Sunday, March 17, 2013

Olive & Kiwi, Hamilton, Ontario

Have you heard of Olive & Kiwi yet? If not, you should check it out ASAP.

Olive & Kiwi is a market, specialty grocery store and sandwich shop extraordinaire, located at the top of the Garth Street access in Hamilton at 567 Scenic Drive. This place used to be your run of the mill convenience store, until about a year ago when it was taken over by new owners and transformed into a foodie haven. 

In the small space they have, O&K has managed to fit in a local fruits and veggie display, fresh baked breads (from Hamilton's own Cake & Loaf), local cured meats and cheeses, specialty herbs and sauces and so much more! They also recently got a satellite coffee spot for My Dog Joe right in the store. The store is full of beautiful mismatched wood shelves and displays.

While I come here fairly often to stock up on hard to find Ontario dill & garlic pickles as well as Jensen's extra old cheddar (what other kind of cheddar is there, really?) and portuguese corn bread, they still offer me a free sample of soup every time. It's always homemade and always delicious. When I popped in last week after work, I decided to check out their fresh sandwiches. 

When you get to the sandwich counter, you are greeted by 
Tony, the in-house sandwich maker/connoisseur. Of the several yummy options, I decided to go for the marinated and breaded chicken. They marinate the chicken in fresh lemon juice, herbs and white wine and then bread it and bake it to perfection. The breading is crisp and not too thick. I watched Tony carefully. 

First Tony takes a fresh bun and slices it in half (none of this pre-sliced business). He puts on some of the house-made marinara.

He then slices off two pieces of fresh mozzarella and places one on each half of the bun. I'm impressed and this effort does not go unnoticed when I bite into the sandwich.

I choose the following toppings: fried onions and garlic, sauteed mushrooms and grilled peppers (sweet and hot). He piles the toppings onto the chicken and then warms it all up a bit. This then gets placed onto the bun with expert handling. The toppings all stay in place perfectly and the cheese is softened by the chicken. The end product:

I'm not lying when I tell you that I literally sat there making quiet noises of enjoyment to myself, while "Guy Fieri-ing"* each bite. I was happy. 

As I cashed out, the flavor of herbs and white wine lingered in my mouth. I will be back soon and so should you!

*Guy Fieri-ing: To take a double or triple bite, each bite, because it's that good.

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