Day 139: Dinner at River Café

Don’t hate me because I’m hungry.

My parents, sisters and (remaining) husbands left the kids with babysitters and went for a real, grown-up dinner at River Café tonight – something we’ve actually not ever done since grandkids started appearing. (Well, we might have at some point since #1 appeared 17 years ago, but not since they started coming in quick succession.)

I really love River Café, especially in summertime when the patio is open and the place is airy and not too hot or bright. Fall is beautiful, too. And spring. And winter, when the island is covered in snow and frost and you get a spot by the stone fireplace and don’t want to leave. Because I’m not independantly wealthy, I’m not a regular visitor; lunch and weekend brunch are good ways to experience the place if you’re the one paying. On Sundays there’s no corkage fee, so that helps. We brought a few bottles, and my pregnant (one of the reasons we were celebrating on Day 100 that I was not yet allowed to tell) sister drove.

It would have been far too wordy to list what I ate for dinner tonight at the head of this post:

An amuse buche of Maple Braised Wild Boar Jowl on Potato Rösti (just because it was jowl; when am I ever going to have the opportunity to eat jowl again? It was similar to the beef cheeks I had in Toronto with E – the texture of flank steak, but extraordinarily tender.)

House Cured Duck Prosciutto / Red Wine Preserved Cherries / Hanninen Farm Hazelnuts (sorry, no photo – I kind of wish I chose the morel mushroom peroghies.)

Olson’s High Country Farm Bison Tenderloin / Bison Pemmican with Anchovy Herb Marinated Cherry Tomatoes, Sunchokes and Grilled Ramps (I always order bison if I have the opportunity at a place like this – I know it will be cooked perfectly! Ramps are like a large green onion – sort of halfway between a green onion and a leek, but more garlicky.)

And a spectacular Lemon Blueberry Tart topped with Earl Grey Ice Cream, sitting in a puddle of orange caramel that actually reminded me more of marmalade than pf caramel; luckily I am a fan of marmalade, but more so on toast. The flourless chocolate cake my dad ordered was also mind-numbingly good.

And of course their fresh rosemary bread with butter as a palate cleanser between courses. (Hey, they didn’t bring out sorbet, what was I supposed to do?)

I was inspired by a few things on the menu – red lentil hummus, big, crunchy Yorkshire puddings stuffed with braised beef rib, and the best mushroom barley risotto I think I’ve ever had – we all picked it off Mike’s plate until he had hardly any left. It was nuttier, chewier and far less starchy (the heavy starchiness is not a selling point for me) than regular rice risotto – and of course far higher in fiber. Stay tuned – I will definitely be giving it a try!


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