#16 – Barque

A few weekends ago we went for brunch at #16 on BlogTO’s brunch list, buy cialis Barque. We arrived before the doors opened at 10 am and were quickly seated at a roomy, medicine high table for 4; this was a much better brunch experience then our first failed attempt to eat here.

We had wanted to start off with an herbed cheddar biscuit each, but unfortunately, the biscuits were not ready yet. We would have to enjoy the biscuits after our meals would come. I had no problem with this because it meant we got to enjoy our biscuits fresh and piping from the oven. However, if you are a smokehouse/Southern- style restaurant that serves brunch, people are going to want biscuits and these should be ready before your doors open.

IMG_4955The biscuits, when they did come, were delicious and I highly recommend them to everyone. It was buttery, and flaky but still dense. It had perfect dots of herbs and cheddar throughout. The butter was a thing onto itself: it was sweet but savoury and had citrus flavours to it. I would like to spread this butter onto everything I eat.

GC ordered the Fried Chicken Thigh sandwich, and I ordered the Barque Benedict.

Barque - BrunchTop: Fried Chicken Thigh sandwich with baconnaise, cheddar, romaine, and pickled fennel.
Bottom: Barque Benedict with smoked brisket.

This eggs Benedict was ridiculous and incredible. Instead of a traditional base of an English muffin, the eggs sat on a firm, moist bed of cornbread. I have never been one for cornbread, finding the texture too gritty, but this was not your average cornbread. It was smooth, moist and dense. The eggs were poached with oozing, runny centers and had a slight vinegar taste to them, the way good poached eggs should taste. The hollandaise sauce was lemony but had hints of sweetness from barbeque sauce, bringing this hollandaise to an unparalleled level. This is easily one of the best and most unique Benedicts I have ever had.

GC liked his sandwich, but wasn’t as in awe as I was with my breakfast. He said the chicken was a little too crispy, being burnt in some parts but was still good.

Another Sunday, another brunch, another restaurant off the list.

Happy munching!

My Thanksgiving Feast

Ok, medicine so I am working on a slight delay but you have to give me a break. Or at least please, ask try and forgive my tardiness over the Christmas holidays. Just after American Thanksgiving (yes, a month ago) I cooked my own version of a Thanksgiving feast. A Thanksgiving feast does not need to have turkey, just a delicious, juicy meat, oozing with flavour, texture and aroma. I cooked pork tenderloin for our feast with sides of mashed potatoes, carrots and brussel sprouts.

Recipes linked below – happy munching!photo 1(1)1. Brown Sugar Balsamic Pork Tenderloin (recipe from Sweet Hersey Living)
2. Citrus-Glazed Carrots (recipe from Bon Appétit)
3. Brussel Sprouts with Shallots and Pancetta (recipe from Bon Appétit)

 

Soup, soup, soup and more soup

We all know that the weather is getting colder, icier and snowier and therefore, you need more soup recipes. Below are four more soup recipes to help you get through winter (of course, all from Williams-Sonoma Soup of the Day).

The Roasted Squash soup is a different way to make your traditional butternut squash soup: instead of browning the vegetables in the pot you roast them first. This brings out a stronger squash flavour and retains the natural fibrous texture of the squash.

The Vegetable Barley soup is a great way to use up vegetables in your fridge and is hearty. I officially love barley and would like to make more soups with barley.

photo 1The Broccoli soup with Parmesan-Lemon Frico. Broccoli and cheese, does it get much better than that? I didn’t make the parmesan-lemon frico (not included in the recipe below) so I can’t speak to that but next time I will and it will add a lemony, cheesy deliciousness to this soup. This soup has texture and thickness from the broccoli and has that grainy, foliage quality that the florets of broccoli have.

The Weeknight Hungarian Beef Stew is a simple, less time consuming goulash and what could be better than that?

Recipes are below the cut – happy munching!

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The Merry Gentlemen Cocktail

The LCBO always creates such beautiful food, cocktails and recipes but they have always appeared daunting and ridiculous to me. Last weekend GC and I had a Friday night date-night: Christmas trees at the Gardiner Museum, dinner at Home of the Brave and then homemade cocktails. I had wanted to try the Holly and the Ivy, a drink that requires elderflower liquor that is $50 a bottle! Having never tried elderflower anything and GC’s words of wisdom, we opted for the Merry Gentlemen instead.

IMG_5052Recipe: To a rocks glass filled with ice, add 1 ½ oz. Crown Royal Whiskey, ½ oz. lemon juice,  and 2 oz. of pomegranate juice, top with 2 oz ginger ale.  Garnish with pomegranate seeds and a mint leaf.

This is one of the best cocktails I have ever had and it was made better by the fact that I had made it myself. If you don’t like whiskey, you will still like this cocktail. The fruity flavours mask the harshness of the whiskey but still allow that light, floral taste to come through. Despite having such light flavours, this drink is still substantial and has a very 1960s cocktail lounge vibe to it.

If you haven’t picked your Christmas nightcap yet, I would highly recommend this cocktail. If whiskey and pomegranate aren’t your thing, the LCBO has more festive cocktails here.

Happy boozing!

 

Mini Quiches in Prosciutto Cups

We all have those calendars in our houses that we get for free at fairs, medical grocery stores or with flyers in the newspapers that are filled with pictures of delicious recipes and produce. We look at them in our kitchens every day and think, help “Hmm. That looks good. I should make that.” But then January turns to February and the calendar pages gets flipped and the recipes get forgotten.

I am guilty of this. I have a Foodland Ontario calendar in my kitchen that each month I drool over the recipes but never make them. However, when November changed to December, I knew I had to make the recipe: mini quiches in prosciutto cups.

I made these a few weeks ago when our friends Al and Jamie came over for a couple of Christmas cocktails (that was the same night I made the “Evening in Kingston” cocktail) and they were a hit. These are the perfect bites of salty, creamy goodness.

They are extremely easy to make, the most difficult part being wrapping the prosciutto into tiny cups. I made the error of using regular sized muffin tins instead of mini, which required a last minute run to the store for more prosciutto (I feel like this is the definition of a #firstworldproblem). All other ingredients are simply mixed and then poured into the cups and baked for a few minutes.

This would be a great appetizer on Christmas Eve or a great way to ring in the new year next week!

Recipe from Foodland Ontario is below the cut! Happy munching!

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Cranberry Margaritas

Photo Credit: Gimme Some Oven

Feliz Navidad! If you are celebrating a tropical style Christmas or are just missing the warmth after Toronto’s insane ice storm this weekend, I suggest you trek out to the store and pick up the ingredients for this cranberry margarita. A margarita is a drink that will instantly sweep you away to a warmer place. The cranberry pairs naturally with the lime citrus tones of this cocktail and give it a more festive feel.

Recipe is from Gimme Some Oven (my latest find and newest crush) and can be found below the cut.

Happy boozing!

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La Carnita

Another visit (two technically) to La Carnita does not need a full write up, just an update on new menu items. In the past two weeks I have been to La Carnita twice and therefore have been very happy.

I have tried two new cocktails: the Big Daddy PumpKane and the Now’s the Thyme.

Photo Credit: La Carnita
Big Daddy PumpKane with bourbon, vanilla schnapps, muddled cranberries, egg whites, pumpkin spice

This is one of the best cocktails I have ever had. It literally tastes like a mixture of pumpkin pie and the entire Christmas season. It is sweet, and tart with hints of vanilla and cinnamon. It is only a seasonal cocktail, made specifically for fall, so it may be removed from the menu once we get into winter, so you should go and have a taste.

Photo Credit: La Carnita
Now’s The Thyme, a whiskey sour with Tromba tequila instead of whiskey, and ginger thyme syrup.

I didn’t love this. Tequila is a very strong flavour and thyme is not substantial enough to support the strong woody and nutty flavours that tequila imparts. It is fresh and crisp though, like drinking in a garden.

And I tried two more tacos: the Crispy Cojita taco and the Wild Crab Cake tostado.

Photo Credit: La Carnita
Crispy Cotija cheese taco with pinto bean cauliflower stew and pickled carrots

When our server came to tell us about the daily specials, the first words out of his mouth were, “A fried cheese…” and I stopped listening because he had me at fried cheese. Maybe I should have continued to listen because I didn’t love this taco. All the aspects are good, and worked together but what would have really put this taco over the top would have been to have the cheese extremely hot so it had the stringy consistency of a mozzarella stick. The cheese had mostly solidifed, so the taco resembled a bed of vegetables topped with a hard cheese string. Gross. Ok. I am over exaggerating the effect this taco had on me. I didn’t love it but I didn’t hate it and I wouldn’t order it again.

Photo Credit: La Carnita, so no, I don’t know this woman.
Wild Crab Cake Tostada with corn and tomato salsa, jalapeno dressing and micro greens.

YUMS. I loved this taco! The crispy base of the tostada, the creamy jalapeno dressing, topped with the flaky, crispy crab cake made a perfect combination of flavour and texture. The salsa added a fresh, fruity quality which brought out the natural fruity, light flavours of the crab. I think that it is a shame that this taco is one of their daily specials (only available on Thursdays) because it would be a welcome addition to the menu.

Another two nights, another two cocktails and another two tacos. Happy munching!

Eggnog Fudge

Eggnog-fudgePhoto credit: Skip to My Lou

I have never been into eggnog. It was always in the house around the holidays but it was primarily enjoyed by Theresa and JDL. This year, I stumbled across this recipe and thought, “Hey, let’s give it a try.”

Turns out, I am falling in love with eggnog! I sampled the new Natrel eggnog (delicious, but only available at Costco), finally tried the Starbucks eggnog latte (for years I have exclusive had the white chocolate peppermint mocha at Christmas time) and I made this fudge.

This fudge is delicious as fudge, but not as eggnog fudge. There is too much white chocolate that it completely overpowers the eggnog and the nutmeg. I am currently on the look out for other eggnog/Christmas fudges (and other eggnog treats!) – if you have a favourite, pass it along!

Recipe is below the cut – Happy munching!

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Fall Sangria and Tree Trimming

pageOn December 3rd, store we trimmed our Christmas tree. This year, prescription we stuck with red and green ornaments, dotted with personal ornaments we are slowly adding to the collection. Each year, we are going to buy one new ornament, and slowly, over the years we will have a tree filled with unique and personal ornaments. Last year, the lovely Le Faz gave me a donut-shaped ornament and my parents gave us two pinecone-shaped ornaments made from antique book pages. This year, I gave GC an ornament to commemorate his proposal:

icm_fullxfull.32810937_sju25nmlm8040ckcg8soOf course, no tree trimming is complete without booze and I made us an autumn inspired sangria. My favourite part was the cinnamon-sugar rim.  The cocktail was too citrusy and this did not compliment the strong seasonal flavours of cinnamon a cloves.

Recipe is below the cut. Happy festive boozing!

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