For many across the country, fall has long been over and many have been forced to succumb to being plunged into winter earlier than the calendar says – yet again. But luckily the warm comfort foods for the fall bode well for the winter like conditions that have blanketed a good part of the U.S. in the last month. If there hasn’t been snow and ice, there has certainly been cold temps.
Here in Kansas, we have seen several weeks of below normal temps with a smattering of warm days thrown in just to tease us into thinking that winter is still a ways away. But the homes lit up for the holidays alert me to the fact that indeed it tis’ the season to stoke the fireplace, decorate for the winter season, and enjoy all the hearty foods that come along with ‘falling into winter.’
A couple of weeks ago I was in Regina, Saskatchewan, not generally a winter destination or known as a food mecca, but the local eateries have earned the right to have a mention in this blog post. Flip Eatery & Drink has a menu that is as creative as their website. One section is called, “comfort plates.” How can you not like a place like this? The top item in this section of the menu is “Spinach Spaetzle” – a bed of house-made potato spaetzle loaded with hunks of beets and yams and tomatoes, a smattering of spinach and mushrooms, topped off with a dollop of goat cheese. Washed down with a “Bourbon Wallbanger” and I was ready to battle the below zero temps that awaited me out on the streets or Regina.
Other places to check out in Regina are:
The Keg: for great steaks at a reasonable price. Ask for a table by the fireplace.
Original Joes: check our their ‘Winter Warm-up’ menu and indulge in a ‘Bacon-Tomato Soup’ or a ‘French Onion Boar Burger.’
Hotel Saskatchewan – The Dining Room: one of the best and most expansive Sunday brunch in the city to keep you going all the day long.
Back to the states, and back to Kansas, to continue my search for restaurants worthy enough to venture out of the comfort of my own home to be served a delectable meal or try a fun new drink. Enter 801 Fish – one of several restaurants specializing in seafood in the Kansas City metro area, but I think this white tablecloth eatery has the freshest and most appealing dishes of any I have visited. Start out with a plate of fresh oysters or as I prefer cooked “Oysters Rockefeller,” followed by a “Pan Seared Florida Grouper” served over sweet potato puree and sided with parmesan gnocchi and sautéed rainbow chard and you will realize eating fish doesn’t necessarily mean eating light.
Another great eatery in Kansas worth checking out is the very quaint Cafe’ Provence – located in Prairie Village, it is a traditional French restaurant that has earned the respect for a need to call ahead reservation to be able to get a table. The ‘Crumble de Foie Gras aux Pommes’ is a pan-seared foie gras that truly does melt in your mouth. Followed by a plate of French cheeses served with fresh French Bread and I could’ve stopped right there. But no – I continued on with a ‘Roasted Duck Breast served with a parsnip puree, chestnut bread pudding, fig and honey gastrique.’ My meal should’ve been complete, but I could not say no to a ‘Salted Caramel Creme’ Brûlée’ to polish off the evening.
Other great KC restaurants worthy of the effort:
Story: their sleek modern decor is in direct contrast to the traditional ambience of Cafe’ Provence which sits right across the street. The food is creative America with European influences.
I would be remiss to finish off ‘Fall is for Feasting’ without making mention of the feast of all American feasts – Thanksgiving. As with many families I know, this is our favorite holiday – no pressure of gift giving or any other expectations other than to create a banquet of food to tantalize all the senses. It has become tradition in our family for my daughter and husband to fix the meal. I choose the menu, and then sit back with a mug of mulled cider and watch the two of them have at it!
This year we tried a new way to cook the turkey called ‘spatchcocking.’ This only works with a smaller bird, which was fine as it was just three of us this year. You remove the breast-bone and then splay the bird into a butterfly fashion. The bird cooks quicker, the skin gets crispier and the meat more tender. For sides: green beans with sautéed mushrooms, gruyere cheese and bacon and topped with bread crumbs; butter mashed potatoes; sour dough stuffing with Italian sausage, sautéed onions, filberts; cranberry sauce infused with rosemary; mushroom creamed gravy; and for dessert homemade pumpkin pie with a caramel pecan sauce and a salted butter apple tart.
From my family to yours, I wish you all a Happy Holiday Season!!