Saturday, 23 May 2015

2015 New Festival of Wines: Friday Grand Tasting

Last year, I discovered two magical evenings, that with their potency of awesome were able to leave me counting the days down on my calendar until their return. And last night, my wait was over, as the New Festival of Wines brought their boundless selection of fine wines and some delicious treats to the East Link Center. The first Grand Tasting of the weekend, my senses were overloaded with the sheer magic of wine and the passion of the growers and vendors.

Prepare yourself for the best kind of wonder and awe, the room is alive with the kind of excitement and happiness that can only come from a throng of people having the perfect evening. I was obviously one those enchanted festival-goers, filled with the anticipation of discovery. And the things I discovered! That familiar wine glass of opportunity in my hand an guide of over 250 wines as my companion, I was ready to taste a world of wine all in one incredible space.

It was difficult to pick out which wines I should start with, so this year I took a stroll at the Festival's Boutique to get some sage advice. There I found the PEI LCC's own experts, who had not only sampled each wine, but rated them and took notes so that they could recommend exactly what a guest's palate was yearning for. I got some incredible suggestions which lead me to my very first discovery, a wine of Spain, this year's featured region!

Buried Hope Tempranillo, a seductively warm wine with notes of spice and heat that envelop you from the first sip followed by hints of herbs that are a personal favorite of mine. Its' beautiful, rich color is accented by fruity and toasty aromas that make this a heady offering which set the bar for the entire evening. Experiencing it's significant mouth feel and presence, I felt well introduced to Spain's wines and was left wanting to understand it's complex blends even deeper. Good thing variety isn't a problem here!

My first sweet stop was at the S&S Sweet Creations booth to meet Nancy Morten, the one woman baking wonder behind this detectible shop! With an array of her sweets, it was nearly impossible not to stay at Nancy's table all evening, eating cupcakes, cake truffles and so much more. She's the kind of creative genius that sugar needs to thank for taking it to a higher level. And her sweets took me to a higher level of cakey enlightenment too.

Starting off with a couple of cute mini cupcakes, the double chocolate was rich and sinfully good while the red velvet had a deep cocoa flavor that made it go perfectly with the smooth, balanced cream cheese icing. Can I get a yum? Definitely. It tasted like more and that's exactly what I had... The strawberry cheesecake minis were classically satisfying with a playful strawberry swirl and sweet graham crust. While the chocolate covered strawberry was fantastic and there were some playfully flavored macaron with chocolate, coconut and caramel!

My favorite of these? The Strawberry Shortcake Truffle. A divine creation of impossibly moist shortcake with sweet strawberries and enrobed in thick white chocolate. I swear, if Heaven were to rain anything at all down on me, I want it to be these cake truffles. I savored every. single. bite. I think we're all going to have to watch out, because these are going to be the next big thing in decadence. Honestly, I couldn't help sneaking another one of these before I left, but this time in the white chocolate red velvet variety. Yum~

And after all those sweets, I needed a little something to chase them. And what better than, you guessed it, white wine? Still in the spirit of Spanish Wines, I found a truly amazing Tempranillo. Now, I know what you're thinking, these grapes are used for red wine. Which is true, but in Pago Del Vicario Bianco del Tempranillo, the grapes go naked in this amazing white wine! With their skins peels away, a crystal wine is revealed that displays vibrant and lively semisweet citrus flavors. This special wine is sure to impress with it's presence, flavor and sheer convention defying color.

One of the fun features of the Wine Festival is hopping from variety to variety and so I decide that my next stop would be to a delicious, Australian red that was recommended to me by one the Boutique guides. Angus the Bull is a Cabernet Sauvignon that is deep, rich and complex. The kind of wine that you picture sipping while having some deep conversation. With chocolate, smoke and oak notes, all you intense wine drinkers are going to want to pick up a bottle of Angus The Bull.

Again this year, Liquid Gold is at the Wine Festival, celebrating not just their olive oil and fine food, but of course, the other amazing culinary treat grapes can create... Balsamic Vinegar! Bringing out a selection of their flavorful, pure olive oils and vinegars, Tiara expertly paired them for tasting and even prepared a refreshing sparkling water that I couldn't get enough of! There's truly no limit to what you can do with Liquid Gold's impressive selection of oils and vinegars. Food, drinks, beauty and health. They have it all!

Of course, I can't go without mentioning the yum-tastic (yes, I made that up) food that was hosted by Chef Andrew Smith from Red Shores' Top of the Part Restaurant! Always a favorite, you know I can't keep myself away from his creative and delicious locally fueled fare. A menu of finger foods made to pair with many varieties of the night's wines or even on their own, I couldn't get enough!

The Smoked Fish Arancini with Citrus Beurre Blanc were rich in flavor and yet accented by the bright citrus of the creamy beurre blanc. A tender and creamy risotto interior with a crispy exterior, these made the perfect hor dourves and are superb when paired with sparkling wines and dry whites. Along with these was Bourbon Chicken Paté Crustini with Current Jelly and Candied Pistachios. A sweet and savory delicacy for refined palates, it was a blend of flavors that lent nicely to all of the higher-class wines.

Then there was my new favorite soup ever! Chef Andrew's Corn Soup Shooters with Chive Creme Fraiche are so amazing! Creamy, smokey, sweet and more! The perfect texture with a kick of spicy attitude made it so irresistible! Forget the little shooters, just fill up my entire glass! This modern twist on a classic Island favorite was sweet and savory perfected!

On the sweet side, Chef Andrew offered Chocolate Dessert Cups Filled with Raspberry Cheesecake Filling. Divine little cups of delight with velvety raspberry cheesecake and a raspberry on top, nestled in a semisweet chocolate dessert cup. The chocolate is just lovely with the sweet and tart nature of the raspberry and the creamy richness of the cheesecake and in my opinion it's a delightful match to the fruity Rossingnol wines conveniently located right next to the food station!

Speaking of Rossingnol, their Island wines are made from local sources and a personal favorite of mine. I've always loved their Liberty Blossom and Rose Hip liquors, but this year I decided to try something a little different. A sweet taste of the Island, I went for their Maple Wine! The maple is clear and refined and would make a dreamy finish to a mean or as a scrumptious interlude for friends over a pleasant chat.

Oh, and there was one more nibble that I just can't go without praising as I continue going on about the Festival. Glasgow Glen Farm was their with their remarkable artisan cheeses. Some of the very best you'll get on the Island, Jeff McCourt is the genius behind a variety of gouda cheeses that will make you into an instant fan. (I know I've already been a fan of Jeff for years now.) Last night he brought a thoroughly aged mustard pepper gouda, his classic creamy gouda and a new sheep's milk cheese that was impossibly creamy. Not only does Jeff serve up cheese, but at Glasgow Glen itself he serves up some of the finest foods and baked goods you can get your taste buds on! His pizza, bread and cinnamon rolls will make you swoon!

My last red wine of the night, I decided to go with an American offering, a delicious aged Zinfandel. St. Francis Old Vines Zinfandel! A blend of vanilla and spice with a hint of strawberry, it was an exceptionally bodied wine that made a powerful impression on the palate. I adored from start to finish as the lingering flavors displayed even more spice. A complex and enticing wine; I adored every single sip.

To me there was another outstanding region of the evening and while Canadian wines aren't necessarily something unexpected, what was, was the wines of Nova Scotia. I've heard they were the up and coming vogue in Canadian wines, but to taste them for myself made me believe they've already arrived. Hanging out with the gentlemen from Benjamin Bridge, I tested not just a couple wines...but the entire table!

Dedicated to the creation of wines that are unique and adaptive to their province, the offerings of Benjamin Bridge are quintessentially Nova Scotian and characterize what makes maritime wines something to savor. A full line of white wines, all created to pair with the foods and lifestyle of Atlantic Canada, my first try was their famous Nova 7. Murmurings amongst circles of wine drinkers and tweets of admiration for this wine was actually what lead me to the Benjamin Bridge table.

With their passionate and charismatic representative, John Wayne Johnson, I was guided through each offering they have.

Nova 7 itself, has a fantastic story which I encourage you to read about on the Benjamin Bridge website. It's a bright wine, that has a touch of sparkle, making if festive, romantic and refreshing. Each year being unique, the 2014 vintage that I tasted was floral on the nose and a soft hue of pink, giving it a welcoming impression in both sight and scent. Tasting notes of citrus and tropical fruit give it an undeniably cheerful presence and elegant finish. Perfect for any occasion or to make anything into an occasion, it's safe to say that Nova 7 was a definite showstopper for me.

Their other three wines also display a purity and honesty that make them stand out to me. They taste like Nova Scotia and that's something that only Nova Socia wines can offer. They cannot be replicated and can only be experienced from this small but robust province. Pairing their Véro and Tidal Bay with seafood and beachy Summer weather is the way to fully take them in. But don't worry, there's enough crisp brightness in each bottle to send you on your own little vacation with each glass. And a true must try, which I feel could sister with Champagne is their Benjamin Bridge Brut, a truly elegant sparkling wine.

To top it all off, after I finished off my glass for the evening, I went over to the Van Houtte Coffee Station and got myself a nice cup of their dark roast. A perfect little addition after enjoying so many sumptuous wines~

Want to know the very best part?
...I'm going back this evening!

Monday, 27 April 2015

PEI Burger Love: Brew Buddy at the Gahan House

Let me introduce you to someone...
Brew Buddy, this is Blog Reader. Blog Reader, meet Brew Buddy...your new best friend!

That's right, this PEI Burger Love creation from the Gahan House is the kind of beefy creation that you'll want to get very friendly with. With a balance of sweet and savory personalities, this burger's flavor profile blends into one unique and impressive taste that's as rare as a perfect friend.

So heading out on the 25th, which was PEI Burger Love's Guinness World Record attempt day, I wanted to commemorate it with my new burger friend, the Brew Buddy. Entering the Gahan, it's warm atmosphere enveloped my senses, the place buzzing with people enjoying themselves and I felt right at home in a cozy booth. Of course, there was beer, beer, everywhere and as usual when it comes to the Gahan, I just can't get enough of the unique variety. Which was good news, since the Brew Buddy provides just that! As a refined Burger, it's sophisticated flavors are awesome in a way that just about anyone can enjoy!

On the topic of beer, there's a brand new feature of Burger Love this year which has introduced Beer and Wine pairings to the beefy creations we all know and love. Which in my opinion can be experienced in no better place than the Gahan House. Having released a brand new APA just in time for the month of April, this new Gahan Angus Ale is once again an outstanding achievement for the award winning Brewery. Lending itself to the Brew Buddy's flavors, this single hop beer seems to jive best with the dijon slaw.

Honestly though, Angus Ale, could a beer feel more at home with a burger if it tried?

Speaking with Executive Chef Cody, we chatted about his excitement over Burger Love, how the Gahan had sold nearly 5,000 Burgers this April and that the creative jumping off point for his creation was an awesome Jalapeño Bacon Jam he makes! Oh, and some personal burger favorites.

I'm pretty sure those numbers speak for themelves, but let me elaborate on what makes the Brew Buddy the success that it has been so far.

8oz of pure Island Beef joins forced with Glasgow Glen Smoked Gouda, Mustard Pickle Slaw, Iron Bridge Ale™ Jalapeno Bacon Jam and Maple Stout BBQ Pulled Pork on a Buttered and Toasted Brioche style bun

Colorful and aromatic, it hits your senses before even reaching the table and once it's in front of you...

One word; irresistible.

And on first bite it truly is just that. A single harmonious flavor with the undertones of beer, sweet maple and the tang of mustard pickles. Creamy with it's smooth gouda and slaw sauce, you don't want to put down this burger.

Breaking it down piece by piece, unique Brioche Bun is accented by unique Spen Malt which gives it another hint towards beer-like awesomeness. I'm excited to say that this airy brioche with it's malt looks like it will be becoming a Gahan tradition. Which is good news for me, because I don't want to wait til next April for another bun like this.

And I've got to give credit to the always exceptional gouda from Jeff  McCourt's Glasgow Glen. This smoked gouda pairs perfectly with the Jalapeño Bacon Jam, the two of them sharing thay subtle smokiness.

The jam itself is a favorite of Chef Cody's,  a creation of his which as I mentioned was the starting place for the Brew Buddy. It's sweet, smoky and slightly spicy nature is really what ties each piece of this burger puzzle together. From the savory slaw to the sweet and tender pulled pork, this jam is the mutual friend they all have and makes them all play nicely together.

All of this comes together to compliment 8oz of fresh and juicy MacPhee's Meats Island Beef. Always the celebrity of April on PEI, this delicious beef is rich and hearty, taking on the flavors of the Brew Buddy perfectly!

To complete my Gahan experience, I added their super crunch panko crusted onion rings to go along with the crunch of the Buddy's slaw!

Remember kiddies, there's all kinds of buddies in live, but not all of them will be your burger buddy and only one can be the Brew Buddy!

Sunday, 26 April 2015

PEI Burger Love: Fireball at the Prince Edward Restaurant

"I was born in a flame
Mama said that everyone would know my name
I'm the best you've ever had
If you think I'm burning out, I never am
I'm on fire"
- Fireball, Pitbull

Fireball, indeed! Heading out on PEI Burger Love's sure to be historic Guinness World Record making day, I wanted to start things off with a real bang! And from the first bite, an explosion of flavor is exactly what I discovered at the Prince Edward Restaurant. After all, with a name like Fireball, you know things are going to be intensely awesome, start to finish.

With a Prince Edward Restaurant style welcome, I knew my beefy desires were in the best of hands and could hardly wait to sink my teeth into owner Paul's creation. In order to fully respect the Fireball and all it had to offer though, I needed to get the story first. And I'm very glad I did.

Like a bolt of lightning, the idea for the Fireball was set aflame with inspiration! Paul Haddad, the owner and creative mind behind the Prince Edward Restaurant let his perfectionist nature show when designing this 2015 burger. After many attempts at creating something so tempting and ideal that it was irresistible, Paul's imagination conjured up a burger fit for Rap Royalty.

I always knew music was a good inspiration, but I never knew it could be such a delicious one!

It's dedication to the theme and taste paired with a labor of love and dash of culinary genius that makes the Fireball such an impactful burger! It's the kind of thing that makes your tastebuds want to get down and dance.

See what I mean? Its sheer presence is a call to action for your good taste.

From bun to beef, you'll gladly surrender to the Fireball.
Specially ordered, the bun holding all this flavor together is a custom job by Buns & Things. A touch of artisty, the poppy seeds are like the gunpowder that sets off this Fireball!

The first thing you'll notice about this burger is that it's untraditional in all the best ways! Carving it's own path, the Fireball is too cool, er, hot, for those typical burger topping suspects! Fire roasted sweet peppers, spicy maple bacon, ADL cheddar cheese and jalapeño poppers all accompany 7oz of pure Island beef!

Not only that...hours of preparation go into this creation!

Even the sweet peppers spend days soaking in pure PEI maple syrup just to prepare themselves for your burger eating pleausre. Just the first part of this sweet, spicy, savory creation, they're a perfect balance with with the rest of the flavors and textures that make up the Fireball.

Speaking of spice and texture, those jalapeño poppers? Both! Creamy and crunchy with a kick, they're definitely one with the burger. The cream cheese filling and cheddar blend together tastefully and with their playful addition all is perfect in the land of burger love.

Continuing the seamless theme of sweet and spicy, is a ceamy, spicy pesto sauce of Paul's own creation.  And...the BACON! Yes, this is no ordinary bacon. It's thick cut, maple, heavenly, bacon! With true patriot love, I've never been prouder to have maple syrup infused with anything! A touch of spice gives this perfect bacon all it needs to be hailed Canada's new national food.

All of these perfect ingredients come together on the stage of 7oz PEI's April Celebrity...pure, fresh delicious beef! Juicy and incredibly fresh tasting, there's nothing quite like making a Guinness World Record by sinking your teeth into a burger so perfect.

There's really no such thing as too much of a good thing with the Fireball. It's pure awesomeness and then some.

My and then some just happened to be the Prince Edward Restaurant's sweet potato fries, onion rings and juicy deep fried mushrooms with creamy ranch dipping sauce...Always a classic!

Passion for Burger Love, PEI and of course...Burger Love is what created the Fireball and will make you fall in love with it! I said Burger Love twice? Obviously! It's just that important.

Really though, after this burger love there's only one thing left to say...

I'm a Fireball!

Monday, 12 January 2015

Why You Need to Eat at Pizza & Poutine Company...Now!

There's something so very Canadian about french fries smothered in gravy and topped with cheese curds...

Yes, Poutine, that rich dish which has been hailed for it's deliciousness and subjected to creative culinary minds for years. It has evolved recently into a canvas of flavors and many people hunt for tasty new ways to partake in this Canadian Classic. Luckily on PEI we don't have much searching to do, because the Pizza & Poutine Company is a one-stop shop for all of your french fried incredible edibles.

Offering up a variety of more imaginative poutines than you can shake a french fry at, this Home Grown business is filled with hip and fresh flavors whether you're a veggie, gluten-free or just like to dig in to new fare. A popular haunt among locals, I'm one of those people who just finds thr owner Logan's creative menu irresistible. Between the Butter Chicken, the Mexican, Piglet and many more poutines, the biggest challenge is deciding what you'll have without ordering, well...everything!

As for me, I love it all, but one of my favorites is their take on an Island Classic...Loaded Fries. While this offering comes in the cheesy Poutine variety, on my regular visits, I go for it sans curds. Because as the name implies, these fries are loaded with flavor already! Yes, I've definitely gone as far as to say they're too good for ketchup. That's high society in the world of french fries, if you're wondering.

Don't eat your computer/tablet/phone, okay? I know it looks so tempting, but you've gotta go to Pizza & Poutine to get some for yourself! P & P's hand cut fries are on display here, mingling with all fresh sweet green pepper, onions, mushrooms and beef. On top of al that is their scrumptious savory gravy, rich and deep with flavor. The whole thing combines in taste to make a party in your mouth. It's got that savory edge with just a touch of sweet from the peppers and onions that make it a delicate balance amongst a hearty dish. Speaking of hearty...their portions are definitely just that. The small is easily a meal in and of itself, satisfying completely as that cute carton of their is stuffed with yum!

Is my fandom showing? GOOD! I want it to. I'm in love with the Pizza & Poutine Company that if given the talents I would do a Broadway number for them. Or something like that, anyways. On top of being a house for tastiness, it's also got charm in the sense that everyone is down to earth. Like Logan who I mentioned earlier. He's got that chill vibe that makes him friends with everyone who walks through the door. And Julia, another awesome Pizza & Poutine mainstay is just as sweet and friendly. Let's just say, if you haven't been there you need to go and if you have, why aren't you there right now!?

Of course, as their name so aptly implies, Poutine isn't the only thing you'll find at P & P. Pizza takes the spotlight too and you'll be excited to find their selection is just as yummy and inspired as their poutines so get out there and show your taste buds some lovin'!

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

A Christmas Wonderland Buffet at the Top of the Park

Twas' the night before Christmas and all at Red Shores were enjoying a buffet overflowing with the trimmings and oh, so much more.

When searching for festive perfection in a Christmas dinner, just like a gift this is the meal that keeps on giving! A feast fit for Santa Claus himself, a visit to the Top of the Park Restaurant is pretty much like being a kid on Christmas morning. Always booked ahead, the Red Shores Christmas Lunch and Dinner Buffets are a highlight of the culinary scene at this, the Holiday season. With a Team of Chefs who are likely topping Mr. Claus' Nice List, I wouldn't be surprised if Chefs Andrew, Glen, Jeff and Dana are chartered out to the North Pole to cater for the big man himself next year!

Think of it this way, everyday they host what could easily be considered the biggest Christmas Dinners and pull it off with the flair of your Mother, Grandmother and all the other esteemed cooks in your family that's ever put a turkey in the oven. That's generations of awesome all packed into a buffet that cannot be missed!

And I'm proud to say...this is how I celebrate.

Every year it's one of my favorite December activities to make it to the Top of the Park and totally do Christmas. With Holiday Spirit to spare, everyone is filled with good cheer. This year I've got to make a shout out to Jana and Denise for being to absolute darlings, they were warm, welcoming and made me feel just like a part of the family. And really, that's what Christmas is all about.

Well, that and food. Lots and lots of super delicious food. Which I clearly didn't have to look any further for once I was in the restaurant.

The best of the Island was spread out as a gourmet bounty which, as always, is quick to impress. In Christmas Fashion, the Top of the Park's Buffet was transformed both in food and atmosphere... It was certainly beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Every table's personal TV was tuned into a crackling fireplace, while the decor was all candy canes and Gingerbread Houses.

I was tempted straight to the buffet by the smell of turkey and the trimmings. The classics were all there from savory dressing to creamy mashed potatoes.

My first plate, as you can see, was pure Christmas fare. The turkey, so tender and juicy was carved right before my eyes at their carvery. Always the star of the show, Top of the Park served up a turkey that was perfect in every way. Topped with some of their creamy gravy and sweet and tart cranberry sauce, I had plenty of reasons to go back for more and more. Alongside that was classic vegetables, seasoned just right and with just enough butter to make them irresistible. The mashed potatoes were so light and fluffy, they were practically whipped into a buttery, savory cloud and of course, the dressing was classic, just like your Mom would make. All of these put together spell out Christmas Dinner perfection.

Not as insanely obsessed with Christmas food like me? Don't worry! There's a whole cold salad bar with gourmet pasta, potato and other gourmet salads. There's always  soup of day with fresh rolls too, the day I went their selection just happened to be Chicken Gumbo. And in true Top of the Park fashion white wine steamed Mussels are one of their go-to greats!

As for me, I was tempted by the cheesey, saucy goodness of their lasagna! It was hearty and rich filled with layers of beef, veggies and tomato sauce then topped with glorious cheese!

And then... Dessert. Not just any dessert, but the dessert of desserts that could knock the socks off of your sweet tooth. Well, if teeth wore socks anyways.

Just look at that assortment of goodies. Some people want Santa to bring them Diamond Rings or BB Guns... But I just want that. All of it. I could promise an entire year of my best behavior if I could find all that under my tree on Christmas morning. Everything from Blueberry Shortcake to trifle and bread pudding. Pies, cakes, cookies, squares, jellys...and fudge.

That was a mouthful. Which is quite accurate considering I couldn't resist sampling all a wide range of these delectable morels. I had some of the fruitcake and fruitcake squares, which had the most divine crea, cheese icing, buttery shortbread cookies, deliriously rich chocolate and cookies and cream fudge...

...And Pumpkin Pie with a cup of coffee!

It's no wonder Top of the Park is consistently my favorite buffet. At any time of the year they are set to impress and there is always a selection that can satisfy anyone's wish list. While I was there, I heard about their upcoming Asian Night Buffets...yet another tasty present that I can't wait to unwrap.

And so I will say and I nom out of sight...

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

The Perfect Meal at the Churchill Arms

In Downtown Charlottetown there's a gem of a restaurant that has is frequented by locals for it's consistently delicious food and hailed by tourists for being one of the culinary bright spots on their visit. The Churchill Arms is the only authentic British Pub on Prince Edward Island and makes it's home on Historic Queen Street. Just as you'd expect, the atmosphere is warm, with rich colored woods and ambient lighting that provides the warmth and charm that comes to mind when imagining a British Pub. And while that alone makes it a pleasant place to have a meal, the Churchill exudes a sense of community and family which is truly unique. Regulars fill their usual spots while they mingle like family, even welcome newcomers with their smiles and the staff, as gracious and friendly as can be, make everyone feel at home. Their waitresses not only serve up amazing food but also good cheer and conversation. Fran, the Churchill's charismatic Proprietor is everyone's friend, she has that rare quality and down-to-earth personality that characterizes the charm of the Island.

And of course...she cooks up some of the most addictive dishes this side of the pond!

I personally am proud of say that I frequent the Churchill Arms and couldn't help but share my latest meal with all of you hungry foodies!

For starters, I decided to partake in one of the Churchill's daily creations. Each day they feature a special meal, daily wrap and soup. It just so happened that this day's feature was Baked Potato Cheddar Soup. So even though I knew I was in for a huge main course, I couldn't help myself!

As you can see from the photo, this soup is exactly like it looks, creamy and rich. With all the best parts of a baked potato all put into one singularly outstanding soup, you can taste each ingredient seamlessly. Potato, bacon, chives, cheddar and of course the unmistakable smoothness of sour cream. It goes to show that home made quality goes into every menu item, daily selections included.
It was a great precursor to the main event, a dish that the Churchill Arms is synonymous with and undoubtedly a part of it's most popular menu selections! It's one of the dishes that was shown when the Churchill was featured on 'You Gotta Eat Here!'

Their famous Curry! Oh, and did I mention that Kelly Ripa, from Live with Kelly and Michael not only visited the Churchill to try their curry but is still raving about it? That's right, you couldn't go anywhere to get a tastier serving of curry and it's easy to taste why everyone from locals to celebrities are wild over their curry!

There are four varieties of curry, from the classic Butter Chicken, to their hottest, the Madras Curry. I myself wanted to show off something that everyone can enjoy. The Korma curry, which comes with your choice of chicken, beef or vegetables. I went for the most popular choice and picked chicken with the local classic side of "half and half". A complete must, of you're to get the whole experience, your curry is accompanied by half a side of basmati rice and half a side of house cut fries.

See how happy I am, standing alongside Fran before digging in? Well, my smile was even wider once I took that first, coveted bite! The spices, which warm you delicately, completely envelope your senses while the creamy curry sauce satisfies oh so completely. The vibrant colors of the curry cover generous pieces of juicy white meat chkcken. With a combination of dipping fries, adding rice to my curry, eating chicken and getting every last remnant of this delicious goodness wiped up with the provided naan could literally say meal is perfection. A little taste of heaven.

The wonderful thing about the Korma is that it features mild spices with a lightly sweet and rich sauce that is suitable for even the most sensitive of palates. Pick the Lunch size for a perfect meal sized portion or go for the full size if you're like me and just can't get enough of this curry's delectable goodness.

Even though I was thoroughly satisfied after the incredible serving of nirvana inducing curry, I knew that no meal is truly complete without dessert... And at the Churchill Arms it doesn't take much convincing to dive into one of their favorite desserts. The deep fried Mars bar. Yes, the first on the Island to serve this ingenious creation, their take on the Mars bar is filled with particularly gooey goodness, on all the very best ways! Battered and fried for crispy perfection, it wraps the sweet, heavenly nougat and caramel which is all warm and smooth like velvet. The chocolate and caramel drizzle enhance this dessert's natural glory while the whipped cream and a cool kiss to this delightful indulgence!

Quite honestly when I think of the Churchill, the fact that it's one of my favorite places to eat and associate it with te kind of home cooking and local goodness that warms my heart. That's something I hope I've shared with everyone in this review and inspired you to go out and experience it for yourself. 

Saturday, 6 December 2014

A Traditional Christmas Buffet at the Inn on the Hill

Christmas means so many things to a variety of people, the holidays represent time with family, good cheer and an inexhaustible reserve of happy memories. But the one thing that almost everyone can relate to when it comes to Christmas is a feast. Food brining people together and helping to make those memories we cherish for years to come. In the spirit of Christmas, I wanted to kick off the season with a delicious Turkey Dinner! And there's likely no place more associated with generations of happy Diner's than the Inn on the Hill! Their special Holiday Turkey Buffet is hosted each Friday leading up to Christmas, it starts at 11 am and so do the crowds! Offering truly Home-style variety and all the warmth and brightness of the Season, it's no surprise to see friends and family filling up the Inn on the Hill's dining rooms.

Decorated with lovely trees and touches of Christmas all around, you can smell the delicious food as soon as you enter the restaurant! That's not the end of this sensory experience though. To make the atmosphere all the more cheerful, Johnny Ross takes to the keyboard to tickle out delightful Christmas tunes as you dine! Known and beloved Island wide for his charismatic playing, the Inn on the Hill certainly put the cherry on top of this buffet with Johnny's perfect musical backdrop.

And of course, this fantastic setting is host to the star of the Lunch hour at the Inn on the Hill! Chefs Mary and Michael are the culinary artists behind the locally fueled meal. With a variety of warm and cold offerings, everyone's taste buds are welcomed to partake. Home-baked biscuits and rolls start off your meal along side the day's soup and are joined by a variety of cold salads. Including garden salad, classic coleslaw and the some creamiest home style potato salad I've ever tasted, your mouth is already watering from the very beginning!

Mind you, the celebrity at every Christmas meal is the Turkey! And this Turkey just happens to be a home-raised hero, the Inn on the Hill serves tender, perfectly carved grain fed Larkin Bros. Turkey with light and dark meat neatly displayed so you can pick your favorite piece. Topped with rich, Creamy gravy and this is a main that can steal your heart! With classic dressing, seasoned to perfection, hearty mashed potatoes and steamed veggies you'll feel like you're in Grandma's kitchen!
And if you've got a taste for something a little more unique and not as conventionally Christmas, then you'll want to try their lasagna. This offering is generous on flavor, with a blend of cheesy goodness and extra beef. I'd be lying if I said I didn't take an extra piece because I loved it so much!

And we all know that any Christmas Dinner wouldn't be the same without dessert, and the Inn on the Hill is truly treating you sweet tooth! Chef Mary is a wonder-worker, pulling out all of the best and decadent stops to bring out a Dessert Trolley that I was extremely tempted to roll home with me!

I couldn't help myself and had, count 'em, three desserts! The first of this sweet trio was a caramel cheesecake with it's base like a whipped cloud, covered in a thick, sweet layer of rich caramel. The second was another round of cheesecake, which hosted the very same luscious base as the caramel but brought the decadence up another level with deep, dark chocolate topping and a chocolate cookie crumb crust. And of that's not enough heaven already, I topped it off with a slice of strawberry rhubarb pie that had a buttery, flaky crust and hit the perfect balance of sweet and tart in the center. That was the perfect, if not unbelievably indulgent end to this spirited meal!

With a meal that conjures up thoughts of family around the table on December 25th, Irving Berlin on the record player and mistletoe in the doorway, the Inn on the Hill has created a tasty Christmas Card that you have to taste, see and even hear to believe!