December 2012

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Drink This: a classic Bellini from Toca

The holidays aren’t over yet. We’re still desperately clinging on to them while letting loose at the Ritz-Carlton’s restaurant, Toca. Come Sundays, the hotel offers up an indulgent brunch that, at $79, is one of the priciest in town. Originally introduced for special occasions, brunch grew into a regular affair due to its popularity. Drawing high society and the hoi polloi alike — along with, yes, tourists — the New Year is the perfect excuse for a hedonistic spread.

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First Draught: Samichlaus, a beer for next Christmas

The LCBO and Santa — or at least the Swiss-German version, Samichlaus — have had a rocky relationship. In 2008, the provincial liquor monopoly mandated a sticker over the Samichlaus-themed beer from Austria, and, in 2010, the AGCO prevented sales entirely on the grounds that it could appeal to children. This year, Ontario’s door is again open to the Austrian holiday beer that bills itself as the world’s strongest lager. 

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Cheap Eat of the Week: Pho Xe Lua’s chicken satay soup

’Tis the season… for most of Toronto’s restaurants to close down, leaving it to the city’s stalwart Asian restaurants to keep hungry people at bay. Although Pho Xe Lua’s late-night history isn’t stellar (ahem, remember Halloween?), it’s definitely got some hit-the-spot food and it will be open over the holidays.

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First Draught: Howe Sound’s Pothole Filler

The LCBO has brought Howe Sound brewery’s Pothole Filler to Ontario as part of its winter beer release. This imperial stout, which took silver in its category at the 2010 North American Beer Awards, is another great example of B.C.’s thriving craft-brewing industry.

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Cool Hand Luc gets evicted

For over a year and a half, Luc Essiambre, co-owner of Cool Hand Luc, has been providing King West with ice cream, sorbet, soups, grilled cheese sandwiches and more. And although his shop has been gaining popularity, we’re told that it has been given an eviction notice. The shop’s final day of operation, at its current location, is tomorrow.

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Table Talk: Joanne Kates reviews Strada 241

For the Rubino brothers to open a pizzeria on Spadina is like Meryl Streep playing a walk-on. Like, why? Well, for one, Ame didn’t exactly end well. Their attempt at high-end ultra-modern Japanese and a sophisticated Asian bar met with recessionary times … and it closed.

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Drink This: Rock Lobster’s Ribbons and Swallows

Following in the footsteps of La Carnita, Rock Lobster Food Co. is the city’s second TUM favourite that’s opened a mother ship to seemingly endless fanfare. Like its somewhat meatier cousin, Rock Lobster has a rowdy atmosphere, thanks to tunes that match its name, plus plenty of boozy cocktails — not to mention the wine on tap.

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Toronto’s Best Sandwiches: the new secret menu item at The Burger’s Priest

By now, pretty much everyone is well aware of The Burger’s Priest’s position at the top of the city’s burger totem pole. With two locations spinning out the goods (one east, one north), owner Shant Mardirosian isn’t stopping his domination any time soon; folks can expect to find new joints, well, just about everywhere in the not-so-distant future.

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Cheap Eat of the Week: a refreshingly interesting bowl of rice from Santouka Ramen

Last month, Santouka Ramen opened on Dundas Street East. While ramen is obviously the main reason to brave the cold and stand line for what’s been said to be a 15-minute to 60-minute wait time, don’t miss the rice bowls.  

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Friday Restaurant Recap: Bite Me Bakery, Osteria dei Ganzi, Playa Cabana Cantina, Hogtown Charcuterie, Miller Tavern

Friday Restaurant Recap rounds up the week’s Toronto restaurant news. In this edition: a cupcake shop with attitude, charcuterie for Kensington Market, a new coffee shop in Church Wellesley village and more.

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