Jamie’s Italian in Yorkdale

So I have to admit that I have a small (BIG) crush on Jamie Oliver.  I can’t help it, he is just amazing! So when I was in Toronto recently for a conference and saw that he has a restaurant there, I took it as a sign.  A BIG SIGN…eat here…drag your friends here…hahahaha!

Lucky enough that I have some pretty awesome friends who will come with me whereever I want to eat so it was pretty easy to convince them!

So off we went! Got the reservation…check, get the uber…check, get your friends…check AND WE WERE OFF!

Now the restaurant from where we were staying was a good 30 minute drive but it was worth it!

We show up and were seated…guess where we were seated? Right…by…the…OPEN KITCHEN.  Now granted everyone in the restaurant was seated in the same area, but thats not the point.  The point is that this is always the best seat in the house.  Its like being at your own viewing of a cooking show.  Whenever you go and eat somewhere, ask if they have a chefs counter, it won’t dissapoint!

The food was awesome! To start we shared the Crispy Ravioli, this is such a great appetizer to do for a crowd…hmmm…side note – remember to do a post on this one…and we shared the Charcuterie Board.  Ms. Munro and I … well actually everyone in my life…has a healthy love of charcuterie boards.  They are just soooo good! The cured meats, the pickled vegetables, cheese, olives…I could go on and on but I think we get the point.

Then for dinner I had “Gennaro’s Tagiliatelle Bolognese”.  Now this sauce, I could dream about this sauce over and over again.  Slow cooked pork and beef in a red wine sauce….ugh…so good!! Ms. Munro had the Fresh Crab Spaghetti, Ms. Cool had Gennaro’s Famour Porchetta and Ms. Cox had the Fish with olives and tomatoes.  We each tried a little bit of everyone’s and I can say that everything was delicious!

If you are in Toronto…eat here!!

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Crispy Ravioli with Spicy Tomato Sauce
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Charcuterie Board
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Gennaro’s Tagliatelle Bolognese
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Gennaro’s Famous Porchetta
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Fresh Crab Spaghetti
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Whole Roasted Fish with Olives and Tomato

Westlake Grill in Red Deer

Recently we had the opportunity to eat at Westlake Grill in Red Deer and the experience and food was so good!

We were in Red Deer for our Annual Coldwell Banker Sales Rally and an Agent from our office, Mr. Perkins,  was told about the Westlake Grill at Heritage Ranch.  So off we went!

The Restaurant is located at Heritage Ranch which sits on 207 acres and is absolutley beautiful! Not only do they have a great restaurant but they also offer, sleigh rides, carriage rides and Ranch Tracker.  Heard of Man Tracker? Well put that on the ranch and you get Ranch Tracker.  Call the Restaurant to find out more about that!

Back to the Restaurant, the space is very open and tons of windows…we were seated more in a group section and ended up sitting beside a Book Club that was having dinner and were so funny!

The Restaurant tries to use as many local ingredients that they can and are very bigger supporters of farmers in Alberta.  With our meal we had the option of also doing a wine tasting which came with a cheese board that was all local Alberta Goat Cheese…YES PLEASE! Which was massive…forget an appetizer, I’ll just have cheese please! For dinner I shared the Beef Tenderloin with my friend Ms. Munro and it was so good! It came with Cauliflower puree (which if you know me you know of my love of Cauliflower puree or mashed cauliflower or roasted Cauliflower…okay maybe its just my love of Cauliflower in general! LOL), Smoked Fig Jus and Beef Braised Cabernet Sauvignon Fingerling Potatoes.  It was so good, I didn’t think I could have anything more and then…I saw the desert card…and they had Creme Brulee…HEAVEN…So of course I waited a little bit and then ordered it and fell in love with the restaurant even more.

Just when I thought that the night couldn’t get any better, Joel the owner of the restaurant invited us to take our wine outside to their patio and had a great fire going.  It was the perfect ending to a perfect meal!

If you are in Red Deer you have to check out Westlake Grill, it will not disappoint!

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Clean Taco Salad

  This was too good not to share! 

It’s Tuesday which means it’s Taco night in this house!

What you will need:

  • Lean Ground Beef
  • Taco Seasoning (Epicure)
  • Pico Picante Seasoning (Epicure)
  • Shredded Cabbage
  • Any vegetables you want. I went with Tomatoes, Red Pepper, Red Onion and Celery
  • Mashed Avocado
  • Cilantro
  • Lime
  • Jalapeno

Epicure spices are great, first you can understand all the ingredients in the bottle and they are low sodium! 

Instead of having mine in a taco shell or wrap I decided just to have a salad. However, my Hubs and Nephew had theirs as a wrap and loved it! 

Alright now to cooking:

  1. Brown the Ground Beef with the Taco Seasoning (about 2tbsp) and the Pico Picante Seasoning (about 2 tbsp as well. The Pico Picante Seasoning is spicy so just adjust the amount to your heat level.  Taste as you go until you get it to the right flavour! 
  2. In a bowl combine the shredded cabbage and vegetables with the chopped cilantro, Jalapeño and lime juice. Again taste as you go (I threw in a little sprinkle of the Pico Picante Seasoning just to tie it all together!)
  3. Plate your salad with the ground beef on top and mashed Avocado! 

ENJOY!  

Beef Bourguinon

Beef BourguignonThis dish to me might be the perfect winter comfort food! This would be a great dish to make for friends and family.  It can be made well in advance, leaving you more time to enjoy your company.

This recipe is from Julia Child’s Cookbook, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”.  The recipe calls for stewing beef, however we used Beef Shanks instead and it was delicious!

Whenever possible we like to buy our meat or produce directly from the farm.  I like knowing where the product is coming from and also knowing the quality as well.  We purchased our Beef from an Alberta farm called Rose Ridge Farms.  Check out their website for all of the products that they provide.

If you are going to try out this recipe give yourself plenty of time.  You do not want to rush anything.  Plus the great thing about this is the longer the dish cooks the better it gets! Slow and Steady!

Follow this link for steps on how to make this great dish! Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon

Enjoy!