Cigars and Seafood: A Match Made in Heaven

Seafood

Pairing cigars and fine food is practically an art. So much thought can be put into bringing together cigars, food, and drink that the combinations are endless. For many people, pairing cigars and seafood is not at the top of their list. However, make sure not to miss out on the opportunities for enjoyment when combining cigars and seafood. This short guide will give you some tips for the best pairings of seafood and cigars for an unforgettable dinner. Even if these tips do not work perfectly for you, take them as a starting point. Each cigar smoker has to explore for themselves which cigars they enjoy with seafood and vice-versa. The most important point is to find what you like and learn how to complement it.

 

Pairing Seafood and Cigars

 

Seafood like shrimp, clams, fish, lobster, and crab are all rich in flavor and highly nutritional. Despite these characteristics, seafood tends to be very easy on the palate. Try picking out a cigar with the same gentle presence. The flavor should be rich but not heavy on the tongue. Full-bodied cigars can often crowd out the softer flavors of seafood dishes. Both shrimp and lobster can have a delectable sweetness, while salmon is coated in delicious oil and a sweet profile. Mussels and clams, being especially delicate in flavor, often come with butter or sweet red sauce. A medium-bodied cigar with a sweet wrapper makes a spectacular choice for these dishes. The aroma of a medium-bodied cigar mixes with the scent of fresh seafood quite positively.

 

Another option is a mild, gentle Connecticut. This cigar ensures the flavor of the seafood comes through loud and clear. Make sure that the cigar you pick still has enough strength to stand up to the flavor of the food, though.

 

Again, these guidelines are just suggestions. If you are a newer cigar smoker, opt for a softer smoke that gives more room to your food. If you are a longtime aficionado, take a chance on something stronger. Or, if you prefer softer or stronger cigars, opt for what you like. Never be afraid to branch out and try something new. Remember, with a little risk comes the potential for great reward. Exploring new combinations is the best way to get a better feel for your palate’s preferences. Trying new pairings can open up whole new possibilities of sensory delight.

 

The Perfect Meal for Your Cigar

 

We here at Rib’N Reef love helping customers match scrumptious meals with the right cigars. Whether you are a newbie or a veteran smoker, we put the tools at your disposal for finding the best cigar and seafood pairings. Or, if seafood is not your style, we offer a variety of delicious steaks, juicy roast beef, and well-aged wines. At Rib’N Reef, our patrons’ enjoyment is our priority. Pop in for your next night out and let us accompany you through a brand new smoking experience.

Cigars for Cool Summer Nights

Cigar at night

Now that summer is winding down, we all begin to shift gears. Often, without realizing it, we make countless decisions each day differently, depending on the season. As we transition from one part of the year to the next, our comfort foods change, we stay at home a lot more or less, and we take up different hobbies or activities.

 

When it comes to cigars, seasonal change is just as real. Spend any time around cigar enthusiasts, and you will eventually hear one talk about “the perfect winter smoke” or a cigar being “perfect for spring afternoons.” While this is obviously in part a matter of taste, there really are qualities about certain cigars that many people find best during certain times of the year.

 

So, as we begin to move further toward the coming autumn, what should you keep in mind when picking cigars for cool summer nights? Below are some pointers to help you get the most out of every cigar in your humidor.

 

Match the Smoke to the Season

 

Summer nights are a big relief after sweltering daylight. Think of the first taste of cold beer after a day in the sun. Or remember how satisfying a fine steak is on a hot afternoon. Your goal is to take the concept so often used to pair cigars with food and drink and apply it to your environment, the weather, and your mood. Summer nights are usually spent enjoying the outdoors, going for walks, or gathering around a late-night fire. Picture the cigar you want to enjoy on a cool summer night when activities are finished after a long day, and you hear crickets calling to each other.

 

Matching Flavor With Feeling

 

A spicy cigar with a bit of bite can be the perfect jolt for a lively fireside conversation.  Or a mellow, sweet cigar would complement a backyard dinner. The Cohiba Maduro 5 Genios is a prime example. This extra-dark cigar creates a subtle sweet smoke that is big on flavor but light on the tongue. The H. Upmann Magnum 50’s smooth, full-bodied flavor would be the perfect reinvigoration before bed after a night with family and friends as well as the perfect campfire cigar. Depending on your preference, you might be in the mood for the rich coffee notes of a Montecristo No. 4 or the exciting complexity of a Flor De Claro. Strong, full-bodied cigars can make wonderful companions for late summer nights. With the world quiet and the day completely done, many aficionados find a jolting cigar can be quite refreshing.

 

Cigars, Summer Nights, and a Steakhouse

 

Cool summer nights are the traditional time for a cigar on the porch or in the backyard. They are also spectacular occasions to go out for a great meal. At Rib’N Reef, we are happy to give every steak-loving cigar enthusiast the perfect environment for enjoying both. We offer a top selection of cigars sure to please the pickiest smoker. Once you try our steak, you will immediately know why we are recognized as one of the top steakhouses in Montreal.

Unexpectedly Delicious Cigars You Might Not Think of Trying

best cigar lounge montreal

Many seasoned cigar smokers have an idea of what they like in a smoke. However, this often leads them to stop trying new things, especially when it comes to flavor-infused cigars. These are often disparaged as at best a mediocre experience and at worst, a ruined one. While this may have been the case in the past, there are now many flavored cigars that can impress even the most discerning of palates. Here are five cigars that you may not have considered smoking.

Rocky Patel/Drew Estate Java

 Many cigar smokers enjoy having a cup of coffee or espresso with their smoke. This is one of the best qualities of the Rocky Patel Java line. The Javas come in a variety of flavours that are designed to pair well with coffee. They also have a delicate and complex coffee and cocoa flavour profile with a note that is sure to remind you of your favourite cafe. Unlike some other flavoured stoagies, the Java does not overpower the taste of tobacco but rather complements it to create a delicate harmony.

Acid Ordinary Larry

 Putting the Ordinary Larry on this list is a bit of a cheat because unlike the other cigars listed here, it is not flavor-infused. While Acid is known for its line of flavored cigars, the Ordinary Larry has no added flavors. However, it is a testament to Acid’s competence in making good cigars. The Ordinary Larry comes in Connecticut, Camerone, and Nicaraguan varieties, each bringing its own unique flavor profiles to the fore. If you have been hesitant to try the flavored cigars in the Acid line, the Ordinary Larry is a great way to get your feet wet.

Kentucky Fire Cured

 The Kentucky Fire Cured line is one that many cigar smokers are hesitant to try. This is often due to its pungent firewood aroma. When lit, the Kentucky Fire Cured emits a robust, well-rounded flavour with a room note that will remind you of sitting by a campfire. It will also conjure up memories of delicious grilled meats. This makes it the perfect cigar for a hot summer day or for enjoying with a steak dinner.

Nub Nuance

The Nub Nuance — formerly known as the Nub Cafe — is a line of cigars made by Oliva. These are another type of coffee-infused cigars marketed as the “ultimate coffee experience.” The Nub Nuance comes in six sizes and three flavours, all modeled after different coffees.

Davidoff Demi-Tasse

The Davidoff Demi-Tasse is another cigar that technically does not belong to the list of flavoured cigars. While they are not artificially flavored, the aroma and flavor profiles of these little cigars are so unique that they could make you believe they are. This is to be expected since Davidoff has long been one of the most respected names in the industry. The Demi-Tasse pairs excellently with a fine cut of steak and a glass of wine, so it is perfect for your next visit to the Rib’N Reef.

The Most Interesting Ways to Cook Steaks

Steak in Montreal

You might think that cooking steaks is pretty straightforward, even if there is an art to it. But like many forms of cooking, getting a perfectly cooked steak is a journey that can take many forms. There are actually many ways to cook a steak, even beyond the traditional methods of grilling, roasting, or pan-frying. So what are the ways that you can push your culinary know-how when it comes to cooking a great steak?

Cooking It on Coals 

If you want to try something really old-school, try cooking your steak directly on coals. For grilling like this, you wouldn’t want to use briquettes. Instead, use regular, clean coal. It won’t leave an odd flavor in your steak. What it will do is impart a layered, intense flavor. Cooking on coals requires being focused and present. You will need to flip the steak every few minutes. With proper monitoring, it will become ultra-crispy on the outside and smoky and juicy on the inside.

Smoking It at Home 

If you’ve ever had a really good barbecue, you know what effect smoke can have on meat. There is a reason that everyone loves classic smoked meats like brisket. But believe it or not, you can actually smoke your own steak right in your own home.

The perfect steak for smoking is a bigger, thicker steak. You may also want to prepare a marinade for your steak. Grilling and smoking purists will say that this is the wrong way to go about it, but smoking steaks can be tricky. It can be a bit of a battle to keep the moisture in the meat. You want to get that smoky flavour while keeping a tender, soft consistency. Even though it can be a challenge, it is not impossible — and getting it perfect is worth the effort.

Cooking a Shovel Steak

 The term “shovel steak” is not a manner of speech. This delicious, crispy steak earns its name because it is literally cooked on a shovel. Cooking on an open fire can make you feel primitive, but there is nothing more delicious than a perfectly cooked steak eaten flame-side. To cook a shovel steak, build your campfire, adding enough wood to keep it piping hot. Season your steak with whatever rub or marinade you like. Then preheat your shovel by laying it on the flames for about five minutes.

When the shovel is hot, lay your steak on it and put it directly into the flames. This essentially works like frying it in a pan. However, the extra-hot temperature and direct flame exposure give it a unique flavor and an excellent sear on the outside. When done right, shovel steaks can be crispy on the exterior and tender and juicy in the middle.

If you love to experiment with cooking steak, challenge yourself to try something new this summer. And when you’ve had your fill of the great outdoors, visit Rib’N Reef for our own delicious specialty steaks.

The Best New Steak Rubs You Haven’t Heard About

Montreal steak

Summer is upon us, and that means one thing: It is time for cookouts! Making steak on the grill is a wonderful way to get a dinner you won’t forget for a long time. But there’s so much that goes into making a steak really special.

Some people say that a good steak doesn’t need any seasoning — except maybe a sprinkle of salt. If you consider yourself a traditionalist, go ahead and make yourself a plain steak. But there are plenty of reasons to try out a great new steak rub at your next cookout. Here are five steak rubs that are perfect for summertime. To get them perfectly aromatic, gently heat them before rubbing into your steak.

Flavours of Mexico

If you want to get a kick of the South in the steak, try a rub called the “Carne Asada.” This semi-dry rub combines dark beer and lime juice with spices and herbs like cumin, chili powder, garlic, cilantro, oregano, black pepper, and dried ancho chili powder. It is a smoky, tangy rub with just the right amount of spice. So if you can’t get enough of hot peppers, this might be the perfect steak rub for you.

Flavours of Spain

 For a truly original steak rub, try going to another country that’s strong on its flavours: Spain. This delicious steak rub uses parsley combined with smoked paprika and orange zest for a delicious combination that is both smoky and fruity all at once. What is more, it has a totally unique flavour that you probably won’t find at any other barbecue this summer. If you are looking to really stand out in your grill game, try this one-of-a-kind rub that is straight from Barcelona.

Flavours of North Africa

 When you think of the perfect steak rub, you might not think of Africa. But this delicious steak rub is perfect for a summertime barbecue. You may not be taking a trip to Morocco, but there’s no need: This taste will bring the flavours of North Africa right to you. This wet rub uses a paste to work flavours deep into the meat. Just combine olive oil, harissa paste, chili powder, and a little bit of orange zest for a spicy, unique taste with a burst of fruit.

Flavours of China

 Chinese spices may not be your go-to when it is time for a summer barbecue, but don’t hesitate to try something new. You can make a delicious summertime wet rub with scallions, garlic, sesame oil, white vinegar, sriracha, and hoisin sauce.

Flavours of Montreal 

Trips around the world are fun, but sometimes, a taste of home is all you need. Make the perfect Montreal dry rub with black and red pepper, coriander, dill, paprika, and some onion and garlic powder. It is the perfect taste for a summer evening with friends. For the nights that you need a rest from the grill, visit Rib’N Reef for a steak experience like no other.

The Popularity Of Surf N’ Turf

Surf N’ Turf Montreal

Surf and Turf is one of the most popular items on any steakhouse menu. The finest cut of aged beef served alongside fresh seafood.

History of Surf N’ Turf

Surf and Turf has been on menus for a long time now – since the mid 1960s when it first made its debut. Some culinary historians will tell you that this dish had its start in the state of Washington in the city of Seattle. The first dish could have been served in 1962 in the restaurant at the very top of the Seattle Space Needle during the World’s Fair.

But then the battle with East Coast food historians begins, with that side of the country claiming that this classic menu item was first served in a restaurant in Lowell, Massachusetts in 1966 after an ad in the local paper advertised it as a “Continental Original”.

Either way, Surf and Turf has been delighting both steak and seafood lovers for over fifty years, giving them the best of both culinary tastes.

Surf N’ Turf Around The World

Other countries have their own style of serving seafood and steak. When you ordered Surf and Turf off the menu in Dublin, Ireland it wasn’t just one serving for each person that appeared at your table. What was presented was a large tray that was filled with fresh fish that had been caught that very day, such as lobster, sole, and prawns. Another tray held different cuts of steak, all the way from porterhouse to fillet mignon.

Depending on where you dine today, restaurants are going to have their own versions of Surf and Turf. The favorite combination of steak and seafood is a grilled filet mignon served with a lobster tail. Or a grilled sirloin with butterfly shrimp. But these isn’t the only combinations available, not by a long short.

Getting Inventive With Steak And Seafood

Chefs around the world are getting inventive with what two duos they serve together. And it’s no longer just a grilled steak side by side with seafood – there are some unique versions of Surf and Turf making their appearance.

One Thai restaurant is serving its version by pairing briny uni with a dry-aged porterhouse steak. Still other chefs are serving beef burgers with a side of shrimp, grilled scallops with lamb ravioli, and seafood dumplings with a grilled sirloin.

Surf N’ Turf At Home

The next time you’re getting ready to grill up a steak at home, come up with your own versions of the classic. The sky is the limit when it comes to seafood – blackened sockeye salmon, grilled sea bass, or breaded shrimp. And for the steak, why not try a juicy sirloin or even a skirt steak.

It doesn’t matter what variation of Surf and Turf you make, so long as you’re getting a juicy, tender cut of steak with fresh seafood.

Exploring New Tastes In Cigars

Cigar Lounge in Montreal

Cigars. They’re made all around the world, each unique with their own tasting flavors and characteristics. We all have our favorite, the one we always reach for at the end of a good meal. Or the one that we can kick back with at the end of a long day, relaxing as we smoke in silence.

Why not step out of your comfort zone and explore some new tastes and flavors in your cigar at the best cigar lounge in Montreal?

What Taste Is All About

In order to fully taste a cigar and recognize what makes it unique, you need to know a little about what the taste is all about. Because there are lot of little complex things that make up the taste, such as the climate where the tobacco is grown, the variety of tobacco, and the soil its grown in. Those are the first variables that go into the makings of taste.

Then there’s the aging process of the tobacco and where the cigar is manufactured. So many distinctions that can ultimately alter the taste based on even the smallest conditions that sometimes even manufacturers aren’t able to distinguish. Until it comes to the wrapper.

It’s All In The Wrapper

Yes, it’s the wrapper that is your biggest clue about that new taste in cigars you’re about to explore. Wrappers are all different, unique to where the tobacco was grown, but you’ll still be able to get a good indication of the quality. For instance, if there’s oil in the wrapper you’ll know that the cigar has good humidity and will give you a nice cool smoke.

The Age Of Tobacco

Still another way that taste differs from one cigar to the next is the age of the tobacco. The more aged the leaf is, the richer and smoother the cigar is going to be. Cigars that are too freshly rolled aren’t going to give you that full rounded taste – instead what you’re getting is a sharper taste. Which isn’t always a bad thing, just different.

The Finishing Aftertaste

Once you start exploring new cigars, the finish is your deciding factor of whether you’ve found a new favorite or are ready to move on to the next cigar. The finish, or aftertaste, is that enjoyment of flavor that lasts long after the taste and smell of a cigar have passed…it’s that lingering of complex flavors, and the longer it lingers the better you’ll be able to enjoy.

Tips For Cigar Tasting

If you’re going to be tasting more than one cigar at a time, you’ll want to smoke the mildest first so that you build up to stronger tastes. Another suggestion – don’t always reach for those strongest cigars when you’re trying new tastes. Otherwise you’ll overpower your palate, making it more difficult for you to taste the nuances and complexities of mild and medium cigars.

No matter what cigars you decide to try next, enjoy the process from start to finish, relishing the aftertaste of new flavors from different tobacco regions of the world.

Don’t Waste That Leftover Steak!

Best Steakhouse in Montreal

Whether you have leftover steak that you couldn’t finish when you dined out last night at your favorite steakhouse, or you grilled steak on the BBQ at home, you never want to waste a great steak! Get creative and you can make some great meals with any cut of steak that’s already been cooked to perfection.

Beef Stroganoff

Nothing is easier that cooking up beef stroganoff for a quick meal. This classic dish is great with leftover steak. Sauté up some onions and mushrooms, add the beef and make a rustic sauce. Then serve over broad noodles along with a green salad and garlic bread. Don’t forget to pair with glass of red wine. Great cuts of steak for stroganoff are a rib eye or skirt.

Steak Pizza

Think outside the box and make homemade pizza with a steak topping. Top pizza dough with marinara tomato sauce, sliced steak, and any other toppings that catch your eye. Top with a combination of cheese – cheddar, mozzarella, and jalapeno Monterey Jack. Any leftover cut of steak will work well in this dish. Serve this one with a nice cold beer.

Hash And Eggs For Breakfast

Don’t forget breakfast, the most important meal of the day that’s even better with leftover steak. Replace the classic corned beef with steak in this dish. Grill up onions, red peppers, and diced tomatoes. Add finely chopped leftover steak. Then top with poached eggs, serving with a side of salsa. Leftover skirt steak is a good choice for this dish. And a Bloody Mary of course. Perfect for a weekend brunch.

Steak Sandwiches With Jus

This classic French dip sandwich is easy to make when you’ve got a nice cut of leftover steak. Making the jus takes just a few minutes; then thinly slice the steak and slowly heat in the jus before layering onto toasted French bread. Serve with jus and horseradish on the side for an added kick. A glass of Merlot will do nicely with this easy to prepare lunch.

Beef Stir Fry

You can’t go wrong with a stir fry…and you can use any vegetables that you happen to have in the kitchen. Consider broccoli and beef, adding oyster sauce and plenty of garlic. Thinly slice and add the steak last so you don’t overcook and lose the tenderness of the beef. A light red wine is a good choice for a stir fry. Or a Pinot Grigio if you’re a white wine drinker.

Fajitas

Go Mexican and use up that leftover steak in a fajita. Grill onions, green and red peppers, and garlic in a skillet. Add the thinly sliced steak and cook just to warm. Pile onto a wrap and top with homemade guacamole, salsa, and sour cream. Serve with a cold Mexican beer…then kick back and watch a movie.

With these tasty ways to use up steak, you’ll be tempted to make sure you have leftovers the next time you dine out or grill a juicy steak at home.

The History of Cigars

History of cigars

You thoroughly enjoy your cigar after a good meal, taking part in what has long been a tradition around the world. There’s a lot of history behind the cigar, with many famous smokers known for their obsession to this relaxing pastime.

Early History

If the artifacts have it right, the earliest sign of cigars can be found in Guatemala in the 10th century. A ceramic pot from this era shows the image of an ancient Mayan smoking a bundle of tobacco leaves. Jump to 1492 when Columbus sailed to the Americas and discovered tobacco, taking it back with him on his return to Spain.

The Spanish quickly learned how to wrap dried tobacco in specialized paper – smoking became a refined art not only in Spain but very quickly around Europe.

In 1560 tobacco was introduced to the rest of Europe by Jean Nicot of France – his name is where we get the word “nicotine”. The pleasure of smoking quickly moved to the UK and other countries in Europe. However, smoking tobacco was not seen as acceptable by some. Both King James I of England and King Phillip II of Spain considered smoking to be an evil pastime. Despite their protests, smoking tobacco increased in popularity, with more and more companies forming to grow the product for commercial use.

Ideal Growing Conditions of Cuba

Cigars were first manufactured in Spain, but it didn’t take them long to find out that Cuba had the ideal growing conditions for tobacco. And it didn’t take long for Cuban cigars to become coveted around the world, which they still are today. Meanwhile Spain pushed back, wanting to remain the leader in the cigar industry. This forced some cigar manufacturers to relocate their business to the state of Florida, where growing conditions were also superior. By the mid 20th century Tampa Florida was well known as “Cigar City”.

Notorious Cigar Aficionados

Throughout the United States cigar smoking became more and more popular. The famous author, Mark Twain, was known to have said, “If smoking is not allowed in heaven, I shall not go”. Twain supposedly smoked 22 stogies each day.

Al Capone, the famous gangster from the 1920s, was another well-known cigar smoker. After being picked up for bootlegging, gambling, and tax evasion in the 1930s, Capone enjoyed one last cigar before heading off to jail.

Cigar Types

Even in its early history, there were several different types of cigars. One of the most popular in the 1800s was the Figurado. They had an irregular shape that made them unusual and unique. They were also very expensive to produce and even more expensive to buy. You can still find Figurado cigars if you’re collecting memorabilia. Look for Presidente, Toscano, and Torpedo.

Another popular cigar from the 1800s was the Parejo. Its long cylinder shape was similar to what the Mayan Indians created. There are several different types of Parejo – Carlota, Corona, and the Toro. There are also some that are named after important men who were avid cigar smokers – Lonsdale, Churchill, and Rothschild.

Next time you enjoy your after-dinner cigar, remember there’s a lot of history to this longstanding ritual.

Best Knives for Your Steak Dinner

Steak Knife

One steak knife is not like the other. When you have a serious cut of steak in front of you, you need a steak knife that will cut the meat correctly without shredding it to pieces. Most of us have a good kitchen knife or two, the one you turn to when you need to cut food with ease and precision. The same goes for a steak knife – it needs to be sharp and easy to handle.

Types of Steak Knives

There are a few different types of knives to choose from: serrated, micro-serrated, straight-edge, or hollow-edge.

Serrated Steak Knives

Serrated knives cut your steak into perfect bite-sized pieces with a little bit of a ragged edge.

Micro-Serrated Knives

A knife with a micro-serrated edge is similar to a straight-edge knife – they cut meat with a clean edge but the knife itself has small microscopic serrations in the blade, so it doesn’t get dull as quickly as the straight-edge.

Straight-Edged Steak Knives

Cutting your steak with a straight-edge leaves a clean and smooth edge on the meat. You’ll need to sharpen the blade frequently to keep the cut straight and the edge sharp.

Hollow-Edge Knives

Knives with a hollow edge have indentations set into the edge of the blade. The cut is smooth with just a slight ridge from the indents, which are there to prevent your steak from sticking to the edge of the blade. These knives are good for cutting thinner slices of meat.

Knife Handles

A steak knife should be easy and comfortable to hold. Some knife brands have handles that are more for appearance than they are for functionality. Choose a steak knife for how it feels in your hand and not how it looks. There are several different types of handles available – stainless steel, chrome, hardwood, and polyoxymethylene.

Blade Material

Steak knives are made with different materials. Carbon steel is a common material for knives – it’s tough and long-lasting, and the blades are easy to sharpen. Stainless steel is also a popular material – it resists rust, is durable, and known for its longevity. Another type of stainless steel is the high-carbon steel blade. These knives have a nicely balanced edge. Becoming more popular these days are ceramic steak knives. The blade is typically coated with zirconium dioxide and needs less sharpening than stainless or carbon steel.

No matter what material your steak knives are made from, keep them out of the dishwasher. Handwashing will keep knives sharper for a longer period of time.

Best Steak Knife?

While micro-serrated, straight-edge, and hollow-edge knives are all good for cutting steak, the best choice is a serrated knife. The light serrations on the blade ensure an easy cut through the meat, keeping the steak tender and juicy.

A cheap knife can make a great cut of steak seem chewy and hard to eat. A good steak knife should cut through the meat like butter, smoothly and evenly. Your favorite steakhouse invests in a good set of steak knives…do the same at home so you can enjoy steak like a pro.