Saturday, January 17, 2009

Pane Fresco and a Delayed New Year

Ooops! I apologize for repeating myself in the last post. I put up a couple of shots of test dishes that I'd already posted (spaghetti con salsa fresca & foccacia). They were really good though and there is certainly no harm in showcasing them again.

A little while ago, my friend Michelle and I met up for lunch at one of our favorite places, Pane Fresco.

We've been fans of this bakery for a long time. Jim did some work for the owner, Marc, before they even opened the bakery. They agreed on a bit of a trade - some of the labour would be paid off in bread. Well, I couldn't have been happier about that! During the first few months of them opening, I think we tried every kind of bread they had, some croissants, danishes, biscotti, etc. That credit got used up years ago and we're still going back for more bread.

The aroma is intoxicating! How many times when someone is asked "What is one of your favorite smells?", do they answer "fresh baked bread"? It's certainly one of my favorite smells.

They have a cafe-style set up and lunchtime is busy here. Michelle & I planned to hit it around 11:30am to get a jump on the lunch crowd. Good thing we did because just as our food was arriving at the table, the place was really filling up.
We started with soup. These are made fresh everyday and there are usually only 2 kinds available - Wild Mushroom and Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato. Every time we go Michelle gets Wild Mushroom -

and I get Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato

The soups are so rich and thick and delicious! A little bit pricey, but worth every spoonful. Quite often we'll split a sandwich, but we were both very hungry this particular day, so we opted for pizza!!

One of the best in Burlington. Again, a bit pricey, but this is how a pizza should taste. They offer up 6 different pizzas and 3 of them are vegetarian. We chose the Mediterraneo, my personal favorite. The menu says "Pizza Bianco with mozzarella cheese, oven roasted vegetables, goat cheese and sundried tomato drizzle." HOLY! Heaven on a plate.
Pane Fresco also offers homemade gelato.

The lemon is especially tasty, but I was quite full so I just got a coffee (Americana please) and a hazelnut & almond biscotti.

These are full of whole nuts. Just yummy! And just a great way to finish off lunch.

The family was supposed to get together for New Year's Day, but Mama Rita came down with a lung infection, so everything was postponed. Once she was feeling better, we had an afternoon of nibbles, chats, laughs, then dinner & a special dessert.
For some reason, everyone was in a silly mood that day and when the camera came out, it was time for silly faces.
Jade is always acting up for pictures and today was no exception.
Aaron doing.....I'm not sure what

I think I might have been doing some lame vogueing here.

Jim was called upon to mash potatoes, but he still participated in his own special way.

Even Aunt Peggy got in on the act.
Ummm....not sure what this is all about.
Mama Rita had enough of all the shenanigans. She thought we were all nuts, so she sat with her wine glass. No, seriously, she was carrying on as much as the rest of us. For some reason, she never did get caught on camera with a silly face. She's slick I tell ya!
Dinner was great and dessert was a recipe test for Dynise's "The Urban Vegan: 250 Street-Smart, Animal-Free Recipes". I present to you.....

Booze-Infused Layer Cake. The fun thing about this cake (aside from the booze in it) is that you get to choose what liquor you use. That will determine what flavour your cake will be. One cake recipe, but with many options. I love it! For this particular cake I chose Kahlua! The recipes gives liquor measurements as a guideline and not quite knowing how this would turn out, I stuck towards the middle of the measurements. Next time I'll go (as Dynise says) the full monty. There was just the tiniest hint of Kahlua and I would like more.

After I made the cake part, I was out of regular Kahlua, so I used French Vanilla Kahlua in the frosting. It was delicious! And very moist. Everyone ate big pieces. Mama Rita's friend, Gina, came by later and had a slice with her tea. She kept saying how good it was. Thumbs up all around.
The day was fun, the cake was a hit, and that is all from us for now. Peace out!


High Power Rocketry said...

So much good food : )

Tanya Kristine said...

i LOVE the's a rainy day and the pictures made me warm.

but not as wrm as that damn CAKE made me...hahahah...yummy!

Crystal said...

Too many good things in this post! 1st, the bakery looks awesome along with all that bread selection.

2nd, the roasted red pepper tomato soup - yum!

3rd...there was a 3rd, but I forgot now. Oh well.

urban vegan said...

Vogue, vogue, vogue, vogue.

That soup looks good and I'm sure glad you liked the cake. I think I need to change the directions to add "as much booze as you can tolerate!"

aTxVegn said...

I've enjoyed all your holiday pictures and all of your test recipe pictures. Mmmm, kahlua cake!

River said...

Lovely post! And I loved the soups - I'm mad for soups :) And what a wonderful gathering you had, silly faces and all!!!! Love and hugs to you and your Jim and of course to Simon.

KleoPatra said...

What great times... Love to see you enjoy. Your aunt crax me up... AND OMG... That cake!!!