Eatdrink #60 July/August 2016

The local food & drink magazine serving London, Stratford & Southwestern Ontario since 2007.

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Serving London, Stratford & Southwestern Ontario Since 2007

№ 60 • July/August 2016










Where to Eat in Stratford

Summer Dining in Festival City

Dining in Port Stanley

An Authentic Taste of Elgin County

Chatham-Kent Road Trip

Festivals, Food & Fun

Huron County Breweries

Celebrating the Art of Craft Brewing

ALSO: Regional Summer Theatre | Booch Organic Kombucha | BBQ Wines | Summer Music

2 www.eatdrink.ca

№ 60 | July/August 2016



tastes and tunes

Stratford Summer Music delights with International piano greats,

The Artie Shaw Orchestra and Rossini’s Barber of Seville dinner opera

and cabarets. Start your visit picking up fresh berries, breads, cheese

and vegetables at our local markets, then relax at musical brunches.

Join culinary walks, foraging tours and distillery tours.



2 Stratford Farmers Market, Rotary Complex, Saturdays

3 Perth County Slow Food Market, Market Square, Sundays

2,3 Foraging Tours, Ongoing

23-24 Musical Brunches, The Prune, Sat&Sun through Aug 28

6,13,27 Live at Revival House Cabaret and Dinner

13 Forage and Feast

19,20,21 The Barber of Seville Dinner Opera, Revival House

28 Bluegrass Brunch, Local Community Food Centre

Sip and sample more summer offers at








Built in 1878, Idlewyld Inn & Spa offers

unparalleled elegance, history and comfort

in the heart of the city.


Summer BBQ Dinner Wednesdays & Thursdays

Alfresco dining on our Front Porch and Courtyard Patio

New seasonal menus

The Spa at Idlewyld

21 Guest Rooms

Landmark location for Weddings,

Meetings & Celebrations

36 Grand Avenue, London, ON N6C 1K8 | 519.432.5554


Nestled on 33 acres of rolling countryside,

Elm Hurst Inn & Spa has been a southwestern

Ontario landmark since 1872.


Patio Nights with Live Music every Thursday

Summer Lunch Buffet, Wed – Sat

Sunday Brunch & Prime Rib Dinner Buffets

Aveda Spa

49 Guest Rooms

A preferred venue for Weddings,

Meetings & Celebrations

415 Harris Street, Ingersoll, ON N5C 3J8 | 519.485.5321




The LOCAL Food & Drink Magazine



Think Global.

Read Local.


Chris McDonell – chris@eatdrink.ca

Managing Editor Cecilia Buy – cbuy@eatdrink.ca

Food Editor

Bryan Lavery – bryan@eatdrink.ca

Copy Editor

Kym Wolfe

Social Media Editor Bryan Lavery – bryan@eatdrink.ca

Advertising Sales Chris McDonell – chris@eatdrink.ca

Stacey McDonald – stacey@eatdrink.ca


Ann Cormier – finance@eatdrink.ca


Chris McDonell, Cecilia Buy


Gerry Blackwell, Darin Cook, Gary Killops,

Nicole Laidler, Bryan Lavery, Wayne Newton,

Emily Stewart, Sue Sutherland Wood,

Tracy Turlin,

Photographer Steve Grimes

Telephone & Fax 519-434-8349

Mailing Address 525 Huron Street, London ON N5Y 4J6


City Media


Sportswood Printing

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represent those of the Publisher. The Publisher welcomes submissions

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A couple shop at the Downtown

Woodstock Farmers’ Market, held

Thursdays on Museum Square from

noon until 5 pm.

Photo courtesy of

Ontario’s Southwest


Exceptional Food. Outstanding Service.



Open for Dinner

during Londonlicious

July 22–Aug 15


northmoore@rogers.com | www.northmoore.ca | www.theriverroom.ca

519.850.2287 River Room | 519.850.5111 NMC /Rhino Lounge

№ 60 | July/August 2016 www.eatdrink.ca 5

notes from the publisher

Enjoy Our Summer Issue


The “Summer Issue” is always

fun to put together. You will see

why as you thumb through these

pages. There’s plenty of exciting

opportunities presented here. Live music,

some of it under the stars,

and our regional theatres

are highlighted, and while

I resisted including nonculinary

columns in eatdrink

for years, this coverage has

become an important part of

what we do. But I could also

call this issue of eatdrink

a “road trip issue.” We’re

proud to have a regional

publication, and there are

so many good reasons

for this in evidence in

these pages.

Darin Cook guides us

on our designated Road

Trip story, taking us

through his backyard

and the delights of

Chatham-Kent. If

you haven’t been

to Chatham recently, you’ll


find a dozen reasons to make amends.

From fine dining in chic surroundings, to

opportunities to meet a farmer on his home

turf, there is something for everyone.

Bryan Lavery updates us on two great

dining destinations. Stratford has a welldeserved

reputation as “a food town”

and the talent there keeps building on

that. Bryan profiles eleven outstanding

restaurants that are committed to using

local suppliers. Who would you add to make

that an even dozen? There are a number of

excellent candidates, but this is a great list.

Taking a similar tack in Port Stanley has

become easier this year. “Port” has long

been a destination for beach and rustic

charm, and that’s still there, but the culinary

scene, which always had some stars, has

really matured. The options today make for

tough but wonderful decisions for diners,

from good Mexican at Main Street Taqueira

to cutting-edge contemporary fine dining at

... Well, I don’t want to steal Bryan’s thunder.

Check out the story.

Embracing “local flavours” also means

supporting local farmers

and artisans for our food

purchases for

home cooking.

Take a look at our

cover-story roundup

of the regional

Farmers’ Markets that

are really hitting stride

early this year. The time

is NOW for getting the

freshest food possible.

Why eat anything else?







Culinary Guide Volume 5

Restaurants • Culinary Retail • Farmers, Markets

eatdrink The LOCAL Food & Drink Magazine

We’re excited here at

eatdrink to present Volume

5 of London’s Local Flavour.

You can get your hands on

a copy by mid-July, at the

markets and many of the

eatdrink outlets in London,

and regionally at the Tourism

Information Centres. As

usual, this free guide will also

be online at eatdrink.ca, and like all of our

publications, it can be read on your phone,

tablet or desktop.

This is a deep look at the city’s culinary

scene, with a big focus on restaurants,

but our specialty food shops and farmer’s

markets are highlighted too. We have

seen the benefits of this kind of detailed

inventory in promoting London to visitors

while also reminding Londoners of what a

treasure trove is here. We have a formidable

group of talented chefs, restaurateurs and

purveyors of artisanal products, supported

by hard-working crews. We are honoured to

celebrate that. Cheers!

6 www.eatdrink.ca

№ 60 | July/August 2016

contents ISSUE № 60










8 Fresh & Local NOW! Seasonal Farmers’ Markets



11 Where to Eat in Stratford This Summer


27 Old Favourites and New: Dining in Port Stanley



18 Festivals, Food, and Fun, in Chatham-Kent



25 Booch’s Business is Bubbling in London and beyond



32 The BUZZ


39 Eating Like Natives in Valencia, Spain



42 Could These Be Your BBQ BFFs?



45 A Trio of Huron County Craft Breweries



50 Summertime Theatre in Port Stanley, Grand Bend & Blyth



53 A Star-Studded Summer: Stratford, Grand Bend & London



56 Getting Back to Some Musical Roots



58 A Taste of Haida Gwaii by Susan Musgrave

Review & Recipe Selections by TRACY TURLIN


60 All or Nothing by Jesse Schenker

Nine Lives by Brandon Baltzley

Review by DARIN COOK


62 A Bucketful of Memories




№ 60 | July/August 2016 www.eatdrink.ca 7



Choose the scenic rural route and discover the unexpected ...

a Heritage Conservation District town with specialty shops,

historical treasures and homegrown hospitality.

Just 15 minutes southwest of Stratford.

Let us help you plan your visit.

Visit our Information Centre at the historic Town Hall,

175 Queen Street (lower level Church St. entrance).

t. 519.284.3500 | toll free 1.800.769.7668

e. tourism@town.stmarys.on.ca


Images courtesy of Kelly Lyn Baird

8 www.eatdrink.ca

№ 60 | July/August 2016

food writer at large

Fresh and Local NOW

Seasonal Farmers’ Markets


Farmers’ markets are a long-standing

tradition in Ontario. The term

farmers’ market, however, is used

broadly to describe a variety of

operations that sometimes offer more

diverse products than a strictly defined

producer-only farmers’ market.

Sometimes shopping at a farmers’ market

is a way of supporting local farmers, so long

as you employ a liberal definition of the term

local. Other times there are strict guidelines

in place that ensure that a producer-only

market consists principally of farmers selling

directly to the public goods that their farms

have produced.

There are differing ideas as to what

constitutes a farmers’ market. In some cases

the definition is also a municipal issue. In

London Ontario, the Middlesex Health Unit

defines a farmers’ markets exemption from

the Food Premises Regulation when the

majority (51% or greater) of vendors retailing

at the market are producers of farm products

who are primarily selling their own products.

In Ontario a province-wide produceronly

farmers’ market authority makes

decisions about what is and what isn’t

a “certified” farmers’ market. Farmers’

Markets Ontario (FMO) is the association

representing the province’s farmers’ markets

The Slow Food Perth County Sunday Market

takes place on Stratford’s Market Square

Goderich’s weekly market is held in Courthouse Square

that meet and maintain stringent standards.

The organization is focused on assisting

the development of community-based

farmers-only farmers’ markets. If you are

an entrepreneur in a position to operate a

privately-owned or hybrid market, FMO

curiously does not offer support.

Farmers’ markets, as defined by the FMO,

are seasonal, multi-vendor, communitydriven

(not private) organizations selling

agricultural food, art and craft products

including home-grown produce, homemade

crafts and value-added products

where the majority of vendors are primary

producers. Farmers’ Market Ontario lists

175 markets and counting. There continues

to be an increase in the amount of farmers’,

community, municipal and privatized

markets across the province, and the

number is now estimated to be in excess of

350. Here is a brief listing of some

of the area’s best-loved seasonal

farmers’ markets.

On Thursday and Saturdays the

Covent Garden Market has an

outdoor farmers’ market which

offers fresh, local food on the Market

Square from May to December. The

vendors “grow it, raise it, bake it, or

make it.”Open Thursdays 8 am–2

pm and Saturdays 8 am–1 pm. For

current news, recipes and seasonal

information sign up for the weekly

newsletter at www.coventmarket.com

№ 60 | July/August 2016 www.eatdrink.ca 9

All the vendors at Grand Bend’s market either

“grow it, produce it, make it or bake it.”

The popular outdoor Goderich Farmers’

Market in Courthouse Square is sponsored

and operated by the Goderich BIA. Vendors

offer fruits and vegetables, honey, maple

syrup, plants and flowers, locally-reared

pork products, fish, baked goods, preserves

and handmade crafts. Open Victoria Day to

Thanksgiving, Saturdays 8 am–1 pm. www.


Nestled on Ontario’s West Coast, the

Grand Bend Farmers’ Market welcomes

you to a season of locally-grown produce.

The offerings of the 25-plus producer-based

vendors range from organic vegetables, local

beef and pork producers to bakers, artisans

and a “couple of characters.” If the vendors

don’t grow it, produce it, make it or bake it,

it can’t be found at the market. They offer

a varied selection of products from Huron,

Middlesex and Lambton counties. 1 Main St.,

Grand Bend (Colonial Hotel Parking Lot -

enter off Hwy 21.) Opens the first Wednesday

after Victoria Day and closes the last

Wednesday before Thanksgiving. 8 am–1 pm.


Masonville Farmers’ Market has evolved

into a local community hub with over

40 farmers, artisans and food

producers. Located in north

London outside of Masonville

Place at 1680 Richmond Street

North, there is plenty of free

parking. Organized by the

Farmers’& Artisans’ Market at

the Western Fair, you can be sure

to find interesting food artisans

and quality purveyors providing

seasonal items. Open every Friday

8 am– 2 pm, weather permitting,

from May to October.

Since its inception, Slow Food

Perth County’s Sunday Market

has been a hit and a go-to food destination.

Market-goers appreciate the good, clean,

fair principles of Slow Food as well as the

local vendors who have a passion for their

high quality offerings. In season it can be

found at Stratford Market Square, then the

market returns to The Falstaff Family Centre.

The market remains outdoors right through

the planting, growing, and harvest seasons,

until mid-October, Sundays 10 am–2 pm.

The Soho Street Market provides local

residents and visitors with an open-air

market experience where they can purchase

a variety of fresh produce, locally foraged

goods, artisan baking, and prepared foods

straight from the producers. Tuesday night

from 4-8 pm, at the Victoria Tavern, 466

South St., London. www.sohomarket.ca

The St. Marys Farmers’ Market continues

its proud tradition of offering a wide range

of fresh and locally produced foods. The

vendors at the market are all local farmers,

home bakers and local craftspeople. The

Market also offers special annual events

such as Strawberry Shortcake Day, Pancake

Breakfast, Apple Pie Contest and two

“Souper-Douper Saturdays.” May 21–October

29th, Saturdays 8 am–12 noon. www.


Horton Farmers’ Market in St. Thomas is

a “best-in-class market” that promotes civic

pride, shapes local culture and supports the

regional economy by providing access to

high-quality food producers, craftspeople

and artisans. Organizers strive to have only

local producers and craftspeople represented,

giving you a taste and experience unique to

St. Thomas. Manitoba Street, one-half block

north of Talbot Street. St. Thomas, May to

October 29th, Saturdays 8 am–12 noon. www.


The Covent Garden Farmers’ Market is

held Thursdays and Saturdays

10 www.eatdrink.ca

The Moonlight Market is held

under the Bluewater Bridge in

Point Edward, adjacent to Sarnia

Strathroy Farmers’ Market is one of the

area’s oldest open air farmers’ markets and

has operated since 1861. The bustling market

has moved from Market Square behind the

Town Hall to Front Street between Caradoc

Street and Frank Street. Saturdays from

June to October, Saturdays 8 am–12 noon.

Member of Farmers’ Market Ontario.

Downtown Woodstock Farmers’

Market is a vibrant outdoor local market

№ 60 | July/August 2016

on Museum Square. The market features

fresh, seasonal produce, eggs, meat, dairy,

baked goods, flowers, plants, artisans, crafts

and more. Museum Square and Dundas St.,

Woodstock, May to October, Thursdays 12

noon–5 pm. www.downtownwoodstock.ca

Point Edward Moonlight Farmers’

Market is a producer-based farmers’

market featuring the very best in local food,

including meats, produce, baking, maple

syrup, herbs, and a variety of specialty

foods. The vendor mix continues to evolve,

so shop the market every week. It offers

live music, demos and much more as the

season progresses. Located on the service

road in Waterfront Park in the Village of

Point Edward, parallel to Michigan Avenue

and spanning the distance from the pavilion

on Livingston Ave to the parking lot by the

water. You’ll find it right under the beautiful

Bluewater Bridge. Open Thursdays, 4 pm–8

pm, May 26–October 6th.

BRYAN LAVERY is eatdrink’s Food Editor and Writer at

Large, and a Farmers’ Market Consultant.

№ 60 | July/August 2016 www.eatdrink.ca 11


Where to Eat in Stratford

Summer Dining in Festival City


When dining in Stratford, I

can’t help but be drawn to

restaurants that authentically

support farmers, vineyards,

and food purveyors by featuring quality

local ingredients and products. I also like

to take note of the ambience, whether

the cutlery is polished, and the wine and

food knowledge of the service staff. Great

restaurants give a lot of thought and

attention to their wine and cocktail lists and,

most importantly, to genuine hospitality.


For many years the culinary opus at Bijou has

been a front-runner in Stratford for inspired,

locally-sourced cuisine. The bistro has built

a following as a destination restaurant for

providing a good local taste experience.

Mark and Linda

Simone purchased

the legacy

restaurant last

year and added a

new entrance on

Wellington St. and

a small bar in the

front area.

The farm-totable


blackboard pretheatre


menu is prix

fixe, offering

three courses for

$58.00. Chef Max

Holbrook and

his team offer

a globally-inspired menu of small plates that

is available after 8:00 p.m. Duck confit with

gnocchi and fresh Monforte Dairy curds is a

knock-out, as is the house-made lobster ravioli.

There is a superior cheese plate of Monforte

Dairy selections. Bijou also serves an excellent

“Global Dim Sum” Sunday brunch that is

offered à la carte for easy sharing. 74 Wellington Street

(front), 105 Erie Street (back), 519-273-5000, www.bijourestaurant.com.

The Bruce Restaurant

The rooms are chic with comfortable squarebacked

upholstered chairs and settees and the

propriety of white-linen dining. Chef Arron

Carley served as sous chef to Jason Bangerter at

Luma. (Bangerter

is now the

executive chef at

Langdon Hall.)

Carley interned

with Chef

René Redzepi

at Denmark’s

Noma, a Michelin


restaurant that

has been named

best restaurant

in the world on

four occasions.

Returning to

Canada, Carley

worked as a

sous chef under

John Horne, executive chef at Toronto’s Canoe

restaurant before being head-hunted by The

Bruce last year.

His aim is to add his voice to the culinary

narrative of New Canadian cuisine by

integrating only indigenous ingredients into

his culinary repertoire. Think wild Haida Gwaii

ivory salmon with Wabigoon wild rice, morels,

nettle purée, fennel kelp oil and wild ginger

broth, or opt for Quebec Cerf du Boileau venison

striploin with charred and brined carrots,

golden beets, reindeer moss, Saskatoon berries,

green alder jus and beet purée. The Bruce has

dispensed with the prix fixe menu offered for the

last two seasons. At the time of this writing there

is a four-course tasting menu for $95.00 and sixcourse

tasting menu for $115.00. Wine pairings

are an additional $49.00 and $55.00 respectively.

Breakfast, lunch and Sunday brunch are à la

Our Gelato is ready!

№ 60 | July/August 2016

carte and The Lounge offers a separate menu.

The top-flight wine list offers many wonderful

choices. There is a stunning terrace for al fresco

dining. 89 Parkview Drive, 519-508-7100, www.thebruce.ca

And our new Ice Cream Bars!

hint: get them before they are gone!

Mon to Sat 9am to 6pm, Sun 10am to 5pm

reimagined + reinvented + revealed





dinner shows




The Church Restaurant

Keystone Alley Café

A refurbished Keystone Alley Café has opened

under the ownership of home-towner Kim

Hurley, and Anthony Jordaan. Native to South

Africa, Jordaan is a trained chef with experience

in South Africa, Zambia, Vancouver and

Nunavut. The menus of executive chef Cortney

Zettler and sous chef Tina Logassi (Stratford

Chefs School graduates) are driven by local

sourcing with an offering of daily blackboard

features. There is a dish at dinner called Three

Little Pigs that showcases the delicious heritage

pork from Church Hill Farms. There is herbed

crumbed schnitzel with wilted kale, pork and

truffle pasta with sage crema, and sausage

braised cabbage. A vegetarian taco at lunch is

served open-faced on grilled flatbread featuring

produce from Soiled Reputation, Shallot Hill

and other local producers that come to the

kitchen door. A lunch feature called Meat

and Bread will showcase locally reared meats

procured from McIntosh Farms and Church Hill

Farms. We like the grilled “Buffalo” cauliflower

with roasted radish, lentils, kale chips, pistachio

purée and hot sauce. (That’s Buffalo meaning

the sauce, not the city.) There is a small wine

offering and a smart patio. 34 Brunswick Street,

519-271-5645, www.keystonealley.com

Mercer Kitchen + Beer Hall + Hotel

The recently relaunched Mercer Kitchen/Beer

Hall/ Hotel offers fifteen draft lines, Stratford’s

only cask engine, and over 120 beer brands,

including award-winners and hard to find

one-offs that rotate quickly. Half the bottles are

Ontario brews. The refurbished interior projects

a casual, more accessible ambience. Food and

beverage manager Alex Kastner has added

some communal tables to foster the sense of

community. In a conscious decision to eliminate

№ 60 | July/August 2016

any trappings of fine dining the service staff wear

jeans and custom t-shirts. The casual brasseriestyle

ambience is essentially inspired by the

izakaya, the informal Japanese beer pubs that

Chef Ryan O’Donnell frequented in Japan.

O’Donnell’s well-thought-out all-day menu

is divided into categories: fresh salads, small

plates, medium plates, substantials, fried

chicken & wings, sides, burgers & bowls,

and desserts. The 40-plus item menu, with

interesting sides and condiments, gives you

many reasons to return. The menu has Asian

influences. Interesting cultural interpretations

include Mercer’s tonkatsu pork schnitzel

coated in panko breadcrumbs; chicken karrage

(Japanese-style fried chicken) with lemon

togarashi mayo; and improbably delicious

steamed pork buns with spicy aioli. There are

Mercer Kitchen + Beer Hall + Hotel

pig tails with chili potato salad, in homage to

Huron-Perth’s Germanic heritage with buttered

biscuits and baked beans. Pastry chef Simon

Briggs, who is also an instructor alongside

O’Donnell at Stratford Chefs School, is part of

the high-functioning 18-member kitchen team.

Comfortable guest rooms that have had a recent

face-lift are located above the restaurant.

104-108 Ontario Street, 519-271-9202 , www.mercerhall.ca

The Mill Stone Restaurant & Bar

This is a new arrival in Stratford, with

seasonally-inspired lunch, dinner and late

night menus using many locally procured

ingredients. The menu at this high-energy

bistro evokes the gastropub sensibility with

rustic from-scratch items like ham hock terrine

house pickle, apple chutney, cheese savoury

and house made bread, crispy pork jowl with

arugula salad, and hot smoked salmon with

horseradish mousse, peppered watercress and

toasted pumpernickel. When is the last time you

ate charbroiled Blanbrook Bison Farms bison

sliders with house-cured vanilla bacon, onion

marmalade, brioche and triple cooked fries?

Chef Chris Powell prepares a superior Caesar

The Mill Stone Restaurant & Bar

№ 60 | July/August 2016

salad. Chef received his culinary training in

England and honed his craft and personal

culinary style in the U.K. and Spain. His cooking

repertoire includes pastry work and Modern

European cuisine. A couple of back tables

overlook the Avon River, and there is a small

charming street-side patio. 30 Ontario Street,

519-273-5886, www.themillstone.ca


meets Hip.

We make food that we want

to eat. From local sources.

From heritage pork to linecaught

west coast seafood.

Cooked from scratch. We

support farmers & artisans.

We take beer seriously, with

one of the largest craft beer

selections in Ontario, 15

draft lines, and Stratford's

only cask engine. 104-108 Ontario St, Stratford

519.271.9202 or 1.888.816.4011


Monforte on Wellington

Ruth Klahsen’s down-to-earth osteria features

a seasonally–inspired menu that includes

charcuterie and cheese boards, salads and many

other in-house specialties inspired by a Monforte

Dairy cheese. We love the unpretentiousness,

the corn dog fritters with beer mustard, baked

brin d’amour with honey and crackers, and

the rich buttery water buffalo ice cream. This

is the perfect place for a grilled cheese or some

comforting mac and cheese. Klahsen’s deeprooted

commitment to things sustainable,

local and hand-crafted seems to continue to

both fortify and nourish her creative drive and

dedicated entrepreneurism. There is a charming

intimate courtyard for al fresco dining where

we have been

fêted by Frances,

the gracious

manager, on

several occasions.

We love the

friendly in-depth

explanations about

the provenance of

each ingredient.

On a recent visit

her hospitality

extended to trying

to procure for us

some of the recently

released moonshine

from Junction

56 Distillery. The

casual osteria is BYOW with a reasonable $15

corkage fee, or, if you order a glass of VQA wine,

they will bring you a full bottle and charge you by

the ounce for what you drink. 80 Wellington St.,

519-301-7256, www.facebook.com/MonforteOnWellington

№ 60 | July/August 2016

Pazzo Taverna and Pizzeria

This street-level ristorante proffers rustic Italianinspired

cuisine, in a contemporary setting

overlooking the Avon River. Stratford Chefs

School alumna Chef Yva Santini is celebrating

her ninth season at Pazzo Taverna. Chef has a

reputation for crafting authentically appealing

cuisine that gratifies and stimulates, while

adding her own interpretation to the Italian



Diverse, seasonally inspired menu

using locally sourced ingredients.

Refined wine list, Ontario beers

& hand-crafted cocktails.

culinary canon with an eye to seasonality and

the Perth County terroir. Santini uses quality

ingredients combined with fresh, simple

seasonal ideas that are executed with finesse,

classic Italian methods and culinary traditions.

Hand stretched burrata and pastas and gnocchi

make up the heart of the menu. Pastas are made

in-house by hand using Italian “00” flour, and

are impeccable in execution. Who can forget

Santini’s Red Fife cavatelli? Chef showcases the

simple, natural flavours of locally-sourced meats

and produce in the Italian tradition. A diverse list

of Canadian and imported wines are available

by the glass and bottle. The Pizzeria serves the

best thin crust pizza in the area. This is where the

locals hang out. 70 Ontario Street, 519-273-6666, www.pazzo.ca

The Prune

Since 1977 The Prune has been a Stratford

favourite. Chef Bryan Steele has been both

chef de cuisine at The Prune and an educator

at the Stratford Chefs School since 1989. Chef

acquired a degree in chemistry from Queen’s

University before turning his prodigious

talents to gastronomy. He spent four years

working in restaurants in Italy, Germany and

New York before arriving in Stratford.

Steele’s cuisine mirrors an idiosyncratic

cooking sensibility that is global and erudite

and inspired in part by the bounty of regional

artisan producers and growers. The menu is

prix fixe, offering two courses for $55.00, three

courses for $69.00, or four courses for $79.00.

This arrangement is meant to expedite the

challenges of pre-theatre dining where theatre-



30 Ontario Street, Stratford


№ 60 | July/August 2016

goers arrive and depart simultaneously. The

menu is designed for a prix fixe experience but

is also available à la carte upon your request.

Appetizer dishes might include chicken

liver mousse, seabuckthorn and brioche, or

asparagus and frisée salad, soft egg, chorizo,

“piperade” vinaigrette. Traditional main dishes

might include grilled skate wing with sambal,

pineapple nage and cucumber, or glazed

Muscovy duck, honey, star anise, currants and

cinnamon caps. Grilled rib steak (for two),

Swiss chard gratin, buttermilk onion rings has a

supplement charge of $10 per person. Sides are

an additional $8. There is a charming outdoor

patio. 151 Albert St, 519-271-5052, www.theprune.com

The Red Rabbit

“A locally sourced restaurant, run by workers,

owned by workers, shared by the community,”

pretty much sums up The Red Rabbit’s ethos.

Chef Sean Collins terms his cooking as “Flavour

First, Ingredient Driven.” Chef says, “We cook

food we like to eat.” The lunch menu is served

Sunday and

Monday from 12

to 2:30 pm and

is also available

from 5 to 7 pm,

and Tuesday to

Saturday from

12 to 2:30. At

lunch there is

superb creamy

fried polenta and

duck egg with

chermoula. A

proper breakfast

is served with

fried eggs, local

pork, beans and

focaccia. The

heat quotient

on the spicy hot chicken sandwich with sweet

pickle, tzatziki, house-made bun and hand-cut

fries keeps us coming back. The falafel plate

is four perfectly prepared chickpea fritters

served with seasoned tabbouleh and tiny pots

of harissa, tahini and garlic aioli. The prix fixe

dinner menu offers roasted McIntosh Farm

whole duck with awesome red curry and sticky

rice, hanger steak with pickled local greens,

asparagus pancake and nitro hollandaise,

sustainably-caught roasted lake pickerel, and

shepherd’s pie with Church Hill Farm’s braised

lamb. The prix fixe menu is available Tuesday

through Saturday from 5 pm to 7 pm, offering

two courses for $44.00 and three courses for

$49.00. Small plates menu available Thursday

to Saturday 7 to 9 pm. The Red Rabbit is known

for Colonel Collins fried chicken and waffles.

It’s a secret recipe of thirteen herbs and spices,

maple syrup and carrot hot sauce, and served

with house-cut fries, and has become a cultish

Stratford staple. 64 Wellington Street, 519-305-6464,


Revival House and The Chapel

Stratford’s newest home for quality live music,

dining, and events continues to play host

to many touring and local Canadian artists

throughout the summer season. Chef Byron

Hallett has assembled a kitchen team

passionate about creating and serving food that

expresses the depth of Perth County’s food.

Last year we began our visits with an exquisite

Ontario Gouda Tasting. This year the kitchen

is offering an Ontario Cheddar tasting. There

is a sublime torchon of foie with apple, puffed

grains, pecans and chervil for $20. Trout tartar

is served with celeriac variations, shallot, herbs

and Yukon Gold chips. Charcuterie boards

are underpinned by technique and skill and

the salumi has plenty of flavour. Offerings

have included speck (smoked pork leg), lonza

(cured pork loin), coppa (salt-cured from

the neck) and rillettes. On the dinner menu

typical offerings might be monkfish in crispy

chicken skin with salsify, tomatoes, parmesan,

arugula, and capers, or lamb shoulder with

fava beans, charred zucchini, patty pan, pearl

№ 60 | July/August 2016 www.eatdrink.ca 17

onion, and radish with lamb jus. There are some

interesting late night après-theatre plates. It

should be noted that there were 22 VQA’s on

the impressive wine list at last glance. Upstairs,

The Chapel features a 60-seat gastro lounge

and a VIP balcony called Confession. In season

Revival House features a smart patio. 70 Brunswick

Street, 519-273-3424, www.revival.house


This is high-end contemporary French cuisine,

artfully plated, with a world influence.

Neil Baxter has been chef de cuisine at

Rundles since 1981. Rundles has always been

synonymous with classicism and a rarified

level of oenophile sophistication.

the appetizer section, a main dish, dessert,

and coffee or tea for $114.50 per person. Wine,

taxes and service are extra. An extensive wine

list features vintages that range from small,

local, boutique winery selections to those of

the exceptional Grand Crus of Bordeaux. The

Garden Room, with floor-to-ceiling windows,

offers a relaxing ambience and the perfect

lounge to enjoy cocktails before or after dinner.

9 Cobourg Street, 519-271-6442 www.rundlesrestaurant.com

BRYAN LAVERY is eatdrink’s Food Editor and Writer at Large.

There is a small and interesting table d’hôte

featuring six appetizers, six main courses, and

desserts. Appetizers might include smoked

trout and pickled asparagus with coddled

quail’s eggs, and dill cream; or rabbit and foie

gras rillettes garnished with pickled cherries,

pistachio yogurt, and violet mustard. Main

dishes might include pan fried halibut cheeks,

roast curried celery root, fingerling potatoes,

capicola, and dashi (Japanese-style, clear

sauce); or barbecued pork belly pickled cockles,

steamed bok choy and sea asparagus. The

table d’hôte menu features a selection from

celebrating local farmers & producers,

with our fresh and seasonal items

Reservations 519 271-5645

34 Brunswick Street, Stratford

behind the Avon Theatre

Catering | Private Events | Accommodations


A Locally Sourced Restaurant. Run by workers. Owned by workers.

Shared by the Community.

{ }


May to October

Call 519.305.6464

for menu details


64 Wellington St, Stratford



18 www.eatdrink.ca

road trips

Festivals, Food &


Exploring the Charms of Chatham-Kent

№ 60 | July/August 2016



Whether making the short drive

up from Essex county or coming

down from more northern

parts of Ontario, taking a trip

to Chatham-Kent (C-K) between May and

September will bring you here in the midst

of festival season, when there are a variety of

events to appeal to many tastes. The season

generally kicks off with RetroFest in late May.

Chatham lives up to its name of Classic Car

Capital of Canada; visitors can walk the main

downtown drag to encounter hundreds of

classic cars, and a few Elvis impersonators,

during this weekend-long auto show. FireFest

(September 17) continues the interest for

vehicle enthusiasts by showcasing vintage

and modern fire trucks along the same

downtown strip.

Highlighting the area’s rich agricultural

history, other events revolve around food

and drink. Grapes to Glass (June 18), C-K’s

first wine festival at The Kent 1874 Event

Centre, celebrates regional wines, including

some of Early Acres Estate Winery’s reds,

Some of North America’s best automotive-themed festivals are

found in Chatham-Kent, Canada’s Classic Car Capital

whites, and blushes which have collectively

garnered eighteen awards for the winery

since opening in 2012. Located just outside

Chatham, Early Acres holds monthly

summer events, such as Rocking the Vines

(July 17), with local entertainment on its

country estate.

Ribfest (July 8-10) in Tecumseh Park

attracts rib vendors, including Chatham’s

own Blazin’ BBQ Ribhouse, winner of

numerous awards from the BBQ circuit.

If farm-to-table food appeals, C-K Table,

organized by a collective of farmers,

is becoming a brand name in the area

showcasing local food in a variety of

community events. This year began with

C-K Table Junior in May. In collaboration

with C-K chefs, a Grade 3/4 class created a

locally-sourced meal for diners, including

a gardening project to grow the vegetables.

The C-K Table events are always evolving

and this year a recurring program called

Farmer for a Day is being introduced. This

weekend travel package is an opportunity

for city slickers to work alongside

farmers to learn about vegetable

growing, grain production, or

livestock husbandry.

If you extend your visit into more

than a day trip, Retro Suites Hotel at

the corner of King and William Street

is the place you want to spend the

night. Even if this is your only stop

in Chatham, spending a night here

is worth it for the architecture and

décor alone. This boutique hotel,

with 52 individually-themed suites,

was honoured with TripAdvisor’s

Travelers’ Choice Award in the Best

Hotels section in all of Canada in


When dinner rolls around, here

are a few downtown hot spots.

№ 60 | July/August 2016 www.eatdrink.ca 19


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this marks the end of the quiet arrival.




Lexus Pricing

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1065 Wharncliffe Road South 519-680-1900

20 www.eatdrink.ca

On the street level of Retro Suites,

with an atmosphere matching the

hotel, The Chilled Cork is a funky

restaurant where Chef Leona

Williamson cranks out exquisite

contemporary dishes from the

kitchen. A short walk down King

Street, Mamma Maria’s Ristorante

has become the area’s best Italian

experience. The old world ambience

feels as Italian as the food tastes.

Beyond the downtown core,

Spice & Curry located on Kiel Drive,

is the city’s best-kept secret. It’s run by

business partners Shelly Sakhuja and Chef

Gurmeet Singh. Chef cheerfully toils in the

kitchen sending out the aroma of simmering

sauces with spices roasted and ground from

scratch. Shelly works the front of house,

pleasantly greeting and seating guests and

delivering steaming bowls of curry and

baskets of still-warn Naan bread. You cannot

go wrong with any menu options, especially

the Tikka Masala and Madras dishes, which

Chef will adjust to your preferred heat level.

Must-tries for appetizers are the onion

pakoras and the garlic cauliflower.


In the heart of downtown Chatham a turn of the

century hotel is now the boutique Retro Suites

If you have checked into a room, a nightcap

at Sam’s Percolator might be in order. This

is a downtown coffee shop by day and craft

beer bar by night, with a revolving selection

of canned beer from places like Collective

Arts Brewing in Hamilton and Sawdust City

Brewing Co. of Gravenhurst. If some late night

nibbles are in order, Frendz Restaurant &

Lounge has a menu with an international mix

of food — Spanish paella, Cuban sandwiches,

Asian stir-fries, Mexican nachos, Indian

samosas. For a twist on a Canadian standby,

A stunning display of architecture

and downtown style linked between

9 historic buildings.

An inviting place to celebrate, work or relax.

A turn-of-the-century hotel transformed into a modern luxury

boutique hotel that meets the distinct needs of both corporate and

leisure guests. Special services for weddings and functions, with

unparalleled amenities and 45 individually-designed guest suites

— plus another 7 long-term suites — for a total of 52.

The Chilled

519.351.5885 or 1.866.617.3876 • 2 King Street West, Chatham ON • retrosuites.com

Casual Fine Dining

in an eclectic &

chic atmosphere.

A modern take on traditional

favourites & international


• Seasonal Menu

• Local Ingredients

• Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Find old world ambience and traditional Italian

cuisine at Mamma Maria on King Street (above).

Sams Percolator (below) is coffee shop by day and

craft beer bar by night.

Taste the good times on

our patio overlooking

the beauty of

Rondeau Bay

try the tasty poutine with truffle oil and Asiago

gravy. Both the bar and patio overlook King

Street so you can enjoy the scenery while

pairing your food with a full drink menu,

including Ontario beers on tap like Iron Spike.

For a relaxing, morning espresso in a coffee

shop with fireplaces and exposed brick walls,

visit William Street Café, which has been a

classic fixture next to Retro Suites for years.

After that, a short drive to Chatham’s Breakfast

House & Grille on Grand Ave. is in order

for breakfast favourites, including frittatas,

Simple food.

Local produce.

Great beer.

970 Ross Lane, Erieau



Bayside Brew Pub

60 seats + patio

wood-burning oven

Wining is Our Business

invites you

The Korpan Family

to visit Early Acres!

Frendz Restaurant and Lounge also has a sunny

street-side patio

9494 Pioneer Line, Chatham




Winery Retail Shop Hours

Thurs & Fri 11am–6pm • Sat 11am–5pm

22 www.eatdrink.ca

paninis, and several

unique takes on Eggs

Benedict. For a few

quick lunch options

later, Hungry Sam’s

(located inside Sam’s

Percolator) serves

a rotating menu of

lunchtime favourites,

like a Montreal

Smoked Meat

Sandwich and Cream

of Asparagus Soup.

The menu is posted on

social media daily to

draw in followers with its tasty offerings. For a

fresh and healthy take on fast food, Eat What’s

Good on St. Clair Street, just a jog over the

Thames River bridge going out of downtown,

has a completely vegan, gluten-free, and

locally-sourced menu. With weekly deliveries

of fresh produce from River Bell Market

Garden in Dresden, owners Emily Meko and

Russell Colebrook creatively use produce from

the farm throughout the year. They offer a

delicious sweet and herbal Basil Cheesecake

with local basil and spinach, and use sweet

potatoes in the Ultimate Taco Salad.

Once you have attended a festival or

enjoyed the food of a few restaurants, you may

want to see what else the area has to offer. A

map of the municipality will help you navigate

the county roads to find the smaller centres of

C-K. Most notable would be a trip to Dresden,

twenty minutes north of Chatham, where

you can take in Uncle Tom’s Cabin as part

of the African Canadian Heritage Tour that

commemorates the role of the Underground

Railroad in the slavery freedom movement.

Here you can also visit the area’s only certified

organic farm, River Bell Market Garden, for

№ 60 | July/August 2016

Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site is located

near Dresden, just north of Chatham

Parks Blueberries offers a pick-your-own option

the unique experience of strolling through

the fields and greenhouses that yield over 30

types of fruits and vegetables available in the

on-farm market.

“Down the street and around the corner, but worth every inch of effort.”

Retail • Further Processing

Our Own Quality Raised Pork • Free Run Eggs

Sausages & Deli Products • Mrs. D’s Jams etc.

Catering For All Occasions • Custom Barbecues

10910 Northwood Line, RR#2, Kent Bridge ON

www.rmeats.com 519-351-7711

a step closer to Italy...

№ 60 | July/August 2016 www.eatdrink.ca 23

Family-owned & operated, siblingsTina and Len

are celebrating 10 years of bringing a genuine

taste of Italy to Chatham. In homage to their

mother Maria, they insist upon from-scratch

cooking using the best of local ingrendients.

The restaurant is sophisticated yet approachable.

A beautiful patio overlooks the Thames River.

Catering and well-appointed private function

rooms are available.

231 King Street West, Chatham


Open for Dinner Daily / Lunch Monday-Saturday


Frendz is run by the creative team of Brenda

Boismier and Chef Marc King. The warm, cozy

Resto/Lounge is designed for friends to gather for

good food and good times. Weekend entertainment

features local talent. The upscale yet affordable

menu features international cuisine, prepared from

scratch, from Spanish tapas to steak and seafood.

Craft beer is on tap, an extensive drink menu is

on offer, and this may be the best patio in town.

216 King Street West, Chatham


Open Tuesday–Saturday for Lunch & Dinner

a step closer


to home...

24 www.eatdrink.ca

Continuing on the

agri-tourism route, Parks

Blueberries on Highway

2 lets you turn farm work

into fun by partaking in

the pick-your-own option

on 50 acres of fields.

Aside from freshly-picked

blueberries, the country

store is full of preserves,

kitchen supplies, and

handcrafts. You will

also want to sample the

blueberry-filled baked


Heading south of Chatham, you could find

yourself in the middle of a cherry spitting

contest at Blenheim’s Cherry Festival (July

16-17). Taking that southbound drive further,

you will reach the fishing village of Erieau

where Bayside Brew Pub provides craft beer

and wood-fired pizzas in a perfect setting

overlooking Lake Erie. The pizzas are the

crowd favourite with names like Erieau Heat

Wave (spicy chorizo, chillies, and Kalamata

olives) and Long Pond BBQ (pulled pork,

roasted red peppers, and caramelized

onions). Bayside also throws a twist on other

pub food like Chicken Wings from the Fire,

Wind down at the Bayside Brew Pub in Erieau, overlooking Rondeau Bay

and Beer Battered Onion Rings.

This is a mere taste of what C-K offers and,

if you can’t fit all this in to one trip, fear not,

because there is plenty more to explore your

next time through.

Author’s Note: Some of the festivals have

passed by time of publishing, but they are

typically recurring events every summer

during the indicated months.

Based out of Chatham, DARIN COOK is a freelance writer

and regular contributor to eatdrink.



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№ 60 | July/August 2016 www.eatdrink.ca 25

farmers & artisans

Booch’s Business is Bubbling

Booch Organic Kombucha, in London, and Beyond


Perhaps you have spotted Booch

Organic Kombucha owners Shawn

Slade and Shannon Kamins selling

Booch at the Covent Garden

Market, and wondered what was inside the

bottle of kombucha.

Slade explains that kombucha is a

fermented steeped tea beverage made with

sugar and SCOBY (symbiotic culture of

bacteria and yeast). After some time, the

yeast culture and bacteria are removed,

creating a tea filled with probiotics. Organic

ingredients then flavour the kombucha,

which is fermented again before it’s bottled.

Slade adds that the bubbly beverage has

ancient Chinese origins, and was called

“a main elixir of life”. The fizzy tea became

popular in recent years after “some scientific

research has shown that kombucha does have

beneficial probiotics, and yeasts, and acids in a

beverage that are going to help aid and heal an

individual’s digestive system,” he says, adding

that kombucha contains electrolytes, a touch

of caffeine and b-vitamins.

Slade explains that selling Booch is “an

opportunity to educate and make people

aware that fermented foods and probiotics are

[a] very important part of a healthy lifestyle.”

Before starting this business Slade was

a holistic lifestyle coach and personal

Shannon Kamins and Shawn Slade,

co-owners of Booch Organic Kombucha

trainer. “Shannon herself has had digestive

problems for a very long time in her life,” he

mentions, “Through her healing her gut in

her journey, she had discovered fermented

foods, and started making kombucha.”

Booch Organic Kombucha has been

popping up in about 70 Southwestern

Ontario retailers and restaurants in the past

year. Mike Fish, co-owner and sommelier

of Glassroots, serves the product in his new

Richmond Row plant-based eatery. He says

that along with a media focus on gut health

and the push to support local businesses,

26 www.eatdrink.ca

№ 60 | July/August 2016

Slade and Kamins’

marketing is another

reason why Booch has

spiked in popularity this

past year. “They’re at a

lot of events and they are

very supportive of other

businesses as well.”

With regard to the

soaring demand, Slade

notes “We do try to

source things locally, with

focus on environmental

sustainability, so our core

values of the company

really, I think, resonate

with people and that also

creates a lot of interest in

what we’re doing.”

Forging Partnerships

Booch Organic Kombucha’s values were

reflected when they created 250 bottles of

a special First Anniversary brew. Kamins

describes the flavour, as a “very smoked maple

syrup flavour with a citrusy pine taste”.

In the beeswax sealed bottle, there is

amber maple syrup from Mt. Forest, smoked

schisandra berries from Port Stanley

restaurant The New New Age, and white

foraged pine needles from Aylmer.

“We really wanted to highlight the fact we

really care about supporting local farmers,

but also educating the public on what’s

seasonal at that time,” says Kamins.

Their passion for environmental sustainability

is reflected in their London retail

store and brewery plans. Proceeds from

their loyalty card will support the Canadian

Biotechnology Action Network. The card

will be made out of seeds. “We’re motivating

people to actually plant the seed once they

get their free kombucha to grow flowers to

help the bees.” Also, bottles will be refillable

at the store.

Glenn Whitehead, principal of Plant

Matter Kitchen, said Booch was one of the

first businesses they contacted, because of

similar values. “Organic, local and plantbased

are three really important things for

us, and Booch hit all three right out of the

park.” Whitehead added the restaurant

hopes to use the product in margaritas and

other beverages made with organic vodka,

gin, and/or tequila.

Other restaurants are experimenting as

Booch on tap at Wortley Village’s

Plant Matter Kitchen

well. Stephen Hotchkiss,

owner and herb crafter

of the New New Age

in Port Stanley said

they also make Booch

ice cream floats, and

“elixirs” combined

with cold pressed juice.

Hotchkiss has become

close friends with the

owners. “Their passion

for their product comes

through in every bottle

and they are truly some

of the kindest and most

genuine people I have

ever met.” Glassroots

also has Booch on

the menu, and will be

serving a Lemon Basil

Gin and Tonic with lemon juice, gin, basil

and Booch tonic water.

Slade and Kamins offer some Booch cocktail

recommendations and other recipes including

a rhubarb cardamom vanilla drink. “It’s a fun

way of enjoying Booch and just having a good

time outside.” Slade suggests Citrus Twist in a

mimosa, he adds that customers have found

Raspberry Lemon “goes great with vodka on a

hot summers’ day.”

What’s Next for Booch?

The pair’s London retail store and brewery

will be launched with the loyalty card

program, bulk cases of kombucha and six

flavours on tap. Seasonal flavours such as

Rhubarb Red Bud Raspberry and original

favourites including Citrus Twist and

Raspberry Lemon will be served.

Slade and Kamins have recently opened

a retail store in Toronto. “It’s really nice to

be able to grow and get out there more so

people can try something that we make with

our love,” Kamins says.

Booch Organic Kombucha

1010 Dundas Street, London, Ontario



The website includes a list of locations where Booch Organic

Kombucha is sold or served.

EMILY STEWART is a Western University and Fanshawe

College alumna who enjoys checking out local restaurants and any

kind of pasta dish.

D in


№ 60 | July/August 2016 www.eatdrink.ca 27


An Authentic Taste of Elgin County

Dining at Old Favourites and New in Port Stanley

Photograph courtesy Ontario Tourism



postcard-perfect fishing village

on the shores of Lake Erie, Port

Stanley is known for its harbour,

colourful heritage buildings,

and the iconic King George VI lift bridge.

Regular visitors to “Port,” as it is known by

locals, are attracted to the village’s dynamic

artistic community, Port Stanley Festival

Theatre, galleries and specialty shops. A big

draw is the main beach, which offers one

of the best stretches of sandy beach on the

north shore of Lake Erie and is home to a

newly refurbished pier.

The fledgling Main Street Taqueria is now

serving tacos, burritos, tamales and fresh salsa.

Shebaz’s Shawarma & Falafel is another

new addition to the village. Be sure to stop

by Killer Desserts and Café, known for its

gluten-free sandwiches, made-from-scratch

soups, and cheesecakes. Another great stop on

any culinary tour is the Harbourtown Fudge

store, next to the historic Telegraph House

Heritage Inn, both operated by Jon and Vicci

Coughlin. For casual fare, don’t forget about

the landmark Mackie’s at the main beach,

celebrating 105 years in Port Stanley. The

following are more detailed suggestions for an

authentic taste of Port Stanley.





Recommended in Where To Eat In Canada for 10 years

NEW Light Fare Menu in the afternoons


OPEN Tuesday–Sunday for Lunch, Dinner & Weekend Brunch

324 Smith St, Port Stanley • 519-782-4173 • www.thewindjammerinn.com

28 www.eatdrink.ca

Kettle Creek Inn

Nestled in the heart of Port Stanley, this

historic inn is one of “Ontario’s Finest Inns.”

Jean and Gary Vedova opened the doors to

Kettle Creek Inn in 1983, after renovating the

building. The Vedovas, along with sons Troy

and Dean, are hands-on. Additionally chef

Rob Lapman keeps the Inn’s kitchen fresh

and relevant. Menus showcase a commitment

to the area with ingredients that are farmed,

fished or foraged locally, such as the perch and

pickerel that arrive in the kitchen daily. The

Local Country

Honey & Maple Syrup

OPEN: 11am – 5pm

205 Main Street, Port Stanley



№ 60 | July/August 2016

Ontario-reared meats are all fresh products,

and signature dishes include a locally-revered

pot pie. Recent menu items include an

appetizer of white beer-cured salmon with

Dijon mussels, pickled onions, crispy capers

and toasted pretzel bread. At dinner there is

an entrée of grilled sterling silver teres major

steak (beef shoulder) with charred broccolini,

pickled enoki mushrooms, chili jam, fried

beef wanton and cilantro. Kettle Creek’s wine

program features the estate wineries of Lake

Erie North Shore, which includes Cooper’s

Hawk, Mastronardi, Sanson, Sprucewood

and Pelee Island. The Inn has 10 guest rooms

and five luxury suites. Dining options include

a parlour with a cozy fireplace, an intimate

English-inspired pub, two dining rooms, a

gazebo and a stunning garden terrace. Jean

tells us, “Guests can prop up their feet on their

porch or balcony, sip a libation and amble

down for dinner under the gazebo. It doesn’t

get much better.” 216 Joseph Street.

The New New Age

This is a casual farm-to-table bistro, brew pub

and herbal tea company. Stephen and Katie

Hotchkiss moved to southwestern Ontario

from Los Angeles in 2014 to start cultivating

medicinal and culinary herbs on their family

farm. As herbalists, artists and foragers, Stephen

says, they’ve “fallen in love with Ontario’s

biodiverse Carolinian forests, and conceived

Watch the trains go

by on our large PATIO


600 Talbot Street

St. Thomas ON



Photograph by Katie Hotchkiss

№ 60 | July/August 2016

The New

New Age

as a celebration

of the

bounty of




bistro is



organic ingredients and the majority of ingredients

are sourced on their own farm or from

local growers. Their micro-brew pub, known

as Last Castle Brewing, specializes in seasonal

batches of farmhouse, sour and herbal ales

that use only organic and wild crafted ingredients.

Field Magic, their signature farmhouse

ale, uses a recently re-discovered variety of

Ontario heritage hops known as Bertwell. The

hops are provided by one of Elgin County’s

best organic growers, Common Ground

Farm. There is a line of herbal teas available

made from ingredients grown on their farm

or sourced organically from elsewhere. 286

Bridge Street.

Good food

comes naturally

Indulge in fully hand-crafted

dishes with only the freshest local

ingredients designed by creative

tastemakers in Port Stanley, ON.

Restaurant & Bar

226 658 0999


From fine dining

to fresh produce,

farmers’ markets

and wineries...

30 www.eatdrink.ca

Solo on Main

Port Stanley’s latest culinary hot spot is

located in the heritage home previously

occupied by Mickey’s Boathouse. Solo on

Main is a family-run business with chef

Lauren Van Dixhoorn at the helm, twin

brother Paul on the bar and floor, and sister

Lyndsay handling the restaurant’s business

details. In seasonable weather there is a

smartly appointed patio and inviting front

porch that offers alfresco seating and great

“Port” views. Inside, there is a charming

growers & creators of fine lavender products


Steed & Company Lavender, part of a

45-acre horse farm just outside of Sparta


in our unique handcrafted lavender products


in the wonderful scent and

calming powers of lavender


47589 Sparta Line, Sparta


Open Wed–Sat 10-5; Sun 12–4

Mother’s Day through Christmas



Our Annual

Lavender Fairy


Saturday, August 6




№ 60 | July/August 2016

walnut bar in the lounge, topped with

quartz. The casual white-linen dining

room with its original hardwood floors is

decorated in warm gray tones and the walls

are adorned with local art. The cooking is

refined and the presentation modern and

thoughtful. Van Dixhoorn and sous chef

Brooke Cowitz, alumni of Niagara College’s

Canadian Food and Wine Institute, worked

together at Queen’s Landing in Niagaraon-the-Lake

where they became steadfast

friends. Smoked steelhead trout frites with

scallions, crème fraiche, crispy shallots and

Guinness hollandaise are an inspired take

on poutine. Chef has upped the ante with

her classic rendition of bones and toast, an

offering of roasted marrow bone with salt

chimichurri sauce and garlic rubbed bread.

There is an assertively modern Italian flavour

to the “Solo and Share Plates” menu, which

is available all day, offering items like nduja

(spreadable pork sausage) crostini, housemade

pappardelle, mozzarella arancini,

and a rotation of excellent daily risottos. The

evening menu features roast chicken, flank

steak with chimichurri, and pan roasted

tenderloin with shallot anchovy compound

butter. There are pickerel and perch, Lake

Erie staples, either pan fried or breaded. The

culinary experience succeeds on many levels.

187 Main Street.

Ontario Produce Year Round

Local Meats, Cheeses & Eggs

Bulk Foods & Pet Food

Quality & Freshness Since 1991

Drop in and stock up on local bounty

on your trip to the lake and enjoy a

delicious taste of Elgin County at home!




1030 Talbot St., St. Thomas 519-633-9691 briwoodfarmmarket.com

№ 60 | July/August 2016

The Windjammer Inn

Just off the main beach in Port Stanley, this is

the former Shephard House (1854), built by

Samuel Shephard, a prominent local grain

merchant. Owner and accomplished chef

Kim Saunders sources her ingredients from

the large farm network in Elgin County. In her

eleventh season, her personal culinary style is

evident on the menus, which state the kitchen’s

food philosophy. “We use Local and Organic,

Ethically Raised Products as much as possible.

Thank you to our Farmers!” Saunders, who was

raised on a farm, grows many of her own herbs,

edible flowers and heirloom vegetables in the

gardens surrounding the Inn. Saunders honed

her craft in a number of Toronto restaurants

before purchasing the Windjammer Inn. Lake

Erie fresh line-caught perch and pickerel are

available in season. Think lightly smoke-roasted

Everspring duck breast with ricotta herb

208 Main Street, Port Stanley

226-658-TACO (8226)



gnocchi, roasted broccoli and rhubarb ginger

chutney. A recent feature was roasted venison,

hunter-style, sweet potato wedges and wild leek

chimichurri. Scratch breads, artisanal cheeses,

fresh farm produce, local meats and Saunders’

baking round out the menu. In season, the

restaurant has seating on the newly rebuilt

wraparound porch. The Inn has three tastefully

appointed rooms and two separate rooms next

door. 324 Smith Street.

Several other restaurants specialize in

featuring famous Lake Erie pickerel and

perch (both yellow and white) and other

delicious local catch. Port Stanley’s diverse

culinary establishments offer up an

authentic taste of the region, whether you

are a connoisseur or simply appreciate a

glass of wine or a cold beer..

BRYAN LAVERY is eatdrink’s Food Editor and Writer at Large



Monday–Saturday 10-5

Sunday 11–4


223-A Colborne St.

Port Stanley




32 www.eatdrink.ca

№ 60 | July/August 2016

The BUZZ ... new and notable

We are proud to announce that Sue

Sutherland Wood has won first prize

from the Periodical Writers Association

of Canada for her contribution to eatdrink

#53 (eatdrink.ca/sue-sutherland-wood/). “Big Girl Pantries” is

a gem, as are all of Sue’s hilariously poignant essays. Find her

latest contribution in “The Lighter Side” column on page 62,

and check out Sue’s blog at speranzanow.com.

The first annual Colombian Gastronomy Festival will be

held July 23rd from 4 pm to midnight, outside Covent Garden

Market, offering authentic Colombian food with a unique

flavour of Latin music and tasty cold beer.

London Rib Fest returns to Victoria Park July 28 to August

1, featuring an array of ribs, fun exhibits and rides.

David’s Bistro will be closed July 1–15 for holidays, opening

Saturday July 16th at 5pm. David’s Bistro was opened in 1998

by chef/restaurateur David Chapman. The classic French

bistro is a venerated downtown London culinary anchor.

Chef Elvis Drennan’s new dinner menu features classic

items like duck leg confit with lingonberry sauce and rosti,

and herb-crusted wild boar tenderloin with grilled celeriac,

red wine jus and lima beans. There is an excellent selection

of wine available. www.davidsbistro.ca

Due to a small fire the Campus Hi-Fi was closed for

renovation, but re-opened in early June. This Richmond Row

fixture has been offering reasonably priced quintessential

diner food since 1957. www.campushifi.ca

We send condolences to Chef Gino Parco and his employees

at Porcino and the many other neighbouring businesses

devastated by fire that recently roared through their Hyde

Park plaza. We’re hoping for a speedy recovery for all.

Ogilvies Market is now open Saturdays from 9am–4pm

until Thanksgiving at 1331 Hyde Park Road. The focus is on

local and healthy. Find them on Facebook.

Petit Paris is proud to present The Coop Rotisserie in

Covent Garden Market. The Coop is focusing on simple

rotisserie chicken dinners with several sauce and side

choices, made in house from as many local and whole

ingredients as possible including fresh cut fries, a selection

of fresh salads, daily soups, mac ‘n’ cheese and delectable

desserts baked daily. There is a simple but delicious

breakfast menu. Take out or dine in.

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for Culinary Excellence


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№ 60 | July/August 2016

Covent Garden Market Outdoor Farmers’ Market

offers fresh, local food from May to December. The vendors

selling at the Farmers’ Market “grow it, raise it, bake it, or

make it.” The Farmers’ Market hosts free cooking classes

every Saturday outside on Rotary Square from 11am-noon.

This is a unique opportunity to learn a new dish featuring

products fresh from the market. In the case of inclement

weather, classes will be held upstairs in the market kitchen.

Field Gate Organics along with Smith Cheese are outside

at the market every Saturday 10:30am–noon offering up

delicious organic sliders, hot off the barbeque and topped

with the cheese of the day by Smith Cheese. At the Thursday

Market the expert chefs at Jill’s Table help get the local

food party going with fantastic recipes and delicious

samples. Thursdays 8 am–2 pm and Saturdays 8 am–1 pm

Chris’ Country Cuts is an old school butcher shop in

Covent Garden Market, selling only local product, grain

fed, non-anti-biotic and growth hormone free, using only

one supplier for each product to ensure that the product

meets its high standards. For example, all beef products

are sourced from Norwich Packers, lamb is procured from

a small farm just outside of Strathroy, poultry from Little

Sisters Chickens of Parkhill, and turkey products from

Hayter’s Farm in Dashwood. Chris has been a vendor in the

market since it reopened 17 years ago. Everything is cut and

processed on site. www.chriscountrycuts.com






Outdoor Farmers’ Market

Thursdays 8am–2pm & Saturdays 8am–1pm

Outdoor Cooking Classes, Saturday 11–noon,

outside on Rotary Square. Live Music Saturdays,

10:30am–12:30pm. Family Storytime, 10–10:30am.

Colombian Gastronomy Festival

Saturday, July 23, 4pm–12 midnight

First annual festival, with authentic Colombian

food with the unique flavour of Latin music and

tasty cold beer. Presented by Stereo Caliente

Entertainment on Market Square.

Forest City Beer Fest

Saturday, August 13, 1pm–12 midnight

Downtown London’s annual celebration of craft

beer. Free to the public . Discover something

new with over 20 brewers and Ontario cider

producers in attendance, including local

favourites Forked River and London Brewing

Co-Op. Food stands and food trucks are part of

the mix as well. www.ForestCityBeerFest.com

Sun–Tues 11am–11pm, Wed/Thurs 11am–midnight, Fri/Sat 11am–1am

34 www.eatdrink.ca

LUNCH Wed to Fri 11:30–2:30

DINNER from 5pm daily

432 Richmond Street

at Carling • London


a 3-course prix fixe

menu option


№ 60 | July/August 2016

On Sunday August 28, Ron Benner roasts corn for all at his

garden installation As the Crow Flies. Part sculpture, part

installation and part performance, the 10th Annual Corn

Roast will feature Benner’s roving corn-roasting wagon

Maiz Barbacoa. 1:00 to 4:00 pm at Wolf Sculpture Garden at

Museum London.

Farmers’ market managers have seen a shift in purchasing

patterns. Michelle Navackas, general manager of the

Farmers’ & Artisans’ Market at Western Fair says “More

customers are seeking out vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO

and organic products. We are seeing more educated and

informed shoppers.” Specialty vendors like The Village

Meat Shop provide more sustainable alternatives for

market shoppers. The Village Meat Shop is a retail outlet

for premium, drug and hormone-free local meats and

other quality items from a network of farms which

includes Metzger Meats, The Whole Pig, Lena’s Lamb,

Blanbrook Bison, Everspring Farms, and Little Sisters

Chicken. The Harvest Pantry is another specialty vendor,

and is focused on crafting small-batch ferments, like

sauerkraut, kimchi, cultured mustards, miso and kombucha.

The Root Cellar Market Kitchen serves organic juice and

smoothies upstairs, and downstairs retails certified organic

produce and products under the banner of On The Move

Organics. www.londonsfarmersmarket.ca

The restaurant at the Idlewyld Inn offers a locallyinspired

menu of contemporary and traditional choices,

complemented by a selection of international and local

wines, and draught ales on tap. Desserts are impressive,

including a chocolate fondue for two which is served with

pound cake, madeleine, berries and cut fruit. The service

is knowledgeable, polished and friendly. Summer BBQ in

the Courtyard is back by popular demand. There is also an

excellent Sunday Brunch. www.idlewyldinn.com

The refurbished and updated Restaurant Ninety One at

Windermere Manor relaunched to great fanfare. Chefs

Angela Murphy and Josh Blackwell and the culinary

team showcase a selection of innovative seasonal dishes and

tasting menus, including seared duck breast with potato

soufflé, chamomile and fennel and black mushroom jus, and

braised and roasted lamb with toasted oat puree, honeyed

turnip, olive crème fraîche, pickled strawberry and wheat

grass jus. www.restaurantninetyone.ca

The Springs on Springbank Drive continues to deliver

a refined and innovative experience under the creative

genius of Chef Andrew Wolwowicz, whose well-thoughtout

menus are crafted from local, regional and seasonal

ingredients. The Harrar espresso and black pepper crusted

venison loin with a dark chocolate pomegranate gastrique is

a classic house signature. There is a charming outdoor patio.


In early June, JJ’s Breakfast, Burgers and Beyond

opened on Dundas Street just east of Waterloo, . The

friendly family-run diner serves all-day breakfast.

№ 60 | July/August 2016 www.eatdrink.ca 35

Blu Duby recently launched a new dinner menu. Think duo of

duck with seared breast and braised leg, with a fresh berry, red

wine balsamic vinegar and rosemary sauce with wild blueberry

jelly, celeriac and sweet potato puree. www.bluduby.com

Sunfest is a non-profit community arts group dedicated to

promoting cross-cultural awareness and understanding of

the arts across a range of disciplines, such as music, dance

and the visual arts. Victoria Park, July 7th–10th.

The 43rd edition of the Home County Music and Arts

Festival is a celebration of folk-based traditions in Victoria

Park. It features 30 food vendors offering a variety of

cuisines. July 15th–17th.

The Pride London Festival will be held July 14–24.

Executive Chef Alfred Estephan’s Revive Kitchen officially

opened in mid-June, at 222 Wellington Street. The stylish

restaurant/cafe is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Offerings

range from fresh baked croissants to brioche, as well as a

range of breakfast entrees including delicious omelettes. Chef

Ashton Gillespie’s lunch and dinner menus offer an interesting

selection of locally-sourced meats, poultry and fish. Over the

years, Estephan has been involved with many community

initiatives and charitable organizations and intends to continue

that tradition at Revive Kitchen. www.revivekitchen.ca

The new Fire Roasted Coffee Company Café in Wortley

Village reopened in mid-June.

Downtown London’s annual celebration of craft beer,

Forest City Beer Festival, returns on Saturday, August

13th. Over 20 brewers and Ontario cider producers will be

in attendance, including local favourites Forked River and

London Brewing Co-Op. Food stands and food trucks are

part of the mix as well. The event is free to the public and

takes place at Covent Garden Market.

Forked River Brewing Company won a Silver for Dead

Parrot (red wine barrel-aged sour olde English ale with

sour cherries) at this year’s Canadian Brewing Awards in the

Wood and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer category.


Revival House, in partnership with Bradshaws Kitchen

Detail presents Revival House Afternoon High Tea, served

on the last Sunday of the month from 3pm–5pm. The tea

menu compliments house baked scones and preserves, both

sweet and savoury, within the elegant setting of Revival

House. Reservations are required.

Your Local Market Co-op, the Local Community Food

Centre, Stratford Farmers’ Market (at the Agri-plex

on Saturdays), and the Slow Food Market (on Sundays)

are food hubs where chefs, farmers, artists, locals and

The nt era of Fresh Casual



Breakfast • Lunch • Dinner • Bakery • Retail • Juice Bar

222 Wellington Street, London



36 www.eatdrink.ca

visitors come together. Another great downtown gem is the

General Store on Ontario Street that houses a sushi bar

counter called Mr. Kim’s Sushi & Rolls.

We love Foster’s Inn. It is Stratford’s original heritage

boutique Inn, situated in a turn-of-the-century building

and located two doors from the Avon Theatre. Foster’s Inn

offers nine individually-appointed guest rooms, a restaurant

and a cocktail lounge. The down-to-earth restaurant

focuses on great steaks and classical dishes made with local

ingredients. www.fostersinn.com

Alan Mailloux and Barb McMahon’s Downie Street

100% Local — from Our Farmers to Your Table

Hormone & Drug-Free

Ontario Beef, Pork, Bison, Lamb & Chicken




Great Local BBQ Meats !


Metzger Meat Products • The Whole Pig

Blanbrook Bison Farm • Lena’s Lamb • Little Sisters Chicken

Western Fair Farmers’ & Artisans’ Market: Saturdays, 8am–3pm

226-376-6328 • www.thevillagemeatshop.ca

№ 60 | July/August 2016

Bake House is the place for premium artisanal breads —

high quality, hand-crafted and free of artificial additives

and preservatives — and bills itself as “Really Good Bread

from the Wrong Side of the Tracks.” You can find one or both

owners in the shop, at the Slow Food Market in Market Square

on Sundays, and on Saturdays at Western Fair Farmers’ and

Artisans’ Market in London. www.goodbread.ca

Madelyn’s Diner has been in business for over 30 years

and is an iconic name in Stratford. The mission statement

says, “It’s not about making money ... it’s about feeding the

world, with good food, good service and good fun.” It has an

open kitchen, friendly helpful staff with a charming 30-seat

patio. www.madelynsdiner.ca

Chef Rene Delafranier is a graduate of the Stratford Chefs

School and worked in many Stratford restaurants before

opening the eponymous French-inspired Rene’s Bistro.

Chef and his wife Margaret Masters prepare everything

in-house, from breads to entrées, dressings and desserts.

An in-house specialty is P.E.I mussels, offered marinière,

Provençal, mouclade, Portuguese and bistro-style.

Reservations begin at 4:30pm and last reservations start at

8:30pm. www.renesbistro.ca

Aaron and Bronwyn Linley introduced the chef-driven

Linley’s | A Food Shop to Stratford last summer, offering

catering, restaurant-style food, take-away, and a stellar

selection of gourmet fare. Choose one of their set picnic

menus or design a custom picnic. Chef Linley has described

his cuisine as “nouveau Ontario,” using French techniques

and multi-cultural influences. www.linleys.ca

Chef Robert Rose’s Canadian Grub is one of few

restaurants in the country serving exclusively Canadian

grown and refined products. There is a cozy sit-down area

and a second kitchen with seating for twenty-nine people

in the back. Rose is known for his excellent scratch soups.


Another great shop fighting for soup supremacy off

Stratford’s Market Square is Derek Denny’s big flavoured

Soup Surreal on Wellington Street, featuring a repertoire of

ever-changing offerings. www.soupsurreal.com

№ 60 | July/August 2016

Susie Palach’s York St. Kitchen, everyone’s favourite

boutique restaurant tucked away on Erie Street, is known

for its interesting sandwiches, innovative side salads and

homemade desserts. Palach is celebrating her 27th year of

business. www.yorkstreetkitchen.com

Love local food and great music? Join the crew at Molly

Blooms. The owners of this Irish Pub are committed to

providing guests with the best quality product, using fresh

local ingredients whenever possible, and have just launched

a new summer menu. www.mollybloomsstratford.com

Revival House is proud to continue the Stratford Summer

Music (SSM) partnership with the summer concert series.

The Cabaret series starts July 23rd with Patricia O’Callaghan

and Robert Kortgaard’s tribute to Leonard Cohen. Later on

the summer schedule will be The Sondheim Jazz Project

Quintet; Carole Pope, Opera: The Barber of Seville, and Michael

Occhipinti Jazz Ensemble www.stratfordsummermusic.ca

Other great culinary retailers to support in Stratford include

Bradshaws & Kitchen Detail, Chocolate Barr’s Candies,

Distinctly Tea, JENN & Larry’s Brittle & Shakes, Olive

Your Favourites, Small-Mart General Mercantile, The

Milky Whey Fine Cheese Shop and Karen Hartwick’s

Tea Leaves Tea-Tasting Bar.

It was great to sample coffee blends and catch-up with

Maria Fiallos and her sister Valeria at Toronto’s City Fare.

They moved to London with their family from Nicaragua

about 25 years ago, and later settled in St. Thomas-Elgin.

Together they opened Las Chicas del Café, where they

roast and package quality coffee (sourced exclusively

from the family-run farm in the Nicaraguan rainforest)

for restaurants, and for sale at markets and specialty food

stores. Last June, Las Chicas del Café moved their roasting

operations to the CASO Station in St. Thomas. www.


Come to the wild side on Savour Stratford Foraging Treks

as seasoned forager Peter Blush of Puck’s Plenty leads

you along beautiful forest trails in search of wild edibles.

Take away Peter’s favourite recipes to showcase your fresh

picks. Information and tickets at www.visitstratford.ca/

member/Pucks-Plenty. Puck’s Plenty offers foraging tours

throughout the year as well as selected dates for foraging

and feasting. These popular tours sell out quickly.

Stratford Garlic Festival is moving inside the Stratford

Agriplex. Enjoy cooking demonstrations, black box

and braiding competitions, presentations and market.

September 10–11. www.stratfordgarlicfestival.ca

Did you know that a Stratford eatery is home to the largest

selection of craft beers in Ontario? Mercer Kitchen, Beer

Hall and Hotel offers 130 craft beers from around the

world. www.mercerhall.com

Where fresh matters.

Visit us to sample over 60 flavours of oils and balsamics.

Experience the freshest olive oils from across the globe, paired with

savoury white & dark balsamic vinegars from Modena, Italy.

Bottling fresh in store since 2012.




Tasting Bar

All Natural • Gluten Free • Non-GMO • Healthy • Delicious

462 Cheapside Street @ Maitland | London | 519-433-4444


38 www.eatdrink.ca

№ 60 | July/August 2016

Around Our Region

Clovermead’s Honey Festival happens on Saturdays in

August, at the farm just north of Aylmer on Imperial Road. You’ll

find lots of family fun, including a Bee Beard demonstration.

The Donut Diner is a fun, funky and charmingly retro

mini-donut trailer operating at the Pinery Market in Grand

Bend May through Thanksgiving. Get fresh, hot, made-onthe-spot

mini-donuts by the dozen. Watch the “donut robot”

crank out 50 dozen donuts per hour and say hello to The

Donut Lady! www.facebook.com/DonutDiner

Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery is located on

County Road 50 in Essex County. Sips & Sounds is a popular

summer event featuring

local bands playing on

the beautiful grounds

overlooking Lake Erie,

every third Sunday from

June to October. Enjoy

picnic baskets, fresh

housemade sangria

or a glass of wine.

Performances are weather


Railway City Brewing

Co. of St. Thomas won two medals at the 2016 Canadian

Brewing Awards in Vancouver. Black Coal Stout won gold in

the Sweet Stout or Cream Stout category, while The Witty

Traveller won bronze in the Wheat Beer-Belgian Style (Wit)

category. Both are currently available in LCBOs throughout

Ontario as well as at the retail store in St. Thomas. (The Witty

Traveller is currently a spring/summer seasonal in LCBOs, but

available year-round at the store.)

The newly relaunched Oxford County Cheese Trail was

well represented at Toronto’s City Fare. We met Gurinder and

Amarjit Singh of Ingersoll‘s Local Dairy which is housed

in the historic Ingersoll Cheese Factory. Local Dairy produces

cheese, cultured butter, ghee and yogurt, specializing in

authentic Indian dairy products, Mennonite cheese, and

traditional Mexican and Latin American crema queso and

award-winning Oaxaca cheese. www.localdairy.ca

Swiss-trained chocolatier and pastry chef Philippe Lehner’s

Habitual Chocolate, a local artisan bean-to-bar company,

produces a variety of hand-crafted, single-origin chocolates

that it retails by the bar and in drinking chocolate form.

Habitual makes a full line of fine confectionery from chocolate

in its Woodstock premises. www.habitualchocolate.com

Frank and Elizabeth Ihrig of Hessenland Country Inn

near St. Joseph want to help define Huron County as a new

wine region. The couple planted vines last year, and anticipate

pouring Hessenland’s first vintage in 2018. The Ihrigs aren’t the

first to grow grapes in the region, with nearby Maelstrom

Winery (in Seaforth) and Alton Farms Estate Winery (in

Lambton County) already producing wine. The owners of Dark

Horse Estate Winery (east of Grand Bend next to the Huron

County Playhouse) are putting the finishing touches on their

winery, expected to open this summer.

Ontario’s Southwest brought the region’s food, wine and beer

to the Toronto culinary scene and made a big splash with the

City Fare event on May 26th at 99 Sudbury. The event featured

over 26 beer, wine and culinary partners from across the region

and was attended by over 500 media/influencers and consumers

from the GTA. One of the goals was to get Toronto talking about

Ontario Southwest’s great culinary products.

The Government of Ontario has recently approved a number

of regulations impacting beverage alcohol in Ontario. The

intent was to reduce

administrative burden

and remove barriers

for investment and

innovation. Highlights of

Recent Amendments to

Regulations under the

Liquor Licence Act have

now been posted on the

AGCO website. One of

the changes: As of July 1,

2017, employees of liquor

licensed establishments and LDS will be required to complete an

approved server training course prior to their first day of work.

We want your


Do you have culinary news or upcoming events that you’d

like us to share? Every issue, eatdrink reaches more than

50,000 readers across Southwestern Ontario in print,

and thousands more online.

Get in touch with us at editor@eatdrink.ca and/or connect directly

with our Social Media Editor Bryan Lavery at bryan@eatdrink.ca

Food Day Canada (FDC) is an annual mid-summer

celebration, when we share Canada’s rich culinary heritage

and our delicious northern bounty. FDC will be held this year

on Saturday, July 30. “It is a chance for all Canadians to join

hands in one massive celebration in praise of our farmers

and fishers; our chefs and researchers ... and, above all, our

home cooks,” says founder Anita Stewart.

TOOK (The Only on King) celebrates its favourite area

farmers and producers with a “Food Day Canada” menu,

July 14–August 1, at $35 for a delicious three-courses. Chef

Arron Carley at Stratford’s The Bruce will be preparing

a six-course tasting menu on the long weekend that will

feature wild “Canadian Flavours.” Abruzzi is partnering

up with Growing Chefs! Chef Dave Lamers is offering a

three-course menu from July 18–30, featuring all the local

suppliers and farmers he collaborates with every day. For

each guest that orders the Food Day Canada menu, Abruzzi

will donate $5 to Growing Chefs!

Chef Lamers believes in engagement between, farmers,

chefs and the general public, and sees this as a great way

to give back to the community. Growing Chefs! educates

children, families, and community members about

nutrition, sustainability and healthy food systems by

providing programs, seminars, and workshops to promote

local and healthy eating.

Last year, London’s Abruzzi and Stratford’s The Red

Rabbitreceived Food Day Canada Good Food Innovation

Awards for their efforts. www.fooddaycanada.ca

№ 60 | July/August 2016 www.eatdrink.ca 39


Snowbirds on the Mediterranean

Eating Like Natives In Valencia, Spain


Dining out in Europe can be

an adventure, and not just a

gastronomic one. It can be scary

expensive sometimes. Long gone

is the era of Europe on $5 a day. But as my

wife and I have learned in eight years of

snowbirding on the Mediterranean, you

have to adapt and eat as Europeans do.

We spent six weeks this past winter in

Valencia, Spain, a city of 800,000 on the

coast between Barcelona

and Alicante. It’s a great

wintering place: lots to see

and do, excellent museums

and galleries, wonderful

architecture, beautiful beach.

The mild maritime climate

promises (and delivers) lots

of sun, minimal rain, and

wintertime highs of 12 to 22°C.

Snow? Nada.

that was okay, because Valencia is arguably

an even better place for eating in.

This city is so densely populated, it can

support supermarkets literally every few

blocks. The one we shopped at was two blocks

away. Valencia is also dotted with indoor

produce markets, including the huge Mercado

Centrale, a ten-minute walk, reputedly the

largest covered market in Europe, and a

modernista architectural gem.

Valencia is a fabulous food place

too. The region is one of Spain’s richest

agriculturally, the mild climate yielding

year-round crops. And with over 2,500

restaurants, the city is a great place for

dining out. (See my picks below.)

As we were on a budget, we more often

cooked and ate at our rented apartment, but

Valencia is rich with architectural gems (City Hall Square

is to the left) and boasts a long stretch of beautiful

Mediterranean beach

Even with the currency exchange rate

at its most punitive ($1.62 CDN), food and

groceries were less expensive than at home,

and with better quality fresh produce. Much

of it comes from nearby, including the justlyfamous

Valencia oranges.

With alcohol factored in, our total

comestibles bill was significantly lower. (As

an example, the Cava my wife drank cost

the equivalent of $3 at the supermarket; a

similar every-day bottle at home: $14.)

So we were happy to cook and eat at home

most of the time, but also looked forward to

40 www.eatdrink.ca

our weekly treat of a meal out.

With so many restaurants, choosing was

a challenge. Full disclosure: our tastes do

not lean to experimental fare. In our book,

fresh, good-quality ingredients, carefully

prepared, trumps wildly inventive and

Shop at the Mercado Centrale (top three photos) for

fresh and local, including fava beans, ham and fresh

seafood, or at your neighbourhood market, like the one

in Russafa (below), Valencia’s trendiest district

№ 60 | July/August 2016

exotic. If you’re looking for cutting edge

epicurean presentation, there’s plenty on

offer in Valencia. Restaurants such as Ricard

Camarena have earned a Michelin star

by amazing patrons with an imaginative

approach, with many surprises. But that’s

not what we look for.

We have three rules for dining out. First,

ignore recommendations in mass-market

travel guides. Chosen restaurants too often

jack prices and start catering to foreigners.

If you want an authentic, local dining

experience, eat where locals do.

Rule two follows: avoid areas tourists

frequent most. In Valencia, we gravitated

to Bario el Carmen, a bohemian nightclub

district near the city centre, densely

populated, with lots of restaurants, but too

disheveled to attract bus tours.

The third and most important rule: eat

your big meal at mid-day— 2 p.m. or later in

Spain. (Many restaurants don’t even open

until then.) It’s a healthier way to eat, and

can be a bargain.

Many establishments offer a lunch-time

fixed-price menu del dia. The best deals

include starter, main, dessert, bread and one

drink. We saw prices as high as €25, but you

can pay much less and eat well. A few cases

in point …

Casa Paquito, a small typically Spanish

eatery just off Plaza del Tossal in Carmen.

The ambience is intimate, with colourful

tile wainscoting, dark wood tables and

interesting framed posters on the walls. The

menu del dia for €12 included all courses,

with five or six choices in each.

My wife had white wine (a huge glass), a

generous composed salad, thin and tender

steak and fabulously rich chocolate tort. I

ordered a beer, hearty garbanzo soup that

reminded me of Habitant pea, a lightlybattered

scaloppini of chicken breast with

fries and hunter sauce, baked apple — and

an extra glass of white wine.

Total, tax and service included: €26. All of

the food was good and fresh tasting. What

would it cost in Canada? With the number of

courses and drinks, I’m guessing close to $100.

María Mandiles specializes in “authentic

Valencian home cooking,” and offers outdoor

seating in Plaza de Carmen, overlooked by a

beautiful roccoco-fronted church. The menu

included all courses for a rock-bottom €8.95,

with three choices in each.

My wife had cream of calabaza (squash)

№ 60 | July/August 2016 www.eatdrink.ca 41

Restaurant choices are plentiful in

Valencia , and include Casa Paquito (left)

and La Pizca de Sal (below)

soup with crispy ham, followed by tender

strips of curried chicken breast on a bed of

buttery mashed potatoes. I ordered mixed

salad, and Secreto Iberico, an inexpensive

variety of the dry, fine-flavoured ham that

is a much-loved Spanish specialty, served

with fries and carrot dice. We both had

house wine and, for dessert, caramel crepes

drizzled with chocolate.

Everything was prettily presented, fresh

and flavourful. Perhaps not quite as good

quality as Casa Paquito, but tremendous

value. Total with extra glass of wine: €19.85.

Before returning to London, our last

meal out was at La Pizca de Sal, a long-time

favourite. The Torre del Quart, one of the

city’s two surviving medieval tower gates,

looms over the square on which La Pizca sits.

The menu del dia on the day we went with

visiting friends was €11.90 for starter, main,

one drink, bread and dessert.

Our starter of preference — with one

dissenting mixed salad order — was a tasty

pork paella. Paella was invented in Valencia

and the short-grain rice used in traditional

recipes, very like arborial rice, grows nearby.

For segundos, we all went for the quarter

chicken roasted with potato and carrot. It

sounds plain fare, but Spanish chicken is

much more flavourful than the stuff we get

at home. This was lip-smacking.

My dessert was a superb apple flan, crusted

with carmelized sugar. The others opted for a

super-rich chocolate pudding. Total for four,

with two extra drinks: €53.20. And this may

have been the best meal out of the year.

In Valencia, locals love to dine out and are

spoiled for choice. That makes the restaurant

market very competitive. Result: aboveaverage

quality and value.

But if you eat as locals do — main meal at

lunch, order from fixed-price, multi-course

menus, avoid tourist traps — you can eat

well and relatively inexpensively anywhere

in Mediterranean Europe. If you’re

shopping for a place to spend the winter,

that’s good to know.

GERRY BLACKWELL is a London-based freelance writer.

He also took all of the photos illustrating this story.

Valencia abounds with beautifully sophisticated street art

42 www.eatdrink.ca

№ 60 | July/August 2016


Could these be your BBQ BFFs?

Six Great Wines for Summer Barbecuing


Beer, gin and tequila are common

beverage choices when it comes

to barbecuing. For many, a

burger and a beer go hand in

hand. Wine is often not even considered

when it comes to grilling. Perhaps to some

it seems a bit too pretentious or maybe

with all those smoky, spicy and sweet sauce

flavours common in barbecuing, wine

pairing becomes a little more complicated.

As problematic as pairing wines with

grilled fare can be, here are a few tips and

wine suggestions that will help make your

next barbecue a success!

Let have a look at some classic barbecue

wine pairings.

Grilled steak works best with big,

full-bodied red wines such as cabernet

sauvignon. Cooked rare, the steak is best

paired with a younger vintage.

Gamay noir is a bistro wine and pairs

well with burgers. Choose an Ontario

gamay or a beaujolais cru from Burgundy.

You could also consider malbec or

cabernet franc as an alternative.

Spicy sausages, baby back ribs or

anything coated with sweet, smoky or

spicy barbecue sauce can be paired with

zinfandel. An Australian shiraz or any fruity,

spicy young wine is also a good choice.

Cedar plank salmon and pinot noir is an

impeccable pairing.

Grilled chicken and a light fruity sparkling

wine work well together. You should also

consider pairing with a dry rosé, especially

if the chicken is coated with a sweet or

spicy sauce.

Shrimp and grilled vegetables (perhaps

prosciutto-wrapped asparagus) pair

well with sauvignon blanc’s herbaceous


Here are six summer barbecue wine

recommendations to have on hand when

you are ready to fire up the grill.

Montes Alpha Cabernet

Sauvignon (Vintages #322586,

$19.95) — Aged 12 months in

French oak barrels, loaded with

concentrated blackcurrant, plum

and cassis fruit notes along with

chocolate and cedar tones. This

cabernet from Chile will impress

any wine drinker who enjoys a

big, full-bodied red wine. Montes

leads the way in quality Chilean

wine and this one is comparable to

a $40–$50 California cabernet. Great

value! This is a protein wine and pairs

well with medium rare grilled steak.

13th Street Gamay Noir 2013

(Vintages #177824, $19.95) — The

grapes used to make this wine were

hand-harvested gamay from the

Whitty and Sandstone vineyards

on the Niagara Peninsula.

Fermentation and aging were

done in stainless steel tanks.

No oak was introduced into the

process. It is a dry, mediumbodied

wine, with racy acidity,

ripe raspberry and red cherry

flavours. This gulpable, bistro style

wine pairs well with pizza, pasta, and

barbecued burgers.

7 Deadly Zins Old Vine

Zinfandel (Vintages #59311,

$24.95) — A delicious California

blend of zinfandel and petit sirah

(not to be confused with syrah)

from Michael David winery in

Lodi, California. A rich, full-bodied

wine with spicy, jammy black fruit,

hickory and a hint of smoke. This

wine can handle those hard to pair

spicy, smoky and sweet sauces that

are often used when barbequing.

№ 60 | July/August 2016 www.eatdrink.ca 43

Summer Sundays


Come join us at


for some


Enjoy local food, music

and award winning wines




JUL 10

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KELLY AUTHIER (the O’Chay’s)




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Pelee Island Pinot Noir

Reserve (LCBO #458521, $16.95)

— Pelee Island Winery, located in

Ontario’s Lake Erie North Shore

wine growing region, has several

different pinot noir wines in its

portfolio. For the price, this is the

best value. Dry, medium body,

red cherry, raspberry, and a touch

of earthiness round the palette.

A suitable go to wine for grilled

tuna or salmon, and mushroombased


Casa Dea 2015 Dea’s Cuvée

Sparkling (Vintages #261263,

$18.95) — Made from chardonnay and

pinot noir grapes grown in Casa Dea’s

cold creek vineyard in Prince Edward

County. A hint of pink colour when

poured in a glass. Lively acidity with

a touch of sweetness, ripe peach,

fresh apricot, green apple and

citrus notes grab your attention.

I have a fondness for sparkling

wines. On hot summer days they

are the perfect backyard sippers.

Like beer, bubbly wines are


Robert Mondavi Fumé

Blanc 2014 (Vintages #221887,

$22.95) — Made from 94% sauvignon

blanc and 6% semillon grapes at

Robert Mondavi winery in Napa

California. Fumé blanc was

Mondavi’s creation back in the

late 1960s. He took sauvignon’s

grassy, herbaceous notes, added

some toasty oak and let the wine

sit on the lees (spent yeast cells)

for a period of time, resulting in a

wine with complex, rich and round

flavours. There is smokiness in the

wine that complements barbecue


Cheers to the summer of 2016! Fire up that

grill and uncork a bottle of wine for a perfect

pairing at your next barbecue.

GARY KILLOPS is a certified wine geek who loves to talk,

taste and write about wine. He shares his wine tasting notes on


№ 60 | July/August 2016 www.eatdrink.ca 45


beer matters

Celebrate the Art of Craft Brewing

With a Trio of Huron County Breweries


Finding tasty craft beer is as easy as

one-two-three in Huron County,

where a trio of new breweries is

ready to satisfy thirsts.

Cowbell Brewing, Half Hours on Earth,

and Stone House Brewing Company are

located in Blyth, Seaforth, and Varna

respectively and, while they share a county

and a passion for fresh beer, their owners are

blazing distinct paths to success.

Cowbell doesn’t actually yet exist, but its

beer does.

Its first, a kolsch called Absent Landlord,

was too good to keep waiting, so the brewers

decided to have it contract brewed in

Hamilton while plans proceed to build an

environmentally cutting edge brewery in Blyth.

Kolsch is a German beer style using

barley. Once Cowbell has its own brewery

up and running in 2017, several more beer

styles will be launched including seasonals

and one-offs.

“Our goal for Absent Landlord is

to achieve broad appeal with new

craft drinkers as well as craft beer

enthusiasts,” Cowbell vice-president

and general manager Grant

Sparling says . “Based on feedback

at our First Batch Tasting event, as

well as early sales in the LCBO and

restaurants, Absent Landlord has

been very well received.”

Absent Landlord is named for

Henry Blyth, the British gentleman

who purchased the entire town in

1885, yet never visited.

Among the restaurants serving

Absent Landlord are the Black

Dog and Little Inn in Bayfield,

Hessenland at St. Joseph’s, and

Eddington’s in Exeter.

Ground was broken for the Cowbell

brewery in June. “The brewery will be

built at the south end of Blyth on 59 acres,”

Sparling says. “Seven acres will be used for

building and parking, 23 acres will be used

for events space and a working farm, and

the remaining 29 acres was reforested with

11,000 trees — a variety of native species —

and features walking trails/cross country

skiing opportunities in the winter. This forest

will provide enough carbon offset for the

entire Cowbell facility.”

“The building (which will house the

restaurant/bar, retail space, brew house/

cellar/packaging) will be a 25,000 square

foot barn. The building has been designed

by Allan Avis Architects and it will look and

feel like a century old barn — authentic to

who we are and where we are.”

It has taken beer geeks a nano-second to

celebrate this year’s opening, in Seaforth, of

A selection of craft brew from

Half Hours on Earth, in Seaforths

46 www.eatdrink.ca

№ 60 | July/August 2016

feel like drinking at any given

time (or season).

“(Our) favourite beers and

styles change often. And a lot of

what we do prefer, doesn’t really

follow style guidelines. Currently

we’ve been enjoying fruited

sour ales and lightly tart/heavily

hopped Farmhouse-style ales.”

In Varna, Mike Corrie draws

water from a 250-foot well to brew

a pilsner, lager and IPA, all under

the Stone House name at Huron

County’s original craft brewery.

Stone House Pilsner is a crisp

Czech style, available in refillable


Cowbell Brewing of Blyth offers Absent Landlord

through the LCBO, and pubs and restaurants

Half Hours on Earth. The original intent of Huron County

natives Kyle Teichert and Kristen Harburn might have

been low key, but the reality is anything but.

Named for how long it takes to savour a really wellcrafted

beer (30 minutes), Half Hours on Earth has a

constantly rotating selection of beer styles and recipes

brewed in small batches.

Beer lovers can take their chances by dropping into

the brewery store and buying whatever is on the shelf,

but the more certain approach is to take advantage of a

new ordering system. Beers are selected online based on

availability, then picked up at the store on Saturdays.

A beer delivery system is in the works, but there are no

plans to market through the LCBO or grocery stores.

“We got into brewing because we love variety,”

Teichert said. “We plan

to brew according to

what style of beer we

Stone House, in Varna, was Huron

County’s first craft brewery

Selected in

TOP 10

Beer Bars

in Canada

№ 60 | July/August 2016

The Stone House tasting room is also

home to food pairing events featuring

cheeses, fish and spicy foods.

Cowbell Brewing Co.

Flagship beer Absent Landlord Kolsch,

available at select LCBO outlets and pubs.

Actual brewery opens in 2017 at the corner of

Highway 4 and Road 25 in Blyth.


Half Hours on Earth

Always rotating beers and new recipes.

Order online and pick up at brewery store,

151 Main St. South, Seaforth.


Stone House Brewing Company

Pilsner, lager, and IPA available. Tasting

room. Call to book.

76050 Parr Line, Varna, five kilometres east

of Bayfield.


WAYNE NEWTON is a freelance journalist in London who

enjoys writing about beer and travel.

Come. Sit. Stay.

Enjoy the Dawghouse Pub & Eatery’s genuine

pub atmosphere with great food, live bands,

karaoke, interactive games ... and there’s always

a game on our large screen TVs!

trivia, games

& live events


Food & Drink


Catering Available. Kitchen Open Late!

699 Wilkins Street, London

519-685-0640 dawghouse.ca

SUN–TUES 11am–1am; WED–SAT 11am–2am

Whatever your taste,

experience it all in


IN May 6-8

Goderich Home July 29 12th Annual Don Johnston

July 1

Canada & Cottage Day Show

Picnic to & Aug Parade 1 Memorial Slo Pitch Tourney

May July 10

1 The Sound Dash of for Goderich

DiabetesJuly 31

21st Annual Goderich

May 15 Run Around the Square

Firefighters Breakfast

July 3

Lions Beef Barbecue

May 21 Goderich Farmers’ Market Aug 1-5

Celtic College

to July Oct 8–10 8

Festival (every Saturday)

of Arts & Aug Crafts 5-7

Celtic Roots Festival

May July 22

8–Aug 26 Goderich Piping Flea Down Market

the Aug Sun 5-7

(every Friday) Goderich Art Club

to July Oct 13–16 9

Kinsmen (every Sunday)


Annual Art Show

May 25 Circle City Cruize Nights Aug 13-14 RC Model Air Show

July 23

Horticultural Garden Tour

to Sept 14 (every 2nd Wednesday) Aug 19-21 Goderich Salt Festival

May July 26

23 Downtown Memories Concerts

Then & Now Car Show

Aug 21

Goderich Triathlon

to July Aug 29–Aug 25


12th (every Annual Thursday)

Don Johnston Sept 2-3

Memorial West Slo Coast Pitch Bluesfest


June July 18

31 Huron’s Multicultural 21st Annual Festival

Goderich Sept Firefighters 2-5 Labour Day Breakfast Fast Ball Tourney

June Aug 19

1–5 Sunday Celtic Concerts Collegeby

Sept 18

Terry Fox Run

to Sept 4 Goderich Laketown Band

Aug 5–7

Celtic Roots Festival Oct 31

Halloween Activities

June 25 Goderich Children’s Festival

Aug 5–7

Goderich Art Club Nov Annual 5 Country Art Show Christmas Craft Show

June 29 Circle City Beach Cruize

Nov 5-6

Huron Tract

June Aug 30

13–14 Canada RC Model Day Fireworks

Air Show

Spinners & Weavers

July Aug 1

19–21 Canada Day Goderich Picnic & Parade

Salt Festival & Goderich Quilters’ Guild

July Aug 1


Dash Goderich for Diabetes


Show & Sale

July 3

Lions Beef Barbecue Nov 11

Remembrance Day

Sept 2–3

West Coast Bluesfest

July 8-10 Festival of Arts & Crafts Nov 12-13 IODE Christmas House Tour

Sept 2–5

Labour Day Fast Ball Tourney

July 8

Piping Down the Sun Nov 18

Angel Tree Ceremony

to Sept Aug 26


Terry (every Fox Friday)

Run Nov 19

Santa Claus Parade

July 13-16 Kinsmen Summerfest Nov 19 Festival of Lights Celebrations

July 23 Horticultural Garden Tour Dates are subject to change.

July 23 Memories Then & Now For locations and more information,

Dates Car are Show subject to change. be sure to visit goderich.ca

For locations and more info, be sure to visit goderich.ca.

1-800-280-7637 •• goderich.ca goderich.ca

48 www.eatdrink.ca

№ 60 | July/August 2016

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№ 60 | July/August 2016




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www.eatdrink.ca 49




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• Heritage Building

• Patio NOW OPEN!





527 Main Street, Exeter ON

30 min N of London | 20 min E of Grand Bend | 30 min W of Stratford

519-235-3030 | www.eddingtons.ca

50 www.eatdrink.ca

№ 60 | July/August 2016


Summertime and the Theatre is Easy

High Quality Theatre in Port Stanley, Grand Bend & Blyth


Summer theatre season is in full

swing in Southwestern Ontario.

From original Canadian plays to

repertoire hits from Broadway,

it’s a time to sit back, sing along and

reflect on the artistry of our region.

From London, there are three locally

operated professional theatres in easy

driving distance: Port Stanley Festival

Theatre, Huron Country Playhouse and

Playhouse II in Grand Bend, and the

Blyth Festival. We are not neglecting

the renowned Stratford Festival, which runs

from May to October, but that is a story unto

itself. This article celebrates the vibrancy of

smaller, local summer theatre.

Besides theatre, a great thing about these

locations is that fabulous food is found

alongside. Port Stanley offers fresh perch. Blyth

has the lovely Part II Bistro, recently named a

fan favourite in Huron County. Grand Bend

is home to F.I.N.E, A Restaurant, featuring

the talents of chefs Erryn Shephard and Ben

Sandwith, and nearby are Hessenland Inn and

Eddington’s of Exeter. These theatrical towns

also offer the perfect setting for a summer’s

picnic pre- or post-theatre, with local bounty

readily available for your picnic basket and to

take home in your cooler.

Port Stanley Festival Theatre

Newly renovated, this 202-seat professional

theatre runs from May to September. The

theatre always offers a

Norm Foster play, but part

of its mandate is to develop

new Canadian works.

This season there are

two world premieres and

one new comedy, all by

Canadian writers. Artistic

director Simon Joynes

presents a new comedy

starting July 6th, Birds of

Port Stanley Festival Theatre

a Feather, billed as a battle of competitive

bird-watchers. It is followed by another

premier, This One, by Denise Mader, starting

on July 27th. This solo performance should

appeal to eatdrink readers who love pecan

pie — and really, who doesn’t? Closing out

the season is The Birds and the Bees by Mark

Crawford. This is his follow-up play to Stag

and Doe,which ran in previous summers at

Port Stanley and at Blyth.

“The changes that we have made will not

only expand the experience for our patrons

with 51 more seats, brand new HVAC systems,

and more washrooms on the second floor,

but we have also added a new office suite

for our administrative staff, a new workshop

space and new backstage facilities for our

actors,” says Melissa Kempf, Theatre Manager.

The theatre is in the town hall, which also

houses the local library and some shops.

Last summer more than

15,000 patrons attended

performances, with nearly

half of them coming from

London. It’s a pleasant

drive to Port, and enroute

are roadside fruit and

vegetable stands.

This One, July 27th–August 13

№ 60 | July/August 2016

Huron Country Playhouse I & II

As part of the Drayton family of theatre,

Huron Country Playhouse and Playhouse

II are much loved by cottage owners and

residents in Lambton and Huron counties.

Road trippers find it a perfect spot to combine

a beach walk with some laughs, song and

dance and general feel-good entertainment

for all ages. This is a great place to bring the

whole family — or send them there so you

have the cottage to yourself for a few hours!

The playbill features Broadway blockbuster

repertoire such as its own Canadian version

of Mamma Mia! Clearly, with more than

55,000 tickets sold in 2015, summer theatregoers

love this kind of entertainment. Last

year the bit hits were Legends … of Rock

‘n’ Roll and Chicago — squarely aimed at

boomers and their families. This year the

popular Legends series continues with

Canadian Legends, conceived and directed

by Artistic Director Alex Mustakas, with

the venerable Neil Aitchison as Constable

Archibald F. Inkster (until July 16th). It will be

followed by Anything Goes. Over the 13-week

season, Huron Country Playhouse will


June 15 to September 3, 2016






2 01


CALL 519.782.4353







52 www.eatdrink.ca

№ 60 | July/August 2016

Huron County Playhouse

feature four productions while the smaller

auditorium, Huron Country Playhouse II has

a 10-week season featuring three productions,

including Norm Foster’s Hilda’s Yard.

Blyth Festival

Since 1975, the tiny village of Blyth has swelled

with up to twenty thousand additional visitors

each summer, who are attending performances

at the Blyth Festival. The theatre is

situated on Queen Street (Highway 4), in the

historic Blyth Community Memorial Hall and

Centre for the Arts. The building also has a

small art gallery and a basement hall for exhibitions

and events. The Centre is a year-round

hub for arts in Huron County with other performances

in the theatre space. But it is summer

theatre with a distinctive Canadian flair

that draws in the visitors. Don’t be surprised to

spot Alice Munro in the audience, and iconic

theatre folks who slip over from Stratford to

experience emerging Canadian talent.

“Blyth Festival has premiered 127 scripts,

with over half going on to second or multiple

productions in Canada, the United States,

Europe and Asia. Works that originated in

Blyth have won major Canadian theatre

awards, including the Governor General’s

Award, the Chalmers Award and the Dora

Mavor Moore Award,” says John McHenry,

Director of Marketing & Development at

Blyth Festival.

This season Blyth Festival will celebrate

two milestones: The Birds and the Bees by

Mark Crawford is its 200th production, and

is the Festival’s

125th world

premiere to be

staged. Four


run in repertoire


the summer. A

new play on the

Donnellys of Lucan promises to shed more

light on the tragic tale.

Rural hospitality shows its friendly face in

Blyth as theatre-goers can attend “Country

Suppers” most Friday and Saturday evenings

beginning at 6:15. Suppers are held at either

Trinity Anglican Church, Blyth United Church,

Blyth Legion or Walton Hall. At intermission,

enjoy a local Cowbell beer, crafted in Blyth by

the Sparling family. The brewery will open in

2017 for visitors, but is already supplying local

establishments in Huron County.

Right across the street from the Festival are

two popular dining spots that have added

an energetic vibe

to the village of

Blyth Festival Theatre

1000 year-round

residents: Queens

Bakery for lighter

fare, and Part II

Bistro for casual

fine dining (run by

Chef Peter Gusso,

who has dedicated

himself to the

development of a

culinary scene in

Huron County).

Don’t miss his

Scrim’s pork spring

rolls and the duck

breast with local

Blyth goat cheese. A long-time favourite with

actors is The Blyth Inn — affectionately called

“The Boot” — featuring pub fare.

It’s a summer to kick back and enjoy local

entertainment “in your own backyard.”

Stratford has a stellar season underway, but

we are privileged to have other wonderful

opportunities to enjoy locally produced

professional theatre.

Port Stanley Festival Theatre

302 Bridge Street, Port Stanley


Huron Country Playhouse & Playhouse II

70689 B Line, South Huron (Grand Bend)


Blyth Festival Theatre

423 Queen Street (County Road #4), Blyth


JANE ANTONIAK is a regular roving reporter for eatdrink

magazine. She is also Manager, Communications & Media

Relations at King’s University

College in London.

The Last Donnelly Standing, August 4–September 3

№ 60 | July/August 2016 www.eatdrink.ca 53

the classical beat

A Star-Studded Summer

In Stratford, Grand Bend, and London


Stratford Summer Music is the little

music festival that could. What

began as a modest 10-day event

in 2001 has grown into a six-week

extravaganza, featuring big-name stars

performing music from across the ages and

around the globe.

“One of the things I insisted on when we

started was that we grow slowly and steadily,”

says Stratford Summer Music artistic producer,

John Miller. “I wanted to offer the highest

quality musical experience possible, not only

in Stratford but in southwestern Ontario. Being

home to the best theatre in the region, if not

the country, I felt it was incumbent upon us to

do the same musically.”

Add a commitment to musical variety and

accessibility — including numerous free

offerings — and Stratford Summer Music

seems to have found the recipe for enduring

artistic and popular success.

The festival kicks off July 18 on Tom Patterson

Island with a firework display set to

Berthold Carrière’s Music for a Midsummer’s

Night. It wraps up August 28 with The

Stratford Six, version 2.0. In between, the

city’s streets, parks, and churches will play

host to dozens of concerts, master classes

and other special events.

Some of this year’s notable guest artists

include the Choir of Holy Trinity Church

Measha Brueggergosman will perform in Stratford

with the Harlem Gospel Choir from New York City

from Stratford-Upon-Avon (Aug 4, 6 & 7),

Canadian soprano Measha Brueggergosman

with New York City’s Harlem Gospel Choir

(July 20), pianists Jan Lisiecki (August 26 &

27) and Simone Dinnerstein (July 21 & 23),

Artie Shaw Orchestra (Aug 1 & 2) and

London favourite Basia Bulat with

the Sunparlour Players (July 19).

The festival also provides plenty of

opportunity for less formal musical

enjoyment, including free noonhour

concerts held daily on the

MusicBarge, a series of weekend

musical brunches at The Prune

Restaurant, and Sunday morning

Bach Walks with the Stratford Field

Naturalists and flautists from Charm

of Finches.

№ 60 | July/August 2016

“Outside of large urban areas, it will be

difficult to find musicians of the calibre that

we are presenting,” Miller says.


Summer Sunset Sounds

Music-lovers heading to Grand Bend this

summer may want to stake their spot in the

sand for the third annual Summer Sunset

Sounds, a series of free concerts held on

the main beach every Sunday evening (or

holiday Monday) at 7.

This year’s 10-concert line-up includes

headliners Sarah Smith (July 4), Pat Robitaille

and Soul Brother Stef (August 1), Robbie

Antone Band (August 14) and Steel City

Rovers (August 28).

Pat Robitaille will

share the stage with

Soul Brother Stef on

the Grand Bend

beach on August 1st

Series organizer and Grand Bend business

owner Glen Baille says the series continues a

long-standing tradition of bringing music to

the beach. “When Guy Lombardo played here

in the 1940s, the guys in the band slept in the

dunes,” he notes.

Thanks to generous community support

and a grant from the Canada 150 Community

Infrastructure Program, this year’s concert

series will take place on the brand new Rotary

Community Stage.

Summer Sunset Sounds drew close to

6,000 spectators last year. It’s a familyfriendly

series designed to help locals and

visitors extend their weekend at this popular

lakeside town, Baille says. “We have many

residents who came to Grand Bend to have

fun in their youth and now they are here to

retire, but we still cater to kids. This event

appeals to both groups.”

№ 60 | July/August 2016 www.eatdrink.ca 55

El Sistema Aeolian

The stars aligned earlier this year for London’s

El Sistema Aeolian and Bishop Cronyn

Memorial Anglican Church. The free, afterschool

music education program moved into

the historic church at the corner of Queens

Avenue and William Street this January, after

declining parish membership forced

the congregation to disband.

Inspired by similar

music programs in South

America, El Sistema

Aeolian was founded in

London in 2011 with 16

young participants working out of one

classroom at Aeolian Hall. By this September,

100 children from all over London will

be making music as members of its three

orchestras and two choirs.

The only criterion for participation is

attendance, says Clark Bryan, founder and

program director for El Sistema Aeolian. With

most children taking part in various lessons

and rehearsals three or four afternoons each

week, the time commitment is considerable.

“Space means everything in terms of

being able to create programming,” Bryan

says. “And this church is the perfect space for

us. It’s in the right neighbourhood and has a

great energy.”

El Sistema Aeolian’s seven-year lease

includes use of the sanctuary as well as

adjacent classrooms, a former daycare area,

meeting rooms and a kitchen. “Having this

facility allows us to do other projects,”

Bryan notes.

The Pride Men’s Chorus

London is one of the first

groups to make use of the new

El Sistema space. The 30-voice

choir has been rehearsing at Bishop Cronyn

in anticipation of their debut performance

on July 21 at Aeolian Hall.

As for the kids of El Sistema Aeolian, they

will be holding a concert in their new home

at Bishop Cronyn Memorial Place towards

the end of August.

NICOLE LAIDLER has been covering the London and area

music scene for more than a decade. See what else she’s been

writing at www.spilledink.ca




July 19




Jazz Trio

August 14






56 www.eatdrink.ca

№ 60 | July/August 2016

various musical notes

Getting Back to Some Musical Roots

Home County and Blues Fest, in London


This country is blessed with an

abundance of folk and roots music

talent — as witness the Home

County Music & Art Festival.

In particular, for some reason, we have

a clutch of the best all-women harmony

groups on the planet: the Be Good Tanyas,

Wailin’ Jennys and — arguably best of the

bunch — the multiple Juno-winning Good


Local fans will have a couple of chances

to hear the Lovelies this summer. They play

Bayfield Town Hall in Bayfield July 29, and

Stratford’s Revival House July 30.

The Lovelies — Caroline Brooks, Kerri

Ough and Sue Passmore — are touring their

2015 album, Burn The Plan, which showcases

the trio’s considerable song-writing talents

and those glorious harmonies. It also adds

some fresh new sounds and influences to

their oeuvre.

A Lovelies show is always a warm,

entertaining affair, and the venues here are

suitably folksy and down home, both with

reputedly excellent acoustics.

Revival House is the

former Church Restaurant

in downtown Stratford.

Bayfield Town Hall is the

white clapboard former

church opposite Clan

Gregor Square just off

Highway 21 in Bayfield.

If Home County and

the Lovelies wake your

inner folkie, be sure to

take in Qristina & Quinn

Bachand at the London

Music Club (Friday, August

19, 8:30 p.m., $20–$25.)

The west coast-based

brother-and-sister duo

have been lighting up

Multiple Juno award winners The Good Lovelies will be

in Bayfield July 29, and in Stratford on July 30.

the Celtic music world for a few years now

(two Irish Music Awards, multiple Folk and

Western Canadian Music nominations).

Qristina fiddles, Quinn picks, both sing, write,

arrange and produce. (Quinn also moonlights

playing Bluegrass and Gypsy Jazz.)

For the LMC date, the Bachands are

sure to draw heavily on their excellent

2015 album, Little Hinges, a mix of lively

instrumentals and original songs.

Some of the music

sounds as if it could

have been recorded

100 years ago at an east

coast kitchen party.

Some is decidedly quirky

and contemporary.

Instrumentation on the

album, for example,

includes autoharp,

Hammond B3, electric

bouzouki and celeste.

This is not your average

Celtic band.

Qristina and Quinn Bachand

appear at the London Music

Club August 19 — not your

average Celtic band!.

№ 60 | July/August 2016

Music fans, rejoice! London Blues Fest is

back, and it’s bigger and better than ever. Best

of all, it’s free. The festival runs August 26, 27

and 28 at Victoria Park in downtown London,

with 40 acts playing four stages, including two

in licensed areas.

The legendary Downchild Blues

Band heads the rich list of Canadian

and international talent on offer.

Popular Juno and Maple Blues Award

winning guitar tyros Steve Strongman

and Jack DeKeyzer are also on the

bill. For a schedule and complete list

of acts — including bands not yet

announced at time of writing — surf

to www.londonbluesfest.com.

The old blues fest, a paid event last held

in a parking lot at King and Clarence in

2013, found an audience among hardcore

blues fans, but the new festival’s producer,

Ron Schroeyens, is aiming for something

bigger and broader in appeal. “What we’re

Downchild Blues Band (above) and Steve Strongman will

be among the performers at London Blues Fest

doing is completely different [from the

old blues fest],” says Schroeyens,

a musician and veteran music

producer. “We’re modeling this

after Sunfest and Home County.

And, you know, it’s free. That’s a

big difference.”

It is, indeed. And so is the

leafy park setting, the multiple

stages, the all-day music (5 to

11 Friday, noon to 11 Saturday

and Sunday), and the presence

of many more food and

merchandise vendors than

the old venue could ever

support. Schroeyens,

partnering with Tourism

London, Budweiser and

other sponsors, has put together a package he

hopes will draw fans from across the region,

and turn London Blues Fest into a longrunning

annual event. We hope so too.

Who knew the Canadian Country Music

Awards show was such a big deal? The show

goes September

11 at Budweiser


broadcast live

across the

nation on CBC

TV, starting at

6:45 p.m.

The good

news is that, as of late June, tickets to attend

the show were still available. The bad news?

The cheapest were selling online for almost

$800 apiece. Tickets at the original prices

sold out ages ago.

But the awards show is merely the

culmination of Country Music Week, the

CCMA’s (Canadian Country Music

Association) annual celebration of

all things hurtin’ and twangy. There

are other events, and other ways to

get involved. For a complete list:


The CCMA Discovery Showcase, a

concert featuring finalists in a contest

to identify Canada’s next country

music superstar, plays London Music

Hall, September 8, 8 p.m. Tickets are

a more reasonable $25. Go root for

local boy Eric Ethridge of Sarnia.

You could also volunteer to help out

with Country Music Week. Contact:

Patrice Whiffen at volunteer@ccma.org.

If you just want a shot of down home,

honest-to-goodness country music

with a local flavour, check out Purple

Hill Country Music Hall (Purple Hill

Rd., off Highway 2 in Thorndale.) This

place is the real deal.

Get in the mood for the CCMA

shenanigans with Purple Hill’s

Bluegrass Opry Reunion (August

19–21). Among other treats, it promises

a reunion of the legendary Dixie Flyers.


GERRY BLACKWELL is a London-based

freelance writer.

58 www.eatdrink.ca

№ 60 | July/August 2016


A Taste of Haida Gwaii

Food Gathering and Feasting at the Edge of the World

By Susan Musgrave

Review and Recipe Selections by TRACY TURLIN

David Phillips ran the Copper Beech

Guest House on Haida Gwaii for 20

years, changing it from a “dollara-night-flop-house”

into a cottage

style bed & breakfast that’s been visited by

tourists, artists and politicians. In 2010 he

turned the hotel over to his friend, Canadian

author and teacher Susan Musgrave. She

has lived on the island chain of Haida Gwaii

since the early 1970s and recently became the

Marriage Commissioner of the area. When

asked for her qualification for this position

she joked, “I’ve been married three times.

Third time lucky because he’s spent most of

our 25-year marriage in prison.”

Musgrave has now published her first

cookbook, A Taste of Haida Gwaii; Food

Gathering and Feasting at the Edge of the

World. Well, sort of cookbook. And sort

of travel guide, memoir, and manifesto

proclaiming, “we’re kind of weird here and

we like it.”

Haida Gwaii, formerly known as the Queen

Charlotte Islands, is an archipelago off the

North Coast of British Columbia. Its temperate

rainforests and rugged shorelines give the area

a stunning natural beauty. Every description

of the place reads like a

brochure for Paradise.

In Taste of Haida Gwaii,

Susan Musgrave describes

the beauty and simplicity of

her chosen home with great

fondness. There’s an emphasis

on foraging from land and

sea on the islands. There is a

resourcefulness one needs

to live and cook in a place

where shopping is done at

the co-op and the Thrift Shop

(where she occasionally buys

back her own belongings

left forgotten

at other




recipe here

seems to

be part of a

larger narrative. Whether

it’s about life on the island, the author’s

childhood, or an unusual character from the

rogue’s gallery of Haida Gwaii, the food is only

part of the picture.

I loved the idea of the Moon Over

Naikoon, an off-grid, everything-fromscratch

bakery that moves into a bus over

the winter months so the locals can still have

their daily fix. It has no set menu, serving

whatever the staff feel like baking that day.

This recipe for Chocolate Chip Shortbread

was inspired by Naikoon’s coveted

shortbread, which is no longer served

because it got too popular. They do things a

little differently on Haida Gwaii.

Musgrave’s recipes are sometimes

short on measurements but are always

entertaining. I admire a cook who admits

she can’t make the perfect

looking omelette but

insists you should try this

one anyway just because

it tastes so good. Which is

my excuse for suggesting

a recipe with no picture.

But seriously, it’s a Crab,

Chanterelle, Caramelized

Onion and Goat’s Cheese

Omelette. Who cares what

it looks like? It’s decadent

and delicious.

Author Susan Musgrave

№ 60 | July/August 2016 www.eatdrink.ca 59

Instead of stylized food photos, the

book is loaded with pictures of amazing

landscapes, colourful local characters, Haida

artwork, thrift shop decorations and, oddly,

dogs belonging to the author’s friends.

The hardest part of reviewing this book

was trying to put it down long enough to

type. I’d buy it just for Chapter Three, which

is mostly devoted to the author’s famous

Sourdough Bread. Actually, the hardest

part was trying to resist the urge to book a

vacation to the amazing Canadian treasure

of Haida Gwaii.

TRACY TURLIN is a freelance writer and dog groomer in

London. Reach her at tracyturlin@gmail.com

A Taste of Haida Gwaii; Food Gathering and Feasting at the Edge of the World, Susan Musgrave, © 2015 is

published by Whitecap Books. All rights reserved. Recipe and photographs are courtesy of Whitecap Books

Chocolate Chip Shortbread

Makes 35–40 cookies

What self-respecting cookbook doesn’t include at least one cookie recipe? If I had my way I

would live on cookies alone. Good vegetables go bad; meat, fish and chicken rot. But in my

house, at least, there is no such thing as an inedible cookie.

Even though Wendy Riley doesn’t make shortbread anymore because it was too

popular, I decided I owed it to those who have never had the thrilling satisfaction of

pressing one between their lips, to share in the ecstasy. Just spreading the love around.

(Remember, joy is there, in everything, and even when we can’t see it.)

This isn’t her exact recipe, because I know she used part whole-wheat flour and, I think,

cane sugar, in the interest of making these at least pretend to be healthy. But Wendy was

the inspiration behind this recipe.

1 ¾ cups (410 mL) cake flour

1 cup (240 mL) semi-sweet mini

chocolate chips

¾ cup (180 mL) unsalted butter at

room temperature

½ cup (120 mL) icing sugar

2 tsp (10 mL) cold water

1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

1 Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C).

Line two baking sheets with

parchment paper.

2 In a small bowl, stir flour with

chocolate chips.

3 In a large bowl, using an electric

beater, beat butter until smooth,

then gradually beat in sugar until

fluffy, about 2–3 minutes. Beat in

water, vanilla and salt.

4 Using a wooden spoon, gradually

stir in the flour mixture.

5 Shape into 1–inch (2.5 cm) balls

and place on baking sheets. Bake,

a sheet at a time, until edges are

light and golden, 15–20 minutes.

Cool completely on a rack.

60 www.eatdrink.ca

№ 60 | July/August 2016


Cooking as Redemption

All or Nothing: One Chef’s Appetite for the Extreme

by Jesse Schenker

Nine Lives: A Chef’s Journey from Chaos to Control

by Brandon Baltzley

Review by DARIN COOK

Some people whose lives

have been shattered or

broken by substance abuse

have looked to the kitchen

and cooking to help turn their lives

around. Becoming a chef has the

reputation of being a career move

that can save people from sabotaging

themselves. Two recent memoirs by

young chefs reveal the roller coaster ride

of keeping their cooking careers on track.

One thing that Jesse Schenker relays in

All or Nothing: One Chef’s Appetite for the

Extreme (Dey Street, 2014, 25.99) is that he

was never content to follow rules. His playful

experimentation in the kitchen started at

four years old with his great-grandmother.

As a kid, he remembers “building layer upon

layer of texture and flavour” by cooking a

unique recipe that included packing ground

beef around a hot dog and wrapping it

all with a strip of bacon. Schenker writes

about his childhood: “Food was my first

real escape from the unease within me.

When I couldn’t focus on anything for more

than a few minutes at a time, food caught

my attention like nothing else.” These

biographical elements demonstrate the

energy, creativity, anxiety, and intensity that

carried over into his life as an adult chef.

Once a month at his New York restaurant,

Recette, he lets his imagination run wild

with novel tasting menus, steering him

away from making identical dishes with

the same ingredients day after day. It is a

risky proposition to always be re-inventing

yourself and your menus, but self-imposed

stakes are high for someone living an extreme

lifestyle that pushes him

to give it all or nothing. After years of abuse,

Schenker made the conscious choice to

change his addiction from one extreme to

another, from taking drugs to cooking food,

but he recognizes in his fast-paced, edgy

restaurant that he is “just as addicted as

ever — it was only the substance that had


Not every good chef starts out gaining

kitchen skills as a kid, but Schenker did, and

so did Brandon Baltzley, as evidenced in

Nine Lives: A Chef’s Journey from Chaos to

Control (Gotham Books, 2013, $27.50). A love

of food was instilled at a young age in both

of these men who turned into outstanding

chefs. Baltzley was a hyper nine-year-old

when his mother opened a café, often

bringing him to the kitchen where he was

put to work. He writes: “Cooking held my

attention like nothing ever had before, and

from the first moment, I was hooked.” From

an early age, he was caught up in the magic

of cooking. He worked his way up in many of

the finest restaurant kitchens in the U.S., all

the while torturing his body with addictions.

№ 60 | July/August 2016 www.eatdrink.ca 61

Baltzley has

extreme promise

as a chef, but

time and again


opportunities by

getting caught

up in the dark

side of the

industry, which

he argues is an


part of working

in it. He has a

propensity to

abuse drugs

and alcohol to

an extent that

obliterates nearly

everything in his life, but cooking remains

constant through both the stoned and sober

times. He writes: “A huge reason for my

lack of focus in the kitchen was, of course,

what was going on outside of it, which is a

common theme in kitchens all across the

country and, I imagine, the world. I’ve heard

many theories attempting to explain the

abundance of drugs and alcohol in kitchens.

A kitchen is a high-paced, competitive, and

sometimes stressful place, so maybe having

a common vice tying everyone together is

somehow a comfort.”

Both books portray the seedy lifestyle

that drugs dragged them into, and how

coming back to their intense and creative

approaches to food always gives them new

life. If Baltzley has nine lives of chances

at rehab, that number is at least doubled

when referring to the lengthy resumé of

restaurant gigs he has acquired. He realizes

he could


on with his


lifestyle, but

it would ruin

the career

he has been



together at a

patchwork of


across the

U.S. The

shame he

feels for so

often showing

up to work

extremely hungover, and the realization that

his reputation will eventually alienate him

from the industry, eventually gets him to

sober up. Only by making the decision on

his own can he eliminate his compulsion

to use drugs and focus on building on his

career with his own restaurant.

Along with their achievements of

getting clean and gaining culinary chops

along the way, Schenker and Baltzley

are both good storytellers, relaying very

compelling, honest, and poignant stories

about the intertwining of their personal

and professional lives. For these two chefs,

creativity in the kitchen goes hand-in-hand

with creativity and proficiency on paper.

Authors Brandon Baltzley (left) and Jesse Schenker

DARIN COOK is a freelance writer based out of Chatham.

He keeps himself well-read and well-fed by visiting the

bookstores and restaurants of London.

focused on using only the freshest, local, and seasonal ingredients

A boutique, farm-to-table, custom, everything-from-scratch (even the ketchup) Caterer

serving London & Area with different and unique ideas

www.heirloomcateringlondon.com 519-719-9030

62 www.eatdrink.ca

№ 60 | July/August 2016

the lighter side

A Bucketful of Memories


Everyone has strong, wonderful

memories imprinted with food —

especially “comfort food” — and

they are often the simplest, most

uncomplicated repasts imaginable. Jamie

Oliver has built his entire career around

this very principle (remember when he

was the much younger “Naked Chef” and

it wasn’t him, it was the food?) Meals that

let superior ingredients sing their own

praises. Back to basics.

Like many people, I’ve had plenty of

expensive dinners at fine restaurants

and in many cases all I remember is

the bill and a sinking regret.

Conversely, I have often

enjoyed many happy meals (no

pun intended) either in my car or

in the open air with minimum fuss

and a set of plastic cutlery.

One such meal occurred when I

was a teenager during my first Guy

Fawkes Night in the UK, complete

with a traditional supper cooked slowly

over a fire. The night air was bitingly cold

with a breeze provided by the North Atlantic;

we had to stamp our feet to keep warm. The

Guy effigy was good-to-go in his chair but as

soon as I got that steaming foil packet with

a crispy, charred potato, sinking with Irish

butter and strong grated Cheddar in my

mitted hand, I forgot all else. Lean sausages

followed in a soft, floury bap and we washed it

down with Pils lager. Amazing.

On another occasion we were travelling

in the US and just needed a quick bite. We

were bracing ourselves for another round

of bad-mood-inducing fast-food when a

small white stand appeared in the parking

lot like a mirage. I first saw the triband of

the Argentinian flag and then as we drew

closer, a poised, older woman sitting quietly

on a cooler. I could smell the deep, savoury

goodness of simmering spices and tomatoes.

My brain immediately brought forward

every warning article I’ve ever read about

sketchy street food but my partner shrugged:

“Let’s try it.” And so it came to pass that we

leaned on our car, stretching out our backs

and eating celestial empanadas greedily,

from floppy paper plates in companionable

silence, dragging the pastry through tomatillo

sauce, the soft filling running down our

chins. Each of us had intentionally chosen a

different filling (grimly deciding to go down

together) but I am ashamed now for thinking

that way. I made sure to run back to the

woman and tell her how delicious they really

were and she smiled shyly but I could see

she was pleased.

Fast-forward to another cartrip

(this time in New England).

We had intended to stop at a

place recommended by locals

for superior seafood. But when

we arrived, there were line-ups.

Faint with hunger, we opted to

get what we thought would be a

“snack” of fried clams to share on

our way elsewhere. But since this

was the US, the smallest serving of

fried clams was actually the size of a

child’s sand-pail.

Reader, we sat in the car listening to the

seagulls cawing back and forth across the

marshlands and ate every one. They were

divine! Each long pillowy strip of clam was

lightly crumbed before being deep-fried and

was devoid of greasiness. They tasted exactly

like the sea. I didn’t want that meal to end or

to see the bottom of our ... bucket. I had to

tip the passenger seat back on the way home

and lie very, very still.

There are dozens of other stories like

this and it’s really difficult to articulate why

each was so special at that time. Maybe it’s

just because so much heady emotion is

involved. Maybe it’s the same fondness that

causes people to yearn for their Mom’s soup,

even if it was only from a can …

SUE SUTHERLAND WOOD is a freelance writer and

regular contributor to eatdrink. Read more of Sue’s work on her

blog www.speranzanow.com.

№ 60 | July/August 2016 www.eatdrink.ca 63



















• HEARTLAND: Current and Classic Country


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64 www.eatdrink.ca

№ 60 | July/August 2016

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