Monday, November 22, 2010

Hole in the Wall

A couple years ago my friend Jess told me about a restaurant near Saskatoon called Hole in the Wall.  According to her it was the fanciest place around with the best food around too.  It was pretty expensive so she had gone a couple times on very special occasions.  I was really interested in checking it out so last year for Brahm's birthday I registered us both in a cooking class at the restaurant - 80 bucks a person got you cooking lessons, a 5 course meal, 2 glasses of wine, recipes, and an apron.  Pretty reasonable for all that!  But this year when my birthday rolled around we decided to try the other Hole in the Wall experience of just sitting and eating for 4 hours - and it was AWESOME.

Hole in the Wall has tasting menus which allow a party of two (or more) to choose 3 appetizers and 2 or 3 main courses off the menu, which really there can't be a better way to do things when you go there.  Now, sit back and enjoy my sort of crappy low-light photos of our evening at Hole in the Wall.

First, we started off with some insanely good jalapeno cornbread.  Wow... this stuff was amazing.  And this is just the free bread.

Next came our three appetizer choices:

Can't remember the Spanish name but these are goat cheese-stuffed prunes wrapped in bacon.  WOW.  So rich.  So amazing.  Definitely our favourite appetizer.  Oh maaaan those were so good.

We decided to be adventurous and try the spiced chicken livers.  Brahm had never eaten liver and I had eaten it as a kid and liked it (my parents called it "brown meat") until I found out that it was liver and kids were supposed to hate liver, so I refused to eat it anymore.  These were really good though!

Our final appetizer was grilled scallops in parmesan cheese and brandy.  Really really good!  Starting with the bacon wrapped goat cheese prunes may have been a bad choice though because seriously, what could top that?  We would soon find out.

Next came the soup - cream of butternut squash.  So good!  I kept forgetting about taking pictures of the presentation and starting to eat and then remembering.

You can also see the delicious sangria in the background behind my water glass.  I enjoyed the fact that the sangria I had made in the summer in my first attempt and never having tasted it before tasted pretty similar!  Thus, I clearly know how to make a good sangria.

Next came the salad which I totally forgot to take a picture of.  It was mixed greens with cherry tomatoes, a guacamole dressing, and finished with a jumbo shrimp.  I have tried to like shrimp... but I just don't so I passed mine on to Brahm but the rest of the salad was excellent!

What I love about fancy restaurants and getting a multi-course meal is the palate-cleansing sorbet you get between appetizers and entrees.  Classy much?  We are so classy.  The sorbets of the evening were strawberry and lemon.

Everything on the entree menu looked so insane, it was hard to pick just three.  Once again we decided to be  a little adventurous and try something new, so we ordered roasted quail:

Which was okay... I didn't love it.  But I'm glad I tried it anyway.  They are just tiny little guys with not very much meat on them!  Sort of weird.  But tasty.  Maybe there is a trick to eating them that I don't know about.

Next were a couple of safer choices that we did know what they were all about:

Salmon with a dill sauce!  Salmon should always have a dill sauce.  You can't go wrong with salmon+dill!  Yumm!  It had a crispy layer on top where it had been pan fried, so delish.

And finally, OMGOMGOMG we chose the item on the menu that was listed as "the house specialty" and WOW, I can definitely see why.  These ribs were hands down the BEST I have ever eaten in my life, by about 50 landslides.  Wow.  I can't stop thinking about them.

SO GOOD.  So good.  Like seriously... SO GOOD.  We wrapped up the last 4 because we were starting to get full and I took them home and the next day at lunch I wasn't very hungry so I was like "well... I will just have 2 ribs now and eat the other ones later when I am hungrier" but then when I realized I was basically licking the plate and sucking on the bones I heated up the other two as well and kept telling my sister, who was in the other room, that these were the best ribs I've ever had in my life oh maaaaan these are so good ahhhhh.  So good.

A few times throughout the meal the chef, Nelson Urteaga, came and visited with us.  He recognized us from the cooking class last March and was SO sincerely happy for us that we had since graduated from engineering and had found jobs.  He told us he was going to come have a drink with us after dessert because finishing engineering was a cause for celebration.  Awww!  What a nice man.  You could tell he really loves what he does and cares about his customers.  He asked us what dessert we had made in the cooking class (I think to make sure we didn't get the same one that night) and asked us if we liked creme brulee, if he could make that for us.

And once again, easily the best creme brulee I've ever had... I would call myself a creme brulee expert to any extent but I could just tell that this is what really well-made creme brulee tastes like.  It was light and not too sweet and just a perfect way to end an amazing 4 hours of eating.

Unfortunately Chef Nelson got a little too busy in the kitchen to sit down with us after but still sent us out some complimentary Baileys and came over once again to congratulate us for being finished school and thank us for coming in.

It was an excellent and delicious evening at Hole in the Wall.  We left feeling full but not disgustingly stuffed.  I already can't wait to go back!

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