Monday, June 15, 2015

Summer Food Bucket List

I really feel the Newfoundland food scene has come alive over the past few yearsWhile food has always been a very prominent part of our culture, it seems lately we've really kicked it up a notch. We have the top ranking restaurant in Canada, local chefs winning national competitions left, right and centre, and our restaurant scene is exploding with new and exciting menus, straight across the province! We have a developing food truck scene, easier access to local produce, and a growing number of events focused specifically on celebrating our food and culture. In short, if there was ever a time to be a foodie in Newfoundland, that time would be right now. 

With that in mind, and summer spreading her hand ;) I'm excited to share my own personal summer foodie dreams as part of Eventbrite's Summer Food Bucket List project! If you've never heard of Eventbrite, they're a fabulous resource for finding events happening in your area or other places you plan to visit! And for the event planners out there, they offer free event management tools to share, promote and track your event progress! Be sure to check them out.

Let's get to that list, shall we? 

1) The Poutine Challenge: June 2015

Jewish Deli Smoked Meat Poutine - Relish, Gourmet Burgers

Do I need a reason to eat poutine? No. Do I need an excuse to travel to 5 different restaurants in one month with the sole purpose of consuming poutine? Maybe. Either way, this 'challenge' is totally awesome! For the month of June, five restaurants in downtown St. John's are featuring their own take on poutine using cheese curds produced by local cheese artisan, Five Brothers Cheese. Eat them all (multiple times if you just can't decide!), then vote for your favourite poutine via the Overcast websiteSo far, I'm only down one, with four left to go. Better get cracking! 

Photo source: The Overcast

2) The St. John's Farmers' Market: June 6 - Dec. 19

After a long winter without the St. John's Farmers' Market in my life, I'm ready and excited to get back to all of its wonderful food. Not only is it the perfect spot to grab some fresh local produce, cheese and baked goods, you can also indulge in the the best prepared food in the city, with options for every palette - butter chicken, Jamaican meat patties, jerk chicken, curry, waffles and so much more!

Some of my favourite vendors include:
  • Lynette's Crazy Good Fudge
  • Adam's Mini Donuts
  • Multi-Ethnic Food Stand (menu pictured)
  • Indian Food Stand

Vendors I'm excited to try:
  • The Jewish Deli - after tasting the smoked meat on the Relish Gourmet Burgers poutine, I'm hooked and I want more!
  • Oh My Cheese - a new gourmet grilled cheese vendor, yes please!
  • The Waffle Lady - I seem to always get swooned by things like Jamaican meat patties and chickpeas, but this will be the year I taste the infamous waffles!

If you've never been to the market and aren't sure what to expect, check out this newbies guide I put together a couple summers back, after my first visit!

The St. John's Farmers' Market takes place every Saturday from 9AM-2PM at the Lions Club Chalet on Bonaventure Avenue.

3) Exploring the Food Truck Scene!

Okay, so this one isn't really an event per se; however, it's something that needs to happen! Now, in addition to the always classic and always wonderful Ziggy Peelgoods, we have several food truck options.

Beavertails on Harbour Drive, serving up delicious fried pastries with toppings

The Happy Camper International Eats across from Mile One, serving up clean, whole, healthful, exotic food options

Hitchen the Kitchen a food truck from Blue on Water, travelling to all major festivals

Frozen Moments Ice Cream Truck  a new ice cream truck travelling to all major festivals and wherever you invite them!

Lester's Farm Harvest Hut a food truck located right on Lester's Farm where you can buy food prepared with their own veggies 

I've enjoyed both Beavertails and the Harvest Hut and just this past weekend I had the opportunity to try Hitchen the Kitchen at the PlayOn! Mount Pearl Tournament. Sadly I only had $7.75 in cash, so the only thing I could buy was a burrito! But boy was it a delicious burrito! I look forward to having more change on hand the next time I see them at an event! Can't wait to explore the rest of their menu!

In the meantime, I hope this trend continues to grow! Who doesn't love food trucks? 

4) The Brigus Blueberry Festival: August 7-9

Each year I hear about the wonderful Brigus Blueberry Festival and this year I want to go! I LOVE me some blueberries, so it sounds like my ideal festival. Throw in a pie eating contest (which I feel I could dominate), some classic booths with crafts & games, a few moose burgers, and a 3 foot blueberry pie and it sounds like a great weekend to me!

5) Roots, Rants & Roars: Sept. 18-20

Photo source: Roots, Rants & Roars website

Probably one of the most talked about and celebrated 'foodie' focused festivals in Newfoundland these days, Roots, Rants and Roars draws people from all corners to experience the incredible chefs, scenery and food of Newfoundland. Since I've never had much luck in securing a ticket in the past (they sell like hot cakes), this year I'll be taking another approach - volunteering! While I won't be experiencing the full meal deal that is the festival, I'll be up close and personal with the chefs, their amazing food and immersed in the excitement of the event which is really all I want! Lots of great chefs lined up again this year including local chef, Katie Hayes of the Bonavista Social Club. Can't wait to see what they all serve up!

And there you have it! Over and above my bucket list plans, there will definitely be plenty of beach fires, bbqs, picnics, and a scattered ice cream in there as well ;) Combine all that with some sunshine (fingers crossed) and the usual summer activities and it should be a fantastic summer! 

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