>> Friday, March 25, 2011
One evening, as I was driving home from my friends condo, I happened to pass by Central Memorial Park and noticed how different the park looked compared to a couple years ago. Even a couple months ago. All the usual “residents” of the park seemed to have disappeared and replaced by wonderful pathways, beautiful lighting and a few new buildings. I was quite shocked since the city had neglected that area of town for quite some time now. It was really nice to see that they have invested more money in to restoring our downtown parks. When I got home, I did a few quick searches and found out that one of those new buildings that I saw also housed a new restaurant. So knowing me, first thing I did was rally up some company to join me in an evening of exploring: food and locale.
Atmosphere: Relaxed romantic surroundings reminiscent of the woodsy-ness of River Café (its sister restaurant) while facing the beautifully restored Central Memorial Park.
Price Range: Mid $10s+
Food and Wine: When deciding on what to eat at Boxwood, you’ll notice that they’ve kept to a smaller more organic menu featuring local sustainable food paired with some great rotisserie items. My friend has never tried faro or lentils before and was intrigued by all the grains and legumes featured on their menu. Fortunately it wasn’t very hard to talk her in to wanting to try something different. We ended up ordering the Bowden Farm Naturally Raised Roasted Chicken, the Spragg Farm Roast Pork Rack and of course the Warm Lemon Lentils and Farro Salad.
The chicken came with equal portions of white and dark meat, which was perfect since I enjoy dark meat more and my friend likes the white. I had a chance to try some of the white meat as well and it was moist, tender and very flavorful when paired with the accompanying fennel and celery slaw. It’s rare to be able to get white meat that isn’t dry at a restaurant, so this was a nice start to the meal.
The pork chop, with a wonderful outer layer of crispy skin, was served in a sweet buttery apple gastrique. It was the perfect topping for the squash and roasted apples that were served with the chop. We found it really hard not wanting to scoop up all the sauce with every bite of the pork because it paired so well and really made the dish.
Our sides of Lentils and Farro were equally as tasty. The warm lentils reminded me of Indian daal, due to the aromatic spices of cumin and coriander. It was topped with creamy crème fraiche, which worked in my opinion. The farro salad was a new item which the server suggested and wasn’t on the menu yet(the creamy farro on the menu was unavailable that night). We decided on it anyhow since my friend was interested in trying something new and unique. The texture of farro isn’t for everyone, but if you like chewier grains like barley, then I recommend trying it. The farro was mixed with olive oil, what tasted like swiss chard and topped with parmesan cheese. Let’s just say my friend is now a farro lover.
All the dishes were of a good portion size and worked well for sharing. It also helped us save some room for dessert, which I was already eyeing before we even started our evening. The first item on the list was sticky toffee pudding, anybody want to guess what I ordered? The pudding was moist, not too sweet and was served with a scoop of maple walnut ice cream. I usually find that maple tends to overwhelm the toffee but this one was light enough to compliment all the toffee caramel sauce. The roasted apples on the side was a nice touch, but since I was so in to the pudding itself I wouldn’t have noticed the apples not being there (but that’s just me). My friend equally enjoyed her Mint Ice Cream Sandwich and literally “bit in” to it, who needs utensils when digging in to what literally was a big mouthwatering cookie.
My Picks: Spragg Farm Roast Pork Rack and Farro Salad
Overall: No longer a stranger to the upgraded Central Memorial Park and Boxwood, I feel more in tune with what’s going on in the city. Especially after dining on some wonderful locally grown cuisine. I can’t wait to see what else Boxwood has to offer in the future. With an amazing view and friendly service, I know it definitely won’t be long before I head back, but this time I won’t be surprised by the differences in the park. Maybe just anticipation of what the menu has in store for me.
340 13 Avenue SW