Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Beer. Bike. Olive oil.

We were pannier-less when we went to a beer tasting/festival at deVine Wines and Spirits this past Saturday afternoon, but we just couldn't leave without bottles of Lagunitas' Maximus, a fruity double IPA. Thank goodness for bungee cords. Charles managed to stuff a sleeve of Yukon's Imperial IPA in his bag too.

We also stopped at the newly opened Evoolution afterward. The staff were incredibly friendly, guiding us through the large selection of balsamic vinegars, olive oils and salts. And of course it was fun to taste and compare all the different oils, from mild, to robust, to infused. We ended up leaving with a small bottle of blood orange infused olive oil ($12; destined for this olive oil cake) and a small jar of truffled sea salt ($8), that I wasted no time sprinkling over eggs that evening.

On Sunday we ventured out the Enjoy Centre with my parents and Nanny for a belated Mother's Day brunch at the Prairie Bistro. There were six of us, and the large booth we were given seemed a little awkward for our server; he had to pass plates, cups and everything else down the table. Otherwise everyone seemed to enjoy their meals and the beautiful space.

Steak and Eggs

Hope you all had a great long weekend!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Back to Three Boars Eatery

We've been back to Three Boars a couple times since our initial visit and remain just as impressed. Their menus still change frequently and their beer list continues to expand and rotate, with new kegs tapped (and consumed) daily. Last Saturday we met up with a couple friends for an early dinner. And unlike that first visit we had our camera along. Here's what we got into:

Beer - Ommegang BPA, Russell Brewing's Blood Alley ESB and Peche Mortel were on the rotating taps - and on our table - throughout the evening.

Buckwheat honey glazed Brussel sprouts with lemon and nutmeg ($8)

Sauteed mushrooms with egg yolk and toast ($12)

Flat iron steak with tomato salad and confit garlic vinaigrette ($17)

Liver 'n onion poutine ($12)

Lamb neck ragoût ($15)

Cornish game hen, cherry tomatoes, lamb bacon, baby bok choy and sage ($19)

While everything on the table was enjoyed, the lamb neck ragoût and cornish game hen stood out with their well balanced flavours and textures. Full from both beer and mains, we decided to skip dessert and ended up strolling down to Da Capo for a coffee to round out a warm evening in Garneau.

*The post on our first visit can be found here.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Brunch at Zinc

Our friend Tanya announced around her birthday that she wanted to go for a big brunch. Big brunch? My list of brunch spots is not extensive, but after a bit of searching, we came up with Zinc. Three courses for $36, and reports from a few bloggers that we'd be waddling out once our meal was complete.

We hadn't been to Zinc in some time; probably a year and a half ago now. But the interior remains as striking as ever, with rich blues, steel and wood all contrasted against one another. Our server offered us coffee and tea (included in the price), while I asked for a run down of their sparkling cocktails on offer that day (there were three or four, plus a couple lovely sounding mimosas). I ended up with a floral cocktail that combined St. Germain Elderflower and Violet liqueurs with sparkling wine. It was a great way to start the meal, and we all loved the purple hue of the drink.

The first course of cheese, pastry and preserves arrived soon after selecting our entrees. Since Charles is not a cheese fan, they kindly moved his cheese portion to the plate Tanya and I were sharing, and gave him extra pastry. Alongside the cheese there were pieces of peppery, cheesy shortbread, fruit, tarts and glasses of yogurt with berries. We enjoyed everything on the plate, with the shortbread stealing the show. The only thing I would add is some sort of list or explanation of that day's cheese, either printed or verbal.

There were three different mains on the table that day - Tanya chose the frittata with tomatoes and asparagus, and chose to add the house made turkey and apple sausage. Charles went with the only sweet option on the menu - the Neapolitan of pancakes - with Lagavulin bacon. And I went with the Salmon Benedict.

Since there were three different dishes on the table, we were able to try a bit of everything. I thought Charles' pancakes were the winner of the three. They were light and fluffy, and the different toppings were fun additions. The cubes of bacon served alongside were the perfect smoky accompaniment. Tanya's frittata was also well executed, and came out fluffy and tangy thanks to the dollop of goat cheese served on top. And although I wasn't a huge fan of the turkey sausage - it stood no match for the bacon on Charles' plate - Tanya really enjoyed it.

And finally, the Salmon Benedict. Nearly everything about this dish was lovely. The hollandaise was buttery and rich, with a nice acidity cutting through everything; their house smoked salmon was sweet, savoury and wonderfully smoky, and the buckwheat potato blinis were a welcome change from bread. My only complaint was that the eggs were slightly over cooked, which meant that beautiful runny yolk was nowhere to be found. This definitely wouldn't keep me from ordering a benedict next time though... the lobster sounds particularly enjoyable.

Just when we thought we could eat no more, slices of warm apple strudel arrived at the table to finish the meal.

I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Zinc for Saturday or Sunday brunch. While there may be a couple kinks, the menu offers something for everyone on the list. And if you don't feel like indulging in all three courses, each one is available on its own. And with that the brunch list grows.

Zinc at the AGA
Brunch: 11-2; Further hours

*Past posts on Zinc can be found here, here and here.