Category International

Sharing the Love: Saucy in Streetsville’s Small Plates

How did date night with hubby turn into such a bountiful feast? #hungerpains #hubbylove #saucylove. Saucy, you make the best appetizers! It’s hard to choose from the many delicious options, so we ordered a few (a lot) to share and called it dinner. Thank goodness I did most of the talking while hubby did most of the eating. Each bite was worth every calorie.

Top left clockwise:

Braised Beef Poutine: chunks of gooey Quebec cheese curds and tender braised beef in a rich jus over Yukon frites

Pernod Prawns: so decadent and my all time fave. I have raved about before here

Caesar Salad: fresh garlic dressing over crisp romaine. Garnished with big chunks of warm bacon, crunchy croutons, and shaved parmesan

Mussels: poached in a garlic, white wine, and tomato broth and served with grilled bread to mop it all up

Spiducci: skewers of tiny cubes of succulent lamb marinated in Indian tandoori spices and grilled to perfection. Served with mint coriander sauce.

Saucy in Streetsville111 Queen St. S
Streetsville, ON
L5M 1K7



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The Hammer: Catch You on the Hip Side of Hamilton


If you haven’t heard the buzz – or didn’t believe it – Steel City has transformed into a cool place to hang out.


James Street North is a vibrant, culturally diverse mix of food, art, and unique retail that ranges from old-fashioned to modern, in such a hip way (that’s my inner urban geographer speaking). My inner foodie says that Hamilton is the grassroots of where young chefs hone their skills with their own set of rules; so refreshing and impressive. Remember, this is the city that put the wheels in motion for the local gourmet food truck trend.


Start off at the Hamilton Farmers’ Market (inside Jackson Square, corner of James Street and York Boulevard). There’s plenty of cheap parking right across the street.


Sensational Samosa offers an impressive variety of international foods: savoury and sweet finger foods, curries, chutneys, salads, and soups.


I started my morning off with a healthy bowl of protein-packed Persian Ash soup: chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans, yellow split peas, pearl barley, dill, parsley, cilantro, onions, garlic, and turmeric. Garnished with yogurt and crispy fried onions.

On a recommendation from a local, I brought home the World’s Best Samosas, mint-cilantro chutney, and mango chutney; what a nice treat after driving home in the snowstorm. Health-conscious, vegan, and gluten-free options available.

I met the lovely Ed Wong of Henry Brown’s Small Batch Ice Cream. He and his partner have been at the market since last July, having fun playing around with flavour combinations.


Flavours range from bold (Black Sesame and Curried Carrot) to childhood favourites (Toasted Marshmallow and Peppermint Candy Cane) and oh so many tempting ones in between. Move over green tea ice cream, Hong Kong Milk Tea is my new favourite: I love how the tea balances the sweet creamy bliss. Prepared on-site in small batches, fresh every market day, additives not required. Flavours rotate. Plan to come back for an afternoon scoop or bring your cooler to take a tub home. But be sure to ask for a taste in the morning because your favourite flavour may be sold out later.

Next time, I’ll try a poké bowl at the Pokeh Bar (Canada’s first poké bar). When I returned to the market for an ice cream, the mid-afternoon crowd was a clear indication that these healthy, Hawaiian-influenced raw fish bowls have quickly gained popularity with the locals.  Like sushi in a bowl: choose from fresh ahi tuna, salmon, or shiitake/tofu on cucumber noodles or rice, with Asian sauces, and over 20 healthy toppings.

After the market, walk one block east on York to James Street, turn left and head up James Street North. If the stores aren’t open (some not until noon), grab a coffee at Mulberry Coffee House. Or walk up to Murray Street to Chris’ Store Fixtures, a kitchenware and restaurant supply store where I rubbed elbows with Hamilton’s hot young chefs.  At Mixed Media, I lusted over the art supplies, laughed my guts out at the cards and scored the hard-to-find, cult-favourite foodie magazine, Lucky Peach.


Satisfy your morning chocolate fix with a wee sample at Chocolat on James; you won’t come out empty-handed.


Admire the local art, whether on a wall…


or in the window of a gallery (you me gallery) or vintage shop (Chaises Musicales).


Check out the AGH Design Annex: an extension of the Art Gallery of Hamilton that shows experimental exhibitions, stages intimate performances, and houses a home and office design store.

There are two really good vintage clothing shops on this strip. Hawk & Sparrow is a gorgeous, well-curated, upscale vintage, pre-loved, and new clothing store that also sells on etsy. Olive is in love all over again with these boots.


And with these boots from Newold’s Vintage, just up the street; a great shop with lots of inexpensive gems.


I am so tempted to return to this charming little shop to learn how to sew (Needlework). And isn’t this a pretty window (i fiori)?


When your stomach starts to growl, you’ll find Vietnamese, Korean, Thai, Portuguese, Indian, and Italian restaurants along this strip, interspersed with restaurants such as Saint James Espresso Bar & Eatery, Saltlick Smokehouse, Mesa, Lake Road, Jack & Lois, Charred, and The Green Smoothie Bar.


I ended my morning on James Street North at a recommendation from a friend. Thank you, Casey, The Burnt Tongue (10 Cannon Street East/corner of James) lived up to its reputation.


The staff is super friendly, the atmosphere energetic, and the rotating daily menu so creative.


The soup is well worth the reasonable wait for a table. Indian Roasted Cauliflower for me: velvety smooth with fragrant cumin notes and yogurt drizzle. That’s my kind of comfort food.


Although the locally-raised beef hamburger, frites, and curry ketchup served to the people beside me looked amazing. Sandwiches and salads, too. Dang, I forgot to try the long-craved-for Rudy’s Paletas. Order at the counter, served at the table. Vegetarian, vegan, celiac-friendly, and dairy-free options available.

There is only so much food one belly can hold and my timing that day didn’t allow me to venture further. I’ll be back; there is more to see and taste in the hip Hammer.

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If My Pole is Missing…

…I’ve gone fishing.

Have you been to Real Canadian Superstore at Winston Churchill and Argentia, Mississauga lately? They have a huge live seafood and live fish counter. Steam your catch. Everything looks clean and lively. Over 15 varieties: clams, mussels, jumbo lobster, dungeness crab, snow crab, tilapia, barramundi, rainbow trout, catfish, striped bass, malpeque oysters, manila clams, little neck clams, geoduck clams.

Real Canadian Superstore Winston Churchill

Real Canadian Superstore – Winston Churchill Superstore
3050 Argentia Road
Mississauga, ON L5N 8E1
Telephone: 905-785-8928

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Barrie’s Hip, Fresh Family Resto: The Farmhouse

Barrie’s The Farmhouse puts a fresh, hip spin on family dining with a focus on farm-to-table, locally sourced food. Here’s a quick glimpse of a great night we enjoyed while dining there with family this fall.


Good variety of starters to choose from, like freshly-shucked PEI oysters or french onion soup brimming with cheese.


French onion soup and freshly shucked PEI oysters.

Entrées come with two sides from a choice of eleven, including: roast garlic mash, baked potato with three cheese bacon butter, mac’n’cheese, daily soup, daily grain, three types of salads, and baked beans.


Roasted chicken with garden herb pesto, farmhouse greens salad, and baked beans.

Side salads, like romaine salad with house-smoked bacon and parmesan vinaigrette, are served in charming mason jars.


Romaine salad with parmesan vinaigrette.

Feltis Farm fries are served in mini deep fryer baskets.


Flaxseed-crusted seared tuna with Feltis Farm fries and daily salad.

The side daily vegetable that night was a delicious combo of pretty beets and fresh kale sautéed in thyme butter. The daily salad had beets in it too. A healthy dose of fresh vegetables – olive it!


Crispy trout with maple lemon butter, daily salad, and daily vegetable.

The crispy trout with maple lemon butter was so darn good: crisp exterior with a touch of sweetness; rich and moist inside. Others at our table enjoyed the garlic rosemary braised lamb shank, the farmhouse signature roast beef with thyme peppercorn goodness, and the flaxseed-crusted seared tuna with wasabi mayo.


Flaxseed-crusted seared tuna with wasabi mayo and daily salad.

Lots of other creative, farm-to-table-fresh dishes on the menu, including weekend breakfast. Located in a historical building with outdoor patios overlooking the waterfront. A great reason to hop off the 400 on your way up north.

The Farmhouse
268 Bradford Street
Barrie, ON, L4N 3B8
Telephone: 705-737-0522

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Ring in New Year’s Eve Around the World

Ring in 2015 with a fun, progressive feast of foods from around the world. Serve as timed courses on small plates, buffet-style. Start with Russia and end up with Canada at midnight to symbolize the dawn of 2015 as it passes across our wonderful Mother Earth.

Olive’s made it easy with lots of suggestions for countries and ready-made food to pick and choose from. You don’t have to serve it all or run yourself ragged buying exactly what I suggest – let my ideas conjure your own neighborhood favourites.

Call ahead to pre-order wherever possible or stock your freezer well in advance to avoid last-minute disappointment.

If you want to decorate, set out a collection of vintage alarm clocks (from around the house or your local thrift shop) with alarms set for each course. If the clock is not working, set the time on the clock to match the time of the course and place it beside the course. Or make your own paper clocks using a printout.

Photo credit:

Photo credit:

A vintage globe with a retro peace banner would make a charming centrepiece. Add some sparkle and glitter wherever you can. Click on the photo for a link to this DIY peace banner.

Photo credit:

Photo credit:

6:00 pm Russia

Start the night off on the other side of the planet, in Russia. If you are welcoming your guests with a cocktail, Sable & Rosenfeld has a great line of pickled cocktail garnishes – and you don’t need a cocktail to enjoy them. Available in grocery stores and specialty food markets. Click here for locations. I love the Garlic & Dill Tipsy Cocktail Stirrers.

Garlic & Dill Tipsy Cocktail Stirrers Photo credit: Sable & Rosenfeld

Garlic & Dill Tipsy Cocktail Stirrers Photo credit: Sable & Rosenfeld

Serve simple but luxurious smoked salmon with slices of buttered black bread. Starsky Fine Foods sells a gorgeous vodka-infused smoked salmon. Click here for locations. 

Vodka-infused smoked salmon.

Vodka-infused smoked salmon.

 7:00 pm Japan

Keep it simple with a bowl of freshly boiled edamame (green soybean pods widely available in the frozen food section of your grocery store). Lightly boil according to package directions, drain well and toss with crunchy sea salt. Serve in a pretty bowl with a side bowl for discarded pods. To eat, place the pod in your mouth while holding the opposite end; use your teeth to gently squeeze the beans into your mouth and then discard the empty pod.

Photo credit:

Photo credit:

Or order a tray of ready-made sushi. My favourite, local take-out sushi is Mac’s Sushi (Erin Mills Town Centre and other locations). I love their Spicy Crunch Vegetable Rolls.


Photo credit: Mac Sushi Spicy Crunch Vegetable Rolls

8:00 pm China

Hot or cold spring rolls make easy finger good. Fresh or frozen options abound in your local grocer. I love the store-made Handmade Vegetarian Spring Rolls at Mississauga’s Michael-Angelo’s (Erin Mills and Folkway). Crispy on the outside and stuffed with a generous filling of shredded cabbage and other veggies – so fresh tasting. Call ahead to pre-order. Pick up in foil tray and reheat gently.

9:00 pm India

Banish boring bbq meatballs from your party and spice up the night with meatballs simmered in an Indian-spiced sauce. Costco sells delicious chicken meatballs in a spicy tikka masala sauce: Sukhi’s Gourmet Indian Foods Masala Meatballs. Call your Costco ahead to make sure they stock them.

Sukhi's Masala Meatballs

Sukhi’s Masala Meatballs

Olive’s taken a shine to Vij’s Delhi-Licious Kettle-cooked Potato Chips made by Neal Brothers Foods Inc. and wonderfully spiced by Vikram Vij, owner of world renowned Vij’s Indian Restaurant in Vancouver, BC. Great balance of spicy, salty, sweet. I found them at Goodness Me (Mavis and Bristol).

Vij's Delhi-icious Kettle Chips

Vij’s Delhi-icious Kettle Chips

10:00 pm Middle East

Pick up your favourite Middle Eastern dips like hummus, baba ghanoush, or muhammara and serve with pita triangles for dipping. Adonis sells really good, ready-made versions of all three plus wonderful, fresh pita (baked in-store) to serve with it. If you can’t get to Adonis and have a hard time finding the less common muhammara, you can make my recipe ahead.


Muhammara Dip

11:00 pm Europe

Lots of choices for Europe and United Kingdom. Here are just a few suggestion.

Starsky Fine Foods has lots of delicious, ready-made Polish food including pierogies, delicate crepes stuffed with cheese and spinach, or Victorian Salad (Polish potato salad with peas and carrots that you could serve on endive spears).

For Italy, I have an easy recipe for Tomato Bocconcini Basil Skewers…


Tomato Bocconcini Basil Skewers

…and for Spain, you could switch out the peaches for pears in my Peaches with Serrano Ham, Creamy Blue, & Honey.

Peaches with Serrano Ham, Blue, & Honey

Peaches with Serrano Ham, Blue, & Honey

French ideas include pâté. I adore Spirit Tree Estate Cidery’s luxurious Pâté with Ice Cider & Shallots sold in a charming ceramic pot.


Spirit Tree Cidery’s Pâté & Evelyn’s Crackers

Sweet ideas include French macarons (I love the ones from Whole Foods),


Macarons from Whole Foods

or marzipan from Belgium (available at the Cheese Boutique).


Beautiful Neuhaus marzipan squares.

or even Dutch syrup waffles from your local grocer.

Dutch syrup waffles.

Dutch syrup waffles.

Midnight: Canada

You will likely be popping champagne, so a cheeseboard featuring Canadian cheeses that work well with champagne would be your easiest choice. Ask the local experts at Cheese Boutique (Toronto), Mill Street Cheese Market (Georgetown), or Cheese Shoppe on Locke (Hamilton) for advice. My Cheese Market directory lists all of their contact info.

You could also consider serving cold PEI lobster salad in shooter glasses or on individual spoons, crackers, or puff pastry (click photo for recipe suggestion).

Lobster salad on puff pastry. Photo credit:

Lobster salad on puff pastry. Photo credit:

Finish off on a sweet note with the quintessential Canadian dessert, butter tarts.


Butter tarts from Kate’s Town Talk Bakery.

However you wish to celebrate it, have a healthy and happy 2015!


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