Food-The Ultimate Boredom Buster

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As a Parent I’m very aware of a growing problem with our children. Food. I am aware of how often they go to an activity or attend an event where food is the focus or highlight. When did food become the ultimate boredom buster? When did activity organisers decide that snack time will not only become part of the curriculum, it will become an integral part of the entertainment? When my child attends an activity for say a birthday; there is always food. Not only food to eat, as in say lunch or dinner. There is food to celebrate, food to munch on and food to take home. The kids no longer look forward to the celebration, but what junk they will be able to take home with them. Why? How did a birthday’s focus stop being about the joyous occasion and more about loot bag? Now food at a birthday is common, yes I wish there wasn’t so much, however it becomes part of the how to fill two hours with thirty kids. I’m guilty myself of loosing focus when there are so many kids for so long. It’s part of the reason I stopped doing parties. There was too much expectation on what food would be served and less about the occasion and why all the friends had gathered.

However, what about school? Camp? Church Group? Why is there so much food focus there? If my child attends church group from 6:30-8:30, why is food even offered at all? They just ate! Yet every time they come back , I hear more about how many bears paws they’ve consumed than about the actual activity! School has days where they watch movies and eat junk food! At school! Is there nothing else the kids can be doing?! What about learning? What about finding out how movies were made? What about playing games? Why is it easier to sedate the kids with a large snack then with a fun activity? Is that the whole key? It’s easier. It’s easier to say, here sit down for a forty minutes to eat then hey for forty minutes were going to play a short game of volleyball!

I’m getting ever more concerned with the amount of food that my children eat while at an activity. I can’t shield them from life because I don’t want them to eat. However I expect when they attend something; it’s for the purpose of the event, not to eat.  I want my kids to eat and I want them to enjoy food . However food isn’t entertainment. Food is not something you eat, just to kill time. I want my kids to learn that there is a time and place for food. I want them to attend parties with friends and enjoy their friends. I want them to go to camp and be campers. I want them to go to school and learn. I want them to go to church group and have fun. Food can be fun. However when should food replace experience?

If you want to experience food, then experience food! Cook a meal. Go to a market. Bake something delicious. Grow something wild. Pick berries. Visit a farm. What are we teaching our children about food if we don’t separate food experiences from every day activities.  A birthday should be a celebration. If you want food. Then make food part of the experience.  School should be for learning, if you want food. Then make it part of the learning curriculum. I remember so vividly grade eleven Spanish class; We had a unit on Spanish foods in their culture. We had one day that we were able to have the food room and not only bring in Spanish cuisine, but cook them and taste what they were all about. That’s how you incorporate food into an experience!

Now I know a lot of people see no harm in incorporating food into an event. There isn’t harm. However the food is taking over. It’s becoming the star of the show. It’s good to be bored. It’s good to let your brain roam onto unknown territories. We don’t need food to quiet that, we need to embrace it. Kids should learn how to kill time and have fun, without shoving their faces full of food. There is a time and definitely a place for eating. We need to fortify the boundaries between food experience and life activities.

What are your thoughts? Is food taking over as the ultimate boredom buster? Should we allow food so much space to become the star of our children’s activities? Or even adult activities?

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Nature’s Emporium

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Nature’s Emporium has finally arrived in Burlington! To be honest I was quite sceptical about another food shop going in at the old Zarky’s location.  We had a Mrs Green’s there and it was nice enough. Now I’m also a big shopper and supporter of Goodness Me, a local health food store that also has their own farm. Well if Whole Foods and Goodness me had a love child, it would be Nature’s Emporium. It’s a beautiful shop! There is something for everyone. The layout is easy to navigate and everything is easy to find. There is no confusion as to where anything is located! That I must say is my biggest pet peeve about Goodness me! I can never find anything and it feels that things are just there, without cause.

Now somethings are over priced, with my local grocery store carrying them at a fraction of the cost. However a lot of the produce was a fantastic price (for organic too!) I was really impressed on the variety and selection available. Many items I have swooned over online; but had yet to find in a Canadian location, Califia Almond Milk being one!

Vegan’s-You’ll find many options for those avoiding all animal products. I think most Vegan’s swoon for cheese. You’ll have your choice here. Nature’s Emporium carry’s many varieties including; Nuts for cheese and Sister River Foods. You’ll have your pick of ‘milks’ too! There is your typical almond, rice and soy. Along with some you don’t see everyday, chic pea.

Foodie’s-This isn’t just a health food store. This is a foodie mecca! Many gourmet cheeses from around the world; France, Poland and Italy. Some high-end products from Masion Orphee. Varied types of yogurts, meats and milled flours. Then there is that Coffee/Tea aisle!

Paleo/Whole 30 and Gluten Free-Oh yes; Whole 30ers, Nature’s Emporium carries Pederson’s Farms Bacon! There is also the usual Gluten free breads, wraps, rolls, cookies and cakes. You can also pick up paleo/whole 30 approved flours and mixes.

I’m so impressed by the options available here. Every corner had a new surprise waiting for me. Extensive cosmetics, bulk foods, pet foods, baby/kid items, holistic teas, herbs, spices. If that wasn’t enough, you can grab something to eat at the salad bar, or a treat from the juice station! Nature’s Emporium is definitely here to stay!

 

Anything but Basic-Biscuits.

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I don’t do many recipes because I cook very much with my senses and less with a recipe. I judge things by smell and by looking. I never use a timer or even think about time. I know cookies are done, merely by looking-are they getting brown, do they smell like cookies, have they spread enough. I can tell meat is done, simply by poking. It’s just not in my nature to use anything that looks like a recipe. Which isn’t helpful when someone asks me how I cooked a dish. There are however a few basics that I use, staple recipes that carry me far. Meaning. It’s a basic recipe that I adapt to however I’m feeling, or not at all if that’s the way I want to roll! I thought I would start a ‘Anything but basic’ series. To give those who love recipes a base to start with. For people who can’t cook, or don’t like to, these are also great starter pieces. I’ll explain more as we go!

Today’s anything but basic, is biscuits. I love biscuits because you can turn them into anything for any meal!

Basic Biscuits.

  • 2 1/4 cup Flour (I use all-purpose)
  • 2 TBSP Sugar (I use cane)
  • 1 TBSP Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Cold Butter
  • 1 Cup of Cold Milk

What you’re going to do!

Pre-heat your oven to about 350. In a large bowl place the dry ingredients. Using a box grater (no joke!) grate in your 1/2 Cup of cold butter. Then gently mix the butter with the dry ingredients. Slowly, slowly slowly adding just a bit at a time, pour in your milk. Pour a bit, mix. Pour a bit, mix. Just until it comes together and can be formed into a ball. You may use all the milk, you may not. You may need more flour, you may not. Everyone’s flour and milk are different. So you have to play! if it feels wet, add more flour. Too dry? Add more milk! Once it comes together. Place some flour on your surface and either pat it out, or roll it out. You’re going to make about 8 Biscuits here. So technically you’re supposed to roll out to about 1 cm thickness. But who has time to know what that even looks like?? So just roll or pat out. Cut with your choice of cutter and place on a baking sheet. Ok? You can’t really make them too big, but you can make them too thin! Sometimes this recipe only makes 6 biscuits for me. Cook until your house smells amazing, the biscuits have risen, they are golden, the bottoms brown and they are firm. Maybe 15 minutes? Depends on your oven!

So you have your basic dough. You can happily leave as is, and eat plain. Or maybe double cream and some jam?

From basic to versatile.

  1. Omit the sugar add about 1/4 tsp of Cayenne to your dry ingredients. Then grate in cheese of your choice after the butter has been mixed in. I have used cheddar, fontina, goat, mozzarella. You can also add some herbs in the mix if you have them on hand! Great for chilli
  2. Instead of patting out the dough to make biscuits, roll out. Until almost paper-thin. Then spread with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Roll up and cut. Place each cut in a muffin tin (easier to cook the ‘buns’) Top with icing when they come out. Great for Breakfast!
  3. Add some lemon rind and place fresh blueberries on top once they are cut.Great for snacks or sweet treat or breakfast!
  4. Omit the sugar. Mix in some herbs and cut sun-dried tomatoes. Great for brunch
  5. Omit the sugar. Add grated cheese and ham. Great for breakfast, lunch, brunch or dinner!
  6. Put on top of chicken pot pie!

Once you get used to the basic dough, the world is truly yours. You can put in any flavour combination that you feel. What ever you have on hand use! There has been weeks that the kids and I  have eaten biscuits with almost every meal. It’s truly one of those recipes that you can play with and is almost fool-proof!

Vineland Estates Wine Dinner-Paradiso Burlington

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Paradiso and Vineland Estates paired together to host a wine tasters dinner in Paradiso’s newly updated Burlington location. The venue is absolutely perfect for such events, the space allows for ample guests and the staff is always ready to take on 60 hungry wine enthusiasts. Chef Adam Mackay’s creativity and energy poured into making each dish marry perfectly with the chosen wines.

Vineland Estates is a beautiful winery located in the Niagara region, situated on an old Mennonite farm dating back to 1845. These wines have the feel of France with many of them taking notes from Chablis and Bordeaux styles. If you’re able to visit this summer you can enjoy staying in one of their rooms at the Estate house and/or take in a meal at their accredited restaurant. A wonderful way to spend a weekend around the Ontario Wineries.

Chef Adam took great pride in selecting his favourites wines and crafting a meal around them. We were seated to a five course meal that went from sea food to red meat and then finished with an innovative surprise.  The wine arriving before each course was served allowed you to explore with your senses before tasting it with your meal.

Grilled Ling Cod-Shaved root Vegetables, Creamed Leek and Green Apple Slaw. Paired with a Unoaked Chardonnay.

Spicy root vegetable took hold of your palate, green apple cleansing it. Creamed leeks cooked for an hour and a half in butter, Ling cod seasoned ever so slightly. A great way to roll out the red carpet. The Unoaked Chardonnay, smooth and light with floral notes. You can see yourself sitting on a hot deck in July with a glass. Easy to drink and easy to enjoy. Nothing acidic or smack you in the face. The whole pairing was well-rounded. My only complaint was the size of the fish. While this is a tasting, I expected more than an amuse bouche portion, while my husband dined on normal serving. Consistency is always key!

Oven Broiled Lobster-Savoury Bread Pudding, béarnaise Sauce and Baby Greens. Paired with Reserve Chardonnay.

The lobster tail sat beautifully displayed among a slice of savoury bread pudding. A light handed serving of béarnaise sauce and the perfect pinch of baby greens. I know the picture doesn’t seem light handed on sauce, however it didn’t match the portion of the lobster tail. The bread pudding was a memory of Christmas stuffing, perfectly cooked. It was the star of this show. Although I appreciate Chef’s humour in wanting you to work for your lobster, I couldn’t even get it out of the shell! This was a miss. Lobster isn’t in season and having to serve it for 60 people was probably a big stretch. The wine however was a hit. Notes of cheese, apples, smoke and rocks. Casted in french oak barrels the taste is remarkable. Smooth, non acidic, oaky without over powering. Chef had this at his wedding, so it was no surprise that it appeared on tonight’s menu.

Shaved Angus Ribeye-mushroom Fricassee, Tomato Jam, Roasted Red Pepper Emulsion. Paired with Cabernet Merlot.

The Tomato Jam a wake up to the palate. The Shaved Ribeye (cut thinly) placed among cooked down mushrooms. There was roasted red pepper emulsion, however it was hidden by the beautiful tomato jam and I didn’t even realise it was there until my Husband pointed it out. The ribeye cooked to perfection melted in your mouth. Those mushrooms were just a supporting cast to the lead performer. It was good. That tomato jam was the jam of your dreams. When you have something so amazing on your plate; being such a bright star, it’s hard to make judgement on the other elements. Then that Cabernet Merlot. I’m not a Merlot fan, it’s not my wine of choice. This 2015 Bordeaux style pointed out all the reason’s why I don’t care for Cab. Merlot’s. Musky, rich and deep. Acidic and sits on your palate for too long. I don’t want to leave too much on this wine. I think for a Cab. Merlot lover, you would probably adore this. I don’t. A miss for me.

Pulled Lamb Shank-Stewed Beluga Lentils, Cranberry Gastrique and Goat Cheese Tart. Paired with Reserve Cabernet Franc.

This was by far my favourite part of the tasting. That lamb, those lentils and a goat cheese tart! This was in plain English, a stew. However the elements that made this all come together was exceptional. Beluga lentils with resemblance to caviar, cooked without husk. Lamb braised for 30-40 hours. Sous vide onions cooked down with butter. The goat cheese tart cooked to ideal flakiness, with just the right amount of sharp bite. Placed like a king on top of his lamb castle. This showcased Chef’s talents to the highest level, you can really see what he can do when his imagination runs wild. Its genius really. The Cabernet Franc refused to be unnoticed. A 2012 that is only available at the winery, hand-picked from the ripest bunches a very selective process. Heavy without weight, smooth, and bold. A fantastic accompaniment to braised lamb shank.

Bittersweet Chocolate Torte-Dark chocolate pate, roasted strawberry Coulis and White Cheddar Ice cream. Paired with late harvest Cabernet Sauvignon.

I don’t want to knock out the light weight here because I think Chef was really thinking outside the box. However this was so sweet, it was almost sickening. Bittersweet Torte laying on a bed of dark chocolate pate. I had just a hint of the strawberry coulis. I didn’t even touch much of it. Then there was that ice cream, made to perfection with 9 year old cheddar. Smooth, but with a bit of crunch. The cheese was nothing more than an idea, a hint, a whisper. It was enough to get your attention, and make you take notice. Definitely something you don’t see everyday, and wonder why not! The late harvest Cab. Sauvignon was a surprise to say the least. Expecting something with body, this was more like port! it was sweet and fruity, hints of raspberry and fall all in one. Although the idea was good to pair the two. The overly sweet torte, paired with the sweet Cab. it was just all too much. I would like to try both of these on their own. Or maybe the Cab with a tray of cheese.

The dinner was yet another successful wine tasting for Paradiso. The only thing that I have to note is the amount of wine served. With 5 wines the servings should be relatively small. This was not the case, plus the staff were generous enough to top you up. Thank Goodness that we took a Uber! By the time dinner was finished hubs and I had to hold each other up! A lot of people around us were drinking other refreshments by the time dinner was done, I hope everyone was safe driving home. Paradiso only holds these tastings once a year, so make sure you sign up for updates because you’ll miss it. These book up fast!

 

 

Location, Location, Location

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As I’m (still!) nursing this cold, I’ve been netflixing like no one’s business! Which gives me endless discussion possibilities! On yesterday’s episode of Chef’s Table (episode 5) we travelled to Australia. Sitting table side of Chef Ben Shewry at Attica. A seemingly small restaurant on a busy street in Melbourne. Chef Shewry is incorporating signature Australian ingredients to create masterpieces by the plateful. This restaurant from the street is nothing to look at. In fact if you were walking around Melbourne you would probably pass it without giving it two thoughts.

This reminds me of Rust Bistrobar that I posed about a couple of weeks ago and also N/Naka in LA. Outstanding restaurants, in low-key locations. Is this pivotal to restaurant success? To be a wolf in sheep’s clothing? Hide among the crowd and at the right moment strike? Now I know some people who would look at these restaurants and not even give it a second thought because of the location. Does the location even matter?

I have to admit that I have been one of those people who have gone to a new restaurant seen the location and automatically thought ‘oh God, what food is this going to be?’ Why? Is it fair to judge a book by its cover? I have gone to amazing establishments in places that would other wise be anonymous.  Actually aren’t all restaurants unknown, until you know?

Lets take the incredible Buca specifically on King. First its a little hard to find, then you find it and walk inside. It seems like a normal place, until you walk down the stairs and are seated. The atmosphere is almost indescribable. The smell, the sounds, the cavern feel, the warmth and the energy. It surrounds you and engulf’s you like a fire. Sparking excitement you never knew you had, it’s all a small part until the food arrives. An experience like nothing you’ve encountered. Had I let some silly preconceived notion take over, I would never known this gem. Maybe that’s the way Chef Rob Gentile wanted it. A small Christmas present under the tree and when you unwrap it it’s a rare diamond. Pretty Genius.

Maybe that’s the way all restaurants should be. Non Flashy, not fussy, unannounced; so that the food is always the star of the show. Do you agree? Or are you of the rule that if it’s a 5 star restaurant then it should have a red carpet and all the glitz and glam to call you to them? Do you feel that the location; good or bad adds something to a restaurant? Would you go to a Michelin Starred restaurant if the location was on the dodgy side?

They always say location, location, location; but is that always the key?

Langdon Hall-High Tea

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I had the most honourable pleasure of having high tea at Langdon Hall in Cambridge this weekend. Located in a stately acreage at one Langdon Drive, the winding drive leads way to the most impressive of manors. Built by Eugene Langdon and his wife Pauline in 1902, the Country House (Hotel) remains true to its English roots. As you walk through the beautiful white pillars you have a feeling of being welcomed by Cotswolds history. Crisp whites, aged rugs, simple understated decorations, stone floors and those roaring fires. Hotel staff with warm smiles gladly took our coats and welcomed us to wait in the lobby. Another smile ushered us into the dining room where large windows and lovely views beckoned us to sit and pause a moment.

Our tea menu composed of various TWG teas and our server pointed out the classics, the spicy, the sweets and the adventurous. I settled on a french earl gray and my mum choose the Bain de roses. The tea arrived promptly as did the high tea. A splendid selection of warm canapes and sandwiches, along with the classic scones. Varied with a pumpkin spice scone (that was truly to die for!) When my mum booked the reservation she opted out of the sweets for more ‘main dishes’, so I can’t comment on the dessert selections. The canapes included an aged cheddar and spice apple tart and a mushroom Yorkshire pudding. The sandwiches; tomato and goat cheese on pumpernickel and the classic egg salad. Also on hand; strawberry preserve, whipped butter and Devon cream.  Truly a classic high tea!

As we started to take our first bites the enticing windows called us to view the snow starting to fall, light flakes that were almost rain. The wind started to whip and the trees began to dance. The garden barren from winter months and the pond’s fountains froze in time. You were embraced like a warm hug by the whole experience. Even though the 1 o’clock seating was busy, you hardly heard a voice. The endless amount of tea and the perfect amount of food engulfed you in a place that was cosy and blissful.

Having had high tea in England, I was blown away with the experience this weekend.  There was no detail left out. Everything was utterly perfect. The linens pressed, the cutlery shining, the lights dimmed and the staff thoroughly groomed to offer impeccable service. There is nothing I can fault with our seating. I cannot wait to return this summer, the grounds will be alive with flowers and the ponds will once again be flowing. This English Country House is a complete ten out of ten. Beyond expectation and exceeding prediction. High tea at its entire best.

The Sunshine Doughnut Co

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Burlington has a doughnut shop, did you know?! Me either! I went to get the delicious details and see why I never heard the news! Located right beside the Burlington Art Gallery at 439 Brock Ave, park at the B.A.G parking lot! You can’t miss them!

A quaint shop, you go there for one thing and one thing only…DOUGHNUTS! You can also grab a coffee and a cold drink, but really…DOUGHNUTS!

The friendly staff will guide you through the collection so you can pick your favourite. I talked with Katie this morning who told me my best bet was to choose between the apple fritter, dulce de leche, their signature or the cream filled. I took them all minus the fritter, and grabbed a plain sprinkled one as well. I’m going to win mom of the year award tonight, you can read my acceptance speech later!

Owned by the same amazing people who made pizza cool again, Son of a Peach. Stop in today, say hi to Katie and choose wisely (or take them all!). Then you can move your butt down to the lake and walk it off or have a doughnut picnic at Brock Park!

The taste? AMAZING! They are like a doughnut croissant. Light and flaky, airy and spongy. The only reason I know they are greasy is because of the box, they don’t taste an ounce like greasy cakes! The ‘plain’ ones aren’t at all plain. Each bring a level of sweetness that doesn’t over power your palate. The chocolate filled is by far the best ‘Boston Cream’ you have ever stumbled upon; the chocolate is more a ganache then icing, so rich and dense, the cream filling is not overly sugary (won’t make you nauseous) but luscious and dare I say…delicate? The dulce de leche was probably our favourite; it was sweet and salty. Caramel, without tasting like Halloween candy.

What I love most about these doughnuts is they aren’t heavy, the flavour is ever so subtle but packed with punch. They don’t make you feel like you’ve eaten heavy cake, but leave you completely satisfied. I know it’s silly to ohhh and ahhh over doughnuts, however it’s hard to find ones with artisan quality!  The Sunshine Doughnut Co completely delivers in spades; a decadent treat worthy of all the ohhh’s and ahh’s you toss at them. Another amazing foodie find that everyone can appreciate and love!

 

Passion is Passion

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I just recently watched Chef’s Table on Netflix; episode four in season one, N/Naka. It was honestly the first time that I have watched or read about a chef where gender has come into play.  When I eat a dish there are many elements that come to light; thought and creativity, presentation, elements of surprise, the smell, the display, the emotions that it evokes. Never do I sit there and wonder, was it a man or women that created this. First I am knowledgeable about all the places that I eat, I read about all who work there and what they bring to a table. I don’t want to eat at a place where the chef (as they are always the driving success behind any restaurant) doesn’t give one care about what they put forward. I want to eat at places that passion is the fuel that drives the kitchen. I want to eat in places that the chef has undeniable fire in their belly. I want to eat dishes that are crafted by true food artisans.

Is gender of the chef truly an issue? Are we still living in a day and age where one should care if the chef is male or female? Is passion not passion? If  I put all that I am into creating a dish comparable to a Picasso painting, is that not worthy of the same praise as a man? Should it matter? This is the first time that I’ve thought about it. I know that the cooking industry is primarily male, but does that mean that a female can’t cook at the same caliber?

I’m actually shocked that it should be an issue. It came up a lot in the episode and it really has my wheels spinning. Not once have I ever eaten a meal and thought ‘I wonder what this would have tasted like had a women/man cooked it.’ Chef  Niki kept talking about proving people wrong. About showing those around her that she can and she will succeed. But, don’t all chef’s want to do this? Don’t all chef’s feel the need to take food and prove something? Don’t all chef’s want to create dishes that people said couldn’t be done? Or is there a secret code among chef’s that men don’t have to try as hard?

If I was sent to review a restaurant I’m there to judge the food. Who created it; man or woman would be critiqued equally, wouldn’t they? Again, passion is passion. Food that is created with love, detail, intensity, fire and dedication is created with the spark that is inside. Not with what gender they are. Right?  Please tell me I’m not a lone wolf in the forest here. If Julia Child was Juan Carlos, would he still be a culinary hero?

There are so many accomplished chef’s, man and women. I can’t imagine judging years of hard work and devotion on gender. I would never go to a restaurant and walk out because the chef might create a lesser innovative dish then their gender counterpart. Reviews should be based on the food, full stop. Passion is passion. It’s comparable to interpretive dance; if a man’s dance is more understood then a woman’s, does that make it better? No. If I perceive the dance differently then you does it make it better? No. Food isn’t just food. It’s an experience. Man and women are equally able to create memorable and innovative dishes, gender is not part of that equation. Passion, is passion.

Rust Bistrobar

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Burlington’s newest addition, Rust Bistrobar is trying to make its mark in North Burlington. Opening it’s doors just three young months ago, Rust is already causing a buzz with foodies in the area. A full house and a busy kitchen is always the clear sign of a winner! Located at 1801 Walkers line, right on the corner of Uppermiddle.

It always seems strange to me to find a great restaurant in a suburban neighborhood, I guess Burlington is moving up in the world!  The menu offers everything from charcuterie to coq au vin, even a vegetarian option (or two) makes an appearance. A small wine list; giving you selections from the usual top producers in California, France and Italy. You’ll also find a good selection of cocktails. The plank board changes weekly giving you a good opportunity to try some new cured meats and sample some unique cheeses.

Hubs and I mostly agree on what we want to eat, so we make a few choices and ask for the non appetizer selections to be shared. Up tonight; Kung Pao Brussel Sprouts, Plank board (for two), Braised Beef short Ribs and Pappardelle.

Plank Board

A beautiful array of cured meats and cheeses arrived quickly on the most beautiful board around. Some of the night selections included ostrich, boar, Manchego cheese and a maple goat (cheese). Adorned by the most glorious warmed salted olives, crisp green apple, spicy grainy mustard and tomatoes stuffed with peppers. It was lovely in all sense of the word. The right amount for two, left you hungry for more and eager for the next course.

Kung Pao Brussel Sprouts

Red chilli’s, pork belly and perfectly cooked Brussel Sprouts. Leaving your palette dancing and excited. The chilli’s not over powering, the pork belly not overly salty and those gorgeous sprouts! Makes you feel like you’re doing the adult thing by eating Brussel Sprouts, but inner foodie is having a party because they are cooked so well they taste like candy! A must try!

Braised Beef Short Ribs.

Wow, how can you describe perfection? The short rib is cooked to fall off the bone. Seasoned only mildly giving way to the beef to be the star. The jus isn’t heavy, it’s light and rich. Each piece of meat flakes off in just the right morsel  size. We didn’t touch the potatoes honestly. We had pasta! I wouldn’t have wanted the potatoes anyway, a yorkshire pudding would of be the most amazing accompaniment. Letting you sop up the good bits and not filling your belly with ‘spackle.’ A good main, that won’t disappoint in any way!

Pappardelle

Fresh pasta, light tomato sauce, wild boar and just the right hit of Manchego cheese. This was divine and an easy winner! The pasta wasn’t too thick, but thick enough for you to grab meat, cheese and tomato. It was cooked beautifully, just the right al dente. The tomatoes and boar married perfectly together. The Manchego being a fresh alternative to the typical Parmesan!

The food was definitely the star of the show. The restaurant itself is cosy and full of eye candy. Lovely warm woods, soft lighting, a seat at the kitchen (if you choose!) great display of wine. There was no detail spared, I appreciate that I can come here and the atmosphere attributes to the wonderful food served. There is a flaw; for those who notice time, you may notice how long it takes for the food to get to you. We waited over twenty minutes from the appetizers to the mains. Twenty minutes. The wait staff was good in making sure the drinks stayed topped, but that’s about where it ended. We did approach the time issue at the end, and were greeted with a smirk about ‘we’re new’ and then walked off without as much as a blink.

I love great food. However I appreciate staff who care more. Staff who care that you waited a really long time to eat. Staff that are excited by what they are serving and staff who care if you return. We will return, the food is too good and too close to home not to. I can see this being a major annoyance for most people. I don’t expect to have food arrive seconds from the last one leaving, but twenty minutes is too long in my eyes. Hopefully the wrinkle can be ironed out. This is a gem in a very unexpected location. If you aren’t fussed by time, give it a shot. The food will not let you down! Quick side note:skip the bread basket as it’s cold and not worth filling your belly with, save the room for the best parts.

The Block Co

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It’s been a week point five since The Block Co opened it’s doors on John Street in Burlington (ON). The Block Co’s warm woods and hip vibe draws you right in off the street. The window alone evokes deep come hithers! Not only a cheese and charcuterie shop, it stocks pantry items necessary for ultimate boarding success, including the board!

Owner Troy Smith’s previous foodie and restaurant experience gives way to easy knowledge of the goods he has available. Not only will you find salami’s and terrine’s, prosciutto and sausage. You can get chorizo, coppa, Bayonne Ham and Lonza (just to name a few!) Then the cheese! Soft, hard, mild, sharp, stinky, local and imported. Because I had come early (secretly hoping to find Troy alone) we had a good sample or two. I settled on the elk and fig terrine, an Italian Fontina and a goat Cape Vessy.

The Block co has an amazing space and lots of room to expand and host a multitude of events. This foodie gem has a chef on hand ready for all Troy’s creative ideas. I look forward to returning; not only as a regular customer, but for many food tasting and cooking parties.

With an always changing menu and a desire to please the crowds, The Block Co is exactly what Downtown Burlington needed.  A fresh face with an energy for the products they sell.

This fantastic shop can’t succeed without you, stop in today (parking is right up the street!) and get some foodie education! Put your ideas on their “I want you to sell board” and get ready to have an amazing cheese/charcuterie experience. Welcome to Burlington Block Co, we’re happy you’ve arrived!