Basque

Backhouse realizes Niagara’s great potential

Backhouse realizes Niagara’s great potential

Too bad the great French gourmand Christian Millau didn't live long enough to visit Ryan and Bev Campbell's Backhouse in Niagara-on-the-Lake (242 Mary St.; 289-272-1242; backhouse.xyz). In 1968, Millau revolutionized the way the French (and, given the era, the world) regarded haute cuisine when he announced that he had discovered “the best restaurant in the world” in the provincial town of Roanne. He might have said something similar had he discovered this grill-centric, hyper-locavore restaurant in a shopping strip at the edge of this Lake Ontario resort village. “Best restaurant in the world” is hyperbole, of course. But the comparison to Les Frères Troisgros is more than fair. Backhouse serves brilliant food far from the metropolitan restaurant scene. Asador Etxebarri in the small village of...Read More

Harvest brings Battersby’s big tastes from small kitchen

A few times a year our neighborhood restaurant in Harvard Square, Harvest (harvestcambridge.com), holds a Sunday supper in its “The Book & the Cook Series.” These 6 p.m. suppers remind us of being back in Europe, gathering for a less than formal meal at the end of the weekend, often around a big table. Mind you, the meals are far more elegant than our Euro repasts. They invariably feature a cookbook author who is also a chef. With input from the author, Harvest's executive chef Tyler Kinnett (right) and pastry chef Joshua Livesay oversee a meal compiled (or sometimes adapted) from the cookbook. Their realizations are invariably spot-on. They demonstrate both the skill of the Harvest staff and their willingness to step into the background...Read More

Everyday squid in Basque country

Those of us who aren't Basque have a hard time imagining just how well they eat. Good food and a love of cooking seem to be central to the culture. When we sat down with Elena and Juan Marí Arzak for the Robb Report story about the seasonal special dish of angulas (see the Dec. 21, 2011 post), they emphasized that love of good food was a Basque birthright that extends to every meal--not just special occasions. That certainly seems to be true. When we later met professional guide Ana Intxausti Gardeki, she took us to the San Sebastian market and told us all about the various kinds of fish available. (She had worked for a seafood broker before changing careers.) She even gave us...Read More

Basque treats: angulas for Christmas

Nothing says Christmas in Basque country like a nice plate of angulas, i.e., baby eels, also known as elvers, glass eels, or ''spaghetti with eyes.'' Threatened by overfishing and by Asian buyers who purchase the live elvers to raise on fish farms, angulas nonetheless remain a touchstone of Basque traditional cuisine. They are, however, expensive. We have a piece in the December 2011 Robb Report about fishing for and preparing angulas. We should note that we had a lot of help to research this story, especially from chef Fernando Canales of Etxanobe in Bilbao, eel fisherman and all-around outdoorsman and gourmand Txetxu Oliver, and chefs Juan Marí and Elena Arzak, who were good enough to sit down and talk with us at Restaurante Arzak about...Read More