Culinary News

The BUZZ: November/December 2016

The Editors
Written by The Editors

London

Every November over the past four years, Abruzzi has donated a percentage of sales to support Prostate Cancer research at the London Health Sciences Centre. So far, with your help, a total of $12,052.53 has been raised for this important cause. To help make this year even more successful, all you have to do is enjoy dinner at Abruzzi anytime during this month. Supporting Movember has never been easier, nor tasted so good! www.abruzzi.ca

Rob’s Wicked Chicken and Wedges has opened on Hamilton Road (at Maitland Street) on the site of the former Mary Brown’s Chicken. The menu will go beyond chicken and wedges, offering a selection of sandwiches, including pulled pork and fish, plus a new feature item—Korean Yang-Nyum chicken made with an in-house sweet but spicy barbecue sauce.

Lawrence Burden is celebrating 16 years as a purveyor of fine kitchen and dining supplies at his store, Kiss the Cook, on Richmond Row. He’s offering a range of products at special prices, for a limited time. And don’t forget that resident chef Chris Squire hosts cooking classes here. Keep that in mind for the foodie friends on your gift list — or treat yourself! www.kissthecook

Jill Wilcox, food columnist, owner of Jill’s Table in London, and cookbook author, has just released her latest cookbook, Soups, Stews & Breads. With her own recipes and a section on breads from chef Josie Pontarelli, this makes the perfect addition to any cookbook collection for chefs and home cooks of all skill levels. Five dollars of the proceeds from each cookbook will go to the Jill Wilcox Foundation, which helps better the lives of women and children through food related initiatives in the London community.

Ian Kennard, who operated Willie’s Café since 1996, has closed the café side of his business. The catering side of the business will continue. Willie’s has built a reputation as a caterer, and fresh healthy fare can be delivered to your office at an affordable price. Chef Gail Rains has been the chef since 1996. Kennard advised eatdrink that the Willie’s building has been sold and leased. www.williescafe.on.ca

Talbot Street Whisky House recently closed. Revive Kitchen has also shut down after a brief run.

Although Rico’s Pizzeria Downtown at 71 King Street in the Renaissance Towers (across from Budweiser Gardens) is becoming known for their vegan and gluten-free pizzas since opening last month, this shouldn’t scare away the carnivores. Made with Fieldgate Organic meats, the Farmer’s sausage Pizza and the new prosciutto-filled Hawaiian “Magnum Pi” are captivating the taste buds of locals. As the business grows, so will the menu and concepts, such as the thin crust Double Decker ‘Za, which consists of two whole wheat thin crusts that sandwich extra cheese and extra sauce option, for those who want more. For those of you who are health conscious be sure to try Jocelyn Morwood’s coconut bacon pizza.

London’s Fresh Booth at 201 Queens Avenue has rebranded — meet Hopscotch — the new restaurant that has upgraded the original location to reflect the food it provides with natural décor and cheeky references to ingredients. Brothers Aiden and Wyatt Booth use fresh ingredients that have been grown and raised responsibly by local partners and farmers. The menu is chef-driven, offers healthy and exciting takes on traditional salads in addition to other original recipes. All sauces (more than 10) are made in-house daily. The business uses eco-friendly and biodegradable containers (bowls compost in 180 days) and potato-based forks.

The London Brewing Co-operative is relocating to Burbrook Place in the Old East Village this fall and expanding operations to keep up with increasing demand for its truly local beers. The new home of this worker-owned brewery will include a taproom, retail space, and a larger brewing system. The brewery will be housed inside an innovative space shared with On The Move Organics, a local organic delivery company. The change will also create opportunities for visitors to better understand the value of local ingredients and to taste the benefits that they bring to the beer and other products.

Restaurant Ninety-One at Windermere Manor has launched new fall/winter and fall seasonal menus. Afternoon Tea is now served on Saturday afternoons, in conjunction with The Tea Haus at Covent Garden Market. Afternoon Tea features a full selection of house-made pastries and dainty sandwiches. Chef Angela Murphy is offering tasting menus and wine tastings for groups of 8 to 10 as part of the chef’s table dining experience. Chef is also organizing special menu nights focusing on chefs who have inspired and have specifically impacted the cuisine at Restaurant Ninety-One including David McMillan, Martin Picard, Susur Lee, Alice Waters, Lucy Waverman and others.

Fancy Tarts is celebrating their 5th anniversary this Christmas with Sample Saturdays from November 26th to December 17th. They will be offering free samples of their Christmas favourites along with $5 Sampler Gift Plates, with 50% of the proceeds donated to local charities. 360 Springbank Drive. www.fancytartsbakery.com

It’s been a busy year for veteran London chef Ricardo Cavaco. The owner of Bifana Boys launched his food truck last summer and most recently revamped an old family recipe into a new line of versatile Portuguese sauces. Cavaco recently opened a satellite location of Bifana Boys, specializing in Portuguese fare, at the Farmers and Artisans Market at The Western Fair. Offerings at the Market include a variety of dishes, such as piripiri chicken, Angry Fries and his signature Bifana Sandwich—marinated pork slices in a bun. Don’t be fooled by its simplicity, this well-made sandwich will zap you with a lightning bolt of flavours.

This year’s VegFest London will take place in the Progress Building at the Western Fair District on Saturday, November 12th. VegFest celebrates the plant-based lifestyle and promotes compassionate, sustainable and healthy living with over 100 vegan food and product vendors, health and wellness vendors and animal sanctuaries and rescue/liberation organizations, such as The Boombox Bakeshop, Rescue Dogs vegan hot dog cart, Sweet Teeth Vegan Food Truck and more. Speakers include author Dreena Burton, Dr. Linda Plowright, Jenna Goodhand of Saving Lives with Forks and Knives, Jo-Anne McArthur and Keri Cronin from the Unbound Project and emcee Rose Corra Perry. There will be cooking and food demos by Chef Doug McNish and Emily Von Euw of This Rawesome Vegan Life. Other offerings include Purdy Natural Photo Booth, Plant Matter Kitchen Dining Area and Booch Organic Kombucha Lounge. Admission is free.

The 20 Under 40 Awards Program recognizes accomplished industry leaders in London who are younger than 40, and who also give back to their community. The awards are given by Business London magazine and sponsored by Harrison Pensa, Lovers At Work, BlueStone Properties, Western University, Nothers Signs and Recognition, London Chamber of Commerce, Blackfriars Catering & Bistro, 20 Under 40 Foundation and XInfused Events Inc. Three of our favourite colleagues from the culinary world will be recognized at a reception at London Music Hall on Nov. 19th. They are: Yoda Olinyk, executive chef and co-owner, Glassroots; Kris Hunt, owner, The Works Gourmet Burger Bistro and Dave Strano, owner, Burrito Boyz London.

Downtown London’s Winter Light Christmas Walk will be held November 18th and 19th. Dozens of downtown businesses will be hosting sales, open houses, music, and holiday activities on Friday and Saturday. The Winter Light guide will be released in November

Watch for plant-based espresso drinks, smoothies and healthy fare at The Ground Up! in the space formerly occupied by Aroma Café on Richmond Row. As the name suggests, the café will be organic, plant-based and eco-conscious.

About every six weeks, Youth Opportunities Unlimited partners with a different local London chef or restaurateur to host a dinner as part of Cornerstone Cuisine Dinner program at the YOU Made It Cafe. An exciting evening and customized dinner menu are created and a specific cultural cuisine is celebrated. If you are a local chef and interested in partnering, get in touch! Plans for the 2017 Youth Opportunities Unlimited Cornerstone Cuisine Dinner program are underway.

Garlic’s of London has a great supply of jarred, local, natural honey from their former rooftop hives, that were relocated to a farm just outside of the city. The honey is now available for sale at the restaurant. www.garlicsoflondon.com

Marienbad’s annual Schnitzelfest runsfrom Nov. 4th until Nov. 19th. Marienbad’s Murder Mystery series (late November) features an office gathering that turns into a variation of “Survival” as workers use jungle warfare to keep their jobs. A special New Year’s Eve show will includes a four-course meal for $69.95 per person.

Michael’s on the Thames recently launched a new dinner menu, for the first time in 3 years. The wine list has been undated to include red and white wines from countries and varietals all around the world.

There’s a spectacular new venue in town called 449. It is operated by the folks who brought you North Moore Catering, The River Room and the Rhino Lounge and Bakery. Perfect for private holiday parties, New Year’s Eve parties, showers, dinner meetings, smaller weddings and birthdays You can even BYOB with an SOP! 519.850.5111 x 1 or email info@northmoore.ca

Locomotive Espresso remains loyal to Pilot Coffee Roasters. Through direct trade, Pilot ensures the premium prices they pay go straight into their grower’s hands. Locomotive’s tradition of Friday Croissant Day has returned. Chef Rob Chick leads the B. Davison Secondary Culinary Program. As well as learning about delivery and merchandising in the cafe, the culinary students bake the finest croissant, almond croissant and chocolate brioche. Coffee themed gift baskets will be available at Locomotive Espresso from December 1.

The London Wine and Food Show returns in January with more food, wine and entertainment than ever before. In its 12th year the show promises to bring Londoners an enticing mix of local restaurants, wineries, craft beers, and spirits. There will be tasting seminars, stage presentations and entertainment. Sip, sample and savour at London’s Wine & Food Show!

Stratford

Stratford’s Soup’s On will beheld on Saturday January 14. This popular annual Perth County event showcases over 30 local vendors serving soup to warm you up at the Stratford Rotary Complex. All proceeds support the Alzheimer Society of Perth County. In 2015, Soup Surreal won the People’s Choice Award for a second time with Gouda, Beer and Onion soup, which also took the judge’s prize in the Creamy Professional category.

Speaking of Soup Surreal, they are offering a weekly rotation of chili both hot and frozen in store through the winter: Vegetarian Chili, and Chili with Revel Coffee, Black Swan Porter and McIntosh Farms Beef Chili. The Beef Chili became a huge favourite after they adjusted the recipe for the Heart and Stroke event Heartburn Day. soupsurreal.com

The String Bone Presents “Live at Revival House Dinner/Concert” series boasts a winter concert lineup worthy of praise. Juno-nominated, award-winning artists such as Great Big Sea’s Sean McCann (Nov. 5), Fred Eaglesmith (Nov. 18), Samantha Martin& Delta Sugar (Jan. 27) and Alysha Brilla (Feb. 24). Revival House also highlights local performances giving support to such local indie acts as Upside of Maybe with Dayna Manning (Nov. 11) The Neil Young’uns (Nov. 19) and Ali Mathews’ Annual Christmas Concert (Dec. 3).

Let members of the Stratford Symphony Orchestra serenade you with music to lift your soul in the reinvented Revival House. “Classical Symphony Brunch” concerts through the winter months will happen Sundays November 20, February 19 and May 21.

Scotch and Chocolate… individually wonderful, brilliant when paired. Certified Whisky Sommelier Steve Rae has created a Whisky journey through Scotland touching the different regions and flavour spectrums. Rheo Thompson Candies chocolatier, Christine Chessell has selected a variety of Rheo’s chocolates to compliment the scotches. Or do the scotches compliment the chocolates? Find out for yourself. This wonderful combination of two passionate flavours happens at Revival House December 17, 3pm. Tickets available at www.visitstratford.ca

The Red Rabbit’s winter hours begin In November — the restaurant will be closed Tuesday and Wednesdays. Nosh Monday returns November 7th and every Monday through to April. It is $42 per person for a culinary adventure and reservations are strongly recommended. Beer Dinner and Supper Club events return for the winter season. Dates and themes are released on The Red Rabbit’s Facebook page.

Rundles Morris House has launched the first ever fractional vacation home ownership opportunity in Stratford. As the beginning phase in the re-development of Rundles Restaurant, starting in the 2017 season of the Stratford Festival, Rundles Morris House will be offered for sale in one-week segments. www.rundlesrestaurant.com

Join The Local Community Food Centre for The Hunters and Foragers Dinner on November 25. The multi-course dinner celebrates wild game and ethically-foraged food products. www. thelocalcfc.org

There are some exciting changes at the Stratford Chefs School. A new teaching kitchen and classrooms will greet the 2016-17 school students.

Want to be a food critic? Stratford Chefs School aspiring chefs are preparing inspired variations on over 30 years of SCS menus, executed with great skill and passion, and invite you to join them. The classic 4- to 6-course Dinner Series meals are served at 136 Ontario Street, Tuesdays through Saturdays, while 3-course lunches take place Fridays and Saturdays. At lunch, wines are available by the glass or $5 corkage. Menus change daily. Share your feedback following your meal. www.stratfordchef.com

On Sunday, November 20, 10 am–2:00 pm, visit Stratford’s historic downtown for the Outdoor Christmas Market. Enjoy the music of the Stratford Symphony Orchestra and meet Santa inside the Avon Theatre. Shop vendor stalls for holiday foods, crafts and gifts. Sip hot cocoa while listening to costumed carolers singing seasonal tunes and embracing the character and charm of a Victorian Christmas.

Slow Food Perth County Sunday Market moves indoors to The Falstaff Family Centre, Stratford, 35 Waterloo Street, Stratford. The market you know and love is open Sundays from 10 am–2 pm all year round. www.slowfoodperthcounty.com

Stratford Farmers’ Market is a year round market operating since 1855, featuring fresh produce, crafts, meat and cheese. Stratford Rotary Complex-Agriplex, 353 McCarthy Rd., Stratford. Saturdays 7:00 am–12:00 pm.

Bradshaws Christmas Open House on November 4 makes for a fun night out, but of course their great assortment of holiday giftware, kitchenware and entertaining items is available right through this holiday season. Bradshaws is also holding a Christmas-themed High Tea at Revival House featuring a guided seasonal tea tasting from Sloane Fine Tea, holiday treats from Revival House’s pastry chef and music by Stratford Symphony Orchestra. This perfect way to celebrate the holidays takes place Sunday, November 27, 11am–1pm. $45/person. www.bradshawscanada.com

Around Our Region

Living Alive Granola, located in St. Thomas, focuses on using local maple syrup (Palmer’s beautiful dark maple syrup from Port Stanley), honey (Clovermead’s Summer Blossom Honey) and oats, and bakes only with fresh ingredients. Local musician Stephanie Brown and former MP Joe Preston base their product on a family recipe. Both partners are advocates for helping local mental health programs, and they donate ten cents from every bag sold to make a difference in this important area. Living Alive Granola is available at markets, and from a growing number of local retailers (including Remark, and some No Frills and Foodland stores). Also available online for delivery anywhere in Canada. livingalivegranola.ca

Change up your Friday night! Telegraph House in Port Stanley has started up Pizza Night, offering new and exciting pizzas. One was recently discovered by proprietors Jon and Vicci Coughlin in NYC, featuring toasted butternut on a garlic and goat cheese base, with arugula and balsamic vinegar glaze topping. The Coughlins will also be making Jon’s special — the Diavola Supreme that includes house tomato sauce, pepperoni, capocolla, salami, shallots, black olives, bacon, proscuitto, mozzarella and parmesan. Pizza dinners are actually three course dinners, including soup or salad, and pie for dessert. The “Winter Series” has also begun, with dinners on Saturday nights. Bring your own wine for $5 corkage. www.telegraphhouse.com

Six Thirty Nine in Woodstock recently received an award from the South Central Ontario Region Economic Development Corporation as a Local Food Champion.

Over in Vineland, visit Featherstone Winery and Vineyard’s Holiday Open House on December 3 and 4 and celebrate the season with neighbours Malivore Wine Company, Vineland Estates Winery, GreenLane Estate Winery, and Ridgepoint Winery. Each winery will have their own special events on all weekend — back vintage tastings, food pairings, cocktail ideas, or sleigh rides. And each winery will try to fill a wine barrel with donations of non-perishable food items. There will be lots of holiday entertaining ideas on offer, as well as unique tastings.Ticket fees will be donated to a local charity. www.featherstonewinery.ca

Air Canada’s in-flight magazine, enRoute, has announced its annual top 10 list of Canada’s Best New Restaurants 2016, as well as the winner of the People’s Choice Award — Backhouse, in Niagara-on-the-Lake. enroute.aircanada.com

 

Do you have culinary news or upcoming events that you’d like us to share? Every issue, eatdrink reaches more than 50,000 readers across Southwestern Ontario in print, and thousands more online. 

Get in touch with us at editor@eatdrink.ca and/or connect directly with our Social Media Editor Bryan Lavery at bryan@eatdrink.ca

About the author

The Editors

The Editors