Archives: food

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

sew hungry #2

This was only the second Sew Hungry food truck rally that I’ve attended and it definitely seemed busier than the last one. Parking was tough and the line-ups were heavy. We started off at the Dirty South food truck but it was so busy that we passed on the fried chicken and waffle sandwich and headed straight for Buster’s Sea Cove.

My first Sew Hungry I remember saying that I had regrets about not trying Buster’s Sea Cove’s lobster roll. So first on the list was to get me a roll.

My meal came with a bag of chips, a juicy pickle and a lobster roll. The roll was pretty small and in the end I felt that it was a little over-priced -$13!

sew hungry, buster's sea cove, lobster roll

Buster's Sea Cove Lobster Roll

Be warned that when attending events like this, when you have a stroller, eating on the go from places like food trucks and food stands take on a whole new life. You’ve got crowds to manoeuvre around (and no matter what you always seem to be in the way), rocking to ensure that your baby is falling asleep (so you can eat with some sort of ease), and you’ve really only got one hand free, which is due cause for some messy eating.

So when I spotted a church parking lot filled with empty tables and chairs my friend Vern and I made a b-line for it with our two strollers and sleeping babies in tow. The admission; the purchase of one meat pie (with gravy, peas and onions and a pop). Hello -no problem there! Out of the crowds and the ability to use two hands while eating, we were pretty much sold.

It was a fabulously delicious homemade meat pie. I had to stop myself from licking the plate.

Our next stop was at El Gastronomo Vagabundo (with surprisingly no line-up). For all that it’s worth, line ups are sometimes not the best indicators of what’s good and what isn’t. We were so impressed with the presentation and flavour of the battered poached egg on asparagus that next time I see this truck I won’t hesitate to sample more from their menu.

Deep-fried poached egg; and the yolk was still runny!

asparagus, battered poached egg, with candied bacon

Just check out the photo gallery on El Gastronomo Vagabundo’s page here. Their food looks soooooooo good!

The one truck that I wanted to check out but didn’t get a chance to on this go round was The Big Chief, which is Hamilton’s newest food truck specializing in First Nation cuisine. I’m happy that it’s a Hamilton local so I won’t have to wait until the next Sew Hungry to sample some venison chili and bison sliders. You can follow them @thebigchiefco.

If you’ve never been to a Sew Hungry I do recommend that you go at least once. Do a little research prior to see which trucks you want to hit up first. Most of the trucks sold out of their menu items later on in the day. So get there early before the line-ups get out of hand. If I venture to another Sew Hungry, I’ll also likely consider taking the free shuttle bus or biking so as not to have to deal with finding a parking spot.

 

food in tins

The first really warm spring day about a week or so ago, I packed up some treats and headed out for a play date picnic with Omi at Gage Park.

I do love picnics. Especially meats, cheese and snack type foods.

I gathered some items that we had around the house along with some foccacia bread for make-your-own mini open-faced sandwiches.

Finally put this handy stackable tin lunch container to good use. This little contraption is called a dabba (or tiffin). We picked it up when we were travelling in India. It’s kinda like the Indian version of the obento box.

For dessert I made this super yummy treat. Get this -Mars Bar Rice Krispie Squares! Yeah, it’s pretty decadent, but they are so yum. If you can believe it there’s three Mars Bars in this one batch! Sometimes I have to remind myself about the three bars to stop myself from eating the entire tray all in one go. Three Mars Bars in one day is just totally unacceptable.

 

 

fish and chips

If there’s one thing that Steve and I love doing it’s going to a nice classic pub for pints and good pub fare. Since we don’t live in England, where people don’t automatically think you’re the worst parent in the world if you show up to a pub with a kid. And since we can’t exactly leave Omi at home to fend for himself; then I suppose the next best thing to going to a pub is if the pub comes to you. Hence our idea to make homemade fish and chips!

This was our first time taking on such an endeavour and it turned out to be surprsingly easy and delicious. A simple cold bitter beer battered recipe turned out some beautiful crisp results on our first go. I picked up some haddock from the farmer’s market, along with a Mill Street Spring Imp bitter lager (should’ve really used an ale but it still tasted fabulous). We used a beer battered recipe that I found here.

I whipped up a quick tartar sauce inspired by my friend Vern’s fish and chip post from her blog Nine Ate Seven. For my tartar sauce I mixed in mayo, finely chopped capers, pickles and green onions plus a dash of apple cider vinegar, a squeeze of lemon and a pinch or two of sugar. As per Vern’s suggestion on her post we also tried out the double deep-fry method that successfully resulted in some extra crispy sweet potato fries.

Who knows, this may just inspire a frequent stay at home pub night at our place. It’ll be fabulous once we can sit in the backyard again -patio time!

sugar bush

The last weekend of March we were in Kingston visiting some old friends. While there we decided to make the most of the early spring weather by heading out to a nearby conservation area for a maple syrup festival.

To the sugar bush!

The trees were tapped with the sap flowing. We noted that they had several different methods of tapping, some with metal pails, other trees with blue plastic buckets, and some were tapped atop a hill with a series of connecting tubes that ran towards the sugar shack down the hill below (definitely the most efficient).

maple syrup evaporator

There wasn’t any snow of the ground so we weren’t able to do the classic maple syrup on snow or ice. Of course there were pancakes and although we’d already had a delicious breakfast we could not forgo sampling at least one (or two)!

This pancake was so delictable and the maple syrup was so fresh!

I hadn’t been to the sugar bush since I was a little kid. I’m sure in the upcoming years we’ll be doing an annual maple syrup pilgrimage to Mountsberg (and the like) with the little one.

 

sleep over

Among the many things that people will tell you when having kids is that your life will never be the same and that you’ll never be able to live like you used to. Honestly this idea kinda petrified me -to think that I’d be sequestered to an isolated parental island void of all “normal” social contact and/or limited only to baby/parent talk.

However, I’ve suprisingly found that besides the obvious life changes invovled in having a child, life with some effort can be quite as it were pre-baby.

The beauty is to come up with novel ideas on how to continue to socialize and maintain social equilibrium.

Thus far we have found that life can take on many of the same ceremonious social rituals (however, I’m sure this too will change). We’ve managed to finagle going out for dinners, visiting with friends, and more often than not, these days having friends over. We must of course give thanks to our friends, who have continued to request our social presence.

There are challenges that do arise in trying to socialize. Especially when we want to meet up with friends who live out of town that also have kids. Between naps, dinner, baths and bed time, this all  leaves little room to get in a satisfactory visit.

So in honour of living life the way we used to like let’s say having dinner with some old friends from out of town, we pulled off our first ever parent sleep over and it was a success. Once the kids had their dinner and bath time, and it was all quiet on the western front. We parents camped out in the mainfloor of the house with wine, escargot, bubbly Italian beers and fondue -how so appropriately over the top adult like of us.

an assortment of snacks -pickled radish, turnip & carrots plus some other randoms

tempura oil fondue -a Japanese twist on a French meal

the next morning -starting the day off right with some colouring

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