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Serving London, Stratford & Southwestern Ontario № 52 • March/April 2015

Passion & Commitment at

Patrick’s Beans


Icarus Resto Bar Modern Greek Cuisine

Stratford Food An Edible History

A Road Less Travelled

Remembering Ann McColl’s Kitchen Shop ALSO: The Evolution of Richmond Row | The Apple Pie Trail | Buzz About Bees | The Boreal Feast

A delicious new season

springs to life


Stratford salutes spring with the annual Swan Parade celebrations. Experience Canada’s sweet tastes on the Savour Stratford Maple Trail and visit McCully’s Hill Farm for sugar bush tours and pancake brunches on March weekends. Treat yourself to spring foraging adventures or the Art of Japanese Matcha. Come savour spring’s flavours in Stratford. MARCH

5-8 6,13,20 7-8 19 21

Stratford Garden Festival Art of Japanese Matcha McCully’s Hill Farm Maple Festival (every weekend) Craft Beer Dinner Series, Mercer Hall Downton Abbey Supper Club, Mercer Hall


4 11-12 12 18,19,25,26

Stratford Farmers Market (every Saturday) Swan Parade Weekend Slow Food Perth County Market (every Sunday) Early Spring Foraging Puck’s Plenty





Fresh & Local, Served Daily! Enjoy with your choice of a pint of Harp, Smithwick, Guinness on tap, glass of wine or pop.

(plus HST

Wagyu Beef Burger with Truffle Cheddar Cheese Lettuce, onion & pickles on a brioche bun; potato chips & chipotle aioli

Guinness Prime Rib Shepherd’s Pie Skillet Roasted prime rib, carrots, peas & corn in natural gravy topped with garlic whipped potatoes; served with garlic bread points

Harp Battered Fish & Chips Battered haddock, charred lemon & red cabbage slaw; House-made tartar sauce

Braised Bison Short Ribs Whiskey BBQ glaze; panko breaded onion rings with sriracha ranch dip

36 Grand Ave London, Ontario N6C 1K8 ph 519.432.5554 | |




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OUR COVER London coffee purveyor Patrick Dunham, the man behind Patrick’s Beans, with a vintage coffee grinder and some freshly roasted beans. Photograph by Steve Grimes (

passion for printing LONDON 392 Clarence St. T 519-672-6770 LONDON 797 York St. T 519-963-4050 LONDON 1074 Dearness Dr. T 519-685-4144 LONDON 318 Neptune Cres. T 519-455-6667 WATERLOO 265 Weber St. N. T 519-886-6800 WELLAND 87 West Main St. T 905-734-3378 CAMBRIDGE 125 Sheldon Dr. T 519-621-6611 GUELPH 21 Malcolm Rd. T 519-836-4441 KITCHENER 907 Frederick St. T 519-571-0101 KITCHENER 299 Doon Valley Dr. T 519-748-5220 BRANTFORD 134 Shaver St. T 519-759-0087


ISSUE № 52









Icarus Ascending, in London By BRYAN LAVERY



Garden in a Box: River Belle Market Garden in Dresden




What’s All This Buzz About Bees?




Blue Mountain and Beaver Valley: The Apple Pie Trail By BRYAN LAVERY

N E W & N O TA B L E



Z Z U B E 38 H T


Ontario Essentials Collection




Any Porter in a Storm




The Boreal Feast by Michele Genest

Review & Recipe Selections by TRACY TURLIN




Stratford Food: An Edible History by Steve Stacey

Review by DARIN COOK



Musical Theatre Productions: What a Difference a Year Makes






The Evolution of Richmond Row

Patrick’s Beans: The Personal Connection


22 30




Ann McColl Lindsay & David Lindsay: A Road Less Travelled



Sound Bites: Sounds Like Spring




Out of the Mouths of Babes



experiences that matter

№ 52 | March/April 2015

Tourism Sarnia-Lambton

“Fun in the Sun” Marilyn Hearn

March 14 - April 5, 2015 Lambton Heritage Museum, Grand Bend

call or click for your FREE travel guide & map also available at southwestern ontario travel centres

1.800.265.0316 •



№ 52 | March/April 2015

note from the publisher

Evolution versus Revolution By CHRIS McDONELL


couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending the South­ west Ontario Tourism Corpora­ tion’s ­conference with the theme of “Building Momentum.” As a self-declared Evolutionary — revolutions are cycles and one tends to end up right where one started from when they are over — this theme resonated strongly with me. I believe positive changes best come from nurturing and encourag­ ing the forces we desire, and while speaking out against wrongs is vital, it is important to celebrate the positive. Incremental change is most apt to stick and be continuous. A num­ ber of guest speakers touched on how we can support this kind of change, with practical suggestions and inspiration. Jeff Miller, Presi­ dent & CEO of Travel Portland (Oregon) gave examples of how his city embraces its “weird” reputation. Most of his audience now want to visit Portland! More important, we heard how being authentic, and truly embracing that authenticity, leads to greater creativity and accomplishment. Celebrating who we are will move us further, faster, to where we want to be. In this issue, Bryan Lavery explores the evolution of Richmond Row, and how it has grown into a sophisticated culinary zone, now officially part of Downtown London. Bryan highlights some of today’s Richmond

Row stars, and he also looks back at the role Ann McColl’s Kitchen Shop had on London. Proprietors Ann and David remain city activists, but their earlier time as retailers makes Bryan’s visit down Memory Lane another case study of how being true to what one loves and appreciates can lead to a meaningful life and commercial success. We have an issue full of similar local stories. Patrick’s Beans, River Belle Garden Market, Icarus Resto Bar — here are more passionate people living their personal truths — have enthusiastic, grateful customers. Similarly, Rick Young’s story about London’s Musical Theatre Productions’ remarkable turnaround year, and Nicole Laidler’s “Sounds Like Spring” music column, are also right on theme. Congratulations to Yel Guidi, who won our January/February Lexus of London Draw. Yel will enjoy the use of a Lexus automobile for a weekend of her choosing (Thursday evening until Monday morning) and while she is touring in style, Lexus technicians will detail, clean and rejuvenate her car. We’re having another draw with this issue of eatdrink. Find the link on our Facebook page. Enter with your email address and you could be our next winner. Good luck!

Win a Lexus Road Trip!


eatdrink &

Enter our Draw for a Lexus Reflections President Package The comprehensive appearance reconditioning service will completely rejuvenate your vehicle. While the fully-trained Appearance Technicians detail your vehicle, you will be provided with a beautiful Lexus to drive for a weekend!

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in Downtown London Downtown London would like to welcome the businesses and restaurants of Richmond Row to the new boundary!


№ 52 | March/April 2015

food writer at large

Ann McColl Lindsay & David Lindsay A Brief History of a Road Less Traveled By BRYAN LAVERY


ospitality and the culinary arts have always gone hand in hand. In London, Ontario, we have a history of exceptional restaurateurs, chefs and culinary retailers. Among the latter are Ann McColl Lindsay and David Lindsay, the former proprietors of the legendary Ann McColl’s Kitchen Shop, one of Canada’s finest cookware shops. Ann and David met, married and taught school in Windsor, Ontario from 1961 to 1968. They resigned their positions, sold their red brick bungalow, and embarked on a yearlong food pilgrimage across Europe while camping in a Volkswagen van. Travelling in the van with a gas burner allowed them to truly enjoy the local terroir. The first six months of their trip, which ended at the French border, is described in Ann’s memoir Hungry Hearts — A Food Odyssey across Britain and Spain. The second volume, Hearts Forever Young, includes their travels in France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Denmark. This formative trip introduced the Lind­ says to small independent grocers, hardware stores, street markets and antique stores jammed with domestic serving pieces. It was during this time that they started to collect the one-of-a-kind utensils that would com­

Original Dundas Street Location

​​Richmond and Hyman Street Location prise a useful and saleable batterie de cuisine. Of a foray to British food writer Eliza­ beth David’s Kitchen Shop, Ann says, “This inno­ cent morn­ ing’s shopping expedition turned into a lifetime obsession”. Former Massey Harris Showroom on Talbot Street

№ 52 | March/April 2015


Upon their return to Canada, Cookbook, which instructed they opened Ann readers in the use and care of McColl’s Kitchen kitchen utensils and equipment. Shop and Victoriana “We had always been in rented premises on traditionalists in the matter of Dundas Street where kitchen equipment, shunning they lived above the all electrical contrivances shop. They specialized and putting our faith in good in culinary utensils, knives, sieves, mortar and antiquarian books, pestles. The autumn of 1975 furniture, and Victorian saw a change in all that. The paraphernalia. Cuisinart Food Processor I should point out here arrived in Canada and that it was about this time automatically half that the Lindsays befriended the stock in our store restaurateurs Ginette became obsolete,” Bisallion and Robin Askew, wrote Ann. The business who opened the seven-table prospered anyway and they outgrew L’Auberge du Petit Prince Ann and David garnered that location. ((named after Antoine de SaintIn the 1980’s they relocated some excellent media Exupery’s Little Prince, who, coverage the shop to 350 Talbot Street. if you remember, cooked over Built in 1890, the building volcanic jets on a far planet). was originally erected as a L’Auberge was later purchased showroom and repair shop by chef Chris Squire in 1976. for Massey-Harris Co. To this Squire would operate the day, the landmark building landmark business for 21 years. provides a strong reminder These steadfast relationships of the late nineteenth cemented their connection to century commercial activity the local restaurant scene. in downtown London. The After several years on new store was one of the Dundas Street, the Lindsays most professionally stocked moved to new premises and artistically merchandised with beautiful storefront cookware shops anywhere. It windows, on Richmond at had everything you needed to Hyman Street. It was one be a successful cook, except the of just three small ownerfood. The shop offered bakeware, operated specialty shops on pots and pans, woks, scales, Richmond Row at the time. Ann started to utensils, gadgets, drain boards, write cookbooks. David, a talented artist and glassware, bowls, and many specialty photographer, illustrated them. utensils. There was even a step-down In 1977 Ann authored The Cookshop kitchen in the renovated tractor repair shed

Early days, with Ann in the demonstration kitchen with Chef David Chapman (now of David’s Bistro)

Step-down kitchen in renovated tractor repair shop


№ 52 | March/April 2015

with an AGA stove for cooking classes and demonstrations. Already outspoken heritage activ­ ists, having had four of their buildings designated, they campaigned for the preservation of the streetscape on the Talbot Block which culminated in a “Hands Around the Block” dem­ onstration. Ann’s commentaries on culinary matters, urban issues and heritage preser­ vation have appeared in countless newspaper articles, magazines and letters to the editor over the years. In 1994, the Lindsays published Ann McColl’s 25 Greatest Hits, which showcased 25 of the store’s greatest products beautifully illustrated by David. Eventually, they would sell this building and move the business to King Street, across from the Covent Garden Market. The Lindsay’s announcement in 2002 that they were retiring and closing down their store on King Street presented the opportunity for Jill Wilcox to expand Jill’s Table into that location. The space was four times larger than Jill’s original market space. Jill’s Table was able to fill part of the vacuum that Ann McColl’s was leaving in the community. During the 33 years they ran their kitchenware business the Lindsays were also avid gardeners at their home in Woodfield, and in community gardens. A few years ago, Ann was instrumental in recreating the original Victorian herb garden at Eldon House. To this day the Lindsays are fondly remembered as the benchmark example of how to blend culture and commerce. They continue to be intrepid market enthusiasts, artists, heritage preservationists and community boosters. BRYAN LAVERY has always been an admirer of the literature of food writer Elizabeth David. He also recalls the Lindsays being among his first customers at his small antiques shop on Richmond Row many years ago.

Many Londoners will recall Ann McColl’s shop on Talbot Street

Stratford is more than great theatre

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№ 52 | March/April 2015


The Evolution of Richmond Row By BRYAN LAVERY


hen Ann and David Lindsay moved Ann McColl’s Kitchen Shop to Richmond and Hyman Streets, after five years on Dundas Street in 1972, it was one of just three small owneroperated specialty shops on Richmond Row. Of course, there were restaurants like the Toddle Inn, which opened as a modest establishment with a simple menu and a large, horseshoe-shaped counter in 1947. Today, The Toddle Inn remains the Row’s oldest restaurant and most enduring, nearly seventy years later. In case you think that’s determination, the iconic CPR Hotel and Tavern, known today by its more familiar name, The Ceeps, has been operating since 1890. When Ontario went dry in 1916, the business continued by operating the rooms. In 1927, when Prohibition ended, the taps began flowing again. Today Colin Tattersall operates three distinct parts to that iconic business: The Ceeps, Barney’s and the outdoor patio on Richmond Street. In the early days, Richmond Street was an eclectic array of Victorian architecture,

ranging in style from Georgian interpretations to modifications of the Italian school. The emergence of the Richmond Row/Village into a unique area of specialty merchants, independent services and a tourist-oriented theatre district came when the Grand Theatre changed from its repertory system in 1984. By then, people were already comparing the area to Toronto’s Yorkville. Despite several large office-retailapartment developments, Richmond Row sustained its commercial and architectural uniqueness. Diners, shoppers, theatre-goers and university students continue to enjoy strolling along the Row with its wide sidewalks, leafy trees, boutiques, shops, bars, cafés and upscale restaurants. Today there are estimated to be some 275 to 300 businesses in the Richmond Row district. London City Council unanimously passed the boundary expansion of Downtown London, effective January 1, 2015, taking in Richmond Row and the surrounding area all the way to the north side of Oxford St. and


№ 52 | March/April 2015

to the Thames River. Janette MacDonald, executive director of Downtown London, said Richmond Row will keep its “fantastic brand” and retain its unique identity under the Downtown London umbrella. Dennis Winkler, (the co-owner/general manager of Wink’s who has chaired the Rich­ mond Row group until recently), stated “I

am extremely positive about the Richmond Row Merchant Association joining with the London Downtown Business Association (LBDA). Our association had reached a point where it had grown to over 60 members and over the past 15 years has been run by vol­ unteers. By joining the LDBA there will be enough funds generated to have their paid professional team take Richmond Row into the future. The same group of volunteers were finding it difficult to find the time to keep the marketing and event programs expanding to give the members what they deserve. Plus all the merchants in the area will contribute financially, instead of just those concerned merchants who paid their $400 per year to keep advertising the Row. The volunteers over the years have done an excellent job of pro­ moting Richmond across the city and prov­ ince but it is time to take it to the next level.” Things keep on evolving on the Row. Restaurateur Mike Smith owns a number of restaurants in the area—The Runt Club, Fellini Koolini’s, The Toboggan Brewing Company, and the landmark Joe Kool’s. Smith recently installed a brewery in the basement of his former Jim Bob Ray’s bar and is launching a line of locally-brewed craft beer. The brew will be made and served at the Toboggan Brewing Co., the new name for the freshly renovated bar and grill that

H NC U BR pm AYm−2 D a N 1 SU 1

Sun–Tues 11am–11pm, Wed/Thurs 11am–midnight, Fri/Sat 11am–1am

ALWAYS a 3-course prix fixe menu option

432 Richmond St. at Carling • London


is next door to Joe Kool’s, Smith’s flagship restaurant on Richmond Row. Joe Kool’s is a must-see attraction for tourists visiting downtown London. The following section highlights some, but certainly not all, of the interesting culinary options found on Richmond Row.

Aroma Restaurant and Café

Felipe Gomes’ Aroma Restaurant and the separately situated Café combine classic Mediterranean cuisine with amenities for cooking classes, corporate team-building exercises, wine cellar dining and a private conference room. Aroma’s open courtyard dining room features a three-storey vaulted ceiling, creating a spacious yet cozy piazza

№ 52 | March/April 2015

kept secrets. 523 Richmond Street, 519-850-1500

The Church Key Bistro-Pub

Vanessa and Pete Willis’s Church Key is a downtown gastropub with farm-to-table cuisine and an impressive selection of craft beers. Chef Michael Anglestad specializes in traditional food prepared with innovation

and finesse. The salad with duck leg confit on greens, roasted mushrooms, and candied almonds is to die for. In season, there is a stunning outdoor courtyard. Stellar Sunday brunch. 476 Richmond Street, 519-936-0960 evoking the vibrancy associated with al fresco dining. Attached to the restaurant is a Parisian-style café, which fronts onto 717 Richmond Street at Piccadilly Street, 519-435-0616

Black Trumpet

Chef Scott Wesseling has a modern-day take on international classics, drawing from local and seasonal ingredients to create his innovative menu offerings. In season, a prestige spot for al fresco dining is the beautifully appointed and private Indonesian style garden. This secluded oasis, seating 60, is one of the city’s best

Dragonfly Bistro

Simple, stylish and sophisticated is the best way to describe the charming Dragonfly Bistro. Donald and Nora Yuriaan have an irresistible kitchen, a moderately priced menu and wel­ coming service. We were enthused by the fragrant heat that bathed the Balinese-inspired Ayam Betutu (chicken breast served with a spicy red chili, tomato and spice sauce) on the current dinner menu. Other entrees at dinner include filet of salmon, beef tenderloin peppercorn steak and roasted rack of lamb. If you are plan­ ning to visit for lunch, dinner or the Indonesian set menu which is available every evening, be sure to make a reservation. 715 Richmond Street,  519-432-2191

№ 52 | March/April 2015


Fellini Koolini’s Italian Cuisini and seating for 34 inside and The Runt Club Fellini Koolini’s Italian Cuisini and its sibling restaurant, The Runt Club, operate twin patios on a charming backstreet just off Richmond Row. Fellini Koolini’s is uber-restaurateur Mike Smith’s homage to the surreal Italian director. Railings are intertwined with grape vines and the terracotta pots filled with bread sticks lend

another 18 on the popular patio. Tender lamb chops, sizzling saga­ naki, and succulent calamari are signature dishes. The ambience of the Mythic Grill appeals to diners looking for an intimate dining experience. No reservations on weekends. 179 Albert Street, 519-433-0230

Sakata Bar and Grill

a touch of Italian kitsch. Menu favourites include a large selection of pastas, thin crust pizzas, steamed mussels, calamari and delicious steaks. 153 Albert Street, 519-642-2300

The cozy Japanese-inspired Sakata Bar and Grill has opened in the premises that Blue

Garlic’s of London

Edo Pehilj’s Garlic’s is the prototype for the ethical modern Ontario restaurant. The cooking repertoire of chef Chad Steward is influenced by a strong commitment to Ginger previously occupied on Richmond Street. Try tonkotsu (pork bone broth) ramen, tako yako (with chunks of octopus) and top-grade sashimi and sushi rolls. iPad menu. 644 Richmond Street, 519-601-2866


This Richmond Row mainstay is owner/chef Shawn Ham‘s take on authentic Korean, sushi supporting local and sustainable food and agriculture, and has been instrumental in helping to raise the bar for intelligent and ethical dining in London. 481 Richmond Street, 519-432-4092

Mythic Grill

Traditional Greek cuisine with a modern flare, served in a quaint bistro atmosphere. There is


and fusion-inspired Japanese favourites. Be sure to try the okonomi yaki (Japanese-style pancakes). 607 Richmond Street, 519-642-2558

№ 52 | March/April 2015

Willie’s Café

Ian Kennard’s Willie’s Café has been a revered lunch spot for 19 years. Chef Gail Rains is a dynamo who combines efficient

The Talbot St Whisky House

The Talbot St Whisky House is a brand-

new 1920’s-prohibition-themed bar and restaurant. The menu is a blend of fine dining and comfort food made from scratch, fresh daily. The Whisky House showcases a large assortment of whisky and designer cocktails, as well as offering beer on tap and in bottles, and a wide variety of red and white wine. 580 Talbot Street, 519-601-2589

The Tasting Room

Lively tapas bars were the inspiration for this popular hotspot. Menus are a montage

of the latest culinary trends and updated classics. Small plates are the main focus and the list is extensive. Wine tasting flights are divided into four, 2-ounce glasses of red or white. 383 Richmond Street, 519-438-6262

professionalism with friendly repartee in the small open kitchen. Menu items include over a dozen different sandwiches and wraps, along with a variety of soups, salads and other house specialties. Everything is made in-house and from scratch. Willie’s has built a reputation as a caterer, and fresh healthy fare can be delivered to your office at an affordable price. Set price, set menu dinner the last Friday of the month and a good Saturday brunch. 731 Wellington Street, 519-433-9027

Wink’s Eatery

Co-owned by Dennis and Adam Winkler, Wink’s is celebrating its 9th year. Wink’s casual menu has something for everyone ranging from breakfast, to burgers and

nachos, to dinner entrees like steak, baby back ribs, salmon and pastas. 551 Richmond Street, 519-936-5079 BRYAN LAVERY is eatdrink’s Food Writer at Large.

№ 52 | March/April 2015



Icarus Ascending on London’s Richmond Row By BRYAN LAVERY


ack Agathos has the presence and magnetism which combined with a genuine earnestness bodes well in the hospitality business. He’s good looking and charming and approachable and has good restaurant chops. Agathos descends from a long line of savvy Greek-Canadian restaurateurs. His grandfather, Jim Agathos, father Ross Agathos (Sweet Onion Grill in Wortley Village) and Aunt Effie (newlyopened Kosmos Catering and Eatery on Richmond Row) operated The Dancing Greek (formerly the Huron House and Jimmy’s Tavern) for 51 years before it closed last year. Agathos confides that he was drawn to the cautionary legend of Icarus, and chose the name for his new resto bar after careful deliberation. He felt the story of Icarus spoke to him. Icarus is of course named after the son of Daedalus, who ventured too near the sun on wings of wax and feathers. The story goes that Daedalus had been imprisoned by King Minos of Crete within the walls of his own invention, the Labyrinth, whose function was to hold the Minotaur. But the master craftsman would not suffer incarceration. He fashioned two pairs of

wings by fastening feathers to a wooden frame with wax. Giving one pair to his son, he warned him that flying too near the sun would cause the wax to melt. But Icarus became elated with the ability to fly and neglected to heed his father’s warning. The rest, as they say, is history. Agathos is confident, he has bravado (the good kind) and he believes he has the right skill set to succeed in the restaurant business. He has intentionally surrounded himself with staff, confidantes and advisors who have the finesse and judgment it takes to birth a successful restaurant. Icarus Resto Bar is located in the repurposed premises formerly occupied by Coffee Culture on Richmond Street. Last year, on my initial visit to meet up with Agathos, he emphasized that the restaurant would have an interactive open-kitchen concept with a contemporary Greek/Mediterranean fusion theme. Sometimes when speaking with him I was reminded of an impresario who is trying to bring Modern Greek cuisine the acclaim it deserves. Despite his due diligence, he had many unforeseen setbacks during the construction of the restaurant, which he endured with optimism. Today, the long room features large picture windows, seating for more than a dozen at the open kitchen (protected by a Zack Agathos continues his family’s longstanding hospitality tradition with Icarus Resto Bar


large sneeze guard), yellow brick walls and chestnut-coloured accents at the entrance, and a bamboo ceiling in the front portion of the restaurant. There are good acoustics. Behind the row of banquettes, near the back of the 2,000-square-foot restaurant, a whiskey and bourbon bar is slated for a future expansion. There is also talk of an outdoor patio at the side of the building which would allow al fresco dining. With its noble preparations, enthusiasm for direct spicing and emphasis on lamb, olives, garlic, lemon, yogurt, cheese, grains, nuts, honey and seafood, Greek/ Mediterranean cookery has a long tradition. Dishes are mostly enhanced with lemons and fresh and dried herbs such as oregano and thyme. Spices — cumin, cinnamon and allspice — are used frugally but are integral to the flavour profile of dishes like pastítsio. At Icarus, pastítsio comprises layers of pasta noodles and lamb ragù with a creamy béchamel topping and is served in a small and exceedingly hot-to-thetouch castiron fry pan accompanied by a chef’s knife. Like most cuisines, flavours change with the season and geography. Some classic savoury pastries and desserts use filo pastry. There is a surprising continuity in culinary matters from ancient Greece through to contemporary times, and many dishes are part of a larger tradition of Ottoman cuisine with Turkish, Arabic and Persian roots. You can see these influences in the menus.

№ 52 | March/April 2015

“The Squash” is a wonderfully rich, sweet and savoury salad of roasted butternut squash, beet and pumpkin with red and green onion and spiced nuts tossed in maple vinaigrette. Chef is just as confident with the layered butternut squash parfait with whipped Greek yogurt, honey, granola, quinoa, spiced nuts and dried apricots. Each morsel reveals a blast of flavour and texture, and the crunch of spiced nuts combined with the sweetness of honey against the yogurt and dried apricots is sublime and perfectly balanced. There are several vegan-friendly and gluten-free choices, and the menu is peppered with substitution suggestions and add-ons. Tacos are versatile and delicious. (Variations on the genre are popping up on menus everywhere these days.) On the lunch menu there is a trio of grilled tacos with lamb ragù, slathered with feta, and dressed up with pico de gallo. The tacos are excellent. More surprising on the mostly Mediterranean-centric lunch menu is the stand-out, mouthwatering wild mushroom and leek pappardelle with sweet peas and burnt lemon. Some items, like the lamb burger and prime rib beef dip, repeat on the dinner menu, which is larger than the lunch menu, but

№ 52 | March/April 2015

not overwhelming.The menu is big but not overwhelming; the family-style setup makes it easy to order from every section At dinner, Chef flirts with our taste buds, with thick garlicky tzatziki with a hint of cucumber and updated Greek specialties such as spanakopita, keftedes (lamb meatballs), pastítsio, souvlaki and grilled calamari. Chef brings new life to these staple menu items. Saganaki is pan-fried goat cheese flambéed with lemon and brandy creating a crispy, salty, stringy, succulent melted goodness. The squash theme is updated with micro greens and kale tossed in pomegranate vinaigrette and topped with warm goat cheese, slivered almonds and sundried cranberries. There is also spicy, crispy bite-sized chicken mixed with lemon pepper popcorn and roasted garlic aioli. Rabbit is something rarely seen on menus in London. Chef prepares braised leg of rabbit with a sauce of

At Icarus, the tradition of Greek/Mediterranean cooking is celebrated in such dishes as (from top) Garden Salad; Lamb Shank with Quinoa; Zucchini Patties with Feta and Tzatziki; Beet Salad with Feta; Hazelnut Torte with Raspberry Gastrique; and Apple and Cherry Tarte Tatin


tomatoes, leek and shallots accompanied by roasted potatoes. There are also the usual staples like beef tenderloin and the ubiquitous salmon. Agathos still loves all the food he grew up eating. He recalls family-style servings of homemade traditional Greek foods, including fresh fish, seafood, goat, rabbit and lamb. On the evening menu, in homage, The Icarus platter for four features skewers of chicken, pork and beef tenderloin, an order of pastítsio, Greek salad, potatoes, rice, pita and tzatziki. The Poseidon platter for three includes seared scallops, shrimp, grilled and fried calamari and baked salmon with Greek salad, potatoes, rice, pita and tzatziki. One of the best experiences we’ve had here was sitting at a high top near the chef’s counter in front of the open kitchen watching the machinations of the kitchen and the parade of Richmond Row fashionistas. Another was a birthday dinner when Chef pulled out all the stops when dessert rolled around. Desserts, like the plating, are innovative works of art. Icarus Resto Bar 519 Richmond St., London 519-601-7110 sun–tues: 11:30 am–9 pm wed: 11:30 am–10 pm thurs: 11:30 am–10 pm fri–sat: 11:30 am–12 am BRYAN LAVERY is eatdrink’s Food Writer at Large.


№ 52 | March/April 2015

farmers & artisans

Patrick’s Beans The Personal Connection Story and Photos by TANYA CHOPP


nside Patrick Dunham’s home the warm scent of coffee wafts on the air, alongside soft music. Bookshelves line the walls, citrus and coffee plants bask in the sun in the front window — and there are coffee beans covering his table. He spreads them out in a gradient to show the levels of roasting — from the untouched green beans to those that are shiny black and glistening with the natural oils released by the heat of the roaster. It’s clear that his business — Patrick’s Beans — was an idea born from passion, experience and opportunity. A Red Seal chef for over fifteen years, Dunham spent an additional decade learning about all of the different facets of the coffee business before deciding to offer his own roasted bean selections in September of 2014. The six signature blends that he has developed, which are marketed under playful names like “Super f’n Dark,” “Velvet Hammer,” “Tastes Like Danger (decaf),” and “The Safe Choice,” have been quickly adopted by customers across London and beyond.

Proprietor Patrick Dunham

“There’s nothing elite about coffee,” says Dunham, making reference to coffees that are marketed with complex tasting notes. “It comes down to what a customer wants. I’ve made a conscious effort to create a product that stands apart from other roasters and offer coffee that’s approachable.” But it’s not just Patrick’s coffee that’s approachable — his business philosophy is all about making personal connections too. Perhaps it’s the influence of the time he spent in his youth on his grandparent’s farm, or perhaps it’s the effect of his friendly Old East Village neighbourhood, but Patrick’s Beans is all about fostering a sense of community through coffee. In fact, Dunham Coffee beans at various levels of roasting

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A personal commitment: Dunham’s name and face is on every bag! carries out most of his deliveries, to businesses and residences alike, himself. “There are ways, on the economic side, that we can have better food and better quality and be able to support local economies,” he says, adding, “When you can see the butcher, baker, and craftsperson — it makes a big difference.” This difference is also felt by Dunham — not only as a local business owner but as a customer, as he purchases coffee beans from farmers around the world.

Enjoy Patrick’s Beans at these establishments: Aeolian Hall Arva Flour Mill The Boombox Bakeshop Eat Green Organics The Hungary Butcher Hyde Park Market Jaydancin Kiss The Cook Lets Eat Cake La Noisette Bakery London The Only On King Pause Café Rhino Lounge The Root Cellar The Springs Restaurant The Starving Artist Time to Chill

“The first bean that I knew I was going to use was Cafe Justicia from the CCDA (Campesino Committee of the Highlands), which is a cooperative out of Guatemala,” he says. “It’s an incredible group. I’ve met the growers multiple times and the coffee itself is excellent quality and certified organic.” Dunham’s fair trade, organic beans are also sourced from Central America, Ethiopia, and Indonesia. The international blends allow him to tap into the best that each bean has to offer. According to Dunham, the percentage of locally roasted coffee purchased is quite small (only 10 per cent), which means there is a lot of room for growth. Many area restaurants and cafés are catching onto this fact and have hired Dunham to help them develop their own signature blends — a process that involves considering the owners’ tastes, the venues’ vibes and the target clientele. “Multiple places, even on the same block, can then serve very different coffee,” he says. “Because the beans in every country taste different,

Dunham enjoys tending to his own coffee plant but sources his Fair Trade beans from farmers from around the world

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by increasing or decreasing the roast and changing the ratio of how all those beans fit together, I can create something that is unique and different.” Today, Patrick’s Beans can be found in a myriad of businesses around London, where they can be purchased as house blends unique to the café or restaurant, or as one of Dunham’s six signature blends. (See sidebar). Individuals can also purchase Patrick’s Beans by the pound ($15 for 1lb, $25 for 2lbs) by placing an order online or by phone. Join his mailing list by visiting his website to receive updates and reminders. Patrick’s Beans 952 Princess Avenue, London 226-378-5100 TANYA CHOPP is a local writer and communications professional who enjoys exploring and writing on topics related to local food and culture, humour and fitness.

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№ 52 | March/April 2015

farmers & artisans

Garden in a Box From Season to Season, at River Bell Market Garden, in Dresden By DARIN COOK


ith our first snowfall hitting mid-November, it has been another long winter this year. In that same week in November, River Bell Market Garden in Dresden started delivering the organic vegetable winter box program to seventy Chatham-Kent residents. Into its second year, the winter box is an extension to customers who enjoy organic produce from the summer box program launched by River Bell owner Joe Grootenboer in 2013. The winter box program will continue until April as the cold storage vegetables near depletion; by early June, the summer box will restart with a new batch of spring vegetables coming off the farm. The summer and winter programs are separate and, by paying a subscription fee for each season, customers can opt for home delivery, convenient drop-off at several depots, or direct pick-up from the farm. The summer box is delivered weekly. The winter box delivery is every two weeks. The winter box contains heartier vegetables that have a longer shelf life and do not necessarily require refrigeration.

Samples of the organic vegetable winter box program. Local produce is delivered to customers from November to April

The Winter Line-up

a steady supply, but are not able to get to the Grootenboer’s strategy with the box programs is to deliver certified organic crops farm as often as they like. With that supply to the kitchens of local customers who want continuing into the winter, customers have been consistently receiving white and red potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, beets, onions, rutabagas, cabbage, and garlic. The first few deliveries of the winter schedule had additional surprises of squash, celery, radish, and leeks carried over from the farm’s summer refrigerated storage. Even into January, Grootenboer included leafy vegetables, like kale and spinach that Kale is grown throughout the winter under plastic hoop greenhouses, adding some greenery to the regular root vegetables in the winter box

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actually grow in the ground over winter under unheated, plastic, hoop greenhouses.

The Colour Purple

The boxes allow for the discovery of new vegetables not typically stumbled upon in grocery store foraging. Carrots are hearty vegetables that last for a long time in winter. River Bell’s carrots come in three colours — orange, purple, and white — all with their own distinct flavours. The purple carrots

The Red Velvet Cheesecake at Eat What’s Good, in Chatham, uses freshly pressed beet juice look unusual at first, but when the outer purple layer is grated off, they are orange inside with the healthy beta-carotene alongside the additional health benefits of the purple skin which contains the same antioxidant as blueberries.

The Beet Goes On

The colour variations continue with beets, which we expect to be purple, but River Bell also grows golden beets and candy cane beets. Roasted in the oven and topped with oil and vinegar, each variety is a soft, juicy, sweet treat. Nadia Moore, owner of Hungry Vegan in Chatham, credits the quality of River Bell’s beets for the most delicious borscht she has ever made. Freshly pressed beet juice is also uniquely used as flavouring in a vegan Red Velvet Cheesecake prepared by Emily Meko at Eat What’s Good in Chatham.

Onions, Garlic, Potatoes … Oh My! It is always a good idea to have onions on hand, and the winter box supplies yellow


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only winter box items not grown at River Bell are the organic sweet potatoes brought in from Watson’s Farm in Tupperville, and white and red potatoes from Pfennings, an organic distributor in Kitchener. This allows Grootenboer to focus on what he grows best, while engaging nearby farmers in cooperative efforts to support quality food going out to the community.

Intensely cultivated greenhouses nurture strong growth and extend the growing season for some plants right through the winter and red cooking onions to keep a pantry stocked over the winter. Grootenboer has also given customers a garlic lesson throughout the seasons. The summer box introduced garlic scapes, the green stalky portion of garlic plants removed before the bulbs are ready; used in cooking, they add the same garlicky flavour. Garlic bulbs start arriving in the winter box after being harvested in July and going through a curing process at the farm for a few months. The

Joe and Eraina Grootenboer, seen above with their young family in warmer days, live on and run the family farm near Dresden

The Gift of Produce in Any Season

Picked, Then Pickled

River Bell extends the life of some of the vegetables to last throughout winter by pickling them. Grootenboer does this with a variety of fresh veggies — green beans, carrots, beets, and radishes — soon after they are picked. This prolongs their usefulness and freshness. Organic veggies usually associated with summer taste great in the dead of winter coming from the pickling brine of a Mason jar. The jarred veggies are available from the farm, or at Hungry Vegan in Chatham and James Street Eatery in Wallaceburg. Both local eateries carry jarred River Bell products that can be purchased all year long.

Before each delivery, Grootenboer sends an email about what will be included. Even with this upfront information, the box is always like a surprise gift. River Bell grows thirty different fruits and vegetables, most of which find their way into a box program in one season or the other. The harvest may wrap up in November but, aside from a small gap before the first spring yield, River Bell’s box programs offer a nearly continuous conveyor belt of local produce throughout the year. A bounty of local produce is expected in the summer, but the addition of the winter box program to River Bell’s operations reminds Chatham-Kent that vegetables produced locally and organically are available in any season, even with the winter months upon us in full force. River Bell Market Garden 559 Sydenham Street, Dresden, ON DARIN COOK is a regular contributor to eatdrink who works and plays in Chatham-Kent.

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in the garden

What's All This Buzz about Bees? Plant a Pollinators' Paradise By ALLAN WATTS and RICK WEINGARDEN


t seems that life has caught up with us as we face a new reality. The popula­ tions of our bees and Monarch butter­ flies are in serious decline. While global warming is a part of the problem, the main issue is the loss of natural environments; that results in a loss of food and breeding grounds for our insect friends. The decline in the populations of these important insects is an environmental wake-up call, as they are a vital link in our food chain. Bees, butterflies, other insects, and hummingbirds are important pollinators. We rely on all of them. Attracting these pollinators to your life and garden is a great way to make a difference. To attract them we need to plant pollenizers —plants that are a preferred source of nectar. The nectar is a food and attracts pollinators to your garden. While they visit, pollen is collected and exchanged: basically, sex in your garden. To plan a pollinators’ paradise, plant nectar-rich plants that bloom in stages, so there is always something for them to eat. This also creates a healthier, more biodiverse environment. If you are a vegetable gardener, remember that pollinators are essential for a successful harvest. Invite them to your veggie garden with the interplanting of flowers.

Preferred Plants

There are varieties of flowers that produce more nectar and are also designed to allow the pollinator easier access — a more inviting option. Double flowers for example, are not usually worth the effort. Preferred nectar sources include the following: • Alliums, Asters, Buddleia (aptly known as Butterfly Bush), Catmint, Chrysanthemums, Golden Rod, Lavender and Joy Pye Weed (perennial options). Bees collecting pollen from sunflower, salvia Victoria, squash flower, and oregano flower

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• Borage, Verbena Bonariensis and Zinnias (prolific flowering annuals). As well, let herbs such as parsley, cilantro, arugula and oregano go to flower and then to seed. The flowers are a great late season food source and the plants will often self-seed. Or you can harvest the seed for cooking. Dill, fennel and parsley attract butterflies and serve as larval plants for the caterpillars.


finding ways to incorporate them into your garden or outdoor space helps nature begin to recover. Like us, these vital insects, and the stunning Hummingbird, deserve a good local food source. Plan on planting yours.

Monarch Butterflies

The Monarch Butterfly deserves our special attention. Their numbers are so low that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has recommended a status review under the Endangered Species Act — one of America’s most powerful environmental law. This “King” of the butterflies has very particular food demands importantly related to their reproduction. There are three varieties of Milkweed available in this area, all of which are beautiful perennial plants. The Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) is the only plant in which you might find the chrysalis of the Monarch because this plant is also the only food source for the caterpillar. The Common Milkweed has greatly declined in numbers. Growing Common Milkweed in your garden, depending on your space, requires cutting back runners and seed pods. It is possible to have one plant, but if you have the room, allowing a colony of these beautiful plants to establish is very rewarding. This plant has been taken off the noxious weed list to protect the Monarch Butterfly, so plant it freely. Two other varieties of Milkweed make great garden plants and their flowers are important as an adult butterfly food source. They are also more contained and shrublike plants. Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnate) and Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) are great additions to any sunny garden. The Swamp variety offers beautiful clusters of pink flowers and attractive pinate (elongated/pointed end) leaves. It will be happiest in a wet or low spot in your garden. The Butterfly weed is a striking plant. Its mounding, shrub habit (2’h x 2’w) is very versatile and the abundant and brilliant orange flowers bloom all summer. Its shorter habit makes it a stunning addition to the front of any garden bed. Most flowers offer food for our winged friends. Planting more pollinators and

Encourage butterflies by planting the foods they require.: Milkweed is available in numerous varieties, and in a range of colours, including the orange or yellow Milkweed Asclepias Tuberosa (Butterfly Weed)

RICK WEINGARDEN and ALLAN WATTS own Anything Grows SEED Co. ( They can be found at the Western Fair Farmers’ & Artisans’ Market on Saturdays, and at various gardening events around the region.

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№ 52 | March/April 2015

road trips

Blue Mountain and Beaver Valley The Apple Pie Trail




ur annual culinary road trip, consisting of a scenic drive through the towns and hamlets along the Georgian Bay coastline, through the remarkable Beaver Valley and along the top of the Niagara Escarpment, brought us past Georgian Hills Vineyard. Unknowingly, we were following a similar route to that of the Blue Mountain Apple Pie Trail. The trail is a year-round culinary route that winds through the apple and pear growing country from just east of Owen Sound to Collingwood and offers a truly top-notch culinary experience. Over the last seven years, the trail has continued to expand by offering travellers a diverse complement of agricultural and culinary partnerships, tours, events and experiential adventures that focus on Ontario’s apple orchard country. At last count the trail connected 37 stops for local apple-inspired products and fare, including restaurants, orchards, food merchants, breweries and wineries. A

winner of the Premier’s Award for AgriFood Innovation Excellence, the trail also received Tourism Ontario’s Culinary Experience Award in 2012.

Georgian Hills Vineyard

At the Georgian Hills Vineyard our hospitable and intelligent hosts spoke about the winemakers and explained the Niagara Escarpment’s unique terroir and the microclimate created by the proximity to Georgian Bay. Georgian Bay’s moderating effects produce favourable grape growing conditions. The area has been designated “an emerging wine region” by the Wine Council of Ontario. We sampled several varietals that included a Perry, a Seyval Blanc, a Vidal Blanc, an unoaked Chardonnay, a Marachel Foch and a Vidal (Frozen on the Vine). We retreated to the terrace, where comfortable chairs overlook the vineyard, with glasses of Riesling in hand and an outstanding platter of local cheeses and charcuterie. Georgian Hills makes its own sweet dessert wine

A view from Coffin Ridge Winery


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called Frozen to the Core, created from peaches and apples. Tasting room hours are Wednesday through Sunday from 12–5 p.m. www.

Beaver Valley Cidery

Our next stop was the Beaver Valley Cidery where hard ciders are crafted in small batches from select varieties of heritage apples grown in the orchard or sup­ plied by local Geor­ gian Bay growers. The restored century barn has been converted into a cidery and tasting room. Co-owner Judy Cornwell told us that they kept the barn’s foundation, and posts and beams, replacing the cladding, floor and roof. The tast­ ing room and the outdoor gardens are stunning. Two types of hand-crafted ciders can be tasted and paired with a plate of superb artisanal cheeses. 235853 Beaver Valley Rd (Grey Rd 13), Kimberley. Open May to December, Thursday to Sunday 11-6 p.m.

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upstairs to the wine bar for quality wines, spirits and craft beer, shared plates and charcuterie. Think smoked local whitefish fritters or beef striploin tartare with sous vide duck egg yolk. The chef follows sustainable principles. The restaurant is a Feast ON certified taste of Ontario establishment for people who seek out authentic “tastes of place” when travelling. Open daily, lunch and dinner; closed Mondays from September to June. 8 Bruce Street South, Thornbury; (alley behind TD Bank).

The Cheese Gallery

Casey Thomson’s Cheese Gallery on the main street in Thornbury is a cheese shop in a gallery setting, showcasing the talent of local artisans

Bruce Wine Bar & Kitchen

Bruce Wine Bar is a scratch kitchen, featuring farm-to-table menus which showcase local and regional products. Downstairs in The Kitchen, dine on traditional Neapolitan wood-fired pizzas (funghi, artisan salumi, fennel sausage, etc.), salads and sandwiches. Or head

who craft local foods, beverages and art. We usually visit the Cheese Gallery

Enjoy delicious “tastes of place” at Bruce Wine Bar and Kitchen in Thornbury

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several times a year. This unique experience offers a licensed tasting bar with cozy seating, charcuterie and a truly dazzling array of salumi and international and artisan cheeses. Open year round, daily. 11 Bruce St. South,

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Blue Mountain’s Apple Pie Trail

No matter what time of year you visit, the Apple Pie Trail is a year-round culinary destination. Last year the culinary trail added six new stops, including the Northwinds Brewhouse and Eatery, and Bonnie Dorgelo Jewellery and Paintings in Collingwood, Twist Martini Restaurant and Bar, Booster Juice in the Blue Mountain Village, and the aforementioned Bruce Wine Bar in Thornbury and the Beaver Valley Cidery. For a special treat be sure to stop at the hospitable Kimberly General Store for some locally-sourced provisions and a delicious sandwich.

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The BUZZ ... new and notable


hy winter? Because without it we wouldn’t have maple syrup. It’s coming! Check out your favourite syrup producers to see what they have planned: In Goderich, Samuel’s Hotel has maple-themed events during March Break. Enjoy a special dinner on the Friday night, horse drawn sleigh rides, maple tours, activities, heated patio, hot alcohol and non-alcoholic drinks all day, and a maple-themed dessert extravaganza. The Springwater Maple Syrup Festival runs weekends beginning March 8th, and during March Break from 10am-3pm each day. Enjoy interpretive wagon rides through the Carolinian Springwater Forest. Tour the old-fashioned sugar shanty for demonstrations on maple syrup production. Partake in a complimentary tasting of the maple products which are available for sale. Dine at the pancake house, operated by local community organizations. Celebrate spring at the Annual Maple Festival at Crinklaw’s Sugar Bush near Lambeth. Maple products for sale, free samples, tours of production facility, displays, sugar on snow, farm store, horse-drawn wagon rides and meal offered. Saturday March 21 and Sunday March 22, 10:00 am to 3:00 pm (meal available until 2 pm.) www. Since 1972 the Kinsmen Club of Greater London has been providing outdoor family fun at Fanshawe Sugar Bush. There are demonstrations of tree tapping, and sap lines, craft demonstrations, musicians and displays by community groups, and mouth-watering pancakes! This year they offer evening tours for community groups. www. The Savour Stratford Maple Trail celebrates the taste of Ontario’s first crop of the season and is only available for the months of March and April. Enjoy a self-guided taste of maple delights at various food shops and restaurants this spring.

Also in our region, visit McCully’s Hill Farm (www., Fort Rose  Maple Co. (, and one of our favourites — McLachlan Brothers Maple Syrup Camp & Pancake House ( Crossing the border? Or maybe you already live in the Old East Village. Either way, be sure to stop in at The Boombox Bakery at the corner of Adelaide and Lorne. Alexandra Connon creates delicious (and beautiful) pies, cupcakes and other mouth-watering treats. You can order online at Visit the facebook page for the latest news. The 2015 London’s Local Flavour Culinary Guide will be available later in March. A project by eatdrink magazine with Tourism London, the guide provides a rich overview of the city’s breadth of exciting local restaurants, culinary retailers, and farmers’ markets. The guide goes out to Ontario Travel Centres, London’s Tourism Information Centres, and major entry points to the city, such as the London International Airport, the VIA Rail station, the London Convention Centre, the Downtown London office, as well as at dozens of local businesses, libraries and the farmers’ markets. It’s also available online, with links both on the Tourism London website and the eatdrink site. For a view of the guide and more, go to Food Trucks: After three years of acrimonious debates, London residents will be able to eat at food trucks on city streets. During London City Council’s meeting on Feb. 24, council voted unanimously, 15–0, to approve changes to the city’s Business Licensing Bylaw to permit eight food trucks on London streets by this summer. City staff is expected to review the results of the pilot project this fall. At The Root Cellar Organic Cafe the menu is seasonal, organic and local, and everything is made from scratch. The Root Cellar also has a calendar of events that features

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local musicians like Marty Kolls. Details on the Surprise Earth Hour concert (Saturday, March 28) can be found on the facebook page. For more special events information, or to inquire about hosting an event, contact Ellie at The restaurant at Idlewyld Inn & Spa has launched a new gastropub menu for the business lunch crowd. Chef Trevor Stephens puts an upscale spin on pub favourites: Wagyu Beef Burger with Truffle Cheddar Cheese, Guinness Prime Rib Shepherd’s Pie Skillet, Harp-Battered Fish & Chips and Braised Bison Short Ribs, all on offer for $20 which includes a pint of Harp, Smithwick or Guinness. The Idlewyld will also host an outdoor Easter Egg Hunt and an Easter Sunday Brunch, April 5.


Downtown London … Calling all Downton Abbey fans: You are invited to a tea party in the Eldon House Interpretive Centre on March 28. There will be Downton Abbey trivia and prizes for best costume. Tour the museum and discover the many commonalities between Eldon House and the Crawley residence. To register call 519-661-5169. Kiss the Cook has an exciting line-up of chefs (including Chris Squire, Dacha Markovic, Mies Bervoets and Thomas Waite) who will be sharing their knowledge in cooking classes. Visit if your taste buds

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Wortley Village’s Black Walnut Bakery Café was already proud winner of London’s 2014 Consumers Choice Award for Best Dessert/Pastry, and then came The Cruffin! After a Facebook flurry of enthusiastic comments, demand exceeded supply for a number of days. The popular pastry — the bakers melded a croissant with a muffin and piped inside a rhubarb ginger custard — is described as “the ultimate breakfast.” The Blackfriars bridge is closed to all but pedestrian traffic these days but the Blackfriars Bistro parking lot is cleared, and a new heating system is keeping customers cozy. The always colourful Blackfriars is wearing a pink coat these days, and will be featuring a new menu mid-March. Owner Betty Heydon is planning a theme dinner in April, so watch the website or call for details. The 58th London Poultry Show is a must-do event for anyone associated with this important agri-business. It’s a blend of trade show and professional development featuring networking opportunities, a wide array of products and services, guest presentations and informative seminars. April 22nd and 23rd at the Western Fair District’s Agriplex.

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tingle at the thought of such dishes as Thai Coconut steamed mussels, Ragout of Rabbit with Spring Vegetables, or Pear Pannacotta with roasted pears, crumbled pastry and whipped cream. After 10 years in the fine dining business, the Auberge du Petit Prince closed on February 23rd. The Arroyas family extends their thanks and best wishes to staff, and to customers for their patronage over the years. Nicole Arroyas, who ran the Auberge du Petit Prince during its first five years, continues to operate Petit Paris Crêperie

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& Pâtisserie in Covent Garden Market, offering freshly baked croissants, scones and breads, pastries, cakes, sandwiches, salads and made-to-order crêpes. Downtown London is also working with Tourism London, downtown hotels and the London Convention Centre to promote businesses to visitors this spring. In particular the organizations are working with them to distribute the newly expanded visitor dining guide, Taste Downtown London, to help people find places to dine. The Raja is continuing their four-course Raja-Licious dinner for $30. The regular dinner menu has recently been updated. Restaurateur Mike Smith has installed a brewery in the basement of his former Jim Bob Ray’s bar and is geared up to launch a line of locally-brewed craft beers. Smith has enlisted expert brewing masters to develop several different brews that will be marketed under the Toboggan brand which will be made and served at the Toboggan Brewing Co., (the new name for the highly anticipated repurposed bar and grill that now houses Jim Bob Rays), next door to Joe Kool’s, Smith’s flagship restaurant on Richmond Row. The primary market for his beer will be his own establishments: Joe Kool’s, Fellini Koolini’s Italian Cuisini, The Runt Club and the Toboggan Brewing Co. To augment the menu of his newly minted 519 Kitchen, Smith will relocate his Richmond Row P.Za.Pie operations and wood-burning oven into the new site. The Talbot St Whisky House is a new 1920s prohibitionthemed bar and restaurant. Chef Taylor Forrester’s menu is a blend of fine dining and comfort food made from scratch, fresh daily. The restaurant, newly renovated in the former home of the Coates of Arms pub, showcases a large assortment of whisky and designer cocktails as well as beer on tap, in bottles, and a good wine list. Chef Thomas Waite (formerly of Icarus Resto Bar) is joining chef Josh Sawyer at Wich is Wich, the sandwich shop that is expected to open at 125 King Street beside the

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office of Downtown London, the first week of March. The 40–45 seat upscale shop offers dine in, grab & go, and catering services. Customers will be able to email their orders in and pick up orders. The business is the creation of London radio show host, Elaine Sawyer. The former owners of Wonder Sushi, who opened the Japanese-inspired Sakata Bar and Grill on Richmond Street (formerly Blue Ginger) is opening Sakata Ramen in the space previously occupied by Gozen Bistro on Queens Avenue at the beginning of March. The ramen noodle house will also feature Yakiniku, a variant of bulgogi.


Rob and Candice Wigan of Molly Bloom’s Irish Pub in Stratford have just bought one of the city’s flagship fine dining restaurants, The Church Restaurant, to re-launch this May as Revival House. Chefs Kyle Rose (late of London’s Auberge du Petit Prince) and Byron Hallett will run the expansive kitchen, emphasizing local, seasonal ingredients on the daily menu.Revival House will offer “dining as event” for two to 200, from tête-à-têtes to tour groups, weddings and concerts. Upstairs will feature The Chapel, an intimate 80-seat gastro pub, and a VIP lounge called Confessions. Stratford design consultant Martine Becu is transforming the three dramatic rooms.

Join Mark Serré and the friendly staff at the Morrissey House for Winesday! By-the-glass wines are $1.50 off and bottles are $6 per bottle off. Don’t want to finish the bottle? Have it recorked to take home. Enjoy your own wine selection (must be a 750ml bottle, commercially produced — no homemade wines) for a flat corkage fee.

She raised you well ... Reserve Now for Mother’s Day!

Stratford … Chef Tim Larsen and Jessie Larsen are leaving Mercer Hall to open a new restaurant on Wellington Street in Stratford. The projected opening date is early June 2015. At the time of writing, the name has not been announced. Pazzo Pizzeria and Taverna features half price basic pizzas and $5 pints (all domestic draught beer) all day Fridays. This may be the best thing to happen to Friday since the invention of the weekend! Chefs Aaron and Bronwyn Linley have sold Bijou after 14 years. They were very ready for a change, and hand over the reins in March. The Linley’s have been operating the restaurant in The Bruce Hotel for two years and have decided to move on when their contract expires at the end of March. In the meantime, they are toying with going abroad with their kids for a year and working (something they’ve long thought about) or working somewhere in our area in the interim ... or possibly opening their own place again shortly, which they say is definitely in the future anyway.

“A place you can depend on and delight in” — eatdrink


46 Blackfriars Street, London 519-667-4930

London’s Latin American Hot Spot!


Craft Cocktails $5

Dinner Dinner Monday−Saturday Monday−Saturday || 225 225 Dundas Dundas St. St. || 519 519 601 601 7999 7999 |


Stratford Chefs School offers Adult and Teenager Cooking Classes. Aspiring chefs will work in real kitchens with restaurant chefs, preparing recipes from the School’s actual curriculum. Mingle with friends, wander among “Blooming Beautiful” gardens and browse the Marketplace while sipping a glass of Pelee Island wine and savouring canapés showcasing the Flavours of Perth during the Stratford Garden Festival’s opening Garden Party. The show runs March 5-8.

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Savour Stratford Tutored Tasting: Ancient Art of Japanese Matcha. This hands-on workshop introduces you to techniques, history, health benefits, cooking how-to’s and much more. Take home a chashaku, a chasen and a passion. March 6 and March 13. Tickets are available on-line. Join in the fun at Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre. The actors are right there amongst the audience. The story unfolds throughout dinner. It’s a great event for parties or couples. March 20 at The Parlour Inn. More Downton Abbey! A proper dinner, in the hands of a good butler! Begin at the bar with a complimentary themed cocktail and snacks inspired by the genre. Proceed to the private dining room for dinner. Themed attire is encouraged! March 21 at Mercer Hall. Swan Parade Weekend: April 11 and 12. Stratford salutes spring with the quirky ritual of marching the swans to the Avon River. Family fun starts Saturday downtown with live entertainment, music, street performers and a quest for decorated swan topiaries. Sunday’s family entertainment and food trucks run from 12 noon–3 pm on Lakeside Drive with the swans parading at 2 pm lead by the Stratford Police Pipes and Drums. In April, join naturalist/forager Peter Blush for Puck’s Plenty Early Spring Foraging. Search forest trails for wild edibles such as leeks, trout lilies, saddle mushrooms, wild ginger and more while you discover the natural beauty of forests and field 15 minutes from Stratford. Learn to harvest these delicious gems of nature sustainably. Recipes for seasonal wild edibles will be supplied.

Regional ... The Little Inn in Bayfield is Ontario’s oldest inn, dating to the 1830s. Mark and Joanne Oliver recently took over the reins (see Issue 50, November/December 2014), and the inn is undergoing some substantial changes. The rooms are being completely redesigned by Cynthia Weber, the restaurant will

Downtown London’s Upscale Authentic Thai Restaurant


120 Dundas St. at Talbot

Manisay and Rafael (Fouzan) invite you to join them for dinner or lunch

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be under new direction, and the bar will offer a new lineup of wines, craft brews and cocktails. The Olivers plan to open for business by the end of March.


We want your

Railway City Brewing tells us that their delicious Black Coal Stout is now officially available in the LCBO year round in Tall Boy cans. Black Coal Stout is Railway City Brewing’s signature seasonal dark ale. It pours a thick and frothy dark chestnut colored head, and the nose is dominated by coffee and toasted characteristics with underlying tones of rich dark chocolate.


Do you have culinary news or upcoming events that you’d like people to know about? eatdrink has thousands of readers across Southwestern Ontario Get in touch with us at

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We are your London outlet for Metzger Meat Products, The Whole Pig, Blanbrook Bison Farm and Lena’s Lamb, with sauces and spices from The Garlic Box, Pristine Olive, Stonewall Kitchen, and Traditional Portuguese Sauce.

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“Pure Chinese” Cuisine —eatdrink

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366 Richmond Street at King

226 667 9873

Open WED to SUN 11am to 10:30pm


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The Ontario Essentials Wine Collection Explore the region’s best, with a little help from Vintages By GARY KILLOPS


get asked a lot of questions about wine, and the one that I hear most often is “what is your favourite wine?” I don’t have a favourite, and I usually reply that wine is more of an ongoing discovery. I am not committed to one wine or varietal. However, I do have a preference for wines from Ontario. I have concluded that these people are looking for a recommendation; if I like it, then it must be good and they will like it too. But taste in wine is puzzling and unpredict­ able. A wine that I like, you may not. For this reason when I get a call or text from a friend who is at the LCBO asking me to help them select a wine I am very reluctant to do so. Wine is an unresolved discovery. The LCBO VINTAGES Essentials Collection may help make it a little easier to explore your own wine preferences. This collection offers approximately 130 wines from around the world, sorted by country and region. And the wines are always available, unlike many

Bachelder Niagara 2011 Chardonnay (lcbo# 302083, $29.95)

Winemaker Thomas Bachelder makes Chardonnay in Burgundy, Oregon and Niagara. He started the Bachelder project with the 2009 vintage. Having lived and worked in all three of these coolclimate Chardonnay viticulture regions was his inspiration for the project. The same wine making techniques are used in each region but due to the different terroirs three very unique and different tasting wines have been created. Bachelder wines had only been available in restaurants and on occasion in the VINTAGES section, but are now offered as an Essentials Collection selection. Bachelder’s Niagara Chardonnay is a full-bodied wine

other VINTAGES products that are only available for a limited time. According to the LCBO, wines that are selected for the Essentials Collection must meet the following criteria: • are continuously available from the supplier; • have had repeated success in a number of previous VINTAGES purchases; • offer outstanding value; • are internationally renowned; • have a prior track record in our market. In other words, they are proven favourites that are always available. The LCBO has more than 25 Ontario wines in the Ontario Essentials Collection. Many of these wines are available at the medium to large store locations and when not in stock they can be transferred in to your local outlet. This is a good place to make some new discoveries. I have selected four Ontario wines from this collection for you to consider.

exposing baked apple, pear, and creamy vanilla aromas. Added complexity on the palate with captivating minerality, crisp acidity and smokiness. This is a fine example of Ontario Chardonnay at a reasonable price!

Thirty Bench 2013 Riesling

(lcbo #24133, $18.95) The winery is located on the Beamsville Bench, a small subappellation in the Niagara region and one of the best locations for growing Riesling in Ontario. At Thirty Bench Winery the focus is on Riesling as the owners believe it is what grows best in their vineyard. Riesling is the signature wine of Thirty Bench. Winemaker Emma Garner loves working with

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Rieslings and ferments at low temperatures to retain the wine’s aromatics. Peach, pear and lemon tree fruit notes dominate the flavours. There is a hint of sweetness, and zippy citrus notes provide refreshing acidity. A lovely sipping wine that will also pair well with chicken, fried Lake Erie perch, or sushi.

Hidden Bench Estate 2011 Pinot Noir (lcbo #274753, $29.95)

Hidden Bench sets the bar very high with its Pinot Noir, made exclusively with estate grown grapes from the Beams­ ville Bench VQA sub-appellation of Niagara. The grapes are hand-picked, hand-sorted and cold-soaked in small lots. Fermentation is done naturally with indigenous yeasts. Hidden Bench is committed to making quality wines, and any their Hidden Bench Estate Pinot Noir, a new addition to the Essen­ tials Collection, is being offered at an excellent price. It is silky tex­ tured with plush cherry and rasp­ berry notes and that trademark earthy character. A very good example of Pinot Noir from one of Ontario’s best producers.

ight Ladies N4 or 25 March 2

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Seasonal Hours Always Closed Monday Reservations Recommended 519.238.6224 42 Ontario St. S., Grand Bend

A Taste of Europe since 1974

Trius Red 2012 (lcbo #303800, $22.95)

Trius Winery at Hillebrand has been making wine in Ontario for over 30 years. It is a pioneer of premium Ontario red wines. Trius Red is a blend of Merlot, Cab Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from grapes grown in the Four Mile Creek VQA sub-appellation of Niagara On The Lake. This is a concentrated and complex red wine with a loaded, savory mouth feel. Appealing dark and red berry fruits, spice and dried herbal notes make this one of the better Bordeaux style blends available. Quite a powerful wine — certainly one of the better red blends I’ve tasted recently from Ontario’s premium 2012 vintage. delights.

GARY KILLOPS is a certified wine geek who loves to talk, taste and write about wine. He shares his wine tasting notes on

Schnitzelfest March 6–15 Murder Mystery March 27 & April 24

• Private Rooms • Free Room Rental • Wi-Fi • Murder Mysteries 122 Carling Street (at Talbot, around the corner from Budweiser Gardens) Open Daily for Dinner 519-679-9940 Lunch Monday–Saturday


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BEER MATTERS beer matters

Any Porter in a Storm By THE MALT MONK


orter is a traditional malt-forward dark English ale style. It’s every­ where, yet never seems to elicit any great excitement with beer scribes or seasoned beer reviewers. Pre­ vailing trends show that crafted IPA is the number one microbrewed ale in sales, but I predict that IPA may soon be challenged by the familiar and unassuming ale we generi­ cally call “porter,” which is undergoing some modern innovation. I don’t know about you, but if you’ve been around craft beer as long as I have you get a bit tired of being whacked in the teeth with a bag of hops every time a new hyper IPA is released — each trying to out-hop the previous release. You become anxious for some alternatives. Could a currently hopaddicted craft beer market finally discover the joys of malt-forward ales? I did. That’s one reason my current favourite ale style is porter. It can range from deep ebony to a coppery-amber, depending on the malts used. The brewer has much leeway in porter design. Like an artist with a palette, he can colour and flavour a porter by blending dark roasty malts, amber toffee malts, bright sweet crystal malts, or rich Munich chocolate malts to create a malt masterpiece

— and then he can add a signature to that masterwork with a natural compliment. For years porters have been confused with and equated to stouts, but this is a little like comparing cream to yogurt. Ask any brewer about the difference between porter and stout, and most will tell you it’s the presence of roasted unmalted grains (such as barley or oats) that give stouts their drier, more assertive coffee-grounds flavour, that deep rich roastiness and a richer texture and fuller mouth feel. However, the recent redevelopment of the style by the craft brewing industry has a stronger version of porter with a fuller body called “robust porter.” Great Lakes Brewery has been leading the innovation on this style front. Porter is something you take for granted, like a comfy recliner or a well-worn pair of jeans. Great, well-crafted porters were not getting the same attention as the new extreme beers and imperials. So craft brewers decided to give porter a do-over by infusing new flavours in the brewing process. In this way porters can be as complex as any beer style. Some of the first natural flavour fusions were with vanilla pods, cocoa nibs, coffee, honey, smoked malt, maple syrup and even citrus and pumpkin.

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This first round of porter innovation almost backfired, as many of the first flavoured of­ ferings were not really well constructed. Fla­ vours were either too weak, or over-powering, or uncomplimentary to the beer. The back­ lash almost killed the porter crafting trend when some beer writers referred to porter as a catch-all “kitchen sink” for every organic additive that came in front of the brewer’s vision. There was perhaps some truth to this, and many of us have experienced a flavoured porter that wasn’t just quite right (either missing something or having too much added flavour). Things changed when the second phase of porter experimenting started in Den­ mark. Craft beer artisans meticulously calculated proportional flavouring, making them intense. The added flavouring was complimentary. Mikkeller and Meantime were among the most successful. This trend spread to North America and now we are seeing a surge in well crafted flavoured por­ ters — particularly on tap. If the quality and innovation continues, porter will give IPA a run for the money in terms of sales.

Mikkeller Texas Ranger Porter

— Robust porter with smoked chipotle (lcbo #371955) I wonder how many readers are aware that Mikkeller, the Copenhagen, Denmark based microbrewer, is innovative in more than just their unique brews. Mikkeller is also unique in their approach to craft brewing.

One of 2014’s

TOP 10 Beer Bars in Canada


It is a collaborative brewing operation with no brewery of its own, and was started by two passionate artisanal home brewers who invented “guerilla brewing”; they collaborate on a craft beer recipe with other high profile craft brewers, then brew their one-off unique brews at various world class microbreweries, producing a constant series of high quality unique beers to supply their craft beer bistro. They became hugely successful and now have some standard offerings in constant production. Mikkeller


continues to brew solely at a variety of host microbrewers such as de Proefbrouwerij, Brew Dog, To Øl, Three Floyds, 18th Street Brewing, Evil Twin Brewing and Ale Smith, to name a few. Mikkeller’s great contributions to the craft beer world are its innovations of the porter and stout genres. Texas Ranger Chipotle Porter pours an opaque black colour into your glass with a small dark cap — rich roasty coffee-cocoa tones in the nose with a hint of nuts, spice and smokiness — flavour is a robust thick

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blend of roasty dark malts, espresso-cocoa flavours with bright hopping enhanced by a piquant sharpness — rich roasty finish with a spicy-smoky end to it and you get just a light “tingle” on the lips from the chipotle. I think the smoked chipotle compliments this robust porter and the use of the smoked chipotle pepper was judicious and accurate enough to make it a great accompaniment to the roasty porter character without over powering the flavour. Another top flight flavoured porter from this great craft brewer.

Beau’s All Natural Brewing’s Dial ‘Z’ For Zwickel — a traditional Franconian lager (Available in a seasonal 4 pack at the LCBO and on tap) I had to share my review of this unique brew with you chiefly because we have never seen a true Zwickel lager in the Canadian Market place. Zwickelbier is essentially an effervescent form of a Bavarian kellerbier. It originated in the small artisanal and home breweries of Franconia, Germany and is rarely exported internationally. This lager is deep gold, unfiltered, unpasteurised, but the maturation casks (or modern conditioning tanks) are bunged or capped just before the end of fermentation. This furthers the dissolution of carbon dioxide gas into the brew. Maturing Zwickelbier builds infused effervescence, resulting in a lush creamy head when poured into a glass. Beau’s rendition of the style taps off an unfiltered murky light copper with a rich creamy cap — pungent bready aroma with some succulent herbal tones — super fresh smelling lager. Deep natural effervescence

keeps the cap alive through the pint. Big chew of Munich malts in front then a pleasant herbal Spalter hop bittering that goes to a clean dry finish with a maltose kiss at the end — you usually only get this quality in premium Franconian brands but here it is in a domestic offering — great quaffing for the craft lager enthusiast. Being an unapologetic lover of German brewing and lager styles (primarily because they are harder to make correctly than ales and you have to be skilled to carry off a good rendition of the more arcane Franconian styles) I loved this lager. This release by Beau’s is as close to an authentic German Zwickelbeir as I have sampled — obviously some planning and research went into this unfiltered creamy lager — Ein Prosit! THE MALT MONK is the alter ego of D.R. Hammond, a passionate supporter of craft beer culture. He invites readers to join in the dialogue at

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The Boreal Feast A Culinary Journey Through the North By Michele Genest Review and Recipe Selections by TRACY TURLIN


have two kinds of cookbook in my collection. The first is the kind I look to when I’m tired of old standby recipes or I want a new twist on burgers. The second kind is for when I want to be inspired by something different. I might never make any of the recipes but they move me to imagine new ways of looking at food. These are the cookbooks I read while curled up on the couch with a glass of wine. The Boreal Feast by Michele Genest definitely falls into this category. The boreal forest is a biome that stretches across the northern regions of several countries, including our own. Genest lives in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. It’s not the first place that comes to my mind when thinking about good food but she’s working very hard to change that idea. Boreal Feast is her second cookbook to feature the ingredients, cooking techniques and traditions of the north. In 2012 she and her husband took a trip through Sweden, Norway and Finland to see how these cultures used the ingredients native to the boreal forest. Boreal Feast is part cookbook and part travel guide, and both parts are equally well done. Laurel Parry’s illustrations accom­ pany Cathie Archbould’s spectacular photographs. I usually prefer more pictures of the finished recipes but, in this book, it was easy to overlook. What it has is page after page of gorgeous photos of the boreal regions by which Michele Genest the dishes are inspired. And inspiration really is

what this book is all about. Its purpose seems to be to show the reader the diversity and complexity of these northern regions through the foods and traditions of the people who live there. The area offers ingredients such as cloudberries, fireweed, and spruce tips to accompany sheep steaks, bison marrow and moose ribs. Genest does offer substitutes for some of the more obscure ingredients. I have a feeling that the Chocolate Cranberry Brownies are going to change my outlook on dessert forever, even if I use cultivated cranberries instead of wild lingonberries. They have a rich brownie base seeded with tart berries and covered with a smooth ganache. Sounds like a game-changer to me. A few of the recipes seem easy to adapt to more familiar foods. Smoked, Braised, Barbequed Moose Ribs could easily be made with beef ribs. Well, maybe not so easily; Genest does warn us that this recipe takes two days to make. Another item that caught my eye was Dandelion and Chèvre Bruschetta. I love goat cheese and baguettes so it


doesn’t seem like much of a stretch to add the greens. It also seems like a wonderful revenge for the thousands of dandelions I’ve had to dig out of the lawn over the years. I wanted to try more of these recipes but they were out of spruce tip oil and bison marrow at my local grocery store. I’m sure that a little research will turn them up. After all, there’s not much that you can’t find online these days. This seems to run counter to the spirit of the book, however. Many of these ingredients are foraged, fished or hunted from the region. Maybe the best approach is to embrace the spirit of the

№ 52 | March/April 2015

Boreal Feast with our own locally available ingredients. We do have dandelions and berries here, after all. I’m pretty sure I’ll find farmed bison or deer if I look hard enough and I know a guy who knows a guy who hunts moose. I think for now though, I’ll settle for paging through the Boreal Feast and daydreaming about a trip to our own Great White North. TRACY TURLIN is a freelance writer and dog groomer in London. Reach her at

Dandelion and Chèvre Bruschetta

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Recipes courtesy of Harbour Publishing

Dandelion and Chèvre Bruschetta 1 lb (455 gr) dandelion leaves 1/3 cup (80 mL) pine nuts 4 cloves garlic 1 Tbsp (15 mL) olive oil 1 baguette, sliced into 24 thin slices 1 Tbsp (15 mL) Spruce Tip Oil (or substitute olive oil) 4½ oz (125 gr) chèvre 1 Tbsp (15 mL) fireweed honey (or substitute other wildflower honey)

Trust... Taste... Quality...

Clean the root end of each plant with a knife, removing all the black or brown until the base shows white. Cut the leaves off about 1 inch (2.5 cm) above the crown, leaving the crown intact. Put crowns to soak in cold water and reserve to make Grilled Dandelion Crowns. 1 Wash leaves several times, lifting them out into a strainer and emptying the water from the bowl each time; continue until there’s no residue of dirt left in the bottom of the bowl. Shake leaves dry, chop coarsely and reserve. (If you’ve bought dandelion leaves from the market, they’re usually detached from the crown and fairly clean, needing just a rinse and a shake dry.)

Comfort Food Specialties

2. Toast pine nuts in a dry cast iron pan over medium-low heat until golden. Peel garlic and slice thinly lengthwise. Heat olive oil in the same pan over low to medium-low heat; sauté garlic slices until they are crisp and just beginning to brown, from 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat and drain on paper towel. 3 In the same oil, sauté dandelion greens until wilted, about 5 minutes. 4 Toast baguette slices in the oven under the broiler, about 1 minute per side. Brush one side with Spruce Tip Oil. 5 Spread with chèvre. Pile dandelion greens over chèvre. Arrange 3 to 4 garlic slices on top. Sprinkle with pine nuts and drizzle with honey. Serve at once. Makes 24 bruschetta.

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Just off Hwy 4, 45 minutes north of London. 519-262-3130 Local Beef • Pork • Lamb • Poultry Specialty European Meat Products


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Smoked, Braised, Barbecued Moose Ribs Makes four to six servings. THE RUB 1 Tbsp (15 mL) kosher salt 1 Tbsp (15 mL) brown sugar 1 Tbsp (15 mL) toasted cumin seeds 1 Tbsp (15 mL) coriander seeds 1 Tbsp (15 mL) onion powder 1 Tbsp (15 mL) garlic powder 1 Tbsp (15 mL) dried spruce tips 1 tsp (5 mL) smoked mild paprika 1 tsp (5 mL) dried orange peel 1 tsp (5 mL) each white and black pepper 3 lbs (1.4 kg) moose short ribs 1 Combine dry ingredients. 2 Rinse the ribs briefly under cold running water and thoroughly pat dry. 3 Coat the ribs on all sides with the rub, pressing the mixture into the meat, then wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate, from 1 hour to overnight. 4. Hot-smoke for 3 to 4 hours at 140F (60C). While the ribs smoke, prepare the braising liquid. THE BRAISING LIQUID 1 Tbsp (15 mL) each oil and butter 1 stalk celery, chopped 1 medium onion, chopped 1 medium carrot, chopped 2 cloves garlic, chopped 1 inch (2.5 cm) fresh ginger, peeled and chopped 1 tsp (5 mL) juniper berries, crushed 2 Tbsp (30 mL) tomato paste

3 cups (710 mL) strong bison or moose stock 2 cups (475 mL) red wine ½ cup (125 mL) birch syrup 1 Tbsp (15 mL) soy sauce 1. Preheat the oven to 325F (160C). 2 Heat oil and butter in a 6-quart (6-L) ovenproof dish; add vegetables and sauté until soft over medium-low heat. 3 Add garlic, ginger and juniper berries and sauté another few minutes. 4 Stir in the tomato paste; cook for two minutes, then add remaining ingredients. 5 Bring to the boil over medium-low heat, and add smoked moose ribs. 6 Place in oven and cook for 3 to 4 hours. 7. Remove ribs from the pot and let sit at room temperature while you finish the sauce. THE SAUCE 1. Strain the braising liquid and remove the fat that’s floating on top. (If you haven’t yet invested in a fat strainer, think about it. It will save you much time and headache.) 2 Return the sauce to the heat in a wide saucepan and simmer until reduced to a thick, spreadable consistency. 3. Coat the ribs with the sauce and grill on a preheated barbecue for about 10 minutes, or until ribs are slightly charred and aromatic.

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Chocolate Cranberry Brownies This recipe assumes you’ve still got some lowbush cranberries in the freezer in early August; if not, substitute dried cranberries or fresh wild ­raspberries or even blueberries, if they’re ready. The important thing is the tang of the berries to offset the rich, deep chocolate flavour. 4 oz (110 g)unsweetened chocolate ½ cup (125 mL) butter 4 eggs at room temperature 1½ cups (350 mL) sugar 1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla 1 cup (250 mL) flour ¼ cup (60 mL) cocoa 1 cup (250 mL) wild lowbush cranberries (lingonberries) or substitute cultivated cranberries 1 Preheat the oven to 350F (180C) and grease a 9× 13-inch (22.5- × 32-cm) baking dish. 2. Melt chocolate and butter together in a double boiler over boiling water. Stir to combine and cool to room temperature. 3. Beat eggs until light and foamy. Still beating, add sugar gradually until mixture is thick and creamy. Beat in vanilla. 4 In a separate bowl, whisk together flour and cocoa. 5 With a spoon, mix the cooled chocolate into the eggs and sugar, just until combined, then fold

in flour with a few strokes—it’s important not to over-mix. 6 Pour into baking dish and smooth into place with the back of a spoon or a spatula. Sprinkle berries evenly over top, pressing lightly into the batter. 7 Bake for about 25 minutes, until a tester inserted in the centre comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Cool to room temperature before icing with ganache. Makes about 42 brownies (each 1 × 1½ inches/ 2.5 × 3.8 cm). GANACHE 5 oz (140 g) dark chocolate, at least 70 percent cocoa 1 cup (250 mL) 35 percent cream 3 Tbsp (45 mL) butter 1 Break chocolate in small pieces into a bowl. 2 Bring cream and butter to a boil over mediumhigh heat and pour over chocolate. 3 Place a plate over the bowl and wait for 5 minutes for the chocolate to melt. 4 Beat thoroughly until smooth and creamy. Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate to a spreadable consistency. Makes about 2 cups (475 mL), enough to generously ice one pan of brownies with some left over.


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Stratford Food: An Edible History by Steve Stacey Review by DARIN COOK


efore Shakespearean plays were acted on the stages of the Canadian city synonymous with quality theatrical performances, Stone Age people and First Nations tribes hunted the land in Ontario that would become Stratford. Not until European settlers arrived, establishing farms, did a permanent community begin, but this came with the adverse effect of depleting the habitats available for hunting. These are some historical linkages that Steve Stacey makes in Stratford Food: An Edible History (The History Press, 2014, $21.99) as he sets the stage for the integral role food has played in the city’s development. The Shakespeare Hotel, Stratford’s first permanent (and aptly-named) building, was erected in 1832 with the distinction of also having the town’s first vegetable garden. Aside from abundant crops on the surrounding farmland, gardening plays a vital role throughout Stratford’s history, with Victory Gardens planted in war times and school gardens supplying cafeteria food programs. The Shakespeare Hotel also headquartered the Stratford Agriculture Society, formed in 1841, which established a livestock and crop exhibition. With such plentiful agricultural output, hundreds of farmers constantly travelled to Stratford to barter or sell their goods, or to utilise the railway passing through the city as their delivery method. The Market Square became the centre for trading in the 1800s, and countless restaurants, taverns, and saloons were supported by these farmers who needed places to eat and sleep. Since these earlier times, the modern farming community has flourished with specialty farms providing high-quality, unique products, like August’s Harvest that ships organic garlic across North America, Perth Pork Products that raises wild boar, and Soiled Reputation Farm that supplies organic greens to fine dining restaurants

from Stratford to Toronto. Stacey writes, “Basically, if there is a farmfresh product that a resident or chef in Stratford would like to find, there is in all likelihood a local producer who can supply it.” The population of the city was 900 in 1852, rising to nearly 10,000 by 1884, but Stratford was still very much a farming community, with livestock mingling with human residents on the streets. It eventually reached its current population of 30,000 with world-renowned actors replacing the livestock on those streets. Stacey writes, “Without a doubt, it was the inception of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in 1953 that influenced the development of the city as a culinary destination with opportunities for fine dining, more relaxed bistros and restaurants to suit virtually every taste and palette. The Stratford Festival brought diners in droves.” The number of restaurants increased from 18 in 1951 to 78 by 1989. Very important players in the restaurant scene — The Church, The Old Prune, and Rundles — were spawned during this insurgence that provided locals, theatre-goers, and actors with gourmet dining that put the city on the culinary map. Another element solidifying Stratford’s culinary reputation was the establishment of the Stratford Chefs School in 1983. Fine dining restaurants not only offered their kitchens as training classrooms, but the chefs became instructors, which was an especially efficient use of the dormant resources of kitchens and staff during the downtime in the industry

№ 52 | March/April 2015

when the theatre shutdown for the season. Marking its thirtieth year in 2014, the Stratford Chefs School has accomplished its goal of populating Stratford’s restaurants with top chefs without having to recruit from outside its boundaries. Stacey knows that food establishments cannot be talked about without profiling the cast of characters who established them: Katherine “Cowkitty” Bryden operated the first dairy farm in the 1800s; Donald McDonald was instrumental in establishing the first Market Square for citizens to procure the bounty of their area and vendors to sell it; chef Paul Finkelstein opened the Screaming Avocado Cafe as an alternative cafeteria where high school students prepare lunch for their teachers and peers. Another important individual is Danielle Brodhagan, the visionary behind the Savour Stratford Festival, which started in 2008 and has become the Canadian food event of the year. This capstone festival, full of high-profile attendees, along with other events like the Stratford Garlic Festival and the Ontario Pork Congress, highlight that the Shakespeare Festival is not the only show in town. This robust food culture inspired Stacey himself to relocate to Stratford and, in five short years, make his own significant contributions to the food landscape. Stacey has the credentials to write about this topic not only at the heart of Stratford’s history, but also close to his own heart: he assisted Chef Finkelstein at the Screaming Avocado Café, worked at the Savour Stratford Festival, acted as Stratford’s official food blogger for the Stratford Tourism Alliance, and is now the executive director of The Local, the city’s community centre that puts all aspects of food, gardening, cooking, and education at the forefront for everyone in the city to access and enjoy. With these food-related endeavours supporting his Stratford Food research, Stacey highlights that the theatre may be the driving force behind this vibrant community, but the agricultural history started long before, and the restaurants, coffee shops, confectionaries, and markets have had a residual and influential impact on the economy and culture. DARIN COOK is a freelance writer who keeps himself well read and well fed by visiting the bookstores and restaurants of London.



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№ 52 | March/April 2015


on the boards

What a Difference a Year Makes London’s Musical Theatre Productions Turns a Corner By RICK YOUNG


ast March, in the middle of its critically acclaimed 25th anniversary season, London’s Musical Theatre Productions was on the brink of shutting its doors. With a successful Cabaret performance in November 2014, and two Brickenden Awards for last year’s critically acclaimed Gypsy under its belt, the not-for-profit community theatre organization has come roaring back and is gearing up for its spring production of Jesus Christ Superstar, April 3–11, at McManus Studio Theatre. “Just two weeks out from our main-stage production of Gypsy, ticket sales were drastically low. We rely on donations and revenues from our productions to keep our organization going and we had been witnessing a strong decline in both over the past few years,” recalls MTP president, Joe Recchia. “However, we got the word out that MTP was in trouble and that our June production of Songs for a New

Kayla Rock, Trevor Richie and Jenn Marino are cast in this modern version of Jesus Christ Superstar

World was in jeopardy. Our members and supporters came out in droves to see Gypsy making it quite the success.” Several donors and partners came forward to help MTP erase its debt from previous seasons, allowing the organiza­ tion to carry on with its highly successful June show and to plan its 2015 ­season, says Recchia. Seeking a popular spring show with broad appeal, MTP’s Board of Directors solicited community input, narrowing the selection to three choices. Jesus Christ Superstar was chosen because of the bold and unique vision proposed by the show’s highly talented and experienced artistic team. Producer Nicole Newell summarizes the vision. “We want our production to be fresh to new audiences or ones that have already seen the show. Our version takes place in current day, with a group of fans attending a ComicCon,” says Newell. “They go into a conference panel and instead of just talking they perform so the audience can discover the parallels between the heroes and villains of the biblical tale with those of the comic book world. No tights or capes here. The music, lyrics and story are untouched and comparisons we present are subtle and mature.” Co-directors Angela Southern and Sam Shoebottom, two self-proclaimed comic book nerds, are thrilled to bring JCS to the McManus stage. “I’ve musically directed JCS twice and I’ve always wanted to take a stab with my own concept,” says Southern. “We are really excited about the modern concept and so is the cast. JCS has such a well-known story with larger than life

№ 52 | March/April 2015

musical theatre productions’ amateur presentation of

The ensemble in rehearsal characters, it seemed a really good fit for our superhero angle,” concurs Shoebottom. The 25-member ensemble cast is a mix of veterans and newcomers. Jesus is portrayed by Trevor Richie, making his MTP debut, while Jenn Marino, who fronts local band Hiroshima Hearts, tackles the role of Judas. Marino’s last stage performance was in MTP’s Little Shop of Horrors. Kayla Rock, familiar to London audiences for her roles in Songs for a New World, and Mr. Burns: A PostElectric play, plays Mary. Richie is honoured to be playing what he calls one of the most coveted roles in musical theatre. “The role itself brings many unique challenges because you are trying to display such a powerful figure,” he says. “I am attempting to bring forth a very calm and reserved portrayal of Jesus. One point to keep in mind however is that he was human and every human can only take so much before they ‘lose it.’” Asked how she feels portraying one of history’s most infamous villains, Marino says, “It’s very exciting to be Judas, let alone a female Judas. I love playing the ‘villain’ although I feel like this show doesn’t fully show Judas as the real villain people believe him to be. JCS shows the war inside Judas as he (she) deals with the battle between being Jesus’ right-hand man and seeing everything starting to go astray from the real cause they had originally been fighting for — to help the poor.” Newell loves the intimacy of the McManus Theatre. “The intimacy of the space is perfect for an exciting and moving show like JCS. The audience has a front row view of the action and this cast brings it,” says Newell. “Our set is scaffolding, which provides lots of space and levels for the actors, and our four-piece rock band fits nicely underneath on stage right.” Something special will also take place during the run of Jesus Christ Superstar.

Jesus Christ Lyrics by Tim Rice • Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber

April 3RD–11th, 2015

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“This year MTP launches a new program. Each year, the MTP board will select a deserving individual from the community to be honoured with a lifetime membership to MTP. We are pleased to announce that our inaugural recipient will be Art Fidler,” says Recchia. “Art was one of MTP’s founding board members and has been an avid supporter of our organization as actor, director, patron, and generous donor. His work with youth both as a teacher and with Original Kids has inspired a love and appreciation for theatre for over 40 years. Art will be presented with our first

№ 52 | March/April 2015

lifetime membership on the opening night of JCS on April 3, with a reception after the performance in his honour as well as the production’s talented cast and crew.” Tickets for Jesus Christ Superstar are available at 519-672-8800 or online at

RICK YOUNG, whose work has been published in local, regional and national print and online publications, was the Managing Editor, Publisher and founder of The Beat Magazine, an independent London arts magazine, from 2009 to 2014.


sound bites

Sounds Like Spring By NICOLE LAIDLER


ith its wonderful acoustics, intimate atmosphere and great in-house grand piano, it’s no wonder that Aeolian Hall is a popular venue for classical music in London. Hot on the heels of February’s soldout evening with Tafelmusik come recitals by two of Canada’s leading concert pianists. Widely regarded as one of the great romantic virtuosos, Montreal’s André Laplante comes to London March 20 for a solo recital of music by Schubert, Beethoven and Liszt. Two days later, Vancouver-based Sara Davis Buechner makes a stop at the Aeolian (between performances in New York City and Puerto Rico) to present an afternoon lecture on piano pedagogy, followed by an evening recital. At the time of writing, Buechner’s program had yet to be announced, but with more than 100 piano concertos at her fingertips she has plenty to pull out of her hat! Another west coast performer rolls into London for what promises to be a toe-tapping evening with the Karen Schuessler Singers, March 28 at WesleyKnox United Church. Celtic fiddler Jennie Bice (daughter of London visual artist Kevin Bice) joins the choir for Come to

Pianist Sara Davis Buechner

the Ceilidh: A Celtic Celebration, a crowd pleasing round-up of music from Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Cornwall. “Jenny has the kind of magnetic personality that just pulls you in. It feels like she is playing right to you,” comments choir director Karen Schuessler. Bice will be joined by her husband Joe Samorodin on acoustic bass, Greig Carins on guitar and Rob Larose on percussion. Schuessler says you don’t have to have Celtic roots to be moved by the music of the British Isles. “There’s something about Celtic music that really touches your soul


№ 52 | March/April 2015


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Celtic fiddler Jennie Bice

№ 52 | March/April 2015

at universities in Ontario,” explains SSO manager, Liesel Deppe. Despinic, a Hamilton native, is no stranger to competition having previously won the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra Young Artists Competition and the Symphony on the Bay Young Artists Concerto Competition. He is currently completing his Master of Music in Violin Performance at the University of Toronto. Billed as a ‘blockbuster orchestra concert’ the program also includes selections from The Planets by Gus­ tav Holst and the Star Wars Suite by John Williams. www.stratfordsym­

in a direct way. It can transport you away from the world’s problems,” she says. “I think that’s part of the thrill.” Fanshawe Chorus London and the Concert Players Orchestra present their annual Good Friday concert April 3 at First-St. Andrew’s United Church. This year the ensemble will perform Maurice Duruflé’s Requiem Op. 9 and J.S. Bach’s Cantata # 4 — Christ lag in todesbanden. “The Duruflé Requiem is very special to me,” says Fanshawe Chorus London artistic director, David Holler. “It’s one of the first requiems I conducted as a student. It’s understated, but very holy in a way. The music will move you whether you believe in the sacred The Karen Schuessler Singers, on the banks of the Thames aspect or not.” The choir will be joined by two soloists — mezzo soprano Margorie Maltais, who is completing her Master of Music at Western University, and baritone James Baldwin, a member of the Canadian Opera Company chorus. The Fanshawe Chorus season wraps up May 2 with A Night at the Opera — a concert showcasing the winners of the organization’s second Western University Vocal Competition. The bi-annual contest is a great way to introduce audiences to the next generation of singers, says Holler. “And it’s a great experience for the singers to learn how to perform with a choir.” Stratford Symphony Orchestra also shines the spotlight on a contest-winner, April 11 at Knox Presbyterian Church. The Out of This World concert includes a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concert featuring the 2014 SSO Emerging Artist Competition winner Adam Despinic. “Anyone who can get to Stratford is welcome to apply [for the competition], but we only advertise

The Karen Schuessler Singers Choir Director Karen Schuessler

A kitchen party like no other! Rollicking Celtic music including Dúlamán, Men of Harlech, A Welsh Lullaby, Tell My Ma and Fare Thee Well Love With fiddler Jennie Bice and friends.





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London Community Music at First-St. Andrew’s Orchestra join forces wraps up its concert to perform Gustav season April 19 with the Mahler’s Totenfeier London premiere of Will (Symphony No.2, Todd’s jazz-styled Mass First movement) and in Blue. This upbeat set­ Antonin Dvorak’s The ting of the Latin mass has Wood Dove, May 3 at been performed around Dundas Street Centre the word since its debut United Church. in 2003, says First-St. Len Ingrao conducts Andrew’s music director both ensembles and Paul Merritt. “It seems to says they try to team have had very few Can­ up every three years. adian performances. I “We’ll have about 70 or know of only two others in 80 musicians on stage Ontario, both in Ottawa.” for this concert,” he After listening to the says, including 30 wind recording, Merritt decided Fanshawe Chorus London and brass players and it was time to take on the Artistic Director David Holler two harpists. challenge. “This is by far The sheer scale of the most difficult piece both works puts them beyond the realm we’ve ever done. It’s a different idiom of possibility for most than what we’re used to, symphony orchestras but everyone is enjoying these days, largely due working on it,” he says. to the cost of hiring Merritt says it’s the added musicians and perfect work to highlight the challenge of finding the talents of the choir’s a suitable stage. “We’ll soprano soloist, Sonja definitely be using every Gustafson, who grew up inch of the performance in the church and now space,” says Ingrao with attends with her two a laugh. young sons. John Rutter’s cycle of spirituals, Feel the Spirit, is also on the program. NICOLE LAIDLER is a former Londoners have the rare opportunity to hear classical music on a grand scale when the London Youth Symphony and

Soprano Sonja Gustafson

member of both the London Youth Symphony and London Community Orchestra. Today she can be found at the (computer) keyboard as the owner of Spilled Ink Writing & Wordsmithing.


№ 52 | March/April 2015

the lighter side

Out of the Mouths of Babes By JUDY J. THOMPSON


hoever coined the phrase “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” was right. It starts at birth. Mothers provide food right from the get-go, so little boys associate women with food. This might sound rather old-fashioned or chauvinistic, but breasts give nourishment. As early as age one, my son could charm female wait staff. He had an innate knowledge that they served food and would put on his best smile and even — gasp — flirt! I would have to burst the bubble for the blushing gal and explain, “He’s behaving this way because he knows you’re going to bring him food.” My son hated meat, except for chicken. And I couldn’t serve chicken every night. He’d sniff at the meat on his plate and ask, “What’s this?” The whole family would answer in unison — “Chicken!” Another trick we employed was the ‘just one more bite’ game and soon his plate was empty! We were able to pull that off for about six years before he caught on. My grandson Liam loves food. He smiles sweetly, raises his eyebrows and, with a twinkle in his eye, lays a hand on my arm and asks, “Nana? Nack, Mease.” Translation — Nana, a snack please? I’ve seen my offspring go from greedily sucking back bottles, to being open-mouthed baby birds awaiting the next spoonful of food. It’s fun watching them try new foods. Their reactions vary. It could be a shudder, or they just might spit it out. Liam sometimes responds with the ultimate eyeball roll of ecstasy. Strawberries will bring on that reaction. Liam immediately goes into my backpack when I arrive because he’s figured out that Nana brings treats. The first treats were applesauce, pronounced by him as assasauce, sounding like a swear word. Of course applesauce is sweet in nature, made with apples, possible mixed with

various nectarous fruits. We later graduated to Lemon Pie puddings, which he expected to also be sweet. With the first taste Liam shuddered and made a scrunchy face. His eyes closed tight for a moment. And then he opened his mouth for more. At two years old, Liam has a lusty appetite. He finishes his lunch with relish and charm­ ingly smiles, clasps his chubby hands together and asks, “Nana share?” as he covetously eyes my cheese sandwich. I respond with, “Magic word?” His eyes light up, “Mease!” and there goes half my lunch, followed by a touch of his cup to mine as he exclaims, “Cheers!” Liam and I sing the ‘Yummy, yummy I have peas in my tummy” song, which makes him giggle and soon the peas are gone! Though sometimes food ends up hidden in children’s noses, to be blown into a tissue, or perhaps having to be picked out at the emergency room of the local hospital. Excursions outside the home often have Liam asking, “Nana? Bakery? Doughnuts? Muffins?” When I say yes, he licks his lips in anticipation. I order one apple fritter for sharing. He pipes up, “Nana? One for Papa?” Bats his long lashes and soon we’re buying two. I know he’ll entice Papa into sharing. Now, doughnuts bring on a different response. He closes his eyes and pops a piece in his mouth and savours the taste. He’s in doughnut delirium. The eyeballs roll heavenward as he utters a drawn out, “Mmmmmm . . .” When asked what he wanted for his birthday, Liam’s answer was a resounding, “A doughnut!” I laugh and think — out of the mouths of babes. JUDY THOMPSON resides in London. She writes nature, travel, historical and human interest articles and is working toward getting her novels published.

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Eatdrink #52 March/April 2015  

Local food & drink magazine serving London and Southwestern Ontario since 2007

Eatdrink #52 March/April 2015  

Local food & drink magazine serving London and Southwestern Ontario since 2007