Spotlighters spend time enjoying wine in Niagara, lunch in Oxford county, cheese in Montreal, and eating their way through Toronto the last week.
On my whirlwind tour of Montreal with Suresh this week we made a stop at Jean Talon Market a priority. On the grounds that they are good for us we skipped the produce vendors that run the length of the market building and concentrated on the meat and cheese at the East end. I asked at Fromagerie qui lait cru for a soft cheese different from anything available in Toronto. After the proprietor got past his automatic "everything here is different than what you can find in Toronto" he helped me find the outstanding raw milk, brie-like Caprice des Saisons. At the sausage stall I had to settle for pointing to the gnarliest specimen that was thickly-covered in delicious mold.
Mike Di Caro
I was lucky enough to attend the Cuvée Gala this year. The most memorable bite I had in an evening that was filled with great food, was courtesy of chef Jason Parsons and his team at Peller Estates. It was a tender piece of duck cooked sous vide with Icewine, rosemary and a touch of bloomy rind cheese. Savoury, meaty, and a bit creamy and sweet it was everything I crave in a bite of food.
I visited Ursa for its first Sunday dinner service this weekend. In perusing the menu, the appetizers seemed more interesting than the main courses so my dinner companion and I ordered a selection to share. While waiting for our first dish, the aroma of the Rhode Island white chicken main wafting over from the adjacent table was almost enough to make us change our minds–I will have to return to try that. But back to the appetizers…The mushroom broth was light and flavourful. The duo of Georgian Bay trout, smoked and pickled, was accompanied by a delectable housemade creme fraiche. Raw lobster was served with preserved lemon and kumquat. White-tail venison tartare came with Icelandic moss and buttery smooth blueberry-cured foie gras. I can't decide which of the latter three was the best–they were all excellent. For dessert, we had a decadent dairy-free chocolate mousse (it can be served without the accompanying pumpkin yogurt sauce for the lactose intolerant) and yuzu lemon curd with spruce caramel and duck fat sable. All in all, the menu at Ursa is both imaginative and ambitious!
I was in Oxford county last week for a social media workshop, and afterwards, I had the opportunity to dine with tourism specialist Cathy Bingham. Cathy took me to restaurant Six Thirty Nine. Eric Boyar's restaurant has been a sensation in Oxford county for the last six years as he showcases his passion for local flavours highlighted with international influences (Eric had previously worked at Splendido, Mistura, Crush). We sat at the chef's table. Most chef's tables at restaurants place you at the entrance to all the action, this one puts you right in the middle. We enjoyed a bowl of mussels, duck ravioli with scallop. A trio of chocolate themed desserts capped off my lunch.