Mar 29

Earth Hour Dinner at Thomsons

by Julie Van Rosendaal · 2 comments

I love to see corporate entities participating in events like Earth Hour. So if I can show my support by going for a three-course meal made from ingredients sourced within a 150 mile radius, it’s the very least I can do.

At Thomsons, they’re celebrating Earth Hour all week long with a special menu featuring ingredients sourced from within 150 miles of the hotel. (These ingredients and others can be found on their menu year-round; they are regular suppliers, all drawn together to create a single meal for this occasion.) On Saturday March 27, it will be served in the true spirit of Earth Hour, as they offer dinner service by candlelight. The best part: this three-course meal is only $35 – the best deal I’ve seen in ages.

UPDATE: Thomsons has extended their Earth Hour menu until Sunday, April 4, 2010 because of it’s popularity.

Look at this soup! This is (was) one of the first-course choices: Hotchkiss Farms smoked heirloom tomato puree with basil foam (a dollop of crème fraîche, I think, with slivered basil). It tasted exactly as it looks. Rich without being heavy, pure, smoky, intense; an essence of the very best-quality tomatoes and cream. (The other option: a Hotchkiss Farms tomato-romaine salad with Highwood Crossing canola oil.)

Thomsons is in a beautiful old sandstone building – the Thomsons block, constructed in 1893 by brothers Melville and James Thomson, was originally a bookstore and has since housed clothing stores, furniture stores, hardware stores and bakeries.

And now – a restaurant. Where they bake their own bread! Who knew? Wonderfully chewy with a nice crust, savoury but studded with raisins. Right directly up my alley.

The Earth Hour menu is a set menu – a three course meal and a full-sized, substantial one, made with lovely organic, local ingredients. Did I mention it’s only $35? Seriously – if you want to go out for a nice, schwanky (without being stuffy) dinner affordably, you can’t beat this. (Normally just an entree like this would go for $35-or more.) The room is beautiful, overlooking Stephen Avenue, and tonight there was old jazz in the background – Sammy Davis Jr. and Ella Fitzgerald – a wonderfully relaxing change from the usual generic dance beat that tends to make me a little squirrely. The service was impeccable – a reminder of what good service is.

And seriously – look at this meal. I almost cried:

It’s a short rib from Spring Creek Ranch, braised in Wild Rose Brewery WRed Wheat Ale for six hours. Underneath, Sylvan Star smoked gouda gratin and multi-hued Hotchkiss Farm carrots. Honestly? It was a perfect balance of beef, jus, cream, cheese, potatoes and carrots. It was like going home and being fed, if your mom was some fantastically talented chef with a beautiful dining room and there was no obligation to help with the dishes afterward.

And then there was dessert. The photo doesn’t do it justice – it was getting dark, and that little triangle of homemade Chinook buckwheat honey ice cream was MELTING.

You can’t blame it, really – it was set atop warm bread pudding already draped in warm custard sauce, nestled into a warmed cast iron skillet. But let me tell you, that ice cream was bliss. BLISS. As you may know, I am an ice cream fanatic. I can’t keep it in the house – literally I can’t keep it because I eat it all and it has no chance to stick around. I have no idea how they made this stuff so creamy – I mean, it was like the very best ultra-creamy ice cream times a thousand, with the flavour of honey, rather than the usual vanilla. Bliss. I am as I type plotting ways to get some more. I may go back for another meal just to access that ice cream. (Not that eating my way there would be so terrible either.)

So for Earth Hour this weekend, the Hyatt will be shutting down all non-essential power throughout the hotel during those 60 minutes. This includes exterior lighting, sales, catering, marketing and executive offices, the Sandstone Lounge, Thomsons Restaurant and Catch Restaurant & Oyster Bar (all will be illuminated by candles), Stillwater Spa, the Imperial Ballroom, the Regency Club and parts of the lobby; any energy they do use will be Bullfrog Power. Good on you, guys.

Earth Hour Menu – Monday March 22 to Saturday March 27 EXTENDED until Sunday April 4
(On Saturday March 27, it will be served in a truly earth friendly atmosphere as they offer dinner service by candlelight.)

Appetizer
Hotchkiss Farms heirloom tomato and organic greens salad with High Wood Crossing cold pressed canola oil and malt vinegar
OR
Hotchkiss Farms smoked heirloom tomato puree basil foam

Main Course
Wild Rose Brewery WRed Wheat Ale braised Spring Creek short rib, Sylvan Star smoked gouda gratin and Hotchkiss Farm carrots

Dessert
Home made Saskatoon bread pudding with homemade Chinook farms buckwheat honey ice cream

To book a reservation at Thomsons to enjoy the Earth Hour menu, email dining@thomsonsrestaurant.com or call 403-537-4449

(Hurry – it’s only around until Saturday!)

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