Foodism - 1 - Toronto Food & Drink

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T O R O N T O , O N E B I T E AT A T I M E


Entertain your guests and their taste buds with our Green Olive Pesto Escabèche on Black Cod recipe. Just take wild black cod and fry it until the skin is crispy. Then top with a piquant sauce brimming with fresh herbs, carrots and our PC® Black Label Green Olive Pesto. Finally, add pickled onions and charred green onions to complete this elegant entrée. It’s a dish you and your guests won’t soon forget.

Green Olive Pesto Escabèche on Black Cod Pickled Red Onions: 1/4 cup (50 mL)

thinly sliced red onion

2 tbsp (25 mL)

PC ® Organics Aged Red Wine Vinegar


each salt and granulated sugar

Green Olive Pesto Escabèche: 1 tbsp (15 mL)

PC ® Black Label Green Olive Pesto

2 tbsp (25 mL)

PC ® New World EVOO Extra Virgin Olive Oil


PC ® Black Label Green Olives Stuffed with Ají Chili Pepper, diced

2 tbsp (25 mL)

roughly chopped fresh parsley


PC ® Black Label Caper Berries in Brine

2 tbsp (25 mL)

thinly sliced small carrot coins


each salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 pkg (240 g)

PC ® Sustainably Sourced Wild Black Cod Skin-On Fillets, thawed and patted dry

2 tbsp (25 mL)

PC ® New World EVOO Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/4 tsp (1mL)

each salt and freshly ground black pepper


green onions

instructions Make Pickled Red Onions: Combine onion, vinegar, salt and pepper in small bowl; set aside. Make Green Olive Pesto Escabèche: Combine pesto, 2 tbsp (25 mL) olive oil, olives, parsley, caper berries, carrots and pinch each salt and pepper in another small bowl; set aside. Slash skin side of each fish fillet diagonally in two places. Drizzle 2 tbsp (25 mL) oil all over fish; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat large cast iron frying pan over medium-high heat until hot. Cook fish skin side down 3 to 4 minutes or until skin is crispy. Turn fish and fry another 2 minutes or until crispy and flakes easily when pierced with fork. Meanwhile, add green onions to pan and cook 2 minutes, turning often, until charred. Transfer to serving platter or individual dinner plates. Spoon pesto mixture over top and drizzle around fish. Drain red onions; spoon over top and around fish. Serve with charred green onions.

Find all our fall recipes at

All trademarks & logos are trademarks of Loblaws Inc. ©2016 Loblaws Inc. All rights reserved.


In this beautifully coloured spin on the usual cream pie, a cookie crust made with PCÂŽ Black Label White Chocolate Chunk All Butter Cookies is mounded with a lavish layer of sweetened cream combined with luscious PCÂŽ Black Label Blackberry Syrup to make a Blackberry Cream Pie so divine, your guests will think you spent the summer learning to bake.

Blackberry Cream Pie INGREDIENTS 1 tbsp (15 mL)

unsalted butter

1 pkg (200 g)

PC® Black Label White Chocolate Chunk All Butter Cookies

1 bottle (236 mL) PC® Black Label Blackberry Syrup 2 pkg (each 7 g)

unflavoured gelatin

1½ cups (375 mL) very cold 35% whipping cream 1 cup (250 mL)

14% sour cream

1/4 cup (50 mL)

icing sugar

Topping: 1/2 cup (125 mL)

very cold 35% whipping cream

2 tbsp (25 mL)

icing sugar

1/2 cup (125 mL)

fresh blackberries

1 tbsp (15 mL)

granulated sugar

instructions Place mixing bowl in refrigerator to chill. Melt butter in small saucepan over medium heat; simmer 1 to 2 minutes until lightly browned and fragrant. Set aside. Pulse cookies in food processor to a fine even crumble. Transfer to 9-inch (23 cm) pie plate. Drizzle butter over top, stirring with fork to combine. Using fork or hands, pat crumbs into pan and up the side to form lightly packed cookie crust. Refrigerate at least 10 minutes. Fill small saucepan with water to come halfway up sides; bring to simmer over medium heat. Pour 1/4 cup (50 mL) of the blackberry syrup into heatproof bowl with rim just slightly larger than rim of saucepan; stir in gelatin. Set bowl over simmering water 3 to 4 minutes, stirring, until gelatin is completely dissolved. Remove from heat; gently stir in another 3 tbsp (45 mL) of the syrup until smooth. Slowly stir in all remaining syrup, returning bowl to simmering water if mixture becomes too thick or chunky; set aside in a warm draft-free place. Place whipping cream and sour cream into chilled mixing bowl. Beat with electric mixer on mediumhigh speed 1 to 2 minutes or until thick peaks form. Slowly sprinkle in icing sugar; beat to combine. Transfer syrup mixture to large bowl; add 1 cup (250 mL) of the cream mixture. Whisk until thick and smooth. Gently fold in remaining cream mixture in two additions until mixture is thick and completely combined. Pour into chilled cookie crust, smoothing top. Refrigerate at least 1-½ hours or up to 24 hours. Make Topping: Beat whipping cream with icing sugar using electric mixer just before serving until medium peaks form. Spread over top of filling in a pillowy mound, leaving 1-inch (2.5 cm) border bare around edge to show blackberry colour. Toss berries with sugar; arrange in centre of topping.

Find all our fall recipes at

All trademarks & logos are trademarks of Loblaws Inc. ©2016 Loblaws Inc. All rights reserved.

Editorial EDITOR


Lindsay Burgess COPY EDITOR

Jon Sufrin


Mike Gibson, Mark Hedley, Jon Hawkins, Lydia Winter


Matthew Hasteley LEAD DESIGNER

April Tran


Lucy Javanshir, Abigail Robinson, Bianca Stewart PHOTOGRAPHER

Ryan Faist


LIbby Roach, David Ort, Michael Di Caro, Hannah Summers, Jamie Kennedy MARKETING & PR

Seb Canape





Krista Faist CHAIRMAN

Tim Slee

foodism uses paper from sustainable sources



Earlier this year, I trekked across the city to the Depanneur, a Toronto event space that hosts pop-up dinners and culinary workshops. Traditional Syrian music was blasting through the doors. Nearly a dozen refugee mothers were huddled in the kitchen, rolling phyllo pastry and stirring soup. It was part of the Newcomer Kitchen project, which generates revenue for refugees through pop-up dinners. Then I headed to Leslieville, where a Somali-born chef was exploring the cuisine of his ancestors in a dinner series. There were no seats, no cutlery. 20 of us sat on the floor, cupping rice, pork and fried chicken liver into our hands. This access to diversity is what I love about Toronto. To understand what makes this city so special, you have to visit its surrounding neighbourhoods. Little Jamaica on a Friday night is an impromptu barbecue festival on the street. Koreatown north is a land of soju, bibimbap and karaoke. Just a few blocks north of that, you’ll find some of the best Persian food in the country. With the first issue of foodism Toronto, we’ve stretched beyond downtown to show you what makes our city unique. The breadth of our culinary scene is unparalleled, and its foundation is built on our uncanny ability to be inclusive. With every new issue, we will strive to make sure all corners of this city – and all of its people – are represented. We hope you enjoy it.

T O R O N T O , O N E B I T E AT A T I M E

FRONT COVER: Photography by Ian Dingle Art direction by Matthew Hasteley







© Foodism Toronto 2016. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. All information contained in this magazine is, as far as we are aware, correct at the time of going to press. Foodism Toronto cannot accept responsibility for errors or inaccuracies in such information. If you submit unsolicited material to us, you automatically grant Foodism Toronto a licence to publish your submission in whole or in part in all editions of the magazine. All material is sent at your own risk and although every care is taken, neither Foodism Toronto nor its employees, agents or subcontractors shall be held liable resulting for loss or damage. Foodism Toronto endeavours to respect the intellectual property of the owners of copyrighted material reproduced herein. If you identify yourself as the copyright holder of material we have wrongly attributed, please contact the office.





— PART 1 —


THE FOODIST Farmers’ markets are all the rage in locavoreobsessed Toronto, writes Lindsay Burgess


OMEWHERE BETWEEN THE third and fourth plates of bacon-infused fare at Baconfest, an annual event at the Leslieville Farmers’ Market, an angry woman marched up to the judges’ table. Her complaint? That the carnivorousness of the event was “disgusting.” We were perplexed. In a competition with scores out of 10 for “baconness,” surely indulging your inner carnivore is the entire point of the outing. But it got me thinking about the rise of farmers’ market in Toronto. As food culture becomes more popular – and as buzz phrases like “locally sourced” ratchet up menu prices across town – we become more invested in where our meals come from. It’s easier with fruit and veg. Earlier this year, Loblaws put on a growers’ event outside its flagship store at the old Maple Leaf Gardens. Niagara farmers got a platform to

explain the impact of drought on this summer’s peaches, like why a Beamsville peach is smaller than one grown closer to the lake. We don’t talk about where meat comes from as often – it doesn’t seem like a pleasant topic. But if you get the chance to talk to farmers on the ground, you’ll understand just how much love goes into raising the food we eat. Despite the agricultural hardships, 2016 was a bumper year for Toronto farmers’ markets. The weekly events at Evergreen Brick Works and Wychwood Barns are destinations for foodies from across the GTA. Not to be left out, the downtown core has also proven itself capable of supporting an ever-growing number of markets. The excellent one at SickKids hospital even moves inside for winter. f Most markets wind down in October. Check to find one near you

MOM’S CURRIES Masala fish or saag paneer for dinner? Indian cooking is now a breeze. Former nutritionist Jaswant Kular has launched a library of custom spice blends with her Toronto company, Jaswant’s Kitchen, to make it easier for home cooks to whip



up Indian dishes like spicy chicken curry or daal. How is it different from other spice mixes? These are the same recipes and blends Kular uses for her own cooking at home. The company’s website has a compendium of recipes to help you get the most out of your spices. Available online or at McEwan.


1 CORINNA MOZO La Cubana A graduate from the Stratford Chefs school, Corinna Mozo has been cooking in Toronto kitchens for 10 years. Mozo runs two locations of her La Cubana restaurant, a popular noshing spot for discerning palates looking for Cuban food.


MARK MCEWAN The McEwan Group

The 58-year-old celebrity chef is as seasoned as it gets in Toronto. Mark McEwan runs a successful culinary empire that spans multiple upscale restaurants and a grocery store, McEwan. He’s also returning as host for Top Chef Canada’s upcoming season.






Tutti Matti

Ask any top Toronto chef where they regularly eat, and you’ll be sure to hear at least one mention of Tutti Matti (but probably more). Alida Solomon’s Tuscan restaurant on Adelaide Street has not only stood the test of time (it’s been open for over 15 years), her cooking is also regularly praised as some of the best “no-fuss” food in the city. She is also looking into the possibility of opening her own farm-to-table retreat in Tuscany.

DONNA DOOHER Mildred’s Temple Kitchen

If you love brunch, chances are you have enjoyed a meal or two at Mildred’s Temple Kitchen. Donna Dooher can be singularly credited for Toronto’s brunch obsession, which she jumpstarted over 25 years ago. Outside the kitchen, she is also president and CEO of Restaurants Canada, the country’s largest association representing the hospitality and food service industry.






Every pantry in the city needs a bottle of this. It packs a ton of flavour without rendering your taste buds useless. A sauce that marries heat, flavor and texture from carrots and cauliflower in the recipe. Want more heat? Get the Habenero Xtra Hot.

Locally grown peppers are the backbone of this line of hot sauces. Everything is grown in or near the County, and they even use local whiskey. There’s an unmistakable tamarind tang that hits your palate before the heat sets in. This is your new go-to hot sauce.

Stasis Preserves takes heat to a whole new level with this ghost pepper sauce. It’s slightly reminiscent of jerk seasoning, but cranked up tenfold with smoky spice. Mix a little into your favourite salad dressing for a serious chili kick.


JOHN HIGGINS George Brown College

As the director of George Brown College’s Chef School, John Higgins has played a monumental role in developing the city’s chefs over the years. Higgins, who trained at the Michelin-starred Malmaison, has spent the last 15 years mentoring the culinary brigade of tomorrow. He is also a haggis lover and a regular judge on Chopped Canada, the reality cooking TV series on the Food Network.



Shake Up yoUr breakfast with Vega Protein, veggies, and greens in the time it takes to bUrn a piece of toast.

Find us in-store or shop online at



Other must-try spots

Brampton, the third-largest city in the GTA, is establishing itself as a genuine international culinary destination. Here are our top finds

T by Daniel


Three words: iced Lion Chai. No really, you need to go to this popular tea shop and order that dairy-free drink. Made with Sri Lankan black tea ground with a mix of spices and a coconutbased creamer. 46 Main St. N.

Brampton has a growing Latin American population, which means there is a discerning palate for the corresponding cuisine. Whether you’re looking for empanadas from Colombia or one of the best fish tacos the GTA, these two stores have you covered.

◆◆ La Favorita

This store carries a variety of imported goods, but the hot food section is where it’s at. The empanadas, prepared by home cooks, are great. 18 Queen St. W.

◆◆ La Catrina

A new-ish taqueria that dishes out some of the best fish tacos we’ve had. Also, a few different varieties of ceviche that the locals swear by. 35 Queen St. W.

Queen Gypsy


Some of the best Indian food in the GTA is right here in Flower Town. Whether you want rich north Indian curry or vegetarian south Indian thali meals, here are two of our favourites.

◆◆ Kwality

Families gather at this popular fast-food Indian restaurant for plates of poori (deep-fried bread) and curried chickpeas. Get the mango kulfi (Indian ice cream) on the way out. 2150 Steeles Ave. E.


Once a popular farmers’ market pop-up, the Queen Gypsy is a great stop for Eastern European food. The goulash and the perogies are must-haves. 10 Main St. S.

◆◆ Swagruhas

While it’s technically at the Mississauga border, it’s too close to pass up. The masala dosas (thin lentil crepes) and the uttapam (savoury pancakes) are the absolute best in the region. 2970 Drew Rd., #101

Rick’s Good Eats Rick Matharu’s unique take on CanadianIndian fusion includes a dosa burger and a tandoori chicken salad. The tandoori jerk chicken is our fave. 6660 Kennedy Rd.













THE RADAR We take you through the hottest new bar and restaurant openings around the city Trending



When we heard that chef David Lee and the Chase Hospitality Group were collaborating on a plant-based fine-dining concept, we were skeptical. But we’re not afraid to admit when we’re wrong. Planta puts a focus on sustainability, and Lee’s menu includes plant-based takes on meaty classics (there’s a carrot posing as a hot dog) and dishes that simply celebrate what you can do with good veg.



“Masseria” may be Italian for “farmhouse,” but that’s as rustic as it gets at this new fastcasual spot in the Entertainment District. You wouldn’t feel out of place pulling up an industrial-chic stool at one of the long marble tables on your way to a King Street nightspot. Gourmet pizzas are the main event, with salads and sandwiches for the less peckish.




With summer firmly behind us, it’s time to trade Pokéstops for poke spots. The Hawaiian salad trend is making waves across the city, and Calii Love is one of the latest Toronto openings to jump on the bandwagon. Chef Joe Friday’s take on poke is California-inspired – the name should be your first clue – so expect fresh, bold flavours and a morethan-generous hand with the avocado. @caliiloveco




When chicken is brined for 24 hours, soaked in buttermilk for six hours, coated in flour and fried until crispy, only good things can happen. The menu at Little Italy’s closetsized P.G Clucks is dominated by fried chicken – including the most authentic Nashville-style hot chicken sandwich in the city. Pair with a house-made honey cruller or the super-hipster kombucha slushie. @pgclucks

The Food Dudes empire continues to grow at a rapid pace. Their newest spot takes over the beloved Caffe Doria spot in Rosedale with an all-day pantry counter, which serves up Southern American-style breakfast spreads and a rotating selection of shared plates. @fdpantry



This indie café, run by a husband-andwife team, will appeal to tea geeks with its impressive selection of loose-leaf, single-estate teas to complement coffee from Calgary’s Phil & Sebastian. The Nitro Cold-Brew Float is the biggest hit so far: creamy coldbrew coffee with a big dollop of organic vanilla ice cream. @arvocoffee




A love affair is quickly building for this new 28-seat wine bar in the east end. A former chef from Pangaea is serving up a seasonal menu with influences from France, Italy and Spain. It’s a mix of classic and modern. @gretasolomons


WEAPONS OF CHOICE We’ve got all the kitchen gadgets you need to roast, brew, slice and sip this fall Photography by Ryan Faist


DO N’T TAK E NO M E SS ILLY FRANCIS FRANCIS X7.1, $380 For the home barista who loves espresso but hates the clean up. With this capsule system, the coffee and the machine never make contact, so it’s completely mess-free.


S I ZE D OE SN’T MAT TE R KITCHENAID MINI STAND MIXER, $550 The same power as a classic KitchenAid mixer, but 20 per cent smaller and 25 per cent lighter. Take care of all your mixing needs without sacrificing counter space.








Owning a good knife is the first step to upping your chef game. This blade has a ridge to prevent sticking, allowing you to prep faster and to chop more comfortably.

A French-made ,cast-iron roasting pan for lasagna, scalloped potatoes, slow-cooked meats and lots of other roasted foods. The pan’s texture results in top-notch browning, too.

Be a whisk(e)y snob anywhere and everywhere with this handy kit, which features two glasses, two coasters, six bottles, a funnel and a even journal for tasting notes.

2 3 1


GET THE BOOK Batch by Joel MacCharles and Dana Harrison (Penguin Random House, $35)

Joel MacCharles & Dana Harrison’s

MUSSELS IN TOMATO SAUCE If you’ve never cooked mussels before, don’t be scared. It’s almost as easy as boiling pasta when you know how



◆◆ 2 people



USSELS ARE ONE of the easiest, cheapest, fastest and most delicious meals you can serve at home,” says Joel MacCharles in his Batch cookbook. “There are two tricks to buying mussels. Firstly, the shells must be closed or must close when lightly tapped on a hard surface. This is an indicator that they are alive. Secondly, they shouldn’t be stored in a plastic bag for a prolonged period of time. Instead, pour them into a container and store in your fridge (for

large amounts pour them directly into your crisper) – this will increase their life expectancy dramatically.”


1 Preheat a large pot (one that has a tight-fitting lid) on medium-high heat. Add the butter and oil. 2 Add the garlic and chili flakes and cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. 3 Add the onion, celery and carrot. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Cook until the onion softens and is

◆◆ 1 tbsp olive oil ◆◆ 2 cloves garlic, minced ◆◆ 2 tsp chili flakes, to taste ◆◆ 1 cup onion, diced small,

then measured ◆◆ ½ cup celery, diced small,

then measured ◆◆ ½ cup carrot, diced small,

then measured ◆◆ 4 cups tomato sauce (see

overleaf) ◆◆ 2 bay leaves ◆◆ 4-5lbs mussels ◆◆ ¼ cup flat-leaf parsley,

measured then chopped ◆◆ Finely grated Parmiagiano-

Reggiano or pecorino cheese, to garnish ◆◆ Coarse salt ◆◆ Black pepper

translucent, stirring occasionally. 4 Add the tomato sauce with the bay leaves and turn the heat to high. As you wait for it to reach a simmer, check each mussel for signs of life. 5 Once the sauce is simmering, add the mussels. Place the lid on top and cook until all mussels are open, about 5 minutes. 6 Stir the mussels and then spoon them into serving bowls. Add some of the cooking liquid. Garnish with parsley and cheese, and eat at once. f

Photograph by Reena Newman

◆◆ 30 mins


ING R E DIE NTS ◆◆ 1 tbsp unsalted butter, chilled

Joel MacCharles & Dana Harrison’s

TOMATO SAUCE This simple, fresh tomato sauce is better than any you’ll find in a shop – promise

rles and Joel MacCha n, cookbook Dana Harriso creators of d an authors WellPreserv


F O O D I S M .T O



◆◆ 4-5 quarts


HE QUALITY OF your mill or tomato squeezer will vastly affect your yield of sauce,” says MacCharles. “We process tomatoes through the squeezer three or four times to get as much juice as possible. Tomatoes are relatively low in acid, so many people recommend pressurecanning them.”


1 Wash and cut the tomatoes in half, discarding any soft or black spots. 2 As you chop them, transfer them to a large pot containing a ½-inch layer of water to prevent initial burning.


Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, stirring often, till softened. 3 When all the tomatoes are soft enough to easily crush with a spoon, process through a food mill. 4 Return the tomatoes to the pot, add the lemon juice, turn the heat to high. Bring to a boil before immediately lowering and allowing it to simmer gently, uncovered, until the sauce becomes nice and thick, about 1-1½ hours. It will turn pink and frothy before it thickens. 5 Prepare your canning pot and rack, and sterilize your jars and lids. 6 Fill the jars, leaving ½ inch of

headspace. Gently jostle the jars or use the handle of a spoon to release any air bubbles. 7 Remove the jars from the canner and turn the heat to high. 8 Wipe the rims of the jars, apply the lids, and process for 35 minutes. f

ING R E DIE NTS ◆◆ ¼ bushel plum tomatoes ◆◆ 2 tbsp bottled lemon juice

per quart (8-10 tbsp total)

Photograph by Reena Newman


◆◆ 1-2 hours

@ P L A N TATORON TO P L A N TATO RON TO.COM 1 2 2 1 B AY S T R E E T 6 4 7- 3 4 8 -7000


Joel MacCharles & Dana Harrison’s


My Acadian grandparents passed on their love for fish cakes. Our family would often make them with leftover boiled potatoes and salted cod BITE-SIZED


ING R E DIE NTS ◆◆ ½-1 cup gravlax, according to

taste, roughly chopped then measured ◆◆ 3 cups mashed potatoes, with or without skins (5–6 medium potatoes if boiling from scratch) ◆◆ 1 egg, lightly beaten ◆◆ 1 large onion, diced ◆◆ 2 tsp powdered mustard ◆◆ ½ tsp sweet paprika ◆◆ 1/3 cup all-purpose flour ◆◆ Coarse salt ◆◆ Black pepper ◆◆ Vegetable oil for frying



◆◆ 4 people



LTHOUGH CRAB CAKES take centre stage at most restaurants, fish cakes are the star of the show in my family,” says MacCharles. “They were often made from leftover boiled or mashed potatoes with other leftover veggies tossed in. We ate these with a salad for dinner and with fried eggs for breakfast. And I liked to add ketchup or mustard pickles. You can keep the cooked fish cakes warm in a 200°F

oven while cooking the others. These also freeze well. To do so, lay them on a cookie sheet and wrap in plastic. Once they are frozen solid (overnight will do), transfer to a container with as much air removed as possible.”


1 If the gravlax is very salty, you can soak it in cold water for an hour or more before cooking. Taste as it soaks (cooking it will not remove the salt).

Photograph by Reena Newman


◆◆ 45 mins

My family preferred salty fish cakes and made them from salt cod when the fish still thrived in the Atlantic. 2 Mix the potatoes with the gravlax, egg, onion, mustard and paprika in a large bowl. Season liberally with salt and pepper. 3 Spread the flour on a plate and season liberally with salt and pepper. 4 Form the mixture into 8 to 10 large patties, about ⅔ cup of the mixture. 5 Preheat the oven to 200°F. 6 Dredge the cakes in the flour and place them in a single layer on a plate or baking tray. 7 Heat a large frying pan on medium-high then add enough oil to shallow-fry the cakes. The oil should be at least ⅛-inch deep. 8 Cook the fish cakes in batches, adding oil as needed, making sure to leave room between each one. 9 Keep the cooked cakes warm in the oven while you cook the rest. f

Joel MacCharles & Dana Harrison’s

PENNE À LA CHILI-INFUSED VODKA You can make this as fiery as you wish or serve the infused vodka on the side and use it like hot sauce. This meal is as decadent as it is easy to make ING R E DIE NTS ◆◆ 2 tbsp olive oil ◆◆ 1 medium onion, chopped ◆◆ 2 cloves garlic, minced ◆◆ 4 oz prosciutto or bacon,

chopped into thin strips ◆◆ 2 tsp dried oregano ◆◆ 2 cups vodka infused with

chili peppers ◆◆ 2 cloves garlic, minced ◆◆ 1 quart (32 oz) canned plum

tomatoes and juice ◆◆ 1 lb penne ◆◆ 1 cup heavy (35%) cream ◆◆ Fresh lemon juice to taste ◆◆ Coarse salt ◆◆ Black pepper ◆◆ 3 tbsp total of fresh oregano,

parsley, basil, chives, or a combination ◆◆ Parmesan cheese, grated



a Bloody Mary while you have the infused vodka by your side. You can also substitute the salt with herbes salées.”


1 Preheat the oven to 375°F. 2 Heat the oil in the oven-safe pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until slightly browned. 3 Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. 4 Add prosciutto and oregano, and cook for 3-4 minutes. 5 Drain off any excess fat from the pot and then add the vodka and juice from the tomatoes. Reduce by half,

about 10-15 minutes. 6 Roughly chop the tomatoes, add them to the pan and cover with its lid, and bake in the oven for 90 minutes. 7 If the sauce is too chunky for your taste, use a potato masher to crush the tomatoes further. 8 Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted, boiling water until al dente. 9 Remove the sauce from the oven, add the cream and taste. 10 Add lemon juice 2 tsp at a time. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 11 Toss the pasta into the sauce and warm through. 12 Add the fresh herbs and cheese. f



◆◆ 4 people


◆◆ 2 1/2 hours



Photograph by Reena Newman

HIS RECIPE CALLS for chiliinfused vodka, and is a prime example of why I insist on over-spicing chili infusions,” says MacCharles. “If your infusion is mild, you’ll need to use more of it, whereas if you make a super-spiced infusion, you can top it up with fresh vodka and still achieve the same level of heat. You will need an oven-safe pot with a tight-fitting lid, such as a 5 1/2-quart Dutch oven, large enough to hold all ingredients. You can substitute every hot preserve you have on hand! This can also be a neat opportunity to create an automatic pairing by making






LOT NO. 40®







*As awarded by the Canadian Whisky Awards 2015.

Jamie Kennedy’s

MISSIVE FROM THE FARM The Toronto celebrity chef tells us why farms and restaurants need to rekindle their relationship


T SEEMS TO me that the food connection between Toronto and its nearby farming communities was much stronger in earlier times. As a young cook in the 1970s, I always had that connection on my mind. I remember at my aunt’s house there were always jars of preserves on the dining table. In her basement, wooden shelves displayed the efforts she took to capture Ontario’s seasonal bounty in a jar. I started to believe that food culture evolves in response to nature. But in the 20th century, we as a society in North America abandoned the seasonal approach to food. We were caught up in the mass production of cheap food from anywhere in the world. The side effects of the industrialization of food production are well known. Unique places for food lose their identity. Food culture becomes homogenous, indistinguishable from coast to coast. Over the years I developed a keen interest in re-establishing the connection to where we live. I felt that if we approached our

food supply from a local perspective here in Ontario, it would lead us toward a food culture unique to this region. In 1989 chef Michael Stadtländer and I formed a chef-farmer alliance called Knives and Forks. Its mandate was to increase demand for local produce and livestock. We started a farmers’ market, and we created an annual event, with the aim of celebrating the bounty of southern Ontario. One year in the late 1990s I met Geoff Heinricks. He told me that he had recently moved from Toronto to Prince Edward County to start a vineyard and a new chapter in his life. I was fascinated by his story, and I also wanted to learn more about viniculture – growing grapes and making wine. In 2001 I purchased a farm next to his. In 2002 I planted a small vineyard. The vineyard, it seems, mirrors my own successes and failures in life, sometimes yielding fruit, sometimes not. Nevertheless, the farm has represented a natural antidote to the pressures of urban life for me.

I was in the middle of my career when I bought the farm. I raised cattle, contributing four animals per year to my restaurants. The garden yielded onions, garlic and potatoes. My mum was an artist for decades, but she had never exhibited her work. My siblings and I were determined to help her mount a show. There is an annex to the main barn called the loafing barn – what a great spot to hold an exhibition. We set a date in 2012 and invited the whole county. Among the guests was Georgs Kolesnikovs, who had launched an annual festival of Canadian cheese in Picton, Ont. He thought the gallery would be an ideal spot to hold a dinner as an adjunct to the festival. I agreed to give it a try, and the next year we launched Gastronomy on the Farm. Now in its fifth year, the dinner has become a feature of the weekend festival. In March 2015, I closed Gilead Café and Wine Bar, my last restaurant in Toronto. I had always been interested in making the farm relevant as a farm, in addition to it being a retreat from the city. But I knew that it would never be viable as an enterprise selling tomatoes by the pound. In June I launched the JK Farm Summer Dinner Series. It has been held on Saturday evenings throughout the summer as a showcase for local grape growers and winemakers to exhibit their work. It has been an unqualified success, and plans are already underway for next year. The goal is to always increase integration of what is grown and raised on the farm with the dining experience and to speak gently, through delicious gastronomy, about our evolving food culture in southern Ontario. f




“Great cooking comes from the quality and details of the ingredients. The brewers at Samuel Adams pride themselves on using the best ingredients and the quality of their beers. After a long day behind the stoves I can appreciate the great taste and craftsmanship put into this craft brew.”

Boston Lager Summer Pickles are available at the Cheese Boutique

MAKE SAMUEL ADAMS YOUR GO TO BEER LCBO # 307330 | 6 x 355 mL Bottle LCBO # 365601 | 473 mL Can


a SamuelAdamsCA #TheGoToBeer



“I pride myself in using the highest quality ingredients. Boston Lager has great flavour that compliments my cuisine. It’s my go to craft for cooking.”

Boston Lagered Mustard is available at Toronto’s Cheese Boutique

MAKE SAMUEL ADAMS YOUR GO TO BEER LCBO # 307330 | 6 x 355 mL Bottle LCBO # 365601 | 473 mL Can


a SamuelAdamsCA #TheGoToBeer

Spiced Chicken

with Tahini-Yogurt Dressing and Green Bean Couscous This delicious recipe is an ode to the Middle East - a culinary playground full of aromatic spices, sesame and citrus. Our chicken is seasoned with sumac, a tangy spice that adds a bright flavour as well as a beautiful pop of colour! INGREDIENTS

4 Chicken Breasts 227 g Green Beans 4 Garlic Cloves 14 g Mint 2 Lemons 1 Small Red Onion 1 Long Red Chili

11/2 cups Vegetable Broth 2 tsp Sumac 3/4 cup 2% Greek Yogurt 1/4 cup Tahini 11/2 cups Couscous Olive Oil Salt & Pepper

Recipe courtesy of Order this recipe online by Wed Oct 19 for delivery on Tue Oct 25 1 Prep: Wash and dry all produce. Trim the ends off the green beans, then chop into 1-inch pieces. Mince the garlic. Finely chop the mint. Zest, then juice the lemons. Thinly slice the red onion and chili. Simmer the vegetable broth in a medium pot over medium heat. 2 Marinate the chicken: In a medium bowl, whisk together the garlic, sumac, half the lemon juice and a drizzle of oil. Add the chicken breasts and coat well in the marinade. Set aside to marinate for 10 min. 3 Make the tahini dressing: Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the yogurt with the tahini, remaining lemon juice, lemon zest and 1/4 cup water. Season with salt and pepper. 4 Make the couscous: Stir the couscous into the simmering broth. Remove from the heat and cover with a lid. Set aside for 5 min. 5 Cook the veggies: Heat a large non-stick pan over medium heat. Add a drizzle of oil, then the onion and green beans. Cook, stirring often, until beans are tender-crisp, 4-5 min. Season with salt and pepper. Stir the vegetables into the couscous and cover to keep warm. 6 Cook the chicken: Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add a drizzle of oil to the same pan, then the chicken. Pan-fry until the chicken is cooked through, 4-7 min per side (TIP: Inserting a thermometer into the cooked chicken should display an internal temperature of 175°F.) 7 Finish and serve: Serve the couscous mixture alongside the spiced chicken on plates. Drizzle with the tahini-yogurt dressing and sprinkle with the mint and chili. Enjoy!


— PART 2 —


LEFT: Anthony Walsh prepares a plate of octopus, bone marrow and fava beans

GETTING PERSONAL Leùa, the latest restaurant opening in the Oliver & Bonacini empire, is Anthony Walsh’s tribute to mothers, grandmothers and Latin cooking, writes Libby Roach Photography by Suresh Doss 36

A Photograph by ###

NTHONY WALSH ADMITS he didn’t know the first thing about Argentinian food until he met his mother-in-law. Normally that wouldn’t a point worth mentioning, but Walsh’s latest project is a Latin restaurant that draws heavy inspiration from Argentina. Walsh, one of Toronto’s most celebrated chefs, is the culinary mastermind behind the Oliver & Bonacini restaurants. As a young chef his primary influences were Irish food and Québécois food, but when he met his wife’s mother Elena (or Lala, as she’s affectionately called) and witnessed her Argentinian cooking, it was a revelation. The flavours were big – explosive big – and he realized he didn’t know as much about cooking as he thought he did. In late August, Walsh opened Leña at Saks Fifth Avenue as an homage to his mother-inlaw. It’s his most personal restaurant to date, and its Latin leanings make it different from anything else in the O&B family tree. We caught up with Walsh to chat about his new spot, what he thinks of Toronto’s food scene and whether or not restaurant reviews keep him up at night...


This is a very personal project for you. It’s personal – to a degree. How did I get here? Why did this happen? It’s inspired by the mother/grandmother kind of cooking and the effect it has on a moderately skilled professional chef. True mentors, nine out of 10 times, are mothers and grandmothers. And my son Noah is working in the kitchen with me preparing his own grandmother’s recipes now. How did you come to the realization that you wanted to open a Latin restaurant? When I started dating my wife, her family adopted me into their Latin culture. Later, five or six years ago, we were talking about new restaurants within the company. I wanted to open an Andalusian restaurant.



It’s my favourite part of Spain. You think of Andalusia centuries back – it must have been amazing. You had the Africans, the Jews, the Arabs; you had the French, the Italians, the Spanish, the Portuguese. Everybody living in these pockets in these cities. And now you look at Toronto, and it’s a shining example of that in a different way. I did all the work on the menu and we were ready to go, but we lost the space that we had. A new deal came through with Saks about two-and-a-half years ago. They originally wanted a different concept – something a little Cali-West Coast. Twenty-four hours before our press release was to go out, I pulled the plug. I said, ‘Guys, I’m not doing this.’ I wanted to do something different in this area. I was drawn

to my mother-in-law’s cooking over the years. When I met Lala [Elena], I was five years into cooking, and I was enthralled and captivated by her ability to create these explosive and complex dishes. The first time I cooked with her I was deeply humbled by her cooking. Slowly, the wheels started to turn for me. Here I am, clearly a product of this influence in my life. It has had a fundamental impact on me as a person and as a chef. It’s also a clear departure from my Montreal upbringing in an Irish Catholic family. For years you’ve been drawing from that upbringing. Your mom’s cooking is peppered across the company. My parents taught me good food. Irish Catholic 1970s Canadian food in Montreal. It inspired me to become a chef. There are so many dishes in the company that were clearly from my mom. The tourtière at Canoe, the boudin, all the Québécois stuff is from my mother. I grew up with that, and then I also was heavily influenced by Lala. What was your relationship with your mother-in-law like, and what did you learn from her food-wise? When I met my wife’s parents, I didn’t know shit about Argentinian food. There was no Food Network and no Internet. I didn’t know a thing. It’s big: all fire, smoke and big flavours. Obviously back then I had no idea. My wife is a very good cook, but her mother is a fucking phenomenal cook. I had some good skills, incredible discipline and the mental energy to stay focused, and I was like, ‘what? Whoa, wait. I’m really not that good.’ It was a total slap in the face.

THIS FOOD IS A DEPARTURE FROM MY UPBRINGING IN AN IRISH CATHOLIC FAMILY homeland. Her aunt, Aurora, cooked it for her before she got on the boat to come over. And Aurora gave her the recipe. I tasted it as a young cook and was blown away. It looked kinda like a car accident, but the flavour and the way she cooked it was incredible. With her permission, I put it on the menu. I changed it very little. It’s plated differently, but the paramount things are the same. Why did you feel that Toronto could use an Argentinian restaurant right now? When we were first looking at this corridor of Toronto, I felt that the food was quite vanilla. I don’t mean that in a bad way, but I also didn’t want to add to it. People young and old want something different these days. You see different generations trying all kinds different food all the time.

Canoe recently earned a four-star review in the Globe and Mail. What do you make of the state of food criticism in Toronto right now? Reviews always have an effect on a restaurant. They can tip the scales either way. As a chef, having your work critiqued by anyone is always a personal thing, regardless of how tough you like to think you are. I cannot speak for other chefs, but from my standpoint, the reviews I get are filtered and then forgotten about. There are a select few writers that I respect, assuming they are moderately civil and are not stoking their own agenda on my back. In many cases, the more sensational their commentary is, the more lustre and notoriety their reputation gets. It’s self-serving. Restaurants in Toronto have been getting a lot of heat lately for underpaying and overworking their cooks. What do you make of that? As you have seen, we have been in the crosshairs. We have drilled down significantly on the reality of the old culture versus the new generation. In our case, the days of the daily salary – $100 for an eight-hour shift – are long over, and that has been the case for the last decade. Cooks, for the most part, are passionate about their trade. They know that kitchens are a competitive environment and that the weak get left in the dust. Having the cooks play by rules is a constant battle. Telling people that they are not allowed to come in early – when they want to, on their own time – is a difficult thing to stomach. We have introduced some great →

Tell us about the food you’ll be serving at Leña. This is a Latin restaurant through and through. The core of the restaurant is mothers’ cooking and grandmothers’ cooking. My exec chef [Julie Marteleira] has had a heavy hand helping me create the menu, too. She’s bringing in her mom’s cooking – the Portuguese influence – and there’s a lot of that. You’re not going to see any fucking tweezers here. It’s very much about bold flavours, a lot of smoke and dishes from Lala’s homeland, from the gaucho empanadas to pollo Doña Aurora. The pollo especially seems like a very important dish for you. Pollo Doña Aurora was the last dish my mother-in-law had before she left her


TOP: Rice with charred rabbit, escargot and a green pepper tomato sauce BOTTOM: Pollo Doña Aurora, made with organic chicken, mushrooms, lemon and saffron

→ classes and workshops for cooks to embrace that passion, from bread to pasta to butchery. We are constantly on the ground researching our sector from a remuneration standpoint, and we pay at the top end of that mean. Has it been hard for you to find quality cooks lately? It’s always a challenge to find good talent you can rely on to keep up with the daily grind. That’s never really changed all that much for us. We have a great pool within O&B that we pull from, because we believe in giving the entire team a chance to expand their horizons. Julie is now here at Leña as executive chef, and we have many other members from other properties here. It’s always tough when you open a new restaurant to find more good cooks for the kitchen.


You’re also working on a Montreal project. We’re working on a few things. The first is a brew pub project in Liberty Village. It’s going to open in November. It’s this wild subterranean cave – it’s going to be great. Then, in the new year, I’m opening Bar George in Montreal. Leña is a stunner, but Bar George is on a different level, set in a 300-year-old mansion. f

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CURRENT: Anthony Walsh adds a final garnish to the octopus plate

What is the most memorable meal you’ve had at a Toronto restaurant this year? Man, Branca, wow. Without a doubt, Branca. The food there is incredible. It’s an Argentinian-style grill house, and it’s spot on. I love what Jay Carter is doing over at Dandylion, putting out these incredible plates every day. Chabrol was really good as well. Doug [Penfold] and I have history. He trained me on my first day at Canoe. We were both working the veg station. What I don’t understand about Toronto is how the city puts a squash on busy areas. The Junction, the Ossington strip – these neighborhoods get squashed just when they’re about to take off. You’re capping progress.






A WORLD NEXT DOOR Southwestern Ontario is a quick two-hour drive from Toronto, and it makes for a delicious weekend getaway


ULINARY THRILL-SEEKERS IN Ontario tend to follow a well-travelled path. Everyone knows about the treasures in Prince Edward County and Niagara, but Ontario’s Southwest is often overlooked – and undeservedly so. Some of the country’s most fertile farmland is found stretching along Lake Erie, from Dunnville to Windsor, including Pelee Island and around Lake Huron to Grand Bend. There are also some surprising finds inland, in communities such as London,


Woodstock and Strathroy. If you’re seeking one-of-a-kind food experiences, you are in for a treat in this special part of Ontario. The biological diversity and vast mosaic of natural areas – including open waters, wetlands and lush farmlands – make this area one of the most agriculturally productive regions in the country. Southwestern Ontario has a booming wine, craft beer and farm-to-table scene, with over 30 wineries, 18 breweries and four distilleries. There are two superlative wine regions: Essex Pelee Island Coast and Ontario’s South Coast. A distinct sense of place comes through as you taste and tour your way through the region and chat with the friendly cast of characters you’re sure to meet along the way. The Oxford County Cheese Trail is a delicious touring experience that offers 23 unique stops that will appeal to cheese lovers of all ages.

Take the opportunity to sample truly local craft beer at Ramblin’ Road Brewery Farm in Norfolk County, Ontario’s first and only brewery-farm. Taste the difference that locally produced hops makes (and remember to pick up a few bags of the kettle chips that are made on-site as well). As for restaurants, Port Stanley’s Solo on Main makes some of the best pan-fried perch around. The hand-rolled sweet potato gnocchi at Twisted Lemon in Cayuga is not to be missed, and check out Windsor’s Motor Burger for topnotch patties made with freshly ground beef brisket and chuck. Before you hit the road on your culinary journey, take a look at the articles and videos on the Ontario’s Southwest website for first-hand information from local producers, who share behind-the-scenes stories about their wine, beer and food ventures. ● For more info:



At his farmers’ market food stall, Sanjiz Mathews sells chicken kathi rolls, mango lassis and some of the freshest spice blends in Toronto, writes Lindsay Burgess Photography by Lindsay Burgess

RIGHT: This chicken kathi roll starts with an egg and ends with a sprinkling of onions and chickpeas


Photograph by ###



HE FIRST TIME Sanjiz Mathews saw a ginger root, he thought it was turmeric. “Both look the same,” he says. If you compare the rhizomes – the twisted, gnarly things you’d find in the produce aisle – they’re hard to tell apart. Until you cut into them, anyway. Mathews should know. He was introduced to us as a spice merchant, with family ties to the trade going back centuries. His business, Incredible Spice, carries on the tradition with a line of pre-measured seasoning kits, prepared foods and individual spices (vanilla beans, peppercorns, green cardamom) he sources to meet his high standards. You can imagine our surprise when, one Tuesday morning at SickKids Farmer’s Market, we find Mathews setting up a grill. His market day alter ego is the Spice Chef, who serves up a prepared-to-order menu of samosa chaat, chicken kathi rolls and a hybrid of his own creation called the Best of Both Worlds, which combines the two. As Mathews finishes setting up his stall, chicken sizzles away on the grill. The strips are coated in vibrant orange seasoning; as they cook, the spices become more aromatic and evocative of Indian home cooking. Mathews hails from Kerala, in the Malabar region of the south of India, best known as the birthplace of peppercorns. His parents still live there, and continue to grow their own ginger and turmeric. Growing up in Kerala, Mathews observed that spice was what distinguished the cuisine of one culture from that of another.


“They use the same ingredients,” he says, “but the ratio varies and the taste varies.” Meat biryani, he explains, was popular among the Muslim community. “They use more spices, more richer food, whereas the Hindus are more into the vegetarian style.” His passion for spice served him well when he joined the Taj hotel group. He found himself in the kitchen of a hotel in Kumarakom, near the Kerala backwaters. The lagoons and lakes attracted anglers to the area, so the hotel invited guests to bring back anything they caught for dinner. Mathews found that the local spices used to season the fish were a hit with tourists. “I used to give them small spice packs, pre-measured,” he says. “We’d give them the spice pack, give them the recipe card and ask them to make it.” For hotel guests, this became a form of hands-on entertainment. That’s how the idea for his business began. “If you want to cook just a particular dish, you have to buy 22 different spices just to do that recipe, and the rest will be lying in your cupboard for years,” he says. But he grinds and portions his spices by hand, which ensures that there’s no wastage. It sounds simple enough – walk into any gourmet food shop in Toronto, and you’ll be overwhelmed by the variety of artisanal spice blends on the market. But Mathews’ approach is different: first, the individual spices are fresher than you’re likely to find anywhere else. As a general rule, hand-ground spices are always more aromatic and flavourful than their prepackaged counterparts, but the process of sourcing and grinding them is prohibitive for most home cooks. Second, Mathews’ kits include different spice packs for different stages of cooking. For example, the Aloo Ghobi Masala blend includes whole spices for cooking and ground spices for finishing. The result is a tried and tested balance of flavours – which can be difficult to achieve if you’re not familiar with spices. Mathews hoped to take the next steps with his business when he moved to the UK – a stepping stone while he worked out the paperwork to come to Canada. (Moving here was a five-year process, made more complicated because, in the interim, Mathews got married and had his first child.) As it turned out, his UK work permit didn’t allow for any entrepreneurial ambitions. “But I did all my homework,” he says. “I used to go to business seminars at Birmingham Library. I got everything ready for myself.” →

BOTTOM: Sanjiz Mathews with one of his chicken kathi rolls at his food stall at the SickKids Farmers’ Market

Photograph by ###


→ Finally, in 2006, Mathews arrived in Toronto, having already lined up a job at Roger Mooking’s Kultura restaurant. “I was lucky to get the job,” he says. “It’s not easy to get a job for a new immigrant.” Mathews later told Wychwood Barns market manager Cookie Roscoe that during this time, all he saw of Toronto was the four square blocks around Regent Park. During this time, he was also struck by the difficulties faced by temporary workers, many of whom were struggling to support families at home. Roscoe says that Mathews wanted to change the system and improve conditions. He met Roscoe after he moved to the St. Clair and Bathurst area and discovered Barns Market. (By then, he had also changed places of employment, from Kultura to the King Edward Hotel on King Street.) Mathews applied to be a vendor, but Roscoe says, “Barns Market is so popular and busy, I was kind of telling him, ‘there’s no way, we have a 10 year wait list!’ But he was so passionate.” And so Mathews persisted. First he became a volunteer. “Cookie asked me to do cooking demos with the farm vegetables and all,” he says. “Whatever was in season.” As a volunteer, he found opportunities to instruct on cooking with spice. It was his passion that won Roscoe over. What she hadn’t expected was that Mathews’ stall would become a new must-try lunch spot for Wychwood Barns’ regulars. Roscoe explains that the Wychwood Barns

market encourages its vendors to highlight each other’s products where they can. Mathews took to this camaraderie with gusto. “Instead of just selling spices, the next thing I knew, I had this food vendor on my hands!” Roscoe says. After she tried the Spice Chef’s food, Roscoe offered him a second spot, this one at the SickKids Farmers’ Market. The proposal spoke volumes about Mathews’ menu. At a market in the city, Roscoe points out, you need good food to win over the best farmers and vendors. Mathews’ cooking was the answer. He’s a strong advocate for local products: depending which market you’re at, Mathews can often point you directly to his suppliers. He connects customers with other vendors whose products could be enjoyed alongside his, like a chickpea-based tempeh to use with his

coconut milk and cashew-based vegan butter chicken sauce. The sauce, incidentally, was created after one of his assistants (known collectively as “The Spice Girls”) was tested for food allergies and discovered she could no longer eat dairy. “I never heard about allergies when I was back in India,” says Mathews. But he understands the need to accommodate them – and that’s a savvy business decision to boot. As Roscoe puts it, “he doesn’t want to be just another successful food vendor – he wants to be an ethically successful vendor.” And all of this is organized during his spare time. What little of it there is, anyway. Mathews has a full-time job. He’s moved on from the King Eddie, and now works as sous chef at One King West. In addition to this role, Mathews juggles a few other →

HE DOESN’T WANT TO JUST BE SUCCESSFUL – HE WANTS TO BE ETHICALLY SUCCESSFUL LEFT: In addition to selling chaat, kathi rolls, spice blends and individual spices, the Spice Chef also makes samosas


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MANGO LASSI VS. JAMUN JUICE Which of the Spice Chef’s specialty drinks should you get with your lunch? It all comes down to your sweet tooth…

Mango lassi Thick, creamy and sweet. A traditional mango lassi is yogurtbased and spiced up with cardamom. The Spice Chef adds rosewater and maple whipped cream.

Jamun juice Tart and refreshing. The Spice Chef’s jamun juice is made with Indian black plums, lemon, mint, sweet basil seed and a little maple syrup.

→ jobs, mainly catering large-scale functions at various event spaces throughout downtown Toronto. “Sanjiz’s work ethic scares me,” Roscoe says. “He works crazy days.” But Mathews reckons he’s actually scaled back due to family concerns: “Right now, I’m slowing down the business because of my daughter,” he says. His daughter, now three, is his youngest; he and his wife also have two sons. “I’m waiting two more years [to scale up again], but I don’t want to stop the business. That’s why I do the markets. I love doing the markets, I enjoy it. It’s not a money-making thing right now. It’s just like a hobby.” Hobby it may be, but for some customers, visiting Mathews’ market stall is a weekly ritual not to be missed. A regular stops by for her usual before 11am, and says, “they have a big lineup come lunchtime.” Most Tuesdays, the queue snakes past the next tent over by noon. His food is so beloved, the Spice Chef now brings frozen portions of chicken for those who want to eat his food during the rest of the week. Innovation seems to come naturally to him. Take his version of the ever-popular mango lassi, for example. It’s a common enough offering, but he assures me, “you will never find another mango lassi like that.” He continues, “the special thing is the maple whipped cream. That makes it Canadian.” (It’s also incredibly tasty.)


TOP: A yogurt-based mango lassi kicked up with cardamom, rosewater and maple whipped cream, which adds a tinge of Canada


Mathews says that Canada’s cultural diversity reminds him of Kerala, where he grew up sharing food with students from different backgrounds. “This one has rose water in it, cardamom, there’s spices in it. Everything I make has spices in it in different levels.” One of the most intriguing things about Mathews’ cooking is how flavour can be achieved by manipulating spices. “He doesn’t use salt to season food,” says Roscoe. “He uses salt to cook with, of course, because there’s chemistry at work there.” This delicate balance, she says, is one of the things she has learned from him. “The man is such an artist,” she says. But he insists that cooking with spice is simpler than most home cooks imagine. “Spices may be intimidating because of the different heat levels, but once it balances out, it’s beautiful. Once you get into the spice, you won’t go back to salt and pepper.” f


F O O D I S M .T O


Recent years have seen Detroit fall into a state of decline, but with an influx of new industry and fresh ideas on the horizon, Hannah Summers finds that the wheels of Motor City are beginning to turn again Photography by Hannah Summers


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LEFT: Colourful street art is everywhere, and it plays a huge role in defining Detroit’s cultural identity



EFORE I LEFT Detroit, a resident handed me a bumper sticker. “I have people in Detroit,” it reads. There are 700,000 people, in fact, and while that may sound like a lot, this is a city whose population reached a much higher 1.85 million in 1950. The current figure is just one more reminder of this once great industrial titan’s painful rise and fall. Detroit is a city where the good is laced with the bad; a city that somehow is doing both better and worse than you think. Outside the long-abandoned Michigan Central Station – a neglected, 18-storey masterpiece of Beaux-Arts architecture – I watch a man take a picture of his girlfriend. Later, he might apply a dreamy Instagram filter, hashtag it #RuinPorn and upload it for the world to see. Some local Detroiters hate this crude way of showcasing their hometown, while for others it’s little more than a meaningless bit of visual fun. Either way, these artistic portraits represent the traumatic decline of thriving neighbourhoods that were once flooded with cars, wealth and people – the epitome of the American Dream. By 2013 the city had fallen so hard that, with debts reaching $18 million, it had to declare bankruptcy. According to the Financial Times, there were slums in Calcutta that offered more hope than parts of Detroit did. But for the first time in 56 years, the D’s population is rising. A moderate car drive from Toronto, Detroit is a city crammed with art, music, fascinating history and admirable entrepreneurial spirit, where optimistic residents are eager to tell their own born-


and-raised-in-Detroit story. And there are plenty of them. The Michigan Central Station may still loom, sombre and neglected, but aided by savvy locals, its neighbourhood of Corktown – named after the influx of Irish immigrants from County Cork in the 1840s – is experiencing a rapid, hipster-led revival. That’s where I find Ponyride, a cheap-rent facility aimed at socially conscious artists, and the home of several Detroit-based startups including Beard Balm (“Good for your face, and your marriage,” they enthuse. I’ll take several, thanks). Old and new residents are part of this comeback effort. In Astro Coffee, a café run by a couple who met working at London’s Monmouth Coffee Company, I meet Patricia Berdish – or “P from the D,” as everyone calls her – the sticker-giver, and a fifty-something native of Detroit. “My mom arrived at that train station when she was five years old,” she says, pointing at the defunct building I was just photographing. “The changes in this city are awesome. I mean, we have working traffic lights now. But living in Detroit? You need to thick it out.” And that’s what she did. Others fled for the suburbs, but as a child, Patricia lived in a one-bedroom house with her four siblings and her parents. Her grandpa worked in the famous Ford Rouge car factory. Then her dad worked there. Then it was Patricia’s turn. It’s car manufacturing that once kept Motor City moving, and Henry Ford, Detroit’s most famous son (rivalled by Eminem, and, er, Kid Rock) sparked the industry in 1908 with his game-changing Ford Model T. You can still see the brand’s assembly line in progress today, and I watch captivated as gargantuan F-150 pickup trucks slide through the factory, tended to by casually dressed staff and robots that work together to produce a truck a minute. Ford is the don of the Detroit success

story, but other car manufacturers that couldn’t, or wouldn’t, compete with Asian post-war competition helped propel the city into one of the largest financial collapses in the history of the U.S. Today the city’s empty roads are lined with the eerie skeleton structures of over 90,000 long-abandoned buildings – certainly an eyesore for some, but visual Viagra for someone constantly confronted with generic new-build condos. Tours are available, but instead I take a ride with Jeff Herron, a social TOP: Michigan Central station, one of the city’s ruin porn archetypes. BOTTOM: Diego Rivera’s sprawling mural, which depicts workers at the Ford factory during the Great Depression

justice lawyer who’s moved here to spur on the city’s revival. Our first stop wouldn’t look out of place in a post-apocalyptic thriller. Today the former Packard car plant exists only as a photographer’s dream, and I tiptoe through dilapidated, damp rooms filled with abandoned desks and debris that sit within a teetering structure whose future will be decided by a Spanish developer. Meanwhile, the Lincoln Motor Company’s former site has already been cheerily revived. Now home to the Lincoln Street Art Park (a party site and recycling program that urges locals to #ShareYourCandy), it’s a green space of arty abandoned furniture, including a horse structure made out of plastic chairs, and a repurposed shipping container – now a classroom, of course. Blue, red and yellow LINCOLN letters line the building, a nod to the site’s former motoring glory. It’s at nearby Milwaukee Junction that I really see the role street art now plays in Detroit’s identity. Driving past the hundreds of smashed-out windows of the decrepit Fisher Body 21 factory (rumoured to soon be converted into a techno club as part of the Detroit-Berlin Connection, a 60-yearold rave-loving Berliner’s revival effort), we pause at a crumbling building adorned with a

DETROIT IS A A CITY THAT SOMEHOW IS DOING BOTH BETTER AND WORSE THAN YOU THINK soaring multicoloured mural. A tiger charges across the brick, while along the front are the words “Rise Up” – a symbol of the speed at which the city is moving forward. If this place has been spoiled in any way, it’s with talented artists. At the nearby “infinity wall,” a stretch of empty road cocooned within a ring abandoned buildings, I stroll the who’s-who of the art scene: a purple cartoon shark by RIFT, a crazy,

luminous-orange jumble of symbols and letters from Kosek and three plodding turtles by an artist known as Turdl. It’s not just for hardcore graffiti fans either. In a tight-knit Latino neighbourhood where gardens are strewn with toys and twirling plastic flowers, we find a caterpillar mural. He romps merrily across a school’s playground walls, his smiley face providing optimism and inspiration – no wonder the city’s children aspire to be entrepreneurs more than any other job. One of those ambitious kids was politically minded Detroit-born artist Sintex, who, motivated by comic books, now decorates the Grand River Creative Corridor with some of the most visited murals in the state of Michigan – including the black-andwhite painting of Rosa Parks, the “mother of the freedom movement,” who famously didn’t volunteer her bus seat for a white person in 1955, and who later moved to Detroit in the 1960s. Driving on, I sit back for the calmest, most car-free rush hour I’ve ever seen. “That building was supposed to be a jail,” Jeff comments as we approach downtown. “It’s a bad location, but the city ran out of money before it was even finished.” Thankfully, some people do have cash to splash. None more so than billionaire Dan Gilbert, who’s purchased 60 downtown buildings for the bargain sum of $1.7 billion, while also convincing tech companies such as Twitter and Microsoft to create satellite offices in the city. Despite the new shops and restaurants, the downtown district is still eerily quiet by Toronto standards. There’s no throng of city workers, and bumbling, slow-walking tourists are virtually unheard of. Though Detroit suffers a reputation as one of the most dangerous cities in the U.S. – a reputation backed up by the statistics – I don’t feel unsafe at all. The visual result of this desolation is an intriguing faded beauty. Empty, ornately decorated buildings – the former sites of ballrooms, hotels and theatres – stretch into the sky, stark reminders that this was once America’s most wealthy city. “The roofs aren’t as fancy anymore, because the ornaments kept falling off and injuring people,” Jeff remarks, as we pass by a sign that says “free coffee with the purchase of the Wurlitzer building” – an appeal from the neighbouring shop’s owner for someone to purchase and repair the structure. Downtown is easily walkable, but I →


→ fork out 75 cents for the novelty of seeing it from the front of the Detroit People Mover, a monorail designed in the 1970s. Today it skirts along the restored riverfront, with views over to Canada, past planned hotels and new shops, before weaving through the classic sites: the grand Guardian building; Greektown, the former fur-trade epicentre (now home to casinos and garish bars); and the Lafayette Coney Island hot-dog restaurant, a sticky-tabled institution where I chomp through chili-laden hot dogs (a Detroit staple) alongside enthusiastic locals kitted out in orange silks for the evening’s Tigers baseball game. I clock even more murals decorating the Z Deck, a downtown multi-storey parking garage, but craving more history, I take a taxi to “the Temple,” a.k.a the Detroit Institute of Arts, which, come autumn 2016, will be even easier to reach thanks to the new M-train connecting midtown to downtown. Inside the bright marble atrium I gaze up at Diego Rivera’s 27-panel mural depicting workers at the Ford factory during the Great Depression. Today it exists as one of the city’s most prized possessions, alongside Van Gogh’s self-portrait, which is rumoured to be moving to Japan. “It’s a shame it might be going, because this city is coming back in full force,” the gallery guide tells me. “But it’s an underground movement, and cosmetically you don’t see it. Yet.” What you do see is enthusiasm. Heaps of it. At the Motown Museum I’m led through an interactive rendition of Motown’s birth, which has me dancing (no walking allowed here, thanks) from room to room. “Berry Gordy,” our teenage guide says,


“worked two days at the Ford factory and said it was the dullest job he ever had. So he quit.” In true Detroit entrepreneurial spirit, Gordy founded Motown Records, his homegrown record label, in 1959, and went on to sign the likes of Stevie Wonder, the Supremes, the Temptations and other crazily successful Motown acts whose vinyl and pictures scatter the museum’s walls today. Detroit’s past may be famous for soul music, but the city is still home to some blinding live venues. Where else can you watch bands perform in the trippy, neoGothic architecture of the largest Masonic temple in the world? Downtown I find street cleaners, grannies and teens shimmying together at an alfresco concert in Harmonie Park. The streets and abandoned warehouses mark the old, and current, sites of raves – the city was the birthplace of techno in the 1980s – and the gritty rebellious vibe makes it the host city for the EDM festival known as Movement. For something a little more chill, I head to Old Miami, a dive bar that opened for Vietnam veterans in the 1970s. It’s a dimly lit venue where you can rave it up or flop onto defeated sofas while guzzling some Michigan-brewed Norm’s Raggedy Ass IPA or Ghettoblaster – “the beer you can hear”. Time to work off the booze belly. Cycling in Motor City is surprisingly laid-back – eightlane roads, no cars, miles of bike lanes on the way – and it’s the best way to reach the Eastern Market (the largest historic market in the country, and a hotbed of antique shops and food stalls) as well as the more affluent neighbourhoods such as Indian Village, where huge, Home Alone-style mansions are set along handsome tree-lined boulevards. For a city so blighted, it’s unexpectedly

ABOVE: Detroit’s thriving street art scene sees its streets containing more paint per square metre than any other city in the United States

green. Plants splinter the cement of onceprosperous factories and ruined buildings (there’s still an average of 14 arson incidents a day, but the Afterhouse project is converting many buildings into greenhouses), while some spaces have developed into locally run urban farms – 1,300 have sprung up lately. It’s this local enthusiasm that will help drive the city forward. Detroit’s motto refers to the great fire of 1805 that wiped out the entire city: “We hope for better things; it will rise from the ashes.” And I have no doubt it will do so again. On my last day I leave my book at a bench provided by Sit On It Detroit, a community initiative aimed at addressing the lack of seating in the city by creating book-swapping benches out of repurposed wood from burned-out homes. Detroit is full of good ideas like this. It’s a city of hospitality, honesty and hope. If, like me, you’re always rooting for the underdog, then this is your town. And you’ll have people in Detroit, too. f

NEED TO KNOW Stay in a converted factory via; take a bike ride with Slow Roll Detroit, a weekly group cycle that stops off at neighbourhood bars and shops (; book a graffiti tour with



F O O D I S M .T O

HOPPING ONTO THE ECO TRAIN A new Ontario craft brewery is redefining what it means to produce beer sustainably, writes David Ort Photography by David Ort


RIGHT: A 3D mock-up of the upcoming Cowbell Brewery in Blyth, Ont.



RAFT BEER VERSUS mainstream beer isn’t a match between shirts and skins. That is to say, the ingredients are, essentially, the same; the labels can be hard to distinguish; and one side has often bought a stake in the other. Where they differ is that craft beer leans heavily on a “flavour first” mantra to stand apart from the mass-market, commoditized product while also trying to make a case that it’s the more ethical choice. When the Sparling family opens Cowbell Brewery in late spring of 2017 – if all goes to plan – it will become an ambassador for Blyth, Ont., a small town in Huron County halfway between Stratford and Lake Huron’s popular summer destinations.



LEFT TO RIGHT: Grant Sparling, Cowbell’s VP of operations; Stephen Rich, head brewer; Dave Clarke, chief commercial officer OPPOSITE: The future site of Cowbell Brewery on 59 acres of pristine farmland in Blyth, Ont.

Blyth is known for its Canadian theatre festival, but Cowbell hopes to add “Canada’s first sustainable destination brewery” to the list of attractions. Over the past few years, some of Ontario’s best-known craft breweries have made great strides toward sustainability. Beau’s, for example, uses green energy from Bullfrog Power, and its labels are made from 100 per cent recycled paper. Steam Whistle Brewing reuses its bottles up to 45 times apiece, and

all of its packaging is made from recycled materials. But Cowbell wants to redefine the meaning of sustainability in beer production. The brewery has serious plans to be conscientious about its water usage, its carbon footprint, its ingredients and the resources that go into distribution. “We felt we had a privileged opportunity,” says Stephen Sparling, Cowbell’s principal investor, “to get behind something that was in line with some of the other aspirational things that were going on in Huron County.” Beer production can do a real number on water supply, since everything – from the fermenting tanks to the bottles – needs to be rigorously cleaned. Cowbell is joining a broader community of craft breweries that are setting water reduction as goal. “Small to mid-sized brewers really aren’t keeping an eye on the water yet, because there are so many other business challenges,” says Michael Fagan, senior vice president of Bloom, a Canadian sustainability group that helps breweries manage their water consumption. “The average is 10 litres of water per litre of beer,” he adds. “Some are more, and some are less.” Cowbell plans to put that standard to shame with an ambitious 4:1 target. Brewmaster Stephen Rich has a stronger motivation than most to achieve his efficiency target: all of the water for his beer has to come – via well – from the aquifer more than 100 feet below the brewery. Allan Avis Architects (from nearby Goderich) designed an in-house water treatment system to safely return Cowbell’s waste water to the groundwater table, which will make make Cowbell Canada’s first closed-loop brewery. This means that they won’t draw any water from a municipal supply and won’t add any extra load to a sewer system. “Because of the space restrictions on the site, we’ve limited the amount of water Stephen uses,” says Matt Nigh, the project technologist. “The more efficient he is, the more beer he can brew.” “At all incoming points – brewhouse, cellar and packaging area – we’ll have metering so that we know how much water is coming in,” says Rich. “One of our ideas,” he adds, “was to put up a display in the front to show people what our water usage is.” Cowbell’s plot of land (a former cow farm, hence the the name) has been in the Sparling family for decades. It’s across the highway from Sparlings Propane, the successful

SMALL BREWERS AREN’T KEEPING AN EYE ON THEIR WATER USAGE YET company that grew out of the hardware store Stephen Sparling’s father established when he came to Blyth after the Second World War. So the family’s long connection with Blyth has a substantial influence on how they are guiding their plans for the brewery. Cowbell is also aiming to be Canada’s first carbon-neutral brewery with a thorough treeplanting scheme. There are 12,000 seedlings already in the ground at the Blyth site, and Cowbell’s sales reps across Ontario will be adding to that tree tally. They’ll be responsible for finding a way to balance the carbon expenditure of their →

SUSTAINABLE BEER BY THE NUMBERS 644 The number of licensed breweries operating in Canada in 2015

510g to 842g The estimated amount of greenhouse gasses generated for each litre of beer produced

10.3 to 17.5 The amount of energy, in megajoules, required to produce a litre of beer

250 per cent The price increase for hops over the past decade due to global warming and other factors

99 per cent The proportion of beer bottles that were returned in Canada in 2015

187 billion litres The amount of beer consumed around the world annually


OUR INTENT IS TO GROW HOPS, BARLEY AND OTHER FRUITS AND VEGETABLES → sales calls and deliveries with a reforestation plan within their territory. Cowbell plans to grow some its own ingredients, too: “Our intent,” says Rich, “is to plant some hops, some barley and other fruits and vegetables that grow and thrive locally for use in the brewery and the kitchen.” Outside, on the 100-seat patio, guests will be shaded by a living green roof, covered by different plants on a rotating basis so that something is always in season. And while the brewery’s buildings and parking will take up seven acres, the other 52 will be devoted to farming. “I fear that, increasingly, people don’t recognize that food comes from farms – not the frozen section in the grocery store,” Stephen Sparling says. “So, if people are coming to visit a farm, we should show them what grows on a farm.” Because of the site’s size and weather conditions, Cowbell won’t be able to cultivate all of the ingredients it will need. So what they can’t grow, they will buy from local suppliers, where practical. That means Blyth Farm Cheese and other nearby purveyors for the restaurant, but Cowbell will also dedicate one of its taps to a rotating selection of beers made by other professional brewers in Huron County. The hope is that short-distance sourcing will build camaraderie among nearby businesses while also cutting down on carbon impact. Cowbell’s main attractions on tap will include five year-round beers and 10 rotating releases or nitrogenated versions of other taps (stout drinkers will be familiar with nitrogenated beer: it’s when nitrogen gas is added to the usual carbon dioxide to create a drink with a creamier mouth feel, a smoother flavour and less harshness). For now, Cowbell has one beer, called


TOP: Cowbell’s first release, Absent Landlord, is a lagered ale meant to appeal to those who might like Bud Light or Busch

Absent Landlord, widely available at the LCBO. The clean lagered ale is meant to appeal to locals who might drink Bud Light or Busch, but also to craft beer aficionados in larger markets who are more spoiled for choice. (The name refers to the wealthy Englishman who owned a large chunk of Byth – but never set foot in it – when it was in the process of being settled.) A second beer called Doc Purdue’s

Bobcat, billed as an Ontario west coast pale ale, will join Absent Landlord in October. Cutting water usage, balancing carbon output and being an ambassador for the region are all lofty goals. But if Cowbell can hold to the simple mission that Stephen Sparling has set out – “every day we endeavour to do the right thing” – they might be able to get there. And they’ll be able to boldly stand apart from big beer, too. f




MIX IT UP We’ve scoured Toronto’s bar scene for the freshest mixed drinks – check out some of our favourites...

EL REY COCKTAIL: The Altos Crafted Paloma For more info: 2a Kensington Ave.

INGREDIENTS ◆◆ 2 oz Altos plata tequila ◆◆ 2 oz fresh pink grapefruit juice ◆◆ 1 oz lemon juice ◆◆ ½ oz agave syrup ◆◆ 1 pinch of salt ◆◆ Salt and pink peppercorns for rim ◆◆ 1 slice pink grapefruit

Rim the glass with salt and crushed pink peppercorns. Pour all the ingredients except the grapefruit juice into the glass. Mix to dissolve the salt and agave syrup. Fill the glass with ice and pink grapefruit juice. Garnish with grapefruit slice.




FIGO COCKTAIL: The Figo Cocktail For more info: 647-748-3446; 295 Adelaide St. W.

I N GREDIENTS ◆◆ 0.75 oz Ketel One vodka ◆◆ 0.75 Capo Capo ◆◆ 0.75 thyme syrup ◆◆ 0.75 lemon juice ◆◆ 1 thyme sprig ◆◆ 1 orange wedge

Shake all ingredients and strain into rocks glass with crushed ice. Garnish with thyme and orange wedge.

SOHO HOUSE COCKTAIL: Mango Unchained ​ For more info: 416-599 7646; 192 Adelaide St. W.

IN G R ED IEN TS Cocktail: ◆◆ 1½ oz Glenlivet 15 Years ◆◆ ½ oz mango honey liqueur (see below) ◆◆ ¼ oz Calvados ◆◆ 5 mint leaves Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir for 15 seconds. Pour into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Garnish with additional mint. Mango Honey Liqueur: ◆◆ 1 750 ml bottle vodka ◆◆ 4 ataulfo mangos (peeled and cut into ¼-inch pieces ◆◆ 750 ml 2:1 honey syrup (2 parts honey, 1 part water) Combine vodka with mango slices and allow it to sit for 1 week. Strain and mix with honey syrup.


I N GREDIENTS ◆◆ 1½ oz Altos plata tequila ◆◆ ½ oz St-Germain elderflower liqueur ◆◆ ¾ oz fresh lime juice ◆◆ 1 oz cucumber purée ◆◆ ½ oz agave nectar (diluted with water 1:1) ◆◆ 6 dashes jalapeño chili tincture ◆◆ Chili salt for rim

Create half a rim on a rocks glass with chili salt. Place ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain on fresh ice. Garnish with a long cucumber slice.

MAPLE LEAF TAVERN COCKTAIL: Stealth Margarita For more info: 416-465-0955; 955 Gerrard St. E.

MOMOFUKU DAISHO COCKTAIL: The Eternal Sunshine For more info: 647-253-6227; 190 University Ave.

INGREDIEN TS ◆◆ 6 oz Aperol ◆◆ 6 oz Capo Capo ◆◆ 6 oz Cointreau ◆◆ 6 oz orange juice ◆◆ 6 oz lemon juice ◆◆ 6 oz pineapple juice ◆◆ 12 oz soda water

Fill a pitcher one-third of the way with large ice cubes. Add 6 ounces each of orange juice, pineapple juice, lemon juice, Capo Capo, Aperol and Cointreau. Top with one can of soda water. Stir and enjoy. Serves 6-plus.


CIVIL LIBERTIES COCKTAIL: Holy Mole For more info: 416-546-5634; 878 Bloor St. W.

I N GREDIENTS ◆◆ ¾ oz Ancho Reyes liqueur ◆◆ 1 ¾ oz Monkey Shoulder Scotch ◆◆ ¾ oz crème de cacao syrup ◆◆ ¾ oz lime juice ◆◆ 1 dehydrated lime wheel

Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously for 7 seconds. Pour into a preferred glass, garnish for aesthetics.


Š2016 Crystal Head and the Crystal Head bottle design are registered trademarks of GlobeďŹ ll Inc. Use your head...drink responsibly


— PART 3 —


BELOW: Winemaker Bruno François uses a "wine thief" to sample the latest product from his Prince Edward County winery, the Old Third


THE GRAPE REVOLUTION Ontario’s vintners are standing up to bureaucracy and pushing wine into bold new territory, writes Michael Di Caro Photography by Suresh Doss 70


Photograph by ###



N FEBRUARY OF this year, the owners of the Old Third winery in Prince Edward County received a strange email from Ontario’s Vintner’s Quality Alliance (VQA), the quasi-government body that regulates and enforces rules for wineries in the province. The VQA had taken umbrage with the header on the Old Third’s website, which read: “Producers of fine wine and cider in Prince Edward County.” According to the VQA’s email, listing “Prince Edward County” on the website was illegal. An official cease and desist order followed two months later, warning of possible fines between $5,000 and $100,000. The Old Third’s owners, Bruno François and Jens Korberg, were shocked at the notion that they were – apparently – prohibited from listing the winery’s location on their website. The Old Third is a five-acre vineyard with a beautifully restored 150-year-old barn. It produces some of the finest examples of pinot noir in the province and is one of Ontario wine country’s hidden gems. François and Korberg had left successful jobs in software development and interior design to chase their dream of making wine in bucolic Prince Edward County. They bet on the region’s potential for winemaking long before it was designated a viticultural region. Their vineyard was planted with pinot noir on a sloping hill full of rocky glacial till from the ice age. François took this route of winemaking not for yield or ease of farming, but because when stewarded and gently pushed, the vines would compete for minerals and would dig their roots deep, allowing you to taste, feel and smell their little corner of Prince Edward County. The very definition of terroir. In a handful of years they built a fervent following among pinot-philes who travel to Prince Edward County to grab the winery’s diminutive production before it sells out. The journey hasn’t been without its challenges. Just a few years ago, a late frost practically wiped out the Old Third’s entire crop, leaving virtually nothing to sell from the remarkable 2012 vintage – widely considered Ontario’s best ever. But overall, things had been going quite well. That was, of course, until the VQA sent that email. At the heart of the matter were issues of origin and labelling. While Prince Edward County is a place, it’s also a designated viticultural area and the use of that name for wine is governed and protected under the VQA Act. Non-VQA members, like the Old Third, are prohibited from using the term →


ABOVE: Bottles of cider as they age in the Old Third's wine cellar

→ on their labels to describe their wines, even if – as is the case with the Old Third – their wineries have operated in the region since before it received designation. François and Korberg felt the cease and desist order was stepping beyond the act’s scope of powers. They stood their ground and informed the VQA they were not going to take the website banner down. The matter went to Ontario’s Licence Appeal Tribunal, which ruled in the Old Third’s favour this July. The tribunal rejected the VQA’s arguments that a website banner is a modern-day extension of a wine label and that using the term “Prince Edward County” violates labelling laws. It also ruled that the VQA’s position would result in “an unreasonable if not an absurd” conclusion by not allowing the business to reveal its location, and that the VQA’s interpretation of what constitutes a label would give it too much control over the use of the term “Prince Edward County.” The decision could still be appealed, but VQA Ontario’s executive director, Laurie Macdonald, said she could not comment beyond saying that the VQA is “looking into the implications and determining what we should do and what the options are.” François actually agrees with the VQA on one of its core principles: respecting the value of origin. Wineries should join VQA,


he says, “if they believe in the soil they grow their vines on and that their vineyard and the region are worth something.” Macdonald views “VQA as shorthand for origin and quality.” She is proud of the organization for having built a system of appellations, regulations and rules to assure the consumer that the grapes in a VQA-


certified bottle of Ontario wine are 100 per cent grown in Ontario, in some cases down to a single vineyard. The whole system “comes back to the integrity of the wine,” and that’s assured by “making sure the labels are truthful, so the consumer is protected,” she says. Where they differ is that François believes there shouldn’t be a financial incentive tied to being a part of the VQA. Currently, nonVQA Ontario wines are subject to additional fees when selling to restaurants through the LCBO. While the case was a matter of survival, it was equally a matter of principle. “If they [the VQA] had won, it would not have been possible for us to continue to operate without joining VQA,” he says. “We could have easily removed the ‘Prince Edward County,’ but it came at a time where there were a number of things we were dealing with and we thought, ‘that’s it, we’re not putting up with this bullshit.’ ” Smaller wine operations are burdened with extra work and extra costs. At his small, 1,000-case-a-year winery, François is also vineyard manager, winemaker and general manager. Little things – like an out-of-theblue cease and desist order – can add up to a lot of hassle and lost money for an up-andcoming winery. That’s why disruptors like François and Koberg have been crucial to the development

of Ontario’s lauded wine culture. And the province has a long and strong history of them. In the 1930s, Harry Hatch turned the failing T.G. Bright and Company winery into a powerhouse by taking a calculated chance on unproven vinifera hybrids. More recently, Inniskillin founders Donald Ziraldo and Karl Kaiser kick-started the modern Ontario wine industry in the 1970s when they had the moxie to ask for, and get, the first new winery licence in the province since Prohibition by proving they could grow and make world-class wine. Today the industry has a $3.3-billion economic impact annually, employs 14,000 people full-time and attracts nearly two million visitors per year. Things are pretty good, but Ontario’s disruptors have quietly made the case that things could be better. “The system exists for us, so we should be able to change it,” François says. He has received support not only from customers and wine lovers, but also from winery owners who consider him an inspiration for standing up to bureaucracy. Another VQA process – the tasting panel – has been a massive point of contention in Ontario. The VQA uses trained LCBO product consultants to taste prospective VQA wines in blind tests and to evaluate them as “acceptable” or “unacceptable.” While the VQA and the LCBO try to make

the process as objective as possible, there is some subjectivity involved – and that’s where the panel has generated controversy. According to a 2015 report, one in five wineries that submitted to the panel saw a failure that year – but no winery has generated as much discussion and public support for its challenges with the panel as Pearl Morissette, the Niagara winery that has developed a cult following for its small-production wine. “We try to do as little as we can to the wine as late as possible,” says Brent Rowland, Pearl Morissette’s associate winemaker, “so that the vintage, the variety and the region speak loudly in the glass.” Pearl Morissette has been fighting an ongoing battle to have its Cuvée Blackball riesling approved by the VQA’s tasting panel. It’s a dry, austere and textured approach to the grape that contrasts vividly with its peers. Of the four vintages, only the 2013 Blackball has VQA certification. All vintages were made in the same way and all passed

VQA’s lab test, which helps determine whether a wine is safe and not faulted. The other vintages failed the panel multiple times, which has made Blackball a rallying point for wine critics, sommeliers and wine lovers alike, who feel that as long as a wine is safe to drink, only the market should determine whether the wine is ultimately successful. Of course, a wine that fails the tasting panel can still be sold as non-VQA wine, but as a consequence it would no longer be exempt from additional fees when selling to restaurants through the LCBO. This effectively acts as a financial penalty. Winemakers often say their wines fail for being “atypical.” In fact, Blackball is promoted by the winery as made in “classically ‘atypical’ Pearl Morissette style.” But Macdonald says it’s a misperception that the panel tastes for typicity. Still, the VQA has recognized frustration with the tasting panel and has done a →


RIGHT: Bruno Francois pouring a glass of Normandy-style cider, made form local apples, that he began producing this year

→ number of things to help, including putting out a comprehensive industry report last year and allowing winemakers to see the process for each winery. The result is that the pass rate now sits at 97 per cent, while one in five passed 16 years ago. Looking west to B.C. might provide answers for dealing with the tasting panel and helping small wineries thrive. B.C. has decoupled many of the financial incentives from VQA certification and has moved to more of a defect panel than a tasting one. This has given wineries an escape valve


from the system. And the failure rate there is just 1.5 per cent, according to Sandra Oldfield, CEO of Tinhorn Creek Vineyards. The government is also reviewing an industry-supported proposal that calls for a flat fee to cover grape levies, wine certification costs for small wineries and membership in the B.C. wine authority – which would go a long way toward helping small wineries grow and be profitable. Luckily, the VQA was built for change. It has successfully incorporated draught wine, canned wine and appassimento – the process of making wine with dried grapes – in the last five years, and it says it's ready and receptive to even more change. “It really should be a living system,” says Macdonald. “We need to keep trying to make it better and responsive to industry.”

There is action backing this statement. The VQA has reached out to Pearl Morissette, for example, and invited Rowland to join a special committee to investigate how to incorporate the rising trend of skinfermented white wine (a.k.a. orange wine) into the VQA framework. But the most promising sign that Ontario is poised to continue its growth is the positivity and resilience of even its disruptors. Knowing all the battles he’d have to go through, François says he would start the Old Third all over again. “Making wine is a privilege,” he says. “To make money off of grapes you grow and to be lucky enough to count yourself in an industry that people view with a sense of awe – there aren’t a lot of things that people do in this world that have that kind of mystique.” f


NORTHERN SPIRITS Canada’s brewers, winemakers and distillers are on a hot streak. Here’s what you need to taste right now PHOTOGRAPHY BY RYAN FAIST


F O O D I S M .T O


Photograph by ###


2 4

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1 BEAU’S WAG THE WOLF HOPFENWEISSE. Pale gold in colour and hazy. There are notes of banana, clove, papaya, mango and citrus on the nose. $7.95, 2 BLOCK THREE BREWING CO.’S KING STREET SAISON. A lightbodied farmhouse ale with a hint of banana. $4, 3 WEST AVENUE BLEUET SAUVAGE. Made from wild blueberries and fermented in a tequila barrel, with a nice sour edge from a dose of lactobacillus. $13.50, 4 THE OLD THIRD. CIDER. Made entirely from PEC-grown Golden Russet apples to produce an explosive Normandystyle cider that is smooth on the palate. $22, 5 AMSTERDAM BORD DU LAC SAISON. A pale, golden, seasonal sipper with notes of green apple and lemon zest. Refreshing and clean. $7.95, 6 TAWSE CIDER. A deliciously dry cider made from a blend of five locally grown apples, $12.95,



Work with the friendliest people in the business. Sell to the coolest brands in the industry. Work for Toronto’s biggest food magazine.


1 DILLON’S GIN. This traditional dry gin is infused with local fruits and botanicals. Lightly sweetened. $24.95, 2 GOODERHAM & WORTS CANADIAN WHISKY. An outstanding whisky made from a four-grain blend, emitting a complex bouquet of honey, citrus and berry. $44.95, 3 CHIC CHOC SPICED RUM. Spices harvested around Quebec

mountainside areas went into creating this vanilla-laced dark rum. $33.75, 4 JP WISER’S LAST BARRELS. A limited release made with a sour mash method that has created a wonderfully layered whisky. $64.95, 5 UNGAVA GIN. Six rare botanicals from the Arctic are blended together to create this true spirit of the North. $34.95,



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1 THE OLD THIRD PINOT NOIR 2014. A beguiling, seductive enigma as all great pinots tend to be. Pomegranate and black cherry draw you in, with a spark of limestone minerality in there, too. $45, 2 CREEKSIDE ESTATE QUEENSTON ROAD PINOT NOIR 2014.

Rarely does this Niagara winery produce pinot noir, but their latest smells and tastes like a long fall walk through the woods. $18.95, 3 CHARLES BAKER PICONE VINEYARD RIESLING 2013. A medium-bodied wine that lingers on the palate long after each

sip, cradling citrus fruit with hints of minerality and petrol. A fine example of a Niagara riesling. $35.20, 4 BACHELDER NIAGARA CHARDONNAY 2013. Local winemaker Thomas Bachelder makes chardonnay in Burgundy, Oregon and Niagara. His 2013

Niagara is marriage of mineral flavours with rich pear and cinnamon notes. $25.25, 5 CHĂ‚TEAU DES CHARMES GAMAY NOIR 2014. Cherryladen on the palate with a smooth and luscious body, this wine was made for entertaining. $14.95,

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Argentinian barbecue is a ritual, an experience and a totally delicious way to spend an evening. Here’s how to do it yourself at home – and how to properly enjoy it with wine

For Canadians eager to try their hand at an at-home asado, chefs Rose and Trocca have these tips:


F YOU WALKED down Toronto’s Dupont Street this past June, you might have been hit in the face with the mouthwatering scent of wood-fired barbecue billowing from chef Anthony Rose’s Big Crow and the Gran Asado event taking place on its patio. It was a night like no other, where red meat and Argentina’s Graffigna Centenario Malbec were king. Rose partnered with Fernando Trocca, one of Argentina’s most renowned chefs, to bring an authentic asado – Argentinian barbecue – to life. The chefs churned out everything from sweetbreads and empanadas to beef steak, short ribs and side dishes overflowing with chimichurri.



MAKE FRIENDS WITH YOUR LOCAL BUTCHER: A great local butcher should be able tell you who raised the meat, where the cuts came from and how best to grill them A LITTLE ADVANCED PREP CAN GO A LONG WAY: When it comes to marinating your meat, time is your friend. Leave at least 24 hours for marinating to ensure the meat is tender enough to fall off the bone. SIDES, SIDES AND MORE SIDES: By nature, asados are very proteinheavy. Complement your grilled meats with a wide variety of simpleto-execute side dishes starring locally sourced seasonal vegetables.


ASADO-STYLE RIB-EYE WITH CHIMICHURRI INGREDIENTS 1 standing beef rib roast with 6 bones (around 12 pounds) Marinade 1 cup fresh oregano, roughly chopped 1 cup fresh rosemary, roughly chopped 1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil Chimichurri 1 cup water 1 tbsp sea salt

Nowhere is the art of cooking more filled with passion –­­­ or pasión, as the locals would say – than in Argentina. There, the fire burns hot and the food and wine are prepared as they were meant to be: big and bold. Argentinian asado is much more than a typical barbecue – it’s a ritual and an experience. As the most popular social gathering in Argentina, no weekend is complete without this lively celebration of friends and family over seared meat, flame and Malbec. What Canadians should learn to love about asado is that it’s all about the communal experience and living in the moment with friends and family. There’s a very special spirit and energy coursing through the occasion – and nothing about it is pretentious. Appetizers are passed family-style while guests socialize around the barbecue as it slowly sears the meat. No asado, or any meal for that fact, would be complete without a wine to match. And the only red wine fit to serve at an Argentinian-inspired get-together is Graffigna Centenario Malbec. According to winemaker Ignacio Lopez, this full-bodied, fruit-forward wine is the perfect complement to asado. “Malbec is very adaptable,” says Lopez. “Its refreshing, sharp acidity gives the wine a lively and robust quality that is very harmonious with a range of grilled meats.” ●

1 cup fresh thyme, roughly chopped 4 cups fresh oregano, roughly chopped ¾ cup fresh rosemary, roughly chopped 5 cups flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped 1 onion, finely chopped ½ red bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed, finely chopped 1 cup extra virgin oil ½ cup + 1 tbsp red wine vinegar 1 tbsp chili flakes ½ tsp smoked paprika 1 In a medium-sized bowl, add all marinade ingredients and stir to combine. Place roast onto a platter, thoroughly dress with the marinade, cover and refrigerate for 12 hours. 2 Simmer water and salt in a small saucepan, stirring to dissolve. Add remaining chimichurri ingredients to a medium-sized bowl and stir to combine. Add salt and water mixture, stir to combine, cover, and refrigerate to marry flavours.

3 To grill the roast, remove from fridge and bring to room temperature for about an hour and a half before cooking. Preheat a barbecue or grill over high heat (500°F). Once heated and the roast is room temperature, stand the rib roast on the grill, close the lid and cook for 15 minutes. 4 After 15 minutes, reduce heat to medium (325°F) and continue cooking for approximately 2 ½ to 3 hours. Place a few spoonfuls of the chimichurri into a separate small dish and use that to baste roast every 30 minutes – this is to prevent cross-contamination. Cook until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part reaches 136°F for medium doneness. 5 Once cooked, allow the roast to rest for five to 10 minutes before plating. Serve sliced on a platter, generously dressed with chimichurri, and serve remaining dressing on the table in small dishes for sharing.





Get your bubbles and your beer in one stop. Hinterland Wine Co. focuses almost entirely on sparkling wine made from local PEC juice, but it opened a brewery earlier this summer with a mandate to combine local ingredients for a true expression of Prince Edward County beer. The brewery’s new restaurant is also a great place to grab lunch. Pair the house-made lamb kofte with a flight of seasonal beers for a relaxing (and delicious) afternoon.

Harvest in Prince Edward County brings with it some of the best food and wine around, writes Suresh Doss


HE COUNTY BECAME hip so quickly. This year, every millennial is rushing to PEC in groups, eager to get a taste of the region’s highly touted culinary scene. That shouldn’t come as a surprise. The region has been built a reputation for awardwinning viticulture (notably pinot noir) over the last 10 years, and it’s quickly becoming a food destination, too. Outdoorsy types congregate around Sandbanks Provincial Park, while city-dwellers eat and drink their way around Wellington and Bloomfield. The new go-to staycation spot in the province is Angeline’s Inn, a little over two hours outside of Toronto’s downtown core.


Whether you want to spend time in nature or hop from winery to winery, Angeline’s Inn is your best bet for old-fashioned county hospitality. It has has plenty of accommodations, from suites in a Victorian red-brick house to a modernized white cedar cabin from the 1860s (yes, there’s Wi-Fi). There’s also the open-concept coach house loft with a fully equipped kitchen (naturally) and ample room for entertaining a small group of guests. Some of the best food in the county is on the same property. The Hubb Eatery and Lounge has vegetarian-friendly seasonal fare with an admirable regional wine list, too. f

◆◆ Distance from Toronto: 2-2.5 hours ◆◆ Wineries: 30+ ◆◆ Signature grape: pinot noir ◆◆ Home to the largest fresh water sandbar

and dune system in the world

NORMAN HARDIE WINERY The hipster brigade has been flocking to this boutique winery for a few years now, so don’t be surprised by the plaid shirts, cut-off jeans and beards. Winemaker Norm Hardie has long been one of the ambassadors for the region, proclaiming its ability to create fine chardonnay and pinot noir. Aside from the wine, the pizza oven (designed by the boys from Libretto) is a central draw for those seeking a little sustenance.


F O O D I S M .T O

SNAP YOUR FOOD AND EAT IT, TOO To celebrate our inaugural issue, we're kicking off our first photo contest 86





Whether you’re a master of the #foodstagram or an undercover food photographer just waiting to be discovered, we want to see your tastiest snaps.


The winner and the runners-up will be published in these very pages. Photograph by ###

CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: roasted rice cakes from Momofuku Daisho; foie gras from Drake 150; beef skirt ssam from Momofuku Daisho; cod with scallop mousse from Canoe

It's as easy as pie to enter. Send your best food shot to (one entry per person) with the subject line, "foodism photo contest."




THE DIGEST All the latest food and drink news, including cinammon buns on College Street and a new Japanese whisky

WE WISH THEM ALL THE BEST One of Toronto’s top gourmet food shops has closed its doors after 30 years in business. Owners Susan Merry and Jane Rodmell shuttered their beloved Summerhill shop, All The Best Fine Foods, in September. All The Best was a gathering place, a haven for finely curated goods and a grab ‘n’ go spot for locals looking for a hot meal. It was also a hub for visiting chefs, cookbook authors and producers. Vikram Vij and Trish Magwood are among those who hosted intimate food and drink events at the store.

YOU’VE GOT TIME Canadian taste in whisky is turning Japanese, and we’re excited about it. The market for Japanese whisky grew 124 per cent last year, and demand is only growing. Beam Suntory’s latest release, Suntory Whisky Toki, caters to the novice sipper: it’s priced more affordably than most of the competition, and the flavours are straightforward enough to drink straight or with a mixer. Toki – which translates to “time” in English – is a blend crafted from three Suntory distilleries (Hakushu, Yamazaki and Chita). Expect clean aromas on the nose and oak on the finish. It’s a good entry point for getting into this highly interesting whisky style.


No more waiting around for pop-ups: Toronto food scribe Amy Rosen has finally landed an address for her longawaited cinnamon bun shop. (As of early October, you can grab Rosen’s buns at 825 College St. No, not like that...) The author, who just signed on to write the sequel to the hugely popular Toronto Cooks book, is keeping it simple with cinnamon buns, bread pudding and drip coffee.



On the hunt for your next matcha-inspired treat? Well, you’re in luck: from macarons to madeleines, here are Toronto’s top green tea-infused goodies



Hungry in the city? So are we. Happily, Toronto has a superlative selection of bars and restaurants that’ll provide whatever you’re after – whether that’s all-you-can eat oysters, a jolt of cold-brew coffee or smoky barbecued ribs



1  Nadège 780 Queen St. W.

Nadège Nourian, a fourth-generation pastry chef hailing from France, is the crafty mind behind this Queen Street patisserie. Walking into one of her shops – the slick Rosedale boutique in particular – is like entering an art gallery, with all sorts of beautiful pastries, cakes and artisan marshmallows on display. One of the highlights? A cake inspired by the Uji region of Japan. It’s made with a matcha biscuit sponge, matcha ganache and matcha mousse, then layered with brown rice pudding and raspberry mousse.



BEST OF THE REST  2  Wooffles & Cream

4  Butter Avenue

5  Tsujiri

8360 Kennedy Rd. #81

477 Queen St W.

147 Dundas St W.

If this image has been tearing up your Instagram feed and left you thinking, “what is that?!” – here’s the skinny. It’s from Wooffles & Cream in Markham, a place that’s been hyped up a lot, but for good reason. Every order is totally custom: first you choose your fave waffles (seaweed, salt and pepper, sesame – so many choices). Next, you fill ’em up with matcha or vanilla soft-serve (pro tip: you can also go for the flavour twist).

Butter Avenue is a partnership between siblings Tina and Calvin Su. Tina, who trained at Le Cordon Bleu’s Ottawa school, is the head pastry chef, putting together a menu that’s based on all-natural ingredients, with no artificial flavours or preservatives. A particular standout on her menu is the original matcha macaron, made with a particular type of rich green tea imported from Shizuoka Prefecture in Japan. Butter Avenue also offers a Hojicha macaron, which uses a smoky matcha from Uji .

This shop opened in March 2016 as tea brand Tsujiri’s first ever North American location. If that doesn’t seem like a big deal, here’s some context: the Japanese company was founded in Kyoto over 150 years ago, and it’s still touted as an innovator in the tea industry today. The shop/café only has 10 seats, but the utterly delicious all-matcha menu makes it worth the inevitable queue, with everything from lattes to sundaes and matcha and red bean macarons – so you’ll find something, no matter what you fancy.



647-281-0487; @woofflesncream

3  Uncle Tetsu’s Matcha Cafe 596 Bay St.

Doubling down on the popularity of Uncle Tetsu’s Japanese Cheesecake shop, the Matcha Cafe focuses on – you guessed it – all things matcha. With lineups rivalling those from its sister shop, you can expect to wait for upwards of an hour –but it’s undoubtedly worth it. The must-try matcha treat? Uncle Tetsu’s madeleines, which are made fresh to serve. Other standouts include the green tea soft-serve and matcha shaved ice.








It’s finally time to put that pesky oyster myth to bed: no, you don’t have to wait for a month with an “r” in it to order your next dozen. So with that out of the way, where should you start? From classy boîtes to cosy locals, these top spots are just about guaranteed to completely satisfy your cravings for the juicy little critters 92

1  Ceili Cottage 1301 Queen St. E.

Oysters are front and centre at Leslieville’s favourite local. Owner Patrick McMurray modelled the the restaurant on a traditional Irish pub, which means an epic range of beer and whisky to wash down your bivalves. Pull up a pew – literally – in the historic cottage room, or grab a seat on the popular Queen Street-facing patio if the sun’s out. 416-406-1301;


BEST OF THE REST  2  Thoroughbred

4  Cafe Boulud

304 Richmond St. W.

60 Yorkville Ave.

This chill spot in the Entertainment District is known for its small bites, cocktails and a great range of wines. Rock up to the bar for a few perfectly plump oysters and a nice glass of vino – it’s kept on tap here – before a night out, or even to kick off a trip to cheer on the Jays. Oh, and if wine’s not your thing, check out the bottled beers. The tightly curated list is short, but it’s eclectic enough to cater to beer snobs and PBR drinkers alike.

There’s a famous scene from Mad Men featuring Don and Roger downing oysters and classy cocktails in an upscale New York City café. If that’s the vibe you’re going for, opt for lunch at Cafe Boulud, where there’s an all-Canadian oyster platter. Even if you’re a purist, you have to try Cafe Boulud’s mignonette. It’s a mixture of red wine vinegar and shallots, and it complements the briny, ocean-fresh oysters to a tee.



3  The Hole In The Wall 2867 Dundas St. W.

The Junction’s favourite buck-a-shuck takes place from 6 p.m. onwards every Tuesday night at the Hole in the Wall. Craft beer nerds are well catered for at this neighbourhood spot, but if you’re feeling more adventurous, try a cocktail. There are plenty of comfort food classics on the menu to keep you around all night, but the oysters are fresh and plump enough to fill you up on their own. 647-350-3564;


5  The Chase Fish & Oyster 10 Temperance St.

Monday night at the Chase Fish & Oyster is one of the city’s best-kept secrets: endless oysters (and half-price bubbles, just to sweeten the deal). It might sound too good to be true, but for $30 a head, you’re in for as many oysters as you can swallow. They come out a dozen at a time, with one East Coast and one West Coast variety on offer. 647-348-7000;






Whether you like it cold-brewed or iced, here’s where to find the best caffeine boosts in the city  1  De Mello Palheta 2489 Yonge St.

Walk into De Mello Palheta, and the first thing you notice is the kit. There’s more equipment in play than a mad scientist’s laboratory, and every last bit of it has a particular purpose. The result? Cold-brew coffee, available on tap or by the bottle. And you know it’s got to be good, as these guys roast their own beans – and those of select coffee havens around town.




4  The Sidekick

983 Queen St. E.

1374 Queen St E.

Te Aro, the Leslieville café from Pilot Coffee Roasters, is one of Toronto’s hidden gems. It’s set back from the hustle and bustle of Queen Street, and the ivy-strewn walls that flank the sidewalk patio blend seamlessly with the floral shop next door. Inside, however, there’s no mistaking this for anything other than a serious coffee joint. The cold brew is served hipster style: in a petite glass jar, so you can watch the coffee settle – like a cream ale, but infinitely more daytime appropriate.

This Leslieville café-cum-comic book shop is a nerdgasm waiting to happen. Naturally, the decor and carefully curated shelves are a draw for comic lovers, but the shop is equally devoted to coffee geekery. How’s this for a labour of love: the cold brew is slow-steeped for 14 hours, resulting in a smooth and flavourful coffee served over ice. A Sidekick side note for anyone trying to limit their caffeine intake: the shop also offers slowsteeped herbal iced teas.


3  Fika 28 Kensington Ave.

In Sweden, fika is both a noun and a verb. In the afternoon, you fika, or take a break for coffee and cake. But fika also refers to the goodies you eat and drink, or to the break itself, and in this case, it’s the name of a café. Its signature iced coffee is a luscious blend of espresso and milk, spiked with cardamom bitters and a little simple syrup, plus a fresh mint garnish straight from the café’s garden.


5  Quantum




460 King St W.

Whether you’re a cold brew convert or prefer the classics (lattes, cappuccinos) on ice, the offerings here are served strong enough to give you a proper jolt. A word to the wise: the ample natural lighting makes this place especially popular with freelancers, so try to scout out a table before you place your order if your heart is set on sitting down. 647-494-4429;


BEST OF THE REST  2  Adamson Barbecue 176 Wicksteed Ave.

Waiting in line for barbecue is a rite of passage in Texas, and this, the first Toronto restaurant to emulate that tradition on home soil, isn’t even downtown – it’s in Leaside. The brisket here is cooked central Texas-style, with a salt and pepper rub, then smoked. 647-559-2080;

3  J&J Bar-B-Que 193 Baldwin St

What happens when two top Toronto chefs ditch their white aprons and open a barbecue joint in Kensington Market? You get one of

the city’s hottest restaurants, that’s what. Brisket is the star at this temple to Texas-style barbecue, and the sides and desserts are also ace. Standing room only, though. 647-351-4227;

4  Barque Smokehouse 299 Roncesvalles Ave.

If huddling over picnic tables and eating meat from butcher paper isn’t your thing, Barque on Roncesvalles offers a slightly more refined barbecue experience. Our favourite dish is the lemon-pepper baby back ribs –they’re a dance of tingle and tang on your lips. 416-532-7700;

5  Appalachia Smoke House and BBQ 972 The Queensway

With a country music soundtrack and rustic decor, Appalachia Smoke House has the barbecue joint schtick down to a fine art. Luckily, the same can be said about its grilling and smoking. With only eight seats, it’s a compact spot, with a takeout-focused menu to match. Lunch offerings include a short list of sandwiches (the thick-cut brisket, doused in house-made barbecue sauce, is an absolute winner) and sides, and the restaurant’s signature applewood-smoked ribs are only served after 5 p.m. 416-252-2333;



Where there’s smoke, there’s good barbecue. Here are our favourite spots





1  1  Electric Mud BBQ 5 Brock Ave.

Electric Mud bears the responsibility for launching the hipster barbecue trend in Toronto. You can’t really fault it, though – the menu is just too good. For starters, there’s the crack buns. They look deceptively simple: like plain white rolls, scattered with sesame seeds and served with a blob of smoked butter. Tear into them and you’ll understand the name. The Southern-style shrimp and grits are equally beloved by regulars. Don’t forget to save room for dessert: the sweet, rich buttermilk pie is just too good to pass up. 416-516-8286;



SEE A NEW SIDE OF TORONTO Get up close and personal with Toronto's hidden gems with the award-winning Culinary Adventure Co., which has a foodie experience for everyone's palate


ULINARY ADVENTURE CO. is Canada’s biggest and best-rated culinary tourism operator. Just ask TripAdvisor: they've awarded CAC with their Certificate of Excellence for six years running. Since its 2010 launch, CAC has expanded its portfolio to include three Ontario cities (Toronto, Ottawa and Kingston). Now foodies province-wide can take part in the tour experiences, from exploring farmers' markets to discovering hidden gems in local neighborhoods. Culinary Adventure Co. operates


more than 450 food tours to Toronto's St. Lawrence Market every year – that's eight scheduled tours per week, plus private, corporate and school programs. The two-and-a-half hour tour includes seven stops within the market, so foodies can meet the vendors and taste their wares. The most popular adventure is built for thrillseekers: CAC's Escape the City Canoe Paddle and Dining Adventure has run through the summer for the last five years. One night a week, guests meet at the Harbourfront Canoe & Kayak Centre and jump into a vintage replica canoe

stocked with food and drink. After paddling across to the islands, you'll get some much-deserved rest – and a locally sourced dinner, complete with glasses, plates, tablecloths and all the fixings. Another much-loved CAC program is the Uncork the County Wine Tour. It's a daylong trip to Prince Edward County – Niagara's little sister, now all grown up. Guests get picked up in Toronto and ferried through PEC for a full day of local wine and food. You’ll visit four to five wineries, meet the winemakers and sit down for lunch with a sommelier, who can tell you all about the concept of




Win an exclusive VIP Riverside and Leslieville food tour for eight (value $800). Eat your way through a community that began as a small village in the 1850s, and is now one of Toronto’s trendiest neighbourhoods.

"what grows together, goes together." On top of that, CAC brings together experts and enthusiasts with a unique program of food and drink classes. Learn to pair cheese with wine, beer and spirits, or get a sweet and spicy tour of Toronto's hip King West and Queen West neighborhoods. Culinary Adventure Co. gets the value of experiences. That's why the tours are so popular with local foodies who want to meet vendors and restaurant owners and hear their stories first-hand. CAC tours will put you you in touch with family recipes and real food. They take a down-and-dirty approach to community, culture and cuisine. View all of the Culinary Adventure Co.'s classes, events, tours and experiences at ●


You’ll see the changing culinary face of the Riverside neighborhood and hear all the local food gossip worth knowing. Taste Canada’s best shortbread; a spectacular spread of the city’s finest Middle Eastern cuisine; organic breads; beer; wine; handmade, small-batch ice cream and much more. Plus, check out a special bonus stop – exclusively for foodism winners. For more info, a full list of terms and conditions and to enter, go to


SAUTÉED POTATO AND CABBAGE: This classic combo freshens up the stews on the plate. There’s jalapeno on top to give it a kick.

COLLARD GREENS: These are served alongside most Ethiopian meat dishes. The lightly sautéed greens bring a slight bitterness that cuts through the rich flavours.

COTTAGE CHEESE: A frequent accompaniment to Ethiopian dishes, it’s often served with these meat and veg platters, or with kitfo, a meal similar to beef tartare.


SAUTÉED LENTILS: Onions are coated with a spice blend called berbere and cooked for about 30 minutes. Next, lentils are added to the mix and stirred until they’re just softened.

Ethiopiques Restaurant. 227 Church St. 416623-7300

TIBS: One of the most popular meats for mixed platters, tibs is comprised of chunks of lamb sautéed in onion, peppers and various spices, and slow-cooked until tender.

INJERA: Essentially an edible plate, this spongy sourdough flatbread is one of the cornerstones of Ethiopian cuisine. It’s made from a gluten-free grain called tef, which can be fermented for several days. Use it to scoop up stews and grilled vegetables.

Photograph by ###

The meat and veg platter is an iconic Ethiopian dish, and there are countless variations of it. One of our favourites comes from downtown Toronto’s Ethiopiques Restaurant


Add a little spice to your meal with our Ras El Hanout Roasted Whole Cauliflower recipe. Spiced with our savoury PCŽ Black Label Ras El Hanout Spice Blend and roasted until tender, this Moroccan-inspired dish can be served with lemon roasted chicken or as a tasty main dish with couscous and wilted greens. Either way, your guests will be asking for the recipe. Find all our fall recipes at All trademarks & logos are trademarks of Loblaws Inc. Š2016 Loblaws Inc. All rights reserved.


This Blood Orange Breeze Cocktail tastes as refreshing as it looks. Simply shake gin, lime juice and PC® Black Label Honey & Ginger Condiment with ice, then top it off with PC® Black Label Blood Orange Sparkling Beverage for a burst of ripe blood orange flavour. Find all our recipes at

All trademarks & logos are trademarks of Loblaws Inc. ©2016 Loblaws Inc. All rights reserved.