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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Infused Vodka

This is completely stolen from Toronto Life (original article can be found here) but need to be re-posted her because it is about infused vodka. I am planning on eventually making all of these and needed to have a record of the recipes.

1 | It’s Kosher (pictured)
Infuse vodka with two handfuls fresh dill. Shake 1?½ oz infused vodka, cialis ¾ oz Becherovka liqueur, remedy ¾ oz freshly squeezed lime juice, 2 slices muddled cucumber and 3 drops Bittermens Burlesque bitters. Double-strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with fresh dill.

2 | Flip Flop
Infuse vodka with three or four vanilla beans. Shake 2 oz infused vodka, ½ oz Devil’s Cut bourbon, ¼ oz cinnamon syrup, 5 drops Bittercube blackstrap molasses bitters, ¾ oz puréed apple and 1 beaten egg without ice. Add ice and shake again. Double-strain into cocktail glass. Grate fresh cinnamon overtop.

3 | BellHop
Infuse vodka with one sliced yellow or orange bell pepper. Shake 1?½ oz infused vodka, ½ oz agave nectar, handful of fresh sage and ¾ oz freshly squeezed lime juice. Strain over ice into a Collins glass. Top with 1 oz club soda. Garnish with a bell pepper slice.

4 | Voodoo Chili
Infuse vodka with one stemmed jalapeño pepper, cut lengthwise. Rinse coupette glass with mezcal. Shake 1?½ oz infused vodka, ½ oz Cointreau, 1?½ oz freshly squeezed lime juice and ½ oz agave nectar. Double-strain into coupette. Garnish with cilantro.

5 | Flower Child
Infuse vodka with two handfuls of fresh lavender. Gently shake 2 oz infused vodka, ½ oz Martini Bianco vermouth, 1 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice and ½ oz chamomile syrup. Strain into a rocks glass over ice. Float ½ oz green Chartreuse on top and garnish with chamomile flowers.

6 | Not Grandma’s Cobbler
Infuse vodka with one sliced peach. Muddle 5 strawberries with 2 oz infused vodka, ½ oz Galliano liqueur and 1 oz fresh lemon juice. Add 1 beaten egg white and shake without ice. Add ice and shake again. Double-strain into a cocktail glass. Grate nutmeg overtop.