Monday, February 13, 2012

My Birthday Dinner at Morris East

I love birthdays.  I enjoy buying presents for people and wrapping them up into beautiful parcels to present to them on their special day.  I (obviously) also relish the dining aspect of birthdays; whether it's a simple cake or an elaborate 5-course meal, I love the celebration that's involved and making the Bday boy/girl feel special.

And I love it when it's MY birthday!  I'm one of those people whose birthday falls right on the cusp of the Christmas season.  That's right - my bday falls within the 12 days of Christmas, on January 5th.  When I was younger, I always guilt-tripped my parents into a really good birthday present.  Of course, I did offer the obligatory, "thanks mom for your 9 months of incubation, labour and putting up with me during my teens", but I also got away with making my birthday last a whole week instead of just one day.

I've since met a little bird who makes her Bday last a whole month - but that's another story all together!  This broad did help me celebrate one of my birthday days, as did my colleagues, and then my boyfriend's colleagues... 4 birthday cakes/desserts in all!  Needless to say, I was birthday'd out by mid-January, so I think a week's worth of celebrating is still fine enough for me.

The best part about this Bday though, was my dinner at Morris East.  I agonized over this decision for several days prior - pouring over menus at Gio, Da Maurizio, The Bicycle Thief, CUT, etc... But when I sat back and thought about what I wanted, it was something simple; something that I don't eat very often: CARBS! I wanted to unabashedly eat them with no care for the aftermath.  So where to go in this city for a good feed of carbs?  Morris East- for some wood-fire grilled pizzas.

When we arrived at 8:30 pm on the Saturday night following my Bday, we started off with some tasty cocktails.  I had the Patsy ($11) with citadelle gin, St. Germain elderflower, rosemary syrup, lemon and sparkling wine, while Mitch had the Winter Mojito ($10.50) with amber rum, muddled limes, fresh mint, drunken cranberries and soda.  I think my drink was so delicious because it combined some of my favorite bevys all-in-one; gin, St. Germain and sparkling wine.

As we sipped, we put in some orders for appetizers to share; the Vinaigrette Caesar ($9) and the Stuffed Portobello Cap ($9).  I'd had the Caesar before and it's my favorite one in Halifax.  Made with a light, lemony vinaigrette as opposed to a heavy creamy dressing, the simple flavours really stand out here.  The portobello mushroom  cap was delicious - I had a hard time passing the plate over.  The tender mushroom was topped with creamy melted bocconcini cheese, a smokey roasted tomato and an inventive pesto.

Vinaigrette Caesar   
Caesar w/ smoked bacon, sourdough croutons & preserved lemon

Stuffed Portobello Cap
w/ wood-fired Portobello mushroom, bocconcini cheese, 
artichoke cashew pesto, slow cooked tomato & herbs

With the appetizers cleared away, there was just a minute's wait before our pizzas arrived.  They were huge - divvied up into 6 slices each.  I knew what I wanted days before; the mushroom pizza ($16) with 3 different mushrooms and truffle oil.  Mitch ordered the Off The Bone ($18) with 3 kinds of meat and house smoked cheddar.  The pizza crusts were soft and irresistible.  Once the toppings were gone, I drizzled the crust in Morris East's chili oil and enjoyed every last crumb.  We swapped several slices before packing up a couple to go.  

Off The Bone
braised pork, Oulton's Farm sausage, sopressata, 
house smoked cheddar, Propeller Bitter Tomato Sauce

portobello, button & oyster mushroom, garlic, 
Parmesean, microgreens & truffle oil

I would have been happy finishing the meal with coffee, but Mitch likes to go all out on special occasions, so we ordered two specialty coffees with a macadamia nut liqueur and asked them to surprise us for dessert.  They chose the rich chocolate torte, and it certainly was rich.  The plate was drizzled in freshly sqeezed OJ and dusted with cocoa, then topped with a slice of chocolate-dipped cake.  That was the best part - the hard chocolate shell on the outside that cracked beneath my fork.

Rich Chocolate Torte
citrus caramel, canilla bean chantilly

And then I made a wish - but that's a secret!

We had a great night out at Morris East and the food was fantastic.  And while we did feel that some items were a little steeply priced, the meal was a good value overall.  We also brought our own wine - a pinot noir to go with my mushroom pizza - and the corkage fee was just $15. 

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