Showing posts with label catering. Show all posts
Showing posts with label catering. Show all posts

CLOSED: Adamson Barbeque (Toronto) for delivery

Note: Prices in post are based on regular menu prices and may be higher when using delivery services

Right off the bat I’ll pre-empt the emails by saying – yes, I have heard about all the anti-masking antics and how the owner ignored city regulations and allowed customers to continue to dine in their restaurant. Does this bother me? A little, as I do believe there are a group of vulnerable people living in our society that needs us to sacrifice our freedoms to protect them.

Does it mean I won’t ever eat at Adamson Barbeque again? No. This pandemic has been a trying time for many people, especially for small businesses that are employing others who are trying to survive. How people react to stress can differ – fight, flight, or freeze. Adam Skelly, the owner of Adamson Barbecue, responded with fight. And in any fight, there are oppositions. I, for one, am staying neutral in this battle. Perhaps for the simple fact that Adamson makes damn good barbeque. At a level I’ve yet to find readily available in my neighbourhood.

I challenge you to think otherwise once you’ve had one of their pork spareribs ($20/lb; 4 large-sized ribs). Why so many restaurants use baby back ribs is beyond me. Sure, the order may look impressive with a half rack or the full thing, but I’m one for quality over quantity. I’d much rather have four AMAZING juicy ribs than ten okay ones any day.

What makes this cut particularly suited for barbeque is that there’s a layer of fat that runs throughout the meat. Think of it as the marbling you find with rib eye. And that layer of fat keeps everything juicy while it’s being cooked so the ribs develop a lovely smoke ring while being tender. And it doesn’t fall off the bone, so that you can eat it off the bone. For me, that’s all part of the enjoyment of having ribs. A greasy rib followed by some of the crispy pickles and I’m a happy camper. We’re definitely getting two pounds of this next time.

Another characteristic of an Adamson product is the absence of powerful sauces. The ribs aren’t slathered in a sticky sauce; there is a bit of a glaze and an underlying garlicky rub, but it’s not in your face. Yet somehow, it’s just enough seasoning to make it work.

Even their pulled pork ($16/lb; enough for 3 really stuffed sandwiches) isn’t drenched in sauce. Instead, the portion is wrapped in butcher’s paper, so all the delicious juices are kept inside and when opened releases the most heavenly smell into the room. The pork arrives in large chunks enhanced with a light tangy vinegar so you can easily eat forkfuls plain.

Or you can wrap them in the delicious white bread that comes with the order. I swear there must be some dairy product used in the dough - I wish I could order it by the loaf. Top with some of the thinly sliced pickled onions and it’s fantastic.

We usually have a couple forkfuls of the pulled pork fresh on delivery day, then let it steep in its juices and intensify overnight to make delicious sandwiches the following day. The leftover pork reheats nicely in the pan with some barbeque sauce thrown in to keep it moist.

I’m still not sold that I actually enjoy beef brisket ($30/lb; ~7 slices), my husband informs me that I likely just don’t like first cut portion of the meat. It’s the cut that you think of when you picture brisket – uniform rectangular slices of beef. It also happens to be the leanest portion so that it’s flavourful but seems dry, especially after having a pork rib to start. Next time, we’re going to see if we can get slices from the point cut, which happens to have more marbling.

Nonetheless, brisket does make for good leftovers – our third dinner from this meaty weekend feast. Re-heating it with sauce for about four hours in the slow cooker really breaks up the remaining beef fibers.    

While we had every intention of getting the corn bread ($20 for 8 pieces) and freezing half to enjoy later. We somehow consumed the entire batch within five days – they make for a great snack or even dessert after a quick nuke in the microwave to get them soft again. Wow is Adamson’s corn bread good.

Out of all the media-fueled frenzy, Adamson Barbeque has been temporarily shutdown from doing takeout and has pivoted to catering instead. It’s a boon for barbeque fans across the GTA, we can now get fantastic barbeque (and more) delivered to our homes on weekends. And as for all the haters: keep calm and eat barbeque.

Overall mark - 9 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: Various locations

 Delivery: store delivery

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never order again
  • 6 - decent for delivery and takeout, but there's better
  • 7 - this is good, for delivery and takeout
  • 8 - great for delivery and takeout, it's almost like you're in a restaurant
  • 9 -  wow, it's like I'm eating at a restaurant
  • 10 - I'd happily order this for delivery or takeout instead of dining in any day!

Is That It? I Want More!

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Encore Catering's Blogger and Bites Event (Toronto)

I first heard about Encore Catering from their open house event last year. It was a magical evening where the kitchen was transformed into a glitzy event space and people mingled and feasted for hours. This time around, their Blogger Bites event was more intimate; we were able to sit down, enjoy plated creations and ask questions to our heart’s content.  I was given a glimpse of how Encore’s formal dinner or lunches would be – without the large format mains.

Surprisingly, my favourite dish didn’t have an ounce of meat: smoking beet tian and an asparagus boat. It was a dish that excites multiple sensory experiences – the intricate plating a feast for the eyes and the waft of smoke upon lifting the glass a tease for the nose.

The asparagus boat would have been right at home with dishes I’ve tried at Actinolite and Geranium. A hollowed out asparagus spear filled with a creamy truffle paste and topped with bright edible flowers, crunchy edamame & radish, and shavings of black truffle.

Not to be upstaged, the smoking beet tian had glorious layers of finely diced red and golden beets, topped with luscious goat cheese and crunchy cashews.

A main incorporating meat showcased a Eurasian fusion of pork: Spanish Serrano ham and Asian braised pork belly. The pork belly was richly flavoured having soaked up the braising liquid of beer and soy sauce studded star anise. Prior to serving, it was roasted so it developed a sweet caramelized crust. When dipped into the chili kewpie (spicy mayonnaise) then layered with pickled vegetables and a disc of steamed bao, you can imagine how amazing a larger version would be for lunch.

The seafood main featured seared ahi tuna, shrimp and scallop, paired with greens and a whimsical linguine ring. A lovely mango chipotle spice flavoured the seafood, giving the dish a tropical feel. Personally, I’d like the tuna cooked less to retain more of the lovely raw fish, but it was still tender and meaty. The shrimp and scallop were wonderfully cooked, plump and delicate.

For a diner who couldn’t eat shellfish, the plate was transformed into a trio of fish, substituting salmon and black cod for the shellfish. In speaking with Cary Silber, President and Founder of Encore Catering, managing dietary restrictions is common for them – at one event, where they dealt with 40 restrictions, a separate kitchen was used to ensure all needs were met.

Between the plated dishes, Encore kept us filled with amuse bouches and hors d’oeurves. The first occurred before we even stepped into the kitchen – a lobster BELT: a decadent bite of lightly poached lobster, hard-boiled egg, lettuce and tomato on a rich buttery brioche.

The chateaubriand taco featured the prime cut of beef at its best: cooked medium rare, thinly sliced and not overly dressed to let the meat’s juices shine. The taco theme was brought in with a crisp seasoned chip sitting under the beef.

Although I couldn’t taste the pastrami in the spicy pastrami salmon maki tempura, this warm bite would be great for parties where some may be squeamish towards raw fish. As the saying goes – everything tastes great when fried.

However, it was the duck confit beignet that made my heart flutter – how did Encore know to take two of my favourite foods and meld them together? The airy beignet was stuffed with plenty of flavourful duck confit and a dollop of rhubarb apricot marmalade gave the dish a slightly sweet and savoury feel.

Even for dessert we had an amuse: an intricate gorgonzola panna cotta served in an egg shell. At first I had apprehensions about the dish - my liking for blue cheese is akin to having gym socks incorporated into the egg mixture. Nonetheless, I tried it anyways and was pleasantly surprised - the cheese wasn’t overly pronounced and added a subtle undertone against the creamy sweet panna cotta.

The towering vanilla semifreddo was a delight to behold; I can only imagine how difficult they are to serve. The gelato and whipped cream mixture was light and the texture of mousse. It could have used more of the vanilla cake soaked with strawberry rose consommé as this gave such a lovely essence to the dessert.

Blogger Bites provided me the opportunity to speak to Chef Roshan Wanasingha, who’s been with Encore for 14 years! He started when the kitchen consisted of only a handful of chefs to the current staff of 40 that operates across two locations (Encore has a separate kitchen dedicated to kosher cuisine). He loves what he does and the autonomy provided, hence why he’s been with the company for so long.

In fact, everyone we encountered that evening was friendly and welcoming. Despite staying late that evening, the servers were pleasant and ready to address any questions or concerns. Coincidently, I learnt Encore hires their own servers, ensuring they are knowledgeable about the dishes being presented.

But, it was my conversation with Cary, Encore’s founder, which stood out. Originally a drummer in a Montreal band, he eventually went into the food industry as he was tired of being served “shit food”. So, he started catering and first ran a cafeteria at a busy Eatons location in Montreal.

When he came to Toronto, he started Encore and they’ve been in business for over 35 years! Throughout this time, he’s catered events for over a thousand people and operated during blackouts and ice storms. He prides himself for never disappointing diners, as no matter what complication gets thrown to his team, they always ensure people are fed. Perhaps it goes back to his musician days, but his mantra is, “the show must go on!”

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 5000 Dufferin Street

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Is That It? I Want More!

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A La Carte Kitchen and Gardiner Museum's 'Best of Toronto' Event

Recently, A La Carte Kitchen and the Gardiner Museum threw a shing ding to showcase their catering and event execution expertise. Well clad museum patrons/donors, food bloggers and young museum lovers all gathered in the spacious venue while serenaded with fabulous music.

After a successful dinner at A La Carte Bistro, the restaurant that operates on the third floor, I was intrigued to experience an event and sample their catering eats. Luckily for me, there were plenty of food being passed around; it seemed like every moment a platter of enticing bites were in front of me. Such as bites of sesame crusted beef tenderloin with a dollop of flavourful mustard.

Decadent goat cheese and caviar spoons, a lovely texture of soft creaminess and pops of saltiness. And a great aromatic crêpes filled with the same creamy goat cheese mixed with crushed pistachios (a delicious combination).

Then there was the dense chicken roulade filled with diced sweet peppers, a relish and topped with crumbled cheese. 

A herbed bite of dough topped with rehydrated salted cod and salmon roe.

For the vegetarians a phyllo tart topped with bruschetta and beautiful baby basil. Or bundles of salad tossed in a vinaigrette and tied with chives.

But my favourite was the lobster roll. Filled to the brim with succulent lobster and stuffed into a savoury choux pastry which held it's shape and added an airy crispy texture to the creamy lobster mixture.

But, the event wasn't all about the food. There was plenty to sip on as well. In fact, based on all the laughter permeating the room, it seemed that people were sipping on plenty. I tried the Copperface made with Absolut Elyx, a copper distilled luxury vodka. Mixed with apple and apricot brandy then rubbed with orange rind it really helped to balance out the strong drink.

Plenty of wine was also being poured. I struck up the most interesting conversation with, Mikel, a representative from WBG Wines Basurato & Garcia that was showcasing delicious Spanish offerings. Sadly my picture didn't turn out very well (guess I may have sampled a few too many). But, I thoroughly enjoyed the Bellori Joven 2013 which was an easy drinking wine - dry but still have hints of fruit to it.

It was a delightful night with any wineries in attendance where we had the ability to sample items that may not be found in the LCBO.

The night ended on a sweet but somewhat hazy note with A La Carte's dessert station. 

The raspberry tarts went well with my remaining pinot with its crisp tarte, creamy filling and plump sweet raspberries. 

Both Gardiner Museum and A La Carte Kitchen helped portray what an event could be like at their venue. Everyone was having a blast and didn't want to leave - it was supposed to end at 8pm but by 10pm people were still mingling around. That's what makes a successful night, throwing an event that's so lovely and relaxing that individuals want to hang around like its as comforting as their homes.

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 111 Queens Park

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