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Posted by on Jul 3, 2013 | 1 comment

Canton Food Tours: Our Stop-by-Stop Guide

Canton Food Tours: Our Stop-by-Stop Guide

Canton Food Tours has been on our “must-do” list for a long time now. So, when the planets aligned and we were able to gather a group of foodie/artsy/all-around-creative friends, we jumped at the chance to go on a private Warehouse District tour of downtown Canton. Barb Abbott, founder of Canton Food Tours, was our personal guide; she’s awesome and couldn’t have been have provided a better experience for our group. Here’s a stop-by-stop guide of how our evening unfolded (and be sure to scroll down for LOTS of pics):

Classic shot looking north from the Canton Club

STOP 1: The Canton Club (top of the Chase Building)
With its amazing city views, rich history, and delicious farm-to-fork food, this was the perfect way to start the evening. The Canton Club’s Master Chef Kent Welsh is the 2nd youngest master chef in North America, and we loved hearing about his travels and experiences in Vermont, Sonoma, France and elsewhere. We also loved the light summer meal he prepared – so much detail! He was able to elevate a humble “soup and sandwich” to something truly unforgettable, using seasonal greens & fresh seafood, and even making his own AMAZING multigrain croissants, all paired perfectly with a glass of Pinot Grigio.

*Fun fact: Barb said she’s never seen him serve the same thing twice to a group of food tourers!

{Sidenote: Although the title says “food tour,” don’t be fooled, because you get to see some iconic Canton spots and take in tidbits of the city’s history you probably didn’t know. Such as: The NFL was dreamed up and started in an old car dealership in downtown Canton, as was the very first vacuum (prior to Hoover’s patent).}

STOP 2: Lucca
A spot both have us have visited before, and for good reason. Lucca has a lovely space, and we’re big fans of Chef Josh Schory’s farm-to-table approach: he sources veggies locally and gets fish delivered to his restaurant within 36 hours of being caught. They have a menu that changes every few weeks and a killer drink menu. However, for a couple of food lovers wanting to expand our palates, the bruschetta was a little ho-hum, leaving us wanting to taste the innovative dishes he described while he talked to our group.

STOPS 3 & 4: Elemental Arts & Colette Wasdahl Design Studio
Two of our favorite stops had nothing to do with food at all, actually. The first was Elemental Arts, which we had visited once before and become acquainted “in real life” with owner and furniture maker John Strauss (as is the case more and more, we’re meeting people through Twitter first). Even though John wasn’t there this time (he was on vacay – how dare he?), it was probably for the best – he didn’t have to watch us once again drool over the pieces in his Lakeshore Collection. But seriously, you must go to Elemental Arts; John’s furniture is to-die-for gorgeous.

The spot where Colette sews, mends and creates. Awesome vintage machines.The second non-food stop was a few stairs up from Elemental Arts, at Colette Wasdahl’s fashion design studio and vintage clothing boutique. Colette has an interesting, and responsible, take on fashion. She said, “I thought to myself, do we need more clothes in this world, when there are already so many good items?” From that perspective, she started finding quality, vintage items and turning them into new pieces, or selling them as they were because of their lasting style and structure.

In her studio, she actually sells hand-picked vintage hats, high-waist skirts, adult rompers, maxi dresses from the 30s, feathered hats and fedoras, among many other reclaimed and upcycled items. (Lisa says: Although my personal style doesn’t include sequined, denim, hammer-pants, I did find some beautiful skirts and dresses I’d like to go back and snag later when the group isn’t leaving us behind. If you find something you like, but want to tweak it a bit, Colette will alter it to fit your style and body. So awesome.)

*Fun fact: for all of you looking to be a domestic goddess, like Collyn, Colette offers an hour and a half of sewing lessons for $20! That’s a huge deal, in case you weren’t aware. She’ll personalize each lesson to accommodate what you know, and what you are looking to know. In ADDITION to that, she told us that she is happy to inspect a sewing machine you are looking to purchase, to let you know if it’s a good buy, how nice is that?

*Bonus fun fact: Colette has made it to the final 100 on Project Runway tryouts twice, and she’s planning to try again. Go Colette!!!!

STOP 5: Deli Ohio – Bonus stop
Barb arranged for us to pop in and check out the brand new Deli Ohio. This is a new downtown spot committed to locally sourced ingredients, such as their Great Lakes Burning River Bacon (mmm, bacon), which we were able to sample. Yes, it is as amazing as it sounds. The well-traveled owners have a complete vision, from the menu to decor to location. It’s great to see people from Northeast Ohio COME BACK to the area and bring the best of their experiences elsewhere with them. Our group of gals are already sold on Deli Ohio.

STOP 6: Picciano’s
This downtown Canton speakeasy is a longtime fave of ours. On this visit, we tried mini versions of their Pomegranate martini and Secret Locket martini, grapefruity and perfect for summer. They also provided a nice cheese and horseradish mustard snack; more food is always welcome. For those of you looking to try Picciano’s for the first time, you won’t find a sign for it (it initially was an accident but they decided to roll with it) so plug in 410 Market Ave N. to your GPS, or look for the health department – it’s right beside it.

STOP 7: Basil Asian Bistro
We’re both borderline regulars at Basil, so neither of us viewed it as the most exciting stop on the itinerary. HOWEVER, shame on us. Basil killed it – in presentation, effort and taste, and it was the perfect note to complete the night. First course was their tasty Salt and Pepper Calamari, followed by Spicy Thai Spaghetti, followed by Coconut-fried Banana with Chocolate. All so, so good. And we left so, so full.

Also? Tony Ly, owner of Basil, is stinkin’ adorable and super friendly, so there’s that too. :) Look at this… another fun fact: Tony will be participating in Canton’s upcoming Dancing With The Stars, so make sure to plan for that towards the end of summer.

STOP 8: Picciano’s
OK, so we tacked this one on ourselves: We loved the Secret Locket mini-martinis so much, we just HAD to go back for the full-size version. And, it was a good excuse to chat with some friends who we don’t get to see as much as we’d like. It’s our new favorite drink.

All in all, we can’t recommend Canton Food Tours enough. Whether you’re a local or just visiting, we promise you’ll love it. Barb and her staff of tour guides are knowledgeable, friendly, and super-fun to talk to. Check out our pics:

Beth, Collyn & Libby at Basil | So good to get to know Barb better! Love her. | Your Two Amused Bouches, atop the Chase Tower :) | Canton Club terrace - beautiful in bloom! | Classic shot looking north from the Canton Club | Master Chef Kent Welsh. He's awesome. | Don't be fooled; this soup/sandwich combo was killer | Sandwich close-up at Canton Club | Barb gave us some Canton history along the way | Bruschetta, meat & cheese at Lucca | The bruschetta was a bit over-toasted. Good, nonetheless. | Firestone tire mold, made into a piece of art | Fine details at Elemental Arts | John Strauss' Lakeshore Collection. Perfection. | We are obsessed with every piece Strauss creates. The details in each chair indicate the collection they are part of, although they make look the same at first glance. | How great would this spot be for a loft or living area? | The spot where Colette sews, mends and creates. Awesome vintage machines. | Vintage goodies for sale at Colette's studio | Colette's shop has plenty of space to roam and explore. | Sampling of the upcycled pieces. | This dress was once a pair of mens' swim trunks | Libby and Collyn were obsessed with this dress | Libby loved this mannequin. Clearly. | Colette Wasdahl's fashion studio | SO GITTY!! | Deli Ohio's Menu is Fantastic! Original and mouth watering. | This wall may have sparked a few in-home ideas. | Baby martinis at Picciano's | The Secret Locket was so good, we had to go back for a full size version. | Salt & pepper calamari at Basil | Thai Spaghetti - such a good dish to sample, going back for more soon! | Fried banana dessert at Basil | Beth, Collyn & Libby at Basil

Find more about Canton Food Tours online:

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1 Comment

  1. I had a great time on the food tour, definitely want to do that again! And I am definitely going to Deli Ohio again soon, that bacon was amazing!

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