Toronto - DINING & NIGHTLIFE
August 6th, 2010
This summer, if you can’t get to a Tuscan table, bring the table to you.
Packed with mouthwateringly fresh recipes from peaches and zabaglione to strawberry risotto, Recipes from an Italian Summer is the perfect way to bring a little dolce into your summer vita.
The images are breathtaking, and the recipes are culled from popular holiday spots such as Tuscany, Sicily and Sardinia.
Tonight, it’s faro and shrimp salad, with lots and lots of vino bianco.
At the Cookbook Store, 850 Yonge St.,Toronto, 416-920-2665, www.cook-book.com
July 23rd, 2010
Once he realized we were raiding his wine cellar, a friend’s father began to label the bottles “Drink this,” “Not this” and, “This is your inheritance.” We had so much to learn.
Order food a la carte or try the tasting menu ($45). We recommend starting with the lightly battered zucchini flowers and pea shoots, topped with shaved ricotta ($11)—a seasonal dish, so pounce while you have a chance. The flavourful pappardelle and braised rabbit ($13) and the spicy bucatini all'amatriciana ($12) also hit the spot but necessitate a sweet finale. Try the zeppole with hazelnut pastry cream ($8). It is molto light and lovely.
Top tip? Ask to sit on tree-covered patio, just off bustling Dundas, for the best atmosphere.
Enoteca Sociale, 1288 Dundas St. W., Toronto, 416-534-1200, http://www.sociale.ca
June 25th, 2010
We scoured our cities (all in the name of research, of course) for divine wines. Uncork these fantastic summer sippers just in time for patio season.
Sarah Bancroft, Editor-in-chief
If you love aromatic whites like I do, make it your Mission to score the very first Viognier released by Mission Hill Family Estate (only 1,000 cases were produced). With a gorgeous scent of orange blossom and a peachy palate, it's like summer in a bottle. $18.99 at www.missionhillwinery.com
Joy Pecknold, Vancouver editor
On behest of a server at The Corner Suite I tried Domaine Uby’s Colombard-Ugni Blanc, a refreshing, citrusy French white and was wildly surprised by both the taste and the price tag. $11.99 at www.bcliquorstores.com
Malwina Gudowska, Calgary editor
Cannonball’s label reminds us of spending summers at the lake and catapulting off the dock into the cold water. The Cabernet Sauvignon’s big, bold taste is also perfectly paired with anything from the grill. $29 at Bin 905 Wine and Spirits, 2311 Fourth St. SW, Calgary, 403-261-1600, www.bin905.com
Marianne Wisenthal, Montreal editor (English edition)
Produced at Tawse’s organic gravity-flow winery, Robyn’s Block Chardonnay 2006 will have us chirping for joy all season long. $47.25 at SAQ Signature, 677 Ste-Catherine W., Montreal, 514-282-9445, www.saq.com
Elsa Vecchi, Montreal editor (French edition)
We can’t miss this white from South Africa: Viognier Rustenberg Brampton Coastal Region 2007. Its delicate peach and orange peel scents are perfect with grilled veggies with ginger, fish brochettes on the grill or with a shrimp sauté. Cheers to summer pleasures. $17.50 at www.saq.com
Julie Whelan, Toronto guest editor
Still hooked on Pinot Gris? Our latest fave is from Bodega J&F Lurton. It’s a lovely, dangerously easy-drinking white that tastes like a fortune but rings in at a bargain. $10.95 at www.lcbo.com
June 11th, 2010
On our recent outing to the oh-so-hot spot Parts & Labour, we were torn about which was prettier, the crowd or the setting.
Communal tables and statement lighting signal the OddFellows design influence but we loved the bar—stretching the length of the vast space—most. Perch on a stool and nibble tasty starters and sides with your pint: moist braised pork belly ($10), fingerling potato salad ($8) and salty chips ($6). A downstairs venue, The Shop, ups the ante after 11 p.m. with live music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
As for the space vs. face beauty contest, we'll call it a tie.
Parts & Labour, 1566 Queen St. W., Toronto, 416-588-7750, www.partsandlabour.ca
June 4th, 2010
The FIFA World Cup kicks off next week in South Africa. Follow all the action at one of Toronto’s favourite sports bars.
With Beckham injured, our five favourites to watch are: Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Thierry Henry (France), Fernando Torres (Spain) and Kaká (Brazil).
(They’re not bad players either.)
Remember the six-hour time difference means mostly daytime games and some as early as 7:30 a.m. Early risers can enjoy the match with breakfast at Plaza Flamingo on College. 423 College St., Toronto, 416-603-8884, http://plazaflamingo.com
Some bookies are predicting that this is England’s year. Join the Brits over at Scallywags on St. Clair, likely to be one of the busiest spots in town. 11 St. Clair Ave. W., Toronto, 416-922-3737, www.scallywags.net
The Irish may not be represented in the tourney, but The Brazen Head pub in Liberty Village will be a major hub for fans of all nations. 165 East Liberty St., Toronto, 416-535-8787, http://www.brazenhead.ca/
May 21st, 2010
What would childhood be without multi-coloured dollops of ice cream smothered in goopy chocolate sauce?
Surprise your inner kid with a Sunday afternoon visit to the new and improved Big Chill ice cream parlour. With resplendently tasty flavours (Cherry Bordeaux, Funky Chunky Chocolate, Dutch Apple Pie) and a charming retro-vibe, this Little Italy mainstay is one of our favourites.
The new space is lined with cozy booths, but we’ll take our Banana Split to the toy cars outside.
The Big Chill, 367 Manning Ave., Toronto, 416-960-2455.
May 20th, 2010
It used to be frowned upon as a symbol of bad luck, but today good knives are one of the most coveted wedding gifts for couples who love to cook.
At Knife, you’ll find a stunning selection of Japanese knives (most are handmade) plus water stones to keep them breathtakingly sharp. Owner Eugene (a one-time chef) is on hand to talk you through the various types, and will also sharpen blades, if you bring them in.
Never a dull moment!
Knife, 658 Queen St. W., Toronto, 647-996-8609, www.knifetoronto.com
May 14th, 2010
After a long and faithful friendship, beginning in high school and spanning, well, until last week, it’s time to say "bye bye, burrito."
Now that we’ve discovered the griddled tastiness that is an arepa, we want nothing to do with you again.
Arepa Café serves up delicious cornmeal pockets stuffed with chunky chicken, avocado, red onions, coriander and cheddar cheese ($8). Pair it with a beet-parsley salad ($4) or a fresh watercress salad with plump tomatoes and pickled onions ($3.75).
The space is hip and airy with punches of bright colour. Service is swift and amiable.
I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Arepa Cafe, 490 Queen St. W., Toronto, 416-362-4111, http://arepacafe.blogspot.com/
April 30th, 2010
To celebrate the start of Mint Julep season (and the Kentucky Derby), we’ve decided to host a Southern-themed cocktail party. Sporting a Louisiana sundress and a sultry Southern drawl, we’ll be the belle of our ball.
2 cups sugar
½ cup chopped fresh mint sprigs plus 8 additional whole sprigs for garnish
32 ounces bourbon
Combine 2 cups of water, sugar and chopped mint leaves in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over a high heat stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Allow syrup to cool. Pour the syrup through a strainer to remove mint leaves.
Fill eight glasses with crushed ice and pour 4 ounces of bourbon and 1/4 cup mint syrup in each. Garnish each glass with a mint sprig and a straw. Serve juleps on a silver platter.
April 23rd, 2010
If anyone knows the difference between Bangladeshi and Butanese rice varieties, it’s Rube Marcus.
Devotees of the humble grain are always delighted when they happen upon the 92-year-old Rice Man at St. Lawrence Market. His basement booth carries over 30 types of rice from pecan to red Sri Lankan to organic brown basmati.
Time to buy a paella pan. It’s summer's ultimate party dish.
Rube's Rice, St. Lawrence Market, 92 Front St. E., Toronto, 416-368-8734.