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Monday, July 30, 2012

[Events] Dish Crawl Markham

A group of strangers meet together at a pre-determined spot, at a pre-determined time, armed with nothing but an empty stomach and an eye to discover local cullinary delights. This is what I signed up for when I decided to join the inaugural Dish Crawl even in Markham (@dishcrawlMK)

But Dish Crawl (@dishcrawl) has long existed before else before this. There are close to 20 cities across North America (San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Montreal, Ottawa, and many many more) that have established a Dish Crawl presence, with what seems like no signs of stopping.

For the price of $60, the ticket holder had the privilege of sampling four mystery spots in the beautiful Markham Main street area. Having the specific restaurants and food items revealed to us the day of, simply added to the anticipation of the event!

Ribbon cutting ceremony with Zeion Wilson, Carolina Moretti, and Gretchen Wilson

As this was Markham's very first Dishcrawl, the night kick started with a small ceremony. We all watched as Dish Crawl ambassadors Gretchen & Zeion Wilson, and councillor of Markham, Carolina Moretti cut the ribbon to mark the beginning of a good night. After that, we were off to our first stop!


Al Dente Italian on Urbanspoon

Coincidentally the first stop was one that I had previously visited. I didn't leave with fond memoeries the last time, so I was hoping for a redemption experience. The food was indeed much better compared to the last time! But having that said, it still didn't come off as anything too special. The plate had a very homestyle feel to it, but maybe a little bit too homestyle; I feel as though my mom (who is by the way not someone who cooks very often) was in the kitchen making this.

Chef Shawn Kelly of Al Dente Italian

Wine Pairing

Chicken Cutlet, Cheese Tortellini, and Salad


Cat's Meow on Urbanspoon

The second spot was an adorable little cafe called the cats meow. As the name may give away, this place has a feline theme and is a cat lovers paradise! It's pretty small inside but had a down to earth and  homely feel to it. And the food is exceptionable! Definitely my favourite stop of the Dish Crawl. Owner Brian Roswell proclaims that they are known for the best coffee in the city as well as using local ingredients. We are served a cup of this infamous coffee along with a chicken wrap made with hormone-free meat, and a raspberry & lemon sorbet in a storemade waffle cone. When we asked Brian what time his kitty den closes, he said "whenever". Apparently they stay as long as people are willing to come in. That's great news! In just a short conversation with Brian you could really tell that he loves what he does, genuinely  wishes that each and every customer enjoys their experience at his cafe.


Brian Roswell speaking to us about his love for It's the Cat's Meow Cafe

Known as Markham's best coffee!

Organic Chicken Wrap

Homemade Lemon and Raspberry Sorbet

THIRD STOP: RAWLICIOUS(@ifeelrawlicious)

Rawlicious on Urbanspoon

The third stop was rawlicious, a little (not so little since they have locations in yorkville and even NYC) cafe with a big mission. To advocate the benefits of eating more raw food. The owner explains that cooking food above 118 degrees Farenheit denatures the active enzymes in the food, those that are responsible for promoting healthy cellular functions. While they don't advocate eating an all-raw diet, they do hope Rawlicious will inspire people to choose more raw options. We were given a trio sampler showcasing three commonly cooked items in Rawlicious fashion. A spring roll, pizza and macaroon, all prepared without breaching the 118 degree threshold! While I must say I enjoy the cooked alternatives, it was a good cleanse to he body. Doing a big favour for the body!


Listening tentatively to the benefits of raw food

cooking without the heat!

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Raw spring roll, pizza, and macaroon


Liberty Burgers & Wings on Urbanspoon

The last stop was at Liberty Burgers and Wings. You can say this is a typical bar, but as it's name may suggest, it has a bit of an NYC theme in it's decor. Framed pictures of the Statue of Liberty building, as well as the New York skyline. The food was decent, and the staff is more than friendly. A perfect last stop to just sit, hang out, and unwind with a beer.

Liberty Burger and Wings

A platter of shrimp, wings, and burgers

Crispy hot fries

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Filling out some surveys at the end of the night - a Dish Crawl ritual!

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And as if we didn't have enough to eat, we were all left with a sweet parting gift from Sweet Suerender Cupcakes (@SweetSuerender). Thanks Sue! :)

Not knowing a single person at first, I quickly met lots of new friends. All different ages, back grounds, and reason for being at dish crawl. Some were new to the experience like me, some were veterans, but we were all hoping to enjoy the night and explore markhams local businesses --which is exactly what happened. Thank you Gretchen for this invite, and to Whitney, Irene, Grace, Maria Evie, Jayne, for a great night. I definitely left with nothing but smiles! =]