All stories by Caroline Aksich

The Dish

Openings

Comments

Introducing: Thoroughbred, a tri-level snack bar and restaurant in the middle of the Entertainment District

Thoroughbred-intro

Name: Thoroughbred Food and Drink
Contact Info: 304 Richmond St. W., 416-551-9221, tbto.ca
Neighbourhood: Entertainment District
Owners: High school buds Ariel Coplan and Jacob Fox, and Robin Kemp
Chefs: Ariel Coplan, the former executive chef at Nyood

The Food: The restaurant is divided into several sections, each with its own menu. The main floor serves smaller plates (fried sweetbreads, kung pao cauliflower), while the second floor offers a more traditional menu of burgers, mains and playful apps, like airy pea fritters served with house-made ricotta and macerated carrots. The chef’s table is reserved for family-style meals, the most lavish of which may be the “Ain’t No Party Like an East Coast Party”—a $250 feast of lobster, clams, mussels, chorizo and sides.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Real Estate

11 Comments

The Chase: They did the near-impossible—landing a house in Toronto, without a bidding war

The Chase: September 2014The buyers: Peter Loewen, a 35-year-old political science professor at U of T, and Yvette Lam, a 35-year-old business development officer at Harbourfront Centre.

The story: After meeting at a David Myles concert and ­dating for two years, Lam and Loewen took a series of quick leaps forward. First, she rented out her Esplanade one-­bedroom and moved into his Distillery condo. Four months later, he proposed while they were on vacation in France. Post-proposal, they started talking about having kids in the next year or two and, in preparation, they decided to trade up. The plan was to hold on to Lam’s condo for the rental income, sell Loewen’s place and search for a house. They set out with a firm $900,000 ceiling and a list of must-haves: an office where Loewen could write, a clean look to match their mid-century modern furniture, and a location within walking distance of good public schools and a subway.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Features

Comments

Best of the City 2014: The ultimate insider’s guide to food, drink, fashion and fun

Best of the City 2014: This year's guide to all things excellent

Torontonians are spoiled by luxury—an inevitable side effect of living in a city where you can book a private chopper to Georgian Bay, nibble on sustainable sturgeon caviar and moisturize with 24 karat gold–flecked lotions. In the past year, however, the city has truly outdone itself, supplying the kinds of outlandish foods, amenities and products that would astonish even the most pampered urbanite. Our team of seen-it-all critics gorged on ornately plated desserts, scoured fashion trucks and baby boutiques, and subjected their bodies to aggressive Russian bamboo massages, all in the quest to bring you this, our annual roundup of Toronto’s best of absolutely everything.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Best of Toronto

4 Comments

Best of the City 2014: Fun

Best of the City 2014: Fun
wild ride

Wild Ride
Rock ’n’ Horse Saloon
250 Adelaide St. W., 647-344-1234
A night at Rock ’n’ Horse Saloon feels like a scene from Footloose: line dancers tap steel-toed boots to Brooks and Dunn, bartenders in 10-gallon hats pour beers, and a rotating slate of heart-on-sleeve country crooners twang their guitars on stage. The bar’s most gimmicky (and awesome) attraction is a mechanical bull that thrashes, bucks and throws riders into a pit of blessedly soft padding—an ­indignity best cured with another shot of Knob Creek. For saddle-shy spectators, the bull-­riding competition on Tuesdays is better than Netflix.


Read the rest of this entry »

The Goods

Best of Toronto

Comments

Best of the City 2014: Home

Best of the City 2014: Home
Showstopping led lights

Lightform
267 Niagara St., 416-745-5656
Homeowners like LEDs because they reduce energy bills; designers like that their slim profile and low operating temperature make unconventional forms possible. At Lightform’s showroom on Niagara, boundary-pushing options range from an Ares light shaped like a giant bulb to a polished aluminum bar by Philippe Starck. The most arresting of the lot: designer Ron Gilad’s series of ring-shaped tubes, which appear to pierce the walls like hooped earrings.


Read the rest of this entry »

The Goods

Best of Toronto

3 Comments

Best of the City 2014: Style

Best of the City 2014: Style
Everything Bag

Want Apothecary
1070 Yonge St., 416-924-8080
True to its name, the new storefront from the Montreal brand Want Les Essentials de la Vie is styled like a Victorian drugstore—albeit one that carries bergamot-scented Swedish lotions and myrtle-infused face balms. Beyond the cosmetics counter, however, is a collection of exquisitely crafted goods: Swiss-made rose gold watches, shredded Acne moto jackets and some of the city’s finest handbags. Our summer favourite is a tote in cobalt waxed cotton and white leather—a statement bag that’s still hardy and roomy enough to withstand a day at Ward’s Island. $575


Read the rest of this entry »

The Dish

Best of Toronto

Comments

Best of the City 2014: Food

Best of the City 2014: Food
Modern raw bar

Yasu
81 Harbord St., 416-477-2361
In a narrow white room, chef-owner Yasu Ouchi delivers glistening sushi, one piece at a time, to 10 guests seated at a marble-topped bar. Yasu is the city’s first sushi-only omakase restaurant, and as at other tasting menu–driven spots, you give yourself over to the chef’s whims. Ouchi and his one sous bring Jiro-like fanaticism to the 20-course experience, offering fresh cuts of fish and shellfish draped over perfectly ­seasoned rice. One night he served up a plump scallop lightly torched for sweetness and dressed with yuzu ­vinaigrette, then ­mackerel with ­pickled radish and scallion, then salty, foie gras–like monkfish liver with a julienne of shiso leaf. And on and on and on. Seatings at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., reservations a must. $80 per person.


Read the rest of this entry »

The Dish

Openings

14 Comments

Introducing: Braised, a new Leslieville bistro from the owner of Lolita’s Lust

(Image: Caroline Aksich)

Click to view gallery (Image: Caroline Aksich)

Name: Braised
Neighbourhood: Leslieville
Contact Info: 896 Queen St. E., 416-519-6280, braised.ca
Previously: Bistro 896, which lasted less than a year in the space
Owner: Sam Scanga, who also owns the Danforth stalwart Lolita’s Lust
Chef: Candace Chase (Trinity Taverna)

The Food: As the name implies, most of the food served at Braised undergoes some form of braising (i.e. searing, followed by simmering in liquid) before being plated. The menu veers toward traditional Euro fare (bruschetta, calamari, braised lamb shoulder), but chef Chase flexes her creative muscles with some less conventional dishes, like braised pork-cheek croquettes with cranberry coulis and tartar sauce.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Dish

Openings

Comments

Introducing: Eastside Social, a new Maritime-themed restaurant near Queen and Carlaw

Introducing: Eastside Social

Click to view gallery

Name: Eastside Social
Neighbourhood: Leslieville
Contact Info: 1008 Queen St. E., 416-461-5663, eastsidesocial.ca
Previously: Italian bakery and brunch spot The Upper Crust
Owners: Former Ruby Watchco co-owners Cherie Stinson, of Restaurant Makeover fame, and her husband Joey Skeir
Chefs: Chris Mentier (Céilí Cottage) is helming the kitchen with the help of Stefan Skeene (Ruby Watchco)

The Food: Born-and-bred Haligonians Stinson and Skeir wanted to bring Maritime cuisine to Toronto’s east side. Rather than sticking to straight-up Scotian food, the menu lists coastal fare from spots around the globe, including Peru (sea bream ceviche with pink grapefruit), Portugal (cod croquettes), Mexico (surf-and-turf tacos) and New England (clam chowder). There are also a few contemporary British dishes, like a Yorkshire-pudding poutine swimming in rich demi-glace.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Dish

Openings

3 Comments

Introducing: Patois, a new destination on Dundas West for Asian-Caribbean street food

Neighbourhood: Trinity Bellwoods
Contact Info: 794 Dundas St. W., 647-350-8999, patoistoronto.com
Owner/chef: Craig Wong, who trained in Heston Blumenthal’s Michelin-starred restaurant Fat Duck and spent a decade cooking for Toronto’s elite at Luma and Senses before deciding he was bored with fussy food

The Food: Wong draws upon his Jamaican-Chinese heritage for inspiration, but his menu doesn’t stick exclusively to Caribbean and Cantonese flavours. There’s also roasted Portuguese chicken with jerk spices, pierogi potstickers doused with kimchi sour cream and “dirty fried rice,” which adds a Cajun kick to the Chinese takeout staple. On the lighter side, a classic Waldorf salad gets a Pacific makeover with wakame (i.e. seaweed) and sesame.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Dish

Openings

1 Comment

Introducing: Lucky Red, the new bao shop from the Banh Mi Boys brothers

Name: Lucky Red
Neighbourhood: Chinatown
Contact Info: 318 Spadina Ave., 416-792-8628, luckyredshop.com
Previous Tenant: Vietnamese sandwich shop Cali Banh Mi & Che
Owners/Chefs: David, Phil and Peter Chau, the fraternal trio behind Banh Mi Boys

The Food: Thirteen different bao-style sandwiches, each served on a steamed-milk or egg-baked bun. Fillings range from relatively typical (XO-doused fried oysters, five-spice barbecue pork) to decidedly nontraditional (beef brisket slathered in ballpark mustard, marshmallow s’more). For the bao averse, there are also lo-mein bowls topped with pork belly or barbecue chicken.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Real Estate

2 Comments

Cabin Fever: five Toronto buyers let loose in cottage country

Toronto’s real estate mania is spreading to cottage country, making prime spots on the water increasingly tough to get. Here, five city buyers who managed to snag an idyllic getaway

Cabin Fever: five Toronto buyers let loose in cottage country
She’d wanted the cottage next to her parents’ place in the Rideau Lakes since childhood. Decades later, she finally got it

Read the rest of this entry »

The Dish

Restaurants

3 Comments

McPretenders: seven Toronto takes on the mighty Big Mac

Toronto’s obsession with fancy fast food isn’t new, but it’s growing. As the city’s snack bars multiply, so too do the options for sloppy, greasy, delightfully trashy food—including multiple homages to the McDonald’s Big Mac. (Maybe they all got inspired back in 2011?) Once we started looking, they were everywhere: fancy faux Macs in burger, bao and even pizza form. Here, seven Toronto takes on the king of fast-food burgers.

See all 7 Macs »

The Dish

The Ridiculist

15 Comments

Nine things you can get at Toronto’s new all-bacon restaurant (from least to most ridiculous)

Introducing: Bacon Nation

Click to view gallery

Two years ago, Bacon Nation combined two of Toronto’s great guilty pleasures—bacon and deep-fried fairground food—to much fanfare (and really long CNE lines). Now, brothers Andrew and Dan Motta have graduated from snack booth to downtown storefront. Bacon Nation will officially open on Canada Day, but we were curious to see what kind of bacon-on-bacon action was going down at their new shop, so we dropped by for a preview. Here are nine items on the menu, ranked in order of bacon-y ridiculousness.

Bacon Nation, 170 Spadina Ave., baconnation.com

See all 9 dishes »

The Dish

Openings

3 Comments

Introducing: The Bristol, a new pub and curry house in The Great Hall on Queen West

food5

Name: The Bristol
Neighbourhood: Queen West
Contact Info: The Great Hall, 1087 Queen Street W., 647-716-6583, @BristolYardie, facebook.com
Owners: Former Bristol Yard owner Davy Love and Nav Sangha, owner of The Great Hall and Wrongbar
Chef: Love is still the exec chef, but he’s hired his old culinary-school pal, Joice Phillip, to act as head chef

The Food: Fans of the Christie location will recognize a similar lineup of British brunch dishes and other pub standards (bangers and mash, shepherd’s pie). New to the menu are five British-style curries, each made with a classic BIR (i.e. British Indian Restaurant) gravy that takes 17 hours to prepare. The curries range from mild to “hallucination-inducing”—the Phall of the Empire curry, for instance, is spiced with ghost peppers.

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement