Whitehall

Yes, this blog is still alive, sort of. I took hubby out for his birthday dinner about a month ago to Whitehall. I was looking for something different; and a modern take on British influenced cuisine fit the bill. Whitehall has been around for a couple of years and I’ve always been curious about it. It’s a restaurant that has a Michelin starred touch, thanks to its chef.

I enjoyed the decor; “The Other Room” sign was hung over the entrance to well, the other room. Service was very good, with the attention to  detail that could be expected of a place with such a pedigree.

After a lot of thought, we both decided to go with the Chef’s Tasting menu as shown in the pictures below. The whipped pork rind was topped with chili which added a nice pop. The butter tasted like, well, butter.

I do like fine food without the pretentiousness of fine dining. This place fits the bill. The bread was served fittingly in a paper bag.

Whipped pork rinds, cow butter

The salad course came with an interesting twist. Stilton snow. I’m not a big fan of Stilton cheese, but the snow added a hint of subtlety to tone down the flavour.

Salt baked pickled shallot and beets with stilton snow

Hen of the Woods mushrooms are a British thing. My husband told me so. They are also a Japanese thing, known as Maitake in the Land of the Rising Sun. This dish is a nod to the Japanese influence, with the tartness of the yuzu complimenting the earthiness of the mushroom.

Maitaki (Hen of the woods) mushrooms with pickled ginger and yuzu sauce

The risotto was my least preferred dish, through no fault of the chef. Each of the previous dishes had one bold flavour with a supporting cast. The main act didn’t come out in this dish, but perhaps that was the intent.

Toasted barley and watercress risotto with cured salmon

This course was by far my favourite. The potatoes were crisped in a rich, buttery skin. I could have ate them all night long. The lamb was done to a perfect medium rare. The kebabs were herby spicy and the chutney complimented the lamb sirloin nicely.

Lamb sirloin and kebabs with cucumber pickles, mint chutney and fingerling potatoes

The pine parfait was interesting. The undertones of pine flavour matched well with the richness of the chocolate.

Pine parfait with pine oil cookie crumble, chocolate wafer and cranberry coulis honey crackle wafer

I really like the bold flavours which takes a cuisine not known for boldness to another level. Hubby would love a return visit.

Poppy seed parmesan biscuit

Whitehall Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Roast Beef on the BBQ

I love good roast beef. Before scrolling further, I have a disclaimer. I like it rare. I’ve been known to eat it blue rare. So, if the sight of rare beef offends you, close your browser now.

Still reading? Great. I bought a prime rib roast at my favourite butcher shop, Master Meats. This one weighed in at almost 5 lbs. I like to do my roasts occasionally on the BBQ and today I also decided I wanted to publish the recipe. So here you go.

Serve it with your favourite brown roux. Mine was simple. Separated the fat from the pan drippings, added enough oil to the fat to make 1/4 cup. Cooked that with 1/4 cup flour to form a paste. Added in the pan drippings and 1.5 cups of veggie stock using 1/2 a bouillon cube.  Brought to a simmer. Then adjusted salt and pepper to taste.

Four lbs and eleven ounces
Seasoned for the grill
Smoking hot
I love rare beef

Rare beef

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Roast Beef on the BBQ
Servings
Ingredients
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat the grill to high.
  2. Prep roast by coating liberally with salt and pepper. Place in a cast iron pan. Cover with foil. Let it sit to come to room temperature, about 15 - 20 minutes.
  3. Calculate the cooking time as follows: 15 min per kg/hour for medium rare @325F. 18-20min per kg/hour for medium @325F.
  4. Turn off middle burner. The roast needs to be cooked on indirect heat. Place roast in middle and cook @ 425F for 30 min. This is around the high setting.
  5. Turn remaining burners down to medium and monitor the temperature. Cook at the calculated cooking time from step 3 at 325F.
  6. When done, remove roast, keep covered and let sit for at least 15 min before carving.
  7. Serve with brown gravy.
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Deane House

I took hubby out for a late birthday dinner at the end of September. I was looking forward to visiting Deane House again. The last time would have been many years ago. How fortunate that the restaurant had only just opened a few days prior to our visit. We stopped by for lunch.

We were seated in the former patio area that is now enclosed. The decor is sort of a modern-rustic-country charm. Comfortable seating with a touch of country. The staff were new and they were still greasing the wheels. The food was fantastic. The service had some hiccups, but could be forgiven seeing that they were only open a few days.

Their menu is local/regional inspired cuisine.  I enjoyed my grilled albacore tuna.  It was nicely seared on  the outside and the beet dashi complimented it nicely. The pear frangipane tart was divine with the notes of sweetness cut with the sharpness of the ginger. The coolness of the ice cream finished off the bite nicely. I had a bite of hubby’s chocolate pate. It was super rich, without being drowned in sweetness.

The service was quite prompt and attentive to start, but towards the end of the meal, the lunch rush got busier and the our server was nowhere to be found.  They also have a limited non alcoholic beverage selection which I hope they will improve upon. Grizzly Paw soda from Canmore would make a great addition.

 

Deane House
Deane House
Wood Fired Grilled Albacore Tuna
Wood Fired Grilled Albacore Tuna Charred Brussels Leaves, Herbed Spaetzle, Beet Dashi
Pear Frangipane Tart
Pear Frangipane Tart
Theo Chocolate Pate
Theo Chocolate Pate

Deane House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Naina’s Kitchen

My birthday is coming up soon, so I asked hubby to take me to Naina’s for lunch. I’ve always wanted to pay a visit, except life got in the way. This seemed like a good time to go.

They were located in Ogden for the longest time, but have just moved to their new home in Victoria Park. The restaurant has been open for five days and plan to have their official opening on Friday. I love the decor. Black and charcoal. Modern and rustic, yes. Oh my gosh. The food. Yes.

Naina’s is known for their stuffed burgers. I need to get out of my Safeway deli rut courtesy of my recent trip to YVR. So I went all in and ordered the daily special, the stuffed jambalaya burger with a side of the soup special, turkey and barley. The beef was flavourful and done to a turn. My first bite was a of creamy, molten cheese. The second bite was sausage with spicy rice. It’s like alarm bells went off in heaven. There was a sauce that complimented it nicely but I totally forgot what it was. Mayo maybe? Who cares… back to the burger. The soup was nice and comforting on a rather chilly day for fall. Hubby had the eggs benny stuffed burger with a generous 1/2 portion of poutine. I had a bite of the poutine. The fries were clearly home fries. Nice and crisp and there was ample brown gravy to go around.

Ok, because it’s my birthday, I’m going for a splurge. I tasted their ice cream of the day, spicy apple with candied bacon.  Delish. This is the best ice cream I have ever tasted. Smooth apple with hints of cinnamon, sugar, notes of candied ginger and bacon. Hubby wanted just one bite but he ate half of it. If they end up selling this, I’m going to buy it by the truckload. As if stuffed burgers weren’t enough, Naina’s has recently gotten into the house made ice cream business. Watch out Calgary.

The place was empty. Long weekend, pride parade coupled with a newly opened restaurant. Great for me. Service was top notch.  The  back of my server’s tshirt said “Get stuffed”. How appropriate.

 

Jambalaya stuffed burger with turkey barley soup
Jambalaya stuffed burger with turkey barley soup
First bite of the stuffed jambalaya burger
First bite of the stuffed jambalaya burger
Second bite of the stuffed jambalaya burger
Second bite of the stuffed jambalaya burger
1/2 poutine
1/2 poutine

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New decor
New decor

Naina's Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Modern Steak

I was looking for a restaurant for date night on a Sunday. My first choice wasn’t Modern Steak, but I was enticed by a 1,000 point reservation on Opentable.

I suspect that this was the former location of The Muse, as I remember the multiple levels and uniquely shaped downstairs dining area. We were seated downstairs, in a quiet corner. So far, so good. Hubby started off with the steak tartare. The beef was assertively spiced and the chips were nicely crunchy. Anticipating the meat fest ahead, I ordered the wedge trio salad. The salad looked massive; containing three quarters of an iceberg lettuce. All the dressings were house made. I especially enjoyed the green goddess dressing.

Hubby had the 10 oz Wagyu striploin for his entree with a side of brussels sprouts with maple and bacon. He thoroughly enjoyed his steak. I ordered the 7oz Ben’s filet. It was done to a turn (medium rare) and was flavorful. I had asparagus parmesan with a poached egg on the side. I also ordered Bearnaise sauce. It was rich and velvety.

We shared the crème brûlée for dessert. It was traditional and there’s nothing wrong with that.

The service was attentive, but not disruptive. The decor is modern and I do prefer that to the traditional 70’s wood paneled steakhouse decor.

Definitely recommended for that special occasion dinner.

Beef Tartare
Steak Tartare with dijon, caper, gherkin, farm yolk, truffle oil and chips
Modern Wedge Trio with 1000 Island & tomato, blue cheese and bacon, green goddess and red onion
Modern Wedge Trio with 1000 Island & tomato, blue cheese and bacon, green goddess and red onion
L-R 10 oz Wagyu New York Strip, brussels sprouts and bacon, Bearnaise sauce, asparagus parmesan with 63 degree egg and 7 oz filet
L-R 10oz Wagyu New York Strip, brussels sprouts and bacon, Bearnaise sauce, asparagus parmesan with 63 degree egg and 7oz filet
Classic creme brulee
Classic creme brulee

Modern Steak Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Reader's Garden Cafe Revisited

Reader’s Garden Cafe certainly can’t be beat for atmosphere. This is a return visit, as I was originally here last year for my birthday. The food was good last year, but simply out of the ballpark this year. Thanks to a change in chefs.

We started with a complimentary appetizer from the kitchen. Popcorn mixed with flowers and herbs from the garden. A nice way to wake up the tastebuds. My friend and I split an order of eggplant soup and tomato & watermelon salad. The soup was flavourful and smooth. The salad was out of this world. The sharpness of the granita went well with the coolness of the watermelon. I could eat it all day. Hubby had the smoked salmon salad. It was beautifully presented. There were these tiny cucumber balls, and a mysterious olive shaped fruit. Hubby thought they were tiny watermelons, but I’m not sure what they are.

Onto the entrees. My lamb was succulent. It was nestled in tasty garlic broth. The cabbage rolls filled with lamb were delightful. My friend also enjoyed her lamb and hubby found his chicken tasty.

For dessert, we all shared the beet root mouse. I found the taste unique, and enjoyable. The meringue and sesame seeds added a nice contrasting texture.

I still love that their veggies and flowers are from their garden. I love their food even more now and expect to return.

Popcorn Appetizer with Herbs
Popcorn Appetizer with Herbs
Eggplant Soup
Eggplant Soup
Tomato & Watermelon Salad-Watermelon granita, pickled watermelon rind, chilli
Tomato & Watermelon Salad-Watermelon granita, pickled watermelon rind, chilli
Smoked Salmon Salad - Spring greens, cucumber balls, crisps and mysterious olive shaped fruit
Smoked Salmon Salad – Spring greens, cucumber balls, crisps and mysterious olive shaped fruit
Alberta Lamb Cabbage Rolls-Lamb & garlic broth, wild rice filling, roasted root vegetables
Alberta Lamb Cabbage Rolls-Lamb & garlic broth, wild rice filling, roasted root vegetables
Roasted Chicken Breast-Toasted barley & sweet onion ragout, seared Brussel sprouts, natural jus
Roasted Chicken Breast-Toasted barley & sweet onion ragout, seared Brussel sprouts, natural jus
Beet Root Mousse - Apricot, meringue and toasted sesame seeds
Beet Root Mousse – Apricot, meringue and toasted sesame seeds

Reader's Garden Cafe on Urbanspoon

Sundried Tomato Carrot Top Pesto with Pasta

I had a lot of carrots with their lovely green tops from my last few CSA deliveries. I found a great way to use them up. It can also be frozen for later.

Sundried Tomato Carrot Top Pesto with Pasta

1-2 bunches carrot tops
1/3 C sundried tomato, chopped into pieces
2 tbs chopped garlic
½ C pine nuts or slivered almonds
1 C grated parmesan + extra
½ C – ¾ C extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
½ C peas
I bag Olivieri pasta or 1 bag penne, fusilli or other pasta

This is a super quick, easy to make supper. Especially if you use fresh pasta.

Roughly chop the carrot tops. In a food processor, add all ingredients except extra parmesan, peas, pasta, salt and pepper. Puree. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. Dump into a mixing bowl and add peas and pesto. Add parmesan to taste. Mix well and serve. Serves 6-8 people with a side salad.

 

20140827_213321 (480x640)

CSA Delivery #1

It’s that time of year again, fresh veggies from the farm. I’ve signed up with Eagle Creek Farms going on three years now. I never tire of freshly picked vegetables. This week we have: arugula, mixed greens, spinach, parsley, pea shoots, green garlic, strawberries and some kohlrabi plants. I am a reluctant gardener; I still have a basil plant from a couple years ago that’s going strong. Last year’s Thai basil had to be thrown out due to insect infestation. 🙁

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Boxwood Cafe

After trying to get into Red’s Diner and Jimmy’s on 4th, we finally managed to find a seat at the Boxwood Cafe. I’ve always been curious about this restaurant since I saw it on You Gotta Eat Here! We got in just in time as the skies opened up and the rain poured down on us. The location is really neat, it’s in a park in the middle of the city.

To start, I had the Kale Aid which tasted like kale, cucumber and ginger. It was refreshing. I really enjoyed hubby’s roasted potatoes with salsa verde that tastes like chimichurri sauce. The sauce was delicious.

My main, on the other hand fell short of expectations. The chicken didn’t have much flavour and the piri piri aioli had a funny taste. It had no garlic flavour whatsoever. One of my friends also ordered it, and agreed that the flavour was not quite right.  The menu did seem pricey for the serving size. We were famished after running the races at the Calgary Marathon.

I was so hungry that I ordered the Fiasco gelato sandwich for dessert. It was lemon and strawberry gelato in a sugar cookie if I remember correctly. It was very average. They ran out of the sea salted chocolate caramel which I would have preferred.

The atmosphere is nice, but the food could use some improvement.

Rotisserie Roasted Potatoes with Salsa Verde and Spragg Farm Roasted Porchetta with Clilantro Salsa Verde, Arugula and Cracklings
Rotisserie Roasted Potatoes with Salsa Verde and Spragg Farm Roasted Porchetta with Clilantro Salsa Verde, Arugula and Cracklings
Mountain View Rotisserie Chicken Piri Piri Aioli, Greens
Mountain View Rotisserie Chicken
Piri Piri Aoli, Greens

Boxwood Cafe on Urbanspoon