April 25th, 2013
Beach babes, long boards, and bellini bars - it’s all about Huntington Beach, California.
The Shorebreak Hotel’s front desk features a massive wave, there are surf films projected on the walls of the lobby, cruiser bikes and vintage surfboards in the rooms, all done incredibly stylishly. www.jdvhotels.com
Beach volleyball, all year round! And then, of course, there are the surfers (er, we mean the surfing) in and around the famous pier. It’s not called Surf City USA for nothing.
The Huevos Rancheros (pictured, $9) at Zimzala in the Shorebreak Hotel, with excellent coffee and a bellini bar in a breezy room was our idea of brunch heaven. The name of the restaurant means “peace with sand between your toes.”
Order one of the massive longboards from Huntington native Peter Hamborg a firefighter and father of 5 surfing, modelling, lifeguarding boys (why does this sound like a reality TV show in the works)? Cruise The Strand, 10 miles of paved track along the beachfront. www.hamboards.com
Lucky you if you get a sighting of one of the famous surf Woody’s like we did!
March 22nd, 2013
Clarence Square has always felt like a little bit of London in Toronto and now a new café has introduced a hint of the Rive Gauche too.
Stop in to the modern, yet warm Le Neuf Café, hidden discreetly in one of the terraces to the north side of the park. Just have time for a quick break? Sip your Café au Lait ($3.25) and sample one of the to-die-for patisseries. More time to spare? Indulge in a savoury crêpes galettes, a classic Quiche Lorraine or one of the Plats du Jour for your lunch. Next we want to try the Le Neuf brunch (poached eggs on brioche s.v.p), available weekends only from 9-3pm.
As yet unlicensed, we predict the Le Neuf patio will nonethless be buzzing with intellectuals come warm spring days.—Julie Whelan
Le Neuf Café, 9 Clarence Square, Toronto, 647-351-6855, http://leneufcafe.com
January 23rd, 2013
The best part of researching the Hedonist’s Guide to Toronto was getting to stick her fork into the city eclectic food scene, says U.K.-based writer Stephanie Plentl. She spent four months here and continues to visit whenever the opportunity arises. Last week, over a coffee in my Annex kitchen, Plentl shared some of her latest and greatest Toronto meals.
Momofoku: Offering a trio of restos with three degrees of cheque-anxiety, the cheapest eats are in the downstairs Noodle Bar. Rice cakes and ginger scallion noodles come up trumps. http://momofuku.com/toronto/noodle-bar-to/
January 11th, 2013
While we're still impressed with the new Eaton Centre food court's selection of restaurants and, above all, purse hooks, it's far from meeting all our dining needs. Here are three newish spots nearby worth booking ahead for.
Hawthorne Food and Drink's creative seasonal menu had us vacillating between chestnut gnocchi with charred kale and whole grain salad with a cup of soup before we settled on the green onion cake toast, grilled eggplant and mushrooms served between two thick onion pancakes. Round out your meal with the solid list of homemade sodas and Ontario beer or the cocktail of the day. Hawthorne Food and Drink, 60 Richmond St E (at Church), Toronto, 647-930-9517.
Blink and you might miss Richmond Station, across the street from the back of The Bay. But be sure to drop by for their take on classic dishes: think roasted beet salad, mushroom fettuccine or a reputedly to-die-for burger served with rosemary fries, plus oysters on the half shell to start off your meal. Richmond Station 1 Richmond St W (at Yonge), Toronto, 647-748-1444, www.richmondstation.ca
At The Gabardine, we whetted our appetite with the Argyle, a blend of gin, Campari, cinnamon syrup and lemon juice, before digging into the best mac and cheese we can recall. Other comfort food staples you might find on the menu include a daily vegetarian risotto, chicken pot pie and a tuna melt on rye – but it would be a crime not to save room for dessert. The Gabardine, 372 Bay St (at Richmond), Toronto, 647-352-3211, www.thegabardine.com
November 15th, 2012
Croatian capital Zagreb is fun, walkable and getting ready for EU membership –and prices are as friendly as the locals. Here are some highlights from a recent visit.
Walking into the second-floor apartment that houses raw-food restaurant Kredenca (pictured) is like stepping into an Anthropologie catalogue, except it comes with flowing wine and perfectly styled dishes like sushi rolls with daikon rice and chocolate palačinke – that's Croatian-style crepes – with a fresh berry sauce. Other favourites included a poppy seed pastry from all-natural bakery Ivica i Marica and fresh roasted chestnuts bought from a street vendor.
Wine lovers will want to stop in at Vinodol to sample its extensive list of Croatian wines. Or head to brewpub Mali Medo on a pedestrian street in the upper town for its five varieties of locally made beer, classic central European food (think sausages, noodles and breaded fried cheese) and, as the night goes on, to sample its homemade medica, or honey brandy.
Stock up on local wine and olive oil at Vinoteka Bornstein (pictured), where you're bound to pick up an education in Croatian wine from the expert owners while you shop. For a purchase that'll last longer, visit gallery Likum to browse the selection of Croatian art. Fragrance addicts will want to pop around the corner to the Institut Parfumeur Flores, the country's first niche parfumerie, which sells scents from more than 90 brands as well as other products that, well, smell good.
Head up the funicular to the upper town and two small but must-see museums. The Croatian Museum of Naive Art showcases local and international artists of this so-called "primitive" – but beyond gorgeous – style of untrained artists. Down the street, the ubercreative Museum of Broken Relationships collects objects and stories from the world's love affairs gone wrong, like this red coat once received as a gift – "I never really cared for red," the caption tells us.
Zagreb's patio scene is crowded with umbrella-shaded tables and chairs where you can order local favourite kava sa šlagom – espresso with whipped cream. But for the city's best coffee – the New York Times said so! – be sure to stop in at microroastery and espresso bar Eliscaffe, which even has locally scarce takeout cups and whose owner prepared us the perfect cappuccino while singing the praises of Toronto's coffee scene. How could we help but love him?
October 19th, 2012
At Fancy Franks, the humble sausage goes gourmet.
Think juicy frankfurters wrapped in prosciutto or smothered in Kimchee. Gruyere, cheddar, and honey dijon mayonnaise top The Frankaphone ($9). Choose from plain or whole-wheat buns (delivered daily from Silverstein’s Bakery) and custom- dress your dog in everything from pickles to pulled pork.
The space is pretty slick; dark wood, subway tiles and a collage of vintage black and white pics of people noshing on hotdogs.
Of course, if the choice is dizzying, you can always count on the classic. Nothing beats a simple wiener with a squeeze of ketchup. —Athena Tsavliris
Fancy Franks Hotdog, 326 College St., Toronto, 416-920-3647, www.fancyfranks.com
October 4th, 2012
It would take years to explore one of the world’s largest cities, so this time we focused on Mexico City’s vibrant food and design culture. (For more on Mexico City, click here.)
Located in the ritzy Santa Fe business district, boutique hotel Distrito Capital occupies the top ten floors of a skyscraper, which means breathtaking views of the city and its surroundings, not to mention its trippy Tron-esque entrance. Both Lady Gaga and Bono have stayed there…what else is there to know? Distrito Capital, Av. Juan Salvador Agraz 37, Santa Fé, México City, 1-866-978-7020, www.hoteldistritocapital.com
Searching for the new and hip? You’ll find it in the city’s Condesa and Roma districts. Parque Mexico is a great place to start exploring and discovering beautiful art deco architecture, charming sidewalk espresso bars, local boutiques, and artisanal chocolate shops like Princesse Cacao (Fernando Montes de Oca 81, Condesa, 5211-0276), all while meeting at least fifty dogs and their hipster owners. End your stroll on the sun-soaked terrace of Hotel Brick (Orizaba 95, Roma, Mexico City, 5525-1100) for a margarita or two.
If you’ve already said hello to Frida and Diego, then give Rufino Tamayo a visit for a contemporary art fix. Along with the famed Mexican painter’s works, Museo Tamayo houses a permanent collection of his peers (he did live to almost a 100!) like Rothko, Miró, and Warhol as well as rotating contemporary exhibitions. The museum is located in the Chapultepec Park, which could easily rival NYC’s Central Park in its beauty. Museo Tamayo de Arte Contemporáneo, Paseo de la Reforma y Gandhi Bosque de Chapultepec, México City, 5286-6519, http://museotamayo.org
Mexico City’s food choices are abundant, from taco stands to fine dining establishments. One of the latest favourites is restaurant Azul Histórico in the Centro district, which has taken over the gorgeous courtyard of the newly opened Hotel Downtown. Surrounded by historic brick, lush trees and beautiful people, feast on Mexican specialties like organic hibiscus flower enchiladas and Tixin Xie fish. Azul Histórico, Isabel La Católica 30, Centro Histórico, Mexico City, 5510-1316, http://azulhistorico.com
It won’t be hard to find incredible things to buy in Mexico City, but local designer Carla Fernández caught our eye with her amazing draping and a fresh take on Mexican knitwear — yes, that includes the legendary poncho. Thank us when everyone asks you, “Hey, where’d you get that?” Carla Fernández, Molière 58-A, Polanco, Mexico City, 5912 8010, http://carlafernandez.com
September 13th, 2012
Go west, young lady, for the relaxed-chic vibe of the City of Glass. Here are some highlights from our recent visit.
Ditch stodgy for saucy at the newly renovated Burrard Hotel. Perks include free Wi-Fi, bike rentals and phone calls, an inner courtyard complete with palm trees and retro left-coast style that ensures you'll know where you are when you wake up. 1100 Burrard St., Vancouver, www.theburrard.com
We didn't mind lining up (too much) at The Acorn, the city's newest vegetarian restaurant with plenty of vegan and raw options. The goat cheese arancini with Okanagan cherry emulsion were a standout; the cocktail menu was a hit, too. 3995 Main St., Vancouver, www.theacornrestaurant.ca
Bitter Tasting Room features eight local beers on tap plus a global selection in bottles and some fancy-sounding beer cocktails, too. Light drinkers can order a flight of three selections to get the tasting experience without needing help getting out the door. 16 W. Hastings St., Vancouver, www.bittertastingroom.com
The Vancouver-only Lululemon Lab turns the brand on its head by designing – and making on-site – clothes that are streetwear first, studio second. Stop by for an ever-changing collection of basic neutrals with a twist. 511 W. Broadway, Vancouver, www.lululemonlab.com
Sometimes, tourist clichés really are worth doing: rent some bikes with locks and helmets in Coal Harbour then ride the seawall around Stanley Park; be sure to stop by the Vancouver Aquarium to see the belugas, porpoises and other creatures of the deep, including the gorgeous orange jellyfish.
After all that calorie-burning (or before – we're not judging), head to Lucky's Doughnuts to replenish with its selection of basic-done-well fried goodness. We loved the square doughnuts filled with a not-too-sweet BC blueberry compote; coming up for this fall, pumpkin varieties are in the testing stages. 2902 Main St., Vancouver, www.luckysdoughnuts.com
July 19th, 2012
Our Editor-in-chief Sarah Bancroft's recent tour proves Montrealers do everything in style.
Its central downtown location and stellar views are one thing, but that we met the Scissor Sisters in the elevator and ended up at their show, well, that doesn’t happen just anywhere. Marriot Chateau Champlain, 1 Place du Canada, Montreal, 1-800-200-5909, www.montrealchateauchamplain.com
Only in Montreal would a top chef get to put a sleek, modern shipping container on the sidewalk and serve horse tartare. The signature salmon with shaved fennel is sublime, and, in keeping with the aesthetic, The Contemporary Art Museum is just steps away. Brasserie T, 1425 Jeanne-Mance St., Montreal, 514-282-0808, www.brasserie-t.com
Old Montreal is one of the prettiest places to walk in the city. We suggest getting your bearings with the 18-minute multi-media show Yours Truly, Montreal (designed by the all-female Montreal team Moment Factory, who work with Jay-Z and Madonna). Lunch at its rooftop restaurant (pictured) with view of the Old Port is highly recommended. Point à Callière Museum of Archeology and History. 350 Place Royale, Montreal, 514-872-9150, http://pacmusee.qc.ca
If you are an all-natural spa junkie, you need to get yourself to Dr. Hauschka’s only Canadian outlet for an incredible facial with healing ingredients like rosemary. They use tiny brushes to perform lymphatic drainage so your visage will be toned and lifted, too. 1444 Sherbrooke St. W., Montreal, 514-286-1444, www.spadrhauschka.com
After the spa, pop into the garden of the nearby Maison Bouloud at the newly refurbished Ritz Carlton Hotel. We suggest a glass of rosé in the just-opened Glass House overlooking the duck pond. But don’t worry about the ducks ending up in your dinner: Canard Confit is not on the menu. Le Jardin du Ritz at Maison Boulud, 1228 Rue Sherbrooke St. W., Montreal, 514-842-4212, www.danielboulud.com
Our Montreal editor Christine Laroche took us to Editions de Robes, run by a former Jacob executive with an eye for high quality vintage. We loved the look of a new pink dress based on a Balenciaga, but left with a covetable Yves St. Laurent vintage clutch. 178 St-Viateur St. W., Montreal, 514-271-7676, www.editionsderobes.com
July 13th, 2012
I know I'm not the only one to crave lighter fare in the hottest months – and perish the thought of actually turning on my oven.
So when even juicing becomes a chore (or I'm out post-yoga and in need of some nourishment), I'm heading to just-opened Feel Good Guru to fuel up. Offerings include mix-and-match salads, cold noodles and pizza – all vegan, much raw – and fresh, nutrient-rich juices. And there's enough to satisfy any sweet tooth, too; on my visit, I skipped the pretty key lime energy bites in favour of surprisingly decadent creamy kale pie. You have to taste it to believe it. —Kat Tancock
Feel Good Guru, 917 Queen St. W., Toronto, 647-748-5800, www.feelgoodguru.com