One of the things I love best about Skye Cafe & Bistro is that everyone involved is passionate about living on the prairies.
It starts with their commitment to local , organic, Made-In-Saskatchewan ingredients with seasonal creations adorning the plates in the restaurant.
Even when the seasons change, Skye Cafe & Bistro offer their loyal clientele special events during Regina’s chilly winter season.

This evening we enjoyed a 5-course Seafood Dinner.

Lobster Roll:
Cucumber wrapped Lobster & Avocado with baby greens.

Artfully presented, the Avocado & Lobster are cocooned within a cucumber roll, with the baby greens & aioli providing color & depth to the dish.
The Avocado & Lobster is a match made in heaven.
I also love how Chefs Milton & Louise manage to surprise us with caviar, too!

New England Style Clam Chowder
Puff Pastry Shell

Milton is a Magician with this dish! First of all, as mentioned, the aromas are astounding yet subtle. The flavors are mesmerizing. This is a true testament to the skill of the chef when the soup finishes to its perfect pastry bowl, from starting like this:

Every step in the kitchen is carefully orchestrated to ensure each dish is a masterpiece.

But equally masterful is the ambiance of the dining room.
Allow me to talk about mood & setting.
Fur Elise aka Bagatelle No. 25 by Beethoven, is playing gently in the background.

I’ve always loved this piece of music. It’s one of the few classical pieces I learned to play on the piano. Checking Wiki, maybe now I understand why I have an affinity for this particular piece of music.
Since childhood I’ve believed in the power of 27. As I grew into adulthood, I came to appreciate how 27 can either help you or haunt you.
It’s always helped me.
Fur Elise was composed 27 April 1810.
Talk about karma.
Thanks, Skye!
& Wikipedia!

Back to the excellent music selection during the Seafood Dinner at Skye Cafe & Bistro.
There have been studies done regarding the effect music has on food & wine.
In this case, it truly does provide an emotional & an olfactory journey.

Ha! I have to laugh. The couple sitting next to me … and I apologize for eavesdropping … but he said to her “I hope you don’t like the Chowder” to which she replied “I do like it!”
… I’m sure he was hoping he might be the fortunate recipient of an extra bowl and I can’t say I blame him!
This soup transcends any pre-conceived notion of chowder. It’s in a class by itself.
So delicious … and like my neighbor said: “The pastry is amazing!”

Sea Food Trio
Garlic butter poached Tiger Prawn.
Crispy Oyster with roasted pepper aioli.
Salt Cod croquette accompanied by lemon aioli & crispy capers.

I probably sound like a broken record, but I cannot state clearly enough how much of a role “aroma” plays in the enjoyment of this Seafood Dinner.
I was just served the Seafood Trio and it’s like being right by the ocean.
It’s almost like I’m catching a hint of saltwater that’s so common when visiting an ocean coastline.
Yet, here we are, in landlocked Regina SK Canada … giving thanks to Skye Cafe & Bistro for finding a way to make this Seafood Dinner true to its natural habitat.

OMG. I just took a bite of the crispy oyster!
Milton! Louise! How did you do this? How did you take it beyond seafood?
The seasonings are a triumph!
Accompanied by equally triumphant Crispy Kale with Crispy Capers, it’ s a joy to experience.
Every restaurant in the world should serve this!

Salt Cod. Love it!
I love it even more when reminiscing about my trip to Portugal a few years ago.
It was there that I walked into a supermarket to find myself surrounded by dried, salt-laden cod piled high in giant bins.
Cod. In a region more typically known for other kinds of fish. Like sardines.
Upon return to my hotel, I asked the concierge about the blindingly white fish I saw at the supermarket.
That’s when I learned that Portugal prides itself in their legendary “1000 ways to prepare Salt Cod”
Well, Portugal might have half a millennium of experience with Salt Cod, but there’s no doubt that Skye Cafe & Bistro found a way to make it its own in the most delicious way!
We’re lucky to have this restaurant in #YQR.

Sea Food Paella
Mussels, Shrimps, Scallops, Clams, crispy Snapper & Calamari
Saffron Rice.

I can’t even begin to describe this dish. It’s a seafood-lovers dream!
Tender Calamari. Succulent Lobster. Clams! Mussels! Scallops!
The variety of seafood & shellfish in this dish goes on and on … on a bed of fluffy, saffron-rice. Skye Cafe & Bistro uses only the finest saffron and it totally shines in this Paella.

Dessert
Lemon Saskatoon Berry Tart
Here’s where Skye brings it all home. The Saskatoon berry is a Saskatchewan mainstay and Skye likes to keep it local … so it’s the perfect end to a perfect evening.

… prior to Skye’s 5-course Seafood Dinner, Milton Rebello and Louise Lu gave me a tour of the Skye Kitchen.
The size of the area where all the food is prepared is very interesting.
It’s relatively small, considering the size of the restaurant seating are.
But most impressive is how it’s incredibly quiet. Really quiet.
For someone like me, who spent years in the restaurant business and remember most kitchens as a place of clanging & banging & chatter at various decibels … this one is serene to the point of being spiritual. Meditative. Zen-like.
This is one of the things Milton & Louise consciously aspired to … a quiet kitchen.
It’s an oasis.

While in the kitchen, I was fortunate to have Milton offer me a taste of the Clam Chowder.
For anyone who’s done sensory training, you’ll know what I mean when I say the entire soul of that soup was captured even before it hit my lips.
The aroma was astoundingly subtle and the flavors matched the aromas.
Subtle, yet full bodied without being overpowering.
It’s the kind of chowder that once you’ve tasted it – you want another bowl very soon.

Louise & Milton are also very proud of the ceramics she creates for Skye.
Let’s face it, how many restaurants create not only the culinary but also craft the vessels upon which they are served?!

The world – and particularly Regina #YQR – is lucky indeed to have Milton & Louise grace us with their culinary expertise, creativity, artistry and friendship.
Like they say:
At Skye, There is no Limit!

http://www.skyecafeandbistro.com

The beauty of an easy-going restaurant like CORA is the variety of breakfast & lunch dishes … as well as their attention to making sure every type of craving is covered.

There’s mouth-watering offerings featuring all manner of fruit, eggs, crepes, bacon, sausage and numerous combinations of all of the above.

CORA also has an interesting approach to their coffee selection. In addition to regular coffee, they offer Espresso, tea & Hot Chocolate.
There’s a Canadiana option, too – Maple Cafe Latte by the cup.
If crema is what you crave, there’s a choice of Cappuccino, Mochaccino & Cafe Latte served in either a cup or a bowl.
I went with the Cappuccino cup for $4.15 and it’s excellent. Piping hot, cinnamon sprinkled lightly over the foam and that glorious crema ring around the edge of the cup.

I grew in a Ukrainian household where one staple was Kasha – a savory dish using buckwheat grain; toasty & delicious.
So, I decided to give CORA’S Buckwheat Blessing a go: 3 sausages wrapped in a buckwheat-sorghum crepes.

Excellent choice!

Keep in mind, buckwheat is a very rustic grain, so there was a lot of texture to the thin crepes, but the CORA chef managed to keep the crepe itself light & delicious. The sausage wrapped inside was equally light and prepared to perfection.

The plate was prepared artfully with a lovely selection of expertly cut fresh fruit.
Apple, orange, watermelon, strawberries, grapes, cantaloupe, mango, kiwi & pineapple adorn the plate in the most appealing way!

Would I order the CORA’s Buckwheat Blessing again? Absolutely!
http://www.chezcora.com

Someone once said to me “eggs are eggs … but they can do things with chicken”.

To put it in context, I was booking a day trip by train to Quebec City from Montreal and the agent advised that I not book 1st class in the morning because, in his opinion, the value in terms of meal options just wasn’t there.
“Skip the cost of breakfast.
Spend your dining-out dollars on dinner” … was his advice.

Well, that might be true when traveling by train but from the moment you step into a CORA – Breakfast & Lunch restaurant, that theory simply doesn’t hold.

Besides a warm & appetite-appealing decor with a menu that has something for everyone, the food is not only delicious, in some cases, the dishes – like the Samira wake-up – are works of art!

If you’re after a breakfast that can hold it’s own as a lunch, the totally satisfying “Holiday Surprise” is CORA’s famous sweet & salty dish: “2 eggs, ham, bacon and potatoes served with a delicious crepe stuffed with a creamy cocoa-hazelnut and raspberry mix – decorated with ribbons of raspberry coulis finished with a dollop of whipped cream”

For $14.95, this is a great meal. The potatoes are crispy on the outside – fluffy on the inside. I ordered my eggs “over-medium” and they were done to perfection! Bacon was crispy & the ham was perect. Included is a choice of toast accompanied by a selection of peanut butter & fruit spreads.

CORA’s menu has breakfast standards they’ve made their own, like the “Eggs Ben et Dictine”.
There’s options for all ages and appetites.
You can also choose from a wonderful assortment of skillets, French Toast Pancakes and Waffle dishes.
Fruit plays a big role at CORA with many of the plates having huge amounts of citrus, berry & tropical fruit.

CORA is open for breakfast & lunch.
Service at the location which I was at was be a little slow if you’re wanting a refill on your water, but when the staff does take a break from their conversations about cars, it’s with a smile.

Make sure you grab a piece of CORA’s in-house made fudge, which is offered by the piece. It’s delicious … and really rich!

Make sure you sign up fo r the CORA Loyalty Card – totally worth it for the points, promotions and dishes to savour.

https://www.chezcora.com/en

On my recent Whisky segment as seen on CTV Regina Morning Live, we showed a Wood Whiskey Barrel, designed to hold a bottle of your favourite whisky.

Almost immediately our phones lit up from people wondering where they could buy one of them!

I picked mine up at Bed, Bath & Beyond in Regina, SK #YQR.
This week the Whiskey Barrel is featured in their flyer.

The Wood Whiskey Barrel makes a cool addition to any bar.

Constructed of solid oak, it comes with an attachable spout and includes a funnel to pour a 26 oz bottle directly into the 27 fl oz. size barrel.

In this Instagram obsessed world, the Premium Spirits Dispenser will make a marvellous prop / backdrop for your Social Media posts.

The only thing that I found tricky was the positioning of the spout.
If you place it closest to the base as shown in the above photo, you’ll have to elevate it to get a glass to fit underneath it, otherwise the glass would have to be tilted to get under the spout.

I tried several of my favourite glasses to discover only the smallest of glasses actually fits under the spout.

A solution is to turn the barrel so the spout sits higher on the barrel …

Overall, this is a great novelty item for any whiskey enthusiast.

CTVReginaMorningLive

There’s a lot to love about Frasier, Kelsey Grammer’s long running TV series.
It’s no wonder it ran as many seasons as it did.
Excellent writing, direction & stellar cast.

One of the episodes I loved the most was “The Innkeepers” from Season 2.

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Photo courtesy of KACL 780 Archives

“In a fit of nostalgia, Frasier (Kelsey Grammer and Niles (David Hyde Pierce) purchase their favorite restaurant, a landmark establishment that has fallen on hard times. The brothers eagerly look forward to the opening of the newly christened “Les Frères Heureux,” which translates as “The Happy Brothers.”
But “happy” is not the word that immediately springs to mind on opening night — especially after Frasier and Niles have managed to either injure or scare off virtually the entire staff.”

As the episode plays out, we see Frasier & Niles lose the entire staff all in one night.
Trying to avert disaster (which we know will only create more disaster) the “Happy Brothers” call on friends & family to help in the kitchen and at the bar.

Family patriarch, Marty Crane, takes over as bartender.
During a conversation with Frasier, the shot pans to the back wall of the bar behind Marty.
You can imagine my delight when I see a vintage music box decanter on the back wall in the upper right hand corner.
The very same decanter that I added to my collection a couple of years ago.

191116 Scene from Frasier Music Box Decanter
Scene from Les Frères Heureux – Frasier Season 2 – The Innkeepers

Don’t get me wrong, the irony of having that kind of decanter on the bar of the kind of restaurant that Frasier & Niles Crane would own was beyond comical.

Whatever the set decorators motivation was, I’m really glad she or he did it because if ever I go to sell the decanter, I can describe it as “seen on Frasier” haha!

191117 How Dry I am DecanterBack-story on how I found the music-box decanter.
I scour 2nd hand stores, looking for unique items.
While in a local Value Village, I spot an amber colored glass decanter on a top shelf.
That’s right, Top Shelf!.
Out of curiosity, I pick it up and it immediately starts playing “How dry I am”, activated by a pin that gets the player started when the decanter is picked up.
It then shuts off by the same pin at the bottom of the decanter when the “bartender” puts the decanter back down.

Loving all forms of tacky collectibles, I start to laugh, thinking “This is great!”
The fellow standing next to me commented “That’s the arly he was envious of my getting to the 2nd hand riches first!
I got that decanter to the checkout as fast as I could and it’s been “top shelf” on my wine. & whisky wall ever since.

It’s a great piece of vintage barware and a real conversation piece!

KACL 780 Archives

 

 

Gold Medal Plates winners Milton Rebello and his wife Louise Lu are cultural treasures in the city of Regina, SK.
Both are accomplished chefs, the recipients of every single culinary distinction known to this city.

Their latest offering was the Japanese Inspired Menu with compatriots Chef Li and Emiko which an appreciative crowd enjoyed at an exclusive event on Friday, Nov. 14.19.

The menu:
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Seared Scallop, wasabi sweet pea purée, braised pork belly, caviar.
The scallop was just so delicate.
Subtle addition of caviar was a stroke of genius.
Sweet pea purée added a nice touch of color & flavor.
Pork belly was done to perfection.

Ahi Tuna, pickle cheeks, shiso, seaweed salad.
This dish defies description. It’s just too delicious to put into words.
To the credit of the chefs, they allowed the Ahi Tuna to shine in all its natural glory.
Shiso is a member of the mint family and it added just the right hint of spiciness.
The Seaweed Salad – exquisite with a touch of sesame. Just a beautiful dish.

Bison tataki.
Such a simple title for such a complex dish. Bison Tataki is the highlight of the night. Fresh, tender bison, wrapped around shoots & mushroom, on a bed of sprouts with a sprinkling of seasoning – it’s a testament to the culinary innovation always found at Skye Cafe & Bistro.
The combination of flavours is just another addition to the culinary excellence which has existed throughout the dinner.

Matcha ice-cream, mochi, black sugar syrup, soybean powder.
Well, this was an interesting palate-cleanser! The ice-cream is green-tea base, which is extremely popular in Japan.
Mochi is a Japanese rice cake made of mochigome, a short-grain japonica glutinous rice. The end result is a chewy delight!
A taste new to me was the addition of soybean powder… it’s delightful!
Soybeans are toasted and ground into powder. There is the suggestion the taste can be compared to that of peanut butter … no doubt, it has nutty overtones and is a treat unto itself.
Served on a bed of thinly sliced strawberries, with black sugar syrup, it was palate-cleansing perfection!

Miso glazed salmon steak, edamame bean rice.
The miso glazed salmon was a highlight of the dinner. Why can’t I ever get salmon to be this tender when I make it at home?
Whatever the reason, it’s a credit to the chefs who managed to bring so much flavour to a plate with minimal intrusion from the use of sauce and/or seasonings.
Which brings me to a point. There’s no condiments on the table. No soy sauce. No salt or pepper … nothing. But that’s just the point. There was no reason to have any extra seasonings. Everything on the menu has been perfectly seasoned.

Matcha madeleine, passion fruit curd, lychee mousse, matcha almond crumble.
Soft, fluffy Matcha madeleine, when consumed with the passion fruit curd & the lychee mousse, is a light – yet totally satisfying – dessert.
Top it off with the Matcha almond crumble for a little bit of crunch and you’ve got a magnificent dessert that appeals to all the sensory capacities.

 

Follow Skye Cafe & Bistro on Twitter & Facebook to learn of other events happening throughout the year.

Skye Cafe and Bistro

How to Compete, and Beat, the On-Line Giant. 100 proven Promotions for Brick & Mortar Retailers – written by David Garofalo is an absolute must-have / must-read book for any independent business.

In a world that is seemingly dominated by on-line retailers, David Garofalo proves there’s many strategies available for all Brick & Mortar locations to encourage customers to come through their doors.

We’re seeing enormous opportunity in the Wine & Whisky retail / independent business segment.
By incorporating David’s proven promotional ideas and go-to-market strategies, small business’s have the potential to create excitement, build loyalty and grow the business.

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https://www.davidgarofalo.com