Sunday, June 26, 2011

Upcoming dinner wonderfulness

Oh, yeah, you know that when I put my mind to something food-related, it can only be so long before something serous happens.

So I will be taking part in a competitive series of dinner parties (a-la Dinner Party Wars) in the late-summer and fall. I have put a lot of thought into it, and I have decided not to go too far afield in terms of complicated stuff or outlandish preparations. Here is what I have planned for the menu at this point:

Parmesan crisp cups with heirloom tomato & basil bruschetta

Truffled Macaroni & Cheese with 6 year old Balderson

French Laundry Caesar Salad

Julia Child's French Onion Soup

Asparagus stuffed chicken breast in Holandaise on a bed of truffled mashed Yukon Gold potatoes

A trio of chocolate Truffles

Cheese Plate

I will be serving a tablespoon or so of a different sorbet between each course.

Also, yes, I know it seems like a lot of food. The portions will be small.

What I like about this menu is that so much of it can actually be done ahead. Like, most of it.

Friday, June 03, 2011

A new Review

Today I went somewhere different for lunch. The Bothy is located at 5482 Calgary Trail at the far end of the strip mall from Eddie's Menswear and Bin 104. It is a Smallish, stylish place with a monumental wine and whiskey list for a restaurant that size. The beer list is small, but well thought out.

The small menu focuses on ultra-upscale pub grub - a handful of sandwiches, a handful of salads, a few meat pies, haggis, and a cheese and charcuterie platter.

Upon walking in we saw the sign asking us to seat ourselves, which we promptly did, and were immediately greeted by an enthusiastic Scotsman explaining the specials and taking our drink orders. His enthusiasm only grew when he found us willing to drink scotch in the middle of the day, and even more so when our orders were for Scappa 16 and Ardbeg 10, rather than for "On the rocks." He also drew our attention (somewhat late) to the tasting flights available. Next time... next time. This is clearly a place run by nerds. That's the best kind of place, because nerds will normally not deliberately let you buy something from them that they believe sucks. It is more imporant to them to make sure that their knowledge does not go to waste than to satisfy the on-the-rocks scotch drinkers and Bud Light enthusiasts.

I had the Steak and Mushroom Pie. It... Was.... Glorious. The pastry was obviously fresh and made in house, never having seen the inside of a freezer, the meat was tender, the filling was thick, not runny, and the mushrooms were diverse. The mash served with it was rich and tasty, clearly containing the better part of a butter churn.

The pricing, at $14 or so for a sandwich to 17 or so for a pie, and with the most expensive item on the menu topping only $28.00 (5 things on a cheese & charcuterie platter) this place is plonked squarely in casual dining price range, but has a much more upscale feel. This is an example of how simple, focused, small menu quality mid-price dining has finally come to Edmonton. I love it.

Also they do a scottish breakfast. I think that is a must-try.

5 Ridel whiskey nosing glasses out of five.