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We're on Top of the World (January 30, 2006)

Love, romance, celebrations and anniversaries!

Happy 30th Anniversary to the CN Tower in Toronto, Canada!

Classified as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers, the world's tallest free-standing building boasts the highest restaurant and wine cellar in the world. 360 Restaurant, way up there in the sky was... among many international awards... also voted Toronto's most romantic eatery by WHERE magazine.

For starts, the magical setting makes it a perfect spot to host your celebration or "pop the question!" And indeed, the decade-old restaurant has a rich history of memorable wedding proposals, among them the knight in full shining armour who strode in to the restaurant , bent down onto one knee and lifted his mask to propose to a delighted bride-to-be, and the romantic movie lover (remember Sleepless in Seattle ) who planted a teddy bear clutching the proposal note. Planes fly by with "Marry Me" messages, diamond rings add special sparkle when attached to champagne bottles or topping tall desserts... 360 Restaurant has seen them all!

Your columnists, Ron Morris, Helen Hatton and Sheila Swerling-Puritt, decided to check this all out first hand! We were greeted by General Manager and award-winning sommelier Doris Miculan Bradley, who whisked us into the wine cellar. Over hors d'oeuvres we learned that the capacity is 9000 bottles of wine with 1100 on display; their "filing" system is so good that wait staff can locate any one of the bottles ordered in five minutes and, more importantly, get them to the table!

On to dinner! Chef Peter George had just introduced his winter menu and we were ready! Ah, there we sat like royalty surveying our realm, for high above the city the restaurant rotates, giving diners a breathtaking view of the landscape below. Then the courses began to arrive and they included Lavender, Honey Roasted Butternut Squash Bisque, an amusing Crispy Potato Salad, Curried Lamb "en Cocotte", grilled Thyme Scented Lamb Rack Chops, plus the Chef's signature dish, the spectacular Roasted Loin of Venison, all matched with just the right wines. Ripe Canadian cheeses followed; we finished up with a selection of scrumptious desserts.

Who could resist? We too, were smitten!

On today's menu:

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Roasted Loin of Venison with East Coast Chanterelles, Late Harvest Squash, Red Currant & CEV Cabernet Franc Reserve Jus

Chef Peter George grew up in Ontario's farming heartland and credits that with his commitment to fresh market food and locally grown produce, which he commissions from local farmers and vintners.

This is a stunning recipe that takes a bit of planning plus hunting and gathering of the ingredients, but the results are completely worth the effort. It's a perfect cold-weather recipe. When we enjoyed the venison at 360, Sommelier Bradley poured a lovely Amarone, perfect with the rich, gamy sweetness of this dish.

Serves 4

  • 4 × 5 oz pieces of venison loin
  • 6 fingerling potatoes
  • 1 cup fresh chanterelles
  • 1 cup diced butternut squash
  • ½ cup fresh red currants
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped thyme
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped Italian parsley
  • ½ cup good veal jus
  • ½ cup CEV Cabernet Franc Reserve
  • Season the four pieces of venison with salt and pepper and sear in a hot pan ensuring a golden brown colour on all sides.
  • Place the seared venison loins in a hot 350°F oven for 5–7 minutes, longer if you like your meat cooked beyond rare.
  • Remove the meat from the oven and allow the meat to rest in a warm place for 10 minutes.
  • In a saucepan, add a tsp of sweet butter and one diced shallot.
  • Allow the shallot to sauté until tender but no colour and add the ½ cup of CVE Cabernet Franc Reserve.
  • Add a ¼ cup of fresh currents and reduce the wine by ½.
  • Add the veal jus and reduce the sauce by ½.
  • Strain the sauce through a fine mesh strainer, season with salt and pepper and reserve.
  • In a large sauté pan add 1 tsp of sweet butter and 1 tsp good olive oil.
  • Sauté the potatoes and squash over medium heat until tender and add the chanterelles.
  • Continue cooking until the chanterelles are tender, season with salt and pepper and toss with fresh thyme and parsley.
  • Divide the chanterelle mixture between 4 plates.
  • Slice each piece of venison into 4 pieces and fan out over the chanterelle mixture.
  • Bring the sauce to a boil and add the remaining currants.
  • Drizzle the sauce over each dish.
  • Garnish with a sprig of fresh currants and thyme.
  • Enjoy.

Tony's wine recommendation:
Châteauneuf-du-Pape, California Merlot, Super-Tuscan


The 360 Ultimate Seafood Platter

Come on, it's a very important evening event you've set up, so pull out the stops to show your appreciation! Celebrate with this spectacular three-tiered platter of fresh Canadian seafood luxuriously piled high with everyone's favourites; they'll be talking about this for a long time!

Serves 4 to 8 as a generous appetizer

On a three-tiered server, assemble the following:

  • 3 whole 1½ lb Atlantic lobsters
  • 2 dozen Malpeque oysters
  • 2 dozen shrimp
  • 1 lb of queen crab legs
  • ½ lb of smoked Atlantic salmon
  • 3 dozen marinated mussels
  • Fresh lemons, cut into quarters
  • Assorted greens for decoration
  • Mustard mayonnaise (mix Dijon mustard into a good store bought or homemade mayonnaise to taste)

Tony's wine recommendation:
Chablis or a good white Burgundy, non-oaked Ontario Chardonnay, Gavi, Alsace Riesling


The CN Tower is located at 301 Front Street West, Toronto, Ontario M5V 2T6 Canada.

We wish to thank the CN Tower for permission to publish photographs and material. For more information, directions, stories and reservations, go to


Happily enjoyed by Helen Hatton and Ron Morris.

Download this article in printable form as an Adobe Acrobat PDF (69 KB)




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