For the past two winters there have been two things on the top of my 'blogs-to-do' list: 1) Eat a really, really good steak; and 2) Go to one of the Foster's Inn Dinner Concert Sessions. Luckily, Foster's Inn is Stratford's best place to enjoy a steak, so I was able to scratch both of these off my list when I finally made it out to one of these musical dining experiences.
The fact that I hadn't been to a Dinner Concert Session yet was not through a lack of trying. In fact, I've attempted on at least three past occasions to book a table for one of these bi-weekly winter events, only to find out they had been sold-out long in advance. With previous acts like Luke Doucete, Madison Violet, and Oh Susanna, it's no wonder scoring a table at these gigs is such a hot ticket!
But thankfully my steak-lovin' wing-man for the evening Brendon Lyoness (above) had the foresight to book us a table well in advance for one of the recent Sessions featuring singer/songwriter Craig Cardiff. If anyone knows how popular and busy these concerts are it's Brendon: he is a server at Foster's and always works the Thursday night shows - this was his first as a patron!
If you're lucky enough to get a table it's a really great deal: $45 gets you a delicious and satisfying meal plus entry for the concert (which you get to enjoy from one of the best seats in the house!). For $99 you get all that and one of Foster's Inn's upstairs rooms for the night, with breakfast in the morning!
I kicked off the "Dinner" part of the night with a curried lentil soup garnished with a crunchy papadum. One of my favourites, it really got the tastebuds working in preparation for the star of the show...
I was outed a long time ago as Stratford's worst vegetarian, but the fact is I only eat meat when I know it is going to be stellar, and Foster's has a strong reputation for serving the best steak in town. I was totally up for trying one of Foster's legendary steaks for myself, and I made sure I got the full experience by ordering it rare. Bloody. Still mooing. It was truly gorgeous: Foster's claim to fame as our city's premier steak spot is clearly well-earned.
The "Concert" phase of the evening saw the actual star of the show taking to the stage: singer/songwriter Craig Cardiff:
Craig's musical talent is only paralleled by his sense of humour; he had me laughing all night, in particular when he was joking with the rowdy bachelorette party table sitting right in front of him (all of whom immediately admitted to being chronic shoplifters when targeted by his laser-like wit).
I'm going try to hit at least one of the Dinner Concert Sessions again before the season ends: on March 1st Stratford songstress Dayna Manning will be playing; on April 5th Emm Gryner will be taking to the stage; and on April 19th String Bone will be playing along with Destroy All Robots (there are also shows on May 3rd & 17th).