I had two days worth of work to do in the Petawawa/Pembroke/Deep River area this week so I booked myself a room at the Comfort Inn, Pembroke. I wasn't sure if the trip was going to be a peaceful night away or a gigantic snore. Either way, I was pretty intent on eating well, especially because I can claim a portion of my meals when I get back to the office.
I settled on The Saffron Bistro for dinner. Their menu was small but tasty-sounding, and I knew the desserts would be good because one of the owners is ex of The Three Tarts bakery in Ottawa.
For my appetizer I had a warm salad that was really excellent, though not completely what I was expecting. The asparagus got top billing in the menu, but as you can see in the photo there were two spears on the top of the dish and that was it. No matter, though, since the rest of the vegetables were perfectly done. And the portobello mushroom slices were wildly delicious. They stole the show from the mediocre asparagus.
Sadly, I didn't get a photo of the butternut squash risotto that came next. It was getting dark and risotto is just not the most photogenic of foods. But it was delicious and flavourful, though a tiny bit rich. However, clearly richness was not an issue for me, since I decided to move on to dessert. I spent a long time looking back and forth between the strawberry shortcake and something called "chocolate pate". I decided on the shortcake.
The strawberries were shockingly fresh and delicious, but it was the cake itself, that blew me away. It was made with almonds and the texture was fantastic. I toyed with asking the waitress if the pastry chef would give me a copy of the recipe. Do people do that? Frequent restaurant goers, any ideas? I wouldn't have wanted to publish the recipe or anything, just try it to see if I could actually make something that good with my own hands.
My company for the whole meal was Judith Jones' book The Tenth Muse: My Life in Food. It was a a good choice, since reading books about food always makes me hungry anyway. Like watching Top Chef. Anyway, Jones was the editor who worked with Julia Child to get Mastering The Art of French Cooking published in North America. One of my favourite books of all time is Julia Child's memoir, My Life in France, and Jones' book is the perfect companion for Child's book. The writing style is similar and it is interesting to hear the stories from a different perspective. Highly recommended.
Tomorrow, I have my eye on a diner in Deep River that makes some kind of breakfast potato pancake using steel cut Irish Oatmeal. Yet another thing I'd like to recreate in my own kitchen.