Lucky Dip – Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

In Toronto:

Remember the sad, tired cafeteria on the 8th floor of the Bay Queen Street? Now it looks like this. The Arcadian Loft is a new event space run by Oliver & Bonacini set to open soon.

Annona in the Park Hyatt Toronto (4 Avenue Road) has introduced a spring sharing menu, featuring dishes suitable for 3-4 people and including lobster grilled cheese, seafood risotto, rack of lamb, and filet mignon.

Tomorrow is FoodShare‘s Great Big Crunch. Register with them and then eat an apple. Yeah, it’s mostly for schoolkids, but apples are tasty and it sets a good example for the kids in your life.

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Lucky Dip – Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

In Toronto:

Chef Anthony Rose announced yesterday via The Grid that he’ll be leaving The Drake Hotel (1150 Queen Street West) at the end of the month to open a place of his own. Darren Glew, who has been at The Drake for the past five years, will take over the kitchen.

Simple Bistro (619 Mount Pleasant Road) had rolled out a new spring menu. Chef Matthew Cowan is offering up lots of tasty local fare such as rainbow trout, Grey County rabbit with prunes (put this in my belly now!), venison tartare and mushroom crepe. And brunch offers something called “The Cure” which is not Fat Bob singing Lovecats, but looks instead like the ultimate fry-up with eggs, bacon, sausage and duck confit hash.

Emma’s Country Kitchen (1108 St. Clair Avenue West) is not open yet, but hopes to be serving salads, sandwiches, soups, brunch and pastries to the folks of Corso Italia within the next couple of months.

The folks at Slow Food Toronto are looking for volunteers to help out at The Green Living Show (April 13th – 15th) at the Farm Fresh Fare area they run each year. People who help out and work a 3-hour shift will get a free pass to the show and some food tickets to try some of the food prepared by local chefs.

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Lucky Dip – Monday, March 5th, 2012

In Toronto:

The big food news this past weekend was that chefs Michael Caballo and Tobey Nemeth will be taking over the Niagara Street Cafe (169 Niagara Street) as of April 1st, renaming it Edulis. Caballo was the chef at Niagara Street until a few years ago when he and partner Nemeth (she was the chef de cuisine at Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar) left Toronto to travel. After working at restaurants around the world, including in Tuscany and California, they’re returning to the city to run their own place.

Ici Bistro (538 Manning Avenue)  is closed until March 21st for staff vacations.

Dark Horse Espresso Bar has taken over the old Smokeless Joe’s location at 125 John Street and opens today.

Greg Clow got the scoop about Mill Street Brewpub opening a location in Pearson Airport. Basically, there will be no beer brewed onsite, but there will be a 130-seat pub with 10 Mill Street brands on tap. Get the full story at Canadian Beer News.

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Lucky Dip – Friday, March 2nd, 2012

In Toronto:

After opening Le Canard Mort (896 Queen Street East) last fall, the owners of Le Rossignol are combining the two locations to make way for Toucan Taco Bar at the old Rossignol location at 696 Queen Street East. Le Canard will have a special “Le Rossignol” menu, while I’m guessing the Toucan Taco Bar will be serving… tacos.

Bahn Mi Boys (392 Queen Street West) are still closed for renovations, but things are coming along.

You should go:

Tickets for the second of Chef Nick Liu’s preview dinners for his upcoming restaurant GwaiLo are now on sale. The second dinner will also take place at the Niagara Street Cafe (169 Niagara Street) on March 13th.

The Toronto Wine and Cheese Show takes place on March 16th – 18th at the International Centre in Mississauga.

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Lucky Dip – Thursday, March 1st, 2012

In Toronto:

Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, Fionn MacCool’s (70 The Esplanade, plus others) will be offering an Irish-themed menu starting Monday, March 5th, running until April 29th. Look for colcannon pie, lamb stew, corned beef and cabbage and a prime rib burger with corned beef.

You should go:

Jamie Kennedy and Gilead Cafe (4 Gilead Place) host an “Order of Good Cheer” dinner on Monday, March 12th featuring Prince Edward County wines from By Chadsey’s Cairns. Hors d’oeuvres plus a 4-course dinner costs $75, with wine pairings an additional $25. Call 647-288-0680 to reserve a spot.

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Lucky Dip – Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

In Toronto:

Chef Rob Rossi announced yesterday that his new restaurant BestEllen (972 College Street) will open on Friday, March 2nd.

The Federal (1438 Dundas Street West) opens tomorrow is  in the former Zoots Cafe location, with a brunchy-type menu full of eggs, sandwiches, soups, waffles and a Ploughman’s lunch.

Japanese noodle chain Santouka Ramen is reportedly looking for a location in downtown Toronto.

And while it’s out in Brampton, Maroli, everyone’s favourite Keralan restaurant, opens a second location at 31 George Street North tomorrow.

The Granite Brewery (245 Eglinton Avenue East) has announced plans to expand brewing operations into the basement of their existing location. Full details at Canadian Beer News.

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Lucky Dip – Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

In Toronto:

The paper is down at Chantecler (1320 Queen Street West) and rumour has it that they’ll be opening on Thursday.

The Queen West location of Chippy’s (893 Queen Street West) re-opens March 1st. Owner John Lee tells Steven Davey of NOW about some new items on the menu.

There are no details available yet, but Mill Street Brewpub (55 Mill Street) announced yesterday that they’re opening a 3rd location – at Pearson Airport.

The Monk’s Kettle (3073 Bloor Street West) has a new menu, with items such as paella, flat bread and trout making an appearance.

The Four Seasons Hotel (21 Avenue Road) prepares for its big move across the Yorkville neighbourhood. The last day to dine at the Studio Cafe will be March 25th.

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Lucky Dip – Monday, February 27th, 2012

In Toronto:

Kensington Market icon European Quality Meats and Sausages (176 Baldwin Avenue) will be closing down on April 7th. Full story at the Toronto Star.

Also in Kensington, Thirsty and Miserable has opened at 197 Baldwin Street. With a “culinary team” listed as Swansen and Deep Freeze, maybe don’t go expecting anything more than booze and great local craft beer.

Chef Greg Couillard is back in town, serving up Nonya cuisine tonight at The Depanneur (1033 College Street). There were still tickets left as of this morning.  Couillard revealed to guests at last night’s dinner (which was fantastic!) that he plans to open a restaurant in Toronto’s west end, to be called Pink Slip. He’s also doing a guest stint from March 4- 6th at the Fox and Fiddle at Cityplace (25-17 Fort York Boulevard). (Yeah, I know, but that’s what the man said.)

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Lucky Dip – Friday, February 24th, 2012

In Toronto:

The Queen and Beaver (35 Elm Street) is expanding northward with a new location in Yorkville called The Oxley, set to open in mid-April.

The College Street location of Mitzi’s (890 College Street) will be serving its last brunch this weekend, shutting down after service on Sunday, February 26th. The Sorauren Avenue location as well as The Sister on Queen Street West will remain open.

Chef Tawfik Shehata announced earlier today via Twitter that he is no longer associated with The Bowery (55 Colborne Street). No word on what he’ll be doing next.

Chef Nick Liu is planning to host a pair of preview dinners for his new Asian fusion restaurant GwaiLo. Dinners will take place on March 6th and 13th, location TBA. Follow GwaiLo on Twitter to find out more details.

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Lucky Dip – Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

In Toronto:

We’re getting closer to the opening of Bellwoods Brewery (124 Ossington Avenue), with the news that chef Guy Rawlings has left Lucien to consult on the menu for the picnic-style offerings the brewery will have to go with their beer. This collaboration has been in the works since last summer, with Rawlings working at various places around town until the project was ready.

The Fairmont Royal York (100 Front Street West) welcomes Chef Collin Thornton as the new Executive Chef. Thornton comes from The Fairmont Orchid in Hawaii and takes over from Chef David Garcelon who is now at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York.

Catch, a sustainable seafood restaurant from the people behind the Rushton has opened on St. Clair West. Apparently they don’t want you to eat there, however, as they’ve not bothered to put the address on their website. (It’s 744 St. Clair Avenue West, by the way, but I shouldn’t have had to go searching for it…)

Ultra Supper Club (314 Queen Street West) has closed its doors and will be replaced by a nightclub called Cube.

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Lucky Dip – Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

In Toronto:

Chefs on the move: Dustin Gallagher is leaving Grace (503 College Street) to travel, and will be replaced by Kevin Castonguay, formerly of Woodlot. Sous chef Misha Nestreneko takes over the stoves at Marben (488 Wellington Street West) now that Carl Heinrich has left to open his own place.

William Serre from Acadia Restaurant (50C Clinton Street) and Andrew Wilson, Chef de Cuisine at Colborne Lane (45 Colborne Street) took top honours last night at the Nella Cucina Discovered Culinary Competition.

I keep hearing  the voice of Tichina Arnold from the TV show Everybody Hates Chris, but L’Unita Enoteca (134 Avenue Road) can now boast “my restaurant has 7 desserts!” Mike Angeloni (who has previously done pastry for Spendido and the Hoof restaurants) has created a dessert menu of Italian favourites; doughnuts, cannoli, biscotti… yum.

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Lucky Dip – Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

In Toronto:

The Cheese Boutique has announced the line-up for their annual Festival of Chefs, which takes place each weekend in May. The event features local chefs including Rocco Agostino (Enoteca Sociale, Pizzeria Libretto), Victor Barry (Splendido) and Rob Gentile (Buca) doing in-store demos and samplings. Check the website for the full schedule.

Just opened – Bazaar Global Food (692 Mount Pleasant Road), where Amaya‘s Hermant Bhagwani has transformed the old Lai Toh Heen location into a family-friendly restaurant with a globally-sourced menu. [Full coverage at The Grid.]

Woodlot (293 Palmerston Avenue) has been given the go-ahead to proceed with its tiny 5-person patio, but other restaurants adjacent to residential areas and seeking patio permission will have to wait. Campagnolo, Dark Horse (Queen West) and Cafe Stella‘s applications have all been deferred to March or April.

Vegetarian restaurant Buddha’s Vegetarian Foods (666 Dundas Street West) will be closed from February 23rd – March 7th for renovations.

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Lucky Dip – Monday, February 20th, 2012

Welcome to the revamped Lucky Dip column in which I will be bringing you a daily selection (Monday to Friday) of local food news, upcoming events and links to local and international food news stories. Quantity of content will vary by day (thus the “Lucky Dip” name – you get what I scoop up), but I’ll try to ensure a little bit of everything.

If you enjoy the Lucky Dip posts, please help spread the word by sharing the link via Facebook, Twitter, etc. And if you have info on local restaurant news or events, I’d be very appreciative if you’d send it my way by visiting my Contact Page. Cheers!

In Toronto:

Caplansky’s Delicatessen (356 College Street) is closed this week from February 20th – 24th for renovations.

The Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen Street West) has hired Chef Michael Smith (no, not that Michael Smith) as their new Executive Chef. Smith has previously worked at C5, and is in the process of revamping the various menus at the hotel.

Coming soon – This End Up, a new restaurant at 1454 Dundas Street West that will be serving sandwiches and cocktails. What? You need more than that?? Watch for their opening in March.

Both chef Carl Heinrich and butcher Ryan Donovan have announced they’ll be leaving Marben (488 Wellington Street West) (wait, who’s left to run the place?) to open their own restaurant somewhere in the west end. Heinrich is set to take part in the upcoming season of Top Chef Canada.

The Construction Site has opened a second location in Sherway Gardens where they’re spreading the grilled cheese love.

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Feeling Lucky? Lucky Dip Returns February 20th

It’s baaaacckkkk!

Starting Monday, February 20th, the Lucky Dip column returns with more treats, surprises and fun than ever before.

Okay, it will actually be more local restaurant news and event info plus the regular combo of interesting local and international food news.

If you were a fan of my old site, TasteTO, it’ll be like a daily dose of our regular columns T.O. Tidbits, A la Carte (news about new menus, restaurant specials, etc), and the event posts, Flavours of the Day, plus news and other cool stuff.

Lucky Dip will run Monday to Friday. Tell your friends.

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Lucky Dip – Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

Some of us need a good stuff drink or two to get through the holidays, but for others, the drinking is the cause of many woes. [National Post: The Appetizer]

What chefs think about reviews of their restaurants and why “online reviewers” who hint around for free stuff and throw tantrums when they’re not treated like celebrities are skeezy dirtbags. Seriously. Whether you’re a blogger or on Yelp, don’t be that asshole who threatens a poor review unless you get freebies. [Eater]

Hands up – who actually likes candy canes? [Bon Appetit]

Awww…Mr. Biggelsworth is too much of a charmer to be your Christmas dinner. But you can have one of his tasty rare breed spawn for a good chunk of change. [Toronto Star]

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Lucky Dip – Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

Even at Christmas, friends, it is unwise to accept drinks from strangers, as these visitors to a Berlin Christmas market discovered last week. [Spiegel Online]

Nutty as a fruitcake. The folks at Fabarnak are selling fruitcakes. All you haters shut up, these ones are supposed to rock. [NOW]

In the olden days, we wrote recipes on these paper cards… Don’t toss Grandma’s recipe cards just yet. You might have transferred everything to an electronic device but retro nostalgia means those stained bits of cardboard will be worth some cash some day. [Slate]

Just pop the Lactaid, buddy. You cannot increase or decrease your body’s tolerance for lactose. [Globe and Mail]

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Lucky Dip – Monday, December 12th, 2011

Rob Ford looks only to the here and now, and fails to look at the long-term viability of city programs set to be chopped. Such as the school nutrition programs that keep violence down, test scores up and that help to create responsible citizens who have jobs and pay taxes. [The Grid]

Dear Nigella, enough already. It’s just food. And the rest of us are laughing at you in the same way we laugh at people who buy cheap see-through lingerie. [Guardian]

Okay, so we all know we’re not supposed to eat raw cookie dough. But who knew that it might be the flour carrying the e.coli? Crazy! [NPR]

If you’re still suffering Bright Pearl withdrawal symptoms (I know I am), Dim Sum King Seafood Restaurant might fill the void.  [Toronto Life: The Dish]

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Lucky Dip – Thursday, December 1st, 2011

You’ll laugh your butt off at this, then feel guilty for doing so. And when it comes to selling fast food chicken, it’s a bit of a stretch. But who doesn’t enjoy the occasional playful dictator? [Daily Mail]

Old salty – people get freaking out about consuming too much salt, but too little can be just as bad. [Globe and Mail]

This is interesting – it looks as if the US is getting set to allow the slaughter of horses for meat. Which means fewer horses being shipped across the border to Canada for slaughter here. [Chicago Tribune]

Lazy Daisy’s is kid-friendly and offers tasty grub. Let’s hope it’s the beginning of new life on Gerrard. [NOW]

You know, part of me really believes that the “drunken office Christmas party” really only exists on TV. I’ve never been to one, and I’ve never known anyone who has been to one. Most workplaces do some kind of demure no-booze luncheon and then send everybody back to work. [Grub Street]

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Lucky Dip – Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Wait now… people lined up to get into a grocery store? And they weren’t even giving away anything good like a free turkey? And there wasn’t anything like a natural disaster or an alien attack about to happen? Toronto really has turned into a city of consumer-driven sheep, hasn’t it? [The Grid]

I am utterly over the cupcake trend to the point of annoyance. And I never got into the Star Wars thing… but this cupcake is allowed to exist because it cracks me up. [My Food Looks Funny]

Why we’re all over the daily deal sites and why you should support local indie restaurants, just because. [Bon Appetit]

Nutty as a…? Grandma Deb’s might be the benchmark of fruitcake, but I’d still pit mine against all comers. (Actually, if you can get your hands of a piece of fruitcake from the recipe Chef John Higgens used at Buckingham Palace – THAT’S the benchmark of fruitcake.)[Toronto Star]

The interesting history of Vernor’s gingerale. [Serious Eats]

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Lucky Dip – Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Occupy Toronto squatters get kicked out of the basement of St. Patrick Market, but vow to find another place to squat where they can distribute food to the poor. Oh goody, I’m sure the poor people are looking forward to that. [Toronto Star]

This is a new marketing strategy in the food world that I suspect will become a trend – distract them with an ingredient. As in, talk about the honey in the honey-glazed ham, as opposed to the ham and how it was raised. Just one a of a few scary tactics coming out of Sara Lee. [Mother Jones]

The world’s most influential chefs for the past 15 years. No Canadians, sorry. [Epicurious]

Follow that coffee. Traces of caffeine found in Montreal’s storm drains apparently mean that they city’s sewage system has a leak. Since only humans consume caffeine (and then piss it out), finding it in places where sewage isn’t supposed to be signifies a problem. [National Post]

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