So this guy walks into the store…

I know, I started a blog like that already, but I tell you,
that’s how the most interesting things start here at Schinkels’. 

So, this guy walks into the store.
He’s the co-owner of The Deluxe Restaurant across the street, Ryan.
A while back, Jacqueline had Ryan cater a birthday celebration that I was able to attend.
I have to say, it was amazing.
The appetizers were fantastic –
glazed salmon, beef tips, coconut shrimp were some of my favourites. 

Just a taste, but just enough to recognize the culinary genius that is Chef Ryan.

Eating Out in Essex

Last week, we got to talking, and I explained to Ryan
that eating out is a new treat for Greg and myself.
Let’s face it. Between running a store, and raising a bunch of kids,
neither of us have had the time, nor resources to eat out frequently.
Lately, though, it has become a bigger part of our lifestyle,
and I find myself assessing the calibre of the restaurants in our little town of Essex.
Like many of our customers, we want value for our dollar.
Not the cheapest deal any longer,
but more of a consideration of what is the best price for the best service and product.
We want quality and are willing to go the extra mile to find it.

I find it frustrating to go out for dinner and
find either a boring menu or having a meal served to me that I could have made myself.
I like to see unique combinations of flavours and ingredients I won’t find in my kitchen.
I want reasonable portions made with local produce, and served up with sauces
or “au jus”‘s and aioli’s (a new treat I’ve discovered).
I want more flavour and less starch filler.
Yes, I’m pretty demanding when it comes to eating out.
But, when I find those things,
I have no problem going back and sharing the experience with friends and family.
Or my loyal blog readers. 

Day Off

So, this week, I decided to take Greg out for lunch on his “Day Off”.
You know, his “Day Off” where he was actually working at the store because
it’s the Schnitzel Sale, and that’s just what he does.
But I figured if there was ever anyone who needed a nice meal out, it was him.
Since I’ve gotten to appreciate Ryan’s treats and desserts,
and he had repeatedly invited us to stop in for lunch sometime,
and the Deluxe is right across the street from Schinkels’,
it was an easy choice. 

 

First impressions:

Old-style dinner, but super shiny, new and clean.
Greeted by a cheerful server.
Place was pretty busy considering it was a Tuesday.

Second impressions:

Menu was straightforward and hinted at some of those qualities I look for.
“Au Jus” was mentioned, as was
“slow roasted”,
“grilled”,
“sautéed vegetables”,
“made fresh”,
and “homemade”.
All key terms in promising something a bit ahead of the usual fare. 

 

Third impressions:

Well, these got interrupted,
mainly because Ryan decided at that point to join us as he served up the meal.
I guess that actually made my third impression complete.
Up until that point, Greg and I had enjoyed a bit of our own conversation,
but I was enjoying the atmosphere of a small town diner,
where the servers know the customers and conversations
are starting up everytime someone new steps into the restaurant.
I wasn’t brought up in this town, but I have come to appreciate the “townies”
and the friendly smiles that always seem to abound in a place like the Deluxe.
Just the fact that Ryan had glanced in and knew we were there and made
a point of coming out to say “hi” and
tell me a bit about the efforts he had put into our meal made me feel welcome. 

Fourth impressions:

Like I mentioned, Ryan came out with our food, so we said grace and dug right in.
We both started with soup.
You may know that I’m Dutch, so soup is a really big deal to us.
Sadly, I’ve come to just expect that restaurants generally serve up
“food service” frozen soups,
and focus their creative energies on the entrés.

So, we received a pleasant surprise here at the Deluxe,
because Ryan informed us that his soup is completely homemade,
and made fresh every day.
Which meant today we were treated to

Beef Barley Soup.

Wow.

It was really good. And, coming from a Dutchie, that’s a big compliment.
After growing up with soup almost every Sunday, I know my soups.
There were fresh mushrooms
(as opposed to canned, which I have actually seen before),
lots of beef, and flavour that would make my mom proud.

Main Course

Ryan chose for us, as I figured he would know what’s good.
I ended up with the Deluxe Club,


and Greg was served the Beef Dipper,


with sweet potato fries on the side for us both. 

Ok, so first off, we had to re-adjust the presentation.

Sharing is Caring and Caring is Beautiful.
Especially when one shares one’s lunch. 

A few notes: 

Au Jus is divine.
Seriously. Dunking that toasted Ciabatta bun loaded with beef into
that dish of deliciousness was incredibly satisfying. 

Toasted Ciabatta Bun.
Yummmm.

Grilled Rye Bread.
Double Yummmm.

Almost didn’t need the chicken and thick cut peameal bacon to enjoy it.
Yes, I’m into bread. 

Orange Stuff.
Whatever the heck sauce that was served up with the sweet potato fries
was zesty and thick and a super compliment to the sweetness of the fries.
Ryan tells me there’s a “secret recipe”,
which may be unfair in my world of attempting to copy restaurant fare,
but will most likely end up with having my return to Deluxe a sure thing,
so I think it works for him. 

Ok, then Ryan told us that we had to have dessert.
I’m sure he’s not that bossy with all his customers,
so don’t worry about being coerced into anything if you come for lunch.
I was all for that idea since I’ve had a few
tastes of his abilities on the few Friday nights I’ve worked. 

Anticipated Deliciousness

So, he brought this to the table a few minutes later.

You can’t tell for all the fruit deliciousness,
but there really are two Belgium waffles and whipped cream under there.
I had to threaten Greg with all sorts of nasty stuff to
get him to hold off digging in until I could get a picture to show you.

And then I had to eat quick in order to get my half, cause,
I tell you, Greg eats fast. All too soon, the plate looked like this:

and then like this:

Final word:

If you haven’t already been a customer of the Deluxe,
you have missed out on something really worth sharing.