Loose Ends

I seem to be starting my new year at somewhat loose ends. While 2011 was a very good and productive year in terms of work, and certainly beat 2010 in terms of emotional issues (yay for nobody close to us dying), I was left feeling that I didn’t accomplish very much. This whole food writing […]

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From Away

You’ve gotta give Marco Pierre White credit – his whole career has been about stirring things up and being in the spotlight, even if it hasn’t been all positive. He was in town last month to promote Knorr stock cubes, a product that he’s shilled in the UK for a few years. When challenged on […]

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Market Mondays – Apples

Is there any fruit that typifies September and the Fall harvest better than the apple? Boy Scouts apple day, an apple for the first day of school, a roadside produce stand groaning with different varieties… we love us some apples. And despite what your supermarket might have you think, they come in more types than […]

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Market Mondays – Spinach

I’m a little late to the game with spinach – it probably should have made my list earlier in the year, seeing as it’s considered a spring vegetable. But it’s definitely still going strong at the markets, so better late than never. Like our friend Popeye will tell you, spinach is a nutritional powerhouse, providing […]

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Market Mondays – Corn

Poor old much maligned corn. It gets a bit of a bad rap these days, seeing as how it ends up in so many processed foods, and how it’s been genetically modified up the yin yang. And then there’s the whole ethanol issue. It’s too bad, because there’s nothing that says summer more than ears […]

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Sunday Brunch – Milestones

Milestones Festival Hall 132 John Street 416-595-1990 Brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $45 Regular readers will notice a dearth of references to mainstream chain restaurants on this site. When we started TasteTO, that wasn’t our intention – our aim was to cover anything and everything related to food, including the mid-range […]

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Market Mondays – Summer Squash

Summer squash (aka. zucchini) can be both a delight and a bane to home gardeners. A delight because zucchini are a fruitful fruit (while treated as a vegetable in the kitchen, zucchini and all squash are technically fruit) – they’re easy to grow and the fruit grows quickly, they’re also a bane because they’re almost […]

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SalivAte – July 2010

We ate some fine and tasty stuff this month. Have a look… First up, I attended the A9 Fenadegas Winemaker’s lunch at C5, featuring wines from Portugal. This BC wild halibut cheek and scallion pancake were paired with a Veercoope Via Latina Alvarinha 2009, as well as a Adega Pegos selected Harvest 2009.

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Market Mondays – Plums

We’re still in the family Prunus as we move from last week’s cherries to this week’s plums. Plums are eaten from Asia to Europe and are well known for their variety and flavour – from the first tart yellow plums to red, black and the purple varieties most popular in Italian cooking. Worldwide there are […]

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Sunday Brunch – La Palette

La Palette 492 Queen Street West 416-603-4900 brunch for two with all taxes tip and coffee: $45 La Palette is now considered a Kensington Market landmark, serving up classic French food in an adorable little bistro. So fans were rightly pleased when owners Shamez Amlani and Brook Kavanagh announced they’d be taking over the old […]

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Goodbye Mimi

It is with sad hearts that we pass on the following obituary… BRAIDBERG, Miriam (Mimi) April 1956 to July 2010. Suddenly at home on Sunday, July 4th. Dear daughter of Pearl and the late David. Beloved sister and sister-in-law of Ann and Gary Posen, and Shelly and Gerry Merovitz. Wonderful aunt to Sara and Russell […]

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Stirring the Pot with Chef Paul Pisa

Paul Pisa is a homegrown Toronto chef, trained under chefs Mark McEwan and Keith Froggett. In the mid-1990s, Pisa was executive chef of Ellipsis, the popular though now-defunct modern Italian brunch and dinner spot on College Street. When Ellipsis closed, Pisa moved across the street to helm the large and busy Brasserie Aix, serving authentic […]

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Market Mondays – Cherries

Most years, we’re savouring the first cherries right around now, as they normally ripen locally by the end of June. But if you’ve been frequenting the farmers’ markets, you’ve been eating cherries for weeks, since the sweet cherries, like most other seasonal produce, have come a full two weeks early. The cherry is the fleshy […]

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Market Mondays – Peas

I eat my peas with honey, I’ve done it all my life, It does taste kind of funny, But it keeps them on my knife. – Anonymous Most commonly found in mixed frozen vegetables, the humble pea is one of the most versatile vegetables out there. Eaten fresh, dried, frozen or canned, peas  can be […]

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Sunday Brunch – Chuck & Co.

Chuck and Co. 126 Atlantic Avenue 416-533-3500 Brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $30 Messy. And that’s not a bad thing. Known for their handmade gourmet burgers, you wouldn’t expect a burger place to do up fancy brunch. And to be fair, the selection of breakfast sandwiches is pretty straightforward. This 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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Market Mondays – Strawberries

The time is upon us. If you’re like me, you’ve walked past time huge, hard, tasteless red supermarket strawberries all winter in anticipation of June and Ontario strawberry season. Nothing beats the smell or flavour of an Ontario strawberry, ripe, just picked, and warm from the sun. Strawberries are a member of the rose family, […]

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SalivAte – June 2010

People always assume because we write about food that we’ve been to every restaurant in the city (all 5000 or so of them), and they’re always disappointed that we haven’t been. Meanwhile, readers tell us that they’d like more photo-essays. So to satisfy your food porn cravings and what might be an inappropriate desire to […]

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Stirring the Pot with Chef Chris Palik

Christopher Palik was born in Saskatchewan and lived there until graduating high school. He moved to Vancouver and attended the Vancouver Community College Culinary Arts Foundations program. After graduating at the top of his class, he decided he wanted to be a diesel mechanic instead, returning to Vancouver Community College for the diesel technician course. […]

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Market Mondays – Radishes

The first root vegetable of spring is also the most under-used. Besides putting them in a salad, what do you DO with radishes anyway? Related to the mustard plant, radishes come in several varieties, ranging from sweet to spicy and peppery in flavour and from white to vibrant red, and even grey and black in […]

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Sunday Brunch – Blue Plate

Blue Plate 392 Roncesvalles Avenue 416-538-7500 brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $40 How long is long enough? We’re known for hassling other restaurant critics about not giving new restaurants enough time to find their groove before slipping in for a review. Two or three weeks is usually considered an appropriate amount […]

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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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Market Mondays – Fiddleheads

There’s a phenomenon on Twitter where people will mention or retweet something and create a buzz, but the buzz fails. For instance, a dozen people will mention a food-related event but none of them will actually attend. The same kind of failed buzz seems to be happening with seasonal produce. I’m seeing piles of people […]

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Sunday Brunch – Cowbell

Cowbell 1564 Queen Street West 416-849-1095 Brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $50 Since it opened in 2007, Cowbell has never been open on Sunday. Chef/owner Mark Cutrara set that day aside to spend with his family. The idea of Sunday being family day is a big one in the Parkdale neighbourhood […]

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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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Getting Grubby

Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces Gayla Trail Clarkson Potter, paperback, copyright 2010, 207 pages, $19.95 It’s a romantic notion to think that we could all move to the country and start a farm. The fact is, the majority of people live in cities out of necessity, and few of us have space […]

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A Toast to the Roast

A few years ago, Toronto was all over the communal dining trend. Restaurants installed big harvest tables and hoped that customers would not just bump elbows but start up a conversation with one another. But because Torontonians are mostly of the “keep to yourself, mind your own business” variety, the communal table wasn’t a huge […]

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Y’all Come to Supper!

Hank’s 9-1/2 Church Street 416-504-9463 A few weeks ago, when I interviewed Scott and Rachelle Vivian about their take-over of the Wine Bar and Hank’s, the duo let me know about their plans to open Hank’s at night with a menu of southern favourites that Vivian had learned to cook growing up in Atlanta. Hank’s […]

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Why We All Need to Wise Up

Ocean Wise celebrated its 5 year anniversary this month by announcing a number of new restaurant partners across the country. Readers who haven’t heard of the Ocean Wise program need not feel out of the loop – it’s only been a year since a handful of Toronto restaurants signed on, and while this anniversary celebration […]

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Assessing the Haggis

I was just about haggised out after putting together last week’s round up of Robert Burns activities and dinners. Then Chef Martin Kouprie of Pangaea (1221 Bay Street) sent me a message on Twitter. He was holding a haggis competition for his kitchen staff; the winning dish would be served in the restaurant on Robert […]

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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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Fondue Yu

I’m not sure how, but fondue passed me by in the 70s. My folks had all the other trendy appliances of the day; crock pots, electric frying pans, but the communal dining experience of dipping bits of food into cheese, oil or chocolate never happened in our house. When Greg arrived on my doorstep in […]

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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 Charms of Buca

Buca 602 King Street West 416-865-1600 Dinner for two with all taxes, tip and wine: $150 The recession might have played a role, but Toronto seems especially caught up in the idea of rustic food. We’re uninterested in molecular gastronomy and sundaes sprinkled with gold leaf; we crave real authentic food like (someone’s) Mama used […]

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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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Sunday Brunch – Morning Glory

Morning Glory 457 King Street East 416-703-4728 Brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $30 Morning Glory is one of those neighbourhood joints that fly under the radar. A popular Corktown breakfast spot since December 2003, it now tends to get overshadowed by Gilead Café, just around the corner. But on the Sunday […]

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Sunday Brunch – Nyood

Nyood 1096 Queen Street West 416-466-1888 Brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $50 Those folks that make the clam and tomato juice are on some kind of campaign to make the Caesar Canada’s official cocktail but they’ll get no support from me to do it. The very last thing I want to […]

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Sunday Brunch – Merci Mon Ami

Merci Mon Ami 171 East Liberty Street, #107 647-436-3832 Brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $40 As had been made evident on this site before, I am not a patio person, especially a streetside patio. But on a quiet Sunday morning, my bags loaded with goodies from the Liberty Village farmers market, […]

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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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Chowing Down with ChowBella

Culinary tourism. It’s a funny phrase but anyone who has ever planned a trip based around where and what they’ll be eating is, in fact, a culinary tourist. And as our palates become more sophisticated, culinary tourism is actually a growing industry. But how to find the best places to eat on your trip? Sure, […]

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Sunday Brunch – Sage West

Sage West – Closed 924 College Street 647-346-6183 Brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $30 Most people are probably more familiar with Sage Café on McCaul Street than they are with her sister restaurant Sage West. It’s one of those places you really want to like; it’s a pretty space that doubles […]

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Sunday Brunch – Bonjour Brioche

Bonjour Brioche 812 Queen Street East 416-406-1250 Brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $25 (cash only) People seem to either love or hate Bonjour Brioche. I regularly come across raves about their exquisite pastries and breads, but the service, and the line-up on weekends, can be a sticking point. In fact, in […]

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On the Shelf – May 24, 2009

Here’s a few new things we came across this month that are definitely worth sharing. Margaret’s Artisan Bakery Crisps We came across these at the Ontario Cheese Society tasting in late April. Better known for their Margaret’s Artisan Flatbreads, these organic flour crisps from MJ Fine Foods are made in Vaughn and come in a variety of […]

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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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Eating at the Kids’ Table

  Getting kids interested in food seems to be a growing trend, with articles about parents taking their kids to fine dining restaurants or enrolling them in kids’ cooking classes popping up in publications right across North America, with opinion split on whether it’s a positive development. But once kids hit their teenage years, dining […]

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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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Sunday Brunch – Toba

Toba 243 King Street East 416-367-8622 Brunch for two including all taxes, tip and coffee: $43 I’m a sucker for a pretty face. While our reviews here at TasteTO generally focus on the food, service and décor always play a part in the overall experience. And while it’s usually the case that the artwork hanging […]

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How Sweet It Is

Sweet!: The Delicious Story of Candy By Ann Love and Jane Drake; Illustrated by Claudia Davila Tundra Books; $14.99, 64 pp. softcover publication April 14th, 2009 (hardcover © 2007) Some might say that a book about candy, with kids as the target market, could be a little off-base in this era of childhood obesity and […]

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Where Can I Find – Blintzes

My first experience with Jewish food was at an old Spadina landmark called Switzer’s. I lived in Kensington Market, and Switzer’s (which was one of a handful of Jewish delis in downtown that survived into the 80s) was right around the corner. It was here that I discovered the wonders of latkes, smoked meat sandwiches, […]

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Where Can I Find – Huitlacoche?

For all of our multi-cultural pride, Toronto has a really small Mexican community, and finding authentic Mexican ingredients, despite improvements over the past couple of years, can still be tough. And while fresh tortillas, or quesa fresca can now be found relatively easily, that Mexican delicacy huitlacoche is still hard to track down. Huitlacoche (kweet-lah-KOH-chay), […]

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