The County Food Co., – Stratford, Canada

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"Can one desire too much of a good thing?" 

–As You Like It, Shakespeare


Part store, part carry out/lunch deli and part restaurant, The County Food Co. in Stratford, Ontario, Canada, is all about local products. There are racks of packaged products, a salad bar, deli cases of potpies, prepared foods and desserts, along with tables to seat about 20 diners. Blackboard walls behind the counter tout local suppliers, craft beers and daily goodies. 

The menu features offerings from the deli cases as well as made-to-order sandwiches and specials. The brunch items on Sunday morning were particularly appealing – neither of us could pass up the "Country Food Special," house-made potato pancakes topped with smoked salmon, basted eggs and tomato salsa.

Now you might think that the combination of potato pancakes, smoked salmon, eggs and tomato salsa is odd. If it had been a traditional salsa I would agree, since the other elements are almost standard in many cultures. Think boxy, if you lean toward Irish styles. A traditional Polish breakfast or dinner may also combine any of these ingredients, but you don't often find the tomato salsa as a part of the deal.

As cultures collide, combine and blend, different ingredients and flavor profiles come together to form delicious combinations. When you take a traditional thing like salsa and twist it to be more of a fresh tomato salad, it becomes a light, zippy condiment that breaks through the strong, even heavy, elements of the dish. It works with each component individually, as well as in concert with the group.

This wasn't a meal that you walk away from thinking, "I need just a little more…" In fact, you’ll roll away thinking, "I think I'll skip lunch." But your brain and tongue will be begging for more.