Ho-Lee Harvey Os-mo-licious! Well, gang, the week is here and, as predicted, the show is all but sold out (haven’t checked messages yet today, but those last few seats at the bar are likely full by now as well…) So, did you miss it? Well, if so, we are sorry, but, to be fair, we really did try to warn you… But if, even after our repeated warnings you are still feeling left out of the super big deal music show this Thursday, I would like to offer up a little bit of a ‘consolation prize’, or maybe we should call it an ‘incredibly viable set of alternatives’ in the form of two awesome choices for music on Friday and Saturday… Friday we have Yukon, by way of Perth, Ontario’s Kate Weekes with her pal, stride piano legend Grant Simpson; come out and‘swing your folk off' with this eclectic catchy and upbeat duo—On Saturday, a true local is back home for the holidays; Laura Beach(aka ‘Twin Voices’), native ‘Kempt-villain’, current Montreal-er and occasional resident of, er, ‘Etc., Canada?’ …is here teaming up with her pal Geoff ‘Gunner &’ Smith—their shows will include lots of wow-factor looping technique, songs filled with emotion and provocative imagery and sweet magic harmony to scratch your folk-indie itch!
On the food side of things… Chicken and Dumplings are back! I can’t let American Thanksgiving pass without a sweet potato dish (if you were from the South, you’d understand…) Come have a taste of my sweet potato dumplings this weekend… If you like them, I have included the recipe for the dumplings at the end of this newsletter… FYI, we use gluten free flour these days; it works about the same…
In case you haven't seen it yet... here is the link to our episode of You Gotta Eat Here! Our segment starts at 14 minutes... there are some commercials, but the last third of the show is all us…
Along with our signature items (listed here), our in-house menu includes specials that change weekly or even more often depending on seasonal availability...
Soups of the Day are always made from scratch using fresh ingredients, cup, $2.99; bowl, $5.99
Green Salad: greens, shredded fresh veggies, seeds, choice of dressing: creamy ‘Branch’ or apple cider vinaigrette, small, $2.99; regular, $5.99, dinner sized $11.99
Caesar Salad: Romaine lettuce, parmesan cheese, bacon, tomato-garlic Caesar dressing, croutons, $7.99
Chips & Dips: corn chips, with sour cream, housemade salsa & guacamole, $8.99
Taco Salad (dinner size only): choice of smoked beef brisket, house-roasted chicken, or smoked tofu, with greens, cheese, salsa, sour cream, guacamole, beans, and corn chips; dinner sized only, $16.99
Entrees: all entrees come with cornbread and a choice of soup (Caesar salad, add $.99) or salad...
Texas BBQ Plate: all BBQ Plates come with housemade bbq sauce, mashed potatoes, slaw, beans, onions & pickles $22.99; choose one of the following (add a second choice for $3.99):
- Beef Brisket: OUR SPECIALTY! Heaps of tender 100% local hardwood smoked and braised beef from the Wallace Beef Co-op.
- Smoked Tofu & Portobello: with peppers and onions.
- 1/2 Chicken: (or choose either 1 piece white meat or 2 pieces dark) from Lyon's Family Farm
Chicken and Dumplings: morsels of herb roasted chicken, sweet potato gnocchi, garlic, veggies, brown butter, lemon juice, chutney and parmesan cheese $21.99
Blackened Trout: locally farmed rainbow trout filets, cast-iron seared with Cajun spices, served with veggie etouffée, rice and remoulade, $21.99
Steak Special: ask your server...
Brisket Poutine: A heaping portion of roasted potato wedges, house-smoked brisket, cheese curds and gravy $18.99
Branchburger: (does not include choice of soup or salad) 1/3 pound 100% local, naturally raised beef, thick & juicy, on a toasted bun with tomato-garlic mayo, grainy mustard, lettuce, onion, tomato; with roasted potato wedges, more aioli for dipping, and pickles, $13.99 ($10.99, with $.99 toppings Friday and Saturday, 5-7pm only) Add:
• cheese: $2.49
• guacamole: $1.50
• bacon: $1.99
• blue cheese: $2.99
• jalapenos: $.99
• fried egg: $1.99
• sautéed mushrooms or onions: $.99
• gluten-free Kaiser $.99
please note: our famous burgers are fresh ground locally, in a small facility; as such, we are comfortable serving them ‘medium’, a.k.a. ‘a little pink’. If you have another preference, please let us know and we will prepare it to your liking.
*Veggieburger available on request, try our house-made vegan and gluten free black bean patty!
*Paleobranchburger! Our own housemade paleo bun, all beef burger with all the fixin’s (lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, grainy mustard and remoulade) with a carb free Caesar salad on the side $14.99
Sticky Toffee Cake: with caramel sauce and real whipped cream, $5.99
Nicole's Magic Mousse: super rich chocolate mousse cake with a cookie crust... how the heck is this thing vegan?! Magic, of course... Nicole Magic. 6.99
Apple Crisp: local apples, caramel sauce, real whipped cream $5.99
What’s the scoop? Add a single scoop of ice cream to any of the above (or enjoy it on its own), $1.49
*all our housemade desserts are 100% gluten free!
BBQ Bonanza!! Come check out our Wednesday and Thursday special! The meal includes a choice of our famous house-smoked beef brisket or a roast 1/2 chicken from Lyon’s Family Farm in Spencerville, mashed potatoes, BBQ sauce and slaw… it is available every Wednesday and Thursday, from 5pm to 8pm, it is hot and ready when you are, and either plate is only $15.99. That's right, just freakin' $15.99! (Dine in or take home…)
Friday and Saturday:
Burger Bonanza!! Join us this and every Friday and Saturday between 5 and 7pm for a Burg-o-rama! We chargrill a big pile of burgers over real hardwood on the Big Black Smoker, serve them (with all the usual fixings, including lettuce, tomatoes, onions, roasted potato wedges and housemade pickles, mustard and tomato-garlic aioli...) It's all for just $10.99, with any of our add-ons (cheese, bacon, blue cheese, onions, mushrooms, even a fried egg!) for just 99 cents each! Dine in or take it home, but remember, the special price is only on Fridays and Saturdays between 5 and 7pm… (as always, gluten free, paleo and vegetarian versions are also available…).
Family Takeout Dinner, $44.99: Designed to feed a family of four, our takeout dinner now comes with a roasted 1/2 chicken (from Lyon's Family Farm), 3/4 pound of our famous 100% hardwood smoked beef brisket, a side of seasonal veggies, a tub each of black beans, mashed potatoes and coleslaw, our own zippy BBQ sauce and cornbread… The full dinner is hot and ready for pickup between 4 and 6pm, Wednesday through Saturday, if you call before 3pm. Add some Mac n’ Cheese for the kiddos for just $4.99.
Thursday 27 ~ LeE HARVeY OsMOND, roots/'acid folk', 9pm, $45+hst. We are very excited to announce one of our biggest musical events to date; LeE HARVeY OsMOND! The show is on Thursday, November 27th at 8:30pm, tickets are $45+hst, and advance tickets are required for this show.
If you are unfamiliar with Tom Wilson (the creative force behind LHO), he is a veteran of the Canadian music scene and has been a writer and performer for many years. Wilson's eclectic musical style has ranged from the psychobilly/ R&B sounds of The Florida Razors, to the western/roots style of Blackie and the Rodeo Kings and the funk/blues inspired rock of Junkhouse. LeE HARVeY OsMOND is his most recent project, a collaborative effort with members of The Cowboy Junkies and The Skydiggers. FYI: this show is, as of this writing, ALMOST SOLD OUT. (as in, less than 6 seats left…)
Friday 28 ~ Kate Weekes and Grant Simpson, Yukon folk, 9pm, $10. Grant Simpson is a well-seasoned pro, he's been at it for over 30 years starting out by studying classical piano and guitar in his teens, (it's obvious that he really knows his way around his instruments) and nowadays leaning more towards traditional jazz (stride piano), blues and folk--he brings that upbeat style to some fun, crafty and swingin' originals, most recently on a duo record 'Beneath the Yukon Moon' with another talented musician who also happens to have some local pedigree: Kate Weekes comes by her musical chops naturally, born into a Perth area musical family, she hitchhiked across Canada in her teens and landed in the Yukon, where she has apparently also become fairly well known as a dog musher... I'm from Texas, so I'm not exactly sure what that means, but I presume it's a good thing, since folks seem to be pretty pleased about it... the point is, they are both a couple of those travelling, picking (banjo and guitar), plinking, (piano-ing?) singing, song-writing characters that always, eventually seem to find their way to the Branch at some point and we couldn't be more pleased to host them this Friday; Nicole and I booked them within a few minutes of watching this video linked below a few years ago and I expect you'll book a spot for yourself once you do the same: Here’s a taste of their biography:
“Yukon-based Simpson and Weekes have spent the past few years building a repertoire that blends folk and swing as they toured together in B.C., performed at the 2010 Nanjing International Jazz Festival in China and will head out in November, 2011 on their third tour of the Canadian prairies.
Discography from this duo includes Simpson’s solo piano cd “Stride & True”(2004) and “Born 40 Years Too Late” with New Orleans North(2006). Weekes released her self-titled album in 2007 which made her the recipient of the Mac Beattie award for songs dubbed ‘quintessentially Canadian’. She released an album of northern fiddle tunes with Yukon band Home Sweet Home in 2011.”
watch the video here!
Saturday 29 ~ Gunner & Smith/Twin Voices (Laura Beach), indie-folk, 9pm, $10: Gunner & Smith officially began as a project in 2010 started by Geoff Smith, a folk artist from Saskatoon, SK. The project has since developed into a six-piece band that, “carry a full, hard-hitting sound that is both expansive and lush” (Chris Morin, Ominocity), but has also maintained the simplicity of a singer-songwriter, as Smith often performs alone allowing his, “careful approach to songcraft” (Jeanette Stewart, The StarPhoenix) to be displayed in a more intimate manner.
Gunner & Smith released a six song EP, Compromise is a Loaded Gun in August 2012 and two new singles in April of 2013. Gunner & Smith has shared the stage with artists such as The Deep Dark Woods, Del Barber, Mike Edel, Jordan Klassen, Nick Everett, Owls by Nature, Picture the Ocean and many more.
This Saturday, Geoff will be sharing the stage with hometown talent Laura Beach, aka ‘Twin Voices’, “Twin Voices is an indie folk project with roots in the Ottawa Valley and wings in Saskatoon and Montreal. Lead member Laura Beach crafts a dark and lovely sound with imagery that draws on a life well-lived between small towns and cityscapes. Live-looping of violin, voice and guitar make for a performance that is equal parts stunning simplicity and playful complexity.”
Sunday 30 ~ Open Mic, 3-6pm, no cover, Rubber Boots Buffet 2-8pm, $14.99. For those who are new to the clan, the Sunday Open Mic/Rubber Boots Buffet is a family friendly, fun, community day that welcomes musicians of all skill levels. We mix up the music schedule a bit with guest hosts like Greg Kelly and the occasional 'Birthday Tribute' events, where participants are encouraged to play songs by an artist whose birthday is on or near the Sunday in question; While all that happens, the Rubber Boots Buffet is being served... it is an all day, all you can eat comfort food extravaganza (other menus such as pub grub, kids and a dessert menu are also available) and the whole day is a place where you can meet your neighbours, come in for a beer or a pot of tea, stay for a bowl of homemade soup and a song or two and leave with, well, a whole new batch of friends. Everyone is welcome—and yes, that means you! We’d love to see you this Sunday…
Friday, December 12 ~ Terry Gillespie and Lyndell Montgomery, roots/blues, 9pm, $10. TERRY GILLESPIE - "Canada's King Of Roots Blues" - from Vankleek Hill, Ontario is knockin’ ‘em dead with his new CD “Bluesoul”.
“Typically, the average life of a record today is 4 months, looking back on the promotion for “Bluesoul” the radio portion of the promotion has lasted for a period of 8 months, that is twice the average life of a release in today’s market place commencing November 2013 and ending June 2014, the press/reviews aspect of “Bluesoul” which continued to garner reviews up to September 2014 for a period of 11 months. Almost 3 times the norm. Needless to say, I can comfortably say that the promotion for “Bluesoul” was a success, actually beyond my expectations.” Frank Rozak Radio Promotions, California, USA
TERRY GILLESPIE is known for his love of rhythm, musical intensity and soulful voice. He is considered a forefather of the cultural dissemination of American music into Canada. The highly regarded critic Tim Holek has called him "Canada’s King of Roots Music". From the beginning of Gillespie’s foray in to the music industry he was never interested in being a pop star. He just wanted to play music. His goal was to get inside the music he loved, to learn the notes and nuances of the songs. Gillespie wanted to be able to deconstruct the complexities of jazz, blues and African music in order to bring it to people and allow the listener to also get inside the music and be lost among each note, each phrase, each groove and each lyric. He has been called a musical Shaman and Mr.Groove for good reason - his live performances are fascinating, entertaining and captivating. He is both charismatic and soulful. His guitar is tasteful and his vocals beautifully phrased. Dec. 12th at The Branch Restaurant he will be joined by LYNDELL MONTGOMERY on bass and fiddle. “Terry Gillespie with Lyndell Montgomery is spectacular." Chris White, co-founder & AD 1994-2009 Ottawa Folk Festival
John Vermilyea, Blues Underground Network, CANADA
“"..one hell of a good album, 5*****... highly recommended and thoroughly enjoyed”
Doug Spike, Blue Monday Monthly, USA
“Bluesoul belongs in every blues lover’s collection”
Joachim “Joe” Brookes for RockTimes Magazine, GERMANY
“..excellent originality… intricate rhythms from blues to jazz to boogie-woogie to rock and roll fusion”
Graham Clarke for of Blues Bytes USA
“..versatile blues and roots from a seasoned vet who should be a lot better known than he is beyond the Canadian border”
Rustic Sweet Potato Gnocchi
Growing up in Texas, my family's Thanksgiving was never complete without a casserole of sweet potatoes baked with marshmallows…I have outgrown the marshmallows but still love the sweet richness of a sweet potato (sometimes sold as a yam) on this day of family and memory. For this Italian country recipe, set aside ideas of perfect looking, exact-sized pillows of gnocchi. These dumplings are charmingly rustic, delicious, and very easy to make. Substitute winter squash such as butternut or pie pumpkin for a different twist.
2 medium sized sweet potatoes
1 cup flour
boiling salted water
Rub the sweet potatoes with salt and oil, pierce the skins with a fork. Bake the sweet potatoes on a separate pan in the same oven as the duck; or alternately, bake in a 400 degree oven for 35-45 minutes.
When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, scrape the flesh out of the skins into a mixing bowl; mash the flesh, work in the eggs and then the flour to form a thick batter. Do not overwork. Drop a spoonful of the batter (like you would spoon cookie dough) into boiling water a few at a time. If the gnocchi break apart in the water, add a bit more flour to the batter. Cook the gnocchi for about three minutes or until they float, remove with a slotted spoon and cool. Use the gnocchi anywhere you would use a dumpling, spaetzle or pasta with your favourite sauce and sides… Enjoy!
That’s all for now, thanks for reading!
Bruce & Nicole
ONE LAST THING: like great food and music? The Branch is always looking for the best of the best folks to come and join our team... consider dropping off your resume today!