One of the benefits of living in a diversified region like the Greater Toronto Area — GTA for short, because seriously, the alternative is a mouthful — is access to great restaurants. It used to be that if you wanted a good meal prepared by a hot chef, you headed downtown Toronto. Not anymore. As outlying communities grow, and as diners seek out quality, creativity, and fresh ingredients, so too have chefs been able to showcase their skills outside of the city. And thankfully, for those who live in the area it means there’s no shortage of restaurants.
Burlington, Ontario sits on the north shore of Lake Ontario, between Toronto and Hamilton. Close by is the Niagara Escarpment, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, with kilometers of trails perfect for winter or summer activities. With access to hiking and cycling trails, an abundance of local farms and vineyards, as well as a vibrant waterfront, Burlington attracts a lot of visitors. And visitors, as well as locals, need to be fed.
A Taste of Burlington showcases the many restaurants in town. From July 20 to August 3, 2014, twenty-six restaurants will feature prix fixe menus for lunch and dinner. It’s a popular program that also encourages restaurants to include local ingredients on their menus.
This past week marked the official kick-off of A Taste of Burlington with an evening of food, live music, and beer — thanks, Cameron’s Brewing Company, I really liked the Rye Bock — and the event was sold out. Lesson learned for next time: don’t eat for 12 hours beforehand and wear stretchy clothes. The standouts were the marrowed carrots and pea purée from Ivy Bar and Kitchen, the pecan crusted salmon with sweet potato hash (forevermore known as heaven) from Stone House Restaurant, and the chocolate brownie with Guinness chocolate sauce from Ye Olde Squire. Ye Olde Squire was already a favourite pub, but chocolate paired with Guinness makes them genius.
It’s likely that any one of the other 300+ people in attendance will have a different group of standouts, and that’s what makes A Taste of Burlington such a great event; there are a variety of foods to choose from prepared by chefs from different backgrounds. But get down there quickly, because the prix fixe program ends August 3rd.
* For details on participating restaurants and their menus visit A Taste of Burlington.
I was invited to the launch event, but any food I tasted was of my own choosing (and I chose a lot of food) and my threat to leave with the cauldron of Guinness chocolate sauce was not endorsed by anyone.