Thursday, May 31, 2012

Emilia-Romagna Long Table Dinner at Prima Strada

Last night was the first time Sheila and I could make it to the Prima Strada Long Table dinner.   We have been wanting to go since we first saw a table being set up for one more than a year ago.   We went for Sheila's birthday and did not look at the menu at all, which was both good and bad.

The long table dinners are a fixed menu for a table of 16 with the food served family style.  The meal is also paired with a number of wines.  Each month they have chosen a different region of Italy for their menu and the wines to go with it.  This month it was Emilia-Romagna that was the focus of the meal.

Location of Emila-Romagna in Italy
Emilia-Romagna is home Bologna, Parma, Modena, Rimini, Ravenna and Ferrara. It is the global capital of fast cars with Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, De Tomaso and Ducati all based there.

The idea is that you sit at the table with other people and you share your food with them and you talk with each other.   The people are strangers but you know that you have at least one thing in common with of them, an interest in good quality food.  This is a form of dining I have been looking for.  I have eaten this way a couple of times in Europe and there used to be a hippy restaurant on West Broadway that survived till the early 1980s and made people sit together.   When I have eaten like this I have enjoyed it, ultimately food is the core of all cultures and conversation between strangers bring us more connections with others.

I spoke most with a retired nurse called Donna-Lee and to a lesser extend to a woman called Jill that has lived in Milan and her friend Irene.   Both Sheila and I spoke with several other people as well.   Donna-Lee was there for her 11th Long Table, she was on familiar terms with the waiter Andrew.  Jill had been to a number of Long Tables as well.

We were very well served by our waiter Andrew all evening.  He was knowledgeable about all the food and sommelier like in his understanding of the wines.

Before it meal got under way we had a chance to taste three different balsamic vinegars.  Modena is in Emila-Romagna.   The low end one was harsh and nasty but it was the mid range one I liked the most.  It had the most subtle flavour.  Andrew gave

The dinner started with Insalata di Rucola e Parmigiano - salad of local arugula & shaved Parmigiano with balsamic vinaigrette.    The salad came to the table on three large platters and you served yourself from it.

I have no idea where they found the arugula but it was not very bitter at all.  A reason I shy away from arugula is that it can be very bitter and unpleasant to eat.  The salad sat on a layer of cured pork shoulder, I missed the name of it.   The meat was a very nice cured pork and for me the perfect accompaniment for the arugula.  If I were to nit pick, the Parmigiano was not shaved as thin as I would have liked, but this was a minor point.

We forgot to take a picture of the salad so I can not show it to you.  We actually did not take a lot of pictures because we were busy talking with our tablemates and enjoying the food.
Asparagi con Prosciutto di Parma

The salad was paired with Lambrusco di Sorbara Frizzante, a sparkling red wine.   I have not had any lambrusco in years, the last time being in the early 1990s in Germany and I am still not really a fan of the wine.  This has nothing to do with the wine, but with my dislike of any sparkling wine.    It did pair well with the salad.

Asparagi con Prosciutto di Parma - local asparagus with prosciutto & hard-boiled egg and covered in a creamy lemon sauce. paired with Nino Franco Valdobbiadene Proseco.

The asparagus was wrapped in the prosciutto and then cooked so that the ham was a tight band around the asparagus.   I liked having the quartered boiled eggs to go along with the asparagus, it made a nice textural and flavour foil to the asparagus.   The lemon cream sauce, and I wish I could tell you more about what it was but I was not listening closely enough, added a nice acidity to the dish.

Another sparkling wine!   It worked well and I enjoyed drinking it, I even had my glass refilled

Zuppa di Pesce
Zuppa di Pesce - fish & shellfish soup  paired with a white wine called Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore.   The soup reminded me of cioppino, of which I had a stunningly amazing blow of it at the Silverwater Cafe in Port Townsend a few years ago.

Poor Sheila, she is not a shellfish fan and in six years we have been together I have never seen here eat any shellfish.   She did eat this and found that the clams and mussels were not bad at all.   She was still not a fan of the prawn,

The broth was multi-layered in flavours, salty, smoky, spicey, marine, rich, clean and so much more.   There was a nicely cooked piece of halibut in the bowl along with a whole prawn, mussels and clams.   The clams and mussels were nicely cooked, the prawn was borderline overcooked.  My prawn was just on the borderline, Sheila's was over a bit and did not help with her enjoyment of it. Prawns in any soup or stew are hard to deal with because the ongoing heat from the liquid can overcook it without anyone intending to.

The soup came with bread, the bread being Prima Strada pizza dough baked in their wood fired oven with no toppings on it.   I ate more than my fair share of it.   We can not replicate the flavour of that dough.

The white wine with the soup was once again a nice pairing.   The soup was rich and strong and the acid of the wine cut it nicely.

Crostada di Mandorle - Almond Meringue tart.   The translation as meringue does not seem to be correct.   It was an almond frangipane tart.   I enjoyed, especially the ribbons of pastry on top.

Even though there was no traditional main course, we were both very full afterwards.   The total cost as $65 all in per person.   This was for four courses and three paired wines.

What the Long Table is, is a dinner party at a restaurant with guests that you do not know yet.  We have hosted many dinner parties and the one down side is that you are busy with the food all the time, Prima Strada takes care of that.

Next month is Abruzzo on I suspect the last Wednesday and Thursday of the month.  In the summer they will be changing focus for two months, July will be the Saanich Long Table and August the Cowichan Valley Long Table.   We want to make this a regular part of our life.

Pizzeria Prima Strada (Bridge St.) on Urbanspoon

Pizza at home

About once a month Sheila makes pizza at home.   We work with our home oven and this limits us, but we do get a decent pizza.   I am really writing this blog posting because I like the picture above.  

Sheila uses a naan bread dough for the crust.   She also makes a number of different sauces so we get more than all tomato.   The toppings are varied and not over loaded, these are not pizzas with small lakes of grease on top of them.

We bought a pizza peel at the Real Canadian Warehouse Store in Esquimalt which makes it much easier to get the pizzas onto the pizza stones in the oven.   With two stones on the go in the oven Sheila can make enough pizza in a short time to feed the hordes in this household.

Kuku's - has it really been 3 years? Is there better murgh makhani (aka butter chicken) in Victoria?

Kuku's has been open on Burnside Road near Harriet for more than three years now.   Do to the problems with the building, the owners never managed to make into a full service restaurant which is sad because the corner of Harriet and Burnside needs at least one restaurant worth going to.

We get take out from time to time for the take out and are fixated on one dish, the butter chicken.   The large is only $12.95 and more than enough for Sheila and I.

What I like about it is the rich sauce of which there is always more than enough to soak are rice in.   The chicken is also tender and not over cooked, which given that is effectively a stew is good work on their part.

One of the reasons we like it is because they clearly use fresh spices and I would not be surprised to learn they use freshly ground spices.   The coriander, cumin and turmeric all come through strong and bright but not overpowering.

Butter chicken can be greasy and heavy, in fact that was past experience with it in the UK.   When I lived in London I became convinced that butter chicken was crappy version of chicken tikka.   Sheila convinced me to try it.   Given that Kuku's has chicken tikka on the menu, I should try that some time soon to compare it to what I had in the UK where it is the national dish of the country.

I have no idea why Blogger is up loading the picture sideways
We do occasionally get some of their samosas and pakoras which are decent enough but not stellar.  Part of the problem with the pakoras is that I think they should be eaten straight from the fryer, give them just enough time to cool enough so that you do not burn your mouth.

Could I do better at home?   Even though it seems simple enough, I doubt I could achieve something like their butter chicken.

Kuku's on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Moka House at Admiral's Walk

Periodically I go into the Moka House for a coffee/latte and sometimes a sit down.  I go infrequently enough that I tend to forget the reason I don't like going.

The space itself is fine, not huge, not fancy, but fine.  What kills me everytime is the service.  It is slow, so slow.    There is never more than two people in line yet it can take 10 minutes to get a drip coffee - WTF!  How is this possible?  Very simple, rather than take several orders and then fill them they take one, fill it, ignore everyone else waiting (and I am talking not even a greeting to new people in the line or eye contact - hardcore ignore) and get everything ready.  This is not how customer service works!

Take yesterday, I got in line behind a Mom (who was sitting down with her child, another Mom and that Mom's child) and a man.  Having taken (I am assuming here) both Mom's orders all progress of the line ceased as she got their drinks and began their sandwich orders.  She then took the order of the man in front of me - drip coffee - and then back to the sandwiches.  Ignoring me, okay, she may have muttered an excuse me or something but she didn't greet me and she certainly didn't take my order!  Oh, and ignoring the man behind me too who she hadn't in anyway acknowledged up to that point.

She methodically finished the sandwiches for the Mom's who were very happily ensconced at their table not impatient at all.  Finally she took my order - drip coffee....which I could have brewed myself by then.  ARRGH.

During my wait for my coffee I was reminded that this is always the way.  Regardless of how many are waiting, or come in, they take an order and prepare and call it before moving on to the next.  No acknowledgement, no taking multiple orders and multi-tasking to prepare several at once, not for this staff.  It drives me crazy.  A simple, "I'll be right with you", or even a "hi" would smooth the burn substantially.  But seriously, why are you not taking multiple orders?!?!?!  You could have taken the Mom's, the man's and my orders.  Filled the drip coffee orders and not lost more than two minutes, total, in presenting the sandwiches.  And seriously made happier two people.  A bit of a "hi" might have also prevented the man behind me from snorting softly like a little bull and looking seriously like leaving.

A final note - this is not just one staff member though, this has happened to me with a variety of staff members, this is a store policy gone horribly awry.  Oh, and did I mention another staff member came out of the back, saw two people in line and the front counter staff making sandwiches - and they walked on by, I think to the bathroom, with no urgency.  That is it for me, I am done, I will make my own, or go serve myself at Thrifty's, even if the coffee is worse, the aggravation is so much less!

Moka House - Admirals Walk on Urbanspoon

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Best Street Food Ever - Mariam in Ouagadougou in 1986

Don Genova is offering tickets to the ICC Food Fest based on comments people leave on his blog about the best street food they have had.

Here is what I had to say:

The best street food I ever had was in Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso.

In early 1986 I hitch hiked from Europe to West Africa. I ended up in the capital of Burkina Faso for longer than I planned because I had had all my money and passport stolen. I found a place to stay with a crazy ex-pat Frenchman and did not have to pay for accommodations and I could have breakfast there – Nescafe and baguette with condensed milk spread on it like honey.

I managed to borrow a CFA franc from other travellers which meant I could afford to buy some food but the only food I could afford was from one of the women that had street edge stalls. Stall is the wrong word, they set up at the edge of the street with a small fire to cook the food one and some board benches for people to sit on while eating the food.

The street food was all bowls of rice with a spicy meat stew on top of it called tô . You could not leave with your food unless you brought your own bowl. You also ate the food with your fingers. I was warned that it was not safe to eat the food because the food was not clean enough and i would get sick. I figured that if the locals ate and a stall had a lot of people at it, I could risk it.

The street food was decent enough but nothing to rave about until I found the queen of Burkinabe street food – Mariam.

Mariam had a spot just to the south of the main cemetery and she managed to cook the most amazing food. She did not do a single stew, she did close to ten different ones and a grilled chicken dish. Over four days with little or no money I had a chance to try almost all of the different stews she had on offer. Each one was stellar.

There are two that still stick with me 26 years later.

The first was a lamb and ground nut stew with some spice that I have no idea what it was. A simple dish of rice covered in this stew defined the word unctous.

The second was poulet bicyclette which is a type of semi wild west African chicken that is normally severed grilled. I have never tasted chicken as good as the chicken in west Africa and the grilled half a chicken that Mariam made is still the best chicken I have ever had in my life, better than the fanciest fine dining restaurant I ever been to.

I was on Ouagadougou for three more days after I got some money and an new passport, even though I could afford it, I remained loyal to Mariam and ate there for lunch and dinner for the rest of mine time in the city.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Masterchef Australia Episode 5 - The Shannon Bennett Pressure Test

photo from Masterchef Australia
This is one of those episodes where they just have to follow the recipe and not create their own thing.   This was the first pressure test and it was an amazing one.   The six that did the best got their aprons  and those people being Andy, Julia, Kylie, Lydia, Ben and Beau.

Shannon Bennett of Vue de Monde in Melbourne gave them a reinterpretation of a peach melba to do.  I am might, and I stress might, try to make it myself, the recipe is on the Masterchef Australia website.

The cage is white chocolate and filled with a sphere of peach jelly and a white chocolate mousse.  The sphere is covered in a white chocolate and caramel wafer that had to carefully melted over the inner mousse/jelly sphere.

The pink you see in the picture are small blobs of the peach jelly.    The brown crumb is shortbread which I do not see in the recipe.

The cheftestants that did not get an apron were then weeded down from 27 to 12 that would get a chance to get one of the last six aprons.   The judges decided if people could cook again or not.   I would preferred for all of them to go out some sort of food related challenge and not how this way.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Golden Dragon in Cloverdale

We were on our way to the ferry and realized we were not going to make the 7 pm ferry which meant we had time to have a meal before we went on board.   We were nearing Cloverdale and pulled up Urbanspoon to see what was good and what was not.   We ended up choosing Dragon Village in the heart of Cloverdale.

The place is mainly a take out restaurant, they have put no money into the decor.  Based on the look of the interior and nothing else we would have walked but we trusted the good rating on Urbanspoon and stayed.   When I looked into the kitchen I could see where they put their money.  The kitchen is bigger and better set up than most mid sized Chinese restaurants kitchens I have seen.

Initially it was only going to be Sheila, Stephen. Max and myself, but Catherine, Ben and Daniel met up with us there so we were six and a half for dinner.

We ordered based on only three and half of us eating and ordered the dinner for three and added to that their ginger beef and dry garlic spareribs.   When we realized the others would be joining us I thought we would have to order more but that was not the case.   The five dishes were enough for all of us - do not forget that Ben and Daniel are teen aged boys/

The pork fried rice and chicken chow mein were huge plates of food, large enough we did not finish them.   They were well done for what they were.  The chow mein had more bean sprouts than I have normally seen.  The sweet and sour pork was well done but unremarkable.

The ginger fried beef smelt of ginger, I have rarely encountered that in your classic "Canadian and Chinese Cusine" restaurants.   It also tasted amazing.   The beef had an outer crunch but still retained a tender centre.   The sauce was thin and not gloopy.  It was also not very sweet at all and really more of a ponzu type of sauce.   I used some of the extra sauce on top of my rice instead of soy sauce.

The pork chop suey looked very good with nice thin but large slices of pork.  I did not get to try any of it but I was promised by the others it was good.

I devoured the dray garlic spareribs, they were some of the better ones I have had.  They seem to have cooked a bit differently that some ones I used to love at this restaurant in Vancouver, their colour was a darker brown than I remember.  I ate most of them.

The whole bill for the meal and six pops came to $60.20.   The prices are honestly too low for food this good.   We feed seven of us for this price.  Most of the dishes on the menu range from $7.20 to $8.90.

When we are passing through Cloverdale and have time I expect we will be stopping in again.

Dragon Village on Urbanspoon

Yan's in Salmon Arm

I am mainly writing this review to remind myself not to eat here again.

The buffet looked tired.

It was hard to distinguish between the different dishes because the food was bland and almost all tasted the same.  Effectively most of it was a meat covered in a greasy sauce and all had the same texture.

The salt and pepper shrimp were very over cooked and almost too greasy to handle.  Peeling them sucked because of the oiliness of them.

I am trying to think of anything redeeming about the food and all I can say is that is not the worst Chinese buffet I have been too, that 'honour' belongs to a restaurant in my neighbourhood.

Just avoid this place and go to the Jade Buffet in Salmon Arm instead

Yan's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Billy's in Princeton

We went to Western Half Yearly Meeting last weekend and decided to take an extra few days to visit some friends in the interior. The longer trip took us through Princeton, a very nice small interior town that is worth visiting if you get the chance. We were hitting town at lunch time and we had to go somewhere for the meal. The first place that came to mind was Billy's.

 The restaurant is nothing fancy, but for a roadside diner it is just about perfect.

It is located right at the bottom of the hill when you come into town from the west.   It has been there since the 1970s and sits on the site of the former Princeton Brewing Company which for many years used a cave to cool their beer.   There is still one back wall of the brewery left against the hillside.  

Many restaurants call themselves family friendly, but Billy's goes that extra mile.   This is not a few crappy crayons and some lame page to colour, they bring a whole box of toys.  One of the toys was a puzzle like thing and was interesting enough for our 14 year old to play around with it.

The food is diner food done well.   The hamburgers were on soft fresh buns, they had fresh non-iceberg lettuce on them.   The patties were hand formed and about as good as I can make at home.

The fries were hot and plentiful.   They may have been hand cut on site, but if they were not they have a high quality supplier.   The gravy I got with the fries was not some generic brown powder mixed with hot water.   I think it may actually have been made in house from real meat.

The coffee was decent and not the weak brown water that you get in so many interior BC diners.   My cup was being refilled about as fast as I could drink it.   In general the service was fast, attentive and friendly.

The price was about what one would expect for a diner.   The shakes looked expensive and was more than we wanted for lunch so we did not have any.  I could see a proper machine in the restaurant and I suspect they do those classic thick ones where you get the metal container it was made in along with the shake in your glass.

For burger and fries, they did as well as I could have done at home, certainly much better than I can do camping.  They lived up to everything I remembered of them from past trips through town.

  Billy's Family Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A decent automated pancake machine

This is actually not a bad machine.
We ran across this machine in the breakfast room of the Holiday Inn Express in Salmon Arm. The pancakes are a bit thin, but they are hot and fresh, for a generally self serve hotel breakfast bar, this works well and is better than a lot of what was on offer.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Episode 4 - Masterchef Australia

I have to keep on this as Bernard would have us watching Masterchef all hours of the day if we could (we can't, for many reasons, but largely because we will soon be all caught up) and I will forget what I wanted to cook and or even what the choices were.

Episode 4 continued the whittling down to the top 24.  This year they have put 13 into the top without having eliminated anyone - keeping everyone in the mix - until now.  Matt Moran came and demonstrated how to fillet a salmon for everyone at which point the contestants needed to put on their big girl panties and decide if they wanted a 50/50 chance at an apron (into the top 24) by filleting and cooking salmon.  Of the lot 27 stepped forward and they drew knives for a position in the top 10.

I have to say several displayed a rather flawed decision making paradigm in my opinion.  They stepped forward having never filleted, and in some cases never cooked salmon.  This is a do or die scenario and they are spouting nonsense about being there to learn - they are going to get booted without ever having a master class to learn anything at.  This is when you try to work to your strengths so you can get to the learning.  I said big girl panties, not titanium balls people!

Now the family challenge portion - what to do with salmon?  Bernard has polluted my mind with his ideas as this is a dish he has made many times.  I have resisted just copying, mostly, but I would have done one thing the same, sou vide the salmon.  I would place some lemon zest and fennel fronds in the sou vide bag and infuse those flavour.  For sides I would do a fennel and apple salad with a light lemon dressing and thin sliced oven roasted potatoes.  I would roast the potatoes on a cooling rack dry them a bit and then ensure they had a bit of crispness to add a new element.  To finish I would make a lemon aioli that would be used to dip both the salmon and the potatoes.  I think it could have held up not to bad.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Masterchef Australia episode 3 - Mornington Peninsula

In this episode the top twelve cheftestants from the Mystery Box challenge from the day before had six hours to go down to the Mornington Peninsula, get their fresh ingredients, get back to the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne, and cook their dish.  Six of them would get their aprons and be in the top 24.  By fresh ingredients, they meant it all, fruit, veg, meats and seafood.   This also means things like eggs, onions and garlic.

I will run through what the cheftestants did and then explain what I would have done.

Mastechef logo emulating the Royal Exhibition Buildings
main window
The parameters of the challenge are too wide for my liking, "cook what you like".   When you have too many options it is hard to be creative because the lack of adversity does not push you.   I could see that many of the cheftesants suffered from having too much latitude.   Interestingly the two that screwed up and did not get some of the things they needed - Audra did not get her eggs and Dalvinder did not get onions and garlic that were needed for her lamb curry.   Both of them had to improvise and both of them made dishes that were stellar.  They were the two that returned with the most time, just short of two hours to cook.

The six who got an apron:

Audra made a chocolate tart covered in a cherry port gelee and topped with the fresh raspberries.  Matt Preston said it was one of the best deserts ever in Masterchef.  Good enough that she got her apron before they finished all the tasting.

 Dalvinder made a cashew curry that really wowed George, a man that is a not a fan of curries.   I hate to say that too me it looked very dry.

Amina - Alexandrian style snapper, she comes from an Egyptian and Korean ancestry, a very interesting combination of cultures.

Andrew - mussels with fried herb calzone.   He got an apron, but left a beard on a mussel.

 Jules - Pork belly with a goat's cheese salad.   I am not sure what to make of this one because they spent so little time on it.

TK - Crispy pork belly with a sweet berry sauce.  As someone that like köttbullar with ligonberry sauce, meat and sweet is not so crazy to me.

Now the list of those that missed:

Lucy  - Pan fried trout with abalone and artichoke on the side.  She undercooked her trout, the rainbow trout she went to the trouble of catching herself.   It also is not a very complicated dish and then was not well executed.

Sam - Mussel Custard.   He may not have got an apron, but this is a very interesting idea and makes me want to try and make a seafood custard to see what you end up with.  His plate was overly busy

Wade - Seared snapper with broad beans  - a simple dish that did not stretch him.

Karen - a tasting plate of trout, it did not wow Gary.  I am not sure what the three forms of the trout were on the plate.

Yuki only made a grilled pork chop and some odd condiments to go with it.  Fuck, I could have made that in 15 minutes.  Seriously, grilling a pork chop is about all that was going on.

Philipo, he made a bad meringue - he started too late and could not achieve what he wanted.   With only 44 minutes he should have come up with something else.   You could see as George cut into it that it was bad.

So what would I have done? 

The seafood on offer was clearly very fresh, but it is not what I would have gone for. With cherries and raspberries in season they would have to be my focus. I love both fruits and would, if I could, eat them without end everyday.  As a teen I spent several summers picking cherries in the Okanagan.   It was long hard work, 12 hour days were normal, but one reason I liked picking cherries as a job was because I could eat cherries all day long.

I would like to play with the cherries and raspberries with some sort of interesting ways.   An intercate desert is what comes to mind, something channelling the spirit of Heston Blumenthal.  I am thinking setting the jiuce of each agar agar or some other gelling agent.   Solid enough that I would have something that work cut into cubes or in a thin sheet.

Bad haircut for Matt Preston 
I want to play with the temperatures and textures with the goal of a desert that looks like a work of art but is also very interesting to eat..

Elements that come to mind:

  • A tuile bent into some interesting shape then wrapped in a sheet of set raspberry or cherry. 
  • Pearls of set cherry juice set which would be put together to look like a raspberry
  • Raspberry flash frozen in liquid nitro and made into a powder, I am thinking I would mix it with a praline crumb to form the base of the plate I was making.
  • Cherry and raspberry sorbet as the centre of the plate.
  • A shard of sugar glass flavoured with cherry.
  • and finally a couple fresh cherries and raspberries
I have never tried anything like this, but in this challenge you would not be eliminated and therefore the risk or trying something out there is worth it.   

Saturday, May 12, 2012

And we begin again....

A new season is upon us - a new season of Masterchef Australia that is.  This is not to be confused with any other Masterchef despite the shared name.  This Masterchef is a marathon season with 80+ episode and showcases some of the best cooking show talent I have seen in all my foodie watching.

This year we missed the first episode, which for the first time was a peek at the auditions for the top 50, but I am not feeling to bad about that.  We have begun with the first competition between the top 50 contestants.

The classic mystery box competition opened the show, a mystery box of one item.  Half the contestants got chicken, half beef and all had 90 minutes to create a dish.  Quite generous parameters for Masterchef really.

There was only one real disaster.  A dropped chicken meant someone didn't get tasted, but lucky for her there was no elimination that time.  The winner though was the real treat for me - a Canadian!  Yes, that's right, a young Rugby player from Canada was the winner with a Maple Syrup glazed cider-can chicken (the Canadian-ized, fancy version of the old beer can chicken) with roasted corn and a garlic aioli.

Having reviewed the episode a bit I will move onto the family portion of the blog - my family that is.  Bernard and I are going to alternate for this season in writing about what we would have done if we were cheftestants.  This episode is me, and I decided that I would have chicken.  My first instinct was to go full on classic and roast the chicken, mash some potatoes and cook up some asparagus or beans to go along...and also bake a chicken breast just in case the roast chicken went astray.  I hummed and hawed about it and started to feel a bit under-achievey, so I think I would go in a different direction.  Interestingly, even more classic in many ways but still a bit more flashy.  Chicken stew with homemade biscuits.  I know I can rock the biscuits and there are lots of ways to fancy them up a bit to suit any situation.  That's my choice, I expect I will have more details in future but it's a simple dish so way say to much.  Warm, comforting and rich.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Prima Strada Long Table Series - this month Emilia Romagna

We love Prima Strada but with four kids it is not some place we can go with the whole clan and not break the bank.   What really has interested me is the Long Table series.

I really have wanted to go to these, but my life is busy and somehow we never manage to get it together to get out to this event.  I want to book a space for Sheila and myself, but the dates are not ideal ones for us.   Still, for her birthday I will book us in on May 30th, though how to do that and not have her notice will be interesting.


Long Table Dining Series: Emilia Romagna
With Spring flowers in bloom, it is time to dust off the mobile oven and get ready. Our first outing of the season is in our own backyard. Join us at the Selkirk Waterfront Festival on Saturday, May 26 from 10a – 3p. Haven’t made it to the festival yet? Expect live entertainment, rides, games and a vendors market, amazing local artists, community displays and dragon boat races. For more information visit their website. Check the Events page on our website for upcoming mobile dates.

Join us at the Long Table on Wednesday and Thursday May 30 & 31 as we revisit the region of Emilia Romagna.

Located in Northern Italy, Emilia-Romagna includes two distinct areas with Bologna, the region's capital, more or less the dividing line. Emilia lies to the west of Bologna, while Romagna lies to the east stretching to the Adriatic Sea. In Emilia is the ancient Roman-built Via Emilia and in Romagna the historic town of Ravenna. The region is home to many famous household names from opera (Verdi & Luciano Pavarotti), cars (Ferrari & Lamborghini), fashion (Giorgio Armani), film (Fellini) and of course food (Parma, Modena, Bologna).

We’ll test your pallet with a sampling of the region’s celebrated balsamic vinegar. Can you identify the true Italian balsamic made in the Emilian cities of Modena and Reggio Emilia?

The Food 

Insalata di Rucola e Parmigiano - salad of local arugula & shaved Parmigiano with balsamic vinaigrette, Asparagi con Prosciutto di Parma - local asparagus with prosciutto & hard-boiled egg, Zuppa di Pesce - fish & shellfish soup and Crostada di Mandorle - Almond Meringue tart

The Wine

Lambrusco di Sorbara Frizzante, Casolari, Trebbiano di Romagna & Sangiovese di Romagna

Dinner begins at 7pm, seating is limited to 16 each evening. The cost is $50 per person plus hst & gratuity ($65). To book your seat, visit our events page.

*Menu items may change subject to seasonal availability

For additional information please call 250.590.4388 or email.
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