Friday, July 23, 2010

The Stone Cellar - Restaurant Review

The Stone Cellar
71 Gore Street East
Perth ON K7H 1H8

Last summer, as per the usual, the majority of my family went to my grandparents' cottage in the 1,000 Islands for a few weeks. This was the first year Dave had gone up, and, despite his sever allergies, we had a lot of fun. We also discovered the masterpiece that is the Stone Cellar restaurant.

Really, my mother, aunt and grandmother had discovered it the year before, but this was the first time our whole family went together. Located in Perth, Ontario, it looks exactly as the name suggests - a converted wine cellar. It is fairly small and has been full but quiet both times I have been there. It would be an ideal place for a wedding rehearsal dinner or other small, businesslike functions.

This year it was a must that we go back before Dave and I left, so we went on Thursday evening. The food was just as stunning as ever, the only blemish being a change in the menu (discussed below).

For an appetizer, Dave and I shared the baked brie with apple butter. It was very simple - an entire 6" round of brie sliced lengthwise and cut in six wedges, baked until the edges were toasted and melted, topped with a sweet apple butter and accompanied with toasted slices of baguette. It was heavenly. Dave normally doesn't like cheese on its own but he made an exception for this - the entire plate was clean in about ten minutes, with minimal help from our neighbors at the table. My grandmother ordered the bruschetta which I tried - very good, but nothing truly spectacular.

Now, the entree that most of us ordered (and which was one of the main reasons we drove an hour to this restaurant) was the Torpedo Chicken. It is truly one of the most amazing things I've ever eaten. It consists of a chicken breast pounded flat, stuffed with apple, dried cranberries and pine nuts, wrapped in prosciutto and doused in a white wine and mustard sauce. Sooo good. Unfortunately, this was also the aforementioned menu change.

Still called the Torpedo Chicken, what we received was chicken stuffed with mozarella cheese and basil pesto. Good, yes, but not terribly memorable. The reason for the change may have been a purely seasonal one, as our last visit had been much later in the summer, but it was still a disappointment. My cousin was one of the nonconformists and got the 6 oz AAA fillet, and was smart for doing so. The beef practically melts in the mouth and was utterly delicious, and this coming from someone who doesn't normally eat red meat.

Dessert was a communal affair - the lemon cake is dense, sweet and fiercely lemony with a very tart icing, and the Bailey's creme brulee was fantastic. Flamed to perfection, the top was crisp and the creme not too rich, and the Bailey's left a nice aftertaste but was not overpowering.

All in all, a very good meal, and we sat there for about three hours talking and were left in relative peace, so it is a definite recommendation. My only complaint is the menu change, which will hopefully change back again. I am very glad at my foresight however, as I had asked last year for the recipe for the Torpedo Chicken, found below. I have not yet gotten a chance to try this recipe, so I haven't figured out any measurements. This is just what the waitress told me.

Original Torpedo Chicken recipe

Take one chicken breast, pounded flat with a mallet. Top the chicken with chopped apple, dried cranberries and roasted pine nuts. Roll the chicken breast lengthwise, then wrap in a layer of prosciutto. Wrap in tinfoil, making sure there are no openings. Boil for 17 minutes (she was very precise about that one). Serve with a white wine and mustard sauce.

If anyone has any good recipes for a sauce, or tries this and has any comments or tips, please let me know. I am looking forward to trying this recipe at some point.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


I have lived most of my life in Syracuse, New York. I recently moved to Maine, but I am back in the 'Cuse for some vacationing.

Now, as anyone who lives in this area knows, Syracuse has a weather pattern entirely it's own. Winter begins in mid October, often causing Halloween to buried in a foot and a half of snow and tiny children dressed as fairies and pirates to all look like Eskimos. Winter ends sometime around graduation. It does not matter when your graduation is, that is when winter takes it's last bow, and shits all over everything. The alternative is that the snowfall ends on April 15th, and summer starts on the 16th. We literally had a weekend of spring a few years ago: we had a blizzard on Friday, it warmed up over the weekend, and by Monday, everything was in bloom and having sex with the air.

Summer lasts from the end of winter (there is no spring) to the beginning of October. Fall lasts about 2.5 weeks, and is cold as shit and precipitous. Then winter starts again.

The winter here is bad, but at least bearable. It can occasionally hit -20 degrees (without windchill - a lovely device that makes already cold weather REALLY FUCKING COLD) with lake-effect snowfalls of three feet a day. But that isn't the bad part of the year.

When summer hits, it doesn't just give Syracuse a little love tap - it punches it really hard in the gonads and stands there laughing, every once in a while throwing a brick at its head. It has, for instance, been in the mid nineties all week, with humidity well above 150 percent. How is that possible, you may ask. How can anything have more than 100 percent? Well, most places can't, and the humidity scale was constructed for normal places where humans can actually exist in comfort. Then Syracuse happened.
Another great thing about Syracuse is that, as the winter lasts 3/4 of the year, NO ONE has air conditioning. That's fine October-June, but what happens in between? Hell.

The humidity is like this:
  • You need to take at least two showers a day to not smell like your pet Labrador
  • These showers will be icy cold, in an attempt to lower your body temperature enough that you don't begin sweating again as you towel off
  • When you open the freezer, vapor will come boiling out an cloud your vision, and while you wait for it to clear, you will get yelled at for wasting energy
  • Toilet paper rolls become so damp that they bend and sag on their holders, making it impossible to unroll them without announcing to the rest of the house, via repeated clangs, that you are doing so
  •  Every single window in the house is opened, and usually the doors as well, so there is a total lack of privacy and an inordinate number of insects flying, bumbling, biting and stinging their way around the house
  • Becoming nocturnal does no good, as staying up until 6 am means you sleep past noon, and awake drenched in sweat and cranky as hell and hating life
No one in the world loves snow as much as someone who has to live through summers in Syracuse.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Corn Kugel

I haven't posted in a while, and I just realized that I haven't put this recipe up yet (which is appalling, as I have never had more people ask me for a recipe before), so here you go:
Jason Samlin's family recipe for corn kugel (that I have totally stolen from him, I hope he doesn't mind too much).

Corn Kugel
1 package Jiffy cornbread mix
1 cup sour cream
1 egg (1/4 C eggbeaters)
1 stick of butter, melted
1 can whole kernel corn
1 can creamed corn

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all ingredients in a greased 9x13 pan. It doesn't really matter what order you go in, though adding the cornbread mix last helps and mixing after every ingredient helps blend everything thoroughly.

Bake 1 hour.

That's it. Easiest recipe in the world. I love it.