Sunday, August 30, 2009

Tutti Matti

Tutti Matti is a Tuscan restaurant, and the food it serves is excellent.

Sandy, Betty and I ate there last night to celebrate Sandy's birthday, and we had a grand old time!
Accompanied by a Chianti Classico, we started with some fresh bread, served with olive oil and a lovely well-aged basalmic vinegar. The bread was perfectly chewy, with a thin, brittle crust that was a delight to eat.

Over bread and wine we decided on our appetizers:
Prosciutto four ways (with melon, with fig, with peach (and I forget the fourth)
Carpaccio affumaicato: two beautiful displays of carpaccio, one of smoked duck breast, the other, smoked venison
The third had lightly smashed peas on a crostini draped with thin slices of pork (the sign for the restaurant is a wild boar: we had to have some pig!) It was drizzled with a tuna sauce. Tuna sauce! I had never heard of it before, but it was lovely, and I'm going to have to find a recipe for it. It would be excellent drizzled over some white beans, pasta, probably would work with many different things.

I think we were all agreed that the smoked venison carpaccio was one of those things you'll always remember having eaten. We also fell all over the prosciutto-wrapped baked peach. It was sinful. Almost at the foie gras level of sin. It tasted so rich, so flavourful, so balanced -- and the flavour just sort of sneaked up on you half-way through the second chew, and spread. All of them were delicious, and we agreed that we've never found bad food at any of our yummy dinners: we're all willing to try just about anything.

For mains, Betty and I opted for the ravioli stuffed with lobster and ricotta, served in a butter-sage sauce with some amazingly fresh green peas. Sandy had the pappardelle con stracotto. I fell in love with my ravioli. I think there was a little bit of lemon zest in the ravioli which gave it a nice zing to deal with all the richness of the dish. Sandy's pappardelle dish was awesome, rich, flavourful and just the thing for an autumn-feeling evening. Betty regretted having the ravioli and wished she ordered pappardelle as well. The sauce was positively unctuous.

How does one top all those dishes with a dessert? We went for the small cheese plate and the biscotti plate, and an Italian dessert wine that was thick and raisiny and light amber. They completed the meal, and finished it on a high note.

Chef Alida Solomon is to be complimented for her savvy preparations and the freshness of her ingredients.

While talking over dinner, we decided that we'll celebrate Sandy's next birthday in Tuscany. We have a year to plan.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Eating tapas @ Torito on Augusta Ave.

Sandy and I ate there last night. We enjoyed each tapas dish, and returned after the cabaret show for figs with blue cheese and sherry.

Fresh food: lovely marinated food: yummy rich comfort food -- it was all there on the menu. If I tried to pick a dish that still stands out in my mind almost a day later, I'd say it was the rabbit with peach chutney. The rabbit was shredded, and I think it was confit cooked (I noticed later that they also had confit of rabbit leg on the menu). It had a crispy richness and tenderness to it that seems to be the calling card of food that has been slow cooked in fat, and then rapidly seared just before serving to provide some crunch to it.

The peaches that accompanied it were julienned, cooked or at least mascerated in a liquid that did the cooking, and tasted of cinnamon and cloves. It was an excellent complement to the rabbit.

Other items on the menu were like perfect ballroom dance pairs: you know they dance well together, and they never cease to please: one of those is arugula paired with some shavings of a dry, hard cheese. At Torito, the dressing was lovely, light, and included quince. An addition of toasted almonds made it very scrumptious.

Soups? We started with the creamed Jerusalem Artichoke soup, decorated with some chili oil and completely scrumptious fried onions in a pile on top. Sandy's lucky I didn't steal them all... or maybe I'm lucky she didn't!

An excellent meal.

We had the 3 course special (of which there was a donation included to STOP, an organization to help feed people) followed by other dishes (hmm. sardines, salad, and a rich rich ground lamb dish, if I recall correctly). Plus drinks.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Old tyme pork

Modern factory pork. Blah. No flavour, no texture, no real reason to eat it.
Places like The Black Hoof in Toronto get it: pork is all about the texture, the taste, the fat permeating the meat. I shared, with two friends, a stuffed pork snout on my birthday. It was a dish to savour and remember.

Websurfing a few weeks ago, I ran across a description of Wooly pigs, a breed seldom seen on this continent.

Look at this and tell me you don't want some. One day, one day.

Yet another blog? Yup.

I keep doing these specialized blogs, compartmentalizing my life, putting things into neat little parcels.
This one -- epiglutton -- is about being an epicurean -- some might say glutton -- but one only eats that way occasionally. Generally, one aims to eat healthily.

Let us see how far I get with this.