Prairie Food Bytes
Saskatchewan's Only Electronic Food & Wine News Source

Editor: CJ Katz

Wednesday, July 9, 2003
Issue 15

New Bistro Fires Up
REGINA - Just a few short weeks ago, the former location of Casa Ricci opened its doors as the new Fireside Bistro.

At just 25, owner and head chef Jesse Hoffert has already banked up plenty of expertise managing restaurants and working in kitchens. Hoffert has led an eclectic food career, getting first started with the Mighty Thomas Carnival when he was just 13 years old. Working the concession stands for at least one full year and every summer during his teenage years, Hoffert travelled across Saskatchewan and down through the American mid-west serving up tacos, burgers and fries. By the time he was 18, he had gained enough experience and knowledge to manage the entire food operation of the carnival.

Upon graduating from high school, Hoffert enrolled in college in Medicine Hat and by 1997 had earned his diploma in hotel and restaurant management. He soon began working in the kitchen at Danbrys learning how to prepare more refined upscale dining dishes under the tutelage of Paul Howden, Jody Wolfard and the team of chefs there. Three years later, he moved to Vic's Steakhouse and Botanica in the Regina Inn to assist in the kitchen during the opening of these restaurants. When Pasta Prima opened, Hoffert was there helping to work out the kinks. Before long, he was head chef at Johnny Fox's when the Travellodge transformed Oscar's into their banquet facility.

Asked why he decided to take on ownership of a restaurant, "I started to ask myself, if I'm putting in so many hours at other restaurants, why not do it for myself." And so far, business has been good and increasing every day. This time of year, the patio is full, and says Hoffert, this past weekend we had customers still enjoying the patio at 2:30 in the morning.

The menu features soups, salads, sandwiches and burgers, pizza and pasta and a large selection main-course entrees. Be sure to try Hoffert's signature dishes such as his Absolut Citron Vodka Chicken Roulade,the Smoked Gouda Chicken Sandwich and the Fireside Veg-Apalooza Pizza prepared with Hoffert's own barbeque sauce - a mixture of Babe's Fireweed Honey from B.C., fresh rosemary and spices. A complete vegetarian menu is also available and portabello mushrooms can be substituted at no extra charge in any meat dish off the regular menu. All lunch items are under $10.

Fireside seats 126 guests with another 35 seats on the patio. As well, the restaurant includes a private meeting room on the second floor large enough to seat 25 people.

The Fireside Bistro opens Monday to Friday at 11 am and on Saturday and Sunday at 4 pm. For reservations call: 761-2305. The restaurant is located at 2305 Smith St. at the corner of 15th Ave.

Owner Jesse Hoffert on the patio of his new restaurant, The Fireside Bistro

Daneilsen Cooks Up Katz' Recipes at Calgary Stampede
CALGARY - Retired ex-CFLer Vince Danielsen will be donning a bright red apron and taking up a spatula and skillet to cook up several Heinz bean recipes at this week's Calgary Stampede. Several of the low-fat, low cholesterol recipes he'll be demonstrating were created by Regina-based freelance food and wine columnist and cooking instructor CJ Katz. Katz created four recipes for Heinz Canada and the Stampede this year, including Cow-Poke Low Fat Wraps, Ridin' Cowboy Spicy Bean Dip, Heinz Campfire Skillet Supper and Tropical Beans. Several of the recipes will be available to Stampede goers on the back of collector playing cards. All four recipes will soon be posted on Heinz's web site at Danielsen is a spokesperson for Heinz Canada Beans, the official beans of the Calgary Stampede.

Vic's Steakhouse Menu Gets Overhaul, Features Only Canadian Products
REGINA - Vic's Steakhouse unveiled a complete new menu this week featuring high quality beef and other meat product as well as vegetables grown only in Canada. Beef served at the intimate restaurant nestled in the Regina Inn will be only Classic Canadian Angus beef from Alberta and Saskatchewan.

"There's a lot of added value on this menu," says Vic's Steakhouse manager Simon Dujardin. "The presentation will be quite different, something very noticeable especially with the appetizers and desserts. As well, every plate will be garnish with a unique signature item - a sprig of fresh herb sandwiched between two crisp potato rounds."

Executive Chef Thomas Rush is a fan of French-style cooking and loves creating dishes that have a lot of height on the plate, so expect to see some appetizers and desserts that not only taste wonderful but will be a feast for the eyes too. And like many other chefs, Rush is a believer in serving vegetables in season which means no vegetables will be served out of the season in which they are grown and harvested.

Chef Rush and his team have also created some additional sauces to marry with the steaks such as Blue Cheese Horseradish, Smoked Chipotle BBQ and Port Mushroom. Some new sides have also been added including grilled asparagus, steakhouse fries and Colossal PEI Baked Potato.

The wine list will very soon be featuring almost exclusively Canadian wines. The house red and white wine starting this week is Mission Hill's Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. As the restaurant depletes its stock of wines from around the world, Old and New World wines will still be available but the majority served will be Canadian including some wines not available at the SLGA. And as an added bonus, guests will soon be able to purchase these specialty wines to take home. For reservations, call 525-7556.

Fast Track Sommelier Program Starts in September
REGINA - Wine lover's take note and mark your calendars. For the first time ever, Saskatchewan will have 20-25 graduating sommeliers next April. Offered through the highly regarded Algonquin College Sommelier Program (Ottawa), this superb course, which begins mid-September will include Wine Appreciation I and II, Sommelier I and II, Wine Making, and Food & Wine Matching.

One of the exciting aspects is the instructor. Rod Phillips, managing editor of Vines magazine, author of A Short History of Wine, and wine columnist for the Ottawa Citizen will teach the course. Rod has travelled extensively around the world visiting just about every wine region. Voted Wine Person of the Year, 2000 by the National Capital Sommelier Guild, Rod brings a wealth of experience to the program.

Enrolment forms and information packages are now available by contacting CJ Katz at (306) 761-2032 or

Bushwakker Features Premium Wines; New Beer
REGINA - This month Bushwakkers Brew Pub is featuring Brian McGuigan Black Label Shiraz from Australia and Gustav Adolf Schmidt Riesling Auslese Rheinhesen. Both are special order products not available at the SLGA. Cost for both is $21/bottle (take home only). These wines are only available in July and supplies are already running low. As well a tasty brew for the summer months - Peach Apricot Wheat - is available on tap and in bottles. Bushwakker's features over 30 wines and a large selection of beers for off sale. Kegs can also be filled with 24-hours notice.

New Summer Menu at Danbry's
REGINA - After launching their new menu in April, Danbrys has made a few changes and added some new items for the summer months. Their lunch menu now features a Spicy Thai Chicken Salad - a warm grilled chicken breast nestled atop a bed of mixed greens, snow peas, red bell pepper strips and chilled egg noodles, drizzled with an orange-chili Thai dressing. They've also added a vegetarian pasta - Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Farfalle, bow-tie shaped pasta tossed with a fresh cream and roasted red pepper-pesto sauce. Chicken or shrimp can be added to this dish. As well, for those with more traditional tastes, a peppered bacon BLT is on the menu - four strips of peppered bacon, thick-cut beefsteak tomato and creamy Monterey Jack cheese between thick cut bread swiped with mayo and a crisp leaf of lettuce.

On the dinner menu, try their warm spinach and crap dip served with tomato tortilla crisps. For those hot summer nights Executive Chef Chris Trehearne is topping the grilled snapper with jumbo prawns and a light lemon and white wine butter sauce. Yum!

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