Tap Restaurant – Surrey, BC

It feels like ages since I’ve sat down to write a review here. Nine months to be exact. I’m not sure what happened or why it took me so long to get back into the swing of things and enjoy writing again. It probably has something to do with life getting in the way, or the multitude of changes that have occurred recently. Since moving my entire life to British Columbia, attempting to settle in to a new job, new home and make new friends, my passion for writing has been put on the back burner. That completely changed when I visited Tap Restaurant. The spark was reignited and I am once again excited to share my experience of what I think is an outstanding fine dining establishment.

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My parents were so generous in giving us a gift card to Tap Restaurant for Christmas which allowed us the freedom to choose freely from the menu without worrying about how our wallets would judge us later. The menu is reasonably priced, considering the quality of the locally sourced ingredients and the time and passion that goes into creating their dishes. I would have no issue forking out (get it?) a few extra bucks of my hard earned money to dine here again.

Tap Restaurant is located in south Surrey, tucked away in what seems to be a nice, quiet residential area. They have a beautiful patio that I can’t wait to enjoy in the summer.

We made our reservation for 7PM on a weeknight and there were only a handful of tables occupied during our visit. We were immediately welcomed by most of the staff, including the chef as we walked through the doors and were sat by a beautiful, warm fireplace to enjoy our meal. The dining area is small and cozy with tasteful modern decor which created a warm intimate dining experience. It also features an open kitchen concept so you can watch the cooks work their magic.

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We began our meal with the parmesan risotto with white truffle oil. During our drive to the restaurant, I was looking over the menu and had my heart set on this as a starter. I’m incredibly glad we did. The risotto was every bit as creamy as you’d want a risotto to be, cooked perfectly, piping hot with freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top. We opted for some fresh pepper on top as well. I’d been craving a good risotto for a while, and this sealed the deal. It was also a perfect portion for sharing.

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An interesting section on their menu is the puff pastry tartes flambees. We settled on the Alsace puff pastry with double smoked bacon, caramelized onion and Gruyere cheese. Although not flambeed, the puff pastry was incredible – unlike any puff pastry I’ve had. It was warm, flaky, indulgent, drizzled with a balsamic reduction, a delicious white sauce and topped with shallots. Another great dish to share.

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My main of choice was the Rossdown Farms chicken with rosemary and thyme veloute, wild rice and a side of kale, carrots and green beans. The chicken was incredibly juicy, hot with a perfectly crispy skin. The veloute worked perfectly with the rice and vegetables. The carrots were incredible and the kale was to die for. I even stole some from my partners plate. The vegetables were clearly fresh and the beans had a wonderful crunch.

After our two starters, the portioning of this dish was perfect.

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My partner had the beef tenderloin with an olive oil herb potato pave and same delicious vegetables that eventually made their way to my plate too. My boyfriend is great at sharing! The beef was beautifully cooked, tender and succulent with prominent  flavours and beautifully seasoned. I was fortunate enough to grab a bite and the meat simply melted in my mouth. I’d never had potato pave before and to my delight it was seared in butter and had the perfect balance of crisp edges and a soft potato center. Additionally, flavours of thyme and rosemary elevated this dish wonderfully.

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I struggled with what to order for dessert. Each option sounded even better than the last so I narrowed it down to a final two and asked our waitress for her recommendation. It was between the poached pear or lemon cremeux. On her recommendation, the lemon cremeux was the winner. This was a sweet and refreshing way to finish the meal. The meringue was delicious and perfectly toasted and the lemon cremeux was sweet and tangy. The raspberry caviar was a fun and sweet visual addition to this dish.

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My better half chose the lava cake which he described as rich and indulgent – decadence at its finest. Obviously I had a bite or two, for research purposes. The cake was warm and gooey, wonderfully cooked and just the right size. The side of creme anglaise made this dish even more indulgent than it was on its own. It’s the perfect way to complete your dining experience, especially if you’ve had a lighter meal.

Tap Restaurant has amazing staff, beautiful ambiance and the plating and presentation of their dishes is creative and inspiring. The people who work here bring everything together perfectly and you can tell they are proud to work there

We can’t wait to come back and enjoy more of what Tap Restaurant has to offer and sample from their large wine selection for our next date night.

Most importantly, I’m looking forward to bringing my family here during their visit from Ontario for my 30th birthday.

Tap Restaurant is located at 101-15350 34th Avenue, Surrey BC.

-Rach

 Tap Urban Cafe & Lounge Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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

Staxx Burger Chicken and Waffle House

Sometimes you just get an insatiable craving for fried chicken. I’d heard about Staxx multiple times from many Hamiltonians, some who hadn’t been in ages but remember their chicken and waffles fondly, some who visit regularly and others who hadn’t been at all. Myself and a few family friends were well overdue for a hangout and we always plan to try a great spot in Hamilton for some dinner and chatter. This time we chose Staxx. We planned this dinner about a month in advance so the anticipation was killing me by the time I got there.

A large group of us (about 12) went on a Friday night and were smart enough to make reservations well ahead of time. Being as small as the restaurant is, if you’re looking to chow down on some fried chicken, I’d recommend trying to make a reservation beforehand. Now, this is nothing new as I believe their old location only sat about 25-30 people, their new location is about the same.

Luckily we didn’t have to wait too long for our tables (about half an hour past our reservation time) and were greeted by very friendly bar and wait staff. This gave us all a chance to look over the menu, get recommendations and ask for clarification on things we had questions about.

Once we sat down, the restaurant quickly filled up and before we knew it all tables were full and people were waiting at the door to be seated. Needless to say it was a bit hectic and loud but that diminished over time. A few of us ordered starters for the table to share which included deep fried pickles, onion rings and Wagyu beef sliders. I only managed to snap pictures of the beef sliders as the other apps were snatched up real quick!

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These bad boys were absolutely delicious. The beef was juicy, perfecly seasoned and was dressed with minimal toppings which is so important with sliders. Just some gooey cheese, aioli and lettuce and tomato on the side. The bun was amazing too, soft on the insdie with crispy, buttery edges. This app came with three sliders for around $11. The sliders, along with the deep fried pickles haven’t been added to their new online menu yet.

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I ordered the Fried Chicken Platter (2 pcs) and a side Caesar salad. I really enjoyed these two hunks of meat. The chicken was piping hot, incredibly juicy and the seasoning was really lovely. I didn’t find it overly salty either, which was a big concern of mine going into this. The chicken had great flavour and such a satisfying crunch. One thing I realized at the end of the night was that I never received coleslaw that was supposed to be included in my meal. So, unfortunately I can’t speak to how that was. The Caesar salad was good. Nothing spectacular, just your average Caesar salad. I at least appreciated that it came with bacon and I didn’t have to pay extra for it!

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My uncle did his research before coming to the restaurant and read that the Jerk chicken was a popular item on the menu. It really is a beautiful looking dish. The mango salsa topping was fresh and sweet and paired perfectly with the spicy Jerk seasoning. My uncle really enjoyed the Jerk seasoning and said the chicken was tender and juicy.

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My boyfriend and I shared a large order of fries and let me tell you they were the bomb. SO good. I love skin on french fries and these were so addicting. But let me tell you, the real MVP here was the gravy. I would have drank that stuff out of the cup if I wasn’t going to be judged for it 😉 My boyfriend also ordered the fried chicken fingers tossed in buffalo sauce. I have to be honest in saying that we nearly choked when they were brought to the table. The sauce was heavy with vinegar and was very spicy, to the point where he couldn’t enjoy eating them. Someone who has a taste for very spicy things maybe wouldn’t have found it overbearing but even for myself it was a bit much.

Overall it was a great dinner. I really enjoyed the food and bustling atmosphere but there were times that the service was very lacking. It did take quite some time for our appetizers to come out and some of us had to go to the bar to get a refill on our alcoholic beverages. We sat at our tables with empty plates for quite some time while servers walked by, looking directly at us and our table and not taking anything away. I need to note that the restaurant was at capacity during this time and there were only three employees working the dining room, one of which didn’t even work there and was helping out for the night. So, with that in mind, I can understand why the service would be less than perfect. The staff was very friendly and had a very positive attitude despite the fact that they were short handed.

The next time I have a craving for fried chicken I will definitely keep Staxx in mind.

Staxx Chicken and Waffle house is located at 275 King Street East, Hamilton.

Cluck, cluk!

-Rach

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
Aberdeen Tavern on Urbanspoon

Table 34 Resto & Bar

So, I celebrated my birthday this past weekend. Another year closer to 30 (yaaaay…). I have to tell you though, I’m not that depressed about it. I’ve got a good feeling about what my 30s will bring, especially if things keep going the way they are. In any case, birthdays (for me at least) give me an excuse to eat whatever I want and share the experience with loving family and friends. One of my mothers friends suggested we try a new restaurant in downtown Burlington, Table 34. It was a great evening, with impressive food and great staff. As a new restaurant there’s a couple things to improve on, but that’s all a part of the experience. None of the issues that came up were nearly big enough to deter me from visiting again. The owner, Moe, was attentive, very accessible and present in the restaurant and quick to respond to any questions or concerns.

Note: I apologize for the terrible picture quality. I’m just starting to get comfortable with my DSLR and I hate a flashing camera in a busy restaurant. So, I held off and used my phone’s camera. Sorry!

I started off with the chef’s Caesar salad (no picture *blame hunger). It was a deconstructed salad with romaine leaves tossed in a house dressing, a slice of bacon and fried a Parmesan chip. The salad was good, however I found there was way too much dressing on the lettuce which really weighed it down. I’m also not a fan of chopping up my own salad. Especially if I’m having it as a starter, I want to be able to just dig in once it hits the table. This is just my personal preference and by no means takes away from the quality of the salad. The portion was large enough for two people to share and was a great way to start the meal. I really enjoyed the fried Parmesan chip, who doesn’t love crispy, fried cheese!

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I had the pizza special (obviously – if you don’t know me by now, I love pizza). I couldn’t believe the size of this thing. It’s definitely something you can share with someone you trust. FYI – Never share your pizza with an untrustworthy person. For the price (I believe it was around $21), I would expect it to be this big, approximately a medium. They used a bolognese sauce as the base which was incredible on the pizza. It had a perfect balance of ground beef and light tomato sauce which really added to the overall flavour of the pizza. The dough was thin crust and cooked well. Toppings included roasted red peppers, choirzo sausage and cheese curds. This pizza was full-flavoured and seriously took care of my pizza craving. I traded a few slices in return for bites of other dishes on the table and each person loved it too. I took a few slices to go and the whole drive home all I could smell was this pizza. Even though I was having a food baby, the aroma was making my mouth water.

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My partner in crime had the Alberta high river smokey mountain ground brisket & sirloin burger. Try saying that five times fast – it’s a mouthful, and so is this burger! It could feed a small country. It’s basically a meatball on a bun, and the consumer wasn’t really feeling that. There was a lot of beef and I believe if it was flattened out a bit with a more substantial bun it would improve the eating experience. Because there was so much juicy meat, the bun was ruined within a couple bites and it just became a huge mess. I had a couple bites and it definitely was delicious – obviously high quality meat and so juicy. Just a couple of adjustments will make this burger even better! The fries were also stellar.

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My bro ordered the chicken wings which came with the chef’s chili lime yogurt – the sauce of the day. They were served dry with the sauce on the side. Now, unfortunately my brother and I weren’t really impressed with these in the beginning. The wings were pretty small for what you’re paying ($18 for a pound), no seasoning on the wings and the sauce was watery and lacked any real flavour. We brought this to our servers attention and she immediately took them back to the kitchen to toss them in a different sauce. They came back with a BBQ and Sriracha sauce which was a huge improvement. This sauce had the kick my brother was looking for that the chili lime yogurt was missing.

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My g-ma had the fish & chips (from the lunch menu) which was a beer-battered haddock, side of fries and Chef’s slaw. My grams is a fish & chip aficionado to say the least. It’s basically all she ever orders, unless prime rib is available, then she’ll most definitely order that. She really enjoyed her meal and said the fish was cooked perfectly, full of flavour and the batter was light and crispy. So, two thumbs up for this fish dish – if it impressed my grandma, it should do the same for you!

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Two others in our group ordered the wild mushroom jumbo ravioli, one with meat and one without meat. The pasta was stuffed with smoked bacon and topped with sundried tomatoes, edamame beans and smothered in an amazing thyme fused cream and white truffle oil drizzle. I got to try a bite of this one and was really impressed. The sauce was so rich and flavourful and the ravioli was cooked perfectly. Definitely a must try! The only complaint here was that no freshly ground pepper was offered, which would have finished the dish off well. We notified the owner (at the end of the evening) and he ensured us he would let his staff know. Again, not a big problem!

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Another dish we ordered was the beef tenderloin. I didn’t get a chance to try it, however I was told it was delicious, cooked to their liking and had minimal traces of fat. The plating was beautifully executed with a nice variety of sides to accompany it including baked potato wedges and roasted veggies.

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We also ordered the T34 Charcuterie. This thing is so badass – there’s no better way to serve Charcuterie than on a large chopping block! I didn’t get to try any of the items as this couple arrived a bit later than us and we were all pretty well stuffed by the time it reached the table. It comes with an assortment of cured and smoked meats, pate, mustard’s and relishes, pickled vegetables, three cheese assortment, rustic bread and pickled quail eggs. A little bit of everything! A charcuterie is the perfect way to share a meal with a number of people. It encourages conversation and a shared food experience. Everything was beautifully arranged and prepared fresh. This is definitely something to try when you visit.

The bottom line here is that Table 34 is a great new spot in downtown Burlington. A few kinks need to be worked out but there’s no questioning the quality of the dishes here. You might leave with your wallet feeling a little less full in comparison to your stomach, but it’s well worth it. Everyone deserves to treat themselves once and a while and this could be the place to do that. The food was prepared fresh and served hot, the staff was incredibly attentive (shout out to our server Andrea for making our night extra special). The restaurant has such a warm, relaxing atmosphere and it’s obvious the owner really cares about the happiness of his guests. I watched Moe visit each table that night, making sure everyone was enjoying their meals and having a positive experience. I have no doubt that this restaurant will thrive and continue to grow with much success!

Table 34 is located at 1455 Lakeshore Road East, Unit 3 on the corner of Lakeshore and Locust Street.

Website: www.table34.com

Happy eating!

-Rach
Table 34 Resto & Bar on Urbanspoon

Earth to Table: Bread Bar

I’ve been waiting for quite a while (almost a year) to try this place out. I don’t know why it took me so long but that’s besides the point. I finally made it!. Since I’ve moved to Hamilton, whenever I talk to people about restaurants to try in the area, the Bread Bar is always one of their top suggestions. My dad wanted to come to Hamilton for dinner last week and it didn’t take much convincing on my part to get him here. He checked out the menu beforehand and was just as excited as I was.

As most of you know, traffic coming into the city during rush hour is rage inducing, so it comes as no surprise that my dad didn’t make it for 5:30. While I was waiting for him to arrive, I decided to sit at the bar with a nice glass of red wine. The staff was very attentive, keeping me company while I waited and ensuring I had everything I needed.

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At the bar they have bowls perfectly arranged with a selection of their house pickles, carrots and other veggies. I actually didn’t get to try any but they looked delicious. I think this is a really good idea in lieu of bread. It’s always nice to have something to snack on while you’re waiting for your food (or your dad) to arrive, and I think these veggies are a great alternative.

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To the right of the bar is a beautiful and tempting display of their baked goods. Their pies and cookies look phenomenal and there’s pizza available by the slice. Directly across from this display is a cold fridge where you can buy a pie or a selection of their desserts to take away. While I was sitting at the bar, sipping my wine, I watched one of the staff cutting the apple pie and I just thought to myself, you won’t find anything like that in a grocery store.

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A short while later my dad arrived (fist pump!) and we managed to get a table right away. I had been scoping out the room for guests that were finishing their meals as I was waiting and was able to score a table for two by the window. I mentioned that I really wanted to try the kale Caesar salad and luckily my dad was all for it. The kale leaves were very tender and added a wonderfully earthy flavour to the traditional Caesar taste. I’m most familiar with the curly-leaf kale compared to the flat, more tender leaved kale used in this salad. I’m not sure which variety of Kale they used here but I intend to ask next time I visit because it was delicious. I was really impressed with how well balanced this salad was, especially because the kale leaves were so soft, a heavy dressing would just drown the salad. It’s topped with a fair amount of parmesan, bacon and strips of white anchovy. I normally wouldn’t eat anchovies (on anything) but I promised myself I’d try new things. I’m glad I did because they were so tasty! They weren’t as salty as I remember anchovies to be and actually complimented the salad nicely.

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Mmmmm pizza. I love a good pizza. We got our own individual portions which were out of this world. The stone baked dough was crispy, fluffy and had almost a creaminess to it. My dad ordered the Bee Sting pizza which has tomato sauce, mozzarella, local honey, chillies, ricotta cheese and strips of spicy salami. The ricotta on this pizza is perfect because it provides a wonderful balance against the sweetness of the honey and heat of the chillies. Sweet and spicy go together like peanut butter and jelly. I think its a brilliant idea to pair them on a pizza. Needless to say, it works and it’s delicious.

 pizza

I ordered the Vampire Slayer. Not only is the name awesome but this pizza has brie on it. I’m a sucker for cheese to begin with but brie? C’mon, I can’t resist. It comes topped with a white béchamel sauce, roasted garlic cloves and arugula. There’s something about leafy arugula on a pizza that makes you think you’re eating healthy. The garlic wasn’t as overpowering as you might think. Roasting the garlic tones down its potency and brings out its natural sweetness. It was a delicious addition to the pizza combined with the creaminess of the sauce and melted brie.

cheesecake

Thankfully, by opting to take some pizza home, we had room in our bellies to try some dessert. My dad initially wanted to try one of their peanut butter cookies but once we heard about the cheesecake they had that night, we couldn’t resist. It was topped with caramelised pears and drizzled with a sweet brandy sauce. The cheesecake was so creamy and melted in your mouth like cheesecake should. The pears were soft but still firm enough and provided a wonderful texture and sweetness alongside the brandy sauce. I’m going to go ahead and say this is the best cheesecake I’ve ever had. No lie, I will tell my grandchildren about it.

outside

Earth to Table: Bread Bar is Located at 258 Locke Street South in Hamilton. If you’re from around here, you probably know there’s little to no parking on Locke Street, especially around dinner time. It’s best to find a free spot on a side street and walk over.

Website: http://hamilton.breadbar.ca/

Happy eating!

-Rach

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