The BUZZ: New & Notable January 2013

Written by The Editors

eatdrink-buzzArtisanal food is locally-sourced, hand-crafted and produced in small batches and, more than likely, in a traditional manner. It’s anything from cheeses, preserves, honey, olive oil, maple syrup, cider, charcuterie and more. There continues to been a lot of talk about the artisanal food renaissance — think small-batch baking, home-made condiments or bean-to-bar chocolate. In the same manner, now hand-crafted bread is getting its well-deserved renaissance.

There’s a new game in town. Well, sort of… Theo and Gerda Korthof have opened a second bakery on Dundas Street at Ontario across from their location at the Western Fair Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market. The Artisan Bakery (formerly Flair Bakery) features a full complement of European-style pastries and artisanal breads like: caramelized sour-walnut and raisin and roasted grain sourdough, Klondyke sour potato bread and San Francisco black olive and herb. The bakery will also offer a selection of homemade pates and duck and pork tourtieres. 864 Dundas St; 519-204-9144;

From Lindsay Todd Reid’s bake kitchen in the cellar of his Sebringville home, Lindsay handcrafts small-batch scrumptiousness. Lindsay’s Bakery sets up shop on Saturdays at the Western Fair Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market and Sundays at the Slow Food Market in Stratford.

Alan Mailloux has over 25 years of bread-making experience. Mailloux features from-scratch, hand-shaped, artisanal and specialty breads made with time and care. Visit the Downie Street Bakehouse in Stratford, Western Fair and Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market on Saturdays, or the Slow Food Market in Stratford on Sundays. And for the true bread lover, there’s a Bread Club Membership — $200 buys a five dollar loaf of bread per week for fifty straight weeks. 388 Downie Street, Stratford.

Baking is a calling for Christain Burdan, who is a seventh-generation baker, tracing his family’s craftsmanship back to 1762. Burdan has tantalized tastebuds in both his native Germany and in France before immigrating to Canada. Burdan’s breads, rolls and speciality baked items such as pretzels from the Red Cat Farm are available from their mobile stall at the Masonville Farmers’ Market in season and outdoors at the Western Fair Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market for the rest of the year.

Organic Works Bakery is a stylish bakery and cafe located in the heart of SoHo at 222 Wellington Street, south of Horton. Owner Peter Cuddy looked far and wide and discovered he couldn’t find bakers who created this way, so an idea was born. Specializing in recipes made with organic, gluten-free, nut-free and vegan ingredients that tantalize the palate.

If you are looking for bread reminiscent of your last European vacation, then Penelope Holt’s LOAF is one of the finest places for you to purchase bread during the outdoor market season. Holt uses wholesome local ingredients, organic when possible, and has a strong loyal following for her classic “levain.” Covent Garden Farmers Market

Local culinary maven Keri Patterson tells eatdrink that Sweet Lemon Bakery offers strictly vegan (free from eggs, dairy and animal bi-products) and gluten-free desserts made from scratch using top quality ingredients and without refined sugars. The bakery offers delicious creations ranging from “cheeze” cake, cupcakes, whoopy-pies and selection of raw desserts at its new storefront location at 82 York Street.

Marvin Rivas continues to fete patrons at his year-old Latin American-inspired Che Restobar on Dundas Street at Clarence. This chic hot-spot features exposed brick walls, a granite bar, and massive light fixtures, proffering authentic Latin American fare prepared by Chef German Nunes, a native of Peru. The tuna ceviche continues to be one of the most outstanding appetizers in the city. The Yucca poutine is to die for. Main courses include a delectable chimichurri ribeye steak.

Luis Rivas opened the popular True Taco in Old East Village after perfecting his business model and building a loyal clientele at the Western Fair Farmers’ Market. True Taco offers miniature gastro fiestas with a menu of family-style recipes. Specialties include hand-made tacos prepared with a choice of chorizo, pastor, beef barbacoa, or beef tongue, and a selection of spicy homemade sauces. The spectacular all-day breakfast of huevos rancheros, El Salvadorian pupusas, crafted by the sublime Elsa Garca, and Chicken Milanese are all knock-outs. The Guacamole alone is worth the trip to True Taco. Rivas is currently building bigger premises across the street from his existing restaurant and anticipates opening is mid-February.

Saucy: Meats & So Much More, a new shop featuring locally-produced and sourced food, has found a home at the Western Fair Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market. Saucy is owned and operated by Jane Antoniak, eatdrink magazine’s roving culinary journalist and social media editor. Saucy: Meats & So Much More offers a variety of meat from local producers such as Metzger’s Meats from Hensall, The Whole Pig in Dashwood, and fresh Ontario lamb from DelMac Farms and Lena’s Lamb in Lambton County. The saucy moniker comes from the array of sauces and other products produced by The Garlic Box, Steed and Co. Lavender, Hot Mamas and Stonewall Kitchens. Antoniak says Saucy allows local chefs and customers access to artisanal meats and distinctive specialty products without having to drive out into the country. “We are representing unique, artisanal brand and producers and we should support them.”

Congratulations to Chef Dave Lamers and Rob D’Amico from Abruzzi, who were able to contribute $3155.47 to London Health Science Centre benefiting prostate cancer research by donating a portion of their November sales.

Garlic’s of London presents the Farmers Feed Cities event “Fresh from the Field” on Monday January 21. Join chefs Joshua Fevens and Chad Stewart for an evening of elegant cuisine as they celebrate Ontario agriculture with the farmers that supply the deliciously local ingredients. Fresh from the Field runs from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets are $40 per person.

A hidden gem is tucked inauspiciously in a row of buildings between Burwell and Maitland on Dundas Street. T.G’s Addis Ababa will be celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Inside, close your eyes and savour the exquisite aromas emanating from the nearby tables and the kitchen. The menu offers outstanding examples of perfectly prepared Ethiopian cuisine. Vegetarians and culinary purists flock here. T.G. and Sam are hospitality personified. T.G. is also a well-known caterer. Take-out is available.

When it comes to technology trends, just over one-quarter (27 per cent) of chefs polled ranked tablet computers, such as iPads, as the predicted hottest technology trend in restaurants in 2013. London’s new 168 Sushi, at 660 Oxford St. West, an early adopter of iPad tablet ordering systems, is engaged in its early preview days as we go to print. There are long line-ups for the service at 168 Sushi, and the restaurant takes mainstream, conveyor-belt style sushi and fast food to a new level. The ambience and decor is by far the most contemporary, hands down, out of any AYCE (all-you-can-eat) sushi place around.

In October, news was that APK Live was closing due to ongoing repair issues at their Wellington Street location and would be seeking a new home. Elaine Knight, APK’s owner, has found that new location at 347 Clarence St., and will be open throughout January as changes are being made to Brennan’s Beer and Bistro, including the creation of a bigger stage, painting to match “APK” space, rotating art, bands booked, upgraded sound equipment ,etc. The Grand re-opening of The APK will happen on Friday, February 1.

The Early Bird, Justin and Gregg Wolfes’ downtown London red-hot, retro diner, has added an additional 28 seats to the premises. (read the profile of The Early Bird in this issue.) The Night Owl has been turned into a cozy little bourbon bar.

Mas Cafe is bringing more traditional Latin-American food to downtown London. Gabriel Sepulvelda, a native of Chile, opened the smart cafe in mid-December at 192 Dundas Street. Mas (meaning more) Cafe specializes in empanadas, a savoury treat stuffed with a variety of fillings, churros and delicious fried-dough pastry and other specialty desserts. 519-601-0192

Michaels On The Thames, with its impeccably reliable old-world service, remains London’s “celebration destination.” Earlier in the year, owner Brian Stewart welcomed Michael Hearse as the new General Manager. Hearse is an experienced food and beverage manager and, in addition to applying his skill and knowledge as a restaurateur, is focused on creating new great dining experiences for patrons of this well established gem.

The Raja exudes elegance and a level of luxury befitting its name. Building on their excellent reputation made with the thriving Raja in Stratford. Proprietor Zahirul Chowdry has welcomed Chef Nurul Islam, The Raja’s original chef, back into the fold. Chef Islam has over 35 years of experience working with Indian cuisine, including time in the United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Stratford and Montreal.

The London and St. Thomas Association of Realtors is lending a helping hand to youth making a fresh start. The association donated $27,000 to Youth Opportunities Unlimited. The money will be used to purchase much-needed kitchen equipment and expand YOU’s kitchen and food preparation area. The kitchen is used to prepare meals for the YOU Made It Cafe and for 30 youths who live in accommodations upstairs as well as a major contract with the Meals on Wheels program.

After 30 years on the other side of the tracks, Under the Volcano moved uptown to the “hot” Richmond Row where it became an anchor. “This little restaurant seems to outgrow existing quarters every now and then.” Now it seems owners Dagmar Wendt and Ruben Vega are taking over the old Cityview Restaurant at Wharncliffe and Riverside. Stay tuned.

Recently we spoke with Laura Campeau, the Brand Ambassador for The Silversmith Brewing Co, the new small batch craft brewery whose beer is popping up all over town. Silversmith is in the process of renovating an old church in Virgil, just outside of Niagara-on-the-Lake. They are brewing beer “the hard way,” with an attention to tradition, quality ingredients, passion, and honest hard work. Their beer is unpasteurized and unfiltered and contains no additives or preservatives, for a most genuine full bodied flavour.

Josh and Jody Stall and their staff at Upfront at the Market are gearing up to host the attendees of Skate Canada. Figure skating fans from around the world will be coming to London in March for the 2013 ISU World Figure Skating Championships. The best figure skaters in the world, from over 50 different countries, will participate in the event from March 10 to 17 at the Budweiser Gardens, as they compete for the title of World Champion. For the local community and the culinary community in particular, who will be an important part of the festivities, it will be the first sporting event held in downtown London to be televised around the world to millions.

Other downtown restaurateurs like Miljan Karac of Kantina, Joe Duby of Blu Duby and Long Phan of Tamarine are looking at innovative ways to leverage their proximity to Skate Canada and send visitors home from London to tell their friends about the amazing experience they had. What better, more cost-effective marketing can we get than word of mouth?

Noteworthy Wines is a new London-based wine agency that launched in March 2012. The agency’s mandate is to introduce reasonably priced, award-winning, unique wines to wine enthusiasts and hospitality venues throughout Southwestern Ontario. Bill Wittur, vice-president of sales and marketing, said Noteworthy looks for well-managed small-to-medium-sized vineyards that haven’t been discovered by large distributors. Noteworthy Wines also offers consulting services, to help customers choose the right wine for their events, and organizes wine tastings.

Noteworthy Wines is excited about their new “$5+$5” referral program. When you refer people and they buy a case of wine from Noteworthy Wines, you AND the referral get $5 off your next purchase. No limits apply, so you could well get free wine. Referrals must be unique. See for details and conditions.

Soup’s On is an annual local soup-making contest that has been taking place for 17 years as a fundraiser for the Alzheimer Society of Perth County. Sample your way through a plethora of tasty soups! Awards for Best Hearty Soup, Best Vegetarian Soup, People’s Choice and more. Get there early, as soups tend to disappear quickly! January 12, 2013

The Savour Stratford Perth County GE Café Chefs Series kicks off on January 13. Join Chef Aaron Linley from Bijou Restaurant as he celebrates our local terroir and demonstrates the how-to’s, then passes off the apron to the attendees for a hands-on cooking class. These 3-hour classes will be locally focused with a unique twist based on the celebrated chef that is teaching that class. Enjoy the dishes you create and a wine/beer pairing and take home the recipes!

On February 10, develop your culinary skills and learn to translate those skills into your own home kitchen. Join Chef Carl Heinrich from Richmond Station, Top Chef Season Two winner and Stratford Chefs School graduate, along with Chef Ryan Donovan from West Side Beef Co., as they delve into the exciting side of protein — meat!  Both classes take place at the Local Community Food Centre, 612 Erie St., Stratford. $65 pp.

Stratford’s Winterfest features a gastronomic 3-course dinner at The Parlour teamed with a night of humour and entertainment on January 19. This is the perfect solution to the winter blues! Call 519- 271-2772 for reservations.

Savour Stratford Tasting — A New Year Cleanse, takes place on January 19. Sara Bradford, a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, leads a hands-on class focusing on whole food nutrition at the beautiful Victorian B & B, Grandville Manor, 157 Church St., Stratford. Tastings and take-home item included. $30 pp

The 2nd Annual “All You Can Eat” Spaghetti Dinner, with food prepared by the youth at The Screaming Avocado Café under the guidance of Chef Paul Finkelstein, is on January 21.  There will also be a jazz band and silent auction, with proceeds going to Perth/Huron United Way.

The Savour Stratford Tasting series continuesat The Milky Whey Fine Cheese Shop, 118 Ontario St., Stratford. Enjoy a Belgian Beer and Cheese Tasting on January 26,  3 pm – 5 pm. The history of beer and cheese making enjoys a long history in Belgium and as a result, some of the best beer and cheese in the world comes from this area. Come and savour extraordinary pairings.

On February 23, enjoy Canadian Artisan Beer and Cheese. Take off to the Great White North to discover some of the best new selections in beer and cheese by Canadian artisans. This is a great way to spend a patriotic winter afternoon. Each tasting event is $30/A plus HST.

At The Parlour, 101 Wellington St., Stratford, enjoy a selection of unique small plates to share every Friday night during January and February from 5pm-8pm. There is something different every week, so don’t miss out.

The popular Bijou Winter Cooking & Wine Classes with Chef Aaron Linley and Sommelier Bronwyn Linley are back, so reserve early. For overnight package options, visit Birmingham Manor B&B at January and February at Bijou, 105 Erie St., Stratford, 2 pm – 6 pm. $120/Per person.

New this year are Saturday lunches and dinners, part of the Stratford Chefs School’s new culinary repertoire that are open to everyone. Dinners are served in the garden room of The Prune, 151 Albert St., Tuesday through Saturday. Lunches are served most Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays starting at 11:30 am, now at Rene’s Bistro, 20 Wellington St., in downtown Stratford, and offer a BYOB option for a small corkage fee. A new Passport holder plan offers unique privileges to travel along several culinary adventures, all of which will enrich your understanding and enjoyment of the learning odyssey that the students undertake. Passport adventures can include the following based on one of four levels: Season Opener, Patron Reception, Gastro Book Club, Chefs Table, Bubbly Gastro Chat, Dinner with a Culinary Star, and Gastro Cooking Classes. For event details and menus visit or call 519- 271-1414.

Slow Food Perth County Sunday Market has a NEW indoor location, The Local Community Food Centre, 612 Erie Street, Stratford. Shop from producers practicing good, clean and fair principles at this wonderful new facility. 10 am – 2 pm

Every Thursday night at Mercer Hall, it’s Champagne and Oysters! Satisfy your oyster craving with $2 oysters and enjoy a lovely sparkling wine by the glass or bottle.

Love local food and great music? Join the crew at Molly Blooms Stratford on a Thursday or Saturday for great specials and live entertainment including: Bill Craig, Mob Barley and Dan Stacey. Thursdays Molly Blooms features their famous All Day Steak Special. 26 Brunswick St., Stratford.

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

Foster’s Inn offers a wide selection of Winter Enticers — $5 daily breakfasts, Sammy & Side lunches for $9.99, weekday Lounge Lover 5 Appetizers @ $5 each, after 5pm and dinner specials, Sunday through Thursday, with a different dinner special each evening.

The popular winter bistro dinner menu is back at Keystone Alley Café, 34 Brunswick St., Stratford. Enjoy two courses for $24.95 or three courses for $31.95.

Enjoy heartburn? Of course, but only on February 2, at the 26th annual Orr Insurance Heartburn Day. Restaurants and business battle it out in this annual Chili Cook-Off, a fundraiser for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Stratford Rotary Complex, 353 McCarthy Rd., Stratford.

Canada Dairy XPO (CDX)Canada’s National Dairy Showcase & Cheesefest — is the first national showcase dedicated exclusively to the dairy sector. On February 6, the public is invited to attend CheeseFEST, an evening networking social featuring a complimentary massive cheese buffet. Meet celebrity Chef Lynn Crawford and enjoy live entertainment along with regional micro brews and wineries. Stratford Rotary Complex, 353 McCarthy Rd., Stratford, 4 pm – 7 pm .

Our readers want to know, so send us info about culinary events, fundraisers, and regional news. With BUZZ in the Subject line, send to: editor@eatdrink.caWe tweet and retweet, post to our Facebook page, and print all the news we can. Let’s get better connected!

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The Editors