Lucky Dip – Thursday, March 8th, 2012

In Toronto:

On this International Women’s Day, let’s take the time to acknowledge all of the fantastic female chefs, cooks, bakers, farmers, winemakers, brewsters and food entrepreneurs who work so hard to make a name for themselves in what is still a very male-dominated industry. You ladies add flavour and charm to Toronto’s food scene and the rest of us hugely appreciate and respect your efforts.

You can put fried chicken on a waffle… why not tasty pork? Starting at 5pm tonight, Porchetta and Co. (825 Dundas Street West) are offering a new special of Porchetta, Crackling, Maple Soaked Figs & Crème Fraiche on a fresh made waffle for $10.95.

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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 – 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 – 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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Standing in the Dark

I’m a sucker for dark chocolate of just about any type, but I tend to avoid the stuff found in supermarket aisles or drugstore shelves. One of the only brands I will buy is Lindt, and then usually only when I know my stash of high-end stuff is getting low and I won’t have a chance to stock up any time soon.

I was in a drugstore last week and was lured to the fancy chocolate bar section where I grabbed a Lindt Creation 70% Caramel. Lindt’s Excellence Toffee Crunch milk chocolate bar with the toffee pieces is one of the few milk chocolates I’ll eat, so I figured the dark bar was probably just as good.

One shelf down was another display of dark chocolate bars; a selection of Nestlé Noir. I had heard good things about the Nestlé bars, but hadn’t thought of purchasing any myself, as I try to avoid Nestlé products whenever possible, just out of principle. But just for the hell of it, I grabbed the Nestlé Noir Eclat Caramel.

First of all, it wasn’t a real comparison, as the Lindt bar had more of a soft caramel filling, whereas the Nestlé bar was chunks of hard caramel, very similar to the Lindt milk chocolate bar.

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