Spring in Burlington Ontario

Spring in Burlington Ontario
Discover Burlington this Spring

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Taste of Burlington - Prix Fixe Dining Event

If you love good food, great atmoshere and a sweet deal then the Taste of Burlington is the dining event for you.  This summer twenty-four of Burlington's finest restaurants have put together 3 course menus that are sure to tempt and delight your tastebuds.  With a wide variety of cuisines and a continuing focus on local food this program is the perfect opportunity to get out and try something new or re-visit an old favourite. In commemoration of the War of 1812 this year lunches are being offered at $18.12 and dinners remain at $30, $35 and $40.  It doesn't get much better than this!

Don't take our word for it, we asked Allie Hughes, a food and drink writer from Niagara to head out and try some of the taste menus and so far it appears that they do not disappoint.

We couldn't provide the entire reviews for each restaurant but we will give you a "taste" (I know, so witty) of each and a link to the entire review.

Red Canoe Bistro was first up for my Taste of Burlington adventure, and lets start by saying that things kicked off on a high note. I was greeted by Josie, who is nothing short of all things wonderful. Her hospitality was appreciated and she must be mentioned for being exceptional at her job. We were given a quick intro to the culinary school of thought at Red Canoe Bistro and were delighted to discover the passion and commitment to all things local. Dinner menus change every 2-3 weeks and tasting menus change every few days. An ever evolving menu is indicative of someone who believes in the farmers market: my kind of people.We settled into the corner table and were surrounded by preserves of local fruit and veg, elegantly displayed throughout the dining area. Walls were adorned in creative and travel inspired pieces and tables were set with minimal and modern flare. Easy to feel comfortable and right at home.  Dining off of the prix fixe Taste of Burlington menu, my guest and I chose to eat the exact opposite of each other, maximizing the tasting potential. In the meantime we indulged in a glass of wine off of the, Ontario industry supportive, wine list that is expansive at more than several pages long. On this evening, we selected the 2010 Tawse Echoes Chardonnay, with some chicken and trout in store, it only seemed appropriate!
Course 1:
Cucumber, Cantaloupe and Aged Pine River Cheddar Salad with Mint Basil Emulsion
This dish is embodiment of a sweet and savoury balance. With the bright cantaloupe flavours offering a fresh fruitful spin and the aged cheddar performing the balancing act, it really did work beautifully together. The cucumber was julienned and marinated in a vinaigrette with pulled out the delicious fresh basil from the emulsion. All in all, a hit. With two tasters diving in, this was nothing short of a delicious start to the meal.
Read the rest of the review here

As we arrived to The Martini House the rain began to all and as I was racing up to the Martini House I soaked up the exterior which appears to be the spot to enjoy libations on a patio. A big spacious deck with seats aplenty… this is a good place to be. Upon opening the restaurant door, my assumptions were confirmed as good vibes poured out of the place with the ambient sounds of cheerful banter and laughter making us feel welcome and ready to join in!  My guest and I sat in the dining room, which is a cozy spot, elegantly dressed with dark walls, beautiful adornments and crisp white linens. There is something about white linen that screams “get ready, you’re in for something good!” And so, we readied ourselves, indulging in some VQA goodness right out of the gate and our ver lovely server Jennifer explained the menu carefully ensuring we were ready to make our decisions. I availed of the Megalomaniac Homegrown Riesling, crisp and off-dry with mouthwatering acidity. My guest dove into a glass of Peninsula Ridge Cabernet, a blend of deep berry flavours and the perfect amount of spice. As I discuss our dinners, the wine choices will make perfect sense!  The Taste of Burlington menu at The Martini House boasts selection, and for a prix fixe menu they have gone over and above, offering a plate for each style of taster. So, while I can’t give you the details on each and every, I will discuss the decadent gourmet that we feasted on. And we did indeed feast!
Course 1:Asian Bowl – Supreme of orange, edamame, sesame seeds and crisp lettuce tossed with house vinaigrette
Crisp, fresh, light, flavourful: all words to describe this delicious start to my Martini House experience. The lettuce was mixed greens and sat with mandarin oranges and edamame. Bright green veg flavours were fresh and reminiscent of a summer garden! The vinaigrette packed some citrus punch and was the right amount of sour to work beautifully with the sweet orange. All of this was topped with white and black sesame seeds: not only a winner on the palate, but also on the plate!
Read the rest of the review here.

Atmosphere aplenty, Ivy Bar and Kitchen is a feast for the eyes and for the palate. Before I divulge the details on my meal, it must be mentioned how incredible the décor is at this location. Walls are adorned with modern birch trees, sleek black tile, smooth charcoal and rich wood. They have also installed two living walls that pour lush flora… just beautiful. The interior is spectacular, but Ivy Bar and Kitchen has a patio that dreams are made of. Outdoor bars, comfortable and sleek outdoor furniture and so much space. Tip from one who has, like this restaurant on Facebook. They put out great offers and have lots of weekly features that make a trip very easy to justify!  Amanda, who gave us the goods on this new Burlington hot spot, which has been open for about four months, was our server. Their Taste of Burlington menu is full of delicious options in a range of culinary styles… something for everyone! Our dining experience started with a glass of California Fume Blanc, and I will note, gently, that the VQA wine supporter in me shed a tear when I noted the presence of impressive international bottles and not much love for the local players. I will also note that I hail from wine country and love a local bottle! My guest ordered a pint of Mill St, and it should be fairly noted that this is a Canadian beer hailing from Toronto, well done Ivy!
Course 1:
Mushroom and Leek Pot Stickers – roasted Portobello, garlic miso, toasted almond crunch, citrus ponzu
Ordered by my guest and generously shared, these are a delicious must-try on the menu. The soft leek flavour inside the pot sticker is unreal and caramelized to perfection inside the ideal crispy exterior. Made even better by the generous slices of roasted Portobello, it is an incredible blend of savoury and earthy topped off by the sweet and salty soy. Each flavour compliments the other and was devoured with smiles all around.
Read the rest of the review here

Walking up to Walkers Fish Market, you quickly realize that this is a destination on theme, and in a very elegant way. Just in the door we were feasting our eyes on an oyster bar, fawning over a wall of wine and soaking up the nautical accents in every direction.
There is an anecdote about our experience that I have to share with you, it put a big smile on my face. The best-dressed couple in the joint were a pair of 70 somethings, she in her floor length coral dress and he in his khakis and navy blue dinner jacket. They were seated and greeted by every member of the Walkers team that walked by, evidently regulars one server stopped and looked at the gentleman delivering a salute which he promptly returned. It was awesome and not rehearsed, but definitely a tradition of sorts. That is the kind of place Walkers Fish Market is, the staff care and a busy dining room was indicative of this. I am, evidently, not the first to notice this.  Our meal began with a glass of wine from their expansive wine list; I indulged in a Cabernet Sauvignon, and my guest a beer from Burlington. My guest is a lover of micro-brews and so this was a gold star highlight of his evening… well his evening so far. As I continue you will learn that with each course of night got better!
Course 1:Cup of Lobster Shrimp Bisque
A cup of creamy goodness, the fresh seafood flavours were undeniable. With bites of lobster and shrimp settling at the bottom of the bowl, we were literally digging in to indulge in each bite. The creamy flavours were balanced with the savoury seafood and a slight sweetness that made this soup a must repeat. One of the most delicious bisques I’ve tried.
Read the rest of the review here

A Sunday evening in Burlington found the downtown core alive with bustling bodies indulging on patios. La Costa Nuova was no exception with a lively chat happening at a happy table as we approached. Upon entering the restaurant it became clear that this is a mainstay at La Costa Nuova as each table seemed just as happy and pleased to be dining there. I felt spoiled as the table with the view was reserved for our dining experience and grateful when we sat and began our evening of indulgence.  Our server for the evening was Jenn, and she was great. Overflowing with personality and knowledgeable about her menu, we were guided through the Taste of Burlington culinary selections with ease. Following our plated orders I was treated to a tasting opportunity with the General Manager of the Guest Experience and certified Sommelier, Sharon. I indulged in two decadent sips before making my selection. The wine for course one was the Lilly Pilly Sauvignon Blanc. Mouthwatering tropical flavours with bright and refreshing acidity. Just perfect. My guest indulged in a French beer, Kronenbourg, and we were off!
Course 1Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Risotto with aged balsamic and young seedlingsIf heaven were plated, this is exactly what it would look like. The risotto was the perfect amount of creamy and had a decadent cauliflower flavour. Something about warm cauliflower makes it the ultimate comfort food and this example did not fall short. The aged balsamic poured on the edge gave a bright punch of flavour to balance the cream and the parmesan shards that lay atop the dish packed the strong savoury nuances that rounded out the dish. Server Jenn smiled eyes wide when she asked how it was and following our hearty nods not wanting to break from the experience she gushed about hoping it would be on the menu again and again. It appears the staff are also fans… a great sign when you really hope to return to a dish! (and we do!)
Read the rest of the review here

This is just a small sampling of our many stellar restaurants and if you don't make it out during Taste of Burlington which runs to Monday August 6th, be sure to visit them anytime as their menus are always first rate and their chefs, servers and entire team will welcome you.

Remember if you are hoping to visit any of the restaurants during Taste of Burlington, reservations are recommended and it is best to check with the restaurant for hours of operation.  A list of participating restaurants, menus and pricing can be found on the Taste of Burlington website.

Allie Hughes, Guest Blogger
Allie Hughes is a Niagara based food and wine writer and Partner at Hughes & Co. Her culinary tourism writing has been featured in local publications and large scale publications including WineAlign and Palate Press and she is the resident wine lover on NaturallyInNiagara.ca. Find Allie tasting at a local winery, "plugged in" for her clients or enjoying the local bounty of Niagara with friends and family.

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