Monday, 9 June 2014

Dine Around PEI at the Gahan House

There's always a reason to celebrate the culinary on Prince Edward Island. With the bounty of incredible natural resources which we have in the hands of some of the world's most talented Chef's we're really just one great big year long culinary festival! But of course, we're the kind of Province that always looks for more unique ways to represent our Chef's and Producers and this month just happens to be Dine Around!

If you didn't experience Dine Around this past weekend, worry not, friends you've still got June 12th to 15th to get out there and, well dine around. As for me...where else would I be but getting in on all the action? After going over each Dine Around specific Menu, I knew exactly where I wanted to go; The Gahan House! Why? Because they're awesome and because they've got Chef Dwayne MacLeod, that's why. Of course, those two things equate to food that'll blow your mind with it's collectively delicious nature.

So take my hand, walk into the historically atmospheric Gahan House and sit down to one of the best meal's I've ever eaten. (It'll be one of the best you have too, but you'd better make your reservation now.)

Starting out with the Appetizer, I was presented with a tasting that's honestly got all of my favorite things, so much so that Julie Andrews could sing a song about it, really. Chef Dwayne put together a Beer and Cheese tasting so fine that I could hardly believe it was the the start to this whole meal; talk about making first impressions. There were three Gahan Beer samplers, which was perfect for me because it just happens that their beer is one of my passions. They're what started me drinking beer and I owe them for my refined tastes in the art of beer brewing. That said, the 1772 IPA Ale (my personal favorite), Sir John A Honey Wheat Ale and Iron Bridge Ale excited me when paired with Jeff McCourt's Gouda!

Yes indeed, Jeff's Glasgow Glen Farm's Gouda Lady Cheese was there for my adoration! As always, I love his impeccable cheese and there was so much of it to love. With Muster Pepper Gouda, Peppercorn Gouda, Mild Gouda and Beer Gouda, featuring Gahan's Sydney St. Ale, I had so many reasons to be excited. They were all unique, each with it's own distinct flavor infusion and always perfectly creamy.

And that wasn't the end of this, the appetizer that keeps on giving; there was also Cow's Aged White Cheddar, Prosciutto, Blackberries and Strawberries! The options truly were limitless, it was like a playground for foodies because every aspect paired with the next so that you're given a whole assortment of flavor experiences. Some of my favorites included the Prosciutto with the Iron Bridge Ale, the Peppercorn Gouda with the 1772 IPA and Cow's Cheddar Sir John A's. There's really too much to say about everything except that it's one of those things you've really got to try. Earthy, sweet, tangy, spicy and overall exceptionally versatile. F. Scott Fitzgerald talks about the "inexhaustible variety of life" in one of his novel's and I think that this tasting and really got a true grasp on this concept!

Before we move onto the next course, I want to give a huge shout out to the Gahan's award winning General Manager Chris O'Keefe! This guy is one of the most charismatic people I've come across in the restaurant industry, his personality just makes you want to smile and it's no wonder that when met with Chef Dwayne's Culinary Talent, the Gahan is such a roaring success!

Oh...and the Biscuits so totally deserve a shout out too! While not as epic as Chris, they're flaky layers that are as light as air certainly make me feel a more awesome after I eat them! Also big points for that presentation, we're very devoted to biscuits here on PEI, but that's got to be the prettiest plate I've ever seen!

Okay, now I know you're just waiting with bated taste buds to find out about the Main Course and so I won't torture you any longer! Bring it on!

See that? That's Steak and Scallops ala Chef Dwayne MacLeod! Presented as if they were for a Queen, this plate looks as good as it tastes! (Think about that for a minute, because I know you were just admiring how gorgeous that plating is,) With Island Grilled Rib Eye Steak, Cajun Butter Scallops, Garlic and Herb Mashed Potatoes and Local Seasonal Vegetables the combined visual and scent were a tantalizing prelude to the intoxicating flavors that were to come.

Being the beef eater that I am, I went for the steak first. This Rib Eye was perfectly medium well, exactly to order and the very first word that came to mind with that inaugural bite was juicy. Of course, that was quickly followed by thoughts such as delicious, tender, beefy perfection and then a long "Mmmmmm" in for good measure as I took one bite after another! This Island Beef was 100% respected by Chef Dwayne, you can tell it's his favorite cut of beef because it's prepared so beautifully, then again that's just like all of the other amazing food that enters his kitchen an comes out transformed into pieces of edible art!

Speaking of edible art, the scallops were a masterpiece in and of themselves! Cajun Butter needs to marry Scallops because this flavor pairing is SO meant to be and no pun intended here, we're talking about love at first bite. Smooth as the butter that was adorning them, these scallops were tender, smooth and melted in your mouth with a bit of heat from the Cajun spice. To me it begs the question as to what's Chef Dwayne's secret, because he pulls of flawless meals like they're child's play! I guess that's just the mark of a Master.

Of course, the Island fresh veggies were a star on the plate as well! The Fiddle Heads were crisp and rustic, making beautiful harmony with the equally awesome asparagus which both lend their earthy flavors to the rest of this course and both are made even more tasty with a kick when dipped in a little bit of the Cajun Butter. The Mashed Potatoes were so terrific that when I first tasted them I knew I could just devour a whole bowl full! They were creamy, buttery and the herb and garlic infused into this mash could make any potato aspire to greatness! I mean if I were a potato, that mash is totally where I'd want to be.

Now I'll continue with the between course shout outs and give a great big hello and virtual hug to waitresses Candace and Suzanne! Both of these ladies were incredibly sweet, welcoming and accommodating! I felt like I was Candace's friend from the moment I stepped through the door and Suzanne was as friendly as can be.

Now, the last course; Dessert! But unlike how Shakespeare looks as farewells, I say 'Parting is such sweet deliciousness'! The Warm Rhubarb and Pistachio Strudel with Aged Cheddar and Cow's Ice Cream, this dessert warmed my heart and plunged it into a refreshingly sweet happy place. So indulgent whilst staying fresh and cool, I couldn't have imagined better. The Cow's Ice Cream was their signature Vanilla which was ideally cool alongside the ambrosic dessert that Chef Dwayne prepared especially for Dine Around! The layers of phyllo were flaky and warm. And as if that wasn't enough adding another aspect of decadent was the sweet and rich whipped cream! Oh, see that cheese? Cheddar with dessert is a time tested tradition that gives this dessert a truly unique edge, the savory aged cheddar lending itself to the strudel in a way that you must try!

All and all? This is the total package when it comes to Dine Around. From Gallery worthy presentation to flavors in each course that tied the meal together and an over-all quality of dining that made everything extraordinary, The Gahan House is the place to be for this year's Dine Around!

I know that I had a perfect meal from start to finish, so why not treat yourself and do the same thing too? With a set menu price of $35.00 the Gahan is generous and beyond in giving you all the best they have to offer!

And just in case this whole review didn't come across as a shout out to Chef Dwayne MacLeod...I love your food, Chef Dwayne!


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