Monthly Archives: February 2014

I saw stars (the Michelin kind)

I had the wonderful privilege of dining at Passion, a restaurant owned by Martin Berasategui – Spains top chef with 7 Michelin Stars including his main restaurant which has maintained 3 stars since 1995. The meal was brilliant. Certainly the best in memory and definitely among my top 2 or 3 meals ever. 

We had the tasting menu – 9 exquisite courses, all executed (almost) flawlessly, matched with 5 courses of wine (somewhat generously overpoured).

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The amuse was a mango tomato gazpacho with a gooey crispy croquet of something, a parmesan crisp, beet butter for the really good bread and a watermelon palate cleanser.

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The next course was a delicate slice of salmon suspended in a cucumber aspic with radish, Japanese pickled onion and fish roe.

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Perfectly cooked pigeon peas were stewed and served on top of a puree of yautia – a Dominican tuber like sweet potato. This was topped by a piece of panko crusted lobster and a ginger-corriander sauce. The yautia cream was outstanding.

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A slow cooked egg in reduced beef consomme with crispy little croutons and tiny bits of pig was the ‘bacon and egg’ course.

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It was one of the richest things I’ve ever eaten.

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And on to the fish course. (Slightly overcooked) red snapper on brandade – a cod and potato puree with greens and a red wine-mustard sauce. This course was served with a Chablis that really noticeably brought all the elements together.

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Slow cooked veal with a potato ‘risotto’, Iberian ham and mozzarella. The ‘mozzarella’ were these delicate little puffs that were filled with cream. Another first. The veal literally fell apart when I touched it.

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These pics aren’t as good but we were 6 courses and many glasses in by this time. A frozen mojito topped with passion fruit ice cream was the first dessert.

The next dessert was tarrija, like french toast, with almonds and cafe con Leche ice cream.

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And finally, for petit fours they served melon soup, brownies, financiers, blackberry gelees and some other little sweet that escapes me.

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The wait staff were engaging. The chef visited us twice – once just to chat and again to get a picture with us. Later he sent us a bottle of the wine we had liked so much to take home :). Go figure – many people rushed through their meal. We were there almost 3 hours. The head waiter even suggested that I could come and work in the kitchen for a week and the stay free for the next week :).

Soon it’s back to reality and to check in on the kitchen reno. I’ve resisted asking for updates so it will be a surprise when I arrive.

Blonds :)

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Another step closer every day. Two full days of sanding floors and sanding plaster. So much dust.

Almost there.

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That paper that was stuck to the floor proved to be WAY more of a pain than anyone had anticipated. Wishful thinking I guess.   Keenan deserves his boy scout badge for floor sanding.

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Her new favourite spot.

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Mine too.

Lots of progress..

But not as apparent. Plastering the drywall. Installing a new door and a new window. Scraping the floor. Fixing the floor where the walls were removed.

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Plans for the remainder of the week include sanding and refinishing the floor and getting a start on the paint.

Molly and I were treated to a stunning Killaloe sunset on our walk.

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And that’s the same view as I get out of my new kitchen window 🙂

Finally

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No more sleeps!!! It’s. Wood stove day 🙂

A Sunday Roast

Dinner out, two nights in a row. The shameless self-invitations are working out. What a great way to build community.

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Kathy and Andy live in a cob house. An earthen fairy castle. It totally resembles something from Park Guell in Barcelona – it’s even full of mosaic covered surfaces. I’ll get pictures someday – definitely not my last visit out there.

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They served a big pot of borscht with dark bread – appropriate fare for February, especially during the Sochi Olympics. They are very cool people.

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The pics are from the roast at Barb and Hellen’s.

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A feast of roasted pig meat and veggies. We had quite the afternoon finding them a new house (when they weren’t even really looking) and picking out paint for my kitchen.

I’m starting to think about the dinner parties and cooking parties I’m going to have here to repay all the people who’ve been feeding me the past couple of weeks. :).

Day. 7

The drywall is hung and the taping has started. The slate tile has been grouted and is ready for the wood stove to be installed Tuesday. The linoleum came up easily and the paper covering the floor underneath is coming up.

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The room is taking shape.

And people continue to take care of me. I have a dinner invitation for tonight and another for tomorrow. :).

Day 5 and 6

I’ve been away for work for a couple of days and there has been lots of progress. The vapour barrier is in as well as about half of the drywall. The last wall was stripped and insulated and the slate tiles for the wood stove pad were set. The rest of the beam was framed in and the kitchen electrical is fully roughed in and the laundry is hooked up in the spare bedroom.

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While I was in Ottawa I picked up the travertine stone tiles for the backsplash. They look nice.

I continue to be amazed at the rate of progress. The finished shape reveals itself a little more every day in a very satisfying way.

More plumbing and electric – Day 4

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Lots more work today. The electric and plumbing folks have most of the services installed and roughed in for both this job and the bathroom.  A little more work tomorrow and then the carpenters can come back in and start finishing the room.

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That’s a picture of the floor under the linoleum. The gray stuff is just paper that seems to come off pretty easily and the nail holes don’t seem too bad. It’s pretty likely that they will be able to restore it to match the flooring in the rest of the house.

The electrician working on the project is Nolan Oram of the Sand Bay Orams :). He’s 10 years younger than me and I don’t remember him. But I definitely spent enough time down there as a kid buying sweet tarts, cream soda in a bottle from the reach-in cooler and gas for the boat. Definitely happy thoughts of summer – especially with these minus 25 temps. 

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Molly finds it all a little exhausting apparently.