Archives: meat


These past few weeks and months we’ve seen the Hamilton food scene pick up the pace with a rapid fire succession of new restaurant openings. Places like Born & Raised, Berkley North, Fsh & Chp, Hooly Crab, and Nique all opened their doors (not to mention The French –opening soon!).

I had the great pleasure in early spring to attend a sampling of Nique’s menu. It was delicious, refreshing and definitely unique. Menu items ranged from cauliflower and poblano hummus with fry-bread, fried plantain tostones with spicy guac, crispy Cambodian calamari, beet fritters topped with greens. For dessert beignets with fresh Devonshire cream and preserves.

It goes without saying that someone who is as passionate about food as Chef Harrison Hennick could only ever make good things. The quality, creativity and flavour of his dishes were all on point despite having limited access to a fully stocked kitchen (he worked on only one cooking range and a deep frier for this particular pop-up menu sampling event). I can only dream of what Chef Hennick might cook up in his new restaurant with fully stocked kitchen and staff –really exciting stuff!


My ultimate favourite sushi nachos; sushi grade tuna on a bed of crisp fried wontons, topped with the perfect combo of tangy spicy flavours and textures to please my palette.


I’ve heard their two dollar fried chicken on Tuesday is mouthwatering, crispy, and juicy. Not to mention they’ve got menu items ranging from charcuterie, beef ribs, to burgers, bitter greens and crispy snapper. I will definitely need to try Chef Hennick’s spin on the classic Deep and Delicious chocolate cake.

They’re open for lunch and dinner but they’re also open late. Bring on the cocktails, beers and snacks!

Nique has its official grand opening this Friday (tonight!) on James North. If you haven’t been by yet for their sneak peeks and menu samplings from last week’s soft opening, then you should most certainly add it to the top of your list of places to check out ASAP.

*Nique Restaurant, 123 James Street North, 905.529.8000, Facebook, Twitter, Insta


Admittedly I am no expert when it comes to fried chicken and waffles. However, I have tried the fried chicken and triple decker buttermilk waffle sandwich from the Dirty South food truck -oh my goodness! And I’ve now officially gone to Staxx Chicken & Waffle House twice to sample how they do their waffles and chicken.

When we moved to Hamilton, I remember having gone to a Korean restaurant that was where Staxx is now. The food was meh and it was dark and forgettable. Well, the interior of Staxx isn’t much to write home about but it’s clean, near my house and the first of its kind (as far as I knew) in Hamilton.

The first time I went to Staxx was just a few weeks after they’d opened. The tables were full, which is always a good sign, and the fried chicken that was coming out of the kitchen was looking crispy and mouth watering.

I went with a friend, and we knew that although they also serve burgers, pulled pork sandwiches and other edibles, we came for the chicken and waffles. So that is what we ordered.

I’m not sure about you, but I’ve always grown up thinking that waffles should be crispy on the outside yet still fluffy on the inside. This may strangely be based on my experience with the classic Eggo Waffle but I know that I’ve also had Belgian waffles that have been crisp too. So when the order came up and we noticed that the waffles were kinda floppy and still gooey on the inside, we sent back and a new order was promptly brought out (with unfortunately not much improvement). The fried chicken was great but we were a little disappointed with our realization that perhaps waffles aren’t always crispy?

I wasn’t willing to give up on the place on just the one visit, so with some other friends I decided to give it another try. With an order of chocolate milk all around to start we prepped ourselves for the fried chicken and waffles; this go was supreme! Waffles -crispy(er), and fried chicken delicious. I also learned (from observation of a pro) the perfect eating combo of a piece of fried chicken carefully accompanied by waffle, dipped in maple syrup and with a touch of hot sauce for a most deliciously perfect ratio of savoury, sweet and spicy. Our only complaint this time around was that the meals were served on round baking tins with high curved edges that make for difficult cutting and eating of perfect previously said combo of savoury, sweet and spicy morsels of chicken and waffle. We did make plans to come back again to try some of the other things on their menu like their hamburger with fried egg or deep fried onions, or their philly cheese steak and waffles.

Staxx chicken and waffles

chicken and waffles staxx

Before I can legitimately say that Staxx has the best (bricks and mortar) fried chicken in Hamilton, I’ve got to try Tavern on George’s take on it, which I recently read about on Chanry Thach‘s food blog The Hungry Gnome. A hidden gem that I’m dying to try! Check out Chanry‘s post about it here.

*Staxx Burger Chicken Waffle House, 236 King St. E, 289.396.4162, @staxxhamilton



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

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

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.



i’ll say it just this once…


With only a month and a half left before our baby’s due date Steve and I decided to take some advice from our friends who have children, and go on a mini-vacation just the two of us (before we lose this privilege for what many claimed would be an eternity). It was also really just a great excuse to escape from the city for some real relaxation: no computers, no phones, just good food, pool side swims, afternoon snoozes and time to enjoy the fleeting moments of summer and life as just the two of us.

Not wanting to go too far we looked into a few inns around Niagara on the Lake but opted instead for something a little more out of the summer wine country tourist trap area and alas we came upon Langdon Hall in Cambridge, Ontario!

Taking only the country back-roads it took us just less than 45 minutes by car from downtown Hamilton to reach this little 100 something year old country estate and oasis.

The grounds of the inn were quite beautiful, and included tennis courts, croquet course, heated outdoor pool, vegetable garden, pond, 12km of wooded trails (for hiking or biking), plus a spa with free access to their sauna, hot tub, and steam room.

They had a gorgeous vegetable garden that Steve and I drooled over at length.  Purple plum tomatoes, bell peppers, purple kale, and pumpkins ripe on the vine already!

A little pool side reading that I had picked up from Mixed Media (thanks Dave!).

I frequently get told that I’m carrying small so as luck would have it I could still fit into this dress and I think I may have just made the cut for the Langdon Hall dinner dress code (dinner at Langdon Hall was a formal affair: no denim or shorts, and a suit jacket is recommended)!

The food was devine, delicate and ornately beautiful. We sampled some snow crab with edible flowers, raw elk with oyster (Steve sampled that), duck, beef, dessert or a choice of sampling from the cheese cart of exclusively gourmet Canadian cheeses, and then again more dessert.

A three course dinner came with our hotel stay plus a gorgeous country breakfast in the morning. If you so fancied you could get a seven course meal with wine pairings, as well as pairings of scotches, brandy or cognacs to go with your gourmet cheeses and dessert sampling platter.

I have to admit this was an extravagant visit and we will likely not indulge in something so exquisite again for a long time. I don’t think I would’ve been able to comfortably camp this summer so a fancy hotel was our ONLY alternative -right?  I am sure that we’ll make up for it for many years to come when our summers will be spent camping and exploring the far reaching corners and wilderness of Canada and the US -sounds pretty dreamy to me!

*Langdon Hall Country House & Spa, 1 Langdon Drive, Cambridge, Ontario, 519.740.2100

muffuletta picnic

No summer picnic would be complete without the muffuletta sandwich.  I learnt about this sandwich on a cottage trip last summer when my sister put one together.  We were all in awe of the muffuletta and all its deliciousness.

To make your own muffuletta sandwich one needs a crusty round bread that you carve out like a pumpkin. Save a bread lid, and scoop out most of the bread from the inside.  Drizzle the bottom of your new bread bowl with pesto.  For my pesto I ground up fresh basil with some olive oil and roasted garlic.  Then add layers of salami, and roasted veggies (I used grilled eggplant, yellow and green zucchini, and carrots).  As for cheese, provolone or havarti will do. Make your layers of cheese nice and thick.  In between layers add capers, and chopped olives or an olive spread, and arugula.  We got our arugula spicy and fresh from our garden.  I also grated a fresh beet and added it to the layers -it gives a beautiful colour.  I put in a layer of some pickled artichoke hearts too.  You could add other items like sundried tomatoes, roasted red pepper, grainy mustards and a layer of thick smoked bacon (save that layer for the top).  My sister’s tip was to separate the layers of meat and cheese so it doesn’t get too greasy and ensure that a little remaining pesto gets drizzled on top.  Last you put the bread top back on and tie the bread back up nice and tight with some parcel string.  Return the whole bread to fridge and let it sit refrigerated for a few hours before cutting into “pie-slices” and serving.

We brought two muffuletta sandwiches out for our July 1st picnic -one with meat and one veggie.

Along with the sandwich was also an assortment of other beautiful fresh summer foods and beverages.  We had some refreshing rice wraps with lettuce, cucumber, mango, mint and basil, as well as, a quinoa and chickpea salad.

Sigh…. I love hot summer days and picnics in the park.


in the streets of philadephia

Since Philly is so close to NYC it was worth a little jaunt over to visit some friends and check out the city.

When we got off the bus at around lunch time our number one priority was to get a Philly cheesesteak sandwich stat.  We were strictly advised not to get one from any of the touristy locations, as we’d be surely disappointed AND we wanted nothing but the real deal.  Directions were given to go directly to Paesano’s in the Italian market. So that’s what we did, and this is what was ordered; The Paesano -beef brisket, roasted tomato, sharp provolone, horseradish mayo, the signature fried egg all stuffed into a hot and fresh hoagie bun.  A delivery of hot buns arrived as our order was being taken, so you knew everything was going to be fresh and melty good.  Steve took one bite of his sandwich and nearly died right then and there -it was so damn good!

Besides the awesome sandwich, and fantastic Italian market, Philly is rampant with about a million murals that spread throughout the city.  It’s actually really gorgeous, and a lot of them depict specific historical figures and events that occurred in that particular area.  One of my favourites was this pixelated mural of trees in blossom coinciding perfectly with Philly’s early spring tree blossoms.  You can see some of the fabulous murals of Philadelphia here -you gotta love cities that invest in community and art projects like this one: The Mural Arts Program.

We ended our afternoon in the city of brotherly love in a gorgeous 1800 Victorian themed brew house called the Farmer’s Cabinet, where deliciously unique and exquisite beers were sampled.

I definitely want to come back again to Philadelphia to spend a little more time checking out all of its history and secret dug-out spaces.


morning feast

Merry Christmas!  I know I’m a little late but I still wanted to post some photos of Christmas.

When I picked up my parent’s old box of Christmas decorations, I was really looking to score the beautiful and delicate glass balls that I remember from when I was little.  One day we’ll get a Christmas tree but being a treeless house this Christmas I thought displaying them in some vases would do too.  I especially love the pink one below.

Christmas decoration, Christmas balls, Christmas bulbs, vintage Christmas decorations

The latest tradition to develop in my family around Christmas time is to have a delicious Christmas morning breakfast of savoury treats, meats, and cheeses -my favourite!

This year we hosted Christmas breakfast at our place and was it ever a feast.

meats, cheeses, spread for Christmas, Christmas breakfast feast

My father had made a special request to have tator tots as part of the spread -you can never go wrong with some tots! SO we had tots, a cheese fondue, meats, other various cheeses, crostini, spicy pickles, pâté, caviar, jams, jellies, coffees and teas.  I would love to start any day with a feast like this.


A few summers back Steve and I biked to Burlington for their annual Ribfest (Canada’s largest!).  I remember how the bike ride was a bit tricky once we hit the industrial heartland of the steel mills and entered into the highway of what is Burlington St. east (now with the bike bridge over the QEW this should be no sweat).  Not to mention the lift bridge got stuck and there was about an hour delay to cross the water to get to Burlington.

Mmmmm ribs.  Ribfest was awesome and well worth the bike ride and wait.  It was packed, smoky, and delicious.

A good sampling of ribs, pulled pork, and beer by the lake, in the sun, is a fantastic way to end off the summer.  Oh, sigh..


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