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The Dish

New Reviews

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Review: Mata serves good Brazilian bar snacks (and some of the best sliders in town)

(Image: Jackie Pal)

(Image: Jackie Pal)

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Mata 1 star
1690 Queen St. W., 647-691-0234
Mata 1 star
1690 Queen St. W., 647-691-0234

Felipe Faccioli, Tulio Lessa and Patrick Fraser, sharing chef duties, cannily opened their South American restaurant during World Cup, projecting matches on one wall and serving bracingly strong cocktails of Brazilian liquor. Even if you’ve never loved the beautiful game, their menu, composed of elevated sports bar snacks, will win you over.

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The Dish

Drinks

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Cocktails On Fire: the city’s best flaming beverages

There’s nothing subtle about the flaming accents on our new favourite sippers

Where to Drink Now: Cocktails On Fire
Circle Red 1
Sugar and Spice
At Jake Valianes’s ­Prohibition-themed Linwood Essentials, the drink to get is Matilda the Unholy One, which combines ­cardamom-infused mezcal and Peat ­Monster scotch with Cherry Heering, chocolate liqueur, pine­apple and lime. $16. 930 Queen St. W., 647-828-9663.

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The Dish

Food Shops

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Pop-Up Pick: Scandinavian kringles, cremebollers and seedy loaves now available at the Bay on Queen

DanishPastry

For those unschooled in the art of Scandinavian pastry making, a kringle is a kind of flaky pretzel and a cremeboller is a crusty bun filled with custard. Both are currently available at The Danish Pastry House, a small shop that recently popped up at Hudson’s Bay on Queen Street in honour of last week’s visit from the Danish royal family. The bakery, which has a permanent location in Oakville, specializes in wienerbrød (direct translation: Vienna bread), a yeasty puff pastry that shatters into feathery flakes at the lightest touch, and it comes in multiple forms—along with  kringles and cremebollers, the business’s authentically Nordic baking staff churns out høj snegls (snail-shaped buns), tebirkes (poppy seed rolls) and wienerstang (pastry logs filled with custard and almond paste), plus loaves of super-dense Danish rye bread.

The Danish Pastry House, Hudson’s Bay, 176 Yonge St., 416-861-9111

The Dish

New Reviews

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Review: Barsa Taberna’s multicultural tapas menu delivers some inspired dishes

(Image: Megan Leahy)

Barsa Taberna’s sangria cake with compressed melon (Image: Megan Leahy)

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Barsa Taberna 2 star½
26 Market St., 647-341-3642
Barsa Taberna 2 star½
26 Market St., 647-341-3642

Squint in this cavernous underground space late at night and you could be in a new-generation Barcelona tapas bar. At Barsa Taberna, the 19th-century stone arches and rough beams contrast with a backlit wall panel that’s a sexy Rorschach-like study in cobalt, black and white. After-workers and Corktown’s pretty young things suck back pitchers of white and red sangria, the sparkling version bright with cava and fresh berries.

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The Dish

Openings

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Introducing: Saturday Dinette, the healthy Riverdale diner that replaced Hammersmith’s

Introducing: Saturday Dinette

(Image: Gizelle Lau)

Name: Saturday Dinette
Contact Info: 807 Gerrard St. E., 416-465-5959, saturdaydinette.com
Previously: Brunch spot Hammersmith’s
Neighbourhood: Riverdale
Owner/Chef: Suzanne Barr

The Food: Barr used to work as a vegan chef, so she understands food restrictions. Her menu caters to all types of eaters—it includes ribs and beef brisket, but also blackened tofu and millet burgers topped with avocado mousse. Most of her comfort dishes have a healthy twist, like mac ‘n’ cheese made with coconut milk, or “fried” chicken thighs that are actually baked.

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The Dish

Food Shops

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European Quality Meats closing its outlet store
European Meats

(Image: European Quality Meats/Facebook)

 

The butcher, which has been in business for over 50 years, closed its Kensington Market location (now Sanagan’s) in 2012, forcing really devoted fans to traipse out to Etobicoke to pick up cheap steaks and souvlaki at the shop’s factory-outlet store. Soon, that won’t be an option. BlogTO has confirmed rumours that the business has been sold, and that the Etobicoke shop will be closing (a court document dated May 2014 indicates that the company has been involved in bankruptcy proceedings). The future of European Quality Meats & Sausages—and its huge production facility in Brampton—remains uncertain.

The Dish

Stat

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Highly coveted apples are headed to Toronto

1,120,000 lbs

—The approximate weight of all the SweeTango apples that will be available for purchase in Canada over the next two months, according to data provided by Nova Scotia fruit tree cooperative Scotian Gold, the main Canadian grower and seller of the Honeycrisp-Zestar hybrid. (At an estimated three apples per pound, that’s over 3,350,000 apples.) SweeTangos, known for their effervescent crunch, will hit shelves across the GTA sometime next week. Last year’s batch totaled about 800,000 lbs.

The Dish

Drinks

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Labatt marketing memo talks about tricking people into thinking they’re buying craft beer

Untitled-2Earlier this week, Toronto-based beer blogger Ben Johnson obtained and published a marketing memo about Labatt, the once-Canadian beer giant owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev. The document, produced by an outside advertising agency and titled “Fun Craft Connection,” outlines a $2.7 million plan to intentionally mislead people into thinking that Shock Top, one of Labatt’s brands, is actually produced by a small craft brewer instead of a multinational beverage company. The memo reads:

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The Dish

Openings

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Introducing: The Tempered Room, a mouthwatering new patisserie in Parkdale

Introducing: The Tempered Room

(Image: Renée Suen)

Name: The Tempered Room
Contact Info: 1374 Queen St. W., 416-546-4374, thetemperedroom.com, @thetemperedroom
Neighbourhood: Parkdale
Previously: Brown Sugar Bakery
Owner/Chef: Bertrand Alépée, owner of The Tempered Chef catering company and former co-owner and chef at the now-shuttered Amuse-Bouche bistro
Pastry Chef: Tyler Lang, also from Amuse-Bouche

The Food: Gorgeous mousse cakes, bombes, tarts, croissants, custard-filled pastries and flaky éclairs piped with fruity creams and custards, all temptingly displayed in glass cases. (Alépée worked in Paris with Michelin starred chefs Guy Savoy and Alain Ducasse before settling in Toronto, so his French pastries are the real thing.) There are lots of savoury items, too, like cheesy croque monsieur sandwiches and puff pastry tarts topped with caramelized onions and tomato compote. Crusty loaves by Thuet, Blackbird and The Drake Hotel are available for purchase.

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The Dish

Food News

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Loblaws drive-thru, coming soon to Richmond Hill

(Image: JasonParis/Flickr)

(Image: JasonParis/Flickr)

This new service from Loblaws targets a very specific kind of lazy person—the kind who doesn’t mind driving to the grocery store, but would rather not exit their car once they get there. According to the Star, a Loblaws store in Richmond Hill will soon debut a “click-and-collect” program, giving customers the option to pre-order their groceries online, then relax in assigned parking spots while “personal shoppers” load up their cars. (The drive-thru service could come in handy on weekday evenings, when negotiating a cart through a packed maze is the last thing anyone wants to do.) A spokesperson for the grocery chain wouldn’t confirm when the Richmond Hill service will go live, but the click-and-collect parking pad looks pretty much ready to go.

The Dish

Step by Step

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How do you turn root vegetables into fake fish?

How do you turn carrots into lox?

(Image: Giordano Ciampini)

“I’m not an angry vegan,” says Michael Abramson, founder of YamChops, Canada’s first and only “vegetarian butcher.” In fact, though he’s avoided animal products for nearly 40 years, he’s also made a career out of using veggies to replicate the flavours and textures of meat. His College Street deli sells tuna-free tuna salad, fishless fish tacos and strips of bacon made out of coconut flesh. The weirdest item, though, may be Abramson’s vegetarian smoked salmon, which he fashions out of carrots. When he first got the idea for veggie lox, his wife Toni scoffed and said he was going too far. He went for it anyway, eventually perfecting a multistage process to totally transform the lowly root veg.

See how YamChops turns carrots into lox »

The Dish

Food Shops

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Cumbrae’s fancy meat shop is finally opening on West Queen West

(Image: Cumbrae's/Instagram)

(Image: Cumbrae’s/Instagram)

For months now, the imposing cow to the left has been lording over the area surrounding 714 Queen West, on the block between Manning and Claremont streets. The storefront belongs to Cumbrae’s, Toronto’s original hip butcher, and it’s been promising to open for over a year (in fact, Cumbrae’s announced the shop over Twitter in May 2013.) Now, it’s finally happening: the meat supplier’s third Toronto location is debuting tomorrow, September 24, and it looks like it’ll turn out to have been worth the wait. Going by Cumbrae’s Instagram feed, the new shop will have a dedicated “ham bar,” a glass-walled aging chamber crammed with exquisitely marbled animal parts and a special French rotisserie oven for roasting birds on spits—enough cool stuff, we’re guessing, to give the nearby Loblaws meat counter a run for its money. 

The Dish

Food Shops

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Nadège is opening a new patisserie in the PATH

(Image: Renée Suen)

(Image: Renée Suen)

Pastry chef Nadège Nourian’s modern French bakery already has storefronts on Rosedale’s retail row and West Queen West, so the location of this upcoming shop makes perfect sense. The next Nadège outlet will be situated in the middle of the PATH, beneath the busy Richmond-Adelaide Centre, where daytime tower dwellers will find all the stuff that’s made the business such a success: sweet and savoury pastries, sandwiches and rows of multicoloured macarons laid out under glass like edible baubles. The 950-square-foot space won’t have seating, but it will sell plenty of pretty gift boxes, which should come in handy around the holidays (not to mention Administrative Professionals Day in April). The grand opening takes place in mid-November.

The Dish

Food Events

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Feast like a cowboy at Evergreen’s Urban Rodeo

(Images: Urban Rodeo, Edward Pond; Jamie Kennedy, Davida Aronovitch; chicken dish, Renée Suen)

(Images: Urban Rodeo, Edward Pond; Jamie Kennedy, Davida Aronovitch; chicken dish, Renée Suen)

This Saturday, the city’s food lovers will face a difficult choice: spend the night bidding farewell to the three-year-old Toronto Underground Market, or attend the debut of Urban Rodeo and BBQ, a totally new food event hosted by nature-loving non-profit Evergreen (and supported by media partner Toronto Life). The fundraiser will see 40 chefs spread out over 10 culinary stations, each devoted to a different kind of food, including organic chicken from Gilead’s Jamie Kennedy and offal-infused dishes from Buca’s Rob Gentile (other stations include “Wheat,” “Shellfish” and “Pork and Maple”). Best to arrive hungry and take advantage of the themed festivities—mechanical bull rides, lasso lessons, carnival games, music from local blues duo catl and more—before you make the most of your ticket, which includes all you can eat and drink. So, country lovers, ditch the Dakota Tavern for a night and take a rest from the Rock ‘n’ Horse Saloon. The rodeo’s in town.

Sept. 27. $150 (food & drink incl.). Evergreen Brick Works, 550 Bayview Ave., 416-596-1495, evergreen.ca

The Dish

New Reviews

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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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