So when I said “I’ll see you guys next week for Part 2 of Battledish” – I really meant “I’ll see you in two weeks!” HA! My apologies for the delay on this post – I really didn’t intend to take so long. So where did I leave you guys last – oh right, Democracy cafe.

We’ll after Democracy, we headed over to The Courtyard on Locke. I was introduced to the Courtyard through a Dishcrawl event but I haven’t had the time to venture out there for a meal on my own yet. For some reason it’s never on my mind – but don’t get me wrong, the food is spectacular and the atmosphere is very if-you-bring-me-here-on-the-first-date-i’m-so-putting-out kinda vibe. At least in my opinion, it’s just very intimate and the piano in the corner just creams romance. 

The Courtyard on Urbanspoon

Chef Zelco Grahovac prepared a Rosemary Quail with pear cider, smoked paprika, sweet potato, stilton polenta and baby bok choy. My sister and I love quail so we were really excited about this dish. I got the breast and my sister got the wing. It was nice to see they used the entire quail. The portion was on the smaller side but considering everything else we ate before this – we weren’t complaining.

The Couryard was definitely the underdog in this competition. They’re not exactly the ‘popular kids’ on Locke street but it had one of the better executed and seasoned dishes. The meat on the quail was moist and the colour on the skin was phenomenal. The polenta was creamy and super flavourful – and I usually find polenta pretty bland and boring. Their cocktail pairing was a lovely white wine lychee combo – it was divine!

Up next, a crowd favourite – Earth to Table Bread Bar. Last summer I had a really unpleasant experience with Bread Bar and haven’t returned since so I was pretty indifferent about going back.

Chef Manny Ferreira prepared Beer Battered Brie with maple apple puree bacon, jam spiced walnuts and fried bread. There cocktail pairing was an Apple Rosemary Collins made with Dillon’s Gin.

First off, the presentation was beautiful, very upscale comfort. The brie was a beautiful little nugget of oozy cheesy goodness. It was literally like a nugget of cheese – I loved the crunchy batter and the salty bits of bacon with the sweet and sour julienne apple slices – the flavour profiles were just all around bomb dignity on this plate.

The Rosemary Collin was pretty delightful as well. Fitting with their theme, they used a local gin produced in Beamsville. 

At this point you could have rolled me to the car and I would have been a happy camper – but there were still two more vendors to go – and I wasn’t about to tap out! So I made my sister waddle her way to Ole Gourmet Mexican Grill and Cake + Loaf Bakery.

I’ll be honest and say at this point it was all a blur and I was already fully engulfed in my food coma – but I will do my best to describe the last two dishes.

Chef Josie Rudderham and Nicole Miller  from Cake & Loaf  offered up a trio of  Apple Cinnamon dumplings, pumpkin harvest cheesecake, and salted cramel chocolate macaroon. Their cocktail was a Drunken Spiced Chai.

Chef Mike Tofano from Ole Gourmet had a pulled pork taco with sautéed onions, cilantro mayo and lettuce. There was also a lime chicken taco with pico de gallo and spicy salsa. Their cocktail was Mexican Cerveza.

I’m fortunate enough to be very familiar with both Ole and C+L. I preferred the pulled pork taco over the chicken – I just found it to be more moist and the  C+L trio was a perfect ending to the afternoon. It was a little nippy outside so to have a warm cup of chai was well welcomed.

Even though I got a media pass for the event, I purchased a ticket for my sister so she could enjoy the event with me. There were three different tiers to the event where you could buy drink tickets, food tickets or both. My sister and I both agreed that although the drink tickets upped the overall cost of the event – it was well worth the price. All the participating restaurants did a fantastic job offering up unique and flavourful pairings.

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