One of a Kind Fashion Finds

The One Of a Kind artisan show takes place in Toronto twice a year (there’s also a version in Chicago), and the holiday event attracts almost 800 artisans, designers and craftspeople. While the goods range from tasty to twee, OOAK has become a major event for many indie clothing and accessory designers from across Canada. We […]

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When Style and Art Combine

Most of the people I know who have come out of alternative music scenes also tend to have an alternative sense of style. They work really hard to ensure they look unique, avoiding the mall or mainstream stores, as well as specific sub-culture clichés, in order to rock a look that is all their own. They usually […]

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Toronto’s Got Fleas!

While most people will still flock to the mall for their shopping needs, Toronto has a whole sub-culture of individuals who are looking for unique and interesting stuff – whether that’s clothing, food, or gift and decor items – and they’ve been finding these cool and creative wares at one of the many neighbourhood-based flea […]

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Taste of Toronto Festival

Toronto may not be included in the Michelin guide, but we’re the only North American city to be part of the Taste Festival series, which visits 22 cities each year, bringing together some of the best local food businesses and restaurants for a weekend-long celebration of cuisine. A well-curated selection of small food businesses (Mad […]

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Chowing Down for Change

Last week I had the chance to attend a fantastic dinner event called Chefs For Change. Yes, there are a variety of these types of events taking place throughout the year, many of which are formal with a high ticket price. However, this very reasonably-priced event ($75, drinks extra) not only directed funds to a […]

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Vive Le Québec Dîner at Biff’s

The Oliver & Bonacini Group is a diverse collection of restaurants, many of which serve a specific niche, and a specific style of food.  Biff’s Bistro is well known for their French bistro cuisine, but the food tends to be more France-French than Quebec-French. Fortunately, O&B also gives their chefs creative license to do special […]

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Coming Up – Small Press Festival

We’re doing it again, this time with no blizzard. More than 50 authors, comic artists, zinesters, poets and paper goods creators take over the main floor of the Gladstone Hotel for a celebration of small press and indie publishing. Of course, I’ll also have a table of Stained Pages Press titles. A percentage of admission […]

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Fleeing the Flea

My family is not religious. Most of us have been baptized in the Anglican church, but aside from weddings, baptisms and funerals, as a child growing up, I can’t ever remember getting up to go to church. In fact, when questioned about religion, I’ve often joked that our religion was the flea market, because that’s […]

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Chowdah!

Yeah, I know, I’m a slowpoke these day when it comes to getting event reviews up. Life overwhelms me, what can I say? In any case, last Wednesday (November 2nd) was the 2nd annual Chowder Chowdown at the Royal York Hotel. Sponsored by Oceanwise, the premise is simple, restaurants create a chowder made with sustainable […]

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Mambo Vegan Italiano!

When I interviewed Len Senater of The Depanneur (1033 College Street) a few months ago, he was adamant that the space wouldn’t just be a cafe serving coffee and toast. That was to be its daytime persona, but he also wanted the space to be home to the Rusholme Park Supper Club, a pop-up type […]

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Dinner With the Top Chefs

There is no reasonable excuse I could give for not getting around to posting these photos earlier, because the dinner at Great Cooks on Eight with Top chef Canada competitors Andrea Nicholson, Todd Perrin Steve Gonzales, Mike Stauffer and Patrick Wiese took place on June 30. I know, I am a deadbeat. And despite knowing […]

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Recipe For Change Recap

Foodshare‘s fabulous Recipe For Change event migrated to the North St. Lawrence Market this year, allowing for more space, which in turn allowed for more chefs and more guests. I love that organizers make a point of not overselling the event, so it’s never packed; line-ups at food stations are short or non-existent and there […]

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Are You a Taster?

Second Harvest’s Toronto Taste is one of the biggest and most important food events of the year. In its 21-year history Toronto Taste has raised over $4 million, enough for 8 million meals. Yes, we know the $250 ticket price is out of reach for many people, even if half of it is tax deductible; […]

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The Dining Room

As a rule, Greg and I generally avoid the seasonal ‘Licious campaigns. We’d rather support our local restaurants when they’re not so busy, and ‘Licious is always crazy for most participating establishments. This year, however, we’ve been attending a few things in the Winterlicious Culinary Events Series, one of which was The Dining Room event […]

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Thursdays Are So Tasty

There’s probably nowhere else that you can buy food from Susur Lee and Vesta Lunch in the same place. All for $5 a pop. Tasty Thursdays returned to Nathan Phillips Square last week and runs every Thursday (11am – 2pm, although some vendors are not ready right at 11am) until August 26th. The premise is […]

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Tastefully Tasty

Greg said it best on Twitter: “sweet merciful crap, there’s more food inside!” Celebrating its 20th anniversary, Second Harvest’s Toronto Taste fund raiser upped its game substantially this year, doubling the number of chefs involved (from 30 to 60) and taking over part of the Royal Ontario Museum and Queen’s Park (the street, not the […]

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Souped Up

This past Wednesday was sunny and warm – not a day you’d typically consider eating soup. But 400 people lined up at the doors of the Gardiner Museum to take part in Empty Bowls, an annual event featuring local chefs, local pottery artists and of course, great soup. For $45, attendees not only got to […]

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Sobering Up at the CRFA Show

It’s no secret – well, maybe it is – that those of us in the SOLE (sustainable/seasonal, organic, local, ethical) food scene live in a bit of a bubble. We tend to think of all food as “real” food, made from fresh ingredients, and we tend to frequent restaurants with the same philosophy. But the […]

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Lady Marmalade

The text across the shard of pottery says “Marmala”. The rest of the centuries-old stoneware jar is missing, presumably still buried somewhere here at Fort York where it has been sitting in the ground since the mid-1800s. We are told that children who visit the fort on school tours don’t know what marmalade is, which […]

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Old Punk Rockers Never Die

Okay, well, technically they do, eventually. Last night, Greg and I attended a photo exhibit called Toronto Calling, of photos of concerts that took place in the early 80s in Toronto featuring bands like the Clash and the Ramones. We didn’t actually stick around to see the photos, though, as the gallery space was packed […]

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Changing It Up

This past Thursday night, 250 lucky people trekked through the snow to attend Foodshare’s Recipe For Change fundraising event. I say lucky because the event sold out and many people found themselves on a waiting list, but also because some of Toronto’s top chefs were on hand with delicious treats for guests to enjoy. The […]

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At the Top of Their Game

I am generally sceptical when being served game meat. Having grown up eating wild caught stuff, the flavour of the game meat served in Toronto restaurants is generally subdued. Ontario law dictates that wild game meat cannot be sold to the public, so most of the venison, rabbit, elk, kangaroo, etc., that we eat here […]

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TV Party Tonight!

Okay, not tonight. Thursday, actually. But if you can hold off until then, the folks at Grace (503 College Street) will serve you up a TV dinner like no other, paired with some kick-ass cocktails and a big screen TV showing old episodes of M*A*S*H and I Love Lucy. As a follow-up to their incredibly […]

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Toronto’s Terre Madre Day

Over the past few years, Slow Food activists have taken part in a bi-annual event in Torino, Italy called Terra Madre. First held in 2004, the event brings together food activists from around the world in a giant conference and marketplace where people can exchange ideas and information. There are conferences, symposiums, dinners and markets, […]

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The Girl U Want

As most people know, my photography interests and skills lean more towards food than people, so my concert shots (when I bother) are not stellar. As demonstrated below, I took a pile of shots through the first few songs of DEVO’s set last night with the camera on the wrong setting. But when you’ve been […]

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Of Latin America

The Day of the Dead is not a day of mourning in Latin America, but a day of celebration. Families gather at the graves of loved ones who have passed and have a party. They bring the deceased’s favourite foods, music and things in a celebration honouring their life. This annual event, which takes place […]

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Seeing Stars

And with a sigh of relief – this year’s Toronto International Film Festival is over. How I hate the damned thing. It’s not that I don’t like the movies, or that I don’t appreciate what goes into them, but TIFF seems more and more about the “celebrities” each year than the actual films. Who’s wearing […]

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It’s Harvest Season

It’s been a weird summer, especially for farmers, but those fruits and vegetables keep on coming regardless. This being the peak of the season, there’s no better time to enjoy a meal prepared from locally-sourced ingredients. The Gladstone Hotel continues its Harvest Wednesdays series until mid-October with a variety of prix fixe dinners and tasting […]

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It’s All About Who You Know

It would seem that Toronto’s underground dining scene really did fizzle after its 15 minutes of fame. A few months back, Charlie’s Burgers was the name on everyone’s lips as Chowhounders and other “foodies” (note – derisive use of terminology) fought to have their applications accepted for the right to pay $150 and upwards per […]

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Missing You

Harvest Wednesdays at the Gladstone Hotel started a couple of weeks ago. They did the first tasting event (similar to a cocktail party where all the growers and partners were present so guests could meet the people who grew their food) and the first prix fixe dinner ran this past week. Normally during the tasting […]

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A Summerlicious Survival Guide

It’s that time of year again. Summerlicious (July 3rd – 19th);  when diners flock to Toronto’s restaurants in search of a cheap meal, and restaurant staff groan and complain at the long hours and stiffed tips. Summer (and Winter) Licious are self-perpetuating catch-22s. Diners expect poor service and so tip poorly regardless, while servers expect […]

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Bowled Over

Last Wednesday evening, the line-up outside the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art stretched as far north as Bloor Street. People had come prepared; many had snacks, drinks and umbrellas to shield them from the warm May sunshine, because to be first in line meant having the dedication to wait for hours to get in. But being first […]

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Two Meals

Most of us, if we’re lucky, eat three times a day – or more. We can look at this activity as either a chore, or a joy. We can take pleasure in every flavour, every spice, every texture and smell, or we can look at eating as something we have to do to stay alive, […]

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Can You Keep a Secret?

It was a dark and stormy night. As the rain poured down and the wind battered our umbrellas, we opened the newspaper box and pulled out an envelope bearing our name. After opening the letter and reading the instructions, we placed $220 in the envelope, walked a block or so west and headed down a […]

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All About Almonds

I’ve never really thought about almonds. Oh sure, they’re a tasty nut, good as a snack or in baked goods. They come in a variety of forms; whole, blanched, sliced, slivered, ground and even milk. They can be eaten out of hand, added to pastries or to savoury dishes. But last week I attended an […]

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Lunch at the Palais

When most people think of the Palais Royale Ballroom, they think of, well… dancing. Or the bands that have graced the famous stage. Maybe if they’ve attended a wedding or other event where they were served a meal, they’re aware that the Palais actually turns out some pretty great food. Executive Chef Steffan Howard has […]

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Not Just Sprouts and Tofu

After the learning experience of last year’s visit to the Canadian Health Food Association’s Expo East Trade Show, we arrived this year well prepared. We didn’t follow the crowd and bring along an empty suitcase to carry home samples and info sheets, but we did show up at this massive health food trade show with […]

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Flights of Fancy

It’s almost over. It’s ten to four on Labour Day afternoon, and we’re sitting here waiting for the air show to finish. Make that the fucking air show. It’s an annual tradition – they fly a bunch of loud planes past the CNE grounds on Labour Day weekend, and we sit at home comforting the […]

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Rolling out the Roti For Caribana

The debate could go on for hours. Long into the night, likely with much ranting and arm-waving, the people of Parkdale are always willing to argue over which neighbourhood roti shop is the best. In an area where residents are alarmed if they don’t wake up to the smell of curry, preference is based predominantly […]

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Sunday Sips – Pass the Gin

Earlier this month a note from the late Queen Mum to her assistant asking him to “pack the gin” sold at auction for $32,000 US. Dorothy Parker’s relationship with the spirit is more associated with speakeasies and bathtub stills. Originally medicinal in origin when first created in Holland in the 17th century, by the 20th […]

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Can I See Some ID?

Despite the fact that more and more people are finally seeing the light and are realizing that cars are stinky, obnoxious, and unnecessary within a city, we still live in a society obsessed with the personalized motor vehicle. Everyone above the age of 16 is expected to have a driver’s license, and even in situations […]

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Dinner in the Sky

Sometimes it pays to be critical. Many bloggers and writers work on the Thumper policy – if you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all. But twice in the past few months, I’ve been offered opportunities to do something based on a snarky or critical comment I’ve made on TasteTO. The first […]

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The Divas of R&B

Greg and I have been joking lately that we really need to find a hobby that doesn’t involve food. It used to be that we were in need of a hobby that didn’t involve music, but music is on the back burner these days. So earlier this week, when we were flipping through the paper […]

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One City, One Table

It could have been, truly, a clusterfuck, but the weather gods and organizing gods shined down on the One City One Table event today at the Distillery District. Part of the Luminato arts festival, this food fair took over a whole block with one long table down the centre, and local restaurants offering tastings and […]

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The Dog Days of Summer

We didn’t take the dogs to Woofstock, Toronto’s annual dog festival, this year, which sort of defeats the point, yes, but it was way too hot. Hours of walking on hot asphalt is not so great for fluffy black and brown pooches. And in fact, we noticed a significant decrease in the number of dogs, […]

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The Glamour Boys on Parade

Growing up in Halifax, which is both a military town and a tourist destination, it was not uncommon to come across parades, guys in kilts, bands with lots of bagpipes or even the occasional tank while wandering around downtown. Here in Toronto, it happens far less often, and finding a military parade is kind of […]

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Farm to Home

After the long hard winter we’re just now starting to see the back of, there were times when I almost believed that it wouldn’t end – that it would be perpetual winter forever. Fortunately Mother Nature takes care of things, and just like it has for every other year since the beginning of time, spring […]

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Where Curly Fries Come From

At first, I was sure I must be dreaming. Pretty ladies stepped out of nowhere to hand me free samples of cheesecake, gelato, or cashews. There was beer, wine, and grilled kangaroo. Everywhere I turned there were displays of gorgeously decorated cakes. Chefs stood over hotplates cooking up dishes of pasta or rosti potatoes, free […]

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Chinese New Year Banquet

We headed out in the cold last night to attend an 8-course Chinese New Year Banquet at a local seafood restaurant. Hosted by local foodie walking tour guide, Shirley Lum, the evening was both delicious and informative, as Lum explained Lunar New Year traditions and discussed various aspects of the Chinese zodiac as we ate. […]

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Cookie Day

I have had what might possibly be the best day ever. The only thing that could make it better would be if someone were to show up at my door with a huge tray of oysters. I hauled my butt out of bed this morning and headed to my alma mater, George Brown College, to […]

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Dead Yet?

Yesterday, Greg and I headed down to Harbourfront Centre to check out the annual Day of the Dead (Dia de Los Muertos) festival. I had heard from people who had gone in previous years that it wasn’t very good, but although the event was indeed small in scale compared to the summertime events that attract […]

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