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

Gin made the way it used to be, the way it should be.


Photo taken by co-founder Tim. View from the quinine plantations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

WE GO TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH FOR THE PERFECT G&T Gin is only as good as the tonic it’s paired with. That’s why at Fever-Tree, it’s all about taste. One might even say our founders Charles and Tim are a little obsessed. In their quest to create the world’s first premium Indian tonic water, Charles and Tim spent days in the British Library researching quinine sources before travelling to some of the most remote parts of the world in search of the finest ingredients – even as far as the Democratic Republic of the Congo to find quinine of the highest quality. It’s this unique ingredient that gives our tonic its essential bitter flavour and, when balanced with naturally-sourced botanicals like orange oils, makes for a gin & tonic that’s crisp, clean and like no other. However, Charles and Tim didn’t stop there. Since no gin is the same, they developed a selection of awardwinning flavoured tonics – each one individually crafted to complement the varied flavour profiles of gin. Find the perfect tonic for your favourite gin at fever-tree.com



TM Fever tree Ltd.




A CROSSTREK CLEAN WHEN IT’S SO MUCH FUN GETTING DIRTY.” THE ALL-NEW 2018 CROSSTREK loves getting dirty, with X-Mode† to handle challenging inclines and declines, and standard Subaru Symmetrical Full-Time

All-Wheel Drive to handle pretty much anything else. Add in high ground clearance with a low centre of gravity and your Crosstrek is up for fun, wherever it leads. Learn more at subaru.ca/crosstrek

*MSRP of $23,695 on 2018 Crosstrek Convenience 6MT (JX1 CP). MSRP excludes Freight & PDI of $1,725. Taxes, license, registration and insurance are extra. $0 security deposit. Model shown is 2018 Crosstrek Limited Package CVT w/ Eyesight (JX2 LPE) with an MSRP of $33,195. Dealers may sell for less or may have to order or trade. Prices may vary in Quebec. Vehicle shown solely for purposes of illustration, and may not be equipped exactly as shown. See Owner’s Manual for complete details on system operation and limitations. †X-MODE™: Equipped in CVT models only. EyeSight is a driver-assist system which may not operate optimally under all driving conditions. The driver is always responsible for safe and attentive driving. System effectiveness depends on many factors such as vehicle maintenance, and weather and road conditions. See Owner’s Manual for complete details on system operation and limitations. See your local Subaru dealer for details. Crosstrek and Subaru are registered trademarks.


Hello@foodism.to PUBLISHER

Krista Faist





Atyia Police


Teresa Donato


Matthew Hasteley DESIGNER

April Tran

Since the holiday season, we’ve been on the receiving end of an onslaught of temperamental weather. But regardless of Antarctic-like conditions, somehow the city feels livelier than ever. My winter-loving friends are lacing up and hitting the numerous new


skating trails in the city, and others who prefer a bit of warmth (including


me) are cozying up over pints at new breweries. There’s no downtime

Emily Black

Ryan Faist, Kayla Rocca, Sandro Pehar, David Charbit

anymore – since ringing in the new year, foodies have celebrated the


official launch of three new food halls in the downtown core and two craft


breweries. The year is off to a great start in Toronto.

Talia Ricci

Nicole Aggelonitis, James Dalgarno, David Horvatin LEAD DEVELOPER

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

With 2018 comes the chance for new beginnings. Restaurateur and


AJ Cerqueti

local food activist Brock Shepherd extols the virtues of avoiding food waste


(pg. 33). Torontonians are turning more attention to how much meat they


consume and restaurants are upping their green game. Talia Ricci talks to


chefs and restaurant owners to get an inside-the-kitchen perspective on the


rise of vegetarian fine-dining in this city (pg. 36).


Tim Slee



foodism uses paper from sustainable sources

We’re only a few weeks away from launching our sister travel publication, escapism. We’re continuing to give you a sneak peek preview of the




upcoming magazine with a look at eco-friendly initiatives that hotels around


the world are taking, and a slideshow from photographer David Charbit’s


fly-fishing adventure in Ireland’s Bundorragha River.


If you feel like the holidays were more work than play and you still need some recovery time, Andrea Yu suggests escaping to the Gatineau region (pg. 70) for a weekend of spa-ing and snowshoeing in the woods. It’s shaping up to be a promising year for foodism and our exciting new project, escapism magazine. We very much appreciate your continued support and hope you’ll enjoy the ride with us. f



Suresh Doss





© Foodism Toronto 2017. 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.



Forget forgetting to buy a Monthly Pass.

With PRESTO, you can set up your adult or senior TTC Monthly Pass to automatically renew.

Get your card today at PRESTOcard.ca or select Shoppers Drug Mart locations.

— PART 1 —




Despite its funky flavour, Andrea Yu is fascinated by kombucha, the fermented, tea-based beverage.


1 MAGGIE SKELTON Chase Hospitality Group



sugar in your tea and ferments it over a few weeks at room temperature to create the fizziness and funk that I’ve grown to love. It’s clear I’m not the only one that’s discovered the delights of this funky brew. Aside from bottled options (VAMS and Live are brewed in the GTA), eateries are serving kombucha on tap. Mary Be Kitchen on St. Clair West carries the locally-produced Tonica and at spots like the Witches Brew in Kensington Market, you can fill up your growler with their house-brewed ‘booch. This kombucha craze is taking its toll on my wallet. But a little research revealed that for less than the price of an average bottle (about $4 each) I could make an entire batch of ‘booch at home using minimal equipment. I acquired a 1-gallon jar and a SCOBY from a kombucha-brewing friend. It came with confident reassurances that my homebrew wouldn’t cause an outbreak of botulism or some other public health incident. I dutifully followed her instructions to prepare the sugary tea then sloshed in the little SCOBY. I’m not sure if it was the particulars of my brew or maybe the SCOBY I had adopted was getting near the end of its useful life, but after a few weeks of waiting there was no change in the concoction. It was still just as sugary and flat as on day one. After consulting more experienced brewers, I was told to experiment with smaller batches before ramping up to a gallon or to try it again with a new, fresher SCOBY. Down the road, once I figure out the perfect blend for my setup, I know my liver (and wallet) will thank me. f

Skelton learned to cook at the age of 10 and was soon in charge of the family dinner menu. While at Amanda Cohen’s Dirt Candy in New York, Skelton developed a love for veggies-first cooking. Today, she is a chef at Planta, the hot spot where diners are introduced to new perspectives on plant-based cooking.



Since going vegan in 2010, Hutchings has taught herself, from-scratch, vegan substitutions for her favourite meals. This evolved into a YouTube channel, the Edgy Veg, which has over 11 million views. Photography: Kombucha by Keren Chen and Catherine Nelson

’VE RECENTLY EXPERIMENTED with dry evenings out in the city. My liver certainly appreciates the break. But I have a pretty boozy group of friends (who doesn’t?) so accomplishing this is not an easy feat. Instead of loudly announcing my status as the designated killjoy of the evening, I’ve found success by subtly sipping booze-free beverages masquerading as the real thing. I’ll ask for soda water in a tumbler (instead of the incredibly obvious pint glass they usually come in) and toss in a lemon or lime to make it look like a mixed drink and avoid the heckles from my buzzed buds. I have also incorporated kombucha as a worthwhile alternative in my rotation for occasional booze-free goings-about-town. This fermented, effervescent tea-based beverage is more exciting to the tastebuds than soda water, but not as sweet as pop or juice. The tart and slightly tannic properties of kombucha do a decent job of replacing the experience of alcohol. I compare it to a fermented, fizzy apple cider, but this description doesn’t quite do it justice. What’s more perplexing than kombucha’s funky flavour is the way that it’s made. A large batch of black tea is brewed then a generous heap of sugar is added. But the essential element of the recipe is an otherworldlylooking jelly-like culture called a SCOBY, an acronym for “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts.” Images of SCOBYs on message boards like Bunz Trading Zone have carried joking trigger warnings due to their unappealing appearance. But this mysterious flesh-hued blob is what consumes all the

We shop the world for you.



After preparing vegetarian meals for a close friend with multiple sclerosis, Bissoon discovered the healing powers of her cooking and launched Ki’s Kitchen, her Durham-based meal prep and delivery service. Ki’s Kitchen focuses on restricted diets, preparing vegan, anti-inflammatory, diabetes-friendly meals that are still flavourful and indulgent, such as her South Indian-inspired eggplant layered casserole and jackfruit tacos. Bissoon recently launched cooking workshops across the GTA.



Caribbean influence weighed heavily on Wright’s upbringing. Her parents are Jamaican, and she’s also spent time in the British Virgin Islands, where meat and fish are staples. Once she became vegetarian, she relearned how to cook her favourite meals and now prepares these recipes at her Annex restaurant, One Love Vegetarian. The eatery sets itself apart for its callaloo, which is prepared from fresh boxes of the leafy green shipped in from Jamaica instead of the canned variety.

ERIC CHAO Parka Food Co.

After a successful run on the vegetarian food fest circuit, Eric Chao found a home for his plant-based comfort food with a spot on Queen West. Instead of mock meats, Chao puts veggies at centre stage, marinating then grilling portobello caps and “fillets” of potato to create burgers that satisfy vegans and omnivores alike. Fried cauliflower and onion rings round out the comfort food-focused menu as well as Parka’s popular mac ‘n’ cheese made with a creamy dairyfree, nut-based sauce.

The Korean staple pops with flavour and just might be good for you. Here are our local favourites. WEST OF SEOUL



Top prize goes to Kitchener-based food truck and popup vendor West of Seoul for creating some of the best local kimchi we’ve had. Owner and chef Chris Kim tinkers with his batches of kimchi by using local ingredients whenever possible, which means goodies like wild leeks and apples. As far as heat goes, this is some of the spiciest kimchi out there. westofseoul.ca

One of Toronto’s oldest Korean restaurants pulls a loyal crowd to North York for its wickedly good fried chicken and elaborate congee presentations, but it’s also known for some of the best traditional kimchi in the city. Their only version, the owner’s favourite, is apparently based on a recipe that spans generations. Call ahead because they often run out. 416-229-6248

If you’re looking for a deeper selection of kimchi, Galleria is your best bet. The Asian supermarket stocks a range of kimchis that vary in spice level and principal ingredients, like cabbage or radish. The fermented product comes in all sizes as well and is the most stable, if you plan to stretch your consumption over weeks rather than days. galleriasm.com

Photography: Kiran and Ikeila by Ryan Faist; Kimchi by Shutterstock



IKEILA WRIGHT One Love Vegetarian

Mindful hydration � Naturally alkaline spring water � Organic flavours � Pure taste � Eco-friendly pack � No sugar, no juice, no calories, no preservatives and no GMOs

Flow’s naturally alkaline spring water now comes in two new organic flavours: cucumber + mint and lemon + ginger. Each flavour was developed to be deliciously drinkable while still maintaining the healthful benefits of Flow alkaline spring water (pH of 8.1).




Other must-try spots

Markham, York Region’s most populous city, has long been a mecca for foodies seeking regional Southeast Asian food.


Duo Patisserie; 230 Commerce Valley Dr. E. #4 Get the croissants and mini cakes at Duo, part of the city-wide trend for French-meets-Asian fusion bakeries. duo-patisserie.com

The small-sized plates of Chinese delicacies are a specialty for Markham’s restaurant industry – downtown places don’t even come close. The varied feast is best enjoyed in groups of four or more, so get a crew together before heading north.

◆◆ Fancy Chinese

Cuisine; 7750 Kennedy Rd. A step above ordinary: dim sum classics with a few modern twists. They excel at larger dishes too, so when you finish with dumplings move to wok-fried noodles and ginger garlic lobster.

◆◆ Dragonboat Fusion;

160 E Beaver Creek Rd. The widely admired dim sum menu is edited to focus on quality over quantity. They’re also known for lavish banquetstyle dinners for special occasions. dragonboat fusioncuisine.com


It seems like every restaurant in Markham has some sort of lavish preparation designed for plushy group dining, from gravity-defying towers of fried shellfish to elaborate nose-to-tail platters. This is a town where people take their special occasions seriously.

◆◆ Dayali Beijing

Roast Duck; 20 Gibson Dr. Famed for the namesake dish, where slow roasted duck comes with all the accoutrements. Dayali is also a top choice for fried fish and house-made noodle dishes. dayali.ca


Szechuan Legend; 505 Hwy. 7 This is the best spot for a fiery introduction to the cooking of Szechuan. Order a heaping plate of chili oil beef, mapo tofu and a bowl of wonton soup.

◆◆ Fishman Lobster

Clubhouse Restaurant; 680 Silver Star Blvd. There’s no more luxurious setting for fans of seafood. Fishman does elaborate preparations of Alaskan king crab and mountains of fried lobster. old.flctoronto.com

Zen Japanese Restaurant; 7634 Woodbine Ave. Quality hasn’t dipped since the move north – the omakase experience is a musttry for sushi fiends. zenjapanese restaurant.com


Drinks With Benefits

LOVE YOUR BODY BACK WITH TONICA KOMBUCHA Raw Enzymes · Lightly Fermented · Naturally Carbonated · Low Sugar Brewed & Bottled in Toronto #tonicakombucha







THE RADAR We take you through the best new bar and restaurant openings from now until the end of winter. Trending


Our love affair with all things French continues with the opening of famed patisserie, Ladureé, at Yorkdale Mall. It’s the first Toronto location for the Paris-based café, which first opened in 1862. While their offerings include sandwiches and brioche French toast, Ladureé has risen to international fame for its delicate macarons in flavours such as pistachio, orange blossom and chestnut. laduree.fr


The latest bar-behind-a-corner-shop has opened on West Queen West. The hipsterized mini-mart storefront is the cover for an 80s video game-themed bar, complete with a Pac-Man console. Convenience’s drinks menu features an entire section dedicated to candy and chocolate bar-inspired beverages along with more familiar cocktails, brews and wine on tap. Food options here lean heavily on childhood indulgence (think grown-up Pogo Sticks, Twinkies and street dogs). conveniencerestobar.com



Tucked into an unassuming Victorian house on Portland, Chubby’s is the latest opening from Gusto restaurateur Janet Zuccarini, backed by a team of Jamaican-trained chefs. The bright, tropical interior and a rumheavy beverage menu, including house-made ginger beer and a signature rum punch, transports diners to the Caribbean. Aside from staples such as jerk chicken and curry goat, Chubby’s has put their spin on the classics with items like grilled shrimp wraps and a jerkspiced burger. chubbysjamaican.com


L OC H & QUAY Dining options along Toronto’s revitalizing waterfront are growing with the opening of Loch & Quay, a casual eatery near the Peter Street Basin. The restaurant offers both sit-down as well as grab-and-go service. There’s an emphasis on healthy options such as veg and grain bowls along with heartier items like barbecue brisket sliders (slow roasted for 18 hours) and bison burgers. lochandquayto.com

Toronto is the first overseas location for Konjiki, a Tokyo-based chain, which has earned Michelin’s Bib Gourmand for excellent value-priced eateries four years in a row. Classics like tonkotsu ramen and pork belly anchor the menu, but it’s the clam broth ramen that has become their signature offering. konjikiramen.com



Drake’s dining influence expands with the opening his second restaurant venture, Pick 6ix, an upscale sushi joint located at Yonge and Wellington. Drake and NBA superstars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade were all at the soft launch party in January. Montreal chef Antonio Park is behind the menu, which features grilled octopus, ceviche and wagyu tataki. @Pick6ixto



Of the many food halls opening in the city, Campo might be the most stylish. Among its vendors are a build-your-own salad bar, outposts of ELXR Juice Lab and a traditional Spanish tapas bar with a heavy emphasis on fresh seafood and cured meats. Labora offers a more formal, sit-down dining experience. campofoodhall.to


WEAPONS OF CHOICE These tools will lend a helping hand on your mission for a healthier lifestyle. PHOTOGRAPHY BY RYAN FAIST


L OOSE T HE J U IC E CUISINART COMPACT JUICE EXTRACTOR, $143.99 Designed to take up as little counter space as possible, this juice extractor makes quick and easy fruit drinks with minimum fuss. It assembles in a snap and is dishwasher safe. cuisinart.ca

Photograph by ###


F IB R E F IX AT ION T-FAL MULTICOOK & GRAINS, $249.99 Keep new year goals going by cooking healthy, quick meals. The new multi-cooker from T-Fal is designed to prepare all varieties of grains and pulses. Also equipped with an express soaking function. thebay.com


D O N’T B E A JE RK(Y) HAMILTON-BEACH FOOD DEHYDRATOR, $73.97 Ditch the store bought stuff and make your own dried fruit and meat snacks at home. This dehydrator takes up minimal space on the counter but comes with five trays for maximum drying capacity. walmart.ca






HE END OF winter is an ideal time to re-evaluate and reboot your choices in food, whether for dietary reasons or to learn more about food and cooking. With that in mind, we’ve carefully selected two cookbooks that are great for picking up new cooking techniques and recipes to help you be mindful of what you put in your body and its effect on the environment U.K.-based food stylist and cookbook author Anna Jones’s new book, The Modern Cook’s Year ($31.20, indigo.ca), is a celebration of vegetarian cooking, featuring over 250 recipes categorized by season. Jones

presents dishes that are vibrant and culturally diverse. There’s even a section dedicated to brewing your own kombucha. Celebrity chef and television personality Ned Bell has channeled his advocacy for sustainable seafood into a beautiful new cookbook, Lure ($35.06, amazon.ca), authored by Toronto-based food writer Valerie Howes. The book is chock-full of the B.C.-born chef’s signature dishes like raw butter clams with kimchi, and salmon and kale salad. If you’re a fan of seafood but are also conscious about farming practices and overfishing, cook through this one. f




Photograph by ###

Spanish cuisine has long enchanted the palates of foodies and expert gastronomes alike. The country’s impressive range of delicious quality, gourmet products and ingredients come in every size, shape and pleasant design.Of note is Spanish olive oil which has a subtle fruit-forward, nutty quality ideal for making vinaigrettes.

Spain also has the world’s largest vineyard and its wines, from robust reds to crisp whites and sparkling cavas, have something to offer everyone. You can discover the Foods and Wines from Spain at foodswinesfromspaincanada.com or visit LCBO Store #149 (2946 Bloor St. W.) to explore a wide selection of Spanish wines.


Anna Jones’s




1 Preheat the oven to 425 F. 2 Halve and deseed the squash and cut into 2-cm wedges. Cut cabbage into eight chunky wedges. Place them both on a large roasting tray and sprinkle with a good amount of salt and pepper. Add a good drizzle of oil and the caraway seeds and roast in the hot oven for 35 minutes until the squash is cooked through and the cabbage is golden and crisp and charred at the edges. 3 Meanwhile put the rye bread into a food processor and blitz to make rough breadcrumbs. Put the crumbs on a baking tray with a drizzle of olive oil, a good pinch of salt, a generous grind of black pepper and the capers, and toast in the hot oven for 5 minutes, being careful not to burn them. Rye bread’s dark colour makes it easy to overcook. 4 Mix the dressing ingredients, season well and put to one side. 5 Tumble the cooked cabbage and squash on to a platter with the cheddar. Drizzle with the dressing, and scatter on the rye crumbs. f



A luxurious mouthfeel, the single variety Verdejo wines are vibrant, greenish yellow in colour, aromatic and fruity with herbal hints. Verdejo is most famously planted in the Rueda region of Spain, where its vines cover 90 per cent of the land.


ING R E DIE NTS Squash Ingredients ◆◆ A small delicata or butternut

squash (about 500g)

◆◆ 1 Savoy cabbage (about

400g), tough outer leaves removed and discarded ◆◆ Olive oil ◆◆ 1 tsp caraway seeds ◆◆ 50g rye bread (2 thin slices) ◆◆ 2 Tbsp baby capers, drained ◆◆ 100g good sharp cheddar, crumbled

Dressing Ingredients ◆◆ 1 Tbsp wholegrain mustard ◆◆ 1 tsp honey

◆◆ 1 Tbsp cider vinegar

◆◆ 3 Tbsp good extra virgin olive

or rapeseed oil

Anna Jones’s




1 Preheat the oven to 425 F. 2 Peel the shallots, then slice them into quarters from root to tip. Warm the olive oil in a heavy, shallow pan that can go in the oven. Add the shallots and a big pinch of salt and lightly brown them over medium heat. 3 When the shallots are soft, push them to one side, add the zucchini and garlic to the other side of the pan, and cook for a few minutes until the zucchini begins to turn golden. Depending on the size of your pan, you may need to do this in two or three batches to make sure the zucchini doesn’t overlap as it cooks. 4 Next, add the greens, artichokes, saffron water, cider vinegar and

another pinch of salt, cook for a minute or two until the greens have just wilted, then transfer the whole pan to the oven. Bake the vegetables for 15 minutes to allow the shallots and zucchini to roast and soften, then remove the pan from the oven. 5 Place the pan over medium heat for 3 minutes to simmer away any excess liquid, then make four to six small, shallow hollows in the vegetables. Crack an egg into each, then return to the oven for 7-8 minutes, until the whites are set and the yolks are still runny. 6 Serve scattered with the mint leaves and parsley, a dollop of yogurt and a sprinkle of chili flakes, if you like a bit of heat in your baked eggs. f

ING R E DIE NTS ◆◆ 5 banana shallots ◆◆ 2 Tbsp olive oil

◆◆ 600g zucchini, cut into coins ◆◆ 2 cloves of garlic, crushed ◆◆ 2 heads of spring greens,

finely sliced

◆◆ 4 artichoke hearts from a jar,

drained and halved

◆◆ A pinch of saffron, soaked in

50ml boiling water

◆◆ 1 Tbsp cider vinegar ◆◆ 6 organic eggs

◆◆ A small bunch of mint

◆◆ A small bunch of parsley,

chopped ◆◆ Plain yogurt ◆◆ Dried chili flakes


Cava Photography: Ana Cuba/HarperCollins

Versatile and full of personality, these sparkling wines range from bone dry to seductively sweet. Delicious before, during or after any meal. Cava is mostly produced in Catalonia from a blend of macabeo, parellada and xarello grapes.


Ned Bell’s



Rockfish Method

1 Preheat a grill to medium-high or preheat the broiler. Rub the fish with the oil, and season inside and out with salt and pepper. Place the lemon slices and scallions inside the cavity. Score the skin 2 or 3 times on each side to aid in the cooking and to make sure the fish doesn’t curl up on the grill. 2 Set the fish on the oiled cooking grate and grill for about 10 minutes (or set on a baking sheet with aluminum foil and broil 4 inches from the heat). Turn the fish over and grill (or broil) for another 10 minutes or until the skin is lightly charred and crispy and the flesh flakes easily. Remove from the grill and tent with foil.

Grilled Broccolini or Asparagus Method 3 Preheat the grill to medium-high or preheat the oven to 400 F. In a large bowl, toss the broccolini or asparagus with the olive oil and salt and pepper to taste until evenly coated. Place on the cooking grate perpendicular to the slats and grill (or place on a baking sheet and bake), turning occasionally, for 7 minutes or until tender and slightly charred (longer if the asparagus is particularly thick). Transfer to a platter. 4 Serve the fish with grilled broccolini or asparagus, all drizzled with lemon vinaigrette.

Lemon Vinaigrette Method

5 Combine the lemon zest and juice, mustard, honey and salt in a small bowl. While whisking, slowly drizzle the oil in a thin steady stream until incorporated and mixture emulsifies. Adjust seasoning to taste. f




This is a crisp, elegant and fresh wine packed with flavours of peach, mango and honeysuckle with mineral overtones and a dry finish. Albariño grapes are primarily grown in the Rías Baixas region of Galicia, along the northwest coast of Spain.

ING R E DIE NTS Rockfish Ingredients ◆◆ 1 (3 lb) fresh whole rockfish,

scaled and cleaned

◆◆ 2 Tbsp canola oil

◆◆ Sea salt and coarsely ground

black pepper

◆◆ 1 lemon, sliced

◆◆ 3 scallions, trimmed

◆◆ About ¼ cup Lemon

Vinaigrette to serve

Grilled Broccolini or Asparagus Ingredients ◆◆ 1 bunch broccolini or 1 lb

asparagus, ends trimmed

◆◆ 2 Tbsp olive oil

◆◆ Sea salt and coarsely ground

black pepper

Lemon Vinaigrette Ingredients ◆◆ Zest and juice of 1 lemon ◆◆ 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard ◆◆ ¾ tsp honey

◆◆ ½ tsp sea salt

◆◆ ½ cup canola oil

Photography: Kevin Clark


Ned Bell’s





The most versatile and planted in Spain, Tempranillo is considered the most characteristic Spanish red grape with dark fruits, vanilla and spices. Spain’s most notable Tempranillo-growing regions are Rioja and Ribera del Duero.

ING R E DIE NTS ◆◆ 1 (1½ lb) skin-on salmon

fillet, cut into 4 portions ◆◆ Extra-virgin olive oil ◆◆ Sea salt and coarsely ground

black pepper

◆◆ 4 sprigs thyme, leaves only,

plus extra for garnish

◆◆ 4 nectarines or apricots,


◆◆ 2 Tbsp honey

◆◆ ½ cup fresh wholemilk ricotta ◆◆ Sliced toasted almonds, for

garnish ◆◆ Garden salad, to serve



over the flames. Cover the grill and allow the plank to heat until starting to just smoke, about 2 minutes. Turn and repeat on the other side. 4 Add the fish skin side down to the plank. Add the nectarines cut side up. Drizzle the nectarines with honey, sprinkle with most of the remaining thyme leaves and a little salt. Cover the grill and cook for 7 to 12 minutes or until fish is almost opaque all the way through and flakes easily and

the nectarines are caramelized and tender. (If the plank gets too hot and ignites, spritz it with water from a spray bottle. Alternatively, you can grill the salmon directly on an oiled grill grate for 3 to 4 minutes per side, and roast the nectarines in a baking dish in a 400 F oven for 12 minutes.) 5 To serve, add a couple tablespoons of ricotta to each piece of fish, and sprinkle with almonds. Garnish with thyme. Serve with a garden salad. f

Photography: Kevin Clark

1 Soak the cedar plank in water for at least 30 minutes and up to a day before using. Preheat the grill to medium (about 350 F). 2 Use paper towels to pat the fish dry. Rub all over with olive oil, and season both sides with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the thyme leaves on the salmon (save some for nectarines and for garnish), and press to adhere. 3 Put the plank on the grill directly

Brock Shepherd’s

TIME TO TRIM YOUR WASTE LINE The chief organizer of Trashed & Wasted tells us why food waste is not just the buzz topic of the year.


HE MEDIA WERE all over the subject of food waste when Bourdain’s documentary came out. Massimo Bottura came to town promoting his book; we helped raise awareness; I did an event! I’m coming off a bit cynical here because there’s so much work ahead, but we have to start making progress somewhere. The stats are shocking: Upwards of fifty per cent of all food doesn’t make it from farm to fork. So much of it is wasted just because someone decides it isn’t pretty enough for us. An incredible amount of fossil fuel is used to produce, ship and ultimately dispose of food that never gets eaten. At home, about half the food we bring home from the store gets tossed, from raw

ingredients to cooked meals. We do a good job of composting with our green bins, but let’s try to put less into the compost and actually eat the food we buy. As a bonus, we’ll save money on our grocery bill. Think of all the food that is cooked in restaurants only to be thrown away. Maybe portions could be smaller? Margins are so tight in restaurants they would appreciate retrieving some profit from the waste bin. (Chefs – call me, I can help.) What happened to the stereotypical, hardassed European chef who watched over every trembling cook’s shoulder so that nothing was wasted in his kitchen? Cooking schools have excess food from labs and demonstrations, and on the other

Photography: Produce by Lukas Budimaier; Brock by Ryan Faist

side of this, we have hungry students using food banks. I see an opportunity here. I blew a gasket when I heard that citrus is being thrown away at bars with impressive cocktail menus because they just need the zest to garnish the drinks they serve, but can’t find a use for the actual fruit! And don’t get me started about straws. Grocery stores are approaching food waste in their ways. What we don’t see is what happens behind the scenes. That compactor outside your local chain grocer is full of food that has not gone bad yet, it just didn’t meet our cosmetic standards. “Expiry dates” should be renamed to be “past date code” to help with consumer perception and understanding. So what can you do at home to reduce how much food we waste? Take an inventory of what you have before you go shopping, so you know what you need. Or just use your phone to take a photograph of the inside of your fridge. Use your freezer better. Make too much of something? Freeze leftovers in small batches. And do a monthly U.F.O. check for unidentified frozen objects. Your crisper is the place to look for soup ingredients. Wilted doesn’t mean garbage. Food is an integral part of our lives, we need to eat every day to survive, and we take a lot of pleasure in it. We’ll enjoy it even more if we can just put some effort into thinking about reducing food waste. We put so much thought into keeping careful track of where our food comes from, let’s resolve to start thinking about where it eventually goes. f



TREAT YOURSELF TO FOOD THAT’S BEEN WELL TREATED. For a full listing of products visit www.bluegoosepurefoods.com

— PART 2 —




Talia Ricci takes the pulse of Toronto’s evolving vegetarian fine dining scene and finds out what inspires chefs. PHOTOGRAPHY BY KAYLA ROCCA

RIGHT: The mushroom salad at Woodlot wins praise from both vegetarians and meat eaters for its attractive presentation and thoughtful composition



Photograph by ###

BOUT A DECADE ago, Birkenstocks and hippie stereotypes were the proper dress code in vegetarian restaurants. Whether it was your moral compass or your health directing you to plant-based restaurants, you had to go searching for them. When you arrived at a chain restaurant because everyone who had no dietary restrictions wanted to go there, you scanned the menu and oh good, there is one veg option. Or, this salad comes without chicken. The vegetarian was a master of ensuring their belly was full while avoiding being singled out as the lone picky eater. Fast forward to the different world of 2018. Enter several new vegan restaurants in our booming city with experimental menus, hip atmospheres and the stamp of approval from meat lovers and veg eaters alike. It’s the perfect day for a Sunday brunch. Diners at Planta in Yorkville are indulging in your typical brunch fare – banana pancakes, crab cakes, overnight oats and scones. You would never know it from the eyepleasing plating or delicious flavour, but none of these items contain any animal products. In fact, the entire menu is plant-based. Planta’s owners describe their venture as an upscale, full-service restaurant with all sorts of plant-based dining options. “Our menu wins over meat lovers,” executive chef David Lee says. “Our favourite is when the guest learns after the fact that the great meal they just enjoyed was, in fact, entirely plant-based.” The owners work closely with vendors, striving to source responsible ingredients. “The process requires attacking dish creation in the same way as you would any cooking,” Lee enthusiastically explains. “Is the dish nutritionally sound? Does it include protein? Does it have seasoning? At the end of the day, whether it’s plant-based cooking or not, it’s still the art of cooking.” A few guest favourites are the 18-Carrot Dog, Quinoa Tartare and Cauliflower Tots. “Guests also often remark that our plantbased take on crab cakes made with hearts of palm is better than the real thing,” Lee boasts. The location is constantly serving a steady stream of customers – indicative of the fact that our city was craving a spot like Planta. There’s no doubt we will see more upscale, plant-based restaurants blossom in Toronto. According to the Vancouver Humane Society, a poll administered by Environics shows that 33 per cent of Canadians,

or almost 12 million, are either already vegetarian or are eating less meat. The figure includes eight per cent of respondents who already follow a vegetarian or mostly vegetarian diet, as well as 25 per cent of Canadians who say they are part of the group trying to eat less meat. According to that survey, British Columbia is the most vegetarian-friendly province, but Ontario is not far behind. In Ontario, eight per cent are vegetarian or mostly vegetarian, and 23 percent are trying to eat less meat. Gone are the days when throwing a giant mushroom on a bun and calling that the vegetarian option is accepted. One Toronto staple in Little Italy had the concept down pat before they even opened their doors seven years ago. With a motto like “simple, honest, handmade,” Woodlot’s vegetable lovers’ menu fits right into the theme. Rustic vibes paired with a wood oven and curated wine list make it a spot for the perfect date night. The idea was to avoid the finger skimming every vegetarian knows so well. “We were looking at doing the classic thing everybody does where they put the little ‘v’ beside the dishes,” Kevin Korslick, a partner at Woodlot, says. “But we were like ‘you know what, that’s a little confusing. Vegetarians deserve their own menu, so that’s what they’re going to get.’ ” And vegetarians are grateful for it. Korslick said the menu has its fair share of orders and a healthy number of go-to favourites. “I honestly think vegetarian diners just appreciate having their own menu”. The owners were mindful that perhaps plant-based eaters don’t want to read about a slab of steak during their meal. Korslick agrees there’s been a rise in →


ABOVE: A focus on seasonal produce at Woodlot makes it easy for their team to start with the plant-based version when creating new dishes

→ customers looking for veg options, but as someone who’s experienced being scoffed at while dining with his wife who has dietary restrictions, he wanted to create an experience everyone can enjoy. “As much as I think the vegetarian menu is great, I think it’s just about having increased options for everybody whether it’s meat, vegetarian or gluten-free. Everybody has their restrictions these days and we try to have something nice for all of them,” Korslick says. The vegetable lovers aren’t the afterthought, either. Often in kitchens, a meat dish is created first, and ingredients are omitted afterward to accommodate different restrictions. At Woodlot, the vegetable creations are just as much a priority. “We come up with the vegetarian dish first because we also work with seasonal ingredients – whatever vegetables are around, whatever is inspiring us. From there we make the meat menus based on the veggie,” Korslick says explaining their process. While he didn’t reference the giant


mushroom on a bun by name, he did laugh that vegetarians know the familiar list of copout classics all too well. “You won’t find the squash risotto on the menu,” he said, noting that their signature dish is a mushroom salad. (Which he claims


is only vegan by accident and not design.) The salad consists of wild rice, black walnuts, pickled beets and mushrooms. The mushrooms are cooked over coals in the oven with salt and olive oil and absorb the flavours seamlessly. Move over, lazy portobello. Another favourite is their onion soup. It’s a take on a classic French onion, but Woodlot uses a vegetarian broth. It’s been on their menu every year, and when the nippy October air returns, their phone starts to ring. “People will come in and sit at the bar just to have the soup and then go,” Korslick says. Woodlot focuses on quality ingredients and supporting local farmers. And while we wanted to include it as a focus in a piece about higher end vegetable-based options, he insists: “we’re not trying to be a fancy restaurant. We’re just trying to be inclusive.” In a more bustling atmosphere, surrounded by Thai lanterns, wide mirrors and ornate art pieces, Sabai Sabai’s new basement location on Bloor Street is another spot that offers a carefully designed plant-

RAISING CATTLE PRODUCES MORE POLLUTION THAN CARS based menu – both at lunch and dinner. It’s a business that was ahead of the recent vegan boom, when they launched their original space on Church Street five years ago with plant lovers in mind. “This was our plan from the beginning,” Jason Jiang, owner of Sabai Sabai says. “We really wanted to have a Thai restaurant that had more vegetarian and vegan options because I thought Toronto was ready for it, and I think in Asian cuisine there isn’t always a lot of veggie options.” Toronto was ready for it and if anything, craved it. Jiang said a significant customer base visits Sabai Sabai just to order from their vegan menu, carving out a niche in vegan Thai food in the middle of the city. Their menu vegan-izes classics like Tom Yum Soup and Khao Soi – bursting with so much flavour and bright, vibrant spices that you don’t notice the absence of meat. Their Thai spin on cocktails, like the Thai Mojito, pairs nicely with the spices. In addition to a rise in plant-based requests, Jiang has recognized a general increase in health consciousness and curiosity when it comes to ingredients used. “People are thinking about what they’re eating, and I think we see more of that in Toronto,” Jiang predicts. They’re not afraid to get creative, and their clientele puts them to the test. Jiang says they’ve had requests for no spiciness, no peanuts, no sugar, no garlic, no gluten – you name it. That may sound like every element that makes a delicious Thai dish, but they always find a way to execute it. “We work with the chef and try to eliminate whatever they ask for,” Jiang explains. “When people with restrictions dine out, we want them to experience it the same way everyone else eats.” For instance, they’ve used the sweetness from fruit to replace refined sugar. The idea

is to accommodate the customer’s requests while maintaining the flavours. Jiang describes the atmosphere as one that blends with the creativity of the food. “I think with the concept and the atmosphere, it’s always been our goal and vision to create a comfortable and nice atmosphere that we bring from back home.” Jiang foresees more existing restaurants adding vegan options to their menu. The UN has previously warned that rearing cattle produces more greenhouse gases than driving cars. Especially when plant-based ingredients come from local suppliers, the ecological footprint is far smaller than it is for meat-focused options. That idea of sustainability is at the forefront for many plant-based businesses – including Hello123 on Queen West. Co-founder Mark Kupfert isn’t as optimistic about the outlook for a plantbased Toronto but hopes to spark change. “The whole world needs to eat more like this if we want any chance of having a sustainable planet,” Kupfert says. It’s a fact Kupfert keeps in mind in his dayto-day life and also when he opened his new business just north of Liberty Village. The modern space, with cool light fixtures and exposed brick, serves small plates of vegan food with cocktails around a dance floor. After cofounding another popular spot

for herbivores, Kupfert & Kim, he wanted to create a new restaurant for the health and environmentally conscious crowd. “We felt there was still room in the community to have a spot where you experience a vibe and environment that you would get in other trendy restaurants,” Kupfert explains. The aim is to get customers to leave the concept of “missing out” on meat ingredients at the door – effecting change by having more people comfortable eating this way. Sharables include creative uses of fruits and vegetables like pulled pineapple sliders, a smashed avocado burger and a Korean inspired “spicy bap.” The dishes are attractively plated and the menu offers desserts like berry cashew cheesecake. “I want customers to think this is a cool environment; I’m not really giving anything up here. I get good vibes, good food, drinks.” Kupfert saw a need in the city – affordable, healthy, creative plant-based dishes in a spot where you can swing by on your lunch break or stop in for a late night cocktail. “I like being in nice places. But I also like eating sustainable, healthy food. I didn’t feel like there were enough places in Toronto that do that,” Kupfert points out. And while he wouldn’t call it “fancy”, Hello123 is situated in a location where it’s mingling with dozens of hip nightlife spots. →

ABOVE: Sabai Sabai has carved a niche in the city with its vegan menu, recognizing a gap in Toronto’s Asian cuisine offerings


RIGHT: Mark Kupfert hopes to spark change with his popular plant-based eatery Kupfert & Kim

→ “The idea was a place where you can dress up or dress down. The price is affordable enough that you can come more than once a week and if you want to come on the weekend and have a cocktail, you can.” Kupfert hopes these restaurants are the catalyst that gets the masses thinking more about the health of the planet. “Not only in Toronto,” he continues, “but


I think in North America and the world, there is a growth in this market because it’s becoming a part of mass awareness.” Adding that while he loves the food, he’s driven by his passion for a healthy planet. He wants to entice people to think that this is a suitable way of having a night out as much as going to a restaurant that has your typical range of meat-based proteins. “You can eat in a positive way and have a good time. We’re trying to combine the two.” Diners aren’t complaining about the everexpanding options. In fact, there’s so many of them now that the Toronto Vegetarian Association has created a mobile app to help hungry vegetarians navigate the restaurant scene. It’s called the Veg Guide, and it locates plant-based options across the GTA. “One particular trend seems to be that established vegan restaurants are opening additional locations,” Barbi Lazarus of the Toronto Vegetarian Associtation says. Planta and Hello123 are two prime examples. “At the rate things are growing, I think we’re set to surpass vegan destinations like

New York City and Portland, and Toronto will be the city to add to your bucket list of travel destinations,” Lazarus forecasts. The plant-based scene has established itself in Toronto. Whether you want to wear dress shoes or Birkenstocks to these spots is up to you – it’s just nice now that there are so many different options to choose from. f

Wholly Veggie wants to get more vegetables on your plate. In 2017, David and John set-out to understand why Canadians weren’t eating enough vegetables. Their journey led them to the creation of Toronto based Wholly Veggie, a plant based food company with a mission of making it easier to add veggies to every meal.

(from left to right Wholly Veggie Co-Founders John Bonnell and David Gaucher)

Wholly Veggie Mini Pizza Recipe 1. Preheat oven to 375F (190C) 2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place Wholly Veggie patties on the baking sheet. 3. Place desired toppings on each patty and bake for 8 -10 minutes, or until cheese has melted. Serve immediately.

+ veggie pattie

+ tomato sauce


RIGHT: Non-profit organizations like FoodShare make healthy food more affordable through markets that sell produce at prices just above cost


FOOD FOR ALL Andrea Yu takes a hard look at the ongoing problem of hunger in Toronto and digs into how to bring lasting food security to our city. PHOTOGRAPHY BY SANDRO PEHAR

Photograph by ###



HE HOLIDAY SEASON is months behind us, and along with the sparkling decorations, turkey basters and festive wrapping paper, we’ve also packed away the spirit of giving that seems to peak only in the month of December. Charitable campaigns and office food drives have concluded until the jingle bells ring again. But the needs of Toronto’s hungry persist year-round and the data shows that the level of food insecurity in the city is reaching unprecedented levels. According to the Daily Bread Food Bank’s annual Who’s Hungry report, there were over 990,970 visits to Toronto food banks in 2017 – that’s a 13 per cent increase since 2016 and a 68 per cent jump since 2008. Studies from PROOF, a food security research group at the University of Toronto, showed that only a quarter of those considered food insecure in Canada access food banks or programs. That means these stark statistics represent just a fraction of the problem that we need to address. Visits to food banks isn’t the only number on the rise. The average length of access has increased from 12 months in 2010 to 24 months in 2017, meaning that those in need are relying on food banks – which are supposed to be a short-term last resort – for twice as long as they used to. “There have always been agencies, usually faith-based, that provided free meals or





emergency assistance to people,” explains Valerie Tarasuk, a nutritional sciences professor at the University of Toronto and principal investigator at PROOF. “In the early 1980s, we saw a very rapid proliferation of the food bank charity model which represents the collection of very food-specific donations and the distribution of them.” Toronto resident Heather Lee was one of many in the city affected by the financial recession in the 1980s. “I didn’t have a job and fell on hard times so I needed to use the food bank,” Lee recalls. At the time, she was able to select the fresh produce she needed and was then handed a prepared bag of canned goods, some of which were unfamiliar to her. “It’s something that I’d never done before. It felt stigmatizing for me.” Where space permits, food banks in Toronto now operate a grocery store or shopping model. “Food groups are situated the way you might see them in a supermarket,” explains Richard Mattern,






4 2010


ABOVE: Warehouse staff and volunteers pack fresh food that will be shipped to Toronto schools TOP RIGHT: Paul Taylor, executive director of FoodShare BOTTOM RIGHT: A map of school breakfast program locations

senior manager of research at the Daily Bread Food Bank. “People can go through the food bank and choose what they take home according to what their households need.” For Lee, a former receptionist who is now on disability, her circumstances have improved and she’s no longer reliant on food banks. While she struggles with traditional food shopping options in her midtown neighbourhood (the closest grocery store is a Whole Foods Market), she’s putting dinner on the table in a different way. Every Wednesday afternoon, a small food market pops up in the lobby of Lee’s Toronto Community Housing building. There, she can obtain the bulk of her fresh shopping list at just above cost. “I got a whole bunch of fruits and vegetables the other day and it cost me $5.25,” says Lee. “I thought, ‘are you sure you added that up right?’ At a grocery store that would have been $20.” The setup is part of the Good Food Market network and is one of 42 across the


city. While the market isn’t able to meet the needs of the severely food insecure (as in, those without funds to purchase their own food), it represents a wave of community programming at non-profits like FoodShare that are offering a more sustainable source of affordable and healthy groceries. Paul Taylor, executive director of FoodShare, has personal experience with the struggle of food affordability. “I was raised by a single mother on welfare in downtown Toronto,” Taylor recalls. “For a large portion of my childhood we had no heat, no hot water, no electricity. Sometimes I had peanut butter and jelly for lunch. Sometimes, not.” Taylor is now at the helm of FoodShare’s dizzying portfolio of community activities. They’ve piloted Good Food Markets in three TTC subway station newsstands and retrofitted an old Wheel-Trans bus to serve as a mobile market. FoodShare also operates rooftop farms on public land that employ

youth to maintain and sell the produce grown. There’s also strong outreach activities for kids such as a toddler nutrition program, which is offered in seven languages. These are just a few of the organization’s many community programs helping Torontonians. One of Taylor’s points of pride at FoodShare is the school breakfast program. Organized in partnership with the Toronto District School Board and Student Nutrition Toronto, the program helps serve a morning meal to nearly 200,000 students every day. “Canada remains one of the only industrialized countries without a student nutrition program,” Taylor explains. “If I had access to a breakfast program every day it would have impacted my ability to focus and to persevere through the day.” When we visited FoodShare headquarters on a sunny Friday morning this winter, shipments of fresh produce from the Ontario Food Terminal as well as direct from local growers, had just arrived. →


ABOVE: Food organizations buy small apples (for a low cost) from orchards who otherwise would have difficulty selling them

→ A team of warehouse workers, with the 21%


help of a corporate volunteer group from CIBC, were loading boxes of navel oranges, fresh berries, romaine lettuce, bananas and tiny apples measuring just a few inches in diameter, onto wooden pallets. Each pallet would eventually be shipped by truck to Toronto-area schools and the produce above prepared for and served to its students. Leveraging the help of volunteers, along with financial assistance from donors, is how FoodShare keeps costs down and passes savings onto its program participants. Another mode is exploring creative partnerships with nearby producers, like the Norfolk Fruit Growers Association. “Most apples in grocery stores are way too big for kids to eat, so we use these little apples,” Paul Taylor says. “For the Norfolk Fruit Growers, they’re delighted. Otherwise they have a hard time selling little apples.” It’s tempting to simplify the answer to solving hunger as getting more apples into the stomachs of hungry students, or food onto the tables of those in need. But the issue

is widespread and much more complex. “Hunger allows us to think that it’s an issue of food and that we just need more food,” says Taylor of policy priorities. “We’ve let hunger co-opt poverty.” Making Toronto a more food secure city goes beyond donating money, bringing cans of beans to your neighbourhood food bank or volunteering at a non-profit. Both frontline charities like Daily Bread Food Bank and organizations like FoodShare are strong voices for housing benefits, an increase in social assistance benefits and, more recently, the Ontario Basic Income pilot. It’s a harsh wake-up call for Torontonians that have been appeasing their guilt or desire to do good with castaway non-perishables. “A can of last year’s cranberry sauce is not going to help people in the way that some might think. What will help is people having enough income to pay their rent, get to work and buy food,” says Paul Taylor. Taylor himself is critical of food banks and relying on charitable sources to meet the needs of the hungry. “We have a generation of








IN 2017, THE PERCENTAGE OF FOOD BANK CLIENTS WITH A POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION INCREASED FROM 23% IN 2007 TO 35% folks that don’t see any alternative to food banks. That means we are thinking less, encouraging and advocating less and pushing the government less to work with food banks and food charities to introduce meaningful public policy interventions.” Many food non-profits like FoodShare echo Taylor’s calls to close food banks. But U of T’s Valerie Tarasuk reminds us that food banks remain the only source of food for those in desperate need. Until the government offers a solution, food banks will continue to serve this important purpose. The complexity of Toronto’s food insecurity means that none of these organizations can do it alone. At Daily Bread, Richard Mattern is aware of the limitations. “Food banks have never claimed to be the solution,” he says. “They’ve always been recognizing the immediate need. Many food banks like ourselves and other food banks across the city have been involved in these longer-term discussions on what needs to change with the income security system.” U of T’s Tarasuk has long been advocating

for policy change through her work. “We have to get over the idea that somehow, we as individual citizens can fix these problems. We can’t,” she emphasizes. “There are some things that are just too big for us to fix as individuals, and that’s why we have governments.” There is one thing that policy researchers, non-profits and food banks can agree on. Donations help, but there’s more we can do to make a difference, as Paul Taylor describes. “If everyone wrote to their MPP and said ‘great to see movement on minimum wage but unfortunately it’s far from a living wage. What is the plan to create a province where people can earn income that actually allows them to live in the province they’re working in?’, these are things that can happen right now,” he suggests as a first step. “Join us in advocating to the government for meaningful policy change focused on income,” he continues. “That’s a big piece of the puzzle that’s missing for us.” f Statistics from the Daily Bread Food Bank and PROOF, Food Insecurity Policy Research.


COCKTAIL HOUR Suresh Doss visits one of the hottest new bars in town. From the team behind Alo, Aloette brings new life to French diner classics. PHOTOGRAPHY BY SURESH DOSS



HEN CHEF PATRICK Kriss announced plans to open a sister restaurant to his critically-praised Alo, the city was on its toes to see what he had up his sleeve. In record time, critics across the country had piled on rhapsodic praise for Alo and marked it as one of the country’s best for fine dining. Last fall, we got Aloette, a street-level casual counterpart to Alo’s tasting menu reverie. A modern approach to a classic diner and bistro – still very French, and a lot of fun. In the laid-back environment, guests let loose over lettuce wraps, beef tartare and apple sundaes. The room, crafted by Commune who also did the Alo design, is gorgeous and oozes a refined sense of cool. It combines classic diner aesthetics with the modern feel of a Parisian train car. Scarborough native Patrick Groves, who has worked in restaurants since he was 14 years old (from Susur Lee’s Bent to Gusto 101), is the front man at the bar. Groves’s mission at Aloette is to trim down the drink menu and stick to simplicity. “During the process of figuring out the cocktail program, our approach was to make it as simple and non-traditional as possible. What if we can come up with a menu that doesn’t involve any shaking?” Groves wondered. The shifting menu is part fun and part no-fuss, including a low-booze milkshake and new takes on standbys. “We’re inspired by European classics,” Groves says of spins on calvados, and kir cocktails, “the main goal here is to create simple but memorable drinks. You can make something incredible with just a few ingredients.” f


◆◆ 2/3 oz Bigallet China China ◆◆ Burdock Vermont blonde ale

Bottom a Collins glass with beer. Fill to top with cracked ice. Add China China and top with beer.


THE FRESH NUMBER IN G R ED IEN TS ◆◆ 1 oz Blanco vermouth ◆◆ 1/2 oz mezcal ◆◆ 1/2 oz Strega ◆◆ 3/4 oz lemon or lime ◆◆ 1/4 oz real grenadine

Add ice to a rocks glass. Shake all five ingredients together, strain over ice. Garnish with a lime wheel.


SHERRY TONIC ING REDIENTS ◆◆ 3/4 oz Amontillado sherry ◆◆ 3/4 sweet vermouth ◆◆ Good-quality tonic ◆◆ Lemon, for garnish

Add ice to a rocks glass. Pour in sherry and vermouth and top with tonic. Garnish with a lemon wheel.

Photograph by ###


Terroir symposium TERROIRNOMICS THE POWERFUL ECONOMICS OF LOCAL Join us at the Terroir Symposium to gain practical knowledge, grow your professional network and glean inspiration from the community powered by the economics of local. Together, we’ll learn how our terroir supports economic profitability, a healthy corporate culture, environmental and vibrant communities wherever you may stand.



ESCAPISM 54  61  64  70  72  74 


W Photography: Evan Krause

ABOVE: The serpent-lined staircase leading to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, one of the most famous temples in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Michelin recently drew the world’s attention south to Bangkok, with the release of its first guide to the Thai capital (pg. 73).

e hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know our new travel magazine, escapism, over the last few issues. Next month, escapism jumps out of the pages of foodism and launches as a standalone (and free!) magazine. escapism will be packed with features by top writers, beautiful photo spreads, gear guides, destination inspiration and more. For now, head to escapism.TO for more cool travel stories and updates on where to pick up the first issue on March 20. e


GREEN RANGERS Sustainable travel goes well beyond reusing hotel towels; Jessica Huras writes about five destinations at the leading edge of experiential eco-tourism.




ne of the fundamental dilemmas we face as travellers is the knowledge that our desire to explore the world often causes us to unintentionally harm it. From flying to dining out to staying in hotels, the things we all do on vacation can have a negative impact on the environment. According to a study by the UN World Tourism Organization, tourism (an optional luxury) is responsible for 5 per cent of global CO2 emissions. While transportation accounts for a substantial chunk of this total, the accommodation sector is responsible for a significant 20 per cent. These aren’t The transport sector, surprising numbers which includes air, considering how car and rail travel, wasteful we tend generates 75 per cent of emissions related to be when we’re to tourism. Air travel staying in a hotel, is the worst offender, living in carefree responsible for 40 vacation mode. We per cent of this total. crank up the AC in hot climates, get our sheets and towels laundered daily and forget to turn off the lights when we leave the room. But as the responsible travel movement continues to grow, travellers are thinking more seriously about their eco-unfriendly behaviour and demanding that their hotels do the same. More travellers are choosing hotels that are doing their part to protect the environment and hotel industry practices are slowly changing as a result. With that in mind, we’re profiling five hotels across the globe that are making a difference with their eco-conscious accomplishments. From ambitious reintroductions of indigenous wildlife to simple measures like motion sensor lighting, these hotels are making the travel world a little greener. They aren’t total solutions for the wide-ranging consequences travel has on the environment, but they are taking steps in the right direction.

Emirates One & Only Wolgan Valley

Photograph by ###

ABOVE: The Greater Blue Mountain Area offers One & Only Wogan Valley guests the chance to interact with nature.

At Emirates One & Only Wolgan Valley Resort, sustainability isn’t just about reducing harm to the environment, it’s about actively contributing something positive to it. Set in the UNESCO-listed Greater Blue Mountains Area, One & Only Wolgan Valley is the only Australian resort in decades to receive permission to build close to a World Heritage Site. Occupying one per cent of a 7,000-acre nature reserve, One & Only Wolgan Valley was


Australia’s first certified carbon-neutral resort when it opened in 2009. “The industry is becoming much more aware of the importance of sustainability and the need to protect our natural environment,” says James Wyndham, general manager of Emirates One & Only Wolgan Valley. “Increasingly, guests are not just choosing a hotel based on its sustainability credentials but they want to leave a positive impact during their stay.” Wolgan Valley gives guests a chance to do exactly that with its Conservation Activity program. With the help of the resort’s team of field guides, guests can contribute to the property’s eco-friendly efforts by participating in the collection of seeds as well as helping to plant native trees and shrubs. In a previous life, the property served as grazing land for livestock and had been stripped of local vegetation. Barbed wire fencing was removed and over 200,000 indigenous trees have been planted as part of the resort’s work to reintroduce native vegetation and wildlife. Kangaroos, wallabies and dozens of


other native species now live freely on the property. Wildlife sightings are part of the resort’s charm for guests, but their reintroduction has also created new opportunities for local university researchers to study indigenous wildlife. The resort works with Western Sydney University to survey wombat burrows and macropod populations, while a PhD student


from the University of Sydney is using the reserve to conduct parts of her research into the relationships between introduced predators and endemic carnivore species.

Banff Aspen Lodge The Banff Aspen Lodge, a mid-range property located in Banff National Park, is proof that not all sustainable hotels come with pricey room rates. It’s fitting that a property surrounded by over 6,000 square kilometres of pristine, Canadian wilderness would play a role in protecting the environment. “The natural surroundings are what bring guests to our town and to our hotel, so it is important to us to be as sustainable as possible,” says Monique Hendrickx, business development manager for Banff Aspen Lodge. The lodge’s toiletries come in biodegradable containers and their soaps are made from a vegetable base. Hand towels and toilet paper are made with at least 20 per cent recycled material. Motion sensor lighting in the hallways reduces energy waste, and the lodge aims to restore


ABOVE: Arenas del Mar carries on Costa Rica’s eco-tourism tradition. BELOW: Banff Aspen Lodge gives guests enviro options.

and parks, in addition to developing its own government-run sustainability rating program for local businesses (Certificate for Sustainable Tourism or CST). Arenas del Mar, a 38-room property on the outskirts of Manuel Antonio National Park, is one of only about 50 hotels to earn the CST’s highest rating. Manuel Antonio’s entrance is actually a short walk away from the resort, but Arenas del Mar’s 11-acre property feels like it’s right in the middle of the park. Resort buildings take up about a quarter of this acreage, with the rest of the land serving as a private nature reserve. According to Hans Pfister, director of marketing and operations at Arenas del Mar, the resort was designed with sustainability in mind from the beginning. Buildings were planned around the existing flora and fauna (only 35 trees were felled during construction), the electricity system was set-up underground and developers studied local wildlife to avoid interfering with their routes. The result is that animals move undisturbed throughout the property which, in addition to doing right by the environment, means guests are virtually guaranteed to spot sloths curled up in trees, iguanas skittering across the pool decks and monkeys leaping between rooftops. Guests can sign up for a free tour to learn

ONLY 35 TREES WERE FELLED FOR ARENA DEL MAR’S CONSTRUCTION about the resort’s sustainability program, which also includes pools with a chlorinefree ionization system, electric carts for transportation and a total ban on plastic Costa Rica’s smallest national park but bottles and straws. also one of its most Pfister believes that popular, Manuel these green initiatives Antonio is home to are one of the main beaches, mangroves, tropical forests and reasons why the diverse wildlife. property attracts so many repeat guests and referrals. “When they stay with us and see what we do, they fall in love,” he says.

old furniture rather than replace it. The lodge also makes guests active participants in its green goals with an environmental incentive program. They are encouraged to forego housekeeping services in exchange for either a free drink at the lodge’s attached cafe or a small donation made in their name to the Banff Community Foundation, which supports local eco-friendly initiatives. Environmental responsibility (or social pressure) generally prevails and most guests opt for the latter. “Many hotels try to promote sustainability by asking guests to reuse their towels. LED lights and recycling bins in rooms are becoming more common,” says Hendrickx. “Guests like to see that actions are made by hotels to be sustainable.”

Arenas del Mar It’s only natural (pun intended) that Costa Rica is home to some of the world’s most progressive green hotels. The country made itself the poster child for green tourism by designating 25 per cent of its total land as protected nature reserves



FURNITURE WAS CRAFTED LOCALLY OUT OF TREES FELLED BY STORMS The Green House The Green House couldn’t be a more accurate name for this innovative hotel in Bournemouth, UK. Every element of this boutique hotel was chosen with sustainability in mind, making for an impressive list of green achievements as well as serving to create an intriguing space where every item has a story.

Walls are decorated with either local Farrow & Ball eco paint, or vegetable ink wallpaper designed by students at London’s St Martin’s College. Beds were made using natural materials like bamboo, while wooden furniture was crafted locally out of trees felled by storms. Olivia O’Sullivan, general manager of the Green House, says that it wasn’t always easy finding reputable environmental producers when the hotel was being developed in 2008. “There was a great deal of ‘green wash’ during that period,” she says, “so we had to investigate and test all the eco credentials of each product.” According to the hotel, about 28 per cent of guests cite its eco-friendliness as a reason for their choice; an even larger percentage pick up a copy of the hotel’s Green Guide when they depart (a move the hotel hopes means they’ve provided some “greenspiration” for guests to carry forward into their non-vacation lives).

Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa The Shangri-La Rasa Sayang may not bill itself as an eco-resort, but this swish property on the northern tip of Malaysia’s Penang Island has been implementing

green practices since the early days of environmentalism in the mid-1990s. Guest rooms have LED lighting and biodegradable bath products, but the hotel’s most impressive in-room initiative is its bottling program. Malaysian tap water is not potable, which can mean massive amounts of annual waste from plastic bottles. In 2012, Rasa Sayang opened an in-house facility for bottling the drinking water provided in its guest rooms. These one-litre glass bottles save an estimated 4,708 kg of plastic waste each year between the resort and its sister property, Golden Sands. Other notable achievements include a recent switch from diesel-burning boilers to heat pumps. Rasa Sayang also supports local turtle conservation efforts through its educational Turtle Care Project, including donating a portion of proceeds from turtlethemed gift shop items to Penang National Park’s Turtle Conservation Centre. “Our goal is to work beyond the doors of Rasa Sayang,” says the property’s director of communications, Suleiman Tunku Abdul Rahman. “For the long term, the entire movement of sustainability will be able to sustain itself when likeminded individuals and enterprises support each other. It will be to everybody’s benefit.” e

BELOW: At Shangri-La’s Malaysian property they’ve built a bottle facility to significantly reduce plastic bottle waste


Tastemaker's Series at TOCA

For reservations, call 416.572.8008

Designed for culinary enthusiasts, this series of interactive events include exclusive wine tastings, workshops, specialty menus and immersive food experiences. Two Sisters Wine Dinner – February 27th Canadian Wine and Cheese Tasting – March 3rd Sicilian Wine Dinner – March 14th Preserved Food Cooking Class – March 24th Italian Wine Dinner – select dates in April French Wine and Cheese tasting – select dates in April Visit tocarestaurant.com for new events, dates and details.

181 Wellington Street West Toronto, ON M5V3G7 tocarestaurant.com


2018 The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C.



The newest whiskey from Ireland’s oldest distillery, aged in American bourbon barrels for a bold flavour that’s worth crossing an ocean for.

Please enjoy responsibly.


CHECKLIST Vacation shouldn’t just be a relaxing time for your mind and soul, with these natural products your skin can get its own dose of TLC.

DOPP DESIGNED ERIN TEMPLETON KISS AND MAKEUP, $55 Keep your makeup, skincare products or other odds and ends organized in these zippered leather bags. Use them to store your essentials when you’re on the road, or for everyday use at home. Handmade in Vancouver from 100 per cent recycled leather, each bag is one of a kind. erintempleton.com

Photography: Photograph Ryan byFaist ###


1 FIVE O’CLOCK WHISTLE, $13.95: Fresh squeezed lime juice gives this shaving smoothie a citrusy scent, while almond, jojoba and organic extra virgin olive oils make for soft, easy shaving. lush.ca 2 PRINCE, $13.95: This nofuss shaving cream uses beeswax to cleanse and

moisturize the skin, while rose water soothes postshaving irritation. Cream remaining after shaving can be massaged into your skin and leaves a clean scent. lush.ca 3 D’FLUFF, $12.95: True to its name, this invigorating shaving soap has a fluffy, light texture thanks to a mix

of coconut oil, golden syrup and egg whites. Fresh strawberries give it a fruity scent and playful pink colour. lush.ca 4 ROSE GERANIUM TONER, $25: Refresh your face with this calming alcohol-free toner. Made with soothing rosewater and geranium, this light toner

comes in a handy spray bottle for delivering quick, hydrating spritzes. crawfordskincare.com 5 LEMON CREAM DEODORANT, $10: Made with cornstarch to keep you dry and essential oils with deodorizing properties, this natural deodorant helps you stay fresh on long,



3 6





gruelling travel days. crawfordskincare.com 6 FRANKINCENSE HAND CREAM, $25: A lifesaver on dry airplane flights, this nourishing cream heals cracked hands with ingredients like calendula and frankincense, for moisture without the greasy after effects. crawfordskincare.com

7 GRAYDON TRAVEL KIT, $65: Cleanse and moisturize your hair and skin on the go with this carry-on-sized collection of 100 per cent natural products. It includes a body soap, conditioner and lotion, plus mists to hydrate your face and eliminate germs. graydonskincare.com

8 CONSONANT SKINCARE GYM & TRAVEL ESSENTIALS KIT, $75: Level up your skincare routine with this allnatural, Canadian-made kit. It includes travelsized face and body washes, body lotion, hand cream, face cream and lip conditioner. consonantskincare.com

9 NEAL’S YARD REMEDIES AWARD-WINNING SKINCARE KIT, $60: Pamper your travelweary skin with this certified organic, crueltyfree skincare set. Ideal for all skin types, each product is packed with natural antioxidants and active botanical extracts. nealsyardremedies.ca




Photography: Photograph Ryan byFaist ###


FISH OUT OF WATER Lifestyle photographer David Charbit captures the moody beauty of the Delphi Fishery in Ireland, a river and lake system with an innovative salmon hatchery program.

RIGHT: A visitor fishes for salmon on the Bundorragha River. The site where he was fishing on this misty and rainy day was a particularly picturesque spot in the river known among locals as the “rock pool.�




he region of Connemara in Ireland’s County Galway is known for its calm lake and river fishing conditions and has attracted fisherman for centuries. Photographer David Charbit journeyed to the scenic Delphi Fishery, which consists of a series of rivers and lakes – the mile-long Bundorragha River, along with the lakes of Fin Lough, Doo Lough and Glencullin Lough. The fishery is managed by the Delphi Lodge, a charming hotel that provides accommodation for most visitors who come to fish in this rugged part of Ireland. In the 1990s, nearby salmon farms began decimating the Bundorragha River’s once-prolific sea trout population, leaving the Delphi Lodge in danger of losing its customer base. The lodge fought back by launching a pioneering salmon hatchery program. The river already had a small wild salmon run, so a salmon hatchery program was a sustainable solution that could

compensate for the dwindling sea trout population and keep fishermen coming back to the historic lodge. The lodge now produces an extra 50,000 juvenile smolts (baby salmon) for release each year. Though these salmon come from a hatchery, they make the same trek north to the Atlantic Ocean as their wild relatives and eventually return to the Bundorragha River, the place of their birth. Years spent in the ocean make the hatchery salmon equally as challenging to catch as their wild peers; and while a catch-and-release policy applies to wild salmon, fishermen are required to catch and kill (and, presumably, eat) hatchery salmon to help protect the genetic integrity of their wild counterparts. Perhaps its the satisfaction of the catch, but Charbit says you can taste the difference, with the hatchery salmon featuring a lean, flavourful flesh that contrasts with the fatty taste of farmed salmon that most of us our used to. e

Photograph by ###


LEFT: A young English fisherman carries one of the few salmon caught that day. He reeled it in during a brief sunny spell.



Photograph by ###

LEFT: A shot of Doolough shows the expansive and impressive scale of the scenery. When not fishing the riverbanks, fishermen focus on the loughs (lakes). Like the group pictured, they tend to try their luck with fly-fishing from boats.


RIGHT: The Delphi Lodge, which manges the Delphi Fishery, launched a forwardthinking salmon hatchery program in the 1990s to continue attacting fishermen.



Photograph by ###

LEFT: A different perspective of Doolough with sheets of rain rolling across its dark, slate-grey surface.



Andrea Yu hops just across the Quebec border to Gatineau to discover how to make the most of winter.

GETTING THERE Via runs train service from Toronto to Ottawa several times a day, although driving is recommended to get between locations. Both options take about 4 hours and 30 minutes. viarail.ca



anadian winters challenge the hardiest of souls. One way to combat the cold is to tackle it head-on. So we ventured north to the Gatineau region of Quebec, which is just across the river from Ottawa, and discovered plenty of ways to celebrate the snow and sub-zero temperatures. For a glamorous warm up, a lazy day at the Nordik Spa is a welcome distraction. It’s the largest spa of its kind in North America, adopting the Nordic style of outdoor hot tubs and saunas. There’s something surreal in the steam that floats along the water’s surface, or in realizing the tips of your hair have frozen as you shuffle, in minus 25 degree weather, from steam room to semisubterranean yurt (there are two of these Mongolian structures for spa guests to

GATINEAU ◆◆ Population: 276,388 ◆◆ Area: 380 sq km ◆◆ Also known for: the

Canadian Museum of History


relax in between treatments). Of note is Nordik’s Aufguss rituals – a Finnish tradition where essential oil-infused air is waved around a sauna with the help of a towel – and the Kalla Epsom salt weightless pool. Once you can get over the sci-fi-esque appearance of silent floating bodies, the Dead Sea-like waters improve sleep and circulation after a 30 to 60 minute-long immersion, or that’s the claim. Winter sport enthusiasts will undoubtedly appreciate the benefits of a full schedule that rotates through the Nordik Spa’s range of facilities. But honestly, anyone who makes it this deep through winter deserves a relaxing visit before spring. e chelsea.lenordik.com

Fine dining enthusiasts would be remiss to pass up a meal at Le Baccara. Situated in the Casino Lac-Leamy complex, this upscale restaurant has been awarded the CAA-AAA’s prestigious Five Diamond rating. The five-course menu dégustation is an excellent overview of its best offerings, such as a pan-seared foie gras (when in Quebec) and sous-vide salmon cubes with an avocado-lime sorbet and crisp nori sheets – a creative deconstruction of traditional sushi. casinolacleamy.ca


LES FOUGÈRES The Gatineau institution (they turn 25 this year) shed its dated interior during a complete reno in 2016, and the Scandinavian-like results are breathtaking. Oversized windows fill the space with warm natural light and offer picturesque views of the surrounding woodlot. Local ingredients highlight the menu, such as partridgeberry in a compote with its signature duck confit. The gourmet shop is stocked with house-made marinades and jams. fougeres.com

GATINEAU PARK Covering 261 square kilometres, this regional park is home to all manner of frosty frolics, including cross-country and skate-skiing, snow biking and winter hiking. Patrolled trails, some of which are machine groomed, mean pleasant conditions. For the novice athlete, strap on a pair of snowshoes for a moderate (and very Canadian) winter workout through the park. All-weather cabins, yurts and campsites beckon hardier outdoorspeople. @gatineaupark

WAKEFIELD MILL HOTEL & SPA The village of Wakefield, founded in 1830, is an unexpected gem along the edge of the Gatineau River. Here, heritage buildings and natural landscapes combine with a hippie-esque artist community. The historic mill has been restored into a charming hotel set along a natural waterfall. Accommodations include the main mill, a charming chalet (formerly a miller’s house) and even old grain silos, as well as the newlyconstructed, LEED-certified Eco River Lodge. Start your days with an invigorating Ashtanga or Hatha yoga class then refuel with a meal in the Muse Restaurant solarium, overlooking the MacLaren Falls and the Rivière la Peche. wakefieldmill.com




Feed your appetite for like-a-local adventure and responsible travel, with G Adventures’ award-winning small group tours.


F THERE’S ONE thing food lovers and travel addicts have in common, it’s a sense of adventure: it takes courage to try that first bite of an unfamiliar dish — the same courage required to brave a new destination. Whether you’re seeking a memorable meal or a meaningful travel experience, the best way to make the most of it is to say yes to the unknown and jump right in. At G Adventures, adventure means saying yes, trying something new, and engaging in travel with an open mind and a sense of purpose. For 28 years, G Adventures has been running small group tours around the world, offering travellers the chance to embrace new experiences while supporting local communities at the same time. G Adventures partners with local businesses for its tours rather than big


international chains, so your travel dollars support local economies. This grassroots approach also makes tours more affordable and allows you to experience unique home stays, local transport and total cultural immersion. Food lovers will appreciate that 65% of included meals on G Adventures tours are based on local, traditional cuisine. For these, 90% of suppliers buy supplies from local producers, markets and farms. Your tour might see you sampling Limoncello at an Italian agriturismo, learning about chocolate-making in Costa Rica or enjoying a home-cooked dinner with an Egyptian family. From high-adrenaline activities like zip-lining to the first taste of your new favourite food, G Adventures’ diverse trip options let you follow your sense of adventure wherever it takes you. ●



One lucky foodism reader and a friend will delve into the wonders of northern Thailand by winning an eight-day trip, with airfare and accommodation included. Explore the serene Ayutthaya Historical Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and dine on a converted rice barge. Travel to a traditional village outside of Chiang Mai and visit with a local family in their home. To see a full itinerary, list of terms and conditions, and to enter, visit: escapism.to/competition



A historic home for a hotel and the stars of Bangkok’s dining scene are what’s new in travel

REOPENING THE RIYADH REGIME Saudi Arabia plans to issue its first tourist visas to travellers beginning this year. One of the world’s most conservative countries, the oil-rich kingdom previously restricted visitor visas to people travelling for work, religious or family-related purposes. The country is aiming to attract 30 million visitors annually by the year 2030. The massive projects to accommodate tourists include the conversion of 50 islands in the Red Sea into high-end beach resorts and the development of a Las Vegas-style entertainment city. The tourism push is part of the government’s plan to diversify away from its reliance on oil.

Photography: Saudi Arabia and London by Shutterstock; Thailand by Evan Krause



Bangkok’s legendary culinary scene has received the seal of approval from Michelin with the release of its guide to the Thai capital. A total of 17 restaurants earned one or two stars in Michelin’s sixth guide in Asia. Six establishments specializing in Thai cuisine were among the onestar winners, including street food vendor Jay Fai, who is known for crab omelettes and curries.

London’s Admiralty Arch is set to become a luxury hotel, operated by Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts. The arch is the gateway to the Mall, the short royal road that runs between Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace. Previously, its interior has mostly served as government offices. Expected to open by 2022, the hotel will have 96 rooms, three restaurants and a private members club.




HOLI MOLI Holi, also known as the Festival of Colours, is celebrated by millions of people in India, Nepal and other large Hindu communities around the world every year. Holi stems from Hindu mythology, but the festival has come to also serve as a commemoration of spring and welcoming of new beginnings. This year, the two-day event starts on March 1, with a bonfire and feast typically kicking off the festivities. On the second day, participants throw brightly coloured powder and bags of colourful water at one another, all while singing, dancing and taking part in general revelry. e

Photography: Photograph Shutterstock by ###






We believe everyone should have the food they love to eat.


So we offer you good food by bringing you quality in everything we do — from our mouth-watering meals to our sweetest tasting oranges. And we


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You will understand why it is the lager for those in the know.

Universally regarded as one of the world's great lager conditioned beers, we only use the ďŹ nest ingredients, ďŹ rst-class cones from locally grown Saaz hops, natural soďż˝ water from ice age lakes and carefully selected grains of a unique strain of the Moravian barley make our Czechvar B:Original a truly great beer.

— PART 3 —




A COMMITMENT TO SUSTAINABILITY The Chase Hospitality Group’s president Steven Salm shares how his diverse group of restaurants are working to reduce their environmental impact.

S Photography: Steven Lee

PRING IS JUST around the corner and that means that chefs across the city are planning new menus, with fresh and local produce in mind. Among all the creativity, there’s one Toronto restaurant group striving to include thoughtful and sustainable choices at every step. Steven Salm, president of Chase Hospitality Group, has long put sustainability at the forefront of his restaurants, which include favourites like The Chase, Planta, Colette Grand Café, Palm Lane and Kasa Moto. He starts at the root of the issue, favouring local, seasonal produce, and goes from there. The Chase Hospitality Group partners with local and sustainable vendors that include The New Farm, 100km Foods, Fogo Island Fish Co-operative, Blackview Farms and

Ontario Harvest, to name a few. The Group also made a commitment to feature a minimum of 25 per cent plant-based offerings on all restaurant menus. “It’s not just for our plant-based guests. It’s our way of taking initiative to reduce our environmental impact.” Notably, the Planta brand has been making waves in Toronto and beyond. They've created a platform for upscale plant-based dining with their Yorkville restaurant, a new location in Florida’s South Beach and fun options at Planta Burger. “We’re making great innovative food without relying on animal products to make it great,” Salm says. When it comes to the impact among his peers, Salm is hopeful but realistic. “We know we can’t change our industry overnight, but every choice we make and every plant-based meal we serve is one step closer to where we want to be.” ●



Taste The Chase’s fresh, new spring menu, developed with sustainability in mind, with this dinner for two valued at $250.


Visit foodism.to/competition for more details and to enter.


MONTE CRISTO ONE-PAN BAKE A twist on the classic Monte Cristo sandwich, this one-pan bake combines the sweet flavours of French toast with ham and cheese. Whether you are planning a casual meal with the family or a fancy brunch with friends, this version of the “French Sandwich” will surely have your guests asking for seconds. Servings: Prep Time: Bake Time:

Ingredients 2 tbsp (30 mL) 2 tbsp (30 mL) 1 7 21/3 cups (575 mL) 5 ½ cup (125 mL) 1/8 tsp (0.5 mL)

6 to 8 20 minutes 30 minutes

Dijon mustard mayonnaise large French baguette, cut into 21 slices (¾ inch or 2 cm thick) slices deli ham, cut in half length-wise (about ¼ lb or 125 g) shredded Gruyere cheese, divided eggs 2% milk each salt and pepper Icing sugar and preserves (optional)

Directions Preheat oven to 375° F (190° C). Lightly grease a 13 x 9-inch (3 L) baking dish. In a small bowl, combine mustard and mayonnaise; spread on one side of each baguette slice.


Place prepared baking dish on counter, with the shortest side facing you. Working from the top of dish, place 3 baguette slices (mustard side up), slightly propped up along the short side of the dish. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup (75 mL) of cheese and top with 2 slices ham, overlapping (1 full slice per row). Prop the next slices of bread up against the ham and continue to layer until no ingredients remain. You should have 7 rows in total. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs and milk. Add salt and pepper; mix well. Pour evenly over contents in baking dish. Cover and refrigerate for 30 to 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot with traditional Monte Cristo accompaniments, icing sugar and preserves, if desired.

Tip: Substitute Swiss cheese for Gruyere for a lighter flavour. Tip: Baguettes at your local grocery store can range in length. Look for a baguette that is 19 to 22 inches (48 to 56 cm) long.

Nutrients per serving (1/8 recipe): 358 calories, 18 g total fat, 8 g saturated fat, 720 mg sodium, 27 g carbohydrates, 1 g fibre, 22g protein. The Ottens Family, Egg Farmers, Guelph, ON



Serving the inventive, full-flavoured food by Aussie chef Adam Hynam-Smith with the bold richness of Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Shiraz was a no-brainer pairing.

AUSSIE FEAST A dozen hungry foodism fans gathered at the iYellow Loft for a cozy dinner paired with Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Shiraz. Australian-born chef Adam HynamSmith's creations were an ideal match for Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Shiraz. This smooth, rich wine is crafted from shiraz grapes grown in South Australia’s famed Barossa Valley. Thanks to iYellow for hosting us in their new event space.

Photography: Sandro Pehar




WINTER FLAVOURS Find new ways to warm up inside St. Lawrence Market.




We assembled new friends and rolled up our sleeves for a special occasion cooking session with PC® Black Label.


Photography: Sandro Pehar

We gathered a few lucky readers and foodism friends for an interactive event at the PC® Cooking School in Loblaws Maple Leaf Gardens. President’s Choice Executive Chef Tom Filippou and his team led us through a fun cooking demo to create an easy appetizer. The bites, made with President's Choice® Black Label products, were washed down with Masi wine and Peroni beer.



BOTTLE SERVICE Stay in peak form through late winter and into spring with these virtuous beverages. PHOTOGRAPHY BY RYAN FAIST



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1 KEVITA MASTER DRAGONFRUIT LEMONGRASS. Strong tea flavour meets the vibrant aromas and tastes of a Southeast Asian fruit market. $4.49, kevita.com 2 BREW DR. CLEAR MIND. An herb-forward kombucha designed to improve focus and mental clarity. Tastes verdant and earthy with a slight mintiness. $4.99, brewdrkombucha.com 3 HUMM COCONUT LIME. Slightly carbonated, this kombucha has subtle tropical elements. A perfect, easy-does-it amount of coconut backed up by lime. $4.99, hummkombucha.com 4 RISE ROSE & SCHIZANDRA. A fresh kombucha with a crisp dry finish and an eyecatching pink hue. Slightly more tannic and a touch more bitter than the average variety. Delicate

effervescence lightens the texture. $3.99, risekombucha.com 5 TONICA BLUEBERRY. One of the fruitiest kombuchas we have tried. Antioxidant-rich with fermented organic green, black and rooibos tea mixed with carrots, apples and, of course, blueberries $3.99, tonicakombucha.com 6 LIVE LEMON GINGER. Pleasantly acidic with the strong, clean flavour of ginger and a zingy citrus aftertaste from the shot of lemon. $3.99, livekombucha.ca 7 GT’S GINGERADE KOMBUCHA. Dry and tart – a welcome break from the sweet kombuchas we’ve tried. This one is deeply packed with flavour. The ginger sensation of GT’s definitely has a punch but is appreciated by those that are seeking a bit of spice. We suggest working up to this bottle. $4.49, gtslivingfoods. com



F O O D I S M .T O


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Photograph by ###

1 ELXR BETA RUSH. Beta Rush is the energizing stress buster cocktail from ELXR, made with orange, carrot, turmeric, lemon and lime. Sweet and tart tasting. $11, elxrjuicelab.com 2 FRESH 04 ANTIOXIDANT. The antioxidant combination of beet and kale has a refreshing finish. Fans get a good herbal experience with this one. $12, freshrestaurants.com 3 GREENHOUSE JUICE CO GENIUS. Greenhouse’s popular juice is designed to calm inflammation and contribute to skin health. Vegetable-forward with a hint of salt. $11.50, greenhousejuice.com 4 DAILY PRESS JUICERY LIFEGUARD. A vibrant mix of fruit, with flavours of orange, pineapple and pear to brighten the earthy, root vegetable base. $10, dailypressjuicery.ca

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1 REINHART RED APPLE CIDER. Notes of honey, pear and some citrus to liven it up. Slightly on the sweet side with a low ABV that’s rare among ciders. $3.20, lcbo.com 2 BRICKWORKS STADIUM ISLAND PEACH CIDER. The sibling to Brickworks’ hugely popular Batch 1904 cider is more fruit-forward, has a vibrant pear and apricot nose with a bit of strawberry flavour. $3.40, lcbo.com 3 COLLECTIVE ARTS LOCAL PRESS CIDER. Dry-style cider by the Hamilton brewery, made from three types of apple. Fruity on the nose; fresh on the palate. $3.50, lcbo.com 4 THORNBURY VILLAGE CRAFT APPLE CIDER. Made for those who don’t love sweet ciders. Tastes like a light cocktail with elements of apple and lemon. Also has a noticeable herbal quality to it. $2.95, lcbo.com 5 CAPLE ROAD NO3 CIDER. A cider with layers, drinks like a beer with a heavy mouthfeel and layers of oak, sour, earth and apple. $2.90, lcbo.com

Photograph by ###


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From natural fermentation to herbicide-free, three examples of wines made with a lighter hand.


Chef halls are on-trend, but Suresh Doss hopes we remember food court gems like Village by Grange’s.


Photography: Nostalgist by Hiep Nguyen; Wines by Ryan Faist

F MY TRAVELS in the last few years have taught me anything about food trends, it’s that people are obsessed, infatuated even, with the concept of a food hall. A group of mini-eateries arranged around a bare-bones setting is nothing new – this type of food-focussed market has existed for centuries. But in the last few years, food halls have gone through a reboot with corporate designed spaces that invoke faux rustic environments with modern design aesthetics. It started in cities like Barcelona and Lisbon in the 2000s where legendary markets received facelifts to appeal to younger, adventurous tourists who planned their vacations around food experiences. Initial iterations, like La Boqueria (Barca) had a delicate touch; new vendors used local purveyors at the market for their menus of food served in an accessible, casual setting. Amidst the chaos, you could pull up to a stool and enjoy plates of pulpo Gallego (Galician octopus tapa) or whole fish, accompanied by bottomless glasses of beer. It was a magical mix of old with the right touch of new. In Toronto, whenever I missed the European food market, I’d venture to one of my favourite food courts in the city at Village by the Grange. Toronto’s dining court experience is heavily influenced by our demographics, so our best food courts are similar to what you’ll find in South and Southeast Asia: A group of mom-andpop vendors from different backgrounds, nestled together, often preserving recipes that are generations old. There was nothing glamorous about the setting, nothing

necessarily Gram-worthy about the plates. It was just satisfying and delicious. At Village by the Grange, I discovered some of the best Caribbean-style roti, Japanese curry and Taiwanese oyster pancakes. Over the years the vendors may have come and gone, but the spirit has remained: one of the most unsophisticated food courts in Toronto with great food and a bustling atmosphere. Unrivalled. In the last decade, contemporary interpretations of the food market have taken many shapes around the world, from the ostentatious Arno Coenen-inspired Markthal in Rotterdam to the acclaimed revamp of the Grand Central Market in Los Angeles. Dozens of food halls have opened throughout the U.S. with “chef-driven menus” in gentrified historic spaces. We slowly ditched fresh produce in favour of prepared foods and swapped the moniker “market” for “hall” in a push to accommodate our desire for international everything. Toronto is experiencing its first wave of food halls; three are now open, with another three on the way in 2018. All are promising “Toronto chef” popups with carefully curated menus designed to appeal to a global audience. This development is a good thing for the evolution of the dining scene in our city. But I hope we don’t forget the food courts that form the backbone of this city’s lunchtime menu like the one at Village by the Grange. It’s not a space defined by sleek wood surfaces and bespoke lighting but by its occupants and their desire to preserve a sense of culture, time and place. f

1. SOUT HB R OOK T R IOM PHE C HAR DONNAY 2015 A medium-bodied chardonnay made by naturally fermenting juice in neutral barrels to create a wine that is almost perfectly balanced. Not overly oaky, buttery or sweet. Versatile from appetizer to last course. $24.95, lcbo.com

2. E M IL IANA C OYA M SY RAH B L E ND 2013 Named for the vast oak forest that surrounds the vineyards of Chile’s Colchagua Valley, where the seven grape varieties for this wine are grown and hand harvested. An elegant wine that sits warmly on the palate with a fruit-forward expression of ripe red and dark fruits. $29.95, lcbo.com

3. TOR R E S HAB I TAT GAR NAC HA/SYRA H OR GANIC 2015 A plump and fruity wine made by a group of estate vineyards governed by strict organic practices. A dance between two grapes, peppery and earthy Syrah paired with Garnacha’s cherry and dark fruit notes. $19.95, lcbo.com



F O O D I S M .T O


One roof, many options is the theme for this issue’s food news

F- FOR FOOD A survey conducted by the food charity Meal Exchange, found that over half of Ontario university students were unhappy with the quality of food on campus. The Campus Food Report Card is the first of its kind in Ontario and was conducted to promote sustainable, healthy and accessible food options. The study also showed that only one in four students felt that the food served on campus helped them maintain a healthy diet. As well, 72 per cent were somewhat or very dissatisfied with their ability to afford meals at school.



The city’s most ambitious food hall, Assembly Chef’s Hall, is open at Richmond and York. Inside are 17 independent eateries in a refined food court-style setup, including new locations of city favourites such as Dailo and Cherry Street Bar-B-Que as well as new operations like Resto Boeme (from Chopped contestant Ivana Raca) and a stand-up omakase bar from Shoushin’s Jackie Lin. Impressive murals executed by local artists adorn the walls.

The RC Show, Restaurant Canada’s annual foodservice expo, is back at the Enercare Centre from Feb. 25-27. This year’s show includes a feature pavilion on Italian food and beverages as well as a look at how space technology impacts agriculture. There will also be guest talks from industry bigwigs (execs from Ritual, Keg Restaurants and Farm Boy among them) and a highstakes culinary competition spanning all three days of the event.

STATION TRANSFORMATION As part of a massive renovation and revitalization project, Union Station welcomed a collection of new shops and eateries this winter. Second locations for Danish Pastry House and CXBO Chocolates are among the new openings and Amano Pasta and Union Chicken are the station’s first sit-down restaurants. (They’ve also brought booze back to the hub after a dry decade.) WVRST, Forno Cultura and Calii Love (under construction at press time) are helping to transform Union Station into a full-fledged destination.




We travel to all corners of Toronto to find the best pho – Vietnam’s solution for winter weather.

During the final days of winter we want to hibernate with a hearty bowl of pho. It’s also the season for escapes to the tiki bar’s world of kitsch and cocktails or a solo session at one of the city’s best counters.




1  Pho Linh 1156 College St. W.


Walk in on a weeknight and you’ll find many of the seats taken by professional cooks eating here on their night off, so you know Pho Linh is good. Generally, downtown Toronto’s pho connoisseurs agree this is one of the best spots. The plain pho tai dishes are great but Pho Linh is best known for bun bo hue, a popular Vietnamese spicy soup with beef and vermicelli, which punches with sour, salt, spice and sweet. If you’re a fan of seafood-based broths then try the crab meat soup with pork leg and transparent noodles. It’s a well-balanced combination of surf and turf brought together by curry spice.


BEST OF THE REST  2  Pho 88 594 Bloor St. W.

This long-standing Vietnamese mini-chain has been a city fixture since opening in 1989 and subsequently expanding with locations in North York and Markham. The Tran family’s closely guarded pho recipe draws in customers from across the region, and more adventurous diners can level up their noodle game with Pho 88’s rich and spicy “sate broth.” Expect generous portions, efficient service and pocket-friendly prices. pho88.ca

 3  Pho Metro 2057 Lawrence Ave. E.

 4  Little Coxwell Vietnamese & Thai Cuisine 986 Coxwell Ave.

Unlike other pho spots in the city, this familyrun institution near Coxwell and O’Connor presents both Vietnamese and Thai dishes on one menu. That means the best of both worlds – some of the best noodle soups around and the vibrancy and heat of Thai dishes. The rare beef and balls pho is a classic favourite if you love full-on intense, unadulterated beef flavor. It’s complemented nicely by a plate of fried tofu, so you can have a piece of tofu whenever you need a break from beef.



Photography: Pho 1, 3-5 by Suresh Doss

If you head out of town in search of noodle soups, one name will come up again and again. Pho Metro is over two decades old and in that time has become an institution for Vietnamese food in Scarborough. It’s still family-owned and attracts daily lineups. The main draw here is the intense broth that the cooks have perfected over the years, inching them above other pho spots for their consistent beefy soup base. Regulars will tell you that the real good stuff is in the weekend specials: curry brisket and chicken curry. Both are results of the family wanting to represent Saigon’s fusion-style pho.

 5  Pho Xe Lua



254 Spadina Ave.

Better known as the Train Restaurant or Pho Train thanks to its locomotive logo, Pho Xe Lua is a reliable spot for a cheap, filling, postbar meal. Their second-floor restaurant at Dundas and Spadina is the most well-known of their locations across the GTA. The bright, bare-bones setting isn’t exactly atmospheric, but service is fast and almost everything on the encyclopedic menu is under $10. There are around a dozen pho dishes to choose from, which come with notably fresh toppings of Thai basil and sprouts.





 2  La Banane

 4  Pai

227 Ossington Ave.

18 Duncan St.

A dining partner (or pre-planning) isn’t needed to get a taste of the Gallic cuisine craze taking over the city. La Banane saves the seats along its marble bar counter for walk-ins. Solo diners can pay full attention to the brass-framed raw bar where chefs prepare cold platters of crab legs and oysters.

A buzzy atmosphere and some of the city’s best Thai food make Pai an excellent choice for solo diners. Grabbing a table for four can be tough during peak hours, so solo diners are at an advantage. Deciding between pad gra prow and gaeng masaman while enjoying Pai’s constant hum of activity and quirky, street-market-inspired decorations are all the mealtime entertainment you’ll need.


 3  King’s Noodle 296 Spadina Ave.



Noodle soup and congee cravings peak in this icy season, and this popular Chinatown eatery is the place to sate these needs. King’s Noodle adopts the Hong Kong habit of combining smaller parties at their larger tables for speedier service, so you might find yourself chatting (or minding your own business) with fellow solo eaters. Their barbecue meat selection is among downtown’s best, and includes a remarkably tender and moist take on classic steamed chicken.

 5  Lakeview Restaurant



1132 Dundas St. W.

While the Lakeview certainly doesn’t offer the city’s finest fare, it hits the spot when you’re craving comfort food. Bar stools along the front counter are comfy spots for tucking into one of the 24-hour brunch specials. You get the feeling that servers have seen it all here dealing with the late-night crowd, so you don’t have to worry about getting side-eye for choosing to enjoy a companionless meal.




TABLE FOR ONE? Dining alone is an opportunity to pay full attention to the food or take in the scene.  1  Kinka Izakaya 398 Church St.

Toronto’s original Guu created a stampede when it opened seven years ago. We lined up for hours for a stream of snack plates from the city’s first true izakaya. The name changed to Kinka but it’s still a loud, fun experience regardless of whether you’re with a large group or dining alone. Grab a seat at the bar for a quick bite then stay for an extended people-watching session. kinka.com



1  Shameful Tiki Room 1378 Queen St. W.

Photography: Solo 1 and 4 by Suresh Doss, 2 by Rick O’Brien, 3 by Angie Torres, 5 by Jeff Hitchcock; Tiki 2 by Ryan Thompson, 5 by Barbara Simkova

Opaque windows and a heavy curtain build the suspense that makes your first entrance into this all-out tiki joint even more entertaining. Hawaiian shirt-clad bar staff sling retro cocktails and punch bowls, which are announced by appropriate fanfare from a gong and fog machine. Helpfully, the menu offers a guide to each drinks’ alcoholic strength denominated in rum barrels. shamefultikiroom.com



The next best thing to a beach vacation? Escape subzero temps by visiting a kitschy tropical watering hole.


BEST OF THE REST  2  The Shore Leave

 4  Bovine Sex Club

1775 Danforth Ave.

542 Queen St. W.

In Toronto’s steadily gentrifying east end, the Shore Leave is an unexpected gem. It feels a bit like your eclectic uncle’s 70s-era basement bar, combining earnest kitsch with the approachability of a neighbourhood watering hole. Rum-heavy tiki beverages are the star of the beverage menu. Crowdpleasing concoctions (including one that is dramatically set alight) pack a punch and are boozier than they taste. You’ve been warned.

This steadfast punk rock venue has been around since 1991 but only recently added an alter ego by renovating its rooftop into a Polynesian tiki bar. Outdoor heaters keep the bar going as late into winter as possible before it closes up until spring, making for an entertaining clash of climates. Bovine’s extensive rum collection fuels its warmweather cocktail menu.


 3  Miss Thing’s



 5  Patois 794 Dundas St. W.

This Parkdale eatery reminds us that tiki culture goes beyond umbrella-topped cocktails. Chef Paul Hadian’s menu merges Asian and tropical with offerings like a shrimp “po’ bao” and fried rice served in a hollowed-out pineapple. Cocktails follow suit with flavours like pandan and lemongrass sake; some of which are served in coconuts.

A nearby fire put Patois out of commission for over a year, but the Dundas West restaurant is back serving their Caribbean-Chinese fare. While not exclusively tiki, tropical fruit and colourful umbrellas make an appearance in or on top of the majority of its rum-soaked beverage offerings. A new addition, the Party Pineapple, is a tequila-beer combo served in the feature fruit with optional sparklers.



1279 Queen St. W.



Photograph by ###


TOFU: Chunks of tofu add texture to the soup, and every piece is bathed in plenty of spicy broth.

CURRY: One2 Snacks’ laksa is made from a secret family soup recipe of sambal, herbs and coconut milk.


PROTEIN: The best laksa at One2 Snacks features chicken and shrimp, but you can also opt for the meatless version.

FISH BALLS: An iconic Southeast Asian ingredient, fish balls contribute some umami and a spongy texture.

NOODLES: Choose between yellow and vermicelli noodles or have the best of both worlds and go with both.

One2 Snacks, 8 Glen Watford Dr. #26, Scarborough, 647-340-7099

Photography: Suresh Doss

Few places make the king of noodle soups, Malaysian laksa, and the best version we have come across is at this tiny family-run shop in Scarborough.

Go dry this winter. London Dry.


Bramble on with a better gin.


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Foodism - 9 - Toronto, food and drink  

Foodism - 9 - Toronto, food and drink - The Sustainability Issue

Foodism - 9 - Toronto, food and drink  

Foodism - 9 - Toronto, food and drink - The Sustainability Issue