Sunday, 30 March 2014

Quintessentially PEI Seafood Chowder at the Redwater Rustic Grille

When it comes to culinary dishes on PEI, there's likely nothing taken as seriously as Seafood Chowder. We hold competitions, compare chowders and always treat each bowl of creamy goodness with strict devotion. Needless to say, when it comes to crafting a Chowder, each restaurant and household takes it's own twist; making every bowl unique.

And at the Redwater Rustic Grille they have an ambitious chowder that I have to declare my very own personal favorite Seafood Chowder. I've sampled at competitions, tasted the pride of towns and restaurants but of them all Chef Jane's chowder reigns supreme in my book and it will be my pleasure to tell you exactly why.

This bountiful bowl of chowder comes drizzled with a fresh, rich herbed oil that creates a lovely counterbalance between it and the chowder, creating something truly beautiful for both your sense of smell and your palate. It's like the perfect introduction to your meal and as soon as you blend the two together and take that first taste you realize what makes seafood chowder a dish that's so close to our Island's heart.

With the rich and versatile flavors of this seafood chowder, it's a ultimate display of our Island's rich bounty. Buttery scallops, sweet and delicate shrimp, classic clams and fresh, delicious market fish. There was a truly impressive amount of variety in this chowder and it was amazing how Chef Jane was able to show how each seafood, palatable on their own become wonderfully mouth-watering as they compliment one another ideally; the way they were made to. To match this delicious seafood were crisp vegetables, light and airy as the completed the blend.

All in a creamy and smooth base that doesn't overwhelm the chowder but wraps itself around all the flavors, blending them into the flawless union that reaches out to your taste buds with warmth and indulgence.

Served before the chowder was the Redwater Grille's pretzel bun with a walnut, fig, vanilla butter. Now I've said before that their butter is incredible but now I've upgraded it to nirvana! Elegantly sweet vanilla with the exotic spice of fig all grounded by earthy walnut upon the base that is a creamy cloud of butter. I savored it with total relish!

Chef Jane Crawford's Seafood Chowder is quintessentially PEI and as all her creations, it's a display of how her talent is inspired by our Island's natural resources. It's inspiring to observe what she herself in inspired to and even better is let yourself experience that through the Redwater Rustic Grille.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Way Yummy Sweet Potato Fries & Curry at The Old Triangle

If I had a dollar for every time someone told me I have to try the sweet potato curry fries at The Old Triangle, I imagine I'd have enough to eat them at least three times a week for a whole year. So of course, when the curious girl that I am hears this much love for an appetizer, I can't keep myself from trying it for myself.

So I headed down to the Triangle with all it's Irish Pub-ness and got myself a seat at the bar. I was super impressed by all the rich warm wood and nods to both Irish and Island culture. It made for a great atmosphere, especially together with the super cheerful staff and very friendly barkeep, Jamie.

I didn't even need a menu, since I knew what my goal for the visit was, but taking a look at the fare that they offer was impressive. Reading about their Boxty makes me think that will be my next visit to the Triangle; it sounds delicious and changes daily.

And I know what I'll be ordering for sure, no matter when I go to the Triangle and it's these wonderful little morsels with that enchanting curry dip...

These thick cut sweet potato fries have a pleasant crunch and a smooth inside which makes them delicious even on their own. But when matched with the Triangle's famous curry dip, they become an extra appetizing...well...appetizer!

I wouldn't have expected to put curry with sweet potato, but the two come together perfectly. The curry's savouriness and the rustic sweetness of the fries are extremely complimentary. And this curry dip exceptionally creamy and brings out all the flavors that has captured the imaginations and taste buds of pub goers for years. Warm spices blend against the cool base of the dip and gives off that perfect curry flavor without having too much heat; so everyone is free to enjoy!

With every bite I can taste what all the rage is about and with how impressed I was by The Old Triangle on this first visit, you can bet I'll be back to sample more of their menu, expecting truly fantastic things!

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Pizza Partying at Famous Peppers Pizzeria

Founded in 2003, Famous Peppers was a gem, hidden in the heart of small town Cardigan, PEI. Their delicious food and outstanding pizzas thrilled locals, spurring Island wide adoration. Now with locations in Charlottetown, Montague and Shediac, the pizza goodness can reach almost every corner of PEI and even New Brunswick and satisfy our urges for heavenly topped crust.

I went down to the location in Downtown Charlottetown to get my own pizza fix!

The assortment of pizzas their creative staff have come up with will entertain and confound you when it comes to picking just one. They all sound so alluring, it's like inviting your taste buds to a wild, local producers' inspired party hosted by the pizza geniuses at Famous Peppers. There's anything and everything for all pizza lovers to indulge in and any of their toppings are available for people who want to choose their own and try out pizza design for themselves. No matter what, at Famous Peppers, you know that your lunch, dinner, snack and maybe even breakfast are in extremely capable hands.

(Hey, who hasn't had pizza for breakfast at lease once? I know I have.)

As for me, I picked out Famous Peppers signature Maple Chicken Pizza and it's all sorts of awesome spread with creamy epicness and topped with an assortment of "yummmmm". With their house made maple cream base, chicken, mushrooms, bacon, spinach and red onion, this flavor is a collage of flavor.

The small pizza I ordered was just the perfect size and came laden with bountiful toppings. The smell was so tempting that I had a hard time waiting for photos to be over before diving straight for the pizza. But every second was worth the wait, since I can bring you a photo of this extremely delicious memory.

I think the photo kind of tells it's own story, but as you know, I can never hold myself back from prattling on about how much I love great food. And this wasn't just great, it was outstanding!

Juicy chicken creating the anchor for each flavor, the freshness of the spinach came together with the crisp, sweet bite of red onion and hearty mushrooms. Everything was blanketed in a generous amount of melty cheese that could only leave me awe struck at the deliciousness. This signature creation at Famous Peppers is easily my favorite and would be the perfect thing to bring to a large party, you'd be the envy of everything for having brought the best and most unique food.

My personal opinion? Pepper's Maple Cream Sauce should be mandatory for all pizzas. Tomatoes are great and all, but that creamy smooth sauce with a hint of maple sweetness takes the slice, in my humble and completely cream influenced opinion. 

Don't have time to order a whole pizza and want to pick up a quick and totally satisfying lunch? Have no fear, Famous Pepper's has got your back. Stop in to grab one of their massive pizza slices! My favorite for lunch is the Meatster, a total sensory overload of Island crafted meats on the freshest crushed tomato sauce and smothered in delicious cheese; all that on Famous Pepper's delicious crust!

Let this photo be your lunch time inspiration!

You better believe I'll be going back to Famous Peppers again and again and again. Wild horses or more aptly right now, monster snow storms couldn't hold me back from their fresh ingredients, impressive crust and plethora of unique pizza creations.

Famous Pepper's pizzeria's award winning skills are apparent with every. single. bite.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Desserts and Daffodils for Canadian Cancer Society at the Redwater Rustic Grille

This dessert worth celebrating became the siren call of the Redwater Rustic Grille which brought me back to its ambient restaurant once again today. Braving the impending blizzard all for a taste of sweet charity, I went in to experience Chef Jane Crawford's dessert creation for the Canadian Cancer Society's Desserts and Daffodils fundraiser. Running through the month of March, local Island restaurants have been featuring special desserts and half of the proceeds from all sales go to the CCS.

With the Redwater Grille's Chef Jane's creativity, giving a helping hand to your fellow Canadians has never tasted so rewarding. Sticky Toffee Pudding with warm Maple Sauce and accompanied by house made praline ice cream. And what was placed before me, was a dessert with the look and taste of pure decadence.

Chef Jane, oh, dear, Chef Jane Craword! How do you make such beautiful and completely mesmerizing creations? I wish I had an iota of that talent when it comes to food and still, I'm happy I don't. Because that means I get to frequent the Redwater and be constantly blown away by such delicacies.
With it's delightful aroma this Sticky Toffee Pudding pulls you deeper and deeper in love with each decadent layer. The warm flavors of toffee and maple wrapping you in its sweet reverie, bite after bite is paired elegantly with cool and creamy house made praline ice cream. Velvety smooth, this dessert goes down as easily as a pleasant song on the ear and satisfies the senses completely.
A little trail of strawberry giving it another dimension of loveliness to the eye also adds a certain sort of unexpected je ne sais quoi so the warmth of flavors. A gentle burst of complimentary flavor amongst all the other points of interest that already capture a diner's attention. 

That's what I call a dessert made of pure luxury and pure heart.

Like everything I've ever ate at the Redwater Rustic Grille, I'm always left with a contented "Mmmmm" on my lips and already planning not only when my next visit will be but what exceptional flavor pairings will grace it. And as always my visit was made even greater by a glowing welcome from the delightful hostess Elizabeth and waitress Elena's kind-hearted nature.

This little slice of Heaven is just as sweet on your taste buds as it is on your heart and soul. There's only a five days left of Daffodils and Desserts so make your way down to the Redwater Rustic Grille and do your part for this extremely worthy cause. Treat yourself and others too!

Award Inspiring Fish & Chips at Mavors Restaurant and Bar

Fish and chips are a Downtown Charlottetown tradition, it's served at almost all of the local restaurants and each works hard to put their own stamp on this almost cultural dish that we've all come to know and love. And sometimes when there's so many different possibilities to choose from, a person (or really hungry girl, like I) can lose sight of how incredible Fish and Chips can be.

Well, thanks to Mavors Restaurant in the Confederation Centre of the Arts, I've seen the light and tasted it too. Their cutely named "Break-a-Leg Fish & Chips" had the perfect balance of crispy, flakey goodness while having a tasty, rich beer batter and some "whoa, that's awesome" house made tartar sauce. Oh, and those house cut fries deserve a #yum x infinity.

Doesn't that just make you want to break out into a joyous show tune? Don't worry, it's entirely natural for Mavors food to inspire such random shows of happiness. And while maybe I didn't exactly start singing out loud at my meal, I was certainly singing on the inside. (I think I would have actually sang but see, I was too busy eating.)

See how I said they were generous? That crispy beer battered fish on a bed of house cut fries was only a half order!

The light and airy batter surrounded fresh and flakey fish that's taste told a story of how high-quality it was. Not skimping on the good stuff, there was so much fish that I was honestly impressed. Most places you've got to search through the batter for some fish. But Mavors makes sure you've got the right balance of fish to batter ratio. There's every reason to love this perfectly crisped meal and Mavors definitely makes me wish of fish (and rhyme too, apparently.)

Oh, the Tartar Sauce! I'm extremely picky about my sauces and this one made in house got my stamp of approval from the first taste! Creamy and light with a refreshing amount of dill and pickles, I had to ask for extra just to dip my fries in. An extra little fun fact is that Mavors even cuts and prepares their own pickles for their tartar sauce. Now that's some impressive commitment that shines through with every single dip of fish or fries.

That said, the house cut fries that Mavors serves up are excellent! Thin cut, crispy and with that little hint of salt that makes them irresistible. Dipped in the Tartar and I was set to stay there for the rest of the day in an endless loop of fries and tartar. Haha!

And I can't forget about the creamy coleslaw, a perfect match to these two rich foods with it's fresh creaminess and that pleasant little tang that always makes coleslaw a classic addition to any fish and chips platter.

These two prides of PEI, fish and potatoes had true justice done to them in Mavors fantastic Fish & Chips. Perfect before a matinee, during your lunch hour or literally any reason you can find to go out and eat something mouth-watering; they've got it!

Everything about Mavors left me saying, "Encore! Encore!". From the wonderful and so friendly waitress, Kim with her cheerful disposition to Chef Darren's review-inspiring fish and chips. Everything at Mavors is down to a fine art.

These "Break-a-Leg" Fish & Chips win the award for "I Need to Eat More of This!" and like a fantastic play, I can see them having a long and extremely successful run at Mavors. Bravo!

Monday, 24 March 2014

The Resplendent Flavors of the Red Water Rustic Grille

In the heart of Downtown Charlottetown, there is a restaurant that strives for excellence through their cuisine, has a solid commitment to local producers and takes an exemplary pride in everything they do.

That restaurant is the Red Water Rustic Grille, located inside the Holman Grand Hotel.

Today, I count myself lucky for having visited the Red Water and having ate one of the very best meals of my life thanks to always outstanding culinary artistry of Executive Chef Jane Crawford and accompanied by the warmth of atmosphere and genuine welcome from Jodi, my lovely waitress for this lunch.

Their classic Meatballs and Spaghetti, featuring bison meatballs made not only my day, but I swear, my entire, my whole month!

Now I know there's a lot of words that can describe impeccable fine dining. And while that broad array including words such as delicious, mouth-watering and even the old-fashioned toothsome (defined as temptingly tasty; oh, how true!) could each be applied to the Red Water, I would have to boil it down to the fact that what I ate today was the absolute dictionary definition of resplendent. And while not always used as a word to describe food, that's exactly what this Meatballs and Spaghetti were; rich and sumptuous in every aspect.

With truly rich smoked tomato sauce, a hint of dried chillies, garlic confit, perfectly cooked pasta, grana padano parmesan, bocconcini and three tender bison meatballs, this is everything a girl (or guy) could possibly dream of when wishing for the most delectable meal to meet them at the table. I could even smell the heady scents of smoked tomato and bison heralding the arrival of this delicacy.
Check out Chef Jane and I together moments before I gave into the temptation of this siren dish.
And when it comes to describing those first few bites, I'm rendered speechless. Which is a feat of the highest proportion, since there seems to be nothing for which I can't pin down at least five million words. But no, I just had to sit there, wordless, in a state of euphoric happiness while taking in every aspect of this thoughtfully crafted dish.
Did I just say that food made me euphorically happy? You bet, I did. And I couldn't say it about anywhere but the Red Water Grille.
Each facet of my Meatballs and Spaghetti came through with crystal clarity upon the palate and still their characteristics blended for a fellowship like none other. The full-bodied smoked tomato sauce was thick and herbed to perfection along with the tenderness of the bison meatballs. Atop of perfectly al dente spaghetti, with mildly pleasing bocconcini and sharp, powerful parmesan.
And I must add, if you haven't tried bison before, you shouldn't endure such an injustice for one more minute! Lean and moist, with a meaty texture and flavor, you're bound to fall in love with this hearty and most delicious meat. Any red meat lover needs to experience bison and the only true way to do that is from the capable hands at the Red Water Grille. One of their house specialties, they not only serve up bison with spaghetti and meatballs but also offer a succulent bison burger.
Just because I want to tempt you once more through my review and etch the image of this dish's magnificence in your mind, here's just one more photo...
I would also be remiss not to mention the lovely slices of pretzel bread served alongside the best butter of my life. "What makes it the best butter?" I hear you asking.
Well...Sundried tomato, arugula, pecan and pesto! Yes, those four ingredients are what was in the smooth, creamy butter that was the perfect pair of savory and sweet flavors. All spread on that house made pretzel bun and you've got a ticket to foodie heaven in your hand. That is until you eat it. Then it's foodie heaven in your mouth.
Creating a symphony of elegant flavors, with layers of delightful richness and making a robust impression, you absolutely must visit The Red Water Grille and experience Chef Jane Crawford's skill when it comes to the art of food. Go get some of that euphoric happiness for yourself, my friend.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

A Truly Classy Breakfast Sandwich at The Dundee Arms

Charlottetown has a little bit of everything when it comes to culinary experiences and no matter what the tenacious chefs of our Island decide to tackle, it's always done with the highest of quality in mind. And so it's no surprise to me when I tell you that today, I had a super classy breakfast sandwich at The Dundee Arms.

It truly took advantage of our Island's natural resources, was warm with a blend of perfect flavor balance and seriously made a great first impression with it's plating.

Don't believe that a breakfast sandwich can be fabulous? Well then, prepared to be converted; because this is it!

Yep, that's the open faced version of the breakfast sandwich coined, the "Egg McMargie". And it's truly a breakfast sandwich worthy of such a distinguished restaurant. Served either stacked or open faced, the Egg McMargie can be had with either ham or bacon.

As for me, the ham-aholic that I happen to be, I guessed it. Bacon! Haha, no seriously. I went for the ham and boy was I pleased. It was a fresh ham, thick sliced and deliciously juicy.

Served up on a toasted English muffin, with ham or bacon, cheese and your choice style of egg; this breakfast sandwich is everything you want made with the freshest of ingredients. I am constantly impressed by the quality of the Dundee's food at both their Griffon Dining Room and Cricket and Hearth Pub. They strive for great things, using local foods and that passion shines through with every single bite. A big kudos to Chefs Theresa and Mike for bringing us this stylish twist of a breakfast classic.

And the home fries, oh, those beautiful, hearty home fries! They're all potato and that's seriously awesome for a thoroughly PEI'd girl like me. With that slight crispyness on their outside and smooth, rich potato on the inside, they're home fries to, well, write home about! Garnished with crisp melon and a sweet orange slice, there's a little bit of every flavor on this plate.

This brunch is truly satisfying in every aspect of your senses.

The consistency their both cosy, welcoming atmosphere, happy, friendly staff and always outstanding food is why you'll see me returning to The Dundee week after week. They're the full package. And service is always a pleasure, I've been pleased to see Denika for each of my Brunches at the Dundee and she's got all of the genuine, caring qualities of a dear friend. I mean who wouldn't want to hang around a restaurant with people like that?

I'll just leave you with this photo of the Dundee's famous, house made biscuits with which I started my lovely brunch.

Because who doesn't want to stare at a yummy, warm, flaky biscuit?

I just heard you go "Mmmmm" by the way.


Thursday, 20 March 2014

A Buffet Worth Marrying at the Top of the Park Restaurant

Ever dream or that guy or girl who has a little bit of everything about their personality? The type of person who can offer all sorts of aspects to their personality and even have a touch of unexpected excitement to them. I know I've thought of a guy like this before; at least when I'm thinking of what the perfect man might be like.

That said, I found something, while not being my perfect man, could quite possibly be my perfect meal. And that's because at the Top of the Park restaurant at Red Shores Racetrack, there's a buffet that has a variable smorgasbord of win. Everyday Top of the Park's Culinary Manager Sean Furlong and his culinary team create a unique menu that's bound to impress and even astound diners with their creativity.

A beautiful atmosphere overlooking the driving park, the Top of the Park is the best buffet I could recommend on the Island. There's always something for everyone. I even tried out a gluten free shortbread cookie that tasted exactly like it's wheat driven counterparts.

That said, let's get on with the plates and desserts (oh yes, there was multiples of everything) that I had at today's buffet.

This was my first plate:

Okay, so let's go down the list of what's on this plate. We've got glazed ham, broccoli and cauliflower gratin, creamy mashed potatoes, house made spiced kettle chips, ham bread pudding with hollandaise sauce and hamburger corners with house made aioli. 

Now I know you probably can't believe that all that gourmet food was at a buffet, but it was and it was all of the very highest quality. And on top of all that there was all sorts of other delicacies, like white wine steamed mussels with melted butter on the side.

As for me, I could simply tell you that I had never been in such food heaven before and leave it at that. But honestly, for amazing food's sake, I need to go into some detail. So bare with me while I go off on a tangent while recalling it all...

The ham was the most tender that I've had since my Grandmother's glazed ham. It was everything that ham should be in a sweet and savory glaze that locked in all that juiciness. The cauliflower and broccoli gratin had tender vegetables in a creamy, cheesy sauce topped with more cheese and crispy bread crumbs. (It drove me crazy with it's yumminess. Good crazy, of course). Those kettle chips were beyond perfect; like nothing you'd ever get in a silly ol' bag. They're thin cut, nicely spiced, crispy and had the power to make pretty much every buffet goer want to take the tray home with them.

I still stand by my suggestion that they open a kettle chip stand out on the corner. Because everyone would be there.

And ham bread pudding is like nothing I've ever had before. It was a very cool combination of flavors, like ham with home made stuffing and then topped with my favorite sauce of all time! Hollandaise. Next the burgers were refreshing with the cool aioli and fresh veggies and what you also can't see on that plate was that I had a side of corn chowder which was super rich and creamy while being packed with corn and other vegetables.

And then came my second plate, which was really me going back and getting even more of all the stuff that I loved.

Okay, there is one more different thing on that plate. The potato salad which was a classic with a gourmet twist. Cut baby gem potatoes with crisp vegetables and a light sauce that had a hint of dill to make it even more appealing. See, I told you they have everything,

And last but believe you me, definitely not the least, was dessert. Oh, glorious, sweet, dessert! And what a selection! There was no way I could possibly try everything they had. But I chose what would be my favorites. That being red velvet torte, Irish cream nanaimo bars, white chocolate raspberry bread pudding and Boston cream pie. I still don't know where I put everything! But there was no way I could leave without trying as much as possible.

My favorite amongst all the desserts was the red velvet torte. Light cream, rich raspberry sauce, moist red velvet cake all topped with whipped cream. That's like...I don't even know. Incredible in a glass? Layers of "OMG"... Uh, just, wow. It rendered me speechless at first. I just kept nodding my head yes and eating. It was that good. On top of that, everything else was impeccable, with an honorable mention going to the Irish cream nanaimos. Because they're Irish Cream Nanaimo Bars, that's why.

All of the desserts were pure decadence!

So that, is, as they say, that. Everything was amazing and the Top of the Park easily has the best spread on Prince Edward Island! So, go and eat your heart out!

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Finding a Burger to Love at The Factory Cookhouse

Yes, I'm well aware that PEI Burger Love Campaign won't start for another twelve days... But why should that stop a girl from finding a Burger to fall in love with a little early. Our eyes have all wondered once and a while... And when it comes to this Burger from The Cookhouse there's a lot to love, so you really can't blame me, can you?

I mean it was a huge burger with pulled pork on it, for crying out loud!

Look at this plate, it speaks for itself.

Exactly. You see what I mean now, don't you? That thing deserves national love and while I realize that there will be plenty of Burgers vying for our love, come April, for now I think we can be happy to know that this Burger will be around for a long time at The Cookhouse. It's like ol' deliciously amazing faithful.
It's no secret that I love both pulled pork and beef, so this burger was practically made for me. But it was even better than I could have expected. Just to give you an idea of everything that's loaded onto this burger. We've got hickory smoked pulled pork, 6oz of fresh beef, cheddar cheese, mushrooms, onions, fresh veggies and onions rings all on a toasted kaiser bun.
Everything was tender and abundant in flavor on this burger, the pulled pork was lush with the ideal amount of hickory and sweet to go along with the fresh and clear notes of beefiness of the burger. (Nothing's better than fresh beef on a burger and that's exactly what this was! No low-quality frozen burgers for The Cookhouse. They're pure awesome.)
Everything came together from the warmth and sweetness of the onion, the tang of pickles, freshness of the vegetables, savory of the cheddar and of course all the praises I've already sang of their beautifully prepared meats. This burger was the whole package and even more, it satisfied every need my taste buds could possibly have. I urge any burger or pork lover to try out this amazing burger.
The thick cut onion rings were delicious (I ate them on the side). The batter was light and crispy, it let the onion stay crisp and well unlike most onions that get soggy by all the batter suffocating them. I would certainly love to dive into a whole basket of these onions rings. They were incredibly easy eating and were unique to the cookhouse. I highly recommend them!
And if that wasn't enough, which it was, but even full, I couldn't stop myself from continuing on to the hand cut fries along side this burger. These thinly cut house made fries were crispy and hearty. I truly enjoyed that unlike most hand cut fries, they're thin which makes them more crispy and golden delicious. Add to that the signature Creamy BBQ Sauce ("Everything Sauce" if your a regular. Haha!) and you've got the perfect side.
As always the girls at The Factory Cookhouse gave a warm welcome and I had such a great time sitting at my usual spot at the bar and chatting away about everything under the sun. It was perfect and aside from the amazing food calling me constantly, it's one of the solid reasons why I keep returning to the cookhouse. So thanks to Glynn, Bethany and Lundy. You guys absolutely rock--country style!
Prospective suitors take note though, because Chef Brian has won my heart again!

Burger Love 2013 - The Orange Lunchbox

We're twelve days from PEI Burger Love, people and I can just feel the excitement building all around Charlottetown. Mind you, the whole Island is getting geared up for next month's Burger insanity and with 54 total burgers to love, I think it's safe to say we're going to be packed with beefy goodness!

And I have only two more reviews from 2013's Burger heaven to share with you. And this one, from the Orange Lunchbox was something to truly sing about (as you can see from the quotes I used from the song "Nature Boy", a personal favorite tune.)

So keep calm, carry on and read about burgers!


Everyone who has been following me on Facebook or Twitter knows that I was selected as a PEI Burger Love Blogger. Well, all my assignments were done and today is the last day of this month long, province wide celebration! I had to go out and find one more love to share my heart with and when I came upon the Big Orange Lunchbox, I knew this would be an experience to remember!

In honor of The Ric Flair Donair burger, I wrote this review and have some photos to share with you. Try not to eat your computer while you read this...

To understand the total epicness that is the Big Orange Lunchbox's Ric Flair Donair Burger is to know the love of Island Beef. As a girl, finding herself at the end of PEI Burger Love, I can't say I wasn't already lamenting the end of our fabulous month of culinary excellence. I was convinced that there was no way I could find a love that would last all the way until Burger Love 2014...

And then one day,
One magic day he passed my way

Who is he, you ask? The Ric Flair Donair Burger! And oh, what a magically memorable day this became once I was met face to face with such a paragon of Burger Love. As I was presented with this impressive Burger, the first thing that struck me was that there, surrounded by home made donair meat, roasted garlic donair sauce, veggies and a coriander bun was 9oz of purely fresh Island Beef.
With my first bite into this epitome of deliciousness, The Ric Flair Donair hit me like a love song that only needs one phrase, "Postman, postman, we're the perfect pair, send this love letter care of the Ric Flair Doniar!".

Every taste after it was like being introduced to the perfect Burger over and over again! It was fresh, crisp and perfectly seasoned. The peppery donair meat met the sweet and sour pickles for a trio of heavenly sensations dancing on my tongue. And while the provolone cheese melted in between the donair and beef, it created a soft creamy flavor alongside the zip of red onion and make perfect companions for the roasty garlic donair sauce that has a pinch of uniqueness that make it a taste exclusive to the Big Orange Lunchbox! Topped off with that gently spiced presence of the incredibly fresh house made Coriander bun and you're on a trip to Burger Love Cloud Nine!

The Big Orange Lunchbox is where's the party's at and with Ric Flair Donair at your side, you'll never look at a Burger or Donair the same way! All others pale in comparison to the vivacious combination of flavor, tang and spunk that Chef James brought to life in this treat for the senses. My taste buds owe you one, Chef!

And there's a true moral to this epic love story on the last day of Burger Love. It's never too late for true love and...

The greatest thing you'll ever learn
Is just to love and be loved in return

Monday, 17 March 2014

St. Patrick's Dessert Delight at the Claddagh Oyster House

Lá fhéile Pádraig sona dhuit!

Or...for all those non Gaelic speakers out there, a very Happy St. Patrick's Day to you all!

St. Pat's day on P.E.I. is a big deal. Everyone goes out in green with their most cheerful smiles and give out happy greetings and well wishes. We really catch the spirit here and everyone who can, celebrates in their own special way. Whether it be with green beer, lively music, traditional foods or any other assortment of Irish themed activities.

Me? Well, I decided to have my own sort of St. Patrick's Day celebration and that was to head down to The Claddagh Oyster House and satisfy my taste for sweets at one of the Island's most popular St. Patrick's Day destination. And while the party went on upstairs at the Ole Dublin, the Claddagh was the perfect fine-dining atmosphere with lilting Irish tunes and absolutely deliciously rich desserts.

I had never actually been to the Claddagh before today and while I'd passed it's door many ways on the stairs up to the Ole Dublin Pub, I was truly impressed when walking inside. The first thing that left my lips was "wow". It's warm and inviting with rich woods, a lovely fireplace and feature water wall. Talk about celebrating St. Patrick's Day in style.

I went for the gusto and actually had two of their house made desserts, an Almond and Pear Tart and White Chocolate and Raisin Bread Pudding. Two uniquely decadent desserts both prepared with truly impressive skill by Chef Mitchell.

First, was the Almond and Pear Tart with house made hazelnut butter ice cream... My head is swimming with delight just tying the name. Take a look at this elegantly plated masterpiece!

The rich and creamy, the ice cream atop of this tart, had that signature house made lusciousness. The smoothness and purity of the hazelnut flavor made it a perfect balance only to be topped when paired with the rest of the dessert. The crust was like nothing I'd ever had before, the edges were candied with light sugar and it was like a rich cloud, enveloping the sweet pears and almonds within it. The pears, which were, mind you, perfectly tender and sweet (which essentially means nirvana to a pear lover like me.)

Every aspect of this dessert paired perfectly with the next and all together created a truly lovely combination of tastes. The nuts gave a heartiness, while the pears and ice cream were fresh, the two balancing each other like a complimentary couple. Plated with elegance (and deliciousness candied nuts), I couldn't have asked for anything better...

But! Yes, there's a but. You can't forget that this was my double the decadence and while there could be nothing better, a dessert that was just as charming (but in an entirely different way) was on it's way.

And that, my dear, was the White Chocolate and  Raisin Bread Pudding with...wait for it...Irish Whisky, Brown Sugar Sauce! Oh, and if that wasn't enough, there's vanilla whipped cream too. Seriousy, Claddagh, seriously?! Are you trying to make me live in your restaurant? Because after all this, I really, really wanted to.

I mean, wouldn't this make you want to move in too?

That's what I thought...
This was a classic dessert, made decadent with an Irish twist. Bread Pudding, while being an old fashioned delicacy, has been made into something beautiful with carefully updated flavors. The serving is so generous that I would easily recommend it to any couple wanting to add a sweet ending on their meal. This is truly a dessert that warms the heart.
Soft and tender, this Bread pudding has that subtle hint of white chocolate creaminess. The whole thing filled with just the right amount of plump, juicy raisins and delicate spices, make it like the soul food of desserts. That's what makes the whipped cream it's perfect mate, with it's rich smoothness, soothing vanilla and light airiness.
And on top of and surrounding the bread pudding was a sauce so sweet, so rich and so whiskey kissed that I feel there aren't adequate words to express it's luxuriousness. Velvety and warm, the perfect thing to satiate your grown-up sweet tooth and the ideal dessert to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. I enjoyed it's heady flavor with a sort of dessert inspired abandon, just living in and with that moment.
So, you see? I had the best St. Patrick's Day ever and I didn't even need one sip of green beer. Instead, I enjoyed the sweeter side of the day and I encourage everyone and anyone who appreciates yummy or otherwise mind-blowing good desserts to go to the Claddagh Oyster House.
I also want to give a big shout out to Nicole, my waitress who was so kind, along with all the other girls at the Oyster House. She was genuine and I felt truly welcomed by her bright hospitality. Thanks for being awesome, Nicole, because you've got it down to an art!

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Deep Fried "OMG" Mars Bar at The Factory Cookhouse

I'm not one of those people who flings around popular little tidbits like "LOL" and such, but when something completely embodies the meaning of Oh, My Goodness, then I can't help but describe it with the term so many have come to know and love.


That's exactly what The Factory Cookhouse's Deep Fried Mars Bar did to me. It left me with an amazed little "o" shaped mouth which quickly turned into a wide smile of realization. That realization being that I had found something so sugar-coated, deep fried, delicious that there's no possible way I could ever look at a Mars bar the same again. Chef Brian at the Cookhouse can make dessert for me anytime! He's got all the skills needed to sweeten your day or create a memorable ending to one of his delicious meals.

I mean, just look at this...

Even as it was brought to me, I had a feeling that this was the point of no return. That once digging in, I would always have the lingering happiness that came along with eating deep fried mars bar follow me the for the rest of my life. That's not to say I don't need to have one again. Because nothing tastes like "more" than that little plate of desserty goodness.

You know Ambrosia, the mythical food of the Greek gods? This has to be it! All of that warm, melty, ooey, gooey goodness couldn't be described another way. And while it may seem like I'm over excited, believe me, this is not an exaggeration. Even after leaving the restaurant, I was left thinking back to how tasty that deep fried mars bar was and going "Mmmmm".

A Mars Bar deep fried in sweet dough and then hugged on both sides by whipped cream and vanilla ice cream; the whole thing then drizzled with caramel and chocolate sauce to top it off. Underneath the crispy, deep fried sweet batter was melty milk chocolate with smooth, rich caramel and nougat, just slightly chewy. That alone is enough to send even the most jaded dessert eater over the edge, but then when you take that bite with fluffy vanilla ice cream and rich whipped cream; you're in heaven, my friend. Heaven and earth, all at the same time.

All of those flavors and textures come together and make this trendy dessert the modern miracle that it's come to be. You just haven't lived until you've sat down to this deep fried deliciousness and I can't help but urge to try it at The Factory Cookhouse, for me, it wouldn't have been the same served anywhere else because equally as sweet as all this sugary revelry that I've been expressing to you, is the lovely staff at The Cookhouse. The two young women that were there today just made me feel like I had walked into my own family's kitchen. I had never felt so comfortable at a restaurant before thanks to Glynn and Hannah. They really brought for that welcoming "Islander" way of acting like everyone is your friend since forever and ever. So thanks to them for making this a super experience. The only thing better to me than sweet food is people with sweet dispositions.

Bottom line? GO! GO, GO, GO! Run to The Factory Cookhouse and go right the wrong of never having tried a deep fried Mars Bar. And if you've had one before? Still...GO! You need to have it at The Cookhouse.

Already had a deep fried Mars Bar at The Cookhouse? Perfect. You're a good, good person. Let's go back together sometime. But you'll have to get your own because this is way too good to share.

Friday, 14 March 2014

The Elegance of Baked Alaska at Terre Rouge Bistro Marche

What would you think if I told you that Downtown Charlottetown there's a dessert that's smoother than pure silk, warm, toasty, rich, creamy and cool?

Likely, you'd want to shake me and ask if I was dreaming...

And I must say, I think I pinched myself when I was at Terre Rouge today having dessert, because it just seemed too good to be true. But that's just it, their incredible Baked Alaska is a dreamy dessert that's available to us mere mortals here in the real world.

Unlike your typical desserts hiding behind fancy names, Baked Alaska not only tastes incredible but is a complete experience. As it's brought to you on the plate, flaming in a dramatic bluish glow, the intoxicating scent of rum fills your senses with the toasty marshmallow exterior browning to your own preference.

Here's a look at the drama that is the moment of presentation...

Imagine yourself in front of this glowing dessert, a mix of warmth and cool, like a mystical meeting between fire and ice. The best part is that Terre Rouge's Baked Alaska's taste is just as impressive and attention grabbing as it's first impression.

I'm talking about taking my spoon and slowly diving through the beautiful light toasty-ness that gave way to layers of silky marshmallow, house made hazelnut and pistachio gelato. The whole thing easily evoking my adoration to Baked Alaska for being the most opulent and impactful desert I ever hope to have.

My first taste was a combination of all the flavors combined and they created a sort of song on my tongue. A lovely melody of tastes coming together, the nuttiness of the gelatos, sweetness of the marshmallow and that certain something unexpected that crowned them with the taste of rum. And that consistency of "wow" continued on through the whole dessert, making each bite worth another and another and--well, you get the idea. It was all in all the tops.

Sweet, light and decadent. The juxtaposition of Baked Alaska's aspects are difficult to put into words aside from the fact that this is something so totally awe-inspiring and that a person should have at least thirty times over their life span. Lucky for me, Terre Rouge is close at hand. That way I can have the best of the Baked Alaska best.

 I also want to take a moment to pay my dues to the gelato artistry that is going on at Terre Rouge. The gelato that nestled within that Baked Alaska was some of the very best I've ever had. And since I've been an avid gelativore since before I could walk, that's not a compliment I just hand out like candy. It's so very true and even if you're not able to stop in for a sit down of their Baked Alaska (which is a crying shame), you can at least go in and get a cup of their Gelato which is offered for take-out as well. There's a huge selection of ever changing flavors, all fresh and ready to please your taste buds.

Listen up guys and gals, Baked Alaska is perfect to share with your special someone. You'll be on a puffy, marshmallowly, rum drizzled, gelato centered Cloud 9 at Terre Rouge!

P.S. The dedicated Chefs at Terre Rouge deserve a huge shout out, especially Chef Emily Miller for crafting this heavenly delight. Also a huge thanks to Chef Adam and my waitress Heidi for being truly exceptional along with the rest of the staff!

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Loaded Mac and Cheese Love at the Urban Eatery

We all know Mac and Cheese, some like a good friend and other's like a loving mother. It's earned a title as a comfort food for so many reason's it would be hard to number them, but in the end I boil it down to familiarity. People love macaroni noodles smothered in cheese sauce...

But what happens when you give a Chef with great imagination and creative ability, a classic comfort food? Something truly delicious and outstanding.

That's exactly what Chef Emiley Newbury did today with her Loaded Mac and Cheese at the Around the World station of the Urban Eatery. (If you're there, go say hi to her, she's totally awesome.)

Putting together warm, smooth, fresh, savory and slightly sweet flavors to create a truly compelling dish, she was able to bring my taste buds to their knees, begging for more. This is assuming taste buds in fact have knees, which for the sake of dramatic flair, we will. With a generous helping of Mac and Cheese with a piece of toasty garlic bread to accompany it, this was a lunch fit for angels who really love yummy food.

Let's start with the house made cheese sauce, which was a combination of Swiss and pub cheeses melted down into a velvet marriage of yum with "OMG". Over the perfectly cooked macaroni this would have been more than even I could expect. But that was far from the end of this delicious journey. Because blended in with that was leeks, roasted red peppers and beef.

Now I like to think of myself s a bit of a beef aficionado after my Burger Love expedition of 2013 and let me say that the fresh and clean flavors of the beef in this Mac and Cheese truly impressed me. It wasn't hiding behind any extra flavors but came through with that true and honest beefiness that I've grown to respect and appreciate so much.

With the light and crisp flavor of the leeks and the warmth of the roasted red peppers, there was just so many great things about this Mac and Cheese that while describing it to you is fun, I wish we could just sit down together and eat away at a huge helping of this awesomeness.

The Garlic Bread that went along with it has a lovely combination of garlic and herbs on a toasted whole wheat baguette and topped with cheese. It complimented the flavors of the Mac and Cheese perfectly, not overpowering it but adding to the experience when the two mingled together on the palate. 

Filled with unexpected touches of lovely, this Mac and Cheese has converted me and I won't be able to go back to that normal everyday comfort food people had made it into. Knowing this dish as a complex and distinguished combination of tastes, I'll only expect the excellence that Chef Emiley has shown me it can me.

What I want really want to know is where Chef Emiley is hiding the Choir of Angels that I could swear I heard singing as I ate this... Seriously!

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Burger Love 2013 - The Big Ben

We're doing a little big of time traveling today and as you may have guessed it's all part of my continuing series this month getting you prepared for Burger Love next month! And while I've been seeing lots of preparations, even so far as people wanting to take out "Burger Love Loans", to get themselves in gear...I suggest heading down to Water Street Fish and Chip to try out their Burger Love creations from last year. A little bird (named Twitter) told me that they're featuring the Big Ben all this month in honor of the coming celebration.

So let's take a trip down memory lane together before you go out and try this Burger for yourself. It's guaranteed to help get you prepared for April's Burgerdom!

Let me tell you something truly; I've always longed to visit England. It's one of those life-changing Bucket List trips that you dream about for years. Well, Water Street Fish and Chips made my dream into a reality when I was invited to Burger Blog for their "Big Ben" creation. Stepping into the restaurant was more like taking the shortest flight in history or bending time much like Doctor Who. It was a trip to London that made me half expect to find Buckingham Place on quaint Water Street.

They say every time a dream is fulfilled, a person needs a new dream to take it's place. Not only did Water Street Fish and Chips check a trip off my Bucket List; they also granted an unexpected wish! They gave me an unforgettable tasted of England in their "Big Ben" Burger.

I was breathless at the sight of Big Ben...and I don't mean that fantastically gigantic time piece in London. I mean PEI's own Big Ben! The terrific, stupendous and magnanimously flavourful Burger that will be sure to chime in time with your heartbeat as it races to dig into such luscious culinary artistry.

The first bite came with a gentle crunch of the toasted bun, the heat of banana peppers and jalapeno mayo, savoury deliciousness of crispy calebrese salami, fresh veggies, a pleasant soft sweetness that rounds the edges of heat from caramelized onions and of course the star of the show, an 8oz 100% Island Beef Burger. With a deep fried cheddar cheese stick for it's crowning jewel, the Big Ben was just made for royalty and layman alike!

But even more fantastic than the first bite was every lip tingling single bite after it!

With spice that reminded me of a punchy British comic, tamed by the creaminess of the Havarti and sweetness of the caramelized onions this burger is the definition of sweet heat. Banana peppers tease with you a mild beginning and then get hot as you start to warm up to them. The 100% Island Beef was cooked to perfection; it's no wonder the London Tower guards are referred to as Beefeaters! One of the world's greatest creations is the deep-fried cheddar cheese stick, which just has to be tried with their house made tartar sauce! Matched up with a mixed side of onion rings and cheddar topped PEI
hand-cut French fries, this is one of the greatest combinations since the Beatles came together.

It's blend of flavours is a beacon in the London fog, shining brilliantly and tempting you with it's savoury combination of scents. Big Ben brought tears to my eyes and it wasn't because of the spice either! I was just so moved by it's total burger beauty!

This burger is like riding on the London Eye, it's got enough magic to get you through Platform 9 3/4 and I dare say this burger is the only thing in the world that could make the Queen's Guards smile! It's my complete London Love!

Want a taste of Jolly ol' England all to yourself? Well don't let the clock strike on the next hour...just stroll down to Water Street Fish and Chips for the Big Ben! It's the quickest hop across the pond anyone on the Island is every going to make.

Big Ben is truly British fare with Island flare!

Sunday, 9 March 2014

A Classic Breakfast with Factory Cookhouse Flair

So have you ever heard a plate say good morning? Well, I have!

Now hold your claims of "She's Crazy!", "She's Hearing Things!", "I always knew that girl was a little different." Because I may not have so much heard the "Good Morning" with my ears as I sensed it with my taste buds. And in a way, that's more important than hearing it. At least if you're me.

This morning, I ventured out to The Factory Cookhouse in Downtown Charlottetown and thanks to Chef Brian, my eyes were opened to seeing a classic breakfast with new flair. The usual suspects at breakfast were more than mere staples. They were refreshed with unique little touches that I've only ever seen at the Cookhouse.

Check out my packed plate from this morning, there wasn't a spare spot to fit anymore food on this generous platter!

See what I mean? That plate is a breakfast smorgasbord!

It's hard to know where to begin when telling you how great this plate of food was, but since I have to choose, I'll go for the home fries. They were a nice mixture of large, potatoey (yup, that so not a word) nuggets and tiny crisp home fries. With fresh and crisp green onion to top them off, it's a delicious and unique twist that I had never seen before. And I know that while home fries are typically dipped in ketchup, I went for something a little less conventional and totally in the Cookhouse spirit. In the photo above you can see a bottle of Cookhouse Creamy BBQ Sauce. This stuff is made of heaven's idea of flavors! It's a creamy, spicy and sweet sauce that offered up a little extra kick. There's no way you can go to the Cookhouse without trying this combo. Remember that, home fries and Creamy BBQ Sauce, or I'm going to have to come and remind you myself!

Next up is the toast and eggs! Thick cut Texas toast (how very appropriate) and two eggs any style. I chose over easy because my inner child likes to dunk my toast in the yolk. And that inner child wasn't disappointed! Perfectly toasted, toasty, toast (I couldn't resist) and over easy eggs with a nice soft yolk for dipping was exactly what I got.

And then comes the meat. My first word, yummy! The bacon was super crispy and delicious, thick cut in two strips with a satisfying crunch. You could tell this was high-quality meat because you could taste that heavenly bacony goodness that is so often missed with over salty breakfast bacon. Kudos to the Cookhouse! And my personal favorite at every breakfast is sausage. I am admittedly a breakfast sausage person and while that is a bit of a guilty pleasure, I'm proud to admit it. That said, I've seen my share of breakfast sausage, but when this plate was placed in front of me, my jaw nearly dropped! Do you see that sausage!? True Farmer's Sausage, from a local producer and perfectly cooked. It was sheer bliss for me! Both sausages were super lean and once again have a pure, honest flavor.

Garnished with fresh melon, this plate was nothing short of perfection! The Factory Cookhouse offers every single best thing about breakfast, all on one plate and served up with a smile!

P.S. A big shout out to Lundy for being a total sweetheart of a waitress!

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Benny and Steak at the Olde Dublin Pub

Benny and Steak, two dishes that can strongly stand alone, but when fused are a powerful force of yum to be reckoned with! Served along with the culinary skills of Chef Brad Collins, sweet personality of waitress Meaghan and authentic Irish Pub atmosphere of the Olde Dublin, I would say it makes for a perfect Saturday morning.

That said, I won't make you wait and let you take a peek at just what made my morning perfect...

I don't blame you if that made you really jealous of me. But just keep one eye reading and another on that photo and you'll be able to imagine yourself at my Saturday Brunch.

As you can see, my plate is a trio of breakfast and lunch staples. Classic Eggs Benedict, a hearty bacon wrapped steak and crisp home fries all garnished with a crunchy dill pickle. Each part as tasty as the next and earning the Olde Dublin Pub two big thumbs up for overachieving in the department of wowing me!

First things first, I went straight for the steak. And although I've never had bacon wrapped steak before, I won't go back to eating it any other way. I knew from how easy the steak was to cut that it had to be incredibly tender and when I got it into my mouth I was just floored at how utterly tender and juicy it was. Chef Brad Collins must have a sixth sense when it comes to cooking steaks because I've had some good ones in my time, but they couldn't stand up to this perfection that was served to me today. The bacon surrounding it was thick cut and crispy, creating this sort of cool juxtaposition between the two textures and flavors. And just imagine, that's only the start.

Next came the Eggs Benedict, on a thick cut, perfectly toasted English muffin. The shaved ham was a combination of subtle sweet and smokiness, topped with a perfectly poached egg and all topped with that life changing substance known to man as Hollandaise sauce. I've already said how yummy the ham was but it's worth pointing out again that this honey ham is SO much better with hollandaise sauce than regular ham. Keep that in mind, people! And once again, timing is everything and just like that steak which was so skillful done, so was the poached egg. It was firm enough on the outside that it didn't fall apart (like mine so often do) and the yolk was smooth so that I could dip my English muffin in along with the ham and sauce. The hollandaise to top it off was velvety with a buttery and rich flavor. (And there was just enough left that I could dip the occasional home fry in it. Can I get a  "YUM!"?)

Last but certainly not least were the home fries; a few of which as I mentioned above were dipped in the remaining hollandaise sauce. These were crisp and light with a pleasant crunch and soft inside. It's hard to get good home fries, some are too heavy, others too oily and then there's the ones that are just meh. But let me tell you, if you want great home fries...go to the Olde Dublin Pub! (And yes that totally needed the emphasis of bold font!)

I imagine you don't have to be a mind reader to know what I'm going to say as my final word...

Want an unbelievably satisfying and well-done Brunch? Good! Do your Saturdays and Sundays at the Olde Dublin Pub. You've got to taste it to believe it!

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Burger Love 2013 - The Pilot House

We're bordering onto three weeks until PEI Burger Love in April and as promised, I'm bring a whole month of nostalgia to my Blog! My Love Letters to four beautiful burgers, seen only on the official Burger Love site before, are being brought to you to help build excitement!

Then again, who needs to build excitement? It's already everywhere across the Island and my reliable sources say that other Provinces and even States are gearing up for the Burger Love.

Well, if you're looking for love; this is the burger. My second Burger Love visit from 2013 was at The Pilot House. If you haven't been to this restaurant, you need to go, even before Burger Love. Their atmosphere and food are outstanding! But right now we're focusing on their Burger and I do believe that this Love Letter and the photos speak for themselves....

Bon Appetite!

You know that moment when you see someone, really see them and you just know you're going to spend the rest of your life together? You can call it what you will, fate, destiny, kismet or any other variation of terms; I like to think of it as being struck by one of Cupid's more beefy arrows. But when
it all boils down to one point, you've found your soul mate.

Well hold onto your heart, Love, because your about to go head over heels!

As soon as you enter the Pilot House, there's an atmosphere made for falling in love complete with warm decor and romantic posters of your prospective love on display. But the real magic happens as soon as you and the "Soul Mates" Burger meet face to beef. This smoked gouda stuffed beauty makes for a burger with thoroughly modern flavors that you won't wait a minute to experience.

Your first bite of the Soul Mates Burger will hit you with full abandon, making you fall in love instantly and causing your taste buds to sing a chorus of fairy-tale romance power ballads in its honour. The buttered focaccia bun with it's airy texture compliments all the qualities of this Burger perfectly. Double smoked bacon and onion confit come together and create that certain je ne se quoi that has the disarming ability to make you melt. 

The Braised 100% Island Beef is extra juicy, tender and such a pure flavor that you know this is true to life farm to table taste. Stuffed so that it has a heart of tangy, distinct Gouda, this Burger doesn't need to masquerade as anything but the perfect harmony of flavors that it is.

Think of the Pilot House as a friend who will introduce you to the love of your life. Just don't forget to pass them along an invitation to the wedding!

Warm, buttery, savoury, sweet, crisp, clean and pure flavors come through perfectly with each bite to make this scintillating "Soul Mates" Burger a match made on PEI, which is practically Heaven anyway.

When it comes to claiming your Soul Mate, forget roses because only one question is going to remain..."Will you accept this Burger?"

Don't expect to leave with your Bachelor or Bachelorette status...

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

A Perogy of a Pizza From The Urban Eatery

Today I had something completely unique and unexpected for lunch. And while I've been on lots of food adventures, I would have to say that this was, without a doubt some of the most creative fare I've come across. And that is the Urban Eatery's Perogy Pizza! You read me right, Perogy Pizza.

Now literally speaking and since I'm an author this is sort of obligatory, this pizza is inspired by "Pierogi", a traditionally Ukrainian dumpling that has made it's way into many a Canadian life and has been something that I've grown up to know and love.

And with all the staples that make Perogy such a delicious treat, this pizza has paired all that onto a generous slice (technically the Eatery's slices are a half a pizza) and it was so big, I had to get it sliced in half and on two plates!

With a sour cream base on an ultra thin crust instead of traditional tomato sauce, this pizza lets you know that it's prepared to handle the mission of perogy-ness from start. Topped with thin sliced potato, crunchy bacon bits, green onion and sharp cheddar cheese, this pizza is all the best of such a classic dish!
And let me tell you, it's tastes like a perogy. It really tastes like a sour cream dipped perogy! And that's to say that it tastes really great! It completely nails the true creaminess of a perogy while all still being a thin crust pizza.
Everything came together in a way that made this pizza just as much perogy as it was pizza and visa versa. You know that song Muppet of a Man? Well it's just like that! If this pizza was a perogy it would be a perogy of a pizza! (I hope I didn't lose you there and instead you started singing.)
The thinly sliced potato, while lending it's perfect flavor also helped create the texture of the pizza which was just as important of an experience as the actual taste. And cheddar! Oh, cheddar! That sharp cheese's flavor made itself so clear and so much a part of the pizza that I want to start a movement to make it the official pizza cheese instead of mozzarella. All in all, we're talking intense flavor that lends itself to being not only one of the most unique Pizza creations but also one of the best thought out and spot on when it comes to blending two very different and yet equally delicious foods together.
Pleasantly, feathery light, this pizza is satisfying but lacks the sort of heaviness that leaves you feeling bulky after most pizzas. And so I could and will easily recommend this pizza to anyone looking for a great tasting, special and impression making lunch. Thank you to the Urban Eatery for going where no pizza has gone before and making in great!
P.S. Those two little morsels on the side of my left plate? They were samples of the Eatery's Italian Pizza Roll! Dipped in tomato sauce they're perfectly herbed with a tender inside and crunchy outside. Topped with yummy cheese, I could see these rolls being the perfect companion to a bowl of spaghetti. Oh and they would also be perfect for wiping up that left over sauce after you're done your spaghetti, because we all do that, even if most of us aren't brave enough to admit it! 

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Pulled Pork Perfection at The Brickhouse

So when a restaurant claims to be an Artisan Kitchen as does the Daniel Brennan Brickhouse in Downtown Charlottetown, I'm given to some pretty high expectations. And with all the hype of their local fare and skillfully crafted dishes, I went in for lunch today expecting nothing less than perfect...

And got even better! Is there anything better than perfect? I'm not sure there's an official dictionary definition, but I'd have to say mine is The Brickhouse. Seriously, you've got to try their food. It's a must.

I went for the lunch special today which was their pulled pork sandwich and at the suggestion of Chef Andrew Cotton, took the side Cesar (which you are so totally going to be hearing about). And it's duly noted that I got a mouth watering view of my meal being made by sitting at the "Chef's Table" bar. It made for a truly unique experience that really helped me appreciate the process of creating and plating. It also gave me a chance to chat with Chef Cotton about all the luscious layers that went into the Sandwich. Bonus!

It was so easy to see that everyone at The Brickhouse is incredibly enthusiastic about food, like my wonderfully friendly waitress Alana and of course Chef Andrew.

Just to give all those visual and hungry people out there a little view, here's a snapshot I took. And let me say with the amazing smell of that plate, it took some of my best willpower to bring you this photo!

Oh yes, I see you drooling a little bit there. I don't blame you either, this was one beautiful duo.

Obviously my next action after photo-taking was biting into that pulled pork sandwich. And for me the first bite is the most important. It's like an introduction and like a really worldly, deep and cultured person, this Sandwich left me wanting to know more about it. Seriously, after the first bite I took half a page or more of notes, there was just that much to take in.

Hugged by a house made pretzel bun was herb aioli, local cumin gouda by Chef Jeff McCourt, fried onion and out of this world tender pulled pork. This flavor centric sandwich boasts a complete harmony of flavors. Absolutely everything complimented each other perfectly so that while tasting everything separately as you bite in, there's this sort of magical blend of tastes lingering on your palate. I've never quite experienced tastes complimenting each other so fluently so that in and of itself made me stop and just savor what taste buds were being subjected to.

Even the textures came together into something beautiful, the gentle crunch of the fried onions with  buttery pulled pork and creamy aioli stood out to me just as much as the flavors. A total sensory experience, there was some so complete about The Brickhouse's Pulled Pork Sandwich.

And I've got to give kudos to Chef Jeff McCourt for his outstanding cumin gouda which was probably some of, if not, the best cheese I've ever had. Soft, creamy gouda with the perfect balance of exotic spice warmed my heart. I can't wait to try more of his new cheeses in New Glasgow over the coming season.

On top of that mind blowing sandwich was my side Cesar which was the perfect mate to the Sandwich. Unique with it's Cesar Vinaigrette (the first time I've had a Cesar like this), I don't think I'll be able to go back to creamy dressing ever again! The light and airy, yet completely full flavored house made vinaigrette allowed me to really taste the fresh bacon and croutons on the salad, which made me feel like I'd never really had a Caesar until today. And the greens were so crispy, so fresh that I could swear to you that there must be a garden out back of The Brickhouse. How they magically raise the freshest veggies in the cool Winter is beyond me.

The freshest, tastiest and most flavorful Cesar I've ever had!

My final word on this lunch is that The Brickhouse undoubtedly strives for perfection and goes above and beyond that standard by offering the complete package of deliciousness. Thank you Brickhouse, seriously...thank you!

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Burger Love 2013 - The Griffon Burger

Well, I know that for most of you living on Prince Edward Island, I don't have to tell you...but today marks one month before our annual Burger Love campaign starts in April. For those of you who were following my blog last year, you know that I got the opportunity of a lifetime to take a Burger journey like none other...

I was chosen by the mystical Burger Love powers at Fresh Media to be one of the chosen few to write their Burger Blog. Being sent off to taste test four of last year's Burgers along side other passionate Burger Lovers was a time that I'll remember for the rest of my life.

And in honor of this month before Burger Love, I'm going to recall that time for you my readers. Once a week from now until April I'll be posting one of my reviews so that you can get your minds prepared for all the Burger goodness to come!

So, with much pleasure and a watering mouth, I present to you my first review from last year's Burger Love campaign!

The Dundee Arms - The Griffon Burger

Telling a love story all of its own, The Griffon Burger weaves a tale created by al the culinary artists at the Dundee Arms. A fusion of modern taste innovation and classic flavours give birth to a burger as legendary as its namesake. Meeting Dundee Arms' Sous Chef Michael, I was able to experience first hand, the true inspiration and dedication behind The Griffon Burger. A meeting of the minds from their culinary team has brought forth a burger of epic proportion and mind blowing quality.

The Griffon Burger comes with two unique dining options that both suit this versatile beef masterpiece. The first a warm, rustic pub at the Cricket and Hearth, the second Victorian style dining in the Griffon Room. I chose the latter of the two, wanting to soak in all the inspiration that was used to craft this PEI Burger Love creation. After all, the Griffon Burger was made to be eaten in the Griffon Room!

As soon as the Griffon was presented to me, I knew we were made for one another. Me; an Island girl searching for a burger that could handle my adoration and the Griffon, there before me, open faced and baring it's crispy pancetta, gouda and 100% Island Beef soul. Embracing it with a house made, hand crafted onion and sage bun, there was no doubts that this Burger Love adventure was about to soar to new heights.

Being my first taste of the Burger Love season, sinking my teeth into this inaugural burger sent my standards sky high! 

The buttery, luscious and perfectly crisp bun mingled with subtle sweetness from the goat cheese cranberry and date BBQ sauces. Savoury pancetta and tangy gouda created the perfect setting that leads straight to a hearty 8oz Island beef burger ideally seasoned to wake your taste buds for this ultimate flight of fancy. And that was just the first bite!

The savoury, rich, refined and succulent meat was cooked to absolute perfection, the tenderness of the beef pairing perfectly with crispy pancetta and creating a complete sensory experience. Each bite literally beckoning you to take another and tempting you with the mix of generous flavours coming together in a new way with each taste. The added zest of fresh lettuce and well appointed single dill pickle complimented the richness of this burger perfectly, making it the best of fine dining, exotic tastes and down to earth PEI home cooked traditions.

Rejoice PEI Burger Lovers; for this mythical burger is much more than mere fable! it's an enchanting encounter of passion between your senses and true taste of the Island.

Swooping in to make a lasting impression; the Griffon is Burger Love at first bite.