Where Are the Chefs?

Today marks the beginning of two weeks of fantastic food-oriented television programming. Gordon Ramsay expands his Kitchen Nightmares series to try and get people to eat at local restaurants; Jamie Oliver takes on the pork industry in an effort to get producers to improve their husbandry standards; Heston Blumenthal has a 3-part series on his […]

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Sunday Brunch – Cafe Du Lac

Café du Lac 2350 Lakeshore Boulevard West 416-848-7381 Brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $30 If Toronto wasn’t already known as a brunch town, just wait until people really start feeling the recession pinch. Already considered much more economical and family-friendly than dinner at a high-end restaurant or a business lunch, brunch […]

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Housewarming at the Temple

Mildred’s Temple Kitchen 85 Hanna Avenue, Suite 104 416-588-5695 Moving house can be a stressful time, but ultimately one of renewal. It can be hard to leave a place where so many great memories were made, but it’s also invigorating and inspiring to start with a clean slate in a new space. Such is the […]

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On the Shelf – Book Edition

As I mentioned in yesterdays post – companies send us stuff. Often stuff that we can’t use in our regular articles because it’s not Toronto-specific. This includes books. Sometimes they just appear at my door unannounced. And while some readers might think this makes mine the dream job, keep in mind that I’m expected to […]

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Hurray! Beaujolais!

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines. It’s the third Thursday in November and wine drinkers will know that means the annual release of Beaujolais Nouveau – the first wines of the 2008 season – and the accompanying celebration. Beaujolais Nouveau is made with the Gamay grape and was first created a hundred years ago in […]

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The Gingerbread Village

Mad Batter Bakers 133 Jefferson Avenue 416-516-4759 People strolling through Liberty Village can often be seen stopping mid-stride, lifting their noses to the air and taking in huge whiffs of the spicy gingerbread smell that fills the air here. It’s not the smell of bread from the nearby Canada Bread factory but the sweet fragrance […]

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Cooking the Books

In an era when restaurants and food shops come and go, it’s difficult to remember food trends from even a couple of years ago, let alone decades or centuries. But everybody eats – preferably three times a day – and over the years, the changes that have taken place in terms of food in Toronto […]

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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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We’re All Family Here

Mother’s Dumplings 79 Huron Street 416-217-2008 Dinner for two with all taxes, tip and soda: $25 I’m not exactly sure how I’ve managed to miss this place for so long. Shortly after Mother’s Dumplings started getting good buzz in the food-loving community, the husband came home with some leftovers from his lunch there and it’s […]

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Sunday Brunch – The Harbord Room

The Harbord Room 89 Harbord Street 416-962-8989 Brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $43 Restaurateurs spend a lot of money making their places look elegant. Only sometimes is that comfortable elegance actually achieved; more often than not many restaurants feel stilted, contrived and downright inhospitable, which is generally not the original goal. […]

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Organics, Delivered

Recent chilly nights and the appearance of squash and pumpkins means that the end to farmers market season will soon be upon us. Within the next few weeks, farmers will be finished with this year’s harvest, and we’ll be left to fend for ourselves in the aisles of the supermarket, where Peruvian asparagus and spongy […]

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Falling Flat

Tortilla Flats 458 Queen Street West 416-203-0088 Dinner for two with all taxes, tip and margaritas: $80 This was supposed to be a review of Tattoo Rock Parlor. But when we arrived to an empty restaurant, then waited for a server who never appeared while bad rock music blared on the sound system, we bailed. […]

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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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Dinner on the Roof of the World

Tibet Kitchen 1544 Queen Street West 416-913-8726 Dinner for two with all taxes, tip and beer: $50 A week from today, the eyes of the world will be on China. Some people will watch with fingers crossed, cheering on their country’s athletes, while others will direct their attention toward the potential political protests that may […]

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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 Brunch – The Ultimate Cafe

Ultimate Café 293 King Street West 416-977-9690 Brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $30   Ultimate is a big claim when it comes to a restaurant. Working with the definition “not to be improved upon or surpassed”, calling yourself the ultimate anything sets the standard of quality pretty darn high. Higher than […]

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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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Orgasmic Organics

Multiple Organics 1545 Dundas Street West 647-435-5340   What are two well-educated young women to do when they find themselves with doctorates, but no where to use them? Why, open an organic food store of course!   Such was the case for Nupur Gogia and Carrianne Leung recently when they discovered that the only way […]

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Sunday Brunch – Lula Lounge

Lula Lounge 1585 Dundas Street West 416-588-0307 brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $34   “Hey, did you know Lula does brunch?” my husband asked, waving a colourful postcard that he had found on the sidewalk at me. “We should go!” And so we do, because we like brunch and because we’ve […]

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The Harlem Shuffle

Harlem 67 Richmond Street East 416-368-1920 Dinner for two with all taxes and tip plus beer or wine: $110 The Harlem Shuffle – an R&B song originally written and recorded by the duo Bob & Earl in 1963, named after a line dance step that is an homage to the dance clubs that existed during […]

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Sunday Brunch – Dunn’s Famous

Dunn’s Famous 284A King Street West 416-599-5464 Brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $34 I’m still looking for a Jewish Grandma. Seriously, there must be some kind-hearted elderly lady out there hoping for someone to drop by and eat their homemade gefilte fish. Call me. In the meantime, until someone adopts me, […]

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Sunday Sips – Twist and Serve

For the sake of full transparency, I feel compelled to offer the fact that I have not consumed a pre-mixed bottled beverage since my 19th birthday. Someone had the bright idea that we should all have our own 2-litre bottle of kiwi cooler (which we pronounced “kewwwwwllerrr” for some reason) to celebrate my coming of […]

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Comfort and Grace

Grace 503 College Street 416-944-8884 There’s a recession coming. Gas prices are going up, the housing market looks set to crumble and everyone is preparing to tighten their belts. Inevitably, at the table, our thoughts will turn to comfort food. Hearty, healthy fare from the family recipe books will win out over expensive, exotic ingredients […]

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Sunday Brunch – Rustic Cosmo

Rustic Cosmo 1278 Queen Street West 416-531-4924 brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $30 I am, admittedly, one of those people who go out for brunch specifically because I hate making eggs benedict at home. It’s not that I can’t, but the endeavour inevitably leaves me cranky, covered in hollandaise and left […]

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Not So Many Fish in the Sea

There’s an old cliché that goes “there are plenty of fish in the sea”. This is meant to convey options and opportunities, but nowadays, it’s not a particularly apt analogy. Because fish stocks are dwindling due to poor husbandry and overfishing, and there aren’t a lot of fish in the sea anymore. SeaChoice is a […]

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The Good Kind of Loud

Allen’s 143 Danforth Avenue 416-463-3086 Dinner for two with all taxes, tip and beer: $90 The hot new thing for restaurant critics these days is to complain about the volume at the places they’re reviewing. Having to scream across the table to be heard is never a good thing, and the more, um, mature, our […]

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Sunday Brunch – Oyster Boy

  Oyster Boy 872 Queen Street West 416-534-3432 Brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $55 Walking along Queen West on a sunny morning heading to Oyster Boy, a car passed us blaring a tune that was predominantly accordion music. We couldn’t really tell if it was a Newfoundland jig or some “welcome […]

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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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Sunday Brunch – The Beaver

  The Beaver 1192 Queen Street West 416-537-2768 Brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee and juice: $34 Beaver Loves You.   The sentiment may be genuine, pre-emptive or merely provocative; (“Dude, I love beaver too!!”) but there’s no denying that the note on the bill at this funky restaurant on the edge […]

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No Grain, No Pain

Everyday Grain-Free Gourmet: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Jodi Bager and Jenny Lass Whitecap, 2008 Imagine a world where bread hurts. I don’t mean getting whacked in the head with a baguette, but where eating bread or rice or a gooey cinnamon roll causes real illness and pain. For people suffering from celiac disease, items made […]

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Sunday Sips – Hendrick’s Gin

Okay, that’s it, I’m done. I think we’ve all been more than patient with this weather thing, but really, enough is enough. I’m just not going to acknowledge it anymore. Instead, I’m just going to pretend that summer is here. I’m going to drag out the sunscreen and capri pants, and I’m going to pour […]

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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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A Multicultural Feast at Senses

  Senses 328 Wellington Street West 416-935-0400 I’ve gone on record as saying that I don’t like foie gras. That was before I had the foie gras as prepared by Chef Patrick Lin at Senses.   Working on the “try it ten times” theory as espoused by Vogue food writer Jeffrey Steingarten, I continue to […]

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Sunday Brunch – Mitzi’s Sister

  Mitzi’s Sister 1554 Queen Street West 416-532-2570 Brunch for two with all taxes, tip, plus coffee and juice: $40 I have a love/hate relationship with the brunch at Mitzi’s Sister. I love the homey, laid back vibe, the friendly servers, the eclectic tunes, and the constantly changing garnishes on what is likely my favourite […]

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Can Organics Feed the World?

Can organics feed the world? This question was posed to the closing panel at this year’s Canadian Organic Growers Conference. Organic farmers, food producers, nutritionists and writers convened in Toronto this past Saturday to examine the issues and explore how organics is changing the world.   The day-long event included a keynote speech by Helge […]

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Craving Some Valentine’s Chocolates

Craving Chocolates 119A Roncesvalles Avenue 416-538-1212   Valentine’s Day is commonly thought of as the biggest holiday of the year for chocolate sales, but statistics show it actually ranks third or fourth after Easter, Halloween and Christmas. Due to shopping habits related to the day, however, Valentine’s generates more one-week candy sales than any other […]

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Sunday Brunch – Sunset Grill

Sunset Grill 1 Richmond Street West (and other locations) 416-861-0514 Brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $23 People like breakfast. They want it hot, fast and familiar. They’re even willing to stand in line for it if that combination can be guaranteed. Thus is the business plan on which the Sunset Grill […]

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Sunday Brunch – Niagara Street Cafe

Niagara Street Café 169 Niagara Street 416-703-4222 Brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $52 I’ve always heard good things about the Niagara Street Café. It’s original incarnation was run by a mother/daughter team who used free-range and organic ingredients. When it transferred hands in 2004, it continued to gain accolades, particularly at […]

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Feeling Brazen

Brazen Head Irish Pub 165 East Liberty Street 416-535-8787 Dinner for two with all taxes, tip and beer: $80 In the still-barren wasteland of culinary choices that is Liberty Village, a beacon has been lit. Yes, yes, there’s Thuet and Liberty Café, but there really isn’t a cozy place with a decent beer selection and […]

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The Orange Glow of the Disco Era

Okonomi House 23 Charles Street West 416-925-6176 Dinner for two with all taxes, tip and tea: $30 Despite its reputation as “Toronto the Good”, our fair city was supposedly quite the hedonistic place during the disco era. Centred around the Yonge Street strip, beautiful young things in white suits or wrap dresses and wedge heels […]

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Yes, We Have Some Bananas

  Johny Banana 181 Bathurst Street 416-304-0101 Dinner for two with all taxes, tip and beer/juice: $35 So I was at one of the many restaurant opening media thingies we get invited to. And while the booze was flowing, the food was sparse, and small when it actually appeared. On an empty stomach, a couple […]

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