it starts with
IN A LARGE WINE GLASS FULL OF ICE, COMBINE PROSECCO F O L L O W E D B Y A P E R O L I N E Q U A L PA R T S . A D D A S P L A S H OF SODA. GARNISH WITH AN ORANGE SLICE.
@APEROLCANADA DRINK RESPONSIBLY
Relax, rejuvenate and recharge in Montego Bay. To book your Jamaican vacation, go to westjetvacations.com or call your travel agent.
Recharge your OMG
Recharge your wow
america’s tastiest drive
In the decades since the Anchor Bar invented the Buffalo wing in 1964, Buffalo’s corner taverns have perfected variations on the wing, each with its own secret recipe. But Buffalo-style goes beyond the unique sauces and preparation techniques. The history, character and atmosphere found in each of the 12 pubs along the new Buffalo Wing Trail are as unique and flavorful as the wings. Here’s an eater’s guide to the delicious
dozen on America’s tastiest drive.
@buffalowingtrail #WingBUF #NeverRanch
The new Buffalo Wing Trail features a dozen of the best wing joints in the world. ANCHOR BAR
Making a pilgrimage to the birthplace of the chicken wing? This spot changed the course of American food history in 1964, when owner Teressa Bellissimo took the chicken wings originally intended for a soup, fried them, tossed them in hot sauce and served them to her son’s hungry friends. The Anchor Bar is a mecca for wing lovers. » anchorbar.com
Open since 1946, Duff ’s has grown to include several area locations, but the original Sheridan Drive restaurant remains the star. Duff ’s fries their wings once to seal in the juice, then again to make them crispy. It results in a wing high on the crispy, saucy and juicy spectrum. Remember to heed the warning signs posted all over Duff ’s: “MEDIUM is HOT. MEDIUM HOT is VERY HOT. HOT is VERY, VERY HOT.” » duffswings.com
In the shadow of Buffalo’s towering grain silos sits Gene McCarthy’s pub, an icon of the city’s Old First Ward since 1964. Gene’s delivers a delicious twist on the Buffalo wing by taking its partnership with blue cheese to a whole new level. The McCarthy’s-style wing features a sauce that combines blue cheese with hot and BBQ flavors. It’s topped with crumbly blue cheese and served with a side of blue cheese. » genemccarthys.com
glen park tavern
This no-frills bar has been honing its wing game for years by developing a from-scratch Cajun sauce that was unprecedented in Buffalo and heavily
This old stagecoach shop has been an institution in the village of Williamsville since 1887. The tavern prides itself on featuring jumbo wings that are some of the largest on the trail, and an especially creamy blue cheese dressing made from scratch. Locals swear by the Glen Park’s Sicilian wing, which is covered in Parmesan cheese, garlic, basil and oregano.
BAR-BILL TAVERN The staff at this East Aurora institution methodically hand-paint each wing with housemade sauces using a paint brush, and every order of wings comes with exactly fi ve drums and fi ve flats. A poster of Johnny Cash near the back of the tavern reminds patrons of another important fact: Bar-Bill is cash only.
The Blackthorn has a menu filled with Irish fare, comfort foods and the “South Buffalo Wing,” a delicious interpretation of a standard wing with some extra spices and flavor served with housemade blue cheese. But the best-kept secret of the Blackthorn lies upstairs, in the backroom home of the storied Blackthorn Club, which has been around for over 100 years.
lenox grill The Lenox Grill is set within Buffalo’s oldest continuously operating hotel. The pub boasts an eye-popping beer list of over 550 bottled varieties and a kitchen open later than anywhere else on the trail (3 a.m. on weekends, with a 4 a.m. bar closing time). Its wing specials range from Korean BBQ & BBQ honey sriracha to peanut butter-and-jelly.
COLE’S Cole’s honors its rich past (84 years in business and counting) while also keeping up on current trends. The bar has nearly three dozen microbrews on tap and the menu has new wing flavors. And Cole’s is one of the only spots on the trail where you can pair five wings with a beef on weck sandwich, an only-in-Buffalo combo.
incorporating grilling into its process. Now, most wing orders are grilled, and nearly half are “double-dipped:” fried, tossed in sauce, grilled, doused in a different sauce, and served. The result is a wing bursting with a combination of flavors unlike anywhere else on the trail.
Lots of natural light, a central wooden bar and photos of historic Buffalo on the walls make Doc Sullivan’s a comfortable neighborhood pub to stop in, and their “Smitty wing” rules the roost. This wing mixes a half-dozen spices into a traditional hot sauce, a secret recipe that has been passed down for the last 40 years. Another recent addition to Doc Sullivan’s menu is the beef on weck wing, a fusion of two of Buffalo’s most popular foods.
This staple of Buffalo’s Allentown neighborhood for the last half-century has kept its wings consistent throughout the years – a touch crispy, with a splash of Frank’s Red Hot. Gabriel’s Gate is the standard for a classic wing done right. Gabe’s is the kind of pub you could only find in Allentown – one of Buffalo’s oldest neighborhoods and the city’s creative quarter. » (716) 886-0602
Some 12 years after the Buffalo-style wing’s inception, Phyllis Mammoser decided to try her own variation in Hamburg. Her sauce, which lists four different varieties of pepper in its top 10 ingredients, provides a slow burn and an extra kick of spiciness. Mammoser’s uses no butter or margarine in its wing-making process, resulting in a crispier wing that’s incredibly flavorful and juicy on the inside. » (716) 648-1390
Hello@foodism.to CEO & PUBLISHER
Editorial EDITOR AT LARGE
Suresh Doss WRITERS
Katie Bridges, Jessica Huras COPY EDITOR
Taylor Newlands CONTRIBUTORS
Nick Liu, David Ort, Andrea Yu
You could spend a day every weekend this summer exploring a different Toronto neighbourhood and not run out of great places that are worth a visit. Take the subway to a remote spot on the Bloor line or the new extension
to Vaughan, jump out at a station you know little about and go for a walk. We
all preach about the individual characteristics of Toronto neighbourhoods
but this is the best way to experience it firsthand. As the face of our city
continues to evolve, demographics change, but each wave leaves behind a
Matthew Hasteley April Tran Ryan Faist
Alexa Fernando, Kailee Mandel, Sandro Pehar, Curry Leamen, Joel Levy
footprint that adds to the area’s unique mosaic. The adventure can start off at a café, an old-school diner or even a cubicle-sized patty shop and quickly take you through a collage of the city’s old and new.
Nicole Aggelonitis ADVERTISING
David Horvatin, Nick Valsamis MARKETING COORDINATOR
FRONT COVER: Photography and art direction by Matthew Hasteley
In this issue we explore many of the delicious corners of this city from our revitalizing waterfront to the newly-vegan strip in Parkdale to the multicultural rainbow of Asian food on Willowdale’s stretch of Yonge (pg. 36). Some of our best producers of food in this city are artisan makers striving
GRAZE 012 THE FOODIST 016 DAYTRIPPER 018 THE RADAR 020 WEAPONS OF CHOICE
for perfect, one small batch at a time. David Ort spent an afternoon with
pasta maker extraordinare David Marcelli (pg. 50) at Buca’s original King
West location. And, as we head into the middle of summer, we share our
033 NICK LIU
favourite spots to cool down with cones and bowls of ice cream (pg. 44).
Tim Slee Solisco
foodism uses paper from sustainable sources
Summer is also a great time for an escape. With that in mind,
photographer Curry Leamen shares his journey to one of Nicaragua’s
036 TORONTO CUISINE SCENE
long-standing rum distilleries (pg. 56), and writer Andrea Yu gives us the
044 MIRACLE ON ICE
essentials on noshing through Iceland (pg. 70).
050 PASTA MASTER
This summer, I hope you set aside some of your Sundays and join us on this adventure to get to know our city a little better. f
056 RUM-BLE IN THE JUNGLE 062 COCKTAIL HOUR
EXCESS 070 LAND OF FIRE AND ICE 084 BOTTLE SERVICE 091 FOODISM’S FINEST Suresh Doss
093 THE DIGEST 094 THE SELECTOR 098 DECONSTRUCT
© 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.
MOSCATO ROS ROSÃ‰
Same great wine, now available in cans!
— PART 1 —
GRAZE “IF YOU WANT TO SEE MY SOUL, EAT MY FOOD.” NICK LIU, 033
012 THE FOODIST | 016 DAYTRIPPER | 018 THE RADAR 020 WEAPONS OF CHOICE | 025 RECIPES | 033 NICK LIU
Katie Bridges considers the standard tip, especially for sub-standard service, post minimum wage hike.
talking instead about surly, eye-rolling levels of service, the like of which is blissfully rare in Canada. We don’t reward mere competency, let alone apathy, in any other customerfacing jobs. So why does guilt play such a huge part in our tipping decisions? In much of Europe, a tip signifies that service was exceptional, but it is by no means the standard. It’s a nice-to-have, not the fundamental part of a salary it constitutes in North America. This tipping culture is often blamed on a broken system and low minimum wages. But in Canada, where servers are now being compensated adequately, shouldn’t our tipping etiquette change to reflect that? In the meantime, servers are residing in a sweet spot. Old habits die hard and a new code of conduct has yet to catch up with wage increases and price hikes in restaurants. But even Canadians aren’t that polite, and I wonder when the tide will start to turn and diners will begin to make distinctions between base level service and Herculean feats of table waiting. The upshot to all this is that servers and patrons stand to gain everything from this seismic shift in the waiting game. Unlike the cooks and dishwashers in the kitchen, servers can achieve a one-two punch if they show up to work and continue to bring their A-game. It’s not about tightening the purse strings. I would rather blow my budget rewarding an outstanding waiter than save money on tips, but leave with a sour taste. By making tipping the exception and not the rule, everyone’s restaurant experience is improved. f
ART ISANAL M AK E RS AT FAR M E RS’ M AR KETS
EVIS CHIROWAMHANGU Mnandi Pies
These Zimbabweanstyle pies are very different from the typical pie. Reminiscent of her childhood, Chirowamhangu’s mnandi pies are flat, flaky and the perfect size to eat with your hands. To make the beef pies, she seasons the meat with Zimbabwean spices and stews them to make a gooey filling that’s baked between puff pastry.
LEE CAPATINA Lee’s Provisions
After discovering the health benefits of ghee, Capatina started using it for everything from veggies to popcorn. All of her products are made with natural ingredients including organic cream from Quebec dairy farms. Photography: Foodist by Kate Townsend Heroes by Suresh Doss
EXCUSE ME? EXCUUUUUUUSE me?” I whine, as if that vowel might somehow stretch all the way across the room and reach my server, whose back is slowly retreating from view. I know what you’re thinking, and no, I’m not a diva. I think I’m a fairly patient person, and as someone who has waited tables, I remember the dilemma of too many customers and not enough hands. But my request is innocuous enough – I am merely asking for a glass of water, as I have done every ten minutes since we sat down. “Well, she just cut her tip in half,” I croak thirstily to my dining partner, half-joking, half-mentally calculating if I can get away with tipping a passive-aggressive five percent at the end of our meal. My friend shrugs uncomfortably, and continues to pick at her lukewarm plate of food. Her meal is more expensive now than it was six months ago, as a result of the minimum wage which went up to $14 in January and will continue to rise to $15 in the new year ($12.20 and $13.05 for liquor servers). Despite all this, her tip will remain unchanged – the standard 15 per cent. Am I nuts? Shouldn’t a tip be earned, not expected? And more to the point, shouldn’t we (cue: outrage) not tip at all if our service has been decidedly underwhelming? To be clear, I’m not talking about tipping zero for perfunctory table service – servers are not performing seals, required to curtsy and cater to my every whim (on the contrary, too much affected attention and enthusiasm is just as likely to incur my displeasure). I’m
Featured: Grilled Avocado with Feta Salsa Fresca. Visit our site for more great recipes!
Canadian feta made in traditional Greek style! Enjoy a proudly Canadian alternative to our
imported Feta that delivers a mild, tangy ďŹ‚avour with sweet undertones and a creamy texture.
Made the authentic way using cow and goat milk
which naturally contains active bacterial (probiotic) cultures, high protein content, great source of calcium, gluten and sulphite free.
Other great products and recipes at krinos.ca
LOCAL HEROES 3
MICHELLE SMITH The Happy Bakers
Bowmanville-native Michelle Smith is a self proclaimed baking addict and foodie. She left a blossoming career in publishing to open the Happy Bakers in Etobicoke, along with her three partners. The bakery is known for their lineup of savoury and sweet scones – they produce over 30 different kinds. Choose from savoury and fruit pies, cookies and brownies at the location on Lakeshore Boulevard. You can also find Michelle and her team slinging scones at Toronto’s farmers’ markets.
C OLD AS ICE
After years of pursuing culinary studies part time and making pickles for friends and family, Sigglekow began selling her wares at a newly-opened farmers’ market in her neighbourhood. Her smallbatch pickles and preserves are made without the use of commercial pectins, additives or preservatives. Sigglekow believes in letting the produce shine so her selection of products changes with the season and her jams have all the flavour of biting into a piece of fruit.
In 2003, while trying to market a solar roaster that he had designed, Sacco first made chocolate with a Zapotec grandmother in Oaxaca, Mexico. This beautiful experience led him to continue making chocolate as a way to promote ecological work. His chocolate and coffee are processed in a way that retains their nutrients and medicinal properties. Sacco’s mission for Chocosol Traders is to make the most ecological chocolate, coffee and tortillas possible, without compromising on flavour.
Three local producers take a seasonal approach to the perfect popsicle in a rainbow of flavours. AUGIE’S ICE POPS
WRESTLERS Cooling yourself down with an ice pop this summer needn’t come with a side of regret. The paletas at this Kensington Market spot are produced from fruit with no added colouring or preservatives. They come in a mix of fruity (mango, kiwi, pineapple) and creamy flavours (chocolate brownie, arroz con leche, matcha). weareallwrestlers.com
THE POP STAND When Kari Marshall switched careers in 2012, she took inspiration from cocktails, desserts and seasonal ingredients. Some of the ice pops she creates blend fruit, others are steeped or brewed. Choose from flavours like Blueberry Pie, Mango Lassi and Kentucky Cider. They’re at farmers’ markets and her store on the Danforth. popstandtoronto.com
Photography: Michelle and Joanne by Suresh Doss
Janet Dimond is committed to creating a line of ice pops made naturally from seasonal ingredients. Her popsicle stand started at a community yard sale seven years ago. Our favourites are grapefruit ginger lime and Ontario blueberry lime basil. They’re available at several retailers year round, and farmers’ markets. augiesicepops.com
Joanne’s Urban Pantry
MICHAEL SACCO Chocosol Traders
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Other must-try spots
World class wineries an hour and a half from the city and a booming food scene are two reasons to visit Niagara-on-the-Lake.
The Pie Plate; 1516 Niagara Stone Rd. This family-run shop is known for freshly baked seasonal pies, desserts and their lunch menu. Get the cherry, strawberry or one of the custard pies. thepieplate.com
The picturesque small town is home to a range of wineries, some with worldwide reputations. Glasses in local tasting rooms are filled with samples to suit a wide range of preferences from riesling to icewine, and are particularly popular on weekends.
◆◆ Stratus Vineyards;
2059 Niagara Stone Rd. In a gorgeous modern space, NOTL’s preeminent boutique winery has a cult following for their blended whites and reds. Start with the new rosé and work your way through. stratuswines.com
◆◆ Peller Estates; 290
John St. E. You can easily bike to this winery from old town NOTL. Peller’s portfolio covers a lot of ground so it’s a good place to get acquainted with Niagara’s wine styles. Go for the bold reds. peller.com
◆◆ Two Sisters
Vineyards; 240 John St. E. Head to this recently opened winery where cool climate wines are paired with a menu of Italian classics. The house-made pasta and pizza are top notch. twosistersvine yards.com
◆◆ Ravine Vineyard
Estate; 1366 York Rd. Ravine runs a cozy restaurant with a seasonal menu built around Niagara produce and their woodfired oven. The burger and lake fish are excellent choices. ravinevineyard.com
Oast House Brewers; 2017 Niagara Stone Rd. It’s not all wine in Niagara. Oast House has been brewing some of the best since 2012. Bike over to their back patio for seasonal ales. @oasthousebrewers
Photography: Suresh Doss; Pie by Reuben McFeeters; Burger by Quentin Lagache
There’s nothing more serene than enjoying a meal nestled between the rolling orchards and the lush greenery of wine country. Seasonal cooking is all the rage right now and these are two of Niagara’s best patios for an afternoon of wine pairings and views.
The Garrison House; 111C Garrison Village Dr. This gastropub is a popular hangout with locals for snacks and shared plates. If you want one bar with a wide range of local wines, this is it. thegarrisonhouse.ca
Flavour Begins Here
CULINARY PLUS ATTRACTIONS GOLF HERITAGE NATURE + GARDENS SHOPS
t i f i e d ta st e
of on ta r i o
WHAT DOES NIAGARA TASTE LIKE? At Niagara Parks, a 133 year old agency of the province of Ontario, we are committed to the preserving and presenting the wonders of Niagara for the enjoyment of the world. From our inspiring natural wonders – the falls themselves and engaging heritage sites, to our breathtaking and reflective horticultural spaces, presenting experiences that invoke and excite your senses is what we do. All senses. Across the past number of years our Niagara Parks Culinary team has explored how to truly present the tastes of Ontario and Niagara to the world. The answer was easy, look local.
Working with the Culinary Tourism Alliance under their Feast On certification program, our services and all of our five full-service restaurants, from the epic Elements on the Falls to the serene Queenston Heights Restaurant, feature a mandated minimum 25% food and beverage sourced from local Ontario growers, producers, and providers. In fact, we actually feature up to 60% on the food side, and nearly 100% on beverage. And we don’t stop there, even the talented cooks and chefs in our kitchens are locally sourced, as we operate one of Canada’s largest culinary apprenticeship training programs in association with Niagara College.
From the amazing Ontario orchards, to the delicious dairies, from VQA wines, to Ontario’s fast growing craft beer scene, Niagara Parks is committed to supporting the many growers, producers and craftspeople that make up Ontario’s unique taste of place. And with five full-service restaurants and a slate of spectacular events to choose from, you’ll know your meal will be just as unique as the land where it’s grown.
FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT NIAGARAPARKS.COM/CULINARY
M ADR I N A
DRINKING GRAZING DINING TRENDING
THE RADAR From contemporary tapas to David Chang’s latest, these are the new craving-inducing spots. Dining
T RAC TOR F OODS
We’re always excited to see a new lunch destination spring up and Tractor on Yonge Street ticks all the right boxes. The Vancouver chain just opened its first Toronto location, bringing well-balanced meal options to those looking to grab an on-the-go snack without the empty calories. Build a custom bowl, with power greens or brown rice as a base, or choose from the soup, stew and sandwich options. Tractor also has an allergen and dietary fact sheet. tractorfoods.com
M’E AT R E STO B U TC HE R
New to Riverside, this spot functions as a neighbourhood butcher shop by day and a meat-focused restaurant by night. Offering up locally sourced meats that are butchered in-house, the menu features items like tartare, carpaccio and tataki. Weekend daytimes bring a carnivorous brunch, while the weekdays see a selection of sandwiches. Vegans aren’t left out – they can order from the ”cow’s trough.” @meatrestob
From the team behind Baddies comes Cops, a café at Adelaide and Morrison serving nothing but drip coffee and doughnuts. Why such a simple menu? “Because too many options are a prison.” Cops has partnered with micro roasters from North America and beyond, so you can enjoy a cup of java done right. Add some of the mini doughnuts made from scratch with a beautiful pink exterior. If Chief Wiggum had an Instagram account, you know he’d be posting daily from this downtown spot. copstreats.com
T HE C OM M O N ER
New restaurant and bar, The Commoner, is summer 2018’s addition to Roncesvalles. There are over 24 draught options and a huge range of breweries and local craft beers will be featured. They make their own buns, grind their own meat and age steaks a minimum of 40 days. thecommoner restaurant.ca
This month, the Food Dudes open their latest at King and Portland. Sara, a fine dining restaurant with a modern spin, comes as a sister to the group’s flagship, Rasa. The concept was inspired by a trip to Japan and the name means “small dish” in Japanese. Adrian Niman’s menu features snacks, dumplings and of course, small dishes. thefooddudes.com
Photography: Kōjin by Andrew Bezek; Tractor by Kayla Rocca
Daisho and Shoto closed in February, but Momo-fans haven’t had to wait long to see how David Chang would replace them. Chef Paula Navarrete (Noodle Bar) is at the helm of the top-floor restaurant on University Avenue. The name sounds Japanese, but the Colombian chef has sprinkled South American flavours throughout the menu, with meat hogging the limelight. kojin.momofuku.com
An old-meets-new approach to decor and cuisine make this Distillery District tapas bar an instant charmer. Catalan chef Ramon Simarro puts his spin on classic Spanish bites, such as patatas bravas, which is served in a layered, millefeuille style with wasabi aioli. A stone bar and quirky artwork give the space a clean, contemporary feel. madrinatapas.com
WEAPONS OF CHOICE Keep cool and carry on with these summer saviours guaranteed to beat the heat. PHOTOGRAPHY BY RYAN FAIST STYLING BY APRIL TRAN
C OOL C USTOM E R SMEG FRIDGE, $2,999.99 Kitchen appliances donâ€™t come much sexier than this bucketlistworthy fridge. The iconic icebox combines retro colours with curves in all the right places. thebay.com, smeghome.ca
Photograph by ###
GAME OF CO NE S CUISINART SORBET AND ICE CREAM MAKER, $129.99 Make up to two quarts of frozen yogurt, ice cream or sorbet in under 25 minutes. A large spout means thereâ€™ll be no crying over spilt ice cream ingredients. cuisinart.ca, thebay.com
SQU E E Z E T HE DAY HUROM SLOW JUICER, FROM $619 Get your vitamin C with this sleek, easy-does-it juicer. With its super quiet motor and intutive power button, you can control the amount of pulp in peace. Also makes ice cream. hurom.ca, bedbathandbeyond.ca
Bring your A-game for the home stretch of picnic season with globally inspired recipes from the latest books by Cameron Stauch and Caryn and Brendan Liew.
ITH FRESH INGREDIENTS and picnics every weekend, summer is the best time to add some international flair to your cooking. In this issue, we celebrate Toronto’s multicultural mosaic by taking a look at two cookbooks that have inspired us. Kitchener-born chef Cameron Stauch’s new book Vegetarian Vietnam ($37, amazon. ca) will transport you to Ho Chi Minh City, in a region where Stauch fell in love with the vegetarian offerings. He has compiled nearly 100 recipes that delve deeply into regional Vietnamese cooking and explain the country’s history of vegetarian food going back to its Buddhist roots – all while
preserving the intense tastes and smells of South East Asia. In Tokyo Local: Cult Recipes From the Street that Make the City ($36.46, amazon. ca), authors Caryn and Brendan Liew tackle the monumental challenge of dissecting the cuisine of one of the most densely populated and historically rich cities in the world. Over the last two years, Caryn and Brendan have been introducing Aussies to the food culture of Japan via their Melbourne Cafe. Lucky for us, they’ve shared their favourite recipes from their travels in their latest book, which is categorized by “Early”, “Mid”, and “Late,” to create a sense of the city and the food that feeds it at all times of the day. f
FOLLOW US @FOODISMTO
F O O DISM RE CIPE S, IN ASSOC IAT ION W IT H OYST E R BAY Oyster Bay’s super premium wines bring the best of New Zealand to the world. From its first vintage in 1990, which won the coveted Marquis de Goulaine Trophy for ‘Best Sauvignon Blanc’, Oyster Bay’s elegant and assertive wines have captured the essence and purity of flavour from New Zealand’s maritime climate – and the hearts of wine
lovers the world over. Bright summers and cool, fresh nights give Oyster Bay one of the longest grape-growing seasons on Earth. But the sublime, cool-climate styles and fruit-intense flavours of Oyster Bay are born in the ancient alluvial soils of Marlborough and Hawke’s Bay. Experience Oyster Bay and discover a world of flavour.
A FISTFUL OF COLOUR AND THE TACTILE PLEASURE OF ASSEMBLY – IT’S A BONUS THESE ARE DELICIOUS.
matchsticks (1 cup)
◆◆ ¼ pound watermelon
radish or daikon, cut into matchsticks (1 cup) ◆◆ ¼ pound jicama, cut into 32 strips 3 to 4 inches long and ¼ inch (6 mm) wide (1 cup) ◆◆ 1 head green or red Bibb or Boston lettuce, torn into palm-sized pieces ◆◆ 1 cup packed cilantro leaves ◆◆ ¾ cup packed mint or Thai basil leaves or a combination ◆◆ 16 rice paper rounds, 8½ inches in diameter ◆◆ Everyday Table Sauce
◆◆ ¼ cup water
◆◆ 2 Tbsp rice vinegar ◆◆ 1 tsp soy sauce
◆◆ 1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp lime juice ◆◆ ½ tsp salt
◆◆ 1 fresh red Thai bird chili,
finely chopped or thinly sliced
◆◆ 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
◆◆ 1 medium carrot, cut into
◆◆ 3 Tbsp sugar
Elegantly fragrant white peach, vibrant citrus and a delightfully creamy texture.
1 Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drop in the noodles and stir. Boil until tender, 3 to 5 minutes, then drain and immediately flush with cold water. 2 Squeeze gently four or five times to get rid of any excess water. Set aside on a plate, loosely covered with a clean kitchen towel. 3 Mix the carrot and radish together and divide into four piles on a large plate. Place, along with the jicama, lettuce, cilantro, mint, and rice paper, next to a clean cutting board, preferably next to the stove. 4 Place a large shallow skillet or
◆◆ 4 oz dried vermicelli rice
Everyday Table Sauce ingredients
Oyster Bay Marlborough Chardonnay
Rice paper rolls method
ING R E DIE NTS Roll ingredients
a 9- or 10-inch pie plate filled with warm tap water on an unlit burner. Dip one rice paper into the water for a few seconds to soften and lay it flat on the cutting board. Place a lettuce leaf on the bottom third of the rice paper, leaving a border of 1½ inches on either side. Place 1½ to 2 tablespoons of noodles on the lettuce and spread into a 4-½-inch line. Line three leaves of cilantro and a leaf or two each of mint and basil over the top. Grab a portion of the carrot/radish mixture (a quarter of each pile is one portion) and two jicama strips and spread over the length of the noodles.
5 Carefully lift the bottom edge of rice paper over the filling and roll over once into a tight cylinder. Fold in the sides and continue to roll into a cylinder 4 to 5 inches in length. Place on a clean plate or serving platter loosely covered with a damp clean dish towel. Repeat with the remaining rice paper and filling. (When the water is no longer warm, gently reheat it.) 6 Store the rolls in a single layer on a plate or wrapped with plastic in the fridge for up to several hours. 7 Make the Everyday Table Sauce. Serve the rolls on a platter with sauce for dipping.
Everyday Table Sauce Method
8 Put the sugar, water, rice vinegar, soy sauce, lime juice and salt into a bowl. Stir until the sugar is fully dissolved. Mix in the chili and garlic. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. Let the sauce sit for 10 minutes before serving. 9 Serve in one medium bowl with a spoon so guests can drizzle some extra sauce into their rainbow rolls following their initial bite. f
Oyster Bay Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc
Enticing citrus notes and tropical flavours – youthful, elegant and fresh with a lingering, zesty finish.
TOFU DESERVES TO BE DRESSED UP WITH GREEN VEGETABLES, INCLUDING SUMMERY DILL.
ING R E DIE NTS ◆◆ 1 small head Bibb lettuce,
torn into bite-sized pieces
◆◆ ¾ cup Thai basil leaves ◆◆ ¾ cup cilantro leaves
◆◆ ½ pound dried rice vermicelli
◆◆ 1 to 1½ pounds firm tofu ◆◆ ½ cup rice flour
◆◆ 1 tsp ground turmeric ◆◆ ¼ tsp salt
◆◆ ¼ cup vegetable oil
◆◆ 3 cups scallions cut into
◆◆ 2 cups (large bunch) roughly
chopped stemmed fresh dill
◆◆ ½ cup roasted, unsalted
peanuts, roughly chopped ◆◆ Soy sauce (optional)
Photography: Evan Sung
1 Prepare the Everyday Table Sauce (from the opposite page) and put in a small bowl or two. Mix the lettuce, basil and cilantro together in a serving bowl or on a large plate. 2 Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drop in the noodles and use chopsticks or tongs to untangle and loosen. Boil until tender, 3 to 5 minutes, then drain and immediately flush with cold water. Gently squeeze four to five times to get rid of any excess water. Set aside on two medium plates, loosely covered with a clean kitchen towel.
3 Cut the block of tofu into ½-inchthick rectangles. Then cut each block into smaller rectangles about 1½ inches by 2 inches. Mix the rice flour, turmeric, and salt in a large bowl. Add the tofu, toss to coat lightly, and transfer to a plate. 4 Heat the oil in a wok or 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Carefully place some of the pieces of tofu into the oil and fry until all of the sides are crispy and gold, 3 to 4 minutes per side. You may need to cook the tofu in two batches. Transfer briefly to a paper-towel-lined plate and arrange on a serving platter.
Carefully pour out most of the oil, leaving 1 tablespoon. Reheat the oil over medium-high heat. Stir-fry the scallions for about 1 minute before tossing in the dill. Stir-fry for another 30 seconds and arrange nicely over the tofu. Sprinkle the peanuts on top. 5 To eat, each diner puts some noodles in a bowl and some dilled tofu on top. They can add some of the lettuce and herbs and then pour a good drizzle of the table sauce over top of their bowl. Toss everything together with chopsticks before eating. Add a splash of soy sauce for extra seasoning, if desired. f
Caryn and Brendan Liewâ€™s
MENTAIKO PASTA THIS PASTA DISH PACKS A TON OF UMAMI WITH JAPANESE INGREDIENTS LIKE DRIED ROE AND NORI.
1 Cook the spaghetti to your liking, according to the instructions printed on the packet. 2 While the pasta is cooking, combine the mentaiko, butter, soy sauce, cream (if using) and pepper in a large mixing bowl. 3 Reserve 1 cup pasta water before draining the spaghetti. Combine pasta and mentaiko mixture with enough of the reserved water to create a velvety sauce. Divide between two bowls and top with the remaining ingredients. f
Oyster Bay Marlborough Pinot Noir
Aromatic cherry, bright red berry and juicy black plum, with a lingering, smooth and seductive texture. LCBO #590414
ING R E DIE NTS ◆◆ 6¼ oz dried spaghetti
◆◆ 60 g mentaiko (spicy pollock
roe), plus extra to serve
◆◆ 1 oz unsalted butter ◆◆ 2 Tbsp soy sauce
◆◆ 50 ml cream (optional) ◆◆ 1 tsp freshly ground ◆◆ black pepper
◆◆ 1 bunch shiso (perilla) leaves,
◆◆ 1 tsp aonori (powdered
◆◆ ½ lemon, cut into wedges ◆◆ 1 Tbsp kizami nori (finely
◆◆ ½ cucumber, julienned
Photography: Alana Dimou
Caryn and Brendan Liew’s
STRAWBERRY POUND CAKE CAP OFF YOUR MULTICULTURAL MEAL WITH THIS LUXURIOUS POUND CAKE FEATURING STRAWBERRIES.
Oyster Bay Hawke’s Pinot Grigio
I N GREDI EN TS
Delicately scented pear and nectarine, a graceful stonefruit and floral backdrop with lively crisp apple freshness.
Cake ingredients ◆◆ 4 oz unsalted butter, at room
◆◆ ½ tsp vanilla-bean paste
◆◆ 4½ oz caster (superfine)
sugar ◆◆ 2 eggs, separated ◆◆ 20 ml lemon juice ◆◆ 1¼ oz almond meal ◆◆ ½ cup plain all-purpose flour ◆◆ ¾ tsp baking powder ◆◆ ¼ cup chopped pistachios ◆◆ 3½ oz roughly chopped strawberries ◆◆ 20 ml brandy
Decorating ingredients ◆◆ 1/3 cup pistachios ◆◆ 3½ oz icing sugar
◆◆ 1 oz unsalted butter, melted ◆◆ 2 Tbsp milk
◆◆ 3½ oz strawberries, hulled
mixture and fold in with a spatula. 5 Finally, fold the egg whites into the mixture, followed by the chopped pistachios and strawberries, taking care not to overmix. Pour into the pound cake tin, smoothing out the surface but making the sides of the mixture higher than the centre (the cake will rise in the centre). 6 Bake for 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool in its tin for 15 minutes, then turn out onto the rack while you complete the next step. 7 In a small saucepan, mix together the remaining ¾ oz sugar and the
brandy. Cook until sugar dissolves, then brush the mixture over the cake. Wrap in plastic wrap until cool. 8 To decorate, dry-fry the pistachios in a small frying pan over medium heat until fragrant and slightly coloured, then transfer to a bowl and set aside. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the icing sugar, butter and milk; the mixture should be the consistency of thin cream. (You can add more milk if necessary to achieve the desired consistency.) Drizzle the mixture over top of the cooled cake, then decorate with the toasted pistachio pieces and fresh and freezedried strawberries. f
Photography: Alana Dimou
1 Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a greased 3 in. × 7 in. × 2½ in. loaf tin with parchment paper. 2 In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, vanilla-bean paste and 1¾ oz sugar until pale and creamy. Add the egg yolks and lemon juice and combine. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and thoroughly clean and dry the bowl of the stand mixer. Affix the whisk attachment. 3 Whisk together the egg whites and 2 oz sugar until stiff peaks form. 4 Meanwhile, sift the almond meal, flour and baking powder into butter
DONâ€™T DRINK & DRIVE WWW.ABOUTALCOHOL.COM
IF YOU WANT TO SEE MY SOUL, EAT MY FOOD
FUSION CONFUSION Chef Nick Liu is distancing himself from the F-word and deliberately focusing on telling stories with food.
“ Photography: Kayla Rocca
ASIAN FUSION” IS a term people use to describe my style of cuisine. It has been a point of contention for me for years because I’ll forever associate it with the tacky trend of mashing up a bunch of Asian flavours, putting a French spin on it then calling it “fusion.” I define it as it was taught to me during my culinary education. It started in the 1970s, built momentum and peaked in the 1990s. It was a haphazard mingling of a bunch of Asian cultures, ingredients, and culinary techniques created and executed by Frenchtrained chefs. They were almost never actually from these ethnicities. This type of cuisine lacked understanding of cultural history and failed to recognize the art of telling an authentic story through food. The first time I had “fusion” in Toronto, it was at one of the city’s trendiest restaurants.
The first dish, classified as “sashimi” was raw shrimp, plated like a carpaccio with an avocado creamy thing going on and a mess of coriander seedlings ... it was gross! The main course was a miso-glazed piece of beef with an intensely sweet-and-sour broth. This meal made me angry and confused. I felt cheated of the money I had scrimped working as a cook at Scaramouche. A couple of years later, when I ate at Susur Lee’s eponymous new place, I had an ephiphany. I savoured the Chinese roasted pork belly with rich buttery mustard seed pomme purée and wilted Chinese mustard greens. These were beautifully presented dishes with flavours of my past and present. I experimented and created really awesome things back in the kitchen at Scaramouche. I was born in Canada with Asian and
Indian heritage, trained in French kitchens and have travelled and cooked all over the world. I prefer to call my style “new Asian cuisine.” Because, in a sense, I am a new Asian – like many children of immigrants. I don’t quite belong here nor there, but I embrace all aspects of my ancestral roots, my diverse family history, growing up in Markham and all my world travels. It’s exactly what my Hakka ancestors did by creating Asian food with Indian, Jamaican or South African ingredients. I do take a lot of liberties from other cultures conceptually but the technique and ingredients will be true to the cultural ideas I’m riffing on. I’ve lived as a local or had deep connections to the food in these countries as well. I always tell people: “If you want to see my soul, eat my food.” There is a clear point of origin and a deliberate ending without compromising the authenticity of any individual character. These dishes are deeply personal to me and are inspired by memories – not just clever flavour combinations. So, my “fried watermelon with bean sprouts, basil leaves, pickled melon rind, and pork floss” is a loose interpretation of a dish my uncle used to bring to Thanksgiving dinner. He rolled pickled watermelon rind in pork belly, battered and deep fried it and served it with a sweet chili sauce. As chefs in Canada, we’re very fortunate to have access to so many varieties of ethnic food. It’s easy to be Canadian and still have huge pride in our culture. In a sense, all cuisines are fusion. Taking culinary inspiration from travelling and trading is nothing new. Tomatoes are native to South America. Noodles are native to China. Where would Italian cuisine be without either of these ingredients? Over time, as cultures integrate, it’s no longer fusion. It just becomes good food. f
DON’T JUST SETTLE FOR A TASTE OF EUROPE. Dig in to an entire feast. Wake up in the Italian countryside on an organic lemon farm and learn how limoncello is made. Or make your home base in Croatia a Mediterranean farm villa so you’re surrounded by the freshest ingredients 24/7. With G Adventures Local Living tours in Europe, you don’t have to worry about checking in to a new hotel every night, just settle in once and give your palette (and your eyes) the adventure they crave. 1 888 800 4100 gadventures.com/foodism
— PART 2 —
FEAST “WILLOWDALE, IN NORTH YORK, IS A KALEIDOSCOPE OF ASIAN CULTURE.” TORONTO CUISINE SCENE, 036
036 TORONTO CUISINE SCENE | 044 MIRACLE ON ICE 050 PASTA MASTER | 056 RUM-BLE IN THE JUNGLE | 062 COCKTAIL HOUR
TORONTO CUISINE SCENE The top neighbourhoods in Toronto for taking in the cityâ€™s famous diversity through your eyes, ears and, most importantly, mouths.
A Photography: Alexa Fernando
S ONE OF the world’s most multicultural cities, Toronto’s distinct neighbourhoods are as diverse as its people – each with its own culture, customs and cuisine. The history of how these neighbourhoods came to be is just as compelling. The Junction was its own city before being annexed to Toronto and becoming home to trendy craft breweries. The upscale eateries of the Distillery District are located in buildings that once housed the largest booze producer in the world. Thanks to gentrification, many areas of the city have an old-world-meets-new kind of charm. A perfect example is Dundas West; a street lined with a mix of up-and-coming dining hotspots and old-school Portuguese bakeries. Those with an independent streak will appreciate the best dive bars in Kensington, the little market that stood its ground against a Walmart that tried to muscle its way into this neighbourhood. We’ve rounded up the best experiences, sights and eats from Toronto’s most notable neighbourhoods. f
TORONTO’S WATERFRONT HAS BLOSSOMED INTO A BUZZING STRIP
Next to iconic waterfront cities like Chicago and New York, Toronto’s lakefront facade pales in comparison, or it did until recently. For years, Torontonians were drawn to the harbour only as a way to get to the Toronto islands for a quick getaway. Our harbourfront has gone through a dramatic transformation in the last few years, and has blossomed into a buzzing strip that attracts local and international visitors. Today it is one of the best spots in the city for live music and international food festivals, all with the backdrop of Lake Ontario. During the summer season, the Harbourfront Centre hosts a number of international events that highlight food from around the world. During the events, the outside food pavilion functions as a home for vendors who pop up with traditional menus, so grab some takeout and head to the expansive boardwalk. Queens Quay is the main strip that connects Toronto’s waterfront and you’ll find many spots for quick bites and lakeside meals. Take in dim sum with a view at Pearl restaurant, one of the last cart-style options in the city, where an assorted menu of Chinese brunch is served. Families will drive in from uptown, not just for the food – the dining room has a panoramic view of the islands. If you prefer beer, head to Amsterdam Brewhouse’s large-scale brewery and restaurant where they offer an extensive contemporary beer hall menu paired with over a dozen in-house beers. Across the street from the brewery, Indian Roti House serves fiery east Indian-style curries bundled up in large rotiwrapped pouches. Get the butter chicken or channa roti. In the “new” category, Loch and Quay has become a popular spot for those health-conscious eaters with its menu of grain bowls. They also have a great burger on the menu. After dinner, head over to Touti Gelati for seasonal gelato. The sunsets at the waterfront are magical and they’re best enjoyed near the water. If you’re in the mood for craft beer and whisky, hit The Slip patio by Box Car Social.
PARKDALE Founded in the 1850s, Parkdale is one of Toronto’s oldest neighbourhoods. This west end district, south of where Queen West meets Roncesvalles, hasn’t always had the best reputation, and despite the growing influence of gentrification, its streets still have a certain grittiness. Tibetan, West Indian and North African enclaves, plus a newer influx of hipsters and, most recently, vegans, make Parkdale one of the city’s most interesting neighbourhoods. Start your tour with breakfast at Skyline Restaurant for cozy diner vibes in vinyl booths, endless coffee refills and well-priced daily specials. Grab a slice of their house-made pie for dessert. Or save your sweet tooth for one of the indulgent creations at Craig’s Cookies who are known for combining homestyle chocolate chip cookies with treats like Pop Tarts and Mars bars. Parkdale is home to one of the largest Tibetan communities in Canada and there are about seven restaurants in the neighbourhood specializing in this Central Asian cuisine. Each restaurant has go-tos, but you can expect a similar bare-bones ambiance and affordable and deeply delicious Tibetan food. There are many options for momos – fried or steamed dumplings with meat or veggie filling – but Loga’s Corner is definitely a strong contender for the best. Go easy on the house-made hot sauce, unless you’re a serious heat fiend. The growing vegan influence in Parkdale is a big change, but no food crawl in the neighbourhood would be complete without at least one meatless meal. Doomie’s, in the rapidly-expanding Vegandale hub, offers a fast-food fix with its meatand dairy-free takes on burgers, mac ‘n’ cheese, chicken fingers and other comfort food faves. For evening drinks, sip on beautiful cocktails crafted by some of the city’s best mixologists at PrettyUgly Bar; or get a sunny taste of the tropics with Miss Thing’s retro tiki-bar style concoctions.
KENSINGTON In a town where nothing stays the same, Kensington Market has become something of a maverick with a proven track record of standing up to the big guys and winning. Even Walmart couldn’t break into the quirky neighbourhood, which has mostly held on to its character and charm despite frequent attempts to gentrify. The real jewel in Kensington’s crown is its walkability. If ever there was a place for a food crawl, it’s here, in this wonderfully eclectic market made for strolling. It might not be one of Toronto’s hidden gems (weekends often see visitors spilling from the sidewalks), but there’s a good reason why so many visit. The neighbourhood’s deep multicultural roots mean that a trip to the market takes our palates across borders and through various cuisines. Hop across the globe with Chilean treats from Jumbo Empanadas or fusion dishes like a jerk chicken panini from Rasta Pasta. If there is a unifying theme to Kensington Market, it’s Mexican food. Get in line at Seven Lives for a Baja-style taco, or head to El Rey for the upscale version and a wide selection of mezcal. El Trompo, one of the market’s longest standing vendors, has been serving tacos for over a decade. Take the short walk over to Augusta Avenue to sample their signature al
Photography: Kensington by Alexa Fernando; Cold tea by Brilynn Ferguson
pastor offering with a horchata on the side. And Mexican food in the market also comes stuffed between bread. Torteria San Cosme has their take on the popular sandwich from Mexico City, called tortas, in roughly 10 variations. Spend some time on the patio at Ronnie’s, one of the city’s best dive bars. There’s no table service or food to be had here, so guests are definitely in the business of drinking. To cure your thirst, you’ll have to step inside and navigate the darkness – pick your poison from one of the draught beers on tap (adorned with creepy doll heads). Round things out with a visit to Cold Tea, the neighbourhood’s ‘secret’ bar, very much in quotation marks. Wander through the grungy mall and head for the graffitied door hiding Kensington’s worst-kept secret. Once you’re inside, enjoy classy bar snacks, local beers, and – if it’s a Sunday – a sweaty, dance party that goes all afternoon and evening. It might seem like heresy to classify Otto’s Berlin Doner’s tasty offerings as mere drunk food, but there’s something about their doner meat covered in garlicky hot sauce that begs to be eaten (or dropped) on your way home from a night at the bar with friends. Order the Veal and Lamb Döner Teller and nurse it as far as Spadina, where you can catch a cab. Or, if you’re not ready to end the night, stop in at one of the many brightly-lit Chinese restaurants in the area for dim sum and a nightcap.
Let’s face it, Toronto’s east side gets only sparse attention. The city’s west corners like Queen West, Dundas West and even King West are associated with cool and fun, but the east side has been regarded as a part of the city that lacks excitement. The Greenwood-Coxwell corridor connects the city’s east side from the Danforth, all the way down to the lakefront and its diversity of cultures is the main attraction. Start on the Danforth where places like Al Mandi continues to serve traditional Middle Eastern dishes. El Sol specializes in the northern Mexican classics like fish stew and chicken mole. And, if you want Japanese comfort food, you need to head to Sakawa Coffee for curry and omurice. Head down Greenwood Avenue to Wagstaff, a small industrial strip that is home to Left Field Brewery and Pilot Coffee. Pilot’s highly acclaimed beans show up in many cafés and restaurants around the city. Stop in for some cold brew or a pourover. At Left Field Brewery you’ll find a seasonally changing range of sours and inventive IPAs. Walk a block further south to family-run Maha’s Restaurant. Maha’s is one of the only places in Toronto that serves traditional Egyptian brunch. Go early and be prepared to gorge on falafel and bowls of shakshuka.
IF IT’S A SUNDAY ENJOY A SWEATY DANCE PARTY THAT GOES ALL AFTERNOON 39
DISTILLERY There’s a refreshing oldworld charm that pervades the Distillery District; a micro-neighbourhood made up of the Victorian red-brick buildings of the former Gooderham and Worts Distillery.Today, the pedestrian-only space is a great spot for art, shopping and delicious eats. Saunter across the brick-laid streets to Mexican restaurant, El Catrin, and enjoy guac on their huge patio. Sister restaurants Cluny, a stunningly decorated Parisian bistro; Madrina, a Catalan tapas spot; and Pure Spirits Oyster House are also worth a visit. Though the Distillery no longer makes whisky, smallbatch vodka and gin are produced at Spirit of York. Another place to sample the hard stuff is Ontario Spring Water Sake Company, the first sake brewery in North America. Mill Street Brew Pub is the local spot to enjoy on-site brews. If the Distillery District steals your heart, leave a love lock at the installation on Tank House Lane – or a snap for the ‘gram.
While it seems like gentrification has become a defining feature of almost every Toronto neighbourhood in the last few years, there aren’t many places where the mingling of old and new is as pronounced as Dundas West. Also known as Little Portugal, the stretch of Dundas between Ossington and Lansdowne was the centre for Portuguese settlement in Toronto during the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s. Today, you’ll still hear Portuguese spoken and see Portuguese men sitting on plastic chairs outside old-school sports bars, keeping watch over the neighbourhood; but this west end district has recently seen an influx of eclectic boutiques, hip bars and some of the city’s best restaurants. A full list of noteworthy places to eat and drink in Dundas West could easily be its own article, so here are a few highlights. A proper exploration of Dundas West should take in a mix of old-school and newschool joints. There are a handful of good churrasqueiras – restaurants specializing in churrasco, a style of grilled meat popular in Portugal and parts of Latin America – but we think the best way to get a taste of the neighbourhood’s heritage is with a midafternoon bakery tour. The ultimate place to try Portugal’s iconic custard tart is a hotly debated topic. Check out Nova Era, Caldense and Brazil bakeries and conduct a taste test to determine which spot you think gets the wobbly egg custard, buttery shell combo just right.
Photography: Dundas West and Communist’s Daughter by Alexa Fernando; Ramen by TMON
SoSo Food Club is among our favourite recent openings. Part restaurant, part bar and part event venue, the early evening sees Soso serving stellar Chinese dishes in a retro space and then, as the night progresses, this buzzy spot transforms into a dance bar. For Asian-inspired fare in a more low-key setting, head further west to Uncle Mikey’s. Despite its killer Korean-influenced dishes, the menu at Uncle Mikey’s is remarkably well-priced and it’s usually easy to snag a spot in the restaurant’s intimate interior. It may not be Dundas West’s newest restaurant, but Enoteca Sociale’s relaxed setting, house-made pasta and wines by the glass make it another top choice. You’re spoiled for options when it comes to post-dinner drinks, with Dundas West’s strip of quirky, hole-in-the-wall bars. With kitschy decor and a warm glow courtesy of red and white fairy lights, the Communist’s Daughter is as cozy and eclectic as they come. Live bands play on Saturday and Sunday evenings, occupying more of the bar’s already precious little space but if you can find a table, the ambiance is downright magical. Spend your evening soaking up chill vibes at the Daughter, or continue your bar crawl west to Black Dice, a charming rockabilly bar that channels 1950s Japan. The bar has an exceptional selection of Japanese whiskies, beers, cocktails and sake, plus a jukebox from 1958 and a cool pinball machine.
THE DAUGHTER IS AS COZY AND ECLECTIC AS THEY COME
Willowdale, in North York, is a kaleidoscope of Asian culture with a slew of restaurants serving Japanese, Korean and Chinese food. The takeout from VIPS Sushi will get the most bang for your buck – rolls are cheap, delicious and portions generous. Sushi Moto is a little higher priced than other spots in the neighbourhood but it’s well worth it for the quality and flavour. Also, meat dishes like the kalbi ribs are always tender and juicy. This spot picks up after midnight with large groups ordering up small wooden boats overflowing with sashimi. From Sheppard to Finch, this stretch of Yonge Street is lined with ramen joints, from bigger names like Sansotei and Kinton to lesser known gems like Konjiki, a Tokyo Michelin Bib Gourmand recommended restaurant that serves concept ramen. Konjiki’s chef Yamamoto chose Willowdale for the first North American location of his awardwinning restaurant. After dinner, grab your friends and head to one of Willowdale’s many karaoke spots. Rent a private room at Twister Karaoke.
Photograph by ###
The old-world charm of the Junction is left over from the area’s start as an intersection of indigenous trading routes. It was laid over by railway tracks, established as a village and became a city so wild it implemented an alcohol ban that lasted almost a century. Now, this neighbourhood is a craft-beer-lover’s dream with an exciting food scene. The Junction’s Indie Alehouse offers adventurous, small-batch beers with a menu of out-there items to match. People’s Pint, Junction Craft Brewing, Rainhard and Shacklands all have a taproom and bottle shop so you can grab a pint or take your craft brews home for later enjoyment. Go hunting for the Hole in the Wall – as the name implies, the door to this long, narrow bar is slightly hidden. Try anything from the everchanging menu. On weekends, start your day at Honest Weight – they serve brunch with a seafood twist. Playa Cabana Cantina is the place to go for tacos, tostadas and other Mexican dishes. For more stylish dining, head to Roux for seafood and southern fare – get the jambalaya or pan-roasted catfish. After dinner, catch a show (everything from alt-`rock to country) and a round on the pinball machines at Junction City Music Hall.
Photography: Graffiti and Yorkville by Alexa Fernando
While Toronto’s classiest neighbourhood may be known for its designer boutiques and the Lamborghinis that cruise its tree-lined streets, Yorkville was once the most swinging part of the city. Back in the 1960s, the area was a haven for writers and musicians. Joni Mitchell, Gordon Lightfoot and Neil Young all played in smoky coffee houses inside Victorian row houses on Yorkville Avenue. Nowadays, refined dining is Yorkville’s meal du jour, with Cafe Boulud, Buca, Chabrol and Joso’s heading up the vanguard. (Relative) newcomers, Sofia, with its bright Italian small-plates, and Brothers Food and Wine, a tiny Mediterranean spot directly above Bay Station, continue the upscale tradition. Grab a scoop of Campfire Marshmallow at Summer’s Ice Cream and stroll down Old York Lane, a Parisian-looking alley. Once on Cumberland, hit up Yorkville staple Hemingway’s, a Kiwi-owned pub with a yearround patio that’s been pulling in pint drinkers for decades. For a rooftop spot with history, head to Pilot’s patio, Flight Deck, named in honour of the heroic RCAF flyers. Originally located on Yonge, the venue counted Bob Dylan among its clientele, before moving to its current home.
SIX LOCATIONS ACROSS THE SIX
100 KING ST W.
QUEEN ST E.
MIRACLE ON ICE
From the Philippines to the West Indies to Italy, Torontoâ€™s international influences and global flair help shape our top-notch ice treats game. WORDS BY SURESH DOSS PHOTOGRAPHY BY KAILEE MANDEL ART DIRECTION BY APRIL TRAN
W Photograph by ###
HILE THERE’S NEVER a bad time to enjoy spoonfuls of silky ice cream, summertime in Toronto presents the best options whether you’re into classic vanilla or prefer a charcoal cone topped with every colour in the rainbow. A wave of new shops, each specializing in their own takes on the classic frozen sweet, have opened to sate our cravings. Ice cream is meant to be a fun, lighthearted treat and Torontonians are wholeheartedly embracing it in all its colourful shapes and sizes. From a gelato stand on the St. Clair West strip to a Filipino stalwart in North York, here are our handpicked standouts for iced desserts. With ice cream, anything is popsicle. f
Casa Manila, 879 York Mills Rd. The popular Filipino dessert of shaved ice topped with sweet ingredients gets the ultimate treatment at Casa Manila. Fifteen traditional ingredients from soaked beans to flavoured jellies go into making the dessert Anthony Bourdain described as “oddly beautiful”. casamanila.ca
Clockwise, left page: Mung beans, shaved ice, candied palm fruit, pandan syrup, sliced jack fruit, glutinous rice crisps Clockwise, right page: Flan, Casa Manila cream blend, sliced young coconut, seaweed jelly, cubed coconut jelly, Filipino banana, ube, gold beans, ube and taro ice cream
PASSION FRUIT CORIANDER
Bar Ape, 283 Rushton Rd.
Since this food-truck-cum-gelato-stand opened it has seen a steady line of frozen fanatics. While their soft serve is incredible, itâ€™s Bar Apeâ€™s hyper-seasonal list of gelato bars that keep us running back to their shop. bar-ape.com
Clockwise: Sugar, dark chocolate, coriander seed, water, passion fruit
MANGO, COCONUT, SOURSOP
Ali’s Roti Shop, 1446 Queen St. W.
Photograph by ###
While Ali’s is the go-to for those seeking traditional West Indian stuffed rotis and doubles, they also make wickedly good tropical ice cream. Don’t expect any frills here – Ali’s ice creams are as simple as can be, but those punched up tropical notes can whisk you away to the Caribbean. alisrotitoronto.ca
Clockwise: Coconut milk, milk, sugar, mango, coconut, soursop
BLACK SESAME WITH SALTED DUCK EGG
Wongâ€™s Ice Cream, 617 Gerrard St. E.
Ed Wong left a corporate career to open his dream ice cream shop, one where he plays with nostalgia by pulling from Asian cultural influences. Our favourite flavour is the one that is most emblematic of dim sum: a black sesame ice cream stuffed with chunks of salted duck egg yolk. wongsicecream.com
Clockwise: Salted duck egg, black sesame paste, cream, salt, sugar, milk powder
LEMON SOUR CREAM
Soma Chocolatemaker, 443 King St. W.
Photograph by ###
For years, Soma has garnered global praise for its lineup of chocolates. So itâ€™s no surprise that when the company decided to feature a range of small-batch gelatos, the quality would be just as high. Soma makes some of the best seasonal, creamy Italian-style ice cream youâ€™ll find in Toronto. somachocolate.com
Clockwise: Sugar, cream, lemon juice, sour cream
From their famous duck bigoli to the elusive threads of God, Bucaâ€™s David Marcelli gives David Ort a pasta primer. PHOTOGRAPHY BY SANDRO PEHAR
REAT RESTAURANTS SET themselves apart from the pack with creativity and innovation. And then they deliver on their promise of an exceptional experience with careful and consistent execution. For operations like Rob Gentile’s Buca, that can mean finding the suppliers with top-notch products who can be counted on to sell him their very best. Or, after nearly a decade of success and 150 employees spread over three properties, it can depend on an indispensable craftsman. David Marcelli also leads the bread programme at the original Buca on King West, but the vast majority of his time is spent making pasta. Designing pasta. Obsessively researching traditional, regional pasta styles. On a relatively quiet weekday evening, in the basement commissary kitchen, he took me on a guided tour of five pasta shapes that just begin to demonstrate the Buca range. He showed me the delicate rolling technique that makes trofie, the light touch for braidedring lorighittas, introduced me to the idea of cresc’ tajat made with polenta and fusi istriani coloured with pig’s blood. Familiar orecchiette, but with a rustic, sauce-grabbing texture rounded out the quintet.
like to push boundaries of what’s new in the restaurant. Also, it’s a lot of work. I also do bread and other things. Is there any logic to how pasta shapes are distributed in Italy? There is, to some extent. Typically poorer places will have more hand-shaped pastas. So, Sardinia, southern Italy will have more of the orechiette, these sort of pastas. And as you go north you get richer pasta. In Bologna, they have tortellini and even north into Piedmont they have tagliatelle which is made with egg yolks. Basically, the further north you go, the richer it’s going to be. You’re known for experimenting with flours. What’s the orecchiette made with? This is an ancient durum flour we use from K2 Mills. It gives it a nice colour and texture opposed to a regular flour. How important is gluten-free? Would you be paying as much attention to flour if diners weren’t asking for gluten-free?
BOLOGNA, MODENA THAT’S WHERE THE LEGENDS ARE IN ITALY I make the gluten-free pasta here. I use millet flour and other...different types of ingredients. Secret ingredients? Yeah. [Laughs] Is the gluten-free pasta good enough that you’d eat it? Well, I wouldn’t eat it, but it’s good enough →
The shape of fresh pasta is the first thing I notice. How often are you recreating the traditional versus making something new? It almost always is based on a traditional shape or a traditional style of pasta. Especially something like cresc’ tajat. It’s something you don’t see very often, but I like to give my own little spin on things. When you guys are developing a dish, is it a collaborative process? Jorge [Fiestas, Buca’s chef du cuisine] will come and say “hey, we have this product. What do you think is the best shape?” It could be anything. Seafood or a certain shape might typically be served with beans so whenever you get great beans in that would be the one to go with. When you’re in development how often does the idea “let’s show diners something they haven’t seen before” play into it? I try to not repeat too many things. I always
RIGHT, CLOCKWISE: Orecchiette is Italian for “little ears”; a good roller is a homemade-pasta essential; chef in his workshop
ABOVE: Marcelli uses a wooden dowel as a form to shape his fusi istriani. The dough gets its distinctive colour from pig’s blood
Scarpettas. And to train their pasta makers.
Your role is to develop pasta shapes, but you’re not dropping pasta in the water. No, I’m not on the line cooking. Sometimes I’ll help develop the sauce for the pasta, but I would say 75 per cent is R&D, it’s working with the pasta itself.
When did you decide that pasta was your thing? How does that happen? I know that cooks often decide pastry or savoury and choose that as a course, but pasta seems even more specific, more specialised. You know, being Italian I grew up with pasta. Pasta was always on the table. I first learned how to make pasta from my mom and it’s something I’ve always absolutely loved. It’s not that I was disappointed with the pasta in the city, it’s that I wanted to bring something new. I worked in Italy for about nine months, in Umbria, and that’s where I saw that pasta can be something more than just a daily meal. It can be an art form.
What were you doing before Buca? I was also the pasta maker at Scarpetta. So, I helped open Scarpetta here and they flew me out to Vegas and LA to help open the
Where is the one place you would recommend people go to really get the full course of pasta in Italy? For pasta, you really have to go to Bologna
→ that if I gave it to you or someone else and didn’t tell them it was gluten-free they probably wouldn’t know. When I first made it, I was surprised at how good it is. I was not expecting that.
and Modena in central Italy, that’s where all the legends are. Then again, that’s not to say that the pasta in other regions is not great. It’s great everywhere – you just have to find the people who are putting their hearts into it. We talked a bit about what pasta in Toronto was like a while ago. Do you feel like you’re participating in a pasta renaissance? I think so. We’ve got Famiglia Baldassarre [on Geary] and others. Does that help you in a collaborative way? Or a competitive way? We don’t really collaborate. But it’s good to have healthy competition. It’s only for the betterment of the diners in Toronto. I do want to ask you about the threads of God, su filindeu, can you tell me more about that project? I first heard of it, or I first saw it in a book I have – The Encyclopedia of Pasta. A hand-drawn illustration of it looked really interesting. I didn’t know how it was made. I tried making a version of it and it didn’t work. But I saw a video on Youtube of a nonna actually making it and thought it was amazing. I have to try doing this myself! It’s just incredible. What makes it difficult? There are so many different variables, starting with: You have to get the flour right. It’s all done by hand. And it’s a pulled dough, so it’s
BEING ITALIAN, I GREW UP WITH PASTA. PASTA WAS ALWAYS ON THE TABLE completely different from other pasta. It’s not rolled, it’s not extruded, you’re not shaping it, you’re not cutting it. It’s stretched – like a Chinese hand-pulled noodle. And it’s pulled incredibly thin. To get the pasta to stretch that many times, that thinly takes a lot of time to perfect. It took me three years just to get it to stretch properly. And I still can’t get it anywhere near as thin as the nonnas. I think there are nine or ten in Italy who do it. Buca found somebody who is willing to export it to Canada? Yes, we get it through a company in Montreal who imports it for us and we get it in big huge boxes that last a year. →
“An excellent Cabernet...ripe aromas of cassis and blackberry. A full flavoured palate...ripe fruit and dried herb notes” Head Winemaker
Gwyn Olsen ages i n Vi n t 5 e l b a l i Ava 22.9 t 18! $ Augus
For food pairing ideas and other great wines from this winery, visit Azureau.com
→ What does it taste like? It comes like a cracker and you cook it in the broth it’s served in. It’s hard to describe. It almost melts in your mouth. Tell me about using pig’s blood in pasta. It doesn’t just add colour, it also gives the pasta a slightly liver-y flavour. We get it from
I STILL CAN’T GET IT TO STRETCH AS THIN AS THE NONNAS. I THINK 9 OR 10 MAKE IT 54
our butcher, whenever we get whole pigs in, they also give us blood from that pig. And, actually, when we get the super-fresh blood with those pigs, the dough is really red. When you’re cooking at home do you make pasta or is that an opportunity for a break? I don’t usually make fresh pasta. I do dried. If it’s a Sunday, maybe I’ll do a fresh pasta. But I love dried pasta, too. And sometimes it is worth paying for the imported, extra-good dried pasta, depending on the sauce. What’s one tool for home cooks who want to make fresh pasta at home? A good roller. Your best tool is your hands, so you just need to practice and get a feel for it. Start with something simple. Just tagliatelle and from there, experiment with other styles. You experiment with shapes, but are the actual ingredients in the dough strictly traditional? Mostly traditional, but sometimes I’ll add something that I think will fit. I might also make the dough a bit tougher than it would
ABOVE: Sardinia’s lorighittas are meticulously shaped by hand into a braided ring form that mark them out as an obviously small-batch style
normally be to accommodate a different shape I want to use it for. It needs to hold up on the plate and stand up to the sauce. Are there any pasta dishes you can’t take off the menu? Bigoli. The duck-egg-yolk hand cranked pasta. That’s been on the menu since day one and it’s one of our best sellers. That’s going to be on the menu at every Buca that opens. Is that a good thing or do you get tired of it? That one I don’t mind. It’s a good workout to have every day! Do you have a favourite season for pasta? Spring time is really exciting. When you’re starting to get all the fresh legumes, you start to get nettles that are always a favourite. But I love all the seasons, there’s always something new happening. f
Do what you
Cuisine PĂ˘tisserie Boulangerie
culinary programs that will set you apart.
RUM-BLE IN THE JUNGLE We get an in-depth look at the scenes and techniques that make Flor de Caña, Nicaragua’s iconic rum. PHOTOGRAPHY BY CURRY LEAMEN
GETTING THERE The Flor de Caña distillery is located in Chinandega, a couple hours’ drive northwest of Managua. Full transportation to the distillery and back is available through Uniglobe Yupitours. Distillery tours can be reserved through tourflordecana.com including the VIP version where they throw in a personalized bottle of the Ron Flor de Caña 18-year-aged rum. flordecana.com
S Photograph by ###
INCE THE INTRODUCTION of sugar cane to the country in the late 16th century, it has played a crucial role in Nicaragua’s economy. It took two centuries, but the country’s rum industry emerged as an outlet for this crop and distillers started to produce a spirit that reflected Nicaragua’s climate. Today, rum is a religion in Nicaragua and Flor de Caña is one of the oldest and most important brands, regarded by many locals as the country’s symbolic rum. Flor De Caña has been producing rum since the 1890s using a process that is emblematic of a place known as “the country of lakes and volcanoes.” f
RUM RESERVE In 2012, Flor de Caña started offering tours that allow visitors to learn about the distillery’s rich history and taste their award-winning rum. With roots dating back to 1890, the production of Flor de Caña rum has been overseen by the same family for five generations. Due to political unrest in Nicaragua in the 1980s, the company began stockpiling their product and as a result Flor de Caña now owns one of the largest reserves of aged rum in the world.
Photograph by ###
Flor de Caña is aged naturally in white oak bourbon barrels, shipped from Kentucky, which have already been charred and used to age bourbon for at least a year. The rum picks up recognizable bourbon-like oak and vanilla flavours from the barrels, adding complexity to its profile. The rum-filled barrels are sealed using plantain leaves – part of the distillery’s commitment to eco-friendly practices. Flor de Caña’s distilling process is powered by renewable energy and the company plants 50,000 trees each year to further minimize its footprint.
BROTHERS IN LAVA Nicaragua is home to 19 volcanoes, including the Masaya, below. San Cristóbal, its northern sibling and the tallest volcano in Nicaragua, plays an active role in the creation of Flor de Caña’s rum. Mineral-rich volcanic ash rises out of the volcano’s depths and lands on the ground, fertilizing the soil. Rainwater soaks into the absorbent earth and carries these nutrients down into underground reserves. This process, combined with volcanic temperatures and Nicaragua’s tropical climate all contribute to the smooth and delicious flavour of the rum.
Photograph by ###
SABATOURISM.COM LIKE US AT FACEBOOK.COM/SABATOURISMBUREAU FOLLOW US @ TWITTER.COM/SABATOURISM FOLLOW US @ INSTAGRAM.COM/SABATOURISTBUREAU + 599-416-2231 or +599-416-2322 EMAIL TOURISM@SABAGOV.NL
COCKTAIL HOUR Shake up a coupe-full of La La Land with these colourful and balanced cocktails from the bar menu at Dundas Westâ€™s La Palma. WORDS BY SURESH DOSS PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOEL LEVY
ORONTO’S RECENT OBSESSION with the Los Angeles food scene has made our food noticeably more vegetable-focused and playful. Our cocktail lists have also evolved; drinks are brightly coloured concoctions of light spirits that teem with effervescence. One of the best new bars to drink in all things West Coast is the Dundas West restaurant, La Palma. Their Bar Manager Daniel Castro, formerly of Toronto Temperance Society, conveys the lifestyle and aesthetics of Venice Beach in his current cocktail lineup. “La Palma is a slice of LA in Toronto. Our food is bright, exciting and vibrant. My job is to do the same with the cocktails,” he says. Born in Nicaragua, Castro is a seasoned bartender who has worked at a variety of nightclubs and bars across Toronto. He realized his true calling after a visit to the Museum of the American Cocktail in New Orleans nearly a decade ago. “Cities hop on drink trends all over the U.S. But in New Orleans, there’s nothing trendy, it just is. They celebrate cocktail culture like no other place I have been to, and I was immediately drawn to that,” Castro says. His approach to drinks may seem like a simple one, he’s a minimalist and refers to the “less is more” rule when it comes to layering his tipples. Castro comes from a family of artists, and approaches drinkmaking the same way. For him, a highball or flute serves as the canvas for a picture which is painted with each sip. f
LA PALMA INGREDIEN TS ◆◆ 1 oz Amaro Montenegro ◆◆ 1 oz Aperol ◆◆ 3/4 oz orange juice ◆◆ 3/4 oz lime juice ◆◆ 3/4 oz egg whites ◆◆ 4 mint leaves (hand-clapped) ◆◆ 3 dashes of house bitters (a blend
of 1 oz Angostura, 1 oz Angostura Orange, 1/2 oz Scrappy’s Cardamom)
Photograph by ###
Dry shake (no ice) all ingredients, followed by a thorough shake (3 ice cubes), fine-strain. Serve in a coupe glass garnished with a dehydrated crescent orange float.
SOFT LIGHT IN G R ED IEN TS ◆◆ 3/4 oz Dolin dry vermouth ◆◆ 3/4 oz St. Germain elderflower
liqueur ◆◆ 1 oz lemon juice ◆◆ 1/2 oz club soda ◆◆ 1/2 oz tonic water ◆◆ 1 oz prosecco (such as Villa Sandi)
Layer each ingredient in a tall flute and finish with a gentle stir.
CHILCANO ING REDIENTS ◆◆ 1 oz El Gobernador pisco ◆◆ 1/2 oz Pimm’s No.1 ◆◆ 1 oz lime juice ◆◆ 1/4 oz honey syrup ◆◆ 1/4 oz ginger syrup ◆◆ 2 oz club soda ◆◆ 3 dashes of house bitters (see La
Fill a short highball glass with ice. Layer each ingredient over ice and finish with a gentle stir. Garnish with a lime wedge on the rim.
Photograph by ###
DINE OUT WITHOUT LEAVING THE HOUSE Riserva, a new line of delicious pasta sauces, is bringing an authentic restaurantquality experience to your kitchen so you can dine out at home.
F WE HAD our way, we would probably eat out at a new restaurant every day of the week â€“ a legitimate possibility in Toronto. So it's lucky for our purse strings (and our waistlines) that more often than not, we find ourselves dining at home during the week. Cooking at home doesn't have to
mean a compromise in quality, nor should it mean hours spent slaving over a hot stove after a long day. Riserva understand that however busy you are, your tastebuds shouldn't suffer â€“ so they're bringing the restaurant home. Riserva has created a selection of pasta sauces, made from the finest
vine-ripened plum tomatoes, handpicked at the peak of their sweetness. The versatile range can be used as a sauce on flatbread or pizzas, in seafood and meat dishes, in a delicious chicken parmesan or used straight from the jar. With flavours like Arrabiatta, Puttanesca, Roasted Garlic, Roasted
TORTELLONI DI SCHIACCIARE Ingredients ◆◆ 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil ◆◆ 1 large each green and yellow
zucchini, diced ◆◆ 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme ◆◆ 1/2 tsp fleur de sel or sea salt flakes ◆◆ 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper ◆◆ 1/4 cup whipping cream ◆◆ 2/3 cup Kraft 100% Parmesan Aged
Grated Cheese, divided ◆◆ 64 wonton wrappers ◆◆ 1 jar (650 ml) Classico Riserva
Marinara Pasta Sauce ◆◆ 1/2 cup each tightly packed baby
arugula and baby kale ◆◆ 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
Heat oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add zucchini; sauté 5 min. Add thyme, fleur de sel and pepper; sauté additional 3 to 5 min. or until zucchini is tender. Deglaze skillet with cream; cook on medium-low heat 4 min. or until most of the liquid is cooked off, stirring frequently. Leave to cool.
Vegetable and Marinara to choose from, you can feel like you're dining out without ever leaving the house. For Riserva, the key is simplicity; their sauces are thick, flavourful, and above all, totally authentic. Unlike some of the other options on the grocery store shelves, Riserva is made with clean, simple ingredients, no added preservatives or sugar – just an extra dash of virgin olive oil and sea salt for that fresh, restaurant-quality taste. Whether you use these pasta sauces solo or as part of a bigger meal, they may end up being your new favourite dish in the city. To get your creative juices flowing, try out Riserva's Toretelloni Di Schiacciare (right) or head to eatwithriserva.com/recipes for more ways to elevate your at-home cooking game. If you can't eat out tonight, at least crack open a jar of the good stuff. ●
Cover baking sheet with parchment. Add half the cheese to zucchini mixture; mix well. Spoon 1 tsp. zucchini mixture onto centre of 1 wonton wrapper. Lightly brush edges of wrapper with water; fold diagonally in half to completely enclose filling. Bring 2 furthest points of wonton triangle together to resemble tortelloni; moisten points with water, then pinch together to seal. Place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining wonton wrappers and filling. Bring large saucepan of water to boil. Add tortelloni; cook 4 min. or until tender. Meanwhile, bring pasta sauce just to simmer in medium saucepan on medium-low heat. Stir in arugula and kale; cook 1 min. or just until wilted, stirring frequently. Drain tortelloni; place in serving bowl. Add pasta sauce mixture; mix lightly. Top with pine nuts and remaining cheese. For more coooking inspiration, visit eatwithriserva.com/recipes
YOU'RE THE WINE THAT I WANT
We're giving one lucky reader and five friends the chance to enjoy a private tasting of Thirty Bench's award-winning wines at their picturesque vineyard.
HINK OF THE world's best wine regions and what comes to mind? Burgundy or Tuscany? How about Beamsville, Ontario? This small town can now be counted among the world's best wine destinations. Beamsville's Thirty Bench, located in a pocket of the Niagara region just perfect for growing their Riesling and classic red varietals, has joined the big league with a huge win at the Decanter World Wine Awards. Thirty Bench's 2015 Small Lot Cabernet Franc took home the Best in Show medal at the world's most prestigious wine competition, which blind tastes over 16,000 wines from more than 60 countries. Thirty Bench was the only Canadian winery to be awarded Best in Show
at the 2018 competition and the first Canadian winery to win the Cabernet Franc varietal class. Thirty Bench Wine Maker's 2015 Steel-Post Riesling was also judged at the competition and earned a score of 97 points. We've teamed up with Thirty Bench to give one lucky group of six the chance to experience a structured tasting with winemaker Emma Garner in the scenic surroundings of the vineyard. Guests will savour Thirty Bench's award-winning wines, including the Best in Show, 2015 Cabernet Franc and the 97 Point 2015 Steel-Post Riesling â€“ all perfectly paired with delicious bites. â—?
WIN A PRIVATE TASTING AT THIRTY BENCH
We're giving away a private tasting for one winner and five friends with award-winning Thirty Bench winemaker, Emma Garner. Soak in the sweeping vineyard views while sipping on their lineup of outstanding wines, including 97 point 2015 Steel-Post Riesling and 97 point 2015 Cabernet Franc, paired with delicious food in the country. For a full list of terms and conditions and to enter the contest, visit: foodism.to/competition
— PART 3 —
EXCESS “I COULD EASILY SUBSIST ON LOAVES OF GEYSER BREAD.” LAND OF FIRE AND ICE, 070
070 LAND OF FIRE AND ICE | 084 BOTTLE SERVICE | 091 FOODISM’S FINEST 093 DIGEST | 094 THE SELECTOR | 098 DECONSTRUCT
LAND OF FIRE AND ICE
Andrea Yu goes on a culinary exploration of Iceland and eats everything from geyser-baked bread to park-foraged weeds. 70
T’S AN UNUSUALLY windy afternoon for spring and the sun is streaming into the windows of Vogafjós Restaurant, in Northern Iceland. A fresh loaf of rye bread, still hot from the oven, arrives at our table. A smear of butter melts almost instantly on a dark slice and the combination is utterly delicious – a texture more cake-like than the typical sandwich staple variety and with a sweeter, molassesy quality to it. If left to my own devices, I’m convinced that I could easily subsist on loaves of this bread, accompanied with fresh pats of butter and sprinklings of sea salt. Technique is largely what makes the bread so delicious. The loaf has been baked at low heat for almost a full day at around 100 F. But the chef won’t be able to tell you at what temperature, precisely, because this bread was cooked by the heat of the earth. The baking tradition of geyser bread, as it’s called, is just one of many Icelandic culinary techniques that take advantage of the country’s unique natural resources. As one of the youngest land masses on earth, Iceland is a hotbed of geothermal activity, which does, unfortunately, mean the occasional volcanic eruption. You might recall one that happened in 2010; plumes from the Eyjafjallajökull volcano disrupted air traffic across western and northern Europe, and over 10 million travellers were affected. But on this late-spring visit to Iceland, there are no ash plumes or dramatic flows of molten lava in sight. Without any destruction or disruption to worry about, Icelanders can simply use this geothermal activity as a heat source to make some tasty bread. Earlier that morning, we visited the site where these loaves took form. I was expecting something like a cavernous enclave, but the →
Photography: Mike Drago
ABOVE: Tectonic and geothermal activity has created fault lines on the surface of Iceland, forming over 10,000 waterfalls
I COULD EASILY SUBSIST ON LOAVES OF THIS BREAD WITH PATS OF BUTTER 71
→ spot where we pulled up was just another wide-open, grassy expanse. Only the clouds of steam in the distance hinted at baking. We disembark our vehicle and approach the hill, where 20-odd sheets of metal and blocks of wood, some inscribed with initials, are weighed down by bricks and lava rocks. They're covering up small holes in the ground about three cubic feet in volume. We’re warned not to step too close to the “ovens”. Our weight could cause them to collapse. The keepers of the ovens, local chefs and members of the former fishing village of Myvatn, wouldn’t be pleased. With a heat-proof glove on one hand, our guide carefully lifts open one of the makeshift lids, but the oven inside is empty. After a few tries, he finds a plastic tub – the type you might find holding a restaurantsized quantity of mayonnaise at Costco – but
the batter inside is clearly still cooking. Each oven has a slightly different temperature and humidity, and traditionally, each family’s geyser bread has its own unique character because of this. The heat of the earth is also being used to produce other food groups. Páll Olafsson is a fourth-generation farmer at Hveravellir Farm near Husavik, about 30 minutes away from Vogafjós. In the early 1900s, his greatgrandparents used water from a nearby hot spring to melt snow that watered the tomato plants in their greenhouses. Nowadays, Olafsson is still tapping that same geyser, but he’s capturing energy for heat. It’s a comfortable 20 C inside one of Olafsson’s greenhouses. Steam from a hot spring helps keep the environment temperate all year round. Rows of small cocktail tomatoes are flourishing, a gradient
LEFT: Steam from a geyser near Páll Olafsson’s farm helps keep the temperature inside his greenhouses at a comfortable 20 C
Photography: Andrea Yu
of red-and-ripe to green visibly progressing down several bunches. Honeybees buzz among the vines (there are about 160 between 11 greenhouses) which Olafsson brings in to pollinate the plants. Compared to traditional tomato crops that could take 20 to 30 weeks to grow, Olafsson’s greenhouse-nourished varieties are ready for market after just eight or nine weeks in the warm environment. Powerful sodium lights also contribute to this quick growth, but they’re powered by the local electricity grid. While it’s possible to convert steam energy to electricity, the technology is cost-prohibitive for a small operation like Olafsson’s, since his spring doesn’t get much hotter than 100 degrees. But he’s hopeful that technology will improve over the next five to ten years, becoming cheaper and easier to harness low-temperature steam into energy.
This could take his operation fully off the grid and power it for next to nothing. The advancement will help make Olafsson’s produce – he currently grows about 500 tonnes of tomatoes, cucumbers and bell peppers a year – more environmentally friendly and, importantly, more affordable. At the moment, tomatoes grown in Iceland are more than twice as expensive as competing produce from Spain or Tunisia, thanks to extremely low labour costs that mitigate the costs of shipping. Farmers like Olafsson are part of a cooperative that promotes the consumption of local produce and he’s noticed how competitors market their produce as “Packaged in Iceland”, accompanied by an Icelandic flag, when they’re actually just imported and shrink-wrapped in the country. But chefs like Fanney Sigurjónsdóttir, who runs the kitchen of Skál! in Reykjavik, know the value of locally-grown produce. The menu at Skál!, which is a part of the capital’s trendy food hall Hlemmur Mathöll, isn’t strictly vegetarian. You can order beef skirt and tartare, as well as Arctic char, which swims plentifully in the waters around Iceland. But Sigurjónsdóttir’s creativity and care is best revealed in her meatless dishes. Take the smoked carrots, for example. She cooks them with dulse, a type of seaweed, then thinly slices and stacks them on top of a slice of toasted sourdough (baked fresh by fellow food hall vendors Brauð & Co). The result is so savoury and umami-rich that I could have been tricked into thinking it was a smoked fish and not a humble root vegetable. →
OLAFSSON’S GREENHOUSE NOURISHED TOMATOES ARE READY FOR MARKET AFTER JUST EIGHT OR NINE WEEKS 73
RIGHT: Underground “ovens” reach up to 100 F where rye bread, also known as geyserbread, is slowly cooked over 24 hours
→ Sigurjónsdóttir is willing to admit that some
might make the chefs feel shy or timid about their craft, or bothered by questions about techniques and where the ingredients are sourced (answer: everywhere from local ceramic artists to Ikea). But it was the opposite for this pair, who became animated with their guests’ excitement and curiosity. Seldom do chefs get the chance to see customers happily devouring the food that they’ve so meticulously honed and tweaked, or introduce dishes first-hand so that guests
OX SERVES INCREDIBLE DINING EXPERIENCES TO JUST 11 GUESTS PER SEATING
can understand why a certain herb or spice was used – or, what forest it was picked in. Open only for a few short weeks at the time we visited, tourists were still an anomaly at Óx, so the chefs were eager to hear where we’d been, and what we had eaten. Upon hearing of our newly-formed geyser bread obsession, Halldórsson was keen to share a loaf with us. It was already planned as the sixth dish of our meal and I was well aware of how and why this bread is worthy of being its own course among 12. Halldórsson happily posed for a few snaps with the loaf, still in a reused milk carton, before he opened the encasement and sliced up the bread inside. This one was cooked in Geysir, about 1.5 hours from Reykjavik (the irony of eating geyser bread from Geysir is not lost on me), and was reheated in the restaurant for our consumption. Butter, hand churned from cream the day before, accompanied the bread. Now, multi-course meals such as the one we were halfway through typically demand strategic eating habits – forgo the breadbasket, for one. I could tell that the rest of the meal was going to pack a wallop, but I happily polished off the slices served to me and wished there were more. f
Photography: Andrea Yu
minor lawbreaking happened to put our meal together. She blends angelica – picked from her neighbour’s yard – into her vegan mayonnaise which is spread underneath the smoked carrot toasts. We’re uncertain whether the neighbour was aware of this localized foraging effort, but Sigurjónsdóttir reassures us that the herb has long been considered a weed in Iceland. A similar type of innocent thievery occurs in another Reykjavik kitchen. At Óx, on the popular Laugavegur Street, chef Georg Halldórsson and his intern Tómas Jóhannsson forage for angelica in Heiðmörk, a conservation area southeast of the capital. They use stems and leaves from the herb to accent a dish of sweetbreads – the anise-like flavours pairing well with a licorice sauce that ties each bite together. It’s one of a dozen small courses served at Óx as part of an incredible dining experience with just 11 guests per seating. We’re situated in an L-shape around Halldórsson and Jóhannsson’s workstation, which is partly comprised of cupboards that came from the former home of restaurant owner Þráinn Freyr Vigfússon’s grandfather. I thought the intimacy of an open kitchen
SUITE YOURSELF INDULGE IN THE FLAVORS OF WEST HOLLYWOOD.
WEST SIDE STORY
With hundreds of L.A's best restaurants and bars found within a few kilometres, you're always just steps away from an amazing meal in West Hollywood.
HOTSPOT FOR CELEBRITIES and home of the iconic Sunset Strip, West Hollywood may be one of the smallest cities in Los Angeles County but it embodies all the glamour that comes to mind when you think of L.A. Known locally as WeHo, West Hollywood has been named California’s most walkable city by walkscore.com. With many of L.A.’s best restaurants and bars packed into its compact, 4.9-squarekilometre area, West Hollywood is a prime destination for food crawls and bar hopping. You’re probably already familiar with the Sunset Strip, a storied stretch of Sunset Boulevard where you’ll find swanky hotels, legendary music venues, as well as see-and-be-seen bars and restaurants. Savour farm-to-table cuisine
while enjoying dramatic views of Los Angeles at The Ivory at Mondrian LA; or head to the Tower Bar at the Sunset Tower Hotel to sip cocktails poolside. The Sunset Strip may be West Hollywood’s most famous district, but the city’s other two districts – the Design District and Santa Monica Boulevard – are equally worthy of exploration. Continue your al fresco drinking and dining in the Design District with a fresh seafood meal at Catch LA. Or, nosh on Asian-inspired street food at E.P. & L.P., a rooftop bar and accompanying restaurant with jaw-dropping views of the Hollywood Hills. Walk off all that fantastic food by browsing the exceptional art galleries, boutiques, flagship stores and interior design showrooms that have earned the
Design District its name. Save time to discover Santa Monica Boulevard, a centre for the city’s LBGTQ+ community and a district known for proudly marching to the beat of its own drum. By day, check out celebrity-favourite restaurants, hip boutiques and cool coffee shops; and by night, take advantage of the PickUp trolley, which regularly provides free bar hopping along the boulevard. With a higher concentration of liquor licenses per square mile than any other city in California and over 350 bars and restaurants to try, there’s no shortage of ways to stay entertained in West Hollywood. Combining big city thrills with small town size, you'll never have to walk far for your next great food experience in West Hollywood. ●
— SIPSMITH GIN —
FALL FOR GIN ALL OVER AGAIN A FOODISM GUIDE
H I STO RY
COCKTAILS FOR EVERY SEASON
Sipsmith London Dry Gin is the perfect tipple to enjoy long after summer is done.
HERE'S SOMETHING WE need to get off our chests. Fall is our favourite season. Perhaps it's the milder temperatures, not too hot or too humid. Maybe it's the fall colours. Or possibly it's the opportunity to overhaul our wardrobes and reintroduce layers without threatening to self-combust. One thing you won't have to change this season is your spirit of choice. While summer shandies, ciders and coolers may fall by the wayside, Sipsmith London Dry Gin is not going anywhere. Sipsmith is handcrafted in small batches and distilled in copper pots, making it exceptionally smooth and sippable, whatever the weather. The seasons may be turning, but that doesn't mean you need to restock your
bar in preparation – it's time to start enjoying gin in new ways. Sipsmith presents the perfect opportunity to eschew the traditional brown spirits associated with fall in favour of cocktails featuring autumn flavours and even hot gin cocktails. Challenging of the status quo is what got Sipsmith where it is today. It all began when childhood friends, Fairfax and Sam, set up London's first traditional copper distillery since 1820. The passionate founders successfully lobbyed for a change in law for London's small batch distillation, resulting in a renaissance in gin production. Inspired by Fairfax’s father, a silversmith, the skill that goes into creating Sipsmith is the same labour of love and passion.
Uncompromising in all aspects, the gin is not made from concentrate. Sipsmith proudly uses the one shot method, infusing the gin with botanicals to soak for approximately 15 hours. Sipsmith has continued its mission to reintroduce traditional handcrafted London Dry Gin to Canadians the way it should be. Because when something is this delicious, why mess with it? Once the weather begins to cool, this selection of toasty gin cocktails with autumnal ingredients will help you transition into fall – and with its bold, aromatic flavours, Sipsmith makes the perfect partner. Who knows? You may even find yourself counting down the days until fall. ● Find Sipsmith London Dry Gin at LCBOs across Ontario.
R E C I P ES
TIME TO BE-GIN
Transition seamlessly into the season with a selection of Sipsmith gin cocktails to enjoy as temperatures start to drop.
HOT G&T ◆◆ 11/2 oz Sipsmith London Dry Gin ◆◆ 1/2 oz Jack Rudy Tonic Syrup ◆◆ 1/3 oz sugar syrup ◆◆ Boiling water ◆◆ Orange twist
Combine Sipsmith gin, tonic syrup and sugar syrup in a mug or heatproof glass. Stir well and top with boiling water. Garnish with an orange twist.
BLOOD ORANGE NEGRONI ◆◆ 1 oz Sipsmith London Dry Gin ◆◆ 1oz Campari ◆◆ 1/2 oz Picon ◆◆ 1oz fresh blood orange juice ◆◆ Dried blood orange slice ◆◆ Rosemary sprig
Fill a mixing glass with ice and add all ingredients. Stir and strain into a chilled rocks glass. Garnish with dried blood orange and rosemary.
◆◆ 11/2 oz Sipsmith London Dry Gin
◆◆ 11/2 oz Sipsmith London Dry Gin
◆◆ 1/3 oz gomme syrup ◆◆ ¼ oz freshly squeezed
clementine juice ◆◆ 2 dashes Angostura bitters ◆◆ Sage leaf Warm clementine juice in a pan until hot but not boiling. Remove from heat. Add the other ingredients and stir well before serving. Pour into a glass and garnish with a sage leaf.
◆◆ 1 teaspoon chestnut syrup ◆◆ 2 dashes of Angostura bitters ◆◆ Green Chartreuse rinse ◆◆ Glacé cherries
Combine all ingredients except the Chartreuse in an ice filled mixing glass. Stir well. Rinse a chilled coupette with Green Chartreuse and double strain ingredients into the glass. Garnish with glacé cherries.
LAURIE RAPHAËL Ditch the poutine for a tasting menu. Quebec City is packed with underrated restaurants that have been wooing diners with seasonal, multi-course meals for decades. One such classic is chef Daniel Vézina’s ode to seasonal dining at Le Germain Hotel, where he presents a culinary narrative inspired by Quebec’s coast and nearby farms. At the newly renovated Laurie Raphaël, Vézina and his team offer several tasting themes ranging from seven courses to the symphonic 13-course degustation that digs deep into local, seasonal produce. Need a break from the courses? Adjourn to the cocktail bar next door for some of the best classic tipples in town. laurieraphael.com
Suresh Doss explores Quebec City’s historic buildings, European-style cuisine and picturesque scenery.
VEN IF YOU’VE been to Montreal and feel like you’ve had a solid taste of Parisian culture here in Canada, you need to head further east for the full immersion to North America’s oldest walled city. Old Quebec City is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site and is easily one of the most charming cities you’ll come across on this continent. Quebec City’s appeal is in its duality. It is the only remaining fortified city in Canada and its perch over the Saint Lawrence River offers incredibly expansive views from atop the lofty stone walls. You can spend an entire weekend touring through the many winding streets that go from boutique shopping alleys to rows of independent restaurants that
champion French cuisine. After you’ve had your fix of sightseeing, head outside the walled boundaries. What’s neat about Quebec City is that it’s a jumpingoff point for some of the most gorgeous parks and nature trails in eastern Canada. There are over 100 parks including the impressive Canyon Saint-Anne where you can zipline over the gorge, or Battlefields Park, home to many historical artillery pieces dating back to the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759. Take a drive east on the Autoroute Dufferin-Montmorency (Autoroute 440) and you’re a quick hop across the bridge to Île d’Orléans – one of the oldest communities (with visually stunning scenery) in Canada. This unique combination of history, nature, architecture and food make Quebec City a must-do for those after a full dose of French Canadian culture. f
GETTING THERE Porter Airlines offer daily flights from downtown Toronto to Quebec City. You can take the train service with VIA Rail and connect through Montreal. It’s a direct drive – we drove hands-free in a Cadillac CT6 from downtown Toronto straight into La belle province. flyporter.com, viarail.ca, cadillaccanada.ca
AUBERGE SAINTANTOINE There’s no shortage of charming hotels in the Old City, but the Auberge wins out for location. It’s steps from the heritage sites and from the city’s old port area. The Relais & Châteaux hotel is spread over multiple lots with archaeological significance dating back to the 1600s. Hotel spaces feature select artifacts from British and French colonial times. The decor oozes French country charm and luxury with gratifying contemporary conveniences: spa and gym facilities. Sun on the quaint rooftop patio with a river view. saint-antoine.com
Photography: Château by Pgiam; Terrasse by Andreas Prott; L’affair by Emilie Dumais
For the best view of the city, make your way up the cliffs of Cap Diamant. The views of the Saint Lawrence River are unmatched from this perched spot. Turn around and you’ll be face to face with the iconic Le Château Frontenac, often touted as the most photographed hotel in the world. A walk through the hotel lobby is a must to take in its classic chateau-style architecture. Plus, there’s a great bar; 1608 Wine and Cheese Bar is a prime place for a plate of Quebec cheese and sparkling wine. 1608vinabar.com
LA CITÉ-LIMOILOU Nighttime plans are easy to sort out in La Cité-Limoilou district with a dozen of the best bars and snack spots in one strip. You’ll find locals sharing plates of scallops and bone marrow over bottles of French wine at L’Affaire est Ketchup. For something casual, head over to MacFly Bar Arcade for craft beers with a side of arcade action. The best spot for Canadian pub grub is Le Bureau de Poste. Save room for Nénuphar; the newest kid on the block is a speakeasy that preaches classic cocktails and a dedication to absinthe and natural wines.
Travel around the world from the comfort of your bar cart or sip on white wine and sakÃ© in the sunshine. PHOTOGRAPHY BY RYAN FAIST ART DIRECTION BY APRIL TRAN
1 MARTELL VS FINE COGNAC. Don’t wait for winter to enjoy brandy. Citrus and spice notes combine for a smooth, pale gold cognac that can be sipped while the sun is still high in the sky. $64.95, martell.com 2 PIMM’S NO. 1 CUP. This gin-based drink is made with a closely guarded blend of herbs and liqueurs. Do as the Brits do and serve Pimm’s in a jug with lemonade, garnished with orange, lemon, strawberry and mint. $29.10, anyoneforpimms.com 3 MIGUEL TORRES CHILE PISCO EL GOBERNADOR. This clear brandy from Chile is made from muscatel grapes. It may not be a common bar standard but it’s an irreplaceable
part of the Pisco Sour, a cocktail born in Peru consisting of egg whites, lime juice and bitters. $34.95, torres.es 4 CAMPARI APERTIVO. One third of the iconic Negroni cocktail, this bright red Italian bitter is a bar cart must-have. The exact blend of herbs and fruits is a secret, but we taste oranges, cherry and cloves, with a smoky hint and silky mouthfeel. $28.35, campari.com 5 LILLET BLANC. A blend of Bordeaux region wines and macerated liqueurs, this floral French aperitif can be enjoyed on ice with a slice of citrus peel. Or, mix it up as part of a Vesper cocktail, James Bond’s order in Casino Royale. $19.10, lillet.com
1 TRAIL ESTATE RIESLING 2016 BARREL-FERMENT RIESLING. Mackenzie Brisbois is turning heads with her wildferment approach to making wine in PEC. The riesling is one of her best, crisp with fruit throughout that makes it a great sipper. $35, trailestate.com 2 THIRTY BENCH SMALL LOT RIESLING 2015. Thirty Bench’s boutique riesling prowess shines again in this small-lot wine, which received a score of 97 points at the Decanter World Wine Awards. With lightness and a crisp finish, it’s made for outdoor feasts. Bring on the grilled salmon. $29.95, thirtybench.com 3 TWO SISTERS RIESLING 2016. This sweet and juicy riesling
is a refreshing summer evening drink on its own, or it’s also a lovely complement to a seafood dinner. $34.80, twosistersvineyards.com 4 WILLM GEWURZTRAMINER RESERVE ALSACE 2016. With intense floral and fruity flavours and a spicy finish, this dry white pairs beautifully with bold food, strong cheese and Thai cuisine. $18.20, lcbo.com
1 TOZAI SNOW MAIDEN JUNMAI NIGORI SAKÉ. If you prefer your sakés cloudy with a bit of weight, try this nigoristyle one. The Tozai’s aromas are fresh and you’ll taste a variety of fruits dancing on your palate. This is the quintessential food saké. $23.65, lcbo.com 2 HAKUTSURU JUNMAI GINJO SAKÉ. If you’re firing up the grill and want an alternative to white wine, go for this fruit-forward saké. The aromatics are flowery and bright and there’s a faint salinity that pairs wonderfully with meat
and seafood. Chill first. $8.95, lcbo.com 3 MOMOKAWA PEARL SAKÉ. This is the crowd pleaser you want when you’re setting up the dinner table. The Momokawa will bring a burst of tropical fruit and because it’s unfiltered it has a memorable mouthcoating feeling. Great for sushi platters or spring rolls. $23.85, lcbo.com 4 HOMARE STRAWBERRY NIGORI SAKÉ. Sweet tooths will like the thick lush ripe fruit notes in this dessert saké that tastes more like a tropical cocktail than a saké. $21.95, lcbo.com 5 HAKUTSURU SAYURI NIGORI SAKÉ. Brewed from a blend of rice and koji (cooked rice) to create a textured mouthfeel, this sipping saké feels soft and milky on the mouth, with a sweet but delicate finish. Drink it with dessert or alone. $8.25, lcbo.com
Spanish White Looks Great On You
In Vintages Stores August 18
Limited Release $19.95
FUN AT THE FARM
We're giving away two tickets to Black Creek Community Farm's 2nd Annual Dinner.
at the Farm – A Night of Culinary Enchantment. The evening is one of the most exciting events on the food calendar, serving up incredible food in a magical pastoral setting. Guests will walk through the farm at dusk to find their place at a beautifully laid table, where they’ll enjoy a candlelit dinner cooked by the best chefs in the biz. The dinner aims to raise funding and awareness for BCCF. Their goal of $60,000 will go towards providing affordable produce, keeping their community well-fed and continuing their high-quality programming. Foodism and BCCF are giving you the chance to win two tickets to the 2nd Annual Dinner at the Farm. The winner will enjoy a tapas style dinner and al fresco drinks amongst the lush farm fields and fruit trees of Black Creek Community Farm on September, 13. Acclaimed chefs Joshna Maharaj (chef activist), Jesus Gomez (FoodShare) and Bashir Munye (Nomadic Cuisine dinner series) will take part, all of whom advocate for fair and diverse local food. ● To get your tickets now, head to blackcreekfarm.ca/dinner
WIN TWO TICKETS TO BCCF'S 2ND ANNUAL DINNER AT THE FARM
Dine under the stars for a good cause at Black Creek Community Farm on September 13. For a full list of terms and conditions and to enter the contest, visit: foodism.to/competition
Photography: Laura Berman, GreenFuse Photography
HETHER WE’RE SHOPPING at a farmers’ market or choosing a farm-totable restaurant for our next meal, it’s clear that supporting local food is not just a fad – it’s a way of life. Luckily for us, Toronto is a city that’s fully onboard with the local food movement, and in 2018, it’s never been easier to enjoy fresh, delicious produce that we can feel good about. Case in point: Black Creek Community Farm (BCCF), situated on an eight-acre property in North York, has made it their mission since 2013 to connect the community with farmers, helping them learn where and how their food is grown. The site is home to organic vegetable fields, a forest trail, four-season greenhouses, a mushroom garden, chickens and beehives. The result? The farm has become a hub in one of the city’s most marginalized areas, making fresh, healthy produce more accessible to families in the city. For the second year in a row, BCCF will host their Annual Dinner
F O O D I S M .T O
From dishes devoured to swoon-worthy sips, here’s what we’re loving right now.
Krista Faist, Publisher
During a heatwave, I headed to The New Farm in Creemore for a mini festival by Up Cannabis. With cooking from Nate Middleton and Alexandra Feswick, music from The Glorious Sons and City & Colour, and Cannabis 101 and VR areas, it was worth melting for.
Photography: Up by Up Cannabis; Nadège by Taylor Newlands
SHOW & MARTELL
Suresh Doss, Editor
Most people don’t think much about pairing food with cognac, but at a recent tasting, Martell presented their product finely matched with bites from Alo restaurant on Spadina. The event was a preview for their VS Single Distillery offering which is made at one of the 300-year-old producer’s
distilleries. Cognac tends to have a light mouthfeel with a complex layering of fruit and spice flavours. Alo (named one of the 100 best restaurants in the world) paired VS’s candied and herbal characteristics with rich and luxurious ingredients. There were small knobs of foie gras with rice pearls, plump sea urchin on brioche, and pillow-y scallop ceviche served with caviar.
Taylor Newlands, Editorial Intern
At her Queen West patisserie, Nadège Nourian introduced me to her passion project two years in the making: her new ice cream. I’ve never liked ice cream, but Nadège’s delicious and unique flavours like one that combines matcha and raspberry converted me.
HOW DO YOU LIKE THEM APPLES?
The Great Canadian Cider Company has created the first organic cider available commercially in Canada, made with patience, hard work and nothing but apples.
NCE UPON A time, we were a little less discerning when it came to our alcohol consumption. If the price was right, we'd drink it, with little thought given to what it does to our insides or how it flares up our allergies. Thankfully, the fortunes of natural booze are changing for the better, and organic wine is no longer the dirty word it once was. Smart consumers want to know more about what goes into their drinks, and producers, for their part, are growing weary of cutting corners. The next frontier? Cider. The partners behind The Great Canadian Cider Company had been making an organic ice cider in Quebec for five years before learning there was nothing comparable in Ontario. The marketing duo paired up with a cidermaker and set out to create the best organic hard ciders in Canada using locally grown
organic apples. The Great Canadian Cider Company counts itself among the one per cent of orchards certified as organic in Canada. They only use locally grown Canadian apples with no water, concentrate or preservatives added to the final product. Their apples are free of pesticides, herbicides and other nasties. As a result, the apple tree has to work harder to survive and thrive, producing more of those all-important antioxidants. This low-intervention method extends throughout the whole process. The Great Canadian Cider Company ages its apples naturally, converting their starches to sugar all by themselves. The hand-selected fruit is then cleaned and pressed, with the left over pomace used as an organic fertilizer, making sure that absolutely nothing is wasted. So far, the company has developed
six different organic ciders; Nice & Dry, Not Too Sweet, Good & Hard, Cranberry, Hopped Up and Ice Cider. Their flagship cider, Nice & Dry, champions the lessis-more school of thought with its clean and crisp taste. This cider's refreshing flavour makes it a perfect pair for dishes like grilled salmon or pizza. Nice & Dry can be found in over 200 LCBO stores and will soon be appearing at 450 grocery stores across Ontario. The rest of their product line will be rolled into the Ontario market gradually, with several new ciders hopefully scheduled to hit the market later in 2018. Great Canadian Cider Company's commitment to cider-making means that when you crack open a can this summer, you're enjoying something that's as close to nature as possible. Because if it doesn't happen naturally, it doesn't happen at all. â—? greatcider.com
F O O D I S M .T O
Stay in the know with our roundup of food-and-drink news.
SUSTAINAB-ITALY In April, Toronto hosted the Terroir Symposium – an educational forum for chefs, restaurateurs and producers. Now, it’s headed for Tuscany, from November 3-10, for an event at Castello di Potentino. Top chefs like Christian Puglisi and Amanda Cohen will teach ancient Etruscan food and farming practices. There’ll also be sheep herding, olive picking and great food and wine.
BODEGA BREWS? The newly elected premier hopes to bring beer and wine to the convenience stores of Ontario. Lt.-Gov. Elizabeth Dowdeswell delivered a throne speech titled “A Government for the People,” which spoke of the changes they plan to bring to Ontario. Unfortunately, with contracts between the Beer Store and the province locked until 2025 (effectively blocking beer being sold in new channels) we probably won’t see this change come into effect any time soon. But it’s nice to know that the next generation may be able to purchase alcohol after 6 p.m. on a Sunday.
JUST POPPING BY Photography: Beer by Rhett Wesley; Popcorn by Charles Deluvio
Let’s face it: Whether you make it on the stove or in the microwave, homemade popcorn never tastes quite as good as at the movie theatre. Fortunately, a new partnership between Cineplex and Uber Eats is making it easier to get your hands on the theatre’s version of the buttery snack. More than 60 Cineplex theatres, including Queensway and Eglinton Town Centre, are participating in the partnership but coverage in downtown Toronto is sparse so far. We’ll be popping bags at home and crossing our butter-covered fingers in the hopes that changes soon.
PRINCIPLED PILSNER Open this summer, Parkdale has a new brewery with an entirely vegan food menu that comes doused with sanctimonious sauce. Beer titles include Morally Superior IPA and See the Light Lager. Located at Queen and Brock, Vegandale Brewery is the latest from the team behind Toronto’s new Vegandale neighbourhood. Brewed in partnership with Michael Duggan (Duggan’s, Mill Street Brewery), the brewery’s small-batch craft brews allow vegans to wash down their veggies with a cold one.
Even with Toronto’s long history as a multicultural restaurant city there are still new cuisines to discover and these five platters are excellent introductions.
GLOBE SPANNING SPREADS
Hang onto the warm days and sunny rays while they last with food from Toronto’s best food trucks and our guide to takeout in the park. Then, head inside for a world tour of the city’s best sharing platters.
BEST OF THE REST
2 Tennessee Tavern
4 Kisa Korean BBQ
1554 Queen St. W.
6347 Yonge St.
Parkdale’s hipster take on Eastern-European fare doesn’t pigeonhole itself with one specific cuisine, instead creating a Slavic smorgasbord with bites inspired by Poland, Bosnia and beyond. The menu has plenty of affordable small plates, but their platters are a great way to try a little of everything. The Soho Platter offers up a photogenic plate of smoked trout and mackerel, with pickled onion and kajmak for you to slather on dill and pumpkin seed pumpernickel bread. tennesseetavern.ca
Korean barbecue may be the best way to end a night of revelry. Toronto has its share of options but our favourite is Kisa Korean BBQ. Kisa has all the necessary elements for a memorable meal of grilling with friends: a room made loud by the sizzles of several grills, high quality meat and vegetables, and the best banchan. Any Korean barbecue aficionado will tell you that a good assortment of banchan – the steamed, marinated vegetables and kimchi served on the side – completes the experience.
31 Howard St.
1408 Danforth Ave.
There are a few places in Toronto that present a traditional Filipino Kamayan experience, where large spreads of food are laid out on a banana leaf for Sunday feasts. The word itself lends to the notion of eating with your hands, something very common in Filipino dining culture where forks and chopsticks are retired and hands are used instead. Tinuno does it the classic way, a variety of grilled, fried meats and vegetables are served on a large banana leaf along with an assortment of dips and sauces. What’s great at Tinuno is the selection of seafood that makes its way on to the leaf, from grilled tilapia and milkfish to stuffed whole squid and mussels.
Rendez-Vous is one of the city’s longest standing Ethiopian restaurants. They’re known for their classic vegetarian and veganfriendly African dishes and their commitment to bringing in ingredients weekly from Addis Ababa. The Yetsom Beyaynetu is one of the most popular dishes here. It’s an Ethiopian combination platter where a number of stewed vegetable and meat dishes are laid out on injera, a spongy sourdough crepe made of fermented teff flour. Use the injera as a vessel to scoop up the meat and veg. Rendez-Vous is famous for their marinated lamb and beef, but the vegetable dishes shine brightly here so don’t be afraid to ditch the meat.
1 Bar Reyna
158 Cumberland St.
Photography: Korean BBQ by Natta Ang
The Cataplana Platter is named after the copper pan used to prepare Portuguese seafood dishes. The hinged-clamshell shape contains the flavour and keeps the food inside warm. The traditional dish is popular in the Algarve region at the southern tip of Portugal, but you can also find a fantastic version of it at Yorkville’s Bar Reyna. At $58, it’s not cheap – however, there’s a generous amount of seafood intended to be shared between two. The bountiful spread contains lobster, shrimp, clams, mussels, monkfish, and sourdough toast to mop up all that delicious Lisbon broth. barreyna.com
BEST OF THE REST 2 The Food Dudes
They might be gaining attention for their restaurants, but their food truck is still a summer festival staple. Founded in 2007 by Adrian Niman and Brent McClenahan, the Food Dudes were street food pioneers in Toronto. We line up for the crispy mac ’n’ cheese balls and the crunchy fish tacos topped with guac, smoked sour cream, pickled red cabbage and scallions. thefooddudes.com
3 Randy’s Roti and Doubles
2 4 Jacked Up Coffee
In 2016, barista Jack Provan settled his Jacked Up Coffee truck in Yorkville where it’s now parked daily from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. This means his quality coffee is easy to find – not that the blue, vintage truck, nicknamed “the Blue Monster” was ever hidden. Keep an eye out for the second Jacked Up Coffee truck that recently opened in Liberty Village.
5 Gorilla Cheese
Billed as the first West Indian food truck in Toronto and founded by Randy Kangal, Randy’s Roti has grown to include two food trucks. They serve roti, doubles, oxtail, jerk chicken and other Caribbean classics across the GTA and Hamilton. Randy’s Roti also offers halal and vegetarian options. With a permanent location just north of Yonge and Bloor, you don’t have to wait for the next festival to get some of Randy’s street food.
Graeme Smith brings us creative takes on the classic sandwich with his food truck. The menu of high-end sandwiches includes items like the Lumberjack, an aged cheddar grilled cheese topped with bacon, Granny Smith apple and maple syrup. The Bubba, a pulled pork and coleslaw grilled cheese, is made entirely from scratch with pork cooked for 10 hours and a sweet, tangy barbeque sauce. Gorilla Cheese’s usual truck circuit and restaurant are in the Hamilton area.
After a decade of cutting through red tape and finetuning menus, Toronto’s food trucks have found their groove and these five are especially good. 1
Pronounced “me and you”, Me.n.u food truck is about a sharing experience between cultures, bringing Asian street food to the people of Toronto. The menu is inspired by the travels of co-founders Allen Tan and Bryan Siu-Chong. Every winter they eat their way across Asia to draw upon the various street food scenes and bring ideas back to Toronto. Me.n.u’s food offerings have grown beyond the original rice balls to include other Asianthemed eats like Peking duck roti tacos, Korean barbeque pulled pork bao and crispy skewers of Taiwanese fried chicken. menufoodtruck.ca
1 Edwards Gardens 755 Lawrence Ave. E.
With Shops at Don Mills just down the road, Edwards Gardens is the go-to spot for posh picnicking. McEwan Gourmet Grocery offers upscale prepared foods like grilled shrimp, seared sesame tuna and braised lamb shanks so your picnic prep can be quick and easy without compromising on flavour. Edwards Gardens’ enchanting scenery includes elaborate annual and perennial plantings, rock gardens, wooden arch bridges, fountains and a waterwheel. The park is also home to the Toronto Botanical Garden which hosts walking tours through its themed gardens during the warmer months of the year.
We have an internationally-respected system of verdant and accessible parks. Here’s your guide to our fave to-go bites near the city’s best public green spaces. 2
BEST OF THE REST Photography: Bellwoods by Friends of Trinity Bellwoods Park; Withrow by Arjie de Chavez
2 Trinity Bellwoods
4 Riverdale Park West
790 Queen St. W.
375 Sumach St.
Stretching from Dundas West all the way down to Queen West, Trinity Bellwoods is in a prime location for picnicking. The 14.6-hectare park has a designated picnic area and the famous dog bowl. On Dundas, grab Porchetta & Co.’s house special sandwich with truffle sauce and parmesan. On Queen, Nadège Patisserie serves Frenchstyle, custard-based ice cream.
Right in Cabbagetown, Riverdale Park West is a top locale for picnicking with delicious and diverse eats. Bring your friends and a bucket of Taiwanese fried chicken from Kanpai Snack Bar or takeout tacos from El Charro. On Tuesday afternoons, the Cabbagetown Farmers’ Market offers options for fresh and artisanal food. After your picnic, visit the animals at Riverdale Farm.
3 Christie Pits Park
5 Withrow Park
750 Bloor St. W.
725 Logan Ave.
Christie Pits Park has plenty of options for picnicking with Korean fare. Pick up kimchi seafood pancakes or pork bone stew from Sunrise House. Then secure a prime spot for the Christie Pits Film Festival of free movie screenings every Sunday at sundown until August 19. Afterwards, Clinton’s Tavern is a pub in front and a dance party in back.
Withrow Park is tucked away just south of the Danforth, making it the best place for a picnic of Greek eats. The souvlaki comes individually at Mezes – mix and match lamb chops with juicy skewers of chicken and pork – or grab a Turkish pizza from Mr. Pide. A farmers’ market takes over the northeast corner of the park every Saturday morning.
MUSHROOMS: To give the paella an earthy backup, two types of mushrooms – morel and chanterelle – are added to the rice and stock.
RICE: It is the star of paella. A thin layer of grains is cooked in ham fat and a seasoned stock in a wide pan to create tiny explosions of flavour.
SHRIMP: At Campo, chef Bragagnolo loves using langoustines as the seafood element in his paella.
OCTOPUS: “The octopus brings a really delicate texture to the dish,” says Bragagnolo. It cooks in the same stock as the rice.
Campo Food Hall, 433 King St. W., campofoodhall.to
VEGETABLES: Seasonal ingredients like asparagus and peas add a finishing touch to one of the three paella versions.
Photography: Suresh Doss
Spain’s national dish is also one of the most popular at Campo Food Hall. When done right, a paella is a simple combination of seasonal ingredients from both land and sea.
start your evening the
ITALIAN way italian WAY
it starts with
IN A LARGE WINE GLASS FULL OF ICE, COMBINE PROSECCO FOLLOWED BY APEROL I N E Q U A L PA R T S . A D D A S P L A S H O F S O D A . G A R N I S H W I T H A N O R A N G E S L I C E . @APEROLCANADA