Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Port Credit Crooked Cue and Harp Pub

The Port Credit area of Mississauga (Ontario, Canada) has dozens of restaurants and a more than a few pubs, prompting one resident to label it: 'Port Credit - The Drinking Village with a Sailing Problem!'

The Crooked Cue (picture below) illustrates both sides of Port Credit -- a popular restaurant sports bar combo on Lakeshore Road, just steps from the marina on the Credit River and the Lighthouse.
We went to The Crooked Cue for a birthday dinner pub crawl one Saturday night. I, for one, was pleasantly surprised by the good food and lively, 'normal' atmosphere -- meaning it wasn't an Athletic-Supporter-Only club. Though there are several pool tables and a number of well-placed large screen televisions tuned to sports channels, they don't dominate the restaurant, and there's a good mix of clientele. Oddly enough, I'd not before been tempted inside, being slightly put off by the name: I imagined I'd find a rough crowd of large men swilling beer and shooting pool. (Turns out they're not all large, and didn't look rough!) The Crooked Cue is a lot more upscale than my imagination led me to believe.

And for those of you looking for a Sunday Brunch, The Crooked Cue sign advertises brunch every day of the week, so go nuts!.

Almost next door to The Crooked Cue is The Harp Restaurant and Pub, another popular spot to meet friends or drop by and see who's around. The Harp, I confess, I've been to several (ahem) times, as I am addicted to the grilled chicken wings they serve. Oh, the beer is good, too!

Update May 16, 2008
Here's a newer picture of the Harp. Next door is River Coyote, an art gallery.

Port Credit really comes into its own in the summertime, so plan now to come out for the 2008 edition of the Waterfront Festival. This year, it kicks off on Friday the thirteenth and goes until Sunday afternoon / early evening. All the action is a short walk from the Port Credit GO station, so you don't even have to drive from Toronto.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Port Credit Ontario Waterfront Marina Pictures

Though the Port Credit waterfront is still quiet in late April, I'm looking forward to the summertime fun and festivals. I took these pictures when I was walking along Port Street west of the Credit River.

This picture shows two local businesses. One is Mason's Chandlery - The Store for Marine supplies that was having an open house to mark 30 years in business. (See for details) Though I don't have a boat, and am not likely to get one, I still enjoy browsing as The Store has many items that appeal to everyone.

The other business is Lake Affect, a restaurant (dark square area in picture). I've not eaten in the restaurant, though I did sample the chili at the Great Chili cook-off last September (at least I think it was September.) This address is 1 Port Street: How cool is that?

Just a few steps east along Port Street brings you face to face with the Port Credit Harbour Marina. The very active Port Credit Business Association has a full list of all marine-type businesses in the area.I'm always surprised to see how many there are! See for the full list.
Still east of the Credit river, this Canada Goose posed in the last (so far!) of the snow, with Snug Harbour restaurant in the background. Snug Harbour is another favourite spot to sit and watch all the harbour activities. I usually walk to get here, but there is free parking around the back. From Lakeshore Road, turn south (towards the lake) on Stavebank -- and Stavebank is the first street on the east side of the bridge over the Credit River.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Chimichuri Sauce Makes Argentina Beef and everything else SING!

Chimichuri, a traditional Argentina food, is a fresh sauce used with beef or meats. As far as I am concerned, it can be used with pretty much everything! When I was in Argentina, I noticed this green sauce -- sort of a dense vinaigrette -- offered wherever grilled beef was served.

Now, in my opinion, Argentina beef is the finest beef known to man and needs no accompaniment. But when in Rome, etc. -- so I spooned some alongside my bife de chorizo (grilled strip loin steak -- also called New York strip). I quite liked the flavor -- redolent with oregano, not spicy, with a hint of lemon and olive oil. Some of the chimichuri got onto my side salad and I lapped it up!

Once back from Argentina, I didn't give this green sauce another thought, but then a few days ago, a Food Channel program featured a chap talking about a simple food for working cowboys (gauchos) in Argentina. When he mentioned chimichuri sauce, I stopped channel surfing and watched. It seems the television show' presenter's (host's) father was setting up a traditional barbecue in an open field, where a group of cowboys waited for dinner. The host prepared the chimichuri. And that's how I learned its name.

From what I can remember, his recipe included a large handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, a lesser amount of fresh oregano leaves, juice of a large, fresh lemon, 5 cloves of garlic, a teaspoon or so of hot pepper chili flakes, a few tablespoons of sherry vinegar, and a shallot, all chopped into smaller pieces, then placed in a food processor and whirled as he trickled olive oil through the top. Pretty simple.

Seeing chimichuri and barbecue brought back fond memories of Argentina beef steaks, so I thought I try to make my own chimichuri. I reduced the amount of garlic to 3 cloves, and added a bit of water to thin it, but overall, it was brilliant! Such fresh flavor! Such a great blend of flavors! I put chimichuri on my steak, on chicken, on scrambled eggs, on salad and on steamed veggies! Then later, I regretted making a pig of myself -- such strong garlic!

I remembered I had the book Food and Drink in Argentina, so I checked my copy. Sure enough, there's a recipe for chimichuri (page 106) that calls for 10 cloves of garlic!! as well as thyme, sweet paprika, basil, salt and pepper. The preparation method is different, too: All ingredients are placed in a bottle, and shaken, and a full cup of boiling water is added. This chimichuri is kept in the fridge, and used to brush meats before and during grilling AND as a serving sauce.

These two different recipes, and slightly different prep methods, makes me suspect that chimichuri is a sauce of the people, and each person makes it slightly differently depending on personal preferences and available ingredients. If that's the case, I am adopting my own version of this tasty sauce that's now one of my favorites. My version will forgo garlic (well, maybe ONE clove). And I shall try to restrain myself and not put chimichuri on everything!

If you are planning to travel to Argentina, get a copy of Food and Drink in Argentina(I wish I had read it before I went), and pop over to Snapshot Journeys Argentina section to see my pictures. And if you AREN'T planning to travel to Argentina, then START! The beef steaks alone are worth the trip!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Port Credit Lake Ontario Spring Update

Like much of Canada, we here in Port Credit (Mississauga, Ontario) have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of Spring. And, on April 1, we were sure it had finally come! As the temperature climbed to 10C (50F) and was set to go even higher, I set off for a walk under clear blue skies and a benevolent sun. It was pretty windy, though, and the tall evergreens were sighing loudly and bending to their task. I checked the weather channel: gusts to 60 kph (37 mph), from the northwest. Current time: 2 p.m.
The sun felt lovely and warm, and the strong wind promised to whip Lake Ontario into a lather. I could hardly wait! I love to watch wild waves. The only problem was, the wind (NW) was blowing from the land onto the lake, so there was not a lot of whipping room. Still, it was nice to see the lake ice-free. No hint of green grass, nor any leaves at all, yet. Only last Fall's dead leaves becoming mulch.
I took this picture at the end of the path leading from the south end of Godfrey's Lane, a rural road in the heart of Mississauga. This is part of the Waterfront Trail, adjoining Rhododendron Gardens to the east.

A pair of Canada geese were sunning themselves, and sipping rain water that had pooled in the rock crevices. Usually, geese in this area don't pay attention to people. This pair had been sitting, and when they noticed me coming too close, they stood -- but not the usual way as geese do when they want a handout. This pair seemed skittish, like they would take flight if I came any closer. Wonder if they are ready to nest?

And in the fifteen minutes it took me to walk from here along the Trail to Saddrington Park, the wind had blown heavy dark clouds over the entire sky. The temperature started to drop, and I pulled out my wool scarf. It felt like it could start snowing at any minute. What cruel April First jokes the Ontario climate can play!