The Buzz: November/December 2018

Written by The Editors


London’s Local Flavour: Volume 7 will launch any day now. This highly anticipated culinary guide fills a strong purpose in both drawing tourists and providing Londoners with more information about the exciting new options in our diverse restaurant scene. New this year is the inclusion of some highly recommended neighbouring restaurants and inns, as well as a more developed craft beer section. The guide will be widely available at key tourist information centres, including Ontario Travel Centres, Tourism London and the London International Airport, at participating businesses and the London Public Library system, and at local farmers’ markets. This is a project undertaken by Eatdrink magazine, and we’re excited to share our efforts at celebrating “London’s local flavour.” Cheers!

The one-of-a-kind Artisanal Culinary Arts graduate program at Fanshawe College’s School of Tourism, Hospitality and Culinary Arts teaches techniques in gardening, fermenting, preserving, butchering, curing, cheese making, and bread baking. The fast-track curriculum is based on a modified schedule that runs from May to December. The spring intake allows students to work in the on-campus fruit and vegetable garden throughout the semester. This land provides fresh seasonal ingredients for use in the labs, and produce is sold at the on-campus farmer’s market every other week. 

Chef’s Table at the new downtown campus of Fanshawe College is both a restaurant and a café. Menus showcase local suppliers, farmers and seasonal vegetables, with staff creating many of their own items, including cured meats and preserves. The Chef’s Table gives students hands-on training and an opportunity to gain practical experience. There is an open kitchen, wood, exposed brick and marble countertops. The ambiance is relaxed and accessible. Restaurant is open weekdays. Lunch: 11 am – 2 pm/Dinner: 5 pm – 8 pm. 130 Dundas Street, 519-452-4433.

The menu at TG’s Addis Ababa Restaurant features an outstanding offering of elaborately spiced and perfectly prepared Ethiopian specialties from the East African culinary canon. Be sure to put TG’s Ethiopian breakfast on your list for a great culinary adventure on Sundays. For an amazing tasting experience order tapas-style with dishes like Inkulal Ferfer (scrambled eggs, onion, tomatoes and jalapeno), Chechebsa (Kita Ferfer with Ethiopian spices and sour cream); Genfo (ground cooked wheat served with sour cream, berbere and seasoned butter) and Yetsom Ferfer (strips of injera with vegetarian sauce). 465 Dundas Street (at Maitland), 519-433-4222,

Matt Reijnen, has opened Pizzeria Madre in the space previously occupied by Manito’s Rotisserie at 111 Wellington Street. The menu is spiked with seasonal ingredients. The green bean salad with roasted corn, arugula, pecorino and lemon-chile dressing was a sensational seasonal dish. There are 10 pizzas on the ever-changing menu: “Patata” with shaved potato, Fontina, cream, rosemary, chile and Parmigiano is a knock-out. Warm zeppole for dessert with lemon curd cream and a deconstructed tiramisu show the kitchen’s strengths. This licensed, casual contemporary resto is sophisticated and nicely appointed and the service is genuinely warm and intelligent.

Wayne DeGroot and Jocelyn Morwood DeGroot have made zen’Za Pizzeria a popular destination for vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free thin-crust pizzas. Their recently added z’Energy Day Café offers barista-made coffee and teas, and features several types of dairy alternatives including cashew, oat, coconut, ripple pea protein, and rice. Barista James Timothy whips up a menu of z’Avocado Toasts as well. The café is open Wednesday to Saturday, 9am to 3pm. The pizzeria is open from 5pm. Closed Monday and Tuesday. 71 King St.

RIO Brazilian Steakhouse + Supper Club, opening at 45 King Street in the heart of downtown will feature “Churrasco,” the authentic and unique Brazilian barbeque. Jeff Moczulski brings two decades of successful leadership in both independents and national brands, from the Best Western Lamplighter Inn to the John Labatt Centre to Buffalo Wild Wings. He is joined by a hand-picked team from the local hospitality industry for his first venture as restaurant owner and operator. 

Shoeless Joe’s is also coming to downtown London, on King Street across from Budweiser Gardens.

Certified tea sommelier and nutritionist, Michelle Pierce Hamilton of beTeas/The Tea Lounge is sponsoring London’s first Tea & Kombucha Fest in March 2019. The Tea Guild of Canada is a co-sponsor, providing its expertise, resources, and volunteers. The organizing board consists of students and graduates of tea sommelier training in London. The planning and execution is being run with an independent Project Manager professional at the helm. This structure is based on best practice of the successful Toronto Tea Festival. Locally, the board felt strongly that it made good sense to include Kombucha as a thriving tea-related beverage as a co-focus of this event. The spirit of this venture is to grow tea culture by showcasing London and areas’ independent tea and Kombucha businesses. There will be a strong lineup of engaging workshops and speakers to provide valuable content to all the attendees. The venue will be the London Public Library Central Branch including Wolf Performance Hall. 

Chef Angie Murphy and sommelier Pete Annson are anticipating that Grace, located at the southwest corner of Clarence and Dundas Streets, will be operational by December 1. They promise food made with artistry and an uncompromising dedication to excellence. This is modern Canadian cuisine, drawing on classic French traditions and techniques, infused with global influences and local flavours. A minimalist backdrop will allow for the drama of the dish to be the focus. The restaurant space is being co-created with Design House.

Restaurateur Joe Duby and chef Cynthia Beaudoin of gNosh have established an appreciative clientele by creating a welcoming ambience where patrons can enjoy a glass of wine or a signature cocktail at the bar, a couple of small plates or a full dining experience, in a casual yet stylish setting (the former Blu Duby premises). gNosh is an unpretentious restaurant celebrating honest food and wine, with a sophisticated atmosphere and friendly service. 

Just like the original Quynh Nhi Restaurant on Wharncliffe Road, Tamarine by Quynh Nhi on Dundas at Talbot Street is well-known for take-out. When you’re craving a delicious blend of Viet-Thai flavours, you can satisfy your taste buds in the comfort of your home or office. 

SO INVITING, the Chinese bakery and dumpling shop across from the Market at Western Fair, more than lives up to its name. Friendly owners Yamei Min and Youjin Wang offer a variety of delicious hand-made dumplings that include beef, chicken, pork and vegetable. They’ve added hot & sour soup, mushroom fried vermicelli (rice noodles) and seaweed salad to the repertoire. The minimalist shop has 4 tiny seats but is mainly take-away. 876 Dundas Street East, 226-781-0788 

Dino and Carla Dassie recently opened Fat Olive in Dorchester. Dino was born into an Italian family and learned to cook authentic Italian food from his mother and his aunts, inheriting their passion for using fresh ingredients. He knew at a young age that he wanted to open his own Italian restaurant. After high school, he went to Conestoga College where he obtained his diploma in Business Administration and Marketing. After college, Dino put his passion on hold and began driving a truck. Last year Dino and his wife Carla went to Goodfella’s Pizza School in Staten Island, New York, one of the World’s most comprehensive, hands-on pizza schools. They were taught how to make wood-fired pizzas from the world’s pizza champions and about owning and operating a restaurant. You will often see Carla at the restaurant talking with customers and entertaining people. They both know all about the joys of eating great tasting food. Be sure to make a reservation. 

The Market at Western Fair District is now open on both Saturday (8 am–3 pm) and Sunday (11 am–3 pm) each week. 

First-St. Andrew’s United Church at 350 Queens Avenue (at Waterloo) will be continuing its tradition of providing great music this autumn. The second Woodfield Jazz concert (in a series of four) will take place on November 23 with the Ariel Kasler Quartet. A cash bar will be available. Doors open at 7 pm with entertainment at 8 pm. And starting the following week there will be the first of three Friday Advent Noon Recitals (November 30 – King’s University College Chamber Choir, Janet Loo, Director, December 7 – Sonja Gustafson, Soprano and Kathleen Gahagan, Harp, December 14 – Laudamus Bells, Terry Head, Director).
Lunch will be available for $8.

Celebrate New Year’s Eve at the Idlewyld Inn and Spa! There are two options for your consideration: dinner only (from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.) or dinner and show (dinner at 8:30/show at 10:30 p.m.) with Sonya Gustafson, pianist Charlie Rallo and bassist Larry Ernwein. 

At London Training Centre, Sommelier Jamie West and Chef Steve James are your hosts for an evening of wine, food and flavours. Each tasting in the “Uncorked” series has been carefully selected, focusing on unique grape varietals and the fascinating stories of each winery. Chef Steve James has created dishes to reflect the particular wine and region. Each evening will offer informative talks of the wines and food, all within a casual and fun environment. These sessions provide a unique opportunity to spend with friends and colleagues who love great wine and exceptional food. Upcoming in the series: Canada (November 8), Champagne (December 6), Mediterranean (tba). Each session is limited to 10 guests seated at the chef’s table.

Join the folks at Covent Garden Market on Sunday, December 16 for the Christmas Merry Makers Fair, a 100% handmade event held in the heart of the Forest City. Here you’ll find some of the best handmade shopping around, including art, home decor, jewelry, clothing, bath and beauty products – everything you need to finish your Christmas list and support local at the same time. 

New to Covent Garden Market is Mark’s Fine Meats from Chef Mark Kitching of Waldo’s On King Bistro & Wine Bar. Mark will continue to offer Fieldgate Organics (the previous proprietors at the location, who will remain a primary supplier) products and other organics as well as local and sustainable meats. “All of the products are handpicked — only the highest quality meats ­— so you can feel good about what you and your family are eating,” says Mark. Other suppliers will include Bryan Glivesy of YU Ranch Texas Longhorn, Fred and Ingrid de Martines of Perth Pork Products. There will also be free range ducks, chickens, eggs, fresh oysters and pre-made meals for takeaway. 

Edgar and Joe’s, at two locations, is a gathering space and food operation with a social purpose. Each café makes fresh and local food available and affordable, with healthy choices. The stylish and minimalist 70-seat café opened in 2013 and is located in the Goodwill Centre. Rave reviews led to the opening of another location in 2017 at Innovation Works on King Street. Both cafés serve a diverse clientele from all over the city. Nutritious baked goods with high quality ingredients are freshly baked throughout the day. Sandwiches are definitely the stars of the show, from the classic BLT to innovative combinations inspired by global cuisines. Delicious soups, salads and a daily chalkboard special are on offer. The Classic Breakfast Special is a hearty standout. 

New fall/winter drinks created by the baristas at Locomotive Espresso include “The Smoky Mocha” — two shots of espresso and Ghirardelli chocolate topped with a smoked sea salt. Their popular creation from last year is also back: “The Tree Hugger Latte” includes Spruce Shoot Bitters by The New New Age in Port Stanley and local maple syrup. The popular toast bar is now more substantial, offering seasonal toast features such as Smoked Salmon on Artisan Bakery potato/leek sourdough served with whipped cream cheese, capers and fresh dill. Avocado Toast is paired with Artisan Bakery jalapeño cheddar toast and comes with goat cheese, lemon wedge and fresh herbs. Locomotive’s baking needs are being met by Helm Baked from Aylmer, who “magically” create wonderful gluten-free loaves, tarts and cookies.


Stratford Chefs School (SCS) recently announced Jane Sigal as the 2018 Joseph Hoare Gastronomic Writer in Residence. She is a celebrated journalist, editor, recipe developer, translator, teacher, and the author of nine cookbooks. Her most recent book, Bistronomy: Recipes from The Best New Paris Bistros (Rizzoli, 2015), has been widely praised by critics and industry leaders. Sigal will spend two weeks at the school working with the students and participating in a number of events open to the public.

In honour of its 35th anniversary, the SCS used this year’s Season Opener to launch Farm to Table, a cookbook that pairs 25 Stratford Chefs School alumni chefs with their favourite food producers and farmers for a culinary adventure through Perth and Huron Counties. This stunning book will retail for $30 and feature recipes from some of the regions’ most celebrated graduates of the Stratford Chefs School, fascinating interviews with the chefs conducted by food columnist Andrew Coppolino, and striking imagery provided by photographer and SCS alumna Terry Manzo. (Note: Farm to Table is reviewed in this issue of Eatdrink. — Ed.)

Stratford Chefs School Dough is a gift certificate program where “dough” (aka dollars) may be applied towards any SCS merchandise, Dinner Series, or Open Kitchen cooking class. Purchase SCS Dough valued at $120 for only $100. It can be purchased at the Administration Office at 192 Ontario Street, and is available in $5, $10 and $20 denominations. Some restrictions apply. 519-271-1414, 

Bradshaws Christmas Open House: Friday, November 9, 5–8 pm. Bring along a few of your friends for a fun night out and a first look at Bradshaws in all its Christmas glory. There will be delicious food samplings, hot new product demos, and an assortment of holiday giftware, kitchenware and entertaining items. Free gift with purchase and enter to win door prizes. 

Bradshaws High Tea at Revival House: Nov 25 

A Victorian Christmas in Downtown Stratford & Outdoor Christmas Market: Sunday, November 25 visit Stratford’s historic downtown for the Outdoor Christmas Market in Stratford’s Market Square. Enjoy local art show, crafts for kids and meet Santa. Shop vendor stalls for holiday foods, crafts and gifts. Sip hot cocoa, listen to costumed carolers singing seasonal tunes and embrace the character and charm of Christmas in Stratford.

Stratford Christmas Trail: From November 1 to December 20, capture the spirit of giving and the joy of checking off that list on Stratford’s Christmas Trail. You’ll discover unique and individual ideas as you stroll the festive streets exchanging six vouchers at your choice of 27 stops. 

The Milky Whey Fine Cheese Shop is offering a series of cheese pairing tastings. Explore Seasonal Beer and Cheese (October 27), Canadian Cheese and Wine (Nov 10), Who’s Got Your Goat with Pinots on the side (Nov 24) and Deconstructing a Holiday Charcuterie Board Workshop (Dec 1). All tastings are guided by cheesemonger Liz Payne in the “Whey Back Room” of Milky Whey Fine Cheese, Stratford. Reserve your seat early as these popular tastings sell out.

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 am – 12 pm. 519-271-5130.

Savour Stratford Culinary Trails: Come to Stratford and explore the delicious flavours of Chocolate and Bacon and Ale on self-guided culinary walks to various food shops and restaurants. Available all year round, they are great for a friends’ getaway, a couple’s diversion or just for fun. Culinary trail gift certificates, great for Christmas, birthday and anniversary gifts, are redeemable at a later date and can be purchased on-line. 

The Mill Stone is focusing more on tapas/small plates for the autumn and winter months, and expanding their focus on various curing and fermenting projects. As with many places in Stratford in the off-season, look for more experimental and interesting creations coming from both the kitchen and bar. The restaurant will be closed for January; re-opening mid-February with lots of events planned to take them through to the busier summer months.

Black Swan Brewing Company is led by Ryan Stokes and head brewer Phil Philips. Join Black Swan on November 17 as they celebrate their recent expansion and fourth year pouring beer in Stratford. Live music, door prizes, tours & more! 144 Downie St., Stratford,

The folks from The Red Rabbit and Okazu 85 Downie love building new, worker-owned restaurants from (just about) the ground up. It gives them the opportunity to offer fair wages and year round employment — and now offer delicious food to early risers. Old Man & Son will open for breakfast and lunch, 7am–2pm, Wednesday–Sunday. Barring hold-backs, the aim is to open December 2018. This is a CSR project, a community-shared endeavour that provides an effective way to put your dollars into something you believe in. Investment is effectively prepayment in return for future products or services, or “restaurant futures,” using Kickstarter. You can find the form on their new website 

Around the Region

The Village Teapot, owned and operated by Gaynor Deeks and Jana Yassine, will be serving a special Christmas Tea on Saturday December 8 and Sunday December 16, from 1 to 3 p.m. Reservations will be required. It will be a festive afternoon for family and friends to come together and enjoy savoury and sweet delights served on three-tiered platters. 13257 Ilderton Road, Ilderton, 519-298-8327,

Kitchen Widgets was established in 1995 to provide high quality kitchen tools and housewares to the Sarnia market, for those who love to cook, entertain or simply appreciate a widget that helps complete a task with ease. Kitchen Widgets has grown, and now sources products from around the globe while always on the hunt for items made close to home. If a product exists, they will find it for you and make every effort to get it into your hands. Don’t miss the Black Friday Sale on November 23. 129 Mitton Street South, Sarnia,

The family at Blyth Farm Cheese are experts in the entire process of crafting great cheese. Everything from the farming, to the cheese making, to the packing is done on the farm. The Van Dorps have been successful farmers and cheese makers for generations. The business is steeped in important roots and traditions, while innovating and creating fresh and delicious flavours. 82521 Allboro Line, Blyth, 

Steed & Company Lavender invite you to their annual Lavender Christmas Open House. Share some Christmas cheer with lavender cake and cider. Enter a draw for a beautiful lavender gift collection. Saturday, November 24, 10am– 5pm and Sunday, November 25, noon–4pm.

Join sommelier and wine director Zach Lebert of Woodstock’s SixThirtyNine through a tasting of exquisite Italian wine paired with Italian small plates by Chef Eric Boyar on November 19.

After two winners at the Royal Winter Fair, where their Fontina and Farmstead Emmental both won First Place in their category, the folks at Stonetown Cheese in St. Marys competed at the British Empire Cheese Competition where they were honoured as they were awarded Grand Champion in Specialty Cheeses and First Place for Grand Trunk, First Place for Farmstead Emmental and First Place for Farmstead Fontina. Congratulations! See this issue’s “Road Trip to St. Marys” for more info about visiting the Stonetown farm and factory, but their cheese is also available at better shops throughout the region.

Speaking of Cheese Champions, Shep Ysselstein of Woodstock’s Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese is proud to share that they were awarded the Grand Champion in the Variety Cheese Category for their Five Brothers at the Royal Winter Fair’s cheese competition for 2018. Congratulations Shep! This popular cheese was a key ingredient in Eatdrink’s recipe contest winner for inclusion in the Forest City Cookbook released this summer. A visit to Gunn’s Hill is always a treat, but again, one can find their products throughout Southern Ontario.

Meet the Woodstock Public Library at Woodstock’s Upper Thames Brewing Company for pub trivia and test your knowledge. Come in a team of five or join upon arrival. November 21 and December 19.

The holiday season kicks off at the Elm Hurst Inn on November 22 for the Groove Marmalade Holiday Dance Night and Dinner. $70 per person exclusive or stay the night and take advantage of a great seasonal package!

Truffle Camp Experience: Step into the role of chocolatier for an evening as you work with Cindy Walker of Ingersoll’s Chocolatea. You’ll love learning the art of truffle-making, working with a mix of local ingredients from neighbouring farms, and handcrafting your own small batch of 12 truffles. November 28; December t; December 16; December 22.

We caught up with Chef Derrick Reinhardt of Montreal’s famed Joe Beef at gNnosh Dining & Cocktails by Joe Duby. Reinhardt, a Fanshawe College Chef School alumnus, is the chef at Montreal’s new 200-seat McKiernan Luncheonette in Côte-St-Paul, serving an all-day breakfast and lunch.   

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Submission deadline for the next issue: December 5

About the author

The Editors