March 25, 2012: Last Dinner At Refuel!

This was the message that greeted diners on Refuel’s final night of service last evening.  Akemi and I showed up for our 6:00 p.m. reservation to find the place packed.  We were greeted by the friendly staff, then welcomed by the ever-affable Katherine who informed us it would be a big curtain closer on account of the restaurant’s many regulars who, liked myself, had booked one final blowout meal.  As a special thank you, Chef Jane and the staff had apparently prepared a few farewell surprises…

March 25, 2012: Last Dinner At Refuel!
Like these cromesquis - deep-fried crunchy on the outside, a delicious foie gras liquid center hidden within. Refuel and Montreal's Au Pied de Cochon are the only places I've ever sampled these sinful little morsels.
March 25, 2012: Last Dinner At Refuel!
Speaking of foie gras - an addition to the menu saw it pan-fried with sweet sun-dried Cascade tomatoes served atop a toasted brioche.
March 25, 2012: Last Dinner At Refuel!
One of Akemi's all-time favorite dishes one last time: Lemon Herb Risotto with albacore tuna tartare.
March 25, 2012: Last Dinner At Refuel!
I was torn between the ribeye and the crispy duck but ultimately opted for a special menu addition: the melt-in-your-mouth rolled confit pork belly rack accompanied by a potato puree and crispy Brussel sprouts. Unreal!
March 25, 2012: Last Dinner At Refuel!
For dessert - as Akemi pointed out, what boy is going to say no to peanut butter, in this case, Refuel's signature Peanut & Chocolate Parfait with honeycomb and vanilla ice cream.

And that was that.  Our final meal at a place that had become my home away from home these past five years.  Akemi had only known it two (one of which we spent in Toronto) but was nevertheless upset by the fact that it had been taken out of our dining rotation.   She went through the three stages of Japanese grief –

March 25, 2012: Last Dinner At Refuel!
March 25, 2012: Last Dinner At Refuel!
March 25, 2012: Last Dinner At Refuel!
Disbelief and slightly buzzed.

I finally talked her down to acceptance.  But she wasn’t happy about it.

March 25, 2012: Last Dinner At Refuel!
Chef Jane doing what she does best.

Before leaving, I got two bottle’s of the restaurant’s best wine and gifted them as a goodbye gift to the staff and kitchen crew (minus my modest two glass cut).

Here’s hoping our plates cross again in the not too distant future!

March 25, 2012: Last Dinner At Refuel!

23 thoughts on “March 25, 2012: Last Dinner at Refuel!

  1. *sigh*

    I’m going to miss those vicarious food thrills from Refuel. But it sounds like your final dinner there did not disappoint and left you with more great memories. Not a bad way to end a relationship.

    So, where is Chef Jane going to land?

  2. That looks like a wonderful, wonderful meal!! The hot dogs and chips I just finished eating don’t quite cut it. LOL It was nice to see them going all out. From what you have written, they really know how to do customer service.

    I wish the store hubby and I went to today knew about that. He was getting me a new laptop, and we found the one that would work for what I wanted, took the price slip out, and went through the check-out line to pay for it. And then, we went to the customer service desk. I bet you can guess what happened next. Ha! Ha! They did NOT have that computer in stock. Someone screwed up with the inventory, and our money had to be credited back to our card. I was so so aggravated. We’re going to try another place in the next day or two. Thanks for listening to my rant.

    Have a great night!!!

  3. I will miss all the beautiful (most of them anyway [pig heads!] ) pictures of their food you have been posting over the years. The above ones look delicious. I will miss hearing how special they treated you every time you went there. I am sure you will catch up to them again.

  4. Awww, that makes me sad too. 🙁 While I doubt their new ventures will replace Refuel, hopefully they will be successful and give you other options.

  5. I grieve like the Japanese! 😀 The meal…well, the parts of the meal I would eat…looks fantastic. So sad to see Fuel/Refuel go. 🙁

    Okay…I promised I would post this…just sorry to do it on a food entry. But what the hey, I’ve never been one to be know for my propriety! 😉

    Finally got around to dissecting the owl pellet I found a couple weeks back. It took over 2 hours, far more time consuming than I had imagined. I am assuming this is all one animal, and based on fur and length of vertebrae I’m guessing a squirrel, or juvenile raccoon. And before anyone calls me on it, I know the vertebrae and ribs are not in the proper order, but after 2 hours my hands were tired and I was having trouble handling the bones properly with the tweezers, so I just laid them out largest to smallest. Alas, no skull, so not 100% sure what sort of animal it was until I have time to do a little research (not tonight!).

    I also found a couple live hide beetles (Trogidae) in the pellet. I put them in the bag with the fur, and will probaby return them to the woods tomorrow. I’m getting rid of the fur, but will keep the bones to bleach and examine later. I was careful to wear a mask and gloves and disinfect everything afterwards, but if I come down with some exotic disease, we’ll know why! 😛

    (I really need to charge my good camera, but the cell phone is so much easier, despite the crappy pictures.)


  6. I am watching Batman now. It’s on spanish TV. Can’t understand a word they are saying. Does that count? But this movie is a big time production now. Cookie shouldn’t find too much fault with it. Much improved from the Superman dribble.

  7. It’s sad to see a favorite haunt close up (and almost as sad to see some delicious recipes disappear too). I hope you’ll build as good a relationship with the new endeavours.

    It makes me think of when a local mom&pop taco house closed; they had the best chilli con queso that I have ever tasted…then or since. Wish I could replicate their recipe, but the few times I’ve tried I’ve produced bland results. I might try again later this summer.

  8. Akemi and Joe, Your mission, should you decide to accept it is to find a place that wil create a crispy duck and corn soup.
    Refuel is special for many of us too, because of the connection with you and of course…such wonderful cuisine!

  9. Well, I missed out on Batman. Just couldn’t get my act together to watch it this weekend. Now I see that “The Punisher” from 1989 is not available on Amazon streaming or on Netflix in any form. So I guess I’m out of luck on that one, too. However Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are part of my DVD collection! I will be so very ready to discuss those heroes in a half shell.

  10. Paul McGillion was on tonight’s Once Upon A Time, working for the Queen of Hearts.

  11. I have been playing catch up with your blog. So all my responses are going to be brief.

    Re: Refuel 🙁
    Re: dogs eating ice cream – so cute ^^
    Re: macarons – most people I know call them macaroons and stare at me strangely when I correct them. Also, they’re very hard to find in my corner of the world. I only know one shop in the vicinity that makes them!

    Re: Natsukashii T.V. Themes – Hey Arnold, Captain Planet, Jeannie in a Bottle, Chipmunks (1980s) and Power Rangers (early 1990s) are some of those I remember best.
    Re: Sucker Punch – I read the reviews first and decided it wasn’t worth watching. Maybe I’ll try the Hunger Games some time soon. Heard it was worth it.

    Re: oddest foods – off the top of my head, my oddest may be duck brains (tasted metallic), pickled jellyfish, bitter gourd melon (not exactly odd, but it still reminds me of the time I decided to try eating rubber bands, just cos I thought it’d be worth it), and that’s not counting off-tofu, safety pins, mouldy bread with equally mouldy cheese (I was sure cheese wasn’t meant to sprout different coloured moulds), chicken poop (makes you sick), etc cos I was told it was edible. The cherimoya sounded yum and looked akin to custard apple fruit/ sour sop (my favourite fruit, even in presence of coconuts or durian or mangosteen).

    Re: Superman IV – not even going to talk about it.
    Re: Migraines – I’ve heard a lot from a Chinese practitioner about the benefits of coconut oil. Apparently coconut oil can help with a lot of illnesses, including autism, depression, and a list of other things I can’t remember. Magnesium is good, but better coupled with calcium, iron and its other cofactors. I agree with DP that Magnesium (like calcium) is probably best bound to citrate, ie calcium citrate or magnesium citrate.
    Re: Dark Matter – getting exciting.

    I can’t seem to concentrate on the same writing project, always swapping between a few of them depending on my mood. Been making progress on some reviews, but my full time jobs and other part time job tend to get in the way (yes, I’ve many jobs – gotta make ends meet. oh, the joys of being in more than one place at a time).

  12. Damn. I’d always hoped my work travels would land me in Vancouver some time where a dinner at Fuel would have been mandatory.
    Best of luck to all involved at Fuel for their other restaurants and any future ventures. You can’t let Joe starve! Plus, his uninvited stops by your house for dinner may become awkward after a while.

  13. Hey, it’s me again.

    My best meal for ages was on Saturday when my dad came by and was so awesome, he brought me some of the food he cooked the day before. Chicken with nuts and pineapple. It was so good, that I ate one of the two portions right away and the other half an hour later. (He got the recipe from Cambodia)
    Only 2 more days to my final exam. Yes, we’re down to one. Only 4 more days till moving to Bremen. Just booked my train ticket.
    I can’t put in words how much I hate to still have to study with this great weather and so few time left with my friends, but it’ll be over soon and I’ll be able to enjoy a new town with new folks in summer!

    @ Das
    That is so cool. You have one of those hobbies that are plain awesome. Can’t wait to see what more you’ll find out!

    Have a good time everyone!


  14. Sad to see reFuel go, as it means no more pictures and descriptions, and no more chance of ever trying it out now. I’m not surprised that they went out with a final great meal, or that you gave them a well deserved toast.
    Interesting to see the gender differences in Japanese. I’d fully expect a Japanese male to get sloshed. are I just went as far as and earring buzz, which just makes her even cuter. But what of you? Just the one glass, or did you indulge more heavily than normal? At any rate, it’s a small but measurable loss of quality in the world with refeul’s closing.
    Thanks for shaing, and here’s to a busy and productive week for you

  15. I loved the videos from yesterday! Animals have such distinct personalities. Your pups seem to have very sweet souls.

    So sorry about Refuel! It looks like they went out with a bang though. Maybe you can follow the Chefs to new places?

    Akemi is so cute.

    I woke up with a headache today. I drank a bunch of caffeine and now I’m a little ADD or ADHD..whatever. The headache is gone but I’m shaking with energy. I swam a mile but it feels like I should have done two. I wish there were a karate classes this morning. I’m gonna put on my audio book (mp3 player) and clean the house instead. No more caffeine until tomorrow! Everyone have a good day!!!

  16. I got the impression that Refuel had many clients, but not enough to keep the doors open? The rent must be skyhigh over in vancouver.

  17. @ Birdy – My problem is that I have hobby ADD – or, perhaps more accurately – interest ADD. I am interested in many things, so I dabble here and there but never really become an expert at any of them. And that’s mainly because before I can learn all there is about one thing, I’ve already moved on to another. It’s both good and bad. Good in that I do ‘learn a little about a lot’, but bad in that my brain is rather restless, never content with what’s right in front of me, but always looking for something new to explore. Not only does that interfer with my retention of newly learned information, but it also gives me major focus issues. So in the end I’m not really sure I’ve learned anything!


  18. So sad to see them close, seems like you just followed them to this location, has it been five years.. Get your walking shoes on and see where they take you on your next cilinary adventure, and new location.. Best wishes to all the people at the restaurant, luck in wherever they go. Thanks Joe for sharing the pictures, and I am sure Akemi’s mom will love these shots of her daughter. The dessert looks wonderful.

  19. Speaking of Food. I will be in Vegas Tues, Wed, and Thurs night. One of the nights we will be dining at the Top of the World Stratoshpere (not my choice). Have you ever dined there? If so, any recommendations? Also, do you have any recommendations (at a reasonable price of say $60 – $80 per person) for my other two nights? My only limitation is that my travel companions are not fans of sushi.


  20. I’ve never eaten there and I’m feeling very sad. Akemi is right about the peanut butter–Jeff has his own jar that he uses to spoon-feed peanut butter into his mouth.

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