Toronto temperatures are dipping to that Montreal sub-zero, nasty frost-bite uncomfortable. It’s when leggings aren’t enough if they aren’t fleece lined or you forego looks and acquiesce to looking puffy (multiple thermals layered beneath chunky wool sweaters). “Ok fine! You win Winter!” Ugh, I have the worst static-y hair when I remove my trapper hat. When they issue an extreme cold-weather warning, you best listen. And if you haven’t declined all socials in exchange for the warmth of that duvet taco as my friend P calls it, you better have a damn good reason for stepping outdoors. Buuuuut delicious food is always a good reason, non? We’re reallyx3 lucky in Toronto to have a plethora of dining options to keep our tastebuds sated. Even if I’m frrreeeezing, at least my tummy is full of warm food. Here are a few of my fave Toronto cozy spots that you can bundle up for:
The Federal (1438 Dundas West) – There is a hotbed of dining options on the Dundas West strip. This charming restaurant serves up brunch, sandwiches and late-night noshes and cocktails. Recently, popped in for brunch with my friend A and we almost licked our plates… that good! They were sold out of Belgian waffles but there were so many delightful options that we needed a few extra minutes to edit our selections.
This End Up (1454 Dundas West) – Very close to the first option, this sandwich and cocktail joint is a hidden gem. I reallyx3 shouldn’t be telling you about it. You can have the most delectable dinner without breaking the bank. This diner offers a 50/50 variety of vegetarian and carnivore lovers options but everything on the menu is beyond expectation like Kimchi chili fries, Daal Frites, Tofu Tacos or my perennial favourites the Baja Fish. I am always surprised with the bill because it’s never over $50, everrr!
The Good Son (1096 Queen St. West) – This eclectic English library-meets den from Top Chef Canada finalist Vittorio Colacitti brings a mix of rustic Italian favourites and fusion cuisine. This is an open space (occupying the former Nyood), with an inviting old-fashioned cocktail bar, leather banquettes and high tables; diners can watch all the action through the open kitchen.
February 15, 2015 No Comments
I love Roncey. On the western edge of the city, the happening stretch of Roncesvalles between Howard Park and Queen Street is a pedestrian friendly neighbourhood overflowing with gourmet restaurants, cozy cafes, independent retailers and fresh fruit markets. I was really lucky to accompany my friend D on a foodie lovers walking tour in the summer hosted by Yellow Pages Taste Your Neighbourhood & the Roncesvalles BIA. My friend and I were the requisite tour girls who lagged behind sampling and buying everything. Ahem, we were taking one for the team and supporting local. Yeah we were.
La Cubana (392 Roncesvalles Ave.) – With its retro green and red subway tiled walls and open kitchen, this Cuban style diner is charming and funky. The menu boasts an overwhelming selection of diner favourites with a latin twist. Of course there is the Cuban sandwich, corn frituras and empanadas. Try them brunch or dinner.
Barque Smokehouse (299 Roncesvalles Ave.) – You would think as a vegetarian I wouldn’t be into it but the smell of those baby-back, baby-back ribs almost turned me carnivore. But alas, I lived vicariously through my friend S who tried the sampler of ribs, chicken, brisket and Italian sausage. I had the plank salmon with a variety of sides which included heirloom tomato salad, panko crusted penne n’ cheese and bbq-spiced French fries. We didn’t talk for half an hour because we were too busy eating.
The Mercantile (297 Roncesvalles Ave.) – Gourmet meets giftshop. If someone wants to buy a gift or surprise dinner party guests with something to ‘ooh and ahh’ over, you will find an array of specialty snacks, artisan teas, chocolates and preserves galore in this treasure bursting pantry and sweet boutique.
October 13, 2014 No Comments
Sometimes I can’t help myself. I can be self indulgent and impulsive — both common traits of Geminis. Though I am planning a holiday trip, I could not resist a Fall mini-break to New York with my sister. This travel compulsion trumps any chocolate addiction. I can often lure a few friends to tag along because they know I love to plan a) brunches/dinners b) shopping c) activities involving champagne spritzers/Riesling and in general I up the ante on my comedy game. More fun? Yes please!
I was feeling nostalgic so the theme of our trip was throwback. I tried to mix in a little of this and little of that, some places that we used to haunt and some new ones to keep it fresh.
Cafeteria (119 7th Ave.) – We were just babies when we used to come here. Do you remember China Club? Carrie loved it. Still open 24 hours, good for brunch mimosas, great for after the bar comfort food. Mac n’ Cheese is still on the menu.
Nobu NY (105 Hudson St.) – There’s a reason people come back for chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s new style Japanese cuisine. Spaces are warm, subdued and elegant. The Tribeca location is the original (famously backed by Robert de Niro) which opened in 2004. With imaginative dishes and high quality sushi I’m like ‘whoa.’ This is saying a lot coming from a vegetarian who detests raw things.
Ladurée (398 West Broadway, Soho) – A Parisian tea room with a glass case of patisserie and candy-coloured rainbow of macarons await.
Stanton Social (99 Stanton St.) – My friend S said, “Lower East Side is the new Meatpacking.” That makes me giggle. There’s still a bit of grungey edge to LES but I like when the sketch intermingles with trendy spots. Keeping it real. Celebrity chef Chris Santos’s menu is a mashup of ethnic tapas from Kobe beef sliders to Nori Spice Tuna Wonton and Summer Squash Ravioli. Try Monday nights if you want a downtown crowd.
October 4, 2014 No Comments
Hmm, not sure that I know anyone that isn’t kind of, sort of, obsessed with Beyoncé. And if you told me otherwise, I would serve you some talk to the hand, “Girrl, you be craaazy.” My Ticketmaster alert did not go off because, duh, I forgot to set her as one of my favourites. Sometimes I can be such an imbecile *wink* but I didn’t waste any sad faces when I found out her shows were sold out. With my sunny disposition, I had a profound belief that if there’s a will, there’s ALWAYS a way. Trust. (the secret)
Mentioning my lack of Beyoncé tickets at the lunch table, my friend S was all about it. Step 1 Find a concert partner in crime accomplished. A few weeks later, in a follow up chat we decided we should probably be putting more effort into finding tickets. Then as luck should have it, new tickets were released. Step 2 Get tickets close enough to see B booty shake, hair flip, sweat, etcetera, etc. A done deal. Such are the spoils of fate. Never give up!
Perhaps you want to brush up on your hip hop – See 47 of Beyoncé’s Absolute Best Dance Moves on Buzzfeed.
November 17, 2013 No Comments
I was walking past a sandwich board for a comedy bar and it read, “Better than Netflix.” Confession: My subscription to Netflix has contributed to my blogeress hiatus. Thus, I should have limitless celluloid fodder on which to base many a post. Nothing peaks my curiosity quite like a good documentary! You too? Nerdy.
There’s just something about the human experience that gets me. Oh yes, I am a private movie watching crier.
Brooklyn Castle – This documentary focuses on 5 unlikely young chess prodigies attending inner city junior high IS 318, a school recognized for winning the most national championships. The story of these students is remarkable because it shows their passion in winning chess as a reflection in their personal determination to attain higher education and rise above circumstance. A truly inspirational story about underdogs!
No Impact Man – A NYC journalist, Colin Beaven and his family decide to reduce their environmental footprint by producing less waste, consuming less and eating local. I found the premise to be an interesting social experiment and very entertaining to watch. The wife goes on a shopping shame spiral before they embark on their year-long adventure and the husband deals with a public backlash as he publicizes his sustainable lifestyle.
Farmageddon, Vegucated & Food Inc. – Growing up, I was chowing down on chicken nuggets and porkchops. I never thought I would be a mostly dairy and gluten-free vegetarian. Last December, I went on detox (was already lacto-ovo by then) and became obsessed with food docs. These are eye opening exposes on food production (insert super-tear). If you love ribs or chocolate milk, NEVER watch these movies or it will be like that time Neo took the red pill in the Matrix. Trust. But for you GOOPs, go right ahead.
July 24, 2013 No Comments
French bon vivant (literally “one who lives well, good ‘liver’ (living person)”), from bon (“good”) + vivant (“person who is living”), agent noun of vivre (“to live”). A person who enjoys the good things in life, especially good food and drink; a gal about town. We are lucky, non?
I subsist on a diet of salad, vegetables, fish and when I’m feeling very naughty, gluten-free hummus chips. When I indulge in food and drink on the weekends, I love to try new restaurants, share a dessert, let my foodie friends feed me multi-course meals, have a glass of champie here, maybe a cocktail over there.
Here are my foodie & drink obsessions au moment:
- Fro-yooooo: There is a frozen yoguort resurgence of late. Remember when the only choice we had was Yogen-Fruz? Soooo boring! My cravings started in LA where the DIY fro-yo craze has a shop on every corner. Lately, I have noticed the Yogurty’s chain popping up like dandelions. I love dispensing my own red velvet, dulce de leche, swirled with pumpkin, stacked with strawberries, nuts and a dash of Reese bits. Tummy ache!
- Lobster-Mania – Lately, I’ve been craving lobster ALL the time. They make a delicious lobster ravioli at Brassaii (461 King St. West). I feel like lobster might get all trendy like poutine. That would be fan-tastic!
- It’s A-OK to drink at 11:01Am – If you asked for a morning cocktail at 10:59am, well the disgrace on your waiter’s face. In the summer, I think a morning champagne spritzer or prosecco is quite delightful when lunching al fresco. There are some lovely patios hidden like secret gardens that you could enjoy one of these refreshing afternoon drinkie-drinks such as Hacienda (640 Queen St. West) or The Harbord Room (89 Harbord St.)
August 8, 2012 No Comments