Ancaster Mill- Sunday Brunch Review

Ancaster Mill

ancastermill.ca
584 Old Dundas Road

Parking- Yes
Reservations- Yes

Last weekend I got the opportunity to finally have one of my favourite annual traditions- the Sunday brunch at Ancaster Mill. Technically, I usually go to Spencer’s, but ever since we had my Dad’s 60th during the Mill’s brunch it has become my new go to. Spencer’s and Ancaster Mill are owned by the same group so their brunches are both stellar.

Here’s the gist of it: $49/person and you MUST make reservations. This is not the time to be spontaneous. Plan the event a few weeks ahead, book your table and dress nice. Both Spencer’s and Ancaster Mill are fine dining restaurants and a good excuse to change out of your yoga pants. The service is great at both, although I have to say Ancaster Mill is more consistent and attentive. Probably because it is smaller as well and easier for the servers to keep track of you.

There is a layout through the main dining rooms of a cold charcuterie section, fresh fruit and salads and cold seafood bar with FRESHLY SHUCKED OYSTERS! You can bet I stood in front of the oyster dude for an uncomfortable amount of time. There is also a section of fresh juices and hot chocolate although there are unlimited champagne cocktails, tea and coffee including in the price. I am very partial to their Kir Royales mostly because I feel very fancy drinking them. In the same large dining room as the cold foods there are various breads, baked goods and preserves.

 

In the smaller dining room there is the hot bar with a carving station and various different warm options including made to order omelettes, crepes and waffles. My personal favourite from this area are the pierogies. They have all the makings of the perfect food: fresh soft dough, butter, potatoes, cheese and sour cream.

Finally you arrive at the real reason you came in the first place, the dessert table. So there are a lot of delicious options including various cakes, pies, cookies and tarts. They always seem to have warm bread pudding and apple crumble. You MUST TRY THEIR HOMEMADE MARSHMALLOWS! I know it seems weird and you will wonder, “why did I pay $50 to eat marshmallows?”. Well because homemade marshmallows do not taste like anything you have ever eaten before. Those dipped in their chocolate fountain are like a heavenly opera in your mouth. You’re welcome.

Everyone has different taste, but below I have compiled a list of consistent hits and missed in the buffet based on a consensus from family and friends.

Greatest Hits:
Cold seafood table: I already mentioned the oysters, but they also have crab legs, shrimp, sushi, smoked salmon and pickled herring as well as a seafood salad. Normally I would feel a bit grossed out by the idea of a seafood salad and would be thinking it is a quick ticket to food poisoning. If you are ever going to have this dish done well in a landlocked place like Ontario, it is here. Favourite from this station: smoked salmon and pickled herring.

Hot bar: Broccoli with pine nuts. Even if you don’t like broccoli, try this, it is deliciously done. I have already sang my praises of the pirogies, but let me take this time to emphasize the need to take the sour cream to it with it. SOMEONE (cough cough husband) did not take sour cream and stole the last of MY sour cream to eat his pierogies with. The sour cream is right there people, use it. Things that I personally don’t enjoy but have been told by others are amazing: shepherd’s pie, honey glazed ham and bacon.

Crepe station: The crepes are awesome, but I do think you have to get a little creative. They only serve nutella or mixed berry and don’t have a lot of toppings other than whipped cream. However, if you take your crepe a few steps down to the ice cream bar area, you can go nuts (literally) with the topping bar for the ice cream. Pro tip- ask the crepe maker for extra nutella- you can never have enough nutella.

Whomp Whomp- Misses:

Waffle station: They make these in advance and they are a bit soggy. Don’t hold a candle to the crepes.

Salad bar: I am actually a salad fan, but this salad bar didn’t do it for me. Largely frequented by a small group of terrified “I’m gluten-dairy-soy-fat-and-calorie-sensitive” females who seem to have accidentally found themselves at this buffet, this area is best minimally sampled.

Bread bar: OK I am torn on this. Their breads and baked goods are actually pretty amazing. But ask yourself, do you really want to fill up on bread in this situation. Again if you are a certain SOMEONE who accompanied me last time, you will fill up on bread and then judge others who saved room for bread. Don’t be that someone.

This review is specifically for their Sunday brunch, stay tuned for a dinner review!

Overall rating: 5/5

Service: 5/5

Food: 5/5

Ambience: 5/5

Working in Medicine ruins Stuff: Edition 1- Television

When you decide to go to medical school there are a lot of sacrifices you know you will be making. You know that you will have to work extreme hours, go without sleep for 24-30 hours at a time on a weekly basis and that you will leave with crippling debt. You may not know then that all your relationships will have to take a back seat to your work a lot of the time and that you are sacrificing a decade of your life, but that understanding comes quickly.

These are the things I knew, but then there were the unexpected sacrifices. Edition 1 of those unexpected things- TV shows. It may sound silly and trivial to complain that your TV watching experience has been forever altered by your work and it probably is, but it’s my blog and I complain about what I want! Before I decided to go into medicine, one of my favourite shows was House. I loved the show and watched it all, even the horrendous and best ignored Season 8. When you love someone or something, you are willing to ignore their embarrassing attempts to stay relevant. Like when your Dad starts saying “what is going up?” to your friends when they come over. Oh immigrant dads…

Anyway, over the last week and half I have been sick and that meant I actually was forced to lie down for extended periods of time. I ended up aimlessly scrolling through Netflix looking for something to distract me when I came across House and decided to start rewatching it. I was expecting some gentle nostalgia and was interested to see how the show came across now that I was actually a doctor myself. I did not get gentle nostalgia. What followed were waves of panic and anxiety followed by outrage at House’s actions. I have a new sympathy for Lisa Cuddy trying to corral this monster.

Can you really say you are “always right” if you were wrong about thirty times before you got to the right answer? On the show everyone is always defending House’s shittiness because “he always gets the diagnosis in the end”. Also, apparently he can diagnose rare and crazy things that no one else can. Except that we do diagnose these things all the time. They might be rare, but that doesn’t mean we never learn about them or see them. House is usually wrong about his diagnosis at least 4 times in the first 40 minutes before he eventually gets the right diagnosis. Every time he insists he is right and is totally confident. I know you have a big ego, but doesn’t being wrong 4/5 times make you question the possibility that perhaps you got it wrong this time? The worst part is that in a lot of the shows, he probably would have gotten the diagnosis originally if they didn’t insist on ignoring the history and physical exam and bloodwork. Instead they sit around brainstorming and inevitably House will say “no time to test! Just treat for the illness”. What in actual heck? Seeing as the probability is your diagnosis is wrong and you are probably going to make the person more sick for the next 3-4 days, why don’t we spend the 30 seconds to draw blood and order a rush in the lab to test?

Case in point: In season 1 episode 16, a young overweight girl comes in with a heart attack. Let’s back track to the basic presenting history. Apparently, this girl has been having headaches, difficulty concentrating and has had intractable weight gain despite changes in diet and exercise. She is way off her growth chart. And oh yeah, she looks totally Cushingoid. How did this get ignored for all this time? Who does not think pituitary tumour? Yet this girl almost has a mastectomy because everyone is too busy rambling on about fat phobia and diet pills. This is the worst team ever.

In the final episode of season 1, House treats his ex-girlfriends husband. He has intermittent abdominal pain, anxiety and personality changes and some neuropathy. This dude gets subjected to so many unnecessary invasive tests. His presenting complaints are LITERALLY the classic triad for porphyria which he ultimately gets diagnosed with. Isn’t he supposed to have two board certifications? Plus he has 3 other specialists on the team. This department needs to get it’s funding cut. The worst part is the crazy claim that they can only confirm the attack by inducing one and then driving a needle into his bladder to test. Umm no. That is unnecessary. Oh, you say he doesn’t have time and may not survive the next attack? Perhaps that is because you were so busy misdiagnosing him and giving him treatments that made him worse. Dude walked into the show smiling, making jokes and having dinner with his wife and by the end was paralyzed and getting stabbed in the bladder by a psychopath with a wrinkly shirt.

 

I still like the show, Hugh Laurie is amazing and I like the back stories as well. I just did not expect to have most of the fun and mystery sucked out of it. 10 minutes into the schizophrenia episode in Season 1 and I was like, has anyone tested this woman for Wilson’s disease? Seriously, I am the worst now. I know most medical TV shows are not made to be very realistic (Grey’s Anatomy anyone?), but it’s still disappointing to have them forever ruined. Interestingly, the most realistic medical show I have ever seen is Scrubs. Luckily that is also on Netflix so I am ready for my next binge!