Seriously… it took me all of Tuesday to recover from Indsutry Night @ Oz Kafé. It was… intense. But I loved ever moment of it!
As you all know, I spent last weekend in Beautiful British Columbia enjoying fun in the sun, delightful meals, pastries, fresh markets, and long overdue visits with friends (and a visit with my brother thrown in for good measure).
It was a spectacular trip.
Monday morning came quickly enough; off to the airport I went (thank you sky train). 6 hours later… I was back in Ottawa. And ready to meet Charlotte for our monthly date at Oz.
Neither of us knew who was hosting the industry night / chef appreciation night, and so we were both pleasantly surprised to see that it was Sweetgrass Aboriginal Bistro. I’ve been meaning to go and try it out for quite some time now… and boy… was it ever worth the wait.
It was… inspired. The entire meal, from start to finish was a “stop-pause-savour-sigh” type of experience. That’s exactly it… this meal was an experience! Warren Sutherland (the Chef) and company prepared each course showcasing each ingredient, balancing the flavours and not overwhelming the palette.
We started our meal with a crostini of rabbit rillet. OMG. I had one issue with this… it was gone in 3-bites! Topped with pickled cherries and slivers of 3-year-old cheddar; the rabbit simply melted in my mouth. The tart cherries, and bold cheddar enhanced the meat. I could have eaten a dozen of these. Seriously.
wild boar bacon / fresh pasta / chunky tomato sauce
Then we were served the second course. Sigh. The star of this dish should have been the wild boar bacon – which was in fact – tasty, salty, yummy. But in my humble opinion… the real star of this dish was the fresh pasta. Light, fresh, perfectly cooked… I twirled it around my fork and eagerly devoured it. The entire course was accompanied by a chunky tomato sauce and a little herbed oil. Delish!
lake erie white bass / herb and garlic marinate / market veg / olive oil
Time for the third dish. Fish. Ok – after indulging in the richness of the rabbit, and the boldness of the wild boar, it was time for something lighter. The Lake Erie white bass was pan-fried; lightly drizzled in olive oil; and served atop fresh greens. I will admit that if I had to pick my least favourite dish… this was it; and it’s honestly simply because the other two courses had blown my socks off… I mean… I closed my eyes when I bit into the rabbit! Nevertheless, the fish was fresh, light, flakey… lovely; and it brought a balance to the overall meal.
mariposa duck / confit / curry sauce / chimmi churri qunioa salad
After eating all of that, Charlotte and I couldn’t believe that there was yet another dish! Mariposa duck to boot! Back to a rich, salty, decadent course… or was it? The duck was served confit-style – crispy little pockets of goodness. Accompanied by a qunioa salad: cubed cucumber, halved cherry tomatoes… the freshness and lightness of the salad completely lightened up the dish. It didn’t feel heavy or overly greasy; just simple and another star of my meal.
At this point – Charlotte was done. Full to the brim and completely satiated. I on the other hand, was eager for the final dish – dessert! I’m sure none of you are surprised that I have a sweet tooth ;0)
pascale’s strawberry cheese cake ice cream / short bread cookie / raspberry coulis
Pascale’s strawberry cheese cake ice cream. We all know how much I heart Pascale and her ice cream. I’d never tried this flavour… holy heck! It’s delicious. Super rich and fresh because of the berries; and the addition of the short bread cookie was genius. First off, the cookie was baked nice and thin – resembling a cracker. Secondly, it was sweet – but not too sweet. And the crunch of the cookie against the smoothness of the ice cream was exactly what the dish needed. Oh yeah… and raspberry coulis is never a bad thing. Never.
I’d say that’s a nice welcome home meal… wouldn’t you?