Dining out in Corner Brook

I was very excited to visit Corner Brook (and Marble Mountain!) for the first time a few weeks ago. The skiing was amazing, as about a foot of snow had fallen right before we got there! There was also some delicious food in Corner Brook – here are my two faves from the trip.

Bay of Islands Bistro

I just can’t say enough about this place. Bright, upscale and welcoming ambiance, friendly service, and creative food. The menu changes seasonally and the chef takes great pride in his work. We loved that they used local dishes as inspiration, too: while we were there, they were serving rabbit with a topping of julienned carrots, celery and juniper. Dessert was truly delicious: the rum cake and flourless chocolate cake were huge hits.

Recommended for: An evening out with friends or à deux, special occasions, or an elegant lunch.

They also have a great website.

Local rabbit with carrot, celery and juniper

Pork belly and seared scallops with brandied apricots and celeriac purée

Delicious duck with local root veggies

Sorento’s

This place is a little more off the beaten path and is a hidden gem, indeed. Sorrento’s is best known for their homemade pastas, pizza and bread but their menu also boasted several other strengths. The salad with organic greens, candied walnuts and balsamic reduction had a great combination of flavours and textures and was definitely a cut above the phoned-in salad found at so many pasta places.

The house-made dessert was another surprise highlight at Sorrento’s. Definitely worth leaving room for!

Recommended for: A casual outing with family, friends and good food.

Chocolate cake at Sorrento's

What are your favourite spots to eat in CB? Any other delicious West coast eats? We’d love to hear from you and are always looking for new flavours!

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French Glassware

I absolutely love my new La Rochère glassware… reminds me of lovely meals on the terrace in the South of France. Here’s to the official beginning of Spring (in two days!)

La Rochère glassware in the traditional bee pattern, made in France

See the collection on La Rochère’s website. You’ll find similar styles at Home on Water in St John’s.

photo from La Rochère

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Drink of the Week: Irish Whiskey

In honour of Saint Patrick’s Day, why not forgo the green beer and try something with a little more kick to get and/or keep the party going?

This week, we’re featuring Bushmills Blackbush, a sweeter whiskey aged in sherry casks for added flavour.

A toast to Saint Paddy’s Day!

Photo from eVintner

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Hot Soup, Cool Jazz

Yet another foodie-friendly event in St John’s, Newfoundland! And this one is community-friendly, too.

Hot Soup, Cool Jazz will feature live jazz, silent/live auctions and a gourmet soup competition with contributions from Aqua, Bianca’s, Basho, The Gypsy Tea Room, Hungry Heart Café, Portobellos, Raymonds and the Yellowbelly Brewery as well as Choices for Youth and the Jimmy Pratt Memorial Soup Kitchen.

To top it all off, funds raised at this event will help youth in our community who suffer from homelessness and poverty.

This event takes place on April 5 at the St John’s Convention Centre.

For more information, check out their poster or visit the Facebook group.

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Drink of the Week: E. Guigal Crozes-Hermitage, 2006

This week, we’re featuring one of the Guigal wines that was showcased during a very special evening at Raymonds Restaurant two weeks ago.

Tom Beckett and the crew at the restaurant teamed up to prepare a delicious evening to show off the wines of E. Guigal along with some delectable eats by chef Jeremy Charles, silver-medal winner of the Gold Metal Plates championship. The menu, pictured below, was an exploration of that mouth-watering and often under-rated meat: pork. Yes, that’s right, we had a five-course meal in which the only meat was pork, and it was absolutely divine! House-made pork terrine and guanciale, bacon, braised pork shoulder and local blood pudding… it was wonderful to taste the variety of flavours that came from this locally-sourced meat.

The absolute highlight of the menu was the house-made pasta, which was permeated with the smokey and salty flavours of the bacon and guanciale. Simple and splendid. I’d love it to be added to the permanent menu at Raymonds!

Our menu for the evening, featuring Guigal wines paired with Jeremy Charles' creations.

Our favourite wine of the evening was this Crozes-Hermitage by E. Guigal which went excellently with the smokey flavours in the pasta dish. With peppery scents and a hint of berries, this wine has a deep ruby colour and refined tannins. It would also pair well with lamb, game and smokey cheeses.

Needless to say, we went straight to our local purveyor and grabbed a few bottles for future enjoyment! This wine is ready to be enjoyed right away, or can be cellared for up to 10 years.

Cheers to a great weekend!

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Drink of the Week: Hétszölö Tokaji Aszú

I had the pleasure of trying this beautiful wine last weekend and wanted to share it with all of you. Planning a dinner party soon? Looking for a wine to pair with dessert or to finish off the meal? Look no further than today’s Drink of the Week.

Tokaji (usually pronounced Toe-kah-ee in English) wines are produced in Hungary – they are so highly-prized that they are even mentioned in the country’s national anthem, whose lyrics include the phrase (roughly translated): “on Tokaj’s vine stalks you have dripped nectar.” A fitting ode to this sweet, dessert-type wine.

Any wine produced in the Tokaj-Hegyalja region of Hungary can be given the name “Tokaji,” which is literally translated as “from Tokaj.” However, in North America, this term is usually used to describe the sweeter wines called “aszú” which are made using a type of fungus (called Botrytis cinerea). When grapes are touched by this beneficent organism, they become endowed with the ability to make sweet delicious wine such as the one we’re featuring today.

The 2001 Hétszölö Tokaji Aszú has a beautiful amber colour and boasts hints of apricot, honey and walnuts. It can be enjoyed alone or paired with foie-gras, blue cheese, or dessert (my personal favourite).

We paired it with my fiancé’s delicious chocolate mousse and enjoyed it immensely. I hope you will, too!

Cheers – have a great weekend!

Available at the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation for $54.

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Raymonds Restaurant: Putting St John’s on the Culinary Map

Chef Jeremy Charles of Raymonds Restaurant, won the silver medal this month at the Gold Medal Plates Canadian Culinary Championship!

The Canadian Culinary Championship (or “CCC”) invites the top chefs from the Gold Metal Plates provincial competitions across the country to participate in a weekend of competitive cooking. This year’s event was held last weekend in Kelowna, BC. At the “Grand Finale,” Montreal’s Martin Juneau of Newtown restaurant won the gold medal for his showing. The silver medal went to Jeremy Charles, who created an intricate dish using Newfoundland rabbit that he trapped himself. Robert Clark from Vancouver took home the bronze.

Charles also won the People’s Choice award on the first day of the event, on which the competing chefs were given a challenge: they were given an unlabelled bottle of wine and asked to create a dish to pair with it. They were allowed 24 hours and a $500 budget to create the meal for 350 people! What a feat.

A detailed description of the event can be found on the Gold Medal Plates website.

Congratulations to Jeremy Charles and the team at Raymonds! Your brilliant artistry and enlightened food-philosophy are definitely raising the bar in St John’s.

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