5.01.2012

On the Road North

Like a bald eagle soaring the skies and a grey wolf on the roam... I'm heading north again into the summer sun. Going on five straight summers in a row without a winter. Lovin' the sun.

In three months I've been to four continents and five countries and travered more than 30,000 miles. Goddess, forgive my carbon footprint. I've been stranded on an island in Hawaii and swam in the Amazon River. I've run barefoot through a patch of snow in April in Canada and ate at the three best restaurants in Cleveland in one night. I've hunted for morels in Ohio; found them, cooked them, ate them. My job skills have ranged from farmer to chef to TV star to big brother and loving companion to the lady I will one day wed.

All expectation are now cast aside. I follow my heart and my dreams, nothing more, nothing less. I am thankful for all that's been given and for all that I can share.

This post will sum up the last three weeks of my life. I flew from Ontario to Ohio two days ago and in two more days I catch a plane to Alaska where I will be the Grizzly Chef for a bear hunting camp. When I go into the bush there will be no WiFi or cell phones or gadgets to preoccupy the mind. No opportunity for me to blog. I will be cooking up a storm within and with the wild. I should rename this blog 'The Chronicles of the Grizzly Chef'.

Three weeks ago I was behind a video camera at Seraphim Ranch cooking up blue gill and wild morels over a pit fire for the farmers. The theme was hunting, fishing and gathering ingredients from the forest and cooking them in a rustic fashion.


Cell phone and 12-guage combo.


Gramps and Jah helping out the camera crew.



Yes, Grandpa Bill is practicing is golf swings in the background.


24 hours later I was on the road to Cleveland for the Northern Haserot food exposition with Chef Dave at La Poste Eatery.


Pit stop at a local bar where Dave met up with some of his ol' buddies from college.


We then went to a local mexi joint where we indulged in some guac apps and tortilla fun.


Next morning. Business. I shadowed Dave at the expo.



And the eating starts...




The expo was filled with displays of food to entice chefs to buy. Chum, they got me. Free samples of everything.


I recieved many pulls from the booth reps by wearing this badge around and explained to them that I was just touring the expo for the sake of feeding my brain of foodie wisdom and my belly full of good food. The kitchens I manage are quite different than the ones the expo caters to, but this was quite the learning experience.






Pick any fruit, dip in chocolate. If it was a bit bigger I'd swim in it.


Have a slice of cheesecake.


How about a swing?



Cake pops.


BBQ galore.


Bacon - makes everything taste better eh?


Especially, burgers.



The chowder bar.


Cheeseburger in a blender = cheeseburger chowder.


I made at least three rounds through this booth.


Disposable banana leaf utensils and bowls for take-home meals. Nice.


Beef and lamb.


Alaska nostalgia.


Open oyster yummies.


Shank on wild rice.


Stuffed chix florentine.


Ribs.


Butterflied chix legs - somewhat like a chicken 'cake' pop.


Pasta central.



On the greener side...




Fresh lettuce brought to your doorstep.


Can be brought in a mini self-contained hydro system. This way your lettuce keeps fresh and happy. Gardens chillin in the dining area, now that's a groovy idea.




Mmm.. basilicious.


Mushroom party.


Veggie feast. Kind of getting full at this point in the show.


Dragon fruit. Rarrrr.


Romanesco.


Hello tomato.


Grandma's tomatoes.




Once my belly could handle no more I unplugged from the expo and let Dave do his thing. He's opening up a second restaurant called Django and it's going to host a cowbish theme. Ride in on a horse, strap 'em to the post, walk in struttin your boots and grab a bib cause the ribs are gonna be extra saucy. I can't wait to eat from those cast irons.




I should do this more often.


I thought the fun was over, but no it was only beginning. To the Cleveland streets we ride.



To a streetside eatery. The Flying Fig.


Bacon-wrapped figs.


Ramp and morel brushetta.


Peppas and goat cheese.


Crostini and tapenade.


Well, that was a good start for the night.


Take 2. Iron Chef Michael Symon's Lolita.



I've been to 15 restaurants in 20 days, and 10 of them have an open kitchen facing the dining area. You get to the watch the cooks and see what's being served. If you're like me, sit at the bar area next to the hot line and when you see something that you like going out, order it. Call it 'live menu dining'.



Like some marrow in a half bone.


Take 3. The best pizza in Ohio at Bar Cento.



The Chef's Table.


Here's a new one - the sunny side up pizza. Three eggs baked oven easy circled with prosciutto on some cheesy love.



For the finale of the night - the chef disco party. Extreme caution: 100+ chefs in one hotel.



Hit the sack at 3 AM and woke up an hour later to catch my early train ride to Oh' Canada. Thanks for the ride Dave.


A guy sat next to me when we reached Buffalo and he was on his way to the Square to perform at a casting call for a new TV series on tattoo art. His name is John Artist and if you're looking to get some ink, check out his studio in Cleveland. I hope he makes the cut.


Train stop. Three hour delay.


Oh where oh where can my train be? "Mom, I'm delayed, again. Something about a tractor trailer flipped on the tracks. Can you call Jess, again, and tell her that I'm going to be late to Toronto?" No matter what happens we will find a way, mom says.



8 PM, back on the tracks. Adios New York.


Hello Niagra.

Hello Scully. In Toronto at Jessie's sisters pad.


Morning yoga.


Lunch at a vegan hot spot in the downtown.


Let food be thy medicine.



So far on this trip I've done car and train, now time for the bus.




A portabella and roasted red pep wrap at a restraurant near Jessica's school.


After lunch ^ I walked with Jess back to school then dipped off to a nearby park to do some joggin and yoga.



Come Wednesday night we moved from her sister's pad to her mom's flat in Hamilton.


The corner house at a crossroads.


A little friend I brought up from the South.


The big city.


Expo # 2. The Total Health Show. I feel almost totally enlightened and full at this point.



Instantly, I was drawn to the crystals.



Then I watched a half hour of cooking demos showing how to cook/steam foods without using anything to coat the pan.


Cheese stop.


Fresh fruit lotions.


Raw food and vegan cookbooks.


Juice bar.


Detox.


Superfood Sunday.


Tea time.


Berry and nut buffet. Digestif anyone?


Aura photos. Always wanted one of these.


Listening to the crystal.


I forget the name of these wands. They are charged with sacred geometry, metals and crystals.


Lift off.


Lots of free body work. Eat, drink, detox, heal and massage... I'm starting to like this expo biz.


Jessica radiating reiki.




Crystal bed.


Dance party.


Presentation on diabetes and how to manage weight. Thank goodness.


Jess completed her volunteer stint at the show, did an awesome job, back to the streets.


Next day, brunch at Homegrown Hamilton.


Next day, brunch with the family. Eggs benedict/florentine, cinnamon apple and maple bread pudding, garlicky purple potato home fries with salsa and fruit salad. I'm looking shaggy here, so be it. None of my Goodwill clothing fits much anymore. Amazing what a vege diet and yoga does to tone the body.


Words from Grandma... "Absence makes the heart grow fonder."


Last Wed. we took off to Owen Sound to go on a superfood, yoga, massage, meditation, music and nature retreat.


The sound.


Super blue.


I love her.


Looking down at Collingwood.


Inside a lil' cafe called the Espresso Post that has a great true Canadian maple latte.


A glance at the local art.



Chill time by the fire place. Reading about Ojibwa hunting traditions. The bear gave up it's life to offer sustinance to the early indians. In a few days, I will be living with bear hunters. Big bear medicine in the winds.


To the Bruce Trail we go.



One day before the fishing seasons open for the rivers and the rainbow trout are fat and plentiful.



Leeks.


Spicy leeks may I add. Delish when mixed with fiddle heads, morels and rainbow trout.


Here's the snow I ran through. It felt good between my toes.


Mushroom country.



More snow.






After our hike we went The Mill Cafe in Thornbury.


The way this portabella and goat cheese skillet bread was served sparked a million ideas. Cast iron is the way I gotta roll. It feels al natural.


Our quaint and warm cedar cottage. A home of peace, love and happiness. And good food.


Just a few days ago, adios Toronto and back to Ohio where I got a call the following day to depart to Alaska this Wednesday.


This will be my last post until the end of this month since I will be unplugged in the woods. Just know that I am having a blast with the Grizzly men and cooking up wonders in the wild. May the start of this summer be a great one for ya. Yee-haw.