Nom Nom Nom: A Taste of Burlington Winter Launch! #TOBWIN2015 @TasteOfBurl
23 Jan 2015
Earlier this week, I went to the media launch for the winter edition of A Taste Of Burlington at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre, with various other media and fellow bloggers. It was nice to see Christine, Elizabeth, Sid, Chanry and Davindra there.
A Taste of Burlington is a culmination of Tourism Burlington, Aldershot BIA, Burlington Downtown and local restaurants. This year, 18 local restaurants participated in this event, designed to showcase the culinary diversity of Burlington with a Prix Fixe Dining Program.
Although there were less restaurants participating this year, it was still a packed house. I’m really not sure why any restaurants would not want to participate in this awesome event!
A Taste of Burlington
The Purple Heather Pub
Serving: Forfar Bridie with Scottish spiced onions
This was a show stealer for me. The delicious meat inside a flaky pastry, complimented with pickled spicy onions… what a combination of flavours! This is the kinda dish that would get me to visit your restaurant!
Stone House Restaurant
Serving: Succulent Maple and Bourbon Glazed Beef Ribs with a loaded Yukon potato foam, bacon jam and chives
This dish was great.. but very reminiscent of their offering last year (Beer Braised Short Ribs with Truffled Turnip Puree). It was still very good, but it’s good for restaurants to not only show their signature dish or something that will draw people into their establishment, but something different than previous years. This shows me that you can cook with more than one protein. Either way, great taste.
The Water St. Cooker
Serving: Roasted Rot Vegetables and Baby Kale Salad
I’ve been to The Water St. Cooker many times, and they have some great food. This one didn’t do it for me. It was just a kale salad… nothing special. Then the owner told me they get all of their produce from Plan B Organic. Locally grown organic produce. Awesome! My only issue with this is that it was not stated anywhere on their booth, and if you didn’t stop to talk to the staff, you would not have known this.
Serving: Braised Beef Mac & Cheese
I’m not a fan of Mac and Cheese, so I did not try this dish. But, Christine thought it was delicious, the presentation was great, and the staff were very friendly. It’s the same way at both their Oakville and Burlington restaurant locations. Check ‘em out.
Rayhoon Persian Eatery
Serving: Aush Reshteh Soup – a savoury concoction of herbs, beans, and noodles topped with a cream sauce, mint infused oil and slivers of fried onions.
This dish was chock full of ingredients that should mesh well together, but sadly, it did not deliver in taste. A big step down from their Ghalieh Mahi (Tilapia and herbs and garlic over saffron infused rice) from last year (which was delicious).
Flatbread with caramelized onions and chery tomatoes
This was a well presented dish, but fell short of delivering on taste. I eat a lot of raw foods, and have come to expect great things from places who create culinary wonders with vegan foods. This didn’t deliver. When I asked what was in one of the items (which was clearly not listed on the description), I didn’t receive a complete answer (which is not good if you have certain allergies).
Royal Botanical Gardens
Serving: Herb Crusted Salmon and Arugala on a Polenta Chip, topped with Pickled Peppers, Lemon Aioli and Micro Greens
The presentation of this dish was awesome. The staf was friendly, and the served their offering with pride. Rightfully so, because as much as I was skeptical of the polenta chip, this dish tasted really good!
Ivy Bar & Grill
Serving: Grilled Grouper Gyros with Tomato & Red Pepper Martini Relish and Spicy Herbed Tzatziki
This was a very refreshing dish. Very different from the other offerings at A Taste of Burlington. Served cold, the presentation was beautiful, and the taste was flavourful.
Twitter: @ pepperwoodgroup
Serving: Smoked Bacon Wrapped meatloaf on a Yukon Gold Potato Puree with Stout BBQ Demi-Glace
This was “get in my damn mouth” delicious! For me, it was hands down the best presentation for the night, and the best food. Bst part… while other restaurants were running out of food just 40 minutes into the night, Pepperwood was still serving right up until the end. They were busy the entire time. Pepperwood came prepared to serve, and showcase their offerings.
Serving: Panko Crusted Salmon Cake served Fried Golden Brown, topped with a Caper Aioli, with Lemon Dressed Micro Greens
At first glance, the presentation looked messy on the tray. But when you put it on your plate, it looked amazing. It tasted just as good as it looked. The flavours all comlimented each other well, and the salmon cake was not under or over-cooked.
Serving: Butternut Squash Gnoccci in Brown Butter Cream with Local-Raised Rabbit Confit, Herbs, Heirloom Carrot and Mushroom
I love butternut squash, but am not a big fan of rabbit. But I realized tonight, I didn’t like rabbit because it has never been prepared like this. The combination of the butternut squash and the creamy confit was a perfect marriage. And it had mushrooms… which I love. A great offering from SB Prime.
The Queen’s Head
Serving: Sous Vida Banana Cream Pie with Homemade Chai Marscapone
Delicious! The presentation was bang on, and the chai flavour was beautiful, but not overwhelming. However, trying to eat this thing was next to impossible without getting some on you. Napkins required.
Wendel Clark’s Classic Grill and Bar
Serving: Chocolate Brownie and Vanilla Ice Cream
This brownie was deliious… but this is the equivalent of showing up to a gun fight with a knife. Last year, they brought sliders (along with 4 other restaurants). As much as this brownie was well prepared, and was nicely complimented by the ice cream, it’s not something that is going to make me walk through a restaurant’s door. Come on guys!
Taste of Burlington crowns “Best Taste” &“People’s Choice” at the Winter Launch
From the Taste Of Burlington press release:
“Over 300 guests and media had an opportunity to meet many of our participating restaurateurs at their interactive food stations and try amazing cuisine.
We had so much fun with our friendly competition between the restaurants at our previous launches and now with Chefs vying hard for the title, we decided to continue the “Best Taste” and “People’s Choice” awards. All guests were given the opportunity to vote for their favourite restaurant based on the cuisine they were serving. The popular vote would be crowned “People’s Choice”. The competition was fierce and the votes were tight as the Chefs brought their best to the table wowing everyone in attendance. We are excited to announce that the “People’s Choice award goes to defending champion Chef Mitchell Lamb from Stone House Restaurant for his Maple & Bourbon Glazed Beef Ribs with a loaded Yukon Potato foam, bacon jam & chives. Runners up were West Plains Bistro with their Salmon en Croute, lemon brushed salmon wrapped in a puff pastry with goat cheese, asparagus and sundried tomato with a vodka cream reduction and Pepperwood Bistro with a Smoked Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf on a Yukon Gold Potato Puree with a Stout BBQ Demi-Glace.
The talents of some local celebrities where tapped to judge the “Best Taste”. We challenged Agatha Podgorski (Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance), Andrew Gerrior, Colleen Rusholme & Samantha Payne (95.3 Fresh FM), and Jaclyn Colville & Elise Copps (CHCH TV) to sample the fare of the 18 restaurants and score them based on taste, creativity and presentation. In this category the combined judge’s scores were used to determine the winner. The race for this title was incredibly close and it seems our judges couldn’t quite come to a consensus with a tie for first place going to Ivy Bar & Kitchen with their Grilled Grouper Gyros with tomato and red pepper martini relish and spicy herbed tzatziki along with SB Prime for their Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Rabbit Confit. We also had a tie for the runner up position going to Stone House Restaurant and West Plains Bistro.”
When is Taste Of Burlington?
The winter edition of “A Taste of Burlington” runs from February 22 – March 15, 2015. Be sure to check it out!
For more information, visit the Taste Of Burlington website.
Disclaimer: Burlington Tourism invited me to the media launch of Taste Of Burlington. All opinions are my own.