A Return To Stratford

duck fantastico

Where do I even begin to speak about the fantastic experience I had at last weekend’s Savour Stratford Culinary Festival? Once again, I was lucky enough to be invited out to Stratford as a media guest of the wonderful team at the Stratford Tourism Alliance to attend this celebration of the best of food and drink the region has to offer. (sidenote: Media! Me?!) The final weekend of Culinary Week culminated in a whirlwind of events and tastings, and closed with a bang with a Chefs’ Tasting in a tent on the banks of the Avon River.

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Exploring Local Wines

grapes & wine

We’re more than halfway through the LCBO’s Go Local campaign, celebrating Ontario wines. In the words of Suresh, who’s blogging for the LCBO:

goLOCAL is the largest annual promotion of Ontario wines, in partnership with the Wine Council of Ontario. It is an exciting period for anyone wishing to explore Ontario’s culinary identity.

With this spirit in mind, I got a few friends together to try out three examples of Ontario wines to see how they stand up as “party wines”.

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Bristol Bliss

monkey bread

Thanks to my sister’s friend Cara, I decided to make a trip to try the food at The Bristol, in Chicago’s Bucktown neighbourhood. Looking at the menu online, I noted a lot of similarities between them and one of my favourite Toronto restaurants, The Hoof Café. The snout-to-tail philosphy of cooking is one that really appeals to someone who’s constantly bemoaning the difficulty of finding a steak and kidney pie in her town. Executive Chef Chris Pandel says, “Like any chef worth his or her salt in Chicago today, we’re serving organic and locally grown food as much as humanly possible”. 1

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Dine Well. Do Good.

sweet potato pancakes

On my first night in Chicago, my sister recommended Café Too as a good neighbourhood breakfast option. Man, am I glad I paid attention to that recommendation. Both meals I’ve had at the café have been delicious and economical. And besides the great food, eating at Café Too supports a great cause. With their motto of “Dine Well. Do Good.”, it’s one of a few establishments in Chicago designed and operated to treat the symptoms of the homelessness epidemic, under the auspices of the Inspiration Corporation.

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Ciudad Love

chips & salsa   ceviche

Tucked away in a strip mall in the Uptown neighbourhood of Chicago is a little gem of a taquería. La Ciudad opened just last December, and has already been garnering rave reviews on user sites like Yelp and Urban Spoon. I stumbled upon the Yelp reviews quite by accident, but the consensus was that the food was amazing, and it’s around the corner from where I’m staying. Plus, I needed a near guaranteed sure thing after being very disappointed by the Oyster Fest I checked out earlier that day.

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