Culinary News

The BUZZ: May/June 2015

The Editors
Written by The Editors

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The Trouble with Bees … We’ve been hearing about the declining bee population for some time. Using data from field biologists and a new game-changing mathematical model, researchers from Western University have discovered that when a bee colony is threatened by an external force (like pesticides, pests, infections and parasites), forager bees leave the hive at a very young age. This sets off a chain reaction that inherently leads to colony collapse disorder, known in popular science as the death of the honey bees.

In normal conditions, forager bees leave the hive at 14-days old. Forager bees do the important work of gathering food to bring back to the hive and pollinate crops in the process. But in adverse conditions, an unsustainable cycle ensues: the hive pushes out younger and younger bees in a desperate attempt to get more food and save itself. Most of the young bees die and eventually the whole colony collapses.

Betti’s mathematical model has resulted in a valuable warning sign. If beekeepers see a lot of young bees flying out of the hive, they can act quickly and test for disease, isolate a particular hive, or cull healthy bees and transfer them to a new hive. The findings by Betti and his collaborators from Western’s Department of Applied Mathematics, professor Lindi M. Wahl and professor emeritus Mair Zamir, were published in PLOS ONE.

Downtown London …

Saddle Up Country Bar and Eatery will be celebrating their grand opening week, beginning Friday, May 1st. Situated directly across from Budweiser Gardens, the location will feature a street level patio, a rooftop patio, ample dining area and a comfort food menu. But what will truly set Saddle Up apart will be the entertainment: On Thursday evenings enjoy live acoustic music featuring both local talent and special guests. Bourbon Fridays and Saddle Up Saturdays will present a new fresh atmosphere spinning country tunes along with some pop and rock classics.

“The Manuel family are making a difference in the music scene in London — and now adding a welcome addition to the restaurant scene. Saddle Up will fill the gap for country music fans. Downtown London wishes them every success!” says Janette MacDonald, CEO & General Manager Downtown London. (The Manuels own and operate the London Music Hall). www.facebook.com/SaddleUpLondon

The Covent Garden Farmers’ Market is now open on Saturdays (8am-1pm) and Thursdays (8am-2pm) This is a 100% producer-based market. A new addition this year is the Weaver Fish Company from Port Stanley. www.coventmarket.com

A family-oriented event, Fiesta London encourages individuals from all ethnic backgrounds to come share in the rich history, art, music and cuisine of our Hispanic community. Celebrate with food, art and music. June 14, at Covent Garden Market. www.fiestalondon.ca

Toboggan Brewing Company is the brainchild of long-time London restaurateur Mike Smith, owner of the venerable Joe Kool’s and Fellini Koolini’s. Smith has installed a state of the art brewery in the basement of his former Jim Bob Ray’s bar, enlisted the help of experienced brewing masters, and launched a line of craft beers to serve the local market. The 519 Kitchen will emphasize local ingredients and Neapolitan pizzas cooked in the large stone wood oven, brought over from Smith’s former P Za Pie restaurant from down the street. www.tobogganbrewingcompany.com

There’s a refreshing new dining concept in town: Wich is Wich at 125 King Street. It’s “a proper sandwich shop” according to owners Elaine Sawyer and her son, chef Josh Sawyer. Open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner (later during Budweiser Gardens’ events), it features an open kitchen, seating for 45, and take-out or curbside options. www.wichiswich.ca

The Rhino Lounge Bakery and Coffee Shoppe is celebrating its first anniversary. It opened last year in a renovated and enlarged space formerly occupied by the museum gift shop. The Rhino Lounge seats 40 and features made-from-scratch croissants, bagels, doughnuts (cronuts on Thursdays) and other baked goods and savouries prepared by pastry chef Michelle Lenhardt. The Rhino serves a wide range of coffee and teas, wines and local craft beers as well as sandwiches, tacos, salads, shakes and smoothies. www.rhinolounge.ca

Around London …

The London Beer & BBQ Show is back June 19–21 at the Western Fair Agriplex. Sample over 50 beers from Ontario’s established culture of craft beers, savour sumptuous barbecue by local grillers and restaurants — everything from pork ribs and pulled pork to brisket and chicken. Participate in a variety of sports, cooking demos and activities running throughout the weekend. www.londonbeerandbbqshow.com

The Soho Street Market (located in front of the Goodwill Centre at Horton and Wellington) provides an open-air market experience. It’s operated by the Soho Community Association for the purpose of providing local produce, farm fresh fruits, and artisanal handcrafts to visitors and residents. Every Friday night from 4-9 pm. www.sohomarket.ca

Hyde Park Outdoor Market opens May 9. Visit some new vendors, as well as regulars and pull out a lawn chair and watch The Soots perform for some “foot stompin’ fun”! (1–3pm). SAT 9 am–4 pm, SUN 10 am–4 pm. www.hydeparkmarket.ca

Masonville Farmers’ & Artisans’ Market features over 40 farmers, artisans and food producers. It is organized by the Western Fair Farmers & Artisans’ Market. There is plenty of free parking at the Masonville Place parking lot. Fridays 8 am–2 pm, weather permitting. www.londonsfarmersmarket.ca

Gino Parco’s Porcino has a new location in Byron at the corner of Southdale and Boler Roads. The 35-seat restaurant will feature an open kitchen and an industrial urban interior with some of Gino’s own art collection. The menu offers much more than pizza and includes such favourites at wild mushroom truffle ravioli and arancini balls. www.porcino.ca

London Ice Cream Company is kicking off the season with a strong line up of new flavours. Highlights are Speculous, Sriracha, Nutella and non-fat Greek frozen yogurt including new flavours, Baklava and Lemon/Basil. London Ice Cream pays tribute to its late founder Alan Sargent, who recently passed away, with a new flavour named Sargent Pepper. www.londonicecream.ca

The annual Victoria Day Picnic at Eldon House will be held on May 18. Meet royal guest Queen Victoria at Eldon House and enjoy Victorian games, lemonade and cookies on Eldon House grounds and gardens. Events will be held indoors in the Interpretive Centre if weather is inclement. www.eldonhouse.ca

Plans for restaurant and patio renovations are underway at The Windermere Manor. Restaurant manager Colleen Murree has a long history of bar and service management, and comes to the Windermere from Fanshawe College, where she taught courses from service standards to mixology. Windermere is offering a mid-week getaway which includes room, restaurant and spa discount for $139. www.windermeremanor.com

The London Training Centre has launched The Larder, an online food store. Items are offered weekly, and might include croissants, Montreal style bagels, specialty breads, and chicken and veal soup stocks, all prepared by Culinary Program pre-apprenticeship students under the guidance of Chef Instructors Steve James and John Fisher. larder@londontraining.on.ca

The Grickle Grass Festival is a celebration of healthy and sustainable living, presented by the London Regional Children’s Museum and Growing Chefs Ontario. During the day, the festival will offer family programming in the form of community-oriented fun with a focus on sustainability and healthy choices. In the evening, the museum will turn into a fully licensed music venue with over ten music acts from across the country. In addition, art installations from local artists can be explored around the museum. May 30. www.gricklegrass.ca/

The London Beer and BBQ Show is back (June 19-21), showcasing fine craft breweries from across southwestern Ontario and offering outstanding BBQ prepared by a variety of grill masters from local and area restaurants.

The International Food Festival (June 26-28) is a London tradition now in its 8th year. Held in Victoria Park, the event features over 40 food vendors, a beer garden with live entertainment, and vendors and exhibits throughout the park. There is also an amusement ride area, $20 all you can ride (parent rides free).www.CanadasBiggestParty.com

Dave Cook, owner of Fire Roasted Coffee Co. and operator of the Western Fair Farmers’ & Artisans’ Market, recently purchased the former Merv’s Variety premises at the corner of Dundas and Ontario Streets. Cook is renovating the property, and will be opening another Fire Roasted Coffee Café and microbrewery in the space. www.fireroastedcoffee.com

Stratford …

There are a lot of exciting changes in Stratford’s restaurant world as new owners and chefs take the lead:

Chef Tim Larsen, Jessie Larsen and Chef Sean Collins have left Mercer Hall to build a new community- shared restaurant on Wellington Street, called the The Red Rabbit. Collins will be the leading the kitchen at the worker-owned venture. That team is comprised of sous chef Jon Naiman and a core group of other kitchen and front-of-house staff. The restaurant will have a thoughtful focus on local ingredients from area farmers, local producers, local brewers and distillers. www.redrabbitresto.com

Rob and Candice Wigan of Molly Bloom’s Irish Pub have purchased the iconic The Church Restaurant. The former Baptist church turned fine dining establishment will re-launch late May as Revival House. Chefs Kyle Rose (late of London’s former Auberge du Petit Prince) and Byron Hallett will operate the kitchen, emphasizing local, seasonal ingredients on the daily menu. www.revival.house

Chefs Aaron and Bronwyn Linley have sold Bijou after 14 years and handed over the reins to Mark and Linda Simone in March. Bijou will have a new entrance off Wellington Street, a new bar in the front area and is expected to have extended hours and operate for 10 months of the year. New Chef Max Holbrook, formerly executive chef at The Parlour and Foster’s Inn, will also add a tapas bar menu of small plates. www.bijourestaurant.com

New chef at The Bruce Hotel is Arron Carley, who was sous chef at Oliver & Bonacini’s Canoe in Toronto. The Bruce also has a new food and beverage manager, Kevin Wallace, arriving from Harvest Kitchen in Toronto. www.thebruce.ca

Pazzo shut the Bambino down permanently in January to refocus on Pazzo’s Taverna and the Pizzeria. Steve Doyle, formerly of The Bruce and Bijou, has joined Pazzo as the Taverna manager and is heading up some changes to the cocktail and wine programs. Yva Santini remains head chef in the Taverna and Will Gaynor is still the Pizzeria head chef. www.pazzo.ca

After 22 years, Susan Dunfield has sold Down the Street, which will re-open year-round under new ownership partners Jacqueline Hayton and Cassandre Frost. They are excited to unveil the restaurant’s refurbishments and Chef Lee Avigdor’s new menus. Alondra Gálvez is the new manager, Greg Hims the sous chef, and Ulises Sanchez the bar chef. www.downthestreet.ca

Bill and Shelley Windsor, who also own The Prune, are buying Mercer Hall. Chef Ryan O’Donnell will be overseeing both restaurants. The Prune will open their doors for the season on Friday, May 15. www.theprune.com​

Hog Wild Week in Stratford! Come celebrate pork in Stratford June 17-21, from the Bacon & Ale Trail, tasting delicious pork and beer-inspired treats, to visiting selected restaurants and pubs who are creating special menus, pork events and tastings devoted to pork … and bacon, too. And the Ontario Pork Congress will be held June 17-18. www.visitstratford.ca/pork

Perth County Slow Food Market takes it outdoors for the summer. Listen to the music while you shop for fresh made bread, quiche, tarts and sweet treats, locally grown meats, veggies and cheese in Stratford’s Market Square. Sundays 10 am–2 pm

To Bean or Not to Bean coffee roasters is a worker co-op in Stratford. Beans are sourced from other co-operatives. Stop by the Lorne Avenue location weekdays or the Saturday Farmers Market and Sunday Slow Food Market for a taste and to purchase freshly roasted beans. www.tobeanornottobean.coop .

Stratford Blues and Rib Fest (June 19-21) is a weekend of delicious BBQ and music. Activities include two outdoor stages of live music, three indoor ticketed evening performances, slow-cooked BBQ ribs and other food offerings, artisan and craft merchants, musicians workshop tent, vintage motorcycle display, vintage tractor display, Classic Car Meet and Park on Sunday and a kids play area, all in the parks on the banks of the scenic Avon River. www.stratfordbluesandribfest.ca

Following on the heels of last fall’s opening of Black Swan Brewing comes Stratford’s own micro-distillery, Junction 56 Distillery. Owner Michael Heisz began his first batch in April, and aims to bottle in June. “I’m starting with vodkas, then vapour-infused gins, and then whiskeys,” says Heisz. “We’ll be doing a lot of experimenting along the way.” www.junction56.ca/

Stratford Summer Music’s 15th season presents food and music pairings ranging from refined to rambunctious: Saturdays and Sundays (July 26 – August 30) The Prune presents solo Tafelmusik violinists over brunch in the back garden room. Revival House, formerly The Church, presents the annual cabaret series, with renowned opera singer Rebecca Caine (July 25), the one and only Carole Pope (Aug 8), a Newfoundland Jazz Ceilidh (Aug 22), and former Nylon, Micah Barnes & friends (Aug 29). Revival House also presents a “guerrilla-style” opera and culinary performance of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, in English, featuring five young Canadian singers directed by Peter Tiefenbach. Aug 14 and 15 at 6:30 pm, August 16 at noon. stratfordsummermusic.ca

Dianne Krampien at Distinctly Tea in Stratford has once again teamed up with the Stratford Public Library and the Ontario Library Association to create a second Evergreen Tea blend for the Evergreen Reading Program, which is designed to cultivate a love of reading for people of all ages. Evergreen OWL Blend (Orange with Lime) is a delicious caffeine-free, Rooibos-based blend, suitable for nighttime reading, and for kids. It’s also great as an iced tea. Available at Distinctly Tea, in person or online, with 30% of sales going to the Library. www.distinctlyteastratford.ca

Regional …

Congratulations to Rick and Deb Hunter, who are celebrating a tenth anniversay with The King Edward Restaurant & Pub in Ilderton. As Rich recalls, “We took ownership of The Eddy May 20th and opened the doors June 1st after a very frantic renovation. As well as becoming ‘the village pub,’ we quickly gained a reputation as a destination restaurant. We reintroduced real-ale to the London area in 2006 and shortly thereafter switched our draught beers to all-Ontario craft breweries to augment our British Isles pours. The century building reminds many of the ‘back-home’ pub experience and the food choices coupled with the beer selection has made The Eddy what it is today. Most of our regulars simply call it ‘The Pub’! “ www.thekingedward.com

The Lambton Film & Food Festival (May 22-24) brings together a collection of films and food from local restaurants and producers, at one of the world’s oldest operating movie theatres. www.LambtonFilmAndFood.com

Newly opened on the shores of Bayfield, The Ashwood offers a world class Bourbon Bar and Restaurant, quality accommodations and one of the best live music venue destinations in Southwest Ontario. Chef Robert Whyte offers an ever-changing, farm-to-table menu complemented by premium beverages and sophisticated cocktails. www.theashwood.com

In Tecumseh, The Art of Eating Food & Wine Festival (June 19-20) offers a great way to experience Essex County wines! The festival boasts over 24 various local wine and beer vendors, paired with food from restaurants in the Town of Tecumseh and throughout Essex County. www.artofeatingtecumseh.com

Visit Ingersoll for Canterbury Folk Festival (July 11-13) for great music, local food, and Ontario wine and beer. Start the festival off on Friday night with the pig roast, featuring local pork from DeBruyn’s Farm. www.canterburyfolkfestival.on.ca

FINE a Restaurant, in Grand Bend, is celebrating its 10th year in 2015. If you haven’t been yet, plan a visit this summer. But perhaps you should make a reservation — it’s popular with locals as well as visitors, and deservedly so. www.finearestaurant.com

Black Dog Village Pub & Bistro in Bayfield is also celebrating its 10th anniversary. In June, Ted is going to offer a bourbon tasting night, with samples from their extensive list. There’s a big party planned for the Labour Day Weekend, for customers and all staff (past and present).www.blackdogbistro.ca

Hessenland Inn, on the Lake Huron shore between Grand Bend and Bayfield, has begun planting a micro-vineyard, a three-year process that, if all goes according to plan, will lead to the first glass of Hessenland’s own wine being poured in 2018. Their plantings will include Riesling, Chardonay, Cabernet Franc, Frontenac Gris, Marquette and Siegerrebe (aka Victory Vine). A tasting room and new programs and packages will enhance the Inn’s already stellar reputation as a restaurant of note and a popular wedding and celebration venue. Owner/Chef Frank Ihrig and family are also excited to relaunch their summer Mongolian Grill nights, every Thursday beginning June 25. www.hessenland.com

Last year, The Little Inn of Bayfield changed ownership. Mike and Joanne Oliver have carefully renovated and refurbished the circa 1832 heritage property and launched two new dining concepts, The Willow Room and the Four In Hand Taproom. Renowned Ontario Chef Michael Potters has designed the ideal chef’s kitchen in as part of the collective determination to make the Inn a culinary destination. Diners will experience Bayfield and Huron County through its food, and there are plans for small group cooking classes, food foraging programs and a viewing area from the patio. Wine, spirits and cocktails have been curated by master sommelier John Szabo. The inn has been Four Diamond CAA rated for more than 20 years. www.thelittleinn.com

Las Chicas del Café has found a home at the CASO Station in St. Thomas. Maria Fiallos and her sister Valeria are from Nicaragua. They moved to London with their family about 25 years ago, then settled in St. Thomas-Elgin about eight years ago. Together they opened Las Chicas del Café at 207 Exeter Road in London, where they roast and package coffee for restaurants, and for sale at markets and specialty food stores. Find Las Chicas in the east end of the building in the lower level of the CASO Station, beginning in June. www.laschicasdelcafe.com

If you live near Dutton, or you’re driving in the area, stop by Jeff (The Caveman Cook) Ashford’s new “mobile food preparation premises.” Jeff likes to say that the truck was built from scratch … just like their food. You’ll find a wide variety on the menu, from Lebanese-inspired dishes such as shawarma and falafel, to authentic smoked BBQ on the weekends, and of course, burgers and fries. You can find Take A Bite Food Truck on Facebook.

Woodstock has a new restaurant you might want to check out. Oxford Kitchen at 450 Simcoe Street specializes in fresh, creative dishes with local ingredients from Ontario Fresh suppliers. A look at the daily menu photos on the facebook page will have you grabbing the car keys, and heading over. Some evenings feature live musical entertainment. www.oxfordkitchenwoodstock.com

Six local wineries from Essex Pelee Island Coast (EPIC) Wine Country brought home an epic 31 medals at the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition, surpassing their previous best total of 29 set in 2014. With over 3,708 wines entered from 27 countries, including 50 American states and six Canadian provinces, our local wineries have reason to hold their heads high.

Craft Beer Tours are offered by the Niagara College Teaching Brewery, Fridays and Saturdays until the end of October. A special weekend of fun (June 19–21) celebrates fathers and craft beer. Take a dad, or a daughter, or a son, and discover something new. www.niagaracollegebeer.ca 

 

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The Editors

The Editors