T O R O N T O , O N E B I T E AT A T I M E
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Photography: Ian Dingle Art Direction: Matthew Hasteley, April Tran
EDITORIAL EDITOR AT LARGE
Jessica Huras STAFF WRITER
Taylor Newlands COPY EDITOR
Lauren Toyota Corey Mintz Andrea Yu
DESIGN ART DIRECTOR
Matthew Hasteley SENIOR DESIGNER
ere in the Great White North there’s an indescribable feeling of satisfaction when you learn that you can go from your desk to lunch without needing to resort to many extra layers of clothing, face-
clenching and racewalking all the way there. If you live or work downtown, knowing how to navigate the PATH is an
essential hack for certain parts of the year when mother nature thrashes
our city with a cocktail of inclement weather.
Adrianna Madore Kailee Mandel
ILLUSTRATIONS & PHOTOGRAPHY
Drew Shannon Kayla Rocca Sandro Pehar Kennedy Pollard PRINTING
CEO & PUBLISHER
David Horvatin ADVERTISING
Nick Valsamis Spencer Reynolds MARKETING & PARTNERSHIP COORDINATOR
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My first experience navigating Toronto’s PATH was a revelation. It was many years ago, during the final weeks of cold weather when a colleague
introduced me to the sprawling underground network. We criss-crossed our way from one office tower to another in hopes of finding a hot lunch while also avoiding the final shrieks of winter. I must’ve
gotten lost countless times over the next few weeks as I tried to re-create
this experience on my own. A wrong turn meant I’d end up in a different
part of downtown with no sense of how to get back. And, yes, inevitably I
WHAT’S IN STORE
would have to go up to street level and curse every step back to my desk.
WEAPONS OF CHOICE
After that introduction, I’ve tried to use the PATH to navigate the
downtown core whenever I felt the slightest bit uncomfortable (or lazy)
RECIPES LAUREN TOYOTA
about going outside. Back then the network was a tool to get you through
the colder months, today it is an endless mesh of tunnels that can take you from the Eaton Centre to the South Core with all the bells and whistles. I still use the tunnels every day on my walk to and from the Foodism office. In the last decade it’s evolved from a throughway to a subterranean neighbourhood filled with every possible convenience, from the best restaurants to high-end shopping and happy-hour entertainment. Don’t roll your eyes, the PATH is an exciting place. As we near the end of another long winter, we’ve tried to demystify the
OFF THE EATEN PATH
IN PIZZA WE CRUST
LABOUR OF LOVE
labyrinth and celebrate the joys of homecooking in our first ever The Great
Indoors issue. f 064
Suresh Doss Editor-at-Large foodismto
© Foodism Toronto 2019. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. All information contained in this magazine is, as far as we are aware, correct at the time of going to press. Foodism Toronto cannot accept responsibility for errors or inaccuracies in such information. If you submit unsolicited material to us, you automatically grant Foodism Toronto a licence to publish your submission in whole or in part in all editions of the magazine. All material is sent at your own risk and although every care is taken, neither Foodism Toronto nor its employees, agents or subcontractors shall be held liable resulting for loss or damage. Foodism Toronto endeavours to respect the intellectual property of the owners of copyrighted material reproduced herein. If you identify yourself as the copyright holder of material we have wrongly attributed, please contact the office.
— PART 1 —
GRAZE “THERE ARE ENDLESS WAYS OF FUSING CULTURES TOGETHER AND I WANT PEOPLE TO REALLY BE OPEN TO THAT.” LAUREN TOYOTA, 031
010 THE FOODIST | 012 DAYTRIPPER | 014 THE RADAR | 016 WHAT’S IN STORE 018 WEAPONS OF CHOICE | 023 RECIPES | 031 LAUREN TOYOTA
1. R IT UAL
Jessica Huras wants us to cook more; it's one of life's healthiest and most relaxing pursuits.
HERE WAS A time in my life (an embarrassingly long time, actually) when my idea of cooking at home was tossing a frozen pizza in the oven. When I wasn’t dining on this “Italian delicacy”, I was eating at restaurants – like, a lot. While I did, and do, love dining out, I’ve also since discovered the satisfaction that comes from being a skilled home cook. If your cooking prowess is as lacking as mine once was, or even if you’ve just found yourself in a culinary slump, I urge you to get back in the kitchen and try again. During my Delissio days, I viewed cooking as a secret set of skills that only certain people possessed, so I didn’t even make an attempt. Even if your culinary skills are more advanced than heating up premade meals, it’s easy to fall victim to this same type of limiting thinking and find yourself in a rut, making the same dishes over and over because you’re intimidated by unfamiliar flavours or techniques.
The good news is that there’s never been a more exciting time to become a better home cook, because the options for learning new culinary skills are so diverse. You can turn to traditional cookbooks and cooking classes (we’ve rounded up our favourites of the latter in this issue’s Selector, pg. 94). Stretch your culinary branches with the help of meal delivery kits (GoodFood, Chef's Plate) that simplify the ingredients and instructions for you; YouTube cooking videos and recipe blogs; and even podcasts. Rather than using dining out as an escape from the monotony of cooking, consider using it as inspiration for dishes to recreate at home. Whatever resources you choose for expanding your home-cooking repertoire, the most import thing to bring to the table (sorry, I couldn’t resist!) is the willingness to experiment and stick to it. You might end up with a few dud meals, but you might also find yourself creating some of the best dishes you’ve ever eaten. f
This app ups the efficiency when you’re getting takeout from your favourite restaurants. Ritual’s piggyback option lets you add your order onto someone else’s – making it easy for you to select and pay for your own lunch while having a coworker pick it up. Ritual also minimizes your wait by letting you know when to leave your location to time your arrival for when your food will be ready. ritual.co
2. B OOZ E R Boozer operates like any delivery service but instead of dropping food at your door, they bring you booze. Choose from over 20,000 different beer, wine and spirits from the LCBO or local breweries. No minimum or maximum orders means you can get that extra bottle of wine without leaving the party or stock up without hauling everything home on public transit. boozer.delivery
3. DOOR DASH With plenty of restaurants to choose from, DoorDash offers pick-up, delivery and group ordering options. Place your order in the app and live track it from preparation to when a “dasher” brings it to your door. Waiting for food feels even better with DoorDash because they’ve started their own initiative for reducing food waste by bringing surplus food to those in need. doordash.com
Photography: Wok by Margo Brodowicz
With winter stretching on and your Netflix My List growing, these apps offer one more reason to stay in.
CRAFTED IN AGED WHISKY BARRELS
NOW AVAILABLE AT THE
RICHER. SOFTER.SMOOTHER. JACOBSCREEK.CA
DAY TRIPPER Long known for its agricultural college, Guelph also has a developing dining and drinking scene.
What's the vibe? Guelph has a longstanding reputation as a college town on the sleepy side of exciting. But curious minds should note that there’s a lot sprouting up between the tree-lined streets and old stone buildings. Guelph is blossoming thanks to a growing community of entrepreneurs who are shaping the new look of the Royal City with farm-totable eating options and independently owned microbreweries.
Snack bars and regionally themed international eating spots are popping up all over town. Here's where you should go to get acquainted with the hot stuff, especially if you're in the mood for noodles and sauce.
1 Crafty Ramen; 17 Macdonell St. Loud and buzzy Brooklyn vibes fuel the spirit of this tiny shop that specializes in modern Japanese hot noodle soups. Score seats at the bar and explore all the interpretations of ramen. Start with the chicken broth Seoul Food. craftyramen.com
Just over an hour away, Guelph’s Renaissance Revival aesthetics are easy to access by car from Toronto. If you'd prefer to let someone else do the driving, both GO and Greyhound have routes from downtown Toronto. gotransit.com, greyhound.ca f
3 Baker St Station; 76 Baker St. This is the hotspot to continue your cruise through local brews, accompanied by upmarket pub fare. Food stretches from Korean lettuce wraps to classic fish ’n’ chips. Drink from one of the city's best beer lists. @bakerststation
4 Atmosphere Café + Etc; 24 Carden St. Thin-crust pizzas and craft cocktails are calling you to this bistro bar. For atmosphere, it’s hip but sophisticated with a bow of local focus to tie it all together. That includes a Feast On certification as a Taste of Ontario restaurant. @atmoscafeetc
Photography: Guelph by Benedek
2 Sugo on Surrey; 117 Surrey St. E. Check out Sugo for Italian comfort classics without pretense, at reasonable prices. Historic digs and a menu that runs from arancini to eggplant parmigiana to a carne pizza complete the familiar picture. sugoguelph.com
It's easy to think Guelph’s nightlife is only about wings and pitchers of draught beer at undergrad pubs, but trust us, there’s more to it. Here are two spots worth checking out long after the sun has set.
Don't miss Before craft beer became a standard, some of our best local brew giants started in Guelph. So you should start a tour through the likes of Wellington Brewery, Royal City Brewing and finish off at Brothers Brewing Company. Brothers is situated in the heart of Guelph's downtown, where you want to be at sunset, among a walkable network of snack bars and more brews.
Canadaâ€™s original Estate Winery. Crafting award winning wines for over 40 years. P erfect for pairing. inniskillin.com Please enjoy responsibly.
THE RADAR These new hot spots are where in-the-know Torontonians are eating and drinking right now. MA R BL Fring’s on King Street West is unrecognizable in its new guise as a spot for elevated American cuisine. Following a distinguished career in New York and L.A., Ryan Morrison (Scarpetta) makes his Canadian homecoming at Marbl, teaming up with owner Peter Girges, who returns home to Toronto after a successful run in Vancouver (West Oak, Pierre’s Lounge). Sommelier Mik Piltz has created a standout wine programme; not a single bottle on the menu can be purchased at the LCBO, making the restaurant a wine destination in its own right. If you're not an oenophile, bar manager Cassaundra Inder (Kōjin) is on hand to serve up a small but mighty selection of seasonal cocktails. Order the generously portioned bone-in veal “chop” parm and a glass of wine from somewhere unpronounceable. marbltoronto.com
HAW K & C HIC K
L OU IX L OUIS This luxurious restaurant on the 31st floor of the St. Regis hotel (located in the former Toronto Trump Tower) draws inspiration from New York and Paris’s glamorous early 20th-century lounges, featuring a swirling ceiling mural, dramatic chandeliers and a showstopping two-storey bar. The drinks list reads like a history of the cocktail's golden age and the menu features classics like Dover sole and caviar. louixlouis.com
B OOT L E G SM OK E HOU SE From the team behind Roxy on King, Folly Brewpub and Watson’s, comes Bootleg Smokehouse. Just south of King and Spadina, the casual-meets-classy eatery specializes in everything smoked from brisket to Brussels sprouts. Glutenfree, vegetarian and vegan options appear alongside smokehouse classics on the seasonal menu. Smoked cauliflower, baked beans and Nashville-style tempeh with dill cornbread, house pickles and jalapeno pesto are just a few of their plant-based dishes. bootlegsmokehouse.com
NE RUDA Chefs Romain Avril and Sylvain Assié bring Latin, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine to Woodbine Beach with the opening of Neruda. The visual focal point of the restaurant is a sprawling open kitchen dominated by what they're calling the largest open-fire grill in the world. As you might expect, the menu emphasizes meat, with whole sections devoted to smoked meat and steak, along with seafood and vegan options. neruda.ca
In Little Portugal, this homestyle Korean spot is spicing up your options for grab-andgo meals. Hawk & Chick’s bento boxes, soups and stews are perfect to take back to the office or bring home and cozy up with. Chef-owner Joe Kim created a rotating menu that includes items like spicy pork bulgogi, kimchi stew and bibimbap complete with a fried egg. @hawkandchick
PAPY RU S Authentic Egyptian food is the name of the game at this new Greektown eatery. Papyrus serves lentilbased vegetarian dishes. The menu features traditional items including tameya, similar to falafel, and koshari, a street food comprised of layers of rice, lentils and pasta topped with tomato sauce and caramelized onions. They also have creamy konafa by the slice for dessert. papyrusfood.ca
TEN You’ll need a reservation at Toronto’s most literally named restaurant. This exciting concept eatery in Brockton Village will serve just ten diners at a time. Chef Julian Bentivegna shows serious commitment to a theme with (you guessed it) a tencourse tasting menu of vegetable-forward dishes made from seasonal ingredients at his chef’s counter. 10restaurant.ca
SIX LOCATIONS ACROSS THE SIX
100 KING ST W.
QUEEN ST E.
WHAT’S IN STORE
Steve Gonzalez, Baro I’ve been visiting Tap Phong for over 20 years. They have almost every kitchen gadget you could think of – and then some you didn’t think of. And it’s in Chinatown so I can grab lunch at Pho Hung while I’m there.
From bathtub-size woks to tiny tongs, Tap Phong has it all. Katie Bridges talks to the suppliers on Spadina.
Their stock is constantly evolving to keep up with the diverse communities coming into the city. While their market once catered mainly to Chinese restaurants, their colourful dishware now accommodates the European, Mediterranean, South American and Thai presentation palettes. Most recently, the trend away from eating out and towards meal delivery services has seen an uptick in their takeout and catering products. The city’s line cooks, pastry chefs and restaurateurs are still the core of the Tap Phong customer list. That includes the man Lili eventually married. “My life has definitely been shaped and formed in all aspects by Tap Phong,” says Tran. Working alongside her mom, dad, aunt and uncle, Lili admits she was prepared for an unmarried life devoted to work. However, that changed when she met Richard Shawn Anstee; a private chef who has since been welcomed into the Tap Phong family. This family-first dynamic may well be the key to their success. The kitchen supply store counts Grant van Gameren, Jen Agg and Colin Tooke (Grand Electric) among their clientele, many of whom filled up a shopping basket at Tap Phong when they started out. “It’s like Cheers,” jokes Tran. “Where everybody knows your name!” f
Paula Navarrete, Momofuku We have baking trays with racks at the restaurant and I buy them from Tap Phong for myself. They’re great for roasting chicken or baking cookies, they’re durable and you can use them for different things. I really love having those in my house.
Nuit Regular, Pai We’ve been shopping at Tap Phong since we first opened Sukhothai. They have a great variety of Asian-style cooking equipment like rice steamers, woks and Thai knives. If you ever can’t find something in the store, the staff go out of their way to find it for you.
Photography: Tap Phong by Katie Bridges
ROM NOVICE COOKS searching for chopsticks, bamboo steamers and rice cookers to industry pros outfitting an entire restaurant, Tap Phong has been serving the people (and kitchens) of Toronto on a budget since 1984. Though the name Tap Phong has roots thousands of miles away and several decades ago in Vietnam, the business that sits on Spadina Avenue today is a totally different proposition. First generation immigrants, John and Anna Tran (pregnant with their daughter, Lili), boarded a boat headed for Canada in 1979, with little more than an entrepreneurial spirit and a vague outline of what their business might look like. Over the course of a few years, two stores and a lot of hard work, the Tran family has developed what we know today as Chinatown’s premier kitchen supply store. A large part of Tap Phong’s transition from a one-size-fits all Asian supermarket to Toronto chef mecca can be attributed to Lili Tran. Despite viewing the 6,000-square-foot shop as a chore for much of her childhood, Lili has come to be a powerful force in the company’s restaurant renaissance. As well as the usual culprits (cutlery, glasses, dinnerware), Tap Phong sells signature dishes from their Royal Classic line.
Do what you
Cuisine PĂ˘tisserie Boulangerie
culinary programs that will set you apart.
WEAPONS OF CHOICE Chop, slice, dice and carve â€“ these are the essential blades to add to your kitchen. PHOTOGRAPHY BY KAILEE MANDEL STYLING BY APRIL TRAN
O N A K NIF E E DG E ZWILLING SET $685, SHARPENER $100 This starter set of steel, which includes a paring, slicing and chefâ€™s knife, as well as shears, is ideal for beginners. The block contains built-in ceramic sharpeners, so every time you pull out a knife, it sharpens the blade at the perfect angle. Or, if youâ€™re looking for a little extra muscle, this manual sharpener gets the job done with ease. zwilling.ca
SE CO ND SLICE WĂœSTHOF, FROM $115 TO $278.99 Ready to take your knife skills to the next level? German engineering ensures a streamlined kitchen experience with these WĂźsthof knives, from day-to-day cutting and chopping all the way up to the julienne cut and more involved butchery. Keep these all-purpose blades and honing steel in full view on a magnetic holder in beautiful thermo beech wood. kitchenessentials.ca
A C UT AB OVE KNIFE TORONTO, FROM $150 TO $870 For advanced blades, Knife Toronto carries a stunning line of Japanese equipment, engineered by master craftsmen and blacksmiths, and designed to take the hard work out of tough jobs like cutting through bone. Great knives like these should be cared for, and this whetstone – used by the store’s in-house sharpening service – ensures blades are preserved. knifetoronto.com
Made by those and for those that carve their own path. FOLLOW OUR JOURNEY @HOPEFAMILYWINES
A LONG WINTER’S SNACK We turn to two noteworthy cookbooks out of Quebec, by Ricardo and team Joe Beef, for inspiration on how to warm our kitchens and souls this season.
F YOU'RE TIRING of winter, but the weather just isn't cooperating, you might need some hibernation inspiration to keep you going until spring. February is the perfect time to hone your cooking skills, so hunker down, open a cookbook and bring the restaurant to your living room. While slow cooker recipes certainly won't break new ground, Ricardo Larrivée proves once again why the humble kitchen appliance is perhaps the most versatile weapon at our disposal in Ricardo: Ultimate Slow Cooker ($31.49, amazon.ca). Proving that it's not all slow-cooked stews
and pork shoulder, the cookbook shows us how to make French classics like duck confit, as well as desserts like cheesecake and crème brûlée, with ease and in record time. Frederic Morin, David McMillan and Meredith Erickson are back with the followup to their popular first cookbook. Joe Beef: Surviving the Apocalypse: Another Cookbook of Sorts ($31.26, amazon.ca) picks up where the trio left off with recipes from their Montreal eateries, plus instructions on how to make apocalyptic provisions like canned bread – all filled with the wit you'd expect from the Canadian chefs. f
FOODISM RECIPES, IN ASSOCIATION WITH AUSTIN HOPE COLLECTION Since 1978, Hope Family Wines has capitalized on the unique growing conditions of the Paso Robles, a wine region known for its outlaw roots dating back to the late 1800s. Today, Paso Robles’ renegade spirit endures with a collective of wineries and growers that have gained a reputation for their innovative approach to wine making.
The Hope family are stewards of the land first and foremost: multiple generations tending the vineyards, which have identifiable similarities to northern and southern Rhone. High-elevation vineyards and rolling plains means their cabernet wines display a layered sense of character and elegance emblematic of the Robles.
EGG STUFFED EGGPLANT
Push your slow cooker beyond the usual stews and chili with this showstopping six-ingredient eggplant preparation. It's both hearty and vegetarian.
I N GREDI EN TS ◆◆ 2 small eggplants ◆◆ 2 Tbsp olive oil ◆◆ 4 eggs
◆◆ 2 cups arugula
◆◆ 1 small tomato, seeded
and diced ◆◆ Salt and pepper
Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon A crowd-pleasing combination of plum and black berries with a pleasantly lush mouthfeel. Flexible pairing partner. LCBO #738823
1 On a work surface, cut the eggplants in half lengthwise. With a small knife, score the flesh of the eggplant in a criss-cross pattern, without piercing the skin. Season with salt and pepper. 2 In a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, brown the eggplant halves in the oil, cut side only. Place in the slow cooker, cut side up. Cover and cook on low for 3 hours. At this stage, the cooker can be left on
warm for up to 1 hour. 3 With a spoon, press the centre of the flesh of the eggplant halves to make space for the eggs. Break an egg into the centre of each eggplant. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low for an additional 20 to 30 minutes, or until the egg white is firm and set. 4 Place the eggplant on a serving dish. Garnish with the arugula and tomato. Drizzle with olive oil or a salad dressing, to taste. f
SWEET POTATO SOUP Sweet potatoes and kale combine to prove that not all winter soups need to have meat. Great for an easy weekday dinner or weekend lunch.
ING R E DIE NTS ◆◆ 1 leek, thinly sliced
◆◆ 3 cloves garlic, chopped ◆◆ 1 Tbsp olive oil
◆◆ 2 cups peeled and diced
◆◆ 4 cups chopped kale ◆◆ 1 can (398 ml) diced
◆◆ 1 cup dried green lentils,
rinsed and drained
◆◆ 4 cups vegetable broth
◆◆ 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar ◆◆ Salt and pepper
Treana Cabernet Sauvignon
Featuring black cherry and maple syrup aromas, this is the perfect wine to pair with a comforting soup. Available April 27
Method Photography: Christian Lacroix
1 In a large, non-stick skillet set over medium heat, soften the leek and garlic in the olive oil. Transfer to the slow cooker. 2 Add the remaining ingredients. Season with salt and pepper and mix thoroughly. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. The cooker can be left on warm for up to 8 hours. f
SMOKED MEAT BOLOGNESE
Montreal’s iconic meat fuels this stick-to-your-ribs take on the classic Italian red sauce that’s perfect for winter.
Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon Smoked meat and tomatoes both need a wine with backbone. This cab sauv delivers with smooth drinkability. LCBO #738823
1 Preheat the oven to 275 F. In a medium Dutch oven set over medium-high heat, sweat the onion, garlic, carrot, celery and tomato paste in the oil until translucent. 2 Add the beef and smoked meat, stir, and add the pepper and tomato purée. Fill the tomato can halfway up with water, swirl the water around, and add to the pot. Cover the Dutch oven and place in the preheated oven. 3 Bake for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Season to taste, with salt and pepper. This will keep for 5 to 7 days in the refrigerator. f
ING R E DIE NTS ◆◆ 1 onion, ﬁnely diced
◆◆ 1 garlic clove, ﬁnely diced ◆◆ 1 carrot, ﬁnely diced
◆◆ 1 celery stalk, ﬁnely diced ◆◆ 2 Tbsp tomato paste ◆◆ 2 Tbsp olive oil
◆◆ 1 lb lean ground beef
◆◆ 1 lb Montreal smoked meat,
medium-lean, ground in the food processor ◆◆ ½ tsp ground black pepper ◆◆ 1 can (428 ml) whole, peeled tomatoes, puréed ◆◆ Salt and pepper
Photography: Jennifer May
Treana Cabernet Sauvignon
Chocolate can be a challenge to harmonize with. This luxury blend has the complexity to carry the meal's last act.
Way more than a fancy version of chocolate pudding, this mousse takes the familiar and makes it party worthy.
Available April 27
ING R E DIE NTS Chocolate Mousse Ingredients ◆◆ 2½ cups 64% chocolate
(pistoles or broken into large pieces) ◆◆ 1¾ cups heavy cream ◆◆ 1¾ cups crème anglaise
Crème Anglaise Ingredients ◆◆ ½ cup whole milk
◆◆ ½ cup heavy cream ◆◆ 4 large egg yolks
◆◆ 1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp sugar ◆◆ ½ tsp instant coffee
To Serve ◆◆ 2 cups heavy cream
◆◆ 2 Tbsp confectioners’ sugar
◆◆ ½ cup chopped pink praline
4 Pour a small amount of the hot milk and cream into the egg yolk mixture and stir, to temper. Continue whisking in the hot milk and cream, working gradually until all the milk mixture has been incorporated. 5 Put the chocolate in a large bowl. 6 Return the custard base to the saucepan and heat until the temperature reaches 180 F, 3 to 4 minutes. As soon as the custard reaches 180 F, pour it over the
chocolate. Using a spatula, stir until well combined and the mix is smooth. 7 Gently stir in the softly whipped cream. Pour into a mould and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours. 8 To serve, combine the heavy cream with the confectioners’ sugar and whip until medium peaks form. Stir in the crushed pink praline. Transfer to a pretty bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve alongside the mousse. Let people help themselves. f
Photography: Jennifer May
1 For the chocolate mousse: Manually whisk (or using a stand mixer, whip) the cream until soft peaks form. Set aside. 2 Make the crème anglaise: In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk and cream and bring to a simmer. 3 In the meantime, in a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until pale. Whisk in the coffee powder.
FOOD IS OUR CURRENCY: IT'S WHAT WE DO real steps – it’s not overly sexy or polished, you’re just seeing someone creating something from start to finish.
On the trend towards cooking videos
PRODUCE PROWESS Lauren Toyota, the host of Hot for Food, on being a YouTuber, imperfect cooking and rediscovering print. On writing a cookbook
Photography: Vanessa Heins
I went from my entertainment television broadcasting career into creating recipes and content full time. That was the gateway to doing a cookbook. I was approached a few times and I was pretty reluctant initially. I thought it was antiquated and I didn’t think a book was the right step. Typically, I don’t look at cookbooks, which was part of my early hesitation. I can appreciate a beautiful cookbook and I have some on my shelf but it’s not really something I turn to for inspiration. But I’m so glad I made one because it’s taken Hot for Food to another level. With the book, I was cooking way more than I ever have. I had to make 120-130 recipes whereas for the channel, you’re
popping out content but not actually spending a ton of time cooking. I really liked being in the kitchen and playing around and the cookbook allowed me to do that with concentrated effort. I miss being in a kitchen without any pressure to make a video.
On YouTube’s inclusivity I grew up thinking, “I’m not perfect like Martha Stewart, so where is the space for me?” The space turned out to be YouTube. I’m very clear about my lack of knife skills and I’m not trying to come off as the perfect chef. I want everyone to feel like they can get in the kitchen and make delicious food with what they have. Because YouTube is produced and edited by regular people, you have different pacing and you’re getting the
I think it’s good for the culinary world to have the floodgates blasted open – it’s allowed anyone to come into this space and share their own food experience and their own history. Food is our currency; it’s what we do all day, every day and it’s so emotional and nostalgic. So it’s nice when you see authentic stories coming into it that aren’t from celebrities or professional French chefs who have been given a pedestal. Someone from Mexico who’s cooking their mother’s food or my own personal stories with vegan comfort food – all of that being added to the food space is beneficial in the end. There are endless ways of fusing cultures together and I want people to be really open to that. People should be inspired to want to try something. It may not be totally authentic but they’re able to bring it into their own home. If I teach someone how to make gnocchi – I’m not saying it’s the best gnocchi in town – but I’m helping you feel less intimidated about the idea of making it in your own kitchen.
On the viability of cookbooks I think there’s still a place for cookbooks. I, too, was proven wrong about their demise. A lot of my audience had bought into Hot for Food before the book, and it’s those dedicated people who want something tangible, too. There’s a sentimentality and an attachment to it. If they follow people on YouTube, it’s the next logical step – they want you in their home in a more physical way. I don’t think that YouTube is going to replace physical cookbooks, but it’s definitely changing the landscape. Every Instagrammer and YouTuber is getting a book deal because the audiences and sales are built in. f
With Canada's most flavourful butter Since 1922, The Royal Winter Fair or "The Royal" is a prestigious exhibit of Canadian farmers, Agriculture and farm to table goods. â€œWinning the Grand Champion Ribbon for our unsalted butter is a testament to the exceptional quality of the grassfed cream from the Temiskaming Valley," Brand Ambassador and Pam Hamel.
Now available in your locally minded grocer.
@ th o r n lo ec heese
— PART 2 —
FEAST “IT’S NOT ABOUT LANDLORDS. IT’S NOT ABOUT RENT GOING UP. I DON’T THINK CUSTOMERS ARE GETTING MORE FICKLE.” CLOSING TIME, 047
034 OFF THE EATEN PATH | 040 IN PIZZA WE CRUST 047 CLOSING TIME | 052 LABOUR OF LOVE | 058 COCKTAIL HOUR
OFF THE EATEN PATH
We head underground to find the best eats from Torontoâ€™s labyrinthine PATH; from fair trade coffee under the Eaton Centre to Italian cookies at Union. ILLUSTRATIONS BY DREW SHANNON
HE PATH’S HISTORY dates back over a hundred years. During its first incarnation it connected various Eaton’s properties. But the PATH’s renaissance didn’t start until the mid-1970s when it expanded to become a network connecting privately managed buildings like Scotia Plaza and the Richmond-Adelaide office tower through convenient, climate-controlled walkways. In the last decade the PATH web has expanded to connect over 75 buildings with over 30 kilometres of tunnels and commercial complexes. Recent downtown development, especially new condo buildings, has seen the city’s population density skyrocket in a small geographical area south of Queen Street. Toronto restaurateurs and chefs have taken this opportunity to set up satellite establishments in food courts and food halls in the PATH. Even though it’s underground and relatively empty on the weekend, we think the PATH should be added to the list of distinct food neighbourhoods in Toronto. It’s an enclave where some of the city’s best talent is showcasing the latest in food to a devoted crowd of midweek diners. In our guide to one of the world’s largest underground networks, we detail the best places to eat and drink. It’s cavernous and often confusing, but this chain of tunnels can offer a delicious adventure while helping you avoid the worst of the harsh winter weather.
UNION STATION Front and York
CF TORONTO EATON CENTRE Yonge and Dundas Heading straight down to the lowest level on the north side of the Eaton Centre will bring you to the massive, 45,000-square-foot Urban Eatery. It’s far from your typical shopping centre food court, featuring branches of local faves like Urban Herbivore and Liberty Noodle alongside the usual chain spots. Or head up to level two to Trattoria Mercatto, a bright, roomy outpost of the successful Italian restaurant group. Quality pizzas and pastas and a long wine list, along with rustic-chic decor and big windows facing the Trinity Square entrance banish any dining-in-the-mall vibes. Make your way south to the sprawling Richtree Natural Market, which is set near the entrance to the Queen TTC station. The 20,000-square-foot space encompasses 11 eateries focused on local, organic food, including a fair-trade coffee station, a deli, a sushi shop and a street eats area with Mexicaninspired dishes. Electronic kiosks and a mobile app payment option keep everything moving quickly and efficiently in the busy space. The Saks Food Hall by Pusateri’s is an equally dizzying foodie dreamland, packed with specialty grocery items, giftable goods and excellent food stations. The prepared foods section has hundreds of ready-made meals. Time-savers include pre-marinated meat and a vegetable butcher who chops produce for you. On the sweet side, there are colourful creations from Nugateau, Canada’s first all-éclair pâtisserie, plus more too-pretty-to-eat treats at vegan bakery, Sorelle and Co.
Whether you’re coming to this multifaceted mega-station from the TTC, the Scotiabank Arena, GO’s commuter train, or a longer trip on VIA Rail, follow signs for York Concourse to get to the food action. Under construction since 2010, Union Station has become a maze of ever-changing corridors all seemingly leading nowhere. Think of the freshly completed restaurants in York Concourse as home base. On the way from the TTC station to the concourse, you’ll walk through the Front Street Promenade – if you’re entering from the street, it’s on the lower level. Here you’ll find cold-pressed organic juice from Greenhouse, California-inspired bowls and health foods at Calii Love, java and baked goods at Pilot Coffee Roasters and gourmet Italian cookies at Biscotteria Forno Cultura. Danish Pastry House can also be found here offering their authentic, Scandinavian baked goods. Keep going – the Front Street Promenade turns into the York Street Promenade. This little section of Union Station houses the sit-down restaurants where you can relax and have a drink or enjoy a full meal. Open-concept restaurant, Amano serves their house-made pasta (tagliatelle to gnocchi) and Italian classics like veal scallopini. Union Chicken specializes in all things (you guessed it) chicken – rotisserie and fried. For a trendy after-work vibe, grab craft beer, sausage and duck-fat fries at Wvrst.
The grand jewel in York Concourse Hall, and the latest opening in the massive Union Station revitalization project, is the glossy food court. Located on the lower level, the food hub spreads across 25,000 square feet, houses 10 eateries and can seat 600. Food names include Loaded Pierogi; Caribbean hot spot, Roywoods; family-owned Italian sandwich shop, Scaccia and Bangkok Buri, a Thai spot from Monte Wan (Khao San Road). The usual national-chain suspects for serving pizza, sushi and doubledoubles also have a home here. While the Union Station construction might be a pain in the neck, the silver lining is that there are still more retail shops, eateries and overall improvements to come.
FIRST CANADIAN PLACE Bay and King The central artery of the PATH, First Canadian Place connects to some of the best spots Toronto’s pedestrian walkway has to offer. Come in from the cold at the Bay Street or King Street entrance, or if you’re approaching from below ground, FCP is immediately accessible via the Exchange Tower to the west, with the TD Tower to its south and the Scotia Plaza to the east. Unlike some of its gloomy underground neighbours, FCP is a beacon – you’ll know you’ve arrived when you spot the white tiles and bright lighting. This part of the PATH offers a chance to class things up on your lunch break; head to the very top level for elevated fare from Susur Lee’s offspring at Kid Lee – a special line just for Singapore Slaw-craving customers helps expedite the lunch rush. Those who feel the need for grease can grab a bun from Five Guys, a crispy pork crackling sandwich from Porchetta or an Aussie meat pie from Kanga in nearby Commerce Court. Pastry lovers will find plenty to crumble over; keep your eyes peeled for the bicycle outside Maman, a Paris-inspired spot to grab a coffee and a croissant. Alternatively, pick up an egg custard tart from Chinese bakery Furama or an Italian sammie from Forno Cultura in the nearby Exchange Tower. Due to the financial district location, many FCP vendors are closed on weekends, with notable exceptions like King Taps and Cactus Club Cafe. (Although you can still use the PATH as a thoroughfare.) There’s also a small but serviceable LCBO on the concourse level so you can grab a bottle en route to the subway.
TD CENTRE York and Wellington Walking south through First Canadian Place, just beyond the LCBO, a carpeted alcove marks the entrance to the TD Centre. Continue heading south through the TD Centre and then follow the signs right to reach a trio of solid eateries by chef Mark McEwan. There’s his eponymous fine food store, McEwan, which features a coffee counter in the front where you can pick up espressobased drinks from Lavazza and accompanying pastries. Heading deeper into the store, you’ll find a popular prepared food area that includes a soup and sandwich station, a salad bar and a hot table with favourites like butter chicken and lamb stew priced by weight. Across the corridor from McEwan is Fabbrica, the grab-and-go outpost of the chef’s well-loved uptown Italian restaurant. Like McEwan, Fabbrica offers hot and cold food stations stocked with housemade fare ranging from chicken cacciatore to roasted veggies, plus hearty sandwiches and Roman-style pizza. If you’re looking for a more formal, sit-down dining experience, continue down the corridor to ByMark for posh digs and refined Canadian fare. Alternatively, take the elevator up to the 54th floor to Canoe, an enduring fine-dining favourite with wonderful city views, deep wine cellar and an equally patriotic menu.
BROOKFIELD PLACE Bay and Wellington The only way to get to Brookfield Place via the PATH is through Commerce Court or from Union Station. Along the tunnel from the TTC hub, you’ll pass by Early Bird, a coffee counter and kitchen specializing in healthy bites; Pinkberry frozen yogurt; Lahuna Poke Stop and Kupfert & Kim, the popular spot for quick eats of the plant-based and gluten-free variety. Keep going – the tunnel opens up to a food court where you’ll find the usual fast food stalwarts. Above the food court, on street level, the dazzling Allen Lambert Galleria stretches out overhead. The atrium is home to Ki, the modern Japanese hot spot for shared plates, sake and Bay Street suits. At the opposite end, near the Hockey Hall of Fame, Marché Mövenpick offers eight food stations for marketplace-style munching. Across from Ki, in the TD Canada Trust Tower (not to be confused with the towers in the TD Centre) JapanesePeruvian restaurant, Chotto Matte will be opening its doors this year. This location will be the first Toronto outpost for the Nikkei cuisine chain already established in Miami and London.
RICHMOND-ADELAIDE CENTRE York and Adelaide
Here are our picks for the rest of the best underground food, tucked away in the deep recesses of the downtown network. While there’s no shortage of great coffee downtown these days, Sam James Coffee Bar in the PATH remains one of our top picks for lattes and croissants. Access it through the Sun Life Centre from St. Andrew station. The coffee counter is near the exit and you’ll find a spread of freshly baked pastries. Go as far east as you can in the PATH network until you reach the Dynamic Funds Tower, directly north of King station. Below it, you’ll find one of the best sources for Pakistani and Indian food in the city. Since it’s tucked away at the edge of the PATH, Touch remains a hidden gem for workers who go for plates of rice and tandoori chicken or heaping piles of fluffy naan complemented by fiery curries. It’s not often you find spice like this in downtown Toronto, so get it when you can. Fans of the St Lawrence Market classic, Buster’s Sea Cove, will be happy to hear that there’s an offshoot at the Commerce Court food court (King and Bay). They do grilled fish dishes, shrimp tacos and lobster rolls. f
Located between (shock, horror) Richmond and Adelaide, this section of the PATH may just offer the best subterranean snack options in the downtown core courtesy of its easy access to Assembly Chef’s Hall. Head up the escalators to the fancy 18,000-square-foot food hall, which offers signature dishes from some of Toronto’s top restaurants (DaiLo, The Good Son Pizza, Mira Mira) on six – soon to be seven – days a week. Assembly also has a liquor licence that extends to the whole space, so you don’t have to leave the warmth for after-work libations. Meanwhile, a first glance inside the main food court at the Richmond-Adelaide Centre may seem like the usual lineup of Tim Hortons and Starbucks, but there are some unique options upon closer inspection. Labothéry, a make-your-own bubble tea shop that’s the first of its kind in Toronto, allows fans to choose from a selection of tea in syringes, milk bases and pearls. Or, on your lunch break, grab a workof-art éclair from Nadège on the southwest corner of the food court. To Richmond Adelaide’s immediate west, you can access 150 York, downtown home for the Drake empire. Pick up coffee from the Drake Mini Bar and enjoy small-plate lunches, or grab a table at the Drake 150 for after-work eats.
IN PIZZA WE CRUST In rounds or rectangles, plant-based or packed with pepperoni, we deconstruct our favourite pizzas in Toronto. WORDS BY TAYLOR NEWLANDS PHOTOGRAPHY BY KAILEE MANDEL ART DIRECTION BY APRIL TRAN
IZZA IS POSSIBLY the best-liked food of our time. The popularity of pizza-related just-aboutanything knows no bounds. From memes, gifs and merchandise to the food itself, we love pizza. Last summer, Toronto was graced with its own festival devoted to the Italian staple. But all pizzas are not created equal – sauce level, cheesiness and crust texture all play a role in the art of making the perfect pie. Variations in style range from the thick, chewy crust of the Detroit deep-dish to the flat, oversized slice of a hand-tossed New Yorker. To help you satisfy your pizza cravings, we’ve nailed down our favourite pies, from the metre-long Roman-style pizzas at Sud Forno to the allvegan ’za at Virtuous Pie.
THE ROMAN: TOTO
Sud Forno, multiple locations Sud Forno makes Roman-style stirata pizza with a high-hydration dough. This creates air bubbles for a pizza that comes out light and crispy. Before being cooked, the stirata dough is folded like an accordion to fit onto a bread paddle and then stretched to a metre long once inside the oven. terroni.com/sud-forno
Left page: Oyster mushrooms, parsley, salt, pepper, parmigiano, extra virgin olive oil Right page: Button mushrooms, piave, mozzarella, dough (not pictured)
THE NEW YORK: SPICY HAWAIIAN
Superpoint, 184 Ossington Ave.
Made in the New York style, Superpointâ€™s pizzas are large and hand-tossed with a thin crust that requires the fold-and-funnel eating method. Their toppings are made fresh every day. While Superpoint doesnâ€™t aim to be a classic Italian restaurant, their pizzas have an authentic feel and their range of toppings offer a variety of fairly traditional combinations. superpoint.ca
Superpoint tomato sauce, hot pepper rings, Ezzo pepperoni, fresh basil, full-fat mozzarella, olive oil, pineapple chunks, dough, parmesan, oregano
THE DETROIT: GATT DADDY
Descendant, 1168 Queen St. E. This 22-seat Leslieville pizzeria gets its name from their deep-dish, Detroit-style pizza – a descendant of the Sicilian pizza. Baked in rectangular pans, Descendant’s pizza develops a delicious crust of caramelized cheese around the edges. The only spot in Toronto to get Detroit-style pies, Descendant’s industrial interior, outfitted with graffiti art, adds to the Motor City vibe. descendantdsp.com
Cheese blend (mix of mozzarella and brick cheese), Mama Lil’s pickled goathorn peppers, house-made Italian fennel sausage, shaved red onion, sauce, basil aioli, grana padano, fresh herbs, olive oil
THE VEGAN: ULTRAVIOLET
Virtuous Pie, 611 College St. Now open in Toronto, this Vancouver chain brings us plant-based pizzas and vegan fare. Virtuous Pieâ€™s creamy nut cheeses are made in house along with their fermented-for-threedays and hand-stretched pizza dough. Their Neapolitan-meets-New York style pizza has a soft, thin crust thatâ€™s just firm enough to support the toppings as you hand-shovel the slice into your mouth. virtuouspie.com
Dough, walnut and arugula pesto, cashew, caramelized onions, oven-dried tomatoes, cashew mozzarrella, kale, pine nuts
THE NEAPOLITAN: DOPPIO MARGHERITA
Pizzeria Libretto, multiple locations
With five locations across the city, Libretto has become a go-to spot for Neapolitanstyle pizza. The thin, slightly charred crust allows you to indulge in all 12 inches of their personalized pizzas without feeling weighed down afterwards. With gluten-free, nut-free and vegan pizzas available â€“ they make their own vegan mozzarella in house â€“ there are plenty of options for everyone. pizzerialibretto.com
San Marzano tomatoes, fior di latte mozzarella, extra virgin olive oil, dough, parmigiano reggiano, fresh basil f
CLOSING TIME Several popular restaurants closed last year. Is it just rising rents? Or something more complicated? Corey Mintz finds out.
VELYN WU AND Wayne Morris still get up every morning at 7 a.m., to take their son to preschool. But they’re no longer awake until 2 a.m. each night, working service in their restaurant Boralia. When the business was still open, Wu would pick up their three-year-old from school and take him to the restaurant. In the kitchen, Morris would prep and play with the boy while Wu met with the front of house staff. They worked every Saturday and Sunday. These days, they enjoy weekends together, and dinner as a family. And as far as silver linings for restaurant closures go, that’s it. In 2014, Wu and Morris opened Boralia on Ossington Avenue, to rave reviews. With their five-year lease coming up for renewal, the landlord wanted to raise the rent, from $45 a square foot, to $80. They might have afforded this, by changing everything about their business to streamline profit. But they didn’t open a culinarily ambitious restaurant just so they could turn it into a burger shop to appease a landlord. Also, when their first child was born, the entrepreneurs were able to juggle staff and hours to make the situation work for everyone. But with another baby on the way, and how hard it’s gotten to find good cooks, the quest didn’t feel worth the hassle a second time, only to make it to the end of their lease in mid-2019. So they’ve packed up early and closed Boralia. “We always knew rent was going to increase after five years,” says Wu. “But the landlord went crazy with it. They just raised it too much. We just couldn’t stomach writing a cheque like that every month, for another
THEIR LANDLORD WANTED TO RAISE THE RENT FROM $45 TO $80 PER SQ FT 48
five years.” From Charles Grodin’s accountant in Midnight Run, explaining to Robert DeNiro’s bounty hunter the riskiness of opening a café, to Kristen Wiig in Bridesmaids, struggling with the failure of her bakery, to every scene in Big Night and Chef, the idea that restaurants, like marriages, do not have the odds of success in their favour, is as much a pop culture trope as angry police chiefs and co-workers trapped together in elevators. Asking a restaurant owner to tell you their troubles is a bit like asking the dictionary if it’s got any words. As someone who speaks regularly to restaurateurs, I’m always hearing about the soaring costs for food, fuel, rent and labour. To say nothing of the less tangible, but no less dire, impact of a cooking labour shortage (brought on by low wages and harsh working conditions) and the fickleness of consumers constantly chasing the latest shiny thing. Added to all that is the potential lethal impact of city-building; the collateral damage from well-intentioned projects like the King Street Transit Pilot (eliminating street parking to prioritize commuting) and road construction (sidewalk expansion, rapid transit lines, gas and water maintenance) that can span seasons or even years, with no compensation for affected businesses. Remember in 2017 when Toronto tried to raise fees for patio licenses by as much as 1,000 per cent? It's always been challenging to operate a successful restaurant. But in recent years, these conversations have shifted in tone, from the way we complain about the weather to the way my grandmother complained about her breathing, just before she died. In 2018, Boralia joined other high-profile Toronto restaurant casualties the Ceili Cottage, Peoples Eatery, North 44, Parts & Labour, Fring’s, Luckee and Los Colibris. The majority of these restaurateurs identify the usual list of problems, but dismiss the idea that any one factor kills restaurants. Yes, the cost of food keeps going up, with customers demanding ethically sourced products but unwilling to pay for them. But there are ways to manage food costs through menu planning. Yes, wages keep going up, but that puts more money in the pockets of employees. And while labour costs may cut into the bottom line, no one’s ever described it to me as the difference between profit and loss. However, many circle back to the same insurmountable obstacles; uncompromising landlords overeager for their share of
LEFT: Boralia’s sea snail dish was central to the restaurant’s image BELOW: The space continued that Canadiana aesthetic
Toronto’s mushrooming real estate value, and increased competition from businesses offering customers food in other ways. “People are made aware of the newest thing three times a day,” says Jay Carter, chefowner of Dandylion. “You have to constantly advertise yourself.” His 30-seat restaurant has no significant social media presence. Carter believes that the hard work of his staff should be enough. “Needing to be constantly creative and unique is exhausting.” Many restaurateurs echo this sentiment, that there is too much competition, an oversupply in the market. And they’re right. According to data from Toronto Public Health, in the last five years the number of restaurants and food takeout services have continued to increase at a steady pace, from 8,916 in 2014, to 10,203 in 2018. That’s an average of 3.6 per cent more places to eat per year, compared to Toronto’s average annual population growth – less than 1 per cent. So attracting and maintaining clientele is increasingly a negative-sum game. “There are so many layers,” says Rob Wilder. “But if every seat was filled all the time, you’d be fine.” Wilder who, in partnership with Anthony Rose, owns a half dozen restaurants (including Fat Pasha, Schmaltz, and Big →
ABOVE: The Swan has been the only miss for Robert Wilder and Anthony Rose. They tried a couple concepts before selling in 2017
→ Crow), is sympathetic to the various problems that all restaurateurs face. But he believes they are all manageable, if the revenue is strong. “It’s not about landlords. It’s not about rents going up. I don’t think customers are getting more fickle.” The real issue is what he calls a contract between the consumer and the restaurant, a willingness to eat what that restaurant is serving, to return three to five times a year, and for the space to be a part of their lives and their community. “If the bums aren’t in the seats, that’s when you fail. Unless you have that contract with the customer, and they continue to keep coming back, that restaurant will not survive.” Elia Herrera, who had three packed and profitable restaurants in one location on King Street – Los Colibris, El Caballito and El Patio – is angry at the city for eliminating parking in
front of the Mexican eateries. “We pay taxes. We work hard. The city cannot be doing that,” says the chef-owner. “We have to feed our families, pay our mortgage.” But while Herrera estimates that lack of parking hit her with an almost 40 per cent drop in revenue last January to March (with
THE REAL ISSUE IS A CONTRACT BETWEEN CUSTOMER AND RESTAURANT
a strong rebound in the summer), the death blow came from the landlord. When she approached the building’s owner for a break on the $52,000 a month rent, for what was no longer prime real estate, he countered by asking for a 30 per cent increase. “I think it’s short sighted,” restaurateur and designer Brenda Bent says of greedy landlords. “Because once your place sits empty for six months, how much revenue have you lost?” In the past three years, Bent and her husband and business partner Susur Lee have closed Bent, Fring’s and Luckee. Bent and Lee were never partners at Luckee. The rent at Fring’s was favourable. The family owns the building where Bent was located. So the closures of Bent and Fring’s, operated by their sons Kai and Levi, were not about real estate, but lessons, painful for Lee, that their children didn’t want to follow in their parents’ footsteps. “It was the saddest day of Susur’s life,” recalls Bent, “when he realized they didn’t want to be in the restaurant business.” The end of this saga underlines a harsher
THE CLOSURES OF BENT AND FRING’S WERE NOT ABOUT REAL ESTATE BUT LESSONS
are the larger Starbucks and the like.” Until July 2018, Toronto landlords with vacant commercial or industrial real estate actually got a property tax rebate, motivating them to leave spaces empty. And yet I’ve never heard any restaurateur, who are by career choice free-market capitalists, come out in support of rent control for commercial real estate. The premise of more government intervention is anathema to their belief system. But while taste may be cyclical, property value is not. One year we may all want to dine on tasting menus in big, glitzy cathedrals, and the next year intimate 30-seaters and shared plates could be back in fashion. But the cost of real estate only moves in one direction. And as it climbs into the stratosphere,
available only to corporate bidders with the deepest pockets (the chains currently dominating downtown Toronto), it cuts off the potential for actual entrepreneurs to succeed in the restaurant industry. In the meantime, diners have a say in the future of their city’s food culture. If we insist on only eating at every new hot spot, planning our weekends around “just opened” lists, buying every flashy morsel of instabait, living our lives for the likes, then that is what will proliferate around us. If we instead support real restaurants, returning repeatedly to places that resonate with us by delivering consistent, accessible, familiar, positive experiences – if we choose quality over newness – then the good restaurants that we love will stick around. f
reality of restaurant real estate in this city. After closing Bent, the couple decided to rent out the building to a new tenant because it made more profit and sense to be a landlord than a restaurateur. For Patrick McMurray, the problem with his landlord was not the price, but the terms. Starting with an eight-year lease at the Ceili Cottage on Queen East, McMurray developed the former auto repair shop, eventually installing a Mongolian yurt on the patio. This increased his capacity by 30 seats in the winter, using space that was previously wasted nine months of the year. Customers loved it and the landlord approved, until after three seasons, he suddenly objected. McMurray offered to pay double the rent. But the landlord wouldn’t have it, and began renewing the lease on one-year terms. This stopped McMurray from making necessary fixes and renovations on the property because the short lease wouldn’t allow him to amortize any investments over a long-term. “I said, it’s too hard pushing a rock up a hill right now,” McMurray describes his recent decision. “So I’m gonna have to close.” McMurray believes that unreasonable landlords, unafraid to lose a tenant, are worsening the problems of restaurants, and along with them, our city’s culture. “You travel along Queen East in the Beaches. There’s paper up and for-lease signs everywhere,” he says. “And the only businesses that can afford the increase in rent
RIGHT: Chef Elia Herrera filled her three connected restaurants on King West until a combination of factors forced her to close them
LABOUR OF LOVE Katie Bridges sits down with four couples who are partners in life and in the restaurant business, to find out how they bring their passion to shared projects. PHOTOGRAPHY BY KAYLA ROCCA
Tâ€™S EASY TO say that meeting the right person means hitching your lives together. But how many people would decide to spend an entire career side by side with their significant other? These culinary couples chose to live out their nine to fives (and often much longer) with the one they love, for better or for worse. We sat down with four of the industryâ€™s most passionate pairs to find out how they juggle their jobs and relationships. f
Jenny Coburn and Stacey Patterson Together for 15 years This front-of-house duo opened their popular Dundas West spot three years ago – today they’re cracking down on sexism in the industry.
How did you meet?
Stacey: Jenny was working for a friend of mine at a restaurant. She was bartending and being flirtatious. Jenny: Oh my god, it was so the other way around! Stacey is a very persuasive person.
How do you make it work?
Jenny: She does everything in the day and I do everything at night. Stacey: We typically don’t work together, to try to keep our relationship alive! Jenny: We complement each other, which is sometimes not appreciated by Stacey – she’s more of the macro and I’m the micro. I’m neat, patient, attention to detail. She’s more like crazy service and throwing things! Stacey: I don’t want to talk to a customer for half an hour so we complement each other. We’re good cop, bad cop. I’m the bad cop.
What’s the best thing about working together?
Jenny: If I needed to know anything I would just call Stacey, as opposed to having to fumble through my first year at Ufficio. The other thing to note is that Stacey and I are owners and not chefs and that’s pretty unusual in this day and age. Most chefs just want to do it their way. Sometimes, people make assumptions before they work with me. And some won’t listen to Stacey who is experienced. It wasn’t fun. I can’t imagine telling an owner what to do with their restaurant. Stacey: Jenny took a lot of beats. Before we hired Ivana Raca, I had never worked with a female chef in 33 years. We’ve really connected to a lot of females in the industry, by having our own restaurant and being female focused.
BLACK LAB BREWING
Billy and Anne Madden Together for 10 years A decade after they met working at a call centre, this couple opened a dog-friendly Leslieville brewery named in honour of their black lab, Snoopy.
How did Black Lab come about?
Billy: I was working for a brain injury rehab company. I dealt with car accident victims and people with traumatic brain injuries, which was quite stressful and
I took a lot of that home with me. One of my releases was going out to craft breweries and finding a new beer. Anne: A year and a half ago, Billy came to me with a full business plan. I kept resisting it, because I’m very risk-averse – I’m a lawyer in my other job – but at that point I couldn’t say no.
Tell us about your dog, Snoopy.
Billy: On the one-year anniversary of us dating, we were driving through Niagara doing a wine tour. We decided to hit one more, Cornerstone Winery. We’re drinking and chatting, and out of the corner of her eye, Anne spots a puppy running by the window. The owner Jerry said he couldn’t
find a home for him, and since it’s almost Christmas, if we want him, he’s ours. We came back from Niagara with three cases of wine in the trunk – and Snoopy! Anne: Our biggest love is Snoopy, so naming the business Black Lab Brewing aligns us all the time. Plus, we named our flagship black lager Cornerstone in memory of where we found him.
How do you juggle home and work life?
Billy: It’s still fairly new and we’re not home all that much. I’m putting in about 90 hours a week so keeping up with household chores is the biggest hurdle. Our laundry pile is huge and our fridge is almost always empty.
Julio Guajardo and Kate Chomyshyn Together for 14 years This chef couple fell in love – first with each other and then with Mexican cuisine – before bringing authentic dishes to Toronto.
How did you meet?
Kate: We met at cooking school in Ottawa (Le Cordon Bleu). Julio: I came to Canada to study in 2004. She was one class ahead, but we had friends in common. We went to the same party and a few months later we were living together. Kate: Then we moved to Montreal, where we lived for 12 years.
How long have you worked together? Julio: We were always somehow in the kitchen together. We had a popsicle business but we stopped it when we moved to Toronto. Kate: One of our servers said to us: “If you guys didn’t work together, you would never see each other,” and it’s true. That’s why there are so many poor, single chefs. It’s tough, it’s a lot of hours.
How did Quetzal come about?
Kate: Eight years ago, we took our first trip to Mexico together. Mexican food in Canada is very Americanized. We wanted to show people the real thing. We try and cook with the matrons of the family – they’re the ones who pass down the techniques. Julio: They like to share it with people because they fear that the culture is getting lost.
Ever had a big argument at work?
Julio: Oh yeah, for sure. We moved here to open Quetzal, but because of design, it got delayed and we opened El Rey. Being in a tiny kitchen all day together, cooks quitting – it just built up the stress. Kate: I’ve walked out before. I can be very dramatic!
What advice do you have?
Julio: Don’t do it! I’m kidding. We really share the same passion, ideals and work ethic and that’s really helped. We try to keep work at work, and enjoy the little time that we have to ourselves. We go to dinner, and even though we talk about work, having that balance helps.
Since we chatted, Kate and Julio have left Quetzal, but will continue to work together.
Stephanie and Bruce Lee Together for 8 years
This culinary couple earned their stripes at a number of Michelin-starred restaurants in Paris and Hong Kong before heading back to Toronto’s Corktown neighbourhood to open Roselle Desserts.
How did you meet?
Bruce: We met at George Brown College. Stephanie was studying baking and pastry, I was in the chef’s programme. We both went to France on a postgraduate pastry programme.
Did you hit it off right away?
Bruce: Not exactly. I found out through the grapevine that Stephanie really didn’t want me to go because she thought I was stealing a spot from a deserving pastry student. So when we first met, our relationship was a little strained!
When did you tie the knot?
Stephanie: We got engaged in 2014 but then we started Roselle in 2015 and it took over our lives. We got married in August last year – and we actually made the desserts at our own wedding!
How do you run the business together? Bruce: Stephanie does all the baking. I
cook staff meals and make cookies in the morning, but it’s hard to have two chefs in the kitchen. Pastry is more Stephanie’s domain. But I could do it. Stephanie: Well, he thinks he could! Bruce went to Western and has a background in business, so it felt natural to do things that way. That’s what we learned about having our own business – you can be a great chef but you need to know how to manage people and how to do all the other business-y things that come with it.
Did you always want to work together?
Stephanie: We didn’t worry about it. Because we travelled together and lived in such tight quarters from the beginning.
COCKTAIL HOUR Rosalinda is bringing vegan Mexican to downtown Toronto. Here is a sample of their low-octane cocktail programme. WORDS BY KATIE BRIDGES PHOTOGRAPHY BY ADRIANNA MADORE
NEED TO KNOW BASIS C OCKTAIL ING REDIENTS ◆◆ 2 oz kombucha ◆◆ 3/4 oz Seedlip Spice ◆◆ 1/2 oz orange vanilla and lavender
sherbet ◆◆ 1/4 oz tonic syrup ◆◆ 2 oz soda water
ORANG E VANILLA L AVENDER SHERBET INGREDIENTS ◆◆ 10 g orange zest ◆◆ 1 g vanilla pod ◆◆ 1 g lavender ◆◆ 150 g sugar ◆◆ 150 ml orange juice
For the orange vanilla lavender sherbet: Microplane all of the citrus zest and place into sugar with the lavender, vanilla and salt. Agitate with a fork so the zest, vanilla pods and lavender are evenly distributed in the sugar. Allow to rest for 1 hour. While waiting, juice the zested fruit and additional fruit if necessary to achieve 150 g of juice. Add all the components to a pot. On medium heat, stir ingredients until sugar is completely dissolved. Strain and package in a jar. To assemble the Need to Know Basis: Combine all ingredients into a chilled highball glass, stir thoroughly to incorporate and serve.
AR VETERAN JORDAN Dibe first met restaurateur Jamie Cook over a decade ago when they worked at Maro, the now-closed Toronto bar. But it wasn’t until Cook opened Rosalinda, a vegan Mexican restaurant in the downtown core, that the pair would be reunited. While Dibe has chalked up some pretty extensive bar experience, in Vancouver, since the Maro days (Fable, Mission), he jumped at the opportunity to join the team as bar manager. Under head bartender Owen Walker’s tutelage, Dibe has not only learned to love mezcal, he’s also upped his game courtesy of Rosalinda’s meticulously vegan food and drink menus. Unexpected complications, like learning how to make sours without the use of egg whites, have made the job that much more interesting. “It’s another challenge that can force you to be more creative than you would have been otherwise,” says Dibe. Likewise, the restaurant’s low alcohol movement has required Dibe to broaden his skill set. And while booze may be a bartender’s lifeblood, that doesn’t mean he’s any less inspired to come up with more sessionable cocktails. “With Rosalinda being a vegan restaurant and having more health-conscious guests, it’s been great to offer non-imbibers something that isn’t just a cranberry and soda mix.” While the Mexican-angle makes it difficult to always source nearby, Dibe likes to bring locality in wherever possible. Take the Carrot Colada, which sources its titular ingredients from the province. “It’s fun to be able to take something tropical and put our Ontario spin on it by using local carrots,” says Dibe. And for would-be mixologists who want great cocktails at home? Be bold, Dibe says. “To me, bartending is like baking – it’s a lot of sugar and science. Don’t be intimidated.” f
CARROT COLADA COCKTAIL INGREDIENTS ◆◆ 3/4 oz fresh lime juice ◆◆ 1/2 oz fresh pineapple juice ◆◆ 1/2 oz carrot blood orange syrup ◆◆ 1/2 oz Novo Fogo cachaça ◆◆ 1/2 oz Appleton Estate rum ◆◆ 1 oz Cocchi Americano ◆◆ 1/4 oz Giffard Banane du Brésil
CARROT BLOOD ORANGE SYRUP ◆◆ 120 g carrot juice ◆◆ 20 g organic blood orange
concentrate ◆◆ 140 g sugar ◆◆ 1.4 g citric acid
For the carrot blood orange syrup: Add all ingredients to a pot, heat and stir until fully incorporated. To assemble the Carrot Colada: Add all the ingredients to a hurricane glass or your favourite tulip glass, add crushed ice and swizzle until mixed fully and serve.
THE UP AND UP COCKTA IL IN G R ED IENTS ◆◆ 11/2 oz pinot noir verjus ◆◆ 3/4 oz Seedlip Garden ◆◆ 1/2 oz hoja santa and lemon sherbet ◆◆ 3/4 oz fresh cucumber juice ◆◆ 11/2 oz soda water
H OJ A SAN TA L EM ON S H ER B ET IN G R ED IENTS ◆◆ 10 g lemon zest ◆◆ 150 g lemon juice ◆◆ 21/2 g hoja santa (an essential flavour
in Mexican cuisine, found easily in Kensington Market. You can sub in the same amount of mint or eucalyptus tea if you can’t find this.) ◆◆ pinch kosher salt ◆◆ 150 mg sugar For the hoja santa lemon sherbet: Combine lemon zest, sugar, salt and hoja santa (or tea) and incorporate. Let sit for 1 hour and then add all ingredients to a pot. Heat to fully incorporate, then allow to cool completely. Strain and pour into a mason jar or other reusable container with tight-fitting lid.
To assemble the Up and Up: Combine all ingredients except the soda in a mixing tin. Add good quality ice and shake. Strain into your favourite 13-oz highball glass and top with soda. Serve with a couple spears of cucumber.
saba, your island adventure awaits.
unspoiled, undeveloped, undeniably beautiful. for more information visit sabatourism.com
— PART 3 —
EXCESS “ROSSI MENDED BROKEN HEARTS WHEN HE OPENED GIULIETTA IN THE BESTELLEN SPACE.” SELECTOR, 094
064 TEX-NEXT | 078 INSIDER | 080 BOTTLE SERVICE | 089 FOODISM’S FINEST 091 THE DIGEST | 094 THE SELECTOR | 098 DECONSTRUCT
TEX-NEXT Andrea Yu visits San Antonio, one of the fastest growing cities in the US, and finds out how chef-entrepreneurs are replacing the cityâ€™s tacos-and-brisket reputation.
ABOVE: The revitalized Pearl building is a standard bearer for the idea of putting an old industrial space to new culinary and cultural use
ABOVE: Tex-Next is the name chef Johnny Hernandez gives to the cuisine he serves at Villa Rica
T’S MY FIRST dinner in San Antonio and the table is completely covered with small plates and dishes holding all manner of Mexican eats. Among them are a zingy ceviche, a crunchy tostada topped with lime-marinated shrimp, fish and octopus, fresh guacamole served with tortilla chips still warm from the fryer and ‘rice tumbada’ – an incredibly flavourful seafood stew that’s the least visually appealing dish in the spread but definitely the most delicious (the antiInstagrammer in me relishes this feat). It’s a scene that could easily pass for Toronto’s hippest taco joint (with tattooed and bearded waitstaff just out of the frame). But here in San Antonio, a mere two-anda-half-hour drive from the Mexican border, tacos and Tex-Mex are a way of life. Kids grow up eating these hand-held eats and MexicanAmericans have been operating their own cheap and cheerful taquerias for decades, appealing to the blue-collar demographic that has long dominated the city.
But at one of San Antonio’s newest eateries, rethinking Tex-Mex favourites brings this cuisine back to its roots. Villa Rica, which is temporarily closed for a space and menu redesign, swaps tortilla and tostada shells for fresh-made varieties. Corn flour is incredibly perishable, requiring preservatives or bleach to extend its shelf life. But Villa Rica’s are preservative-free and freshly-pressed from non-GMO corn flour, some of which is milled from organic corn grown on a nearby farm owned by the restaurant’s founder, chef Johnny Hernandez. These tortillas are noticeably more pliable and soft compared to their processed equivalents. Hernandez affectionately refers to his style of dining as “Tex-Next” — an evolution of Tex-Mex that sees more thought and care put into the preparation of Mexican cuisine. His pulpo is poached in aromatics overnight so that it’s incredibly tender and flavourful before being finished off on a grill prior to serving. Even the decor at Villa Rica pulls
from Mexican tradition – its colourful woven napkins and decorative ceramic dishes are sourced directly from Mexican artisans. This food is homey and good, putting it levels above those cheap and cheerful Tex-Mex joints without being so stuffy and refined that it sails over the average San Antonian’s head. The attention to detail does, however, come with a higher price tag. Some may scoff at Villa Rica’s US$13.50 seafood tostada or $26 fish entree which bring these meals outside of the realm of everyday dining. But I don’t have to ask whether locals are willing to pay more for the evolution of a cuisine they’ve grown accustomed to getting for less. Villa Rica is Hernandez’s fourth concept and tenth eatery since opening his first restaurant, the Mexican street food-inspired La Gloria, in 2010. It’s proof that there’s an appetite for Hernandez’s brand of elevated “Tex-Next” dining. La Gloria did have some help from its surroundings. That first Hernandez
MOTHERS PUSHING STROLLERS HOLD PLATES OF CHANA MASALA restaurant is located at the Pearl – a 22-acre former brewery that is San Antonio’s best example of a repolished pedestrian classic. The facility, which opened in 1883, was once the Texas headquarters of Pabst but they closed in 2001. After extensive renovations, the first new tenants moved in and opened in 2006 to begin the Pearl’s transformation into a culinary, arts and housing hub. It’s now home to the Texas campus of the Culinary Institute of America, condo complexes, an event venue, food hall, boutiques, bakeries and the list goes on. My favourite adaptive reuse in the complex is in the former brewery’s administrative building. It now houses Cured, a charcuterie restaurant that cutely stores its wine in a centuries-old safe at the centre of the building. The undoubted cultural highlight of the complex (or at least the most photographed by tourists) is Hotel Emma, a slick DrakeHotel-like property that opened four years ago. Housed in the actual former brewhouse of the Pearl, the building design and aesthetic pay homage to its former use at every turn: an ancient ammonia compressor is the lobby centrepiece and old fermentation tanks have been sliced open to create cozy booth-like seating at Sternewirth, the hotel bar. Photo-worthy scenes aside, the Pearl really comes to life on the weekends when a farmers’ market takes over the central lawn of the complex. Farmers, apiarists, natural and beauty product-makers congregate over good food and drink. Patrons, locals and tourists alike, represent all ages, from toddlers shrieking delightedly in the outdoor water play feature to older folks browsing the kombucha selection. On the Saturday morning when I visit, a five-piece bluegrass band entertains the
market crowds. Mothers are pushing strollers in one hand and holding plates of chana masala or tomato-and-bacon beignets in the other. It’s an animated, buzzing atmosphere that clearly draws repeat visits. Beer is still brewed at the Pearl, albeit in much smaller quantities. On the second floor of Southerleigh, a hip restaurant serving modern takes on Southern classics, an onsite brewery produces craft pours for both the eatery and its bottle shop. Wooden barrels are stacked along a hallway leading to the bathroom with signs indicating the brew that’s aging inside while lengths of vintage rolling conveyor belts act as apt decor above the chef’s table overlooking the kitchen. And at the Granary ‘Cue & Brew, whose name cutely reveals its purpose, ales, saisons and stouts are brewed as a fitting accompaniment to chef Tim Rattray’s modern barbecue. The Granary’s lunch menu steers closer to traditional Texan classics with meat by the 1/2 pound (served light on the sauce, following the state’s typical style of barbecue), sandwiches and sides so that diners can make their own barbecue board. Barbecue, I’m told, is a very personal affair with deep working-class roots in the
South. A Texan I met told me her brother has three smokers in his backyard. This is what makes Rattray’s dinner menu especially daring. Here he flexes the culinary muscles he built in French fine dining kitchens in San Antonio and New York. House-baked loaves of buttermilk bread are sliced and grilled over rendered beef fat collected from the restaurant’s smoker to gain a French toast-like quality. Brisket drippings – another smoker byproduct – is whipped to create a ‘barbecue butter’ that’s neatly quenelled and served alongside the slices of Texas toast. This polished execution and refined presentation of simple, good and rustic ingredients is how Rattray has made a name for himself as the man who is breaking all the traditional rules. Pickled chanterelles accompany pastrami made from meat shaved off of a hog’s head. The salt cod fritter, Rattray’s self-professed “ode to the South,” is dipped in a dijonnaise made with house-brewed red ale and topped with pretty nasturtium flower petals. All the meat he sources is ethically raised and thoughtfully selected – for example, a heritage breed of pork that has plenty of intermuscular fat but isn’t too “porky”. →
BELOW: The Hotel Emma has turned a former brewery into a cultural centrepiece
ABOVE: The Neapolitan-style pies from Dough represent their quality-over-quantity ethos
→ Rattray’s elevated take on classic barbecue hasn’t gone unnoticed. The eatery has gained international attention by hosting special collaborative dinners with Michelin-starred chefs like Copenhagen’s Bo Bech and Julio Fernandez from Seville. Closer to home, the Granary has ranked in countless “best barbecue” lists from OpenTable, Texas Monthly and Condé Nast Traveler. Each accolade draws in a wave of new
EACH ACCOLADE DRAWS IN A WAVE OF NEW CUSTOMERS FOR A TASTE 68
customers eager for a taste of one of the state’s, and country’s, best. But are the locals – largely the same working-class individuals who hold barbecue deep in their hearts – ready to embrace Rattray’s refined takes? While dining here on a Saturday evening among families, couples and groups, the restaurant’s $18 barbecue board – its most traditional menu option – is the entree of choice for nearly every guest I encounter during my two-hour meal. You can make an incredible modern barbecue experience but whether your patrons choose to order it is another question. I got to try some of Rattray’s most innovative creations and it’s a shame that they are being overlooked by the majority – a tide I am confident will turn as more guests from near and far grow to better appreciate Rattray’s more creative offerings. The owners of Dough, a Neapolitan pizzeria that opened its first location in 2007 and recently expanded this year with a third spot downtown, are riding a similar wave of culinary evolution in San Antonio. Here, thin-crust pies are baked in a wood-burning oven imported from Italy and accompanied by sides like fresh-made burrata and speck sliced from a beautiful hand-cranked slicer.
These offerings are a far cry from the $10 extra-large takeout specials from the Papa Johns that dominate the city. Co-owner Lori Horn, who runs the operation alongside her husband Doug, knows that the customer base in San Antonio isn’t easily swayed by the prospect of artisanal pizza. The Horns train their frontof-house staff to be extra attentive, doting on each guest in a way that Lori says locals aren’t accustomed too. If her customers aren’t charmed by the service, the sleek signage, design and branding might do the trick. It’s logo – a pizza base captured midair – mimics the infinity symbol and appears again in the restaurant’s tagline: Pizza Forever. She’s meticulous with the restaurant’s growth and improvement, offering comment cards for diners to complete after their meal. The Horns have put their money on the same bet as Rattray’s modern barbecue and Hernandez’s homestyle Mexican: that the people of San Antonio – a city with strong working-class roots – is ready for a dining revolution. The chefs, restaurants and their menus are waiting at the barricades. All it takes is more adventurous taste buds, willing to eat off the beaten path, to rise up. f
— KAWARTHAS NORTHUMBERLAND —
FIND YOUR HOPPY PLACE A FOODISM GUIDE
LEFT: McGinnis Lake, Petroglyphs Provincial Park; ABOVE: Cobourg Lighthouse; Rolling Hills in Bethany; RIGHT: Enjoying craft beer on the patio at Belmont Lake Brewery
OV ERVI EW
Escape just east of Toronto to the Kawarthas Northumberland region. Enjoy the great outdoors and savour the inside of some of the region's best craft breweries.
Photography: Justen Soule
E MAY BE at the centre of a craft beer revolution here in Toronto, but the rise of amazing experiences in the brewery business has spread to the lesser-known corners of Ontario in recent years. Brewmasters like John Graham, who started his career in Toronto, have made a splash by bringing their unique local brews and passion to one of the prettiest parts of the province. Areas like Prince Edward County and Muskoka are by now pretty well documented as craft beer destinations outside the GTA. But while Torontonians will be familiar with the Kawarthas as a well-trodden spot on the summer
cottage circuit, many might be surprised to learn that the larger Kawarthas Northumberland region is also a playground for foodies and culture lovers all year round. Kawarthas Northumberland is a picture-perfect combination for roadtripping. Connected by the lakes and rivers of the Trent-Severn Waterway, the region brings together the rolling hills of Northumberland County along the 401 corridor with the iconic escape to the remote Canadian Shield and stunning Kawartha Lakes farther north. With such diverse offerings on tap, it's best to sample one area at a time. Discover over 50 sites along the
Kawartha Lakes Arts and Heritage Trail, including Neil Young's hometown of Omemee. Take in the rich music and foodie scene in Peterborough, or enjoy a taste-of-place with a great view in the 19th century waterfront towns of Cobourg and Port Hope. Whether you're canoeing in the lakes, discovering Indigenous artwork, sipping on award-winning beer, spirits and ciders from vintners and brewmasters or simply kicking back at one of the many inns and B&Bs in the region, you're sure to find an all-senses escape in Kawarthas Northumberland. â—? Visit TasteKN.ca to start planning your Kawarthas Northumberland trip today.
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Locally-sourced, award-winning food and brews are on tap in this craft booze hot spot.
IKE TORONTO, THE Kawarthas Northumberland area has seen a surge in craft breweries in recent years as consumers move away from big corporate beer providers and towards smaller, homegrown makers. The region now has over 20 artisan producers including the family-owned Smithavens Brewing Company, Northumberland Hills Brewing Company and (opening in 2019) Fenelon Falls Brewing. The Trent-Severn Waterway is the beautiful backbone of the region, connecting over 350 lakes and rivers, linking together dozens of towns, water-
front watering holes, many provincial parks, the Kawartha Trans Canada Trail, and many craft beverage producers. One of the best things about the region’s brewing and distillery scene is the makers' passion for their craft and the unmistakable connection to their locale. The field-to-glass movement has seen the area’s unique terroir contribute to the distinct character of some of their most popular tipples. It doesn’t get much more local than Red Fife – Canada's oldest strain of wheat, developed by Peterborough farmer David Fife in the 1840s. The
Olde Stone Brewing Co. uses Red Fife to produce a pale, golden wheat ale, while Black’s Distillery, located on Hunter Street East in Peterborough, uses the treasured grain to produce grain to glass spirits like vodka and gin. While the rise in craft popularity may be recent, the region has strong roots in beer making. Henry Calcutt, the fifth son of brewer and distiller James Calcutt, moved to Peterborough in 1855 and later bought the Olde Stone Brewery – one of the first breweries in Peterborough, from which Olde Stone Brewing Co. took its name.
LEFT: Smithavens Brewing Company in Peterborough; BELOW: William Street Beer Co. in Cobourg; Behind the scenes at Persian Empire Distillery; Kawartha Country Wines
WIN A TRIP FOR TWO TO THE KAWARTHAS
We're giving away weekend passes to the Kawartha Craft Beer Festival, tickets to the Underwater Dining at Lock 21, dinner at Publican House Brewery, plus 4 nights at the Holiday Inn Peterborough Waterfront. For a full list of terms and conditions and to enter the contest visit: foodism.to/competition
Photography: Justen Soule, Wine by Kawartha Country Wine
Henry Calcutt's lager innovations are still used in breweries today. The Publican House Brewery’s “Henry’s Irish Ale” is named in Calcutt's honour and has won multiple Ontario Brewing Awards – just some of the twenty plus accolades the region's beer has received. And the area is getting noticed for more than just suds. If you prefer apples to hops, pay a visit to Empire Cider Co. – a small operation that graduated from hobby to business in response to rave reviews from friends and family – which produces extra dry, traditional hard cider from Ontario apples. Family-owned vineyards are also springing up. Enjoy a slice of Italy in Ontario with the 100-acre Villa Conti Oak Heights Winery in Warkworth and the Rolling Grape Vineyard in Bailieboro. Located farther north, in the heart of cottage country, Kawartha Country Wines specializes in fruit wines
and has taken home seven awards at the All Canadian Wine Championships. Anyone enjoying a drink or two knows that it’s best to line the stomach first – so it’s just as well that Kawarthas Northumberland is well stocked with top-tier dining choices. The local food movement is nothing new to the area,
THE BEST THING ABOUT THE CRAFT SCENE IS THE MAKERS' UNMISTAKABLE CONNECTION TO THEIR LOCALE
which has a well-established farm-totable reputation. Thanks to the area’s fertile farm lands and fresh water supply, a plentiful local harvest serves its restaurants and farmers' markets. Enjoy a guided food tour in downtown Peterborough and Warkworth to discover where your food and drink come from. Or take in the landscape with a pint in hand at The Whistling Duck Restaurant, home to great food and beautiful panoramas of Presqu'ile Bay just west of Prince Edward County. The Mill Restaurant and Pub in Cobourg, The Social Bar and Table in Port Hope and South Pond Farms (as seen on the Netflix series Taste of the Country) are all committed to sourcing Ontario grown and made food and drink. Kawarthas Northumberland has mapped routes to plan your perfect tour. However you navigate the region, there's a trip and a beer with your name on it. ●
PUBLICAN HOUSE BREWERY This spot in downtown Peterborough is the perfect gateway for craft brew enthusiasts. Some beers are available at local booze merchants, but youâ€™ll want to visit the brewery itself and the pub in a gorgeous 150-year old building.
PIE EYED MONK BREWERY A relative newcomer on the scene, this brewery is located in the historic C.L. Baker building in downtown Lindsay. Order a wood-fired pizza pie with your flight and enjoy the vintage vibe of the former grainary.
ROLLING GRAPE WINERY Peterborough Countyâ€™s first vineyard and winery offers wine tasting by the glass. Just north of Rice Lake, the stunning 100-acre farm aims to support local and bring a touch of Prince Edward County to the Kawarthas.
BLACK'S DISTILLERY In Peterborough's delicious East City, this craft distiller focuses on a locally-sourced, grain to glass approach. Local Red Fife Wheat is essential to their gin and gives their vodka a buttery smooth character. Also available are their White Barley and White Rye.
CHURCHKEY BREWING So-called for its location inside an 1878 Methodist Church, ChurchKey was the first microbrewery to land in picturesque Northumberland County. Be sure to pay a visit to the nearby Church-Key Pub and Grindhouse for food and live music in a 1930s stone building.
401 CIDER BREWERY Colborne, home to the world’s largest apple, is the perfect spot for this ciderhouse, located just off the 401 Highway. Every cider from 401 – the brainchild of a PEC winemaker – is made with 100% Ontario apples.
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Explore Kawarthas Northumberland's best watering holes and taste unique beers, wines and spirits. From ale trail to vodka voyage, there's a craft beverage to wet your whistle. 75
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PINT OF NO RETURN From grape to grain, this is your Kawarthas Northumberland sipping cheat sheet.
ROLLING GRAPE What began as an experiment by Jon Drew and Katie Dickson on their family farm has blossomed into an exciting winery. They focus on growing unique and hardy grapes on the hills overlooking Rice Lake. Soak up the stunning view from their patio while tasting the winery’s lesser known varieties, like their signature Marquette and Frontenac, or their dry and tannic Amplified Orange. Wine tastings are on offer or you can buy a bottle to take home.
CHURCH-KEY John Graham, founder of the awardwinning Church-Key Brewing, is an influential figure in the craft scene. After honing his skills in Toronto, Graham purchased a church in Campbellford in 1999 and began producing small-batch ales with a commitment to sustainable practices. Popular brews, like the flagship Northumberland Ale, are available at the LCBO -- but we recommend attending church for the full (and relatively guilt-free) experience.
PUBLICAN HOUSE A must-stop on your tour, this gorgeous downtown brewery is a leader of premium craft beer in the area. The Publican House’s brews go through rigorous testing at the on-site lab before they’re poured. Enjoy the spoils of their labour on a brewery tour by grabbing one of their rotating seasonal, small-batch brews new for 2019. Time your visit to coincide with the Kawartha Craft Beer Festival in June, run by Publican and Smithavens Brewing.
401 CIDER With a wide-range of award-winning ciders available all-year round, this cider house is the perfect pit stop on your way to or from Toronto. With Amy Baldwin at the helm, a wine producer for Waupoos Estate Winery and Clafeld Cider House in Prince Edward County, it’s no surprise that the options at 401 Cider are bold and experimental. As well as a lineup of classic ciders, they offer more unusual and interesting flavours like Apple Pie, Oh Honey and Almond. If you want to pair your cider with snacks, friendly staff will help you pair a flight with bites to better understand the flavour profiles and balance. Whether you snag a spot at the tasting bar or sneak a behindthe-scenes look at production in the retail space, you're guaranteed to leave more cider savvy.
BLACK'S DISTILLERY Inspired by his heritage and the spirits made from scratch in Scotland, Robert Black set out to create distinct craft beverages produced from the most naturally pure ingredients possible. Made from Red Fife, a heritage grain developed in the area, Black's Distillery’s soft, smooth artisan spirits have helped put Peterborough on the map. From a peppery vodka that packs a punch to rye whisky with no added corn, expect the unexpected at this grain-to-glass spot.
PIE EYED MONK
Photography: Justen Soule, 401 Cider
Aaron Young and Jennifer Boksman may be new to the craft beer scene, but they've already hit gold with their range of easy-drinking lagers, and hoppy IPAs and English Pale Ales. Highly talented brewmasters Sandra Chadwick and Keanan Schiedel-Webb (whose parents own Haliburton Highlands Brewing) consistently produce creative brews like Monk’s Madness, made with Hardway Farms hops, and their popular stout, Murph’s Daily Ration.
INGLENOOK WINERY Head out of town to St. Helena for a tasting at Inglenook to experience how Napa’s present and future are being shaped by its past. The estate winery’s mission of making fine wine to rival France’s best chateaus goes back 140 years to an entrepreneurial Finnish sea captain who founded it after he fell in love with Napa’s grapegrowing ability and its people. Natural disasters, Prohibition and time left it slated for demolition in the mid 1970s, but over 25 years, the Coppolas have gradually restored the property to its original resplendence. Don’t miss the Experience tour, held daily at 11 a.m.
Michael Di Caro finds the Napa spots that are trying to reclaim the California region’s youthful underdog status.
RING UP NAPA Valley at a dinner party and chances are that your companions will immediately recognize it as one of the world’s most prestigious winemaking areas. The larger region is home to over 500 wineries that make up the Napa Valley Vintners. It also boasts an impressive list of award-winning and Michelin-listed restaurants. But thinking of Napa as one homogenous region is imprecise. It’s made up of half a dozen towns, each with its own characteristic and “terroir” that influence the unique personalities of the wine they make. While the majority of wine drinkers associate Napa with bold and plump cabernet sauvignon, one of the recent developments is the move beyond this widely recognized red grape. Winemakers who have decades of experience during Napa’s formative years have recently opted to shift focus.
The result is a network of boutique, family-owned wineries sprinkled throughout the region, growing grapes and making wine in tiny lots and often selling it for less than half of many Napa cab sauvs. This diversity has made Napa an exciting place for wine drinkers to visit, offering something for every single palate. The best times to visit Napa are between March and May when spring is in full bloom, or late summer for harvest season. If it’s your first time, downtown Napa is where you want to be these days, a place renowned for its gorgeous vineyards, fine dining restaurants and quaint towns. Until the last handful of years, you’d bypass Napa proper on the way to Rutherford vineyards and towns like Yountville to experience the best of the Valley’s bounty, but thanks to a young entrepreneurial spirit, that’s all changed. f For more great travel content, check out our sister magazine, escapism Toronto. escapism.to
The quickest option for getting to Napa Valley is to take a direct flight from Toronto into San Francisco International Airport (approx 5.5 hours). From there, Napa is just over an hour by car. If you prefer to avoid driving, there are many airport shuttles like California Wine Tours and Evan’s Transportation. californiawinetours. com, evanstransportation.com
This spot is an irreverent millennial interpretation of the wine bar and the embodiment of downtown Napa’s youthful energy. In a laneway location, it’s an oasis from wine’s stilted pretension where the rotating by-the-glass menu is as eclectic as the vinyl soundtrack. They pour underappreciated local and international grape varieties and have a top-notch craft beer and cider list. Most importantly, friendly staff use their knowledge to evangelize and act as beverage matchmakers. During the week it’s a place to explore the world of wine. On weekends, everyone joins the house party to unwind the week’s stresses.
THE CIA AT COPIA Working happy hour is the key to making the most of downtown Napa’s renaissance. Plan it right and you can enjoy a taste of Napa’s best for about the price of a main and glass of wine. Start at the Restaurant at CIA Copia for a glass of vino or a classic cocktail that would have Jerry Thomas reaching for a pen. Pair it with the Mediterranean tapas-like snacks from the menu highlighting the Valley’s delicious seasonal produce. Then to Carpe Diem, a wine bar that brews small batch beers. Finally, grab a seat at Basalt’s marble-topped bar or riverfront patio to people-watch and enjoy the southern comfort meets California cuisine.
Among the big guys in Rutherford, St. Supéry Winery, owned by the iconic cosmetic and fashion brand Chanel, has one of Napa’s most elegant and modern tasting rooms. With some of the Valley’s most beautiful gardens and Napa Green certified vineyards and winery, it’s a fine showcase of 21st century Napa’s commitment to leave the smallest footprint getting the grapes into the bottle. It’s also all about modern Napa’s approach to wine appreciation with experiential tastings offering a little extra education like wine identification and pairings with vegetarian cuisine.
BOTTLE SERVICE Shake things up in your sweatpants with the liqueurs, bitters, tonics and syrups needed to imbibe from inside. PHOTOGRAPHY BY KAILEE MANDEL ART DIRECTION BY APRIL TRAN
1 LUXARDO MARASCHINO LIQUEUR: It takes four years to produce this liqueur made from distilled Marasca cherries, a small slightly sour fruit. Sweet and snappy in flavour, Luxardo Maraschino can be mixed with orange juice for an incredibly simple, yet enjoyable, tipple. Add it to coffee or ice cream for an after-dinner treat. $29.95, lcbo.com 2 COINTREAU: Don’t let the bottle fool you, this zesty cordial pours crystal-clear. Made from distilled orange peels, Cointreau has a bitter-sweet flavour that can be used in classic cocktails like a sidecar, cosmopolitan or
a margarita as well as more creative citrusy sippers. $39.95, lcbo.com 3 ST-GERMAIN ELDERFLOWER LIQUEUR: The painstaking process of harvesting flavour from the delicate elderflower is well worth it for the unique taste of St-Germain. This herbal liqueur can elevate your champagne or take your white sangria recipe from good to great. Use it to create cocktails that are light, fresh and floral – just like the elderflower itself. $49.95, lcbo.com 4 BENEDICTINE: While the secret combination of 27 herbs and spices that go into making
Bénédictine remain a mystery, the flavours hint at nutmeg, clove, honey and ginger. Use this warm, citrusy liqueur to make more involved cocktails like a vieux carré or Singapore sling. $40.95, lcbo.com 5 CHAMBORD ROYALE: Concocted in a chateau in the eponymous French province, this velvety liqueur can be used in a Manhattan, margarita, French martini or a number of other tipples. Add to your favourite beer to freshen things up with its blackberry and raspberry flavours. Or mix with bubbly for an effervescent Chambord Royale cocktail, $42.65, lcbo.com
1 BAR 40 BITTERS UMAMI: Inspired by that unique, savoury flavour, these bitters can be used to balance the taste of your cocktail. Umami is great for taking the edge off sour flavours and adding oomph to your mixture. $19.95, cocktailemporium.com 2 TOP SHELF FRESHLY PRESSED BLUEBERRY BITTERS: These fruity bitters include rose hip and lavender to enhance their natural blueberry flavour. Add these to a cocktail that needs a boost of pleasantly sweet, tart flavour. $12, cocktailemporium.com
3 DILLONâ€™S DSB BITTERS: Like all Dillonâ€™s bitters, the DSB Bitters start with a base of Canadian Niagara grape distillate. Look out for hints of cloves, allspice, vanilla and cassia in this mix of locally-grown cherries and 11 herbs and spices. $16.95, cocktailemporium.com 4 KINSIP ORANGE BITTERS: Kinsip Bitters are made in Prince Edward County with natural ingredients, including honey, for a light sweetness. Try these in a martini or Manhattan for a more complex flavour, or add a citrusy drop to any other classic cocktail. $17.95, cocktailemporium.com Photography:
1 3/4 OZ. TONIC MAISON: Montreal-based duo, Alexandrine Lemaire and Hannah Palmer, created a line of cocktail accoutrements in response to the high calibre of spirits on the market. This tonic, which extracts quinine from cinchona bark, lives up to its goal. $25.95, cocktailemporium.com 2 PORTERâ€™S HIBISCUS TONIC SYRUP: After launching their Original Tonic in 2013, this Canadian company has expanded to four flavours, including the deliciously tart Hisbiscus. Add the allnatural, handcrafted tonic to gin or prosecco. $17.95, cocktailemporium.com
3 LES CHARLATANS CUCUMBER & TARRAGON TONIC: G&T fans, unite. This QuĂŠbec blend of quinine, fresh cucumber and tarragon is intended to be used not just by cocktail lovers, but also those who want to be more adventurous with their cooking. $14.95, cocktailemporium.com 4 THE THIRD PLACE ELDERFLOWER TONIC SYRUP: A Newfoundland pair provides a much-needed accompaniment to the often overlooked, clean and neutraltasting vodka. Citrus and Earl Grey tea adds notes of orange, lemon and bergamot. $24, cocktailemporium.com
Wednesdays from 4pm Saturdays from 5pm with purchase of a bottle of wine while supplies last!
$34 steak frites: home game days from 5pm 'til puck drop
half price select bottles Wednesday and Sunday evenings
Park it! $2 parking after 5:30pm
4 Front Street East â€˘ www.biffsbistro.com â€˘ (416) 860-0086
PARTNER IN WINE
We enjoyed a tapas tasting menu paired with signature wines in the company of thirdgeneration winemaker Daniel Castaño and foodism readers.
Photography: Sandro Pehar
In late November, we headed down to the Distillery District for a tasting dinner at Madrina, the neighbourhood's newest food spot. The Spanish restaurant, helmed by top chef Ramon Simarro, paired Castaño wines with an incredible selection of tapas for a group of lucky foodism readers. From the Castaño Tintito cocktail paired with delicious hors-d'oeuvres like 48-month cured Iberico ham to Castaño Hecula Monastrell with grilled octopus, we enjoyed flowing signature wines from Castaño long into the evening. azureau.com
GOURMET GAMING The Rec Room might be well known for its entertainment and state-of-the-art gaming – but their unique dining options and culinary creations are every bit as thrilling.
brunch, served every weekend from 11 am to 3 pm, or sip on Canadianinspired cocktails, as well as local and international brews and wine by the glass or bottle, with friends after work. If you're looking for low-key dining, The Shed offers comfort food classics – choose from pizza by the foot from one of the country's largest wood-fired ovens, and poutine made with Canadian potatoes, including flavours like wild mushroom and rotisserie chicken. Or grab a glazed and topped gourmet donut from sweet emporium, The Pumps. With a world of adventurous dining options to choose from, it's time you unlocked new culinary levels on your next trip to The Rec Room. ● To find out more about The Rec Room, head to therecroom.com.
WIN A DINNER DATE AT THE REC ROOM
We're giving away a $200 gift card for the Rec Room so you can check out the amazing food on offer. Dine at THREE10 and enjoy diverse flavours from across Canada. Or indulge in some pizza by the foot at The Shed. The prize also includes two $25 game bands. Choose from over 80 games including Pac-Man and Mario Kart, and play while tracking your credits. For a full list of terms and conditions and to enter visit: foodism.to/ competitions
Photography: Kayla Rocca
HE REC ROOM, a giant entertainment complex housed in Toronto’s heritage roundhouse, has been offering thrills and spills since it opened in 2017. But the food on offer at the 40,000 square foot playground goes way beyond pizza pockets and the usual gamer grub. Inspired by the flavours and diversity of Canada's landscape, the culinary crew working behind the buzzing screens and high scores at this gaming hotspot have created handcrafted and exciting dishes. THREE10, named after Canada's three territories and ten provinces, uses only the best and freshest ingredients for some homegrown grazing that's worth making a reservation for alone. Enjoy a winner's breakfast at
Where we’ve been, what we ate and everything we’re loving these days.
HOT STOVE CLUB
Taylor Newlands, Editorial Assistant
Suresh Doss, Editor-at-Large
Krista Faist, Publisher
During an excellent stay at Bisha Hotel, in their two-storey suite, I ventured up to Kōst on the 44th floor. Pronounced “coast”, the restaurant exudes beachside California vibes and offers panoramic views of Toronto and its environs. Dining on charcoal grilled octopus, green chorizo meatballs and a smoked short rib, I basked in the Baja-inspired atmosphere and sipped on sangria.
Recently, I had the chance to visit the Hot Stove Club in the Scotiabank Arena for a pre-game meal on Raptors night. HSC looks and feels like the premium clubs and restaurants in major US arenas. Book a table to take in the labyrinth spanning three bars, a lounge area and a luxe dining section where you can feast on raw seafood or dryaged beef before tipoff.
As the year wound down, I was excited to take the team away for some R&R. Finding the time to organize something proved difficult until I stumbled on Retreatify. After finding us a beautiful waterfront cottage in Gravenhurst, these folks took care of everything from stocking our fridge and organizing transport to extras like a private chef hire and a trip out to Muskoka Brewery. Bliss!
F L AVOUR OF THE WE E K Coffee Oysters Champagne; 214 King St. W. Set inconspicuously below street level next to the Royal Alex, COC is giving Torontonians an “excuse to feel boujee on the regular”. But with surprises around every corner, the fancy lounge is anything but ordinary. The decor is reminiscent of a Parisian bistro – and as you tuck into the titular coffee, oysters and plentiful champagne, you could believe you’re in the 6th arrondissement and not on
King Street West if you squint a little. COC offers the largest selection of “sparkles” in the city – but even if you’re not a fan of bubbles, you’ll want to check out their champagne fridge at the back of the restaurant (trust us on this one). Chris Wilkinson (Broadview Hotel) has created an exciting, refined and accessible menu. As expected, the three pillars of COC are well represented. The oyster selection changes daily and comes with a variety of dressings, from the usual mignonette and lemon suspects all the way through to the more surprising (but no less appetizing) duck and sherry combo.
15% OFF AT MELITTA To help you start your Melitta coffee education, we're giving foodism readers 15 per cent off all products, store wide. Choose from their signature series and pastel-hued heritage pour-over coffeemakers, flavour-enhancing coffee filters or a bag of rich and smooth coffee beans. To get 15 per cent off your Melitta products, use this exclusive code for foodism readers: FOODISMVIP15
BREW CAN DO IT
Melitta – innovators of the pour-over method and the #1 coffee filter in the world – are in pursuit of a richer, smoother and better tasting cup of java.
S EVERYONE WHO works in the city knows, it’s easy to rack up a coffee tab. Between a morning cup sipped on the subway to that afternoon pick-me-up to stave off a case of the sleepys, it's not long until we’re on first name terms with our barista. If you’re looking for a less expensive, but no less delicious way to make great coffee at home, Melitta is your new best friend. The pour-over method is the preferred practice for coffee experts, with only three steps standing between you and your perfect cup. The creation of the pour-over method is proof that necessity really is the mother of invention. In 1908, German homemaker, Melitta Bentz – a savvy businesswoman years ahead of her
time – took matters into her own hands to ensure that the grounds stayed out of her coffee. After punching holes in the bottom of a brass pot, she placed a piece of her son’s blotting paper on top. Scooping fresh coffee on the paper, she filled the pot with hot water and poured a clean cup of coffee, creating the cone filtration system still popular today. Start the process with a Melitta filter – the #1 coffee filter in the world – with micro perforations that keep the oils and bitterness out and the delicious coffee aromas in. Place inside your pourover cone and add freshly ground coffee. Finally, pour hot water over the grounds, and pack your lunch while you wait for that smooth, clean tasting cup of coffee. Without a state-of-the-art coffee
machine, it’s impossible to guarantee a consistent cup – meaning that while Tuesday’s brew might take you to coffee nirvana, the following day’s batch could fail to hit the spot. Pour-over coffee ensures better flavour and greater extraction every time and lets you control how you take your java. Need another perk? Using a Melitta coffee filter is better for the environment than your usual coffee-run. In addition to being custom designed to ensure optimal agitation, the filters are also 100 per cent naturally compostable. Life is full of tough decisions, but making the switch to pour-over is the only daily grind you need to know about. ● To learn more about Melitta coffee, head to shop.melitta.ca.
Everything that’s new and interesting in Toronto’s food-and-drink scene.
TO ON THE OT 100
Online restaurant reservation booking system, OpenTable, has released its list of the 100 Best Restaurants in Canada for 2018. Decided by diners who use the reservation tool, the list is compiled from more than 500,000 reviews of over 2,500 restaurants. Toronto eateries secured the most mentions with long-established favourites and some new kids on the block. DaiLo, La Banane, Mira, Shoushin, Bar Isabel and ONE Restaurant were just a few to make the cut.
FRESH CATCH The Fish Store & YuNes’ Sandwiches has reopened for the first time since a fire broke out in 2018. The casual restaurant near College and Grace, known for its seafood burritos and fish sandwiches, had to close after a fire engulfed three businesses and halted the popular Taste of Little Italy Festival. No injuries were reported after the fire. However, neighbouring eateries Ghazale, a falafel-peddling Middle Eastern spot, and Italian restaurant Vivoli are yet to reopen their doors.
PIZZA PRONTO Canada’s first pizza vending machine is making it a whole lot easier to get your hands on 4 a.m. (or anytime) pizza. The Pizza Forno’s automated system allows you to choose from four different selections including pepperoni, four cheese and barbecue chicken. The 12inch pizzas are cooked in three minutes flat and then dispensed inside of a box for easy takeaway. There are already two operational machines in Corktown and Yorkville, plus one more further afield in Mississauga at Dixie Outlet Mall and more on the way.
Photography: Fish Store and Pizza by Adrianna Madore
Plans are underway for a new marketplace near Bathurst and Front this spring. Stackt will feature over 100 shipping containers housing more than 30 different businesses, including restaurants, shops, bars and Belgian Moon Brewery. Spanning three shipping containers, the brewhouse will be the star, producing small-batch brews not found at the LCBO. The 2.6 acre plot is due to become a park in the future.
ON CLOUD NINE
We kicked off the holidays with a not-so-silent night at the top of the CN Tower.
ALL THE WAY UP To celebrate the season, we gathered 200 of our nearest and dearest to get high – 1,136 ft high above the city on the LookOut Level of the CN Tower. We celebrated the season by sipping on chardonnay from Jacob’s Creek, gin and tonics from Ungava and Fever-Tree, Manhattans courtesy of Crown Royal, and Peroni. Photography: Kennedy Pollard
Meanwhile, the CN Tower’s executive chef, John Morris created a menu of locally-sourced and delicious bites that kept us satiated all night. Thanks to Niagara Parks, one lucky winner took home tickets to an exclusive dinner and parkwide passes.
February is the month when we stop fighting winter and fall in love with the indoors. Take a cooking class, dig into a bowl of pasta or go for the full poutine.
OW THAT WE’VE collectively failed our healthy-eating resolutions, it’s time to attack the bitterly cold months of Canadian winter in the only way we know how: hibernation mode. It’s time to cozy up, carb up and nix all plans that involve setting foot outside, unless we absolutely have to (Dramatic? Us?).
There’s never been a better time to conquer the kitchen and there are tons of great classes around the city. Whether you’re looking to make macarons, roll sushi or learn how to butcher beef, there’s a class for every interest and level of expertise. Once you’ve mastered your craft, it’s time to compare your cooking with some of the city’s best dishes. Bundle up and head
directly to Toronto’s best purveyors of pasta. Whether it’s duck ragu, mushroom ravioli or carbonara, these bowls will give you the warm hug and burst of energy you require. Or let our national dish of fries, cheese curds and gravy provide snowy solace. From classic Quebecois-style poutine to signature jerk chicken varieties, there’s enough complex carbs for everyone. f
1. THE DEPANNEUR This cozy, multi-purpose hub hosts an eclectic line-up of foodie events, ranging from speakers and supper club dinners to a regular weekend brunch. On Sunday and Monday (and occasionally Tuesday) evenings, classes tackle basic culinary
techniques like knife skills, as well as more niche topics like homemade sauerkraut. The space also features a regular “Lunch and Learn” series, which gives participants the chance to enjoy the fruits of their newly-learned culinary skills. thedepanneur.ca
3. MADAME GATEAUX At this Danforth kitchenware shop, Noel Yim, former pastry chef at the Windsor Arms Hotel, teaches techniques like the fundamentals of French macarons. Plus they do hands-on workshops for parents and kids. As an extra perk, ingredients and tools are included in the price. madamegateaux.ca
2. DISH COOKING STUDIO Three formats of classes allow you to try your hand at making a threecourse meal, dividing into groups to create different components of a four-course meal or focus on cultivating one particular skill. Date night classes
offer a romantic spin on this handson experience. Ramen 101, Dim Sum Brunch and Date Night: Cooking with Craft Beer are some of the many diverse options on Dish’s calendar. Be sure to book ahead – popular classes sell out in advance. dishcookingstudio.com
4. THE HEALTHY BUTCHER Held at both Eglinton and Queen West locations, classes cover topics like butchering whole beef, poultry techniques like deboning and trussing, along with the basics of preparing cured meats for charcuterie platters. thehealthybutcher.com
Sharpen your kitchen skills and whisk up a storm with our top picks for culinary classes for beginners.
5. SUSHI MAKING FOR THE SOUL Chef Sang Kim has been teaching sushimaking since 2008. Classes begin with etiquette and the history of sushi. Basic sessions cover several types of sushi rolls, while more advanced lessons dive into nigiri- and sashimi-making. sushimakingforthesoul.com
Nothing warms a Canadian soul like poutine from these top Toronto slingers of the fries-and-gravy treat. 1. POUTINI’S This poutine purveyor offers several iterations of the Canadian classic. The traditional poutine is always the base with add-ons like bacon, sour cream, pulled pork or smoked meat. Poutini’s layered poutine has extra curds in
the middle so you don’t run out of cheese halfway through. For maximum squeakiness, Poutini’s cheese curds are delivered fresh from Maple Dale Farms every other day. Both vegan gravy and cheese are available for a plant-based poutine experience. poutini.com
3. BYMARK The Wellington Street staple offers contemporary takes on classics and comfort food. Their butter-braised lobster poutine has crisp golden frites topped with juicy crustacean chunks and béarnaise sauce. The underground space makes this spot extra cozy during the winter. bymark.mcewangroup.ca
4. CHRIS JERK
2. MOO FRITES Billed as having some of the best fries in the city, this Kensington Market spot makes their Belgian-style thick-cut frites and their dipping sauces in house. The classic poutine features their crispyon-the-outside-fluffy-on-the-inside fries
slathered in beef-fat gravy. If you’re in the mood for something out of the ordinary, try the Malaysian curry beef brisket poutine or one of their loaded fry options – including Japo frites piled high with seaweed, sesame, Japanese mayo and wasabi mayo. moofrites.com
Caribbean bistro, Chris Jerk puts a West Indian twist on this Canadian favourite. Their poutine is covered in shredded cheese, coated with house-made gravy and topped with their signature shawarma – thin slices of Jamaican jerk chicken carved off of a vertical rotisserie in the shawarma style. @chrisjerkcb
5. LESLIEVILLE PUMPS Specializing in southern-style barbecue this general-store-cum-restaurant serves a menu of classics. The poutine is doused in dark gravy made with smoker jus and topped with mozzarella and cheddar cheese curds. Order the loaded poutine with smoked pulled pork. leslievillepumps.com
1. CAMPAGNOLO Open since the turn of the decade, Craig Harding’s home base is known for doing simple Italian food superbly. You can’t go wrong with any of the pasta plates on the menu at this snug Dundas West spot, but the house-made spaghetti
all’amatriciana is a fan-favourite for very good reason. For a richer dish, the ricotta cavatelli with lamb ragu calabrese, pecorino and mint, or the white bean cappellacci with parsley root and brown butter are also great noodle options. campagnolotoronto.com
3. VIAGGIO Helmed by the pair behind the Commodore, Jon Vettraino is putting his heritage and travels to good use with a menu that puts an emphasis on northern Italy. Top pick: the ultrabuttery snow crab tagliatelle, topped with honey mushrooms and edamame. viaggiorestaurant.ca
2. WYNONA The only thing better than a big bowl of pasta is a delicious glass of Italian vino to match. Wynona, a beautiful restaurant and wine bar in Leslieville, has a well curated list spanning from Old World to skin-contact wines. Pair a
glass with chef Jeff Bovis’s Ontario corn agnolotti with chive and summer truffle or the spaghetti topped with creamy stracciatella, bottarga, zucchini and chili. Order a side of grilled house foccacia to mop up that pasta sauce – you won’t regret it. wynonatoronto.com
4. GIULIETTA Rob Rossi mended broken hearts when he opened Giulietta in the Bestellen space. Order a sharing plate and prepare to dig into delicious pizza, yummy salads, octopus and, of course, pasta. Highlights include the classic cacio e pepe and the slow cooked oxtail ragu pappardelle masterpiece. giu.ca
PRINCES OF PASTA
Wrap your fork in the noodles from these five top spots and you’ll forget that summer is months away.
5. ORETTA The pasta is our favourite reason to visit Oretta. Their executive chef Christian Fontolan was born in Torino; his heritage and expertise is apparent in dishes like the anelletti al forno with duck ragu, bechamel, caciocavallo cheese, or the ricotta ravioli with mushrooms, porcini sauce and truffle oil. oretta.to
LEMONS: If you find the meat intimidating, add a splash of citrus to liven it up.
DUMPLINGS: Hungarian nokedli (dumplings) are an essential component to the platter, complementing the heaviness of the meat and the sweetness from the beets.
HOME FRIED POTATOES: While Country Style is known for their fried meat, the home fries offer a reprieve from the protein with a crunchy shell and creamy inside.
WIENER SCHNITZEL: A thin veal cutlet is coated with bread crumbs and pan fried to give it a crisp shell while keeping the meat properly moist. DEBRECENER SAUSAGES: Named after the Hungarian city, the sausages are smoked and spiced with paprika and pepper.
Country Style Hungarian Restaurant, 450 Bloor St. W.
BEETS: Sliced pickled beets add a slight sweetness and palate-cleansing acid to the mountain of meat, and an earthy texture.
PARISIAN SCHNITZEL: While similar to the wiener schnitzel, the Parisian version is inspired by French cuisine. Veal is beaten thin and then dipped in an egg and flour batter making it a fluffier and crunchier counterpart.
Country Style Hungarian Restaurant has helped Torontonians beat the cold weather blues since the 60s. Here we present their epic meat platter.
Restaurant quality at home. For recipes, visit eatwithriserva.ca
Restaurant quality at home.
For recipes, visit eatwithriserva.ca