Culinary News

The Buzz, November/December

The Editors
Written by The Editors

London

The London Wine and Food Show, presented by White Oaks Mall, returns with more food, wine and entertainment than ever before. The show brings Londoners an enticing mix of local restaurants, wineries, craft beers, and spirits and pairs them with tasting seminars, stage presentations and entertainment. Come sip, sample and savour at London’s Wine & Food Show at Metroland Media Agriplex. January 18-20, 2018: Thursday 5–10:30; Friday 3–10:30; Saturday afternoon 12 noon–4:30; and Saturday evening 6–10:30.

Western Fair District is a not-for-profit agricultural association that has deep roots in London, evolving over a century-and-a-half from an agricultural fall fair to a multi-faceted event centre. The Association is committed to providing entertaining experiences that enrich the community. As part of its not-for-profit status it reinvests surplus revenue into upgrading the facilities and products to meet the needs of the community. The Association recently purchased the 11-year-old Western Fair Farmers’ & Artisans’ Market from Dave Cook, who had previously acquired it from founder Wim Overbeek.

In response to the Forest City Cookbook’s crowdfunding campaign, London developer Joe Carapella is pitching in to help. Carapella’s Tricar Group has pre-ordered 200 books to help fund the production and printing of London Ontario’s community cookbook. This donation pushed Forest City Cookbook past its minimum goal of 1000 books pre-ordered. If you don’t have a copy reserved yet, be sure to place your order by December! forestcitycookbook.com

Join your community in recognizing the Red Scarf symbol of HIV/AIDS Awareness from November 24 to December 1. Go to redscarf.ca

The 2018 London Hospitality Awards are presented by the Ontario Restaurant Hotel and Motel Association’s London Region. Nominate and vote for your Regional Hospitality Stars. londonhospitalityawards.com

Gavin Anderson, President of Anderson Craft Ales, Will Heeman, Chief Daymaker at Heeman’s, and Christina St. Clair, Owner and Appraiser at Haymach Canada Inc. are among this year’s recipients of London Inc.’s 20 Under 40 awards.

David Chapman of David’s Bistro is expected to re-open the restaurant in mid to late November, after an extensive renovation due to a fire in the neighbouring building. davidsbistro.ca

Emma Pratt, a respected and long-time member of the Garlic’s of London management team, recently decided to change careers. Leading a well-coordinated team of polished service professionals, Pratt has always been the personification of the restaurant professional: hospitable, knowledgeable, detail-oriented and gracious. In fact, it was Pratt who originally hired Edin Pehilj nearly twenty years ago, before he became owner of Garlic’s. She is among the top tier hospitality professionals who set the benchmark for outstanding service and authentic hospitality in London. All of us at eatdrink Magazine wish Emma the best in her future endeavours.

Restaurateur/caterer Jess Jazey-Spoelstra and Chef Andrew Wolwowicz’s exciting new restaurant Craft Farmacy will focus on craft beer and fresh oysters with rustic food and feature great wines, lots of sharing plates and fabulous house cocktails. After several unanticipated delays the restaurant is slated to open in mid-to-late November. 449 Wharncliffe Road, 519-914-2699

Windermere Manor’s Restaurant Ninety One’s new fall menus pays homage to Modern Canadian cuisine with interesting local ingredients on the menu like Chantecler chickens and Ontario oat rice and quinoa. Chef Angela Murphy also released a new seasonal tasting menu, with the option of wine pairings. The wine list has been edited, and includes some new wines from North 42 Degrees Winery. restaurantninetyone.ca

Reverie, an intimate 14-seat “tasting menu” restaurant on Piccadilly Street just west of Richmond, showcases a Canadian-focused five-course menu every night from Wednesday to Sunday. Owner chef Brian Sua-an says “Simplicity with quality comes first. Everything else is secondary.” Sua-an briefly staged at René Redzepi’s NOMA and its sister establishment 108 Restaurant. The restaurant is expected to open mid-November. reverierestaurant.ca

Black Trumpet has not only launched new menus but also a new website. Get over to www.blacktrumpet.ca to check it out. Make reservations directly through the website and very soon you will be able to buy gift cards there as well.

Restaurateur Erin Dunham and chef/partner Matt Kershaw of The Other Bird restaurant group in Hamilton have taken the former Kantina Restaurant space on Talbot Street for their latest project. Hunter & Co. will offer a unique and refined dining experience in the heart of downtown London. With small plates of delectable fare by executive chef Matt Kershaw, freshly shucked oysters, and cocktails crafted by bartenders who love cocktails, they want to offer you a night out that you’ll be talking about for weeks. The partners plan to open in mid to late November.

Plant Matter Kitchen has expanded operations to London’s downtown core, with a second location across from Central Library. Open for lunch and dinner, the stylish Plant Matter Bistro offers dishes inspired by global cuisines. The folks at Plant Matter Bistro are serving up empanadas, cauliflower pots-au-feu, burgers, ravioli, bibimbap, gnocchi, enchiladas, superfood salad and more. plantmatterkitchen.com

Union Ten Distilling Co., at 656 Dundas Street in Old East Village, is under construction and getting ready to begin production. The distillery will produce whisky, rye, rum and vodka.

Noteworthy restaurants can be found in the most unexpected places. TG’s Addis Ababa Restaurant is a humble gem tucked inauspiciously in a row of buildings between Burwell and Maitland on Dundas Street. Owners T.G. and Sam guide the uninitiated to select from a menu of outstanding and perfectly prepared Ethiopian specialties that are elaborately spiced. Vegetarians and expats flock here. 465 Dundas Street (at Maitland) 519-433-4222

Los Lobos is the latest creation of Justin, Greg, Olivia, and Jennifer Wolfe, proprietors of The Early Bird and Wolfe of Wortley. Think modern Mexican flavours with innovative riffs, and lots of cool Mexican imagery and local references. Platos pequeños (small plates) predominate on a menu of gourmet Mexican-inspired fare with a modern twist. Los Lobos has a fun, funky and eclectic vibe that appeals. There is a no reservation policy. fb.com/LosLobosLondon

Get ready for an evening of culinary camaraderie, excellent nosh, and more than a couple of food puns. Join The Root Cellar for a cooking demonstration in its beautiful second-floor event space, Taproot. Chef Paul Harding demonstrates how to cook four expertly-paired seasonal courses. Join a class, or book a private session for your team. Guests receive a copy of each recipe and a serving of each dish. A drink of choice is included. rootcellarorganic.ca

Co-owner and Chef Dave Lamers tells us Abruzzi has hired a new pastry chef. Chandany Chen has introduced a new dessert menu featuring items such as a Deconstructed Carrot Cake with cinnamon cream cheese icing, brown butter fluid gel, candied nuts and house-made caramel gelato. abruzzi.ca

Carmen Mihaltan and Simelia Moga’s new Cameli’s Pastry and Café will be located at 119 Dundas St.

Fouzan Beg and Manisay Visouvath are the proprietors of Thaifoon, downtown London’s upmarket 38-seat Thai restaurant that combines a soothing ambience and décor with pleasing Thai iconography. The secret to their success is sticking to the basics of good, authentic Thai cooking and offering spicy, sweet and salty but also rich coconut flavours mixed with fresh herbs like kaffir, lime leaves and lemongrass. 120 Dundas Street (east of Talbot) thaifoonrestaurant.com

Visit Blake’s Bistro & Bar upstairs at the DoubleTree by Hilton for the annual Dickens Luncheon Buffet. November 27–December 22 from 11:30–2. Reservations 519-430-6414.

Gusto Food and Wine Bar has been sold. The new owners, Mario Jozic and Laura Del Maestro, strive to make quality wine approachable while creating a relaxed and hospitable atmosphere. They currently operate the Parisian-inspired The Wine Bar in downtown London. The restaurant will be closed for a couple of weeks while they put their own stamp on the place, and is expected to reopen around mid-November.

Willie’s Café has added some new items, collaborating with other vendors in the London Food Incubator on Dundas St East. The Kickstart Breakfast Sandwich with Fire Roasted Espresso Mayonnaise and the 630 Pork Sandwich with Glen Farms Spicy Orange Red Pepper Jelly join old favourites like the Cranberry Turkey Wrap, Jerk Chicken Burrito and Club Willie. Willie’s also offers gluten-free bread from Urban Oven and Vegenaise from Naturally Vegan. There is takeout, and plenty of eat-in seating. Extended hours from 11:00 AM to 2:30 PM Monday to Friday. Park on Dundas Street until construction of the municipal lot is completed behind 630 Dundas off Queens Ave. williescafeandcatering.com

Spring is a mom-and-pop business operated by Jiang Quam Liu and Yue Hao Yang. Yue has been cooking professionally for over 30 years. (Don’t confuse Spring, half a block west of the Palace Theatre in Old East Village, with The Springs on Springbank Drive.) The Chinese menu is inspired by Mandarin and Cantonese cookery. 768 Dundas Street East.

Young men are needed for a research study at Western University, to explore what they think about food preparation and how they would like to learn. If you are interested, and agree to participate, the study involves one 45-minute interview. To thank you for your time, you will receive a $25 gift card. To be eligible, you must be male, between the ages of 18 and 30. Food and Nutrition students are not eligible for this study. For more information, or to volunteer for this study, please contact Matthew at mnguye96@uwo.ca

SO INVITING, the Chinese bakery across from the Market at Western Fair, lives up to its name. Hospitable owners Yamei Min and Youjin Wang offer a variety of savoury hand-made dumplings (pot stickers) that include beef, chicken, pork and vegetable. There are three types of sauces on offer. Recently they’ve added chicken fried rice to the repertoire. The mooncakes with savoury bean paste cookies are a big hit. The minimalist bakery is take-away only. The interior is exceedingly tiny and the prices more than reasonable. 876 Dundas Street East, 226-781-0788

Patrick’s Beans has grown to serve customers across Southwestern Ontario and continues to provide consistently great tasting coffee to its customers. Serving individual customers, restaurants, businesses, and retailers Patrick’s Beans has expanded the custom roast business and provides favourite blends such as Velvet Hammer and Super F’N Dark. With incorporation this October, Adam Simpson became a partner, in the role of Creative Director. The beans you are getting are still Patrick’s but Adam makes them look better. patricksbeans.com

Located near Highbury and Cheapside, Alex and Wing Ip’s Wing’s Kitchen (Đô’ng Khánh Seafood Restaurant) is located in the same plaza as the 24-hour drive-through Globally Local. The 15-month old Wing’s Kitchen offers one the best selections of dim sum in the city, as well as standard Cantonese dishes and a few Thai selections. 1141 Highbury Avenue N. 519-659-8888

Congee Chan offers a large menu of Cantonese specialties prepared with fresh high-quality ingredients. This is traditional Chinese regional cooking combined with Canadian-Chinese cuisine and Americanized versions of modern Asian specialties like the deep-fried, sweet and piquant General Tao chicken. The shrimp dishes are a notch above most Asian-inspired restaurants in London. 735 Wonderland Road North (in the strip mall behind Costco North, across from Angelo’s Bakery). congeechanrestaurant.com

Dimitris Korakianitis from Kosmo’s Eatery is opening a second location a few doors north of the current Richmond Street location (next to the Barrakat expansion) called Dimi’s Greek House. It’s a combined effort between him and his brother. The new place will be licensed, 50 seats, with 28 added on the patio. They are working with a designer to design the new space.

For well over a decade the family-run Quynh Nhi has garnered a loyal patronage and prospered because of its responsive service, consistency and traditional Vietnamese cuisine. The signature Crispy Spring Roll is offered with chicken, pork, or in a vegetarian version served with fresh mint, lettuce and a chili-lime fish sauce. 55 Wharncliffe Road N. quynhnhi.ca

Che, at 225 Dundas and Clarence Street, is a big-ticket entry into downtown London’s dining scene. Marvin Rivas has relaunched the restaurant and started a pop-up “Lucha Lunch,” a quick, affordable cantina-style lunch from 11:30–4. Grab and go, or order a cerveza and sit in. Cubanos, ceviches, tacos, salads, empanadas, arepas and more! Rivas and sidekick Robbin Azzopardi deliver a luxe restobar experience at dinner with a Latin-inspired menu and a selection of innovative cocktails. cherestobar.ca

Established in 1996, Thuân Kiêu is family-owned and operated, and has developed an ardent and devoted fan base over the years for Chen’s (or Chu’s — he goes by both) hands-on approach and his ability to remember his regulars by name, as well as his traditional Vietnamese cuisine. The appetizer to order is the Bo La Lop — the parcels of grilled lemongrass-infused beef wrapped in grape leaf are exceptional. 1275 Highbury Ave N. thuankieu.ca

London Tequila Expo Show is a chance to explore the world of agave-based spirits, tequila and mezcal all in one place. Visit Budweiser Gardens on Saturday November 18 for the finest tequilas, live mariachi music, cocktails, beer, tacos, and more surprises. Tickets are on sale for $20 in advance. Admission includes two drink tickets (valid at the beer and cocktail tents only) and a souvenir sampling glass. The expo runs from 3:00 PM to midnight and is a 19+ event.

Kenzo Ramen (Japanese noodle house) has opened in the space previously occupied by Mas Cafe at 192 Dundas Street. Kenzo Ramen is a popular chain known for its thin noodles freshly made in-house.

Blu Duby Downtown and Blu Duby North are a pair of unpretentious restaurants that celebrate honest food and wine, a sophisticated atmosphere, friendly service and hospitality. The restaurant has created a loyal clientele due to it welcoming and friendly ambience. Chefs Dani Murphy and Graham Stewart have recently launched new menus in both locations. Patrons can come and enjoy a glass of wine or a cocktail at the bar, a couple of appetizers or a full dining experience. Ring in the New Year at the Blu Duby with a three-course menu. Early seating is 5:00-7:30 PM arrival, departure by 9:30 PM, $55 per person plus taxes and grats. Later seating is 9:00 PM or after, $78 per person plus taxes and gratuities, includes party favours, live DJ Dan Bullard, and shuttle ride home. bluduby.com

Five Fortune Culture Restaurant offers a “Pure Chinese” menu, authentic Yunnan with Sichuan and Guizhou influences typified by bold flavours Meat commonly plays a supporting role as a mere seasoning to the vegetables. 368 Richmond Street at King, 226-667-9873

King’s University College is proud to receive a Fair Trade campus designation in recognition of its efforts to serve 100% Fairtrade coffee alongside an offering of Fairtrade teas and chocolate. King’s is the latest campus to earn the Fair Trade Campus Designation from the Canadian Fair Trade Network (CFTN).

Stratford

Bradshaws Christmas Open House is Friday, November 3, 5:00 PM–8:00 PM for a first look at Bradshaws in all its Christmas glory. There will be delicious food samplings, hot new product demos, holiday giftware, kitchenware and entertaining items. Free gift with purchase and enter to win door prizes including $500 in gift cards. Need expert suggestions for the foodies and hard-to-buy-for on your list? This is the place! bradshawscanada.com

Beginning November 5, and every Sunday throughout the winter season, Okazu will be taking reservations for “dimsumday.” Siu Mai, Bao, Gyoza, Fresh Rolls and much more. Seatings available from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM. okazusnackbar.com

String Bone Presents LIVE at Revival House: The 2017/18 winter dinner concert series boasts a great kick-off to the season. Canada’s queen of soul/R&B Jully Black graces the Revival House stage with an unplugged performance Nov 17. After a winter hiatus, AHI, Rick Taylor, String Bone, Allison Brown, Deni Gauthier and more Tribute to Willie P Bennett on Feb 2. March 2 will see Sarah MacDougall + Megan Bonnell on a double bill. stringbonepresents.com

Hops and Heels Stratford will be hosting the latest Ladies Craft Beer Night — this time at Revival House. Your $40 ticket gets you tons of stuff: a free glass to take home, drink tickets, appetizers and entertainment by the talented pianist Jenie Thai. Cider will also be offered, with a cash bar and raffle prize table with swag from local shops and services. All proceeds will go to the YMCA of Stratford Perth Strong Kids Campaign. Breweries include Black Swan Brewing (Stratford), Cowbell Brewing (Blyth), Railway City Brewing (St Thomas), Mill Street Brewing (Toronto), Shakespeare Brewing Company (Shakespeare) and Nickel Brook Brewing Co. (Burlington). revival.house/Events_Calendar/

Join Revival House for a Christmas-themed High Tea on Sunday, November 26. Tea service will be accompanied by a guided tea tasting. Enjoy a special selection of treats created just for this event by Chef Loreena Miller. You’ll get in the spirit with beautiful classical music by talented local musicians. Guests will receive a free gift of Sloane Fine Tea from Bradshaws. revival.house

Join Revival House for a Scotch and Chocolate Tutored Tasting from 3–5 PM on Sunday December 17. Christine Chessell of Rheo Thompson Candies and certified whisky sommelier Steve Rae will guide you through a whisky journey through Scotland. Rheo Thompson has selected a variety of chocolates to complement the scotches. Or do the scotches complement the chocolates? visitstratford.ca

A Victorian Christmas in Downtown Stratford and Outdoor Christmas Market — Sunday, November 19 from 10–3. Across the street at the Avon Theatre enjoy the music of the Stratford Symphony Orchestra, local art show and crafts for kids, and meet Santa. Shop vendor stalls for holiday foods, crafts and gifts. Sip hot cocoa while listening to costumed carolers, and embrace the character and charm of a Victorian Christmas in Stratford on a horse-drawn carriage ride. visitstratford.ca

Nosh Mondays — family-style small plates —return to The Red Rabbit November 6. redrabbitresto.com

Roll up your sleeves and tie on an apron at the Stratford Chefs School for Open Kitchen: hands-on classes for the dedicated home cook. Classes are held in the state-of-the-art Stratford Chefs School Kitchens at 136 Ontario St. and cost $40–$75. Explore the best wines for your holiday event; learn new recipes to revamp your holiday menu; discover new techniques to help take the stress out of holiday entertaining. Classes run Sundays, 1–4 (some may vary). www.stratfordchef.com/open-kitchen

Stratford’s most cherished culinary secret is the Stratford Chefs School’s Dinner Series. On Saturday, November 18 the School will host a special Order of Good Cheer dinner inspired by the feast and entertainment organized by Samuel de Champlain at Port-Royal, Nova Scotia in November, 1606. Dinners often sell out, so reserve your seat today. The Series breaks for holidays December 18–January 9. And if looking for a unique gift idea for a friend or loved one, why not a a gift certificate to a Stratford Chefs School dinner or an Open Kitchen cooking class? Call 519-271-1414 or book online. www.stratfordchef.com

Both Stratford’s Monforte on Wellington and Rundles (after a remarkable and long run) closed for good at the end of the summer season.

The Stratford Christmas Trail is now running until December 20. Get a map to 27 shops offering unique and individual gift ideas, from the funky to the eclectic to the fashionable. Each shop will present a fabulous stocking stuffer and your $30 ticket (+HST) lets you choose six of them as gifts. visitstratford.ca/ChristmasTrail

Around the Region

North 42 Degrees Estate Winery in Harrow received gold medals for four of its wines at the InterVin International Wine Awards. Five of its wines received high ratings from New York wine critic John Gilman, and three wines received high ratings from Wine Enthusiast magazine. The ratings and awards come as North 42° Estate Winery nears the completion of construction on a new building to house retail wine sales, the Serenity Lavender Farm store, and Bistro 42 with Executive Chef Steve Meehan. The new building will be opening later this year.

Drinky.ca will pivot to become a directory of alcohol producers starting early in 2018. Producers will be able to “claim” their listing for free and use the site to promote events and collect reviews. Users will be able to find products based on different criteria, including local or independent production, vegan/vegetarian, organic and more.

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The Editors

The Editors