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The Dish

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Review: Dandylion brings intricate, Scandinavian-influenced dishes to Queen West

(Image: Renée Suen)

(Image: Renée Suen)

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Dandylion 2 star ½
1198 Queen St. W., 647-464-9100
Dandylion 2 star ½
1198 Queen St. W., 647-464-9100

Jay Carter spent a decade cooking under Susur and two years as exec chef at Centro before striking out on his own. His dad helped renovate a former bar into a cramped but elegantly understated room of polished concrete, softly lit marble tables, and exposed heritage brick that shows the ghostly traces of long-gone beams and staircases. His first menu is only nine items long and betrays a Scandinavian influence, like a salad of smoked trout, oniony cream, dill, microgreens and salty pops of roe, or cubes of confit chicken under a crunchy blanket of toasted rye. Not all of his experiments succeed: a daily special of white fish is perfectly poached but overpowered by a zealous dusting of smoked paprika. Orange zest and a puddle of crème fraiche elevates a humble walnut tea cake into the sublime.

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The Informer

Culture

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Magical Mystery Tour: a map of Toronto’s fictional murders

Dead bodies are turning up all over the fictional cityscape. We’ve mapped out the grisliest murders in 10 titles

Magical Mystery Tour

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The Dish

Sponsored Content

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Ten Toronto dishes putting innovative spins on traditional cuisine

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The Year of the Ram is all about the f-word: fusion (don’t worry, that’s the last time we’ll use that bad, bad word). Hogtown’s new food obsession mirrors our city’s melting pot makeup. Chefs are concocting mash-ups that combine two—sometimes three, or four—cultures into a single recipe. A rib-sticking gnocchi poutine, for example, combines Italian and Quebecois traditions into a perfectly cheesy mess that’s sure to help you survive the dregs of winter. Here are ten tempting plates that fuse, mix and mash traditional cuisines, creating distinctly Torontonian dishes.

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The Dish

Food Shops

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Top Five: the best scones in the city

Fluffy biscuits are everywhere. Here, the most ingenious twists on the trend

Top Five: Scones

(Image: Ryan Szulc)

1 At Fika, his Scandinavian-style café in Kensington Market, Splendido chef Victor Barry makes the city’s sweetest scones, with cranberries studded throughout and Swedish Dansukker sugar across the golden top. $3. 28 Kensington Ave., fika.ca.

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The Dish

Food Shops

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Top Five: the best local cheeses available in Toronto

Our favourite stinky, small-batch works of art

Top Five: Local Cheese

(Image: Vicky Lam)

1 Margaret Peters of Glengarry Fine Cheese makes Lankaaster, a firm, buttery gouda-style cow’s milk cheese that took top prize at the Global Cheese Awards in Somerset, England, in 2013. $6.50 for 100 grams. Cheese Boutique, 45 Ripley Ave., 416-762-6292.

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The Informer

Features

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Toronto Life’s most popular longform features of 2014

A private school kid gone bad, the night Sammy Yatim died, and how tiny condos became the new family home—here are our most-read features this year

Toronto Life's most-read long-form features of 2014

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The Dish

Restaurants

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Top Five: the best brunch destinations in Toronto

The very best of the Sunday bunch

Top Five: Toronto's best brunch spots

Bar Buca (Image: Dave Gillespie)

1 At Bar Buca, pictured above, chef Rob Gentile mixes fresh pig’s blood into the batter for his crêpes, then slathers them with dark chocolate, cream and a spiced liquor. It’s wacky and ridiculously indulgent. 75 Portland St., 416-599-2822.

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The Dish

Drinks

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Top Five: the best speakeasies in Toronto

These nightspots nail the trendy Boardwalk Empire vibe

Top Five: Speakeasies

Geraldine (Image: Dave Gillespie)

1 At the Parkdale gin mill Geraldine, pictured above, the retro cocktails are a safe choice, but the absinthe fountain is more fun: the emerald elixir is available straight or in a slushie with fig syrup, crushed ice, bitters and fresh mint. 1564 Queen St. W., 647-352-8815.

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The Dish

Restaurants

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Top Five: the best celebration spots in Toronto

The finest venues for popping a cork or popping the question

Top Five: Celebration Spots

The Chase (Image: Dave Gillespie)

1 Two restaurants in a handsome 19th-century building are reviving surf and turf. The Chase’s fifth floor dining room, pictured above, is conspicuously glam, with chandeliers, floor-to-ceiling windows and lovely, view-heavy terrace. 10 Temperance St., 647-348-7000.

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The Dish

Restaurants

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Top Five: the best butchers in Toronto

Boutique meat shops that sell impeccably sourced cuts

Top Five: Butchers

Sanagan’s Meat Locker (Image: Dave Gillespie)

1 Sanagan’s Meat Locker, Kensington Market’s cult-followed butcher shop, pictured above, sells the usual staples (Berkshire and Tamworth pork, dry-aged Angus beef), as well as some more daring proteins, like rabbit, quail and wild boar. 176 Baldwin St., 416-593-9747.

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The Informer

Real Estate

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Tower of Power: who lives where at One Bedford, the new downtown address of choice for uptown potentates

Tower of Power: who lives where at One Bedford, the new downtown address of choice for uptown potentates

(Photographs: Tower by Daniel Neuhaus; Bata, Peaches, Stronach, Hackett, Govani, MacMillan by Getty Images; Jackman courtesy of Province of Ontario; Wente courtesy of the Globe and Mail; Kuwabara by Newswire; McEwan courtesy of Smashing Pictures; Broadbent courtesy of Eventi; Tory by Markian Lozowchuk; Oundjian courtesy of Arts Atlanta)

In the three years since it was completed, One Bedford, the 32-storey monolith above, has become de facto HQ for tastemakers in business, media, arts and politics. Chalk it up to its location at the nexus of three high-rent neighbourhoods, which allows residents to self-identify as posh Yorkvillers, U of T brainiacs or quinoa-munching Annexers as needed. One of the latest big-name tenants to join the party is the mayor. Here’s who he calls neighbour.

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The Informer

Sports

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Sports Gods: which Toronto pro athletes are truly worth their salaries?

Sports Gods: They’re paid a fortune. Who’s worth it, and who’s not

Mark Buehrle

Mark Buehrle, 35
Starting pitcher, southpaw

Paid: $19 million ($37,000 an hour)
Bang for Buck: He’s reliable and not injury-prone, but he’s in the twilight of his career and no R. A. Dickey.

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The Dish

New Reviews

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Review: Yunaghi, the Japanese bistro at Harbord and Manning, is unusual but rewarding

(Image: Renée Suen)

(Image: Renée Suen)

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Yunaghi 2 star ½
538 Manning Ave., 416-588-7862
Yunaghi 2 star ½
538 Manning Ave., 416-588-7862

Before opening this peculiar but ultimately rewarding Japanese bistro, the chef Tetsuya Shimizu spent 12 years studying kaiseki in Tokyo and two years in the kitchen at Yours Truly, the recently shuttered molecular gastronomy restaurant on Ossington. Both inform his set-course dinners of seven or nine dishes, which are by turns traditional (a pot of dashi tea poured tableside over a slice of yellowtail sashimi, the heat of the liquid slowly poaching the luscious fish) and experimental (a Gehry-esque scattering of fall veg—roasted beets, blanched beans, pickled squash—comes dressed with a bacon-infused snow and a tofu–Grana Padano smear). Awkward, inarticulate servers have a tough time explaining each complicated plate’s constituent elements. One night’s highlight: a fantastically tender roast duck breast with rounds of confit leek, their crispy, chip-like exterior hiding a dense and deeply oniony core. Desserts, like a silky panna cotta layered with wafers of crunchy feuilletine, are comparatively simple. The room, formerly J.P. Challet’s Ici Bistro, has been stripped of its francophilia, the only décor an orchid in the window, while the plink-plonk-plink of Herbie Hancock makes an apt accompaniment to the meandering meal.

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The Dish

New Reviews

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Review: Nuit Social is a slice of civilized heaven on West Queen West

(Image: Caroline Aksich)

(Image: Caroline Aksich)

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Nuit Social 1 star
1168 Queen St. W., 647-350-6848
Nuit Social 1 star
1168 Queen St. W., 647-350-6848

The strip of Queen West between Ossington and Dufferin has always needed a grown-up alternative to the late-night pubs, poutine and pizza that feed The Drake’s and The Gladstone’s club crowd. It finally has one. At 11 p.m. on a Friday, you can walk in without a wait, order a glass of off-LCBO wine and build your own charcuterie board. The meats, from Ontario and Europe, include beechwood-smoked speck from Austria edged with gauzy fat, and there’s an excellent selection of small-batch cheeses, like a Wisconsin merlot satori that packs good wine pong, plus five kinds of olives (the lemon-zesty picholines are a must). The fritti are consistently hot, crisp and greaseless, like the killer golf ball–sized saffron arancini, and crackling cornmeal-crusted calamari. Lighter dishes are also well made: tiny brown-butter-fried scallops slicked with butternut squash purée and dotted with delicate Brussels sprout leaves and micro greens, for example. Crumbly New York–style cheesecake, both made and topped with Parmesan, is as dry and weird as an episode of Twin Peaks. Instead, linger over a nightcap around the colourful stained-glass bar, and soak in the blessedly mellow mood amid the neighbourhood’s all-night party.

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