June 2012


Toronto’s Best Sandwiches: the southern-style beef brisket at Leslieville Pumps

Stepping into Leslieville Pumps General Store & Kitchen is akin to setting foot inside a Kawartha cottage. With a duo of Adirondack chairs out front, countrified knickknacks peering down from shelves and gingham aplenty, this project from brothers Greg and Judson Flom is at once a convenience store, indie gas station and barbecue sandwich joint.

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This is what La Carnita’s famous tacos look like

La Carnita drove Toronto totally nuts as a pop-up taco shop, and it finally opened a permanent location on College Street earlier this month. Of course, the new restaurant offers more than just tacos (we hear it does a mean mango salad), but with five of them anchoring the menu, plus a rotating special, tacos are certainly the stars of the show. We stopped by to see what they’re like.

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The team behind Rodney’s by Bay is opening a midtown oyster house

The space at 1 Balmoral Avenue has housed a number of different restaurants over the past few years: most notably Terroni, then the short-lived Divino, which closed its doors earlier this month. Now the team behind Rodney’s By Bay is setting up shop there with an upcoming seafood spot to be known as John & Sons Oyster House.

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Tony Aspler’s Weekly Wine Pick: Spy Valley Gewürztraminer 2010

At this year’s New Zealand Wine Fair, I tasted a Gewürztraminer that was absolutely delicious. When I went back to my notes, I found I had tasted it at the same event last year. But the extra time in the bottle had really developed its bouquet. This Marlborough Gewürz exudes aromas of lychee, honeysuckle and rosewater. On the palate, it offers peach and pink grapefruit flavours.

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First Draught: Innis & Gunn’s Canada Day beer

Nothing pleases a polite Canadian more than a touch of subdued, international recognition, kind of like when British brewer Innis & Gunn releases its annual Canada Day beer. This brew is probably more specifically patriotic about our national holiday than any beer from a Canadian brewer. The quid pro quo reason for the special release is that Innis & Gunn is the best-selling bottled British beer in Canada.

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First Look: The White Brick Kitchen, serving classic comfort food in Koreatown

“We figure if we lived together for 20 years, we can certainly work together,” says Stephen Howell, head chef at Koreatown’s newest eatery, The White Brick Kitchen. Stephen joined forces with his brother Matthew in opening the restaurant, which is their first combined entrepreneurial foray. Gleaning its name from the white bricks of the building’s façade, The Kitchen serves up comfort food and Sunday brunch — with nary a bowl of bibimbap to be found.

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City to Captain John’s Restaurant: abandon ship

It’s land ho for Captain John’s Restaurant. The kitschy boat-restaurant at the foot of Yonge Street, which has managed to stay afloat for decades despite boatloads of legal issues and poor reviews, has finally been shut down by the city, the Toronto Star reports.

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Coming soon to the Ossington strip: Greek pies, and lots of them

Mamakas Spanakopita and Feta Bar, an upcoming restaurant set to open on the Ossington strip before the end of summer, does not intend to be an average Greek eatery. According to co-owner Thanos Tripi, the bakery-slash-dine-in-restaurant will steer clear of the standard rice and potato offerings you’d find at a typical Danforth establishment. Rather, Mamakas will specialize in a more traditional style of Greek cuisine.

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Toronto’s Best Sandwiches: the prosciutto sandwich at Peter’s Cajun Creole Pizza

Easy to miss amidst Parliament’s colourful street scene, Peter’s Cajun Creole Pizza is known for its wings and, well, pizza. With mismatched tables lining the floor, and walls flooded with newspaper mentions and old photos, this neighbourhood haunt has been in Cabbagetown since the mid-‘90s. Moving locations two years ago, the new spot attracts a more family-friendly clientele and houses a patio out back — ideal for summertime’s lingering lunches.

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Introducing The Burger’s Priest’s new Zoolander-inspired secret burgers: Blue Steel and Magnum

The Burger’s Priest, with its holy nomenclature and elusive secret menu, seems more like something out of The Da Vinci Code than a booming fast food restaurant. Yet the the burger joint’s air of Christian mystery has inspired a cult following and garnered over 6,000 “likes” for the Priest’s Facebook page, which reveals an ever-growing roster of secret menu items. We stopped by the Yonge Street location to check out the newest secret burgers: Blue Steel and Magnum.

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