Harmony Lunch 90 King Street North Waterloo, Ontario N2J 2X4…
Event day: Thursdays, 5 – 8 p.m.
Cost for dinner: varies
Okay, so this isn’t a traditional Restaurant Report that you might find in this space at this time here at WREats. Instead, there’s been a substitution on the menu.
During the course of the summer, Ambrosia Pastry Co. is teaming up with food trucks in a rotating schedule in a venture charmingly — and eminently marketable — called “Hot Eats. Cool Treats (HECT).” I’m not sure if there is period in that title but. there. you. have. it.).
You could say it’s an outside-inside affair: outside, there is a food truck (either Fo’Cheezy, West of Seoul or Lancaster Smokehouse); inside you get the coolside with Ambrosia’s pastry treats including, I’m guessing, ice cream. (For the cool. You know).
Ambrosia is located at a central point near where Kitchener meets Waterloo and adjacent to — very adjacent to — what is known as a spur line. Now, a spur line is not a pastry term nor does it refer to kicking cooks in the butt (metaphorically, of course!) to “spur them on” through a busy dinner service.
A spur line, rather, is a short commercial railway line that runs off a main railway line and allows for loading and unloading in specific industrial areas. It is of historical interest, and offers no little irony, that spur lines became pretty much defunct with the advent of trucking — and that may have included the trucks much like the ones that now take the shape of our food trucks. Ah, the wonders of food.
So, the HECT I visited a week featured delicious pulled pork sandwiches and pulled smoked chicken tacos with guac, a Mexican hot sauce, cilantro and some pickled red onions via the Lanc. Both were delicious. Add to that some perfect fries with Parmesan and that represented the HE.
On the CT side, Ambrosia’s ice cream sandwiches came in the form of both a dacquoise — a creamy rich, nutty-ish meringue cookie-shaped sort of affair — and the terrific kouign amann, a just-killer buttery Breton pastry (that I’m sure is a killer to make well too) that is somewhere located in the caramelized puff pastry and dense croissant constellation of pastries — and absolutely heavenly is in flavour and texture too. The not-too-sweet pastry is unique here in Waterloo Region as well.
The ice creams could be chocolate, vanilla, ginger, caramel or smokey chocolate: the latter was perfect in its balanced smoke rather than an over-wrought smoke. The beans that Ambrosia uses to make the chocolate are Papua New Guinea origin, dried in the sun and smoked as well. It is a unique method, according to Ambrosia.
While the food was quite good, the thing that really hit home with me is the neighbourhood and community quality of the regular event: families from the neighbourhood have walked their kids (and dogs) down the street and, blanket-laden, have plunked themselves down on the grass for a good ol’ Thursday evening pique-nique. It’s way cool.
Even wayer cooler is that fact that some construction guys working in and around the above said spur line decided at the spur of the moment to join the group for some post-construction day eats. Wonderful: and they seemed to love it.
HECT is a terrific initiative; to me, this is the full value of a burgeoning local food scene: folks from all over the city congregating around small, collaboration-oriented, family-owned businesses that help those companies make some money, employ some people and at the same time offer good quality food to people who care about that very same community and its food. Why would you not support something like this in a day-and-age of corporate food and processed eating?
There … that should spur you on.
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