Sunday, October 17, 2010

More Cowbell

I've shared our experiences at Cowbell in the past, but we made a return visit last night and couldn't help but post more about the great food. It was perfect for a late dinner on Friday night...and I was starving! I was thinking of the Cowbell burger before we even got to the restaurant!

Last night, we had the Cowbell charcuterie, which of course, changes all the time: head cheese, elk and cherry, tenderheart liverwurst, curried coppa and venison chocolate chorizo. I liked the liverwurst the best but the rest were all tasty - the curry, cherry, and chocolate flavours were unique but not as foreign to the taste-buds as they sound! We also had the beef tartar which has such a great meat flavour because of how it is prepared...a must have.

I didn't stray from my craving and was rewarded with mortadela on my precious Cowbell burger...YUM! It felt so indulgent yet sooo good! Did I mention it's one of the best burgers ever?? Tony's duck confit with consomme smelled absolutely amazing and he inhaled it so fast I only managed to snag a quick bite!

Cowbell is always a reliable stop for good, fresh meat. The menu changes all the time, depending what fresh meat is being prepared - this week elk was popular on the specials chalk board, but who knows what will be on the menu next time we go :)

A Delight at Luma

It's been a busy couple weeks and I never had a chance to share our experience at Luma, the new Oliver & Bonacini at Bell Lightbox on King. It is an upscale restaurant in the heart of theatre district - what I loved is that the moment we sat down, our waitress asked if we were under any time crunch to hit a show. Even if you think that is a given for restaurants in the area, I would never take that for granted so I really appreciated the ask (even though we were not on our way anywhere!). Luma is spacious and contemporary, with large windows facing out on King. We sat along the back of the restaurant and had a great view of the space.

The menu is varied and offers many options. We, of course, had taken a preview on-line before settling in on the restaurant for the night...and here's how we filled our bellies:

Appetizers: We had tuna tartare, grilled octopus and foie gras torchon. The tuna tartare (pictured) was a surprising dish - very colourful and fresh and perfect as an appetizer. There was so much stuff in it! The grilled octopus, with a bit of kick, was also quite colourful and uniquely prepared. It was good, but I would have liked the octopus a bit more tender (I was thinking Mediterranean style). The foie gras was also quite a surprising experience - not because we don't know how foie gras tastes, but this was one of the better perparations we have had. It came with brioche (which we could have used more of) and pineapple salsa, which added a unique flavour we have not had before. We happily inhaled our beautiful appetizers.

Mains: I am usually a fish girl and Tony goes with meat, but on this night,
I opted for the steak frites (how could I walk away from lemon pepper rub, mushrooms and truffle butter??) and Tony went with roasted cod. My steak frites came piled high and delicious, it smelled amazing even before my first bite and really hit the spot. It's always a bonus to have LOTS of mushrooms! Tony's cod was a stunning dish, served also with mushrooms and porcini cream...and foam! I love foam on my fish! We were both very pleased with our mains, and happy they continued to elevate our experience at Luma after our wonderful appetizers.

And yes, we made room for dessert. Actually, I was quite full, but Opera Cake was just calling my name to try. It was a 3 part dessert, centered by the almond sponge cake with mocha butter cream and chocolate ganache accompanied by popcorn ice cream and caramel popcorn. I'm not big on caramel popcorn but it was an interesting flavour mix in any case, the most unique dessert on the menu.

Overall, we had a great meal at Luma and would be happy to visit again. The flavours were fresh and colourful - loved the use of some new flavours with some very typical dishes which made it unique. Next time you're down to see a show and in for a little splurge, try Luma!