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10 Places to Savour Waterloo Region’s Fall Flavours

10 Places to Savour Waterloo Region’s Fall Flavours10 Places to Savour Waterloo Region’s Fall Flavours
by Andrew Coppolino | October 2021

As fall claws back the finest of our summer weather, you can take solace in discovering the new flavour sensations that are on offer in Waterloo Region: from meatier dishes to ice cream and sweets and, of course, the autumnal reflections of a few local brewers.

Here is a short selection of new fall flavours.

 Little Mushroom Catering
The thought of food, in general, usually gets Little Mushroom founder Stephanie Soulis waxing poetic, but fall seems to have a special place in her culinary endeavours, which have expanded to providing food service for Descendants Beer and Beverage Co. in Kitchener and Bitte Schon Brauhaus in New Hamburg, in addition to her Cambridge Little Mushroom Dining Lounge.

“The very literal warmth from the gas stove, the smells of cinnamon, cardamom and rosemary, and the vibrant oranges and purples that pop on the plates: fall is a feast for all the  senses,” according to Soulis.

In terms of your sense of taste, that means pumpkin mousse, creamy harvest soup, beet brochettes, and rich meats like confit duck legs and lamb ragout.

“Of course, you have to have mulled wine and fig or apple pie sparklers, along with baked Brie and our house-made apple-plum chutney, and our corn and chorizo dip. They are available at both our Kitchener and Cambridge locations,” she adds.

And that availability makes it a fall smorgasbord indeed.

Ambrosia Corner Bakery, Kitchener
Having recently re-vamped their interior design and expanded their line of local products, Ambrosia is upping their pumpkin quotient with “whoopie pies,” muffins, scones, and one of Ambrosia’s signature baked goods, the inestimable kouignamann: these popular Ambrosia bakery items all feature pumpkin.

Four All Ice Cream, Waterloo
The fall and Oktoberfest has inspired Ajoa Mintah’s ice cream flavours; look online and in-store now for two new ice creams: Apfelstrudel of apple ice cream, raisins, and oat crumble (gluten free) and Black Forest Cake which is vanilla ice cream with chocolate cake, fudge ripple and candied cherries.

Say Prost! with an ice cream-freeze headache!

 

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Cambridge Restaurant
The long-standing diner with the emphasis on community of customers enjoying scratch-made food is very going all-in on the spirit of the season.

“We have a lot of Oktoberfest going on at the moment and until the end of the month,” according to chef-owner Josh Hayward. “The chalkboard features vary and are full.”

That means schnitzel, pig tails, cabbage rolls, sauerbraten, smoked sausage, rotkohl, warm potato salad and apple strudel. Tall cans of German DAB beer are for sale. “And our fresh baking features another great fall flavour: apples from Brantview Orchard, about 25 minutes from here.”

Crafty Ramen, Kitchener
The fall season, including the anticipation of Halloween, gets taken quite seriously at Crafty Ramen in downtown Kitchener. The garlicky Vampire Slayer 4.0” is just what the herbal doctor ordered, says Jared Ferrall, co-owner, with Miki, of Crafty Ramen.

“It has a really good bit of garlic to chase away those autumn chills as well as vampires,” he says.

The noodles are joined by both garlic puree and garlic chips to meld with miso-chicken broth, gochujang, chashu, bean sprouts and kikurage wood ear mushrooms (which kind of look like vampire ears).

 

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Thirsty’s Bar & Grill, Waterloo
The Halloween theme is also a regular part of Thirsty’s pub menu, according to owner Liz Cunha.

“A garlic burger a day, keeps the vampires away,” she advises. “We make the eight-ounce patties in-house with ground beef and a mix of spices.” Including, of course, lots of garlic.

Jake & Humphrey’s Bistro, New Hamburg
“We have a roast pork chop stuffed with mushrooms and Mountainoak Cheese’s Smoked Gouda. Klaus is searching out osso bucco prices for the near future,” says co-chef and co-owner Janet Duncan of Jake & Humphreys’ Bistro in New Hamburg.

They’ve subbed the summery greens salad that had fruit, pistachios and feta in a fruit Dijon dressing for greens with grilled vegetables, sun-dried tomato, olives and hard-boiled egg quarters in a Balsamic vinaigrette. “And I can’t seem to get away from our lemon meringue tart, but I might get a pumpkin pie going next week,” Duncan added.

Underground Flavour Group, Kitchener
For Arnold Yescas of UFG, autumn inspires and comforts

“The season is one of the more exciting ones when it comes to food,” he says. “As we transition from hot days to cold, we resort to autumn food as comfort foods. As Autumn is a good mix of warm and cold weather, it’s prime time for vegetable harvesting season.”

At Underground Flavour Group, an October Harvest Menu is currently being offered at the pop-up restaurant and collective catering project on King Street in downtown Kitchener. “This is the season where we warm our souls with warm soups, autumn salads and greens,” adds Yescas.

“I also think of buttery desserts too. Autumn has that pure sense of nostalgia when we get to indulge in some favourites such as pumpkin, squash, broccoli and cauliflower.”

 

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Nuestro 88, Kitchener
Chef-owner Paul Masbad gets inspired by the fall at his Deer Ridge restaurant that blends Filipino cooking with Central American cuisine.

“This time of the year, I will add pumpkin and ginger in my dishes and soups,” says Masbad. “We introduce nuts into dishes such as beef-cheek Kare Kare, carrot cake with apples, cinnamon and ginger with ube. And Mexican vanilla cream cheese icing would be something I’m working on too.”

Farm League Brewing, Cambridge
With a bounty of new fall selections, the brewing team at FLB asks, “Well, where do we start? We have four fall- and winter-style beers that will be available over the next few months.”

These brews make the sadly imminent end-of-summer weather and the cooler fall temperatures all the easier to take: an amber Oktoberfest lager, a stout, a black IPA and a cranberry gose, the latter of which might go mighty fine alongside your turkey.

Counterpoint Brewing, Kitchener
Count on Counterpoint to create inventive beers and do it with collaboration, a community sensibility and often some good food too.

“This fall, we’ve chosen to add a couple of classic European styles to our lineup,” says founder Graeme Kobayashi. “Dopplebock is a full-bodied dark beer with notes of caramel and dried fruit that pairs well with any food,” he says.

The micro-brewery, located on the corner of Frederick Street and Victoria Street North in Kitchener, will also be offering a “series of Belgian beers” including the ever-loved Dubbel, according to Kobayashi. “With a lighter body, this relatively strong beer is full of malty character along with dark fruit such as raisin, dates and prunes and baking spices.”

With fall slowly but surely creeping into the air as we close up gardens and put away patio furniture, Kobayashi suggests this fall beer helps prompt us to embrace once again the cozy confines that are indoors.

“It’s the perfect dessert to sip on while cozying up with your favourite book on a dark autumn evening.”

 

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Andrew Coppolino is a writer-broadcaster, and is a food columnist with CBC Radio in Waterloo Region. Following a stint as a cook at a restaurant in Kitchener, Andrew chose to work with food from the other side of the kitchen pass. As a food writer, he is dedicated to promoting and nurturing culinary businesses and advocating for local chefs and restaurants. Andrew’s work has been published in newspapers and magazines across Canada, the United States and England. Follow him on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

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