This past Friday I had the opportunity and the pleasure of returning to work with Ontario’s Southwest at the 2014 London Wine and Food Show. This event was indeed ‘bigger and tastier’ than the average trade show. Hosted at the Western Fair District – home, of course, to the famous Western Fair which happens every September – and funded by White Oaks Mall, this was a fun event with a diverse mix of attendees and exhibitors.
One of the highlights of the show was celebrity Chef Bob Blumer (a ‘gastronaut’ in the common parlance) who has written seven cookbooks and received seven Guinness World Records including for “fastest time peeling 22.7 kilograms (50 pounds) of onions, most pancakes flipped in a single hour, most individual grains of rice picked up with chopsticks, most pizzas made in an hour, most eggs cracked with one hand, most table side caesar salads made and largest bowl of salsa” (Belanger, January 8th, 2014). Other unique elements of the show included a Ladies Night, disco lounge, and the man cave (which was packed with fancy sports cars, attractive women serving alcohol, and big-screen TVs airing hockey matches) (Belanger, January 8th, 2014; Wine and Food Show 2014). Exhibitors included wineries like Burning Kiln (St. Williams, ON), breweries like Railway City, and restaurants like The Blue Elephant (Simcoe, ON).
For my overnight stay, I enjoyed the luxuries of the Residence Inn Marriott. For only $134/night, you can revel in a full-sized suite including separate bedroom, spacious bathroom, kitchenette, and combined living/dining room area. Each suite’s size is perfect for anyone looking to stay overnight in the heart of downtown London for an extended period of time. I slept comfortably and awoke refreshed to a panoramic view of London. A generous continental breakfast and Globe and Mail newspaper were complimentary during my stay.
For dinner on my first night in London, I walked a short distance from the Residence Inn to The Morrissey House (located at 359 Dundas St. London). The fish and chips that I ordered were delicious, ample, and cheap ($12.75). Their selection of wine and beer was astounding as well as insightful – I enjoyed the Hockley Valley Black and Tan.
On Saturday, I tried out Milos’ Craft Beer Emporium (located at 420 Talbot St. North London). Although offering a wide selection of beer, I was put off by the high prices (a ‘crispy roasted 1/2 organic chicken‘ will run you $21) and more pretentious ambiance of the place. This is the restaurant to eat at when you’re trying to impress a date or have access to the company credit card.
Overall, this was a great weekend adventure and I’d love to attend the Wine and Food Show again next year. London is also a great city to visit at any time, offering up plenty of local, delicious culinary experiences that are hosted in unique and beautiful spaces.