Yep, it’s all the craze these days. Everyone’s eating local. Why buy an apple from Chile when you pick one off a tree from the farm up the street? And few embody it as much as Jamie Kennedy does. While his high end restaurant empire was showing signs of cracks, he began opening up locavorized, affordable lunch spots (“locavorized” - no, it’s not a word, but maybe Oxford will consider it a candidate for next year – I want all the cedit!).
Within walking distance to Bay St., there’s Hank’s. Who is Hank and why is it not called Jamie’s? I don’t know. Frankly, I don’t even care, I just care about getting good food. The menu at Hank’s has some regular items. A few sandwiches and a couple other, simple items. Additionally, each morning they post a blog (much like this blog, but not nearly as good) and introduce their daily specials of soups and a nice variety of salads. What’s locavorized about it? Well, pretty much everything. The meat is organic and from nearby farms. Same with the cheese. And same with the veggies. Kinda makes you feel good about supporting the local economy. The truth is, there’s so much more to this movement. The products used in the food are very high in quality, ultra fresh and super tasty.
I’m tempted to order the smoked lake fish sandwich, but I’m feeling carnivorous today. So the flank steak gets the nod: “Flank steak marinated in mint and lime, smoked sheep’s cheddar, jalapeno mayo, acidulated onions, local greens.” Sounds awesome! But when the sandwich arrives, a sense of disappointment comes over me, because it seems a little on the small side for $9.50+tax (pictured here is half of the full sandwich). I press on, unwrapping it and examining it before taking a large first bit. The disappointment quickly fades and turns into… for lack of a better description… Mmmmmmm. The sandwich is perfectly balanced. Just the right amount of each ingredient. And while each ingredient is great on its own, all the flavours work phenomenally well together. The bread tastes like it came out of the oven an hour ago (probably not too far from the truth… it’s multigrain sourdough from St John’s bakery down the street), dense and flavourful. The steak is tender and tangy. There’s a perfect amount of spice from the mayo and the cheese adds an extra layer of complexity. Absolutely delicious! I love it!
But there are a couple negatives. First, the price. I understand why it’s priced high and can’t say it’s unreasonable. If I ordered this at a restaurant on a Saturday, I would actually think it’s great value. But for a takeout lunch, it doesn’t pass the “under $10” test. And it doesn’t fill me for the rest of the day. If it were $8, I’d get it a lot more often. And second, Hank’s doesn’t serve the infamous Jamie Kennedy fries. Blasphemy!! The fries, available at his other locavorized lunch spot, Gilead Café, are without a doubt the best in the city. Not having access to them kinda pisses me off, but I can get over that.