Had the whole FineDiners.ca gang out on Saturday night at Moonroom on Preston Street, and the general consensus was that we’re going to have to hang out there more often!

This cool, funky little place is owned by Tracy Turnbull of Trio Bistro in Westboro fame.  The place looks amazing with reclaimed barnboard floors and poured concrete bar, and a straight-out-of-the-70s juke box in the back (although it didn’t seem to be setup for use when we were there).

When we arrived, there wasn’t much more than a 2-top table open for our group of 6, but no matter – the place is setup for casual mingling with all high tables and stools and we just setup between a back table and the bar.  The food lends itself to this casual style as well with a diverse selection of small sharing plates that were tasty and fun.

Some of the big hits:  Sausage Pot (a mason jar of sausages served warm and topped with cheese – yum!), Stuffed Dates (make sure to get a double order!), the Moon Board (a small cheese/meat plate), and the Grown Up Smores (orgasmic according to the ladies in our group).  The food portions are small – but so are the prices – keep in mind that this is not the place to go for a proper dinner.  Late night drinks and bites is what this place is about.

The wine list seemed pretty decent, with most or all available by the glass, and on tap were several microbrews (including Beau’s!).  The service was really friendly and the overall vibe in the place was great.  Will definitely be returning for more!

Originally posted on FineDiners.ca

I’m not super-experienced in the kitchen, but I’m hoping that in starting this site it’ll help encourage me to get better and try new recipes and experiment in the kitchen and that I’ll learn a few things along the way.  So this weekend I tried out one of the recipes I linked to in my first Recipe Box post last week:  Braised Beef Short Ribs.  This was my first time braising, and I know it’s not like it’s a complicated method of cooking or anything, but I was really looking forward to trying it out – it just sounds delicious!

Braised Beef Short Ribs
Braised Beef Short Ribs

Making this dish wasn’t really time-consuming (excluding the cooking time), but it tastes like it was slaved over!  I served the ribs over Yukon Gold mashed, with some roasted carrots and small white potatoes (and a glass of Chianti of course!)  This was also the first time I’ve tried plating something I’ve cooked and tried to make it look good enough to photograph… clearly I need more work in that department, but hey – it tasted great!

The Recipe Box feature on FineDiners.ca features recently found recipes that have caught our eye from around the web.  Some we’ve tried, some we hope to try soon.

Chorizo Stuffed, Bacon Wrapped, Pitted Dates
Chorizo Stuffed, Bacon Wrapped, Pitted Dates

Had lunch at Fraser Café with some work peeps today, and it was great!  Our party was mostly split between the Cheeseburger with Smoked Bacon and the Pulled Pork Sandwich, though one person did venture to order the Quail, and the starters that hit the table were the Broccoli Soup and the Beet Salad,  and all were well pleased!

Located in New Edinburgh, just off Beechwood (in the original location of The Works), the place is small and bustling and has a great fun atmosphere.  The service was exceptional and the restaurant’s namesake brothers were welcoming and friendly.  Apparently it can be pretty tough to get a reservation for dinner here, but lunch is a great value and definitely a good introduction to the place.  Can’t wait to get back there for dinner!

Sundance Film Festival starts today, and man I wish I was there.  Someday I’ll make it.  Toronto is so much more do-able and happens at a much better time of year so that’ll remain my priority, but there’s something about Sundance that keeps drawing me towards it.  So, some day.  Maybe next year.

The Recipe Box feature on FineDiners.ca features recently found recipes that have caught our eye from around the web.  Some we’ve tried, some we hope to try soon.

This looks great:

ByWard Market Walkabout Winter Feast
Tuesday, February 10, 5:30 pm
Reception: Courtyard Restaurant, 21 George Street, Ottawa

Experience a five-course, wine-paired meal at five of the ByWard Market’s top restaurants — Courtyard Restaurant, Luxe Bistro, Murray Street, Empire Grill and Restaurant e18hteen — with a sommelier as your guide. Your evening begins with a reception, and continues as your group strolls from restaurant to restaurant to taste and savour each food and wine pairing. Bundle up, wear comfortable footwear and prepare for an exciting winter dining experience in the heart of the beautiful ByWard Market!
$130 per person*