This column features a long-standing event in Burlington and an important new initiative, championed by Ward 4 Councillor Sam Merulla, in Hamilton.
For the first time in several years I missed the summer launch event for the Taste of Burlington. The popular promotion – prix fix meals at some of Burlington’s best restaurants – runs July 17-31, 2016. I’m told about 350 attendees enjoyed some great food and drink.
Earlier this year I wrote predicting success for the Holiday Inn’s Alloro. They placed second then in the People’s Choice award at the Winter launch, and this summer upped their game to win in that category, and also the “Best Taste” with what sounds like a great dish: jalapeno infused bacon wrapped scallop served over coconut rice with a lemon aioli and mango/grilled pineapple chutney.
Taste Co-ordinator Linda Cvetanovic wrote “In the “Best Taste” category only a half point separated the top 3 with Chef Stephanie Brewster [about who I wrote effusively at the end of April] from the Greenhouse Café at the Royal Botanical Gardens securing the runner up spot (and 3rd place in for People’s Choice) with her goat cheese pannacotta with hibiscus gelee, passion fruit and pomegranate. Just a quarter of a point away was third place winner Chef Doran Abra of Water St. Cooker with a smoked trout crostini with radish-cucumber salad and Old Bay aioli.
Chef Mitchell Lamb of Stonehouse – surely one of the most consistent and innovative chefs in the region - repeated his third place finish in winter with a smoked paprika marinated tiger shrimp, jalepeno and cheese curd sausage, curried mango chutney and chimichurri.
In Hamilton, the remarkable upswing in the culinary scene over the past five or so years has led to the development of NOSH, a week-long celebration, formally supported by Council, that will take place during National Small Business Week (October 17-23, 2016).
Merulla, who is the NOSH Honourary Chair, said in a press release “Hamilton's emergence on a national scale is in part attributable to the rising food scene we have in the city – and it’s time to show that off.”
Despite an acronym that only a committee could have created (“NOSH stands for North Hamilton - including lower city, Outlying communities - former municipal entities, South Hamilton - including Binbrook, Glanbrook, and Mount Hope”) the intention is wonderful. It’ll be a showcase of Hamilton's culinary scene from Winona to Waterdown and is anticipated to have a selection of paid and free events for the community and visitors in which to participate.
I look forward to sharing more with readers as information becomes available.
Alex (Alex can be reached on twitter @AlexBielak)