Taste of Toronto 2016

Taste of Toronto Photo 1

Things are getting hot in Toronto this summer when Taste of Toronto returns to Garrison Common at Fort York June 23-26.

Hot because some of the city’s best restaurants will be showcasing their talents in over 54 amazing dishes. Popular places like Alo, The Drake, Nota Bene and Los Colibris will be delighted your senses with smells and flavours that will make your mouth water.

Hot because you will be wandering throughout the open space of Fort York, relaxing on one of the sponsored patios sipping your cocktail of choice while the summer sun melts away your stresses. Just Soda, Brickworks Cider House, Beau’s and Mill Street Brewery are just some of the libations on hand to cool you down.

Hot because your arms will be filled with wares from the Taste Marketplace.  OKA cheese, Maille mustard, Creekside Winery, Walter’s Caesar Mix and many more will be on hand to fill your kitchen with delicious gourmet specialties and totally take your home entertaining game to the next level.

Taste of Toronto Photo 2

Hot because…..well have you seen chefs out there these days? They are freaking gorgeous.  Watch hotties like Chuck Hughes, Cory Vitiello, Mark McEwan, Miranda Keyes, Elia Herrera and many more as they show their tips and trick of heating up the kitchen through cooking demos, master classes and other hands on events.

If you don’t want to miss on a the hottest event for foodies this summer then get your tickets now.

Top Five Food Items From The One of a Kind Show

The One of a Kind Show running November 26 to December 7 is exactly what you expect.  A gathering of the best purveyors of unique “one” of a kind textiles, ceramics, artwork, jewellery, art pieces, fashion and of course food that you won’t find anywhere else all under the same roof. This time of the year it’s a perfect venue for finding that hard to buy person or picking up that whimsy Christmas item perfect for the holidays. I visited earlier this week and since my life revolves around all things edible here is my top five vendors you definitely want to hit up before the show closes.

Lee’s Ghee

Ghee

I don’t know why it didn’t occur to have flavoured Ghee.  I use it a lot to brown my rice along with spices and to melt in my pan before making naan but I always used plain old straight clarified butter or Ghee. Lee’s Ghee allows you to kick your recipes up a notch.  Already pre seasoned with the likes of turmeric or cardamon and also offering a sweet maple or cacao variety they make their product using butter that pesticide, GMO, hormone, and antibiotic free.  They are also selling a cute popcorn making set at the show.

Tickleberry’s

Tickleberry

Chocolate with fruit or spice or nuts or fancy designs are all the rage at the show this year but it was Tickleberry’s who won my business.  Using fresh fruit from the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia and drying it they then cover it with a variety of white, dark and milk high quality chocolate. The fruit is so refreshing and bursting with flavour while the chocolate perfectly balances the sweetness. You’ll want to grab one of every flavour, though the raspberry, strawberry and blueberry are my favorites.

Tealish Teas

Tealish

There is always someone in your life who loves receiving tea as a gift. What sets Tealish apart from all the others was it’s amazing flavour combinations and pretty packaging.  While typical flavours like blueberry and apple cinnamon are of course available they also surprise with hits like Toasty Almond and Dulce de Leche. The flavours are not obnoxious or over done, just a hint of what your are expecting without the false addictive undertones.  A great deal at 3 of the above tins for$40.

Henderson Farms Jams and Jellies.

Henderson

Again there a lot of vendors selling spreads. I mean a whole lot.  Henderson’s drew me in with their simple packaging, then with their wonderful history and then the amazing flavours they offered. The maple syrup jelly was something I wanted to bathe in while their award winning wild dandelion was literally mind blowing. At five dollar each for a small jar they can be a bit pricey if you are a jam lover.  Save your heavy slathering for Smuckers.  These spreads should be savoured with good cheeses, crispy crackers and your favorite friends and relatives.

34 Oz. Tonic Maison

Tonic

High quality cola and ginger ale syrup and amazing tonic will make you the bartender of the year this holiday season thanks to 34 oz Tonic Maison.  Simple and refreshing. And a kind of cool gift to gift a boss or coworker this year.

The Weird, the Wacky and The Wonderful; The New Foods at the CNE

CNE Food Preview Photo 1

Nothing says the CNE like candy apples, cotton candy and mini donuts.  Classic nostalgic carnival foods that taste the same at 50 years old as it did at 5. This year even marks the 75th anniversary of the always popular ice cream waffle sandwich.  But it’s the crazy food, the experimental dishes of gastronomical proportions that draws the crowds to the ever popular Food Building.  Each year vendors try to outperform each other making previous years creations even more outlandish and to unofficially become the CNE’s wildest dish. This year is no different.  Just take a look.

CNE Food Preview Photo 2

Tim Horton’s Cotton Candy and Cola Flavour Timbits;  Timbits Poutine And Pretzel Donut Honey Dijon Ham Sandwich (CNE locations only) (Tim Horton’s, Food Building)

It’s nice to see a big franchise get playful for the CNE and the Timbit idea will please many a 8 year old Canadian.

CNE Food Preview Photo 3

Deep Fried Rice Pudding; Chicken, Waffles and Ice Cream; Biggie in a Blanket and Coffee and Donuts Milkshake ( Fran’s Restaurant, Food Building)

Fran’s restaurant is offering up not one but four unique food offerings. The rice pudding is crispy and sweet, the chicken and waffles are perfect hangover food and the Milkshake is thick and creamy. The Biggie consisted of bacon, sausage and egg wrapped in a pancake making it a surprisingly portable “breakfast sandwich”.

CNE Food Preview Photo 4

Bub’s Bad Boy Burger (Bub’s Bad@ss Burgers, Food Building)

Sometimes you just can’t decide whether you want a chicken burger or a beef burger.  Bub’s Bad@ass Burgers takes the decision out of your hands with a slab of both sandwiched between Spicy Jamaican Patties and topped with tomatoes, sriracha mayo, coleslaw, wasabi cucumber, pepper jack cheese and hickory sticks.  There is a flavour explosion in each bite.

CNE Food Preview Photo 5

Deep Fried Cheesecake (Midway)

Pickle Pete’s will be offering up this sweet meets crispy fried confection. New Style Cheesecake wrapped up tight and topped with cinnamon sugar and chocolate sauce.

CNE Food Preview Photo 6

Bloomin’ Apple (Midway)

Those fans of the colossus bloomin’ onion may want to treat their sweet side with this clever dessert perfect for sharing.  Caramel or nut coating available.

CNE Food Preview Photo 7

Deep Fried Red Velvet Oreo (The Funnel Cake Shop, Food Building)

Two popular food trends of red velvet everything and deep fried come together in this snack sized morsel of Oreo goodness.

CNE Food Preview Photo 8

Baked Wrapped Grilled Cheese (Bacon Nation, Food Building)

My third favorite item released this year is this sandwich is surprisingly not greasy and not overly obnoxious in the need to burden you with too much bacon-ness.  And the only reason it was third on my list is I figure I could make this myself at home.

CNE Food Preview Photo 9

Chicken Waffle on a Stick (West End of CNE Grounds near Press Building)

Ok stay with me here.  Skewered fried chicken, wrapped in a waffle, dipped in maple syrup and drizzled with icing sugar and hot sauce. It’s like a Pogo only so much better.

CNE Food Preview Photo 10

Garlic Snow Crab Fries(Jake’s Lobster, Food Building)

No CNE is complete without a creative take on poutine done at least once.  Here you can overindulge in a decadent plate of fries topped with garlic aioli, snow crab and herbs.

CNE Food Preview Photo 11

Corrado’s “S&M” Burger (Corrado’s Authentic Italian, Food Building)

So here is where it gets a little wacky and weird with Corrado’s Spaghetti and Meatball Sandwich. Yes folks spaghetti. A meatball burger topped with a deep fried spaghetti patty, cheese  and marinara. Mild and spicy versions available. I wonder what Mamma would say.

CNE Food Preview Photo 12

Frosted Flake Battered Chicken on a Stick (Iron Skillet Sirloin Tips, Food Building)

A very close second in my list of favorites of the day.  This treat is huge.  Juicy, crispy, it’s as simple as its name but so freaking delicious.

CNE Food Preview Photo 13

Baonana Split (Far East Taco, Food Building)

One more sweet treat made the list with this traditional Asian bao bun filled with hazelnut chocolate, bananas, whipped cream, chocolate and strawberry syrup and topped with a cherry.

CNE Food Preview Photo 14

Cold Brew Coffee Tonic (Hula Girl Espresso, Food Building)

For something refreshing the folks at Hula Girl are trying out their new cold brew coffee concept; Espresso and tonic water served over ice.  A perfect cool down after a day in the sun.

CNE Food Preview Photo 15

Poutine Balls (Vienna, Food Building)

This is essentially poutine…. poutine.  Creamy mashed potatoes are stuffed with cheese and gravy, battered and then deep fried.  They are then used as the “fries” in classic poutine. So totally Canadian and my number one taste of the day.

While I don’t suggest you try everything in one day as I did I highly recommend you do taste as many as you possibly can.  Which dishes are you most looking forward to?

Toronto Wine and Food Show

dfs_logo

This September a food show of epic proportions is coming to our great city; The Toronto Food & Wine Show.  And after a summer of non stop food festivals and events I’m going to tell you why this is definitely one you can not skip.

1. THE FOOD

TFW Tasting 2

Let’s cut to the chase.  The reason most of us go to these events is the samples of food. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that! I’m knee deep in the crowds with you.  This is what these events are all about though; introducing people to all the wonderful food that is out there to be had.  And here at The Toronto Food & Wine Show you have a choice of over 130 different vendors to ooh and ahh over. Sweet, spicy, cheesy, savory and refreshing are all senses to be satisfied over this three day event.

If this reason alone hasn’t convince you to attend no doubt any of the following will have you grabbing a ticket fast.

2. THE EVENTS

Cochon 555

How does an Epic Dinner and Heritage BBQ from Cochon 555 sound?  A culinary competition pitting talented celebrity chefs against their great foe; a whole pig. Where guests will get to sample over 1,400 pounds of magnificently prepared pork dishes. Or a Taste Canada Cook the Books event where our future talent compete in front of a live audience and prepare dishes from popular cookbooks hoping to be crowned Canada’s Best New Student Chef?  Each event plans to be both exciting and intoxicatingly delicious.

3. THE VENUE

TFW Tastings

I’ve attended beer events, food events and even gardening events at the Evergreen Brick Works and each and every time they have been top class. A facility designed to help educate and promote environmental sustainability it’s open air concept can be easily adapted to perfectly fit whatever event taking place.

4. THE WORKSHOPS

Exclusive Chef Series Chuck Highes

Whether you want to learn to make Soba noodles, improve your knife skills or just learn more about how a celebrity chef got started in the business there is a class or session for you. Throughout the entire weekend cooking demonstrations will offer guests an array of tips and tricks they can take home to their own kitchen while salivating over the dishes being created.

5. THE TALENT

FotorCreated

The list of celebrity chefs participating in this years show is a culinary World Series winning super team. Local favorites like Chef Rocco Agostino (Pizza Libretto), Matty Matheson (Parts & Labour) and Jason Bangerter (Langdon Hall) get to dazzle along side Tyler Florence, Gail Simmons and Curtis Stone. And of course every girls favorite Chuck Hughes will be on hand to mesmerize.

The Toronto Wine Food Shows runs from Sept 18-20, 2015 at the Evergreen Brick Works and tickets can be purchased here. Don’t wait too long because an event as awesome as this is sure to sell out fast.

Make sure you follow The Food &Wine Show on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to get all the latest updates.

For those of you who want to try their luck at winning 2 general admission tickets can enter my contest below. Come back each day while the contest is running to enter for additional chances.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Contest Details

Open to legal Canadian (excluding Quebec). 
No purchase necessary to enter.
Canadian Winner is required to answer a skill testing question. Winner will be notified by email on January 28, 2014 and will have 48 hours to respond before another winner will be selected.
Tickets will be mailed to winner two weeks before the event.

Pan American Food Festival

Pan American Festival (16 of 29)

I won’t bog you down with all the fine details of my adventures at the Pan American Food Festival.  Let’s say I spent 8 hours there and it seems like time just blew by.

Instead I just want to mention some great highlights and then overload your senses with all the amazing pictures.

Some of the best moments from the event?

Well first off the smell.  Even as I was pulling into the parking garage I could already feel my mouth watering from the smells coming from the vendors area.  Such variety and taste in one little area.

Pan American Festival (14 of 29)

Next  were the free food demos.  With heavy weight chefs like Key West’s Norman Van Aken, Roger Arakaki from Peru and Toronto’s own paella master Luis Valenzuela from Carmen good food was bound to happen. What I loved best about these demos though was instead of step by step directions on what they where making ( there was some) it was all about the storytelling.  About their histories and about the food itself.  Which is why 4 hours went by and I hardly noticed I was so engrossed in these chefs.

Chef Luis Valenzuela

Chef Luis Valenzuela

Of course their was the Totalement Tamales competition.  Pure unadulterated tamale bliss.

Totalmente Tamales

Totalmente Tamales

And finally the biggest highlight for me was the people.  I’ve been fortunate enough in this industry to met some incredible people.  But you know what? It isn’t about who I am. It’s about who these people are.  Hard working and incredibly humble individuals who take the time to talk to you, joke around, and answer any question you might have whether you are a food blogger or an investment banker.  Take the time and chat with them.  They are wonderful people to know.

Totalmente Tamales Competiters

Totalmente Tamales Competiters

Enjoy my pictures below or grab your keys and hurry out the door because you still have a couple hours to enjoy everything the festival has to offer.  And if you can’t make it then watch my blog for details for next years event.  You will not want to miss it.

Pan American Festival (15 of 29)

Chef Luis Valenzuela

Chef Luis Valenzuela

Duck Confit Mole

Duck Confit Mole

Pan American Festival (3 of 29)

Chef Paola Solorzano

Chef Paola Solorzano

Pork Chimichanga from Santo Pecado

Pork Chimichanga from Santo Pecado

Chef Norman van Aken

Chef Norman van Aken

Conch Ceviche and Black Eyed Peas Bollo

Conch Ceviche and Black Eyed Peas Bollo

Chef Roger Arakaki

Chef Roger Arakaki

Quinoa and Tofu Salad

Quinoa and Tofu Salad

Quinoa coated shrimp

Quinoa coated shrimp

Chef Roger Arakaki

Chef Roger Arakaki

Chef Claudia Gaviria

Chef Claudia Gaviria

Raw Vegan Ceviche

Raw Vegan Ceviche

Pan American Festival (14 of 29) Pan American Festival (16 of 29)

Tamales Competitors Chef Christian Heise and Rossy Earle

Tamales Competitors Chef Christian Heise and Rossy Earle

Pan American Festival (18 of 29) Pan American Festival (19 of 29)

Totalmente Tamales

Totalmente Tamales

Pan American Festival (22 of 29)

Pisco

Pisco

Pan American Festival (24 of 29) Pan American Festival (25 of 29)

Chef Carlos Fuenmayor and Chef Rossy Earle

Chef Carlos Fuenmayor and Chef Rossy Earle

Totalmente Tamales Competiters

Totalmente Tamales Competiters

Totalmente Tamales Competiters Chefs Claudia Gaviria, Rossy Earle and Carlos Fuenmayor

Totalmente Tamales Competiters Chefs Claudia Gaviria, Rossy Earle and Carlos Fuenmayor

Totalmente Tamales Competiters Chef's Cristian Heise, Paola Solorzano, Cookie Martinez with Festival Director Daniel Garcia-Herreros

Totalmente Tamales Competiters Chef’s Cristian Heise, Paola Solorzano, Cookie Martinez with Festival Director Daniel Garcia-Herreros

I want to give a special shout out to Mary Luz Mejia the Culinary Curator of this event.  Over the past year and a half, thanks to this wonderful lady I have been exposed in multiple facets to this most amazing cuisine and the people behind it.  In turn it has allowed me to share it with you.  I can not even begin to imagine the magnitude of pulling off this enormous feat, bringing in first class talent and executing it robustly.  I hope she is on tap for next year as well because I will proudly wear a volunteer t-shirt along side her !!!  Usted ha hecho un trabajo increible. Gracias.

Weekend Review: Toronto’s Festival of Beer and Taste of Toronto

Toronto's Festival of Beer

Blue skies and beer.

I had all intentions pointed to writing two wonderful and separate posts about my experiences at both of these event this past weekend.  I had planned to take lots of photos, jots down lots of notes and sample to my hearts content.  However sometimes life just has a different plan for you and for me it usually entails blogging delinquency and my camera not even making it out of it’s bag.  Let’s start with Saturday and Toronto’s Festival of Beer.

This was my first ever time attending the summer session of this gigantic event.  30,000 people and 300 plus beer vendors gigantic.  I had been to the smaller more intimate Spring session where I did a review of everything I ate and while I had read all the “Ten Things You Need To Know Before Attending Beer Fest” articles I still naively believe I was in for a similar experience. I couldn’t be more wrong. Again 30,000 people and 300 plus beer vendors wrong.  As I herded my way into the event I knew I was helpless to the sheer volume of the event so I threw away every notion of blogging it and instead did my best to keep people from stepping on my toes, beaning me in the head with…well…a bean bag or toppling into a beer pong cup.  It is also hard to “blog” when you are also there with friends looking to just have a good time and are on their own brewery visit schedule.  I however was fortunate to be invited to the Media Lounge by the great people at Branding and Buzzing and get a respite from the masses while trying to ingest everything I was seeing.

Mill Street to start off the event.

Mill Street to start off the event.

Don’t get me wrong I had a great time.  Found some great new beers (and ginger beers), enjoyed some old favorites (what up Mill Street) and managed to find some out of this world food.  And I would go back.  Quite possible on my own and maybe check it out on a different day.  And I’ll be at the Spring session again for sure.  Check out some of the photo’s I did take with my phone because of course nothing stops a blogger from social media. Nothing.

Toronto's Festival of Beer

Some Live Art happening in the media lounge.

Toronto's Festival of Beer

Milagro Cantina’s killer chicken and pork taco.

Toronto's Festival of Beer

The best sandwich I have ever had. Porchetta & Co

Toronto's Festival of Beer

Flying Monkey a new favorite.

Crabbie's ginger beer.  Where have you been all my life.

Crabbie’s ginger beer. Where have you been all my life.

Toronto's Festival of Beer

Rocking out with The Trews

The very next day I took some time to check out Taste of Toronto, the newest festival on this years schedule, an outstanding event featuring some of Toronto’s best restaurants. While Saturday was about the beer, Sunday was all about the food.  And my excuse for not even bringing my camera.  I decided then and there that this festival was going to be my festival.  The one where I can stroll casually, eat my food hot and leave the blogging hat at home.  I just wanted to enjoy.  (And take phone photos, cause seriously!)

Taste of Toronto

Taste of Toronto

Paella from Patria

Paella from Patria

The ever humble and present Chef Mark McEwan

The ever humble and present Chef Mark McEwan

Taste of Toronto

Duck Taco from Barque

Fried Chicken from The McEwan Groups One Restaurant

Fried Chicken from The McEwan Groups’ One Restaurant

Old world meets new

Old world meets new

Charcuterie from Richmond Station

Charcuterie from Richmond Station

Ricotta, Peas, Meyer Lemon and Verjus from The Grove

Ricotta, Peas, Meyer Lemon and Verjus from The Grove

Stocking up from Momofuku's Milk Bar

Stocking up from Momofuku’s Milk Bar

Go ahead and click any of the links or photos for more information.  And don’t worry. Next year I’ll get my act together 🙂

Taste of Burlington Winter 2014

Taste of Burlington Winter 2014

Each Summer and Winter the city of Burlington takes part in a wonderful two week culinary event, featuring prix fixe lunch and dinner menus in area restaurants with some focusing on using local ingredients in their dishes.

One of the things I really appreciate with Taste of Burlington Winter program is the timing.  Set for the dreary weeks at the end of February and beginning of March (Feb 16-March 9) when the weather is wearing on everyone’s last nerves and the need for good night out is palpable. It is also perfectly placed after the highly popular Toronto version limiting the competition yet continuing with amazing gastronomical offerings.  This past week I had a chance to participate in the Taste of Burlington Winter launch  at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre, a night for the city’s restaurants to highlight their skills and the guests to sample a cacophony of dishes.

Talking to several chefs and managers in attendance I learned that they don’t take these events lightly.  Due to certain regulations for serving food in these venues the final plate is tried, tested and decided well over a month in advance.  And because of their diligence and creative thinking I left that night with several favorite dishes stuck in my head and on my taste buds.

The first was definitely the butternut squash and apple soup from The Purple Heather with the Tuna canapes from Test Kitchen coming in a close second.  My sweet side was incredibly pleased with the sticky toffee pudding from Ye Olde Squire. Cameron’s Brewing Company was also on hand to wet our palate with some frothy ale while Lakeshore Coffee House kept us hydrated and awake with coffee.

Taste of Burlington Winter 2014

If this event is a showcase of what to expect during the Taste of Burlington restaurants goers will soon be deciding this is the best time of the year.

Check out the participating restaurants by clicking the photos below and click the links to check out their menus.  For more information about Taste of Burlington check out their website.

 

Amaya Express

489 Brant Street
280.288.0082

Offering a $15 lunch and $25 dinner Indian prix fixe menu.

Taste of Burlington Winter 2014

Amaya Express – Leek and Parsnip Fritter, Butter Chicken and Rice

Beaver and Bulldog

2020 Lakeshore Road
289.3379119
 

Offering a $15 lunch and $30 dinner prix fixe menu.

Taste of Burlington Winter 2014

Beaver & Bulldog – Mediterranean burger sliders with herbed goat cheese, cucumber, bruschetta and red peper hummus

Celli’s Osteria

421 Brant Street
905.634.7421
 

Offering a $20 lunch and $40 dinner prix fixe menu.

Taste of Burlington Winter 2014

Celli’s Osteria – Pan Roasted Sweet Sausage in a white cannellini bean ragu

Downtown Bistro & Grill

441 Elizabeth Street
905.639.7577
 

Offering a $20 lunch and $40 dinner prix fixe menu.

Taste of Burlington Winter 2014

Downtown Bistro & Grill – Honey Chicken Sriracha and Roasted Pork Belly with Potato and Celery, Radish Sauce

 Eatalia

527 Brant Street
905.634.3300
 

Offering a $30 dinner prix fixe menu.

Taste of Burlington Winter 2014

Eatalia – Crab Meat agnolotti in lobster and shrimp brodetto

Fraticellis

1860 Appleby Line
905.332.9769

Offering a $20 lunch and a $35 dinner prix fixe menu.

Taste of Burlington Winter 2014

Fraticellis – Garganelli with Bolognese sauce

Ivy Bar and Kitchen

3330 South Service Road
905.333.4891
 

Offering a $40  dinner prix fixe menu.

Taste of Burlington Winter 2014

The Ivy – Wild and Forest Mushroom truffle scented cappuccino soup with parmesan foam

The Naked Sprout

4040 Palladium Way
905.319.2293

Offering a $30 dinner prix fixe menu. *menu can be ordered all day.

Taste of Burlington Winter 2014

The Naked Sprout – Spiralized zucchini, sundried tomato marinara sauce and cashew meatball, sprinkled with brazil nut parmesan

Paradiso

2041 Pine Street
905.639.1176

Offering a $20 lunch and $35 dinner prix fixe menu.

Taste of Burlington Winter 2014

Paradiso – Angus Beef Meatball with mushroom compote

Pepperwoods

1455 Lakeshore Road
905.333.6999

Offering a $20 lunch and $40 dinner prix fixe menu.

 

Taste of Burlington Winter 2014

Pepperwoods – Bison slider with balsamic tomato mostardo and brie.

Purple Heather

3600 Dundas Street
905.315.8782

Offering a $20 lunch and $40 dinner prix fixe menu.

 

Taste of Burlington Winter 2014

Purple Heather – Butternut squash and apple puree soup

Taste of Burlington Winter 2014

Purple Heather – Green Thai Curry pulled pork taco with napa/ mango slaw

Queens Head Pub

400 Brant Street
905.632.1300

Offering a $20 lunch and $35 dinner prix fixe menu.

Taste of Burlington Winter 2014

Queen’s Head Pub – Sweet potato donut with maple cream and praline.

Rayhoon Persian Eatery

420 Pearl Street
905.637.2500

Offering a $20 lunch and $35 dinner prix fixe menu.

Taste of Burlington Winter 2014

Rayhoon Persian Eatery – Loobiah Polo

Red Canoe Bistro

398 John Street
905.637.6137

Offering a $20 lunch and $40 dinner prix fixe menu.

Taste of Burlington Winter 2014

Red Canoe Bistro – Local heirloom beet risotto with goats feta topped with beef and lamb ragout.

Rib Eye Jacks

4045 Harvester Road
905.633.9929

Offering a $20 lunch and $35 dinner prix fixe menu.

Taste of Burlington Winter 2014

Rib Eyed Jacks – Fried wontons, pulled beef, white beans, cheddar cheese, pico de galo, green onions and chipotle

Rude Native

398 John Street
905.632.6682

Offering a $30 dinner prix fixe menu.

Taste of Burlington Winter 2014

Rude Native – Spring Rolls

Spencer’s at the Waterfront

1340 Lakeshore Road
905.6333.7494

Offering a $20 lunch and $40 dinner prix fixe menu.

Taste of Burlington Winter 2014

Spencer’s – Icewine marshmallow, quinoa graham cracker and chocolate ganache s’mores

Stone House

3106 South Service Road
905.632.1316

Offering a $40 dinner prix fixe menu Monday to Saturday.

Taste of Burlington Winter 2014

Stone House – Beer braised short ribs with truffled turnip puree

Test Kitchen

455 Brant Street
289.245.1999

Offering a $20 lunch and $40 dinner prix fixe menu.

 

Taste of Burlington Winter 2014

Test Kitchen – Tuna Canapes

Turtle Jacks

900Maple Avenue
289.288.0484
 
1900 Appleby
289.288.0390

Offering a $20 lunch and $30 dinner prix fixe menu.

Taste of Burlington Winter 2014

Turtle Jacks – Gooey Ribs

Water St. Cooker

2084 Old Lakeshore Road
905.634.2084

Offering a $35 dinner prix fixe menu.

Taste of Burlington Winter 2014

Water St. Cooker – Smoked Tri Tip Ragout in yorkshire pudding

Wendel Clark’s

380 Brant Street
905.633.9217

Offering a 2 for $40 prix fixe menu.

Taste of Burlington Winter 2014

Wendel Clark’s – Pulled Pork, carmalized onion, beef sliders.

West Plains Bistro

133 Plains Rd East
905.333.9449

Offering a $20 lunch and $35 dinner prix fixe menu.

Taste of Burlington Winter 2014

West Plains Bistro – Curried cauliflower soup with dried mango, raisin and almond garnish

Ye Olde Squire

3537 Fairview Street
905.333.6627

Offering a $15 lunch prix fixe menu.

Taste of Burlington Winter 2014

Ye Olde Squire – Sticky toffee pudding

 

Other restaurants that were not at the launch but are participating in Taste of Burlington include:

The Alex Restaurant

480 Brant Street
905.220.0520

Offering a $40 dinner prix fixe menu.

Canyon Creek

2429 Fairview St.
905.333.3339

Offering a $20 lunch and $30 dinner prix fix menu.

Honey West

399 Elizabeth Street
905.634.7999

Offering a $20 lunch and $40 dinner prix fix menu.

Jake’s Grill and Oyster House

950 Walker’s Line
905.639.4084

Offering a $20 lunch and $35 dinner prix fix menu. Sundays only.

Martini House

437 Elizabeth Street
905.333.9553

Offering a $20 lunch and $35 dinner prix fix menu. Sundays only.

Royal Botanical Gardens

680 Plains Road
905.527.1158 ext. 540

Offering a $20 lunch prix fixe menu.

SB Prime

390 Brant Street
905.634.6275

Offering a $20 lunch and $35 dinner prix fix menu.

Taste of Burlington Summer 2013

Every time my fiancee and I go visit his family in Hamilton, Ontario we drive past the city of Burlington. Every time I go the Royal Botanical Gardens or a trip cross border shopping I pass it by. For the first time this week I found myself given an opportunity to visit and I am still wondering why it’s taken me this long to discover such a gem of a city. Situated between Toronto and Niagara Falls and nestled along the southwestern tip of Lake Ontario, Burlington has the big city culture and small town charm people of all generations and backgrounds are looking for. And as I quickly discovered, it’s a culinary treasure.

Taste of Burlington Summer 2013 from The Tasty Gardener

I was fortunate enough to find myself in Burlington that day thanks to an opportunity I was given to attend the launch of “A Taste of Burlington” a two week long event showcasing the talents of 23 of the city’ s local restaurants. Similar to Toronto’s Summerlicious program but without the waiting lists and need for an AMEX card, prix fixe menus have been designed to encourage locals residents and new visitors to try out stunning creations at old favorites or to experience a completely new restaurant, from casual fine dining to eclectic gastropub-ing, without breaking the bank. The chefs this year has also been challenged to use local sourced ingredients as much and as often as possible.  With three course meal ranging from $15 or $20 for a lunch or $30, $35 or $40 for dinner, diners have the opportunity to expand their palates while supporting local restaurateurs and our local growers and suppliers of all things edible.

The lead up to this culinary event which takes place July 21 -August 5th all culminated with the launch party where I unabashedly stuffed my self silly with delicious samples from 18 of the participating restaurants. I must say that the chefs did not hold back.

Taste of Burlington Summer 2013 from The Tasty Gardener

Most of the food was outstanding. Some wasn’t as outstanding only because I felt they didn’t hold up well in transport however the flavor combinations created all blew me away and left me incredibly excited to see how their special prix fixe menus will taste. Two weeks is not a lot of time but as I left the event filled to the brim and my phone overheating with text message responses for future “Taste of Burlington” dinner dates I promised myself I’d make one heck of a dent.

And now this is the part where I get to show you gorgeous pictures of the scrumptious food I enjoyed and links to participating restaurants. It will make you insanely jealous. And hungry. And it will make you click to the website and make a date to try one or more of the Burlington’s amazing restaurants. You might just see me there 😉

For more information on dates, menus and participating restaurants make sure to visit the Taste of Burlington website.

Here we go! Enjoy!

Taste of Burlington Summer 2013 from The Tasty Gardener

Walkers Fish Market

www.walkersfishmarket.ca

Bronzed Fish Tacos with bronzed white fish, guacamole, shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, fresh coriander, chipotle aioli on a grilled soft flour tortilla.

I don’t eat a lot of fish in general but have been found myself trying fish tacos more and more. There is a lot of things happening in this one but it all works wonderfully together. I could see myself eating many of these. I can also see myself checking out this restaurant to help expand my fish palate. They are offering a$20 lunch and a $40 dinner prix fixe menu.

Taste of Burlington Summer 2013 from The Tasty Gardener

Celli’s Osteria

www.cellisosteria.ca

Porchetta Sliders with iceberg lettuce, spiced pepperonatta and tomme cheese.

A running theme during the whole launch seemed to be pork.  Which is fantastic because I don’t eat a lot of it at home. A little bit too much bun for me but striped away the flavors were subtle but perfect.  I had a wonderful conversation with the restaurants incredible Sommelier Sharon Correia and look forward to getting the full wining and dining experience Celli’s has to offer. They are offering $20 lunch and $35 dinner prix fixe menu.

Taste of Burlington Summer 2013 from The Tasty Gardener

Taste of Burlington Summer 2013 from The Tasty Gardener

Purple Heather

www.thepurpleheather.ca

Asparagus Vichyssoise and Tuna, Cucumber and Shiitake Bites 

I would have quite enjoyed sitting in a quiet corner enjoying a big bowl of this asparagus vichyssoise. It was fantastic! And as I mentioned above I don’t eat much fish and I definitely don’t eat partially raw fish.  However I dove into this sample and loved every bite.  My problem with fish is that I don’t like the fishy flavour.  This tasted so unfishy and meaty and with the cool refreshing bite from the cucumber (which I’m training my taste buds to enjoy more-whole other story there) I beginning to find an appreciation for our underwater options. They are offering a $20 lunch and $35 dinner prix fixe menu.
Taste of Burlington Summer 2013 from The Tasty Gardener

West Plains Bistro

www.westplainsbistro.com

Coffee and Ancho Beef Short Ribs with a pepper salad with pumpkin and sunflower seeds and a cilantro honey oil.

This dish was voted as The People’s Choice at the launch and with good reason.  Cooked for over three and half hours these ribs fell apart the minute your fork touched them and were unbelievably flavorful and tender. They are offering a $20 lunch and $40 dinner prix fixe menu.

Taste of Burlington Summer 2013 from The Tasty Gardener

Pepperwood Bistro

www.pepperwood.on.ca

Four Mushroom Crostini: cremini, shiitake, porcini and Portobello mushrooms and Ontario cambozola on a roasted garlic crostini.

I love mushrooms.  I’m even growing my own oyster mushrooms.  So I am biased to this sampling.  Pepperwood is offering a $20 lunch and $40 dinner prix fixe menu.  Also good to know is that on Fridays and Saturdays they have live music.  Perfect to make a whole evening out of your visit.

Taste of Burlington Summer 2013 from The Tasty Gardener

Eatalia

www.eatalia.ca

Grilled Tomato and Asiago Stuffed Jumbo Ravioli with sun dried tomato pesto and toasted sunflower seeds.

This is the restaurant I will be taking my Italian food loving fiancee.  Another restaurant to creatively add sunflower seeds to the dish I loved all that is happening here.  And I was extremely pleased to see it on their $35 dinner prix fixe menu.  They are offering only a dinner menu available Friday and Saturday and reservations are required.

Taste of Burlington Summer 2013 from The Tasty GardenerStone House Restaurant

www.stonehouserestaurant.ca

Hoisin Glazed Pulled Pork Tacos with carrot and bean sprout slaw and fresh coriander.

Pulled pork is still gaining huge popularity everywhere you look and trust me I’ve probably tried it all.  I picked Stone House as my personal People’s Choice mainly because it wasn’t as overly smoky or sweet that I’ve found other tacos can be.  The carrot and bean sprout slaw was a fresh counter to the mild sweetness of the hoisin.  And I didn’t get any grisly, stringy bits either.  Very well cooked. They are offering a $40 dinner prix fixe menu.

SB Prime

www.sbprime.com

Dry Ribs and Roasted corn salad with tomato avocado cotija cheese and lime aioli.

I seemed to have eaten this before I even had a chance at taking a picture.  It was very pretty with it’s colorful salad and the dry ribs were tasty. They are offering a $20 lunch and $40 dinner prix fixe menu.

Taste of Burlington Summer 2013 from The Tasty GardenerParadiso

www.burlington.paradisorestaurant.com

Pepper Chicken Liver and Andouille Sausage Pate with mushroom ketchup on an olive oil crostini.

Immediately after trying this my twitter page went like this.

Taste of BurlintonOne of favorites of the evening.  And Chef Adam was so friendly as I picked his brain about the difference between Toronto and Burlington when it came to accepting food bloggers at their restaurants.  And mushroom ketchup? Get out! They are offering a $20 lunch and $35 dinner prix fixe menu. I would also like to point they are offering summer kids cooking classes and an extensive gluten free menu. Kudos to this restaurant!

Taste of Burlington Summer 2013 from The Tasty GardenerRose Garden Restaurant

www.rosegardenfamily.weebly.com

Sweet and Spicy Shrimp; a lightly batter golden fried shrimp on a bed of julienne Asian vegetables in a sweet and spicy glaze.

Too sweet for me but I know of a fiancee who would devour these.  Despite the sauce the shrimp stayed nice and crispy and was perfectly cooked. They are offering an incredibly affordable $15 lunch and $30 dinner prix fixe menu.  They are also just minutes away from The Royal Botanical Gardens so make a day of it.

Taste of Burlington Summer 2013 from The Tasty Gardener

Red Canoe Bistro

www.redcanoebistro.com

Spiced Summer Vegetable Gazpacho with Marinated Scallops.

I love the presentation of this.  The scallop was so tender and the gazpacho had big flavors. They are offering a $20 lunch and $40 dinner prix fixe menu.

Rayhoon Persian Eatery

www.rayhooneatery.com

Tachin-crisp saffron rice layered with chicken.

Another forgotten picturing taking moment.  Would have enjoyed a bit more spice but still tasty. They are offering a $20 lunch and $35 dinner prix fixe menu.

Taste of Burlington Summer 2013 from The Tasty GardenerIvy Bar and Kitchen

www.ivybar.ca

Braised Pork Belly and Roasted Peaches on in-house pork rind.

The pork belly got lost here in the sweetness of the grilled peach which was fine by me since that flavor exploded my taste buds. Great presentation as well.  I was surprised to see the Ivy participating since my impression of them was that they were more of a night club establishment but after seeing their online menu I could see myself celebrating a birthday or special event with dinner and dancing. They are offering a $20 lunch and $40 dinner prix fixe menu.

Taste of Burlington Summer 2013 from The Tasty GardenerYe Olde Squire

www.yeoldesquire.com

Butter Shrimp with hints of cardamon and Tandoori served with house made naan bread.

I love pub food.  And I love when pubs do Indian food.  As the program described this was flavor intensive yet not too spicy.  The warm naan bread was a great touch.  They are offering a 2 for $40 prix fixe dinner.

Taste of Burlington Summer 2013 from The Tasty GardenerHoney West

www.honeywest.ca

Pulled Pork Wontons with Apple and Bacon Relish.

The texture of the wonton was a bit soggy but the apple and bacon relish really made these dish.  While sometimes the presentation doesn’t work out I look at the flavors a chef uses and the boldness here was outstanding. They are offering a $20 lunch and $40 dinner prix fixe menu. And the dinner is four courses. This casual fine dining establishment also offers a raw bar of oysters, jumbo shrimp, tuna tartare and more every Friday 4-pm.

Taste of Burlington Summer 2013 from The Tasty GardenerQueens Head Pub

www.thequeenshead.ca

Sweet Potato and Pork Belly Phyllo Dumplings drizzle with ginger and thyme honey.

At this point of the evening I had almost sampled from every restaurant and I was getting full.  I groaned out loud when I discovered the Queens Head gentlemen were offering up two different dumplings.  Of course I still tried them both.  My favorite was the sweet potato though the crispy phyllo on both was so buttery and delicious. They are offering a $20 lunch and $30 dinner prix fixe menu.

Water St. Cooker

www.waterstreetcooker.ca

Summer Salad with fresh local ingredients.

Somehow among all the tables I seemed to have missed this restaurant.  Which is a shame since after all that pork and bread I really could have used some vegetables. Water St. is offering a $40 prix fixe dinner menu.  They also have a Sunday brunch 10-3pm and an extensive variety of mussel dishes.

Taste of Burlington Summer 2013 from The Tasty Gardener

 

Plucker’s Wings and Crab Shack

www.pluckers.ca

Pluckers own crab cakes with caper aioli.

They always say the longest lines means the best it at the end.  In this case it was also the biggest. Chef Todd of Pluckers was serving up humble apologizes for the long lines and amazing full size crab cakes. With tender crab meat, slightly crisped and tasting mildly of dill these were the best I’ve had in a long time. Plucker’s is offering a $30 prix fixe dinner menu.

Also in attendance was Tampa Coffee Co. offering hand poured coffees and these amazing soft and chocolate dipped biscotti from Mrs. B’s Gifthouse.

Taste of Burlington Summer 2013 from The Tasty Gardener

There was also a few restaurants that were not in attendance at the launch party that will participating in A Taste of Burlington.

Canyon Creek Burlington, $15 lunch, $30 dinner prix fixe menu

Downtown Bistro and Grill, $20 lunch and $35 dinner prix fixe menu

Jake’s Grill and Oyster House, $20 lunch and $35 dinner prix fixe menu

Martini House, $15 lunch and $40 dinner prix fixe menu

The Rude Native, $30 dinner prix fixe menu

The Alex Restaurant, $20 lunch and $40 dinner prix fixe menu

Amaya Express, $15 lunch and $30 dinner prix fixe menu

I will be updating my links as more information becomes available.  Please feel free to leave comments below on restaurants you are going to try, want to try or have already tried.  As I mentioned earlier I’m going to make a decent effort to try at least 4 or 5 of the restaurants (budget dependant) and review them here on my website.  If you think there is one that I must, must, must try let me know.

Enjoy your Taste of Burlington.

Disclaimer: Tourism Burlington supplied me with free entry into this event in exchange for a blog post and social media presence.  All opinion in this post are solely my own.