Restaurant Review: Cerezo Cafe & Bar

>> Tuesday, August 20, 2013

 
It’s amazing how much information is available at our finger tips these days. At a blink of an eye news will travel around the world and back. So it’s no surprise that in the restaurant industry, hidden gems only stay hidden for so long. Bringing a whole new meaning to the phrase, if you build it they will come. Which I find to be the equivalent of if you make good food, they will come. Such is the case with Cerezo, when I saw the amazing dishes posted online at various sites. It was only a matter of time before I made my way over to try it out for myself.

Atmosphere: Quaint and homey, the restaurant has a charm derived from the juxtaposition of old world western and new world cuisine.
Price Range: Mid $10s
 
Food: We ordered off both the tapas menu and the daily special menu. There were a good selection of choices and I was so tempted to order one of each. Although, I did find my restraint and decided on the following, starting with the Bang Bang Chicken which is steamed chicken with a spicy sesame dressing over a bed of lettuce. It was a very light dish and perfect for those looking for a healthier option.  The only thing I would have changed was to either grill the chicken or lightly sear it to provide that crispy texture. I really enjoyed the spicy sesame sauce and almost wish there was more of it, but then again. It wouldn’t have been nearly as light. A nice refreshing start to the meal.
Next we had the Salmon Sashimi which was a special plate that evening. It was fresh slices of Sockeye salmon served with wasabi, cream cheese and yuzu. The salmon was very flavourful and it was a nice change dipping it in to the yuzu instead of the typical soy sauce. The slight sweetness of the yuzu enhanced the flavours of the fish making it another light and healthy dish to start our evening.
 
The Ton Toro was a special feature which was BBQ pork jowls (the fatty portions of pork near the neck region of the pig) served with a side of creamy potato salad wrapped in romaine lettuce. I did find the pork to be a bit tough and could have used a more seasoning. The potato salad was tangy and extremely velvety, where the texture was similar to mashed potatoes providing a boost of flavor to the dish overall.
My favorite that evening was the Ikameshi or grilled squid stuffed with rice.  When the plate arrived, it was beautifully presented and quite striking.  The squid itself was perfectly cooked, not chewy and stuffed with nicely fragrant Japanese style tobiko infused rice which reminded me of eating sticky rice.  The sauce was a perfect combination of sweet and sour with a side of spicy togarashi mayo to add that extra kick. I am still drooling over this dish as I write this blog.
 
But that’s not the only thing that had me drooling. The Blueberry Parfait was also amazing.  Layering jello, cake, yogurt ice cream and blueberries with blueberry ice cream and whip cream on top. It took my breath away. For those that know me, know how much I love ice cream. I could imagine ordering these every day and never get sick of them. Helps that they constantly change the parfait features as well ranging from green tea to blueberries, strawberries to chocolate, and the combinations are endless.
We decided to walk by the dessert display and couldn’t walk away without ordering something and landed on the Strawberry Shortcake.  Layers of light white cake with whipped cream and fresh strawberries throughout. It wasn’t overly sweet and very well balanced. It made me wonder what all the other desserts tasted like. Guess I’ll just have to make my way back again.
 
My Picks: Ikameshi (stuffed grilled squid), Any dessert but specifically the parfaits
Overall: Like all information, sometimes they’re right, often they could be wrong. However they masses were right with this one. The food and service at Cerezo was amazing (especially the desserts!). I think I’ve found my new dessert hangout, maybe I’ll also grab a couple to go as well!
 
Cerezo Café & Bar
1002 Edmonton Trail NE
Calgary, AB
(403) 250-8897

CEREZO Cafe & Bar on Urbanspoon

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Weekends and Eggy Prosciutto Cups for Brunch

>> Wednesday, August 7, 2013

 
Long weekends never seem to last. Everybody always looks forward to them, but they come and go with a blink of an eye. My friends tell me to enjoy them now since they’re all beginning to have kids and they tell me that time flies by even faster when you do. As somebody that doesn’t have kids, it’s hard to imagine that time can past by any faster than it already has. A person once told me a great analogy. Life isn’t like a box of chocolates; life is like a toilet paper roll. The older you get the faster it spins and the closer to the end of the roll. Guess Forrest got it wrong after all!

Since everything is spinning faster and time is out of control, I try to find ways to make a delicious meal without actually having to “make” the meal. Best way for that is the oven. I think it’s under-utilized at times. There’s nothing easier than to cook several different dishes and let the oven do the work of one, or two of the items, especially in the morning. Here I share a quick recipe for those lazy weekend mornings where you don’t want to have to slave away to cook breakfast, but instead enjoy those extra couple minutes of down time. At least try to put a hold on that toilet paper from spinning out of control. So take a deep breath, enjoy the weekends for what they are and try the following recipe!
 
Ingredients:
8 pieces of prosciutto
1/4 cup grated parmesan or other cheese of your choice
Salt and Pepper
4 eggs
Arugula or Spinach

Preparation:
Prehead oven to 375ºC while preparing the ingredients
In a muffin pan, press 2 slices of prosciutto in to each cup until out of prosciutto, make sure to press them down well or else the eggs will not fit nicely later.
Sprinkle or grate a bit of cheese in to each cup
Add a dash of salt and pepper to each cup
Carefully crack an egg on to the prosciutto and cheese, if the egg begins to overflow, remove some of the egg white
Top with another light dash of pepper (or salt, but remember that the prosciutto can be salty!)
Place in oven and let cook for 8-10 mins depending on how runny you want the eggs to be, I prefer mine to have a runny center so I cook them for only 8 mins.
Remove from oven, let cool
On a plate, place a layer of arugula or spinach, depending on what you’re using. Scoop the prosciutto cups out of the muffin pan and place on top of the leafy greens.
Serve with healthy hollandaise or as is for a quick breakfast or brunch!
Recipe makes 4 servings

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