Archives: food

owl of minerva

One of my favourite kinds of food is Korean. I love the combo of its savoury, sweet, spicy, garlic, and sesame flavours.

When I first moved to Hamilton we’d found this secret little Korean restaurant  (just tucked behind the International Village by the Ti-cat building) that I loved. It had sunken-in individual bbq tables, great Korean pancakes and hundreds of tiny polaroids of its customers pasted on the walls. I guess it may have been a little too secret, in that maybe not enough people went? To my dismay it closed down a few years ago.

Not too long after Cho Sun Ok moved from its Queen North location down on King East and it sufficed in satisfying my Korean food cravings.

However, it was an even nicer surprise to wake up one day to find that Owl of Minerva had opened up a location here in Hamilton just at Main and Wentworth! I’d been to their Toronto location on Bloor in Korea town, so I knew that I would not be disappointed. Good Korean in Hamilton, finally!

I went with only one other friend (coincidently before heading to Kim’s Convenience -a play about a Korean shop owner), so we didn’t order a huge elaborate meal. Instead we ordered bibimbap. A good standard fare for any Korean restaurant and anyone new to trying Korean food. The stone bowl stayed crazy hot for the duration of the meal, and the Korean sides were great!

I really want to come back with a larger group of people so that we can have a proper Korean feast of some kalbi short ribs, bulgolgi and samgyeopsal. A little heavy on the meat -I know. I guess I could throw in a spicy and hot tofu kimchi chigae. Chigae’s are my cure all for chills and colds. Warms you right up!

Truly a perfect winter time place. I hope that in the summer they’ll have cold Korean noodles!

*The Famous Owl of Minerva, 309 Main St. E, 905.528.7275

 

 

the burnt tongue

I basically feel as though I’ve missed an entire season here on the blog. That said, this post is long overdue from waaay back in September.

When I was about three weeks deep into being back at work (post maternity leave) I had a horrible cold that lasted for weeks. Being sick made it all the more of a necessity to finally check out Hamilton’s newest soup place -The Burnt Tongue.

I had a random mid-week day off, so Steve and I decided to take advantage of the fact that Omi was in daycare. We headed to the Burnt Tongue for an early lunch date and to get some soup to ail my lingering cold.

The Burnt Tongue opens daily at 11:30am. When we arrived just a few short minutes past the half hour, the place was already filling up with people getting their soup on.

We took up the window seats below some crafty filament lit mason jar lighting and did some front row Cannon Street viewing, while we waited for our food.

Steve ordered a classic 6 oz burger made from locally raised beef topped with cheese, pickles, onions, ketchup, mayo and mustard. It did not disappoint. We split an order of fries (my biggest weakness; in a battle if you busted out a box of fries from The Burnt Tongue I’d crumble to the floor just to eat one or even just a morsel of one of those crunchy-bit leftovers). The fries here are sooooo good and their specialty dippings sauces are A-mazing! During Supercrawl we got some fries to-go with their curry ketchup sauce. For this lunch date we settled on chipotle mayo and a roasted garlic mayo. I think there’s still a couple more flavours to sample yet.

I ordered a large bowl of bacon, cheddar and potato soup. This too was just incredible! The soup was flavourful and super homey. It came with a choice of fresh cut veggies, artisan bun or crisp apple. Everything really hit the spot and I left feeling all warm and happily full.

Since my visit in September I know that they’ve added a lot more to their menu like their loaded fries, which look killer! Chorizo, corn, pablano pepperonata (roasted blend of peppers), cheddar cheese and guacamole all piled high and heavy on an already big mound of their Belgian style fries.

In addition to having a massive variety of the most unique soda pops ever (over 8 kinds of root beer including a pumpkin pie soda) they’ve also got 1 litre craftily designed jars of soup that you can purchase for a gift or to take to a potluck or dinner for $15 -so smart!

With the cold weather quickly approaching and staying for the next, oh, 5 months, it’d be in your best interest to stop by this place and sample some soups to keep you warm.

*The Burnt Tongue, 1o Cannon St. East, 905.536.1146, @Theburnttongue

 

charred

Back in September before my life got all crazy on me, Kristin Archer of I Heart Hamilton, and I met up at Charred Rottisserie House for another rendezvous.

I love meeting up with Kristin, not only to try out new places that have opened up around the city, but also because I get to hear about all the amazing new things she is up to.  These days with being a parent, going back to work, and generally just juggling life, blogging has taken a bit of backseat. So when chatting with Kristin, I get excited to imagine just what life would be like if I could dedicate more time to blogging and exploring everything Hamilton has to offer.

Kristin these days is doing much more than just blogging. Besides fundraisers, playlists, and promoting various Hamilton events, she’s recently announced that she’ll be starting a weekly radio show on CFMU 93.3fm Friday’s from 2-3pm. She’s also organizing a blog fair with a whole cast of Hamilton bloggers (including me) at the Casbah on November 24th from 2-6pm -please come!

Kristin and I both agree that it is becoming increasingly hard to stay on top of everything new that’s popping up in the city -which really is a good thing! Although at times the change seems slow, the city is really evolving faster than we think. This spring and summer there was a massive wave of new shops and restaurants that opened up on James North, so it was with a bit of luck that Kristin and I had both yet to try out Charred.

Charred is a Portuguese inspired rotisserie house. They roast their chickens, which are basted with their signature piri-piri sauce, over fresh red hot coals right there in their open kitchen.

We arrived at an in-between meal time, so we were the only people there and the coals and rotisseries were not yet stoked or rolling. None the less, Kristin ordered the poutine with piri-piri cheese curds topped with rotisserie chicken, and I ordered the chicken on a bun.

After sampling some of Kristin's poutine I had some serious meal envy.

One thing I love about all the stores along James, as they are turning over and being reno’d, their drop ceilings are being removed exposing whole gorgeously intact original tin ceilings, like the one at Charred. Such a beauty!

I’d like to head back to Charred again one day when the coals are flaming and the chickens are fully rolling on the rotisserie.

To read Kristin’s Crossover post on Charred visit her blog I Heart Hamilton here.

*Charred, 244 James St. North, 289.396.0662, @charredchicken

last days of summer

It’s official. Summer’s over.

On the last warm weekend a few weeks back, we headed to Hamilton Beach to dip our feet in Lake Ontario and enjoy what was left of the fleeting days of summer.

Before Omi was born my sister bought him this little Japanese yukata (summer kimono). By the end of the summer it fit him beautifully and was perfect for the beach and lounging around.

A visit to the beach wouldn’t have been complete without a proper fish and chip meal from Hutch’s. There was a mad crazy line up for the chips, and an even crazier line up for the ice cream!

I loved how the fish and chips came wrapped up in newspaper -the way true fish and chips should!

So long summer! Until we meet again.

 

detour brunch

For the second year in a row my plans to go to the fall Christie Antique Show were thwarted by rain. But alas when such things happen you make the most of the situation, which we did, by making a stop at Detour Café.

One of my favourite things on Detour’s menu is the brunch! I love Detour’s Weekender brunch which consists of: two eggs, Detour hash, naturally raised bacon and Detour sausage, oven-roasted tomato, toast, and tomato chilli jam. It’s one thing when you go to a place for a mediocre brunch that costs a pretty penny, but it’s an entirely different thing when a brunch is worth every finger licking cent and more! This Detour meal was the latter. The homemade tomato chilli jam and ketchup was killer, as was the the in house-made fresh and bread, plus the thick and savoury bacon. MMMMM!

In other news…..

The latest word on the street is that the lovely folks from Manual Labour (mobile coffee) are moving to Australia, (which is great for them!) but incredibly sad for us mobile coffee enthusiasts. Sniffle… BUT (dry your tears) the super amazing news is that Detour will actually be taking the reigns and continuing on the Manual Labour mobile trailer/truck tradition. Phew!

*Detour Café, 41 King St. West, Dundas, 289.238.8360, @_DetourCafe

strawberry social

Every year my friend Robyn and I make it out for an annual trip to Lindley’s Farm to pick their pesticide free strawberries. This year (with Omi in tow) I met up with Robyn and some of her friends for a surprise wedding shower berry picking session followed by a strawberry social held in her honour.

The strawberry season was a little late this year, which means there’s still some time to go and pick your own! As of July 2nd there’s about 10 more days of good strawberry picking left at Lindley’s.

The strawberries bushes were full and beautifully ripe. It took me all of about 10 minutes to pick this one basket.

After we filled our baskets and made a quick wardrobe change into summer dresses, everyone headed back downtown to enjoy strawberry inspired treats and tea in the church parlour. A classy affair!

the strawberry social spread

It was a lovely way to spend a Saturday morning celebrating summer and Robyn -the bride to be!

*Lindley’s Farm, 900 Fiddler’s Green Road, Ancaster, 905.648.4212

breakfast

Now that I have a baby, waking up early is something that happens in my life. The benefit of this is that I can actually make it out for breakfast instead of the typical late weekend brunch. This does have its advantages: you can entirely bypass the brunch rush, and after an early breakfast you still have the whole day to do as you like (without this whole brunch thing being all smack dab in the middle of the day).

On a recent Sunday morning, I finally got to try my first and very long awaited waffle breakfast at Cannon Coffee. I can’t believe it has taken me this long to get in on their waffles! They were so delicious!

I got the Canadian Brunch Waffle, which consisted of the most delicious fresh smoked bacon, and two poached eggs, topped with cheddar cheese on an apple waffle -no less!

Canadian Brunch Waffle

My cousin, who recently arrived from Japan to study English in Canada, ordered the California Waffle; a jalapeño havarti waffle, topped with two poached eggs, fresh avocado salsa and chopped tomatoes.

California Waffle -I love the little house that holds the maple syrup

 

A direct quote from my cousin:

I eat waffle with Seema.

The Cannon is very nice cafe.

I want to go again.

 

Truth be told, I want to go again too.

 

*Cannon Coffee, 179 Ottawa St. N, 289.700.0088, M-F 7-6, S+S 9-5, @cannoncoffeeco

big scoops

The weather is getting hot and perfect for ice cream!

So happy that Big Scoops opened at Duke and James South.  Now there’s finally a place that’s walkable for an evening scoop of ice cream. And bonus -they serve Hewitt’s ice cream!!

Steve got the Raspberry Cheesecake.

I got Chocolate Chip Cookie, minus the dough, which I was kinda bummed about.

Take note that they really are “big scoops”. We ordered a small, which consisted of two very large scoops.

They’ve currently got twenty-one flavours to choose from. Next time I’m going for the banana twist.

I also just found out that Munchee’s Variety store on King East by Mary Street also serves Hewitt’s scooped ice cream too! It’s like all my Hamilton ice cream dreams are coming true. Now I just need to make my way to McCartney & Son to sample their in-house freshly made waffle cones and organic ice cream.

*Big Scoops, 2 Duke, open daily 12-9pm

going to WORK

The other day Kristin Archer of I Heart Hamilton and I met to catch up and to check out WORK, one of the many new restaurants/bars popping up in downtown Hamilton. In the past few months just on James North alone (not even counting the multiple new spots that have all opened recently around town) we’ve seen the opening of sandwich, soup and salad bar resto McCartney & Son, arcade themed pub The Stowaway and WORK located right next to This Ain’t Hollywood (my favourite Hamilton live music venue).

If I’m not mistaken before WORK opened it was formerly a yellow awning-ed Portuguese sports bar. Am I right? The yellow awning is down but on the interior, you could say… the decor has probably not changed much. But that’s kinda what I like about WORK. Its beauty is in their unique culinary fusions. I counted at least four or five different takes on dishes from various cultures. They have southern ribs and fried chicken, classic spaghetti and meat balls, jerk chicken and even chow mein.

There was such a variety to choose from on their menu that it took Kristin and I a good ten minutes of contemplation before finally making our lunch selections.

However, the one thing that we were quick to decide on was an order of avocado fries. The avocado was in that perfect melt-in-your-mouth state of ripeness but with a crispy savoury battered exterior.

After much deliberation my final lunch selection was the braised beef sandwich. It had a nice tart punch of tangy fresh horseradish.

For dessert we couldn’t resist splitting the Koo Koo cake (named after the classic neopolitan striped Koo Koo Taffy Bar). It’s made with strawberry and cappuccino gelato, layered over an espresso crumb crust.

The charm in WORK is that there’s no pretences; it wears its heart on its sleeve and is the kind of place you can saddle up to the bar, enjoy a beer, some great affordable food and likely end up chatting with everyone in the place (they’re all fans). I found myself telling Kristin that if Steve and I didn’t have a baby, we’d probably frequent here on weekday evenings for a beer and some grub (especially pre-shows at This Ain’t). For now I’ll have to settle for sampling the WORK menu during lunch time meet ups.

Thanks Kristin, it was great to try another new place together and to hear about what you’ve been up to. Looking forward to the next rendezvous! You can read Kristin’s post about WORK here.

*WORK, 337 James St. N, 905.777.9675

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