COFFEE REVIEW: Kicking Horse 454 Horsepower

Saturday, April 30, 2011 4 comments

ORIGIN: Indonesia

My time spent in Melbourne, Australia has made me not only addicted, but also a whole lot more knowledgeable about what to look for in a good coffee. Having worked at a boutique coffee roaster as a barista, not only have my coffee making skills improved, but my taste in coffee has become refined as well.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

May 7th 2011

Bikes & Beers Cycling Tour
Hey Everyone! A fellow Diner's Dish reader has brought this local Windsor/Essex County foodie event to my attention. Unfortunately, I won't be able to attend this time around but sounds like it will be a great time. If any of you participate, be sure to send a report (with pictures of course) back to Diner's Dish via email: and I will be sure to post them on the site.


[information taken directly from:

As the day gets closer, our excitement for our Bikes & Beers Cycling Tour keeps growing. While we’re still a little bit out, initial forecasts are predicting the temperature to be a wonderful 16° C so, if you haven’t yet, get your tickets now!
Here is the tentative schedule for the May 7, 2011 tour:
The total ride is approximately 15km and part of the route will take us through Windsor’s historic old Walkerville neighbourhood and each restaurant we stop at will provide appetizers for the participants.
Cost of the tickets are $35 each. Proceeds will be going to the The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada (LLSC).
Participants are to provide their own bicycles, however, if you don’t have one or are interested in renting one of our tandems, please contact us at

Pre-Easter Dinners

Saturday, April 23, 2011 0 comments

Easter. Another holiday filled with an enormous assortment of food, which some tend to regret indulging in come Easter Monday. This year my Easter started three days early. Matt and Kate, two of my friends, returned home from a six-month teaching stint at a Canadian International School in Japan. Their trip was abruptly cut short by the devastating earthquakes and tsunami.

As a result, it was the first time we have all been home together in over three years. Once again, my friend Adam took the lead on organizing an Easter-food get together. The mission: we each take a course. Adam of course took his specialty--mains; Matt side dishes and I claimed dessert (not really my specialty, but really working on it). Two of Adam's friends from college, Brian and Tammy, joined us last minute. They came with food in-hand, fuelling us with their short-notice wraps while we waited for Matt to show up.

MAIN: For Adam's main, he pulled a recipe from one of my all-time favourite chefs--Jamie Oliver. The recipe is found in Jamie Oliver's
Cook with Jamie: My Guide to Making You a Better Cook cookbook. For those that don't yet own the cookbook, I highly recommend it. It is one of the favourites in my collection. Not only does it contain incredibly simple, tasty dishes but also breaks down the basics when it comes to different cuts of meat, how to prepare seafood, as well as various cutting techniques explained. 

For our main, we were having "Blackened Barbequed Pork Filets" (181). Yes, if you have been keeping track of my previous posts, Adam is an Asian-Canadian, cooking a British chef's version of Deep South (Texan) American Barbecue. Got it? Doesn't get more globalised than that, eh? The marinade was amazing. All made from scratch, none of that store-bought crap. It contained cumin seeds, fennel seeds, cloves, smoked paprika, orange juice/zest, thyme, garlic, Heinz ketchup, and balsamic vinegar. Sounds really exotic, as well as really random... but honestly... SENSATIONAL. The pork was cooked beautifully, to the point where it felt like it was melting in your mouth.

SIDE-DISH: Matt kept it simple, but kicked it up a notch. He prepared a salad with goat's cheese, red onion, tomatoes, cucumber, parmesan cheese, and dressed it all with Newman's Own Dressing. I'd heard of Newman's Own Dressing before, but didn't know that it was such a socially conscious company. They apparently donate 100% of the profits (after taxes) to various charities. Amazing, eh? The salad was delicious. Adam decided to give Matt's category a boost and quickly threw together a lemon/cooked pea quinoa salad. When the two were combined--fantastic! 

DESSERT: Tiramisu. Go figure the Italian-Canadian chooses this for dessert, eh? I like to make Tiramisu because, to be totally honest, not a big fan of baking. As with most Italians, we HATE measuring and choose to just eye everything out and adjust according to taste. Well, this method doesn't work so well when it comes to baking :) 

Basically the Tiramisu just calls for 6-ish eggs (yolk and whites separated), sugar, mascarpone cheese, savoiardi cookies, and some really good quality fair-trade organic espresso .What you want to do is mix some sugar with the egg yolks till smooth. Then add the mascarpone cheese until you get a nice creamy texture. Add any additional sugar to taste. Beat the egg whites until peaks are formed. Fold the egg whites into the yolk/cheese mixture. If you find it too thick, you can add a touch of espresso just to thin it out a bit. Next step is by far the easiest (and a lot more fun than trying to fluff up egg whites*). Lay out a thinnish layer of the cream in a container. Next take the savoiardi cookies, and quickly dip them into the cooled espresso. Layer the espresso-dipped cookies into the container. Spread another layer of the cream on top. Follow this with another layer of espresso-dipped cookies. Then another layer of the cream. Continue until you get your preferred cake height or you run out of cookies. You want your last layer to be the cream. Garnish with a bit of fair-trade organic cocoa. Put in fridge until ready to serve, the longer you let it rest the more the layers incorporate into each other and the better the tiramisu tastes. Everyone seemed to enjoy the Tiramisu, some even digging in for seconds :)

*NOTE: don't try to fluff up the egg whites with sugar incorporated, you'll be there FOREVER. Trust me ;)

Nonna Esposito's Good Friday Dinner

Good Friday was spent at my Nonna Esposito's this year. The woman is always try to plump us up. She in a (nice) way reminds me of the old lady from Hansel and Gretel. Only it is LOVE that is behind her motives ;) Dinner included: Sicilian-style couscous, crab, fish, prawns, salad, artichokes and of course Nonna's famous homemade pane (bread). I think the pictures speak for themselves :) 

What are you making/having for Easter dinner? Going anywhere special? I'd love to hear about it! Email me at: and fill me in :)


REVIEW: The City Grill Windsor

Monday, April 18, 2011 11 comments

The City Grill
375 Ouellette Avenue 
Windsor, Ontario Canada
Phone: +1(519)915-5948
Type of Restaurant: Contemporary American 
Attire: Business Casual
Prices: E- $12 M- $27 D- $9
Payment Options:
Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Debit/Eftpos
Hours: Monday-Sunday 11:30am-3:00pm
Reservations? Recommended
Handicap Accessible? Yes 
Vegetarian Friendly? Limited.
Vegan Friendly? No.


      Photobucket   Photobucket



Quality of Food: 3/5
Service: 4/5
Originality: 3/5
Atmosphere: 4/5

Today marked the long-awaited grand opening of The City Grill Windsor, located at the former location of Pepper's Bar and Grill. The only thing left reminiscent of Pepper's is the structure itself, and the mezzanine dining. Instead, The City Grill chooses to pay homage to its historic resident, Birks Diamond Jewellers. With black and white photos highlighting historically significant landmarks in Windsor used as dividers, the original brass Birks' doorknob, and even the original walk-in safe's conversion into a wine cellar you definitely feel you are stepping into an upscale, time-warp from Windsor's past.

My friend Adam was the one who suggested we give The City Grill a try. Our mutual friend Melissa decided to join us as well. The three of us were instantly greeted at the door and quickly ushered to a table. We were offered up menus, resembling a fancy broadway playbill and our glasses topped up with water (visibly infused with strawberry and lime, though tasted like plain, iced tap water).

Upon glancing over the wine menu, we initially thought they only offered wine by the bottle. Much too difficult to choose considering the mix of preferences at the table. The server quickly ran over to the bar and brought over a per glass menu. The City Grill offers a nice selection of wines from some of the best wine growing regions of the world: France, California, New Zealand, Argentina, Chile ... I was however surprised by the lack of local wines. Especially, considering the wide range of fantastic wines available in Essex County. Nevertheless, I settled for a Californian Pinot Noir, Melissa an Italian Pinot Grigio, and Adam a sangria. See what I mean about mixed preferences.
STARTERS: Spiced Crab Cakes (left), Short Rib Croquette (right)

For starters, the three of us shared the Spiced Crab Cakes, and Short Rib Croquettes--both recommended to us by an employee. The Spiced Crab Cakes were atlantic crab incrusted in cornmeal, with a distinct taste of cilantro. While tasty, the three of us agreed that there was just something missing. Perhaps more spice? The Short Rib Croquettes on the other hand were simply amazing. Shredded short ribs, surrounded by chunky mash potatoes, rolled into a panko-crumbed ball and fried to give it a perfect crunch. Almost, reminded me of Sicilian Arancini with the mash potatoes substituted in for the rice. The short ribs had us craving a barbecue sauce, rather than the "tomato coulis" it was served with.

MAINS: Melissa's Filet Mignon
MAINS: Adam's Cider-Cured Double Cut Pork Chop
MAINS: My Vegetable Cutlet
For mains, Adam ordered the Cider-Cured Double Cut Pork Chop, Melissa the Filet Mignon, and I went with the Vegetable Cutlet. Adam's pork chops were served on a bed of mashed potatoes with a side of cranberry sauce. Tasting like a decently cooked Thanksgiving Dinner. Mel ordered the filet mignon cooked medium, when she cut into it however, it was clearly well done. Our assumption is that it was originally cooked properly, but seeing as how long we waited for our meals it probably continued to cook waiting for one of the servers to bring our food out to us. Despite the let down, the restaurant manager was quick to send it back. A shrot time later, a new properly cooked filet was brought out not only by our server, but Shawn McKerness, the chef himself-- apologetic. That shows incredible grace, and just how much he is striving to provide an amazing dining experience. I wasn't entirely sure what to be expecting with my vegetable cutlet, I guess I was picturing some sort of vegetable terrine-type dish. Instead, I got what resembled a banana-shaped garden burger patty with some bok choy, and a small serving of mushroom risotto. Oh, and a smearing of the "tomato coulis" appeared underneath the "cutlet" as well. I didn't really care for the patty, it was edible... but nothing special. The server herself even inquired my thoughts, as they have had mixed reviews with other diners commenting it tasted "bland". Bland would be an accurate word, but nothing some extra coulis, perhaps, couldn't fix. The bok choy was delicious, and the mushroom risotto was one of the best I have ever eaten (and risotto is one of the dishes I'm a stickler for). In fact, I would have been more than ready to pay the same price for just a bigger portion of that risotto (NEEDS to be on the menu). 

For dessert, Adam ordered the "banana". Banana-chocolate chip cake, banana ice cream, and banana brûlée pudding. All three were amazingly satisfying, leaving all three of us craving more. Especially the brûlée. Coffee on the other hand could use some work. Adam's cappuccino was laughable. The froth looking like it was just scooped on top. To the baristas's defence, my doppio espresso was fantastic not needing any sugar (thankfully, since neither of us were offered any).
DESSERT: Adam's "Banana" - cake, icecream, and brulee 

Overall, the three of us were happy with the experience. The hiccups were a given considering this was the restaurant's first time opening its doors to the public. Food was pricey for what was on offer, however the service easily made up for where the restaurant was lacking. Employees were always asking how things were going, and seemed to be seeking out recommendations on what to improve upon.  The City Grill is a welcome addition to the downtown scene, and I look forward to seeing just how much it grows and improves along the way.

REVIEW: Mettawas Station

Sunday, April 17, 2011 0 comments

Mettawas Station

169 Landsdowne Ave 
Kingsville, Ontario Canada N9Y1S4
Phone: +1(519)733-2459
Type of Restaurant: Mediterranean 
Attire: Casual
Prices: E- $10 M- $20 D- ?
Payment Options:
Visa, Mastercard, American Express
(Winter) Hours: Tuesday (Lunch): 11:30am-2:30pm
                               Wed-Fri: Open at 11:30am
                              Sat and Sun: Open at 12 noon

Reservations? Recommended
Handicap Accessible? Yes 
Vegetarian Friendly? Yes
Vegan Friendly?
Gluten Free? Yes.






Quality of Food: 4/5
Service: 4/5
Originality: 4/5
Atmosphere: 5/5
Price: 5/5

The readers of Diner's Dish voted and Mettawas Station won by a landslide as the restaurant to visit during Kingsville Ontario's "Taste of the Town" event. My little sister having just finished work decided to tag along. 

Walking up to the building itself, all I could think was how beautiful. Mettawas Station has loads of history behind it. Hiram Walker (yes of whiskey fame), commissioned architect Albert Kahn to design and build the Kingsville Train Station to be ready when construction of the railway line reached Kingsville from Windsor in the spring of 1889.

Upon entering the restaurant, my eyes were in for yet another surprise. The interior was absolutely stunning. Old-school feel, with a modern country twist. We were soon greeted, and told to sit wherever we saw fit. 

The waitress offered us drinks, I chose the Pelee Island Pinot Grigio which was on offer with the "Taste of the Town" special. Awkwardly, the waitress asked for I.D. I only WISH I was 18 again. I laughed it off and took it as a compliment.

Upon her return, we were ready to place our orders. I knew what I was after, the "Taste of the Town" special, pan-seared Rainbow Trout. Unexpectedly, the server offered up either a caesar or garden salad with my meal. My sister being the salad-fanatic helped choose a garden salad with a raspberry vinaigrette. 

My sister had already had a quick bite to eat at work before meeting up. She had chosen the "Sicilian" arancini as something to munch on aside from my salad.

Almost immediately, the server came out with a basket of hot, fresh bread and some olive oil for dipping featuring parsley and minced sun-dried tomatoes. The olive oil had an amazing earthy flavour to it, you could tell it was of a high-quality. 

The food all came out together, surprisingly brought out by the chef and owner, Anthony DelBrocco. My plate of rainbow trout was clearly assembled with attention to detail. It looked beautiful: two good-size, pan-seared portions laid on a bed of perfectly cooked baby carrots and zucchini. Garnished with a few roasted baby potatoes, sage, and a slice of lemon. For $22, I was almost overwhelmed by how much there was to eat. The wine was refreshing, with a slight, delicate fruity taste.

My sister gave me one of her "Sicilian" arancini balls. I took a bite, and honestly first impression--bland. I accompanied it with Anthony's special tomato and meat sauce, and still-- meh. To quote my sister, "tastes like a mangie cake made them". Being raised in a Sicilian family, I had to agree. They were missing the cheesy filling and sauce from within the risotto ball itself. Mettawas' "Sicilian" arancini were more like breaded rice balls. As someone raised in a Sicilian family, I wouldn't personally order these again. But perhaps I just take my Italian cuisine way too serious.

The server cleared our table, and asked if we were interested in any dessert or coffee. I was really craving a coffee seeing as I had already scoped out their Gaggia Espresso machine over behind the bar. I just couldn't though. Way too full. I passed on both coffee and dessert but without regrets. I know I will be back for yet another meal at Mettawas, and next time I'll be sure to save room for both dessert and a doppio ristretto ;)