Gastronomy and Life's Other Pleasures

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Posts tagged pulled pork

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Dinner at Juniper Kitchen and Wine Bar

While my mother was visiting one recent weekend, we decided to try somewhere new for dinner. I had read about Juniper’s recent menu overhaul (see here), and thought it would be fun to give it a try. The husband and I had been to Juniper once many, many years ago, so it was also time for us to return.

I had forgotten about Juniper’s great the atmosphere. It is so big and bright from all of the floor to ceiling windows. We were promptly greeted and seated when we arrived, and that great service continued through the evening.

We decided to order a couple of appetizers to start, but before that came an adorable and tasty amuse bouche, a meaty strudel. I love amuse bouches; they are such a treat and I find that very few restaurants do that anymore. For my appetizer, I ordered the crispy lamb dumplings, which were so rich and delicious. The husband had the inverted poutine, which he liked for its unique take on the classic Canadian dish. My mother had the gazpacho, which she thoroughly enjoyed.

For our mains, I absolutely had to have the scallops with bacon-garlic scape risotto.  Wowsers - this was magical! The dash of chimichurri added an insanely fresh and tangy flavour to the whole dish. The scallops were perfectly cooked, of course! The husband had a few of the small plates for his main dish, including the pulled pork grilled cheese with onion rings and the sous vide pork ribs with fries. He enjoyed both - the ribs were very tender and flavourful. My mother opted for the cornish hen, which came with a very spicy slaw and rice. She enjoyed it but the spicyness of the slaw was a bit of a challenge.

For dessert we decided to share the brownie with ice cream. Juniper’s menu overhaul included switching out expensive, large desserts for smaller, reasonably priced dessert bites (most are just $5). Indeed, the brownie was small, but it gave each of us two bites or so to satisfy our sweet craving, and that it did! 

Overall, we enjoyed our dinner, and would return. The food was delicious, the service excellent, and the ambiance lovely!

Filed under food Ottawa dinner supper restaurant Juniper Juniper Kitchen and Wine Bar Westboro Wellington West dining fine dining lamb scallop risotto cornish hen pulled pork grilled cheese fries onion rings chimichurri brownie chocolate dessert main appetizer

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Weekend dinner: homemade flour tortillas and slow cooker pineapple pulled pork

After making homemade corn tortillas for the first time a while back (see here), I decided it was time to try making homemade flour tortillas. If I had a preference I would say that I personally prefer the real corn tortillas - I grew up on flour tortillas and I just like the different flavour and texture of the corn tortillas. But the husband is a big fan of flour tortillas (especially the ones like from Lonestar Texas Grill here in Ottawa), so we got to work to give them our best effort.

I figured that making the tortillas would be fairly simple, but I didn’t realize the many recipe variations that existed, especially when it comes to choosing the third key ingredient in the tortilla recipe: the fat/oil. From lard to bacon fat to many different types of oils, there are many variations. I researched a number of flour tortilla recipes online, but finally settled on the one from the lovely Table for Two blog (click here to link to her site and see her recipe). I liked that she used vegetable oil, which was a simple ingredient and something that I already had on hand. I followed the recipe exactly as written in her blog post, and the tortillas were amazing! We ended up freezing about half of the batch of tortillas for a future use, and I can tell you that they froze very well.

What better way to use your newly made delicious homemade tortillas than to stuff them with some delicious pulled pork? After our trip to Miami earlier this year, we have become enamoured with tacos ‘al pastor,’ which is a Mexican dish of pork marinated in a mixture of dried chilies, spices and pineapple. We wanted to make our own take on this dish, so we concocted a recipe for herbs and spices to go with our boneless pork rib roast in the slow cooker.  It turned out great! We loved the sweetness imparted by the pineapple and the gentle hint of spice from the chipotle powder. We also added some Bullseye hickory smoke bbq sauce for a delicious smokey flavour. Below is our recipe - enjoy!

Pineapple pulled pork (our take on tacos al pastor) - serves many, many people

Ingredients:

- 1 4lb boneless pork rib roast

- 1 yellow onion, diced

- 1 398 ml can pineapple tidbits, drained (reserve juice)

For the sauce mixture:

- 1 tbsp dried oregano

- 2 tbsp brown sugar

- 1/2 tsp (or more to taste) chipotle powder

- 1/2 tsp (or more to taste) chili powder

- 1 tbsp smoked paprika

- 1 tbsp minced garlic

- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

- 3 tbsp lime juice

- 1/4 cup pineapple juice (from the can)

- 1/4 bbq sauce (we used Bullseye old west hickory smoke)

- salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Prepare your slow cooker. Lay diced onions in the bottom of the crock, and set the pork on top of the onions. Salt and pepper the pork to taste. Cover the pork with the pineapple tidbits; what you can’t fit on the pork, lay around it on the bottom on top of the onions.

Make your sauce: combine all of the sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix well.  Pour over top of the pork.

Cook on low for a total of 8 hours.  At 7 hours, start shredding/pulling your pork and mix everything around so that it can cook in the juices for the last hour or so.

Serve in your flour tortillas and top with salsa, lettuce, sour cream and cilantro.

Filed under food dinner supper tortilla flour flour tortilla homemade tortilla press tacos pork pulled pork slow cooker pineapple crockpot recipe onion blog Table for Two

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Lunch from the Red Roaster food truck

I finally got to try the delicious eats from Red Roaster, one of the new food trucks to come out of Ottawa’s revamped food truck rules. It was one of the trucks that I had been wanting to try, but circumstances had not yet allowed me to do so.

Red Roaster’s designated spot (at Bank St. and Clemow Ave.) is not convenient for me, so I had not yet had the chance to try it out.  As luck would have it, the organizers of my annual work summer gathering/celebration decided to invite a number of Ottawa’s best food trucks to serve us lunch, and Red Roaster was one of them!

I knew I had to try their signature pulled pork tacos, and though I had been advised by a friend to try their sweet potato fries, the heat of the day led begged for a cooler, more refreshing side, so I went with the jhal muri.  Both were delicious! I love love love a good pulled pork, and this one had all of the elements that make a perfect pulled pork for me: tender, sweet and smoky.  The tacos were topped with a fresh, tasty slaw, which added a great crunchy texture, as well as a pineapple habanero chutney, which added some heat.  

The jhal muri, which is an Indian street food snack type dish, was new for me. I had never tried it before! I loved it - it was also delicious, packed with many little different ingredients like puffed rice, tomato, peanuts, lentils, noodles and bean sprouts, among other ingredients. You can actually find Red Roaster’s recipe for jhal muri here (scroll to the bottom of the article).

I’d love to go back to try Red Roaster’s other menu items, like their Red Roaster sandwich (their in-the-truck roasted chicken on a bun with cheddar cheese, ranch dressing, bacon, avocado, lettuce and tomato) or their roast beef on a bun. So many delicious choices!

Filed under ottawa food lunch food truck 613streetfood Red Roaster tacos pulled pork slaw coleslaw street food jhal muri salad tortilla

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Lunch at Art-is-in Bakery

The husband and I were lucky enough to get out a little early from work on New Year’s Eve this year, so we took advantage of the rare occasion of having our car at work to go to Art-is-in Bakery for lunch.

I was determined to try something new (how many times can one eat their amazing clam chowder? Many times, it seems), so I ordered the pulled pork sandwich, which was a new lunch item (well, new to me since the last time I had been there). Served on a bun instead of Art-is-in’s bread, this sandwich was piled high with tender and juicy pulled pork, fresh slaw, arugula and a spicy jalapeno cream cheese.  It was pretty spicy for a spice wimp like me, but it was so tasty I couldn’t stop eating it. It was very different than any other of Art-is-in’s sandwiches that I’ve tried, but it was a welcome and delicious change.

The husband went all out and ordered the pulled pork mac and cheese, This rich concoction is a mixture of pulled pork, cheesy pasta, buttery croissant croutons, caramelized onions and tomato pesto.  It is a perfect example of Art-is-in’s excellence at decadence!  

We were too full to even contemplate dessert, so we had to stare longingly and wave goodbye to Art-is-in’s delightful selection of baked goodies..but there is always next time.

Filed under food lunch restaurant Ottawa Art-is-in art-is-in bakery review sandwich mac and cheese pork pulled pork jalapeno slaw croissant

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Brunch at Lonestar Texas Grill

I have been to Lonestar a million times, but never for brunch!  I became aware of their brunch menu a while back and thought it would make for an interesting adventure, so the husband and I headed out one recent Saturday morning to check it out.

The brunch menu is available in addition to their entire regular menu, so if one arrives at 11 a.m. and wishes to eat regular fajitas (Lonestar’s most popular item), one can go right ahead and do so.  However, we were there to try the brunch menu and that we did! 

I just had to try the breakfast fajitas, which the menu describes as “…onions and peppers topped with scrambled eggs and your choice of bacon, sausage or bbq pork carnitas.  Served with pico de gallo, cheddar cheese, sour cream, roasted tomatillo salsa and fresh-baked tortillas.”    Basically, if you are familiar with the regular fajitas, the breakfast fajitas are exactly the same except they come with scrambled eggs and your choice of breakfast meat, of which I chose the pork carnitas. The husband went for the Texas skillet, which is described as “…crispy Texas taters topped with onions, peppers, bacon and two over-easy eggs.  Served with toast.”  However, for some reason, the husband was also offered the choice of pork carnitas on his Texas skillet, so he opted for that.

We both enjoyed every bite!  The portion sizes are ample and everything was fresh and tasty.  Every item on the brunch menu  comes served with baked beans, which is a nice touch.  I would like to go back to try their version of huevos rancheros, which looks pretty good!  Overall, it was a good brunch - not too expensive and tasty. We’ll be back!

Filed under food breakfast brunch restaurant Lonestar Texas Grill Lonestar Ottawa review eggs fajitas skillet toast grilled vegetables beans baked beans pork pulled pork

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Lunch at Double D’s Bar-B-Q

My fine followers please let me start off by assuring you that I do indeed cook food for myself at home! It may not seem like it lately by the abundance of my eating out posts, but I haven’t had time to experiment in the kitchen lately so we’ve been cooking our good old tried and true dinners.  Nothing exciting so not really worth sharing! But I promise I will have some new recipes soon!

Finding Double D’s Bar-B-Q was one of those lucky timing kind of things, as in, I was checking Twitter on my phone at the right place at the right time!! I discovered the new spot via a tweet, and the rest is delicious history!

Double D’s menu is limited; there are basically only a few options which you can either have individually or together as a combo. We decided to share the Piggy Plate, which, for $10, gets you a generously portioned pulled pork sandwich, two sides (we chose the baked beans and the mac and cheese - the third option was coleslaw) and two big hunks of corn bread.  Everything is homemade (well, except the bun for the sandwich) and completely delicious!  The pork was incredibly tender from their long smoking/cooking process and seasoned very well.  Both of the sides were fantastic but I think if I had to choose my favourite it would be the baked beans (I’m a sucker for sweet baked beans!)  And having homemade cornbread is a real treat for me, so you can imagine my delight at sinking my teeth into a big chunk of moist, sweet (yet savoury) cornbread!

We were also introduced to something completely new to the two of us (including my pop connoisseur husband), which was Cheerwine. The proprietors of Double D’s (who were very sweet and out to please) described it to us as the flavours of cream soda and Dr. Pepper mixed together.  The husband loves Dr. Pepper (but not so much cream soda) and was feeling daring enough to give it a try, so we did. It is over-the-top sweet with a cherry-spice aroma.  Definitely interesting and we were glad to have tried it.

We both can’t wait to return to Double D’s - we asked them how late into the fall they planned on staying open, and their answer was that they hoped to stay open all winter!  Stay tuned.

Filed under food Ottawa lunch 613streetfood bbq barbeque smoke pork pulled pork sandwich cornbread macaroni and cheese beans baked beans Cheerwine drink review

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Dinner at The Burbs Pub

I always thought the name of this restaurant was a little bit cheeky, which I am sure it was meant to be.  Truthfully, it put me off a little bit, which is why it took us so long to give it a try.

The term “the burbs” has a bit of a negative connotation to me.  I mean, I live in the suburbs, and I love it.  I just don’t like the connotation of the word, as it negatively describes where I live and where I love living.  

All this to say, when I finally figured out that the restaurant was owned by the same people who own La Cucina, a lovely little restaurant just down the road from the Burbs Pub, I changed my mind.  We have enjoyed many a delicious meal at La Cucina, so I knew I had to give this place a chance.

We decided to go for dinner (we were toying with the idea of breakfast at first) as the husband loves a club sandwich and loves trying them wherever he can.  The restaurant wasn’t busy when we arrived around 6 p.m. or so on a Saturday night.  A few tables were occupied with couples and families.  

After perusing the menu for a bit, I was impressed to note that a lot of what they serve is made in-house, which was true for both the pulled pork sandwich that I ordered and the turkey from the husband’s club sandwich.  The pulled pork was crazy delicious - super sweet (just the way I like it), tender, juicy - everything you could want in a fantastic pulled pork.  The side garden salad left a bit to be desired, but both the lettuce and the vegetables were fresh and crisp.  I also really liked the coleslaw - it had great flavour.  The husband was impressed with his club and the french fries; they didn’t jump to the top of his all-time favourite list or anything, but they didn’t disappoint.

We would definitely return to this little pub.  The food, service and atmosphere were all great! 

Filed under food dinner restaurant sandwich pulled pork salad club sandwich turkey french fries pub review Ottawa Kanata coleslaw main

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Week night dinner: slow cooker pulled pork sandwiches
This pulled pork kind of came about as a last minute idea; I had a pork loin that had been hanging around the freezer for a while (and taking up precious space) so I decided to finally do something with it!
I wanted to try a different slow cooker pulled pork recipe than what I had used last time. It didn’t turn out nearly as tender as the first time I made pulled pork. I’m not sure if it was the pork loin (vs the pork shoulder) or if I didn’t use enough liquid or what. I also found it quite acidic and not as sweet as I prefer.  It wasn’t perfect for me but it also definitely wasn’t inedible. The fiancé actually quite liked it!  
To add some sweetness, I shredded up a Gala apple to make a quick slaw to top the sandwich, which was great.  I’ll will definitely make slow cooker pulled pork again, but will take into considerations the lessons I learned when making this one.  

Week night dinner: slow cooker pulled pork sandwiches

This pulled pork kind of came about as a last minute idea; I had a pork loin that had been hanging around the freezer for a while (and taking up precious space) so I decided to finally do something with it!

I wanted to try a different slow cooker pulled pork recipe than what I had used last time. It didn’t turn out nearly as tender as the first time I made pulled pork. I’m not sure if it was the pork loin (vs the pork shoulder) or if I didn’t use enough liquid or what. I also found it quite acidic and not as sweet as I prefer.  It wasn’t perfect for me but it also definitely wasn’t inedible. The fiancé actually quite liked it!  

To add some sweetness, I shredded up a Gala apple to make a quick slaw to top the sandwich, which was great.  I’ll will definitely make slow cooker pulled pork again, but will take into considerations the lessons I learned when making this one.  

Filed under food sandwich pork pulled pork dinner supper apple spinach cilantro slow cooker

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Slow cooker saucy pulled pork
I found this gem of a recipe in the Canadian Living Slow Cooker Collection cookbook.  When we bought our slow cooker, one of the things at the top of my ‘to-make’ list was pulled pork, and this recipe did not disappoint (click on the photo for a link to the recipe).
As with most of the recipes in the Canadian Living cookbook, this requires a bit of preparation, but I believe it is well worth it.  After 10 hours of cooking on low, the pork shredded with the absolute lightest touch of two forks!  We kept things simple and piled the shredded pork on top of freshly toasted ciabatta buns.  I adored this!  It was so rich and juicy, and the flavours were delicious.  Not bad for my first try, I think! :)

Slow cooker saucy pulled pork

I found this gem of a recipe in the Canadian Living Slow Cooker Collection cookbook.  When we bought our slow cooker, one of the things at the top of my ‘to-make’ list was pulled pork, and this recipe did not disappoint (click on the photo for a link to the recipe).

As with most of the recipes in the Canadian Living cookbook, this requires a bit of preparation, but I believe it is well worth it.  After 10 hours of cooking on low, the pork shredded with the absolute lightest touch of two forks!  We kept things simple and piled the shredded pork on top of freshly toasted ciabatta buns.  I adored this!  It was so rich and juicy, and the flavours were delicious.  Not bad for my first try, I think! :)

Filed under food dinner pulled pork slow cooker recipe Canadian Living crockpot

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Dinner at Must Wine Bar and Aziz Ansari’s Buried Alive Tour

I was so so so excited when I found out that Aziz Ansari and his Buried Alive tour were coming to Ottawa for two shows.  We hardly ever see anyone like this booking gigs in this town, so it was a huge thing for me!  I am a big fan of Aziz and his work, especially his stand up comedy, so to see him live in person was amazing.  His show was fantastic - I highly recommend that you go see him if he’s stopping somewhere near you!  And mad love to his opening act, Chelsea Peretti, for kicking butt with her act; I haven’t laughed that hard in so long.  

But before we went to the show, the boyfriend and I decided to dine for the first time at Must Wine Bar, specifically to share a number of their small plates.  We were not disappointed! 

The first dish we shared was the truffle mac and cheese, which was probably the best I’ve ever had.  It was so rich and creamy, with a very earthy flavour.  Next came the daily special, which was the beef fajitas.  They were also delicious, but nothing special. The boyfriend couldn’t resist sampling one of their flatbreads, which is topped with pulled pork, smoked mozzarella, mushrooms and espresso bbq sauce.  The sauce was so tangy and unique, and the whole thing came together in my mouth like magic.  Last but not least, my favourite dish of the night were the sliders: chicken croquettes served on cheddar and chive tea biscuits with a veloute sauce, all served with house chips (regular and sweet potato).  All I can say is WOW.  These were so delicious!  

We will definitely be back to Must Wine Bar for another round of small plates; the food was fantastic, the atmosphere was relaxed and welcoming, and the service was superb.  What more could you ask for on a nice evening out? :) 

Filed under food Must Wine Bar Ottawa mac and cheese truffle pulled pork flatbread dinner small plates share beef fajitas review restaurant

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Hot Belly Mama’s

It sounds cheesy, but one of my life’s passions is trying new restaurants.  So I was excited to not only have a visit with some friends of ours while visiting Peterborough during the recent Victoria Day long weekend, but to also get to try a new restaurant in the process.  The restaurant was recommended by our friends, so I was really pumped!

Nestled in the heart of downtown Peterborough, Hot Belly Mama’s boasts a nicely sized menu with options for everyone.  Their specialty, as you may be able to tell from the catchy name, is New Orleans-inspired dishes with a focus on bbq and cajun cuisine.  We scored a table in the front patio area, which sits just next to the sidewalk allowing for ample people watching (and with the hipster student crowd alive and mighty in Peterborough, there’s definitely a lot of interesting people to watch as they roam George Street!)

Originally enticed by the daily specials (one boasted a salad with many delicious veggies), after carefully perusing the lunch menu, I decided to go for a regular menu item, the En Salade San Francisco.  The boyfriend opted for the Kansas City Pulled Pork on a bun, served with choice of sides (yes, you get two sides!), from which there were lots of good options to choose.  The boyfriend settled on the Stout Baked Beans and Cajun Potatoes for his sides.  

The food was fantastic!  The ingredients in my salad, including the deliciously seasoned chicken (lemon and basil) and smoked salmon, were fresh and plentiful, and the boyfriend’s sandwich was loaded with smoky bbq flavour.  I was super impressed by one of his side dishes as well, the baked beans.  I kept stealing bites!

We will definitely make a return visit to Hot Belly Mama’s, perhaps for dinner, and perhaps bring his parents!

A side note:

After lunch, I was having my usual coffee craving, so I went next door to Natas Cafe to find my caffeine jolt.  A total hipster joint, the offerings were abundant and they had the coolest espresso machine!  (I really wish I had taken a photo of it…I’m so used to the staring at the back of the Starbucks espresso monster machine that looking at this one was like admiring a piece of art!)  Since it was a gorgeous hot day outside, I ordered an iced Americano, and it was tasty.  I definitely spent a few minutes oggling the baked goods while waiting for my drink, but will haveto wait until next time to sample!  The cafe offers a wide range of baked items, sandwiches and other treats, all of which looked amazing!

Filed under Hot Belly Mama's Peterborough baked beans cajun food lunch pulled pork restaurant salad sandwich Natas Cafe

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Mill Street Brew Pub, now in Ottawa!

I recently met a friend for lunch at Ottawa’s brand new Mill Street Brew Pub, and what a lovely lunch we had! 

To be truthful, I am not a beer drinker.  Seriously, not ever.  But I was excited to try the food!  I decided on the Carnitas from the appetizer menu as it was what looked the most delicious to me in the moment.  My choice was exactly what I’d hoped for: the portion size was excellent, and the flavours were perfect.  Three soft flour tortillas topped with smoky pulled pork, salsa verde, black bean and corn salsa, cumin-scented creme fraiche and fresh cilantro. 

My friend tucked into the Drunken Crab and Spinach dip, served with a warm pretzel loaf.  She quite enjoyed it and would love to have it again, probably with a group to share. 

The service was fast, friendly and attentive, and the transformed location (the historic old mill building on the Ottawa River) is gorgeous.  All in all, the new Mill Street Brew Pub Ottawa is sure to become a familiar spot for many!

Filed under food lunch dinner Mill Street Brew Pub Ottawa crab pretzel bread carnitas pulled pork

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The SmoQue Shack
A couple of bbq joints finally opened downtown recently, so the boyfriend and I decided to go and check one out.  We chose to start with the SmoQue Shack as it had been recommended by a coworker.
They’re known for their bbq, so we had trouble deciding between the bbq sample platter and the sandwiches.  In the end, for our first time out, we went with the sandwiches:  pulled pork and pulled chicken.  Both were delicious!  The bbq sauce on the chicken had quite a bite, but in a good way, and the pork was tender, juicy and smoky.  We will definitely be going back!

The SmoQue Shack

A couple of bbq joints finally opened downtown recently, so the boyfriend and I decided to go and check one out.  We chose to start with the SmoQue Shack as it had been recommended by a coworker.

They’re known for their bbq, so we had trouble deciding between the bbq sample platter and the sandwiches.  In the end, for our first time out, we went with the sandwiches:  pulled pork and pulled chicken.  Both were delicious!  The bbq sauce on the chicken had quite a bite, but in a good way, and the pork was tender, juicy and smoky.  We will definitely be going back!

Filed under food dinner bbq sandwich The SmoQue Shack Ottawa pulled pork chicken delicious

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Pulled pork arepa
When the boyfriend and I first laid our eyes on this dish, we thought we were dreaming. A pile of deliciousness, all topped off with a beautifully fried egg!
The pork is so tender, and the homemade arepa is chewy and a perfect companion to all of the flavours.  Definitely one of Bin’s WOW dishes and a must-try.

Pulled pork arepa

When the boyfriend and I first laid our eyes on this dish, we thought we were dreaming. A pile of deliciousness, all topped off with a beautifully fried egg!

The pork is so tender, and the homemade arepa is chewy and a perfect companion to all of the flavours.  Definitely one of Bin’s WOW dishes and a must-try.

Filed under food dinner tapas pulled pork egg