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Samuel Adams Backyard BBQ at The Workshop By Latitude

I live in the far reaches of Toronto's east end so to get me to make my way to the far reaches of the west end requires something special to tempt me out of my lair. The Workshop By Latitude was just that kind of place. A restaurant that is focused on cheese, beer and wine with a resident cheese master on site? Rumours of cheese soaked in beer for months? 

Oh yes, that will get me out to the west end.

I was invited to attend The Workshop’s Samuel Adams Backyard Barbecue last Sunday for a cheese and charcuterie extravaganza. For $25, you got a beautiful cheese board, a pint of Samuel Adams ale or their Boston Lager and a grilled lamb burger. 

photo: me 

In the early 80's Samuel Adams was doing the craft beer thing long before craft beer became mainstream and quickly went from a small batch brewed up in a Boston kitchen to winning the crown of Best Beer at the Great American Beer Festival just a year later. 

Shack had the ale so I ordered the Boston Lager so we could taste both and discovered that I seem to really like beers that have a touch of a bitter finish. It's like the negroni experience but in a beer. Usually, I just go for ale automatically but I am glad that I tried the lager because I ended up preferring it. I am going to be honest because I am primarily a wine gal but the beer went really well with the cheese, which took me by surprise, especially the lager. Who knew?

Well, the cheese board was hand delivered to each table by the evening's host, the Cheese Master himself, Afrim Pristine. Pristine, a Maitre Fromager of The Cheese Boutique, lovingly described each cheese on the board, told us where it was from with a little bit of backstory on each cheese, which was a really nice touch. To round the board out, there was a delicious bundle of chorizo, made in house, some Spanish Marcona almonds, a couple of cherries and some crisp radish slices. 

 cheese soaked in beer, topped with a shmear of reduced beer, washed down with the same beer                         photo: me

The real star of the board was a cheese called Majestic Henry that Afrim had dropped into a container of Samuel Adams Boston Lager for 90 days and served with a reduction of the same beer that he whipped up that morning. Wash that down with a pint of the Boston Lager and you are experiencing an intense cheese beer marriage that works on a whole new level. 

I love a hidden gem of a secluded patio so I was really tickled to make my through the restaurant to find that it opened up to reveal just that. Because we got there later in the evening as the sun was setting, the staff had just started to turn on all of the twinkly lights and I a sucker for twinkly white lights. Sometimes it's fun to sit on a front patio and people watch, immersed in the energy of the neighbourhood but, other times, I really just want to relax, tucked away from the sound of traffic, have a nice chat with my dinner companion and kick back. If this place were closer to my house, it would absolutely be added to the roster of my favourite local haunts. I can't wait for an excuse to come out to Roncesvalles so we can stop in again before the summer ends.

I have to tell you, the milk bun that housed my tasty grilled lamb burger with haloumi was one of the tastiest buns I have had in ages - I would like to know where these little wonders came from. Shack doesn't care for lamb so they let him sub in some cheesy stuffed pasta instead, which was nice. His lack of enthusiasm for lamb did not stop him from stealing most of the very fresh, tasty side salads that accompanied my burger and after he finished his pint of ale, my Boston Lager's days were numbered too.

would you look at the shine on that bun? swoon

Executive Chef Mathew Sutherland and Cheese Master Afrim Pristine
FYI: I was invited to this event by Branding and Buzzing and was paid to write this post. All photos, unless noted, are by Mauricio Calero of MJC Photography. As always, my opinions are very much own.

The Workshop By Latitude
331 Roncesvalles

Workshop By Latitude on Urbanspoon

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