In the Town of Minto, Ontario (population under 9,000) lies an unassuming restaurant that offers pandesal specials: pandesal bruschetta, pulled pork slider, pandesal garlic toast and pandesal BLT. Among its breakfast and lunch staples is also a particularly Filipino dish – crispy adobo rice bowl.
Cardeno’s Grill sits on the Harriston junction in Minto which lies between Toronto and Lake Huron, one of the five Great Lakes of North America. Harriston is a town travelers usually pass by, not one considered as a destination. But owner Gardian Cardeno and his family hope that the Grill will make visitors stay longer.
“Our pandesal bruschetta is top of the line, closely followed by the pulled pork pan de sal,” shares Gardian with Canadian Filipino Net.
Cardeno’s Grill recently opened in July but is slowly gaining popularity among locals and travelers. The restaurant initially served seven hours a day, six days a week. However due to popular demand, the restaurant now has longer hours: 8 a.m. till 4 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays with plans on offering a dinner menu.
Gardian, his mother Nancy and sister Fenny hail from another small town in Davao del Norte called Barangay Patrocenio in the City of New Corella, almost an hour away from city proper by habal-habal (motorcycle). Mom Nancy always knew Gardian would be good at business and at age 19, Gardian opened his first business in Tagum City, selling packaged food for travelers.
The family migrated to Canada in 2015, first settling in Mississauga. In an interview with SouthwesternOntario.ca, Gardian recalled: “Mississauga was too much for us; too much stress, work and you didn’t have a life.” When his mom’s friend introduced them to the Town of Minto, the family went packing.
Gardian tells CFNet of Minto, “This town kind of reminds me of where I came from: it’s quiet, peaceful and away from the bustle of the city.” A year of research and planning led to the opening of Cardeno’s Grill in July. He adds, “I am now focusing on how to introduce Filipino cuisine, so I’ve started playing with our ingredients, fusing them with different cuisines might develop interesting fusion dishes.”
Gardian describes himself as “not a chef but an ordinary Filipino who loves food”. He shares with CFNet readers his recipe for Pandesal Bruschetta.
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped white onions
2 pcs pandesal
Butter for spreading
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp of chopped cilantro (optional)
-Slice pandesal in half and butter on both sides. Toast using an oven toaster or on a pan over medium heat with the buttered side down. Toast for about two to three minutes.
-Toss all tomatoes, onions and cilantro. Dress with olive oil.
-Pile the mixed vegetables on the open-faced pandesal and top with cheddar and mozzarella cheese.
-Place pandesal back in the oven toaster or a pan (covered with a lid) on medium heat and toast until the cheese has melted.