Smörgåsbord – A Week of Meat at Amsterdam Brewhouse, Canoe and Pork Ninjas


Good luck, bad luck and multi-course dinners with lots of meat – all things that come in threes, apparently, as Greg and I discovered this past week as we tucked in to three very different mighty meaty meals, each amazing in its own way.

On Thursday, November 20th, we joined the brewers at Amsterdam Brewhouse for a fantastic meal that paired each course with both a beer from Amsterdam and a wine from Good Earth Winery. They’ve done a few of these events before and it’s always fun to see which works better with the food – beer or wine. Chef Avaughn Wells sent out some wonderful dishes so we were all happy campers indeed.

Amsterdam does these events with some regularity and at an average of $65 per person, they’re a great deal, especially when you consider the meal included a bottle of Amsterdam’s 2014 Barrel Aged Sour Cherry Imperial Stout to take home.

(Above: Hand-cut fettuccine with brown sage butter, roasted butternut squash, charred collard greens, roasted chestnut and charred lemon. Paired with Amsterdam’s 18 Hands – Rustic Pale Ale and Good Earth’s 2010 Chardonnay.)

Bacon-barded saddle of rabbit served with an autumn hash of Lima beans, grilled corn, acorn squash, leeks, shallots and forest mushrooms. Paired with Amsterdam’s Crucible and Good Earth’s 2012 Gamay Noir.
Cornbread stuffing and roasted root vegetables to pair with…
Gooseducken! Goose stuffed with a duck, chicken and house made elk sausage. Gamebird demiglace. Paired with Amsterdam Aged Vicar’s Vice and Good Earth’s Big Fork Red.
Post-modern Black Forest cake served with Amsterdam’s 2014 Barrel Aged Sour Cherry Imperial Stout.

After a day in between to recover, we rode the elevator to Canoe on Saturday, November 22nd for their annual Canoe Wild dinner featuring plenty of game meat from across the country. At $100 all in (tax, grat, drinks), this event sells out in less than 24 hours and with good reason. This year Executive Chef John Horne (Canoe) and Corporate Executive Chef Anthony Walsh (Oliver & Bonacini) were joined by Chef Jeremy Charles and his partner and sommelier Jeremy Bonia of Raymonds in St. John’s.

Wines were provided by Pearl Morrisette Estate Winery and beer by Indie Alehouse. Pours were generous and I forgot the good camera so apologies if this series gets a little blurry.

Herring-Ye, Herring-Ye, Herring-Ye – smoked herring with smoked roe, carrots and wild caraway.
Appease the Cod With Pork – cod filet, pease porridge pasta, cabbage, rutabaga and pork broth. My favourite dish – this cod was 24 hours out of the water and you could taste it. Gorgeous!
Guts and Glory – the best way to eat haggis – hidden in some pasta. As haggis goes, this wasn’t terrible. The matsutake mushrooms were a lovely touch.
Seal the Deer – Venison shoulder, seal flipper and a fried quail’s egg… on toast!
Ptarmigan by a Hare – bacon-wrapped hare (it’s a trend!) served with Ptarmigan breast, Jerusalem artichokes and a partridgeberry sauce with Ptarmigan hearts.
Triffle of trees – maple custard with maple tapioca and figs.

Finally, on Monday November 24th, we congregated in the private room at Tall Boys Craft Beer House on Bloor Street where our pal Jason Rees of Pork Ninjas was doing a pop-up dinner of some of his best-loved Southern BBQ offerings. Jason cooked up so much food, I didn’t get photos of it all; missing are the brisket, baked beans, potato salad, cornbread and the maple bacon ice cream for dessert.

The Moink – bacon-wrapped meatball.
Jerk chicken lollipop.
One of two types of mac & cheese, the other being gluten-free with sun-dried tomatoes.
Pulled pork sandwich fixin’s – coleslaw and the Ninja’s super-tasty pulled pork.
The photo, sadly, only looks blackish and does not convey OMG tasty charred goodness. But it’s there, that tasty charred goodness. I promise.

Hope you enjoyed these photos of all the tasty animals. Pop by next week for my upcoming photo-essay featuring salad, prunes and Metamucil.