Tag Archives: bacon

Diners: Hamie’s

Hamie’s Diner on Beechwood Ave is the third attempt in our series to find great, irony-free diners. Hamie’ s lacks the homemade, family-run charm of our previous finds but makes up for it with simple, classic diner fare and friendly wait staff that make you feel at home immediately. The diner is medium sized, seats about 60, and is pleasantly busy with an audible but not overwhelming din on this sunny Sunday morning in early July. Vinyl booths are smallish but counter stools and a few cafe tables offer alternatives.

Street parking is easy to find this particular morning. We head inside take a window seat. Our fellow diners are clearly locals, not tourists. Hamie’s is a neighbourhood joint. Our waitress, pleasant and efficient, welcomes us and gets us coffee and juice. Juice comes in a bottle. Coffee is thin and not to my liking, but I am hardly a connoisseur. Don’t go by me, I’m a Timmie’s girl.  We peruse the menu of diner breakfast classics for the most part, and I will forgive the gender friendly Lumberjack/Jill selections and Atkin’s specials. We both order the Lumberjack breakfast which includes two pancakes, home fries, toast, bacon, ham or sausage and two eggs. Mine is coming with bacon and white toast, Rob’s with sausage and rye toast. The rye toast is $1.00 extra and jam for the toast is 25 cents. I don’t care about the money but this nickle-and-diming leaves a negative impression. Add 25 cents to to the cost of all your menu items and put jam on the table. After placing our orders I noticed a small sign that said cash only. This belongs on the front door.

Our food arrives very quickly. Eggs are perfect, pancakes are rich and fluffy – this means they have a kickass short order cook back there. Our toast is well- buttered – I forego jam because it annoys me to ask and since the eggs are a perfect over medium I’ll use it to soak up yolk. My bacon is good but could be a little crisper for my taste. Rob’s good quality breakfast links are split open and fried on the flat top which makes them especially tasty. The home fries, pan-fried not deep fried, are very good. No throw away garnishes on the plate which pleases me. On the whole, breakfast was very good and we would return if we were in the area. $26.20 plus tip.

Hamie's Diner on Urbanspoon

 

Inspiration 2: Perogies

For the second time in as many visits, a trip to Piggy Market changed our dinner plans on the spot. We spotted heads of local cabbage in the corner, molasses-cured smoked bacon and perogies behind the glass counters and a lovely home-made apple pie cooling on the counter. My plan hatched immediately. It was cool, grey day, calling out for a dinner of old-world comfort food.

The cabbage was chopped and blanched. Onions and bacon fried together, the pot de-glazed with a generous couple of glugs of Waupoos hard apple cider. The cabbage was added and fried until soft, absorbing the bacon fat and flavours from the thickened cider.

 

The pot, now emptied of its  mixture, gets a fresh dollop of special, high-milk fat butter, and we fry the cheese and potato pillows until they are golden. Everything is tossed together and served with the rest of the Waupoos, paving the way for the punctuation of a perfect sweet bite of pie.

 

Piggy Market 2.0!

The new and even better Piggy Market re-opened November 12th as an artisan delicatessen and craft butcher shop. I dropped in this week for a quick chat with Dave Neil, co-owner of Piggy. He explained that craft butcher is an Irish designation for meat that is hung to age not cryovaced. The new butchery offers custom cutting of local beef (O’Brien Farms) and Ontario pork as well as heritage pork – Large Black, Berkshire, and Tamworth, which they rotate on a weekly basis. This means you can visit Piggy and have your beef ground while you wait (they take orders ahead of time on the phone as well), and have your steaks cut to your desired thickness. If you are interested in stocking your freezer and want a more hands on approach you can order a 1/2 pig, whole lamb or prime cut of beef, and they will butcher it to your specifications after hours while you watch. You also have the option to sign a waiver and do some of the cutting yourself.

Piggy is also committed to featuring the best charcuterie available locally. Currently they are carrying an array of wonderful treats such as lardo, cutatello, rosetta and salame from Dolce Lucano of Woodbridge, Ontario (exclusive) and smoked molasses and cracked black pepper bacon (!) and dried sausage from Seed to Sausage in the Charbot Lake area. This is probably the best charcuterie Rob and I have come across in our travels and Piggy brings it to us right here in Ottawa. Check out Piggy’s website and blog for weekly offerings, or just pop in and be inspired like we do.

For the upcoming holiday season, Piggy Market helps you get into a festive mood with offerings like goose, duck, suckling pig, turkey (local and local organic), tortiere and plum puddings, beef suet for mince meat and for your feathered friends, and high fat butter from Stirling, Ontario for your baking. They also offer prepared charcutierie platters on slate boards for your entertaining needs.

Piggy continues to carry all your favorites: a selection of Ontario and Quebec cheeses, local eggs and dairy, Art-Is-In bread, Jamaican patties, Bryson Farms products, local produce, Pascal’s ice cream, Piggy’s own to die for 4-cheese mac and cheese and more.

On our first visit to the new re-opened Piggy Market, we were inspired by a beautiful flank steak and changed our dinner plans. We marinated it, grilled it, sliced it and served it with grilled red peppers and onions, a cilantro relish and some hot sauce. We’ll cover the meal in more detail for a future posting, but here’s a delicious preview.

 

Retro Fave: Pork in Mushroom Soup

I have no idea where this recipe originated, likely though off of a can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup. The gravy, pork and rice are a match made in heaven. This was a favorite meal in our house growing up in the 1970’s. I remember loving the slightly browned half inch of pork fat being my favorite part. I do recommend that you trim the fat away and use the more flavorful bone in chops. I have added Madeira wine for deglazing and fresh sliced mushrooms for more mushroom flavour and texture. We served this with a brussel sprout hash that Rob thought up.

Click HERE for these recipes in a printable form.

Pork Chops in Mushroom Gravy with Rice

4 thick bone in chops
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 can Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup
1/2 can of chicken stock or water (add more or less depending on how thick you want the gravy)
1-2 tbsp chopped parsley
fresh ground pepper to taste
splash of Madeira, white wine, brandy or cognac for deglazing…whatever you have on hand.

Method:
Melt butter and oil in a medium skillet. Brown chops on both sides and remove to a plate. Turn heat to medium low. Empty can of soup into pan and stir until heated. Add a little water or chicken stock to thin. Add sliced mushrooms and bring to a simmer.Add pork back and cook, covered until done, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with plain rice or rice pilaf.

Brussel Sprout Hash
This was a “make it up as you go along” dish, but here’s an attempt at formalizing a recipe:
2-3 cups of brussel sprouts, rinsed and sliced thinly
One medium onion
4 slices of thick, smoky bacon
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
sale and pepper to taste

Method:
In a large pan, render bacon and cook onions  over medium high heat until starting to brown
deglaze with apple cider vinegar
add sliced brussel sprouts and stir until coated by bacon fat and liquid, cook for 1 minute
add broth and lower heat to simmer, simmer for 5 minutes
add cranberries
Turn up heat to boil off remaining liquid. Mixture should be moist, not soggy. Stir often.

Breakfast LES: Clinton Street Bakery

Monday morning is our last chance to grab a bite in New York. We fly out in the afternoon and have to head to the airport just after noon. A  cloudy but warm day which holds some promise of a very nice spring day once the clouds disperse. We head on over to the Clinton Street Bakery a few blocks from our hotel. We attempted to eat here on the weekend but were faced with a 90-minute wait.

Clinton St. Bakery, very busy on a NYC morning.

9:30 on a Monday finds the bakery very busy but with an empty table or two. We are seated near the window. The place is clean and welcoming, bright and homey. We order the Southern breakfast with biscuits and tomato jam on the side, and I can’t resist a glass of fresh squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice.

Sign on wall: “Ice Cream is the New Health Food”.

The southern breakfast consists of two eggs however you like ’em, two slices of excellently fried green tomatoes, adequate cheesy grits (Rob makes them way better. His are cheesier) and four or five slices of thick-sliced sugar-cured bacon that is the BEST EVER bacon we’ve had. Juicy, flat, perfectly crisped, and almost candied, it would be a good enough reason alone to return to this breakfast spot. Their famous biscuits are in my opinion just good biscuits but I’ve had better cat-head biscuits (so named because they’re the size of a cat’s head — made with lard or bacon grease and whole buttermilk) in the south, in Nashville and North Carolina specifically. At Clinton Bakery they were served with good raspberry jam, not the tomato jam we ordered and were looking forward to, as good tomato jam was a treat, but we didn’t make a fuss. It was all good.

Eggs over medium, cheese grits, fried green tomatoes, sugar-cured bacon and those biscuits.
Up close…yum.