T O R O N T O , O N E B I T E AT A T I M E
SAUERKRAUT WITH CLOUT.
Serve up a dish that’s as flavourful as it is hearty. Our Alsatian-style PC® Black Label Sauerkraut with Smoked Pork is traditionally prepared with white wine and juniper berries, perfect for a Choucroute Garnie. This recipe calls for October wurst sausage, thick cut bacon, kielbasa slices, potatoes and a side of PC® mustard, for a tasty meal with a big helping of comfort.
Choucroute Garnie INGREDIENTS 4
yellow-fleshed potatoes (about 1 lb/500 g)
2 tbsp (25 mL)
PC® Black Label Goose Fat
small onion, thinly sliced
clove garlic, thinly sliced
¾ cup (175 mL) dry Riesling wine 1 pkg (500 g)
PC® Black Label Sauerkraut with Smoked Pork, drained and squeezed of excess liquid
180 g (6 oz)
kielbasa sausage, cut into ¼-inch (0.5 cm) thick rounds
PC® Old Fashion Style Naturally Smoked Extra Thick Cut Bacon
PC® October Wurst Fully Cooked Pork Sausages
3 tbsp (45 mL)
chopped fresh parsley
instructions Place potatoes in large saucepan; add enough cold salted water to cover by at least 1 inch (2.5 cm). Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer; cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and keep warm. Meanwhile, heat separate large saucepan over medium heat. Add goose fat; cook onion and garlic, stirring often, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Add wine; cook until liquid is reduced by half, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in sauerkraut and kielbasa; reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover and cook, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add bacon; cook, turning once, until crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate. Remove all but 1 tbsp bacon fat from pan. Add whole sausages; cook over medium heat, turning, until browned all over, about 5 minutes. Remove to cutting board; cut each in half on slight bias. Add to sauerkraut mixture for remainder of its cooking time, at least 10 minutes. Cut bacon in half crosswise. Peel skin from potatoes; cut potatoes into quarters. Remove kielbasa and sausage from sauerkraut mixture; set aside. Stir parsley into sauerkraut mixture; mound in centre of shallow serving platter. Arrange kielbasa, sausages, potatoes and bacon around sauerkraut.
Find all our recipes at pc.ca/blacklabel
All trademarks & logos are trademarks of Loblaws Inc. ©2016 Loblaws Inc. All rights reserved.
WAKE UP TO THE PERFECT FIRST CUP
What pairs best with the most decadent of mornings? The perfect Nespresso coffee. And what pairs best with a rich, smooth, crema-topped cup? One of a kind, top chef breakfast recipe creations, of course. Weâ€™re thrilled to have partnered with top Montreal chefs Olivier Perret and Roland Del Monte (Meilleur Ouvrier de France) of Renoir restaurant. Their perfectly paired, Nespresso coffeeâ€“inspired recipes make your morning holiday table not only one to remember, but one to savour.
For these coffee-inspired recipes and other holiday inspiration, visit
Suresh Doss COPY EDITOR
Jon Sufrin WRITERS
Andrea Yu, Jessica Dawdy CONTRIBUTING EDITOR
Design ART DIRECTOR
Matthew Hasteley LEAD DESIGNER
Abigail Robinson PHOTOGRAPHERS
Ryan Faist, Kailee Mandel, Esther Katzman, Sandro Pehar CONTRIBUTORS
Peter Sanagan, Renée S. Suen, Sarah Parniak, Michael Di Caro ADVERTISING
Darren Wells, Andrew Davies MARKETING & PR
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Krista Faist CHAIRMAN
foodism uses paper from sustainable sources
My first introduction to the greasy spoon diner was many years ago in Scarborough. After a night out on the town, a friend invited me one early Sunday morning to Markham Station, Scarborough’s most popular diner. It had an all-day breakfast for under $5. I was hooked, and Markham Station became a ritual. In this issue, Sarah Parniak looks into the nostalgic appeal of diner culture (p. 62) and how Toronto’s old school greasy spoons are slowly dying. Nostalgia is a powerful thing, so we’ve introduced a new column this month: the Nostalgist (p. 89), an ode to eateries that have shaped Toronto’s current dining scene. Coincidentally, my first diner experience was during the holiday season. And we have loosely adhered to a holiday theme for this issue. Our spirits section (p. 80) is stocked with gift ideas, whether you’re buying for a seasoned whisky drinker or a craft beer nerd. Michael Di Caro (p. 74) waxes poetic about Ontario’s burgeoning bubbly industry. In a superbly multicultural city like ours, holiday feasting goes way beyond the traditional turkey dinner. Renée S. Suen looks at how four families draw from their respective cultures to create unique global holiday dinners (p. 36). Whether your family gathering this holiday season is centered around a turkey or a Filipino kamayan-style feast, we hope you find some inspiration in this issue. And we hope your holidays are delicious. f
T O R O N T O , O N E B I T E AT A T I M E
FRONT COVER: Photography by Ian Dingle Art direction by Matthew Hasteley
GRAZE 012 THE FOODIST 016 DAYTRIPPER 019 THE RADAR 020 WEAPONS OF CHOICE
036 MULTINATIONAL FEASTS 046 HUNTERS AND GATHERERS 056 THE BOURDAIN EFFECT 062 END OF AN ERA 068 MIXOLOGY
EXCESS 074 BUBBLING OVER
080 WINTER WARMERS foodismto
086 ESCAPISM 089 THE NOSTALGIST
© Foodism Toronto 2016. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. All information contained in this magazine is, as far as we are aware, correct at the time of going to press. Foodism Toronto cannot accept responsibility for errors or inaccuracies in such information. If you submit unsolicited material to us, you automatically grant Foodism Toronto a licence to publish your submission in whole or in part in all editions of the magazine. All material is sent at your own risk and although every care is taken, neither Foodism Toronto nor its employees, agents or subcontractors shall be held liable resulting for loss or damage. Foodism Toronto endeavours to respect the intellectual property of the owners of copyrighted material reproduced herein. If you identify yourself as the copyright holder of material we have wrongly attributed, please contact the office.
012 THE FOODIST | 016 DAYTRIPPER | 019 THE RADAR 020 WEAPONS OF CHOICE | 024 RECIPES | 033 PETER SANAGAN
— PART 1 —
GRAZE “THE THING ABOUT RAW OYSTERS IS THAT THEY ARE PERFECT.” THE FOODIST, 012
THE FOODIST As peak oyster season arrives in Toronto, Jon Sufrin makes a case for seafood purity
LONG TIME AGO, some brave soul became the first human to grasp an oyster, smash it open and eat the grey-green treasure inside. It must have been a strange, confounding experience. Oysters taste and look so unusual that sometimes they seem like they belong on an alien planet. For many of us in modern day Toronto, oysters are a gateway to more challenging cuisine. Everything about them is unexpected: the texture, the aroma, the taste. At first they seem gross, then, when you get used to them, they become the best. Consuming a briny, crisp oyster from the East Coast is like ingesting the Platonic form of ocean. West Coast ones are more complicated. Sometimes they’re fruity like watermelon rind or cantaloupe, and sometimes they’re bursting with seaweed umami. When you taste them, your pulse quickens. The thing about raw oysters is that they are perfect. Nature has given us a flawless dab of sea essence sealed in its own case. The oyster cannot be improved upon, and if you try, you’re probably going to throw everything out of whack. Yet for every tray of oysters served around the city, you can be sure there will also be a bottle of Tabasco nearby. Or maybe something pickled, or a pile of horseradish, or slices of lemon. Whatever it is, there’s a good chance it’s drowning out all the magic that makes oysters great. Garnishes. They seem nice, but they are the bane of true oyster appreciation.
Sometimes in our quest for bigger and better flavours, we explore only outwards. More sauce. More seasoning. More spice. Often, though, the problem is within us. Are we paying enough attention? Are we being sensitive enough to notice subtlety? We might be at the dinner table in theory, but we might actually somewhere else in our minds. With peak oyster season about to hit, I suggest an experiment. Try eating oysters with nothing. Not even lemon. This is the perfect time for it. As oysters prepare for winter’s deep freeze, they fatten up and store their energy in the form of glycogen, which gives them extra sweetness. I understand that all taste is subjective and everyone wants their own thing. But as we head out to Ceili Cottage, Rodney’s or Honest Weight this winter, it can’t hurt to just give the unadorned oyster thing a shot. Try it for your next two oyster sessions. Hold the oyster in your hand. Smell it. Put it in your mouth. Chew it. (Yes, you should chew it.) Pay attention: the flavours will change. Note any bodily sensations. Be present, find oyster samadhi. If the desire for Tabasco returns after this little test, so be it. Nothing was lost. There is a chance for something to be gained, however. Possibly something huge. Maybe you’ll appreciate oysters more than you ever have. Or maybe you’ll discover that you can use that “paying attention” trick any time to make eating better in general. Crazy, right? f
TOR ONTO’S TOP PAST RY C HE F S
1 YASMIN JOHAADIEN Centennial College As a professor of baking and pastry at Centennial College, Yasmin Johaadien is ushering in Toronto’s next generation of confectioners. She also worked at Gordon Ramsay’s Maze in London, and for two years she was executive pastry chef at Buca, where her espresso-tinged tiramisu was to die for.
BERTRAND ALÉPÉE The Tempered Room
Born in Paris, Bertrand Alépée enrolled in culinary school at 15 and worked under top-tier French chefs such as Guy Savoy and Alain Ducasse. His ridiculously flaky croissants are not to be missed.
Garnished with a creative twist on bacon, this flavourful White Peach Bourbon Shrub with Candied Bacon cocktail recipe combines bourbon and fresh thyme with a tart–sweet duo of PC® Black Label White Peach Condiment and PC® Black Label Simple Syrup Cocktail Mixer. Bourbon and bacon meet their match in this candied cocktail. Find all our recipes at pc.ca/blacklabel All trademarks & logos are trademarks of Loblaws Inc. ©2016 Loblaws Inc. All rights reserved.
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LOCAL HEROES 3
Toronto’s quintessential bad-boy chef has a sphere of influence that goes way beyond pastry. He helmed the kitchens at Centro and the Fifth in their halcyon days, and countless young chefs cite him as a mentor. Nowadays Petite Thuet, his King Street bakery and pastry shop, has become a destination for croissants and other baked goods. It also supplies a sizable chunk of the city’s restaurants with freshly baked bread.
NADÈGE NOURIAN Nadège Patisserie
When Nadège Nourian, a fourth generation pastry chef from France, opened her eponymous bakery on Queen West in 2009, Toronto was floored. The city had never seen baked goods that were as pretty, as tasty and as authentic as hers. Since then she has opened three additional locations across Toronto. Her macarons, croissants and cakes — each crafted as if it were an individual work of art — are the stuff of legend.
OUR FAVOURITE NEW-SCHOOL BAGEL SHOPS
SIMIT AND CHAI CO.
Anthony Rose’s Jewish food emporium on Dupont Street has quickly established itself as the city’s gold standard, with over 50 different ingredients available for custom bagel-building, such as smoked sturgeon, kippered salmon and caviar
The downtown choice for getting freshly baked, Montreal-style, woodfired bagels. Earthy and chewy, these bagels are boiled in honey water before hitting the oven and come in a half-dozen delicious forms, including poppy seed, coconut, sesame seed and onion.
This King West café specializes in the Turkishstyle bagel known as simit. The dense and chewy variety is rolled in molasses and seeds and is stuffed with the likes of smoked fish, cream cheese or olive paste. Pairs well with a strong cup of Turkish coffee.
STEPHANIE DUONG Roselle Bakery
Up-and-comer Stephanie Duong is poised to make a lasting mark in Toronto. The George Brown grad has travelled the world to hone her craft, working at restaurants such as Regis et Jacques Marcon in France and L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Hong Kong (both triple Michelin-starred). Roselle Desserts — the shop she owns with her partner, Bruce Lee — puts out some of city’s the most meticulously produced eclairs and caramels.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Other must-try spots
The time to visit Hamilton is now. This port city is undergoing a culinary renaissance, with great new restaurants bursting from all sides
SNACKS AND DRINKS
Smalls Coffee; 8 Cannon St. E. This tiny café does hot and cold coffee drinks with beans roasted by Detour. The lattes and iced coffees are especially good. smalls.coffee
Hamilton is obsessed with cocktails and snack bars set to grungy Victorian aesthetics and rock ‘n’ roll soundtracks. These two hot spots are where it’s at.
◆◆ Black Sheep
Snack Bar; 187 Ottawa St. N. If there’s one Hamilton snack bar you should check out it’s this one. The menu defies categorization, but it’s filled with tasty, booze-friendly edibles, from duck taquitos to kimchi hot dogs. blacksheep snackbar.com
◆◆ Nique; 30 Vine St.
Ex-Toronto chef Harrison Hennick is behind Hamilton’s newest restaurant. Its sharing-style menu is a mix of Canadiana and Asianinspired cuisine. Standouts include sushi nachos, Cambodian-style calamari and smoked beef ribs. niquerestaurant.ca
Uno Mas; 150 James
Fine dining without the fuss. A steady cluster of seasoned chefs and restaurateurs is setting the stage for the future of Hamilton’s dining scene.
◆◆ Berkeley North; 31
King William St. This West Coastinspired restaurant, set in a gorgeous, century-old heritage building, features some of the most vibrant cooking in the city. Try ALL the seafood dishes. Very veg-friendly. berkeleynorth.ca
St. S. Hamilton has a new pintxos and tapas bar, and it’s fantastic. The menu highlights all of the best classics from Spain, including a line of conservas (preserved seafood). unomasbar.ca
◆◆ Aberdeen Tavern;
432 Aberdeen Ave. The best dining experience in Hamilton is at this new Canadiana restaurant. The bistro-style menu is approachable, but it doesn’t pull any punches with flavour. The best wine list in the city. theaberdeen.ca
Lake Road Restaurant; 229 James St. N.
Part fine dining, part bistro. Get the chorizo-stuffed calamari, and don’t skip the cocktails. lakeroadrestaurant.ca
This Pistachio and Apricot Upside-Down Cake is as delicious as it is beautiful. Slice and enjoy as is, or with a dollop of whipped cream or scoop of PC® Black Label Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Ice Cream. Find all our recipes at pc.ca/blacklabel All trademarks & logos are trademarks of Loblaws Inc. ©2016 Loblaws Inc. All rights reserved.
Dining DRINKING GRAZING DINING TRENDING
THE RADAR We take you through our picks of the hottest new bar and restaurant openings in the city Grazing
SMOKE SI G NALS
Toronto can’t seem to get enough Texasstyle barbecue. The latest restaurant to join the trend is a new smokehouse on Dundas West. It serves brisket, pulled pork and hot sausages by the pound, along with sides, such as potato salad and coleslaw. Owner and pitmaster Nick ChenYin has added an Asian touch to the menu. smokesignalsbarbecue.ca
W HIT E L ILY DINE R
Diner classics get an elegant update at this new Riverside eatery. Founded by Ben Denham (former chef de cuisine at Electric Mud BBQ), the new spot serves up classic sandwiches – such as pastrami or a turkey club – along with a range of breakfasts, including southern-style (with corn grits, a biscuit and gravy) and Englishstyle (with bangers and hash browns). whitelilydiner.ca
SU PE R POINT
After months of anticipation, ex-Chantecler chef Jonathan Poon has opened his newest resto-bar on the Ossington strip. Poon is keeping things loose at this Italian-ish pizza parlour and snack bar. You can waltz out with a $5 slice or sit down for a dinner with house-made pasta or a 20-ounce rib-eye steak. There are magnums of sparkling wine on offer too, just in case. superpoint.ca
BAR VE R DE OPEN NOW
Shoppers dine in style on the top floor of Nordstrom, where floor-to-ceiling windows offer an impressive view over the Eaton Centre. Bar Verde’s menu of salads, flatbreads, sandwiches and entrées highlights fresh, local and organic ingredients (where possible) with a few Asian influences, too. The upscale touches are well-suited to the department store’s refined clientele. nordstrom.com
Concession Road restaurant has been rebooted into an Indian-themed gastropub. Grilled burgers share the menu with chicken tikka masala and lamb kebabs. helloji.ca
CA F É D E PA R I S OPEN NOW
Scarborough’s newest café specializes in organic matcha and coffee creations such as the Dutch latte freddo. But the real reason foodies have been flocking here is to dig into the delicious selection of desserts. cafedepariscanada.com
SA KS F OOD H A L L
The second Pusateri’s-Saks collab is nearly twice as large as the original one at Sherway Gardens. There are plenty of grab-andgo options to appeal to bustling office workers downtown. pusateris.com
WEAPONS OF CHOICE Essential kitchen gadgets to help you be the ultimate host this holiday season Photography by Ryan Faist
TAK E IT SL OW ALL-CLAD SLOW COOKER, $170 Not just a standard Crock-Pot, this slow cooker has all the programmable options a home cook could want for no-fuss preparation. all-clad.com Photograph by ###
PAN O F STE E L
SE AR ING U P
SPIR IT E D AWAY
1. ALL-CLAD STAINLESS SAUTÉ PAN, $420
2. FINEX 10” CAST IRON GRILL PAN, $200
3. ZWILLING PRÉDICAT DECANTER, $160
A multi-purpose sauté pan is every home cook’s dream. This one is great for foolproof browning, and it can be used for deep-frying, too. all-clad.com
A premium cast-iron pan with a heatresistant coiled handle. Guaranteed to make sure your meats and vegetables get a perfect sear. And it looks bad ass. finexusa.com
An elegant crystal decanter for your wine-connoisseur friends...
4. ZWILLING PRÉDICAT WHISKEY GLASSES, $70
...Plus handsome stemless glassware for your whiskey-connoisseur friends. zwilling.ca
BAK E O F F 1. KITCHENAID NESTING CERAMIC SET, $99 These casserole dishes are freezer safe and microwave safe, and they retain heat longer than their non-ceramic counterparts. kitchenaid.ca
LI GHT N ING FAST 2. THERMOWORKS THERMAPEN MK4, $130 When creating a holiday feast, the last thing you want is to waste time checking for optimal temperatures. The MK4 gives full readings in under three seconds. thermoworks.com
SP I C E IT UP 3. DRØM ASH-CARBON PEPPER SET, $100 These Scandinavian spice grinders are so sexy, they’re sure to turn heads at the dinner table. drompepper.com
1 3 2
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Preparation ◆◆ 2 hours
WINTER MAY BE COMING, BUT YOU CAN USE THIS RELISH TO ADD A TASTE OF SUMMER TO ALMOST ANYTHING
GET THE BOOK Taste of Persia by Naomi Duguid (Artisan Books, $50)
ING R E DIE NTS ◆◆ 1 pound garlic ◆◆ 1 pound walnuts or
walnut pieces ◆◆ 4 pounds red bell peppers ◆◆ 2 pounds fresh red
cayenne chilies ◆◆ ¾ cup ground blue fenugreek ◆◆ 1 cup ground coriander ◆◆ 1 pound kosher salt
EORGIANS MAKE RED ajika in the late summer or fall, when peppers are perfect and garlic still fresh,” says Naomi Duguid in her Taste of Persia cookbook. “And they make large quantities – it’s a way of capturing summer and preserving its intensity for use in the winter months. I learned this recipe in Tbilisi from an artist and free spirit named Chuka, and I brought back a huge jar of it in my checked luggage. It soon became my go-to condiment.”
1 Soak the garlic in water for an hour. 2 Meanwhile, rinse the walnuts, peppers and chilies and dry thoroughly. Cut the stems off the peppers and chilies. Cut lengthwise in half and remove and discard the seeds and ribs. Cut the peppers and chilies into approximately 1-inch pieces, discarding any imperfect bits, and then set them aside. 3 Drain and dry the garlic. Separate the heads into individual cloves and peel them. Set aside. 4 Check the walnuts and discard any that may be flawed. 5 Use a food processor to grind the paste. Start with some peppers and chilies, tossing in some walnuts and garlic from time to time. Transfer the paste to a large bowl as you go. Once all the ingredients are ground, add the fenugreek, coriander and salt and stir in. Cover the bowl with a cloth, and set aside at cool room temperature for 4 to 5 days. Stir several times to make sure the flavours blend together. 6 Transfer the paste to dry sterilized jars and seal tightly. Store in a cool place; the paste will keep for 1 year. Once it has been opened, be sure to store in the refrigerator. f
Photograph by Gentl and Hyers
SPICY FISH SALAD THIS USES POACHED SEAFOOD KICKED UP WITH WALNUTS, CHILIES, GARLIC AND POMEGRANATE SEEDS
F O O D I S M .T O
ING R E DIE NTS ◆◆ 2 or 3 bay leaves ◆◆ 5 garlic cloves, or to taste ◆◆ About 3 pounds whole
white-fleshed fish, or 2 pounds of fish fillets ◆◆ 2 cups walnuts ◆◆ 2 tbs white wine vinegar ◆◆ 1 tsp ground coriander ◆◆ 1 tsp ground blue fenugreek ◆◆ 1 tsp powdered dried marigold petals (optional) ◆◆ ½ tsp powdered red chilies ◆◆ ½ tsp thyme or dried summer savory ◆◆ 1 tsp sea salt, or to taste ◆◆ About 1 cup pomegranate seeds (optional) ◆◆ ½ cup coarsely chopped fresh coriander or dill ◆◆ 1 small red onion or 2 shallots, minced ◆◆ ½ cup coarsely chopped fresh coriander or dill
“ FIRST TASTED A version of fish
◆◆ 6 people
◆◆ 45 minutes
1 Pour 1⁄2 inch of water into a heavy skillet. Add the bay leaves and 3 of the garlic cloves and bring to just below a boil over medium heat. Slide in the
fish, cover, reduce heat and poach until the fish is barely cooked through, 5 to 10 minutes, turning it after 4 minutes. Remove the fish from the water and set aside on a plate to cool. Reserve the cooking broth. 2 If using whole fish, pull the flesh off the bones and discard the bones and skin. Separate the flesh into bite-size pieces, using your fingers or a knife. Set aside in a bowl. 3 Grind the walnuts to a fine powder in a food processor or in a large mortar. Mash the remaining 2 garlic cloves to a paste. Place the walnuts and garlic in a bowl, add the vinegar and about 1⁄4 cup of the reserved cooking broth and whisk until smooth. Add the coriander, fenugreek,
marigold petals, chilies, summer savory and salt and whisk again. The sauce should be pourable; if necessary, add a little more fish broth. 4 Pour the sauce over the fish and toss gently to coat it with dressing. If you’re using the pomegranate seeds, add them, reserving a few for the garnish, and mix gently. Let the salad stand for around 10 minutes, or up to an hour, before serving it to allow the flavours to blend together. 5 Just before serving, add the minced onion or shallots and the fresh herbs and toss gently to mix well. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Transfer to a platter or wide shallow bowl and sprinkle on the reserved pomegranate seeds, if using. f
Photograph by Gentl and Hyers
kuchmachi at a Palm Sunday fasting feast in Akhalkalaki, Georgia, hosted by the bishop of Javakheti,” says Duguid. “The guests, most of whom were keeping the Lenten fast (no animal products except for a few days when fish is permitted), were happy to be able to eat fish on this special day. Outside, the landscape was beautiful, with snow-capped peaks on the horizon. Not far away lay the borders with Turkey and Armenia.”
TORSHE KEBABS THESE PERSIAN MEAT SKEWERS ARE TENDER AND BURSTING WITH FLAVOUR
HE COMBINATION OF walnuts and pomegranate molasses is classic in Georgia, and also in northern Iran,” says Duguid. “This Persian marinade serves two purposes spectacularly. First, it makes the meat extremely tender. Second, it gives it an extraordinary flavour. And there’s a bonus, because the remaining marinade can be cooked up and used as a sauce for rice.”
1 To make the marinade, place the walnuts in a food processor and pulse them to smaller than raisin size. Add the remaining ingredients (minus the lamb) and pulse. Transfer everything to a large bowl. 2 Add the meat to the bowl and stir, turning to make sure all surfaces are coated with marinade. 3 Cover and set aside to marinate for at least 1 hour or as long as overnight;
refrigerate if the marinating time is more than 2 hours. 4 Preheat a charcoal or gas grill. Bring the meat up to room temperature before grilling. 5 Brush off most of the marinade and reserve. Thread the meat onto metal skewers so that the pieces are barely touching each other; this helps the meat cook evenly. Place the skewers 4 to 5 inches from the coals or flame and grill, turning occasionally, for 7 to 12 minutes, depending on the desired degree of doneness. 6 While the meat is grilling, pour the marinade into a small saucepan, add about 1⁄2 cup water, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste it and season with salt if you wish; if it is too tart, stir in a teaspoon of sugar or more to taste. You can stir in some tarragon leaves once it comes off the heat. Pour into a small serving bowl. f
F O O D I S M .T O
ING R E DIE NTS ◆◆ 1 cup whole walnuts or
walnut pieces ◆◆ ½ cup pomegranate
molasses ◆◆ 1 tsp sea salt ◆◆ 2 garlic cloves, mashed or
minced ◆◆ 2 tbs sunflower or extra-
virgin olive oil ◆◆ ½ cup minced fresh flat-leaf
parsley (optional) ◆◆ 2 pounds boneless lamb or
◆◆ 6 people
goat shoulder, or boneless beef top round or hanger steak, cut into 1-inch cubes ◆◆ 1 tsp sugar (optional) ◆◆ Fresh tarragon (optional)
◆◆ 2.5 hours
Photograph by Gentl and Hyers
A PASTRY MADE WITH WALNUT AND APRICOT THAT’S ESPECIALLY DELICIOUS TOPPED WITH HEAVY CREAM
◆◆ 10 people
◆◆ 1 hour
PASTRY ◆◆ 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour,
plus extra for surfaces ◆◆ 1/8 tsp baking soda ◆◆ 8 tbs (1 stick) cold butter
/3 to ½ cup sour cream, or substitute full-fat plain yogurt ◆◆ 1 to 2 tsp regular or pearl sugar for glazing
F IL L ING ◆◆ 1 large egg, separated ◆◆ ¾ cup sugar ◆◆ 1 cup finely ground walnuts ◆◆ 1 cup chopped dried apricots
(pieces about the size of small raisins) ◆◆ ¼ tsp ground cardamom
1 Place the flour and baking soda in a bowl and grate the butter into it. Rub the flour and butter together to make crumbs. Add 1⁄3 cup of the sour cream or yogurt and mix gently. Try to pull the pastry together; if it is too dry, add
a little more sour cream or yogurt and mix to make a slightly soft dough. 2 Pull the pastry together into a ball and flatten into a thick disc. Seal in plastic and refrigerate until you are ready to use it. 3 Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease it lightly. 4 Whisk the egg white in a medium bowl; set aside 1 teaspoon of it. 5 For the filling, add the sugar, the walnuts, the apricots and the cardamom to the remaining egg white and mix together well. Set it aside. 6 Place a cotton cloth on your work surface and dust it with flour. Flatten the pastry gently on the cloth. Use a
rolling pin to roll it into a rectangle measuring about 15 by 20 inches, with one of the 15-inch sides nearest to you. Spread the filling on it, leaving a generous 1-inch border on the side farthest away from you and a 1⁄2-inch border on the other three sides. Beat the egg yolk and brush it onto the exposed pastry edges. Use the cloth to lift the nearest pastry edge to you and roll it up like a jelly roll. Place seamside down on the lined baking sheet. 7 Brush the top of the pastry with the reserved egg white and sprinkle on a teaspoon or two of sugar. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until well-touched with gold. Let cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing. f
Photograph by Gentl and Hyers
HE NAME OF this terrific pastry from Georgia is paghlava, but it’s not the baklava of Turkey or Syria and Lebanon,” says Duguid. “It’s more like a cross between a strudel and baklava, with layers of pastry alternating with nuts and dried fruit. It’s a cousin of the Armenian puff pastry called gata and the Persian baqlava cookies from Yazd.”
With just a handful of exceptional ingredients, like burrata and nduja-stuffed fresh pasta, aged Parmigiano cheese and marinated artichokes, this Burrata Nduja Mezzelune with Yellow Tomato Sauce recipe is on the table and ready to enjoy in less than 30 minutes. This simple dish proves that itâ€™s anything but. Find all our recipes at pc.ca/blacklabel All trademarks & logos are trademarks of Loblaws Inc. ÂŠ2016 Loblaws Inc. All rights reserved.
WINE AND DINE
Stoneleigh and Campo Viejo are the most versatile wines for your holiday feast
A universal white STONELEIGH SAUVIGNON BLANC – MARLBOROUGH, NZ
“My go-to white wine for holiday entertaining is Stoneleigh Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand,” says celebrity chef Mark McEwan. “The wine is vibrant and crisp with grapefruit and passion fruit notes. It’s a great way to start off the evening and an easy way to impress your guests straight away.” This is a wine that guests can enjoy from the start of the evening until the last bite of dessert.
A bold red CAMPO VIEJO RESERVA – LA RIOJA, SPAIN
No holiday feast would be complete without the main attraction: a platter of
roast meat. To match the main course, choose a wine that will complement the meat’s bold flavours. Campo Viejo’s Reserva wine speaks loudly of ripe blackberries, cherries and black plums. It finishes off with a slight touch of cloves and black pepper. ●
YOU'RE IN LUCK From Nov. 27 to Jan. 2 in Ontario, grab bottles of Stoneleigh Sauvignon Blanc for $14.95 (regularly $17.95) and Campo Viejo Reserva for $15.95 (regularly $17.95).
Photography by Ryan Faist
LANNING A HOLIDAY feast is a massive undertaking. Besides labouring over the menu and paying meticulous attention to every small detail, an oft-overlooked factor – but a crucial one – is how to pair your wine with your food. Choosing wine pairings can be a challenge when you’re working with a variety of dishes at the table. There’s no single wine that can perfectly match fatty cuts of meat while at the same time complementing grilled vegetables and other accoutrements. Your guests may also have distinct preferences. The best approach is to pick two palatable wines that will leave you free to focus on your hosting duties.
ODE TO ONTARIO FARMERS
Without hyperbole, our province produces the best, most flavourful meat in the world, writes Peter Sanagan
N LATE 2008, I was the chef at a small inn outside of Owen Sound. Walter’s Falls is a crossroad, a hamlet really, in one of my favorite regions of southern Ontario. Our province is a vast land, its geography as different from county to county as anywhere I’ve ever heard of. Farms speckle the countryside, growing everything from cash crops to organic tomatoes. As a chef who wanted local product year-round, though, I found it difficult to create a menu that wouldn’t get boring by mid-February. Cooking from the root cellar can be limiting, so I would supplement with warmer weather vegetables and fruits to accentuate the carrots and potatoes from nearby farmers. However, I never had to buy meat from out of the area.
Without hyperbole, Ontario farmers produce the best meat in the world. Our cold climate forces our animals to be rugged; it makes them use their muscles more to trudge through snow and wet fields. When raised outdoors, pigs and cattle develop a wellbalanced fat content. On top of that, our chefs are inclined to work with farmers, opening a conversation about what they and their customers want. And the farmers listen, some going the extra mile and bringing in heritage breeds that can produce the most flavourful meat. I was always a meat cook. I prided myself on perfectly done medium-rare steaks. I came in early for my shift to make sure I had enough time to properly stuff, wrap and braise rabbits. Breaking down a side of pork
to use all of the beast is a chef’s wet dream. So in 2009 I changed careers and opened Sanagan’s Meat Locker. Not a huge jump, but enough of one that my learning curve was steep. Thankfully, I was supported by a product that was unfailing in its quality, regardless of the time of the year. The seasonality of meat is something many consumers often don’t think about. We can get Ontario meat year-round, but depending on the animal, some months can be better than others. Grass-fed beef is sweetest in August, after the animal has been grazing for at least three months. Pastured pork that gets access to forested areas is exceptional in late fall, after the animal has had its fill of nuts. Turkeys that have had six months to plump up for the Thanksgiving table are always fat and juicy, less so at other times of the year. However, advances in animal husbandry (thank you, University of Guelph) allow us to enjoy delicious Ontario meat in any season. And as consumers, it is our responsibility to learn how to cook this meat. Raising excellent animals is only part of what goes onto your plate. Meat must be butchered by someone who understands how you’re cooking it – fat and silverskin must be removed for a grilling steak such as strip loin, but not for a braising steak such as chuck. I urge you to cook one new thing a month. Try a wild boar stew in November. A navarin of lamb in May. Duck confit in February. Roll the dice and make sausage in September. Whatever the result, you will have accomplished something and been a part of something greater than just your table. And every season is cooking season. f
All natural sparkling wine with no added sugars or flavours. Enjoy chilled, with a wedge of citrus, over ice or in a cocktail! www.joiy.co.nz
Please enjoy responsibly.
036 MULTINATIONAL FEASTS | 046 HUNTERS AND GATHERERS 056 THE BOURDAIN EFFECT | 062 END OF AN ERA | 068 MIXOLOGY
— PART 2 —
FEAST “NOSTALGIA IS ONE HELL OF A DRUG” END OF AN ERA, 062
MULTINATIONAL HOLIDAY FEASTS Four Toronto families open their homes to Renée S. Suen to reveal how they’ve reinvented the traditional turkey dinner Photography by Suresh Doss 36
The Joaquin Family
Two years ago, Erwin Joaquin, chef and owner of Big E’s Hawaiian Grinds, switched up his family’s annual holiday dinner from a more traditional potluck to a multilayered Filipino kamayan feast that’s almost too vibrant to be true. This massive spread, which is meant to be eaten with the hands, involves covering communal tables with banana leaves and piling on a seemingly endless assortment of edibles and condiments. The feast is built on a foundation of 40 cups of cooked jasmine rice – spread over three separate tables – covered with food items that Joaquin assigns to different family members to prepare, such as smoked short ribs, fried chicken, fried milkfish, kare-kare (a peanut-based oxtail stew) and ginataang alimasag (traditionally crabs cooked in coconut milk, done here with shrimp instead). Garnishes include green onions and fried garlic chips. Each participating household usually brings a signature dish: Joaquin’s fatherin-law, for example, contributes the fried milkfish (which takes two days to make), and his mother does the kare-kare (a nontraditional addition to the spread). Colourful piles of portioned condiments, such as ginger-soy vinegar, shrimp paste, papaya slaw, mango salad and salted egg with tomatoes, sit in front of each diner. It takes the family around 45 minutes to assemble this 25-person feast.
DISH BY DISH
Photograph by ###
1 Papaya slaw 2 Mango salad 3 Shrimp paste 4 Banana leaf 5 Salted egg with tomatoes 6 Ginger-soy vinegar 7 Lumpia (egg rolls) 8 Lechon kawali (fried pork belly) 9 Ginataang alimasag with shrimp 10 Jasmine rice 11 Fried milkfish 12 Fried chicken 13 Kare-kare (oxtail stew) 14 Longanisa (sweet sausage) 15 Smoked soy-marinated short ribs
DISH BY DISH 1 Sous vide brisket Malaysian rendang 2 Roasted capons basted with tamari butter 3 Fried rice with Chinese sausage, foie gras and vegetable stuffing 4 Char siu with baby bok choy 5 Pan roasted root vegetables (heirloom carrots, parsnips, new potatoes) 6 Shrimp turnovers
The Lui Family Trevor Lui, co-creator and chef of Cabbagetown’s Kanpai Snack Bar, curates a sprawling dinner that takes inspiration from regions such as China, Portugal and Malaysia. This Christmastime table began to take shape seven years ago, when Lui’s sister married into a Portuguese family. Capons basted with soy-infused butter replace dry turkey, and stovetop stuffing takes a backseat to fried rice with Chinese sausage and chicken drippings. Instead of salmon, the family feasts on a traditional bacalhau com natas, a Portuguese cod dish
with chunks of potato and heavy cream. Chinese barbecue, such as char siu (barbecued pork), always makes an appearance, along with a curry (West Indian, Japanese and Thai have appeared in the past) and three-cheese mac ‘n’ cheese for the kids. No celebration is complete without bolinhos de bacalhau (Portuguese salt cod croquettes), rissóis de camarão (Portuguese shrimp turnovers) or the baked sago pudding, which is picked up from a Chinese restaurant. The pudding is baked on low heat for an hour during dinner and is ready to eat just in time for dessert.
ABOVE: Trevor Lui at work in the kitchen BELOW: The Lui family and their holiday feast
The Wong Family Following in the footsteps of his grandmother, Craig Wong – owner of Patois and Jackpot Chicken Rice – hosts an annual Jamaican-inspired banquet for 60 family members and friends. Wong’s grandmother passed away two years ago, so the family revives her Christmas Jamaican breakfast every year – preparing liver and onions, salt fish fritters and ackee and saltfish – and gathers around essentially the same collection of plates for dinner each year for nostalgic reasons. Tapping into their Jamaican-Chinese roots, their dinner includes a Jamaican-style curry chicken that uses fragrant coconut cream cooked with potatoes and carrots, a stir-fried ginger-scallion lobster with chow mein and a helping of jerk pork. “Uncle Lloyd is the most Jamaican of all of us,” Wong says. As such, Uncle Llyod is responsible for the island staples of ackee and saltfish and the piquant Jamaican-style peppered shrimp. There’s also a turkey smoked in a Big Green Egg, ham, baked salmon, a saucy mac ‘n’ cheese with layers of boiled eggs and a stuffing made with bread, chicken livers, onions and scallions. Wong normally pre-orders a whole roasted pig a week in advance from a roaster in First Markham Place, but now that he has his own roaster at Jackpot Chicken Rice, he expects he’ll be making his own.
DISH BY DISH 1 Ackee and saltfish 2 Candied sweet potatoes 3 Ham 4 Cranberry sauce 5 Baked acorn squash with chayote and pomegranate seeds 6 Smoked turkey 7 Rice and peas with salted pig tail 8 Roasted vegetables (Brussels sprouts and squash) 9 Roasted pig 10 Baked mac ‘n’ cheese with eggs in a cheese sauce 11 Turkey stuffing with bread, chicken livers, onions and scallions
Photograph by ###
When you visit the Toronto WEIHNACHTSMARKT, know the difference between SCHNITZEL and BREZEL before you drink all of the GLÃœHWEIN.
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The Kular Family After years of “bland” Butterball turkey dinners, Jaswant Kular – founder of local Indian spice-blend company Jaswant’s Kitchen – and her family decided to change things up. Now they cook food inspired by their travels, changing their holiday dinner theme every year. For this Moroccan dinner, Jaswant and her daughters Nimi, Roupi and Simran used cookbook recipes adapted with ingredients familiar to them, such as biryani rice, their own spice blends and spices they brought back from travels to Istanbul. A highlight of this holiday feast is the chicken tagine with preserved lemons and olives (the earthenware dish it’s in hails from Morocco), along with a fragrant jewelled rice cooked with orange blossom water, barberries, cranberries, pistachios, almonds and pine nuts fried in ghee. For appetizers there’s a spread of meze (small dishes), which includes baba ganoush made from roasted Sicilian eggplants; storebought lebneh topped with olive oil and pomegranate seeds; and homemade harissa
with chilies pounded down with salt, garlic, cumin and coriander. “We’re lucky to be in Toronto,” says Jaswant, “because we can get all the ingredients needed for the recipes.” f
BELOW: The Kular family and their Moroccanthemed holiday feast
DISH BY DISH 1 Jewelled rice 2 Reduced vegetable broth 3 Couscous with vegetables 4 Chicken tagine with preserved lemons and olives 5 Lamb tagine with apricots 6 Arugula salad dressed with pomegranate molasses
THE GRASS IS ALWAYS GREENER For a richer taste and fuller flavour, look toward local grass-fed dairy products
RASS-FED BEEF HAS been a favourite choice for chefs and discerning foodies for over a decade. But it’s only recently that Canadian consumers have begun to recognize the flavourful benefits of eating and cooking with grass-fed dairy products. Rolling Meadow Dairy is the first grass-fed dairy producer in Ontario. It works exclusively with small, local farms in southwestern Ontario that raise their cows outdoors on pastures. “Instead of having them in a barn, the prerequisite for us is that the cows are getting most of their nutrition from grass outside,” says Rolling Meadow Dairy CEO Matthew von Teichman. During the winter, cows continue to enjoy fresh grass thanks to an exclusive
sprouting facility that produces live grass when pastures have frozen over. In colder seasons, 6,000 pounds of grass are delivered to Rolling Meadow’s partner farms every day. Rolling Meadow Dairy works frequently with Mennonite and Amish farmers who retain their age-old farming traditions, unlike many dairy farmers who have adopted industrial farming practices, such as using corn-based feed or raising cows indoors. “We wanted to find farmers who still focus on raising their animals outside,” von Teichman says. The result is a product that tastes richer than conventional milk. “We get a lot of comments from older people who say it’s the way milk used ▶
ABOVE: Rolling Meadow Dairy CEO Matthew von Teichman is bringing local grass-fed dairy products to Ontario consumers
▶ to taste 80 years ago, when they were children,” he says. “We often hear that our two percent Rolling Meadow milk tastes much richer, like a full-fat milk.” Chefs and home cooks have also recognized the richer flavours achieved by using grass-fed dairy products. As a result, Rolling Meadow Dairy has been struggling to keep its grass-fed butter in stock and on shelves. “Everyone’s cooking with butter, and the biggest trend in butter right now is grass-fed,” he says. “The demand is insatiable for grass-fed butter.” While New Zealand and Ireland were traditionally the go-to sources for grassfed dairy products, Ontarians can now enjoy local grass-fed dairy thanks to Rolling Meadow Dairy. This not only helps support local farmers, it also helps reduce carbon emissions due to the shorter distance required for the milk to travel. Ultimately, for anyone that enjoys eating or cooking with dairy, it’s all about the appreciation of a great, rich
and flavourful product. “If you’re a foodie and you really value taste, quality and local, we believe it doesn’t get any better than Rolling Meadow Dairy.” ●
HERE'S WHY BARISTAS LOVE GRASS-FED DAIRY Toronto barista Brian Leonard transforms simple lattes into works of art. In order to obtain the precision and detail he requires to create a beautiful latte, Leonard uses Rolling Meadow Dairy grass-fed milk. “As a latte artist, I am particular about the milk I work with,” Leonard explains. “Grass-fed milk definitely froths better than other types of milk and provides the perfect silky microfoam that I need for my latte art.” Leonard has just a small window of time to work before the milk bubbles and the foam melt. “Without the right milk, my art falls flat,” he says. “Grassfed milk has the perfect consistency to hold together while I work.”
THREE PLACES TO GET A GRASS-FED DAIRY LATTE IN TORONTO:
Tokyo Smoke Barista Brian Leonard is a regular fixture at Tokyo Smoke, where he creates sophisticated, beautiful beverages using grass-fed dairy. “I get the chance to talk to people about health and environmental impact through conversations about the milk I use,” says Leonard. He tours around town on his Tokyo Smoke pedal-powered espresso trike, so you might just catch him pouring some environmentally-friendly lattes at a pop-up near you. tokyosmoke.com
The Coffee Lab Owner Joshua Campos exclusively uses dairy that is grass-fed, alongside lactosefree options and house-made nut milks. “It is far superior to all the other milks,” says Campos. “It keeps the cows on a natural diet year-round, making it a cleaner and sweeter milk.” Try the Drop, a short, condensed shot of espresso over milk served in a frosted beaker. @the.coffee.lab
Boxcar Social Boxcar Social recently transitioned to exclusively using grass-fed dairy in its beverages. “We use it for the outstanding flavour,” says Boxcar’s Spence Taylor. ”Our pursuit is to offer the highest quality and best-tasting coffee and milk-based drinks possible.” He suggests ordering Boxcar Social's hot chocolate, which is made with cocoa and grass-fed milk and is topped with a toasted-to-order marshmallow made by Toronto's Bake Shoppe. boxcarsocial.ca
MAIN: Chef Michael Hunter and Jon Sufrin search for deer whie perched high up in the pine trees
HUNTERS AND GATHERERS Photograph by ###
Jon Sufrin heads into the woodlands of Caledon with chef Michael Hunter in search of wild edibles Photography by Sandro Pehar 47
RIGHT: Chef Michael Hunter at Antler, his Dundas West restaurant
T’S A FROST-SHEATHED morning in a thicket in Caledon and I’m perched in a hunting chair 15 feet up a narrow pine tree, hopelessly looking for deer, convinced that I’m repelling any animals that might be nearby with my pseudohipster city-dweller’s aura. I feel certain that the Internet-ification of my brain is causing me to stand out in the woods like a beacon, like a guy who has a habit of reaching for his phone every 10 minutes, who spends way too much time laughing at memes, whose most profound wilderness experience thus far has been canoeing in cottage country on mushrooms. Chef Michael Hunter is seated adjacent to me in another pine tree, swathed in camouflage gear, crossbow loaded and at the ready. Earlier today he told me that my aura theory is false, that animals are as wary of me as they would be of any other human, which is why we’re hanging out in the trees. We’re trying to keep our terrifying scent as far away from the ground as possible. This is my second expedition to Caledon with Hunter, who owns and operates Antler restaurant on Dundas West. As his name coincidentally entails, he is a hunter, and while he is prohibited by provincial and municipal law from selling wild game at his restaurant – he uses farmed game instead – he tries to incorporate wild plant life into his cooking when he can. I have gone on these hunting trips with him because I’m curious to know more about how humans once captured their food and what happens to an animal before it ends up on the dinner plate. I believe these are important things to think about.
CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Driving up to Caledon; Jon Sufrin clad in a camouflage mask; harvesting tricholoma myomyces mushrooms
Last year we tried to harvest a wild turkey. We sat on the ground in the morning chill for hours, covered in camouflage print, not moving or speaking. Hunter had set out a few decoys intended to attract toms – adult male turkeys – but we left empty-handed that day. Hunter has participated in this oftmaligned pastime since he was 19 years old,
IT’S SO MOVING. POINT-BLANK TAKING AN ANIMAL’S LIFE IS SO EMOTIONAL
when he went into the woods with a family friend and killed his first turkey. “I didn’t think it would be so moving,” he recalled earlier. “The sound of them gobbling was really loud. Your heart starts beating, your adrenaline starts pumping. Point-blank taking something’s life is pretty emotional.” When I was younger I assumed that there was something alpha-male oafish about hunting, but after meeting Hunter a few years ago I started to feel differently about it. Even though he uses the wildsman schtick to bolster his Instagram feed and his personal brand, he treats hunting with a high degree of sanctity. He hates the idea of trophy hunting, or of hunting irresponsibly. Any time he catches an animal, he acknowledges its sacrifice and says a prayer. He seemed to me like a good candidate for a guide. “But isn’t that savage?” one person asked me before I embarked on this deer hunt. This is a common opinion, and sure, maybe hunting is savage. We are going out to kill a creature that did nothing to harm us, a creature we will hopefully eat even though we have plenty of food at home. But you know what else is savage? Factory farming. Chick shredding. Posing for a selfie with a soggy, mayonnaise-soaked bison slider in your hand. Those things are also savage. Anyone who eats meat has no business condemning hunting. It seems hypocritical to be willing to swallow a medium-rare tenderloin wrapped in bacon but be offended at the thought of watching an animal die, or of killing one, for that matter. Then there is romanticism. Many of us have this notion that nature is a noble Eden where everything functions in cooperative harmony. The truth of the matter is that nature is a warzone. Everything is competing
with everything for survival, and something out there always wants to kill you. And sometimes wild populations skyrocket, wreaking havoc on the ecosystem. On our drive up to Caledon, Hunter made an observation that should be self-evident. “A lot of people think animals in the wild die peaceful deaths,” he said. “But actually, it’s usually being eaten alive.” Or starving to death, or succumbing to parasites, or freezing, or any of the other countless not-so-great ways to go. Nature is not always nice. Hunter uses an Excalibur crossbow with a scope, a powerful weapon that usually means near-instant annihilation for any creature up to 60 yards away. The bolts are made of carbon fibre, with a deadly sharp steel tip and three razor blades just below it. If Hunter spots a deer, he will aim for the heart and lungs, and when the shot is true the bolt will literally pierce the body completely, exiting out another side. Death is usually quick, but bad things do happen. Hunter has killed six deer in his lifetime, and one of those instances was an unintended gut-shot. The deer got away, but it almost certainly died in horrific pain. “It really sucked,” Hunter recalled on the drive up. “Totally upsetting.” Buying meat at a supermarket is a detached, unemotional experience, but hunting is the opposite. Sitting in the woods emphasizes that in the real world you can’t just pick up meat during a three-minute pit stop. In nature, you have to wait for meat, often for a very long time. And you’re probably not going to be eating it every day. As we sit high in the air, everything on the ground is a shade of pre-sunrise blue. The pine trees around us are tall and stark. The moon is almost fully black, with a sicklesharp arc of pure white on its edge. Every now and then Hunter pulls out a pair of antlers and clacks them together, or blows into a tube-shaped instrument that replicates a deer’s eerie call, in the hopes of attracting a buck into the area. Time draws out into hours and there isn’t much to do but fall in and out of thought streams. Hunter has told me that he usually thinks about food in these moments, and I find myself doing the same, wondering about the state of the universe and how messed up the concept of eating is, how everything we consume – plants and animals both – either is or was alive at some point. The wooded area we’re in is mostly silent save for the periodic scampering of squirrels,
ABOVE: Veal broth simmers with pine needles, sumac and warm spices
ON THIS TINY PATCH OF WOODLAND, THERE ARE PLENTY OF EDIBLES
the solitary calls of crows and the occasional hiss of cars on the nearby highway. Eventually we hear a buck in the distance, breathing heavy like a horse. What will happen if it comes our way? Will I be able to stomach watching it die? Will I hate myself for coming out here? The buck however, remains out of sight. Then, I have to pee. Like the useless urbanite I am, I’m eventually forced to climb down from my post, tracking my scent everywhere, and relieve myself nearby. The hunt ends shortly after. Once again we’ve captured nothing, but →
ABOVE: A broth is infused with flavours of the forest in a french press
IN NATURE, YOU HAVE TO WAIT FOR MEAT, OFTEN FOR A VERY LONG TIME → even on this nondescript patch of woodland, there are plenty of edible plants to be found. Foraging is often associated with spring or summer, yet this snow-speckled landscape is rife with tricholoma myomyces mushrooms, which poke their mouse-grey caps out of the ground after the first frost. There are other goods nearby, too: a few hardy stalks of wild mint, which you can smell from five feet away; garlic mustard, an invasive weed that packs a distinct garlic punch; crab apples, tart and potent; dandelion leaves, bitter and abundant; goldenrod, an edible yellow flower; rose hips, the bright red fruit of the rose plant; smilax berries, which grow on the greenbrier vine like miniature grapes; cattails, which taste like hearts of palm; deep-green tufts of moss and lichen, which are edible (but not necessarily palatable); and fluffy cones of sumac, as citrusy as lemons. In other seasons the bounty is even more prevalent with morels, ramps, wild
strawberries, wild raspberries and wild grapes scattered throughout. A lot of this stuff Hunter will use at his restaurant: he’ll make a pesto with dandelion leaves, or a chutney with peach and goldenrod, or a vinaigrette with sumac, or he’ll infuse gin with chunks of cedar wood. Peeking around trees, we slowly gather a bagful of mushrooms along with some herbs and some bushy sprigs of green pine needles, which can be boiled into a tea with decongestant properties and high amounts of vitamin C. (Early settlers in Canada learned about this trick from the indigenous peoples, and it helped ward off scurvy.) We head back into town to Antler to cook what we’ve found. There, Hunter chops the mushrooms and sears them on high heat in butter and oil. Previously frozen water expels from them in geysers of steam. In a nearby pot, veal stock simmers away spiced with clove, juniper, cinnamon, allspice and fennel, along with the rest of our bounty from the woods: the pine needles, the mint, the garlic mustard and the sumac, which slowly infuse into the broth. After some time he pours the liquid into a french press, along with more of the wild stuff. Then he drizzles the forest-soup over the sauteed mushrooms. The result is piney and earthy, like the woods we were just in, but also warm and floral from the spices. During our day in the woods, we intruded upon nature. We climbed atop trees and stalked animals. We foraged, which is not without its ecological downsides: overharvesting is common, and trampling about in the wilderness has its own set of unintended consequences. There is a silver lining here, though. Being in nature, I think, is the first step toward
actually caring about it in a way that goes beyond self-righteous tweeting. We went out and we thought about where food comes from. We sat in nature and respected it, felt it, appreciated its ominous beauty and the myriad ways in which things survive and die within it. We pondered life and death and the unforgiving food chain. And we reminded ourselves that amid all of that, nature also just tastes really good, even to a smartphoneaddicted city guy like me. f
Cele ating Your holiday season starts here.
TAKE A SIP OF CANADIAN HISTORY Lots of people around the world appreciate the taste of Canadian whisky, but not a lot of people know that the story of this precious spirit goes back hundreds of years
ANADIAN WHISKY HAS a history that is older than the country itself – and just as vibrant. The first recorded distillery in Canada hearkens back to Quebec City, 1769. By the end of the 19th century, Canadian whisky was the world’s most popular style of whisky and Canada was home to the world’s largest distillery, Gooderham & Worts. Like other great whiskies around the world, Canadian whisky has strict requirements for production: the entire process has to take place within Canada; it has to be at least 40 per cent alcohol by volume; and it must be aged in small barrels for at least three years. In fact, Canada was the first country to introduce minimum aging requirements for whisky – it did so by 1890 – and this regulation was later adopted by other regions such as Scotland, Ireland and the United States. Unlike other whiskies, Canadian whisky has flexibility with the type of
barrel in which it is aged. Different barrels, such as bourbon casks or virgin oak casks, impart unique flavour characteristics onto this precious spirit. The cornerstone of Canadian whisky, though, is that it is produced with a single-grain distillation process, as opposed to a mash bill made up of multiple grains (as is the case with bourbon). This allows the master blender to focus and find balance. All of these factors make Canadian whisky the most diverse and ▶
CANADIAN WHISKY IS THE MOST DIVERSE OF ALL WHISKY STYLES
GOODERHAM & WORTS FOUR GRAIN Notes of red apple and barley slowly open into a distinct oak character. Luxurious gold in colour with a lingering finish of rye spice.
▶ innovative of all whisky styles. The best way to become acquainted with this part of our country’s history, though, is to taste the whisky yourself. Herein you’ll find a selection of some of the best, most critically acclaimed whiskies our country has to offer. This tasting tour will take you through some of Canada’s oldest and most interesting producers, featuring Gooderham & Worts (established 1832), J.P. Wiser’s (established 1857), Lot No. 40 (made in small batches with 100 per cent rye) and Pike Creek (which ages its whisky for 10 years in barrels exposed to Canada’s climate). With these whiskies in tow, you’ll find a new appreciation for Canada’s spiritproducing history – and its future, too. ●
PIKE CREEK Aged for 10 years and finished in rum barrels, which infuses this whisky with a long and pleasant finish. Subtle island spices are complemented with notes of honeycomb toffee.
LOT NO. 40 Deep amber in colour, this 100 per cent rye whisky has a nose of sour bread and bartlett pears. On the palate, heavy rye spices unite with roasted walnuts, sweet toffee and hints of dark fruit.
J.P. WISER’S 18 YEAR OLD Lots of oak and autumn florals on the nose, with baked apple and rich caramel on the palate. The finish is smooth and enduring.
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AN O&B WINTER Find warmth in winter with hearty, comforting dishes at Oliver & Bonacini restaurants. Here are a few to try... Beaumont Kitchen The steak and potatoes features a meaty cut of Ontario-raised beef and crispy mini Yukon Gold potatoes. Topped off with more mushrooms, red wine and a generous amount of butter, this dish is sure to warm you up and help get you through the harsh Canadian winter.
Biff’s Bistro For a European take on classic comfort food, look to this tender and flavourful beef bourguignon made with pommes aligot, grilled northern woods mushrooms, spring onions and a hearty red wine jus.
Leña At O&B’s newest restaurant, the pollo Doña Aurora is a hearty dish of organic chicken, laurel, lemon, saffron, mushrooms and a potato purée. It’s an homage to South America from chef Anthony Walsh.
ENTER TO WIN
To help you celebrate the holidays, we’re giving away a $500 O&B e-gift card, redeemable at all O&B restaurants, including Biff's Bistro, Canoe, Auberge du Pommier, Leña, Beaumont Kitchen and R&D. WIN Enter to win and indulge in $500 worth of inspired dining experiences, from a duck poutine pizza at Bannock to a chef’s tasting dinner at Canoe! For more info, a full list of terms and conditions and to enter, go to foodism.to/competition
THE BOURDAIN EFFECT Suresh Doss sits down with Anthony Bourdain and his co-writer, Laurie Woolever, to talk about their new cookbook and how the world of food is evolving Photography by Esther Katzman 56
HE CURRENT GENERATION of eaters is more willing than ever to venture outside the norm and experience new foods. And Anthony Bourdain – world renowned chef and culinary punk – has had a massive influence on that. So when he releases a new cookbook, we’re paying attention. Appetites, which he co-wrote with Laurie Woolever, is a multi-faceted project inspired by decades of exploring the world and the humbling experience of being a new father. Bourdain has travelled through over 80 countries for his various culinary shows, including his current one, the Emmy awardwinning Parts Unknown. We spoke with him about how his travels have shaped the way he eats and how people are more amenable to international cuisine.
Of all the projects you’ve managed, this one seems to be the most personal. Anthony Bourdain: It’s what I tried to do. I hope so. I’m a father now, and I’ve learned a lot from that, and from travelling too. What was this journey like? How did you end up with this compendium of recipes? AB: Working with Laurie Woolever, my cowriter here, the main thought was: can we do this? Will it suck? Listen, I personally love budae jjigae. I think it’s a great dish. I like the idea that college students everywhere could make it in their dorm room. But can I make it well? Would it work? Laurie Woolever: We wanted to have a collection of recipes that reflected the way Tony cooks for his family and friends, that also provided a diverse and engaging experience for the reader and cook. I suggested a few types of recipes (ribs and tacos, specifically) that Tony did not want to include, as he felt they were too much in the “dude food” category. I developed a very good turkey matzo ball soup, but it didn’t make the final manuscript as Tony thought it was “too nurturing,” which made me laugh.
LW: It was a one-year process of kicking things back and forth. I did some writing, and Tony would come and make it more his own. The essays are 100 per cent Tony’s voice. The book is a mix of American, French and international cooking. It must have been hard to narrow down the recipes. LW: We originally planned to include a lobster Catalan, inspired by an episode of No Reservations that was shot in Sardinia. Although it was delicious, it didn’t live up to Tony’s romantic memory of having the lobsters cooked over an open fire on the beach, so we let it go. Another recipe that we cut was spaghetti with uni butter and caviar. AB: It was an homage to Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin. It was a beautiful dish, but we noticed that Ruth Reichl had a version of it in her book, so we canned it. What was the most challenging recipe? AB: There were a few, but the wings were the biggest challenge. Getting that crispy-butsaucy look took some doing. You ended up freezing the chicken for optimal crispiness. AB: Yeah, Danny Bowien’s Korean fried chicken – which inspired mine – is a two-day affair to get that right crispy consistency. From reading your book, it seems like your daughter has an advanced palate. AB: She has a sensitive palate. There’s no fooling here. If I put too much salt into something, she’ll speak up. She’s very open to different flavours, and she was exposed
PEOPLE WANT KOREAN FOOD NOW, AND 20 YEARS AGO THAT WAS A NICHE THING to it at a young age. If she saw things on the table and was happy to try them – I never pressured her – I gave it to her. When she noticed the grown-ups eating something different, she would reach across the table and grab it for herself. There are recipes from Malaysia to Budapest. But I also noticed that you focused on specific micro regions. Like with the laksa recipe, for example. AB: Well, that just happens to be my favourite style of laksa of all the laksa from Kuching. My first and true laksa love. I love Penangstyle too, but this one just resonated with → BELOW: Anthony Bourdain and Suresh Doss discuss Appetites and food trends
So it was a true collaboration? LW: A true collaboration. Every project is different. Every pair of authors is different. I’ve been his assistant for seven years. There were a lot of emails – that’s how we work. AB: We went back and forth, and there was a lot of development in our kitchens.
BELOW: Anthony Bourdain’s take on the Korean army-inspired stew known as budae jjigae
adventurous about food. This is how we eat. This is how I eat.
→ me in terms of balance and flavour. That’s the one I want people to try. And you’re the right ambassador to introduce people to this national dish? AB: These are dishes that I love deeply. They are personal to me. That passion supersedes my concern that I’m not the right guy to be doing this recipe for you. I guess my feeling is, let the recipe hold you over until you head to Kuching. If you like this, you’re going to love when a Malaysian nyonya cooks it for you.
The global palate in the book is very noticeable and pervasive. AB: Yeah. clearly, if you look at the demographics of who is eating at expensive restaurants as far as income level, ethnicity and nationality, it has changed in 20 years. It’s very different now, and for a lack of a better way of saying it, our palates are more refined. People want Korean food now, and 20 years ago that was a limited niche thing. Thankfully, people are much more
You often opine about how food is constantly evolving, and how authenticity is a fleeting word. How have you seen food change in the places you have frequented over the years for your CNN show?
BELOW: Anthony Bourdain’s Korean fried chicken is a multi-step process for optimal crispiness, juiciness and flavour
Photograph by Bobby Fisher
LW: I haven’t traveled as much as Tony for sure, but I have been to many parts of Asia, Europe and South America, and I live in Queens, the most diverse borough of New York City, with some of the best restaurants serving cuisines from all over the world, so I was starting with a good foundation. I had eaten laksa, for instance, but hadn’t spent much time figuring out how to make it before the book process started. The research and development process involved a lot of reading, seeking out and eating versions of a dish I was trying to create, and in some cases consulting with friends and family members in the relevant geography. I pulled clips from Tony’s TV shows if a particular dish was inspired by his travels, as was the case with the mortadella sandwich, the banh mi, the po’ boy, the laksa, the
Sardinian pasta and the goulash.
LW: The bulk of the book’s recipes aren’t from far-flung locations, though there are a few – maybe 10 in all, such as ma po tripe and pork, Sarawak laksa, banh mi and Korean fried chicken – which really resonated with Tony in his travels. It leans heavily on certain Italian and Italian-American traditions, as well as on the classic style of cooking that Tony worked with for much of his career as a chef. Then there are some regional American favorites, like po’ boy sandwiches from New Orleans, a New Mexico-style beef chili and a New England-style lobster roll. There are some very easy recipes, such as the bodega sandwich and the Boston lettuce salad with yogurt dressing, and some that require a bit more time and technique, like the poulet en vessie, a chicken cooked with truffles inside an inflated pig’s bladder. In between those two extremes I do think this is a book with something for cooks at every level, because even the more challenging recipes have lots of helpful instruction and take care to point out where you’re most likely to make a mistake, and how to avoid it.
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Photograph by ###
YOU SEE ROCK STAR WANNABE CHEFS ALL OVER THE PLACE NOW AB: You definitely see that as tourism increases, as people flood in, you see more new spots where people are doing nouveau or tweaked or fusion-y foods. Young guys that want to try new things with food and break from the natural cadence of things. But also, some cultures cling to their foods fiercely, and you will have a real problem if you break from the mould. There will be active resistance. There will be a push back when you try to do something new. If you start messing with a classic carbonara or cacio e pepe in Rome, you’re going to have a hard time. In places like Vietnam and Korea, you have second generation cooks that are growing up with different influences. Even they feel the resistance, but Asia as a whole has become progressive with cuisine. And the younger diners are responding well to the trend. AB: Asia is way ahead of us. The average Singaporean, in my experience, can Instagram with one hand and text with the other, and there’s a third phone somewhere there for some other function. They are perfectly capable of throwing themselves into the food experience and manipulating, taking photos of food and tweeting while stuffing their face with hot bowls of noodle soups. Sharing stuff on social media is certainly very popular in North America, but they’re way more adept at it in Asia.
Photograph by Bobby Fisher
ABOVE: Appetites features some of Anthony Bourdain’s favourite streetstyle sandwiches
What about cooks? Has the attitude toward cooking evolved? AB: Cooks are no longer smitten with the idea of long days and the daily grind. You definitely see rock star wannabe chefs all over now. A successful business is not enough – they want to be known as innovators; they want to do something new. But ultimately, the desire should be to make people happy. f
MAIN: A classic bacon-and-eggs breakfast at King Street’s Patrician Grill
END OF AN ERA
Many of Toronto’s old school diners are slowly disappearing from the city’s condostudded landscape, writes Sarah Parniak Photography by Kailee Mandel
EFORE THERE WAS brunch, there was all-day breakfast slid unceremoniously across a scratched formica countertop and eaten, usually solo, from a well-worn vinyl stool. In simpler days, eggs didn’t come whitesonly or tweezed with micro greens. They were slapped onto indestructible plates over easy, scrambled or fried, generously fringed with bacon strips. Choice of toast was restricted to white or brown, and the coffee was forever refilled. There was no champagne in the orange juice and no one cared. But times and tastes have changed. While it’s not likely that platters of eggs and pork fat will ever slip out of fashion, Toronto’s old school greasy spoons – which have dished out quick, substantial, no-frills meals for decades – are steadily vanishing from the city’s condo-stacked landscape. “It’s almost become a de-evolution,” says Terry Papas, who runs the Patrician Grill on King East. “There aren’t many of us left.” His parents bought the Patrician in 1967, and he started pulling summer shifts there when he was 11, over 30 years ago. He remembers at least six other diners in the area, including the fabled Canary Restaurant, which are now gone. The Patrician, which serves homemade burgers and apple pie baked by Papas’ mother, Helen, prevails partly because the family purchased the building in the 1980s, a move he refers to as “a lifesaver.” Besides some minor renovations, the Patrician is more or less the same room it was when it first opened in the early 1950s. Just like the George Street Diner two blocks north, it’s a frequent setting for television shows, movies and music videos.
Photograph by ###
IT’S BECOME A DEEVOLUTION. THERE AREN’T MANY OF US LEFT 63
RIGHT:The popular George Street Diner retains its classic charm
Mid-century eateries and their charming retro aesthetic – chrome fixtures, paper hats and deep-set vinyl booths – have become a commodity, emulated by corporate chains and mom-and-pop chip wagons alike. Diners are steeped in nostalgia, but they are a grind to operate, and fewer people are willing to tackle them. Increasingly, goldenera grill workers are seeking retirement after decades of flipping eggs. “The problem with places like my own, and the reason why they go down, is because the kids don’t want to take it over,” Papas says. “It’s too much work, it’s a life sentence.” Recently, too, the city’s old diners are becoming subject to reinterpretation, sometimes ending up as trendier, pricier restaurants, which Papas calls “foofy or yuppie diners.” It’s not an inaccurate assessment. As Toronto’s legacy establishments shutter, gussied up new diners of varied quality and authenticity are multiplying. Brad Moore’s short-lived Recess Diner, sprawled across the ground floor of a condo building on Sudbury Street, applied the term loosely to a plush restaurant that served craft cocktails and a signature eggs Benedict for $19. While Moore has said that Recess will reopen soon under new financial backers, there are no signs of resurrection yet. The 24-hour Lakeview Restaurant, which dates back to the 1930s, is not a place at
which most people would willingly eat while sober, despite its hipster-oriented branding and $3 all-day drink specials. Even well-loved chef Anthony Rose – who charmed restaurant-goers with playful homestyle cuisine at Rose & Sons on Dupont – faltered when he took over Queen West’s longstanding Swan Restaurant. His sixth restaurant in three years, it was met with criticism for its pricey and inconsistent cuisine. Half a year later, Swan rebranded as a second location of Rose & Sons. Still, Toronto’s culinary trump card is
THE TIMES HAVE CHANGED. THIS IS THE NEW WAVE OF DINERS, AND THAT’S IT
variety, so there’s room for everyone – the new, the old and the reimagined – to coexist. Besides, a legacy doesn’t equate to good food any more than a reimagined menu strips a restaurant of diner status. The essence of a diner may be too ethereal to peg, but the best versions – contemporary or otherwise – radiate an authentic sense of welcome. Call it soul. Grant van Gameren, one of Toronto’s most successful chefs, reopened Parkdale staple Harry’s Char Broil & Dining Lounge in October. A former resident of the neighbourhood, he’s been eating at Harry’s on and off for 15 years and still does almost every day. It makes him feel comfortable. Moodier lighting, a louder soundtrack and a smattering of beer signs aside, Harry’s hasn’t changed much. The menu, overseen by partner and chef Nathan Young, dishes a full breakfast for $7.50 and a selection of burgers for $10, fries and taxes included. It reads like a classic diner menu circa 2016. “I like the way they fixed it up, they didn’t change too much,” says Tommy Petropoulos, who first opened Harry’s in 1968 with his brothers George and Sam. “The menu hasn’t changed that much either. There might be more to it, but it’s almost the same.” As a result, he and George still pop by weekly, as do a handful of original regulars from the neighbourhood.
But even if van Gameren has succeeded in retaining Harry’s charm, sustaining it will be another matter. He took over Harry’s because he loved the space and wanted to keep it alive – so much so that he and his partners purchased the business in spite of a looming demolition clause that could shut down the restaurant within six months. It’s easy to feel spasms of resentment at the closure of a cherished greasy spoon. People develop enduring relationships with diners – perhaps more so than with any other type of restaurant. And dependability is a huge part of the allure. Say you’ve been going to the same place every Saturday for half of your life to order a western sandwich no cheese, hot sauce on the side, two cups of black coffee. Then one day your serene indulgence is obliterated by a harsh new reality that includes raw fish, quinoa salad and craft beer. Even if you happen to love crudo and ancient grains, there’s no denying that an upheaval of ritual is deeply unnerving. To be sure, nostalgia is one hell of a drug. The impact diners can have on individuals extends to communities. Affordable, efficient and welcoming to everyone, they’re especially important in mixed-income neighbourhoods like Parkdale. Around the corner from Harry’s is the 1940s-era Skyline Restaurant, another local legend. Since Maggie Ruhl took it over with her brother Jud last summer, they’ve also been conscious about catering to everyone. “The diner just feels like home to people,” says Ruhl, a former partner at the Ace, a new wave diner on Roncesvalles. “We’re trying to be a place of comfort for people. I think that’s the true meaning of community.” Longtime residents of the neighbourhood, the Ruhl siblings strive to keep a few of Skyline’s specials well under $10. On Thanksgiving Monday, they hosted a paywhat-you-can turkey dinner. The response was so positive that they’re considering another round for the holidays. Despite their efforts, the new Skyline and Harry’s 2.0 have been accused of gentrifying a neighbourhood in which many residents straddle the poverty line. “It’s not necessarily gentrification, it’s just that times have changed. This is the new wave of diners and that’s it,” says van Gameren. “Would you rather have Harry’s under new management or no Harry’s at all?” The primary struggle of any restaurant, classic or contemporary, is overhead. Ash Farrelly, who has owned and operated
DINERS ARE A GRIND, AND FEWER PEOPLE ARE TACKLING THEM the beloved George Street Diner for almost a decade, admits that it’s getting harder for her to balance the books. “You might make a living at a diner but you’re not going to get rich,” she says. “It’s a nice place to work, but there’s no way you’re going to be staying at the Four Seasons while
you’re on vacation.” Farrelly says that food costs have ballooned in the past year especially. Everything at George Street is made from scratch, including the famous soda bread. She visits the Ontario Food Terminal twice a week for wholesale produce, but because she serves items like organic free-range eggs and fresh-squeezed juices, her costs are climbing. Instead of upping modest prices – a full Irish breakfast will cost you $9.95 – a handwritten sign on the register explains the diner’s “sticky situation,” politely requesting that patrons pay with cash or debit to help skirt credit card fees. Small costs add up, even for a restaurant that’s almost always busy, and there’s an abiding expectation that diners should be cheaper and speedier than other restaurants. But those that put care into sourcing and preparation face a tough dilemma: how to turn a profit without demolishing a diner’s →
BELOW: Weekend breakfast rush at the eastside’s classic George Street Diner
THIS PAGE: Queen West’s revamped Skyline Restaurant offers traditional diner breakfast and a caesar for hangover treatment
→ sacred economical code? “Rent is expensive. Ingredients, especially dairy products, don’t cost what they used to,” Ruhl says. “We always want to make sure we offer several items for people on a budget, but it’s a constant battle.” Accommodating contemporary tastes requires capital, especially in a city full of hifalutin foodies and #cleaneating freaks. Papas harbours a tone of disbelief when he admits that the Patrician now serves veggie burgers and green tea. “A stiff branch breaks in the wind,” he says. “So once in a while you have to bend.” When Greg Boggs first took over the Ace
IF WE EVER NEEDED THE SIMPLICITY AND SOUL OF A CLASSIC DINER, IT’S NOW 66
diner, he envisioned it as a bar with food. But when the neighbourhood embraced it as a go-to for dinner and brunch, he rolled with it. “To be a relevant and viable restaurant, you have to change a little bit,” he says. “You have to listen to what people want and adapt … or else who knows what happens?” Both a diner and a Chinese restaurant in another life, the Ace was empty for almost 20 years before Boggs and then-partner Ruhl
resurrected the intimate space, which retains many of its beautiful vintage fixtures. So there’s some consolation in the fact that old diners could be given a second chance to charm you afresh with an artisanal milkshake. Modification is, after all, better than extinction – especially in a cityscape bullied by inflated real estate. If Toronto’s diners have a tenuous future, it might have less to do with business owners initiating the big bad G-word than it does with absurd property values and a deplorable obsession with condos. But as patrons, we’re also part of the problem. Despite our nostalgic rants about crinkle fries and packaged gravy, we’re checking in online at fancy poutine shops. We’ll pass up humble pie á la mode to post a shot of overpriced soft-serve. Food has become a fetish and a pastime; less about feeding ourselves and more about curating our feeds. Instagram, it seems, dictates what we have for breakfast (that’d be gourmet toast and a rainbow matcha smoothie for a maelstrom of likes). If we ever needed the simplicity and soul of a proper classic diner, with its unphotogenic but unspeakably satisfying burger and fries, it’s now – just as they’re becoming more difficult to find. f
MUST BE LEGAL DRINKING AGE. PLEASE ENJOY RESPONSIBLY.
We’ve scoured Toronto’s bar scene for the freshest mixed drinks – check out some of our favourites
COCKTAIL BAR COCKTAIL: Stinger Julep For more info: 923 Dundas St. W. hoofcocktailbar.com
INGREDIENTS ◆◆ 12 mint leaves ◆◆ 2 oz cognac ◆◆ ¼ oz Branca Menta ◆◆ ¼ oz simple syrup ◆◆ 1 teaspoon crème de cacao ◆◆ Icing sugar and mint sprig to garnish
Put 12 mint leaves in your palm and smack them to release the oils. Add to a julep cup (preferably) along with cognac, Branca Menta, cacao and simple syrup. Add crushed ice to the top of the cup and swizzle until the cup begins to frost. Add more crushed ice to top off in a nice dome. Garnish with a few mint sprigs and a dusting of icing sugar.
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BARQUE SMOKEHOUSE COCKTAIL: Smoke 'n' Choke For more info: 299 Roncesvalles Ave. barque.com
I N GREDIENTS ◆◆ 2 oz of Maker's Mark bourbon ◆◆ ¼ oz of Cynar amaro ◆◆ ¼ oz of maple syrup ◆◆ 2 drops liquid smoke ◆◆ 2 dashes of Peychaud's bitters
Stir the ingredients together and serve over ice with a flamed orange zest.
GRETA SOLOMON’S COCKTAIL: Lavender Sidecar For more info: 1118 Queen St. E. @gretasolomons
IN G R ED IEN TS ◆◆ 1 ½ oz Armagnac de Montal ◆◆ ¼ oz Cointreau ◆◆ ½ oz lemon juice ◆◆ ½ oz honey lavender juice ◆◆ 1 dash orange bitters
Shake all ingredients with ice and fine-strain into a brandy glass with a sugar rim.
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PRAY TELL COCKTAIL: The Make Nice For more info: 838 College St. praytellbar.com
I N GREDIENTS ◆◆ 1 ½ oz Beefeater gin ◆◆ ½ oz passion fruit juice ◆◆ 1oz lime juice ◆◆ ½ oz triple sec ◆◆ 1 egg white
Mix the gin, passion fruit, lime juice, triple sec and egg white and dry-shake. Pour into a glass and garnish with rose petals.
I N GREDIENTS ◆◆ 1 oz cherry-infused cognac ◆◆ ½ oz clove syrup ◆◆ ½ oz lemon juice ◆◆ Top with champagne
Shake and fine-strain into a flute. Top with champagne. Garnish with a cherry.
THOMPSON HOTEL COCKTAIL: Winter 75 For more info: 550 Wellington St. W. thompsonhotels.com
LAVELLE COCKTAIL: Make it So For more info: 627 King St. W. chezlavelle.com
INGRED IEN TS ◆◆ 1 ½ oz Grey Goose vodka ◆◆ ½ oz Reynac Pineau des Charentes ◆◆ 3 dashes Dr. Adam Elmegirab's teapot bitters ◆◆ 3 maraschino cherries
Add ingredients to a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled champagne coupe. Garnish with maraschino cherries.
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All tours include pickup, drop-off and transportation in between, making it an effortless and relaxed way to explore Prince Edward County. With access to over 50 vacation rentals, Sandbanks Vacations & Tours offers excellent weekend getaways. Sit back in a countryside cottage, a breezy lakeside retreat or a centrally situated heritage home near excellent restaurants and art galleries. Privately owned homes and cottages offer a charming, authentic County experience, with options available for large groups of up to 18 guests. ● To book your own Sandbanks getaway, visit SandbanksVacations.com
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074 BUBBLING OVER | 080 WINTER WARMERS | 086 ESCAPISM 089 THE NOSTALGIST / THE DIGEST | 090 THE SELECTOR | 098 DECONSTRUCT
— PART 3 —
EXCESS “ONTARIO CAN DO A SPARKLING WINE JUST AS GOOD AS ANYONE OUTSIDE OF CHAMPAGNE” BUBBLING OVER, 074
BUBBLING OVER Ontario is quickly establishing itself as a world-class producer of sparkling wine, Michael Di Caro writes Photography by Suresh Doss 74
ABOVE: Hinterland winemaker Jonas Newman hauls in grapes for his sparkling wine production
HEN JONAS NEWMAN, winemaker and owner at Hinterland Wine Company, headed to emerging Prince Edward County early last decade, he intented to make the “next best pinot noir in the world.” But nature had other plans. Two early seasons saw crops decimated by freeze-outs, then, a wet slog of a harvest resulted in a marginal yield. That’s when Newman decided that sparkling wine could be the key to success. What is often a liability in making still wine in Ontario can be turned into an advantage with sparkling. Unlike fruit destined for table wine, sparkling wine grapes ripen earlier, which can help a crop avoid disease and rot. On top of that, grapes grown in cooler temperatures also happen to make really delicious sparkling wine. Their extra acidity is desired to balance the wine’s creamy bubbles. Cold climates also prompt grape vines to dig their roots deeper into the soil for nutrients, resulting in higher minerality – a great quality for sparkling wine. “Cool climates. Limestone soils. What’s not to love?” Newman says. “Really what makes it great, especially in the County, is how long it takes for the grapes to get both sugar-ripe and flavour-ripe.” Newman’s switch was a success. Within two years, Hinterland Wine Company’s sparkling wine portfolio racked up accolades from local and international wine critics. “We’re growing year over year in terms of production,” he says. “Sales are growing year over year. We feel like it’s being embraced.” Newman is part of a growing contingent of winemakers who are realizing that Ontario has the potential to produce some of the best sparkling wine in the world. And if current trends are any indication, our province is in the midst of a sparkling wine golden age. Over the past five years, the number of VQA wineries making sparkling wine in the province has more than doubled to over 40. Nearly a quarter of Ontario wineries make sparkling wine, and they’re also producing it in greater variety. Last year, the province produced record volumes of sparkling. Much of this growth is thanks to new wineries, such as Kew Vineyards, making sparkling wine an integral part of their lineup. The boutique winery in Beamsville has quietly built the province’s most exciting lineup of bubbles, with five distinct →
ABOVE AND BELOW: Stratus Vineyards in Niagara-on-the-Lake
→ sparkling wines made in the traditional method (a method used in Champagne). Winemaker Phillip Dowell, an Aussie transplant, has over three decades of experience in the wine business, including a stint with French champagne producer Moët & Chandon when it set up in Australia as Domaine Chandon. When he came to Niagara in the late 1990s, he was quickly won over by the region’s potential. “I believe Ontario can do a sparkling wine just as good as anyone else outside of Champagne,” he says. “Next to icewine, sparkling wine should be our most competitive category.” Stratus Vineyards winemaker J-L Groux echoes the sentiment. “I really believe Ontario is in the right place to make classic method sparkling wine properly, and we are improving,” he says. Groux would know. He was a pioneer of traditional method sparkling wine in Niagara, establishing the first classic program there
as winemaker of Hillebrand Winery (now known as Trius) in 1991. Groux describes that first wave of Niagara sparkling as promising but “lonely,” with only one other winery consistently producing serious sparkling wine. The burgeoning Ontario wine industry just didn’t have the resources it needed at the time. Under Groux’s guidance, Hillebrand became Niagara’s sparkling wine leader. His decision to take inspiration from Champagne – blending chardonnay and pinot noir, two of Niagara’s most promising grapes, and aging the wine for two-and-a-half years – became the template for the region. By the time the calendar flipped to the new millennium, a second wave of quality local sparkling emerged, led by young, hungry and scrappy family-owned wineries like Henry of Pelham. Groux took a respite from sparkling wine to establish the winemaking program at Stratus Vineyards, but the winery is
I BELIEVE ONTARIO CAN DO A SPARKLING WINE JUST AS GOOD AS ANYONE ELSE OUTSIDE OF CHAMPAGNE expanding its portfolio, so he’s back exploring sparkling. He is working on a long-aged blanc de blanc (a white wine made entirely with white grapes) that will be ready in 2019. “Patience is the name of the game,” he says. Other Ontario wineries have noticed the potential of these long-aged blanc de blancs. Newman has made one, and Dowell – one of the style’s biggest proponents – has one available at Kew and at Angels Gate Winery. One of the most consistent producers and pioneers of the blanc de blanc style in Niagara is Henry of Pelham. Its Carte Blanche is aged 60 months on lees (the yeast that gives bottle-fermented sparkling its bubbles). The winery knew it had something special when an early version of Carte Blanche became the talk of a comprehensive Canadian sparkling tasting held at Canoe restaurant in 2011. The buzz hasn’t stopped for the vintages released since then. Daniel Speck, a co-owner at Henry of Pelham, likens long-aging on lees to oakaging wine: the right amount rounds a wine’s edges and adds complexity, texture and irreplaceable elegance, but overdo it and you end up with unbalanced excess. “Too much of a good thing is not that great,” Speck says. Helping demystify those secrets and aiming to ensure Ontarians continue to have better bubbles in their glasses is Fizz Club. Part support group, part professional development symposium, Fizz Club is where Ontario’s current and future sparkling winemakers share and discuss the latest research and wines they’re working on.
Dr. Belinda Kemp, an oenologist at Brock University and the leader of Fizz Club, is palpably optimistic about the state of Ontario’s sparkling wine. “Some of the long-aged traditional method wines we’re doing sit right up there at the top of the pyramid with champagnes,” she says. “But we’re catering to the market that wants prosecco-style bubbly, too.” Fizz Club aims for practical solutions to improve each stage of sparkling wine production from vineyard to bottle. Many winemakers consider Kemp to be the behind-the-scenes leader of this third wave of Ontario sparkling. Over the past few years she has become a go-to wine whisperer, using science to find solutions to some of the local wine industry’s biggest production challenges. “She has been instrumental in reviving the category with Fizz Club,” says Groux. “It is going to help the entire industry make better and better traditional method sparkling.” Fizz Club has already led to some very practical changes, such as Trius changing its rosé dosage; a conference; a vineyard trial rethinking how to grow the best sparkling grapes; and a trip to Champagne that filled Groux and 26 other Ontario sparkling
winemakers with inspiration. Harnessing this newfound energy will be key to the success of this third wave, which faces some challenges. “It’s kind of like that baseball thing: ‘If you build it, they will come,’ ” says Toronto-based master of wine Eugene Mlynczyk. “And we haven’t quite built it yet.” Mlynczyk is one of five Canadians with the world’s top wine distinction. To complete the program last year, he conducted an extensive
survey on VQA sparkling wine with hundreds of local wine professionals. He found that they believe local sparkling wine is better in terms of quality and value than VQA table wines. Still, there is a lack of consensus on how to translate this into consumer support. Sales of VQA sparkling wines have more than doubled in the last 10 years, but that growth lags slightly behind the growth of sparkling wines globally.
AN INTRODUCTION TO ONTARIO BUBBLY
Photograph by Ryan Faist
1 Henry of Pelham Cuveé Catharine, $29.95 The standard-bearer for Ontario bubbles for over a decade. The balance between citrus, berries and bready yeastiness is impressive. 2 Hidden Bench 2014 Brut, $45 An elegant beauty with bright golden apple, Flemish Beauty pear, fragrant Meyer lemon zest and toasty, yeasty brioche. Long-aged on lees, this vintage sparkling wine is the embodiment of Ontario’s exciting third wave of sparkling wine. 3 Ravine Vineyards NV Brut, $35 This is a longer aged non-vintage, but it drinks like a vintage sparkler. Notes of crisp lemon are offset by just the right touch of creaminess. 4 Kew Vineyards Traditional, $29.95 Gorgeously aromatic with the goods to back it up. White peach blossom, honeycrisp apples and almond blossom meld perfectly with brioche. 5 Big Head Winery Big Bang, $45 A decadent sparkler with bold pear, tangerine, golden peach, berries and caramel-topped golden shortbread.
LAST YEAR, RECORD VOLUMES OF SPARKLING WERE PRODUCED IN ONTARIO Mlynczyk believes Ontario’s sparkling hasn’t quite caught fire with local consumers because some Ontario wineries are trendchasing. They might add a sparkling wine to their portfolio in an attempt to “be all things to all people,” he says. That’s a problematic strategy, because sparkling requires significant investment, equipment and expertise. “You can’t cowboy sparkling,” he says, recalling a quote from Henry of Pelham’s Daniel Speck. “It’s not like the wild west out there. You need an organized plan. Ideally it’s not just a one-off wine, but a coherent part of your production that you’re also focusing
on. Not every winery in Ontario is doing that. There are bunch of additional players coming onto the bandwagon.” His advice to make sparkling sales flourish is greater focus. At Kew, Dowell is taking this advice with a sparkling program that showcases the full spectrum of Niagara’s traditional method sparkling. Modern takes on classics sit alongside evolutions on recent trends, like a barrelfermented blanc de blanc, which lends a creamier texture without compromising fruit or getting too yeasty. But most importantly, Kew’s sparkling portfolio includes unique trendsetters like the province’s first sparkling pinot meunier. It’s done in a natural brut style, meaning there’s no added sugar, resulting a product that is clean and pure. Ontario brut natural sparkling wines are ascending, with a handful producers
releasing one within the last year and more to come in the near future. But what Dowell has done differently with this brut natural is opt for a shorter-aged traditional method wine and a grape that lends itself to an approachable, fruitier style bursting with wild berries. He might be onto something with this unique approach. Mlynczyk found in his study that while wine professionals tend to evangelize the complex, toasty, yeasty flavours of traditional method wines, when asked what style of sparkling their consumers prefer, it’s usually fresh and fruity. While the future of Ontario’s sparkling wine is looking bright, Newman is careful to observe that we’re not Champagne. “I think we’ll keep finding ways to improve,” he says. “I see people working to make more and better sparkling wine. Let’s just hope it doesn’t go the way of merlot.” f
RIGHT: J-L Groux, winemaker at Stratus Vineyards, tends to his vines
Photograph by Elena Galey-Pride
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WINTER WARMERS A connoisseurâ€™s guide to elegant fireside sipping this season PHOTOGRAPHY BY RYAN FAIST
F O O D I S M .T O
1 BOWMORE DARKEST 15 YEAR OLD ISLAY SINGLE MALT. Matured in oloroso sherry casks to impart a spicy and subtle fruit feel. Lingers long with toffee and sherry notes. $93.40, lcbo.com 2 WAYNE GRETZKY 99 RED CASK. Starts off with hints of leather, wood and caramel. Sweet on the palate with a lasting finish of stewed fruit and cinnamon. $34.95, lcbo.com 3 GLENMORANGIE MILSEAN PRIVATE EDITION. A beautiful
champagne colour brings forth myriad sweet notes, from honey to apple pie. It lingers for an eternity, finishing with a hint of spice. $177.95, lcbo.com 4 PIKESVILLE STRAIGHT RYE WHISKEY 6 YEAR OLD. So much candy on the nose, complemented by floral and wood tones. It punches hard with a mix of dark chocolate and clove, but itâ€™s incredibly balanced. $89.95, lcbo.com 5 HIBIKI SUNTORY HARMONY. A gorgeous lesson in elegance.
As light as a feather on the palate with a mild floral essence and subtle flavours of orange peel. $99.95, lcbo.com 6 BRUICHLADDICH BLACK ART 4. A deeply complex drink, masterfully layering flavours of blackcurrants, other dark berries, honey and toffee. It smells like a sherry at first, with a wave of cinnamon and black pepper to follow it up.
$350, lcbo.com 7 BALVENIE 12 YEAR OLD SINGLE BARREL. A staple for anyone that loves a balanced, expressive whisky. Vanilla and ginger on the nose, with a sweet and long-lasting finish. $155.20, lcbo.com 8 HIGHLAND PARK 18 YEAR OLD. A decadent journey through fragrant flower fields, vats of honey and fruit pies. The kind of whisky that lingers on your palate long after the night is over. $214.96, lcbo.com
Photograph by ###
2 3 1
1 MALIVOIRE 2014 GAMAY. Pepper and cherry dominate this fruit-forward wine. Itâ€™s soft and light but has a juicy coat on the tongue. A great choice for the family feast. $17.95, vintages.com 2 FIELDING 2014 RIESLING. Bright and vibrant from nose
to mouth, this off-dry style of riesling sings of citrus and candied fruit with a spine of lively acidity. $15.95, fieldingwines.com 3 HIDDEN BENCH NUIT BLANCHE 2014. This signature sauvignon blanc and semillon blend is a vivid citrus dream
of white grapefruit, lime zest, lemon and guava. $40, hiddenbench.com 4 DOMAINE QUEYLUS 2013 CHARDONNAY. A beautifully complex chardonnay with a nose of oak, pear and nuts, followed by a clean and crisp minerality on the palate.
$24.95, lcbo.com 5 FLATROCK CELLARS 2014 ESTATE PINOT NOIR. Made with fruit from seven different vineyard plots to create a lush palate of cherry and dark berries, rounded by earthiness. Very food friendly. $20.20, lcbo.com
Photograph by ###
3 4 5
1 LEFT FIELD BREWERY BRICKS & MORTAR COFFEE PORTER. A silky blend of vanilla and chocolate fortified with Ethiopian coffee beans roasted by Toronto’s Pilot Coffee Roasters. $7.95, leftfieldbrewery.com 2 SAWDUST CITY CHINOOK
COLLINGWOOD WET HOP ALE. Freshly aromatic from the moment you pop open the can, this hyperspecific terroir beer bursts with hops and citrus. $3.75, lcbo.com 3 AMSTERDAM MAVERICK AND GOSE. A vibrant dance of citrus fruit and
everlasting froth. Aged in chardonnay barrels from Niagara, resulting in a rounder mouth feel. $7.95, lcbo.com 4 DESCENDANTS HARBINGER PALE ALE. A playful mix of tropical fruit flavours balanced out with malt and hops. It’s slightly untraditional, but a lot
of fun. $3, lcbo.com 5 COLLECTIVE ARTS STRANGER THAN FICTION PORTER. The beer you want to sip by the fireplace this winter. Tastes like creamy milk chocolate from start to finish, with hints of malt and toffee that you can taste long after the last sip. $3.15, lcbo.com
Photograph by ###
Made with the gentlest touch...
NEW IN THE AUSTRALIAN SECTION AT THE LCBO /angovewine www.angove.com.au
BIG HEAD WINERY
Winemaker Andrzej Lipinski’s new winery is producing some of the most interesting wines in the region. Known for the appassimento style (in which grapes are kiln-dried to concentrate aromas and taste), Lipinski offers a lineup from bubbly to red blends that is bold, elegant and complex. Don’t leave without trying the chenin blanc. bigheadwines.ca
Getting to Niagara’s beautiful wine country just got a whole lot easier. With new flights from downtown Toronto going out daily, you can be at the vineyard in less than a half hour, writes Suresh Doss
ONG KNOWN AS Ontario’s premier wine region, Niagara-on-the-Lake has traditionally lacked great food options. But within the last few years, the town has undergone a culinary renaissance. From food trucks to farm-to-table bistros, there’s now a range of great dining options to complement the world-class wine. Even better, Greater Toronto Airways recently announced daily flights from the downtown core to NOTL’s Stone Road. You
◆◆ 40-plus wineries ◆◆ Distance from Toronto: 15 minutes to
Niagara Stone Road by flight ◆◆ Also known for: the annual Shaw Festival,
which has run for over 50 years
OAST HOUSE BREWERY This indie brewery has quickly become a meeting point for wine lovers, hop-heads and winemakers looking to unwind over delicious brew. Oast House opened its craft brewery a few years ago and quickly expanded with a bistro counter and a patio overlooking Stratus Vineyards. Stop by for some of the best fish tacos you’ll ever have and a flight of seasonal brews that ranges from saisons to country ales. oasthousebrewers.ca
Photograph by Suresh Doss
can skip commuting on the QEW for hours on end and get from the gate to your first stop in 30 minutes. Chartered flights (for up to eight guests) run twice daily from Billy Bishop Airport to Niagara, and there are some spectacular bird’s eye views of the city during the commute. A range of bike and limousine services are also available once you land to facilitate a last-minute vineyard jaunt. Once you’re in town, a number of wineries and restaurants are conveniently located off the main Stone Road strip. f
the finish is just the beginning
SNAP YOUR FOOD AND EAT IT, TOO Do you love taking mouth-watering photos of your food? Show us what you’ve got
PUT YOUR PLATE IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Whether you’re a master of the #foodstagram or an undercover food photographer just waiting to be discovered, we want to see your tastiest snaps. The winner and the runners-up will be published in these very pages.
CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Trout on a bed of vegetables from Ravine; uni on carpaccio from Alo; crudo from Alo; tuna from Parcae; heirloom tomato salad from Parcae
Photograph by Suresh Doss
It's as easy as pie to enter. Send your best food shot to firstname.lastname@example.org (one entry per person) with the subject line, “foodism photo contest.”
THE DIGEST THE NOSTALGIST Toronto’s cheapest, grimiest BBQ pork restaurant was an institution, writes Jon Sufrin
Illustration by Ryan Feeley
OBODY WHO ATE at Kom Jug Yuen would tell you it was a great restaurant. The food was mediocre, and man, the place was just grimy. But even though I never loved it, I went to Kom Jug regularly for years. Like an underappreciated girlfriend, it was always there for me when I needed it. Then, a few months ago, it closed for good, seemingly out of nowhere. I was introduced to Kom Jug in the early 2000s as that Chinatown place at Spadina and Nassau where you could get a pile of pork with rice, steamed greens and a bowl of mystery broth for five friggin’ bucks. The value was so good it was almost suspicious. The name, of course, was the best. Any homonym of “come” is hilarious. So I started going there almost as a joke. Kom Jug was like my ironic moustache. The food, though, wasn’t bad. More importantly, it was my gateway into Chinesestyle barbecued pork, which is actually the best thing in the world when done properly. Salty, gooey, sweet as candy and so fatty it’s stupid. Goldstone Noodle and King’s Noodle nearby have always made better pork, but Kom Jug was my go-to. I spent many greasy late nights there: fluorescent bristol board menus, endless steaming pots of tea, John Tesh on the radio. I remember watching a chef drop pork onto the floor as he was chopping it for me. He casually picked it up, put it onto the plate and
brought it directly to me. I sighed and ate it, because it was Kom Jug. I once spent New Year’s Eve there by myself, and it wasn’t even that bad. Then there was that time when the price went up by a dollar. I was offended. Kom Jug was not Kom Jug unless it was five bucks. Soon after, the bowl of broth was taken out of the equation. I swore I’d never go back, but of course, that was a promise I could not keep. Once I watched a customer berate a server there because the pork was dry. “Is there any way I can get it moisturized?” he asked in complete seriousness. Like many Kom Jug regulars, he just assumed that in addition to being pretty much free, the food should also be without fault. How was Kom Jug able to be so cheap for so long? It doesn’t even make sense. I don’t know why Kom Jug closed, but there might be a lesson here. Sometimes I think we expect too much from our restaurants. When we eat out, we demand to be satiated, entertained and treated like royalty while paying as little as possible. What I do know is that I took Kom Jug for granted. I’ve glorified many chefs at whose restaurants I’ve paid hundreds of dollars per sitting, where servers raise an eyebrow if I don’t know what amaro is. Yet I’ve never known the name of a single employee who worked at Kom Jug, a place where it was impossible to be the last one to say “thank you.” Kom Jug, I miss you already. f
OFF THE HOOK
Hooked has gone national. A new location of the popular Toronto fishmonger opened on Charles Street in Halifax earlier this fall, continuing the brand’s original mission to provide fresh seafood sourced responsibly from small-scale fisheries. Hooked has been near the forefront of Canada’s sustainable seafood movement since it first opened in Leslieville five years ago.
END OF AN ERA
After nearly 10 years in business, the legendary Harbord Room closed its doors for good at the end of October. In addition to just being a really good restaurant, the Harbord Room was a pioneer in the city’s craft cocktail scene, and it served one of the best hamburgers around. It was also a launching pad for numerous chefs, including co-owner Cory Vitiello, who will now focus his attention on Flock, his rotisserie chicken chain.
If you’re a cake fiend, chances are good you’ve enjoyed a slice of La Rocca cake at a party. The familyrun operation originally spawned in Naples, and it recently celebrated 30 years at its Richmond Hill location. That’s a sweet feat for a company that started from humble beginnings, and well deserved: La Rocca produces some of the city’s most beautiful hand-crafted cakes.
For a truly memorable meal, these high-end restaurants offer multi-course tasting menus, with the aim of taking you on a sensory journey
Hungry in the city? So are we. Happily, Toronto has a superlative selection of bars and restaurants that’ll provide whatever you’re after – whether that’s a fine-dining tasting menu, a challenging craft beer or a sweet treat
A MATTER OF TASTE
1 Parcae 348 Adelaide St. W.
This subterranean, European-inspired restaurant inside the Templar Hotel has a dining experience rarely found in Toronto: you can enjoy a custom-designed tasting menu right in the restaurant’s kitchen. Chef Danny Hassell’s cooking is laced with Canadian ingredients from coast to forest, married with Southern Italian and Montreal sensibilities. Guests choose their style of tasting menu, whether it’s a three-course teaser or an immersive 15-course indulgence. parcae.ca
BEST OF THE REST 2 Shoushin
5 Buca Yorkville
3228 Yonge St.
53 Scollard St.
Sushi boss Jackie Lin foregoes white tablecloths and fine china at his 14-seat Japanese restaurant. Instead, prepare yourself for a stripped-down experience where the focus is the freshest possible seafood, which is delivered to the restaurant three times a week. Lin offers tasting menus of varying lengths and price points (luxe offerings include premium wagyu beef ).
Of all the restaurants in Rob Gentile’s culinary empire, Buca Yorkville – with its marriage of Italian cooking and seafood – is the most exciting. The various degustation menus offer an unrivaled selection from the seas. buca.ca
3 Canoe 66 Wellington St. W.
The city’s fine-dining stalwart continues to feature a unique tasting menu experience with killer views. Sit at the chef’s rail and enjoy a breathtaking panorama of the city and lake. It’s the best seat in the house to fully experience Canoe’s steadfast adherence to showcasing Canadian ingredients. canoerestaurant.com
4 Alo 163 Spadina Ave.
With its Michelin-level food and service, Alo deserves every single accolade it has garnered since it opened last year. Chef Patrick Kriss and his culinary brigade have raised the bar for fine dining in this city with a cerebral experience that does what any good tasting menu should do: take you on a full sensory journey. Plus, it’s all at an affordable price, with tasting menus starting under $100.
1 Halo Brewery 247 Wallace Ave.
’TIS THE SAISON
In the past five years, Toronto’s craft beer scene has skyrocketed. Here are some of the city’s most exciting, boundary-pushing brewpubs 92
Co-founders Eric Portelance and Callum Hay push the craft beer envelope by adding unexpected ingredients to classic recipes. Find rose hips in a saison (Tokyo Rose), elderflower in a cider (Elder God) and strawberry and kiwi in a gose (Ion Cannon). Grab a growler from the bottle shop or stick around for a tasting flight in Halo’s bright, industrial tap room, where you might catch a glimpse of the brewers in action. halobrewery.com
BEST OF THE REST 2 Bellwoods Brewery 124 Ossington Ave.
Despite being open for just over four years, this west-end operation is considered a veteran in the city’s microbrewing community. Expect lineups outside the brewpub door as patrons wait to sample tart, sippable sours like the Jelly King, or the hop-forward Jutsu, a cloudy pale ale with fresh, fruity notes. Treat yourself to a one-off reserve bottle like the Barn Owl #4, barrelaged and bottle-conditioned for a more complex beer drinking experience. bellwoodsbrewery.com
3 Bandit Brewery 2125 Dundas St. W.
This Roncesvalles brewery has a German beer hall vibe thanks to strings of fairy lights and
picnic table-style seating. Branded after the city’s crafty trash pandas, Bandit offers eight house-brewed beers on tap, rotating through core recipes and seasonal specials. The flagship Smoke on the Porter is derived from co-founder Stephane Dubois’ homebrew recipe, while the Hassel-Hef is a bright, citrusy hefeweizen reminiscent of warm summer days on the patio. banditbrewery.ca
4 Folly Brewpub 928 College St.
Folly tends to keep a low profile, which is surprising when you realize the long list of things it has going for it. To start, its tap lineup of Belgian-style saisons and farmhouse ales is right on trend. Then there’s the better-than-average pub menu of small
plates and shareables cooked up in a sleek open kitchen. And the unexpected bonus? An impressive back bar of over 400 whiskies. follybrewing.com
5 Indie Ale House 2876 Dundas St. W.
Ex-fine dining chef Todd Clarmo opened this one-stop brewpub in the Junction to realize his dream of matching flavourful craft beer with refined food. The beer selection rotates regularly, featuring everything from saisons to pale ales to barrel-aged sours. There is a bottle shop next door, but the best way to experience Indie Ale House is to hit up one of the beer-pairing dinners, in which guest chefs both cook food and create collaborative oneoff beers to go with it. indiealehouse.com
Photograph by ###
Whether you’re searching for tiramisu or gummy bears, these Toronto confectioners definitely have what it takes to satiate your sweet tooth 94
1 Sweet Addictions Candy Co. 1134 Dundas St. W.
This friendly candy shop made a quiet debut in October of this year, but its unique selection of imported candy, chocolate and snacks is already drawing plenty of foot traffic (its prime location on Dundas West, next to the Lakeview, doesn’t hurt either). While fans of British confectionary will be pleased to see favourites such as Galaxy chocolate and Jelly Babies, it’s the more unusual offerings that make this shop worth a look: think root beerflavoured Pop Tarts and red velvet Oreos.
BEST OF THE REST 2 Amico Chef
4 Squish Candies
5 Stubbe Chocolates
2889 Dufferin St.
176 Yonge St.
653 Dupont St.
Italian chef Francesco Lefano loves tiramisu – he’s been making the layered Italian dessert since he was a kid. When he moved to Canada a few years ago, he opened a bakery on Dufferin street to showcase this passion. Lucky us. Amico Chef features a variety of large and mini-sized tiramisu at the retail shop, along with a bevy of other Italian treats. Get the tiramisu, but also make sure to pack a box of mini cannoli, bombolones (stuffed doughnuts) and Nutella tarts.
This Montreal-based company is taking the candy world by storm with its unique, artisanal approach to gummies and sours. Squish carries over 100 different types of candies, from sour peach hearts to sugar-free gummy bears, and nearly everything is vegan. The assortment of candies also includes non-traditional ingredients, as seen with the gummy bears made from prosecco.
German owner Daniel Stubbe comes from a long line of konditors, makers of fine chocolates and baked treats. Using ageold recipes from his father and great-aunt, Stubbe pours melted chocolate into molds in an open kitchen, allowing customers a peek into the process. His flavoured truffles are a true treat, while the single-origin bars suit chocolate traditionalists.
3 Chocolates x Brandon Olsen
1132 College St.
After a building a cult-like following for his small-batch confections at pop-ups, ex-Bar Isabel chef Brandon Olsen finally found a storefront earlier this summer. Now you can hop into his small shop on College Street to try a unique ensemble of handmade bonbons. Crowd favourites include the salted caramel and the pistachio orange.
WE HAVE LIFT OFF
We celebrated our inaugural print edition at a bash above the city with 200 of our nearest and dearest
Photograph by Sandro Pehar
We went way above the city – 51 floors up, to be exact – to the One Eighty, where we snacked, sipped and celebrated, with Toronto’s twinkling skyline providing a stunning backdrop for the evening.
PC® Black Label brought in a team of all-star chefs to work alongside the One Eighty team to provide some truly incredible grub. Highlights included oysters on the half-shell, pumpkin triangoli with lemon-sage butter and steak with black garlic compound butter and polenta.
Photograph by Sandro Pehar
Dillon’s Gin, Muskoka Brewery, Gooderham & Worts, Château des Charmes, Creekside Estate and Jackson-Triggs kept everyone well hydrated. PC® Black Label also created a boozy concoction of our front cover using their Blood Orange Sparkling Beverage.
BROTH: Made from chicken bones boiled for four hours with ginger, green onions, salt and sugar.
WONTONS: Simple but good, these are made in-house and are filled with two kinds of shrimp – tiger and American white – with just a dash of salt added.
GREENS: Yau choy is steamed and placed into the soup to add a touch of bitterness and a hit of vegetable crunch.
Swatow. 309 Spadina Ave., 416-977-0601
NOODLES: Buried underneath everything is a tangle of al dente egg noodles, made in-house according to a "secret" method.
BRISKET: This is the star of the show, cooked low and slow for up to 12 hours with soy sauce, sugar, satay sauce, chu hou sauce, ginger, garlic and onions, until it's soft and fall-apart tender.
Photograph by ###
These days Toronto is obsessed with ramen, but the beef brisket noodle bowl at Chinatown’s longstanding Swatow is as good as – or better than – most soups in the city