Monday, October 12, 2009

Dazzling Vegetables

What a fantastic weekend in the Waterloo region. The colours are turning brilliant, the air is brisk and the farmers' markets are filled with my favourite vegetables. I love fall root vegetables and so I was amazed to find Charbrie's Restaurant in uptown Waterloo. Executive Chef Lance Edwards does a killer job with my favourite vegetables.

I was touring around and met Trevor of Hurrle's Country Farm Market. This is a great market that let's you know where the food comes from with little signs. On the far east side of the market there's a giant 100-Mile map that pinpoints the source of the food. It was Trevor that recommended Charbrie's.

The restaurant has a calm, welcoming atmosphere and the prices are mid range. Jon and I started with the Charcuterie plate and a glass of wine. It was a great starter to wind down with, on the side there was pickled watermelon rind and pickled beet greens; wonderful tartness to counter the richness of the pork and pate.

On Charbrie's menu you'll notice a few odd red apples on some of the menu items. These apples identify the local dishes. Chef Edwards works with many of the local farmers in a loose co-op sort of way. He places a few orders, the farmers consolidate the orders and Edwards meets one farmer half way for his entire order. It's an informal network that's incredibly dependable and it works.

I had the Apple Cider Pork. It was wonderfully tender with just a touch of sweetness and fennel flavours on the outside and as wonderful as that was I pushed it aside for the vegetables. The smoked corn hominy was amazingly fresh and full of robust fall flavours and the roasted squash chimichanga was a great invention. Creamy, luscious flavours of feather light, sweet squash wrapped in a soft tortilla. These two vegetables are worth the trip to Waterloo.

Jon had the Lamb Piperade from Taylor Farm. Just as exciting was the braised red cabbage that sat on roasted sweet potato mash and served with ramp mustard that Chef says he picked himself from the back end of Hurrle's farm.

I love it when I discover a chef through his/her food. I'm not one to follow a chef because of his reputation, instead I love to seek out the great chefs that work behind the scenes. Those that deserve accolades because of their sheer, delicious talent.

Edwards claims that his kitchen is about 75% local and it's exciting to see that he can create such a delicious, inspiring, exciting and creative menu with local produce. His menu changes with the seasons; Sprin
g, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Can't wait to go back to try the Winter menu. Charbrie's Restaurant, 15 King St., Waterloo.