Behind the Food: The Toasted Tangerine Mobile Sandwich Press

It’s the MOST delicious time of year…Food & Drink Fest time!  The Festival with Taste is returning on March 23, 24 & 25 at The Careport Centre on Longwood Rd. S. Hamilton, Ontario.  Before Food & Drink Fest, we hope to bring you a “behind the scenes” sneak-peak of many of the restaurants, gourmet food options, bakeries, local wineries and breweries.  Getting to know the Chefs, Bakers, Winemakers or the Brewmasters behind our local culinary scene isn’t always an experience we, the foodies, are privy to  have. The team at Food & Drink Fest believes that it is an important and organic step in a foodie’s culinary experience, so we encourage you to read on…then have the opportunity to meet these individuals at the show. If you have any questions of your own, please feel free to them through and we would be happy to ask on your behalf. Cheers!

Company Name: The Toasted Tangerine 

http://thetoastedtangerine.com/

Q: Three adjectives to describe your Culinary Style: Feel good, Delicious, Comfort Food

Q:  What made you fall in love with food?

A: Chef Adrian Tangerine has grown up in the restaurant industry his whole life. Living in a house with a baker, butcher and cook really taught him at a young age that food truly was his passion. Adrian has worked at his family restaurant for the last 15 years and in the last three years taken over the business with his wife and business partner Alyssa Tangerine. Recently they decided to sell their restaurant and continue their devotion for food in the form of a food truck. The Toasted Tangerine Mobile Sandwich Press is a true extension of their passion for food and rock n roll.

The Toasted Tangerine Mobile Sandwich PressThe Toasted Tangerine Mobile Sandwich Press

Q:  Most essential Kitchen Tool/Gadget

A: Sharp Chef’s knife

A: What is your favourite or most frequently used herb in the kitchen?

A: A dash of this and a pinch of that lol!

Q:  In your opinion, what is the most underrated ingredient in the kitchen?

A: Mustard

Q: What inspires you in the kitchen?

A: Music- Specifically Led Zeppelin any song and every song! Led Zeppelin is a band with such a variety of sounds- from heavy drum solos to ballad acoustic love songs. This variety inspires me to constantly add new flare and flavour to my cooking.

Q: Aside from your own restaurant, what’s the best thing you have ever ate locally? It can be from a restaurant or a dinner party. Please include the name of the dish and if it is a restaurant, please include their name.

 A: Crispy Beef- Faley’s in Rexdale, ON http://www.faleyrestaurant.com/

Q: What is your food philosophy?

A: Great food, great people, great music.

Q: What would your ultimate “Last meal” consist of (in a less morbid way, what dish always makes your mouth water? lol). Please include your beverage choices as well as dessert!

For her: Crispy beef, Fettuccine Alfredo, freshly baked oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and Dr.Pepper cherry.

For him: 20 oz cowboy steak medium rare, crispy beef, side of our Mango Jalapeno coleslaw, skip dessert and give me a whiskey;)

Toasted Tangerine Team: Alyssa & Chef Adrian TangerineToasted Tangerine Team: Alyssa & Chef Adrian Tangerine

Check out The Toasted Tangerine at 7th Annual Food & Drink Fest…the Festival with Taste in booth #140

March 23, 24 & 25, 2012

The Careport Centre

270 Longwood Rd S., Hamilton

www.FoodandDrinkFest.com

 

 

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New Location, But Same Great Taste!

7th Annual Food & Drink Fest...the Festival with Taste moves to The Careport Centre

 7th Annual Food & Drink Fest…the Festival with Taste has a New Location.

March 23, 24, & 25, 2012~The Careport Centre, Hamilton

2012’s Festival with Taste is excited to announce their move to The Careport Centre, located at 170 Longwood Road South in McMaster Innovation Park Hamilton, Ontario. While the team at Food & Drink Fest is sad to say goodbye to their home at Copps Colsieum, we felt it was time to take the plunge and move the event to the bigger and more functional Careport Centre. There will be many advantages that come with moving the event to The Careport Centre, which is the region’s largest up and coming trade show and convention facility. Some of those advantages include:

  • FREE Parking for both exhibitors and customers
  • Over 30,000 square feet of extra space. (allowing exhibitors to expand their presence at the show)
  • Everything will be on one floor and in one space
  • More loading docks and easier access for exhibitors to load-in and load-out
  • Ability to handle an increase in attendance while at the same time making larger and more comfortable aisles
  • Larger indoor crunch area for Food & Drink goers if lines get large. (Very important in inclement weather!)
  • Ability to move people faster into the show. (Helping to minimize wait times at rush hours and gives our Food & Drink guests the best experience possible)
  • Easy access off of Hwy 403 for exhibitors and consumers coming in locally and  from out of town,
  • Much more flexibility to evolve the event while still maintaining an intimate, interesting and fun atmosphere
  • Very accessible public transportation to the facility
  • In walking distance for visitors and university faculty and students that reside in the west end and downtown core of Hamilton.

The team has already begun the exhibitor rebooking process and several of Food & Drink culinary attractions have returned! Such fan favs as La PiazzaRidge Road WineryHot MamasBig Rock BreweryTwisted LemonMy ThaiCreemore SpringsWellington Brewery,Caroline CellarsDymentsVineland Estates, Cupcake Diner  and many more have already reserved their booth locations for Food & Drink Fest 2012.

All and all Food & Drink Fest 2012 is already promising to be another fun, delicious night on the town! Be sure to come and visit us at our new digs: The Careport Centre, March 23, 24, & 25, 2012

For Consumer or Exhibit Information, please feel free to contact Shannon or Jennifer at any time

7th Annual Food & Drink Fest…the Festival

March 23, 24 & 25, 2012

The Careport Centre, Hamilton, Ontario

P: 905-524-3689

info@FoodandDrinkFest.com

www.FoodandDrinkFest.com

www.TheCareportCentre.com 

Fans of Chuck Hughes will not be disappointed at Food & Drink Fest this weekend!

small chuck.jpg

Celebrity Chef Chuck Hughes will be appearing on stage at this year’s Food & Drink Fest… The Festival with Taste at Copps Coliseum on Sunday at both 1 and 3 pm. Most famous for his hit show on the Food Network “Chuck’s Day Off”, Montreal native Chuck Hughes has become a household name; bringing outright talent, sex appeal and fun back to the kitchen. Most recently, Chuck took down the competition, Bobby Flay, in Kitchen Stadium on the Network’s show “Iron Chef”. At age 34, he is only the second Canadian chef to emerge victorious with a score of 45-41. He is also the first Canadian to beat the illustrious Flay, the youngest Canadian and first Quebec chef to compete on the show.  To fans of Chuck and attendees to this weekend’s Food & Drink Fest this is all good news! Why? Because the secret ingredient with which Chuck brought home the title of Iron Chef is the very same he will prepare on stage Sunday at Food & Drink Fest! LOBSTER! Not only is this a popular staple fare at his Montreal restaurant, but it is also one of Hughes’ personal favorites (he has a big tattoo of the crustacean on his forearm!) So needless to say, those who nab a seat in the cooking demonstration area Sunday at Copps Coliseum will not be disappointed!

Chuck’s Menu is as follows:

  • Beef TarTar  with local cheeses, olives and bread
  • Jerk Lobster
  • Maple Syrup Pie (His Mom’s Recipe!)

Chuck and his honorary at-show sous chef Tracy Winkworth from the Belworth House in Waterford will be showcasing a number of local ingredients in their recipes, with offerings from Jensen Cheese, Sam’s Cheese at the Hamilton Farmer’s Market and Railway City Brewing. Be sure and get your seat, which is FREE with admission to Food & Drink Fest… The Festival with Taste! this weekend, April 8th, 9th and 10th at Copps Coilseum.

Written by Jennifer Odell

Food Drive at Food & Drink Fest…the Festival with Taste!

Calling All Socially Conscience Foodies! We need your help with

Stocking the Shelves for Hamilton Food Share

at 6th Annual Food & Drink Fest…the Festival with Taste!

April 8th, 9thm & 10th, 2011~Copps Coliseum

www.FoodandDrinkFest.com

There are many trends swirling around the world of food right now such as buying local and sticking within a 100 mile diet.  Others include eating raw or organic food or supporting independent restaurants.  All are worthy causes and  should become more a just a trend; but rather a part of our community’s lifestyle.

The team at Food & Drink Fest 2011 also wants to support the local community and promote another important “Foodie Cause” by helping to collect food items so that the less fortunate people of our community also have access to nutritious meals on a regular basis.  6th Annual Food & Drink Fest is encouraging fellow foodies to bring in a few canned goods or nonperishable food items  to the 6th Annual Food & Drink  Fest (April 8, 9, & 10, 2011 at Copps Coliseum), to donate to Hamilton Food Share.

Please drop off your canned goods at the ticket office when you buy your tickets for the Food & Drink Fest 2011.  We hope to raise over 2,000 canned goods for Hamilton Food Share. Even if you can’t stay for the show, we welcome all donations.  PLUS, we challenge you to be creative in your donations and bring some healthy and delicious non-perishable food choices with you.  Leave that old can of cream of mushroom soup at home lol!

For more information, please visit http://www.foodanddrinkfest.com/HamiltonFoodShare

Cheers

Shannon

 

 

Food & Drink Fest “Up-Close” with Cupcake Diner

I had a chance to talk to Natalie from The Cupcake Diner.  Aside from making me crave sweet treats, I learned a lot about a revolutionary business right in our own backyard and a little cupcake history…..

Q: Name of Your Company: Cupcake Diner

www.cupcakediner.ca

Natalie, owner and master baker of Cupcake Diner

Natalie, owner and master baker of Cupcake Diner

Q: Describe Your Company using three adjectives: Unique, Trendy, Gourmet…& I have to add Fun!!!

We are the first to bring a mobile cupcake shop to Canada – this is huge for the country! The gourmet food truck craze is ever so present in hip parts of the States such as New York City, Washington, LA and Chicago, so we are right on-trend with this phenomenon. Something Canada has yet to experience until now! We use social media such as Facebook and Twitter to inform our customers of our daily and hourly location.  Our pick cupcake truck comes right to you, serving cupcakes curbside – what would be more fun than that! You can also have the Diner come to your event.

Q: What is your favourite type of beverage to pair with a cupcake: Tea – no question about it! The tartness of the tea balances out the sweetness of the cupcake

Q: Much of your company is inspired by the nostalgia of the1950’s.  Describe what you call the Classic 1950’s Cupcake

Yes, it’s all about the 1950’s! To us, the 50’s represents a time of good old fashion service. Goods are made with care and served with a smile.  Our cupcake, 1950’s Classic is themed on the Hostess Cupcake which in the 50’s really put cupcakes on the map.  The 1950’s Classic is a chocolate cupcake, filled with vanilla cream, frosted with chocolate ganache and topped with swirls of white icing. A timeless indulgence!

Classic Chocolate Cupcake from Cupcake Diner

Classic Chocolate Cupcake from Cupcake Diner

Q: What is your favourite combo of cake and icing? This is a tough one – there are so many! If I had to choose one it would be our Caramel Apple Pie Cupcake – this is our vanilla cupcake with slices of baked apple, gently spiced with nutmeg and cinnamon, frosted with vanilla buttercream & topped with a light drizzle of caramel. It has all the elements that make for a great cupcake – Delish!

Q: What is the cake/icing combo you just love and wish people would try more? Any cupcake with fresh fruit! Like Mango or Lemon Blueberry. I think people aren’t used to fresh, quality ingredients such as these in cupcakes. I encourage everyone to try them! – Simply decadent.

Q: What is the most unique or “out there” flavour of cupcake? I would have to say our Cannoli Cream Cupcake. You get all the deliciousness of a cannoli in a cupcake – what could be better!

Q: Aside from cupcakes, what would your ultimate “Last meal” consist of (in a less morbid way, what dish always makes your mouth water? lol) Another tough question to ask a “Foodie” like myself! But, I would have to say my all-time fav, whole wheat penne pasta with grilled veggies, tossed in a light olive oil garlic sauce, topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese. A mixed greens salad and glass of white chardonnay.  A cup of tea and a cupcake for dessert of course!

*In addition to the curbside service Cupcake Diner caters to social events, corporate events and weddings.  They offer: Cupcake Trees, Cupcake Buffets, Fondant Covered Cakes and the Diner live at your event. Your guests will never forget their pink (yes, PINK!) cupcake truck pulling up and serving gourmet cupcakes! They also offer water, pop and coffee on board, as well as custom cupcake toppers, such as company logos and celebratory signs.

Let The Cupcake Diner sweeten up your next event!

The Perfect Gift! YUMM!

The Perfect Gift! YUMM!

Cupcake Diner will be participating in Food & Drink Fest 2011 in booths #195 & 196

Food & Drink Fest 2011

April 8th, 9th & 10th, 2011

Copps Colsieum

April 8: 5pm-10pm, April 9: 1pm-10pm, April 10: 12noon-5pm

www.FoodandDrinkFest.com

Food & Drink Fest Foodie Spotlight: Hot Mamas

Interview conducted with Sue Plumbohm, Owner of Hot Mamas

Company Name: Hot Mamas Foods Inc

www.hotmamas.ca

Company Motto: “We’ll Add a little spice to your life!”

Visit Sue, owner of Hot Mamas in booth #205 at Food & Drink Fest

Visit Sue, owner of Hot Mamas in booth #205 at Food & Drink Fest

Tell us a bit about where and how your jellies and sauces are created. Hot Mamas Foods Inc is a 100% Canadian Family owned business started in 2005. Our red pepper jelly was our initial product—a secret family recipe that my Mama brought from Jamaica. We use scotch bonnet peppers grown on our family farm in Pefferlaw, Ont from our heirloom plants from Jamaica as well as we import directly from Jamaica on a weekly basis. Our red pepper jelly is unique in flavour and our customers say its the best one on the market. As the years  went on we added more jellies, hot sauces and BBQ sauces. We now have 11 spicy pepper jellies, 5 No Salt Hot Sauces and 5 Low Sodium BBQ Sauces and 3 No Salt Spice Rubs.
Our hot sauces are unique on the Canadian market place as they are 100% Salt FREE—and all of our products contain No MSG or Gluten! Our customers are loving that too!

We are an envirnmentally aware company—as our new kitchen facility is supplemented by solar panels. A large portion of our electricity is derived form the solar panels on site.

What is a “Did You Know?” fact about Hot Mamas you would like to share? Our hot sauces are unique in that they contain No Salt! They are growing in popularity and we hope that more people will appreciate the flavour of the scotch bonnet and the healthy aspects of hot pepper sauces created with NO SALT!

Get Your Hot Mama Jelly at Food & Drink Fest 2011

Get Your Hot Mama Jelly at Food & Drink Fest 2011

For people new to the world of “Spicy”, what are your top tips to incorporating hot n’ spicy to one’s palette?

1) If new to “Spicy” we suggest starting with the basics—sweet and spicy pepper jellies and working your way up to the really hot stuff

2) Pair the spice with other food items: incorporate as an hors d’ouevres or with meats, cheese..they are an excellent way to train your palette.

3) Don’t take too much at once …small amounts are best and work your way up. Its all about moderation…so adding a few drops of two of the hot sauces to your soups, stews, chillis—to  appreciate the taste of the scotch bonnet pepper…They can also be added to your favorite cocktail….adding a splash of Hot Mamas to your Casear—-you’ll be hooked!

Over the years, what has been your favourite dish or drink at Food & Drink Fest? Definitely Koi Restaurant’s coconut shrimp with our red pepper jelly —yummmy!

Hot Mama Foods display

Hot Mama Foods display

Be sure to visit Sue and her full line of Hot Mama’s jellies and sauces at

6th Annual Food & Drink Fest…the Festival with Taste!

Hot Mamas Booth # 205

April 8th, 9th, 10th, 2011

Copps Coliseum

www.FoodandDrinkFest.com

The Most Delicious Way to Carbo-Load in the Winter

Ah Canadian Winter. Long, dark days, snow covered EVERYTHING and bone chilling temperatures.  And boy this year, did we get a duesy! My recipe for keeping warm: warm, hearty foods like chili, stews and homemade soups.  One of the “make or break” aspects to this type of meal is the bread you serve with it.  Bread is the perfect accessory on cold, wintry days; offering carbs for extra insulation (haha) and acting as the perfect tool to soak up all the yummy juices off your empty plate.  I have included my current top three bread recipes below.  All of them are fairly easy to make and I have included some of my own tips as well. Keep Warm!

1) Laura Calder’s Bacon and Olive Apperitif

Tips: I would serve this bread with a run-o- the mill noodle soup. This apperitif brings together many rich, strong flavours and you certainly do not want anything fighting with them.

-I found the olive flavour to be more prominent than I expected.  If you are not an olive lover, don’t add in the full 2/3 of a cup….or double up on the bacon;)

-I’ve also substituted these three ingredients for roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, feta and rosemary…divine!

2) Chuck’s Day Off Cheddar Biscuits

Tips: For those who are sensitive to spicy foods, these do pack a bit of a punch. However, the great thing about the cayenne spice in these biscuits is that the heat builds slowly so you have an oortunity to tasty the buttery buscuit and sharp cheddar flavours as well.

-Serve warm! Obvious, I know, but there is a drastic difference in the taste of these biscuits when they are cold.  The warmth seems to emphasize every flaky layer.

-After the butter bath, I finish my cheddar biscuits off with a sprinkling of sea salt

3) Anna Olson’s Cheddar Crackers

Tips: Perfect with homemade tomato soup or for a more savoury treat, serve with a smear of garlic cream cheese.

-I have switched out the extra old cheddar cheese for Asiago. Still very tasty but the sharp sweet/but strong taste offers a unique new layer of flavour

 

Cheers,

Shannon

www.FoodandDrinkFest.com

6th Annual Food & Drink Fest…the Festival with Taste!

April 8th, 9th & 10th, 2011

Copps Coliseum

 

Dessert Hors d’oeuvres

People normally don’t think about dessert as a go-to appetizer choice, but I definitely live by the mantra “eat dessert first”!

With the holiday season upon us and our calendars filling up with office pot lucks and house parties; everyone is scrambling to find something easy and delicious to proudly present as your contribution to the party. While pig in a blanket or frogs in a blunder are very popular and delicious choices to bring, why not try bringing a sweet dessert hors d’oeuvre? It stands out in the crowded world of finger foods and supplies the much needed sugar rush before the main course is served.

Here are two of my recent dessert hors d’oeuvre favs:

Salty Sweets

Salty-Sweet Treats

Salty-Sweet Treats

  • Pre-heat your oven to 350 and grease a 13 X 9 pan (approx. size)
  • Layer your pan with either gram cracker squares or saltine crackers (I would recommend using a double layer of the saltines)
  • Sprinkle your base evenly with whatever toppings you want! I find nuts work best (pecans, almonds or pralines). I usually do a cup of whatever toping a choose, then set aside
  • Over medium heat, melt together 3/4-1cup of butter with 3/4 cup of brown sugar
  • Once the butter/sugar mixture has been combined, evenly drizzle the entire mixture over your pan
  • Pop your pan in the oven for 8-10 min and you are done!
  • I would recommend you don’t let the dessert sit for too long in the pan, and it does get fairly sticky. Chop them up on squares, trianglesor other interesting bite-sized shapes.  The combo of the crispy caramelization of the butter and sugar with the saltiness of the cracker and nuts is heaven!

The Hello Dolly Bar Rip Offs

  • Pre-heat your oven to 375 and grease a 9 X 9 pan
  • Your Base: mix together 1 cup of graham cracker crumbs with 1/4 cup of brown sugar and 1/4-1/2 cup of melted butter. Evenly pat down into the bottom of the pan
  • Now just add layers…..
  • Cover the graham cracker bottom with 1 cup of walnuts (toast them for extra flavour)
  • Then add a 1 cup layer of coconut
  • Add a layer of 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Lastly, smother the layers with a can of condensed milk
  • Thrown it in the oven and bake for approximately 45min, or till the edges are golden brown and the centre looks set. You are done!
  • Chop them in bite sizes pieces and serve them up to your friends and family. They are a delight!

This holiday season indulge in the lifestyle of “Eat Dessert First!” The great thing about these recipes is you are serving them in appetizer portion sizes, so you can satisfy your sweet tooth without sacrificing your waistline!

Happy baking!

Shannon

www.FoodandDrinkFest.com

6th Annual Food & Drink Fest…the Fesitval with Taste!

April 8, 9 & 10, 2011 ~ Copps Colisuem

Cheese Shoppe On Locke Makes Awesome Sandwiches

Cheese Shoppe on Locke has created quite a stir since they moved into their Locke Street South location last fall. Their cheery yellow facade brightens up the street and their retro but chic interior reminds me of the many high-end boutiques in Napa Valley….I love the wine barrel chandeliers they have!

Wine Barrel Chandeliers at Cheese Shoppe on Locke

Wine Barrel Chandeliers at Cheese Shoppe on Locke

Since they’ve opened, I’ve frequented Cheese Shoppe for numerous little purchases, such as their locally made jam, buttertarts, salsa and of course, a various selection of cheese for racoulette parties or sandwiches. However, I never had the delight of tasting on of their homemade sandwiches until yesterday.   And man, can they make a sandwich! Here’s my foodie story for the day….

The Sandwich: I believe there were 5 choices of sandwiches you could choose from (then of course you could build your own from the deli selection). One of my dining companions and I chose the grilled vegetables and goat cheese and our other lunch date went for the fig and chicken salad sandwich. Both sandwiches were served on a crispy locally made French baguette that literally melted in your mouth because it was so fresh. I could have eaten the bread alone and been a very happy lady! However the toppings certainly did not disappoint.  The grilled peppers, eggplant, red onions and zucchini tasted incredibly fresh and unlike some grilled veggie experiences, you could still taste the individual flavours of each vegetable. This freshness not only added many layers of simple flavour to the sammie, but it also made each bite a bit of a surprise based on what what veggies you got in that mouthful.  The sandwich was topped of with a substantial amount of fresh goat’s cheese. Since it was served warm the goat cheese was gooey, creamy and oh so good.  The sweetness of the veggies combined with the tart of the cheese made me feel like I was eating a gourmet grilled cheese, which was perfect on such a chilly day.

Grilled Veggie & Goat Cheese Sandwich

Grilled Veggie & Goat Cheese Sandwich

While I didn’t have an opportunity to try the fig and chicken salad, my friend gushed about it….and he is a pretty picky eater, so it must be good! The chicken salad was mixed with bits of finely chopped fig and celery and was finished off with thinly sliced Brie and Granny Smith apples. Nobody had a problem finishing off their lunches.

Atmosphere & Food Accessories: We were seated at one of their little black cast iron bistro tables, but there was also the option of saddling up to their antique wood bar to enjoy your lunch.  On top of the table was a refinished wine barrel top that had been turned into a Lazy Susan.  The wine barrel top took up practically the entire table, and our lunch was actually served on it. My two dining companions shared, so they kept spinning the table top to switch plates, which was kinda cool.

Grab lunch at Cheese Shoppe on Locke

Grab lunch at Cheese Shoppe on Locke

Since The Cheese Shoppe doesn’t sell wine, we finished our meal off with a sparkling apple and blueberry spritzer. The blueberry added a lovely smooth aftertaste which actually worked very nicely with the bite of the apple.  The Drink was called McIntosh Sparkling Juice.

The Price Tag: Sandwiches were approximately $8.00 each.  While some many baulk at the price, I assure you, it is worth it! Considering that fact that many fast food restaurants are charging equivalent prices for sandwiches made from ingredients lacking in taste for the same price, I certainly believe both of these sandwiches were well worth the money.  With A Cheese Shoppe on Locke Sandwich, you are getting a unique dinning experience, and yo’re eating quality, local ingredients and a lot of them! As an example, I didn’t eat dinner since I was still so full from lunch.

The Timeline: Make sure you are not in a rush.  The sandwiches were made with care while we waited and it did take a bit longer than expected with the lunch-time rush.  The great thing is The Shoppe is epitome of sensory overload! You certainly aren’t bored while you wait and have a ton of different boutique food products to paruse (and some to taste test too!)

Say Cheese!

Say Cheese!

For more information on the Cheese Shoppe, check out an interview I did with the owner, Torsten last year. http://www.youtube.com/user/BeauMondeProductions#p/u/17/2VI5Tct3Ivs

Cheers,

Shannon

www.FoodandDrinkFest.com

The Bread Bar Experience

If you are a frequent visitor of the Locke St District, you know that newest and hottest spot on the trendy Hamilton street is The Bread Bar.  The “artisan bakery by day, pizzaeria by night” has quickly formed a loyal and eclectic following.  Every time I have frequented this place, I seem to run into someone I know and have been in for some great people watching (fabulously dressed people and hilarious conversations occurring at every table! I know, I’m a creep) The decor is a beautiful arts and crafts mixture of vibrant photographs, prints of Hamilton cityscapes, and found objects creatively arranged throughout the space. The vintage, mis-matched furniture juxtaposed with the artful decor gives the restaurant goer the unique experience of feeling like they are eating in a chic urban art gallery, while still experiencing the comforting familiarity and warmth of one’s own kitchen.  The restaurant setting and atmosphere does a wonderful job of mirroring the philosophy of local community and locally grown food and encourages the restaurant goer to escape the hustle of the day, chat with your dining companions, meet your dining neighbours (the tables are fairly close together) and linger over a home-cooked meal.

While I have heard complaints of the noise level in the restaurant (there seems to be a bit of an echo when it is really busy), I personally love the soundtrack they have playing.  Abandoning the usual dinner music repertoire, Bread Bar plays a fabulous mixture of upbeat English pop, rock, folk, alternative and a little jazz.  I’ve heard everything from The Jon Bon, Mother Mother, to Wintersleep coming through their speakers.

Joe chowing down on a the Bacon & Scallion Pizza

Joe chowing down on a the Bacon & Scallion Pizza

Food for Thought: The Bread Bar’s food philosophy is largely based around Celebrity Chef Jeff Crump and Pastry Chef Bettina Schormann’s cookbook Earth to Table, in that they believe that good, fresh and local ingredients matter (not to mention taste so much better!).  They have put many of the “green” recipes in their cook book to the test and serve them up at the restaurant.  For more information about their food philosophy and their cookbook, visit http://breadbar.ca/cookbook

The Main Attraction: Pastry Chef Bettina Schormann’s mouth-watering bread and pizza dough recipes are the decadent base for many of my favourites on the menu. The pizza dough is fresh, light, crispy, of a medium thickness and has a slightly buttery aftertaste.  It quite literally melts in your mouth.

My recommendations

Salads: Roasted Heirloom Beet Salad: an explosion of many different flavours and textures coming together

Pizzas: You really can’t lose on this one.  They are all fantastic.  For a more traditional pie, go for the Classic Pepperoni or Bacon and Scallion.  If you are more adventurous try the Potato Bianca (LOVE THIS ONE!)or the Popeye.

Rami enjoying a signature Bread Bar Pizza

Rami enjoying a signature Bread Bar Pizza

Bruschetta: I really like the Eggplant or the Tomato.  Tip for the Tomato: ask for half the ricotta.  The impact of flavour will be so much stronger because you will be able to taste more of the inch and a half thick homemade bread they serve it on.

Desserts: They have an entire counter top filled with freshly baked goods, made with local ingredients for you to choose from. Some of my favourites include their ginger cookies, chocolate chip scones and their in season fruit pies.  I’ve gone and had dessert first! I wasn’t disappointed.

Cappuccino and Chocolate Chip Scone from The Bread Bar

Cappuccino and Chocolate Chip Scone from The Bread Bar

Beet Salad from Bread Bar

Beet Salad from Bread Bar

For their full menu, please visit http://breadbar.ca/

Last tip before sending you off to The Bread Bar, make a reservation! They work fast, but they are always busy

PS if you are in the mood for some backyard BBQing, pick up Bread Bars Hamburger buns! Amazingly fresh with a smattering of sunflower seeds across the top.  You’ll have an instant gourmet burger on your hands!

Cheers,

Shannon

www.FoodandDrinkFest.com