Celebrating Our Stories
The magazine industry is generally deadline driven, with new stories constantly pushing us forward, customer’s needs to be attended to responsibly, and barely enough time in the day to get everything done to a point of real satisfaction. But the New Year offers a wonderful pivot point for looking back at the year that was, as well as savouring the fresh sheet of paper before us now.
The holiday period was full of fun times with many of the people most important to me, and I am grateful for that. Some health issues in the family gave firm notice that time passes quickly and needs to be cherished, but welcome moments of frivolity and lightheartedness also abounded. Too soon, it was back to business, but why can’t the same lessons apply here too? We can’t tell all the stories we would like to, but let’s really celebrate the ones that we can.
Los Lobos, the latest iteration of the inspired creativity of brothers Greg and Justin Wolfe and family, is a great story to kick off 2018. Some of my good friends were able to enjoy Mexico in person recently while winter was in full roar here in Southwestern Ontario, but Los Lobos offers a local Mexican feast for the eyes and the palate. Olé!
Just as the Wolfes are taking inspiration from tradition and making something new from that, so too are some of our Chinese restaurants. Our Eatdrink Food Editor Bryan Lavery highlights the best “traditional” Chinese food available locally, versus the compromise offerings like chicken balls that defined Chinese cuisine in Canada for many years. It’s heartening to see that there is a strong appetite for authentic Chinese food, and good to get guidance on where to find it.
The restaurant industry seems to face new challenges every year, and 2018 is no exception. The increase in minimum wage is a welcome change for many workers, but a substantial issue for many restaurateurs. I think we all want to see everyone receive a living wage, but we can understand the owners’ concerns over how to foot the bill for that. Add that to a long laundry list of other economic and creative challenges, yet we are happy to celebrate the opening of four new restaurants that we feel justified in calling “hot spots.” Bryan Lavery again casts his experienced eye on the scene and illuminates how and why the situation is bright.
Similarly, our beer writer Aaron Brown looks into the challenges and rewards of opening a craft brewery. The explosive growth of this industry is one of the most exciting things that has happened in the culinary world in recent years, and it seems to show no signs of abating. Aaron spoke to a number of new brewers and their enthusiasm is infectioous for anyone who likes a pint.
Longtime Eatdrink contributor Jane Antoniak brings her experience as both journalist and bon vivant fully to bear in this issue. Her spotlight on Alison Gordon is an uplifting account of a singer and actress seen recently on stage in London and in Stratford. Jane, a whisky conneisseur in her own right, turns her attention to Scotch just in time for Robbie Burns Day. And Jane completes her hat trick with a road trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake. Taking nothing away from Niagara’s awesome wine culture, she and husband/photographer Bruce Fyfe discovered that there are plenty of other options to enjoy.
I’m always inspired by our music columnist Gerry Blackwell’s round-up of live music worth listening to, and his contribution to this issue hits all the right notes. Our resident book reviewer Darin Cook does the same on his beat. Choosing Apron Strings by Jan Wong — who made her name as a no-holds-barred journalist digging out a story over lunch — seems a perfect book for any foodie who likes to read.
Cookbook reviewer Tracy Turlin takes us through Amy Rosen’s Toronto Eats, and finds lots to enjoy. Rosen has fettered out signature recipes from many of Toronto’s best restaurants.
Which reminds me that the deadline for ordering your copy of The Forest City Cookbook has been extended until February 15. The book promises to be a winner, with a literal Who’s Who of London chefs of note contributing recipes with outstanding photography. The producers are adamant that there will be only one run of the book, so order yours today at forestcitycookbook.com.
Closing the magazine with “The Lighter Side” always strikes me as a delicious bite of dessert after a great meal, and our contributor for this issue, Nancy Loucks-McSloy, doesn’t disappoint. Without giving anything away, Nancy delivers that bite with a twist.
I hope to see many of our readers at the London Wine & Food Show at the Western Fair Agriplex Thursday, January 18 to Saturday, January 20. As usual, we’ll have an awesome draw prize. More important, the chance to get some feedback face-to-face is always appreciated.
I wish you and yours all the best in 2018.