Hawthorne Food & Drink12:00 PM
During my time off in-between jobs, I've been taking advantage of the freedom of doing absolutely nothing. But when Krystle invited me to go out for a blogger lunch, I didn't even hesitate in saying yes. When else would I be able to leave the office for a 2 hour lunch? Neva.
We were invited to dine at Hawthorne Food & Drink, which is actually located steps away from the core financial district. Hawthorne was actually established for the sole cause of giving back to the community. Besides serving delicious food made from local, seasonal, and sustainable ingredients, they also provide free training and career development for people in needs of skills and employment! In 2015 alone, they trained 300 participants (including unemployed youth and people with disabilities) where 80% were successfully placed in jobs within the same year - amazing!! Headed by executive chef Ricky Casipe, Hawthorne serves 'farm-to-fork city food' and is part of OCTA's FeastON program.
We let Ricky take the reins on this one, and he brought out some of the restaurants best dishes for us to have a taste. We got a chance to taste all of the following dishes:
• Cornbread - local cornmeal & fermented jalapeno
• Croquettes - with poutine sauce, cheese, and pickled stuff
• Cauliflower 3 ways - fried, raw, puree - with black tahini, winter radishes, and sumac
• Greens - local micro greens, herbs, and seeds mixed with honey, cold pressed oil and VQA vinegar
• Brussels Sprouts - roasted sprouts served in a bone marrow canoe with panko gremolata and bacon
• Squash - half roasted, coconut+ginger ginataan dressing, and fried shallots on a bed of quinoa
• Fried Chicken - frosted flakes, organic, hot sauce beurre monte
• Carbonara - schmaltz, linguini, smoked chicken, and crispy chicken skins topped with a free range yolk
I don't even know where to begin. My absolute favourite dishes were the cauliflowers and carbonara. I just have a thing for cauliflower, and love them any way that they are cooked. It was also beautifully plated, so that was a plus. The carbonara was a table favourite for sure. Everything about it worked perfectly. We did take a lot of photos that day, so our pasta kind of stuck together as it cooled down. I need to go back just to order the pasta and eat it right away! The croquettes were also delicious in the poutine sauce with cheese. It also had a little curry taste to it, which made it more interesting. I am typically not a huge fan of brussels sprouts, but I think I am slowly starting to like them! I had it at Ufficio in a salad, but these roasted brussels sprouts were something else!
As if we didn't have enough good food yet, we ended off our meal with the cutest dessert platter. Krystle actually surprised me with this "Congratulations Karen" platter as a congrats on getting a new job! She is just the sweetest - almost as sweet as this dessert board hahaha. It came with brownies (UM, I may have had a couple too many...), a slab of carrot cake (how beautiful is it?!), and chocolate-covered strawberries.
A big thank you to Hawthorne for hosting us picture-taking crazies + Krystle for letting me tag along! I know I'll be back here soon enough to have that carbonara pasta - who wants to come along?!