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Showing posts from May, 2015

A Fresh Look at Seasonal Farmers’ Markets

A Fresh Look at Seasonal Farmers’ Markets Around London, Ontario

The preference to purchase and eat local products has helped revive farmers' markets and farm gate sales as an alternative to grocery store retailers. Authentic farmers' markets are not only increasing exponentially, but according to the most recent available statistics, Canadians spend more than $103 billion at them each year in annual sales, for a total economic impact of up to $3.09 billion. According to Farmers' Markets of Ontario, one way that farmers' market shape food systems is by fostering free enterprise and ethically-grounded economic behaviour.

A Fresh Look at Seasonal Farmers’ Markets  BY BRYAN LAVERY
Every year I look forward to the start of the outdoor farmers’ market season. In warmer weather, I generally frequent farmers’ markets and farmgates which help to sustain economic activity on a local level. The new economic reality is that farmers’ markets have become a source of competitive advanta…

London's Local Flavour Culinary Guide 2015

London's Local Flavour Culinary Guide 2015 In London, Ontario there are many culinary professionals who are actively embracing new and original versions of the farm-to-table experience. They represent the vanguard of the modern Ontario culinary scene and have a reputation for ingenuity and creativity. They possess exceptional, compelling culinary philosophies and are committed to fostering a cutting-edge culinary repertoire by sharing their knowledge with fellow professionals and patrons.
We have cooks, restaurateurs, farmers’ markets, publicans, retailers and food-lovers who are not just advocating “eating and drinking local” and “eating seasonal,” they are enthusiastically and creatively promoting and developing new region-specific cuisines. They have a reputation for referencing both the local terroir and the heart of Ontario country tradition for inspiration. As for their cuisine, it’s made from scratch and it’s ground-breaking. They are implementing time-honoured traditions and…

True Taco in Old East Village Continues to Wow Diehard Taco-Lovers

True Taco Continues to Wow Diehard Taco-Lovers
True Taco Authentic Comedor Latino continues to wow diehard taco-lovers by providing superior Mexican and El Salvadorian cuisine in newer and much larger premises on Dundas Street in London’s Old East Village. The latest news is that they have applied for a liquor license. There is nothing quite like like ice cold cervezas or a shot of tequila to accompany a Latin-American meal.  Owning a restaurant was a long-time dream for Luis Rivas who conceived the popular True Tacorestaurant as an unpretentious Latino oasis, after perfecting his signature taco and salsa offerings, and building a loyal clientele at the Western Fair Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market. The satellite operation is reminiscent of the hole-in-the-wall taquerias and street stand taquerias in Latin America.
As far as trends go in restaurants, few dishes loom as large as the taco, a generally inexpensive restaurant bite that has created a cult of aficionados. The restaurant industry …

Wild Leek and Asparagus Vichyssoise

Ontario Wild Leeks or Ramps

Wild leeks, sometimes called ramp, is a wild onion native to North America. The wild plant of the lily family is much stronger to the taste than the cultivated leek – almost peppery. The whole plant can be eaten, either raw in a salad or cooked. A word to you foragers, only take what you can eat for yourself and for preserving, and please don’t take the root. Trimming the shoots alone is enough, and it is best to leave the bulb in the ground for another season’s growth. Forage where the plants are plentiful and only pick individual plants within bunches.
Asparagus Store fresh asparagus with the ends wrapped in a damp paper towel. Keep them wrapped in plastic and in the refrigerator. When preparing fresh asparagus, snap off the butt end of each spear. Save those woody ends to make soup stock. Not only is asparagus low calorie and fat free, it is also an excellent source of folacin, antioxidants, thiamin, and vitamin B6.

Wild Leek and Asparagus Vichyssoise

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The Blu Duby: The Restaurant is Approachable as it is Beautiful


Photographs by Steve Grimes

Blu Duby owners, Joe and Cheryl Duby, have built a diverse and loyal clientele by combining an accessible menu and wine list with upbeat ambience. The restaurant is a hybrid of casual dining and fine dining. Their vision has been to create a community, bound together by relationships with their team of hospitality professionals and a "remarkable dining experience". The Duby’s have created an atmosphere where people can come and enjoy a drink at the bar, a few appetizers or a full dining experience in a casual, yet elegant venue. Their goal: “A remarkable experience designed to accommodate every budget.” The result: a casual streamlined operation with a recession-friendly, contemporary menu, that appeals to a broad demographic. The restaurant achieved  the Duby's  goal of being remarkable right from day one by providing a warm and welcoming ambience with plenty of style. Opening to immediate success in mid-July 2012, in the revita…


Where to Eat Indian Food in London, Ontario

Among the cluster of local Indian restaurants is Massey`s Fine Indian Cuisine on King Street in London beside the Only on King. On the occasions that I have visited Massey`s, the dining experience has been memorable. Massey`s strongly represent the category of chef/owner-operated restaurants. Chef Patson Massey and his wife and business partner, Anisha, seem to always be on hand while the restaurant is operating. Chef Massey shows his expertise with the combining and roasting of exotic spices, subtle and complex, bestowing and building flavors to great effect. Massey`s is just around the corner from two other noteworthy Indian restaurants: The faded Jewel of India and The Curry Garden which has recently relocated further south on Richmond Street. 
Of course, no discussion of Indian food in this city would be complete without mentioning The Raja Fine Indian Cuisine on Clarence Street.

The Raja Fine Indian Cuisine : Honouring Tradition, Technique…

Mary Ann Wrona’s Café Bourgeois at Western Fair Farmers' and Artisans' Market

Mary Ann Wrona’s Café Bourgeois at Western Fair Farmers' and Artisan's Market
Mary Ann Wrona with chef Michael Smith
The kitschy charm of this boutique operation would give it credence, even if its rasion d'etre weren’t suggested in its name. This is healthy catering and gourmet-to-go from a repertoire of the Polish-French culinary tradition.
 Mary Ann Wrona is one of the original market vendors at the Western Fair Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market. Originally known to market-goers as “The Cabbage Roll Lady,” Wrona grew up eating from the family garden. Wrona`s mother had a vast repertoire of braised and steamed vegetables.It has been said that Belgium serves food of French quality in German quantities. She personifies this claim selling many of her specialties by the pound. Wrona has made a name for herself by preparing classic vegetarian specialities and traditional European cuisine with a modern twist.
Wrona’s cuisine is hearty, using lots of seasonal ingredients and offering i…

Garlic’s of London Successfully Combines all the Elements of a Perennial Favourite

Garlic’s of London 
Owner Edin Pehilj, known to most people as Edo
Guest Relations Manager, Emma Pratt

Watch Edo tell the story of Garlic's in this video by Nick Lavery of Take 5 Digital … …
On several occasions, I have stated that Garlic’s could be the prototype for the ethical modern Ontario restaurant. It celebrates seasonality and the uniqueness and idiosyncratic characteristics of the terroir. The farm-oriented cuisine accessible and familiar and brings a rural culinary sensibility to the table.  Now celebrating 22 years on Richmond Row, Garlic’s successfully combines all the elements of a perennial favourite – as delicious, affordable, top-of-the-line cooking, and using seasonal and high quality ingredients. More than that, the restaurant is among a select few that have a prevailing ethos of purpose.
Garlic’s offers some of the best farm-to-table cuisine in the city. The cooking has an innovative edge, and is made from scratch with inspiration fr…

The Culinary Stage: Is the Food Movement Too Elitist?

The thrust of this column, is to present my thoughts on the seasonal food landscape —and the always-changing restaurant scene in Stratford, and London in particular —and about what is happening not only regionally but also nationally on the Canadian culinary stage.
When I go out to eat, I am enticed by restaurants that champion farmers, small-scale producers and food artisans by procuring products and featuring local ingredients that are responsibly sourced and presented. Often I come across people whose criticism of the local food movement has centered on the idea that it is elitist. Being a dedicated food professional requires education and connoisseurship, which in themselves are costly to cultivate but not necessarily elitist.
Connoisseurs are distinguished for their judgment and their discerning eye. They also have an innate sense of taste. Connoisseurs are respected because of their aptitude — their talent — for recognizing and appreciating subtle, often unseen attr…