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Sunday, 7 August 2011

Sugar Bowl - Pour Some Sugar On Me

What happens when four bloggers - Food Karma, Baconhound and Fojoy Is Annoyed (and me) - decide to have supper together? The result is a potent stew of hilarity, insight and reminders to snap photos before dishes are consumed. We visited The Sugar Bowl, a long-standing Garneau institution that veritably bursts at the seams with hipsters, academics, and a mosaic of others taking in the evening airs on the patio.

Sugarbowl is renowned for its beer list but, not being a bierophile, I order a glass of Frescobaldi Pomino Bianco. This blend of chardonnay and pinot bianco grapes is a velvety splash of white fruits and lilies, but needs to be served at a significantly colder temperature. My glass lurks somewhere between "slightly cool" and "room temperature." This noble vintage presents as a bit insipid without proper chilling.

We whet our appetites with grilled cornbread. Here, four golden rectangles are decently warm, flecked with corn nibs, sprinkled with parsley, and served with butter. A few more cross-hatches from the grill would make apparent that this cornbread was indeed grilled.

Yam fries (to split hairs: they should be billed as "sweet potato fries" since that is what they are and these two veggies are not one and the same...but I digress) are next. Again, decent execution in terms of texture but the fries are a bit bland on their own. A few shakes of coriander would coax forth additional flavour. The spicy aioli helps quite a bit.

My chosen main, Hoegaarden and bacon mussels, is a generous platter of PEI mussels steamed in butter, garlic and beer. In the guise, beer is a cozy bedfellow and subtly complements the mussels' marine sweetness. They are neither fishy nor rubbery. The bacon tastes, surprisingly, like ham more than anything else and the dish would be equally successful without it.

I haven't a photo, but the lamb burger was the evening's clear winner. The patty was incredibly juicy and proudly wore a thick crown of creamy goat cheese. Fifty percent of our table's occupants ordered this dish and I longingly studied each bite. I didn't leave singing any Def Leppard songs, but I did leave wishing that I too knew the way of the lamb and the goat.

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