PREM IUM G ERMA N QUALIT Y
FOR YOU R PE RFECT C A N ADIAN SU MMER.
EXPLORE KÃœHNE PRODUCTS AT KUEHNE-INTERNATIONAL.COM
Editorial EDITOR AT LARGE
Suresh Doss WRITERS
Andrea Yu, Jessica Huras, Katie Bridges COPY EDITOR
Sydney Van Der Velde, Taylor Newlands CONTRIBUTORS
To me, summertime in Toronto is all about festivals. One of my favourites is Afrofest, and I’ve been attending it for almost my entire adult life. My
David Ort, Amanda Scriver
first introduction to Afrofest was in the late 1990s when it was still held at
Queen’s Park, amongst the backdrop of the diverse and mature trees behind
Matthew Hasteley DESIGNER
April Tran PHOTOGRAPHERS
Ryan Faist, Sandro Pehar
the legislature. The soundtrack of drums and African voices immediately
FRONT COVER: Photography by Ian Dingle Art direction by Matthew Hasteley, April Tran
transported me back to my childhood years spent in Nigeria. I was hooked. To this day, I think it is one of the best experiences in this city, a textbook example of how great festivals can be in Toronto during the hotter months. It’s an amalgam of culture, a gathering of people and a lineup of memorable
Nicole Aggelonitis, David Horvatin, Nick Valsamis MARKETING COORDINATOR
AJ Cerqueti CHAIRMAN
Mi5 Print and Digital Communcations
foodism uses paper from sustainable sources
international cuisine. Like Afrofest, nearly every major community has its own festival, and these are the best months to enjoy them. In this issue, we unabashedly celebrate our love for all things summer. Enjoying a large outdoor event is a quintessential activity in this city. So, we kick off with our annual summer festival guide (pg. 55). Toronto has quickly become a town of taprooms, so David Ort compiled a guide to our favourite breweries across the city’s distinct neighbourhoods (pg 35). Canada is experiencing a cheese renaissance, so Amanda Scriver explores the country’s top producers (pg. 48). Jessica Huras takes us on a quick jaunt to New Brunswick (pg. 80) for seafood and maritime scenery.
Few cities can claim to have as diverse a menu as Toronto, and we set out to celebrate that by looking at the various forms of international barbecue
GRAZE 010 THE FOODIST 014 DAYTRIPPER 016 THE RADAR 018 WEAPONS OF CHOICE 023 RECIPES 030 GRACE MANDARANO & PAUL SAWTELL
FEAST 035 TOP TAPROOMS
you’ll find as you take a meat-fueled pilgrimage from Leaside to Etobicoke
040 GLOBAL GRILLING
(pg. 40) and points in between.
048 CHEESE MELTDOWN
You’ve got everything you need in this issue to get out and enjoy the best of summer. We’ll see you in the streets. f
055 BEST OF THE FESTS 060 COCKTAIL HOUR
EXCESS 070 AGAVE TO ANEJO 082 BOTTLE SERVICE 091 FOODISM’S FINEST Suresh Doss
093 THE DIGEST 094 THE SELECTOR
© Foodism Toronto 2018. 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 —
GRAZE “DESPITE THE NAME ‘ALL-YOUCAN-EAT,’ I NEVER REALLY WANT TO TEST THE LIMITS OF MY STOMACH.” THE FOODIST, 010
010 THE FOODIST | 014 DAYTRIPPER | 016 THE RADAR | 018 WEAPONS OF CHOICE 023 RECIPES | 030 GRACE MANDARANO & PAUL SAWTELL
Andrea Yu pulls on her stretchy pants to contemplate the pitfalls of all-you-can-eat dining.
LOCAL HEROES PE SC ETAR IAN PURVEYORS
1 KRISTIN DONOVAN Hooked
can usually rely on my mom to come back to the table with a plate piled high with king crab legs and an accomplished grin on her face while she doles out gangly limbs to my cousins and uncles. With a hard cap on my stomach capacity and an appetite that frequently exceeds it, I often forgo my desire for a side of greens for the more enterprising selection of something meat-based or additional slabs of raw fish. Since my childhood, I’ve come to terms with the fact that despite the name of this consumption format, I never really want to test the limits of my stomach. Granted, not all buffets are created equal. At pricey locals, like the high-end brunch spreads at Collette Grand Café or Ritz Carlton, you won’t ever find me leaving a morsel of food behind. But the price you pay begets the experience that ensues. I can see the appeal of the average affordable buffet, but for what I’m spending on this admission to a food free-for-all, I’d much prefer a set amount of food prepared just for me. Magically-replenishing chafing dishes encourage belly-busting binges, reckless consumption and uneaten food that you can’t even take home for lunch. The fact that your partially picked-at plates are usually whisked away before you return to the table with another heaping plate doesn’t help the cause. But I’ll always have that ominous voice of the Ottawa buffet owner ringing in my ears and I hope these words might have a similar effect on you. f
DAVID OWEN De La Mer
As a customer, Owen befriended De La Mer manager Blake Edwards before the two took over the operation in 2011. Over 90 per cent of their fresh fish is recognized by Oceanwise or MSC as sustainably harvested.
Photography: Buffet by Tsuguliev; Kristin by Ryan Faist
HAVE A FEW vivid memories of my first overnight elementary school trip to Ottawa. One is set at a Chinese buffet restaurant where our class had dinner. David, a wellmeaning but mischievous thirteen-year-old, piled his plate high with food and discarded it (untouched) on the table as we were getting ready to leave the restaurant. Moments later, the proprietress, upon discovering the abandoned serving and being unable to pinpoint the culprit among the flock of youngsters, yelled back at our departing group with a menacing message: “It’s all you can eat, not all you can waste!” I’m reminded of this scene every time I step into a buffet. Since this column has been an opportunity to express some repressed food-based confessions (stay tuned for our “things I’ve eaten off the floor” edition), I feel comfortable admitting that I still eat the odd buffet meal every now and again. I’ll pretend like the fact that I don’t choose where extended family gatherings are held excuses me from responsibility. Buffets are one of the few ways to satiate the collective palates of my aunts, cousins and their partners (our party size is getting close to 20) in an affordable fashion. Maximizing my experience through mediocre buffet spreads involves a bit of strategy and subconscious cost-benefit decisions between items that a) look tasty and b) will get me my money’s worth. While I don’t have the patience to wait dutifully in line for the fancy, highest-priced items, I
Donovan and her husband Dan started Hooked in 2011. They manage their own freight and shipping to ensure traceability and accountability for their purchases directly from small-boat fisheries that harvest responsibly. Aside from fresh fish, the Donovans also make their own smoked and cured “fishcuterie”.
LOCAL HEROES 3
ALEXIS FRASER Kristapsons
Fraser grew up around Kristapsons after her mother and step-father purchased the operation from its second owner. In 2016, she took the reins (and recipe) for Kristapsons’s iconic smoked salmon first made in 1954. The well-guarded curing method involves salt, sugar and a visit to Kristapsons’s cold smokers that have been in operation since Day 1. Fraser credits this continuity for the salmon’s distinctive flavour. She uses Pacific coho salmon and the product is never frozen prior to sale.
Rubino began working at Mike’s Fish Market 17 years ago, as a part-time job while in school but found himself getting more involved in the company. He now manages operations for the St. Lawrence Market fishmonger, helping guide customers to select the best fish for their meal or sourcing hard-to-find seafood. Mike’s is known for its attentive service: custom cutting, vacuum packing or putting fish on ice for long trips. But we’ll admit we head here for the only oyster bar at the market.
NATASHA AKIWENZIE Akiwenzie’s Fish & More
The popular smoked fish at St. Lawrence Market comes from the First Nations sustainable fishery Akiwenzie owns with her husband Andrew. They operate in Wiarton and rely entirely on whitefish and lake trout caught in Georgian Bay. It’s smoked over maple wood for eight hours with a constant basting of maple syrup. Arrive early on Saturday to snag some of the limited batch the Akiwenzies are able to bring to the market – climate change has impacted the fishery.
Ace your grilling game this summer with these locally produced barbecue sauces. KITCHEN GUERILLA
Chef Roshan Kanagarajah pulls from Sri Lankan and Caribbean influences to create some of the best sauces for proteins. We have two favourites: The spicy jerk marinade that brings the heat to white meat. The Uraippu marinade nods to his Tamil heritage with northeast Sri Lankan spices such as cumin, cardamom, cinnamon and curry leaves. @kitchen_guerrilla
Pitmaster David Neinstein has designed an array of sauces (ten in total) for nearly every type of protein and style of barbecue. Our favourite is the Texas-style sauce that brings plenty of black pepper and smoky spice. Also, try the Buffalo BBQ if you prefer a tang to your meats. Bottles are available at the Barque butcher shop on Roncesvalles. barque.ca
The shops’ regulars quickly snap up The Cleaver BBQ Sauce. Keep it in your pantry since it goes with nearly every type of protein from pork and beef to shrimp and lobster. Perfect for last-minute bbq occasions when you need a marinade to go with anything and everything. The sauce is on the sweet side complemented by vibrant tangyness. healthybutcher.com
Photography: Alexis and Natasha by Ryan Faist; Maurizio and Spicy Jerk by Suresh Doss
MEAT MATC H-MAK E RS
MAURIZIO RUBINO Mike’s Fish Market
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Other must-try spots
North York’s Yonge Street restaurant row is peppered with some of the most memorable food and drink spots in the GTA.
Soul Cafe; 23 Drewry Ave. They do Korean-style pastries, espresso drinks and shaved ice desserts (patbingsu). Get the mango ice cream with chunks of grapefruit. @torontosoulcafe
The North York food strip starts as soon as you jump off the 401, with vast stretches of South Korean eateries that range from tiny takeout to raucous Asian snack pubs. Here are two you must check out.
◆◆ Mot Na Son
◆◆ Huh Ga Ne; 19
Finch Ave. W. Unit A Hit this lively 24hour spot for a slice of South Korea’s famed night food scene. Beers go equally well with an assorted selection of meat grilled in front of you, or a platter of spicy Korean fried chicken. huhgane.com
Toronto’s ex-pat Persian community started to open shops on Yonge Street 20 years ago. Today, the area has blossomed into a central hub for the best Iranian food in the city.
◆◆ Gol Takeout; 5
Spring Garden Ave. Out of a tiny takeout shop a few feet from Yonge Street comes some of the best Persian barbecue. Regulars drive in for the kebabs. The meat is massaged and marinated before hitting the open fire. Get the tenderloin. goltakeout.com
Konjiki Ramen; 5051 Yonge St. This stretch of Yonge is a ramen lover’s dream. Our favourite from the many options is Konijki for their creamy soups and clam broths. konjikiramen.com
◆◆ Khorak Super
Market; 6125 Yonge St. Started as a humble family operation selling imported goods it has grown into a supermarket. Today it’s part grocery store, bakery and restaurant. Get the Iranian biryani with stewed chicken. khoraksuper market.com
Hotopia SiChuan Cuisine; 25 Spring Garden Ave. Head to this hip spot for Sichuan cuisine in a modern space. Nearly every dish is loaded with addictive Sichuan peppercorns. @HotopiaToronto
Photography: Mot Na Son by Vitchakorn Koonyosying; Huh Ga Ne by Yvonne Lee; Gol by Sara Dubler; Konjii by Masaaki Komori
Restaurant; 5374 Yonge St. This is the place for a taste of home cooking. Heaping bowls of pork bone soup and whole fried fish are just two of the classic options. The best part: All orders come with an array of must-try vegetable side dishes (banchan).
DRINKING GRAZING DINING TRENDING
THE RADAR From Sichuan at SoSo to smoked meat in Scarborough these are the new spots in Toronto. Grazing
S OS O FOOD C L UB
By late spring, Dundas and Ossington will have a restaurant with mainland Chinese food by chef Jasper Wu from Miss Thing’s. He will be cooking a diverse selection of regional dishes with a focus on Shanghainese, Xi’an and Sichuan cuisine while Lia Said, formerly of Bar Raval heads up the drinks programme. The restaurant-cummusic venue, which will host tastings, panels and classes. sosofood.club
HE NDR IKS
Bringing a touch of class to retail therapy sessions at the Eaton Centre is Hendriks Restaurant and Bar, located in the space formerly occupied by Baton Rouge. American staples like the meatloaf sandwich and steaks butchered in house sit side by side with Greek tacos and Danish barbeque ribs, made fresh each day. Thirsty shoppers can sample speciality cocktails in the 230-seat space, which features a stylish lounge, bar area and semi-private dining space. hendriksrestaurant.com
DRAK E M INI BAR
The Drake empire continues its march towards Toronto domination with their latest offering at 150 York St. Hot on the heels of the massive Drake Commissary comes a more modest affair, with small plates and cocktails in their signature style. Across the lobby from Drake One Fifty, the new spot will cater to Financial District workers and revellers with breakfast options and postwork drinking vibes. thedrake.ca
G IUL IET TA Not content with just giving L’Unità’s menu a delicious facelift, chef Rob Rossi has turned his attention to a new Italian venture, Giulietta. Rossi picks up where Bestellen left off in the space at 972 College St., brightened and modernized by architect Guido Costantino. Pizza and pasta are of course on the menu, as well as meat and fish options like milkbraised goat and bone-in halibut. Sommelier Tony Weber (Alo and Canoe) has crafted a top-notch lineup of wines and Italian-spirit based cocktails. giu.ca
C RAIG’S C OOK I ES
Former popup owner Craig Pike has finally opened a brickand-mortar place in Parkdale to sell his popular cookies. Pike says he was inspired by his grandmother’s classic baked goods, and decided to crank up the flavours with 15 different creations like cinnamon bun, strawberry poptart, Cadbury Mini Egg and Reese’s Pieces. craigscookies.com
We now have our own smoked meat emporium in Scarborough. It’s owned and operated by a Schwartz’s alumn and aims to make smoked meat sandwiches more accessible to Torontonians compared to a 500km journey down the 401. The menu offers chicken, salami, turkey and, of course, their buttery brisket. sumilicious.ca
Photography: Giulietta by Ali Kaufman
“Shawarma Avenue”, Scarborough’s Lawrence East strip, continues to grow its Middle Eastern food offerings with a tiny new shop that specializes entirely in one Palestinian dessert, kunafa. Also known as kanafeh, the traditional dessert is pizza-shaped and made of cheese and pastry that is baked until crisp, and then bathed in a sugar syrup. kunafas.com
You will understand why it is the lager for those in the know.
Universally regarded as one of the world's great lager conditioned beers, we only use the ďŹ nest ingredients, ďŹ rst-class cones from locally grown Saaz hops, natural soďż˝ water from ice age lakes and carefully selected grains of a unique strain of the Moravian barley make our Czechvar B:Original a truly great beer.
WEAPONS OF CHOICE From the full backyard rig to small-space substitutes, we hook you up for grilling season. PHOTOGRAPHY BY RYAN FAIST
G RI LLE Râ€™S DO ZE N BIG GREEN EGG, $1,899 A charcoal smoker, grill and oven made in durable, efficient ceramic delivers low and even temperature for moist and tender meat. Use as a brick oven to bake pizza and bread or sear steaks and veggies. biggreenegg.ca
Photograph by ###
C OM PAC T â€˜QUE WEBER Q 1200, $279.99 Condo balcony-friendly in size but with enough grilling surface to cook for a crowd. Cast iron grates are durable while side flaps fold out for additional storage. Available in eight colours. webercanada.ca
UP IN SM OK E BREVILLE SMOKING GUN, $129.99 Achieve a smokehouse flavour without the necessary real estate. Infuses meat, fish and even cheese or cocktails with smoke burned from your choice of real wood chips (like applewood or hickory). cedarlanelabs.com
GRILLING IN THE GARDEN
GATHER THE GANG AROUND THE TABLE FOR A SUMMER FEAST WITH THE STEAKS AND SALADS FEATURED IN THESE TWO NEW COOKBOOKS.
UMMER IS FINALLY back. The farmers’ markets are bustling with vendors and buyers, and the late afternoons are hazier (and lazier) than we can remember. It’s time to take the cooking outdoors. With the temperatures finally climbing to acceptable sunning levels, it might be time to dust off the outdoor grill and start planning your first cookoff. In Steak Revolution ($32.99, amazon.ca), author Rob Firing has created a condensed compendium of how-tos and quick recipes to get your summer grilling mojo going. The Toronto-based steak
fanatic outlines the basic essentials a griller should consider when roasting up meats and vegetables, and it even has a section dedicated to buying meat. Chef and Food Network star Corbin Tomaszeski has a new cookbook and it’s his most personal project yet. In Good Company ($34.95, amazon.ca) celebrates his philosophy of food, fun and family with easy recipes for everyday gatherings. Meals are categorized by time of day and Tomaszeski does a fine job of mixing healthy cooking with Latin American and Asian influences. f
FOLLOW US @FOODISMTO
F O O D I S M R E C I P E S I N AS S OCIATION WITH AZUREAU WINES & SPIRITS Azureau Wines & Spirits is a decade-old Ontario wine agency with a bold philosophy: to convey a true sense of place in its products. “A bottle of wine should be a passport for consumers; taking them somewhere new,” says company founder Dan Rabinovitch. Ten years since its founding, Azureau has curated a portfolio of wineries that offer some of the finest expressions of their individual
regions. While the agency was founded with a focus on wines of the Mediterranean, it has since broadened its scope to include most major wine regions. Azureau has made a name for itself in recent years with a specialty in vermouths from Italy, Spain and Provence. “The world of wine is just so exciting, it’s hard to resist!” says Rabinovitch.
AMP UP YOUR SALAD ROUTINE WITH CRUNCHY, JUICY JICAMA, THE TURNIP OF MEXICO.
ING R E DIE NTS Dressing ingredients ◆◆ 2 Tbsp orange juice
◆◆ 2 Tbsp white balsamic
◆◆ 1 Tbsp honey
◆◆ 1 tsp Dijon mustard
◆◆ 1 clove garlic, finely chopped ◆◆ 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil ◆◆ Salt and pepper, to taste
Salad ingredients ◆◆ 3 cups baby kale
◆◆ 1/2 bunch radishes, thinly
sliced (1 cup)
◆◆ 1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
◆◆ 1/2 jicama, peeled and cut into
◆◆ 1/2 head fennel, cut into
matchsticks (1/2 cup)
◆◆ 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded
and cut into matchsticks
◆◆ 1 corn on the cob, shucked
and charred or grilled, kernels removed ◆◆ 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved ◆◆ 1 small orange, peeled and segmented ◆◆ 2 Tbsp toasted sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, or toasted almonds, to serve
Pepper Tree Chardonnay
A dry white offering stone fruit and spice notes. Hailing from Australia’s high altitude Orange region. June 23 in Vintages. LCBO #551564
1 To make the dressing, in a blender, combine all ingredients except oil. Cover and purée until smooth. With the blender running, slowly pour in the oil and blend until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper. Pour dressing into a resealable jar and refrigerate until ready to use. (Keeps up to one week in the refrigerator.) 2 To assemble the salad, in a large bowl, combine kale, radishes, carrots, jicama, fennel, peppers, corn, tomatoes and oranges. Drizzle the already prepared dressing overtop and gently toss to mix. 3 To serve, place salad on a large serving platter and sprinkle with toasted sunflower seeds. f In Good Company by Corbin Tomaszeski, with Karen Geier. Copyright 2018. Excerpted with permission from the publisher Figure 1.
GRILLED WATERMELON WE’VE ALL HEARD THAT WATERMELON CAN BE THE STAR INGREDIENT IN SALADS, RIGHT? BUT HAVE YOU TRIED GRILLING IT?
Casas del Bosque Reserva Sauvignon Blanc
An aromatic blend of three Sauvignon clones, made in the Casablanca Valley of Chile. Flavours of citrus zest and lime. LCBO #974717
ING R E DIE NTS ◆◆ 5 tsp extra virgin olive oil
Method Photography: Christian Lalonde
1 Heat a grill pan over high heat or preheat the barbecue to 400 F. 2 Lightly brush 1 Tbsp oil on one side of watermelon round. Place on the grill, oil-side down, and grill for 1 minute. Rotate watermelon slice 45 degrees and grill for another minute. (This gives it a professional-looking crosshatched grill pattern.) 3 To serve, transfer watermelon to
a cutting board and cut into eight wedges. Arrange on a serving platter and top with feta and black olives. Scatter red onion slices and basil overtop. Season with pepper and drizzle with 2 tsp olive oil. 4 Enjoy like pizza wedges. f In Good Company by Corbin Tomaszeski, with Karen Geier. Copyright 2018. Excerpted with permission from the publisher Figure 1.
◆◆ 1 (1-inch-thick) firm
watermelon round, rind on
◆◆ 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese ◆◆ 1/4 cup pitted black olives,
◆◆ 1/2 small red onion, thinly
◆◆ 4 large basil leaves, torn ◆◆ Coarsely ground black
pepper, to taste
Seriously Cool Wine s
FLANK MATAMBRE ROLLED BEEF DISHES ARE A CLASSIC PART OF THE COW-COOKING CANON. THIS ONE ADDS BACON. INGRE DIE NTS fat, duck fat, lard, tallow, or schmaltz) ◆◆ 1 each of leek, onion, and shallot, roughly chopped ◆◆ 5 each of pitted green and Kalamata olives ◆◆ 8 sundried tomato halves, half of them finely chopped ◆◆ 6 anchovy fillets, chopped ◆◆ 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped ◆◆ 1 Tbsp dried Aleppo or gochugaru pepper ◆◆ 2 oz freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup) ◆◆ 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley ◆◆ 1 flank steak (about 2 lbs), butterflied ◆◆ 4 strips bacon ◆◆ 1/2 cup roasted red peppers, cut into strips ◆◆ 2 cups tomato passata ◆◆ 2 cups dry vermouth ◆◆ 2 cups beef or chicken stock ◆◆ 4 bay leaves
Casas del Bosque Carmenere In Vintages Now
CA R ME N E R E RESERVA 2016
1 Preheat your oven to 275 F. 2 In a large frying pan, heat fat of choice. Sauté leek, onion, shallot, olives, sundried tomatoes, anchovies, garlic, and Aleppo pepper until the onions have softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in Parmesan cheese and parsley, and then remove pan from the heat and set aside. 3 Place flank steak on a clean work surface. Arrange a single layer of bacon and red pepper strips in flat rows across the steak. Top with half of leek mixture, gently spreading it as
Photography: Rob Firing
◆◆ 1 Tbsp frying fat (goose
Seriously Seriously Cool Cool ss Wine Wine
evenly as you can (transfer remaining mixture to a bowl and set aside, and reserve pan). Starting at one short end, carefully roll up steak like a sleeping bag. Tie each end quite tightly with butcher’s string, closing it like a sausage. Secure the remaining parts with four or five lengths of string to help it maintain its shape. 4 Add a little more butter to the frying pan, and brown the rolled-up flank on medium-high heat until a crust develops on all sides.
5 In a large pot or roasting pan, combine passata, vermouth, stock, bay leaves, and the remaining filling mixture. Add prepared flank and roast, covered, for 3 hours. Your matambre will be very tender but will still hold its shape without falling apart when you lift it out of the pot. 6 Carefully slice and serve with a spoonful of braising liquid. f Steak Revolution by Rob Firing © 2018. Published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.
Pyros Barrel Select Malbec
A complex wine from the volcanic soils of Argentina’s Pedernal Valley. Boasting blackberry and plum flavours. July 21 in Vintages. LCBO #555813
Always available in Vintages and LCBO.com
SAUVIGNON BLANC RESERVA 2017
Super Saver! Save $2.50 per bottle
June 28 - July 04
FLAT IRON IN HERBS GIVE BEEFY FLANK STEAK A LATE-SPRING MAKEOVER WITH A BIG PILE OF FRESH, GREEN HERBS.
Casas del Bosque Reserva Carmenère
A medium bodied red with a crimson hue and notes of cloves, boysenberry, tobacco and cedar on the nose. LCBO #205872
I N GREDI EN TS ◆◆ 1 bunch each of fresh: thyme,
mint, tarragon, sage, chives, etc., for cooking and garnish ◆◆ 1 whole flat iron steak (tendon removed) about 2 lbs ◆◆ 1 tsp salt ◆◆ Extra-virgin olive oil ◆◆ Freshly ground black pepper
one third cooler than peak heat, or heat your gas grill to medium-high (preheated on high for 10 minutes, with its lid closed). 3 Place steak in its tangle of herbs on the preheated grill and cook until medium-rare (approaching 125 F when tested with a meat thermometer, or pinky-red inside with some red meat in the centre when checked with a small incision). Some of the herbs will fall off and land on the coals
below, others will sear onto the steak, and some will stick around, only partially cooked – it’s all good. 4 Using a sharp knife, slice your flat iron crosswise into 1/4-inch slices. To serve, arrange in a fan on a platter, pour reserved juices overtop, sprinkle over remaining herbs, and season with a few grinds of black pepper. f Steak Revolution by Rob Firing © 2018. Published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.
Photography: Rob Firing
1 Season flat iron steak with salt (about 1/2 teaspoon on both the top and bottom), and then gently press herbs – stems and all – onto the steak’s surface (reserve a few leaves of each type of herb for garnish). Drizzle a little olive oil all over. Put steak, surrounded top and bottom by the various herbs, on a plate. Let sit at room temperature for 30 to 40 minutes before grilling. 2 Prepare your charcoal grill to
Grace Mandarano & Paul Sawtell
REAP WHAT YOU SOW
A decade on, the founders of 100km Foods find that the local food movement has become the new norm.
T TOOK THREE hours to clean all the dirt off the basil. The resulting mud clogged the sink at the 360 Restaurant in the CN Tower. “We can’t order from these guys anymore, all their stuff comes in dirty,” a sous chef said to chef Peter George. It was pretty evident off the bat we didn’t know what we were doing. Chef responded that he liked what we were trying to do and wanted to support us. Ten years later, 360 Restaurant is still one of our biggest customers. During one of our first meetings with a chef, prior to buying a refrigerated truck and meeting with a single farmer or supplier, we were peppered with three questions that, in hindsight, seem pretty obvious: “Have you ever worked in a kitchen? What about on a farm? Or in logistics?”
along the way in the early days of 100km Foods, so we have a special gratitude and indebtedness to the early customers who stuck with us through the growing pains. Years later we would come to realize that we were not alone in this venture. What is fascinating to us is that around 2008, when we started, dozens of other organizations were also emerging, dotted throughout the U.S. and Canada, and embarking on the same goal, with remarkable overlap in vision and operations. Something was happening. A response to a food value chain that was broken was being created to reconnect those who grow food to those who eat it. Small and medium-sized farmers who were typically cut off from the industrial food system were joining together or working with this new group of fledgling organizations to create direct access to markets, be they direct to consumer, or wholesale to restaurants, schools and institutions. We can say unequivocally that the local food movement has grown up and evolved over the ten years we have been in business but the mission and goals have largely remained the same. Gone are the days of kumbaya, when restaurants happily had prep cooks clean bushel baskets of mud–covered beets. Today it is about delivering the best quality products, harvested when they should be, hours before a chef receives them. Here is the real payoff to all of this hard work: A genuine and authentic relationship and connection has been built between the people who grow food, those who create and educate with it, and those who consume it. This is the mission of 100km Foods. To connect chefs and farmers and give people the opportunity to “know where your food comes from.” f
Photography: 100km Foods Inc.
The answer to all three was a hard “No”. Our complete and utter naivety, in retrospect, allowed us to approach the start of 100km Foods (a small business that sells, markets and distributes products from small Ontario farms to hundreds of restaurants) without any preconceived notions of what a business of this type should look like. If we had had any prior experience, we don’t know if we would have even started 100km Foods. As far as we could tell, there was only one way to start: Try a bunch of things, fail at most, and take corrective actions along the way, while keeping the stress and omnipresence of it all from devouring our personal lives and affecting our relationship. (We were, and still are, a couple, living and working together.) We fumbled and stumbled
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NEW No taurine · Vegan · Lactose-free www.28black.com ·
— PART 2 —
FEAST “LIKE THE GREAT BARBECUE JOINTS OF THE U.S. A VISIT TO THIS LEASIDE RESTAURANT IS A PILGRIMAGE.” GLOBAL GRILLING, 040
035 TOP TAPROOMS | 040 GLOBAL GRILLING | 048 CHEESE MELTDOWN 055 BEST OF THE FESTS | 060 COCKTAIL HOUR
SAME BREW. NEW DO. FIERCELY INDEPENDENT MOOSEHEAD.CA MUST BE LEGAL DRINKING AGE. PLEASE ENJOY RESPONSIBLY.
Photography: Ryan Faist
TORONTO TAPROOMS In Toronto, small-scale craft breweries seem to be opening on nearly every corner. David Ort maps out four beer crawls around the best brewpubs and bottle shops.
LEFT: The industrial vibe at Muddy York makes particular sense given the space’s former life as a tool-and-die shop
chocolate stout or a black IPA. AMSTERDAM BARREL HOUSE
With 200 seats inside and various patios, Leaside’s newest watering hole is the ideal pre-ravine refresher. Brewmaster Iain McOustra sees the brewery’s third location as an opportunity to experiment – especially with distinctive yeast cultures that produce complex, eye-opening funky beers. On weekends, the food menu expands to include the familiar brunch options. BRUNSWICK BIERWORKS
Bricks-and-mortar or contract brewery doesn’t have to be just us versus them. Or that’s the idea behind Brunswick, a brewery and taproom built to showcase beer recipes created in conjunction with top brewing talent. The first of their Handshake series is called Ora et Labora and the doppelbock (a strong, dark lager) is the first ever collaboration brew for the famous trappist brewers of La Trappe. Brunswick is open limited hours from Thursday to Saturday.
T’S A GOLDEN age for beer drinkers in Toronto. Breweries have realized how terrible it is for us to shop at the Beer Store and how difficult it is for them to sell their product at the LCBO. So, they’ve made their own premises into friendly spaces, filled with food and drink that act as community hubs for their neighbourhood. So many breweries have opened over the past three years (often in close-knit clusters) that it’s finally possible to put on a proper crawl. I drew up a map of four Toronto metaneighbourhoods and marked off the best places in each for finding a cold one. There had to be some casualties of this tour approach. Go to Etobicoke for low-ABV saisons and high-IBU IPAs from Great Lakes. Kensington Brewing has a rotating lineup of favourites, but the market is a neighbourhood unto itself. There’s everything from shiu mai to Mexico-City-style tortas. Like the first-time visitor to Spain, new to the world of tapas, it’s critical to remember that the magic word is “one” – grab a beer, maybe a snack and then move on. Be responsible about your transportation.
MUDDY YORK BREWING CO.
Beyond the wall This one is going to require some walking, folks. Luckily, much of it will be green and shady. By my count, the gap between Amsterdam and Brunswick traverses four different parks and will give you a primer course on Toronto’s famous ravines. Of course, you could always take the easy way out and cab between them. The effort will be worth it because between Leaside and the O’Connor area breweries you’ll also pass through Thorncliffe Park, one the most vibrant parts of the city. GRANITE BREWERY
Bitters, pale ales and their stronger cousins, IPAs break down into British and American styles, depending (mostly) on where their ingredients are from and the balance they strike. Happily, Mary Beth Keefe and the brewing team at Granite are adept at making both in their open-fermenter system. Start by asking what’s on cask and go from there. And don’t let the wood panelling and long track record fool you, Granite knows how to experiment with beers like a
Discerning beer lists across the city feature their beer, which comes with catchy Toronto trivia. The easy assumption is that the tuckedaway location means Muddy York has to put more effort into distribution. Maybe that’s part of it, but I think it has more to do with brewmaster Jeff Manol’s consistent quality in approachable, under-represented styles. Case in point: Gaslight Helles is one of the best lagers in Toronto. He also does well with brawny IPAs – Storm Glass is a favourite.
GASLIGHT HELLES IS ONE OF THE BEST LAGERS IN TORONTO
Slaughterhouse five From dour and dry meatpacking district to thriving and awash with beer in under two decades, the Junction has come a long way. Craft breweries are so tightly concentrated near Keele and Dundas West that walking almost seems too easy. The last three are close enough that they’ve given themselves a communal name: The Aleyards.
of Toronto’s best lineups of sour ales and barrel-aged beers with fantastic names like Grendel’s Revenge, Fallen Idol and Sword of Damocles. In other words, definitely save room in your over-the-shoulder satchel for a few choice bottles from Indie. Think deluxe pub, burgers and flatbreads, when deciding what to order from the only full-time kitchen at a brewery in the area.
PEOPLE’S PINT BREWING COMPANY
SHACKLANDS BREWING CO.
I try not to play favourites when it comes to brewery origin stories. The industry needs the marketing guys with money and the chemical engineers looking for a break from test tubes. But there is a thirst-quenching romance to seeing a home brewer go pro. Peter Caira and Doug Appeldoorn honoured their roots by devoting one of their brewery’s taps to the product of their homebrew club, GTA Brews. After that, try a glass of their snappy Gosé Cuervo.
“Superbly wacky” is the only way to explain Shacklands to the uninitiated. That applies doubly to Dave Watts behind the bar with his expression that is equal parts convivial and intense. Even the brewery’s in-house piano has a sign encouraging guests to play whatever they want with love and gusto. The beers are equally madcap, generally Belgian in style and naturally carbonated in keg or bottle. Saison Davenport is a favourite for its tight orchard fruit flavours.
INDIE ALE HOUSE
RAINHARD BREWING CO.
Early on, brewer Jeff Broeders dialled in his jabs – mainly the Instigator IPA and its double version, Cockpuncher – so that he could focus on his uppercut. That means one
Jordan Rainhard and his team are using their newly updated brewhouse to make a list of mainly hop-forward American styles. Kapow! IPA does what it promises on the tin and delivers a blast of resiny citrus balanced by the right amount of cereal. Pop-ups are the name of the food game at Rainhard with a rotating calendar including west-side favourite When the Pig Came
BELOW: Expect happy faces in the taproom at Rainhard where an expanded brew system and new barrel programme will mean more beer
JEFF BROEDERS DIALLED IN HIS JABS TO FOCUS ON HIS UPPERCUT Home and Steambox Dumplings. JUNCTION CRAFT BREWING
Restrained and consistent takes on sessionable styles is the JCB way. For instance, Junction Road is one of the best black lagers in the province and Tracklayer’s kolsch is an ideal reward for a hot day’s work. As far as historical names for brewery buildings go, “The Destructor” is obviously the coolest. The new space is 16,000 square feet of taproom, bottle shop, brewery equipment and an ideal space for events. The docket for these ranges from beer soap making workshops to brunch pop-ups. →
Photography: Muddy by David Chang-Sang; Rainhard
→ Lower yeast side The neighbourhoods east of the Don are small enough that one can be forgiven for confusing Riverdale and Riverside and for not being sure exactly where Leslieville starts and Danforth Village ends. So, let’s take them all as one for our beer-drinking purposes. Especially for the stretch along Queen East, it’s easy to cover ground by transit. Hope for an old streetcar so that you can open the window and experience summer breezes in Toronto at their best. LEFT FIELD BREWERY
Given the abundant company these days, it’s hard to believe that Mandie and Mark Murphy were the lone brewery owners in this part of town when they threw open their doors in spring 2014. Since then, Left Field has grown into one of the most everythingfriendly (i.e., from children to dogs) spaces. Look for something from their Turn Two double-variety IPA series or stick with their classic Sunlight Park saison for a blast of summer-appropriate grapefruit.
LEFT FIELD HAS GROWN INTO ONE OF THE MOST EVERYTHING FRIENDLY SPACES with all of the red tape and pitfalls and the only thing he got was an ironic name. The Otsukaresama is right on target for the dortmunder style. Another easy-sipping option is Yuzu, a saison accented with Japanese citrus. Both go fabulously with their homestyle, yet refined, Japanese food.
RORSCHACH BREWING CO.
Luc “Bim” Lafontaine (Dieu de Ciel!) can tell you what goes into opening a Toronto brewery. For a year-and-a-half he wrestled
You say you like some haze on your IPA? And that dry-hopping makes everything better? Well, then mark Rorschach Brewing as a
must-visit for your next east-end tour. Commendably, the food options are egalitarian about drawing from different cultures and range from cevapi to fish tacos. Their 100-seat rooftop patio is an oasis a block south of Queen East. RADICAL ROAD BREWING COMPANY
If you didn’t get enough Asian citrus at Godspeed, take another crack with the Yuzu pale ale here. The Hi-Fi is a fine option for those who wax nostalgic for the heady days of 2016 when pine and citrus were all we needed to expect from IPAs. Their Revolution 81, a biere de garde they made with Malivoire Old Vines foch, has found a place in many of the best beer cellars. SAULTER STREET
Riverside takes a left turn away from most Czech-style pilsners with its copper colour and malty body, but the clean finish reestablishes its hot-weather street cred. The taproom on Saulter Street is the only place to try their more experimental one-offs.
BELOW: Dogs and little tykes mix amiably in the welcoming space at Left Field on Wagstaff Drive near Greenwood and Gerrard
LEFT: There’s no hiding from the sun on the wide-open patio at Bandit
Sunday afternoon is your best bet for finding a top-notch food pop-up, like Brock Sandwich or Island Oysters, at Halo. BURDOCK
The judicious use of everything from riesling must (young wine) to cab franc skins to oak barrels has made this the wine-drinker’s brewery in Toronto. They’re also doing interesting things with fermentation in cans. Live music - from songstresss Cari Burdett to vocal jazz trio the Lesters - in the music hall is an attraction in its own right. HENDERSON BREWING CO.
When they made Food Truck blonde, one of their two all-the-time beers, Henderson really underlined their commitment to rotating food features in their parking lot. (I could drink their Best bitter all year.) Now that Sterling is an up-and-coming strip of businesses, it makes sense to check in on the 15th for their monthly special release. BANDIT BREWERY
Hopsterville At one point, not too far back in history, Ossington, Dufferin and Lansdowne would have been described as somewhere between “unglamorous” and “gritty”. Gentrification means plenty of craft breweries to fuel weekend escapades for the artists and restaurant servers, plus the edgier real estate agents and ad execs who are starting to price them out of the neighbourhood. If there weren’t seven stops I’d say ride your bike here. Fixie responsibly, folks! Photograpy: Left Field Brewery; Bandit by Ryan Faist
BLOOD BROTHERS BREWING
On everyone’s favourite revitalised strip of former body shops, the Jones brothers can barely keep up with their hard-won popularity. And yet they somehow manage to turn out an array of specialized, small-batch aces on a consistent basis. Torch is one of those double IPAs (made with brett) that dares you to find a hair out of place amongst its high-flying flavours. (You won’t.) Try whatever’s available from their Paradise Lost series of wild ales. Afterwards, head to Parallel for everything
made with their house tahini and then to the Greater Good for a few rounds at the arcade.
Roncy’s energetic beer garden is fuelled by a brewery on a continual mission for improvement. Wizard of Gose has the aroma of a basket of fresh apricots on the nose and the familiar tart finish du jour. They’ve also jumped on the milkshake IPA bandwagon with the “YY* ->” series.
Despite a recent ownership change, this neighbourhood brewery near Lansdowne and Wallace has maintained its focus on hopforward pale ales. Magic Missile is easily one of the best and, even at 6%, goes down easily on a hot summer afternoon.
WIZARD OF GOSE HAS THE AROMA OF A BASKET OF FRESH APRICOTS
The founding brewers decamped to the Rock to start their own operation, but things have carried on at College’s most popular brewpub. The beer recipes are Belgian-ish, so try ones with “farmhouse” in the name. That directive includes Imposter Syndrome a “farmhouse IPA” that mixes citrusy hops with a touch of funk and Flemish Cap an Old World saison that is both straightforward and complex. BELLWOODS
Last but certainly not least, the Toronto brewery with the most international acclaim is definitely still worth a visit, especially now that they have a production facility to keep the bottle shops well supplied. Look for White Picket Fence, a blend from the foeders that live up on Hafis Road. Or grab one of the fruit variants of Jelly King or Milkshark IPA – every brewery needs its “Brown Eyed Girl.” f
Finding the best barbecue inspiration isn’t just about southern backroads. We leave our passports at home for this tour of Toronto’s best globally-inspired grill shops. PHOTOGRAPHY BY SANDRO PEHAR
HINK BARBECUE, AND your mind probably goes to wholehog cooking, brisket slathered in sauce, and smokers tended by pitmasters in the southern U.S. But cooking meat over a fire is not a uniquely North American pursuit. From kabobs served in the traditional Afghan fashion to Japanese yakitori fanned over binchotan charcoal, meat-charring is something people have been doing around the globe for centuries. All over the city, Toronto has a breadth and depth of barbecue options, with meat smoking in remote warehouses and lit grills in the downtown core. We take a look at five barbecue hotspots around town that are turning up the heat. f
Photograph by ###
ROYWOODS Roywoods, famous for jerk chicken, started as a small takeout spot near Fort York with minimal seating and maximum Caribbean flavour. Last year they opened a second location on Ossington. Their chicken is marinated days in advance to completely infuse the bird with flavour before it’s cooked; first grilled and then baked carefully throughout the day to keep things juicy. The blend of herbs and spices is a secret – but Roywood’s homestyle Caribbean jerk sauce, perfected over time, is made from scratch with fresh, local ingredients. 121 Fort York Blvd., roywoods.ca
ZAKKUSHI YAKITORI Japanese yakitori is grilling on a smaller scale than your classic animal-on-a-spit scenario. Meat is seasoned with teriyaki before it’s cut into bite-sized pieces, pierced with a wooden skewer and cooked on a special charcoal kiln with a netted grill. White charcoal called “bincho” radiates heat up to 1,000 C and is fanned as the meat cooks, giving it a smoky taste and smell. All parts of the animal are used at Zakkushi – the skewers run the gamut from chicken thigh, pork belly, and wagyu beef to gizzard, liver and chicken heart. 193 Carlton St., zakkushi.com
Photograph by ###
ROYAL MEATS When you think of barbecue, an Eastern European restaurant may not necessarily be the first that comes to mind. But this Etobicoke based restaurant serves up some of the most succulent grilled meats youâ€™ll find in the GTA. The extensive menu covers a wide range for meat and seafood lovers, but the highlights are still its European offerings. Go for the pork & veal meat rolls (cevapi), which are served with pickled vegetables and clotted cream (kajmak). Or get the grilled pork shishkabob if you want an example of how tender and juicy the meat is here. 710 Kipling Ave., royalmeats.ca
NAAN & KABOB
Photograph by ###
The secret to an evenly-grilled Afghan kabob lies in its centre – a thin and flat metallic skewer that helps to transmit heat evenly. The meat-laden skewers spend 12 hours in a flavourful marinade (coriander, cumin, mild crushed chillies) before they’re handed over to a designated “grill man” who is specially trained to man the kabob cooking station. Naan & Kabob have customized their gas-powered grills with a tempered glass shield that helps protect the griller from heat hazards. Once complete, the kabobs are served with naan in traditional Afghan fashion. 691 Yonge St., nandk.ca
Photograph by ###
Arguably central Texas, with its minimalist approach to seasoning and long cook times, is the most popular style of barbecue right now. Adamson BBQ effuses all things Texas barbecue, starting with its rustic grunge settings. Like the great barbecue joints of the U.S. a visit to the restaurant is a pilgrimage, in this case to the industrial back corners of Leaside. Meat heads will drive in from across the province for a few pounds of smoked brisket, tended to overnight in one of the restaurantâ€™s large outdoor smokers. 176 Wicksteed Ave., adamsonbarbecue.com
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CHEESE MELTDOWN After recent international success, Canadian cheese is at a crossroads. Amanda Scriver checks in with the new generation to find out whatâ€™s next.
Photography: Maxim Golubchikov
HE SUN IS rising over the village of Compton, Que. Fromagerie La Station, a creamery dedicated to producing cheese from raw and thermized organic cow’s milk, is at the heart of this countryside community. Four generations of Compton residents have turned to La Station for cheese that reminds them of the local terroir. Simon-Pierre Bolduc, La Station’s smiling co-owner and cheesemaker, appears from the distance. He waves us towards the stable where the creamery’s 95 prized Holstein dairy cows are kept. As one can imagine, the air is ripe for our tour through the stalls. Bolduc’s enthusiasm is palpable as he points toward the cows. “My brother Vincent has already been here, he arrives before any of us each morning,” Bolduc says. On the 163 hectares of farmland, the cows at La Station will produce close to 3,000 litres of milk every day which is then transferred to the creamery, where Bolduc and his team will begin their work. Increased import quotas mean Canadian cheese needs to compete. There has been a recent shift in the Canadian cheese world, with our artisanal cheese makers gaining the spotlight worldwide. With makers continuing to produce better – even tastier – cheese than their European counterparts, some have hinted at a renaissance taking place. According to the Canadian Cheese Directory, Canada produces more than 1,050 different cheeses and is home to 195 creameries. Cheese is classified across six categories according to moisture content; most fall into the firm, soft or semi-soft categories. For some, the basic stages of cheesemaking may not seem complex, but the list of options of how a cheese can turn out is endless. Despite the variety, getting cheese into the hands of interested Canadian consumers is still a daunting task for makers. At Fromagerie La Station, Bolduc uses only four ingredients – milk, rennet, salt and bacteria – to produce their cheese. “We want to make a cheese that is intimately related to the soil and as a cheesemaker, you adapt to the milk every day and not the other way round,” he says. This philosophy helped the family take home silver in 2017 at the World Cheese Awards for their Comtomme, a semi-soft, washed-rind cheese made with thermized milk and ripened for 90 days. In the aging room, Bolduc offers a piece for me to try. The texture is smooth, quickly melting in my mouth with a scent that, oddly enough,
For food pairing ideas and other great wines from this winery, visit Azureau.com
reminds me of a tart apple. In contrast, their supple Alfred le Fermier is quite different due to the aging process. It’s a more traditional cheese, aged on wood boards for eight to 18 months, resulting in a soft, nutty flavour with a hint of crunch. The texture is even more buttery than the Comtomme and the floral aromas hit my
CANADA PRODUCES MORE THAN 1,050 DIFFERENT CHEESES
“Lifted aromas of peach and white flowers. A generous, complex palate...” Head Winemaker
Photography: Branimir Dobes
nose like a dry white wine. For centuries, wood boards have acted as a moisture reservoir, drawing it in when the cheese has too much and returning it when it needs more. These old-school traditions helped win Le Station bronze at the 2017 World Cheese Award for Alfred le Fermier. Canadian cheesemakers have been looking to leverage awards and recognition to expand beyond their borders, both provincially and nationally. But it hasn’t been easy. In 2017, the Government of Canada announced that it would be launching the Dairy Processing Investment Fund for small and medium-sized cheesemakers and dairy processors. This initiative grants funds so they can continue to modernize, grow and expand their businesses. Lyndell Findlay, owner of Blue Harbour Cheese in Halifax, was approaching retirement from her job at the United Nations at the age of 61. With fond memories of learning about cheesemaking from her adventures in the permaculture community
ABOVE: Holstein – easily recognizable by the black-and-white coat – is the most popular dairy breed in Canada and makes up 85% of the stock
of her youth, the thought of cheesemaking as a career started to bloom in her mind. Using the bulk of her retirement savings, she built her own cheese plant in the basement of a converted bungalow in Halifax’s North End. Her goal was to make a blue cheese that the Canadian masses would love. But without a Federal Cheese Import Licence, she and others have found their options for growth limited. “I knew I had to expand to a wider market,” Findlay says of her small creamery. With the Dairy Processing Investment Fund’s help, Findlay has been able to grow her business and invest in her own federally-licensed processing plant, which will start construction in early 2018. However, educator David Beaudoin of Squeaky Cheese in Winfield, B.C. isn’t convinced that support →
LEFT: Washed rind cheese is still an unexplored frontier for many Canadians and Shana Miller is aiming to do something about that
→ initiatives from the government are enough
great cheese on the gateway to the Naramata Bench in Penticton, B.C., a region known mostly for its winemaking. Shana Miller and her award-winning winemaker husband Gavin Miller took a chance on opening their space, after placing a bid on another winery
IF PEOPLE DON’T BELIEVE IN OUR CHEESE, IT WON’T SURVIVE
Photography: Alessandro Cristiano
to sustain Canadian cheesemakers over time. Beaudoin points to Fromagerie FX Pichet, a Sélection Caseus competition winner in 2016 and also the 2016 Canadian Cheese Awards winner in three categories, including best semi-soft cheese for their Le Baluchon. Even with all the publicity and awards, the creamery could no longer make ends meet and temporarily shut down from 2014 until new ownership took control in 2017. Beaudoin believes that the government needs to help further promote Canadian cheesemakers in Canada and worldwide, noting that the branding and education for consumers just isn’t there. “If we don’t continue to educate people to believe in our Canadian cheese, all the money invested won’t help these makers survive,” Beaudoin says. Upper Bench Winery & Creamery opened in 2012 as a partnership of good wine and
in the midst of a foreclosure. Gavin and his crew are hard at work as Shana walks through the fields with the couple’s two dogs. She points to the small cheesemaking facility that they built into the back of their building. While the facility is on the small side, as a traditionalist, Shana loves the ability to touch and feel the curd at its various stages of development. Shana shows me around the creamery, and invites me to take one of the wheels of her traditional-style brie (“U & Brie”) and wash it alongside her. As we work together, Shana says that she is surprised that “many Canadians still don’t know or understand what washed rinds are,” and notes that knowing the differences between cheese and the processes of making them isn’t a top priority for many consumers. Afrim Pristine, a third-generation cheesemonger and maître fromager, gained first-hand perspective from behind the counter at his shop, the Cheese Boutique in Toronto. He points out that while consumers tend to have special bonds with traditional cheeses, appetite has grown for creative cheeses. He references creameries like Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese in Woodstock, Ont. who recently teamed up with Beau’s AllNatural Brewery to create a semi-soft cheese washed with beer. Similarly, Stonetown Artisan Cheese in St. Mary’s, Ont. paired up with Vineland Estates Winery to create their Game Changer Red and White cheese which is soaked in wine. What many Canadians haven’t realized yet is our cheese is one of our best exports. We’re really lucky,” says Albert Borgo of Quality Cheese in Vaughan, Ont. “We have great milk and a great agricultural sector with great land.” Borgo wants us to start showcasing that Canadian cheese is not only a luxury, but one of our best export products. His feelings are echoed by Pristine who says that “people are finally realizing that the cheese products being produced in Canada aren’t just great because they are Canadian, they are world-class because of the quality and technique used.” With continued support, funding and education from consumers and government alike, makers can continue to produce acclaim-worthy cheese and we can continue to experience the full potential of it. f
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BEST OF THE FESTS
Photography: Wine and Spirits Festival
This is the summer when Torontoâ€™s food festival circuit peaks. Mark your 2018 calendars with our list of festivals you wonâ€™t want to miss.
LEFT: It’s not just tortillas at Toronto’s taco fest as this returning event incorporates a broad selection of hot sauces
HERE WAS A time when a summer street festival meant slushies, corn on the cob and burger patties on a rickety grill wheeled onto the street. Toronto’s festival circuit has upped its game in tandem with our obsession for niche cuisines and regional dishes. Sure, there have been a few hiccups in recent years – long lines, food sellouts and disappointed (and hungry) festival-goers – as new operations gain their footing in this lucrative market. But we feel pretty confident that the summer of 2018 will be the year when Toronto’s summer food fests fully hit their stride. Here’s a rundown of the best fests happening this season.
Afrofest JULY 7-8, FREE, WOODBINE PARK
Musica Africa has been promoting African music for over two decades, and their premier music festival is not one to be missed. Since Afrofest moved to Woodbine Park, the weekend-long festival has grown to become one of the highlights of the summer
with its outdoor auditorium feel. Despite the 30-plus stage acts, Afrofest is as much about the diverse food offerings as it is about its live performances; picture 50-plus vendors cooking traditional dishes from nearly every corner of the continent. It’s perfect for a day or evening picnic, especially if you want to take a break to Ashbridges Bay Park across
TORONTO IS STILL IN LOVE WITH TORTILLACRADLED EATS AT TACO FEST
the street. Parents rejoice – Afrofest is also widely regarded as one of the best kidfriendly events the city has to offer. afrofest.ca
Taco Fest JUNE 15-17, FROM $9.95-$19.95, ONTARIO PLACE
Toronto is still in love with tortilla-cradled eats. So Taco Fest is returning to Ontario Place with over a hundred varieties of tacos. Some of the city’s top taco slingers will be throwing together their finest at this fest, including Fonda Lola, The Food Dudes and Los Vietnamita. You can also expect creative takes on the taco (like generous scoops of ice cream served in a waffle taco from Booyah) as well as a hot sauce bar that will offer over a hundred bottles of the peppery stuff, from locally-made concoctions to imported favourites from Mexico to turn up the tongue-numbing sizzle factor. Once you’ve had your fill, make room for more with free salsa dancing lessons and a piñata-smashing contest. Or just chill out at the tequila and mescal bar – we won’t tell anyone. thetacofest.ca
CANADA’S NATIONAL COCKTAIL FINALLY HAS A FESTIVAL IT CAN CALL ITS OWN Wine & Spirits Festival JUNE 22-23, $23-35, SUGAR BEACH
Sipping a glass of chilled rosé wine or an ice cold beer on the beach is technically prohibited in Toronto, but there’ll be at least one place this summer where you can legally imbibe with your toes buried in the sand. The Wine & Spirits Festival at Sugar Beach combines wine, beer, spirits, cocktails, ciders and coolers in sampler-friendly sizes that’ll allow you to taste a range of beverages (the likes of Adamo Estate Winery, Legendario Rum and Big Rock Brewery are among the participants) and discover some new favourites. The fest is partnering with Feast ON, a local culinary campaign supporting chefs and producers in the province, for sessions where local chefs will guide you through the best pairings with Ontario wine, cider and beer. wineandspiritfestival.ca
Rosé Picnic AUG 11, $40-$5,000, STANLEY BARRACKS (HOTEL X)
The rosé renaissance continues with an entire picnic event dedicated to the blush coloured wine that has become synonymous with daytime boozing in the summer. For its second year, the Rosé Picnic is moving to the new Stanley Barracks, on the grounds of Hotel X Toronto in Exhibition Place. The event is organized by the McEwan Group and its restaurant chefs (Darby Piquette of ONE, Brooke McDougall from Bymark) will be serving bites on site but the most stylish way to do the Rosé Picnic is by pre-ordering a basket platter in advance. And if groundlevel lounging is, well, below you, full tables ($1,750) and suites ($5,000) can be booked ahead of time. rosepicnic.com
Caesar Fest JULY 22, $45-$60, THE FIFTH
Our national cocktail finally has a festival of its own. The strange but compelling concoction of clam juice, tomato juice, vodka and seasonings gets its moment in the spotlight at the city’s first Caesar Fest. Past the Great Wall of Caesars (featuring images of the most outrageous, gravity-
defying concoctions), guests can sample 10 creative takes on this much-loved beverage along with an oyster bar and food pairings to match. Continuing your Sunday funday, you can try your hand at yard games on the patio and browse for Caesar-themed swag at the shopping marketplace to deck out your home bar to the nines. Live music and DJs fill out the entertainment roster while visitors get the chance to win prizes for completing their “Caesar Passport”. caesarfest.ca
Toronto’s Festival of Beer JULY 26-29, $40-$470, BANDSHELL PARK (CNE)
Of all the beer festivals in our calendars this summer (trust us, there are a ton of them), Toronto’s Festival of Beer takes the cake for sheer numbers. There are over 400 beers from close to a hundred breweries to try at this fest, ranging from local craft operations to international favourites. Haughty hop-heads should venture to the New Brews section, home to breweries exhibiting at TFOB for the first time, then venture to spotlight pavilions dedicated to beer with a specific theme. If the brews aren’t enough to keep you satisfied, each day of the fest features an impressive headlining act – Ludacris on Friday, Toronto →
Pizza Fest JULY 20-22, TBD, ONTARIO PLACE
Photography: Taco Fest; Toronto Festival of Beer
Toronto has undoubtedly raised the pizza bar in recent years, with trendy sit-down restaurants, ovens tucked into the back of dive bars and even the elusive deep dish slices making their way to our fine city by way of both Detroit and Chicago. The obsession deepens with the launch of Hogtown’s first Pizza Fest that plans to showcase pizza vendors alongside small-scale makers of classic Italian fare like fresh pasta, handmade meatballs, risotto and tiramisu. Expect some boundary-pushing offerings, like fried pizza from Fidel Gastro’s, along with pizza-making workshops, wine tastings and the opportunity to help crown the city’s best slice. Yeah Yeahs Pizza, Pizzeria Defina and Pizzeria Via Mercanti are just three of the pizzaioli in the running. pizzafestival.ca
LEFT: Toronto Festival of Beer has grown into a large-scale affair with hundreds of beer options and recognizable music acts on stage
→ cover band Dwayne Gretzky on Saturday and I Mother Earth and Finger Eleven on Sunday. Each show is included in the ticket price for that particular day. beerfestival.ca
Taste of the Middle East AUGUST 4, FREE, YONGE-DUNDAS SQUARE
Toronto’s food festival circuit makes it possible to sample authentic eats from all parts of the globe. The newest to enter the mix is the Taste of the Middle East – a food festival highlighting not only culinary delights but culture and traditions from countries in this region. A dozen food vendors will be serving up tasty bites (expect eats like Turkish pide, halloumi, kabobs and baklava) along with a licensed area showcasing Middle Eastern spirits. Cultural vendors selling clothing and jewellery from the region will also be on hand. Hitting all of the senses, guests will be treated to entertainment like live musical performances and, of course, belly dancing. tasteofthemiddleeast.ca
Jerk Festival AUGUST 9-12, FREE, CENTENNIAL PARK
While Caribana is the major event in our summer calendars for celebrating the island life, the good times continue east of the city at the Jerk Festival. This event might be named for the iconically spicy style of Jamaican cooking, but really the Jerk Festival showcases all manner of Caribbean eats and creative takes on jerk (there will even be a vendor selling jerk ice cream this year). The festival is also a chance to dig into some out-of-city restaurants that serve up delicious island foods. Home Restaurant & Patties and Dawn’s Catering (Brampton), Taste of Jamaica (Mississauga) and Willy’s Jerk Restaurant (North York) will all be making
THERE ARE OVER 400 BEERS FROM ABOUT 100 BREWERIES TO TRY AT TFOB 58
ABOVE: Food hits the grill and hands slap knees for Beer, Bourbon and BBQ, Toronto’s rollicking, country-themed festival
VEGANDALE BRINGS TOGETHER OVER 100 EARTHFRIENDLY VENDORS Beer, Bourbon & BBQ AUGUST 24-26, TBD, ONTARIO PLACE
ABOVE: Those with a sweet tooth get their time in the sun with a festival dedicated to all of our various sweet preparations
Don your best cowboy boots, plaid shirts and channel your inner tractor rider or hay-bail tosser at this now-annual festival with a rollicking country theme. Grilled meats are really the most appropriate food to accompany such an affair, so the city’s top barbecuers (The Mighty Cob and The County General are among the 25 vendors) will be on hand serving up their finest charred concoctions. Bourbon is the beverage of choice here and specialty cocktails, notably a bourbon lemonade, will be flowing. Lawn games and activities (think cornhole, line dancing lessons and giant Jenga) help you digest your servings before tackling the mechanical bull. beerbourbonbarbecue.ca
the pilgrimage to Centennial Park this year. The event is also known for its live acts. While this year’s set is yet to be revealed, last year’s notable R&B performers (Brian McKnight, Maxi Priest) give you a taste of what to expect. jerkfestival.ca
Sweetery AUGUST 11-12, FREE, DAVID PECAUT SQUARE Photography: Beer, Bourbon and BBQ; Sweetery
Savoury snacks steal the spotlight in the food festival circuit, so dessert fiends like us are glad to see an event like Sweetery enter the fray. They bill themselves as the largest sweets festival in the country and this year’s confirmed vendors include Eva’s Original Chimneys, Holy Cannoli and Coconut Island. In addition to the usual vendor booths, Sweetery helps showcase new talent in the industry with dedicated programming for George Brown College Chef School students, with last year’s festival highlighting offerings from budding French pastry chefs. Put that
sugar high to good use with carnival games on-site as well as scavenger hunt stamp cards that reward curious festival goers with entry to prize draws for trying five or more items at Sweetery. sweeterytoronto.ca
Vegandale AUGUST 11-12, $10-20, GARRISON COMMON
Navigating the city as a plant-based person can feel like a difficult chore but there’s at least one food festival this summer where vegans can eat everything without fear. Vegandale, formerly known as the Vegan Food & Drink Festival, brings together over a hundred vendors with a focus on hot food, drinks and dessert as well as merchandise aligned with the earth-friendly lifestyle. Organizers of this fest are the same group rebranding a Parkdale strip of vegan restaurants and cruelty-free establishments on Queen West into the catchy-sounding Vegandale Village. vegandalefest.com
Pan American Food & Music Festival AUGUST 25-26, FREE, YONGE-DUNDAS SQUARE
Our continental neighbours to the south get a fest all of their own with this annual affair in the heart of the city at Yonge-Dundas Square. The Pan American Food & Music Festival sees 25 countries across the region represented through food and drink vendors, artists, live music and dance performances. Among them are The Arepa Republic (Venezuela), Panchos Bakery and Rebozos (both from Mexico) while true fans of Latin American food can declare their affinity for the cuisine (or demonstrate their ability to ingest it in large quantity, at least) at the arepa eating contest. But you can always just watch the pros in action instead at one of two food competitions pitting six chefs, from six different countries against each other to create on-theme dishes in the seafood and spicy categories. panamfest.com f
COCKTAIL HOUR We share three cocktails from Chubby’s to get you into an island state of mind. These tropical beauties are dosed so that you won’t need a nap.
CALABASH BAY ING RED IENTS ◆◆ 1/4 of the fruit from a cored
pineapple, frozen ◆◆ 60 ml dark spiced rum ◆◆ 45 ml coconut cream or sweetened
condensed milk ◆◆ Nutmeg and cherries for garnish
Cut the top off a pineapple about one inch into the fruit. Scoop the fruit out and freeze. The outside of the cored pineapple will be used as your cup so don’t cut to the bottom; leave about 2 inches. Cut the very bottom of the fruit with a knife so it will sit flat.
Calabash Bay method
Add ingredients to a blender. Blend with ice until you get a slushy consistency Pour into the cored pineapple. Garnish with pineapple top, freshly grated nutmeg and cherries.
N THE LAST few years, Toronto’s cocktail scene has drawn from a tropical palette of colours and flavours. There’s been a welcome shift in how we imbibe; fewer heavy doses of strong, brown liquor and more vibrancy with select rums and mescals. One of the newest spots, Chubby’s Jamaican Kitchen, flaunts Caribbean flair like no other bar in the city. A place known for modern spins on Caribbean food demanded a cocktail program that was able to dance with spice and colour. Head bartender Jonny Crozier (Gusto 101) was up for the challenge. On recent trips to Jamaica and Panama, tasting craft bottlings of rum, which rarely make it to Toronto, helped him fall in love with rum cocktails. When Chubby’s opened late last year, Crozier ditched Italian wines and negronis to chase his newfound rum obsession. “We don’t shy away from the fact that we are a Caribbean influenced bar, we embrace all aspects of it,” he says. At Chubby’s, Crozier’s approach to designing the cocktail menu is part creating nostalgia and part transporting drinkers to a tropical destination. “Cocktails can transcend beyond taste and invoke other emotions, kinda like music. I want to create drinks that are reminiscent of dishes, feelings or memories,” he says. He uses a wide array of tropical juices for mixes and procures locally grown herbs for his infusions. Oh, and there’s rum – a lot of it. He explains that: “There are so many different styles of rums out there, it’s all about learning balance because different rums can be used for different types of drinks. It’s not a single tasting spirit.” f
Photography: Interior by Stacey Brandford
GARDEN SMASH INGREDIENTS ◆◆ 45 ml gin ◆◆ 15 ml green Chartreuse ◆◆ 30 ml thyme syrup ◆◆ 2 slices fresh cucumber ◆◆ Soda or Ting
Herb syrup method
Add equal parts sugar and hot water (500 ml each) to a pan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and add sprigs of your favourite fresh garden herb to add flavour. Let cool. The syrup will keep for about two weeks in a sealed and refrigerated container.
Garden Smash method
Add all ingredients except soda to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake for 10 seconds. Pour contents into a glass, top with soda and garnish with a fresh sprig of thyme.
RUM PUNCH IN G R ED IEN TS ◆◆ 750 ml Jamaican rum ◆◆ 1 L lime juice ◆◆ 1.5 L tea syrup ◆◆ 50 ml Angostura bitters ◆◆ 500 ml ginger beer
Tea syrup method
Make your tea syrup the day before to allow it to cool. To make the syrup, pick your favourite vibrant tea flavour (berries and florals work best). Make 1 litre of strong tea and add 1 litre of sugar to the hot tea. Allow to cool completely.
Rum Punch method
Photograph by ###
Before your guests arrive add all ingredients except ginger beer in a pot that can hold more than 5 litres of liquid. Store half of your punch to refill your bowl later in the party. Add ginger beer and large ice cubes to the punch bowl.
WIN THE ULTIMATE STAYCATION FOR TWO We want to know more about you, our lovely readers. In exchange for your answers youâ€™ll be entered to win a 1-night stay at the Anndore House and dinner at Constantine for two. For more details visit foodism.to/reader-survey.
SIPPING WINE IN THE SUNSHINE
To celebrate patio season, we're giving you the chance to sip Stoneleigh Sauvignon Blanc in the sunshine with chef Mark McEwan at his downtown restaurant. There's something pretty special about Toronto in the summertime. After months (and months) of hibernation, the city collectively wakes up, pokes its head out of the door and prepares to make up for a season of indoor-dwelling by squeezing out every last delicious drop of sunshine. A huge part of this involves the humble patio â€“ it's that time of year when an unassuming slab of concrete
is suddenly transformed into a summer oasis, where glasses clink and every square inch is filled with sun-seekers looking to get their Vitamin-D fill in the company of good friends. Which is exactly what youâ€™ll get at Stoneleigh's exclusive dinner with chef Mark McEwan. Foodism and Stoneleigh are giving you the chance to score an invite to hang out with the acclaimed Toronto chef at a patio party at his
gorgeous downtown Bymark restaurant on August 8. Chef McEwan (Diwan, Bymark, North 44, ONE, Fabbrica) will be pairing his exclusive menu with Stoneleigh Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. This vibrant white wine is bursting with tropical fruit flavours and notes of passionfruit and grapefruit. It's an easy-drinking and extremely versatile Sauvignon Blanc which can be paired
with foods such as delicate white meat, seafood or served chilled on its own. Stoneleigh wines are created in New Zealand's Marlborough region, in an area known locally as the ‘Golden Mile’. Stoneleigh takes its name from the stones that cover their vineyard – evidence of an ancient riverbed which now houses some of the oldest grafted Sauvignon Blanc blocks in Marlborough. The stones store and reflect the sun's heat up into the vines, ripening the fruit and making that delicious Stoneleigh Wine flavour. All of which leads to that bottle at the LCBO and your refreshing glass of Sauv Blanc in the sunshine. Few whites can quench a summer thirst quite like a crisp glass of Stoneleigh Sauvignon Blanc, whether it's at a patio downtown or from the comfort of your own backyard. However you decide to enjoy it, Stoneleigh is here to help you raise a glass this summer. ● Find Stoneleigh at the LCBO and select grocery stores across Ontario.
WIN A DINNER WITH STONELEIGH AND CHEF MARK MCEWAN
Hang out with the celebrity chef at Bymark restaurant on August 8.
For a full list of terms and conditions and to enter, visit: foodism.to/competition
— PART 3 —
EXCESS “IF A MERE MENTION OF TEQUILA FILLS YOU WITH NAUSEA AND EMBARRASSMENT, YOU HAVEN’T HAD THE GOOD STUFF.” AGAVE TO ANEJO 070
070 AGAVE TO ANEJO | 082 BOTTLE SERVICE | 091 FOODISM’S FINEST 093 THE DIGEST | 094 THE SELECTOR | 098 DECONSTRUCT
AGAVE TO ANEJO Suresh Doss heads to Jalisco in central Mexico to determine the difference between bar-rail tequila and craft offerings. 70
HE AGAVE FIELDS of the Jaliscan Highlands can look like a hostile landscape at first, but taken together, the neverending rows of spiky leaves make up one of the most culturally celebrated landscapes in all of Mexico. Locally referred to as Los Altos, the highlands are located 90 minutes outside of Guadalajara. At nearly 7 million people, the bustling metropolitan hub in the state of Jalisco is one of the major cities of Mexico. It feels more European than Central American with its eclectic culinary scene and mix of Neoclassical, Gothic and Baroque architecture. It’s more diverse than other cities in Mexico and that is represented in its culinary scene and local culture. Once you head north or south from Guadalajara, you’re quickly surrounded by gently rolling hills spattered with plantations of agave. Picture the tranquil, undulating landscapes of wine regions across the world and the roads that wind casually through them. Now picture the opposite. Jalisco is a sprawl of barren fields with low vegetation sectioned by rigidly straight highways. Here, 460 years ago, the Spanish empire fought its longest war against the nomadic people of Mexico, the Chichimecas. It was a costly campaign of “fire and blood” that spanned 40 years and culminated with the defeat of the Spanish by the indigenous Chichimeca Confederation. Today, Jalisco is home to many of the recognizable traits of Mexico’s global identity, from mariachi to iconic birria (a hearty meat stew) and, of course, tequila. Legally, tequila can come from five Mexican states. The popularity of Mexico’s national spirit over the last two decades has given way to a boom of craft distillers that are seeking to create →
MESCAL 101 Tequila is a type of mescal made in Jalisco (and four other states) exclusively from blue agave. Photography: T photography
ABOVE: Trimmed blue agave are laboriously brought in from a field for future tequila production.
It’s made by blending extract of up to 28 different agave plants and is categorized by its age into blanco, reposado, anejo and extra anejo. Jimadors are skilled farmers who care for and harvest agave plants.
EXCEPTIONAL COCKTAILS MADE EASY with Volcano-Enriched Premium Rum
→ individual takes on the spirit that highlight the microclimates of Jalisco. These distilleries are looking back to the beginning of tequila’s story in the 16th century. The Spanish conquistadors ran out of brandy and created a milky fermented
FLOR G I N GE R 1 ½ oz. Flor de Caña 7 Year Old Rum, topped with 4 oz. ginger ale, garnish with an orange peel twist.
Represented by PMA Canada pmacanada.com
spirit called pulque from the heart of the agave plant, the pina. Pinas were cooked in large ovens, and the extracted juices were left to naturally ferment. Nearly a century later, tequila (made from blue agave plants) became a mass produced product that sprouted over a 100 distilleries that exist today. In the last two decades, a small wave of higher-end tequilas has sparked interest in the spirit and has started to shift perceptions about the drink, which is still largely regarded as a party drink, consumed by the shot and quickly slammed back in debauched situations to celebrate a hedonistic existence. If a mere mention of tequila fills you with feelings of nausea and memories of embarrassing transgressions, then you haven’t had the good stuff. What you’ve had can only be classified as tequila on paper. On the low end, 51 per cent of agave distillate is mixed with other sugars to create a product often referred to as “mixto”. If you’ve ordered a round of tequila shots at your local dive bar, it’s most likely cheap mixto, and chances are good that you’ll regret it the next morning
TWO REGIONS ARE AT THE CENTRE OF THE CRAFT MESCAL MOVEMENT: EL VALLE AND LOS ALTOS
ABOVE: A master distiller at Espolon is responsible for overseeing the traditional process.
Photography: Espolon Tequila
when the head-splitting hangover kicks in. Good-quality tequila is a type of mescal that is made using only blue agave plants. Mescal in general can be made from blending up to 28 different agave types. Tequila is classified by age into blanco, reposado, anejo and extra anejo categories. For a newbie crash course in mescal, take the Tequila Express. The regional service runs from Guadalajara straight into Herradura distillery in Amatitan. It’s a quick jaunt from the city with ample live entertainment, tequila tastings, and even a local dinner. The Lowlands, Two major regions Tequila Valley are at the centre of the craft mescal movement: El Valle (lowlands) to the Jalisco south, and Los Altos (highlands) to the north. Each region has its own unique microclimate due to the
rugged topography. Just like in wine, the soil helps give a sense of place to what grows in it. El Valle’s topography is distinct due to a massive extinct volcano that sits at the centre of the region. The weather is hot and dry, the soil is a rich, dark clay that produces a plant that exhibits amplified earthy and herbal characteristics. In the highlands, the soil is fertile with minerals, and the higherelevation nights are cooler, which creates a spirit that has a florality and lightness to it. Near the town of Arandas is the “Golden Triangle” of the highlands, an area regarded for its rocky soils and low-calcium water. This soil and cooler climate provides ideal growing conditions for the agave plant. It’s here that boutique mescal brand Espolon has been making mescal for two decades at Destiladora San Nicolas. Espolon’s approach marries traditional practices with modern mechanics, starting with the estate’s blue weber agave plantation. Unlike other commercial spirits, the process of making mescal requires years of patience and laborious farming techniques. The blue agave The Highlands, is a hardy plant and the pina is protected by a Arandas coat of thick spiky branches that can extend to 7 feet. In the world of wine, you can make a vintage from each year Guadalajara – every harvest will produce useable fruit. In the world of beer, →
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ABOVE: Towering heaps of agave go into producing the mescal at Espolon.
→ you can brew a batch in a few weeks.
maturity of their plantations. In the highlands, Espolon usually harvests plants at around six to eight years when the jimador has determined that they have achieved a desired level of sweetness. Once ready, the jimadors work by hand. They begin by pulling out the pina from the ground using a specialized hoe, called a coa de jima. The coa is used to slice away the toughened leaves to expose the pina. Truckfuls of pinas are cut into quarters and thrown into large autoclaves where they are slowly cooked for a full day at a controlled temperature. The caramelization process
Photography: Harvest by Espolon Tequila; Agave by T photography
Mescal is complicated. It is somewhat similar to whisky but only when we are talking about aging. With mescal, the waiting game starts on the field. Agave plants can take up to 10 years to fully mature. They are tended to by jimadors, local farmers that try to preserve a 500-year-old tradition, which has been passed down from one generation to the next. One jimador I had the chance to shadow explained that tending to agave is a “lifelong responsibility” and jimadors develop a keen sense to carefully identify the health and
releases an intoxicating aroma reminiscent of sugar and molasses, which permeates the distillery. It’s an edible product once it comes out of the oven, with the texture of a baked potato, stringy-ness of a mango, and sweetness of honey and molasses. The cooked piñas are crushed to extract the juices, and then moved into stainless steel tanks where the fermentation process begins. At this point, Espolon does things slightly differently than other mescal producers. Two distillation methods are used depending on the product. Small-batch pot stills for a complex liquid and column stills for a multi-distilled spirit that has a featherlike feel on the tongue. Blanco, a slightly sweet, light mescal with hints of tropical salad, sits in a stainless steel tank for a few months. The spirits destined for the other two mescal bottlings, reposado and anejo, are aged in virgin American oak barrels. The reposados stay there for up to five months and the anejo for one to three years. Anything longer is classified as extra anejo. Much like with whisky and wine: It is this critical stage of exposing the liquid to oak that imparts colour, depth and taste. A well made reposado can be a pleasing, complex and layered drink; one that can go toe to toe with the caramel and vanilla monsters of bourbon country. A well made anejo can be as suave as a well-aged single malt scotch. Think of a buttery smooth spirit that ranges from floral to citrus and spice. The variety of available microclimates, range of farming practices, and distilling techniques have helped propagate one of the fastest growing spirit industries in the last 20 years. Most of what is locally produced at brands like Espolon is exported to the United States, Canada and Europe. In a fairly short time, tequila has progressed from bottomshelf party shot material at the bar to something worthy of sipping in a leisure setting. The agave has evolved from a plant that was used to make a ceremonial drink to one that is at the centre of a booming industry. It has become part of the Mexican cultural fabric, a tradition carefully preserved by the jimadors as they impart their knowledge through their lineage. Standing there in the highlands as I watched a seasoned jimador carefully slice away at the shell of an agave plant, my tour guide leaned over and said: “Nothing is possible without the life-long dedication that the jimadors bring to the tequila process. They are the keepers of this Mexican tradition”. f
FINE AND SHANDY Six generations of the Leinenkugel family have been brewing for over 150 years. Now, America's favourite shandy has arrived in Canada, just in time for summer.
INCE DAYTIME DRINKING is one of our favourite summer pastimes, we want to make sure we do it just right. Which is why we're always on the lookout for a light, beer-based thirst quencher to enjoy outside. Leinenkugel's may have been around for centuries, but their Lemon Shandy is the first offering to enter the Canadian market. It has already been hugely successful in the States (it's one of the fastest turning craft seasonal beers on the market and the #1 shandy in the U.S.), and now it's available in the Great White North – just in time for summer.
This German-style wheat beer was born out of the spirit of the outdoors – so whether you’re around the campfire, lazing in your backyard or hanging on a patio, when you take a sip and feel a sudden sense of calm wash over you, you'll know it's no accident. This hazy shandy has a light, bright lemon aroma and is refreshingly tart. Fans of radlers will appreciate the tang (natural lemon flavour is added to the traditional weissbeer). Plus, it pairs well with all your summer staples; crack a can to go with your BBQ chicken, fish tacos or watermelon. ●
LEINENKUGEL'S LEMON SHANDY WAS MADE FOR CAMPING, HANGING OUT ON THE PATIO OR WEEKENDS AT THE COTTAGE 77
Call for a Conductor’s!
Inspired by traditional beers created when life was more about the journey than the destination, Conductor’s Craft Ale from Junction Craft Brewing is fresh, aromatic and full of f lavour. Call for a Conductor’s at your favourite local, the LCBO, and select Beer and grocery stores. junctioncraft.com @ JUNCTIONCRAFT @ JUNCTION_CRAFT @ junctioncraft
Visit our Brewery in The Destructor at 150 Symes Road in The Junct ion
FROM ART DECO TO ARTISAN ALES
Junction Craft Brewing has restored a former Art Deco-era waste incinerator to become a stunning brewery, taproom and bottle shop.
ORONTO’S STOCKYARDS DISTRICT, formerly a hub of the city’s meatpacking industry, has popped back up on the map as an up-and-coming neighbourhood in the northwest end. But of all the buzzed-about openings, the one we’re most excited about is Junction Craft Brewing. They’ve transformed a stunning Art Deco-era building on Symes Road, one of the few pre World War II industrial buildings that remain in the neighbourhood, into a stunning, spacious brewing facility. Even before you step into Junction Craft Brewing’s new home, you’ll notice Art Deco detailing adorning its exterior, including a horizontal striped buff
brick facade and a carved medallion above the front entrance that dates the structure to 1933 (although the building wasn’t completed until 1934). Inside, with an industrial-sized brewhouse, fermentation tanks and a light-filled tap room and bottle shop, it’s hard to imagine that this space was once home to a waste incinerator known as the Symes Road Destructor. Instead, the Junction team is hard at work brewing their signature beers that are now Ontario staples, like their malty and aromatic Conductor’s Craft Ale and the Engineer’s IPA, a bold but balanced dry-hopped brew. At Junction Craft Brewing, you’ll also find innovative, experimental releases
like the high-gravity Destructor Series, and seasonal offerings like the Derail #7 Dry Hopped Mango Sour – a bright, tart and tropical beer perfect for summer sipping in the city. There are over a dozen brews flowing in Junction Craft’s tap room for you to taste and discover, many of which are available by bottle or can at the bottle shop to take home with you. With two other indie breweries nearby, the Stockyards District and Junction Craft Brewing are the perfect summer destinations for curious hop heads. But until then, you can find Junction Craft beers at the LCBO, select beer and grocery stores and on tap at restaurants and bars across the city. ●
Jessica Huras ventures to often overlooked New Brunswick to explore its rustic culinary scene.
OU’D BE FORGIVEN for thinking that New Brunswick lacks the star power of the other Maritime provinces, sometimes caustically described as a “drive-through province” that travellers are forced to cross on their way to more beloved parts of the East Coast. But the forgotten middle child of Atlantic Canada has charms equal to its siblings, including postcard-worthy seaside landscapes, traditional French-Canadian culture (francophones make up over 30 per cent of its population) and a rich food scene focused on the simple flavours of its farmlands and coastlines. Start in St. Andrews to take in some of New Brunswick’s prettiest maritime scenery. Scores of buildings
dating back to the 1880s and earlier hint at the town’s long history as a summer retreat for well-heeled tourists. Take a stroll down Water Street, a cute main drag lined with gift shops, cafés and artists’ studios – don’t miss Sunbury Shores Arts and Nature Centre, a multipurpose creative space with a beautiful harbourview exhibition gallery. Next, make your way east to the province’s port city, Saint John. Its historic core has a romantic industrial feel, with the windswept Bay of Fundy peeking out between rows of redbrick 19th-century buildings. It’s a fitting setting for a winsome city packed with inviting pubs, cool restaurants, quaint shops and affable locals. Let lesser-informed vacationers drive on through if they want because you’re going to be the savvy traveller who knows to pull the car over and stay for a while. f
ROSSMOUNT INN If you’re exploring the food scene in New Brunswick, you’ll quickly learn that all roads lead to Rossmount Inn. Chef-owner Chris Aerni’s daily-changing menu exemplifies the province’s stripped-down approach to cuisine and continually influences other chefs in the region. The focuses here are as-fresh-as-possible, local seafood, wild ingredients like chanterelles and fiddleheads, as well as organic vegetables and herbs from the kitchen’s garden. Set in a historic manor that also houses an inn with 18 guest rooms, the restaurant’s old-fashioned aesthetic might not be to everyone’s tastes but the artful dishes definitely will be. You’ll need to make reservations well in advance for this one.
GETTING THERE Saint John, New Brunswick is just over a two-hour flight from Toronto. Air Canada flies directly. Flights with Porter Airlines from Billy Bishop Airport have a quick, 20-minute stop-over in Ottawa. Return flights with both airlines start at around $270. St. Andews can be reached in a one-hour drive from Saint John. aircanada.ca; flyporter.com
PORT CITY ROYAL With bearded servers, vintage-style decor and carefully-crafted cocktails, Port City Royal exudes a particular hipster swagger that will probably feel familiar to Torontonians but also stays true to Saint John’s gritty coolness. A menu of local fare like duck confit served with apple-ciderbraised red cabbage and oysters on the half shell with house-made condiments is complemented by a stylish cocktail programme that incorporates foraged ingredients. The intimate space lends itself to full dinners as well as casual pre- or post-dinner drinks (get there before 6 p.m. to take advantage of excellent happy hour specials). They’ve also recently started doubling as a cafe called Marjorie’s during the day, serving coffee and tasty pastries.
Photography: Lighthouse by dypics; Port City by Scott Munn; Rossmount and Uncorked by Jessica Huras
UNCORKED SEAFOOD CITY TOUR Uncorked’s Seafood City Tour is a sure-fire way to ensure you get the necessary fix during your East Coast visit, combining tastings with a walking tour of the atmospheric Uptown. The tour starts at Saint John City Market, the oldest continuously-operating market in the country, where groups sample ultra-fresh lobster rolls from long-running vendor North Market Seafood. Other highlights include sturgeon dip at McGill’s and hearty bowls of seafood chowder at Big Tide Brewing (which also has one of the few female brewasters in the area).
HOPSCOTCH WHISKY BAR The only whisky bar in Saint John features a massive menu spanning more than a dozen pages, with offerings wide-ranging enough to appeal to casual whisky drinkers and aficionados alike. Tasting notes (often divided by nose, palate and finish) are outlined for everything from blended scotches priced at less than $6 a glass to the Macallan M, which goes for $450. The cozy space feels as warm and relaxed as...well....the experience of sipping whisky, decked out with exposed brick and warm woods and anchored by a towering glass shelving unit stocked with more than 70 bottles.
BOTTLE SERVICE Just for summer, our list of rosÃ©s, fruitfocused beers and light sipping whiskies. PHOTOGRAPHY BY RYAN FAIST
1 2 3
1 CAMPO VIEJO RIOJA TEMPRANILLO ROSÉ 2017. Campo consistently produces crowd-pleasing rosés and the 2017 is another winner if you like raspberry flavours. Pairs perfectly with smoked salmon carpaccio. $11.95, campoviejo.com 2 MALIVOIRE LADY BUG ROSÉ 2017. From one of Niagara’s rosé specialists comes another crisp and refreshing wine that evokes elegance with a zesty spine. $16.95, malivoire.com 3 JACOB’S CREEK MOSCATO ROSÉ. Designed for lazy Sunday afternoons with smoked fish on the menu to complement the sweet candied characteristics of this easy sipper. $11.45, jacobscreek.com 4 VENTOUX ROSÉ 2016. You’ll be hard pressed to find a more vibrant, well rounded rosé at the same
price. A bright citrus explosion that’s made to pair all summer long. $13.95, rhone-wines.com 5 OPEN ROSÉ 2016. Open’s signature, fruit-rich characteristics are front and centre in this lush cherry and strawberry forward rosé. $12.95, openwines.com 6 MOËT AND CHANDON NECTAR. Nectar’s aromatics remind us of a fruit garden and it
tastes like a tropical fruit salad. This one is for hot summer days by the pool. $76.35, moet.com 7 CHATEAU DES CHARMES CUVÉE D’ANDRÉE ROSÉ 2016. We can’t stop dreaming of strawberry fields with this new rosé from Niagara’s best. Save this one for barbecued meats and cheese platters. $15.95, fromtheboscfamily.com
Photograph by ###
F O O D I S M .T O
1 BLACK ISLE-BLACK FLAG ORGANIC ANYTHING GOSE. This collab between Scottish and American breweries pours darker than the average gose with plenty of citrus tartness and the salinity that the style
is known for. $2.95, blackislebrewery.com 2 MUSKOKA SUMMERWEISS TROPICAL WHEAT. A warm-weather twist on the traditional wheat beer with hits of mango and passion fruit. Keep
on-hand for day drinking in the park. $3.35, muskokabrewery.com 3 REFINED FOOL ILLITERATE LIBRARIANS GRAPEFRUIT IPA. This one packs a punch in both alcohol (6.1% ABV) and IBU (70). Grapefruit
aromas and flavour are prominent to balance it out. $7, refinedfool.com 4 BANDIT WIZARD OF GOSE. Lighter on the sea salt and coriander, which plays nicely with the addition of apricot. A sipper built for the Roncy
brewery’s patio. $6, banditbrewery.ca 5 COLLECTIVE ARTS RANSACK THE UNIVERSE IPA. Fruitforward hops dominate in this IPA, so you’ll taste mango as well as citrus. Refreshing but strong
(6.8% ABV); proceed with caution. $3.45, collectiveartsbrewing.com 6 ROYAL CITY HIBISCUS SAISON. Floral and tannic, edging towards a sour beer. Hibiscus tea gives a pinkish hue to the brew, while
also contributing to its dry finish. $3.25, royalcitybrew.ca 7 BEAU’S CAVALIER BLEU IPA. Citrus and fruity aromas in this heavily hopped IPA work nicely with the addition of Quebec blueberry juice.
$7.95, beaus.ca 8 MASCOT CANADALAND SOUR. Light and crisp with a tart finish. Plenty of tropical fruit on the nose and palate. A good intro to sours for those new to them. $3.50, mascotbrewery.com
Photograph by ###
apricots. $61.45, wildturkeybourbon.com 4 BUFFALO TRACE STRAIGHT BOURBON. An incredibly well balanced bourbon that is suited for exploring American whisky. It exhibits all the trademark notes with caramel and vanilla riding forward. $43, buffalotrace.com 5 ELIJAH CRAIG SMALL BATCH. We can all thank Craig for discovering whisky’s affinity for charred barrels. Well rounded with a backbone of caramel sugar and apricot. $47.95, elijahcraig.com
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1 CANADIAN CLUB RESERVE 9 YEAR OLD. Drinks like a sticky toffee pudding with hints of caramel and vanilla. $28.45, canadianclub.com 2 SUNTORY WHISKY TOKI. There’s no better introduction to the wonderful world of Japanese whisky. Beautifully balanced with subtle hints of vanilla, apple and baking spice. $59.95, whisky.suntory.com 3 WILD TURKEY RARE BREED. Not for the faint of heart but a richly layered bourbon that reminds us of butter tarts and dried
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TACO BOUT A FIESTA
For our second Chef's Party installment with Assembly Chef's Hall, we celebrated Cinco de Mayo.
Photography: Sandro Pehar
On May 5, the food hall served up Mexican-themed tapas style bites as part of their Chef's Party series. Los Colibris' barbacoa tacos and Short and Sweet's tres leches served in mini mason jars were washed down with Tromba Tequila margaritas, as we swayed (somewhat tipsily) to the sounds of the Mariachi band. Visit assemblychefshall.com to check out upcoming Chef's Party dates.
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F O O D I S M .T O
From dishes devoured to swoon-worthy sips, here’s what we’re loving right now.
Jessica Huras, Escapism writer For a break from the hip and new, I visited old-school fave Mangia & Bevi. The night was all about pasta, made by local wholesaler, the Pasta Guys, on an imported Italian machine. We enjoyed good wine, good food and good company. What more could you want?
Photography: Churchill and Plate by Suresh Doss; Pasta by Jessica Huras
Suresh Doss, Editor
A few months back, I was invited to the edge of the Canadian tundra near Churchill, Man., for the launch of Dom Perignon’s 2009 vintage. Chef Mandel Hitzer was there with his Raw pop-up setup. He sets up elaborate temporary structures on frozen bodies of water and serves a
tasting menu reflective of local provenance. For the iconic French champagne brand’s event, Hitzer pitched his kitchen tent at Prince of Wales Fort National Historic Site. This was easily the coolest (and coldest) pop-up I have attended in recent memory. The magnificent Northern Lights and a few wandering polar bears outside the historic site acted as a backdrop. Thankfully, we had our own private “bear guard”.
Katie Bridges, Foodism writer
When we received a surprise delivery a few days before Harry and Meghan’s nuptials, my monarchist switch flipped. The Windsor Arms sent us a box of scones and blueberry jam and also included royal memorabilia in the form of a commemorative wedding plate.
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F O O D I S M .T O
Stay in the know with our roundup of food-and-drink news.
DRINKS DECISION After a five-year battle, New Brunswick resident Gerard Comeau, lost his fight to purchase cheap booze in neighbouring Quebec. In 2012, the Tracadie resident was fined $292.50 for bringing excess liquor into New Brunswick. Many hoped the Supreme Court would open the door to free trade within Canada, but instead they decided unanimously in favour of the status quo.
THE LAST STRAW
Photography: Beer by Christin Hume; Straws by Danielle Macinnes; Assembly by Punch x Pepper; Antler by Simon Matzinger
Of all the ways we contribute to environmental pollution, single-use plastic straws is one of the more wasteful. Our seemingly insignificant drink decoration equates to 57 million straws used daily in Canada. Fortunately, some good bar folk have joined forces to stop this unnecessary evil with the The Last Straw initiative, which encourages bars and restaurants to, ahem, #StopSuckingToronto. The project will educate those in the hospitality industry that straws needn’t be the standard and hope that many will look to less harmful alternatives.
DEER IN THE HEADLIGHTS Dundas West’s Antler, gained international recognition after vegan protests staged outside the venue went viral. Antler, which serves game meat like wild boar and venison, was targetted by demonstrators who objected to a sign placed outside which read: “Venison is the new kale.” Following several visits from activists, chef Michael Hunter fought back by butchering and eating a deer leg in the window. Unfortunately for the protesters, the controversy only served to promote Antler and business has been booming.
ASSEMBLY PATIO When Assembly Chef’s Hall – an 18,000 square-foot food hall on Richmond Street West featuring the crème de la crème of Toronto’s food scene – launched in January, the city just about lost their minds with excitement. So we’re a little worried that their new patio, slated to open on May 24 (weather permitting) might just push Torontonians into new and dangerous levels of hysteria. The 4,000 square-foot licensed outdoor space will be open daily from 11 a.m. and will serve speciality drinks like Tromba Slushies, just in time for patio season. You have been warned, Toronto.
Toronto’s top taco spots draw their inspiration from California, Korea and all over Mexico.
Join us for a jump into summer with a tour of Toronto’s best topped tortillas, cheer on your World Cup side with a pound of wings and escape the hubbub on our favourite hideaway patios.
MEJOR MEXICAN MEALS
1 Tacos 101 101 Dundas St. E.
The sign on the door to this tiny taco shop reads “Mexican born. Perfected in Toronto”. Lucky for us because Tacos 101 ditches fancified tacos for the real deal – classic, no-frills tacos that you’ll find on the streets of Mexico City. The menu is limited and there’s barely any seating so plan your visit when the days are warm so you can get your taco on in the street. Tacos 101’s signature varieties are the al pastor, cooked on a spit with a house blend of spices, and the fried fish, whose popularity draws a crowd every weekend. Don’t skip the hot sauces; three varieties will take you from “slightly tingly” to “nuclear”. tacos101.com
BEST OF THE REST
Photography: Tacos 101. Campechano, Seven Lives, Barrio Coreano, El Trompo
4 Barrio Coreano
504 Adelaide St. W.
642 Bloor St. W.
This tiny taqueria on Adelaide West has an equally mini menu, which could be proof that they focus on doing just a few items well. Tacos here are priced a little higher than average, but you get what you pay for with flavour-packed fillings in generous helpings. We go for the bistec (sirloin) and costilla (rib eye). Sit in the main room to get a glimpse into the open kitchen or venture back into its tucked-away patio (when the weather cooperates) for some much-needed sunshine. Come early and/or stay late for the margaritas – they’re excellent here.
Leave it to a city like Toronto (and a restaurateur like Dave Sidhu, of Playa Cabana) to open a Korean-Mexican restaurant. Despite the kitschy concept, this hip taco joint is still buzzing for good reason. Borrowing flavours and ingredients from its Koreatown neighbours, Barrio Coreano sees items like bulgogi shrimp tacos and an excellent grilled calamari served with a kimchi of Asian pear. Oddly a rarity these days, half of its taco menu is served on crispy, hard shells. Coreano’s house margaritas, which vary by quality of tequila, can be ordered by the pitcher. Bring friends.
3 Seven Lives 69 Kensington Ave.
Thanks to some early buzz, this Tijuana-style taco joint very quickly outgrew the confines of the Market’s mini food court on Augusta and needed to move into its own storefront on Kensington Avenue. The tiny shop still attracts lineups at nearly all hours, but you’ll be rewarded for your time with some of the consistently best tacos in the city with a focus on seafood fillings. The Gobernador is their signature item and rightly so – the smoky marlin bursts with a ton of unique flavour. To drink, brave the agua de jamaica – a hibiscus tea served by the ladleful from an ominous plastic jug on the counter in traditional Mexican fashion. 7lives.ca
5 El Trompo 277 Augusta Ave.
Kensington Market’s unfussy favourite has been serving up simple, authentic Mexican fare for over a decade. The taco set to order here is the al pastor, which features a combo of marinated pork meat, pineapple, coriander and onion snuggled in a corn tortilla. A popular style of taco in and around Mexico City, the dish is believed to have been inspired by the capital’s large population of Lebanese immigrants. Like shawarma, the al pastor pork is prepared on an upright rotisserie. Don’t skip ordering an app of El Trompo’s more-ish guacamole, which is packed with juicy hunks of tomato.
BEST OF THE REST
4 Harvest Kitchen
240 King St. E.
124 Harbord St.
The east side’s “American honky tonk” bar, Betty’s is an institution for those seeking the right amount of craft in their drinks without any affectation. The whisky list impresses aficionados, and the beer list is ever evolving and showcases Ontario’s finest. Its oasis of a patio, soundproofed from the hustle of King Street, is tucked away at the back.
Don’t let a few street-level tables in front of this Harbord restaurant fool you. Its best alfresco dining happens on the rooftop, where the charming tree-lined patio lies. Harvest Kitchen was an early adopter of menus catering to a variety of food preferences. The brunch and regular dinner menus are both worth coming for.
3 The Walton
5 Upper Deck by Fran’s
607 College St.
2-20 College St.
A sandwich board outside this Little Italy café boasts about the world’s most adorable patio and we’re inclined to agree. Bistro seating, paper lanterns and plenty of greenery dangling from the trees turns this secluded spot into a magical place for afternoon tea. Better yet, come here after dark and order one of the Walton’s well-made cocktails. Blankets are on hand for cooler nights.
While most Torontonian’s know Fran’s, others may not be aware of this hidden gem on top. The all-season rooftop patio has a ton of seating, meaning the odds of grabbing a table during a sun stampede are better than most. Grab a boozy shake, a frozen cocktail or take a spin on the $5 shot wheel. The Upper Deck has a retractable roof, so when the rains come you won’t have to run for cover.
SECLUDED PATIOS Head for these tucked-away terraces for a dash of peace and quiet with your Aperol spritz. 1 Wallflower 1665 Dundas St. W.
This quirky bar is a west-end staple for latenight drinks and first dates. The back patio is almost impossible to find unless you’ve been tipped off to the route: through a rear seating area behind the bar, down a flight of stairs, past the bathrooms and up a second staircase. With fairy lights overhead and a mix of light wood and greenery framing the small space, the patio is just as cozy as inside. @WallflowerTO
1 Duke’s Refresher & Bar 382 Yonge St.
In the touristy blocks around Yonge-Dundas Square, Duke’s Refresher is a welcome escape for both craft beer snobs (they pour 3-oz samples, 16-oz glasses or mini growlers from over 40 taps) and sports fanatics alike. Their wings make the perfect game-night snack. The tart, vinegary sauce shines regardless of the heat level and it’s all tossed tableside, ensuring the batter stays crisp underneath. dukesrefresher.ca
Photography: Patios by The Walton, Harvest Kitchen, Wallflower, Betty’s and Fran’s
by Ryan Faist; Wings by Duke’s , Real Sports, The Fry, Mo Ramyun, Crown and Dragon
The chicken wing is the essential bar snack. Hit Toronto’s best with inspiration from Buffalo to Japan.
BEST OF THE REST 2 Real Sports Bar
4 Mo’ Ramyun
15 York St.
1 Baldwin St.
Pre-gaming is a serious deal here. Real Sports’ extensive food and drink menus cover the bar food gamut. Regulars open with the wings at the two-level, culinary thunderdome. Chef Matthew Sullivan brings in Ontario chickens for their wings, and over 15 different housemade sauces are available for saucing and dipping. Popular variations include the butter chicken wings and the dry cajun rubbed wings, but classic Buffalo style is also great.
The indie spot in Baldwin Village, Mo Ramyun, specializes in a menu of instant noodles (ramyun), which come as everything from stir-fried to in soup. The noodles also make it on to the wings, in the form of mildly fried chicken wings coated in a crispy crust. The crunchy exterior adds a whole new textural addictiveness to the wing experience, dip it in some house hot sauce for a little kick.
3 The Fry
5 Crown and Dragon 890 Yonge St.
These days, KFC doesn’t refer to a greying colonel, but to the Korean fried chicken appearing on trendy menus. They do wholechicken combos at The Fry, but we really like their wings. Same batter and sauces as the rest of the menu, just without the larger, overcooked pieces. Every meal comes with grease-cutting slaw and pickled radish.
For 14 years and counting, this pub has been a go-to for two types of wing aficionados in the city; those that prefer a no-fuss, nogimmick approach to their wings, and those after bold flavour combos. The sauce lineup starts with classic mild-medium-hot for purists and ventures beyond with flavour like Killer Bee and Smokin’ Gun. They also do baked wings for a bit less grease.
SALAD: Every platter comes with servings of seasonal vegetables, from roast potatoes to carrot salad with oranges.
MUSTARDS: For an added kick, three mustards accompany the meat platters: Spicy, sweet and original grain.
SAUERKRAUT FRITTERS: Dumplings of pickled cabbage are fried and served on a remoulade of paprika, shallots, pickles, capers and herbs.
SAUSAGE: Otto’s gets their sausages from a local farm in Guelph. Pictured is the Weissrwurst, a traditional Bavarian morning sausage made from veal and pork back bacon.
Otto’s Bierhalle, 1087 Queen St. W., 416-901-5472
ACCOUTREMENTS: All platters come with an order of fries, house-made pickles and extra remoulade.
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Otto’s Bierhalle perfectly captures the hip German beer hall vibe. Seasonal craft brews complement hunking presentations of Alsatian and Bavarian classics. Go big and get the Bavarian platter.
SCHWEINSHAXE: A ham hock is cured for 24 hours and then cooked sous vide for 24 hours before it is finished in a deep fryer to give it a crispy shell.
D I S COV E R S TO N E L E I G H Â® S AU V I G N O N B L A N C .
A WONDER OF NATURE
B U R S T I N G W I T H N OT E S O F PA S S I O N F R U I T A N D G R A P E F R U I T, R I P E N E D BY S U N S TO N E S , N O U R I S H E D BY N AT U R E . D I S C OV E R S TO N E L E I G H Â® S AU V I G N O N B L A N C .