Archives: snacks

gorilla cheese

I experienced my first Gorilla Cheese grilled cheese the other day and it was delicious!

I heard that the Gorilla Cheese truck was going to be parked across the street from our house so I made extra sure that I would be coming home for lunch that day.  All morning long I was anticipating the cheesy tendrils of this treat, and fantasizing about the gooey melty cheesiness of a real good grilled cheese.

I didn’t think there would be much of a crowd ordering from the truck since our house is located in a weird in between corktown/downtown mixed commercial residential area.  Clearly I was out of touch with just how much daytime commercial population is in the neighbourhood because there was a good solid crowd of 15-20 people waiting for their grilled cheeses!

gorilla cheese, grilled cheese, food truck, hamilton ontario, gourmet, sandwich

Once we got to the truck there was some debate as to which sandwich to get. I hmm’d and haa’d about my selection and was stuck between the OG (Original Gorilla) -better than your momma’s grilled cheese, aged Canadian cheddar on white or multi or the Sarducci -mozzarella, red onion, fresh basil, tomato, balsamic glaze on multi. I eventually settled on the Sarducci for $7.50.

Gorilla Cheese, grilled cheese, food truck, Hamilton, Ontario, gourmet, sandwich

I have to admit that I thought $7.50 was a little steep for just a grilled cheese, however, I was not disappointed. First off the grilled cheese is not just any grilled cheese it’s a Gorilla Cheese and it is huge! I could’ve probably had a meal of just a 1/2 portion. The bread was delicious (crispy and buttery), plus you get a tasty pickle as a side. I swear carrying two grilled cheeses back to our house to eat from fresh off the truck it felt like I had 5 pounds of grilled cheese in my one hot little hungry hand. So in conclusion for $7.50 I don’t think you could have a tastier grilled cheese sandwich. Definitely a special treat that I would pick up again.

Way to go Hamilton for starting a food truck revolution! I missed the food truck rally back at the end of September, but have heard there’s a mini one coming up on Ottawa Street for 3 Fridays starting on December 9th 11:30am-2:30pm with Gorilla Cheese, Cupcake Diner, El Gastronomo, and Bonfire Catering.  My hope is to sample some wood fired pizzas from Bonfire Catering.

early morning riser

Waking up early on a Saturday morning isn’t something that happens often for me.  I like to sleep in, lounge around, and take as much time getting out of bed as possible.  So on the rare occasion when I do wake up fully rested, and it’s still nice and early, I like to make the most of the day.

Since the weather was so gorgeous and sunny, Steve and I decided to take a leisurely, morning walk on the Bruce Trail.  One of the many things that I love about where we live is the easy access to nature and trails.  We hiked the back trail over to Locke St., where our reward of coffee, tea and pain au chocolat, (which by the way was amazing; crispy, buttery, flaky and accompanied by the perfect amount of dark bitter sweet chocolate), awaited us from Bread Bar.

Bruce Trail, Hamilton, between Queen St. and John St., forest, November

Bruce Trail, Hamilton, November, frost

Bruce Trail, Hamilton, November, frost, Saturday morning hike, walk

*Bread Bar, 258 Locke St. south, Hamilton, 905.522.2999

ottawa street

The past few weeks has seen lots of action on Ottawa Street.  Just 2 weeks back on September 16th Ottawa Street hosted Sew Hungry: Food Truck and Restaurant Rally 2011.  I heard about the event the day of, when I saw this poster at Downtown Bike Hounds.  I was already on my way out for a lunch date so I was sad that I didn’t get to sample all of the latest gourmet trucks that have been popping up around the city and around southern Ontario.

Apparently the first Sew Hungry Food Truck event saw 8000 people attend!  The rally featured local trucks; Gorilla Cheese‘s gourmet grilled cheeses, Sweetness Bakery and Cupcake Diner‘s gourmet cupcakes plus a whole slew more of out of town speciality food trucks.  If you’re into the latest food truck craze that’s been hitting the hammer, you’ll also be happy to know that there is also the super amazing Sweet Ice snow cone stand/trailer, which made their appearance at this year’s Supercrawl. Sweet Ice  is hosting a dance party event this Saturday, October 1st at Vasco Da Gama; 175 James St. North, featuring DJ Donna Lovejoy on the 1′s and 2′s, plus there’s promise of a giant lite brite AND mixed drink snow cones!

Sew Hungry, BIA, Ottawa St.  Hamilton, Ontario, food trucks, Gorilla Cheese,

There’s been big changes happening on Ottawa Street the past few years.  I remember when I was a kid, when Ottawa Street was primarily known as a garment district.  I’d come down with my mom to get fabric and supplies for extravagant dance recital outfits.

Things have been changing over the years and it appears as though Ottawa Street tells a similar story to that of how Locke street looked a few years back (when the street consisted mainly of antique shops, many of who have moved on down to Ottawa Street where the rent is more affordable).  There are still some fabric stores complemented by upholstery shops, a giant wallpaper store, restaurants, delis, and an art gallery.  The storefront landscape is for sure evolving .

I recently visited the strip for some antiquing.  My first stop was to the latest edition to the block; Steel Town Pickers at 180 Ottawa St. north.

Steel Town Pickers, 180 Ottawa Street North, Hamilton, Ontario

There are more antique stores on Ottawa Street.  More than I can count on my fingers these days.  Below are some photos from various antique stores on the strip.

vintage paintings, flock of geese, Ottawa Street, Hamilton, Ontario, antiques

Ottawa Street, Hamilton, Ontario, antiques

antiques, Ottawa Street, Hamilton, Ontario, vintage cocktail glasses

Antique Avenue, which is my favourite antique store, opened up nearly 9 months ago with a huge stock of antique and vintage that came primarily from one man’s personal collection. To read the story click here.

Every time I go by this store I always make sure to pick up a little something.  It’s a great place to buy super unique gifts.  There’s an amazing selection of vintage magazines, books, tins, jars, dishes, toys, furniture, frames, tools etc.  You name it they’ve got it.  The owner’s of the store Tom Watson and Adam Hughes always give out great deals too.

Earle Stanley Gardner, mystery novel, vintage books, The Case of the Golddigger's purse, Ottawa Street, antiques, Antique Avenue

Antique Avenue, antiques, Hamilton, Ontario, Ottawa Street, ceramic squirrel sitting on giant nut

vintage hulk hogan lunch pale, antique avenue, hamilton ontario, ottawa street

Welcome Back Kotter, vintage doll, Antique Avenue, Ottawa Street, Hamilton, Ontario, antiques

Ottawa street is also home to a weekly farmer’s market, the first Tim Horton’s ever, a super record store, and regular and awesome sidewalk sales.

*Antique Avenue, 329 Ottawa St. north, Hamilton, Ontario, 905.547.7168

paris

Oh, Paris… Paris, Ontario that is. A few weeks back Steve and I stopped by the small town of Paris, Ontario. The town is 160 years old and is at the cross section of two major southern Ontario rivers; the Grand River, and the Ninth River.

The Grand River, Paris, Ontario

Although Paris is beautiful, it is not, as one might think, named after la belle ville de Paris because of its notable elegance and beauty.  In fact, the town of Paris, Ontario actually bares no resemblance or connection to Paris, France whatsoever.  Its name actually came to be as a result of the large amounts of gypsum found in the area, which is used in the making of plaster of Paris.  It is also the location of where the first long distance telephone call was received by Alexander Graham Bell.

Oh, Paris you do not cease to amaze me!

Spring TIme in Paris, Ontario

Spring time in Paris as the sign connotes would be beautiful.  But I would chance a guess that fall in Paris, Ontario would be just as picturesque.  The river is lined with trees, and is banked with a row of old buildings that overlook the Grand.  I remember when I took the train in to visit Steve at his artist residency in Windsor going by Paris and thinking to myself that I definitely wanted to stop through this charming town.

If you do ever find your way to Paris, Ontario in fall, spring or summer, you can rent a canoe or kayak and do some river cruising, while enjoying the scenery.  There are also the rail trails that extend from Hamilton to Brantford and then Brantford to Paris.  I saw a lot of bikers on the Paris rail trail as we made our way out of town.

Grand Experience Canoe & Kayaking, Paris, Ontario, boat rentals, Grand River

One of the best parts of our trip to Paris were the treats!  I had a black cherry ice-cream from the ice-cream shop across from the Canadian Tire that had been retrofitted into a historic old building (why can’t more cities do this!).  We picked up some sweet and delicious treats form the Paris Bakery for the road.

The Paris Bakery, Paris, Ontario, baked goods, treats, Grand River

Then we went for a coffee at the Brown Dog Coffee and Frittery.

Brown Dog Coffee Shop & Frittery

Brown Dog Coffee & Frittery, Grand River, Paris, Ontario, deepfried cheese cake, deep fried banana split

Yes, yes you can! You can get apple fritters, cheese cake fritters, and a banana split fritter!

hand crank apple peeler, Brown Dog Coffee & Frittery, Paris, Ontario

Brown Dog Coffee & Frittery, Paris, Ontario, Waterdown, apple fritters

Fresh apple fritters!  What a fantastic fall treat.  Coincidentally the city of Waterdown as of September 23rd will be home to the 2nd 3rd Brown Dog Coffee & Frittery.  So this means that I’m just that much closer to having fresh apple fritters paired with super amazing coffee on a more regular basis.  Mmmmm.

*Brown Dog Coffee Shoppe & Frittery, 63 Grand River St., Paris, ON, 519.302.0722

*Brown Dog Coffee Shoppe & Frittery, 312 Dundas St., Waterdown, ON.

festival food

The summers around here are filled with festivals and small town fairs.  Along with festivals and fairs comes festival food.

One of the early summer festivals we hit up was the Turkish Festival at Gage Park. My favourite was this savoury Turkish pancake, called a Gozleme.  It’s a thin buttery bread stuffed with parsley and feta cheese and then pan fried right in front of you on special hot plate that looked like an inverted hot steel bowl.

Turkish pancake, gozleme, Turkish Festival, Gage Park, Hamilton, Ontario

 

I went to the Winona Peach Festival for the 2nd time in the past 3 years.  I do have to be honest in saying that I will probably not go back. This year I went strictly for some food tasting, but I did not find much that would warrant another visit.

We sampled the ribbon chips, which were probably the best purchase of the evening.  The chips are thinly peeled into a giant long ribbon from one whole potato, then deep fried into golden crisp goodness.

The peach sundae was good, but like much fair food, was overpriced, and nothing that I wouldn’t be able to whip up at home with some fresh and local peaches, vanilla bean ice-cream and some whipped cream.

These deep fried panzerotti balls were the biggest disappointment.  What one would think would be awesome cheesy deep fried goodness, was just pretty much over processed crapiness.  I was looking for something a little more homemade.

 

We also stopped by the Cactus Festival in Dundas, which was your typical mid town fair.  There was a huge variety of food vendors, including fair classics like elephant ears, funnel cake, deep fried butter, mars bars, plus items from poutine, sweet potatoe fries, to Indian Currries and gourmet burgers.

In my many visits to Dundas I had never noticed the little Ukranian grocers until this day.  I was so excited to see the shop that I couldn’t resist indulging in some pierogies and kielbasa.  I can only dream that one day somewhere nearby there might be a pierogi festival.

My only warning to you if you do ever decide to head to the Cactus Festival, be aware that the festival population is composed of about 99.9% 12-15 year olds.  Just to give you a better picture, there was a bouncer at the McDonalds to assist with teen crowd control.

watching the garden grow

One of our favourite things to do in the evening is to sit out back and watch our garden grown.  It’s amazing to see the fruits of our labour blooming and growing so quickly.  I love picking things fresh from the garden and incorporating them into a meal for that day.

antique metal garden chair, backyard relaxing, red brick wall

potted asian eggplant

homegrown, backyard vegetable garden, tomatoes

kale leaves, backyard vegetable garden

homegrown peppers, backyard vegetable garden

snowpeas, homegrown vegetable garden, backyard vegetable garden

melon plant, backyard garden, baby melon

Check out that little baby melon growing. So cute!

zucchini flowers

I love eating batter fried zucchini flowers. My favourite summer time savoury treat. I make a batter mixture of flour, water, garlic salt, pepper, and some grated cheese of whatever I have lying around. This time I threw in some of the herbs that I've been growing in the herb boxes in the backyard. Then I coated the flowers with the batter mixture, and pan fried them in olive oil on medium heat until golden brown and crispy.

pan fry zucchini blossoms, fried zucchini flowers

panfried zucchini blossoms, zucchini flowers

 

 

baked goods

On Saturday we took a short drive to the neighbouring town of Dundas.  One of our favourite and mandatory stops, when in Dundas, is to visit our friends at Picone Fine Food; a great place to find quality local produce, unique dressings, sauces, gourmet oils and vinegars, and other tasty treats.

There was a gorgeous spread of delicious and delicately crafted baked goods.

Pcione Fine Food, Dundas

hotcross buns, Picone Fine Food, Dundas

Picone Fine Foods, Dundas Ontario
meat pie, Picone Fine Food, Dundas

We left with two varieties of meat pie, one chicken and the other beef.   I was told that the pies were handmade by the Picone family matriarch.

*Picone Fine Food, 34 King St. West, Dundas, Ontario

 

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