Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas cheer and the food that goes with it

We have had some good drinks over the holiday (hopefully there's more to come), as well as some food ranging from fair to great to go with them.

My first was at Sherlock Holmes pub on Tuesday the 23rd. A few co-workers and I decided to head over for a lunch time beer, as it was the last work-day before Christmas (and we were the only ones not on holidays). I went with my back-up-favourite available at most bars around the city, Innis and Gunn. A sort of honey coloured beer, it has a strong flavor of oak (their signature, as it is aged in oak barrels) as well as citrus, and finishes with a nice kick of whiskey. I downed this along with a veggie and goat cheese quesadilla that was a little too heavy on the goat cheese, and lacking in veggies.

We decided to stay for a second round, and our server took this opportunity to tell me about a limited edition I&G they just got in. Slighty darker than its original counterpart, the beer was aged in oak barrels originally used to age rum. Before I knew it, most of our table had left their love of Guiness behind for the rum infused treat. Each bottle arrived at our table in its own box, and was quickly poured into the I&G goblet. The beer was clean and smooth, and I was left with the spicy, sweet taste of rum - this was a great discovery.

That same evening, Zed and I headed over to our summertime, after site hangout, the Sugarbowl, to meet up with a few Folkies for a Christmas beer. I quickly opted for the Anchor Steam, an amber beer from San Francisco, and Zed for his old-reliable, Alexandar Keith's. Usually we jump on the soufflé, a warm, melting pudding of chocolatey goodness, but we didn't quite feel like a dessert that evening, so instead we opted for the three bean hummus and pita ($9; I won't post the picture as the light wasn't good enough for it to look as appetizing as it was). After my quesadilla that afternoon, the hummus was heavenly, and I thoroughly enjoyed the beer-hummus relationship.

Our next trek was to the Hotel MacDonald's Confederation Lounge on Christmas day, for a warm drink after a rather cold trip to the skating rink at City Hall. The quiet, comfortable lounge and great service often draws us to the Mac for a drink after any outing, and yesterday it was more than appealing. Zed ordered a coffee and Bailey's and I went for a Ginger infused Rum Toddy. On this day we decided to order lunch... maybe it was the Christmas spirit that allowed us to look past the surprising food prices. In the end, I went for the Spinach and Roasted Red Pepper Panini with Sweet Potato Fries ($18.50), and Zed for the Chicken Sandwich ($20).

Our drinks arrived quickly, Zed's topped with a healthy dollop of whipped cream and and a cherry, and mine with a lemon wedge. The ginger added to the rum toddy was delicious, and was the perfect warmer on the cold afternoon. When our food arrived we were slightly less than impressed, especially for the price we knew we were paying. While the sandwiches both tasted good, we have definitely found better ones for half the price. In the end though, we will always return for the drinks.

I suppose our drinks were more about the company than the drink itself, but during all our gatherings they provided everything from a pleasing sipping experience that faded into the background, to a fantastic conversation piece.

Sherlock Holmes Pub
10012 101A Avenue NW

10922 88 Avenue

The Confederation Lounge
10065 100th Street

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