Through my day job in Toronto I've become acquainted with a lot of foodies, and perhaps have become a bit of one myself. While we all enjoy indulging at the city’s absolute top restaurants, we also take pride in knowing all the best neighbourhood nooks—those welcoming little eateries that serve up no-fuss comfort fare you keep coming back for.
There are dozens of such local restaurants in Toronto; no doubt there are hundreds more across the rest of the country.
Which is to say that the new Food Network program You Gotta Eat Here could potentially profile Canada’s comfort food favourites from now until the next decade, if not longer.
The debut episode saw host John Catucci (think a geekier, more urbane version of Guy Fieri from Diners, Drive-ins and Dives) heading into the kitchens of three local gems: Stratford, Ontario poutinerie Boomers Gourmet Fries; John’s Place in Victoria, B.C.; and Relish Burgers in London, Ontario.
Now, I do my level best to maintain a moderately healthy diet, and so try not to eat too many meals whose main ingredients are some manner of meat, gravy and/or cream sauce, and melted cheese. But good gracious! Did some of the dishes on the premiere look mouthwatering or what?
Take, for example, Stratford’s favourite potatoes-and-cheese snack. Apparently, when they’re not putting on their famous Shakespearean festival, residents of this town are downing one of many types of poutine at Boomers Gourmet Fries. Of course there’s a traditional option with simple curds and gravy, but what really whet my appetite was the zestier-sounding black bean and chili fries. I wonder if Justin Bieber has a favourite? YGEH’s Catucci sure did—every single one he tasted.
In the coming episodes we’ll feast our hungry eyes on everything from Neapolitan pizza in Montreal, deep-fried seafood in Cowichan Bay, B.C., an enormous surf-and-turf platter at the Saint John Alehouse in New Brunswick, and smoked everything at Hadley’s in Toronto.
I’m looking forward to discovering these and many more of Canada’s great local eateries, and maybe even planning an excursion to one or two of them. Before that, though, I’d love to hear what your personal favourites are. Where are those places that you’ve just gotta eat at?
Watch You Gotta Eat Here Fridays at 9pm ET and Sundays at 4pm ET on Food Network Canada.
Moy is an editor at a Toronto-based city magazine. He also writes about
all manner of cultural topics, including food culture.
by Craig Moy
Howdy foodie friends!
Nadine Sharon Anglin here, Foodnetwork.ca Content Producer. I can't wait to finally meet all of you in our new digital home.
I'm familiar with a some of you from our blogs and social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and Foodbuzz, but am looking forward to meeting many more! Hope to continue with all the great conversations and sharing of photos, videos and more :-D