MLTDWN, KINGSTON, ON
2.5 hours from Ottawa
Chef Rahim Moloo
They don’t have any vowels at this restaurant. They’re too busy making crazy grilled cheese sandwiches to bother with spelling. It’s weird, but it works for them.
You Gotta Eat… the Lasagna Grilled Cheese Sandwich
If you think you know lasagna, just wait until you try MLTDWN’s version—house-made tomato sauce, spinach ricotta and noodles pressed between slices of garlic toast. To make his tomato sauce, chef Moloo cooks down Roma tomatoes, garlic, onions, olive oil and fresh basil until the mixture is bubbling and fragrant. In a separate pot, he sweats spinach before adding it to a ricotta cheese mixture with eggs, milk, salt and parmesan. Then it’s all layered in a casserole dish with even more cheese—provolone and san pecorino this time. Once the lasagna is baked and cooled, it’s set on a piece of garlic-buttered Texas toast, then topped with additional provolone, tomato sauce, and a second slice of garlic bread (naturally). Three minutes on the press give this sandwich enough time to heat throughout and the sauce and melted provolone keep the lasagna moist between the two crisp pieces of garlic bread!
THE REGAL DINER, NIAGARA FALLS, ON
1.5 hours from Toronto
Chef Simon Kelly
This tiny diner is owned by husband-and-wife team Simon and Anj Kelly. Simon does the cooking and Anj rocks the front-of-house while wearing amazing retro diner waitress outfits.
You Gotta Eat… the Bacon, Tomato, Onion and Cheddar Omelette
This omelette requires 10 minutes of chef Kelly’s undivided attention. (In that same amount of time he could typically make six regular breakfasts.) It features bacon that’s been power-smoked with fruit and nut woods in a Big Green Egg, then diced and fried with onions and mixed with fresh-diced tomato. Kelly then heats his pan to just the right temperature, adds a teaspoon of butter, and throws in two eggs whisked with sea salt and parsley. After adding grated cheddar cheese, he reheats the bacon, onions and tomatoes on the flat top grill and adds it all to the omelette, followed by more cheese. The perfectly folded favourite ends its journey on a plate with home fries, a couple slices of fresh-baked toast, house-made jam and some fresh fruit.