New Openings: My Secret Kitchen
The cat's out of the bag and My Secret Kitchen is not a secret anymore!
This charming new gourmet shop specializes in "fresh food that you feel good eating and feeding your family", says Catherine Jarmain, co-owner of My Secret Kitchen. You will find a rotating selection of daily prepared salads, sandwiches, desserts and hot prepared foods with a variety of vegan, vegetarian, raw, (some) organic, non-GMO soy and corn ingredients and gluten-free options.
The concept is based on fresh wholesome foods to-go and co-founded with Chef Michael Morrone who along with Jarmain prepares daily creations that are local, seasonal and economical. You'll also find house-made specialties such as fresh pasta, preserved lemons (currently on shelf and will be ready to consume in four months), sauces, salad dressing, cookies, biscotti and caramelized oranges (which are a hot item that they can't seem to keep on the shelves). They also carry a small but growing selection of gourmet spices and ingredients.
Jarmain and Morrone had the concept on top of their minds for some time and sealed the deal once the space (formerly known as Gourmet on the Go) went up for sale. The quaint space features exposed bricks, neutral colours, shelving for their private labelled products and a lot of the equipment they required, and located in their favorite part of the city - Port Credit.
"We definitely wanted to be in Port Credit, it's our hood and we know the people…and it feels like a small town" says Jarmain.
Both Morrone and Jarmain have years of experience in the food service industry. Morrone is a chef by trade with 20 years of professional experience under his belt and Jarmain was born into food industry and at a young age started working at her family's restaurant - a popular Vietnamese franchise called Golden Turtle (which they've since sold).
Signature Dish: The signature dish to date is a raw zucchini coconut mango noodle salad (as seen in the cover picture) which includes zucchini, red pepper, cabbage, coriander, scallions, and other seasonal ingredients available at market, with a fresh mango dressing made with coconut milk, turmeric, ginger, lime juice, cumin and cilantro.
Food Menu: The rotating menu has a lot of variety, "we will try to be full of surprises", states Jarmain. They recently had wild turkey, venison and rabbit on the menu. They also plan to support local farmers markets during the active months. You'll find a variety of options such as raw beet & herb, roasted vegetable orzo, raw falafel wraps and salads, curried chickpea & mango, pumpkin seed kale, vegan greek penne, Korean salmon, stuffed sweet potato & artichoke, arancini, rice pilaf, lasagna, ziti with calamari, egg based pasta dishes such as their skyhigh lasagne and much more. They will also offer a number of desserts such as tofu chocolate mousse (vegan), banana pecan loaf and brownies.
I tried the pumpkin kale salad which has hints of roasted sesame and intense in flavour. The raw beet salad is fresh and “delicious and incidentally healthy” as described by Jarmain of the kinds of dishes they prepare. Their house-made brownie is rich, smooth and decadent.
Drink Menu: Coffee, tea and bottled beverages.
What’s Up and Coming? Possibly fresh smoothies, cold pressed juice, artisan house-made jams (in the fall), more fresh pastas. Jarmain is developing their own line of gluten free pasta which is currently in the works made with a variety of different flours (secret recipe). A grand opening and website is coming soon.
Patio and Seats: A few tables and chairs will be set up out front when whether permits.
Licensed : No
Type of Restaurant: Quick-service, take-out.