Provo Foodbar

Every time I go to the AGO I wonder, patient “Why are there not more restaurant options near this gallery?” My last visit to the AGO was proceeded by a visit to Mother’s Dumplings for lunch as I couldn’t think of a better option closer by – which if I am completely wrong about this, please let me know. But no longer will I have to trek from College and Spadina before or after the gallery in search of food. I can now go across the street to Provo Foodbar.

I went to Provo last Friday night with my friend Lynsey, to catch up about the drama of life over delicious food and drink. Provo opened earlier this year and has been popping up all over my Instagram feed ever since.

Our reservation was for 5:30 and we were seated at a small table near the front of the restaurant. There were a few people there as the after-work crowd shuffled in but it was relatively quiet for early on a Friday night. I would imagine (and hope) that is gets much busier as the night wears on.  The restaurant is deceptively large, with large windows that open at the front of the restaurant onto Dundas Street making the front half of the restaurant seem almost patio-like. There is a long bar anchoring the middle of the restaurant, and more seating at the back of the restaurant up a few steps. It is a huge space that could definitely host an intimate date-night dinner or a large group of friends for any occasion.

We started off with cocktails. Lynsey had the A.G.O.M.G (Smirnoff vodka, prosecco, maraschino, lavender and pomegranate) and I had the Middle Daughter (Bombay sapphire gin, elderflower, vanilla, grapefruit and lemon). The A.G.O.M.G is to be pronounced AGOhmygod and not as “agomg”. The prosecco and maraschino make this cocktail extremely sweet. When the prosecco falls flat the drink becomes almost unbearable to drink. But of course you do because there is alcohol in it. The Middle Daughter on the other hand is a beautifully balanced, strong cocktail. It tastes like spring in a glass – it is fresh, with floral notes and citrus zing to it. I could drink about 30 of these but then I would likely be on the floor. After my one cocktail I switched to beers by Collective Arts Brewing.

We ordered 6 different plates to share. We started with two different types of crostini: the Duck Confit Rillette and the White Anchovy and Oven Dried Tomato.

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Both of these were absolutely amazing and captured different seasonal flavours. The Duck Confit Rillette was hearty, smoky and had a richness to it which is perfect for warming up on a cool spring night. It was the right consistency to be spread thickly across the toasted and crispy crostini. It was priced just right – $6.00 for a small pot of rillette and four crostini. The rillettes was more than enough to be spread across four crostini, and we had extra rillette leftover which we obviously spread across other things because you can’t let good food go to waste.

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The white anchovy and oven dried tomato crostini tasted like Italian summer nights. The tomato was blistered and slight caramelized, allowing that sweetness to ooze out of the charred skin and onto the crostini. The tomato was dotted with garlic which was slightly peppery. The white anchovy added the saltiness to the crostini that brought out further sweetness of the tomatoes but were not overly fishy. This is definitely a crostini that easily can and will be recreated at home with fresh tomatoes from the garden.

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Canada – Amsterdam BrewHouse

After indulding in some bacon at Harbourfront Centre’s Baconation we checked out some beers at the new Amsterdam Brewhouse.

Amsterdam BrewhouseWe started with two different Flight Tours – I ordered the King & Portland, GC ordered the Richmond & John. I love how there are so many different beers to try here and so many different ways to try them. The tasting flights features 4 5oz glasses and costs the same as a 20oz pint. The menu serves as coasters for your beers. My only criticism of this – the names of the beers are listed on the round emblems which end up under the glasses. You can’t get fussed about the name of a beer as long as it tastes good!

We shared Amsterdam Pretzel and the Crispy Fish Tacos.

IMG_4032This pretzel is yummmmmmy! Warm, doughy and perfectly salted. There were three flavours of mustard: Natural Blonde red currant mustard,  Big Wheel dijon and wort reduction. The mustards were very hot, a huge kick of horseradish right in the nose. I foresee many nights at the Brewhouse drinking flights of beer and eating these pretzels.

IMG_4033White corn tortillas, apple fennel slaw, cilantro, fresh lime, and house hot sauce. These were okay, not great. That is not surprising as this is a pub, not a Mexican restaurant. Stick with the pretzels, you won’t regret it!

We went back to the Brewhouse for a family dinner last week. I wasn’t thrilled with the service – I had made a reservation but we had to wait 10 minutes to be seated. When we were seated, it was at a table that was clearly meant for 4 people, not 6.Our server, however, was amazing – she knew everything about beers, what they paired well with and had lots of suggestions of what to order based on people’s tastes.

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