Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Aroma Meze

As usual, i'm reporting on a meal the DCFD's had a few weeks ago. Eight eager souls attended Aroma Meze on Nepean St., almost directly across Ottawa's famous Bekta. I'm not sure of any affiliation, but their websites look very similar...

Anywho, i'll try to summarize how i felt about the meal in list form, as is the style these days.

1) Service - not very good. Our waitress was eager, but thoroughly overworked. We sat down shortly before our reservation, and waited at least 20 minutes to before we were asked about drinks. Not cool. When the food started coming it was swift, but the service was not very attentive throughout.
2) System - the small plate system while good and very interesting, caught most of us off guard. While we may claim to be ridiculously easy going drunks, sometimes amicable splits of meals are difficult. When we were told we should each order two things, then double the portions to feed the large group, this seemed excessive even to a lush philanthropist such as myself. We ended up each ordering 2 or 3 things, not doubling the portions, and this worked out pretty good. Most people got to try what they wanted, but certainly everyone didn't get to try everything.
3) Prices - as you can probably guess, this place was pretty pricey for what you get... i can't poopoo this, but its worth noting. The ribs dish was 16 bux and you get 4 ribs. The flakes of veal carpaccio was in the 20$ range too and my guess is there was only about 3oz of meat on the plate.
4) The food - well, everything was damn tasty, but not blowing me away tasty. The divinity came from the mix of items, and thats clearly where this place would/can shine. Getting to eat ostrich, crispy prosciutto and melon ice cream, alligator, ribs, fries, etc., all in the same meal is pretty sweet. The ostrich was likely my favorite flavour of the evening, with the lima bean and tomato stacks being very very tasty veggies.
5) Setting - we had eight to a table in the back portion of the restaurant, and i was stuffed like a sausage in a comfortable but 4 deep booth seat. Not sure how one less limber than me would've put up with this. I liked the fake pillars in the front and the tiling in the bathroom, although the real cloth towels in the bathroom seemed unsustainable but worth a shot (when i went in there was only 2 left!).
6) Aftertaste - great but expensive food, didn't really feel like my money was well spent, although i'm certainly happy about all the great food i did try... i think i was perhaps in a bit of a funk, and if i was better prepared for the experience i likely would've enjoyed it more.

Bottom line for me - great theme, go with people that all have money and love to try different things and it'll be a massive hit. I wouldn't ever go on a whim or with picky, funky, or cash strapped eaters.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

DCFD Dominican Style

While the whole crew did not have the opportunity to join, i thought i'd still share my pictures and thoughts of the food at the Sirenis resort, punta cana, dominican republic.

What better place for a DCFD member to visit than a place the provides all the food and alcohol you want to drink. Of course, its not quite that simple, but if you're not too picky, thats exactly what you get.

I couldn't drink as much as i would've liked, mostly due to oversweet drinks and not the tastiest of beer or wine, but i had my share. Dining on haute cuisine has its price, and that price is a ridiculous over indulgence at all-inclusive resorts.

But as i said, the food was pretty good. Heres a typical breakfast (at the buffet):


Heres some typical lunches - these were served at the poolside restaurants, which at night served as the "mexican" and "steakhouse" a la cartes:


I didn't get any decent pics of the generic dinner buffet foods, but pretty decent stuff. One night they had lobster (carribean lobster of course), which was decent, and shrimps (head-on) another night was good too. Most nights they'd have a roast of some sort, and a pasta buffet, amidst a salad station (lettuce, tomatos, cukes, and misc prep'd salads), dessert station, and a bunch of hot meals. There was 2 main buffet restaurants in this place, and for dinner, one side was "international" and the other was "dominican". Of course, we fancied the dominican side to get a flavour of local stuff, however most nights the two sides featured nearly identical samplings. But it was fun to eat app's or even a whole meal at one side, then labourously lumber over to the other side to be greeted as if we were famished!!

Heres a sampling from the mexican restaurant. The first pic is an app, the 2nd my main, fish (you'd never guess). Was the first and only avacado i had during the trip, pretty good, i'll assume they must import them.
at the mexican restaurant
at the mexican restaurant

Steakhouse, definitely the worst meal, pork back ribs (mostly fat):
not the best meal

And "Jade", the Japanese restaurant, most fun, and likely the tastiest food. It started out with all sitting down, then directed at the buffet, where i got the following plate:
at japanese dinner

Then our chef went on to prepare everything else, and doused EVERYTHING with an overabundance of soy sauce, which i'm pretty sure doesn't happen even at Japanese village (please correct me if i'm wrong).
at japanese dinner
at japanese dinner

All in all, the food i got from this 4 star resort was pretty decent, no complaints, but you would definitely get sick of the *same* lettuce, the *same* sauces, and the *same* breakfasts/lunches after more than a week. They also had a "gourmet" restaurant that charded 35$ a head, the only add on food item, and we did not partake.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Jak's Kitchen

Several Fridays ago, the good folks at DCFD decided a visit to Jak's Kitchen was in order. Some of us had been going there mostly for brunch ever since the change over from Stoneface Dolly's occurred, and realized an outing amongst our elite group was warranted. The food and decor have been on a journey from what Stoneface Dolly's was, and has now become something of their own (imo). I am no longer skeptical but delighted about the switchover, I have since embraced their arrival, and hope for them to last a long long time.

Shortly after we arrived, we were greeted with a feast of some experimental appetizers. Delicious! Smoked salmon wrapping endive, cilantro enfused delicious pate (not a big fan, but this was soooo good), their homemade focaccio slivers and chunks, amongst a few other things. We decided on red wine, made a selection, but were suggested another bold Malbec called "Kaiken Ultra". This wine exploded from the glass, and placed a beautiful haze over the whole evening.

After the pre-appetizers and wine were decided, the proper appetizers ranged from perfectly cooked mussels, and soups, to every tapas choice on the menu. Everything was well presented and delicious. If i recall correctly, the bacon stuffed pork loin was the special, and apparently very tasty (someone correct me on this please!). I stuck to their pasta special, a very spicy pasta dish, and while not exceptional, was definitely memorable (almost too spicy for my pastas taste).

Dessert was delicious, coffee excellent, but unfortnately for me i was the last to arrive and first to leave. I ate *way* too much, and for me to leave a restaurant that wasn't a buffet saying that says a lot. Of course, no one forced me, but when its that good i have a hard time saying no.

I hope Jak's sticks around for a while, it truly is a gem in ottawa, and i look forward to many more delectable meals there.

O, for me, 9/10.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Oz Café

This was the Chef Special that I had - Seared Tuna Steak & humongoid scallops, swiss chard, and home-made bacon. Need I say more? It was fantabulous, so fantabulous that I don't remember the price. Now normally I shy away from fusion, (this dish is probably falls into the category) but I might suggest that the chef's creation breaks the mold and needs a category all it' own called "yum". Who would have thought to put these ingredients together eh?

Other dishes round the table:

DCFD members pose or their first portrait at Oz:

Needless to say Oz Cafe may have changed my view of fusion foods - still it only applies to Oz so far. 8 out of 10 for me. I'll open to the floor to other members...

I should also point out that our meeting at Oz Cafe marked one of our members birthdays - our brilliant blond we had high expectations, Oz Cafe delivered.

Monday, June 18, 2007

phnom phen

Restaurant's site is here, and little did i know a review of it from express is here.

We hit up this interesting little noodle house tucked in the semi sketch part of wellington, between chinatown and westboro a week or so ago (we're damn slow at updating this site, but i don't like seeing things die). I'm not gonna babble, but in a nutshell it was a glorified pho joint with a massive menu, good cambodian beer, and deep fried mango. But in all, i'm giving it 6.5/10... it was tasty, the service was great, but lacks the pizazz, spunk, or gotcha that a good dcfd venue requires.

The pics are a little weird, but you should be able to get the jist.

Phad Thai:

Vermicelli with tofu:

Fried vermicelli, udon in the distance.
Beeramid of angkor, a great cambodian beer:

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Savanna Cafe

An impromptu dinner club was held this past friday at the downtown savanna cafe, soon to be celebrating 20 (or is it 30) awesome years of service. Any semi-exotic restaurant that can survive that long is doing something right, and that was evidenced on friday night.

I won't cover all the details, i'll just give a few highlights.

While we longed for a patio, the weather did not cooperate as it was a wee bit chilly. We did get to sit outside while our table readied, sipping cocktails and smoking happily - well most of us were happy, one of our poor saps spilt his funky martini, which the server gladly replaced. High points from this here club.

Once seated, we ordered more booze, and then apps, and then the mains. I kinda like the chance to order apps, and then order the mains a little while later... it leaves you longing a little bit, knowing you've still got a big decision to make. Or maybe i don't like it, i dunno. One dude ordered the soup, i can't remember what was in it, but it was brothy and tom gummy, and o so good. I had the shrimp chips which had a very tasty peanut sauce to boot, and they were great. The mussels were so so in my opinion, a little dried out.

For my main i had the mahi special, and it was good but not uberawesome. Everyone else absolutely loved there food (if not, speak up!) especially the stuffed chicken (can't remember the name), it was apparently the bomb.

To finish it off, i had the banana cheesecake, and while i didn't taste a lot of banana, it was damn darn good. After dinner i went home and fell asleep, with all energy expended on the good food, good chats, and good times that was savanna cafe. An ire 8/10.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Organization Formation

The Dinner Club for Drunks Blog has been created for all the DCFD members to rant, rate and post comments about the places we've been.

Least let's summarize our activities so far:

DCFD Mission Statement:

To attend a new restaurant the members would not normally visit, discuss the experience and assert whether we are better off for having gone or not. To attain cultural awareness of food&drink stuff and availability in the Ottawa area. To promote good food&drink stuff to random people via word of mouth and the interweb. To ensure that the establishments we visit receive credit where credit is due.

So let's get posting! We can certainly get started on the Don Alfonso's, Hot Peppers, Horn of Africa, and Lone Star Topics. I open the floor to all members.

First Ammendment:
We have decided to open the discussion to the waiters/waitresses so that they can critique the behavior of club members and our visit. Business cards have been discussed and Tanya (myself) will have them produced shortly. This will enable us to distribute the blog co-ordinates to the restaurant personel.