GOOD TASTE | Presto!
Tantalizing takeaway solutions for the time-crunched gourmandBY BARBARA RAMSAY ORR
- Chef & Wife, Dundas
- Thai Memory, Hamilton
- Celli’s, Ancaster
Are you reading this magazine as an escape or while tapping your foot between appointments? You’re not alone. The Time Crunch is a daily stress we all face, and according to the Canadian Index of Wellbeing, we’re dealing with more severe time pressures than ever before. We work more hours and are more frequently working during non-standard hours. The result is a decline in all things not work related – cultural pursuits, leisure activities and, to my mind one of the most painful losses, healthy home-cooked family meals. Add to that the increase in obesity, diabetes and other diet-related health issues and you have a problem that is enmeshed with our eating habits. Realists among us sense that this phenomenon is probably the new normal, and suggest that the best thing to do is what we humans do best: Adapt. Local chefs are helping us do that, with time-sensitive dining that pairs culinary style with healthy, satisfying food.
Chef Paul Ceroni is well aware of how time pressures impact health and family life. “I grew up having family dinners,” he says. “I know how important that is and I know how difficult it is for working people, especially dual-income couples, to find the time to prepare and serve the kind of meals I remember sharing with my family when I was growing up.” His Burlington store, The Grinning Gourmand, aims to help. Its new location on New Street concentrates on catering and takeout meals. Menus will be sent out weekly with his newsletter; twice each week, harried cooks can arrange to pick up a full meal that will consist of a main dish, side and salad. Options will include chicken, pasta, beef and pork dishes and even some gluten-free choices.
That’s just one of the solutions to the time crunch. From tasty health-conscious take-out to chef-prepared family dinners, there are many resources available, and many restaurants will prepare a meal to go on request, especially if you have a good working relationship with the chef – another reason to get to know your cook on a first-name basis. There’s no need to eat substandard fare just because you’re racing the clock.
Denninger’s Foods of the Worlds
Various area locations
This is my go-to place when I’m stretched for time. There’s a great selection of dishes, made in the Denninger kitchens, that make a healthy quick dinner. I love the vacuum-packed bags of marinated Parisienne potatoes and of root vegetables – so easy to just place in a baking dish in the oven and have ready in half an hour. There’s rumaki for an elegant starter, quiches, moussaka, scalloped potatoes, and bubble ’n’ squeak, ready to heat and eat. If dessert is something you love, there’s apple strudel, lemon mousse cakes, raspberry custard tarts and a large selection of sweets, including gelato in the freezer section. I really like the frozen dumplings and crepes too, as well as the cabbage rolls and often keep some in the freezer for quick dinners.
26 King St. W., Dundas, 905.628.4332
This is the perfect place to pick up an excellent main course. Entrees are prepared in the new kitchen just above the store and are made with the signature high grade meats the store is famous for. The menu varies, but generally contains items like boeuf bourguignon, lamb shanks, lamb curry, and meat pies. Try the goat cheese and prosciutto quiche, or the beef short rib lasagna – just add a salad and a glass of wine and you have a delicious and hearty dinner. New this fall is a Butternut Squash Ricotta Cannelloni.
The Grinning Gourmand
3040 New St., Burlington, 905.633.7185
Two days a week, pre-order your dinner and enjoy fresh and tasty dishes from a trained chef. There will be a whole range of dishes, such as Moroccan Style Lamb perhaps or Apple Curry Stuffed Pork Tenderloin. There are homemade soups in the freezer section, as well as dessert and appetizer choices. The menu will change weekly. Visit the website to subscribe to the store’s newsletter.
220 Wilson St. E., Ancaster, 905.304.8646
Celli’s aims to be a rosticceria, a type of establishment in Italy where locals can walk in and order local fare cooked by professionals. There are regular specials, like braised veal with baby carrots, or roasted red and golden beet salad. Celli’s is in the process of setting up a painless and user-freindly online ordering service,so you could order dinner before you left the office and pick it up on the way home or – if you’re really feeling technogically suave – order it from your iPad on the GO Train on your commute. Dishes like Baked Penne, in a house-made tomato sauce with roasted vegetables, basil and mozzarella cheese make a perfect main. They also feature paninis, wraps, pizzas and homemade soups.
Chef & Wife
144 King St. W., Dundas, 905.627.3252
Ken and Charmaine Lefebour are the Chef & Wife, and they will supply you with dinner for eight for a Sunday family meal for about $16 pp for a roast chicken dinner with all the trimmings. They do soups, sides, mains and desserts, and there are daily specials. Osso bucco, roast Berkshire pork, wild boar – this duo serves up food to go that is decidedly gourmet. On Friday, a prix fixe menu includes an appetizer, main and dessert. Items change regularly, but Chef Ken will prepare dishes on request as well.
Various area locations
In addition to offering health food and organic products, Goodness Me has installed a new deli counter that is producing a range of freshly made, healthy meal elements. You can pick up warm soups, salads from the new salad bar, hot meals, gourmet wraps and sandwiches, and there is a brand new smoothie bar as well. In addition there are treats like cranberry pumpkin muffins or classic chocolate chip cookies. There’s a whole range of unique breads, from wheat and rye breads to spelt, rice, tapioca, potato, corn, quinoa and sprouted breads.
399 John St., Burlington, 905.637.2700
This organic, vegetarian/vegan café has a good range of take-away dishes, particularly useful for those with special dietary requirements. Miso soup, quinoa salads, shakes, wraps and bowls, as well as tempeh burgers and chili provide healthy and easy meal options. The Happy Buddha Bowl, organic brown rice, grilled sweet potato, diced red onion and tomato with almonds, sunflower seeds, herbs, olive oil and tamari, is one of my favourites.
Ya Man Caribbean Cuisine
315 King St. E., Hamilton, 905.546.1177
Home-cooked Caribbean dishes that are healthy and nutritious are the mainstay of this tiny café. Provision soup, salads, curry rotis, rice with meat, shrimp or chicken, and vegetarian dishes are available for a hearty dinner at home. This is a good choice if any one has gluten issues or for vegetarians.
1240 Burloak Dr., Burlington, 905.317.7070
Place your order online and pick up a dinner that is low sodium, can be gluten free or vegan. Dishes like coconut shrimp curry with rice, shepherd’s pie, quinoa vegetable stew, butter chicken or apple crumble are ready to heat and eat. All products are made from scratch using no-GMO, whole ingredients without use of preservatives, artificial colours, additives or artificial trans fats.
25 King William St., Hamilton 905.296.1077
For an exotic change of pace in takeout fare, consider Thai Memory’s Thai style spicy minced tofu salad (minced tofu w/ roasted ground rice, coriander, red onion) paired with Po-Tak, a seafood lime chili soup, coconut shrimp and spring rolls with peanut chili sauce. The service is reliably warm and welcoming and the prices are affordable here, and even better, if you bring your own containers for takeaway, these environmentally aware owners will give you a discount.
814 Brant St., Burlington, 905.631.8888
There’s a range of naan breads to choose from – Peshwari Naan (with almonds and raisins), garlic naan, cheese naan and Kulchi Naan (baked with potatoes, onions and coriander) as well as roti. Combination dinners include a complete Indian meal, from bread and soup to rice,curries and samosas. They also deliver for free on orders over $25 in the area.
3450 Dundas St. W., Burlington 905.335.2060
This is another dining spot that lets you order online and pick up. If Indian food is your thing, Bombay’s Chutney serves up curries, naan bread, rice, tandoori chicken and vegetarian dishes for an exotic but healthy meal at home.
The Himalya Restaurant
160 Centennial Pkwy N., Hamilton 905.578.7400
It’s a small hole-in-the-wall, but this little place, which has a miniscule eat-in area and is predominately about takeout, produces some of the best Indian food in the area. It has legions of customers who rave about it. The food is vegetarian Indian, with dishes like channa masala, dahl, sag paneer and aloo gobi, as well as fresh naan, pakoras and samosas. There’s also an extensive range of Indian desserts. Great choice for a healthy and different takeout dinner.
Tammuz Middle Eastern Market
5 Foundry St., Dundas, 905.627.8742
When you get tired of akeout, consider Tammuz. You’ll find authentic shawarma (halal), falafel, fattouche, tabbouli, savoury baked goods, soups, middle-eastern style cheeses, dips, sweets like baklava and much more, everything you need to plan a Middle Eastern feast at home.
Bernardino’s Gourmet Foods
127 Plains Rd. W., Burlington, 905.634.7677
Comfort food abounds here, with eggplant parmigiana, meatballs and homemade tomato sauce and Papa’s homemade wine sausage, all to go, but the prices are decidedly upmarket. You can definitely get a full takeout meal with desserts like molten chocolate cakes, fresh breads and Italian style mains as well as fresh salads.
Walker’s Fish Market
4045 Harvester Rd., Burlington 905.633.9929
When it comes to comfort food, there are few dishes more satisfying to an old Scot like myself than fish and chips. Walker’s does it really well, at a better price than the local fish and chip shops. They pride themselves on the freshest fish, and you can choose between halibut or haddock. Not necessarily a healthy dinner, but it’s always a hit with the family. They do takeaway in about 15 minutes.
The Brick Oven
2501 Guelph Line, Burlington 905.336.2799
The aisles are cramped and the counters often crowded but this is the place to score tubs of homemade pasta sauce, baked lasagnas, cannelloni and excellent bread as well as in-house desserts. And while best known for hearty Italian mains, The Brick Oven contains its share of unexpected surprises. The cinnamon raisin bread is to die for.
Pane del Sol Italian Bakery and Deli
175 John St., Hamilton, 905.529.0949
This Portuguese bakery produces great bread, of course, but also has a good variety of hot meal items for takeout, like breaded chicken, lasagna, pastas and roasted veggies. Sandwiches are always fresh, and there are salads and desserts too. If you have a particular order – say you’ve been craving ravioli with homemade sauce and meatballs – just call ahead and they will have it all packaged and ready to go, either ready to be heated up at home, or hot from their ovens, so you won’t even have to turn on the stove when you get home, if you are fast.
349 Grays Rd., Hamilton, 905.560.1475
Order wood-fired pizza Bianca or Rossa to go, or any of the excellent main dishes. They’ll package up anything for takeaway – be that risotto, veal parmigiana, gnocchi or the plain old standby that is somehow always satisfying, spaghetti and meatballs. All you need to do is simply call in about a half hour ahead of time, and everything will be ready for you when you arrive. Add fresh bread and a salad and dessert for a complete Italian repast.