Friday, August 9, 2013

Dinner in the Dordogne (at Langdon Hall)

It was a french food (and duck) invasion at last Friday's sold out BBQ at Langdon Hall.  Hosted by Bonnie Stern and Mitchell Davis, the pair inspired a menu for Executive Chef Jonathan Gushue that transported guests all the way to the South of France.  And while the rain may have moved the festivities indoors, spirits were hardly dampened especially considering how much foie gras was involved.

This is the third summer Bonnie and Mitchell have hosted together.  Last year saw a Middle Eastern themed feast and the year before a Southern barbeque.  In 2010 Bonnie hosted with chef Anthony Rose.

You've still got time to experience one of these epic Friday night dinners for yourself.  Chef Nick Benninger will be there on August 16th, Anthony Rose with Cheese Boutique's Afrim Pristine on August 30th, Chef Marc Lepine on September 6th, and Alex Cruz and Cyril Gonzales on September 13th.  Click here for all the details.

(Sweet and savory crepe station) 
(Marinated grapes and walnuts in ice wine) 
(Duck fat gaufrettes) 
(Rabbit compote with hazelnuts and mustard) 
(Foie gras)
(Truffled duck eggs with red onion pickles) 
(Salmon rillette) 
(Foie gras and truffle parfait) 
(Oysters with truffle and cider mignonette) 
(Duck ham and melon) 
(Halibut escabeche) 
(Tomato and artichoke) 
(Albacore tuna with espelette-grapefruit vinaigrette) 
(Tarbais bean salad)
(Roasted carrot salad) 
(Poached leeks with truffle dressing) 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Abbey's Bake House - Muskoka

One look at the chocolate chip brownie cookie and you'll wonder if you're in heaven.  This cross-confection combo (which we're coining 'the brookie') is like exactly what it sounds - a brownie baked into the centre of a chocolate chip cookie (also amusingly making the cookie appear like it's with child).

But at Abbey's it's not just the pastries you'll fall in love with.  The Bake House is set up inside a 19th century church on the shores of Lake Rosseau.  The building itself was uprooted from Digby, Nova Scotia to the tiny town of Minett, Ontario where it was then rebuilt.  And it couldn't have found a more picturesque place to settle.  Locals and visitors alike enjoy their treats while sitting outside in one of the bakery's white Muskoka chairs overlooking the lake.

Inside, sunlight streams through the church's stained-glass windows lighting up Abbey's baked goods, which range from the traditional (apple crumble pie, gluten free peanut butter cookies, cranberry scones, intensely gooey pecan cinnamon buns), to the more inventive (focaccia with strips of bacon on top, maple bacon butter tarts, lemon tart pie, blueberry citrus glaze muffins, trail mix muffins with carrot, coconut, apple, zucchini, walnuts and berries).
Along the back wall under the chalkboard menu are gorgeous loaves of sour dough and multigrain, and other focaccia like sea salt and olive oil, and parmesan.
Sandwiches include ham and swiss, turkey and provolone, egg salad, and tuna salad.  Quiches - ham and swiss, bacon and asparagus, and broccoli, goat cheese and sun-dried tomato.

If you need an ice cream fix, they scoop Kawartha Dairy.  If you need BBQ supplies like hamburger and hotdog buns, they've got them. And if the city slicker in you needs a Starbucks, well you're in luck because that's what they brew.

Abbey's Bake House in Minett is open 7 days a week (8am-5pm) from the May 2-4 long weekend up until Labour Day.  After that they're open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday until Thanksgiving. Same goes for their Port Carling location.  In Toronto the owners of Abbey's have Petit Four Bakery in South Commerce Court at Bay and Wellington.  They offer some of the same baked goods but have more sandwich and lunch options.