News and Reviews
"For the chefs of the Brewers Plate, eating local is a delicious duty" by Mike Doherty
Chefs Atikian, Vaz, Robertson and Kennedy extol the virtues, beauty and simplicity of eating — and crafting brews — locally.
“I think I’m going to plant some hop vines on my farm this year, for fun,” announces Jamie Kennedy, as three fellow chefs perk up their ears. Karen Vaz of the Rebel House, John Robertson of The Big Carrot and Av Atikian of Jam Café — locavores all, after Kennedy’s own heart — have joined him around a table at his own Gilead Café, and they’re intrigued.
Kennedy isn’t proposing anything new — as he notes, Prince Edward County had “huge beer production” during the “Barley Days” of the late 19th century. When the U.S. export market dried up, local demand wasn’t sufficient; soon drinkers were buying brews from farther afield.
“Sometimes,” Robertson says, “you have to do the wrong thing to know what the right thing is.” For these chefs, an example of “the right thing” would be the fifth annual Brewers Plate on April 18, which will find them (and eight other chefs) teaming with southern Ontario brewers to pair craft beer and local food.
Kennedy is the event’s patron. In between preparing plates for Gilead’s lunchtime diners, including the chefs (“It feels weird to have another chef cook for you,” notes Robertson, but he’s not complaining about his whitefish éclair sandwich), he offers a historical take on local food and drink.
Pointing to the wall of colourful preserves on shelves behind him, he says, “All of this is part of the southern Ontario story, over 100 years old. I’m just attaching a renewed importance to it — you buy things in quantity when they’re cheap and beautiful, and you preserve them.”
It’s always tempting for restaurants to buy cheaper ingredients from farther afield, especially out of season; the same goes for heavily marketed industrial beer brewed with inexpensive, flavour-reducing adjuncts. Vaz notes that at the Rebel House, where she has cooked for 10 years, big-company representatives are continually “trying to get us to stray from the path that we’re on.” Over a bottle of Mill Street Organic lager, she says straying has never been an issue: Her Kenyan-immigrant parents in Etobicoke raised her to shun anything, in her life and her career, that smacks of processed food.
Few chefs can claim such a pedigree — Atikian spent his first 20-odd years cooking mainly in “big places that don’t give a damn about anything except profit,” before an “epiphany” 10 years ago reconnected him to memories of his parents’ garden in Scarborough. Now he serves local food at the cozy Jam, with a growing craft beer list. Robertson had his own epiphany — or “mushroom moment,” smirks Vaz — a dozen years back after deciding morels he’d cooked on a friend’s farm were “probably the best thing I’ve ever eaten.”
Together, the chefs hope to introduce younger people to the joys of local food — the Brewers Plate’s proceeds go to the charity Green Thumbs Growing Kids, which encourages students to grow and harvest edible gardens in school. Adults attending the event will be encouraged to discover new tastes — with wide eyes, Atikian describes the Nickel Brook beers he’s cooking with as “very intense!”
Kennedy, though softer-spoken, is convincingly evangelical. The Brewers Plate, he says, is a “microcosm” of the city’s local food and beer movements, which are “largely influential for the rest of the country. You look to Toronto for what’s hip, but this is exploring a new model. It’s far-reaching; it’s not just trendy.”
Posted April 14, 2012, original National Post
WE NOW HAVE OVER 42 TEQUILAS AT THE RESTAURANT, ALL OF WHICH ARE 100% AGAVE. STAY POSTED AS WE'RE UPDATING THIS LIST AL THE TIME.
BEERNEWS.COM WILL BE LISTING OUR BEER SELECTION SOON...
We're tipping our Iceberg with a special promotion, offering Newfie taste treats and Iceberg Cocktails. Try Lobster Tails with a Witless Bay Wallbanger...or a Newfie Steak Sandwich paired up with a Rocky Harbour Caesar. Only available for a short time so stop floundering around and get in before the Iceberg melts!!
Before you embark upon any sort of Upper Canada rebellion and its requisite march down Yonge, be sure to stop in at the Rebel House for some Can-Con courage. Only Guinness manages to shoehorn itself into the otherwise all-Canadian 19-tap craft brew lineup. Bottles are likewise nationalist, with 30 mostly micro labels. Canadiana cuisine helps to build up a thirst at this busy midtown fave.!
July 2011; Now Magazine
From everyone at the Rebel House we would like to extend to you and your families the very best of the season. May you have a very merry Christmas
Better late than never**
Monica Webb kindly mentioned the fact that we were mentioned in the New York Times.
ONCE upon a time, not all that long ago, there existed a magical country that was a lot like the United States, only less expensive. Its enchanted currency — the other dollar — allowed Americans to indulge as they could not back home. This delightful fantasyland was called Canada, and for centuries it was synonymous with frugality... ...Not far from the Rosedale stop was my destination: Rebel House, a pub that, according to Chowhound.com, had affordable, above-average pub food.
I sat at the bar, drank a rich, bitter Neustadt 10w30 Brown Ale, devoured my mushroom-rich meatloaf (27 dollars with tax and tip) and listened to my 20-something neighbors discuss the ice-hockey game on TV. After evaluating the physique of Sidney Crosby, the Pittsburgh Penguins’ star, one woman declared, “I’m going back to Pilates!”
Here's the link..
Who Woulda Thought???
On Decenber the 28th, we're going to be 17 years old!!!
To all our old regulars, and to all our new ones, come on out and join us for a few laughs and a few draughts. We're giving away stuff you can take home and stuff that you can't, (if you know what I mean). So join us at the Reb and help Bruce, Dave and the gang deal with the fact that we're a year older. See you there.
During your next visit, you can win a cool, crisp Rebel House gift certificate—provided you can guess how many acorns are in the 5 gallon wine bottle we have sitting at the bar.
Guesstimates are a toonie each and the proceeds go to SickKids Hospital. The contest ends this week, so hurry in soon!
Just think about it: You can tell the squeeze that you're going out to give to charity, so grab your coat and a pint, and feel good about telling the truth.
Around the 'tubes our dear patrons recount their exploits at The Rebel…