Lou Dawg’s Hamilton

Last week my significant other and I had the pleasure of trying out Hamilton’s newest addition to the Southern BBQ scene, Lou Dawg’s! Nestled away in Hess Village, Lou Dawg’s is a Southern BBQ and Blues restaurant that originated in Toronto and quickly became famous for their slow smoked BBQ, bourbon and blues. Now, branching out into Hamilton, owners Erika Puckering and Chef Jamie Ewing have taken on Hess Village and packed delicious, smoked and savoury flavours into their dishes.

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I’m in love with the décor inside this place. The weathered wood and brick accents paired with adorable bulb string lights and vintage rugs give Lou’s a perfectly southern country vibe. The location is warm and inviting and the smells from the kitchen will certainly get your mouth watering. FullSizeRender (33)

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We started our BBQ adventure with Lou Dawg’s signature Smoked Lemon Southern Tea. The key to this addictive and refreshing drink is the in house smoked lemons, but lets not forget the two shots of Jack Daniel’s honey whiskey! We couldn’t get over how delicious this drink was and kept reminding ourselves to come back when the patio is open to enjoy this bad boy in the sunshine. This will be a must have this summer!

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For our main BBQ dishes we ordered the 2 meats (beef brisket & pulled pork) and 2 sides (meaty BBQ beans & fries) option for $14.95 – value city! We also couldn’t pass on the Angry Loutine or the Jalapeño Cornbread Muffin since I’ve heard so many good things about it!

I’m going to start off with discussing this mountain of fried potato, meaty goodness because this was the best thing that entered my mouth that night. Yeah, yeah – [enter sexual innuendo here] Get your mind out of the gutter! Seriously though, this ain’t your typical loaded poutine, oh no, my friend. This right here will be the reason I return to Lou’s. The Angry Loutine is the Mighty Loutine (cheese curds and chicken gravy) topped with jalapeños, pulled pork, BBQ mayo and crispy onions. Lou’s poutine game is strong. Crispy, creamy, spicy and salty in one bite. I’m pretty sure I’ll be back this weekend to get this again. If you love a good poutine, you’ll seriously appreciate this. FYI – this was a SMALL.

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Everything together on the table provided to be quite the spread and was a tad intimidating at first! We questioned whether we would live to see another day after eating all this food and how long it would take to crawl to our cars after such an epic meal. Even a bread roll is included to soak up all the delicious house made sauce which is generously provided to you at the table.

So, accepting our fate, we dug in. I was pleasantly surprised at how tender and juicy the meat was, especially the brisket. Although I do believe the portion size was a bit on the small side,  it was a great cut of meat and was cooked perfectly. The pulled pork was outstanding on its own or stuffed in the bread roll. Squirt on some extra sauce and you’re in BBQ heaven. I’m normally not a huge fan of beans (texture-a-phobe) but I really enjoyed the meaty beans. The beans were cooked well and smothered in delicious sauce. They were also super tasty re-heated the next day.

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FullSizeRender (30)FullSizeRender (29)When I asked my foodie friends what they liked at Lou’s, the Jalapeño Cheddar Corn Bread was a hot topic. I was not let down in the least. It came out moist (important) and warm with awesomely crispy edges and definitely spicy, as expected. At the center of the corn muffin was a delicious chunk of cheddar cheese. I tried the cheese on its own and found it had a sweet flavour while not completely melted, which I thought was great. For an extra $2.95 I’d say the corn muffin is well worth the try.

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Overall I’d say Lou Dawg’s is a strong contender in Hamilton’s southern smoked BBQ scene. Their sauces and quality of meat are on point, they have a great list of signature cocktails and will be hosting a series of live music and community nights. I also really appreciated the friendly atmosphere and relaxed vibe at Lou’s. The staff are amazing and definitely take good care of you.

Not to mention they are open for Southern brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 11-4PM with $5 Mimosas and Caesars! Brunch includes items like breakfast poutines, burritos and benny’s.

Combine great BBQ, live music and exceptional service and I think you’ve got yourself a good time! With their outdoor patio NOW OPEN, summer in Hamilton just got a little more exciting.
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Check out their Twitter: @LouDawgsHamOnt to stay updated on future events and menu updates.

If you’re wandering around Hess village in a haze, Lou’s won’t be hard to find with their kick ass BBQ sign out front.

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Lou Dawg’s is located at 116 George Street in Hamilton.

Amen to summer and BBQ/patio season!

-Rach

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Aberdeen Tavern’s 1st Anniversary Bash!

Since I moved to Hamilton, the Aberdeen Tavern has been at top of my list for restaurants to try. Why I hadn’t made it there until last night is beyond me. I mean, besides the fact that I work like a dog and only have time to sleep, eat and (sometimes) get to the gym, I don’t have much time for myself. In any event, around the month of April, my shifts with the city are cut down a bit and it gives me some free time in the afternoon and evenings. So it was with great excitement that I accepted an invitation to the Aberdeen Tavern’s 1st birthday bash from my new friend, Justin Baisden. Justin is a fellow Hamiltonian and runs the food blog, Eating Your Content. If you live in the Hamilton area and love anything to do with food, you’ve probably heard of him.

I have to admit, I was pretty damn nervous to attend this. I’m fairly new to the whole blogging scene, let alone being invited to media events full of professional foodies, so I wasn’t sure what to expect or how to act. Once I got there, after a few minutes of chatting and two (delicious) cocktails, I realized I was in a room full of people who shared the same passion as I did. As the appetizers started to flow from the kitchen, I began to relax and find my groove. It’s amazing how food brings people together.

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I had the pleasure of meeting Avi, who served me up a couple of cocktails (okay, a few) that were so delicious. My favourite was definitely the Key West Collins (left side of the picture) which incorporates bourbon, lime juice, bitters, soda and Galliano liqueur, rimmed with graham crackers! It was a perfect balance between sweet and sour, super refreshing (will be an amazing patio drink in the summer) and paired beautifully with the food we were tasting. I also tried one of the draft beers which was also delicious. Needless to say, it was a great start to the evening.

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The above dish is the Hoisin glazed pork belly with avacado, pickled carrot, chili aioli and coriander. This was only my second time trying pork belly. I’m really starting to become a fan of this stuff. It’s crispy on the outside, soft, warm and somewhat juicy on the inside. Definitely a dish you need to savour and let melt in your mouth. Plus, there was some sort of crunchy garnish that really added a nice contrasting texture to the pork belly. I have no idea what it was. Maybe someone can clear that up for me in the comments below. 

Funny side story: this was the first plate I tried and as I’m marveling at its beauty, with my fork I attempted to unsuccessfully slice it in half. Not knowing my own strength, I managed to push the pork belly off the plate and onto my shoe. What a waste *tear* I still have the stain from its impact on my shirt and shoe. Not to worry dear reader, I made sure I consumed at lest three more plates of this delicious meaty goodness to make up for the lost one. RIP.

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Next up was the Scallop and Sweet Pea Risotto with black tiger shrimp, parmesean and *wait for it* fifteen year old balsamic. This dish was a top contender for me. I love a good risotto, especially when done right. Let me tell you, this risotto was perfect. It was soft and creamy with an added cheesiness of parmesean. The scallop was a great way to prepare your mouth for the rush of flavour that was following it. It was perfectly seared on all sides, crispy and full of flavour. The balsamic was a great finish in this dish as it added a sweet and salty component that really worked well with the other ingredients.

SONY DSCThis dish was a first for me. The Beef Carpaccio with mustard sauce, pickled honey mushrooms, arugula and parmesean was something I have never tried before. Believe it or not, I’ve never had raw meat like this before. It was so refreshing and flavourful I couldn’t figure out why this was the first time I was trying it. Better late than never, I guess. I’m extremely happy I tried it here. Although, a knife might have made it a bit easier for me to chow down on. A full slice really fills up the mouth and I found myself spending some time breaking it down before I could finish. However, that didn’t stop me from trying this dish a couple more times. The mustard sauce was so aromatic and really danced on your taste buds with the chilled meat. A fantastic compliment of flavours, temperature and texture. Bravo!

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Next up was the Albacore Tuna Sashimi with jalapeño, avocado puree, cilantro and a yuzu miso vinaigrette. I’m not as much a fan of raw fish on its own as I am now of red meat. I’ll kill five sushi rolls on any given day, but I’ve just not found myself interested in sashimi. That was of course until I tried this. I really enjoyed that it was thinly sliced and paired with more intense flavours. The slice of jalapeño with the miso vinaigrette was what made this dish really stand out for me.

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I’ve got a serious crush on cauliflower lately and this just made me want to get down on one knee. The Buffalo Roasted Cauliflower with pickled crudite and blue cheese dressing was my winner for the night. It was so crispy and juicy at the same time and combined with the kick of buffalo sauce, it was just a delicious punch in the mouth. As the evening progressed I noticed they hadn’t continued to pump out the cauliflower like they were with the other dishes. As my anxiety around this realization began to build, to my relief, more arrived. This time they were served in a cast iron bowl, so all the delicious sauces collected at the bottom for me to scoop up and drizzle on top. So so so good!

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After all was said and done, I am very thankful I was invited and welcomed so warmly to this celebration. As a new comer to this city, new beginnings can be pretty overwhelming. Hamilton and more specifically the Hamilton food scene has welcomed me with open arms. The Aberdeen Tavern is a place that most Hamiltonian’s are very familiar with and whenever I bring it up to someone who lives here I always hear wonderful things about it. This event definitely met my expectations and I can’t wait to visit again soon. Especially for patio season!

So, thanks to everyone who I met last night and made me feel like part of the family! Cheers!

-Rach
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