The Busy Day Gourmet

Sep 222014
 

While visiting our friends in Canton, Georgia just north of Atlanta we took a drive northeast of where they live to visit some vineyards. We made a reservation at Le Vigne Restaurant located at Montaluce Vineyards for lunch. It took about an hour and a half to drive there from their home, but it was well worth the trip. The vineyard is located at one end of a rather large development of estate homes. It’s a beautiful landscape of rolling hills covered with lot of grape vines.

The restaurant is located in the same building that houses the winery. It’s high ceilings and large windows offer a fantastic view of the vineyards. Our friends ordered off the menu, but my wife and I were looking for something vegan.; so we asked the chef to come up with something special just for us, and oh boy, did he ever.

Heirloom vegetables on rainbow Quinoa from Le Vigne

Heirloom vegetables on rainbow Quinoa from Le Vigne

He prepared a medley of sautéed seasonal heirloom vegetables and mushrooms served on Rainbow Quinoa. It was absolutely fabulous; very light and flavorful. We all ordered a glass of wine with our meal, so we could do a little sampling before we went on a tour of the winery. The wines were quite nice and went very well with our meals. Our friends ordered the Grouper, which was brought in fresh that morning and served with heirloom vegetables and roasted fingerling potatoes.

If you are in the Atlanta area and would like to drive out to the wine region near Dahlonega, please stop by Monteluce Winery and try their restaurant Le Vigne. Let Executive Chef Austin Rocconi satisfy your taste buds with one of his very special creations. Reservations for lunch and dinner are recommended. Check their website for availability because they host private parties and weddings, especially on weekends.

 
Le Vigne
Montaluce Winery & Estates
946 Via Monteluce
Dahlonega, Georgia 30533
Telephone: 706-867-4060
E-Mail: info@montaluce.com
Website: www.montaluce.com

 

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Sep 142014
 

We were visiting my sister- and brother-in-law near Cobourg, Ontario; which by the way, is a great place to visit. It’s located on the north shore of Lake Ontario about an hour north of Toronto. We had been doing some work around the house, so on our last night there we decided to try a local restaurant nearby called Pitchers Place. It’s a great little restaurant located at Gores Landing near Rice Lake and it is a real gem! If you’re in this area definitely give Pitchers Place a try.

Stuffed Eggplant from Pitchers Place

Stuffed Eggplant from Pitchers Place

One of their house specialties is the Stuffed Eggplant. I decided to try that and my brother-in-law opted for the fresh House Smoked Fish Cakes. Both entrees were outstanding – nice presentations and very well prepared. The eggplant was stuffed with roasted apple, sweet potato, walnuts, rice and topped off with a minted yogurt sauce. I enjoyed it very much.

House Smoked Fish Cakes from Pitchers Place

House Smoked Fish Cakes from Pitchers Place

 

 

 

I got to taste the fish cakes that my brother-in-law ordered and they were delicious. The fish cakes were served with sauteed Kale and a roasted red pepper sauce. They were delightful – very light and tasty.

I don’t usually eat dessert, but I couldn’t help myself this time, because they had so many freshly made treats. I selected the homemade blueberry pie. WOW – fresh blueberries, homemade crust, delicious whipped cream topping! I love fruit pies, especially blueberry and this was one of the best I’ve ever had (sorry mom!).

Homemade Blueberry Pie from Pitchers Place

Homemade Blueberry Pie from Pitchers Place

If you get the chance to visit the Cobourg area, be sure to give Pitchers Place a try. You’ll be glad you did. Pitchers Place is open for lunch and dinner. They are closed on Tuesdays.

Pitchers Place
8642 Lander Road
Gores Landing, Ontario
K0K 2E0
Telephone: 905-342-2832
Website: http://pitchersplace.ca

 

 

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Sep 032014
 
The Fiction Kitchen

The Fiction Kitchen

If you’re visiting Raleigh, North Carolina I recommend that you try The Fiction Kitchen. We were looking for a vegan restaurant to try while I was visiting my son in Raleigh. Several people recommended that we try The Fiction Kitchen and that was a great recommendation!

Farmer's Market Plate from The Fiction Kitchen

Farmer’s Market Plate from The Fiction Kitchen

We started off with some Root Vegetable Chips with edamame Hummus and seasonal Pesto as an appetizer. Yummy! My son ordered the Farmer’s Market Plate which is a medley of fresh, local, seasonal ingredients. I had the Tinga Tacos – spicy mock chipotle chicken on corn tortillas served with slaw, black beans, and seasoned grains. Wow – were they ever good. We both really enjoyed our meals and we were more than willing to share a little taste from our plates with each other. Warm and friendly service and a table-side visit by the chef all made for a very enjoyable evening at The Fiction Kitchen. I’m a fan and I will definitely be going back to this restaurant on my next trip to Raleigh.

Tinga Tachos

Tinga Tachos from The Fiction Kitchen

 
 
 
 
 
The Fiction Kitchen
428 S. Dawson Street
Raleigh, NC 27601
Telephone: 919-831-4177
Website: http://thefictionkitchen.com/

 

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Sep 022014
 

We were visiting friends of ours who live in Canton, Georgia just a little north of Atlanta. They invited us to go to one of their favorite restaurants in the town of Woodstock, Georgia. What a treat!

The Century House Tavern is a charming little restaurant with a diverse menu that has a little something for everyone. It was a beautiful summer evening so we asked for a table outside on the porch.

I heard a lot about their Risotto, so I decided to give that a try. It was cooked absolutely perfectly with some locally grown, sautéed seasonal vegetables. My friends enjoyed the Ahi Tuna Burger and the Woodstock Traditional Angus Burger. My wife had the Vegetable Sandwich which she said was very tasty. It was made with Portabella mushroom, red peppers and grilled onion.

Vegetable Risotto - Century House Tavern

Vegetable Risotto – Century House Tavern

 

It’s too bad we were there on our last night because I would have liked to have gone back to try another entree (like the Low Country Shrimp and Grits).  Oh well, I’ll just have to wait until my next trip to the Atlanta area.

Whatever your tastes, let Chef Daniel Porubiansky satisfy your appetite with his wonderful menu filled with lots of fresh, local ingredients.

Century House Tavern
125 E. Main Street
Woodstock, GA 30188
Telephone: 770-693-4552
Website: http://www.centuryhousetavern.com

 

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Aug 182014
 

We were visiting our friends Jocelyn and Barry in Oakland, California and they suggested that we try this Burmese restaurant for dinner one night. That was a great recommendation.

I had never been to a Burmese restaurant before; so I was really looking forward to going to dinner at the Burma Superstar. We got there fairly early, around 7:00 o’clock and the place was already packed. We were fortunate and were able to get seated without too much of a wait, but if you have to wait, please do so.  You will not be disappointed.

Our friends suggested that we start with the Tea Leaf Salad (vegetarian style), so we ordered a portion big enough for us all to share. I highly recommend that you try this salad. It is absolutely fabulous! They say they go to Burma to get the tea leaves for this salad. Hey, I don’t know about that; but what I do know is that it was a medley of flavors dancing around in my mouth. Yummy!

Green Tea Leaf Salad from Burma Superstar

Green Tea Leaf Salad from Burma Superstar

We each ordered something different for our main courses. Well almost, as Barry and I ordered the same main course, Fiery Tofu with Vegetables. I was looking for something spicy and this was a great choice. The dish is made with their own special “sweet heat” sauce and it is really, really good. We ordered Jasmine rice to accompany our main course. Well, what can I say, I just couldn’t stop eating it. The ladies offered us samples of their main courses, and they were also very good, but the Fiery Tofu, now that’s the dish!

The Burma Superstar offers wine, beer, and other beverages. I ordered a glass of beer from a local micro-brewery; which went perfectly well with the spices in my main course.

If you get out to Northern California, please be sure to go to the Burma Superstar.  They have three locations in the Bay area to serve you. Many thanks to our friends Jocelyn and Barry for a great evening and a lovely stay in Oakland, California.

Burma Superstar
4721 Telegraph Avenue
Oakland, CA 94609
Telephone: (510) 652-2900
Website: http://www.burmasuperstar.com

 

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Jun 122014
 
Linger

Linger

Denver, Colorado is a great place to visit. I feel fortunate that I was able to visit Denver to attend a work-related conference there. When we travel, my wife and I always like to try new restaurants. We asked for a restaurant recommendation at the Denver Marriott City Center and they encouraged us to try Linger. Great recommendation! We took a cab from our hotel to the restaurant because we didn’t know our way around the city that well (other than how to get to the 16th Street Mall). We arrived in what seemed to be a fairly residential area of Denver. We walked up the stairs to restaurant entrance, where we were greeted with a big smile by one of the hostesses. We were a bit early, so they suggested that we go up to rooftop patio for a drink. It was a beautiful summer day and this was a great place to enjoy a refreshing cocktail with my wife while looking out over a great view of the city of Denver. After finishing our drinks we went downstairs and the hostess showed us to our table. The restaurant was quite busy and there was a great “vibe” inside. We started with a couple of glasses of red wine and a French Lentil salad as an appetizer. The salad was delicious and was a good lead in to our main courses. I ordered the Masala Dosa and my wife ordered the Tofu Shrimp and Grits. We shared a few bites of each others dinners so we could both enjoy the wonderful flavors of these delicious entrees.

Masala Dosa from Linger

Masala Dosa from Linger

We were tempted to try one of their dessert offerings (because they all sounded so good!) so we ordered a Peanut Butter Bar to share. Wow! Fabulous. The memory is still so fresh and vivid in my mind that I can still taste it. Yes, I’ll have another please! Linger offers a very creative and diverse menu. We chose to dine vegan on this occasion; but there are many other menu options on their menu. It was a great night. A big thank you to everyone at Linger, who made our dining experience so memorable. If your looking for a great dining experience in Denver, I recommend you try Linger. A reservation is recommended.

 
 
 
 
 
Linger
2030 W. 30th Avenue
Denver, CO 80211
Telephone: (303) 993-3120
E-Mail: lingerdenver@gmail.com
Website: http://lingerdenver.com

 

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Jun 102014
 

I had the chance to visit Denver, Colorado in June to attend a conference there. Wow – Denver is a really great city. The people are amazingly friendly. We stayed at the Denver Marriott City Center Hotel which had the friendliest and most professional staff that I have ever encountered – anywhere!

We were only one and a half blocks from the famous 16th Street Mall. It’s a great place to walk around, to shop or to have something to eat. You might even find someone playing one of the pianos the city has strategically placed all along the mall.

On our second night there we thought we would venture to the “Up Town” part of the city and try a vegan restaurant called Watercourse Foods. Great choice. It was a beautiful summer day; so we were able to get a table outside on their patio. We started our meal with an order of their Cauliflower Wings – crispy cauliflower with a spicy “buffalo sauce” and served with your choice of vegan ranch or blue cheese dressing. Wow – were they ever good. For my main course I ordered the Street Tacos – black bean and sweet potato tacos served in a soft taco shell with cilantro lime sauce.  They were really fantastic – just bursting with a medley of flavors. I also ordered a side of their homemade onion rings. If you like onion rings, you will love these.

Watercourse Foods offers a few specially selected wines as house recommendations, or you can choose one from their wine list.

Their dessert menu offers some very tempting treats. I usually pass on dessert, but if I would have tried one, it would have been the Reeses Cake – roch chocolate cake with peanut butter mousse, chocalate ganache and peanut butter icing. Tempting for sure!

If you make it to Denver be sure to visit Watercourse Foods. They serve breakfast all day, lunch, and dinner.

WaterCourse Foods – Eat the Path of Least Resistance

WaterCourse Foods
837 E. 17th Avenue
Denver, CO 80218
Telephone: (303) 832-7313
Website: http://www.watercoursefoods.com
 
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Nov 252013
 

This is one of my favorite restaurants in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The restaurant is located in the former Pittsburgh and Lake Erie (P&LE) railroad station. The elegant main dining room is simply breathtaking.

I like their menu as it consists of one page (for me a multi-page menu is a real turn-off) and offers a great variety of seafood and land fare, appetizers, soups, fresh salads and desserts. I find the seafood entrees particularly good here and I frequently order one of their “market fresh” entrees. On this occasion I ordered the seafood trio which consisted of one of their Maryland-style crab cakes, a piece of grilled salmon, and 4 coconut-crusted shrimp. Delicious!!!

The Grand Concourse offers a nice variety of wines from arround the world to accompany your meal. If you need some help with making a selection, just ask your server for some advice. The staff at the Grand Concourse is very friendly and accommodating. My wife is a vegan. She spoke to the chef about her dietary requirements and he prepared a delicious vegetable curry over rice for her. She said it was fabulous.

If you’re looking for an excellent restaurant with a great ambiance while visiting Pittsburgh, I recommend that you try The Grand Concourse. Reservations are recommended.

The Grand Concourse
100 West Station Square Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Telephone: 412-261-1717
Website: www.muer.com

 

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Oct 192013
 

Lucky-LeekAre you considering making the change to a vegan diet? Are you looking for a gourmet vegan restaurant in Berlin? Then go to Lucky Leek in Prenzlauerberg.

Lucky Leek is located on the very fashionable Kolwitzstrasse, a short walk from the Senefelder Platz U-Bahnhof. The restaurant offers a very elegant and pleasant atmosphere. I really like their menu. In two pages you can see what is being offered by the chef for the day. On one side you have the à la carte menu and on the other the chef’s menu which offers a complete five course dinner. Optionally you can add the recommended wine pairings with each course. You can also select only the courses you would like from the chef’s menu, so you have a lot of flexibility in your dinner options.

We chose the chef’s menu with the wine pairings. They have a very good wine list if you would like to select something yourself. The timing and presentation of each course was absolutely perfect and the wine pairings were simply outstanding. I can’t remember when I’ve had a more pleasant dining experience. Reservations recommended.

Lucky Leek
Kollwitzstrasse 54
10405 Berlin-Prenzlauerberg
Tel: +49 30 66 40 87 10
E-Mail: kontakt@lucky-leek.com
Reservations: booking@lucky-leek.com
Website: http://lucky-leek.de

 

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Feb 262013
 

Zula Hummus CafeOne of the annual events that we really enjoy in Berlin is the Berlinale (Berlin International Film Festival). Each year my wife arranges to get tickets to one or two movies at the Culinary Cinema. Yes that’s right, the Culinary Cinema. This has been part of the Berlinale since 2006. This year one of the movies we saw was entitled, “Make Hummus not War.” It is a great movie and I recommend that you see it when it comes out in theaters. Anyway as you might have guessed the star of the movie is: Hummus!

After we saw the movie, my wife and I went on a search for the best hummus restaurant in Berlin and we found it. The Zula Hummus Cafe is located in Prenzlauer Berg at Husemannstrasse 10. It is a very intimate restaurant that serves the finest hummus in Berlin. I like the traditional hummus platter served with hard boiled egg and pine nuts. It comes with a basket of pita bread so you have swipe your way to hummus heaven. You don’t need a fork or spoon to enjoy hummus. All you need is some pita bread. Yummy!

They have several variations on their basic hummus platter, each with more ingredients and toppings. Their hummus platters are served with sides of their special garlic lemon juice, hot chillies, pickles, olives, and onions. You can add as little or as much of these as you like. Their hummus is creamy smooth and so delicious. It is made according to their own special recipe.

We’ve already been back a second time and once again enjoyed another wonderful hummus meal. If you’re looking for authentic hummus, then I recommend you go to the Zula Hummus Cafe in Berlin.

Zula Hummus Cafe
Husemannstraße 10
10435 Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg
Telephone: 49 (0)30-417 15 100

On the web at: http://zulaberlin.com

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