Lay’s Do Us a Flavour

Lays

We stumbled upon these new Lay’s purely by accident – we were doing our regular grocery shopping and we saw a display of this deliciousness. I had seen the terrible Martin Short commercials but I didn’t realize they were available in stores. Over the course of a few weeks we sampled all four flavours much to the chagrin of our waistbands and taste buds.

Creamy Garlic Caesar: basically Sour Cream & Onion chips with a lot more garlic. The garlic was too much and overpowered any sort of cheese flavour there was. More importantly, why would I want to eat a salad in chip form? This is one situation where vegetables are actually better than snack food!

Grilled Cheese & Ketchup: these chips are a combination of Cheddar and Ketchup chips. The cheese taste was exactly like processed cheese which I love (inspite of myself) and then had a kick of ketchup at the end. There is not toast/bread taste to these chips making these more just like cheese and ketchup. These were GC’s favourites.

Maple Moose: THESE ARE TERRIBLE. They tasted like smokey maple but burnt and sweet = gross. I only had a handful of these chips which given my love for snacks speaks volumes. If these win, I will have no faith in the junk food industry.

Perogy Platter: THESE ARE AMAZING. These were my favourite by far. They were a combination of Smoky Bacon and Sour Cream & Onion. I think they worked best because it took two preexisting chip flavours and combined them into further awesomeness.

In order of yumminess:

1. Perogy Platter
2. Grilled Cheese & Ketchup
3. Creamy Garlic Caesar
4. Maple Moose

They come in snack size bags so you can try them all without feeling overly guilty – we obviously didn’t know this/care.

Happy munching!

Peach Bourbon Cupcakes

Happy Birthday Caitlin! Her birthday was a couple of weeks ago and I made her Peach Bourbon Cupcakes – capturing the tastes of summer and her taste for Jack Daniels.IMG_4203IMG_4201These are amazing! Hints of bourbon and peach, nurse make these the perfect cupcakes for August. And my favourite part of this recipe – it makes a batch of 12 cupcaakes! Fun cupcakes and not in an excessive amount!? Amazing!! I would definitely suggest you all run out to the grocery store and pick up some fresh Ontario peaches and makes these cupcakes this weekend!

Recipe can be found here at Love and Olive Oil! Happy munching!

Mildred’s Temple Kitchen

For my sister Liz’s birthday we went for brunch at Mildred’s Temple Kitchen. We went right when it opened to avoid waiting in excessive but typical brunch line ups and only had to wait about 5 minutes. We were seated inside because although there is a patio, it doesn’t get much sunlight and was a little cool in the morning. The interior is spacious but slightly cavernous and cold – not the warm and cozy atmosphere you look for in a restaurant at brunch time.

I was the only one who got a cocktail with brunch (typical) and I ordered the Bungalow Island Caesar.

IMG_4159The Bungalow Island Caesar: vodka, clamato juice, signature rim, curly celery and fresh horseradish.

The presentation of this cocktail was slightly ridiculous – the curly celery was overwhelming and I didn’t know if I was supposed to eat it, so I just mashed it into my drink. The chopsticks were cute but again, I didn’t know what to do with them so I took them out of my drink. I assume the idea is you eat the celery curls with the chopsticks but I don’t know why you would want to do that and what it would add to your cocktail experience. I have since found out from a coworker that when you eat the celery curls they are infused with the taste of the Caesar. Once I got over the garnish I was able to taste this cocktail – it was spicy and zesty. It was a decent Caesar but not my favourite by far. Also, someone please remind me to stop ordering Caesars when I am eating food! It just results in me feeling stuffed like a beached whale.

Liz, Theresa and I ordered the Mrs. Biederhof’s Legendary Light & Fluffy Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes. served with Lanark County maple syrup & whipped cream.  I ordered a side of house made fennel sausage and Theresa ordered a side of crispy rosemary potatoes. IMG_4161

Mrs. Biederhof’s Legendary Light & Fluffy Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes: served with Lanark County maple syrup & whipped cream.

As far as buttermilk pancakes go, these are good. Fluffy and light but still dense and filling with hints of sourness from the buttermilk, these are tasty pancakes. I was extremely disappointed by the amount of blueberries in my pancakes. There was not nearly enough and they tasted as if they were from frozen. All the blueberries sank to the bottom of the pancakes rather than dotting the pancake throughout. These are good for buttermilk pancakes, not good for blueberry pancakes and definitely not worth close to $15.00. Sorry!

Our server later told us that the recipe is online and that people try to recreate them but can’t – CHALLENGE ACCEPTED. When I eventually get around to making these (add it to the list of the other 80 million recipes I want to try) I will let you know how it goes. I think I should be able to recreate them; the recipe is fairly straight forward and similar to other buttermilk pancake recipes I have tried and mastered.

GC ordered the Little Kay’s Favourite Grilled Cheese Sandwich.

IMG_4162Little Kay’s Favourite Grilled Cheese Sandwich: grilled sourdough bread with apple tomato relish, aged cheddar and mozzarella with side salad and a side of crispy rosemary potatoes.

GC liked his sandwich but it wasn’t the best grilled cheese he had ever had (that obviously goes to Cheesewerks). From the bite I had I couldn’t taste the apple tomato relish which is unfortunate because I think that would have tasted insteresting. The combination of cheese was good but cheddar overpowers most things it is paired with.
Overall Mildred’s is good for brunch but not great. Our bill was close to $100.00 which is excessive for brunch especially when it is not great. I would suggest a visit to Mildred’s for dinner or cocktails but maybe skip the brunch!
Happy munching!

Barque

Happy birthday to my favourite person in the entire world, GC!!! Well, technically his birthday was July 3rd and we did celebrate that day, I am just operating on a bit of a delay. On the suggestion of a coworker we decided to check out Barque Smokehouse for the birthday dinner.

We were seated on the patio – a cute little patio, off the side of the restaurant with twinkling lights. It was cozy and felt like someone’s backyard patio. When we were seated at the table we were greated by Barque’s signature popcorn – yums!

We ordered cocktails – GC ordered the Bourbon Smoked Sour (not pictured) and I ordered the Barque Caesar:

IMG_4068The Barque Caesar with vodka, Clamato, seasoned with pepper, Tabasco, horseradish and Worcestershire sauce, garnished with pickled asparagus and a slice of lime, and rimmed with smoked and candied bacon. This may be the best Caesar I have had. It was spicy, and thick, it tasted like a cocktail rather than tomato soup. It was garnished beautifully and it wasn’t ridiculous looking (unlike another Caesar I will be featuring on the blog shortly). The smoked and candied bacon was the perfect hint of savoury, fatty, sweetness to round out the flavour palate of this drink. I highly recommend it if you are a Caesar lover.

We started with an order of Smoked Chipotle Wings.

IMG_4062This wings were delicious. They were slightly small but when thinking about meat this should be viewed as reassuring rather than disappointing. It means that your meat is coming from chickens that are not on steriods and other growth horomones. The meat was juicy, tender and perfectly cooked. The sauce was SPICY. We made the rookie move of assuming that because we love chipotle mayo and the Mexican restuarant “Chipotle” we can therefore handle this heat. We cannot but they were still delicious.

Next we ordered the Barque Sampler for two. Barque Sampler for 2

Barque

The Barque Sampler for Two with Meat: Beef Brisket, 2 Beef Rib, and 2 Competition Chicken Thighs and Sides: Fries, Cuban Corn, and Fennel Slaw.

The meats were better than the sides and I am totally ok with that. The beef brisket was tender, and had a rich, deep smoky flavour. The ribs had this amazing rub on them, that combined a wide range of flavours from coffee to cinnamon. The table beside us also ordered the ribs and asked their server what the blend of spices in the rub was. The server was unable to give away all the spices but brought out a small container of rub for them! The chicken thighs were tender, smoky and had a delicious sweetness from the sauce. There is the disclaimer on the menu that because the meats are smoked they will not come to you piping hot but warm. Eating this meal in the summer is perfect: it is substantial and filling but you won’t get hot and uncomfortable while eating your dinner (or is this just a problem that I have?).

The fries had a spice on them that was similar to the popcorn spice which made the fries sweet rather than salty – neither GC or I appreciated this. Fries are best when they are enjoyed in all their salty glory. The Cuban corn was sweet, had a hint of spice but was too cold to really enjoy. The kernels had done that awful thing where they start to shrivel once cool and all the juiciness from the corn disappears. The fennel slaw was my favourite part – tart and acidic with a fresh and citrus quality from the fruit. This is the prefect salad for summer.

I would have loved to be able to eat dessert but alas, there was no room. We later went home and enjoyed homemade mini twix cheesecakes (previously featured here)!

Barque was my first really introduction to this neighbourhood and I love it. It feels like a less busy and more mature Annex. We will definitely be going back to sample the endless options combined in the sample platters.

Happy munching!

Pizzeria Via Mercanti

A few weeks ago GC and I went to Pizzeria Via Mercanti for dinner. We were seated in the basement for the first time which is described by the staff as “Nonna’s cantina.” This is an apt description. There are a mash up of different chairs and tables, checkered table clothes, peppers and salamis hanging from the ceiling and of course, cold. It is really comforting for anyone who has ever experienced a stereotypical Italian family.

I ordered the Quattro Formaggi pizza.

IMG_4147Quattro formaggi pizza with gorgonzola, fior di latte, ricotta and grana padano. This pizza is so cheesy and delicious. If you love cheese, especially blue cheeses, you need to check out this pizza. Let it cool for a second or two so the crust can firm up underneath the weight of the cheese. I couldn’t finish it all and took a quarter for it home – it even tasted good cold the next day. Pure perfection.

GC ordered the Capricciosa pizza.

IMG_4146Capricciosa with fior di latte, prosciutto cotta, mushrooms and black olives. If you are looking for a more traditional pizza fix, this pizza is for you. Salty from the prosciutto and olives, with a slight nuttiness from the cheese and the mushrooms and rounded out with sweetness from the tomato sauce – this is a perfectly balanced pizza.

Happy munching!