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.