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Category Archives: Restaurants

Tyler Florence’s Wayfare Tavern San Francisco

 

After our recent cruise to Alaska, we spent  a few more days with the family in the East Bay area.  @WineGuyTO and I try to spend at least one day each visit in San Francisco  doing things we (mainly I) have not done before.  This time I needed a dress for an upcoming event, so the majority of our day was spent shopping (I LOVE Nordstrom). We started at the Ferry Building, which though we had been here before, this time was open and overflowing with vendors.  I loved the fresh produce but was amazed at the variety of the food stands/stalls.  Each one had a long line up (we were there around 11 am).  I think this shirt sums it up best: After shopping, we had used Open Table to make reservations at Tyler Florence‘s Wayfare Tavern.  I was excited to eat there as I really enjoyed his Food Network Show ‘Tyler’s Ultimate‘ because he made 1) food that I would eat and 2) they were usually classic favourites, done simply and easily. Tucked away in the financial district, the Tavern is unassuming.  There is a small patio out in front, taking advantage of the late afternoon sun.  Inside we stayed on the main floor, but were told that there were 3 floors total.  Very tavern like decor (dark wood, mounted animal heads, leather) combined to make for a cozy atmosphere.  It appeared to be a favourite spot for after work drinks as the bar was filled with ‘suits’.  As we were early, we had a drink at the bar (friendly patrons made room for us).  For the Gastropost that week, it was mint vs. basil and that influenced my choice.  I had a Poolside cocktail.  We had to look up the alcohol, pisco,  as we had never heard of it! The flavours were mild and I liked that it was not overly sweet like some cocktails tend to be.  For ‘bar’ snacks, homemade potato chips were set out along the bar, light and crispy. Dinner is served on big enough plates as to be family style. Instead of bread, we were served Yorkshire pudding with cold but creamy salted butter.  I went with a starter salad of heirloom tomato and cucumber with quinoa, then the Sonoma duck (my standard) and @WineGuyTO had the fried chicken with a side of mac n’ cheese.  Both were delicious and large portions, we ended up taking most of the mac ‘n cheese home with us.  I could not not have dessert, especially when it was chocolate cream pie!  Our wine for the evening was a Bonny DoonLe Cigare Volant 2007 Definitie Syrah.  Lovely notes of cherry, and opened up nicely as the meal went on.

Best thing? Tyler Florence retweeted both mine and @WineGuyTo’s tweets!

The Poolside

Yorkshire pudding

Salad

Sonoma duck with chanterelles, mission figs, potato purée, marjoram, duck jus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Cream Pie: chocolate pudding, salty caramel ganache, devil’s food cake.

 

Mac and cheese, sharp and smoky flavours

Fried chicken

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tyler Florence’s Wayfare Tavern
558 Sacramento St, San Francisco 94111
415-772-9060 or use Open Table

 

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Just Eat Canada: My experience

Posted on

Did you notice the new badge on my blog posts? I am a member of the Food Bloggers of Canada!  It is an incredible group of people and the great admin work hard to help us bloggers get better with resources and opportunities.  They are even planning a conference for next year!

I was lucky enough to participate in a recent opportunity, to review Just-Eat.ca.  Armed with $50 in credit, @WineGuyTO and I perused the menus.  We found that it was heavy on Indian, Thai and Japanese, that being standard take-out fare.  We wanted to try somewhere new, which was difficulty to narrow down as the delivery area is quite large.  We decided on Indian, choosing Kama Sutra (we live in the South Bayview area) as we are familiar with Amaya (also in the area) and wanted to make a comparison.

Ordering is simple: Choose the restaurant, then just click on what you want and it is put on the order sheet on the top right corner of your screen. Items are easily deleted if you change your mind.  We ordered: Onion Bhaji, Butter garlic naan, Butter Chicken, Lamb Sheesh Kebab and Prawn Pakoras (sorry, we ate so quickly these are the only photos).  With tax, and the built-in driver tip (love that being an option!) our bill was $57.

Prawn Pakoras

Onion Bhaji

I really like the service, especially the pre-ordering. A pop-up lets you know that the restaurant is closed, but you can still create an order and set when you want it delivered.  I could see making an order from work for later, a real time saver!  Once ordered, the restaurant may call to confirm your order as well.

I only had one hiccup, my code for credit didn’t work!  But that allowed me to try out another function, their online instant help.  A pop-up window appeared and a customer service rep quickly introduced herself and how she could help.  The problem was resolved in another way, but I liked the pop-up feature.  Would I use Just-Eat again? Yes!

Boon Eat + Drink, Guerneville CA

I really had not planned out our trip to Sonoma.  The lovely @laurendorphin had been the year before and gave me a great detailed and helpful  list of wineries to check out, as well as places to eat.  So when we got to our hotel in Guerneville, we decided to walk the main drag and just pick a spot.  I think we picked a winner!

Boon Eat + Drink is about supporting local farms and business restaurant, meaning that all the food (and wine!) comes from within Sonoma.  They also have a small hotel and spa in the area too. The restaurant itself is tiny, maybe 6 tables, but there was a heated picnic table outside the door.  There was as much on the drinks menu as there was on the dinner!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What we ate:

I started with the cold roasted cauliflower and faro,  then the boon burger. I chose the Acorn Syrah to drink.

Syrah – palate smacking, robust, a lot of tannins, well structured.Plum,  Cracked pepper, black currents, blackberry/Cassis

Salad – a little salty but the flavored worked nicely together. Just the right amount of vinaigrette and the portion size was  just right, not too small and not very large. Portions I am used to, not the oversized US ones I kept getting.

Burger – the butter of the brioche bun added to the medium fineness of the meat grind. Liked the pickled onions but not so big on the arugula as I am not a fan of lettuce on burgers. A tomato would have been nice but not keeping with local/in season I imagine.

Fries – can totally taste the truffle oil and they were almost under salted which worked. The ketchup had a nice sweetness to it. The aioli was mayo-y in a little overpowering way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

@WineGuyTo had the fried chicken special. He says the mashed sweet potatoes were buttery and the chicken was fried  nicely and not overly breaded. Crisp  and matched well with the lemon tarragon buttermilk sauce. Sorry, forgot to get a picture.

For dessert we shared the chocolate fudge brownie with sea salt and balsamic reduction from the nightly specials menu. Again a little too much salt. The balsamic provided the sweet as the brownie was very gooey.

Would I go here again? Definitely!

16248 main street
guerneville, ca 95446
707.869.0780
info@eatatboon.com

Gilead Café and Bistro

Every once in a while Groupon delivers.  A while ago, there was a a deal, $15 would get you $30 at Jamie Kennedy‘s Gilead Café and Bistro. Other than the reviews I had already read/heard, my cousin is a chef who worked with Jamie Kennedy, and having eaten his food, I knew this would be good!    Like most of my group coupon redemptions, I left it to the second last day before it expired.  Dinner is served from 5:30 on and we were lucky to get a reservation as we were told the were fully booked from 7:30 on.  There is also a lunch menu, which appeared to be much of the same as on the dinner menu.

The Gilead is a tapas menu.  I started with Kir Royale (can’t resist) and @Heywooddc had Tollgate Red to drink.  On the advice of @Foodie411 and @duckiewong, we started with the red fife bread.  Soo good! Was not so enamoured of the salted diced vegetables because it was an overwhelming salty taste.

 We also shared the charcuterie plate, where we chose the chicken liver pâté, the chicken terrine and the pancetta.  I loved the pâté! It was so sweet due to sherry being added, I was addicted.  The terrine had a great texture as well.  We were so-so on the pancetta, not much flavour.  It was served with two mustards: a grainy and a smooth.  Both accented the charcuterie perfectly. To munch on, we also had the frites with two sauces.  They were ok, nothing spectacular.

 Next up as mains were the fried chicken and the scallops with bacon.  I had also gotten a glass of my favourite 30 Bench Riesling.  So happy to see that the entire wine list was VQA.  More restaurants need to do this.  I can see how these are sharing plates as each came with two pieces.  The fried chicken skin was super crispy and flavourful.  I loved that the pieces were boneless.  The scallops were nicely seared and the pancetta were thick pieces in a nice tomato sauce.

 By this time we were getting full, so we skipped the cheese plate (reluctantly) and decided to share a dessert.  We went with the whiskey tarte tatin.  It was ok, a little bland, but the caramel was nice.

We will definitely return here!  It was a little expensive though, as when sharing, the plates can add up.  I cannot wait to try any of his other places.

Winterlicous: Done Badly (ed)

I apologize if you read this last night. I was writing the blog post via my phone and published by accident.  This version is complete, edited and error free.

Dear Spice Route,

I don’t complain in restaurants. Unless the meal is uncooked, I very rarely send food back. I should have tonight.

I came to your establishment for a welcome night out with friends because I enjoy Winterlicious and your menu sounded good. Unfortunately, this meal sucked. And I say that with feeling. We arrived prior to our 7:30 reservation (7:20 to be exact) and were seated promptly.  Thank you.  After that you failed.  I had to ask about the LunDin special I was told about on the phone. We were not told about any specials, had the menu explained, or any habitual things waitresses do. After a wait, and a new waitress, our wine bottle showed up but with only 1 glass (there was 4 of us).  Then she tried to uncork a screw top bottle of Australian Shiraz. Three times.  Our appetizers arrived in good time but my soup was barely warm.  Our mains arrived 80 minutes after we first sat down!! 80 minutes!!! And they were for the most part cold.  My husband’s broccoli was even freezer burned!  This is soooo disappointing. At 9:23 dessert came. At least it was hot. It included coconut which was not stated. If I had known that, I would not have ordered it. Then a bottle of wine appeared that we did not order and we had to ask why it was there.   There was no answer, the waitresses just left.  Many waitresses wandered aimlessly around with food they didn’t know which table to take to.  We had to ask for the bill (9:41) which was already prepared, with no asking if we wanted coffees or anything else.  All we were asked was whether we wanted the table cleared.  In fact, not once did someone come around and ask how our meal was or whether we were enjoying it. This is unreal. My friend asked if the kitchen was rammed and the 2nd waitress said yes because it was Sunday which is strange because when I called they told me that they usually are not open on Sunday but were only for Winterlicious.  We had 2 waitresses and 3 additional people who served/cleaned up. Our original waitress showed up only because we stopped her.  Now the table below us was served all 3 courses and left before our mains arrived.  We also noticed that tables around us that ordered the LunDin were served often and rapidly.  At another close by table  we overheard complaining to the manager and got nowhere really.  Parts of their meals never came.  At the end of the night, one of our group attempted to speak to the front of house manager who ran away to the kitchen.  When he did get him, the overall manager intervened and said that they were having issues that night and tried to appease my friend with a complementary drink at the bar.  He did not accept.

I have been partaking in Winter/Summerlicious since it started and I have never had a worse meal.  During dinner reviews were posted on Yelp, Facebook and Twitter.  We went home angry and hungry.

I am thoroughly disappointed.

Sincerely,

Someone who will never go to your establishment again.

Holy Chuck Burger

Burger places have been  all over my Twitter feed for the last year.  The biggest mention usually goes to Burger’s Priest because people think that it is as close to an In n’ Out burger as can be found in Canada.  I have not had the opportunity to try In n’ Out, so I really can’t be certain, but on a cold day last spring, I tried out BP and really enjoyed it.  The burger was cooked well and had the home-made texture I enjoy.  It would be the place to go, if in the mood for a good burger.  Drawback though: no real seating, just counter and its always full.

Next in the burger fray (and all over my Twitter timeline) is the newly opened Holy Chuck Burger.  David Ort did a blog post that got me interested, plus it has the advantage to being closer to me geographically.  And the lovely Rossy (@PanCanCooks) and Paula (@DragonsKitchen) also felt the need to try our HCB and a tweet-up was born!

The signature Holy Chuck burger

Our great hosts!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The very nice owners let us sample some of the soon-to-be-released new menu item of deep-fried pickles.  But these aren’t your normal pickles, these are half slices dredged in panko crumbs and bacon.  Served with a fennel, tarragon and horseradish dip.  I liked these, they weren’t greasy and the breading held together well.  It was also a portion of the pickle and not a full pickle which I found to be more palatable.

Mmm, pickles.

Next up were some hand-made potato and sweet potato chips.  They were paired with a spicy chipotle mayo.  I kept coming back to these, which I would definitely order instead of fries.  There was no greasiness to them at all.

Regular and sweet potato chips

My milkshake arrived before my burger and really it could have been dessert! I got the Reeses Pieces and banana, it was great.  It was small, but I really wouldn’t want it any bigger.

The burger I ordered was the Big, Bad, Wolf.  Two patties fried in mustard with caramelized onions.  This was a great burger.  The patty held together well, the bun was just soft enough and the mustard didn’t overpower any of it.  I couldn’t savour it, I devoured it!  I was full at the end, but in a nice contented way.

The Big, Bad Wolf

Then a surprise: the Desserted Cow burger.  A bun lightly toasted with real maple syrup, beef mixed with peanut butter, belgian chocolate and bacon, covered with a cheese slice.  Strangely it all worked, though I really only tasted hints of the flavours above the beef.  I honestly only could have one bite, I was so full.  This (at the time of eating) was not yet on the meu, so we were lucky to try it!

And then… funnel cake! I just stared at this.  It looked great but I was so full.

 

I enjoyed going so much, that I bought 2 Tag Buys when they came out recently.  This way @WineGuyTo can come too!

Holy Chuck Burger
1450 Yonge St (just south of St. Clair)
416-96-CHUCK
Menu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Montréal- Terroir, Cochon and Bagels

I love Montréal!  Besides the fact that it was where I was proposed to two years ago, it is such a vibrant city.  My better half and I went two years ago for Labour Day weekend/his birthday.  So when Via Rail had a half price special, and we had a wedding present for a hotel package, we jumped at spending another Labour Day weekend there.

Our hotel package let us stay at the lovely Place d’Armes.  Situated a stone’s throw from Notre Dame Basillica, it was an easy starting point for our exploration of Old Montréal.  The package included dinner at Aix, Cuisine de Terroir, where we had eaten just before I was proposed to!  Aix uses mainly local foods to create sumptuous dinners.

We both started with the strawberry and tomato gazpacho and purple basil sorbet. The soup was nice! A hint of spiciness but the sorbet was a good contrast. The minced vegetables were like garnish and gave a nice crunch to each spoonful. Then, of course, duck 🙂 Finishing with nougat, such great presentation! I also tried Neige Iced Apple Cider and loved it! I usually drink cider over beer, but detest ice wine, so I was pleasantly surprised that though sweet, there was enough acidity in the balance.  I went to SAQ the next day and brought back 2 bottles.

strawberry and tomato cold soup traditional summer vegetable minestrone and purple basil sorbet

roasted duck breast, spiralled yellow zucchini with shallots, smoked bacon chips and siphoned béarnaise sauce

Pistachio- cherry iced nougat, chicoutai compote

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were fortunate enough to snag a reservation to Au Pied du Cochon.  We had high expectations for this dinner, as many people had told us it was a ‘must’ to eat at.  The menu is sparse in the sense that there are no explanations of what the dishes are comprised of.  I started with the tomato tart which was heavenly!  There was a taste of mustard underneath the melted old cheddar which really gave the tart a zing.  Then on to a recommended dish (from @Sharp_Photo), the Plogue Champlain (please see here for a better photo).  Comprised of a buckwheat pancake, seared foie gras, bacon and maple syrup.  So.Good.  Dessert was a poached pear, because the baked apple was unavailable 😦  I did get to meet the owner though!  Will definitely come here again.

Plogue Champlain

Tarte aux Tomates

Owner-Chef Martin Picard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our last food adventure was on the Plateau.  My lovely university roommate and beau took us to Beauty’s.  A landmark diner in Montreal, its has been there since the ’40s, across from the original Mont Royal arena, where my beloved Habitants once played.  Alas, we enjoyed the breakfast too much to take any pics, but a great brunch spot.

We then headed over to St Viateur bagels.  We tried the Fairmount ones that last time, so (in some people’s humble opinion) these were the better ones to have.

Slicing off dough to roll into bagels

So many bagels!

 

 

 

 

 

 

We did much more than eat 🙂  Can’t wait to go back though and eat more.

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