The fight for a good name
Before we fully understood that our temperamental Chartreuse of a restaurant must be named Lola we had decided to call her The Local (far too tame for our shady lady, far too tame). After high fives and pats on the back for being ever so clever and just moments before a dinner rush of 200 one of our waiters walked by and uttered in the smarmiest of tones “uh, yeah Chef my girlfriend’s sister’s brother’s 1st cousin is opening a restaurant and is already calling it that.”
Those F*%kers! At that moment I made a vow to make them our arch enemies FOREVER, name thieves (even though it was blatantly obvious they had picked the name long before we did).
As fate would have it I had the opportunity to meet Lola’s nemesis and much to my chagrin I was unable to dislike them. The loyalty and dedication between these best friends, which has spanned over decades, was heart warming. The devotion to family, real unadulterated unbastardized cooking and a homage to Southern Italian cuisine made me realize that we had far too much in common (like restaurant opening dementia and a firm stance on kicking the white table cloth to the curb) not to become Allies. As we swapped horror stories surround the beauracracy of restaurants I realized that Fabio and Mike rock and so will the Local. Vegetables harvested from their own plot in King City, cheese from Niagara and house cured Charcuterie are the backbone to their menu. Look for the Local coming soon to Queen West.
I’ve included Fabio’s receipe for Gnocchi his simplistic approach and rustic elegance with this dish signifies the core of any good restaurant……..soul. Now Lola has a friend.
Local Kitchen’s Southern Style Gnocchi
*Plan ahead for this receipe as you will need to wrap the ricotta in cheese cloth and suspend it above a bowl overnight*
You will require the following ingredients:
1 lb of ricotta (We recommend Upper Canada)
750ml of all purpose flour, keep some extra on the side
100 grams of pine nuts
200 grams of sliced assorted local mushrooms
Half a bunch of chopped sage
The zest of one orange
Four teaspoons of olive oil
200 grams of fresh grated parmesan
Remove your ricotta from the cheese cloth and combine with flour in a mixing bowl. Knead both ingredients together until you have achieved smooth dough like texture. Portion your dough into four parts, role out each portion into a bread stick like shape, cut into half inch gnocchi pieces. Gently pass each piece of gnocchi over the back of a fork to (this creates indents that will trap the sauce). Bring 4 litres of salted water to a boil. In a sauté pan over medium heat add 2 teaspoons of oil and lightly cook your mushrooms and sage. Add your gnocchi to the water and allow them to cook until they float to the top. Strain your gnocchi reserving 4 ounces of pasta water, return water to pot along with gnocchi and add sauté ingredients along with parmesan and the remaining two teaspoons of olive oil. Toss until you achieve a silky consistency around the gnocchi. Sprinkle with orange zest and pine nuts before serving.