Why 'Chefs Around the Block' is the Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

Adventure #54.

Have you ever had restaurant envy? The feeling that everyone else is wining and dining at the best restaurants in the city but you just can’t keep up?

We’ve had it, as have other parents I imagine. It cialis where to buy can be hard to maximum dose of viagra find both a sitter and the budget to dine at all those restaurants that people are raving about.

When I heard about the new Chefs Around the Block event, I knew this was our chance to dine at five of Burlington’s Best restaurants for the price of one — all in one day.

Welcome to Chefs Around the Block

Presented by the Burlington Downtown Business Association (BDBA) in partnership with A Taste of Burlington, Chefs Around the generic cialis availability Block is “a new food adventure that takes guests to five exciting downtown restaurants, delighting in fine cuisines and wine & beer pairings plus the chance to get up close and personal with each chef.”

A few weeks earlier, on Adventure #48, I wrote about attending the public launch event for A Taste of Burlington where we sampled dishes from 20 restaurants at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre. That was fabulous, but this would be different. Here was our chance to truly feel the hospitality and ambiance of these premier restaurants while their chefs showed off their talents.

Oh, and did I mention that Mr Burlington was invited to be a group tour guide? Fun!

Mr Burlington leads Group #3

Our day began at the Waterfront Hotel at the foot of Brant Street. Everyone mingled as we

organized into groups.

I was the tour guide for Group 3. It was my job to lead the gang to each restaurant and provide some narration along the way in the form of chef biographies and local trivia.

Each group headed off in a different direction toward their first stop. The first restaurant for us was The Martini House on Elizabeth Street about tablet viagra — and what a way to start!

Ass Candy drinks

As soon as we arrived at their porch, we were greeted by servers with trays of ice cold fruity cocktails. The name of the drink: Ass Candy. No one was quite sure where the name came from, but the combination of Light Pomegranate Vodka with house made lemonade and a splash of cranberry was the perfect summer concoction.

The drink was impressive and the food even more so. Executive Chef, Derek Melton (born and raised in Burlington), arrived to introduce the one-plate, three-course meal that we’d soon be served.

Derek Melton, Executive Chef, The Martini House

Here’s the amazing array of food we were presented with:

  1. Wisconsin blue-cheese wedge salad with a pancetta crisp and confit heirloom cherry tomato
  2. Arancini; stuffed mozzarella and double-smoked bacon, with tomato concasse and topped with shaved Parmigiano reggiano
  3. Certified Angus Beef mini touranduo; red skin garlic mash, natural reduction topped with a truffle-butter poached black tiger shrimp


The Martini House, three course meal on a plate

When we arrived at The Martini House, owner Barry Glazier had promised a special surprise at the end. Five minutes before departure, a big plate of cherry candy floss arrived and was met with delight by our table of kids at heart.

On their website, The Martini House promises something “a bit off the beaten path and always aimed to please.” I’m pleased to say that they fulfilled their promise on both counts. As we left for the next restaurant, everyone was handed a Free Appetizer coupon. Our group was abuzz by what we had experienced in a span of just 35-minutes.

The Martini House cotton candy

SB Prime was our next stop — a modern take on a traditional steakhouse. Their previous group had just departed so we waited for the staff to reset. As we did, I recounted some of the history of the Brant & Elgin intersection pointing out that trolleys on the Hamilton Radial line used to pass nearby (in front of the Queens Head).

SB Prime Burlington

We were led on a brief tour of their new location that had opened a few months prior. SB Prime was formerly located at the old Hotel Raymond / Coronation Sports Bar building next door. This new space retains SB Prime’s staple look using the original colour scheme and furniture pieces that have become recognizable to Burlington diners.

As we passed the bar, dozens of Pomegranate Margaritas were being prepared for us.

SB Prime Pomegranate Margarita

It was perfect patio weather so I was happy when we were seated outside. Each stop was an opportunity to sit with new people. By this time, our group was starting to get to know each other better. A few drinks always helps!

A toast to SB Prime

Callen Clancy, the Head Chef at SB Prime came out to tell us about his famous dry ribs.

Callen Clancy, Head Chef, SB Prime

I’ve had these ribs before at SB Prime and they were also served at the Taste of Burlington launch party. This is a dish I just don’t get tired of. They were accompanied by a delicious roasted corn salad with tomato avocado choija cheese and a lime aioli.

SB Prime Dry Ribs

After 35-minutes at SB Prime, it was time to move on to Red Canoe Bistro for some “modern Canadian cuisine.”

As we arrived, Alyson from SNAP Burlington was on the scene to arrange us all on the steps for a great group pic (too bad about the car in the way).

Group photo in front of Red Canoe Bistro

Inside, a musical duo entertained us as we enjoyed a fruity Rosewood Estates Winery Mon Cherie Cosmopolitan.

Musical meal accompaniment

It didn’t take long for the food to be served. Each diner received a large Atlantic Lobster Croquette with marlin salmon and halibut with a lobster reduction.

Food is served at Red Canoe Bistro

The presentation of the dish was gorgeous and the taste, delicious!

Atlantic Lobster Croquette

The Chef and Owner of Red Canoe Bistro, Tobias Pohl-Weary, came out to speak with us about the dish he created and his restaurant. Ever since he opened in the summer of 2009, Chef Tobias has been winning awards. He recently won his second consecutive Wine Spectator Award.

Tobias Pohl-Weary, Chef/Owner, Red Canoe Bistro

Red Canoe Bistro is well know for a Tasting Menu option that provides diners the chance to try it all in five or seven courses! Chef Tobias changes his menu frequently to best showcase the foods, techniques and ingredients of Canada.

Red Canoe Bistro Tasting Menu

On the move again! We walked down Lakeshore Road to the Water St. Cooker and Emma’s Back Porch, home of our next foodie frenzy.

We had visited Emma’s before generic cialis online australia as part of our St. Patricks Day family-friendly pub crawl on Adventure #16.

Welcome to Emmas Back Porch & Water St. Cooker

We were greeted on the porch by owner Craig Kowalchuk who proudly told us about the rich history of the restaurant and their recent renovations.

Emma’s Back Porch is the namesake of Emma Byrens. Emma, together with her husband George, bought the old house at 2084 Lakeshore Road in 1919, and opened the Estaminet with only four tables. Before long, they had established a reputation for serving fine food in an exceptionally pleasant lakefront atmosphere.

Mrs. Byrens ordered all the supplies locally, and according to the farmers, she insisted on the best — two themes that live on in both the casual and fine dining restaurants we know today.

Greeting by Craig Kowalchuk, Owner of Emmas

Sitting on the lakeside deck, listening to the band play and sipping White Wine Summer Sangria, we could have sworn we were on vacation down south. The summer vibe here was incredible!

This atmosphere was supported even further by the dish that Chef Doran Abra came out to introduce.

Doran Abra, Chef, Water St. Cooker

Each person was invited to fix their own tacos in organic corn tortillas.

Meat choices included:

  • Achiote Rubbed Organic Pork Shoulder (wrapped in banana leaves)
  • Organic Smoked Duck & Roasted Poblano Pepper
  • Tarogashi Dusted Pacific Snapper Filet
  • Cumin Roasted King Oyster Mushrooms, Leeks & Organic Kale

Water St. Cooker Tacos

I thought the meat options were pretty impressive… and then I saw the variety of house-made condiments:

  • Organic Plum & Chipotle Coulis
  • “In House” Pico de Gallo
  • Queso Fresco Infused Crema with avocado
  • Tomatillo & Roasted Jalapeno Relish
  • Mango Chutney
  • Anaheim Pepper Hot Sauce “from scratch”
  • Pickled cialis costco Red Onions

Fresh local homemade condiments

At this point, we were all starting to feel full and maybe a little tipsy? I think everyone would have been happy to just hang out on Emma’s Back Porch, feeling the warmth of the sun while watching the waves, listening to the band and munching on more tacos. But it was time to move on to our final stop of the day.

If you’ve lived in Burlington for long, you know about Paradiso. They are well known for having some of the best food in the city. This year, Paradiso is celebrating 10 years in Burlington!

Final Stop: Paradiso

It could be said that for Group 3, the organizers saved the best for last. That’s because we got to sample Paradiso’s award-winning Peppered Chicken Liver & Andouille Sausage Pate. This dish had just been voted “Best Taste” by a panel of local celebrity judges at the launch event for A Taste of Burlington.

Chicken Liver Pate

We also sampled another of their famous dishes, 12 Hour Braised Wild Boar Gnocchi. I was so excited for this one that I gulped it all down before realizing that I hadn’t snapped a photo. But the description from their menu does it justice pretty well: “hand rolled potato gnocchi with braised wild boar, sautéed wild mushrooms and caramelized onions in a wild boar demi cream finished with a truffle scented pecorino crust.” Yes, it was fantastic.

Chef Adam emerged from the kitchen to talk to us about his food and his experience at Paradiso starting as a high school co-op student and working his way up to Executive Chef of both Burlington and Oakville properties.

Chef Adam spiels

We sampled two wines here, a 2011 Vineland Estates Pinot Grigio and a 2011 Vineland Pinot Meunier.

Someone asked Chef Adam about the mushroom ketchup on top of the pate. He explained that ketchup was originally made from mushrooms before tomatoes and noted that it is made by extracting the liquid from mushrooms and combining it with other ingredients.

Happy Group 3

Our four-hour culinary tour around Downtown Burlington had come to an end. New friends said goodbye, while

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others lingered a bit longer over their wine while listening to the Jazz trio and speaking with Chef Adam as he made his way around the room to say hello and answer questions.

Paradiso music

We can now boast that we’ve recently eaten at all five of these fine restaurants. But did the experience really save us money when it left us dying to go back for more? Luckily, A Taste of Burlington has started. Until August 5, each of these restaurants (plus twenty more) are presenting a three-course prix fixe dining menu at $15 or $20 for lunch and dinners at $30, $35 or $40.

If you’ve had a great dining experience in Burlington, let me know in the comments form below. We’ll add it to our bucket list of restaurants we want to try.

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