Thursday, August 20, 2009

Bifstro Marin-Aylmer Québec

- Steak and Seafood-Charming, intimate restaurant in the heart of the historic old Marina area of Aylmer with deck overlooking the Parc de l'imaginaire and Lac des Chênes.

Heard good things so we decided to check it out. Arrived on a busy Friday night. Service was very good which was surprising with the number of people there.

Started with scallops wrapped in bacon. Five or six ?? Broiled scallops wrapped with nice almost crisp bacon. Cooked perfectly. Delicious!

I ordered the Rib eye rare. It came accompanied with home pommes frites and grilled vegetables. The steak was cooked perfectly and the portion seemed larger than the 12 ounce indicated on the menu. This steak was obviously procured from the local butcher. It was about an inch thick and didn't look at all like the same standard steak you get at the chains in Ottawa. It was tender moist and full of flavour from the grill. It was lightly seasoned with Montreal steak spice. The frites were home cut and superb. Crisp and flavourful. The vegetables were grilled to perfection. Not overdone, crisp and still slightly crunchy. The best steak I've had in the area.

Birthday girl ordered the linguini and it surpassed expectations. Fresh pasta al dente with 3 huge sea scallops and a generous amount of large shrimps grilled to succulent perfection in a rich creamy garlicky Alfredo sauce. The accompanying vegetables were also beautifully done. Leftovers came home for lunch next day. A great location, excellent service and great food served in generous amounts. If you want above average steak and seafood this is the place. The secrets out!

The Bifstro Rib Eye $22, 95
Seafood Linguini Alfredo $23.95
Scallops Wrapped in Bacon $9.50

Le Bifstro Marin
11 Front Street
Aylmer, Qc

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sesame Dipping Sauce

I had a craving the other night for that sesame dipping sauce you get at a teppanyaki restaurant. You know, the one they serve with your steak and wish you could "drink" when no one is watching? YEP..that ONE!

Well I played around with it and it's actually almost a copy cat of the sesame sauce at Japanese Village....Maybe even better

2/3 cup (or more) white sesame seeds, toasted in a pan over med heat until just golden brown
1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
2 tablespoon of water..or more
1/4 cup of low sodium Kikkoman soy sauce. **Do not substitute**
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 clove of garlic minced
1/2 cup white onion, finely chopped

2-3 tablespoons of sugar
2-3 tablespoon of rice vinegar
A squeeze of lemon juice
Put everything in the blender until smooth. You would normally serve this with grilled beef or shrimps, great for dipping fresh salad rolls. The possibilities are endless.
***Please keep in mind that I don't really measure all the ingredients, I just gave you guide lines and you add or modify the recipe to your liking. As an example if you did not have rice vinegar on hand, substitute with just lemon juice.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


This year for his birthday, I took my better half to Atelier in Ottawa. There is no advertisement whatsoever for this Establishment, only an address. One might have trouble finding the location, as it is relatively inconspicuous. The building is well....Butt ugly! And that is part of the whole concept. Once inside, it gives the impression of a lab. I found the design of the space to be a little on the sterile side, but that became unimportant in light of the food, the company and the welcome we received.

NOTE: Atelier is a blind tasting menu. you are presented with unknown dishes and given a autographed menu at the end. Every dish coming out of the kitchen was greeted with anticipation, surprise and amazement. Atelier is not a place for kids, fussy eaters or rookie foodies. This is a place for those who are not afraid to experience and discover new taste, new texture that will most certainly stimulate your taste buds and your mental palate.

The food is very contemporary, with liberal use of ultramodern technologies and appliances (liquid nitrogen, anti-griddle, sous-vide...) To me this was 2 in 1; Dinner AND a show!

The Dining Room

The Kitchen. See, No Appliances!!

Sour Cream & Onion Chip Flavored Bread

"Choose your weapons"

Choose Your Weapon (Strawberry and Rhubarb)

Depending on what "weapon" you picked, you received a different interpretation of this dish.
I chose the spoon that was equipped with a cork s test tube, containing ground pistachios. I received a warm custard with liquid nitrogen frozen strawberry and rhubarb noodles. To eat, you empty the spoon's contents onto the custard and dig in!


Interpretation of this dish combines both sweet and savory elements and acts as a bridge between the main course and dessert portion of the meal. It is a New York style cheesecake with a tortilla chip shortbread base, old cheddar cheese, salsa meringue, avocado purée, dehydrated olives, jalapeno powder and sour cream ice cream.

Elvis Truffle
Birthday Boy with a sore finger :-)
Banana wrapped in peanut butter wrapped in white chocolate coated in bacon crumbs...Need I say more?

Wild arctic muskox from Nunavut done sashimi style, marinated in tamari, sauteed erengi mushrooms in garlic and butter, dehydrated onion, and the green leaves on top are white lamb's quarter. As you can see, I took a few bites before I remembered to take a picture..OOPS!

Pork Belly

It was cooked sous vide at 82°C for 9 hours. Then it was marinated in a caramel sauce and sauteed. Each piece was served with a raw apple relish with jalapeno, snow peas, a piece of textured puree of snow peas, and a cube of purple potato. ...Again, this picture was taken after I attacked this plate.

The tuna dish was lightly seared Albacore tuna with Atelier’s own lovely Tagoroshi spice blend. This was served with a lime, ginger + radish gel, green beans, dried nori (seaweed), cucumber salsa, cucumber jelly, toasted Brazil nuts, fleur de sel, and pickled ginger.

Pear and horseradish soup with a dollop of whipped elderberry. Milkweed was clipped to the spoon. It was delightful! The aroma you received with every spoonful really surprised me.

Lobster with black truffle on black truffle oil pancakes, sauteed cinnamon mushrooms, the yellow lines are eggs cooked sous vide, watercress mango with dehydrated leek and topped with a chardonnay foam.

We also had ostrich, cooked sous vide, Yukon gold mashed potatoes, asparagus and marinated beet. Well, I was so excited that I forgot to take a picture of that one...

CSI; A murder scene investigation. Blood splattering of strawberry puree, strawberry dots. the murdered body was covered with a chocolate blanket. A police tape of yellow corn, sour cream ice cream, cornbread something, and cornbread puddled. Quite the imagination going on in the kitchen!

This was by far the most memorable meal I have ever had.