I first met Steven Davey, restaurant critic for NOW magazine, more than 10 years ago. I was running a monthly dining group called Gothic Diners in which Toronto Goths gathered for dinner at local restaurants, usually in all their black finery. Davey heard about our group through a friend of a friend and invited Greg and I, along with our friend Siobhan, to join him for dinner. He took us to the newly opened vegetarian restaurant Fressen, because it tickled his fancy to take a bunch of Goths (and our supposed vampire-inspired blood lust) to the one place where there would be no meat.
We hit it off and I soon found myself in “the rotation” – a group of Steven’s friends and acquaintances who were restaurant-positive, and who he would invite to join him for restaurant visits when he was doing reviews. That is, we liked dining out, enjoyed trying new things and could follow his detailed directions on what to order and how not to blow his cover.
He would book reservations under a false name, usually “Frank”, but on occasion he’d forget, and I’d find myself at a hostess stand, perplexed. No “Frank”. Or else I’d be seated, and watch him across the room, listing off the various names he might have used to book the reservation. One night I ran into him in line at the Drake’s BBQ take-out shop, and stood in line yelling “Hi Frank!” repeatedly until I had to walk up to him and poke him.
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.
I hope to hell that my friend Steven Davey compiled this list of meaty dishes from Toronto restaurants over a year’s worth of reviews and didn’t spend the last few weeks running around town on a meat bender. Because this is a list to block arteries. [NOW]
Want a quieter restaurant where people can actually have a conversation? Turn off the music. People will unconsciously talk more quietly because there’s less sound to talk over. [Inside Scoop SF]
If you eat some tasty truffles this year, check to see where they came from. They might just be from Tennessee (where they’ve been deemed to be every bit as good as the Italian ones), and they’ll have been hunted by the most adorable dogs. [Garden & Gun]
Beer lovers have said for years that beer goes better with food, particularly cheese, than wine does. Josh Rubin has the proof. [Toronto Star]
Okay, I’m all about espousing crazy junk food eating at the fair, but deep-fried and on a stick or not, if you wouldn’t normally eat the food plain, why would you eat it battered and fried? To that point – deep fried stick of butter? Come on. [Bites/Today]
But, see… people like to go out for brunch because it allows them to eat foods they wouldn’t, or couldn’t, cook at home.
Many breakfast dishes are fussy, with many ingredients, all cooked á là minute, and if keeping two pots and two frying pans and maybe the oven all under control at the same time isn’t your cup of tea, going out for brunch where someone else can do the juggling for you probably is.