SB Prime Chef, Sidney Brandt (r)
and Ampersand Catering Chef,
Photo by A. Bielak
I know how busy folks are in the lead-up to the holidays, so this column will be a short, sweet roundup of food and drink news and opportunities.
But first, last time around I wrote about a new book on gluten-free artisan bread. We’ve had the chance to test several of the recipes and chat with one of the authors, Jeff Hertzberg, and I hope to report more fully in the future along with pictures of some of the results. Bottom line is the book is a recommended “Buy” for those who have to deal with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
I also hope to offer reflections sparked by a tasting organized by Tourism Burlington in conjunction with SB Prime. The restaurant is, I’m given to understand (please correct me if I’m wrong), the only one in the area headed by a female Chef. It was good to visit for the first time and watch Chef Sidney Brandt, assisted by her colleague, Chef Christina Christiansen (she leads SB Prime’s parent group’s catering division) in action. The space was convivial, with lots of food and cocktails for the assembled bloggers and food writers to photograph, sample and tweet about (in that order). All in all it was a lively and fun event. A bonus was that I learned appetizers at SB Prime are ½ price from 4 to 6 pm every day. Go on a Monday and bottles of wine are half price as well!
Looking for a quick, easy advance Christmas present for your sweetie? The indefatigable Dave Hanley, owner of Popup Hamilton continues to grow his enterprise. His Holiday High Jinks event at the Hamilton Farmer’s Market this Tuesday (December 3rd) still has tickets available. This time around, Hanley has enlisted some star power: Proud advocate of aboriginal cuisine and third-place finisher in the last season of Top Chef Canada, Chef Rich Francis will be doing his thing along with Chefs Mark Farruggia of La Piazza Allegra, and Shane McCartney of McCartney and Son. There will be wines from Ridge Road Winery, live entertainment and more.
Or you could put tickets for “Pop Up Speakeasy” under the tree. The Valentine’s Day 2015 event sounds like a ton of fun: A prohibition-era Speakeasy will be the venue, with “authentic period cuisine, wine, beer, bawdy entertainment.” Tickets go on sale December 15th.
On the wine front I can recommend the excellent Tawse Winery Sketches 2013 Riesling ($17.95 LCBO Vintages # 89029): it was an excellent match for a spicy Singapore Prawn dish I prepared recently. I also had the opportunity to crack a 2011 Pillitteri Estates Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Icewine ($34.95 LCBO Vintages # 674812) and have it with a chocolate terrine with berry coulis. It was a fantastic match. (Thanks to my daughter’s friends for this generous house gift incidentally. Come back any time!)
Want to stock up for the holidays? I was recently informed by an impeccable, knowledgeable and trusted source that Niagara College Teaching Winery has some great deals on currently “like Dean's list 2009 & 10 Pinots and 2011 Chardonnay $20, DL 2010 Meritage $30, and 2010 Merlot, Cab Sauv and Cab Franc $15 by the case (can be mixed).”
In closing, sincere kudos to local restaurateurs Matt Kershaw and Erin Dunham. Their following have such regard for them that 174 of them stumped up over $100,000 in a crowd-sourced funding campaign to fund a new restaurant to add to their existing stable (The Alex, in Burlington, and Rapscallion and Two Black Sheep, both in Hamilton. For more on the story that can only be good news for the food scene in our area see this CBC report. Bravo both on pulling this off.
Alex (Alex can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @AlexBielak)