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Taste of Kingston | Twelve Days of Christmas Dishcrawl

On a frigid December evening, a group of about twenty five or so peckish Dishcrawlers made their merry way to Downtown Kingston for the Twelves Days of Christmas Dishcrawl in partnership with the Kingston FoodBank. Snow on the ground and the usual cold chill in the air, all cozy apparel were a sure necessity for this foodie adventure.

Greeted by host Christine McCullough and her helpful elves at our first location situated within the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, was King Street Sizzle. The night started of with handing out twelve gifts from local businesses such as Milestones, Scentsy, Fab Salon, Jack Astors, The Grizzly Grill and several more. A treat indeed followed by Chef Rob Melo and company presenting to us quite passionately what was going to be served. Four appetizer-sized meals were placed on a rectangular dish that highlight each item perfectly. The ramekin of baked brie and cod croquettes were my favourite, whereas the chicken fusion roll was delightful but oh my was the Thai sauce spicy. Now let me tell you, I am not a gal who cares for heat, no no. Keep it mild and I'm a happy camper. Minus the heat, conversations flowed within booths and tables but time came alas to depart.

As we scurried to our next destination, toques securely covering our ears, scarves wrapped around our necks and mitten on, we were led to Luke's Gastronomy to executive chef Luke Hayes-Alexander's restaurant located on Princess Street. 

Unfortunately it is here where the group was split in two to accommodate the small space and we said goodbye to our host as she joined the other half of the group. Though this was a tad disappointing, as it was not told a head of time to guests, first time Dishcrawlers such as my partner were not treated to the full extent of the hospitality and entertainment of our host. With this aside, dining at Luke's was a pleasure as announcement of the restaurant's closure was put forth and sampling tidbits of his menu was a spectacular experience, before he make his big leap to Toronto where exciting opportunities await him with L.U.S.TSeated at a long wooden table with chairs on both sides, our front of the house host and mum to Luke, Carrie Hayes greeted us with smile and took our drink orders. 

Prepping our meals in silence in the kitchen, new friends were made in the casual dining room as we examined the funky menu selection that had a hint of upscaleness along with unique naming dishes such as the Sexy Noodles and Fricken Burger, which was served to us that night along with two other marvelous samplers.

Luke's creativity is certainly unquestionable. The textures and colours present on our plates were not like any I had ever seen, but the most important note is that you did not exactly know what was in front of you. Like a magician or ninja, looks were deceiving. Luke took a twist on comfort food recipes such as the traditional child dish of a Pogo and a burger and infused his own festive ideas into them. Resulting in a Pogurky i.e turkey and stuffing wrapped in cornbread and a Southern fried chicken burger.

 Luke is both innovative and a scientist in the kitchen as he experiments with flavours and techniques. Only 22 of age, his knowledge of food surpasses those of many talented chefs who have built their craft with several years of practice and experience. Luke showed his dedication to his passion this night and I am sure to go back before he closes the doors to a restaurant that started his journey.

Only a few step away was our final destination of the night, MLT DWN known for their motto of "more than just cheese and bread." As groups switched locations, we entered this brightly lit restaurant that had a young fresh ambiance, to be greeted by brothers Rahim and Aly Moloo. It was about time to get cheesy! That oozy gooey cheesiness is what I live for and was most excited to experience a concept of taking once again a classic comfort food of a grilled cheese sandwich and turning it into a niche within the food scene of Kingston. 

I was weak in the knees when I discovered this cheesy goodness a year and half ago. It may be a small space but it sure is modern and home to the brother duo who are full of life and very inviting, plus charming might I add. The grill cheeses they served up to the Dishcrawlers were quite appetizing and I may have been ogling, mouth open just a bit as it lay on the table in front of me. The first tray was filled with two slices of Kraft Dinner and a Thanksgiving feast sandwich respectively, with a variety of cheeses filled inside. Sounds odd, but once you try them, you won't regret it especially with a roasted red pepper tomato bisque on the side as a dunking 'sauce.' But the finale was a raspberry cheesecake in sandwich form of course! Can you believe that? The bread always perfectly golden and crisp, they shared their secret to how they achieve this. Now they may reveal this to you if you go visit, just saying.

Bellies filled with holiday inspired plates, Dishcrawlers were presented with a box filled with goodies from Jennifer Moon of Card's Bakery as our dessert for the night. To my delight, the box contained moist brownies, sugar cookies, thumbprint cookies, butter tarts and date squares. Good thing I was taking it home as I was as stuffed as could be. Instead I enjoyed these traditional homemade baked goods with tea in the comfort of my own home all wrapped up in fleece blanket on the couch over the next few days. Card's Bakery is all about starting from scratch, using only the finest ingredients and baked with love with the same recipes that Jen Moon's grandma used.

As the group parted ways and said their goodbyes, I made note that with the New Year approaching, Dishcrawl Kingston would be the perfect way to get exposed to the local culinary talent in our city, meet new people,  network or even make it a date night!

Remember though to bring some extra money for beverages and this experience does cater to those with food allergies as long as prior notice is given, so don't feel left out if you have one. The element of suspense of Dishcrawl is fun and exciting as when tickets are purchased, only few hints are given as to what the restaurants will be. So join fellow Kingstionians and discover what our city has to offer!

As 2014 is right around the corner, remember to give generously to Food Banks and those less fortunate!

A full detailed description of food served:

Luke's Gastronomy | 264 Princess St, Kingston, Ontario

Fricken Burger
Southern fried chicken, creamy slaw, secret sauce, biscuit bun.

Pogurky (Turkey Dinner Pogo)
Turkey, stuffing, pumpkin on a bed of cranberry sauce and pumpkin.

Chickpea Fries

With groovy garlic mayo.

King Street Sizzle | 285 King E, Kingston, Ontario

Baked Brie with Cranberry Corn Relish
Layered with apple cranberry chutney, served with crispy flat bread.

Asian Sesame Salad

Cantonese noodles, crispy chicken, fresh mixed greens, julienne carrots, sweet peppers, green onions, sesame seeds and almonds tossed in a an Asian vinaigrette.

Chicken Fusion Rolls

Cajun chicken, a blend of cheeses, shredded carrots, onion and peppers are rolled in flour tortilla shell.
Served with sweet and spicy Thai sauce.

Cod Croquettes
Golden fried cod and mash potato combined with sautéed garlic, onions, peppers and herbs.
 Served with caper aioli.

MLT DWN | 292 Princess St, Kingston, Ontario

Mac n Cheese Grill Cheese
American cheddar, aged cheddar, Kraft Dinner on Texas White.

Turkey Dinner Melt Grill Cheese
Havarti, brie, turkey, stuffing and gravy on Texas white, served with house made cranberry apple butter sauce.

Cheesecake Grill Cheese
House made raspberry spread, cheesecake and graham cracker dust.

Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Bisque

Card's Bakery | 304 Bagot St, Kingston, Ontario

Home made baked goods:
 Shortbread, brownie, sugar cookies, thumbprint cookies, brownies, butter tart and date square.

Next Events: 

Winter Wonderland Kingston Dishcrawl - January 28, 2014

Kingston Battledish - February 9, 2014

Here's a treat:

Use promo code {rosalynBDdiscount} to get $10 off your Kingston Battledish ticket!
That's worth two free dishes out of six!

For more information:

Facebook: Dishcrawl Kingston
Twitter: @DishcrawlKin


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Rosalyn Gambhir
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[name=Rosalyn Gambhir] [img=https://i.imgur.com/9rNiMGU.jpg] [description=Rosalyn Gambhir is the gal behind the blog The Staycationer. Whether it's exploring the local food scene with her foodie partner-in-crime or taking in the view from her favourite cafe, Rosalyn is always a tourist, looking for the next exciting adventure within Kingston, Ontario and beyond. The Staycationer allows you to rediscover hidden gems in your very own backyard.] (facebook=https://www.facebook.com/thestaycationer) (twitter=https://twitter.com/rosalyngambhir) (instagram=https://www.instagram.com/rosalyngambhir/)

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