Toronto - DINING & NIGHTLIFE
December 5th, 2013
With 2014 food predictions in full swing (moonshine, ramen burgers and ice cream sandwiches are ready for their close-up), there's one we are dipping into over the holidays: fondue.
Yes, the '70s (key) party standby is back in style - we picked up this Mauviel M'Cook Fondue Pot, a stylish and stainless steel contraption that includes six forks with identifying colours, from Williams-Sonoma. A low-maintenance way to host a dinner party (the recipes usually require 4-5 ingredients), serve with a few fresh baguettes and bite-size pieces of fruit for skewering.
Top it off with selection of old-school cocktails (Gin Gimlets, Sidecars and Tom Collins) to complete the throwback theme - but leave the disco 8-tracks in the attic.
$257 at Williams-Sonoma.
November 29th, 2013
Spending quality time in the kitchen we can deal with. Planning a week's worth of meals and groceries is the true challenge.
That's why we're so enamoured with two new services that deliver meal plans and the groceries to go with them straight to our door, leaving us with nothing to do but follow directions. Dinnerit (pictured) has a weekly set menu of four-serving meals, with your choice of medium bag (three meals/12 servings, $99) or large (five meals/20 servings, $139), while Fresh Canteen lets you choose between two or four servings per meal and from two to four meals per week (starting at $60 for two recipes, two servings). Both companies aim to deliver delicious, healthy meals ready in less than 45 minutes.
Just think of what you can do with all the extra time. —Kat Tancock
November 22nd, 2013
T-minus-9 days to December and thanks to these awesome advent calendars, we can’t wait.
December, we’re ready for you. —Christine Laroche
November 15th, 2013
It's the most widely consumed beverage in the world after water - whether you like classic cup of Earl Grey or a partake in some of the trendier flavours like Birthday Cake, a nice cup of tea feels oh-so-grownup.
Just in time for the holidays, our favourite cookware line, Le Creuset, has expanded their Café Collection to include ceramic teapots and presses. The Large Teapot comes with a stainless steel infuser ($60) for loose leaf teas, it’s great for entertaining and looks pretty sitting on a stack of coffee table books. The Tea for One set ($40, pictured) includes a teapot that sits atop of a teacup, perfect for those cozy afternoons alone.
It's tea time. —Sara Samson
November 1st, 2013
Sunday at Edulis makes us believe in lunch again.
This charming restaurant has been getting some major culinary praises, from Momofuku’s James Chang to critic extraordinaire, Ruth Reichl.
Its Sunday Lunch alone is an eye-opener: a proper way to spend a day off, without being rushed by a frenzied lineup of weekend eaters—your table is yours for the entire afternoon. A set menu (around $40, give or take) is according to season, and changes weekly. During our visit last month, we feasted on fried octopus, served with shishito peppers—a vegetable very much enjoying its heyday—and smoky mayo, duck sausage, with picked turnip, frisée salad, and smoked crabapple, and finished off the meal with a rhubarb and berry coffee cake. Another revelation: all wine by the bottle is half price.
Here’s to slow and soulful Sunday eating. —Anya Georgijevic
169 Niagara St., Toronto, 416-703-4222, www.edulisrestaurant.com
October 25th, 2013
Gluten, soy, cow dairy...it's hard to keep up with your friend's intolerances, let alone serve a meal that everyone can eat.
Footbenders makes impromtu dinner parties easy-peasy, with healthy, homemade meals conceived with unique dietary needs and tastes in mind.
Offer your guests a smattering of options from organic raw beet and walnut salad to chickpea and olive tapenade to a herbed pumpkin and lentil stew.
Top it off with ice cream and boozy figs.
Everyone leaves full and happy, which is just the reaction you want. —Athena Tsavliris
2763 Dundas St. W., Toronto, http://foodbenders.com
October 18th, 2013
Toronto's food scene is stellar, but it can be hard to craft the perfect itinerary when entertaining out-of-town guests.
Next time, we're leaving the work to local tour operator Foodies on Foot, whose selection of Toronto excursions includes the stellar 501 Streetcar Tour. For just $75 including a TTC day pass (discounts are available if you have your own), you'll spend a leisurely Sunday hopping on and off the Queen car from Parkdale to Leslieville, making stops along the way to socialize with and enjoy massive samples from six of the city's top chefs and purveyors. Give guides advance notice and they'll tailor the tour for experienced locals, meaning there's always a chance to learn something new.
Most important? Skip breakfast. You really will eat that much. —Kat Tancock
October 11th, 2013
Buzzy, double-whammy, The Chase, may just be the most exciting thing to hit the Financial District since… ever.
Call it gluttony, but in one night, we visited both restaurants: the casual The Chase Fish & Oyster downstairs, and the upscale The Chase, located upstairs, with a picturesque patio to boot. Downstairs, we began with the Shipwreck cocktail ($14), a refreshing combo of gin, Pimm's, lime, cucumber, and mint, and split the bite-size Oyster Po’Boy Sliders ($11), and the intriguing take on the “California” Roll ($19), with Dungeness crab and sweet corn salsa masterfully wrapped with avocado slices. Lovers of seafood simplicity will appreciate the Yonge Platter ($50), a mix of fresh oysters, clams, tuna, and shrimp.
Wanting to take advantage of the last little bit of warm weather, we made our way to the patio for a glass of wine or two, and then proceeded to sample some of its original menu. Still with seafood in mind, we ordered the Octopus ($23), served with spicy pork sausage, potatoes, arugula, and salsa verde — a powerful dish for the power view of Toronto. — Anya Georgijevic
10 Temperance St. (at Yonge St.), Toronto, 647-348-7000, www.thechasetoronto.com
October 4th, 2013
If you can nab the seats that overlook the kitchen at Porzia you are in for a peak night.
Not only will you get to witness the bustling kitchen at work but, with any luck, owner and chef, Basilio Pesce (formerly of Canoe and Bymark) will be on hand to provide his top recommendations. With his blessing we started with the subtly-flavoured cauliflower, fried egg, baccala crema and potato ($10), and the cavallo tonnato ($16). Our pasta dish was the rich and delicious chicken liver agnolotti ($16). Lastly we devoured the tasty beef short rib with broccoli ($20). Oh wait, how could I nearly forgot the three, delectable scoops of homemade gelato ($3/scoop)?
Even if your menu isn’t hand-picked by Pesce, you will love the atmosphere and service at this Parkdale delight. We’re planning our next cheap date for a Wednesday when small plates are just $10 between 6 and 10 p.m. —Julie Whelan
1314 Queen St. W, Toronto, 647-342-5776, http://porzia.ca
October 2nd, 2013
Now that autumn is decidedly here, we're planning more time on the couch with an afternoon cuppa.
Newest to our teapots? Neighbourhood-themed brews – think Kensington and Spadina blends – from local upstart Pluck Tea, whose bespoke teas and tisanes already grace menus at Nota Bene, Soho House and the Shangri-La Hotel. We're especially smitten with the fresh tastes of Prince Edward Lavender, an on-trend floral green tea blend that exemplifies the company's commitment to utilize local ingredients with no artificial flavours.
Pass the crumpets, please. —Kat Tancock
Available from October at McEwan Foods and online at www.pluckteas.com