Friday, June 29, 2018

#FoodPornFriday Vittorio's Slice of Italy - fantastic Italian if you can find it

Today's #FoodPornFriday post is inspired by a few Facebook and Instagram comments I've gotten over the last few days. 

A few weeks ago my wife and I had plans to go see the new Avengers movie. We wanted to make sure we saw it in the theater and didn't wait for the DVD release. I had the thought that if we went the opening night of Star Wars: Solo then, obviously, Avengers would be empty as everyone would be seeing Solo. It was a good plan. What it was missing though was somewhere to eat before the show. 

Now, I don't remember what else was going on that day but I remember time was tight. We had some stuff to do and then needed to eat pretty quickly and hit the theater or we would miss the start of the show. At this point, Avenger's was only playing at Lakeshore Cinema so I was looking for somewhere to eat either in Tecumseh or on the way. After checking out Google and a few review sites I settled on someplace I've never heard of: Vittorio's Slice of Italy

Vittorio's Slice of Italy is a small(ish) family-owned Italian restaurant hidden in Forest Glade. It's hidden so well that it's in plain sight and despite that, I drove past it twice. See, it's in Forest Glad Plaza, and I can already hear you saying: but the only restaurant in that plaza is Parks & Rec. Well, I thought the same thing, and we are both wrong. Vittorio's is almost in the south-west corner. It's right next to a Deli and I have to say their sign somehow makes it look like they are part of the deli. Driving by I actually thought that the deli must sell a lot of Italian meats and bread or something. No, Vittorio's has nothing to do with the Deli (well maybe they get some ingredients there, that wouldn't surprise me). 

So now that you know how to find the place, what can you expect from Vittorio's Slice of Italy? It's not a big place, though bigger than it looks from outside in the plaza. The kitchen is in plain view and as soon as you walk in I can almost guarantee you will be greeted and treated like family by one of the staff. In this way Vitto's reminds me of Louis', they are extremely friendly and welcoming and you will feel right at home in no time. The only complaint I have about the place is that it can get loud. It's basically one room with no walls and depending on how many people are there it can be noisy. 

The big thing food wise at Vittorio's is gourmet pizza. They offer 34 different pre-made pizzas that include #23: Carbonara with mozzarella, eggs, bacon and parmesan, #32: Lenola with mozzarella, porcini mushrooms, and prosciutto, or #15: Jessica's with Tomato sauce, mozzarella, ham, pepperoni, and sausage. These are the pizza's my family has tried so far and every one has been fantastic. 

It's an interesting style of pizza. It's not Windsor Style Pizza. Nor is it wood oven flatbread pizza. It's something in between. The ingredients seem to be the same ones used on most Windsor Style Pizza and the crust is closer to Windsor Style but not as thick. The pies are cooked in a standard pizza oven, so they definitely aren't wood fired. I've heard these are closer to the Italian roots of pizza, but I can't answer to the validity of that.

Vittorio's isn't all pizza either. They also have a decent selection of traditional Italian meals. Gnocchi, Ravioli, Chicken Parm, etc. After our first trip, someone on social media suggested we try the Bruschetta appetizer and we did so on our next trip and that comment was bang on. The best, but also messiest, bruschetta I've had. Overall my wife and I were really impressed. So much so that the next Thursday I took my mom and the kids there. A couple weeks later the entire family went. At this point, I'm sure we will be back again. 

I did forget one thing. We found the prices to be excellent for the portion size. The pizzas range from $8.99 to $13.99 with items like veal parmesan being only $12.99. You don't see those prices at other local Italian restaurants. 

So trust me when I say, there's a damn fine Italian restaurant hidden in Forest Glade and it's well worth going on the hunt to find it.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

#SushiSaturday We finally got to try The Dragonfly Sushi Bar

Between having to work afternoon shift and things like getting the kids out to Camp Cedarwin I haven't been free Friday nights. This means I haven't had a chance to do a #FoodPornFriday post for some time. I feel bad about this. So today I present a special #SushiSaturday post featuring some of the most appealing sushi ever.

The Dragonfly Sushi Bar opened up in Windsor quite a while ago. It's a small place located at 1567 Ottawa Street and is very easy to miss if you don't know it's there.

I remember a lot of buzz when it opened. I kept hearing that this was the place to go. That the chef (Shane Cushing) was the best in the city and one of the best sushi chefs in Canada. It seems everyone else heard this too as my wife and I were never able to get in. It doesn't help that they have very limited hours and are very small. Now I realize all I had to do was call ahead and get reservations, but that would require more pre-planning that we usually have when deciding to eat out.

Back on May 25th my wife and I found ourselves kid free and looking for somewhere to eat. I wanted to try somewhere new and headed towards India Paradise, a new Indian place on Ottawa street. On the drive there we passed Dragonfly and I noted that they were open. When we got to India Paradise it looked like they were closed (more about that if I ever post about India Paradise) so we headed back to Dragonfly and actually managed to get in and get a seat.

I'm so glad we got in that day. Dragonfly serves the freshest fish I've ever eaten. The tuna was like butter. It melted in your mouth. I'm not a fan of sashimi (the actual raw fish that many people think all sushi is), but my wife is. She insisted I try her tuna and OMG it was so good. Everything was excellent. We ordered a mix of rolls both ones from the menu and daily specials. I also got a Panko Pork Slider that was also a daily special. That Pork Slider is one of the most delicious things I've ever put in my mouth.

Everything we had was excellent. Ridiculously fresh and well made. I'm not sure how to get across just how special this was. Let's put it this way, I didn't think food could taste this fresh. I've eaten a lot of food. I had a definition of amazing fresh food in my head based on that experience and Dragonfly caused me to raise that bar, to redefine my idea of fresh sushi.

With all that said, this has got to be my favourite sushi place in the city now, right? Surprisingly no. It's up there, way up there, but there were some things that I wasn't a big fan of. The sashimi is amazing, but it's still not the kind of thing I want for a meal. Added to that almost every single roll had shrimp in it, most of it cooked shrimp. I'm not really a shrimp fan and when I do eat it I like it chilled. Now I could tell that it was amazing and perfectly prepared but it wasn't a taste for me. Like when I have a great IPA, I can tell it's a good IPA but I'm still not a fan of IPAs.

Now I'm certain that this is the perfect taste for someone, probably lots of people. You honestly can't get better ingredients or better-prepared sushi anywhere in the city. If you dig shrimp and lots of sesame and crispily fried root vegetables and edge seared eel you are going to love Dragonfly. If you like sushi at all you owe it to yourself to try Dragonfly at least once. For us it's going to be a now and then sushi place. I'm certain sometime in the future my wife or I will get a sushi craving and say: let's go back to The Dragonfly Sushi Bar and when we do I don't expect to be at all disapointed. I just hope they have panko pork sliders as a special that day.