She decided that we would have lunch at the Métropolitain Brasserie because she is quite a fancy girl.
Located at 700 Sussex, The Met is a relatively new favourite for politicos, journos and lobbyists of all types. They claim it is at the corner of Les Champs Élysées for marketing purposes, but you are soon reminded of where you are when you look down Rideau Street. The place was opened in 2005 by the owners of The Empire Grill, and has been trying to attract Hillites with specials such as The Hill Hour, from 4pm to 7pm on weekdays, where oysters, jumbo shrimp, mussels and othere appetizers are offered at decent price. Oysters for instance can be had at 1$ a piece during the HH.
I was craving a bloody ceasar, and ever since I tried it, I enjoy horseradish in them, so I got them to make me one with some in it. It was simply great.
To start, we ordered two dozen oysters. To be precise, we ordered 21 as Kevin only wanted one. The Métropolitain claims to have the largest raw bar in Ottawa. We’ll give them the benefit of the doubt, I suppose. Today, the Met was offering Malpèques oysters.
10 millions Malpèques oysters are harvested in P.E.I. every year. They are certainly one of the finest oysters you can find. They have a pleaseing appearance, are fairly easy to manipulate and therefore, to enjoy.
The Met serves their oysters with an offering of four different garnishes: a traditional seafood sauce, a lemon mayo, a classic mignonette and horseradish. There is also plenty of lemon served on the platter. If they do not offer, feel free to ask for tabasco if that’s what you like, they always have a bottle handy.
The oysters were fresh, quite tasty and I could have had more but refrained.
I followed that with their Crispy Duck Confit, served with cranberry chutney, roasted potatoes and greens. Duck Confit is defintely a french specialiy, from Gascony in fact. It is made with the leg of the bird. You usually rub the meat with salt, let it cure for 24 to 48 hours, and then you poach it in its own fat. Yummy! But yeah, fatty.
I won’t feel too guilty as it was a small leg, and it was very tasty. The skin was nicely crispy, the roasted potatoes were not extraordinary but firm and well seasoned, the greens were fresh and crispy. I wasn`t too crazy about the cranberry chutney, though. I felt it was too acidic and something more earthy would have been a better side to the duck, perhaps apricot or fig chutney.
To accompany our meals, I selected a bottle of Pinot Blanc, a white wine from Alsace. Contrary to some other alsacian wines, the Pinot Blanc is a softer, less aromatic and not very sweet wine. It is a nice wine, fresh and well balanced.
Brad picked up Gaby’s meal and the oysters, I picked up the wine, and after tax and tip, I coughed out
90$. A tad bit pricy for what I had – but I can’t say I’m unhappy about anything I had.
Pumpkin & Beef à la Bourguignone
Brown beef cubes in a large skillet. Reserve.
Pork Stuffed Baked Papayas Ingredients
2 jumbo green papayas
1 onion, chopped
2 tsp of garlic, finely chopped
1 lb of ground pork
|1 Jalapeno, chopped
1 can of diced tomatoes, drained except for 1/4 cup of juice
1/2 tsp of pickapeppa sauce
1/2 tsp of tabasco sauce
1 tamarillo, diced
2 Tbs fresh lemon balm, chopped
Sweat onions and then add garlic in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add pork. When almost cooked, add the jalapeno pepper, the sauces, salt and pepper to taste. Then stir in the diced tomatoes and the tomato juice. Finally, add the tamarillo and the lemon balm.
Slightly increase the heat, let it simmer uncovered, until most of the liquid is evaporated, about 10-15 minutes.
Pre-heat the over to 350 degrees. Cut papayas lengthwise into halves and remove seeds. Reserve two table spoon of the seeds and add to the stuffing preparation. Fill up the papaya halves with the prepartion. Arrange in a shallow baking dish. Pour hot water into dish to within 1 inch of tops of papaya halves. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees until papayas are very tender and hot, about 30 minutes. Reduce heat, add parmesan cheese on top to taste, let it brown slightly.
I used Pickapappa sauce, which is made in Jamaica by the Pickapeppa Co. Ltd. It can be used for any jerk-style preparation, to add a very authentic twist to your caribbean meals. I added it here because I thought it would go well with the papaya and the tamarillo.
Talking of tamarillo, it is an exotic fruit from the Andes. It is also known as Tree Tomato for some odd reason. It is a bit expensive, but it has a very unique flavor and I figured it would give an extra exotic twist to the dish.
When I thought about making, this dish, I first had coriander in mind. Papaya and coriander seems to mix well. Alas, no fresh coriander at IGA when I went to get the meat today, but they did have lemon balm. I decided to give it a try, thinking that the lemon freshness of the herb would mary well with the pepperness of the papaya.
Melissa thought it was really good and ate everything on her plate… yummy was her comment! (for the record, she did not eat everything, i.e. the skin of the papaya, but that goes without saying).
Personally, I am quite satisfied with this recipe, it could have been spicier, by adding either more jalapeno pepper or even more papaya seeds. Or perhaps, more hot sauce. Nevertheless, it was pretty darn good! The pork is a mild enough meat that is doesn’t overpower the subtle but delicious mix of tamarillo, tomatoes and lemon balm. But, be careful with the garlic as it is meant to add depth to the dish not to predominate. I can think of different variations, for instance, ground pork or ham and pineapple comes to mind, or ground turkey with mango. Let me know if you experiment.
Melissa and I enjoyed this pork stuffed baked papaya with a bottle of Henri-Charles DeNoiret – an inexpensive but enjoyable table wine. It is a dry red wine, fairly round with a good balance.
This also completes my day-by-day description of what I ate during the campaign.
Because today is a special day, with nothing much more for me to do to influence the outcome, I decided to go for a special treat. And luckily, we were staying at the Sutton Place, an old-style hotel which I find quite charming. But the real luck is that it is in front of my favourite french bistro in Toronto, the Bistro 990.
So that is where I went for lunch and I went solo, to finally escape from the media horde, the politicos and other campaign-related people.
The service is always very good (although despite having a menu in french, the staff doesn’t always know a lot of Moliere’s language), and the food is fantastic. Apparently, it is a good spot for celebrity sightings, but I never actually noticed anyone famous while I was there. A good thing.
The 990′s menu is quite diversified – typical bistro fare, although upscale. No croque-monsieur here. You can find foie gras, a few fishies, some pasta and salads, and of course, the meat specialties.
Snack – Ham sandwich.
Lunch – Turkey sandwich and pumpkine pie with whipped cream.
Dinner – Sweet italian sausage soup with gnocchi and toscan cabbage, pastrami, grilled vegetables, yellow tomatoes and boccocini, salad with pleurotte mushrooms, chicken a la chasseur, seafood stew, penne arrabiata with parmesan.
Snack – Pringles.
Lunch – BBQ chicken, corn and red peppers, mashed potatoes, lemon pie.
Snack – Mars bar.
Dinner – Hamburger, sausage, corn on the cob
Lunch – Duck with pear glaze, pearl potatoes, steamed carrots and asparagus, cheese, cold cuts, carrot cake with chocolate mousse, artichokes.
Snack – Meatballs, shrimp, chicken wings
Dinner – Uncle burger, fries.
Snack – Pizza
Lunch – Lemon and herb chicken, garlic mashed potatoes, steamed carrotts and brocoli, penne arabiate, coleslaw, pickle, cream puffs.
Dinner – Shrimp, fried pork dumplings, chicken wings, figs, dates, crab salad, peppers and spinach salad, chicken skwers, haggen dazs peanut.
Lunch – Chicken wings, asparagus and mushrooms salad, penne salad, cheeseburger.
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