Have you met Jeff yet? This is him (see picture below). I heart Jeff.
Why might you ask? Well… I do have a list… but mainly it’s because:
1. he makes me laugh with his dry sense of humour
2. he enjoys sharing excellent (and sometimes not so excellent) bottles of wine
3. he works on the Hill and understands the absurdity that surrounds us on a daily basis
4. he helped me move a futon. and was actually really good at it (I honestly doubted he would be very helpful that day)
5. he’s offered to sell me winter tires – – I don’t own a car. I guess that’s really reason # 1 again right?
so…. 5. he hearts my blog. I think that says it all.
oh… and 6. he takes me out to dinner to thank me for dog sitting Jack, the Jack Russell for a long weekend (see picture below – – Jack (the dog) and the hobo… please note, that picture was not taken on my watch).
Sounds like a nice guy eh? I think we all need platonic loves like that in our lives… (and no, this is not a love letter to Jeff [insert laughter]… simply a thank you for dinner)
But back to the real reason for this entry – – I’d like to focus on Murray Street kitchen/wine/charcuterie. Location for our über platonic date last week.
Jeff and I both heart good food and good wine – – Murray Street won us on both counts. We selected an excellent bottle of wine, that unfortunately is not available at our local LCBO… I think it’s a ploy by the restaurant to keep us coming back for more ;0)
Then onto our meal. Neither of us were hungry enough for an actual entrée – so we decided to hit up the charcuterie menu (which is actually my favourite thing to order whenever I hit up Murray Street).
We opted for the 3 meats and 2 cheeses selection. One, it’s a great value for your buck. But really, more importantly, it’s delicious food, all made-in house or using fresh, local ingredients… and there are classic Canadian choices.
I picked the meats. I know… hilarious eh? The former vegetarian is picking the meats! I chuckle at myself too… but you’ll notice that I stuck to 2 options from the vegetarian portion of the menu (they count as a meat rather than a cheese) and then went back to basics.
white bean garlic paté / marinated ferme floralpe goat’s milk feta and toasted walnuts / cretons
Think hummus when you imagine the white bean garlic paté – – the Chef (Steve Mitton – – awesome guy to boot) doesn’t go stingy on the garlic – – and so the simple white bean is elevated to something full of zing. It’s a great base for the chutney and little sauces that are offered on the side.
The marinated ferme floralpe goat’s mik feta and toasted walnuts – – A-MAZ-ING. I order this every time I hit up Murray Street. I can’t help it… the feta has such a subtle flavour; especially when puréed with the walnuts. It’s not a perfectly smooth paté – but the texture of the feta and the walnuts lends itself well to piling it on top of the toast, throwing a sweet chutney or the sweet shredded carrots on top and then biting into it. You’ll enjoy a crispy base, a nutty filling and then a sweet topping. Like I said. A-MAZ-ING.
For those of you who don’t know, cretons is a pork spread containing onions and spices (consistency and texture of a paté). I grew up enjoying yellow mustard and creton sandwiches (white bread is the only acceptable option) and have always had a soft spot in my heart for the stuff (memories of lunches with my papa).
I’ll be honest as well… cretons doesn’t look like much. It’s sorta gray (which is a little sad). But – -it’s secret is all in the flavour! Sigh…you spread it onto a mini piece of toast, with a dollop of dijon (or some sort of chutney) and voilà… absolute delight in the mouth!
So, as a self-professed lover of cretons; it is my humble opinion that Murray Street makes the best cretons … ever. Simple as that.
Jeff picked the cheeses. He decided to play around with textures and flavour… so he went with a soft ripened cheese and a hard one.
la sauvagine / pine river 7 year cheddar
La sauvagine is probably one of the best cheese experiences I have had since… well, my trip to France. It was soft, and creamy. It was perfectly subtle enough to be enjoyed atop a piece of toast with cretons (best discovery ever for my mouth… although I’m sure my heart was wondering what the heck was I thinking?!). But it didn’t even need anything else, you could literally grab your fork and bite into it – – even the cheese rind that surrounded it was supple and smooth. Moan worthy (and yes… I did happily make noises while enjoying this cheese).
Up until now, just about all the flavours were decadent but played off one another, a nice balancing act. Not so much with the pine river 7 year cheddar. That cheese packs a real, powerful punch: nothing subtle about this baby. It really didn’t need to be accompanied by any of our meats (we tried, it was just to strong of a cheese to compliment the other flavours) – – BUT that’s not to say it isn’t an excellent option. Bright yellow, it brought colour to our charcuterie board; it was spicy and tangy, which reawakened our taste buds and an old cheddar is always wonderful to nibble on. It livened up our plates and palets. I certainly would order this again… only I’d probably add some sliced Niagara prosciutto or capicolla.
I think I need to go back and put together another assortment of meats and cheeses. I heart this style of dining… and I heart that Murray Street takes such pride in their product. See… we didn’t leave anything behind!