Archive | March, 2011

Angie’s Kitchen

26 Mar

Angie's Kitchen, 47 Erb Street West, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Angie’s Kitchen, established in 1962, is a family-run restaurant.  It is well known for its all-day-breakfast menu and also offers catering services for groups of any sizes. The inside of the restaurant is homey, nostalgic and welcoming.  The walls of the restaurant are adorned with pictures and stories of all the people who have shared in Angie’s Kitchen’s history.

The menu offers classic breakfast items such as pancakes, french toast, homemade baked goodies, sausage, ham, bacon and eggs. Many of the breakfast meals include your choice of muffin, bagel or rye, brown or white bread with homemade jam and potatoes. The last time I visited Angie’s Kitchen I began my meal with a homemade cinnamon bun which was recommended by the server.  It was served warm and wasn’t too sweet which I prefer.  My absolute favourite item is the pancakes which are truly the best pancakes I have ever tasted.  They are thick and soft but with a slightly crispy edge.

Cinnamon Bun, $2.50

Pancakes with icing sugar which can be purchased individually or as part of a breakfast meal.

Country Style Breakfast which includes potatoes, two eggs, ham, bacon, sausage, toast with homemade jam, french toast and pancakes, $11.95

For lunch and dinner there are a variety of wraps, pastas, burgers and sandwiches available.  The menu also provides healthy and vegetarian options as well as daily specials.  For example, on Fridays it’s all you can eat fish and chips.

Veggie wrap $7.99 with sweet potato fries for an additional $1.50.

Angie's burger with fries, $8.50.

Hot beef sandwich which includes potatoes or rice, vegetables (in this case it was poached beets) and salad, $11.95.

Garden salad with balsamic dressing which is included in most entrée meals.

Angie’s Kitchen is a down-to-earth restaurant that serves home-cooked style meals and feels a lot like home. It’s a good option if you’re looking for an uncomplicated and tasty meal with a no fuss service.


Meat and Spinach Lasagna

21 Mar
The following is a lasagna recipe made with layers of meat sauce and spinach, then topped with grated cheddar and mozzarella cheese.

Meat and spinach lasagna.

To make the meat sauce, you will need the following:
  • 1lb of extra lean ground beef
  • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 can (794 mL) of crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsps of extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 tbsps of sugar
  • 1 cup of red wine
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 tsp each of paprika and oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
Heat a large pot on high.  Once the pot is hot, add in the olive oil, onions and garlic.  Cook until the onions are soft and appear translucent, then add in the ground beef.  Using a wooden spoon, break up the ground beef into as small pieces as possible.  Once the beef is cooked, add in the paprika, oregano, salt, pepper and sugar.  Mix well and then add in the red wine, water and crushed tomatoes.  Stir the sauce and meat, then let simmer for an hour.  Do not stir while simmering because over time the meat will sink to the bottom and the top of the meat sauce will be mostly liquid.  You will need to use this liquid later.

Meat sauce made with extra lean ground beef and crushed tomatoes.

To make the spinach layer, you will need the following:
  • 454g of baby spinach, julienned
  • 454g of ricotta
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cups of skim milk
  • 4 tbsps of flour
  • 4 tbsps of extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
Heat a medium sauce pan on high.  Once the pan is hot, add in the olive oil and garlic.  Brown the garlic and then sprinkle the flour in evenly and thinly.  Cook the flour for about 30 seconds, and then add in 1 cup of milk.  When the milk begins to heat up, it will thicken because of the flour.  Stir well and break up any flour clumps that may have formed.  Add in the remaining milk and a handful of spinach.  Mix well and once the spinach wilts, add in another handful of spinach until all the spinach as been placed into the pan. There should be enough milk in the pan to cover the spinach; if not add in more milk.  Simmer for about 15 minutes and add salt and pepper to taste.  Remove from the heat and add in the ricotta and mix well.  Have a taste to see if more salt is needed.
Spinach poached in a milk sauce.
Spinach poached in a milk sauce with ricotta added in.
Prepare the lasagna pasta as instructed on the packaging but reduce the cooking time by half.  The pasta will finish cooking in the oven.  I like to use Catelli Healthy Harvest Whole Wheat Pasta.

Whole wheat lasagna pasta cooking in a pot of hot salted water.

Once the meat sauce, spinach and pasta is ready, it’s time to assemble the lasagna. Take a deep baking dish that will fit the lasagna sheets and four thick layers of meat sauce and spinach, butter it with unsalted butter.  Scoop out some of the liquid from the top of the meat sauce and place it on the bottom of your baking dish.  Doing this will prevent the bottom of your lasagna from drying out.

Buttered baking dish with tomato sauce as its bottom/first layer.

Cover the tomato sauce with a layer of the lasagna sheets.  If needed, use a pair of scissors to trim the pasta so that it fits perfectly into the baking dish.

The first layer of lasagna sheets.

Place half of the remaining meat sauce on top of the lasagna sheets. Spread evenly over the pasta.

Meat sauce on top of the first layer of pasta.

Place another layer of lasagna sheets and then spread half the spinach and ricotta mixture evenly over the pasta.

The first layer of spinach and ricotta.

Repeat the procedure.  That is, place another layer of lasagna sheets on top of the spinach and ricotta, then spread the remaining meat sauce evenly over the pasta. Add the final layer of pasta on top of the meat sauce. On top of this layer of lasagna sheets, spread the remaining spinach and ricotta evenly over the pasta. Grate about one cup each of cheddar and mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle the cheeses evenly on top.  Make sure that there is cheese covering all the way to the edge of the lasagna.  The lasagna is now ready to be baked in the oven.

Grated cheddar and mozzarella cheese on top of the lasagna.

Place lasagna covered in a preheated 400°F oven for 45 minutes.  It’s important to cover the lasagna, otherwise it will dry out in the oven.

Cover the lasagna before placing in the oven.

After 45 minutes, remove the cover and bake at 450°F for another 5 minutes or until the top turns a golden brown.

Lasagna after its been in the oven for a total of 50 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool for about 15 minutes before serving.  Waiting until the lasagna has cooled down a bit makes cutting the lasagna a lot easier.

Meson del Quijote

18 Mar

Meson del Quijote located in Varadero, Cuba

As the name suggests, Mesón del Quijote is a restaurant, located in Varadero, Cuba, that pays homage to Don Quixote.  The restaurant is situated on top of a small hill next to a monolithic stone tower and a metal statue of Don Quixote. There is also a patio and outdoor bar with a view of the ocean.  When I visited the restaurant for lunch, there was a horse in the front lawn munching on some grass.

The view outside the restaurant complete with a horse, stone tower and Don Quixote in the background.

Inside, the restaurant is beautifully decorated with a wall of wines, windmills and large sweeping windows.  The tables are posh picnic tables painted a glossy blackest black.  The atmosphere is serene and peaceful.   The servers are smartly dressed and unassuming.

Wine selection

The interior of the restaurant.

The first food item to arrive at my table was a complimentary basket of garlic bread.  The garlic topping placed on crispy toasted bread was delicious.  The menu includes starters such as soups, salads and fries, a variety of seafood dishes, pork, chicken or beef prepared in a number of ways and paellas.  There are also many samplings of seafood such as their seafood paella, shrimp cocktail and lobster medallion. I tried the meat paella which arrived at my table piping hot, bursting with flavour and large, soft, juicy chunks of meat in a smooth creamy rice mixture.

A complimentary basket of garlic bread.

Chicken and Pork Kabob, 5.75 Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC)

Meat Paella, 6 CUC

After my meal, I couldn’t leave without trying Cuba’s most famous drink, a mojito.  This popular drink is made with rum and garnished with green mint leaves.  It has a hint of liquorice flavour to it and is especially refreshing on a hot day.

Mojito, 2.75 CUC

Mesón del Quijote is located directly across from the tourist resorts in Varadero. Many of the resorts are all inclusive so the restaurant is often missed which is unfortunate.  Sitting inside the beautiful restaurant, gobbling the delicious food and staring outside into the picturesque scenery is a perfect dining experience.

Hog Tails Bar B Que

5 Mar

Hog Tails Bar B Que, 645 Laurelwood Drive, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Hog Tails is a southern style barbeque inspired restaurant located in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.  It’s a small and laid-back place with a popular take out counter.

I began my meal with a large order of sweet potato fries.  They were soft with a delicate crispness around the edges and had an unique sweet and tangy seasoning on the outside.  Other sides on the menu include beer battered onion rings, red beans n’ rice, braised collard greens, cajun corn, Jalapeno hush puppies, General’s coleslaw, and Carolina stone ground grits.

Sweet Potato Fries, $4.45 (large order)

Entrees include southern classics such as Hog Tails’ award winning ribs, Louisana Po’Boys and barbeque chicken.  Many entrees include your choice of two sides and cornbread.

Fried Chicken Po'Boy with General's Coleslaw, $7.95

Barbeque Half Chicken with Red Beans n' Rice, Carolina Stone Ground Grits and Cornbread, $14.99

Hog Tails Signature BBQ Chicken Sandwich with General's Coleslaw, $6.50

Hog Tails serves southern barbecque classics with bold sweet, tangy and spicy flavours as well as local foods and fair prices. Hog Tails only has about ten tables and they don’t take reservations.  It can become quite busy but the wait is worth it.