Celebrating One Year of the Project

In order to take a moment and reflect back on the exciting year that has passed, Bruce McAdams treated the UGSRP team to The Ultimate Chef’s Table Experience at earl’s Kitchen & Bar in Burlington, ON (earls.ca). From the moment we stepped in the restaurant door, every detail was taken care of, which lead to a very relaxing and enjoyable experience.

Manager, Roger Sharma, greeted us with a flute of sparkling wine, which we used to toast the many goals that we have accomplished this year. Roger went over the entire earl’s one price wine list in detail, including the 6 wine pairings that we would be soon tasting, and was an excellent host throughout the evening. Chef, Darryl Beach, took the time on his son’s birthday to come in and ensure we thoroughly enjoyed our chef’s table experience, and to talk us through the culinary adventure that was planned for us. Darryl first brought out a rosemary-oregano pan bread & extra virgin olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar, which he explained (the bread) is made in-house daily, along with all other breads, burger buns, and sauces on the menu.

Next, we were served a sample of the earl’s dinner menu in trio form, which is definitely an all-round crowd-pleaser style of service!

The appetizer trio comprised of Clam Chowder (cream, baby clams, bacon and garden vegetables), Gnocchi with Italian Rose Sauce (handmade potato gnocchi, San Marzano tomato cream, burrata cheese, fresh basil) and a sample size of the Santa Fe Salad (avocado, black beans, corn, dates and organic greens, peanut lime vinaigrette, crispy tortillas). The clam chowder was spot on, the gnocchi was so fresh, and the santa fe salad was refreshing and light.

The second course was a sandwich trio with a slider size Bronx Burger (Certified Angus Beef patty, beer battered onion rings, roasted garlic aioli, red pepper relish, aged white cheddar and rocket greens, toasted sesame seed burger bun made from scratch every day), a Grilled Chicken and Baked Brie Ciabatta (grilled chicken, melted brie, roasted apples, spinach, sweet fig jam, garlic mayonnaise, house baked ciabatta), and finally a Cajun Chicken Cheddar Sandwich (spiced grilled Cajun chicken, melted aged cheddar, fresh tomato, lettuce and mayonnaise, toasted house baked ciabatta). This trio was incredibly flavourful and diverse in nature.

The main course trio was two words: Grill Heaven. This course comprised of Braised BBQ Back Ribs (sweet and spicy BBQ sauce, served with coleslaw), Cajun Blackened Chicken (Earl’s signature blackening spices, garlic butter, served with warm potato salad), and the Bourbon Mushroom Certified Angus Beef® Top Sirloin (topped with crimini and button mushrooms, bourbon demi glace, and served with Yukon Gold garlic mashed potatoes). After we finished the main course, it was time to stretch our legs before dessert. Darryl then took us on a tour of his kitchen, demonstrating the unique POS system that is exclusive to earl’s. We also got to see the line in action and the prep areas where all their menu items are made fresh, in-house. Making all items such as salad dressings, sauces, and breads in-house, is a great way of cutting down on unnecessary packaging and increasing the sustainability of the operation.

We then returned to our table to indulge in the dessert course.

Warning: there is no turning back from this point, continuing to read may cause an extreme inability to hold back drooling.The much anticipated dessert trio: Chocolate Sticky Toffee Pudding (a warm rich chocolate cake, topped with chocolate and toffee sauces), served alongside Mario’s Gelati vanilla bean gelato, and a Banana bread cake (topped with banana Brulėe and crème anglaise). All of the above were mouth-watering, and we were all surely on a sugar high by this point.

Many thanks to Bruce for treating the UGSRP team to this evening out! It was a great way to celebrate how far the project has come in one year, and all that has been accomplished. I would also like to thank Roger and Darryl of earl’s Kitchen & Bar in Burlington, for their kindness and hospitality. We had a fabulous evening and really felt welcomed into your restaurant. We all look forward to returning in the future and will be sure to recommend your restaurant to friends, family and colleagues.

Cheers to last year’s successes and to the coming year’s goals!

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