ThunderBay In General

I really liked it here. I mean, this place has all kinds of neat art & culture and family things to do! I think what I REALLY like though, is the architecture. There’s TONS of castle like (medieval style turrets) buildings, and dozens upon dozens of brick buildings and houses. Class and style from a forgotten time! Speaking of stonework, there are impressive churches all over the place! Large cathedrals, everywhere.
They also have a pastry called “the Persian” which is a specially made cinnamon donut topped with heaps of magical raspberry icing! Not regular icing mind you but a special Tbay recipe, I think! These delectable donuts seem to be only in Thunder Bay.

That’s why I love it here. Here’s some pics:

I like Thunder Bay! It’s a great little town. I didn’t realize how cool it was until I was there. It’s much smaller than I thought as well. The city of Tbay is about 200kms from the next town. It’s almost like Canada looked at that spot on the map and said, “we need to have something on the map there, it looks empty. Is there something there?” And BAM! Thunder Bay made it on the map!

By the sounds of it, this place was a landing spot for many folks from far away lands with nothing but a suitcase on their way to make a new life for themselves and their families here in Canada.
The town moves at its own pace. The traffic lights are LONG and the business hours are “most likely open from x to y”.

The Winnipeg trip 

Bonfire Bistro – pizza and the like

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A large wood fire oven is one of the first things you see here!! It’s a warm 630-ish degrees in that oven but it sure does a good job of making yummy pizza! It’s  smaller place, was pretty full when we came in, there were three of us this evening and so we moseyed up to the bar.

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We had the Serrano and Pear Pizza (Serrano ham, fresh pear, Stilton blue and mozzarella cheese with Cilantro on spicy La Bomba sauce)! We also had an Italian Sausage pizza (Italian Sausage, caramelized onions, marinated artichokes roasted red peppers, fresh basil and Carlo’s tomato sauce, topped with Mozzarella). And finally I had the “today’s pizza” which was a wild one! It had Mustard and tarragon marinated Rabbit, smoked bacon, roasted artichoke, currants, mozzarella all on a roasted garlic & carrot sauce finished with spiced walnuts! Hows that for a bunch of strange toppings to have on a pizza! It was surprisingly fantastic! The flavors mingled really well, I was concerned about hte currants and artichoke mostly, but it was a delicious pizza none the less.

To finish up the evening one of the fellas had bananas fontaine while I had a scoop of Black sesame ice cream! Not at all seedy (no sesame seeds anywhere) and it didn’t taste at all like toasted sesame. I expected it to taste a little like the seeds from a burger bun. I was pleasantly surprised that it tasted more sweet than anything else. I will look for this ice cream again somewhere else!

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LOVEY’S BBQ – smokehouse

Great grub! Smells fantastic! Roger the owner was in the store as we ate. He tells me the name Loveys comes from his high school sweetheart! They’ve been married for 41 years now.  He clearly loves this job as he took a moment to talk about his staff (including his daughter) and what he puts into the place himself.

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We got the beef brisket terminator burger (a mammoth of a burger) and a two meat BBQ dinner. I had the farmer sausage and beef brisket. We also “pigged out” with some electric honey wings and burnt ends.  Don’t be fooled, the burnt ends aren’t burnt, they’re just cubed brisket.

2015-07-16 19.54.46The restaurant walls are covered in signed photos of Roger with various BBQ masters from famous Dave to Myron of BBQ masters! There are also a various news articles about then place posted.

The pig tail fries are great! They’re like a thin deep fried corkscrew of potato. Kind of reminds me of potato chips but fries flavour.

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This place has got some great sauces and a great small town feel. They don’t spend a dime on advertising but hope that we’d spread the word about its great taste!  So here it is!! Stop in and enjoy some BBQ goodness from Loveys!

WestJet greatness!

I need to take a moment and brag up Westjet. They are seriously worth a post on my blog!

My career has taken me through a very busy travel schedule this year. So much so, that I’ve taken over a dozen flights with multiple carriers. They are always courteous and patient when loading people who may require more attention and time. They also put up with mighty cranky passengers with great finesse and tolerance.

Recently, I was on my way to Calgary and as I entered the plane I asked to look in to the cockpit. The attendant at that time asked me if I’d like to stay for a moment and observe. It’s for “children of all ages and sizes!”

Well, being the big kid that I am, I was super excited and took advantage of the moment!

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A special shout out to Glen and Damian the pilots and for Patrick the attendant who knocked the safety announcement outta the park!!

Thanks WestJet for making my day!

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Tomlin T-Bay

Tonight I go to Tomlin. There’s something about these taster plates places here in Thunder Bay, the Sovereign Room, Uptown Cut and now here at Tomlin.

Their washrooms are pretty good. Three individual water closets to choose from. High quality paper towels to dry off with! Be responsible, take only one!

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The main entrance, from the street. The dining room area in the back, the wine closet, and the view behind the bar.

I’ve ordered Squid Ink Gnocchi! Old school Italian tappa dyed black with squid ink. Wild! I’ll appetizer that with a cured meat board.

The meat board arrives, the server gives me the low down. It’s kind of loud so I hear the following words; deep fried head cheese, in house made mustard, a meat with peaches & bourbon, beer sausage, homemade bread, gerkins and one of the meats has walnuts in it!

Super tasty meats. The bread is stellar also!

Tom, the bartender tonight looks after me well. He’s filled my water a couple times already with out me asking! Always a good sign. ūüôā

Here’s the squid ink gnocchi. Sure is dark… Smells great in an oregano, garlic and tomato base with buttered breadcrumbs on top. Surprisingly enough (and maybe it’s a good thing) squid ink doesn’t seem to have any flavour.

The sauce has a little bit of kick to it but it’s not overpowering. The garlic chunks are pretty big though. I would have liked them smaller. Still quite good though.

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Fun fact, I got a rogue macaroni noodle in with my gnocchi. Not sure what that means…did I win my meal? Turns out I did! The chef¬†(clearly a high class guy who doesn’t take any guff) wasn’t ok charging for the gnocchi due to this noodle. In all honesty, that really impressed me!

I’d come again, for sure!

The Sovereign Room

Next foodie stop in T-Bay, The Sovereign Room!! Thunderous lightening flashes, this place is packed!! ¬†I got the second to last table. It’s hopping and it’s already 8pm here!

This place has spiral staircase as you enter and a turntable just around the corner, hip beats happen here I imagine!! The washroom is downstairs, underneath that spiral staircase. Not child friendly though.

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I order water, as always, and in at my table comes a wine bottle, of water!! Great idea! Good reuse of bottles. The bottle stays at my table for my personal use the whole meal as well. Abby, my server, looks after me well tonight, she arrives at just the right times to clear my plates and refill my glass.

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There’s a duck poutine that I have to try apparently, so I’m on board for that. I asked my server and she informs me it’s a big bowl rather than an appetizer size dish.¬†

My poutine arrives, first bite is… exactly what the best poutine in Canada must taste like!! ¬†It’s what all Americans must try when a Canadian friend says, “you’ve never had a poutine!?!? You gotta try one!” Seriously good! Great job representing a Canadian icon/classic.¬†

It’s covered in Thunder Oak Gouda curds with shredded duck and drenched in an SOV gravy!! I’m assuming SOV¬†stands for sovereign. It is some great gravy!

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I’ve also ordered a pound of the chipotle Apple BBQ chicken wings. If they’re half as good as this poutine, they’ll be fantastic! It comes with a cucumber salad and house made ‘ranch, it says.¬†

This place has some fancy sounding pizzas, like prosciutto and fig, pancetta and goat cheese or mushroom and asparagus. Not kids flavours but they can do it if you ask of course!

I finish my water and the wings arrive! They smell great and the steam indicated fresh & hot! 

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The cucumber salad turned out to be more of an onion salad. The ranch was ok but should be classified more as a creamy wing dip because (other than colour) it doesn’t remind me of ranch.¬†

The Chipotle Apple BBQ is waaaay more sweet than I was expecting. It’s more of a BBQ Apple BBQ and maybe a tinge of chipotle sauce. Although there is some nice spice to it though, because I can still feel it after my table has been cleared off.¬†

They don’t do dessert here!! I guess I better go to the Naxos for their sizzling Apple pie!

All in all, a good experience! Next time I’ll do a pizza!

Uptown Cut – Thunder Bay

I get to spend a week in Thunder Bay and it sounds like there are some nice places to eat! I’m starting at Uptown Cut, a new place in town. It’s about five or six months new and has three red seal chefs! The chef tonight for me is Justin, he’s studied at George Brown culinary school in Toronto. When you get three master chef together, sensational meals are created!
The place looks great right off the bat. It’s in what’s looks to be an old house. It’s cleaned and fancied up. A gal named Morgan is very helpful and is willing to put up with all my questions!¬†

They pride themselves here on the prime grade beef, meaning surpassing the standard AAA beef rating!!!! Well then, this should be great!

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I’ve been enlightened, Kobe beef is actually from the cow breed, wagyu. Kobe beef is wagyu from the kobe region of Japan. These cows are taken care of better than the prime minister of Canada, or even the president of the U.S.!!! ¬†They can’t be under stress ever in their lives and are never put in a cage or pen. ¬†These creatures are even massaged with essential oils!!! That’s bonkers!

As Morgan explains some of what this place has to offer, I’m intrigued by all the variety of food they offer. From baby octopus to shrimp fritters, hand pulled mozza to foie croquette! The price is a little high for causal dining but the experience is worth the payments!

They offer a tasting menu where you can choose a variety of small plates and finish up with one of these ridiculously fancy sounding styles of meat, either a slow roasted rib eye, a wagyu steak or dry aged ribeye. There’s a five course or a ten course tasting option.¬†

I can’t make up my mind so I order a shwack of small plates to get the full experience.¬†

The first plate is out! It’s the Uptown Rgg. A creamy sage and egg custard served in its own shell topped with Berkshire bacon… truly a tasting experience. ¬†It’s fantastic! Cool in temperature, whipped and rich in flavour! The bacon is loaded full of taste but doesn’t overwhelm the sage custard! Delicious!!

Another plate, it’s hand pulled mozza! They take a local Gouda and hand pull it into a mozza texture! Lightly fried, served with a deep fried basil leave on a tomato sauce and sprinkled with Parmesan. Another winning dish! Great texture of the cheese and balance of cheeses. The tomato sauce has a pleasant zip as well!

Before I know it, the next plate arrives! This one is the confit drummy! Siracha ¬†butter is mighty fine! Spicy and savoury. I like me some wings, but this drumstick is the way all deep fried bird should taste…always!!! Cooked by a clear professional!

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Up fourth is the baby octopus with a truffle tomato sauce and a ¬†slice of olive loaf. And these are the real deal! This is a very spicy dish (chimi chiri) with three full octopus, octopi, octo… you know what I mean!¬†I fell a little guilty about the little guys but they’re already in my bowl. The slice of olive loaf has just the right amount if butter, not to much but not to little and great for soaking up the tomato sauce.¬†

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This marks the half way spot!

The fries are stacked log cabin style and covered in an in-house made salted caramel, with a slice of blue cheese from France up top and then ¬†sprinkled with that amazing Berkshire bacon! It looks so good I almost don’t want to eat it… Almost!!¬†

The caramel is a fantastic taste! The blue cheese is REALLY strong but is well balanced with that salted caramel. I can say, I’ve truly never had a taste sensation like that before! The caramel and fries was an awesome surprise mix!

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The next dish is the smoked wagyu, like literally, at my table smoked! They put the wagyu on dried wheat grass, light it on fire and then trap it in a bowl! The smoke stays inside and seeps into the meat¬†until opened. The rich aromatic scent of campfire fills my nostrils! I wish I’d taken a video to show the flair of opening the bowl, the smoke wafts out as Morgan removed the bowl at the table! My first bite is a vivid¬†experience of glorious meat tenderness and an ashe flavour that is reminiscent of summer good times!¬†

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The chef Justin, surprises me with a citrus salad next. Mango, Papaya, honeydew and cantaloupe topped with citrus slices (Orange, grapefruit segments) and drizzled with a lemonpro secco vinegar. A very good palette cleansing dish! 

Next up, The ouva da raviola was originally made for the king of Italy! After tasting it, i can confirm that it’s a royal dish!

The trick is to slice straight through the centre of the ravioli. This causes the insides to mix into the sauce itself! My cut is clean, the sauce is mixed and the first bite is fantastic! The soft yolk mixes with the truffle oil, ricotta, spinach and sage butter to create a blend of flavours that is rich. My second bite is even better. I was worried that the sage would be overwhelming but it’s not! Each bite has a different blend of the flavours offered. Ricotta cheese is the dominate flavour, nope it’s the sage butter, nope it’s the truffle oil, nope it’s the semolina pasta… each bite, a different and pleasant taste!

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The finale tonight is a unique caramel dessert made specially here. It’s called the bone thugs and harmony caramel! The bone is a lamb bone that they make a soup stock from then hallowed, soaked in a vinegar mix and then baked to dry. What a great use of the bone as a bowl for the salted caramel, cocoa and Berkshire bacon. Tonight they’ve used a cheesecake as the truffles are not yet finished being prepared. Sold out sucks!!

Aw well, I better try this place again! Yup, that good!!