July 28, 2014

#CanadianClubTour



A few weeks ago I was invited to Windsor for an exclusive two day tour of the Canadian Club Brand Centre.  I'll be honest and say I was a little hesitant at first because my general rules is, "if it's brown, it don't go down" - only for booze of course, get your mind out of the gutter.  But my FOMO once again, got the best of me and I leaped at the chance to go. Can you just imagine all the food I'd be missing out on if I stayed at home!? So a handful of amazing people and two lovely ladies from Praxis PR headed off to good ol' Windsor, Ontario. 
When we arrived we were greeted by our lovely host Tish Harcus the Canadian Club (CC)  Brand Ambassador. Kudos to CC for having a vivacious, charismatic and loveable ambassador like Tish! She was a total badass. Before introductions were done, we all had a drink in our hands and I had my first big gulp of whisky ...and it was only two in the afternoon. I was in the big league now kiddies. 
With drinks in hand, we headed out on our VIP tour of the Canadian Club Brand Centre - which p.s who knew was in Windsor?! P.P.S this was my first ever trip to Windsor - which I find very similar to Hamilton - you gotta be in it to love it!

Back to the tour - the Brand Centre still holds the original accounting books, furniture, art work (like an entire room of Group of 7 paintings - say what?! #mindblown) and every bottle of CC ever made - Hiram Walker (the founder of CC) and his boys made some legit coin back in the day. Tish might have mentioned Thomas Edison being one of Walker's home boys too so CC was one of the first buildings to have electricity - how's that for a hook up?!
I can't even begin to tell you the stories about CC Whisky - from the speakeasy in the basement with Al Capone - and the bullet hole he left behind, to the stories of  how Hiram Walker smuggled it back to Detroit using an apple and a dogsled during the winter months - and don't even get me started on the ghost stories about the Brand Centre. At one point I was holding in my pee cause if I ever learned anything from horror movies - #%$ always goes down in the bathrooms! 

I highly recommend a quick zip down highway 401 W (three hours, no biggie) into Windsor.  Splurge for the VIP tour so you get the full Tish experience! For info on tours go here.

Follow along every Mondays in August where I share some of my favourite parts of the tour and some good eats along the way. Apparently, Windsor has a decent food scene.

July 11, 2014

Taste of Burlington Summer Launch 2014

It is my favourite time of year ya'll! Summer months don't just bring Sangria, short shorts and puppies into my life. It also brings a handful of foodie eating events. Which is what really matters really.  Taste of Burlington is my go-to economic friendly summer event. The restaurants still get creative, it doesn't take your whole day to make reservations and my favourite part - Burlington has parking! What's there not to love?
Anyways, enough with the hating. As many of you know, before TOB starts, there is always a launch party. Where they jam as many restaurants as they can into the Burlington Permorning Arts centre and you get to spend a lovely evening listening to a live band (Adam Cooke) , drinking craft beer (Cameron's Brewing Company)  and stuffing your face with samples till you're so full they have to roll you home (I promise I've always walked out of TOB with my own two feet - but there have been a few close calls). 

As per usual, my TOB partners in crime were Christine and Dave and the newest edition to the dream team - Margaret! - shall we get to the feasting?
Rib Eye Jacks (@RibeyeJacks) Rib Eye Jack'S Ale House on UrbanspoonGyoza - Beef dumplings with sweet soya vinaigrette, sesame, green onion and crispy garlic - first up was this gyoza, which everyone raved about. I thought the filling was great but the shell was a little too tough. The sauce was spot on .
Wendel Clark's (@WendelClarks17) Wendel Clark's Classic Grill on UrbanspoonSpinach Salad with in house made fresh blueberry vinaigrette - usually I stay away from the salads, but on such a hot day it was refreshing to see a few at the event. The mandarin oranges added a nice little burst of sugar.
Stone House (@StoneHouseFood) Stonehouse on UrbanspoonPecan crusted salmon with sweet potato hash and honey Dijon cream sauce - this being my third time attending a TOB Launch party, I definitely know who the rock stars are. Stone House is hands down one of them. Their short ribs from last year are still floating in my dreams and this years salmon dish was in the same league. One of us - I won't mention who, went back for seconds, and thirds, and fourths. ( It was Dave
Purple Heather (@PurpleHeatherGP) Purple Heather Gastro Pub on UrbanspoonPad Thai Salad - unfortunately nothing to write home about with this one. The concept was great, love a cold noodle salad. But unfortunately the vinaigrette didn't pack much of a punch.
Water St. Cooker (@WaterStChefs) Water Street Cooker on UrbanspoonSeasonal Salad with green Goddess Dressing - this salad was surprisingly very very tasty. Like mama-just-picked-everything-out-of-the-garden yummy. While I was too busy stuffing my face I overheard Water St. Cooker tell my sister the goddess dressing is actually whipped up with mayo - shocking because it was incredibly light. 
 Paradiso (@ristoparadiso) Paradiso on Urbanspoonhouse made ricotta on whey bread crostini - I still dream about the first time I had Paradiso at TOB, and they served up the most divine sample of their pâté. Sooo good. This however, I will not be dreaming about. Kudos, for making the ricotta in house - thumbs down for forgetting to flavour it.
Honey West (@HoneyWestBar) Honey West Restaurant & Lounge on Urbanspoon: Pulled beef sliders - If you're making a slider at a food event. Don't talk to me. Can we all just pretend the slider never happened people? It is the least creative thing you can serve up! Sorry Honey West.

Queens Head Pub (@pub_queenshead) The Queen's Head Pub on UrbanspoonCaramel pretzel and peanut butter ice cream cake with brûlée  peaches - Queens Head has always been a place I overlooked - chalking it up to just a typical gastro pub. Till they started bringing their 'A' game to TOB. These bros are legit. Last year with their Sweet Potato Donut and this year with the Ice cream cake. These were hitting all the right spots I would marry this cake if I could. And then, and then,  AND THEN they put a brûlée peach slice on top. Like shut the $#$& up! It was amazing. I wanted more even before I had my first bite.
Ye Olde Squire (@YeOldeSquire1) ye Olde Squire on UrbanspoonChocolate brownie with Guinness chocolate sauce - the lady told me it took 8 pints of Guinness to make all of that chocolate sauce. Or something like that - I was too busy stuffing my face with warm brownies and chocolate sauce to really pay attention to her. I poured the remainder chocolate sauce on top of the ice cream cake from Queens Head and I felt like all the fat girls in the world stood up and gave me a standing ovation because it was the best idea EVER.
Ivy Bar and Kitchen (@IvyBarKitchen) Ivy Bar & Kitchen on UrbanspoonDuck pastrami slider with narrowed carrots and pea puree  - I absolutely love duck, but you could barely taste it. There was too much bread and it just got in the way of everything. That's the problem with sliders. Okay, ok I will stop hating on the sliders. Just kidding. The hate will never quit.
Melodia Seafood & Mediterranean Cuisine Melodia Mediterranean Cuisine and Bar on UrbanspoonCoconut Shrimp & Stuffed Chicken - I love shrimp and I love coconut, you can't really mess this one up. The chicken was nice and moist but I found the sauce on top was too overpowering and sweet for me. C'est la vie though.
Pepperwoods (@Pepperwoodgroup) Pepperwood Bistro on Urbanspoon:  Crispy skin pork belly on house made salt & vinegar chip with a chipotle glaze and mango corn salsa - Pepperwoods really surprised me with this one. I found myself coming back for a second, third and probably fourth helping. I say probably 'cause at this point Dave and I had made the rounds once, or twice, going back for our favourites. The pork belly was moist and the sweet mango was a nice touch. The chip was really only there to shovel the porky goodness in.

West Plains Bistro (@bistrobound) West Plains Bistro on UrbanspoonShrimp and orzo - grilled shrimp dressed with lime and black pepper over buttered orzo with cilantro oil - for something that was not cooked to order. I was very surprised at how moist and plump this shrimp was. Kudos West Plains! This was a nice and very light dish - a great dish if you've been stuffing yourself with pork belly and chocolate brownies all night. 
And that's a wrap for this summers Taste of Burlington Launch Party. TOB officially starts July 20 - August 3rd. So keep your eyes out on the website for menus to be released. 26 participating restaurants with lunch ranging from $15-$20 and dinner at $30 -$40. Date night anyone? The next TOB party is the  Winter Edition - see you guys there!  


Previous TOB Launch Parties: 2014 | 2013  TOB Restaurant Reviews: The Alex | Martini House


Happy Eating!

*Disclaimer//  I received media tickets to this event  - as always opinions expressed are my own

July 7, 2014

Cake & Loaf's Fair Trade Organic Chocolate

Psssssttt have you heard? About what the ladies at Cake & Loaf are up to? A 24 hour donut shop you say? - Sadly, No. But how about we start that rumour now and eventually Josie and Nicole will have to cave to peer pressure. 

But for now, let's fill our empty hearts with their from scratch chocolate treats coming out of their new Fair Trade Organic Chocolate & Confections Department. Quite the mouthful - literally! 
We're talking all of your fat kid dreams made from scratch - by a human being! Twix - yep! Viva puffs? - yep! Oh and lets throw in some grown up treats like a Raw Fruit bar and Goji Berry + Cocoa Nib bar. Is your mind blown yet? - because mine was when I opened up the box. I'll be honest - this is the number one reason why I love to blog. I get a lot of yummy free treats. If I love it - you'll see it here. If I don't  ... well things get awkward really fast.  
Because I'm working on my bikini body [ha ha ha] I brought the bars into work to share.  I couldn't possibly finish all of that on my own! The team was pretty impressed but we were pretty split on favourites. I wasn't a fan of the Espresso Crunch but adored the Peanut Butter Fudge bar as well as the Strawberry Marshmallow Sandwich and Chocolate Chews.  
If you follow me on instagram or twitter you know I absolutely adore anything and everything coming out of Cake & Loaf. I have stood in line in the snow for their donut pop ups and I stop in as often as I can for their pies and bread. I'm also really diggin' all the girl power that comes out of the shop.. super talented women doing badass things. Who doesn't love that? 

They're the only place in Hamilton rocking the fair trade organic chocolate game. I don't know about you but that pretty much spells out "guilt free chocolate" to me. Fair trade makes me feel like I'm a good human being and organic is always healthy.  So I can have about a zillion of those from scratch Twix bars made by Maria Boyd - their in house Chocolateir? Right? Right? Don't burst my bubble. That is exactly how I'm going to rationalize it. My bikini body can't hate on that! 

If you're down for some super sexy food porn - follow them on instagram. You won't regret it. 


Happy Eating!

Cake & Loaf
321 Dundurn St. South
Hamilton, On
cakeandloaf.ca
Cake & Loaf on Urbanspoon