Toronto's location close to some of Canada's most bountiful growing regions for fruits, vegetables and proteins means the slow food movement is common to the ethos of the city's best restaurant kitchens. Chef Jamie Kennedy is one of the fathers of Toronto's focus on local ingredients prepared in ways that allow their natural flavours to dominate dishes.
Chef Jamie Kennedy's Celebration of Tomatoes — Photo courtesy of Jamie Kennedy Kitchens
Currently manning the stoves at his Gilead Cafe and Bistro, Kennedy's fall menu draws upon beets, root vegetables, kale, apples, red peppers and other locally harvested produce from nearby farming communities in Niagara and Stratford. Over the coming weeks, Gilead diners will find fall-inspired small plates on the affordably priced menu including Kennedy's Jerusalem artichoke soup, vegetarian chili and Celebration of Tomatoes.
If you're interested in seasonal, locally sourced food, then visit the place that practically invented it. Greens Restaurant in San Francisco has been serving fantastic vegetarian meals since 1979, way before "locally sourced" became so hip. All of the ingredients at Greens are picked right across the Golden Gate Bridge at the Green Gulch Zen Center. If they can't pick it, you don't eat it.
Greens Restaurant — Photo courtesy of Wikimedia
Besides providing the ingredients for dishes such as the ricotta corn cakes or fig and caramelized onion pizza, The Zen Center also trains many of the restaurant's servers. You can expect a staff that takes the Zen principle of service towards others very seriously.
And, if that's not enough, did we mention that Greens has one of the best waterfront views in all of San Francisco?
The Miramonte Resort & Spa in Indian Wells is Palm Springs' premier destination for wellness, so it's fitting that the onsite restaurant, The Grove Artisan Kitchen, is renowned for blazing the slow food trail in the Coachella Valley. Executive Chef Robert Nyerick's farm-to-table philosophy drives The Grove Artisan Kitchen's seasonal menus of California-inspired cuisine, which uses meats, poultry and produce from local farms.
The Grove Artisan Kitchen — Photo courtesy of Miramonte Resort & Spa
In addition to working with a network of local farmers to obtain the freshest ingredients, The Grove also has an onsite garden where herbs, citrus and olives are homegrown and handpicked daily. The herb garden is the source of the restaurant's chocolate mint, the main ingredient of The Grove's signature mojito.
Dallas has played a major role in bringing sustainable and organic farming and ranching methods to Texas restaurants. One of the best places to try local regional cuisine is Whiskey Cake Kitchen and Bar in the northern suburb of Plano. This wonderful spot serves up Texan comfort food, and it takes pride in its delicious farm-to-kitchen dishes and cocktails.
Whiskey Cake — Photo courtesy of Whiskey Cake Facebook page
Diners who want to try local foods that are slow-cooked on a live wood grill, spit and smoker will not be disappointed at this local gem. Some of the seasonal fall ingredients there include grilled spicy Texas okra, roasted corn succotash and prime top sirloin.