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Monday, 31 December 2012

Stoking the Home Fires - Last Post of 2012

Friends, Gourmands, Gastrophiles.

What a year it's been. What a crazy and exhilarating rush through the Capital City's rapidly evolving culinary landscape. I could spend the entire day waxing poetic that this might have been, to date, the best year of my life. The people that populate this landscape make it so. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all of you. You know who you are.

My big break was writing the Edmonton section for Macleans "Where to eat in Canada" guide, which was released earlier in the fall. My picks were Tres Carnales and Corso 32 for their continued blend of finesse, bold flavours, and unbridled joy and belief in their modus operandi.

And so, Dine & Write's final post for 2012. I can hardly wait to write in 2013.

Stoking The Home Fires

Hotel restaurants often have a shoddy reputation, and for good reason. I've seen the good (excellent prime rib), the bad (oh so average hamburgers), and the ugly (chicken cordon bleu that was clearly deep-fried from a frozen state and stayed frozen in the middle). There are those few gems, though, that buck these designations. Homefire Grill is one of my favourites.

Homefire is central to a number of hotels in the far west end, and features one of the loveliest (and underrated) dining rooms in the city. Its focal point is a stunning fireplace that gives off the aura of a campfire on pebbly ground. The menu is staunch Canadiana and meat-heavy. That isn't a bad thing either. House-made bannock is a requisite starter. The original chef was Aboriginal and this is his mother's recipe. It is feather light and served with maple butter.

Bison meatloaf is crowned with a tangy tumble of Saskatoon berry sauce. The tart sauce caresses the bison's natural sweetness. The sides are the meal's weak link - a quartet of veggies shares quarters with a mound of average mashed potatoes. Good gravy, though.

Pork loin scarcely requires a knife for cutting, much less teeth for chewing. Snowcaps of pesto and goat cheese are an assertive counterpoint to the pork's demure nature. Roasted spuds are affable, but the same pattern of veggies from the meatloaf makes another appearance.

Locally farmed duck breast is a treat. The meat is enrobed in a glorious layer of fat and is generously sprinkled with zippy peppercorns. See previous comments on mashed potatoes and veg. I wish the same amount of forethought went into the sides as went into the protein. Nonetheless, I continue to enjoy visiting Homefire and am pleased to sign off on the last post of 2012.

Home Fire Grill on Urbanspoon


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