April 19, 2014
Eat

June 2012

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

07/03/12

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.

Posted at 11:17 AM | Permalink | Comments

This is what La Carnita’s famous tacos look like

06/29/12

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.

Posted at 04:03 PM | Permalink | Comments

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

06/29/12

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.

Posted at 03:14 PM | Permalink | Comments

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

06/29/12

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.

Posted at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments

First Draught: Innis & Gunn’s Canada Day beer

06/28/12

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.

Posted at 04:52 PM | Permalink | Comments

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

06/28/12

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.

Posted at 02:10 PM | Permalink | Comments

City to Captain John’s Restaurant: abandon ship

06/27/12

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.

Posted at 11:14 AM | Permalink | Comments

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

06/26/12

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.

Posted at 05:02 PM | Permalink | Comments

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

06/26/12

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.

Posted at 10:43 AM | Permalink | Comments

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

06/25/12

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.

Posted at 04:26 PM | Permalink | Comments

Cheap Eat of the Week: La Carnita’s avocado mango salad

06/25/12

Cheap Eat of the Week: La Carnita’s avocado mango salad

If you’re at all into Toronto’s food scene, it’s very likely you’ve known of La Carnita for some time now. You may have gone to one of the original pop-ups on King West, or you may have stood in line the Toronto Underground Market for a bite of one of the tacos. To the joy of many, La Carnita’s Mexican street fare can now be tasted and savoured at a new, permanent location on College Street, in the old Briscola Trattoria location.

Posted at 10:15 AM | Permalink | Comments

The County General is bringing steamed pork buns to a King Street alleyway

06/22/12

The County General is bringing steamed pork buns to a King Street alleyway

Two of Toronto’s current culinary obsessions (pop-up restaurants and steamed pork buns) will appear in tandem next week courtesy of The County General. On June 28, folks from The General will be setting up shop in a King Street alleyway (between 461 and 469 King Street West, just west of Spadina) to serve pork buns and limeade from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Posted at 05:12 PM | Permalink | Comments

North York’s decades-old Regina’s gets a new lease on life (kind of)

06/22/12

North York’s decades-old Regina’s gets a new lease on life (kind of)

Local residents may have been dismayed to hear that Regina’s Catering and Fine Foods, the 49-year-old North York mainstay, would be closing its doors for good in April, leaving a gaping, kishka-shaped void in the Jewish food community. So it will be great news for Toronto’s resident gefilte-fish-heads to learn that Regina’s is reopening, albeit under new ownership and with a brand new name: Regina’s Kitchen.

Posted at 02:12 PM | Permalink | Comments

Tony Aspler’s Weekly Wine Pick: Sandbanks Estate Winery Cabernet Franc 2010

06/22/12

Tony Aspler’s Weekly Wine Pick: Sandbanks Estate Winery Cabernet Franc 2010

Deep ruby in colour, this medium-bodied wine has a cedary-smoky nose of raspberries and redcurrants with a core of sweet fruit, ending with mellow tannins and a note of spicy oak.

Posted at 10:25 AM | Permalink | Comments

First Look: Maizal Quesadilla Cafe, a new Liberty Village tribute to the legacy of corn

06/21/12

First Look: Maizal Quesadilla Cafe, a new Liberty Village tribute to the legacy of corn

Gabriela Ituarte and Ivan Wadgymar, the co-owners of Liberty Village’s brand new quesadilla café, both have close ties to the sprawling urban metropolis of Mexico City. Yet their new restaurant, Maizal Quesadilla Cafe, finds its roots less in modern Mexico than in the ancient civilizations of the Aztecs and Mayans, harkening back to the great Mesoamerican empires that were founded upon the legacy of corn.

Posted at 05:24 PM | Permalink | Comments

The Stop’s Night Market brings some seriously tasty food to Honest Ed’s alley

06/21/12

The Stop’s Night Market brings some seriously tasty food to Honest Ed’s alley

Last night, on hottest day of the year so far, 1,000 sweaty revelers gathered in Honest Ed’s alley for The Stop’s Night Market. With tickets costing $50, and proceeds benefitting The Stop’s anti-hunger initiative, the sold-out event drew a lighthearted crowd. Patrons wove their way through lines with little, if any, complaining to be heard (perhaps the heat had mellowed everyone out). We checked out the scene, which paired up 27 food vendors with just as many design teams.

Posted at 03:17 PM | Permalink | Comments

First Look: Paradise Farms Café, the new culinary enterprise from real estate mogul Shane Baghai

06/20/12

First Look: Paradise Farms Café, the new culinary enterprise from real estate mogul Shane Baghai

Paradise Farms Café, situated just east of Bayview Village on Sheppard, is the brand new restaurant/café extension of real estate magnate Shane Baghai’s continually-growing empire. All of the meat for the enterprise comes directly from Baghai’s Paradise Farms in nearby Caledon, which specializes in the production of meat reared with humane and sustainable farming techniques.

Posted at 01:10 PM | Permalink | Comments

Moses McIntee is out — and pizza is in — at Lucid

06/19/12

Moses McIntee is out — and pizza is in — at Lucid

Acclaimed mixologist Moses McIntee popped onto the Queen West scene earlier this year as the driving force behind Lucid Cocktail and Kitchen, which billed itself as a prime destination for molecularly-inspired libations. Yet just a few months down the road, we are surprised to learn that a regime change has taken place, with brand new management, a radically pared-down cocktail menu and a new pizza concept. The spot is now named simply Lucid.

Posted at 12:50 PM | Permalink | Comments

Toronto’s Best Sandwiches: the pulled pork sandwich at Black Camel

06/19/12

Toronto’s Best Sandwiches: the pulled pork sandwich at Black Camel

Located a few steps from Rosedale station, Black Camel is a hard place to miss in the ‘hood. Attracting spiffed-up boutique owners alongside construction workers and the odd cop or two, most diners get the goods to go. Those looking for a lengthier respite from the daily grind can peruse the stack of daily papers or cozy up at one of the tiny outdoor tables facing the park.

Posted at 10:37 AM | Permalink | Comments

After 51 years, Senior’s Steak House & Restaurant heads into retirement

06/18/12

After 51 years, Senior’s Steak House & Restaurant heads into retirement

When it comes to Senior’s Steak House & Restaurant, Mary Marlett tends to get philosophical. “Everything has a life span, and nothing lasts forever,” she says. Marlett is the daughter of Eddie and Cathy Marlett, the long-time owners of the Yonge and St. Clair institution, who recently decided to close down the beloved eatery after more than 50 years in business. Their final day of operation is June 23.

Posted at 05:24 PM | Permalink | Comments

First Look: Barton Snacks, a quick-stop munchies shop in the Annex

06/18/12

First Look: Barton Snacks, a quick-stop munchies shop in the Annex

A stone’s throw north of Bathurst station, Barton Snacks is the handiwork of Katherine Lehto. Dubbing it a “modern snack bar with an old school twist,” Lehto aims to offer a cornucopia of snacks with a healthier-than-average tilt. After working in the ‘hood and learning of the Annex’s charms, Lehto opted to open her shop smack dab in the centre of it.

Posted at 10:59 AM | Permalink | Comments

Cheap Eat of the Week: banana ‘n’ strawberry waffles at Starving Artist

06/18/12

Cheap Eat of the Week: banana ‘n’ strawberry waffles at Starving Artist

You really can’t go wrong with a place that’s all about waffles. And I mean literally all about waffles. Eggs Benny? Ditch the English muffins and get poached eggs and hollandaise on waffles. Chicken club? Who needs sliced bread when you’ve got waffles?

Posted at 09:48 AM | Permalink | Comments

Tony Aspler’s Weekly Wine Pick: Batasiolo Moscato d’Asti Dla Rei 2011

06/15/12

Tony Aspler’s Weekly Wine Pick: Batasiolo Moscato d’Asti Dla Rei 2011

The perfect summer sipper. Pale straw with an evident fizz; floral, orange and honey nose; off-dry, light on the palate, semi-sweet. Chill lightly. It’s like biting into a freshly picked Muscat grape, and it’s low in alcohol at 5.5 per cent.

Posted at 11:33 AM | Permalink | Comments

First Look: Stazione Centrale, St. Clair West’s new meeting place for Italian comfort food

06/14/12

First Look: Stazione Centrale, St. Clair West’s new meeting place for Italian comfort food

Armando Pronesti says that he’s the conductor, not the owner, of Stazione Centrale, the new Southern Italian comfort food restaurant that’s opened at St. Clair and Atlas. He’s joking, of course. His humour fits well with the train station theme of the restaurant, which includes TTC-inspired business cards, an old street light post and vintage, fully-restored train lights on display behind the bar.  

Posted at 04:54 PM | Permalink | Comments

First Draught: local breweries commemorate the War of 1812 with some old-school beer

06/14/12

First Draught: local breweries commemorate the War of 1812 with some old-school beer

For British soldiers stationed in Canada in the 19th century, money to buy a daily ration of beer was a designated part of their wages. This would have been, more or less, sufficient to buy six pints a day. To satisfy demand, breweries popped up to serve each garrison. Now, to celebrate the bicentennial of the War of 1812, two of Ontario’s craft breweries have created special offerings to replicate the beer of that era.

Posted at 01:10 PM | Permalink | Comments

South of Temperance is getting evicted to make way for an office tower

06/14/12

South of Temperance is getting evicted to make way for an office tower

South of Temperance, the bustling Financial District resto-bar known for its vast patio and its popularity with the well-heeled Bay Street crowd, has been given the boot in order to make way for a new 980,000 square-foot office tower.

Posted at 11:12 AM | Permalink | Comments

Table Talk: Joanne Kates reviews The Grove

06/13/12

Table Talk: Joanne Kates reviews The Grove

At first it is confusing to me how easy it is to get a reservation at The Grove. The blogosphere has been flattering about the food, so what gives? The chairs, although mismatched, are comfortable, the servers are extremely gracious, and the menu doesn’t major in pork or meat fat. It is neither too dark to read the menu nor is the music too loud to carry on a conversation.

Posted at 04:43 PM | Permalink | Comments

First Look: Feel Good Guru, a temple to vegan food at Trinity Bellwoods Park

06/13/12

First Look: Feel Good Guru, a temple to vegan food at Trinity Bellwoods Park

Moira Nordholt, owner and founder of Feel Good Guru, wants to have the greenest business in Toronto. At her new Queen West store and restaurant, which specializes in a tantalizing tongue-twister of “hyper-local super-awesome organic plant-powered food,” this vegan virtuoso is on a mission to change people’s notions of what it means to eat healthy, one meal at a time.

Posted at 04:13 PM | Permalink | Comments

First Look: The Dog & Bear, a traditional British pub on Queen West

06/13/12

First Look: The Dog & Bear, a traditional British pub on Queen West

Opened just in time to cheer on England in the Euro Cup (on Monday, there were people lining up at 10 a.m. for a good seat to watch the England vs. France game), The Dog & Bear takes over the space that was once The Social, bringing Queen West a traditional British pub that aims to provide great food, good prices and good company.

Posted at 12:45 PM | Permalink | Comments

Why Peter Sanagan’s move into European’s former digs is pretty much the best news of the week

06/12/12

Why Peter Sanagan’s move into European’s former digs is pretty much the best news of the week

Earlier this year, Toronto meat eaters received some disheartening news: European Quality Meats and Sausages, the decades-old Kensington market stalwart and carnivore’s bastion, would be closing its doors for good. Numerous publications proclaimed it the end of an era, viewing European’s demise as a consequence of an increasingly “yuppified” Kensington Market.

Posted at 02:02 PM | Permalink | Comments

Toronto’s Best Sandwiches: the Shrimp’wich at Little Italy’s Fuel House

06/12/12

Toronto’s Best Sandwiches: the Shrimp’wich at Little Italy’s Fuel House

Tucked around the corner from Little Italy’s main drag, Fuel House serves up pints and grub in a charming pub setting. Those looking to mow down can set up camp in one of the rooms of the reno’d Victorian home, or opt to indulge in a little patio party.

Posted at 10:32 AM | Permalink | Comments

The Mad Italian takes on Greektown

06/11/12

The Mad Italian takes on Greektown

While Italy’s soccer performance on the international stage resulted in a draw yesterday, here in Toronto, the boot of Europe is kicking it out of the park. This summer, The Mad Italian Gelato Bar, which already boasts two locations (one in Little Italy and one in Leaside), is ready to go for the hat trick with a new location in Greektown.

Posted at 12:30 PM | Permalink | Comments

Cheap Eat of the Week: the kimchi fries at Banh Mi Boys

06/11/12

Cheap Eat of the Week: the kimchi fries at Banh Mi Boys

Officially opened earlier this year, Banh Mi Boys brings delicious Vietnamese-style sandwiches to Queen Street West. And sure, there’s lots of banh mi, tacos and steamed bao, but blink and you might miss the kimchi fries ($5.99).

Posted at 10:11 AM | Permalink | Comments

First Look: Farmhouse Tavern, a rockin’ ode to Ontario at Dupont and Dundas

06/08/12

First Look: Farmhouse Tavern, a rockin’ ode to Ontario at Dupont and Dundas

As a saucier at London’s hoity-toity The Savoy, Daniel Janetos cooked for some of the most illustrious clientele in the world. But he’d trade that any day for his current gig as head chef at the rustic Farmhouse Tavern, opened yesterday at Dupont and Dundas, where his carefully-curated menu highlights the best of Ontario’s bounty.

Posted at 04:52 PM | Permalink | Comments

Tony Aspler’s Weekly Wine Pick: Passadouro Vinho Tinto

06/08/12

Tony Aspler’s Weekly Wine Pick: Passadouro Vinho Tinto

This table wine from Douro, Portugal, is produced from port grapes. It is a dense purple-black in colour and has a nose of blackcurrant, vanilla and spice.

Posted at 10:57 AM | Permalink | Comments

Gilead ditches dinner service

06/07/12

Gilead ditches dinner service

It’s been a rather tumultuous year for Jamie Kennedy, what with the closing of Provenance Regional Cuisine and the opening of Windows by Jamie Kennedy. Now Toronto Life is reporting that Gilead Café and Bistro will be discontinuing its regular dinner service and re-launching as an events space.

Posted at 12:59 PM | Permalink | Comments

Kates: spot prawns and soft-shell crabs are here — get ’em before they’re gone

06/07/12

Kates: spot prawns and soft-shell crabs are here — get ’em before they’re gone

‘Tis the season for B.C. spot prawns and soft-shell crabs — the best fresh shellfish we get all year. Spot prawns, which come in live from B.C. and look like shrimp, are about as sweet as first love. The season for both is short, so seize the moment. Taste spot prawns at their purest at Taste of China.

Posted at 11:28 AM | Permalink | Comments

First Look: De La Mer, a new west-end location for a popular fishmonger

06/06/12

First Look: De La Mer, a new west-end location for a popular fishmonger

While some may think De La Mer is the west end’s answer to Hooked, co-owner Blake Edwards is quick to note that this is not the case. “We were open long before them,” he points out, referring to the fishmonger’s original Bayview location, which has been going strong for three years.

Posted at 04:50 PM | Permalink | Comments

Liberty Village is getting a quesadilla café

06/06/12

Liberty Village is getting a quesadilla café

Toronto is obsessed with tacos these days. That means tortillas have been getting thrown in the limelight too, and later this month, the flatbread will be getting some serious treatment in Liberty Village. Taking over the old Liberty Belle Bistro space is Maizal Quesadilla Cafe, an upcoming takeout-oriented restaurant that focuses on corn and the traditional Mexican dishes derived from it — tortillas in particular. And tacos won’t be on the menu.

Posted at 12:55 PM | Permalink | Comments

Ex-Marben chef Carl Heinrich wins Top Chef Canada; reveals details of upcoming resto

06/05/12

Ex-Marben chef Carl Heinrich wins Top Chef Canada; reveals details of upcoming resto

Back in February, when chef Carl Heinrich announced he was leaving Marben to start his own project, the obvious speculation was that he had probably done really well on Top Chef Canada. It turns out he did: yesterday’s season finale revealed that he is officially Canada’s top chef and claimant to the $100,000 prize.

Posted at 12:09 PM | Permalink | Comments

Toronto’s Best Sandwiches: the grilled vegetable sandwich at Urban Herbivore

06/05/12

Toronto’s Best Sandwiches: the grilled vegetable sandwich at Urban Herbivore

A cheery neighbourhood staple for eight years now, Urban Herbivore is Kensington Market’s go-to place for vegetarian-friendly grub. Taking over a corner space on one of the market’s main thoroughfares, the Herbivore has an extremely loyal following in the community. With plenty of lime green accents and ferns hanging from the ceiling, the space feels as though you’ve stumbled into an eatery straight off a Thai beach.

Posted at 10:19 AM | Permalink | Comments

First Look: Dine on 3, Yorkdale Shopping Centre’s new and improved food court

06/04/12

First Look: Dine on 3, Yorkdale Shopping Centre’s new and improved food court

The term "food court" does not traditionally conjure up favourable mental images. Prompting memories of greasy fast-food fare consumed under dingy lighting and a seemingly perpetual lack of seating, the food court, along with the high-school lunchroom and the prison cafeteria, has always been on par with some of the least glamorous forms of institutional dining. Yorkdale Shopping Centre's brand-new Dine on 3 food collection aims to change that.

Posted at 05:08 PM | Permalink | Comments

First Look: Sam James Coffee Bar brings craft coffee to the PATH

06/04/12

First Look: Sam James Coffee Bar brings craft coffee to the PATH

There was something a bit incongruous about seeing a team of tattooed, pierced, plaid-clad hipster-types serving coffee to a sea of suits in the PATH today, but the scene had something else going for it: it was endearing. The Financial District workers who lined up at the new Sam James Coffee Bar were clearly familiar with the brand, and were clearly ravenous for some non-run-of-the-mill coffee.

Posted at 01:44 PM | Permalink | Comments

Cheap Eat of the Week: a meaty, wonton-filled soup at King’s Noodle Restaurant

06/04/12

Cheap Eat of the Week: a meaty, wonton-filled soup at King’s Noodle Restaurant

There’s something to be said about being able to step into a restaurant, ask for a table for two and be seated almost immediately. In a city where reservation policies are quickly becoming extinct, it will often take careful planning and old fashioned Twitter-scouring to see how long you might have to wait in line to get a taste of your favourite taco, lobster roll or bowl of ramen.

Posted at 12:11 PM | Permalink | Comments

First Look: Le Dolci, a foodie studio and cupcake shop on Dundas West

06/01/12

First Look: Le Dolci, a foodie studio and cupcake shop on Dundas West

Lisa Sanguedolce — whose surname, fittingly, translates into Italian as “sweet blood” — has big plans in the works. As of today, she officially opened a new and improved location of Le Dolci, her cupcake-centric “foodie studio,” relocating it from a loft at King and Portland to a much larger space on Dundas West. But the address change is merely one of many pillars that comprise Sanguedolce’s expansive culinary vision.

Posted at 04:13 PM | Permalink | Comments

Table Talk: Joanne Kates reviews Gusto 101

06/01/12

Table Talk: Joanne Kates reviews Gusto 101

I don’t think Conrad Black is dining at Gusto 101. For one thing, they don’t take reservations after 6 p.m., and for another, His Lordship might not like the noise. It might remind him too much of where he spent his last couple of years. Oh, and for another thing, most of the good stuff at Gusto is pretty high carb, and Lord Black is apparently trying to lose weight after all the carbs he ate you-know-where.

Posted at 12:17 PM | Permalink | Comments

Tony Aspler’s Weekly Wine Pick: Trapiche Extra Brut Sparkling Wine 2011

06/01/12

Tony Aspler’s Weekly Wine Pick: Trapiche Extra Brut Sparkling Wine 2011

Extra brut this sparkler is not; there's some sweetness in mid- palate that is reminiscent of a Prosecco. Produced from Chardonnay, Semillon and Malbec grapes, this is a well-priced bubbly with sweet pear and citrus flavours.

Posted at 10:13 AM | Permalink | Comments