Dinner at Raymond's
Dinner at Raymond's is an iconic Newfoundland experience. One that brings you as organic an encounter as foraging yourself for local meats and produce. Thanks given to Chef Jeremy Charles for taking care of that for us and to my dad for sending us here as a Christmas gift. James and I dined here on my birthday last year, savoring Raymond's fall menu. With a certificate to return, James and I decided to wait until summer to give another season of Newfoundland a try.
To our surprise, upon sitting down we were informed it was Food Day Canada for which a special menu had been created. Food Day Canada is a national food event aimed at encouraging people to think about the importance of food and community. Raymond's already abides by cooking local, but in additional all our wine pairings came from Canada as well. The Neil Young setlist amplified the Canadian atmosphere and so the culinary journey began.
We chose the five course meal this go around. I believe the three course is a new offering, which could be a great option. I can attest that having gone big with all seven courses on my first visit, it is a lot of food and even more booze. It was too much for me, while the five proved just right.
The evening began with a sip of locally brewed wheat ale from Port Rexton Brewing. We have sampled the brewery first hand, as shared in my post here. The beer served as an amuse bouche, cleansing and tantalizing our bating palettes. Paired with a light bread and even lighter whipped butter.
Hinterland Vineyards is a husband and wife duo that dedicate themselves to sparkling wines. Now that's a couple I want to have date night with! The Whitecap is a dry sparkling, described as bright and frothy in addition to its subtle fruitiness and crisp finish. It was perfectly paired with a light radish and beet salad, dressed in a slightly bitter nettle pesto.
Tidal Bay by Benjamin Bridge is a subtly saline wine, picking up sea minerals from its Nova Scotia coastline and often paired with seafood. We picked up the contrast of the bright acidity against the minerality amidst notes of melon and pear. We thoroughly enjoyed the pairing of this wine with the earthy, polenta-stuffed pasta with chive pesto and shaved Parmesan. James accurately described the dish as warm and soothing.
A buttery chardonnay, this Norman Hardie wine from Ontario brought out the tenderness of its cod and carrot puree sidekick. The cod skin was seared to absolute perfection, providing a crunchy counterbalance to all that delicate, melty goodness.
Only 196 cases of this 2012 Pearl Morissette Pinot Noir were harvested. Thirty minutes from Niagara Falls, this production is completely organic and sulfite free. This light, fruit-forward red paired delicately with the supple pork dish over cauliflower puree. James devoured his, while I enjoyed the parts minus marbling. I can appreciate the smoky delicacy, but have a hard time with the texture of fats, which makes meat a rare or minor part of my diet. Again, James found it divine, so I highly recommend it to all meat lovers.
Much to my delight, dessert was a three-part event. A corn and blueberry patty ice cream sandwich guided our taste buds towards the sweet persuasion. A Canadian maple whisky danced with a strawberry shortcake-like treat, sweetened with a crème brûlée ice cream. Lastly, the night concluded with a sampling of miniature cookies, as if they hadn't won us over already.
As synonymous to the island as whale tours and a hike to Signal Hill, one shouldn't leave St. John's without getting a true taste of Newfoundland.