04 September, 2013

Happy Anniversary 2013!!!

This year, still being stationed in Ottawa and FINALLY not being in the middle of recovery from something (brain surgery or c section birth, what have you...) the Mister and I decided it was high time to do all of the things that most folks would if they were in Ontario.  We entrusted the Sprout to a wonderful family from church and packed up the Sweet Pea's duds and hit the road for a whirl wind adventure that included a night in Toronto with dinner at one of the best places in town, Niagara Falls the next morning, and by the evening of that night we planned on being in Palmyra, NY.  What one man we know called "the trip around the lake".  Sure thing...  My husband asked me before we left "What do you want to do FOR sure in Toronto?"  My answer was simple "Eat.".  What else IS there???  Nothing.  Nothing I care about anyhow...

I did a bit of digging and I narrowed it down to 3 places that all seemed to be owned by the same company but, based on menu and decor one of the 3 places won our business...  Auberge du Pommier.  (Sorry this photo is a bit crooked...I had one shoe on and one shoe off.  Don't ask....)

It was beautiful from the outside and there was no shortage of beauty once we got inside either.  I walked in wearing my black cargo pants and olive green long sleeved shirt...with my black silk dress and slip in my LV.  I walked in and asked for the ladies restroom and said "Don't worry, I'm not wearing this..." to which my comment was promptly replied to by a waiter saying "We never judge Miss."  It made me kind of giggle to myself.  I booked it down the stairs to change and came back up ready for a romantic dinner...which is not what the Sweet Pea ended up having in mind for us.  Hopefully we'll figure out before TOO much longer that anniversary dinners that include our posterity typically won't end with anything but tears.  This time it was Sweet Pea tears instead of those of the Sprout.  She was a total dream all day but a total ball of tears the whole time we were out to dinner.  Typical for my luck, which is to say...I have none.  Not even "bad luck"...I have NO luck.

We were showed to our table, for which we DID make a reservation and I would highly recommend on a weekend evening that you do the same.  As the evening wore on, I'm very glad we made a reservation and also very relieved we showed up early.  Auberge fills up quickly on a Friday night.  The good news was that once I had changed I felt like I fit in a better with the waiters who were dressed to the nines.

We made our way through the dinner menu and ordered our mains.  Then, after our waiter had already walked away I realized we hadn't ordered an appetizer.  *facepalm*  That is usually what I worry about FIRST, not remember later.  I'm not sure if motherhood is making me more forgetful or if I just felt rushed because she was already starting to fuss but, I completely overlooked the appetizer menu.  We stared at it for a couple minutes...  Foie Gras, Green Asparagus Soup, Tartare, Frog Legs...  Wait a second...FROG legs??  Ha!  Okay Kermit, let's do it up.  We knew we didn't want anything else, we were gettin' amphibious up in there that night.  I had heard what frog legs tasted like, but I've always wanted to try them for myself.  That's just how I roll with food.  After we sent in our order of Kerm...uh...I mean a random frog's legs and our main entrees I went on my walk about the restaurant to see what there was to see.  Boy, oh boy...was there a lot to see!  Auberge is HUGE and gorgeous...




I felt like I was dining in a beautiful French villa.  But, it didn't make me forget for one second we had a 4.5 month old baby that was losing her patience with us.  What that translates to is I was about to rush myself and my Mister through a fabulous dinner to make our wee little girl happy.  Just around the first episode of crying our waiter showed up with a little tray...


 Butter with Truffle Oil

The olives were a nice introduction to the dinner.  Briny, but sweet and a nice meaty texture.  I ate most of them and loved every second of it...even if I was fishing pits out of my mouth like a ruffian while doing it.  I stared at the butter for a while wondering what it was for, then a waiter showed up with a bread basket.  His selection was whole wheat, apple, or sourdough.  I chose apple bread and slapped some butter on it as soon as it landed on my plate.

Apple Bread

I was about halfway through eating my wonderfully tender slice of apple bread when someone from the kitchen showed up with an amuse...

Potato Puff with Creme Fraiche & Caviar

It was one of the smallest things I'd ever been given as an amuse that packed such a HUGE wallop of flavor in one bite.  I wanted MORE!!  The potato was so soft and the creme fraiche set off the caviar so perfectly...I could have eaten just these all night and been happy to do it.  Shortly after I took a sip of my water our appetizer made its way to the table.

Cuisses de Grenouille

Those are frogs legs folks.  I loved everything about this appetizer, prepare for my gushing!  I was impressed with the plating so much that I was hesitant to touch the dill coulis.  But, I snapped out of my awe and grabbed a leg, dipping it in the coulis first, and then a shmear of the amandine remoulade, and parked it all on my plate.  Then I took a healthy bite of frog leg where the coulis was and forked some of the remoulade into my mouth immediately so I could taste all of the elements of the dish in one bite.  It is impossible for me to get across to you how fabulous this plate is.  So complex in appearance but...the flavors were so clean and bright!  If you have ever wondered what frog legs taste like, I can tell you they have the texture of fish but taste NOTHING like fish.  They taste instead like a light, tender poultry.  Not chicken or turkey though...frog is a flavor all its own; much like alligator.  That is what it reminded me of, it made me recall when I ate alligator for the first time in Florida back in 2007.  Quite unique and delicate.  The remoulade with toasted almonds was the perfect creamy, crunchy element to the frog legs.  This appetizer is a winner!  Don't be afraid to try this; you'll fall in love with it, I promise.

Somewhere after we finished the plate of frog legs, the Mister had to take the Sweet Pea for a walk.  She couldn't be comforted or soothed, not even with a bottle and some singing, which is usually a sure thing with her.  Oh, little girl...what are we gonna do with you??  While they were walking around, our entrees showed up...

PEI Beef Rib Eye

Pomme Surprise

Surprise!!  It's Oxtail!!

The PEI Beef with Pomme Suprise was my entree...and I adored it!  I love a good surprise and I love some rare cow...  I felt like I was eating in a dream.  The beef was so tender and juicy, the chanterelles complimented the caviar and beef SO well; it was a perfect symphony of flavor on my plate.  FYI:  Symphony is an accurate description of what goes on when a chef is cooking.  They "compose" their plates and every single thing that goes on has a purpose, a flavor, and either contributes or ends up taking away from the dish.  Luckily for me, it all added TO and took nothing away!

The Pomme Surprise was quite interesting.  I've never seen anything or heard of anything quite like it.  A seemingly static looking portion of potatoes BUT...with a totally decadent, tender snippet of oxtail hidden inside.  Just enough oxtail to make you consider leaving your spouse for the chef...  The accompanying jus with the oxtail was fruity and bold; if someone brought me a bowl of that jus with nothing but a loaf of bread for dinner I would have felt like I ate like a queen!  Couldn't get it in my mouth fast enough.

Grilled Swordfish Confit

This was my Mister's dinner...  I only had a small bite of the swordfish to make certain it was cooked properly.  It was, he devoured it...end of story.  It was quite a loverly presentation and quite a portion of fish.  I was impressed.  My Mister says he would order it again, but it was "a lot" even for him.  That's new to hear.

We were getting ready to leave, sans dessert because we THOUGHT the only desserts they had there were the ones that were in the dinner menu, specifically, the desserts on the tasting menus of which there are TWO.  There is a vegetarian tasting menu and the chef's tasting menu which features meat.  On those two tasting menus there was a napoleon or a candied fennel meringue with rhubarb consomme...  No thanks on both accounts.  As soon as our waiter slapped down these petit fours in front of us...

I noticed the table next to us had 3 menus on their table...  I wondered if they were dessert menus.  SO I asked our waiter...  Turns out they were dessert menus.  We sent in an order for a Souffle Citron and waited the 15 minutes it was going to take to get it...  The Sweet Pea was fading fast.  The Mister was on his 3rd walk about with her.  Oy...

That 15 minutes flew by pretty quickly, the next thing I knew the waiter was setting this beautiful puff of yummly goodness in front of me and the Mister...

Souffle Citron

When our waiter set this down in front of us, he took a spoon and made a little opening in the middle, and proceeded to pour in a generous amount of white chocolate ganache.  While I am sure there are folks out there that love a good souffle, my Mister and I both had about 3 bites of this one and just couldn't go on.  It was the texture of scrambled eggs, then add to it the white chocolate ganache that our waiter poured in and...meh.  I wouldn't order that again.  It was a stretch to think we'd enjoy it in the first place.  Should have gone for a seasonal fruit sorbet instead.  Live and learn...live and learn.

On our way out we asked the hostess to please take a shot of us for the memory book.  As tired and frazzled as our little trio was, I've learned the hard way in life...it could have turned out much worse with the Sweet Pea than it did.  We finally made it a point to get out of there when a lovely couple took the table next to us that were obviously out for a "child free" dining experience, I didn't want to disappoint them.

Would I eat here again??  C'mon, do you have to ask?  Of course I would.  My biggest problem would be do I order the same things that I KNOW I am going to love or do I try the other things that I didn't this go 'round?  I'm not sure what I would do...those frog legs were quite magical.

When you've gotten used to eating whatever the 3.5 year old deems "yummy" every night for the past year you want to try something a bit more daring than breaded baked haddock every other night or something that features chicken and rice.  If you are looking for a dining experience that will leave you breathless with every bite, check out Auberge du Pommier.  I guarantee you that no matter what night you go...it will STILL be the best thing you ate that week.  Thank you for a fabulously flavorful evening Auberge!  It was worth every single loonie.  And then some...  Happy Anniversary to us!!

Auberge du Pommier on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. Love it! What a beautiful setting. Gorgeous. And you dressed up nicely! Everything looks so yummy too.