Behind the Food: The Courtyard Restaurant

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 Courtyard       

The Courtyard on Locke Street, Hamilton

The Courtyard on Locke Street, Hamilton

Q: Three adjectives to describe your Culinary Style

A: Local, Organic, and French Inspired

Q: What made you fall in love with food?

 A: The owners Stephen Bernstein, and son Bob Bernstein, have had the distinct pleasure of living on the farm Willow Pond in Dundas, which supplies the restaurant with some of its local and organic fare. Stephen Bernstein, has taken groups to Paris France for the last 10 years, and has always been impressed with the French Cuisine. The two of them decided to begin a restaurant that while maintaining close ties to local markets, could tackle the amazing world of French cooking.

Courtyard's owners Bob & Stephen on one of their inspiring trips to France

Courtyard’s owners Bob & Stephen on one of their inspiring trips to France

Q: Most essential Kitchen Tool/Gadget:

A: A knife. A sharp knife.

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

A: Thyme

Q: What inspires you in the kitchen? (EX: Music (if so, what kind), the season, the ingredients, your customers, the people you work with or is there something else?).  Why do these things inspire you?

 A: There is nothing more satisfying than completing a wonderful Herb Crusted Ontario Rack of Lamb dish, with Celery Root Mashed, Local Mixed Beets and Carrots, and finished with Pan Jus and Port with a stem of rosemary, start to finish. Cooking allows one to experience everything from collecting raw goods, to putting the finishing touches on every dish.

Q: What is your food philosophy? (EX: 100 mile diet, creativity, “always use butter?”)

A: We serve fresh, local and organic fare that will light up your taste buds. Creativity, locally, honesty, healthy, simplicity, are some words that describe our menus.

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!

A: The Ontario Rack of Lamb mentioned above paired with a glass of Tawse Organic Cab Franc, and finished with a traditional vanilla crème brule.


The CourtyardThe Courtyard will be at Food & Drink Fest 2012

Check out The Courtyard Restaurant at 7th Annual Food & Drink Fest…the Festival with Taste in booth #226

March 23, 24 & 25, 2012

The Careport Centre

270 Longwood Rd S., Hamilton

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Bagels, Bagels & More Bagels

Ran out and grabbed a quick lunch with Stacey today from the family owned Locke St Bakery. Locke St New York style bagels are baked daily and on-site.  Locke Street Bakery is one of our favourite grab-and-go lunch choices and the ladies behind the counter can attest to this since they know our orders off by heart due to very frequent visits.  Not only are the bagels always fresh, they are also preservative-free and contain 0 trans fat.  There is always an abundance & diverse array of luscious topping, which the Bakery staff are always very generous with then making your sandwich (Stacey always says I end up having a full salad on my veggie bagel…which is another reason we usually take it to go….it can be pretty messy to eat in public).  The veggie with cheddar cheese on a cheddar & herb bagel is my regular order and Stacey loves the BCT (bacon, cheddar and tomato) on the cheddar & herb bagel.  If we are having a bad day, we opt for the Cinnamon Sugar bagel with peanut butter…it makes all the world’s worries disappear for a while.

Stacey's Bacon, Cheddar & Tomato on Cheddar & Herb Begal

Stacey's Bacon, Cheddar & Tomato on Cheddar & Herb Begal



Tips for getting the full Locke St experience

1) Walk: The street is centrally located and beautiful to window shoppe on, since there are so many unique stores.  Plus finding parking is often frustrating unless you park on a side street

2) On Mondays, Wednesday & Fridays the serve Java Vanilla Coffee.  Remember that Cinnamon Sugar begal I told you about?  Perfect pairing!

The Gals from Locke Street Bakery & Bagel...always smiling!

The Gals from Locke Street Bakery & Bagel...always smiling!



3) There is often a line up out the door, so if you are going for lunch, I would recommend going around 1pm to avoid the long line ups. However, if you are there for the lunchtime or breakfast rush, you certainly won’t have a shortage of entertainment.  The bakery is always hoping with people and their little dogs, babies, as well as school aged kids, singing staff members, young professionals and I have even run into some of the cities best musicians grabbing a cup of joe. So get ready to take in the people watching sights, offer a friendly smile and start a conversation with a complete stranger.  Locke Street Bakery is like our little utopia that we can briefly escape to before heading back to the world of event planning.  It feels like that place where everybody knows your name….

Locke Street Bakery & Bagel

Locke Street Bakery & Bagel