Prairie cuisine is a hot topic in Canada’s foodie circles, with local, fresh ingredients and creative chefs making menus to savour.
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Forget everything you thought you knew about prairie cuisine. Located in Canada’s heartland, the city of Saskatoon,SK, has quietly become a culinary hotbed. A blend of fresh, local ingredients, creative chefs, international influences and food trucks has made this city a requisite stop for hungry travellers.
Want to see the menu? These 10 amuse-bouches should whet your appetite.
1) 100-Mile dining: Local veggies, meat and cheeses (not to mention wild mushrooms and even flowers) dominate the menu at The Hollows, a bistro tucked inside a historic Chinese restaurant façade in the trendy Riversdale neighbourhood.
2) Celebrity power: Saskatoon native Dale MacKay turned heads by winning “Top Chef Canada” in 2011. Now he’s back home running Ayden Kitchen & Bar, which pairs globally inspired food (don’t miss the lobster Caesar salad) with handcrafted cocktails.
3) Retro dives: The ‘50s-style Park Café serves hearty prairie breakfasts all day. You can also pony up to the counter for Angus-beef burgers, home-smoked Reuben sandwiches and other diner classics.
4) Specialty gourmet shops: Looking for lemon-infused, extra-virgin olive oil? Or how about a creamy, artisan-made camembert or sharp Roquefort cheese? Saskatoon’s Broadway District has your tastebuds covered with specialty shops such as OLiV and the Bulk Cheese Warehouse.
5) Street eats: A burgeoning street-food scene makes it easy to find unique fare curbside. Grab a gourmet hot dog wrapped in a stone-baked naan at Disco Dog. Or, indulge in a fresh pineapple milkshake at Pineapple Express.
6) Comfort food redux: City restaurants are taking comfort food to a new level with fresh ingredients and inventive dishes. Try the local pork belly with Saskatoon berry jam at gastro pub Rook & Raven.
7) French flair: French dining gets a Saskatchewan twist at downtown’s Truffles Bistro, which sources ingredients locally and makes everything—including stock—from scratch. Classics include coq au vin with free-range chicken and local Diefenbaker trout done sous-vide style.
8) Farmers’ market freshness: The Saskatoon Farmers’ Market opened its doors back in 1975, long before buying local was de rigueur. Today, you’ll find a cornucopia of produce, plus perogies, cheeses, jams and tamales at its riverside location in a vintage city garage.
9) Gluten-free gluttony:The vegetarian-focused menu at Nosh, in the historic Nutana area, has delicious options for all diets. One highlight: a decadent gluten-free brunch menu, which includes chocolate pancakes with fresh berries.
10) Festival fun:Want to taste the best of Saskatchewan in one place? The annual Taste of Saskatchewan festival brings together dozens of top restaurants—plus local bands and performers—for a smorgasbord to remember July 14-19 at riverside Kiwanis Park.
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