July 27th, 2012
We covet everything Christine Flynn puts in her Leslieville shop. Her eye for good vintage and great design is second to none.
Now she’s expanding her own line of pieces including a series of plush pillows dedicated to the city we love. Made from old mailbags and army pup tents (with rope and grommet detail), cushions are down-filled and individually silkscreened in TTC trolley stops from the 1920s ($195).
Also in-house, gorgeous side tables Flynn fashions out of white pine end pieces from log homes. Each is resined six times, hand-painted and emblazoned with our provincial coat arms.
A place to stand, a place to grow,
At Love the Design, 1362 Queen St. E., Toronto, 416-408-1727, www.lovethedesign.com
July 11th, 2012
Doughnuts have officially gone gourmet.
It’s all class at the newly opened Paulette’s where bow tied staff serve artisanal doughnuts like Root Beer Float, Blueberry Balsamic and Mango Yuzu. We love the whole '50s-vibe: back-to-basics ingredients, sea foam walls, shiny stools and a glass case featuring the daily options.
And just when you thought things couldn’t get better, they also make the best darn chicken (from $8) this side of the Don. Decadently battered and double deep-fried, it comes with your pick of dipping salts and sauces from Garam Masala to Maple Chili.
Now break out your best muumuu and mourn the demise of the cupcake.—Marianne Wisenthal
$2.75/each, Paulette’s Original Doughnuts and Chicken, 913 Queen St. E., Toronto, 647-748-1177 www.paulettesoriginal.com
June 26th, 2012
There’s nothing quite so flattering as seeing our selves through someone else’s rose-colored glasses.
How lovely that American designer Aaron Draplin has created an homage to the True North with Canada Collected, a four-color limited-edition screen print ($35). The tribute includes Draplin’s favorite Canuck symbols from Blue Jays and beavers to John Candy and Terry Fox.
O Canada! —Marianne Wisenthal
At Telegramme Prints, 1103 Queen St. E., Toronto, 416-463-8998 and 194 Ossington Ave., Toronto, 647-351-8998, www.telegramme.ca
June 8th, 2012
Until now, we had made it a rule to stay as far away from strip malls as possible.
Set in a plaza at the tired corner of Gerrard and Carlaw, The Playpen is an unexpected treat of fine food and finer libations. The Mondrian color scheme and ’70s light fixtures set the mood (even our waiter looked like he’d stepped out from central casting) but the food is far from kitsch. Chef Laura Prentice’s lobster maki balls, tender rack of Ontario lamb and chocolate ganache with cardamom sent us on a stairway to heaven and back.
Finish up with a couple of beet martinis in the plush lounge bar and you’ll feel very playful indeed. —Marianne Wisenthal
The Playpen, 842 Gerrard St. E., Toronto, 416-907-9761, www.theplaypen.ca
May 24th, 2012
While the glitterati are flocking the French Riviera, we’ve had our nose pressed against la vitrine at Beaufort Décor.
This pretty east end shop stocks French-inspired homewares like black and white toile-patterned plates, apothecary jars ($20) and red metal lanterns that have us dreaming of al fresco evenings in Provence. We also fell for a repurposed Chippendale chair painted jonquille and geometric-print Alexandra Rose pillows (from $20) designed by the owner’s daughter.
Queen and Coxwell isn’t quite la Boulevard de la Croisette but it’ll do. —Marianne Wisenthal
Beaufort Décor, 1584 Queen St. E., Toronto, 416-850-7628, www.beaufortdecor.com
April 11th, 2012
If the weekend queues up and down Queen Street are any indication, Leslievillers love their brunch.
The latest go-to for mid-morning nosh is corner post The Commissary. We’ll happily get in line for lobster Eggs Benedict in mango salsa ($10), PB & J stuffed croissant ($9) and the smoothest coffee on the block, organic and produced by female farmers. We’re also keen on the 1920s-inspired décor with reclaimed bank lights, salvaged barn wood bar and photos of historic Leslieville.
Can’t bear to get out of your jammies? They’ll deliver to your door anywhere they can walk to. Now, that’s what we call brunch drunk love. —Marianne Wisenthal
889 Queen St. East, Toronto, 416-477-3393, www.thecommissary.ca
February 2nd, 2012
Mere weeks into our New Year’s cleanse and we’ve fallen off the no-bread wagon.
One visit to Le Matin bakery and we were cruelly brought down by a sourdough boule. Chef Jean-Pierre Challet’s new Leslieville shop is also sinfully stocked with raspberry clafoutis, lemon tarts, quiches lorraine and pain au chocolat. Dense and delish, the soft-crusted baguettes ($2.75) are made with beer yeast giving them a certain je ne sais quoi. We guiltily slathered ours in butter and red fig jam.
Alas, there’s always next year. —Marianne Wisenthal
Le Matin, 5 Coady Ave., Toronto, 416-778-1509, www.lematinbakery.com
January 27th, 2012
Culinary bells and whistles are a treat but sometimes simple and savory are all we need.
New from the team at Table 17, Ascari Enoteca 26 (named for the 1950s Formula One star) had everything we craved for our Friday night out: home made pasta, chatty tablemates, seamless service (even the waitress’s sequined sweater added cheer) and bottomless glasses of Piedirosso. Amid the locally sourced flavors (di rigore in Leslieville these days) are scrumptious imports like cured Bresaola, Marcona almonds and creamy La Tur cheese.
Finish things off with the banana Zeppole and do observe the speed limit on the way home. —Marianne Wisenthal
Ascari Enoteca 26, 1111 Queen Street E., Toronto, 416-792-4157, www.ascarienoteca.ca
December 2nd, 2011
Seafood is packed with skin-worthy omegas but thoughts of overfishing can cause unfortunate worry lines.
Appease guilt with weekly visits to Hooked, the new ocean-friendly fishmonger. Here, sustainable catch like ocean-friendly purse seined sardines, hand-netted Baja shrimp and line-caught mackerel is sourced directly from fishermen. Chef-run, the cheery staff offer great cooking tips and wine-pairing advice, while the in-house kitchen hosts classes (from $50) on everything from poaching and shucking to braising and stewing. The trout roe caviar is divine and we’re completely addicted to the fish cakes (slather in wasabi mayo and serve with a crisp glass of Riesling).
Finally our conscience is as clear as our skin. —Marianne Wisenthal
Hooked, 888 Queen St. E., Toronto, 416-828-1861, www.hookedinc.ca
November 11th, 2011
Here’s to the revival of the local butcher!
Revered for his homemade sausages, former Starfish and Ceili Cottage chef Kyle Deming and wife Lorraine have set up shop in Leslieville. Sausage Partners features hormone and antibiotic-free meats sourced in the Kawarthas from free-range animals.
The pair also sells ethically-caught Lake Huron fish (smoked on-site), baskets of fresh bread, seasonal veg piled high on harvest tables and lovely preserves like Tomato Cinnamon Jam (great on toast or burgers) ($6.50). Lazy gourmets can pick up rich cottage pies ($20), rolls of frozen cookie dough ($6) and Kyle’s famous sticky toffee pudding, while die-hard carnivores are invited to join the Meat Club (from $60) for monthly boxes of freeze-packed cuts.
As for the Naked Pork sausages? We declare these bangers a smash. —Marianne Wisenthal
Sausage Partners, 1378 Queen Street E., Toronto, 416-778-6328, www.sausagepartners.com