food white people eat @ oz kafe

Monday night was not only Halloween, it was also Oz Kafe‘s Industry Night.

It was witty and clever and fun.  It was delicious and pretty.  It was playful.  It made all of us smile.

Oh yeah … and all that goodness and entertainment was brought to us by J & C from the Courtyard Restaurant.

J & C are: Curtis Luk, Justin Tse and Jag Dhillon; 3 guys that very obviously are not only talented, but have got great senses of humour.

I joined a pretty awesome group of people for this dinner … Charlotte (Whalesone), Anna (Mariposa), Kshonze (The Hintonburg Public House), Mark (Town), and Andrew (Lifford Wine Agency).  We all looked at the menu and immediately started wondering … what the heck are we going to be eating???  I mean … we read kraft dinner, liver & onions, tuna casserole, BLT, pumpkin pie & cherry cobbler …  was I really going to eat kraft dinner???

Heck no!

Monday’s meal was a dressed up version of all the classics … smart food made by very smart chefs. Kraft dinner came in the shape of fried mac & cheese, served with a slaw and a packet of ketchup (courtesy of our local Wendy’s).  Cutting through the cube into the creamy macaroni noodles … contrasted to the crispy exterior … LOVED IT!Liver & onions  – a liver terrine, served alongside a warm bacon jam (probably one of the best things I’ve ever tasted) and carmelized onions encrusted and deep-fried.  It was fun to eat and so flavourful … I think this one was my favourite course … Tuna casserole – home-made cannelloni pasta, filled with a creamy tuna – corn filling and served with a broccoli  purée and broccoli florets.  Oh yeah … and the cannelloni was topped with crunchy panko crumbs (combined with spices) which created the perfect contrast to the soft noodle and filling.The BLT – I have to admit … my least favourite dish.  Although it was one of Andrew’s favourites (he ate my left overs).  Even though it wasn’t my favourite flavour profile, it was so cleverly plated … the lettuce was sautéed, topped with a fried tomato, which was then topped with a miso glazed pork belly.  Accompanied by a peppercorn mayo (which Anna loved) … I thought it was esthetically beautiful.  Pumpkin pie – a deconstructed pumpkin pie – the plate was beautiful.  Streusel, cranberries infused in apple juice (delish!), caramel sauce generously drizzled over the plate and smashed whipped cream – the cream is whipped, placed in liquid nitrogen so that it firms up … the contrast of cold whipped cream that instantly melts in your mouth … sigh.  To me … the smashed whipped cream was the genius on the plate.  LOVED.   FYI – Andrew loved this dish so much he ate 3 … yep.  Charlotte and I couldn’t finish our plates – so he did the job for us. 

The crew … Justin, Curtis and Jag. 

I didn’t get a picture of the final course – the cherry cobbler macaron (it was served at the table and the lighting wasn’t great for pictures).  It was very sweet … almost too intense.  It reminded me of a cherry donut.

I hope these guys do this again.  Only I hope that their next theme will be things asian people eat … I can only imagine how ingenious it would be.  These guys are awesome and I think they did themselves very proud.

anna march rocks

Anna is awesome.  Not only is she a super lovely, nice person (and friend), but she’s also a kick-butt chef.

She makes everything taste delicious.

If you don’t believe me … check out Mariposa farm’s Sunday brunch.

Or if you were lucky enough to attend Oz Kafé’s industry night this past Monday then you know what I’m talking about.



I write this knowing that you are likely rolling your eyes … since I practically declare everything to be the best.

However, please believe me.  There was not a single thing that I ate that I didn’t completely and utterly enjoy.  I basically licked my plates clean (yes … all four courses).   There wasn’t a single thing I would change about the menu.  Well … except that I would have liked to have more.  Of everything.

(For the record – I even ate most of Charlotte’s duck confit “burger” … which means I had two of those)It all started with a sunchoke & potato soup (duck fat crouton, truffle chive oil)

Duck fat makes a lot of things better.  Especially croutons.  And truffle chive oil … yeah … amazing.  Perfect start to the meal.

The soup was followed by beet 3-way.  The beets were marinated.  And pickled.  And roasted in vinaigrette. Then Anna grated some roasted hazelnut over the beets, tossed in some whole roasted hazelnuts, and shaved some creamy cheddar … a mouthful of deliciousness (and a real taste of the season). Soup … Salad … now SANDWICHES.But not just any sandwiches.  These are the KINGS of sandwiches.

Duck confit “burger” (that’s what I call it at least) – tiny bun (yum), duck confit (ridiculously rich and delicious), caramelized onion, apple, mustard … mother of pearl insanely delightful!“Foie on toast” (again … I’m calling it that).  Everyone should get to try foie gras like this … I mean … seed bread with a cornel of foie and an onion jam (along with crabapple, tomato chutney and mustard).  Amazing.  And this coming from a foodie that isn’t a huge lover of foie gras. Grilled goat cheese.  I’m only going to have grilled cheese sandwiches this way.  Why I hadn’t thought of it before … I don’t know.  But served on house bread and with a tomato salad … the sharp goat cheese was the perfect accompaniment to the other two sandwiches.And then it was time for dessert.  This was SWEET.  Truly.  It was sweet and delicious.  pudding chomeur – a great traditional Québecois dessert … only … topped with bourbon ice cream.  House made of course.  The combination of the bourbon with maple; and the hot pudding with the cold ice cream … mother of pearl.  DELIGHT. I can’t find fault with this meal.  I loved it.

Thank you Anna. (and Kshonzay, Vinnie and Tarek).  It was brilliant.

spareparts @ OZ

Another Monday night at Oz Kafe.

This time … think offal.  Not awful.  OffalDelicious.  Head to tail eating.  Heart, brains, balls, scrapple … and some foie gras gelato.  A million sighs of happiness. 

Dirk McCabe and Andrew Flint from Beckta were joined by Michael Portigal (aka Twitch) from the Whalesbone to create a five course meal … and I honestly couldn’t decide which course I loved the most.

Was it the quadruple bypass (an assortment of hearts)? 

the salmon heart was so smooth, the lamb heart was ridiculously salty – the lemon & mint gremolata was bright and tangy, the beef and chicken hearts were perfect little pockets of flavour.

Or the swinging beef (those were really good balls)? 

(this picture doesn’t do the dish justice) – confit & chicken fried balls, sliced and set on top of some snap peas, burnt honey and dijon red eye gravy … seriously insanely delicious. 

Maybe it was the thinking cap (veal brains and scrambled eggs)?veal brains, goat milk scrambled eggs, sturgeon caviar, black summer truffle duxelles.  The BEST scrambled eggs I’ve ever had.  I could eat this every single day

Or perhaps it was the PB&J (a fois gras gelato ice cream sandwich)? 

fois gras gelato, lavender teething biscuit, peanut butter scotch caramel, wild blueberry syrupsigh.

Such a hard decision to make.

There was another course – the chien chaud – that one wasn’t my favourite … I think I found the pig scrapple  to be a little to0 … thick.  It stuck to the top of my mouth … and I’m also a big fan of my hot dog bun steamé rather than grilled … personal preference … not a deal breaker by any means :0)pig scrapple, corn relish, heirloom catsup, garlic scape kimchi, petite baquette

Don’t get me wrong … I ate the whole thing.  Actually … I ate it all.  Each plate was wiped clean … quite frankly I probably would have licked my PB&J plate if I hadn’t been in a public setting.  For realz.  It was ridiculously delicious.

The guys were kind enough to let me hang in the kitchen and take some pictures (thank you, thank you, thank you) … and with the exception of the swinging beef (aka – the balls) I was able to get some great shots.

Not only was the meal great – but I was surrounded by some great friends and foodies  – Charlotte and Chloé (Whalesbone), Rachelle and Ryan (rachelle eats food & mr. rachelle eats food), and Marc and Lori (chef & owners of Town).

And I got to crack some pretty nutty jokes all night ;0) (and I promise they were better than that one!)