Travel meals…

Elizabeth has a tradition of calling me up from where-ever she happens to be and describing in delicious detail some delightful meal she is having/just finished.


So, I got to Winnipeg a bit late, after a somewhat stressful day. A day with plenty of food, though the last bit was in the midst of the worst part of the stress (lunching in a room shared with a hundred or two of your not-well-known relations does that to me.)

So I decided to reward myself, but just a little. I poked my nose into the Blue Marble and settled in for a single small plates dish. And a complementary wine.

WELL, that was interesting. Several *particularly* interesting dishes on offer! I selected the five spice stuffed quail. That they even have such a dish is a testimony to the creative cookery I almost expect here after 4 years of staying here about once a year.

Fried stuffed quail with mushrooms and fresh peas, plus pea shoots, on a slightly mysterious (but probably chickpea) purée, heavily spiced.

Then my favourite waitron – listen to me, having eaten here maybe 4 times and talking like it’s my local – suggested an unknown Malbec as a “light accompaniment” for the quail. Which gave me some startling ideas as to what they planned on doing with the quail.

Then he kindly left me alone while I tried to track down things online and to surreptitiously figure out who was playing hockey in the bar side of the place. (Winnipeg Jets vs. Philadelphia Flyers, and I never did figure out what the score was.)

The quail arrived completely unexpectedly deep fried. It is pretty hard to deep fry something that small and have the thicker parts cooked through and the thin parts not over-cooked. And in a hyper-critical view some bits were over-done. But the taste was very good, the presentation better, and the whole thing was just so darn startling that it earned high points even from me.

A deep dark chocolate crême brulée, which was dutifully consumed.

The malbec faired less well. It was a bit off-sour despite its fruity nose. Since a fruity nose is not something I expect from a Malbec, nor the oak on the tongue, and the wine was an open bottle from, I think, Argentina, I am not overly surprised or sure I can blame this on the varietal or the waitron. And, in fact, the rather robust flavour (nothing retiring about this Malbec) worked surprisingly well with the heavy spicing. This paragraph has somehow become extremely convoluted. The wine was okay, a bit unexpected, and while not great it sort-of worked with the meal.

Then I contemplated the rest of the wine and dessert, and decided to have them sequentially, finishing the wine first of course. Dessert was an at least equally robust chocolate crême brulée, with a much more traditionally thick caramelized sugar crust. Rich, dark chocolate, and not over-sweet (although still sweet for all that!) Perfectly just over the line of too much, but the fresh fruit (melons) were wasted on me. A few raspberries would have been preferred.

All in all, a meal to put me in a mellow mood. Not too much in any respect.