It has been a fun March Break so far. I’ve spent time with family and friends, been out and about, and tasted lots of delicious food. As fun as it has been, I’m glad to have a day at home. A day to catch up on blog posts (writing my own and reading everyone else’s), relax and cook my own food (as much as I love eating out, I’m always happy to get back to my own kitchen). This post is going to be a brief run-down of all the delicious (well, some not-so-much) eats I’ve had…some which were more of a splurge (80/20 people, plus it’s March Break…so kind of like vacation), and some which were healthier choices. So, without further ado, here goes!
On Sunday, my mom and I were in Hamilton visiting my sister and brother-in-law. They suggested we try Earth To Table Bread Bar for supper, as they had heard good things about it….I’m so glad they did! Our supper was delicious. To start, the 4 of us shared the charcuterie plate (assorted fresh meats, pickles, tomatoes and FRIED BREAD….YUM!) and 2 salads: the Fuji apple salad with smoked ham and organic maple yogurt and arugula and the ETT Winter salad with endive, frisee, candied nuts and blu cheese. We each ordered our own pizza and then shared slices around. I ordered the Popeye (spinach, lemon, ricotta and more spinach) which actually ended up being my least favourite :(…not because it was a bad pizza, but I determined that I don’t love ricotta on pizza…I think because it’s not salty/cheesy enough for me on a pizza. But it was still really good…the crust was amazing….Tim got a pizza with bacon, goat cheese and scallions which I really enjoyed, and my Mom’s potato bianca and my sister’s Margherita pizzas were quite good as well (click on the link above for full menu descriptions).
Dessert was shared between the four of us (sharing dessert is a running joke in our family because of this one time we were out for supper and 3 out of the 4 of us said we weren’t in the mood for dessert, but we ordered one to share and it was gone in about 30 seconds :)). We got bread pudding and it did NOT disappoint! I loved the Bread Bar, and hope we go back again. The decor was really cool, the food was amazing, and they are really into using seasonal and local ingredients, which I like.
On Monday, I visited London, the city that was my home for 5 years during university/teacher’s college. I love London and have been sort of missing it lately (I joked that while in London, I was homesick, and now that I’m home, I’m London-sick). While in London, I did some of my favourite London things. To start, I hung out at Starbucks and read a magazine. I had snacked on some baby carrots and water on the drive up, and had the rest of my “lunch” at Starbucks – a skinny vanilla latte, an apple and a chocolate vitatop. Then, it was off to do some shopping – I stopped at Costco first to pick up some more of my cereal. I thought that since it was during the week, it wouldn’t be too busy and there wouldn’t be many samples. Happily, the sample ladies were out in full force 🙂 (which was good, since I was still a bit hungry). I think because it was March Break, they had more than usual for a Monday afternoon. I tried granola bars, fruit bites, mini eggs, cereal…may or may not have made a second stop at the Larabar stand. 😛 I also scored a $25 bathing suit and found that there were HUGE 20 bar boxes of 100 calorie chocolate peanut fiber 1 bars (YES!….love these things).
After Costco, I headed to the downtown Covent Garden Market, one of my favourite places in London. I took my time browsing around and stocked up on a few veggies (including gorgeous rainbow carrots) and ricotta cheese, which I have been missing lately since my grocery store hasn’t been stocking the kind I like (I am VERY picky about my ricotta…some brands have less calories than others, and different texture…PC Blue Menu’s is best). I also purchased cacoa nibs, which I am stoked to use somehow (I just haven’t figured out how yet…stay tuned).
I did some other shopping/running around, and was supposed to meet a friend for supper, but sadly, she had to cancel. I didn’t let it get me down….I had one of the fibre one bars I bought and then headed back downtown for a frozen yogurt supper. 🙂 (I did have some healthier, more filling snacks when I got home). Yo yo’s Yogurt Cafe is a fun and funky build-your-own frozen yogurt/toppings bar in downtown London. It only opened during my last few months in the city, so I didn’t get to go all that many times…so I was happy to re-visit it again this week. It is pricey (the bowl you see cost over $6) but a tasty option that’s healthier than ice cream. I put a little blob of cookie dough into my cup first of all so I’d have a sweet ending (although their cookie dough is now vegan and didn’t taste like I expected), then topped it with tart original fro yo (love the tangy flavour), went heavy on the fruit (includes kiwi, blackberries, strawberries and mango) and added some Skor bits, topped it with a bit of New York cheesecake fro yo, then some Oreo crumbs, granola, more fruit and one little piece of a peanut butter cup. Mmmm….SO TASTY! I wish I could eat this bowl again right now…probably a good thing that London is a 1.5 hour drive for me now…otherwise I’d spend all my $ on yogurt!
Tuesday and Wednesday was a sister-ly bonding trip. I had given my sister a coupon for a surprise girls’ night out for her birthday last fall, and so she cashed in her coupon and we extended the trip to include state-side shopping. 🙂 SO MUCH FUN! Since this post is getting lengthy, I’ll just tell you about the AMAZING dinner we had Tuesday night and then leave the rest for another post.
I took my sister out for dinner at the Inn on the Twenty, a swanky restaurant in the heart of the Niagara wine country (on the way there, we passed a local cheesemaker, so we HAD to stop for samples 🙂 ). Since this was a fancy restaurant, and we were celebrating her birthday, I was certainly not going to hold back…splurge all the way!
We ate lots of delicious fresh bread and butter to start. Then we each enjoyed a small piece of “duck prosciutto” on baby greens with honey that the kitchen sent out for us (as I said to my sister, you know it’s a nice restaurant when the chef sends you out little bites 🙂 ).
We shared two appetizers: the Tree and Twig Arugula Salad
with roasted pear, stilton cheese, pine nut brittle and preserved cherry vinaigrette and the Braised Bison Short Ribs with celeriac and truffle purée, wild and tame mushrooms, and micro greens. Both were delicious. I loved the combo of flavours in the salad….and the pine nut brittle was especially tasty. The short ribs were cooked to perfection – falling off the bone, and the puree was velvety-smooth. The broth was so flavourful – perfect for dipping that crusty bread into!
Our entrees were the Kabocha Squash Duo with truffled gnocchi and creamed; braised brussel leaves, apple-parmesan brown butter (me) and Caramelized Digby Scallops
with roasted purple potato, warm salad of fennel and vanilla, poached white asparagus, fennel and dill purée (Catherine). I loved the mix of flavours in my entree….I am a huge squash fan so this one was a real winner. I am not a seafood lover, but I did try part of a scallop….not bad! And purple potatoes are always fun. 🙂
Although the whole meal was really good, dessert was easily the highlight for me (shocking, I know :P). We ordered the “Dessert Sampler for Two – Our Pastry Chef ’s Sampler of petit seasonal delights.” WOW. That’s all I can say. I mean, look at the picture. That’s a lot of dessert (not that it was a problem for me ;)). We had Bailey’s Creme Brulee, Warm gingerbread cake, salt and pepper cheesecake (unusual but good), brownie, white chocolate pomegranate mousse, apple tart, chocolate gelato and grapefruit sorbet (plus all the beautiful and yummy garnishes). It was pleasing to both the eye and the palate (the creme brulee and gingerbread were my favourites).
The meal was delectable and the company was even better – I was glad I could treat my wonderful sister to a wonderful meal. Stay tuned for updates on the rest of my March Break, as well as another post today on a special St. Paddy’s sweet. I hope you are all enjoying the beautiful weather, and, if you are a teacher, some