Toronto - DINING & NIGHTLIFE
April 8th, 2011
Too many eateries have good taste in everything but the food. Not this new and very French bistro, L'Apero, where the décor belies a beautiful menu—and reminds us that's what matters.
L'Apéro is no resto. It's a proper restaurant, with white tablecloths and velvety red booths. Gainsbourgs sing low through the air: first Serge, then Charlotte. Everything starts, and finishes, with butter.
Chef Michael Tocchetto is “from Bordeaux,” the manager tells us, as though that's all we need to know. Perhaps it is. His dishes are to share, like oversize tapas. Favourites: clever little goat cheese profiteroles, though we could do sans caramel, and a salad of arugula, walnuts and candied apricots ($8); escargots in a garlicky, white wine-drunk sauce that begs for more bread ($12); and a hunk of black cod, its salty skin balanced by almost-sweet basil hollandaise and stewed lentils ($17).
Cocktails, mixed by ex-Drake Hotel bartender Josh, are twisted classics. “The Fedora” is a bourbon sour tinted rosy with grenadine, sprinkled with salt and made fragrant with sage. Gin, sparkling wine, lemon and strawberry comprise “La Fraise Sauvage,” a sweeter French 75.
And for dessert, a hamburger? Oui, with almond “bun,” chocolate ganache “patty,” strawberry-coulis “ketchup” and slice of apricot-jelly “cheese” ($12). Something so slyly faux-American could only be French.
L'Apéro, 81 Church St., Toronto, 416-363-0081.
March 25th, 2011
You eat coco puffs for breakfast and a Nanaimo bar counts as lunch.
Satisfy your cocoa cravings at The Chocolateria, where chocolate dipped potato chips are a staple. Other indulgences include bacon dipped in peanut butter and chocolate, sponge toffee and hand-rolled truffles in seasonal flavours.
Owner Tim English has plans for a café-cum-chocolate bar with pastries, gelato and coffees to come.
The Chocolateria, 361 Roncesvalles Ave., Toronto, 416-588-0567, www.thechocolateria.ca
March 18th, 2011
Granola has come a long way since its sandal-wearing, long-haired, pot-puffing days. Just look at some of today’s brands.
Over in Quebec, twin sisters Geneviève and Valérie Gagnon are making-over granola one rolled oat at a time. La Fourmi Bionique uses imaginative recipes, fresh, modern packaging and catchy text to boot.
Most people pair their granola with yogurt or milk, but this stuff is so good, we’re noshing handfuls straight from the bag. Try the granola bars (caramelized apple and pecans) and snack packs (berries, almonds and dark chocolate), too.
So good, you’ll want to hug a tree. —AT
Now sold at most independent grocery stores across the GTA, www.lafourmibionique.com
March 11th, 2011
If veggie topped kelp and zucchini noodles sound like an appetite squelcher, you haven’t noshed at Rawlicious.
Ever since the Globe and Mail’s Joanne Kates gave the Yorkville location a big thumbs up, curious diners have arrived in droves to try the pad thai ($14).
The buckwheat pizza ($10) is another popular choice, and not just among raw food enthusiasts and vegans. We loved the thin, crispy crust (made in a dehydrator) lathered in cashew cheese and fresh marinara sauce. A lean green juice ($5.50) and coconut macaroon ($2) made this the healthiest meal we’ve had in a while.
I think we earned the chocolate lava cake picked up en route home. A girl can’t be too purist. —AT
Rawlicious, 20 Cumberland St., Toronto, 416-646-0705, www.rawlicious.ca
March 4th, 2011
We’re noshing on veggie stuffed dosas with a side of coconut chutney for lunch, how about you?
If you’re still settling for soggy sandwiches, consider the mouthwatering options at Tiffinday. A delicious vegan meal freshly prepared by company president Seema Pabari and her team and delivered to your desk in India's traditional tiffin box is what you can expect.
The menu changes daily, but recipes are always loaded with vegetables, whole grains and essential fats and oils. You simply order by 3 p.m. the night before and your meal will arrive freshly made and warm in a thermal bag at lunchtime. —AT
Main dishes from about $9 with a $3.50 delivery charge for orders under $15, www.tiffinday.com
February 25th, 2011
In an age of food porn, who knew black and white graphics could be so enticing?
Caz Hildebrand’s bold designs in The Geometry of Pasta are the perfect visual complement to chef Jacob Kenedy’s authentic recipes.
From corzetti to gomiti to rigatoni and ziti, this stunning book reveals everything you need to know about the science, history and philosophy of cooking pasta.
A saucy read for all your carb queens.
$17.52 at Amazon.ca
February 18th, 2011
Café Pamenar could just be the next watercooler of Kensington, where locals stop in to drink coffee and kvetch.
The beans are courtesy of B.C.’s Discovery Coffee Roasters and with your latte come freshly-baked pastries from Wanda’s Pie in the Sky and Circles and Squares.
Warmer days will take everyone outside to a patio, but for now the stylish space, with its large communal back table, cement coffee bar and minimalist lighting, will keep us warm—and in the loop with all the neighbourhood gossip.
Café Pamenar, 307 Augusta Ave. (at Oxford St.), Toronto, 647-352-3627, http://cafepamenar.ca
February 11th, 2011
With baked goods this good, it’s no wonder our server gained 15lbs in Woodlot’s first month in business. “I’m on a diet,” she says. “Please take some of these fresh-out-the-oven buns before I eat them.”
Soft buns, flaky nutella croissants, apple tatin and blueberry scones are just some of the scrumptious things on offer today. By day, Woodlot is a bakery, and by night it’s one of Toronto’s hippest hangouts with an honest, comfort-food menu that warms and delights.
Both the Red Fife parpadelle in a rich wild boar ragu ($20 main) and the roasted haddock gratin ($19) are tummy-rubbingly good while for dessert the Soma chocolate Pot de Crème ($12) is to die for.
Just leave your diet at the door.
Woodlot, 293 Palmerston Ave., Toronto, 647-342-6307, www.woodlotrestaurant.com
February 4th, 2011
Put down your Doritos, there’s a new chip in town.
Dubbed the ‘powerhouse of vegetables,’ kale chips are popping up in health food shops and vegetarian restaurants across town.
Naturally sweet (with no added sugars), they are the yummiest kale chips we’ve tried.
And you thought yummy and kale couldn’t go in the same sentence.
Find vendors at www.twogirlscooking.com
January 28th, 2011
For those of us overwhlemed by too much choice, a one-option menu holds big appeal.
At Porchetta and Co., the only thing you’ll find are porchetta sandwiches, ($6) and if you fancy slow-cooked, deliciously spiced pork, that’s all you’ll need. Yes, they are that good.
The pork is marinated in spices for 24-hours, wrapped in prosciutto and cured pork belly and then slow cooked to perfection. What arrives on your plate is a sourdough bun stuffed full of belly-rubbingly good meat that requires two full hands to eat.
Yeah, we’re big on the pig.
Porchetta and Co., 825 Dundas St W., Toronto, 647-352-6611, www.porchettaco.com