Photo credit: Jennifer Olvera
A pop up meat shop located in the off season of a beloved local ice cream haven? How is this even possible?
Dropping in to the familiar face of Bolton’s Happy Days Ice Cream Shoppe, replete with its candy pink striped walls and splash of exposed brick, I am pleasantly surprised at what I find. The ice cream freezers have been coolly converted to become home to a frozen food counter. Welcome to Miller’s Meats, Bolton’s first truly authentic pop up shop.
The freezer cases are teeming with beautifully marbled Triple AAA steaks, venison sausages, bison burgers, short ribs and even some wild B.C. salmon. One has to look really closely to realize these packages are even frozen, but they are. The flash freezing process and the high-quality vacuum packaging is spot on in protecting the integrity and the quality of the food products. This is obviously very evident to the eye.
To be honest, I’m not a particularly huge fan of pre-packaged frozen meat. That’s because by the time I pull it out of the freezer they look like I need to call in a forensics team to figure out what it is. In a leap of faith and curiosity, I decide to put Miller’s Meats to the test and I purchase an 8-ounce classic New York striploin and a 4 pack of 6-8-ounce short ribs.
Chatting with owner Dave Miller, I learn that he has been a long-time purveyor of high quality meats, primarily to the restaurant industry. Some of his Caledon clients include Ray’s Third Generation (R3G) and the Belfountain Inn. Having eaten at both of those restaurants and being familiar with the caliber of the fare, only served to raise the bar for my expectations of the quality of Miller’s offerings.
Working with Chef Thorntin Macdonald of the Belfountain Inn and Bistro Riviere in Erin, Miller’s has recently broadened its existing inventory by adding a small array of prepared foods such as classic savory pot pies, curried chicken and old school Shepherd’s Pie.
Freezer bundles and packages are a staple of the shop’s offerings and options can be found listed up on the chalkboard, along with pricing. As I chatter with Dave he tells me that, with a little notice, he’s happy to customize a freezer bundle. If a customer wants a fresh, not frozen product, again with a little notice, Miller’s is happy to accommodate. It becomes apparently clear in our meet and greet that personalized customer service is front of mind for Miller’s Meats.
So how did my purchases fare in the kitchen? The striploin, which I defrosted in my fridge and cooked using a reverse sear, seasoned only with salt and pepper, was extremely tender and moist. The sinewy texture that I often find in frozen meat wasn’t the case here. As for those short ribs, I hauled out my Dutch oven and braised those babies in some balsamic, brown sugar and red wine and served them atop a bed of garlic mashed potatoes. Yes sir, we have a winner here.
Miller’s Meats is located at 5 Queen St. N., Bolton (Happy Days Ice Cream Shoppe) 519-215-6488. Open every day but Monday. Visit on Facebook for hours of operation.