakes with Dynamite Sauce. The same dense, sweet and tender jumbo pieces of crab meat in the appetizer was mixed with some bread crumbs and carefully pan-fried.  The Dynamite Sauce remains a bit of a mystery but my best guess was that it was a Remoulade Sauce with some Chipotle Chilis added for some heat.  The heat was good match for the sweetness of the crab meat. The crust from the pan frying contrasted to the tender crab meat inside the cakes. Excellent crab cakes that would give Maryland a run for their money.

For sides, we ordered family style and got (against my initial instincts) Quinoa supposedly the healthiest grain available on the earth and Deep Fried Sweet Potatoes. Both were well-cooked and great matches for the different fish dishes the group ordered.

The large portions of appetizers, heirloom tomatoes and entrees made dessert in the desert impossible for the group. We manage to barely complete the mains before calling it a night.  But before we left Restaurant Manager Michael McClellan stopped by to ensure we had a great meal and to invite us to Pesca’s sister restaurant Las Canarias next time we are in San Antonio. Las Canarias looked great and a target for next time.

Thanks to gang for making the evening great. We all shared a great meal and working for a great company.  The conversation was as a good as the food and that was really good.  I look forward to eating with them again.  Make sure you get to the Riverwalk if you go to San Antonio and if you are looking for seafood try Pesca.

Read other reviews here, here and here.

Pesca on the River – 212 W Crockett St, San Antonio, TX 78205-2520          (210) 396-5817

Ooka Lunch with Ryan

September 24, 2009

Ryan and I got to go to Ooka in Doylestown for Sushi today because Donna went bowling with Jojo and left us to make our own lunch. I have gotten several recommendations from Facebook friends and Chowhounds on how good the sushi is at Ooka so eating there has been on my Foodie to-do list for quite a while.  The recommendations were spot-on; the sushi was top notch, the venue was very comfortable and the service impeccable.

Miso Soup and Garden Fresh Salad with Ginger Dressing at Ooka in DoylestownBoth my meal and Ryan’s meal came with Miso Soup and Garden Fresh Salad with Ginger Dressing. The Miso Soup was one of the best miso soups I have ever had. A hearty broth with delicious pieces of Mushrooms, Tofu and Scallion floating in it.  The Garden Fresh Salad was pretty typical of other Japanese restaurants’ salads with the exception of the Ginger Dressing which was Creamy and with a Delicate Ginger Flavour as opposed to the usual version that comes with overwhelming ginger flavours.  We also tried some Japanese beer and went for the Sapporo brand. I actually like the match up of beer and sushi so it was working for me. Edamame and Shumai Appetizers at Ooka in Doylestown, PA

It was a little strange for me to have appetizers after soup and salad but that’s the way they do it at Ooka so we rolled with it and enjoyed them when the came.   The Fresh Edamame were served piping hot with Sea Salt. The little pods of Soy are fun to eat, slightly salty and moist to the bite. This maybe the perfect appetizer to go with beer, a sort of the Japanese version of peanuts.  The other appetizer was Shumai, little steamed shrimp dumpling with a Ginger Sauces. The dumplings were the perfect size and had a delicate flavour of shrimp and that dumpling flavour that seems to come with all dumplings. My Friend Doug over at American Greetings introduced me to Shumai a few months back and I am glad he did. They were excellent at Ooka.

Angus N.Y Steak Teriyaki Bento Box at Ooka in Doylestown, PARyan went for the N.Y Steak Teriyaki Bento Box.The Angus beef steak came with and order of rice, two California Rolls, Shrimp & Broccoli Tempura and a Japanese Treat.  The steak came medium rare and coated in sweet teriyaki sauce.  The rice was perfectly cooked. Both Shrimp and Broccoli Tempura were perfectly cooked and crispy but leaving the shrimp and broccoli fresh and delicious. The California Rolls were classic and even a little larger in diameter than I am used to getting. The dish also came with two Gyoza Pan-fried Pork Dumplings served with a Ginger Sauce. Ryan had not tried Gyoza before and despite being stuff from all the previous food he liked the delicate pork flavour, the slight char from the pan frying and the gentle ginger sauce.  He shared one with me so I knew he was pretty full when he starts to share his food.

Sushi and Sashimi Lunch at Ooka in Doylestown, PA

 I went for the Sushi and Sashimi Lunch Special.  It came with 3 pieces Sushi, 5 pieces Sashimi, and a Spicy Tuna roll.  The Special usually comes with a Salmon Roll but I upgraded to a Spicy Tuna roll. Both the Sushi and Sashimi were very fresh and the cuts of fish were perfect.  The Tuna almost melted in my mouth, the Salmon the same and Shrimp was fresh and sweet.  The Special also included Octopus.  I think Octopus is a great test for a sushi restaurant, cut it wrong and it tough, keep it too long and it’s tough, cook it too long or too short it’s tough. The Octopus on this plate was tender and flavourful. The Spicy Tuna Roll was creamy with a good tuna taste and spicy enough to make it interesting but no over powering like so many second class sushi places. The Whitefish and Yellowtail were delicate in flavour and perfect in texture almost little works of art.  The overall presentation, and I love good presentation, was excellent for this dish as well as the ones that preceded it.

Great flavours, great textures, great presentations, great service and great company – my son.  Net-net a great meal for us.  You should try Ooka if you haven’t already.

Read other reviews about Ooka here, here and here.

 Ooka (Doylestown) on Urbanspoon

Ooka  – 110 Veterans Lane, Doylestown, PA 18901-3412                             (215) 348-8185

Donna’s Birthday Supper

September 21, 2009

Tomorrow is Donna’s Birthday but many of the top end restaurants are closed on Mondays so we went out this evening to celebrate her birthday.  We took our own advice from the Best of Bucks County – Special Occasion/Anniversary Top 5 list and went to the Centerbridge Inn to celebrate Donna’s big day.  We have eaten there before, had great meals and I play poker with Chef Pete Jones and owe him money (LOL).

Cocktails at Centerbridge Inn

We started the evening with cocktails (surprize!). Donna went for the Singapore Sling and I went for the Vodka Martini. It was encouraging to see that the bartender didn’t need to look up in a book how to make this classic cocktail. He did a great job on this gin classic. My Vodka Martini was pretty straight forward but still well executed. Both drinks were great and the way to start a special meal.

Prosciutto with Melons, Peaches and Mozzarella at Centerbridge InnDonna started her meal with the Prosciutto with Melons, Peaches and Mozzarella appetizer.  The salty and thick prosciutto was a great match for the sweet melon and peaches. The fresh Mozzarella Balls were great texture contrasts for the fruit and the dense meat.  The dish was dressed by a Thick Balsamic Reduction that despite being a vinegar was thick and sweet. The main ingredients were enough but a salad of Micro Greens completed the dish.

French Onion Soup at Centerbridge InnI went for the French Onion Soup as my appetizer. Donna warned me about eating it because of the long cheese strings the soup often produces but I went it for it anyway.  What a great decision it was.  The Giant Portion was full of flavour and actually hard to get to get a spoonful of just broth. The rich soup was full of sweet Onion, Cheese and Croutons.  It was not overly salty as many onions soups I have had at other places most likely cause they used stock instead of those salty bullion cubes. It was excellent, so excellent that I brought half of it home. It didn’t make it past 30 minutes before Ryan had found it and heated it up for a snack. LOL. It was great soup and no stringy cheese on my clothes. LOL.

Caesar Salad at Centerbridge InnDonna and I decided to share a Casear Salad as our second course.  We are Caesar Salad snobs because we have made this salad so many times and we think we have the recipe down pat.  I have posted about our recipe here on the blog and other have tried it liked it too. The version at Centerbridge Inn was very good. Crisp Lettuce with a tangy Garlic Dressing. We had the option of Anchovies but we past given Donna’s sensitivity to fish. The split portion of salad was the perfect size for the second course. Refreshing and with great garlic taste.

Grilled Pork Chops at Centerbridge InnDonna went for the Grilled Pork Chops as her main course. The one giant Bone-in Pork Chop came with Roasted Potatoes and Grilled Asparagus.  The grilled pork chop was surounded by two generous pieces of Pancetta making a giant pork sandwich.  The actual chop was cooked perfectly and was thick, very moist and sweet. The asparagus was well cooked and tasty.  The potatoes were a little el-dente and could have roasted a few minutes longer for my taste but Donna like them as they were presented.

Poached Halibut with Potato Crust at Centerbridge Inn

 I went for the Grilled Halibut with Potato Crust and Wild Rice and Grilled Asparagus. The thick potato crust kept the flaky halibut flesh moist and delicate.  I love halibut but it has a very delicate flesh that carries a subtle flavour. The potato crust acted like an insulation keeping the fish protected. The wild rice was a nice change from other starches and was well cooked. Asparagus is one of my favourite veggies and the staff nailed it with a great grilling. The dish, well presented, was delicious.

So if you are looking for a great meal to celebrate a special occasion, check out Centerbridge Inn.  Make sure you ask for Chef Pete Jones and he will hook you up with a great meal.  Happy Birthday Donna.

Centre Bridge Inn on Urbanspoon 

Centerbridge Inn -Route 32, New Hope, PA 18938               215-862-2048

Hot Hamburger, Haddock and Scallops

September 16, 2009

Comeau's Seafood Restaurant signI was born in August and my mother opened a restaurant the next May. It had a great location, right on Highway #1 between Saint John (the biggest city in New Brunswick) and Calais, Maine (the 5th busiest border crossing between the US and Canada). She ran the restaurant for 29 years until she was 69 when she retired. The restaurant lay dormant for a few years until Dave Comeau convinced my mother that she should sell it to him. She did and Dave built the Comeau’s Seafood Restaurant into a thriving business specializing in fresh cooked seafood and home-made desserts. Rachael, Dave’s wife, does the baking and oversees the kitchen ensuring that each dish is of the highest quality. Dave and Rachael have changed the restaurant a great deal since I was a kid but the flavor of the food still reminds me of my Mom’s cooking.

Hot Hamburger sandwich at Comeau's Seafood Restaurant in Pennfield, NB CanadaDonna and I went to the restaurant at lunch today for the Hot Hamburger that Donna was craving. For some reason, we have never been able to get a Hot Hamburger in the US since we moved down there. The dish is pretty simple, a large Hamburger Patty is placed on a slice of Plain White Bread, covered with Brown Gravy and then another slice of bread and more gravy.  Donna’s dish came with Mashed Potatoes, Diced Carrots and Coleslaw. Somehow the combination of gravy, hamburger and white bread are different than a burger and it always brings me back to my Mom’s cooking. The home-made gravy has obviously been simmering for hours if not days as it was brown and rich and just full of flavor. The sweet carrots and creamy mashed potatoes were nice contrast in texture and savory flavors of the meat and gravy. We still wonder why Diners across the US have not picked up this simple dish but if you are Pennfield Ridge, New Brunswick area make sure you try the Hot Hamburger.

Haddock & Scallop Combo at Comeau's Seafood Restaurant in Pennfield, NB, CanadaI went for the Scallops and Haddock Platter as I knew the seafood would be fresh and it was Friday. The dish did not disappoint. With lightly battered fish and scallops, a generous portion of Fries and a side order of Coleslaw it was delicious and more than I could eat in one sitting.  The light batter on the fish easily broke away to reveal flakes of Tender Fish that were sweet.  A few drops of the tart lemon juice set up a great ying-yang of flavors. Same held true for the scallops but the flakes were replaced with a dense scallop meat that divided easily with the fork. The fries come breaded at Comeau’s so they were different than the other fries I have been eating this week and that was a welcome changed. Perfectly Cooked, as was the fish, the fries were crisp but maintaining a potato taste inside. The home-made Coleslaw was extra tangy today with crispy cabbage and a few carrot pieces mixed into what is becoming my favourite salad. It was a great dish and proved again that Comeau’s Seafood is some of the best around. Check it out if you are driving through my old homeland.

Read other reviews about Comeau’s Seafood Restaurant here, here and here.

Comeau’s Seafood Restaurant – Highway 1, Pennfield Ridge, NB – 506-755-3011

Lobster Roll – Part 3 – Watch out Bill Curtis.

September 13, 2009

I found the third entrant in our Lobster Roll Challenge while searching for the Internet.   My home in Canada doesn’t have Internet access since we only use the home for a few weeks each year and rely on my older kid’s access or public Internet access.  St. Andrews used to have an Internet Café but that went out of business when most of the bars in the area started to offer free WiFi service along with Moosehead and Molson’s. But it was early when I arrived in St. Andrews and the bars hadn’t opened yet (Nobody Panic – I have a back-up plan – LOL).  As I sat watching the local Famers’ Market take place I fired up the computer to be ready when the bar I had targeted did open. The Find LAN button picked up 6 bars in walking distance that offered WiFi including the Kennedy Inn across the street from where I was sitting. Since the Inn was Inn it was open.  The Inn became my Internet home for the next 2 hours and the next entrant into the Lobster Roll Challenge.

Lobster Roll at the Kennedy Inn - St. Andrews NB CanadaThe Kennedy Inn’s version of the Lobster Roll is served with Fries and Coleslaw. The Lobster Roll itself is served in a New England Hot Dog Bun jammed with Lobster Salad.  The meat again is a combination of generous chunks of Tail and Claw Meat, Mayo and Celery. This version was significantly moister than the 2nd entrant and a little moister than the 1st entrant.  The meat mixture was also colder than the first two.  The early morning time and the meat temperature suggested to me that the mixture was made the night before and stored in the refrigerator.  It was still very tasty but I think if the temp had warmed up it was increased the flavor. The Golden Fries was crispy and well done but 10 more seconds of cooking would have put them over the top into the overcooked category.  The Coleslaw was crunchy, tangy and an expected side to the roll. Net-Net a good competitor and worthy of a sample if you get to St. Andrews.

The Kennedy Inn – 218 Water Street, St Andrews, NB E5B 1B4                 (506) 529-8844

Lobster Roll – Part 2 – No Bull

September 12, 2009

Our second contender in the Lobster Roll contest comes from The Gables in St. Andrews, New Brunswick. The Gables has a great outdoor patio right on St. Andrews Bay where you can eat in the sunlight and watch the tides flow in and out. I knew The Gables as the Black Bull when I was growing up and hanging around St. Andrews. They acknowledge their heritage a little bit by keeping the Bull Burger on the menu and it weren’t for the Lobster Roll challenge, that’s what I would have eaten. But back to the Lobster Roll.

Lobster Roll at The Gables in St. Andrews, NB CanadaThe Gables’ version of this classic seafood sandwich came with a few fries, a portion of coleslaw and a slice of lemon. The generous portion of lobster meat came in a Toasted New England Hot Dog Bun. The lobster was a combination of bite-sized chunks of body and claw meat. The meat was lightly tossed with some Celery, Parsley and a little Mayo. The mixture was seasoned with salt and pepper and topped with Paprika. I found the amount of mayo was very light compared to other Lobster Rolls I had tried before. I tried a few drops of Lemon Juice and that made the Roll a lot more interesting with the contrast of sweet lobster meat and tang from the lemon. The meat was moist enough to prevent the sandwich from being dry but a little bit more mayo would have help. It was a good sandwich in a great location.

Read other reviews about The Gables here, here and here.

The Gables Restaurant– 143 Water, St. Andrews, NB E0G 2X0 506-529-3440

Lobster Rolls – Part 1

September 6, 2009

Wooden Fisherman at Fisherman's Cover Cafe on Deer Island, CanadaWe made it to Canada for the Labour Day Weekend and to be with our daughter for her operation. While the debate for health-care choices goes on in the USA we are going to see the Canadian system upfront after the weekend.  I am sure it will work out but it gives me a great reason to visit Wendy, Steven and my Mom before returning to the USA.  While we are here, we have to eat so I intend to share some of our Canuck food adventures.

A few months back, I created a Sandwich Survey to find out what the readers felt was the best sandwich. I tried to include every kind of sandwich I knew which was an impossible task given there are so many to chose from. My Google and Facebook friend Mary Ann took me to task for not including a Lobster Roll in the choices. So here I am in the land of the Largest Lobster Pound in the World so I am going to try the Lobster Rolls at a few local establishments and report back here on the blog.

Lobster Roll at Fisherman's Cove CafeMy first Lobster Roll, Donna can’t do seafood or it will be ugly for everyone, to report on was at Fisherman’s Cover Cafe in Lord’s Cover, Deer Island. It was served on a simple toasted bun with Jumbo Chunks of lobster meat coated in Mayo and mixed with fresh Celery. Topped with some Red Paprika it was a simple but delicious and a classic summertime sandwich. I have had Lobster Rolls over the years but I was impressed with density of lobster meat, both from the body and claws, that made up the majority of the sandwich. The sweetness of the lobster and crunch of the celery and bun gave the sandwich nice contrasts in textures. It was a great Lobster Roll so let’s grade this first one as an “8” and measure the next few rolls against that score. In case in comes down to cost, and I hope it doesn’t this one was $12.95 CDN or about $10 USD.

Let the games begin.

Fisherman’s Cove Cafe, Lord’s Cove, Deer Island, Canada –                                    506-747-2089

Steamers

September 5, 2009

Steamers at Cafe Europa in New Hope, PASteamed Clams always make me think of summer and my Aunt Bert’s camp in L’Etete, Canada. My aunt Roberta, who we always called Bert introduced me to Steamed Clams or “Steamers” on a visit to her waterfront cottage in L’Etete when I was about 10 years old.  She steamed her’s in a little bit of water and served them with butter, lemon and vinegar.  As a 10 year old I found the clams to be amazing, sweet, salty, tart and sour all at the same time. It was an eye’s opening experience to me that something as weird looking as clams could taste that good.

So when Cafe Europa put on their “Steamers” appetizer I couldn’t resist and ordered them.  I felt a little like the critic in “Ratatouille” when I put the first mollusk in mouth and flashed back to Aunt Bert’s camp and her clams.  The steamers were sweet, salty, tart and sour again and they made me feel good.

Try the Steamers at Cafe Europa and I hope they bring you back to the first time you tried them.  If it’s your first time to try steamers, then Cafe Europa is a good place to start. LOL.  Enjoy what’s left of your summer.

Happy Anniversary at the Black Bass Hotel

August 4, 2009

Donna and I went to newly opened Black Bass Hotel for our 24th Anniversary celebration dinner. The restaurant had a great reputation and the news of it’s recent opening had a good buzz going on in the foodie community. It even came up at the bar at Marsha Brown’s when Tricia and I visited there a week back. So we were pretty excited when we arrived. It was worth the buzz and the short trip up the Delaware River to Lumberville.

Cocktails at the Black Bass Hotel

We started the evening off with two classic cocktails, the Singapore Sling for Donna and a Vodka Martini for me. Donna’s drink was nicely made althoughthe bartender had to look up the recipe. The sling was slightly fruity with the gin being covered by the Cherry Brandy and Benedictine. Nice job.  My Vodka Martini was a classic, straight up ice cold and three olives.

Spinach Salad at Black Bass Hotel

Donna’s starter was the Baby Spinach Salad. It came with Bacon, Egg, Orange Segments, Sliced Red Onion, Mushrooms, and Candied Walnuts with a Honey Mustard Dressing. Donna found the salad to be well presented and the veggies fresh and crisp.  The mix in textures was great as well with the hard boiled eggs, candied nuts and veggies.  The salad was not over dressed so it was perfect.

Crayfish Appetizer at Black Bass HotelFor my appetizer, I went for Crayfish off the daily special menu.  I was also looking at the Acadian Barbequed Shrimp but they came shell-on and I could only imagined getting my shirt covered in BBQ Shimp juices, so I went for pre-shelled Crayfish.  It was a good choice. The sweet meat was well balanced against the slight heat from the broth. I was impressed by the amount of crayfish I got and how tender each one was. It felt like I was back in New Orlean’s again. Very nice appetizer.

New York Strip Steak at Black Bass Hotel

Donna went for the Grilled Dry Aged New York Strip. It was served with compound Garlic Herb Butter, Stag’s Leap Merlot Demi-Glace, Mashed Potatoes and vegetables. Donna likes her steak Medium Well and the chef nailed the cooking. The Demi-Glace was delicious and matched well with the Prime Grade Steak. The unfortunate part was that the veggies and the mashed potatoes were cold. The hot Demi-Glace saved the day a bit by heating the veggies and potatoes. The steak was excellent but the rest of the dish could use some attention.

Charleston Meeting Street Crab

For my entree, I went for the signature dish of the Black Bass, the Charleston Meeting Street Crab. Lino, our excellent waiter, shared that this dish has been served at the Black Bass for at least 55 years.  I can see why. It’s a simple delicious dish. Bascially a Crab au Gratin it was perfectly executed with Jumbo Lump Crab covered with a thick cheese sauce. The gratinwas broiled giving the dish some nice texture and flavour in the sauce. My dish suffered from the same cold veggies that Donna had but the gratin was hot enough to heat them to a good temperature so just mixing them together worked for me. The rice was perfectly cooked and matched well with the gratin and crab. It was a well executed dish with nice flavours and textures.

Cherry Cheesecake Ice Cream at Black BassFor dessert, I convinced Donna to try Cherry Cheesecake Ice Cream and I went for the Rice Pudding. The restaurant-made ice cream was smooth and tasting very much like cherry cheesecake. It was very nice. Lino snagged us some Guinness Ice Cream as a sample.  At first that tasted like coffee ice cream but as the ice cream warmed the flavour changed and you could taste the Guiness flavour. It was very interesting and very good.

Rice Pudding at the Black Bass Hotel

Lino presented my Arborio Rice Pudding complete with a Candle to celebrate our annivarsary. The classic rice pudding was served with with Rum Soaked Golden Raisins, Whipped Cream and a Rasberry Coulis. The rice was perfectly cooked but had been around a while that it start to glomb together a little too much. The addition of the raisins and strawberry gave the dish some interesting textures and different flavours. The candle was a nice touch on this great dessert.  Thanks Lino.

Net-net it was a great meal and appropriate for celebrating our 24th anniversary. The Black Bass is Back! Go and enjoy yourself.

Read other reviews about the Black Bass Hotel here, here and here.

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Black Bass Hotel 3774 River Road | Lumberville, PA 18933      215-297-9260