Posted in Restaurant Adventures

Review- Stella Osteria

1 Clarence St, Ottawa – (613) 241-2200 – Website

Date of Visit: July 7, 2013

I have passed by this place numerous times on forays through Byward Market but it has usually been full. I was actually on my way to have lunch at the Blue Cactus Bar and Grill (which is affiliated with this place), when I was drawn by the pleasant patio here. The lunch menu is rather abbreviated, consisting of a small number of appetizers and salads, some pasta selections, as well as pizza and a house burger, but there are also a few more substantial entrees including a strip-loin steak and Chicken Parmigiano. The dinner menu, which I asked to look at, was substantially the same, although there were a few additional seafood dishes, including an interesting paella. Fortunately, I was in the mood, on this very hot day, for something simple and the house burger sounded about right for lunch… Continue reading “Review- Stella Osteria”

Posted in Recipes

Chicken-Fried Steak

If you have never heard of a ‘Chicken-fried Steak’ before, you may quite likely be as mystified as I was when I came across it for the first time. For the uninitiated, this particular culinary delicacy, originating in the American South, consists of a steak that is battered, or breaded, and then deep-fried (or pan-fried in lots of fat) much the same way as is Southern-fried Chicken.

My first, and thus far only, experience with this dish was at a roadside restaurant in Virginia during a road-trip to Florida my wife and I undertook a year or so before we were married. It was served, as I recall, with some sort of potato (whether mashed or fried I can no longer say) and a veggie of some sort. It was also topped with a creamy, white gravy that is more or less traditional in the south. The steak, I thought was pretty decent, but I really didn’t care for the gravy at all and, for this experiment, I think I will give that particular addition a miss… Continue reading “Chicken-Fried Steak”

Posted in Recipes

Cioppino

Thanksgiving (the Canadian edition) will have come and gone by the time this gets posted but, this year, I decided to forego the rack of lamb we usually have and make a Cioppino. For those unfamiliar with the dish, this is an Italian-American seafood stew (or soup, if you prefer) created in San Franciso in the 1800’s. It combines shellfish and sometimes (but not always) fish in a rich broth containing wine and tomatoes. Regular readers of my blog may recall the review I did of the Fish Market Restaurant in Ottawa where I had a dish that they called Bouillabaisse which, while very good, was really much more of a Cioppino. I have had a hankering to cook the dish ever since then and (some months later) I finally managed to get around to it… Continue reading “Cioppino”

Posted in General

The Sunday Gravy Experiment – Part 1: The Introduction

“Hey, come over here, kid, learn something. You never know, you might have to cook for 20 guys someday… You see, you start out with a little bit of oil. Then you fry some garlic. Then you throw in some tomatoes, tomato paste, you fry it, you make sure it doesn’t stick. You get it to a boil, you shove in all your sausage and your meatballs… And a little bit of wine. And a little bit of sugar, and that’s my trick.”

Who can forget that terrific scene in ‘The Godfather’ when Fat Clemenza shares his special sauce recipe with Michael Corleone? Old Clemenza never uses the term but what he is basically cooking is one of the countless variations on the tomato based sauce that generations of Italian-Americans have come to call  gravy, or, more particularly, ‘Sunday Gravy’… Continue reading “The Sunday Gravy Experiment – Part 1: The Introduction”