While perusing ‘historic saltbox homes near the ocean’ on AirBnb I stumbled upon a series of small cabins cloaked in canvas. “There’s Glamping in Newfoundland?”
Honestly, I rarely stick to my new year resolutions…who does, really? I’ve made all the stereotypical ones before: go to the gym more (I HATE the gym), eat better, blah blah blah. But after getting married this year, and deciding to go freelance full-time, I know 2017 is going to be more different than any year before, so I’m making a concerted effort to stick to following resolutions.
Cut the cheese
I plan on making my own cheese. I’ve never done it before, but I was given a cookbook so I’m going for it! If I could eat one thing for the rest of my life, it would be cheese, so knocking out a few pounds of paneer, gouda and feta from The Art of Natural Cheesemaking by David Asher seems like a great way to kick off the new year!
Try more weird things when travelling
Sometimes when you’re tired and travelling, you just want to eat McDonald’s. Even though I’m an adventurous eater, there are times I get lazy, eating what’s comfortable, only to regret it when I get home from my travels. In 2017, I’m heading back to Turkey and visiting Thailand for the first time, so my goal is to push myself to try everything put in front of me! What’s the weirdest thing I can eat in Bangkok? We’ll find out in March.
Around the world in 12 plates
2017 is going to be a wild ride in the kitchen. In 2013, I spent the year completing the Food & Wine Cover Recipe Challenge, cooking the cover recipe from each issue every month. This year I decided to expand my horizons — and the palates of my friends — even further! I’m going to cook a meal from a different country each month, challenging myself to try new dishes, techniques and ingredients. I’m currently creating the calendar, so if you have any dishes you think I should make, let me know!
Stop stressing about the tweets
I spent a lot of 2016 stressing about my social media presence. I’ve grown too concerned about the slow growth of my Instagram following or the likes my carefully curated photos are getting. It’s way too stressful, and so not worth it. In fact, I think it’s been affecting my writing. In 2017, I plan to focus on the quality of my writing, not the quantity of my tweets. I will also be producing more exclusive content for The Food Girl in Town newsletter, so subscribe at the bottom of the page if you want in!
What are some changes your making for 2017?
Last week I went to the movies and Anthony Bourdain sat in front of me. It was hard not to reach out and rustle his mostly salt and pepper hair. The lanky 6’3 rebel chef took the tiny university town of Wolfville, Nova Scotia by storm when …
I DID IT!!
After 12 months, 12 cover recipe challenges, 34 recipes, and 25 wines, I finally completed the Food & Wine Cover Recipe Challenge! What a delicious roller coaster of a year!
To my pantry, I have added 6 types of vinegar, 4 types of salt, 3 varieties of sugar, and about a dozen new spices. To my cooking repetoirse I have added: oysters, chicken livers, daikon, fennel bulbs, lamb, polenta, meringue, and caramel. All of things I cooked for the first time, some of them I will be cooking for the rest of my life, others I am still trying to forget.
Here is the Best (and Worst) of my Food & Wine Cover Recipe Challenge 2013:
Crispy Polenta Bites with Arugula Tapenade
These pretty little morsels were from the April challenge where I cooked Italian recipes inspired by Mario Batali: They were super easy to make, delicious, and probably the most attractive looking food I have ever made.
Chicken Fried Chicken Livers
These smelled disgusting when they were marinating in sriracha and buttermilk, but boy oh boy did they sure smell good while they were cooking! In September’s challenge post ‘Chicken Fried Chicken Livers’, I talk about my first actual chicken frying experience and how delicious all that grease can be!
Best Salad: A TIE!
Winter Salad with Avocado, Pomegranate and Almonds
Roasted Carrot and Avocado Salad with Citrus Dressing
I just couldn’t pick between these two salads, both containing our beloved avocado. The first salad I made for this challenge was in March. Roasted Carrot and Avocado Salad with Citrus Dressing is a recipe of Jamie Oliver’s and was delicious! The second salad was equally good and was ironically the last salad that I made for the cover recipe challenge. Winter Salad with Avocado, Pomegranate and Almonds was wintery, salty, and delicious, and it made the decision for best salad just too hard to call. Which do you like best?
Vanilla Ice Cream Bread Pudding with Whiskey Caramel
The best dessert was a unanimous decision. The Vanilla Ice Cream Bread Pudding with Whiskey Caramel was from November’s issue of F&W and I was delighted with the result. I had never made caramel before and it turned out great; there will be a lot more caramel in my future!
Goat Cheese Cakes with Rosemary and Lavender Honey
This dessert was a disaster. The cheesecake was from September’s challenge ‘Chicken Fried Chicken Livers’, and I was so annoyed when those stupid cakes wouldn’t set in the middle. Much to the dismay of Adam, it may have dissuaded me from making cheesecake for life.
Worst Overall Dish:
Creamed Summer Corn with Bacon
I won’t rant about this dish anymore than I did in ’27 and Cobless’ back in July, you’ve heard enough already. But this dish really sucked.
Best Overall Dish:
Grilled Oysters with Chorizo
There is no question in my mind what the best thing I cooked in the Cover Recipe Challenges: The BBQ’ed Oysters! They were hands down, no questions asked, the most delicious thing that I ate the whole year, let alone in the challenges, and I don’t wonder why: Oysters + Butter + Chorizo + BBQ = miraculously good food.
In regards to a best main course, there is no way I could choose, it would have been a 8 way tie. There were so many delicious things, most of my favourites were pasta, but the absolute best I will leave it up to you to decide! Which of these was your fave?
What did I learn from this experience? I learned that creamed corn is gross, I learned that caramel is easier to make that I though, and I learned how to cut intimidatingly large fennel bulbs.
I learned how to create menus based around a dish or a theme, I learned how to pair wines and how to substitute them, and I learned how to host a formal dinner party. Over the past year, I got to try lots of new foods, foods that I couldn’t even locate in the grocery store without a google image: I am not scared of Daikon anymore, nor do I fear deep frying at home.
This challenge was started on a whim, but I am so glad that I finished it. Like so many great ideas, some things never get completed and I am proud that I did this. Despite the disasters and culinary let downs, I made some pretty amazing food this year.
I want to say a special thank you to Adam for supporting me emotionally (and financially) through the whole thing, and to Matt and Erin for standing by and eating every single dish with a brave face. Thanks to everyone who followed the challenge over the past year and make sure you stay tuned for the 2014 challenge, get excited! Cheers.
With all the guests I hosted and cooking I did in October, the month just flew by, and somehow the Cover Recipe Challenge got pushed to the back burner. However, in true Food Girl in Town fashion, I finished the challenge and posted late, so …
I finally had dinner at 2 Doors Down! For months, I have been peering longingly into the windows of the Barrington Street location two doors down (get it?) from its older sibling Chives and drooling over the menu online. So, when my dear friend and former classmate …
A few weeks ago a bunch of friends and I went out to celebrate my friend Jessica’s twenty-sixth birthday. Jess is a fellow Newfoundlander and a mutual friend of Adam and I, but in the most odd of ways. Jess is my distant cousin, who became a great friend upon the discovery of our relation when both our fathers happened to meet each other online, brought together by their passion for genealogy and the exploration of graveyards. Adam and Jess went to high school together and became close friends in university, and because St. John’s is a microcosm the size of a neighbourhood, of course we all know each other!
Jess decided that she wanted to go to Brooklyn Warehouse for her birthday dinner, and I could not have been more excited upon receiving that Facebook inbox describing the birthday plans. I have been dying to go to Brooklyn Warehouse since I moved here, but for some reason (maybe because Adam and I rarely go north of Spring Garden these days) I had yet to visit the fine establishment.
On a cold Thursday night we all headed to Windsor Street to Brooklyn Warehouse and were seated at the long table in the middle of the room. At first I felt exposed, but once we all arrived it felt like we were the only ones in the place. The restaurant is really cool, with eclectic dim lighting and trendy bohemian decor that exhibits lots of great artwork and cool nic-nacs which line the banquettes.
To start off, our friendly server asked us what we all wanted to drink and I have to admit, there is such a great selection, it took us all quite awhile to decide on various cocktails and craft brews. Aside from the awesomeness of a 1$ Corkage for BYOB on Wednesday nights, BW has a large selection of muddled and old-school classic cocktails, booze, and a great draught variety. I decided to be brave and order the Elderflower Fizz, which contained an Elderflower liqueur and an egg white! At first I was intimidated by the idea of a raw egg white in my drink, but thoroughly enjoyed the meringue-like layer that topped my cocktail. It was different and delicious, and I loved the anqtiquey glassware!
Jess and her boyfriend Patrick both ordered a Pimm’s Cup, which is a classic British cocktail and is awesomely old school. Pimm’s No. 1 is a liqueur, also known as a “fruit cup” which is an alcoholic mix, meant to be made into a long drink with soda or juice. The seven Pimm’s “fruit cups” rose in popularity in the 1800s in Britain and have become a classic beverage in the UK. I had a sip and I have to say, the orange, lime, and cucumber were refreshing and the presentation was cute in mason jar glassware, a trend which seems to be taking over the restaurant scene.
After taking such a long time to order our drinks, I was very happy to see our appetizers arrive, because I was starving. To start off, I had the PigFish which consisted awesome scallops and probably some of the crispiest, most flavourful pork belly that I have ever had. I know that I have discussed my love for pork belly numerous times in various blog posts, but it must be said that I was blown away by the texture of the fictionally named aperitif . The pork belly was so crispy on the outside and so soft and flavourful on the inside that my mouth waters typing the very words. Combined with the Hazelnuts and Sherry Caramel that was drizzled on the plate it was a food experience that I did not want to end.
The rest of the table was equally impressed with their appetizers and we all delighted in the flavourful dishes as forks flew from one end of the table to the other containing the delicious morsels for all to try. Jess’s best friend Stephanie ordered an appetizer titled simply “Mushrooms” that consisted of Shiitake, Cremini and Oyster Mushrooms with giant potato gnocchi in a flavourful and delicious sauce. Jess and Patrick shared the app Momofuku, whose namesake gives a nod to the Japanese Fusion restaurant that is taking over the world one noodle bar at a time. The noodle bowl consisted of soy Pork Belly, glass noodles and a poached egg in a delectable broth.
Adam ordered the Beef Tartare and claims it was the best that he ever had. The presentation of the appetizer alone was enough to make your mouth water.
The poached egg atop the local raw beef from Getaway Farm was amazing, and along with the horseradish, made an awesome trio of flavours atop the crostini. Adam thoroughly enjoyed, as you can see from the photo below:
Though the appetizers were amazing, we were all anxious to receive our mains and the local fair continued into the main courses. Alyson ordered the Steak Frites and was delighted by the Béchamel sauce that covered the Getaway Farm’s Rib Eye and I was no less pleased with the taste that I received! Adam was also very happy with his interesting main: Lobster Chowder. The seemingly simple dish was amped up like a hundred notches by the vanilla-foie gras broth and giant lobster claw smothered in brown butter. It looked, smelled, and tasted amazing. I think that perfecting the trifecta of senses is hard to attain when it comes to food, but Brooklyn Warehouse had it in the bag with this entree.
Both Laura and Patrick ordered the Brooklyn Burger which was also made from local ingredients, topped with PEI cheddar and Brothers back bacon, and both were extremely happy with their classic selection. Jess had the Duck Confit which consisted of a giant crispy duck leg and an awesome mixture of lentils and blueberry braised Napa cabbage. Not a huge cabbage lover, Jess was less than impressed by the side, but raved about the Duck and after my taste test, I could not help but agree.
For my main I ordered the Squash Tortellini, as did Stephanie. Even though I usually order meat for my entree, the server, who was also a self-proclaimed carnivore, suggested the Tortellini. I am so glad when I take server’s advice and they are right. It was amazing! There were so many of my favorite flavours going on, I could barely contain my love for this main, and neither could Stephanie The combination of flavours from the creamy squash stuffed ravioli, the coconut curry sauce, and the gruyere slivers atop was a unique collaboration that I never would have considered, but was so good in all the right ways.
By the time the forks were put to rest no one had room for dessert. Jess’ quarter century plus one birthday celebration ended with laughter as we closed out the restaurant and parted ways on the sidewalk. Overall, Brooklyn Warehouse is an awesome place for a romantic dinner, or a large group of friends celebrating someone they love. I am excited to try this restaurant again, maybe for a romantic dinner with Adam, and because the menu changes monthly, I will no doubt be able to Explore. Eat. Repeat. the Brooklyn Warehouse for many months to come, in search of the illusive PigFish and other local fair that the creative chefs concoct. Happy Birthday Jess!
Things Worth Mentioning:
Cost: 135$ including tax and tip for two people who had 2 apps, 2 mains, and multiple beverages each!
Things I liked: The classic cocktails in classic glassware, the decor and, of course, the PigFish.
Things I didn’t: We all found the Duck salad appetizer uninteresting, but there was little else to complain about.
The best place to sit: Anywhere in the winter months, but outside in the newly renovated outer dining area in the summer months to come.
What to order next time: Whatever the servers tell me to!