August 18, 2010

Mildred's Temple Kitchen

Mildred's Temple Kitchen is situated in Liberty Village, a very nice part of town that I've never been to. The interior was very chic and modern, that featuring an open kitchen and a very nice washroom. All in all, I had a very lovely meal here.
First item from the "indulge" section of the menu- Frites: very good for physiological disorder & hangovers, or so the menu says. The delicious, thin and greasy fries were creatively presented in a Coca Cola glass. The accompanying dill dip was not overwhelmingly creamy, and its texture resemble more of yogurt. 
MTK Burger: with tomato relish & tobacco onions. An absolute visual stunner, this burger looked better than it tasted... not that it tasted bad at all. But I guess I burger that looks this good has a lot to live up to.
Octopus: with chorizo, smoked paprika & tomato. I really loved the tomato sauce and was very happy that I was able to soak up all the sauce with the garlic bread that came with it.
Gnocchi poutine: this was definitely a rich indulgence but I absolutely loved the dish. The gnocchi here was much lighter in texture than my previous experience with gnocchi. Beneath all the delicious cheese curbs, there were fatty, melt-in-your-mouth pieces of meat. Yummmmm....
The weekend I went was the wild blueberry festival, so I felt obligated to order something from the special menu. I ended up choosing Wild Blueberry Bread Pudding to finish off the meal. It's hard to find a dessert that I don't like, especially one that involves bread, blueberries and custard! Needless to say, I loved this dessert!
Mildred's Temple Kitchen on Urbanspoon

August 8, 2010

Village Creperie

Recently, I found a super charming little restaurant in Kitchener that you can find a taste of Brittany. This place specializes in galettes, which is a type of French savoury buckwheat flour pancakes. Everything here is made with fresh and organic ingredients, and you really can taste the difference.
"Chicken Galette"...organic chicken slow cooked in a white riesling wine sauce with mushrooms and parmesan cheese, topped with sweet green peas. Peas is one of the the things I can't stand, but I still enjoyed this very much because the sauce was super tasty! It was flavourful without being overly salty. The side salad that it came with was also a nice touch. We were told all the ingredients were organic and that the vegetables was from the owner's own garden!
"Eggplant Parm"... Breaded eggplant baked and layered with tomato, gruyere cheese, aged cheddar and parmesan, served with a home salad. This was a more hearty and satisfying entree. Even though the portion was not huge, I very much enjoyed the combination of cheese and breaded eggplant. It kind of feels like eating a lasagna with eggplant instead of the pasta.
We finished the meal with a dessert crepe: Dulce de leche with toasted pecans, topped with fresh fruit. A dessert crepe without ice cream seem so much lighter (and healthier). The dulce de leche was delectable and I would definitely order this again (or one of the other 12 options available)
Village Creperie on UrbanspoonVillage Creperie on Restaurantica

August 7, 2010

The Bauer Kitchen

I'm determined to try all the restaurants in the Charcoal Group of Restaurants. After my wonderful experience at Wildcraft, I had high hopes for the Bauer Kitchen. This place used to be a felt factory and has a lot of industrial charm. Doesn't the exterior look nice?
Concrete floors, exposed brick walls, industrial steel and hardwood tables combine strangely into a comfortable setting for a lovely meal. The huge windows allow lots of natural sunlight to pour into the dining environment, and the custom lighting adds much charm to the decor.
I really like the hardwood tables!
Now onto the food. First, we started off with some bread from their in-house bakery, the Bauer Bakery. This multigrain bread was delicious and had great texture. Butter was the perfect companion to the bread, and I couldn't help finishing most of it!
BAUER BUTCHER BURGER: Heidelburg double-smoked bacon, aged cheddar, mustard scallion mayonnaise and grilled onion on a multigrain bun, served with sweet potato fries. I had my mind set on ordering this even before I arrived and because, really, who can resist a name like Butcher Burger? The waitress thoughtfully had the kitchen cut the burger in half because I was sharing this with my mom. The patty was juicy and flavourful, complemented perfectly by the smoky bacon and onions. Even my mom, who highly disapproves of ordering burgers at a restaurant (because she feels that it's "fast food"), couldn't resist it.The portion was also huge, and I was stuffed from just eating half of one. The waitress also generously gave us double portions of sweet potato fries (another favourite) when she split the plate for us.These people really know how to earn their tip.
Next up is the SHORT RIB GNOCCHI: braised short rib, roasted mushrooms, cherry tomatoes,
potato gnocchi, wilted baby spinach and veal jus. I've been wanting to try gnocchi (Italian potato dumplings) for awhile, and I was delighted to be finally able to. Well, it turns out that I'm not a fan of gnocchi, as I find the texture too mushy. Perhaps I should try it at a more authentic Italian place? Anyhow, the gnocchi was less than impressive, but everything else was SO DAMN GOOD! The veal jus was absolutely scrumptious and complemented everything on the plate- tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms. I wanted to dip my burger and the leftover piece of bread into this! You may think this doesn't look too appetizing- well, think again! If only they'll replace the gnocchi with another type of pasta... but I think I am willing to get this again just for the delicious sauce and toppings.
My mom and I were stuffed from the burger, so I got to pack most of the pasta and some sweet potato fries home. Yummmmm, I'm already looking forward to dinner!
All in all, I had a great experience and I wouldn't hesitate to come back again. My dilemma is whether I should order the same items again or venture into something new...
The Bauer Kitchen on UrbanspoonThe Bauer Kitchen on Restaurantica

Oliver & Bonacini @ Waterloo

I have no clue why O&B would open a location in Waterloo, because this place is so dead. But anyhow, I came here to enjoy a nice meal before the start of exam cramming. We started off with some good bread that was very tasty with butter.
At the recommendation of the server, I got the special order of the day: Tortellini in a basil herb sauce, topped with terragon, parsley, caper, anchovies and lemon zest, accompanied with grilled calamari, asparagus and cherry tomatoes. I think I much prefer cream-based sauces for pasta than oil-based sauces. I'll keep that in mind next time I get pasta.
Sweet Potato Fries: we got this as a side order and the portions were quite generous. I love sweet potato fries and this was delicious, and I even had leftovers to pack home for the next time. Bonus points for the tasty spicy tomato mayo that it was served with!
Wellington County Beef Sliders: Monterey Jack, braised veal & chipotle mayo. This had lamb in it, but the flavours were not that strong so I couldn't really taste it. I just think that mini burgers are so adorable (and delicious)!
Dulce de Leche Panna Cotta: blackberry compote & candied maple walnut. Hehe ever since my last panna cotta experience, I seem to be seeking them out more in restaurants. This was a higher-end version, beautifully presented, and wrapped up the meal nicely because it wasn't too heavy. I particularly enjoyed the candied maple walnuts!
Oliver & Bonacini Cafe Grill on UrbanspoonOliver & Bonacini on Restaurantica

August 4, 2010

Lunch @ A La Kitchen

My family wanted shanghai dimsum one day so we ventured out to a new place that we've never tried before, instead of opting for the usual choices (Asian Legend or Ding Tai Fung). This place is very charming, and I was particularly intrigued by the interesting ceiling display of steaming baskets. There was also soothing music playing in the background, which made me feel like I stepped into a monastery for some reason.
We ordered a variety of small dishes. In the back, we have the usual 小籠包 (steamed soup dumpling) and 生煎 (pan-fried bun) that I love. I don't think this place seasons the food very much. The skin on the 小籠包 was just a tad too thick, but at least made the bun less delicate (the skin usually breaks too easily). The 生煎包 had... very little flavour. Texturally, it was perfect, but it could use a little bit more seasoning. In the front we have 紅油抄手 (spicy wonton)... on a scale of 1 to spicy, this would be... negative 2. Yah, everything definitely needed more seasoning, I felt like I was eating food in a monastery.
I ordered the fried dough stick wrapped in a flaky sesame biscuit out of curiosity. I also ordered some congee to go with this and the congee had no taste at all! I was even tempted to mix in some sauce from the spicy wonton (which was not spicy) to give it more flavour. Needless to say, never getting this again!
豆沙鍋餅: The dough was absolutely tasteless, they should have either sweetened or put in a little bit of salt to contrast with the red bean paste... All in all, I'm thinking I just ordered all the wrong things because this place seems to be quite popular. I'll give it another try in the future (I'm a sucker for nice decor =D)
A la Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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