Posts Tagged ‘Marc Thuet’

What I Learned From Splendido

Cerignola

To commemorate 4 years spent not killing each other, the Everyman and I visited Splendido for our anniversary on Monday night.

It was a blustery night, full of fierce winds and drifting snow, but once we entered the dining room the outside world was forgotten, until the table next to us (a mother and son) began kvetching about all manner of nonsense at a fairly audible level.  We were lucky that they left before we were halfway through dinner, because they certainly made quite the racket and distraction to our romantic intentions.

To keep things interesting, shortly after we arrived Conviction chef Marc Thuet and his wife sat down at the table behind us, ushered in on a cloud of stale cigarette smoke and dour French arrogance.  They seemed to enjoy the food but every time I glanced over, they certainly looked miserable.  Such is the life of a minor celebrity, I guess…

At our table, the lovely meal began with a proffering of bread, grissini and hummus, as well as a finger bowl of olives.  The Everyman enthusiastically consumed the hummus, while I tentatively nibbled an olive.

Now normally I don’t care for olives at all, but I always make a point of trying them when they are presented to me because as I’ve learned many times before, you just never know when your tastes are bound to change.  As it happens, my aversion to olives took a flying leap that evening as I greedily sucked on the briny, meaty flesh.  Even the small black olives that accompanied the massive egg-shaped green ones were appealing to me and before I knew it, the tiny teaser plate of house-cured beauties was gone.

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The Foodie 13 – Desert Island Fare

I probably spend more time than is normal thinking about what I would do if I ever became stranded on a deserted island.  I can assure you there’d be no montage of Castaway or Blue Lagoon moments, but if there were other people trapped with me, I imagine it would quickly devolve in a similar manner to Lord Of The Flies.

Because of that, I keep a mental list of comestibles I’d want to have with me if that were ever to go down.  The ironic thing about that statement of course, is that if (heaven forbid) it really did happen, there’s no way I’d be prepared enough to have all these good eats with me.  But a (slightly delusional) girl can always dream, can’t she?  With these 13 paradigms of culinary excellence to keep me company, I’d never be wanting for more.

So without further adieu, but in no particular order…

1- Czehoski‘s bacon poutine - There’s nothing better on a grey and blustery day than digging in to a bowl of this salty, creamy, crispy perfection.  If you’ve never tried bacon gravy before, you’re probably asking yourself, what’s the big deal?  Can it really be that different?  Trust me hombres, it can and is.  This poutine is what dreams are made of… decadent, curd-filled dreams.

2- Fat Willy’s ribs - Fat Willy’s is a little hole in the wall barbecue joint in the suburbs of Chicago.  I never expected we’d fine transcendent barbecue in Illinois of all places, but ever since we came home, I’ve had vivid dreams about the smoky tang I experienced there, sometimes to the point that I’m awakened from chewing on my own pillow.  Delish!

3- Terroni‘s mezzo mezzo - This appetizer platter is constantly changing, but always includes some meat, some cheese, some bread and some fruit or veg, plus a small dish of honey for dipping.  My favourite has always been the roasted pear that’s often a mainstay of the dish, and marries well with so many things.

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Food As A Form Of Salvation

It seems like everywhere you look lately, food is in the mainstream media.

There are the articles about food crises, like salmonella in your spinach or listeria in your deli meat.  The provenance of our food is increasingly unknown, and it’s amazing how disconnected we are as a society and how few people actually seem to care.

And you can’t forget the stories about food security or impending scarcity, and how we’re all going to hell in a handbasket for enjoying too many hamburgers or copious amounts of factory-farmed meat.  Not to mention the hullabaloo over obesity epidemics caused by the vast quantities of processed crap that most of us have become too accustomed to swallowing, making us akin to force-fed fois gras geese.

Food’s permeated entertainment media too, with movies like No Reservations, Spanglish, Ratatouille, and the soon to be released Julie and Julia using the culinary arts as their captivating backdrop.  Not one to be left out, in recent years reality television’s also jumped on the edible bandwagon with a plethora of shows to satisfy rampant foodies, like Top Chef, Hell’s Kitchen, The Chopping Block and many more (dishonorable mention goes to the crapfest that was The Restaurant – shudder!)

While I love the vast majority of content coming out of the food media menagerie, the segment I’m most keen on (and which coincidentally is growing) is that which is focused on using food as a humanitarian equalizing aid.  There’s a whole new division of people using food to teach, transform and heal, and taking the idea of food as nourishment to it’s altruistic climax.  Jamie Oliver did it when he first started Fifteen, shepherding misguided British youth to a more purposeful existence.  Jeff Henderson took a stab at it too with his rather popular Chef Jeff Project, rehabilitating young drug dealers, gang bangers and other ne’er-do-wells by mentoring them in his catering business.  And on our side of the border, Marc Thuet is currently giving ex-cons a second chance by staffing his newest venture, Conviction with them (results supposedly will air this fall).

This seeming trend is all the more reason why the appearance of this documentary warms my heart.  I empathize with those who don’t have enough; specifically people who are marginalized and made to feel like they have no other options.  That there are kindhearted individuals finding ways to use food to unite, inspire and help those who are less fortunate is truly a godsend.  For those of us who are lucky, food is something we might not think too much about, other than for brief moments leading up to it’s consumption 3 times a day.  For others, what may have once been a cause for concern or anxiety is now becoming a lifeline for making something of themselves and seizing a golden opportunity.  Food always had the power to bring people together, but now it’s on the cusp of  becoming the medium to purport positive life change.  That’s a really amazing thing to witness.

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So This Is What It Must Be Like…

Today was an interesting day.

Shitty insofar as work goes, but entertaining nonetheless.

For starters, I received my first press release as a member of the Toronto food-blogging community this afternoon.  I guess that means I am now somewhat recognized (good heavens!)  Either that, or our blog comes up in a Google search of Toronto food writers or they’ve poached the blogroll off Taste T.O. Who knows?  Whatever the case or how  inconsequential, it put a smile on my face for about 20 seconds during a catastrophically grueling day.

What I found rather droll was that the restaurant in question was none other than Marc Thuet’s new place, Conviction, which Toronto Life gave a nod to in their online blog yesterday.  I haven’t written much of consequence about Thuet since I started this blog, other than oblique references to the one visit the Everyman and I paid to Bistro Bakery Thuet (now Bite Me, oh wait, no, that’s become Conviction) back in December 2007.  Or the occasional swoon over his (really superb) artisanal bread.  Over the years I can say I’ve been a fan of some of his concepts (bistro, charcuterie, etc), but have not thought much of their executed excess.  To me, the man just doesn’t know when to hold back (the exception to the rule being those aforementioned loaves).

Which is why I found the concept of Conviction so intriguing.  At first glance it calls to mind comparisons between Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen or “Chef Jeff’s” Posh Urban Cuisine.  Even more closely, it’s the grownup equivalent of a niche restaurant I frequented in the early 2000′s on Roncesvalles called River.  The idea that salvation and reconciliation of one’s demons can be found in the kitchen is not new.  And I can’t argue that turning it into a reality show isn’t also a slight bit tacky on their part.  But it is refreshing to see that Thuet seems to have grown so much as a person as to want to give something back to the community.  As they state in the press tidbit, he’s no stranger to addiction or run ins with the law, so clearly apparent from reading any article written during the last 20 years in Toronto.  A common theme journalists tend to gravitate towards when immortalizing him in print is a portrayal of the bad boy chef.  While there’s no shortage of those in any town, the thought that one of them wants to help people find their second chance is heartwarming.  To my mind one of the first steps on the road to personal reformation is to stop being so concerned with oneself, and start thinking about how you can help everybody else.  It would appear that Marc Thuet may now have found that place in himself.  Or (as the cynic in me might think) he’s just trying to cash in on the reality TV craze.  Who can tell?  It’s possible that the motives are not entirely altruistic, but my interest has been piqued at any rate.

Perhaps even enough to break my self-imposed ban on their restaurants and see what it’s all about.

Until next time…

The Tequila Effect And Various Other Stories…

What a weekend this has been.

I had my first in-car driving lesson, during which I was eternally traumatized (because I almost hit a police car).  I then spent the afternoon at a dealership with the Everyman test driving and sitting in cars.  All roads led to cars on Saturday, it seemed.

When I woke up this morning, I decided it was time to bite the bullet and set up my hanging meat cave.  If you’ve been reading, you already know that I’ve been putting this off for the last 4 or 5 days.  What was supposed to salt cure for 5 to 7 days actually ended up soaking for 12.  I’m pretty sure this won’t have any ill effects, except perhaps resulting in a slightly stronger flavor.  Considering that various curing recipes I consulted prior to undertaking this endeavor couldn’t even reach a consensus on the duration of any step, I’m not overly concerned.  The hanging’s been causing me greater grief.  My original thought was the broom closet, but after examining it this morning, I started to worry that it was much too small.  There was also the short-lived plan to hang them in the coat closet, which was dashed when the Everyman declared he’d probably never put his coats in there again afterward.  It became apparent that the broom closet would have to do, despite its shortcomings.  I cleared it out and thoroughly wiped down all the walls, setting down aluminum foil on the bottom to catch any errant leftover brine.  Next, I removed the freezer bags of liquid and jowls from the fridge, gave them a good massage ‘n’ shake and popped one open.  Removing jowl from bag, I noticed it was stiff (as the recipe said it would be) and that quite a lot of briny liquid had seeped out during the last 12 days.  I let as much of the liquid drain off as I could, then set the jowl in a bowl and cut a gargantuan length of twine.  I’ve never been all that good at trussing, and today it was proven even further.  I’m sure that someone who knew what they were doing could have used a third of the twine that I did, but all that mattered to me was that I managed to get it to hang vertically.  Using a handy folding cooling rack strapped to several closet hooks, I was able to suspend meat via twine strung through the rack.  It was big and sturdy enough to hang both jowls simultaneously and far enough away from each other that I shouldn’t have to worry about cross-contamination of flavors.  I can say quite honestly that I’m both proud and embarrassed of my homemade setup.  Proud, because it was quite MacGyver of me.  Embarrassed because it’s incredibly ghetto.  But, as the saying goes, the proof of the pudding is in the eating… so come 3 weeks from now, we’ll just see, won’t we?


Moving back to other matters, the Everyman had agreed several weeks ago to take me out for  dinner to either celebrate (or commiserate) my first driving lesson.  As it turns out, commiseration was required.  We tried to stop by The Black Hoof around 10:30 last night, but the place was absolutely packed and the non-chef owner suggested going to a local bar and having them call us once a table opened up.  Neither the Everyman or I was in the mood to wait for our food or a table, so we gave our most sincere apologies and headed home.  A quick stop at the store for gathering provisions and 10 minutes later the Everyman’s delicious grilled cheese was in my hands instead.  Not exactly what I’d been hoping for at the time, but a boon of a completely different kind.  He really does make the best grilled cheese’ in the world!

Flash forward to this afternoon, and the decision to return to The Black Hoof as soon as it opened to secure a table and some calm before the storm.  We weren’t far off either.  Arriving only 30 minutes after opening, there was but a table of 3 in the back, and several people lining the bar.  I don’t think I’d ever seen it so empty before, and it was quite nice that the volume was still at a conversible decibel.  As we sat down, we both noticed that the menu had several subtle changes, a few new additions and some deletions.  New to the menu were St Johns bone marrow, testina and lentils and a duck confit sandwich.  Dearly departed were the duck confit puff and pork merguez.  Before we left home we’d both vowed to be slightly more sensible than on previous visits, and not eat until bloatation.  Having perused a menu devoid of several of our favorites (even though I knew whatever we ordered would be amazing), I optimistically believed that would be possible.

We started our culinary adventure with a large charcuterie platter and basket of Thuet bread.  No matter my personal opinion of him, Thuet does turn out some really scrumptious crumbs.  The platter was large, and arrived with the customary side of pickled vegetables.  There should definitely be more of those on the plate, especially the cauliflower and onions.  Mmm!  Our platter ran the gamut from mild to wild, and included a fois and goji berry pate, translucent slices of lonzino, meaty beef and dill salami, creamy pork rillettes, slivers of mildish horse braesoala, something that I remember as cappicola and the Everyman remembers as pork shoulder, a smoked venison and cherry salami, smooth rabbit and parsley terrine, silken duck mousse, several rounds of lacy saucisson and small chunks of smoky chorizo.  Now that’s a mouthful; both literally and figuratively!  I’m never disappointed with the meats here; each has a unique flavor and voice all its own.  While I may favor some more than others (the fois goji, duck mousse, horse and cappicola), there never seems to be anything on the plate that I feel I wouldn’t eat it again.  He’s just that good at what he does.  It really is a testament to his skill level too, because whenever the Everyman and I prepare antipasti or charcuterie platters (depending on your cultural leanings) he usually camps out firmly on the meat side, and I meander over to cheeses.  Every time we’ve had Hoof charcuterie though, I tend to match the Everyman bite for bite.  It also doesn’t hurt that the ones I like less, he usually likes more, and vice versa; though we did have a polite stare down over the last of the fois goji.  We feasted like kings, and by the time it was all over, I felt as if I was 75% of the way towards stuffed, which was a drag because I still had another dish coming.  It was at that precise moment that I inquired whether the Everyman still felt it was such a good idea to have ordered the cassoulet.  He said he was fine, so I thought nothing more of it.  I may have also commented that the Everyman was lucky that I planned to marry him some day, otherwise I would have gotten down on one hoof (ha ha) and proposed (to the chef).  Being the Everyman, he at first assumed I was talking about the nerd specimen that had just arrived one table over, with a date who looked 15 years his junior.  Um, not quite.

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The Hoof Redux

In what was possibly the quickest turnaround we’ve ever made, the Everyman and I made another trip to The Black Hoof last night.

It all started out innocently enough; we were driving home from work and discussing what to have for dinner.  I mentioned some ideas I had for things I was going to cook, and the Everyman sounded mildly interested.  Then, all of a sudden he started smirking, and said, “I got paid today, so I know what we can do…“  Being tired and not fully catching his drift, it took me a while to figure out what he was alluding to.  Once he said it though, I couldn’t not go…

And so, with that, my good intentions to go home, hop on the elliptical and cook a sensible dinner went right out the window and down the street to The Black Hoof.

The place was packed, as it had been on our last visit, and we happened to score the last open 2 top, a fact that happened to make a gentleman waiting on a table for 3 a bit steamed.  As we sat down we both noticed that the menu was still the same, as one would expect when less than a week has passed since your last visit.  The problem we both have with this place is that all of the food is just so incredible and what you haven’t tried sounds so damned good that it’s hard to limit yourself to moderate portions.  All I needed to know was what the dessert of the day would be so I could decide whether I wanted 2 or 3 dishes.

It turned out the dessert was the same (lemon tart with lavender and white chocolate), so I opted (somewhat sadly) for 2 dishes instead.  I revisited the cabbage soup with marrow and toasts, and found it to be just as luxurious and satisfyingly salty as the last time.  I also confirmed that the version of this soup that I concocted at home last Sunday does taste remarkably similar to this soup too (recipe follows).  The Everyman opted to not venture outside of his comfort zone from the last time and instead chose to conduct what he calls the test for consistency.  He ordered the same dishes he’d had (just less of them) in order to see whether they were still being prepared as well as he remembered.  The lamb merguez with queso and tomatillo again stunned him, and he felt that the portion was larger this time.  I, on the other hand, felt that the bone marrow portion of my dish was smaller, and was even inconsistent when compared to other diners around me who had ordered it.  I did still manage to dole out a pile to the Everyman, and it was still delicious, but I just wished I’d had more.  And they really do need to find a more slender instrument to scoop the marrow out with, because that demitasse is just not cutting it and by the end of the endeavor my hands felt like I’d been trying to juice bacon.

Next, I opted to break away and try something new.  The marinated octopus with chorizo had sounded delectable, but I wanted to see it in action.  Unfortunately I was unable to get a glimpse of it before we ordered, so that would have to wait for another day.  The Everyman saw a table near him order one and reported back to me that it was served in a small preserving jar with a snap lid.  I still couldn’t see it, but the face of the woman eating it said enough to make me want to try it the next time.  I toyed with the idea of ordering the small charcuterie board as the rest of my meal, but the Everyman really is the one who loves the cured meats more than I do.  If I had ordered it, it would only have been in the hope that it had that luscious duck mousse on it again.  I lean more towards the cheese side of the board anyway, and since I knew their cheese came from the Cheese Boutique, I wasn’t going to order something I could easily go home and assemble myself.  Unlike the table of girls sitting next to us who were there longer than we were and ate nothing but a small cheese board between them with a bottle of wine.  I mean, really, why wouldn’t you just stay home at that point?  You’re not eating anything made by the actual restaurant (cheeses – Cheese Boutique, bread – Thuet, wine – who knows but obviously wasn’t made in house).  To the Everyman and I, that bordered on insulting the chef.

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A Little Story

Last year I mentioned my love affair with a little place you may have heard of called the Cheese Boutique.  I was pretty adamant that I would not be adding my usual, witty commentary to the site regarding them because they are a purveyor, not a restaurant.  The winds have changed though, and I feel that it is necessary to give you a few cents, if for no other reason than to be able to relate to you a funny story involving them.

On New Year’s Eve I had to work a half day.  The night before I’d had the brilliant idea that the Everyman and I should visit The Cheese Boutique and the LCBO the following afternoon to procure some supplies for the next few days.  The next day after leaving work I headed to the LCBO to rendez-vous with the Everyman.  However, I have the same problem with the LCBO that I do with any good grocery store; if you leave me in there for too long, I just start randomly picking up things I didn’t come for that I want to try.  By the time the Everyman showed up I’d amassed a cart of 15+ bottles plus a few types of bubbles for good measure.  While I’d been browsing, I noticed a man that looked slightly familiar.  Upon closer inspection I realized it was Ed Ho, owner of Globe Bistro.  I recognized him from the episode of Opening Soon when they had profiled Globe a few years ago.  I figured that he must live in the area and was doing much the same as we were, stocking up for New Year’s Eve.  After loading up the car, we hopped in and headed on our way to The Cheese Boutique.

It was packed.  It seemed like all the gourmets in Toronto had had the exact same idea as me, and the place was swarming.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen it that busy or with that much staff on the floor before.  As we entered the main room and I started browsing, I turned around and who did I see, but Ed Ho again!  I motioned to the Everyman to take a look, and told him who it was.  The Everyman muttered something to me about how he wondered if the guy had any hard feelings about Mark Cutrara leaving him to start his own (probably more successful) restaurant.  I didn’t hear everything that he said so as I continued around the store I asked him to repeat it; only to see Ed Ho within earshot as he said “…but not as good as Cowbell!”  Ouch.  He shot us some eye daggers and was on his way.  It’s probably a good thing we don’t intend to visit Globe Bistro any time soon, because after that I’d be seriously worried about him recognizing us and trying to poison our food LOL.  Not that there’s anything wrong with Globe Bistro though, it’s just that I can get the same quality of food that they serve somewhere a little closer to my house, like at Cowbell or now, The Black Hoof.

Anyhow, now that I’ve relayed my funny story, I can get back to writing about the food.  When you enter The Cheese Boutique, you become extremely aware of the mind-boggling amount of choice available.  Not just some corner cheese shop, they dabble in deli, produce, pastry, bread, condiments… you name it, they most likely will have it or know where to get it.  They happen to be my absolute favorite place to buy fresh figs because the ones they choose are so luscious and bursting that you just can’t not want to eat them.  The tiny prepared foods counter is excellent also, with the best thing I’ve sampled from it being a smoked chicken quesadilla bite.  All of the bread comes from only the best sources in Toronto, including Thuet, Celestin, Ace, Fred’s and many others.  The pizza nuda is absolutely fabulous, by the way, but so are any number of loaves they carry.  The cheese selection is so large as to be intimidating, however all of the staff behind the counter are so warm and friendly that they whisk you away and wrap you in their extreme devotion to cheese, coaxing out you likes and dislikes as they bring you sample after sample.  Every time we’ve been I come away with another new cheese I’ve never heard of or tasted before, and have rarely been disappointed.  They even make their own in-house version of a fresh bufala mozzarella, although they don’t call it that.  Nonetheless, it is wonderful, being both creamy, silky and rich all at the same time.  The meat selection is like heaven for the Everyman, and if I had any complaint about the place, it would have to be that they have always been out of the one type of meat I wanted every time we visit; guanciale.  I tried it once at The Healthy Butcher, and I’ve been hooked ever since.  As a sidebar, I recently completed my set of The Good Cook cookbooks by Time Life and I’m looking forward to when they arrive so I can read the Variety Meats book to learn about things like cheek (which Guanciale is made from) and marrow, tongue, etc.

Overall, the selection at The Cheese Boutique just can’t be beat, and I look forward longingly each time I get to return.  The sheer quality of the products that they sell shows you just how much the Pristine family (who owns it) love food and entertaining.  If you haven’t been, I urge you to go.  You’ll probably end up coming away with more than you bargained for, and everything you didn’t know you really needed.

Until next time…

Things I Look Forward To In 2009…

I’ve decided to jump on the bandwagon with all the other foodie sites out there and put together a list.  The difference here is that my list is going to involve my own personal culinary goals for the year.  Since I’m typically such a schizophrenic cook in the kitchen and don’t often bother with those silly things called recipes, my list is going to be full of broad topics I want to cover.

In no particular order, they are:

1- Trying bone marrow for the first time. A long time ago when the Everyman and I went to Thuet for dinner an adjacent table had ordered a marrow appetizer.  I remember being thoroughly disgusted at the time.  Then I read Service Included by Phoebe Damrosch and experienced the sexification of the humble bone.  She doesn’t spend a great deal of time discussing the subject, but a passage about a bone marrow taste-off had me yearning to find out what all the fuss was about.  Perhaps later this year I will get the chance.

2- Experimenting with offal. I dabbled a bit during our numerous trips to Cowbell where it is almost unavoidable due to their nose to tail philosophy.  This year I plan to test the waters a bit more.  One of the restaurants that had been a contender for the big anniversary dinner (Noce) had a tongue preparation on the menu that I wanted to try.  I think I may be one of the only people left on the planet who is not enamored with the mighty fois, though I do love a good pate.  More than anything I’d just like to push my borders a bit more and see what else is out there.  One person’s scraps are often another’s delicacy after all.

3- Branching out in the game game. The Everyman is a self-professed game lover.  Whenever he sees any game on a menu it forces him to rethink his decision to have the status quo (steak).  I quite enjoy duck (hardly considered game anymore), cornish hens, quails, bison, kangaroo and elk, but the game is more often than not relegated to tertiary status when it comes to my potential menu options.  I’d like to break away from that self-imposed constriction and see what else is out there in the wild world of game.  I think I may even have reached the turning point where rabbit has stopped being cute and could possibly become edible.  Only time will tell.

4- Buying more “weird” fruits and vegetables. Last year I was inadvertently introduced to  kohlrabi, chard, and sunchokes through our organic grocer and granadillas by the Everyman (who took me literally when I requested him to bring me back a new “weird” fruit from the store at lunch one day).  It’s amazing to think sometimes how a new culinary adventure is sometimes no further than your corner grocery store.  This year I’d like to not only increase my intake of whole fruits and veggies (always a noble goal) but up the quotient of strange, new ones too.

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The Wish List…

For awhile now I’ve been formulating a list in my head.  A list of all the places I want to eat at that I’ve never been to before.  They’re not all fancy, sit-down kind of places, just places that seem to typify the kind of eating philosophies I support.  Right now, that list includes:

Colborne Lane

Treadwell Farm To Table

Gilead Cafe

Alinea

Moto Restaurant

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I Got A Fever, And The Only Cure Is More Cowbell…

I do so love Christopher Walken :)

The Everyman and I decided to kick off our long weekend with a much anticipated (and long overdue) trip to Cowbell for dinner on Friday.  And I will definitely say, they did not disappoint.  Some people like to paint Chef Cutrara as a rebel, but I just think he’s producing really honest, delicious, playful food.  If only there were more people like him on the foodscene, the world (and our stomachs) would be a better place.

We started our culinary adventure with a shared appetizer course.  We ordered the Cowbell antipasto platter, and a duck salad, because when I see duck on the menu, I just can’t resist.

The antipasto platter was a generous sized portion of the chef’s housemade charcuterie (I love that word!) and pickled vegetables.  There was a deliciously salty elk salami, pancetta, a sausage round, a mortadella with pistachios, a chevre truffle rolled in pecans, a slow cooked egg, and pickled beets, carrots, brussels sprouts and red pepper.  I could’ve been completely satisfied just eating a larger portion of this for dinner.  And I’m not one for mortadella, but I cleaned my plate to the last crumb.  Unfortunately for the Everyman, several of the items I found tastiest he couldn’t even try (because of his nut allergy) but I let him have extra meat to compensate.

The duck salad was delicious too, composed of arugula, cranberry beans, berkshire pork belly and a Niagara vinegar, as well as the aforementioned duck.  I didn’t love this as much as the antipasto, but that is only because I loved the antipasto SO MUCH.

For our mains, I ordered the beef tortelli with 3 cuts of red angus, and the Everyman ordered the Cowbell burger with 2 year old aged cheddar, berkshire belly, and frites.

When the plates were put in front of us, I knew we were in trouble.  The smells were so intoxicating as to induce drooling.  I honestly was expecting that my 3 cuts would be marginally good, but Sweet Georgia Brown, I would come back just for those items.  Three decent sized tortelli were placed in the center of the plate, sauceless.  Biting into them released a salty and flavorful pocket of meaty beef goodness.  To the left of those was two perfectly grilled strips of rare steak – my favorite kind.  Next came a cigar-shaped pulled beef croquette, which was both crunchy and yielding at the same time.  And lastly, my favorite item of the plate, a hunk of beef shortrib, unctuous with fat.  Putting a piece of this in my mouth was like eating heaven.  The flavor and depth of this small square of meat will be with me for a very long time I’m sure.  The Everyman’s verdict on my platter was; I knew I should’ve ordered what you’re having. Luckily for him, I am constantly compelled to order dessert wherever we go, and therefore usually don’t finish my whole meal.  He feasted well off the steak and croquette that I left behind in anticipation of the sweeter things.

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