Friday, July 17, 2015

#FoodPornFriday Breakfast Poutine from the St. Joachim Diner

My wife and I have been meaning to try the St. Joachim Diner for a couple years now. It was featured on You Gotta Eat Here and I've heard nothing but good things. The problem is that it's not really close to home. St. Joachim is about an hour drive for us. That's a long way to go just for food. 

What finally changed that is that I learned that there is an outdoor farmers market in Belle River on Sundays. The same day as the farmer's market at the Riverside Sportsman's club. Now if I start out from my house and head out to Tecumseh, I'm about half way to Belle River. Then if I continue on to Belle River, it's really not all that far to St. Joachim. Sounds like a good way to spend a Sunday morning eh?

Well that's exactly what we did last weekend and it was awesome. Got some great cheese, baked goods and vegetables at the farmers market and found out exactly why the St. Joachim Diner has the reputation it does. 

The place looks like it's right out of the 70s. The outside looks, well, lets just say I wouldn't stop there if it hadn't been strongly recommended. But man the food is good! The portions are huge. The menu has a great selection of items. They were great with the kids and have a great kids menu.

That huge picture up there is their version of Breakfast Poutine, which was only $9.50 for that huge plate of food. That is a plate of fresh cut home fries topped with bacon, ham, sausage, tomatoes, green onions, montreal style cheese curds, and a poached egg, all smothered in hollandaise.

The real shining piece of the dish was those fresh cut home fries. They were amazing. They reminded me of the Irish Nachos from The Kildare House (which they may or may not still serve, but I used to love). I strongly suggest whatever you order for breakfast you get something with those fries. The rest of it was amazing as well, but the fries made the dish.

My wife got the Fish Taco which really wasn't a taco, but rather a Naan wrap. She noted that it was amazing and one of the best things she's eaten. Ever. That after our great food filled trip to London last weekend.

We went for breakfast but will be heading back for dinner at some point. I really want to try the burgers that got them on You Gotta Eat Here. Especially The County Road Pizza, which is a Burger not a pizza. Here, just read this description: 7oz. burger with panko fried mozzarella, sauteed pepperoni, bacon and tomato sauce on a fresh baked bun, served with breaded mushrooms and creamy dill dip. 

Seriously if you haven't checked this place out yet and you are in Windsor Essex you need to fix that or you are doing yourself a disservice. I expect to be back many times. I expect that our 'farmer's market tour of essex county ending at the St. Joachim Diner' will become a regular Summer Sunday outing for us.

Friday, July 10, 2015

#FoodPornFriday is back with a Toad in the Hole from The Early Bird

It's back. #FoodPornFriday is back! No clue if I'll be able to keep this up with my current work schedule but I'm going to try.

This beauty is the most unique Toad in a Hole I've ever seen. It was what my wife ordered when we checked out The Early Bird in London Ontario last weekend. Normally a Toad in the Hole is just a piece of toast with a circle cut out of it and an egg fried in that hole. Not this one.

The Early Bird's Toad in a hold is a Fresh egg fried in a toast ring, thick sliced tomato, pan seared with garlic and herbs, organic pea tenders, baby arugula, chevre cheese and crisp avocado tempura.

Not really my kind of food but I had to admit it looked impressive. My wife said it was one of the best breakfast meals she's ever had.

Monday, July 6, 2015

A monstrous helping of breakfast from The Early Bird

Had some amazing food this weekend in London, Ontario. A big thanks goes out to all the people who gave me some great suggestions on places to eat with a family of four with young kids. This is the first of a few #FoodPorn pics I'll be sharing from the trip.

This was our Saturday morning breakfast from a great small place downtown called The Early Bird.

This monstrosity is the Pancake Stacker. A half stack order. Yes I said the "half stack"! I can't even imagine how much food would be in a full stack. This could have fed out entire family of four. It consists of pancakes stacked and layered with smoked bacon, peameal bacon, potato hash and topped with a fried egg. All smothered in maple syrup.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Brew, a great addition to the Windsor craft beer scene

Last weekend my wife and I were blessed with a kid free Friday night. These are few and far between for us so we did our best to make the most of it.

We started off the night with a couple of beers at the Walkerville Brewery where I tried their new Amber beer (rather good, I used to love Ambers and this is a good example of the style). From there we walked over to The Twisted Apron for an amazing dinner. 

After our dinner, the waitress (going above and beyond) asked what our evening plans were and after we answered non-committally suggested we check out Brew, a new(ish) brew pub that opened up just east of downtown. I had heard about Brew before and had been meaning to check the place out for some time, so that became the plan.

Brew was pretty easy to find. It's a big grey building with the letters B R E W in the windows, just east of the Casino at 635 University East. There was parking at the church next door and across the street in an empty lot. While it's not in the best part of town I don't think it's anything anyone would need to worry about.

The actual tap room wasn't very big at all. I would estimate maybe 12 seats at the bar, four or so tall tables spread around the room, and four round tables, one in front of each window. The place can probably only really fit about eight 4-5 person parties, more if people are willing to stand. 

We were lucky in the fact that, just as we were coming in a group was leaving so we were able to get one of the tables. We were handed an appetizing menu that was mostly gourmet style flat bread pizzas and pretzels. As we were coming form The Twisted Apron we weren't looking for food. I will say that seeing what other people were eating, the food looked and smelled great. Putting the menu aside we got to what we came for: The Beer! 

At the time we were there Brew only had three taps. This looks like it's the standard as you could clearly see the three brewing vats from the tap room. I have to assume that they always have three taps. Based on their facebook page it looks like Brew rotates these taps constantly.

While there my wife and I tried two beers. 

The first was their Chocolate Stout. As I'm sure you can guess, that's the darker beer pictured above. 

It was okay. Not great but in no way bad. I think as far as Chocolate Stouts go I'm a bit spoiled by amazing brews like Flying Monkey's BNL

The second beer left a much better impression on me and is the reason I will be going back to Brew again. It was their Sour Wheat.

My wife loves sour beers, especially Lambics. The problem with sours is that they are very hard to find. I don't think they are very popular. So just finding one is an achievement in itself. I think it's awesome that there's a sour brewed right here in Windsor. It also helps that it was a really good, very easy to drink sour. It wasn't overpowering at all and was pleasant enough that I had to order a 2nd one before we moved on to enjoy the rest of our night.

So overall I do recommend you check out Brew. It's a great addition to the local Windsor beer scene. I think it's amazing to see how much the Windsor craft beer scene has grown. I'm loving it. My only caveat is that you may want to call ahead or be prepared to wait for a table as there isn't a lot of room in their tap room.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

I'm totally craving sushi

Like many people in Windsor right now I'm laid off. The FCA Windsor Assembly plant is down for re-tooling and due to that many people are out of work right now. It's not just people that work at the plant, it's all the people working at the feeder plants as well (that's the boat I'm in).

Due to this lay off we've had to cut back on the eating out and 'premium' food. This means lots of lunch meat, peanut butter, wraps and KD. All of this has hit me hard today with a huge sushi craving.

I could totally go for some Hikari Japanese Restaurant. This is a higher end Sushi place downtown on Victoria that's in a restored manor. 

They recently just updated their menu and seem to have tried to go for even more high end food. There's a bunch of interesting looking tapas dishes, some flat breads and quite a few non-sushi items.

Hikari isn't cheap but the food is very good. The atmosphere is excellent and I find it's a great 'date place.' It's the sushi restaurant of choice for us to celebrate special occasions.

Or maybe I want some The Sushi California, just down the street, still downtown, on University.

I wrote up a review of this great place for Eyes On Windsor a couple years back. I loved it then and still really enjoy it now. 

I love the decor and atmosphere at The Sushi California. It just looks cool and authentic there. Much more casual than Hikari. 

The rolls there are huge, I don't think you can find larger rolls in the city. It's the one place we have to remember to order less food every time we go.

Heck I don't even need to eat in. I would be perfectly happy with take out from Niko Sushi

Not that there's anything wrong with eating in at Niko but we've found that they do the best take out Sushi in the city. I personally like to drive out to Tecumseh though the food is just as good from the Devonshire Mall. There are more options in Tecumseh.

I can't get enough of the Niko sauce and they have some of my favourite rolls ever. The Rainbow Roll being one both my wife and I love. The kids actually love Niko the best as well as they make great Avocado and Imitation Crab rolls that are not only good but cheap.

That's not to mention Sushi Guru in Walkerville or Tiki Sushi on Erie Street and a half dozen more that I haven't even tried yet. There's also all the All You Can Eat places around the city. Tenko, Tenka, Hoi, Koi. Oh man, there so many great places to get sushi in Windsor!

Okay, maybe writing a blog post about craving sushi when I'm craving sushi wasn't the best idea. Now I'm REALLY CRAVING SUSHI!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Where can you get the best poutine in Windsor?

The title there: "Where can you get the best poutine in Windsor?" is a legitimate question I want an answer to. I really want to know where to get the best poutine in Windsor.

The best I have found so far (and pictured here on this post) comes from Simon's Prime Hamburgers. I hear that Simon's started in Chatham and expanded to Windsor. The one that's downtown has been there for a few years and is a favourite of the 'after bar crowd.' I'll admit I've never tried that location. It's been many years since I've been part of any bar crowd, especially the one that's looking for greasy food after the bar.

A new Simon's opened fairly recently on Tecumseh Rd. East at Central. This is very close to work for me and has since become a favourite lunch stop. At first I stuck to their burgers (which are damn good) but eventually I tried their poutine. I stuck to the traditional poutine the first time and oh man it was good.

The cheese curds squeaked! That was one of the best parts. I think you have to be a certain kind of cheese fan to know that squeaky cheese is one of the best things on this earth. Simon's uses the right kind of curds, squeaky curds.

A few weeks later (yes it had to be weeks, Simon's poutine isn't an every day food, even for a Big Dude like me), upon the recommendation of some co-workers I tried the Cheddar and Bacon Poutine. There's a picture of this beauty at the top of the page. Just look at that.

The Cheddar Bacon Poutine was one of the best tasting things I've ever eaten. It was so good. Simon's regular poutine is good, but this was amazing. This was by far the best poutine I've had in Windsor.

Have you had Simon's Prime Hamburgers poutine? What did you think? Have you had anywhere better? Let me know in the comment section or contact me on social media. If there's something better out there I need to know!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Best breakfast I've had in Windsor in quite some time

Meat Lover's Bowl form Donna Mae's Diner

Yesterday was "Birthday Day." It was the day we celebrated my youngest daughter's birthday along with my wife's birthday. The day started with eating out for breakfast. I personally, wanted to go to Route 42, but my wife wanted to go to Paul's Kitchen and since the day was in her honour she won out.

Now I love Paul's, a lot, but it's small and often very busy. So busy that, most days, there's an extended wait to get a table. Yesterday was one of those days. Our kids, like most, aren't the most patient and I'm not a big fan of waiting in a waiting room with them for anything, so we decided to leave.

On the way to Paul's I noted that Donna Mae's was back at it's old location on Eugenie. We hadn't been to Donna Mae's since my oldest was in a high chair and all I remember is that they didn't have high chairs but had really good oatmeal.Instead of driving half way across the city we decided to give it another try.

I'm so glad we did. The breakfast we had yesterday was not only one of the best looking and tasting breakfasts we've had in some time, it was also very reasonably priced. For the four of us the entire meal, including tip came to under $28. The most expensive item was my meat lovers bowl (pictured above). It had fried cubed potatoes with bacon, sausage and ham on top. This was coated in fresh shredded cheddar and mozzarella and topped with an egg cooked how I wanted. I opted for "over medium" and they were cooked perfectly.

At the end of the meal both my wife and I noted that this was one of the best breakfast's we've  had in some time. I thought it was a pretty great way to start off "Birthday Day".