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Review: Cellar Door brings the urban trattoria experience to Toronto’s outskirts

(Image: Renée Suen)

(Image: Renée Suen)

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Cellar Door 1 star½
3003 Lakeshore Blvd. W., 416-253-0303
Cellar Door 1 star½
3003 Lakeshore Blvd. W., 416-253-0303

Chef Robert Rubino brings the urban trattoria experience—original cocktails, handmade pastas, wood-burning-oven pizza, seasonal ingredients—to Toronto’s ever-expanding outskirts. A colourful caprese salad with orange and red cherry tomatoes and creamy burrata is a lovely starter.

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Nine reasons to go see b-boys breakdancing to Bach at Massey Hall

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A crew of international b-boys is coming to Massey Hall in October to breakdance to Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier. On its face, it’s an odd proposition. And yet, this particular performance, Red Bull Flying Bach, by the dance crew The Flying Steps, has been drawing capacity crowds around the world since debuting their world tour in 2010. Click on the images below to see nine reasons to go to one of the four Toronto shows from Oct 16-19.

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5 Ways to Dine in Style

Now that celebrity spotting is over, it’s time to be treated like one, thanks to the American Express Platinum Card. And yes, ever-bulging wallet or no, you really do need this card – especially if you’re an avid foodie. Here’s why:
 

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The Dish

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Review: Los Colibris brings sophisticated Mexican cuisine to a touristy strip of King West

(Image: Renée Suen)

(Image: Renée Suen)

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Los Colibris 3 star
220 King St. W., 416-979-7717
Los Colibris 3 star
220 King St. W., 416-979-7717

If your relationship to Mexican food extends no further than taco joints run by gringo hipsters, then it’s time to experience the joys of Mexican cuisine as interpreted by chef Elia Herrera. She presents the dishes of her native Veracruz with technique and polish in a dining room that’s just as sophisticated (the highlight is the bar with its elaborate tile mosaic depicting hummingbirds drinking nectar from flowers).

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Review: strong cocktails and excellent fusion food at Rasa in Harbord Village

Introducing: Rasa

(Image: Megan Leahy)

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Rasa 2 star
196 Robert St., 647-350-8221
Rasa 2 star
196 Robert St., 647-350-8221

The owners of Toronto’s Food Dudes catering, known for trendy comfort-fusion food, have overhauled the Harbord Street space formerly occupied by U of T haunt Momo’s. The subterranean room now resembles a civil war–era cabin, with its exposed pipes, stonework and bulbs, plus ruddy wood cladding. The 50-seat wraparound patio is reason enough to visit, looking out onto the restaurant strip’s sidewalk filled with posh couples stepping out of cabs, cyclists locking up and professorial types walking their doodle mixes. The menu is all over the culinary map: the 20 sharing plates range from delicate and fresh, like Asian-inspired yuzu albacore cubes on squid-ink brioche, to stick-to-your-ribs hearty, like a Korean-Ukranian kalbi steak cabbage roll. That diversity, along with touches of exuberance, make ordering fun, even if it’s difficult to put together a harmonious meal.

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The Dish

New Reviews

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Review: Portland Variety is a low-key surprise on clubby King West

(Image: Jackie Pal)

(Image: Jackie Pal)

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Portland Variety 2 star½
587 King St. W., 416-368-5151

This serene new tapas bar is a delightfully low-key surprise in the middle of the King West fracas. (Imagine the also-good Patria just up the street but without the ostentation and slavish devotion to Iberian purity.) Though you wouldn’t know it on first glance. The pristine white-on-gray room is decked out in neighbourhood-appropriate tufted leather banquettes and marble, and the servers sport hokey gingham shirts bound in old-timey suspenders, but beneath the trendy veneer is a refreshingly simple and down-to-earth Spanish(ish) menu.

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The Informer

Toronto Life Events

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Toronto Life celebrates Stylebook 2014 with red carpet event during TIFF

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George Pimentel Photography

On September 4, Toronto Life celebrated the new Stylebook issue and the annual list of the city’s best dressed. The exclusive, invite-only event was held at the Four Seasons Hotel Toronto and showcased the best of red carpet style on the opening night of TIFF. Guests arrived in their sartorial best, rubbing shoulders with the city’s celebs, athletes, socialites, fashion jet-set and more. In attendance: athlete Dion Phaneuf with wife, actress Elisha Cuthbert; TV stars David Chilton and Arlene Dickinson of Dragons’ Den; designers Dean and Dan Caten of DSQUARED2, Joe Mimran of Joe Fresh, Kimberley Newport-Mimran of Pink Tartan; and model Yasmin Warsame.

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The Goods

Best Dressed

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at our 2014 best-dressed list

Toronto Life Stylebook, which features our annual best-dressed list, is for sale today on newsstands and online, and our invite-only Most Stylish Party happens tonight at the Four Seasons. (You can follow along with the hashtag #TLMostStylish.) If you didn’t make it to the guest list and don’t want to pony up $8.95, you’ll have to wait till later this month to see who we chose and why—but until then, here’s a sneak peek: two behind-the-scenes videos of the photoshoots we did with the 23 Torontonians with inimitable sartorial vision who we’re featuring this year.

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6 Things You Need To Know About Toronto’s Version Of The Hamptons

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Fall in love with BruceGreySimcoe…

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Hike a trail, cycle a back road, take a waterfalls tour or bundle up and take a beach stroll along a wavy shore. Tis the season of fall fairs and festivals and the biggest agricultural fair of all — the International Plowing Match, September 16th to 20th in Ivy. Farmers’ markets and farm stores in BruceGreySimcoe are bursting with the season’s bounty — celebrate the harvest in a BIG way at Port Elgin Pumpkinfest, October 4th and 5th, or be part of the harvesting crew at a local winery. Start a new family tradition at Sainte–Marie among the Hurons’ annual Thanksgiving Harvest Festival.

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The Informer

Sports

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Ten things Jermain Defoe can’t live without

As the new face of Toronto FC, the English striker is leading the club’s drive for its first-ever playoff spot. Here, the 10 things he can’t live without

Ten things Jermain Defoe can't live without

1 | My Bible
I always have one with me. I grew up in a Catholic home, and my family taught me to have faith.

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TIFF 2014

TIFF Guide

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TIFF 2014 Insider’s Guide: Where to Eat, Drink and Party

A highly discerning look at the festival’s hottest hot spots

TIFF 2014: Where to Eat, Drink and Party

The Chase (Image: Dave Gillespie)

Where everything sparkles

The Chase
10 Temperance St., 647-348-7000
The glitzy surf-and-turf room on Temperance Street serves up expense account dining at its finest. Last year, at the after-party for Enemy, Jake Gyllenhaal and Alyssa Miller were holed up in a booth with a view on the fifth-floor terrace, and Isabella Rossellini hung out nearby, laughing with friends, while director Denis Villeneuve schmoozed with Dallas Buyers Club director (and fellow French Canadian) Jean-Marc Vallée.

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TIFF 2014

TIFF Guide

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TIFF 2014 Insider’s Guide: Where to Get Pampered

The best salons, spas and gyms the city has to offer

TIFF 2014: Where to Get Pampered

Stillwater Spa at the Park Hyatt (Image: courtesy of Park Hyatt)

WHERE TO GET A ONCE-OVER

Stillwater Spa at the Park Hyatt
4 Avenue Rd., 416-926-2389
The Park Hyatt isn’t the city’s newest or shiniest hotel, but its spa is one of the best. It’s also one of the most obliging: in response to a VIP request during last year’s fest, staff arranged for an off-menu oxygenating facial and even brought in tanks to pump more O2 into the treatment room. This year’s TIFF package delivers a detoxifying wrap, a smoothing facial and a mask ($513).

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TIFF 2014

TIFF Guide

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TIFF 2014 Insider’s Guide: Where to Go All Out

Over-the-top services that help you do TIFF the way it was meant to be done

TIFF 2014: Where to Go All Out

The Four Seasons

where to live large

The Four Seasons
60 Yorkville Ave., 416-964-0411
The two-year-old hotel is the city’s swankiest spot for a luxury staycation, with iPads in every room, flat-screen TVs embedded in the bathroom mirrors and incredibly attentive staff—they’ve been known to make late-night lingerie runs for visiting starlets. It’s also a prime spot for celebrity gawkery: last year, we saw Paul Haggis partying with Norman Jewison at George Christy’s annual luncheon.

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Victory at Maple Leaf Gardens, and Beyond

loblaws-top-lasagna
Champions have returned to Church and Carlton, once again. In the kitchens of Loblaw’s Maple Leaf Garden’s banner store, executive chef Mark Russell has created restaurant–quality take-home dishes that are garnering international accolades. This spring, after the International Taste & Quality Institute judging panel of chefs, sommeliers and culinary experts awarded the company a Superior Taste Award.

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