That free-corn-dogs-at-Honest-Ed’s thing from yesterday? Apparently, it was all an elaborate ruse designed to get hungry Torontonians to eat some kind of fake veggie meat. That’s right: there wasn’t a shred of real pig in those dogs. In fact, the truth was written right on the sticks, which, once released from their fleshless sheaths, said this: “This little piggy wasn’t a piggy.” It’s a good thing, we suppose, that the force behind the giveaway wasn’t some scuzzy pervert in a trench coat, but instead a wholesome vegetarian enterprise. (The dogs were supplied by all-veg food truck Karma Chamealeon, as a promo for the upcoming Veg Food Fest at Harbourfront.) Ten points for anyone who pegged it as a PR stunt.
The latest buzz on restaurants, chefs, bars, food shops and food events. Sign up for the Dish newsletter for weekly updates. Send tips to email@example.com
Back in 2012, pop-up taqueria La Carnita gave Toronto UNO, a one-night food, music and art party. DOS followed a year later. It should be no surprise, then, that the now-permanent taco shop’s latest offering is titled TRES. (If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?) This Saturday, the College Street restaurant will transform its neighbouring parking lot into a full-fledged concert venue for a daylong hip-hop festival, featuring the likes of Toronto DJ Grandtheft and Calgary duo Smalltown DJs. But the main attraction, of course, will be the food. Along with La Carnita’s Mexican staples, attendees will be treated to barbecue from Home of the Brave, Asian dishes from chef Nick Liu’s brand new DaiLo, and elaborate cones from Sweet Jesus, the host’s seriously indulgent soft-serve side project (just look at one of their early creations). The dance party runs until 10:30 p.m.—if you can still stand up, that is.
Saturday, August 23, 2-10. $20 (food and drink not incl.). La Carnita Parking Lot, 461 College St., 416-964-1555, lacarnita.com
Toronto writer Shawn Micallef believes we should all be thinking a lot more about brunch. His new book, The Trouble With Brunch, was published last month by Coach House Books; it’s part-autobiography, part-history, and part-dissertation, all with the aim of examining the relationship between the weekend ritual and shifting attitudes toward class and leisure. Here’s an excerpt.
In 1895, the English writer Guy Beringer published an essay titled “Brunch: A Plea” in a now-obscure periodical called Hunter’s Weekly. Nearly a hundred and twenty years later, the vision for a new meal that he proposed is as real now as a traditional Sunday roast was in his time. Little can be gleaned about Beringer himself—all searches for further information circle back only to this essay. In a 1998 New York Times article, “At Brunch, the More Bizarre the Better,” author William Grimes attributed the invention of brunch to Beringer and quoted a few passages from the original essay: “Brunch is cheerful, sociable and inciting. It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.”
Just like we do today, Beringer saw the link between brunch and the hangover, writing that having the first meal later in the day on Sunday would make life easier on “Saturday-night carousers.” Beringer differentiated brunch from those English roasts, calling the latter “a post church ordeal of heavy meats and savory pies” while brunch, served around noon, would instead begin with tea or coffee, marmalade and other breakfast fixtures, before moving on to heavier fare. “More than a century later, Beringer’s template for brunch remains as valid as the day it was created, perhaps because, in drafting his culinary declaration of independence, he was not overly specific about what dishes should be served,” wrote Grimes. “He demanded ‘everything good, plenty of it, variety and selection.’ In a postscript, he suggested that beer and whisky could be served instead of coffee and tea, laying down a precedent for the mimosa, the Bloody Mary and the screwdriver.” Satisfaction, a little gluttony and a buzz—the familiar components of most brunches served today. Read the rest of this entry »
Read the rest of this entry »
Well, this is kind of weird. Someone apparently has hundreds of corn dogs they want to give away, and—assuming this whole thing isn’t an elaborate prank or social experiment—they’re planning on making a day of it. According to the information provided at corndogsurprise.tumblr.com, anyone who ventures down the Honest Ed’s alleyway between noon and 3 p.m. tomorrow will receive at least one batter-encased wiener, and hopefully nothing creepier than that. [Via BlogTO]
Friday, Aug. 22. FREE. Honest Ed’s Alley, 581 Bloor St. W., corndogsurprise.tumblr.com
There’s a special niche in the novelty-food market for stuff that’s designed to cost as much as possible, sometimes with little regard for either taste or reason (we’re looking at you, $900 cupcake). The latest is a $77 milkshake from Oshawa-based food truck Hollywood Cone. The “Best Picture” shake looks relatively normal at first glace (well, if you don’t count all the glittery stuff on top), but that’s just an illusion; in fact, the cup is crammed with all kinds of pricey imported chocolate and edible precious metals, thus justifying the double-digit price tag. Owner Joe Kelsey told us that a single shake takes about 30 to 40 minutes to prepare from start to finish, which explains why these puppies need to be pre-ordered at least 48 hours in advance. For anyone who’d like to attempt to craft their own extravagant dessert drink, Zagat Toronto has a step-by-step rundown on how it’s made.
At Rush Lane, the Queen West snack bar and experimental cocktail laboratory, Jordan Bushell and Simon Hooper craft complex beverages using medical lab equipment. A clinical approach, they say, makes more consistent drinks: “the fewer variables we have, the better,” says Hooper. Last week, they came up with the Playa Riviera, a strong, smoky drink that tastes a bit like a vacation. “It was actually one of the cold days last week,” says Hooper. “I thought, where would I love to be right now? Mexico. One hundred per cent. So let’s create a cocktail that embodies the emotional aspect of that—a little heat, a little salt from the ocean, some tropical flavors.” The drink takes about an hour to prepare, using a whole series of hi-tech equipment, and it’s selling now for $20. Here’s how it’s done.
—The average amount paid by the LCBO in salaries and benefits to each of its 6,067 employees in 2012, according to a recent report by the C.D. Howe Institute, a Canadian public-policy think tank. The report’s authors claim, among other things, that the LCBO’s “quasi-monopoly” on provincial liquor sales creates a disincentive to curb costs. They conclude that the gradual liberalization of alcohol sales in Ontario would lead to lower prices for consumers and increased revenue for the government.
Nobody knows how to draw laughs like the legendary Hollywood producer-director Ivan Reitman. Ask him about his new restaurant, Montecito, and things turn serious
You’ve had a wildly successful career as the brains behind comedy classics Animal House, Ghostbusters and Meatballs. Why open a 280-seat mega-restaurant in Toronto?
First of all, don’t call it at mega-restaurant. It’s a series of intimate rooms that serve subtly different purposes and would total 280 seats if every damn one were full. Why I got into it? Two local restaurateurs, Tom and Jordan Bitove, approached me. Plus, I have a condo in Festival Tower and realized there isn’t a place nearby for a great, simple, sophisticated meal at a fair price.
Are you disparaging the Hooters up the street?
I’m suggesting there isn’t a great restaurant in the four-or five-block area.
Your family donated the $22-million plot of land for the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Montecito is around the corner. Have you received any flak from Yorkville restaurateurs for stealing the party?
Ha! No. But that shift was happening for about 15 years before the Lightbox came along, so don’t blame me.
No one knows more about comedy than you. With respect, what do you know about opening a restaurant?
Not much. But as a producer and director, I know how to get something relatively expensive done. I know how to entertain the public, too. Most importantly, I’ve brought in Jonathan Waxman, one of the fathers of California cuisine, to oversee the kitchen.
Tell us about Waxman’s baked Alaska. We’ve heard it’s an exploding marshmallow dessert based on the Stay Puft villain in Ghostbusters.
It’s true. I’m not a big fan of marshmallows, but this one is kind of cool.
Contact Info: 80 Ossington Ave., mamakas.ca, @mamakasTO
Previously: Fancy design shop Ministry of Interior
Owner: Thanos Tripi
Chef: Former Trinity Taverna chefs Seb Yacoubidian and Pierre Restivo
The Food: Mamakas—a term of endearment for “mother”—serves traditional mezze and grilled meats inspired by coastal Greek and Turkish cuisine. Many of the dishes are ones that owner Thanos Tripi grew up with, including flaky spanakopita and whipped taramosalata topped with salmon roe. Among the heartier options, a whole seabass is brushed with latholemono (a classic Greek blend of lemon, olive oil and garlic) and grilled over a hot flame, while lamb-chop lollipops are flavoured with oregano and served with garlicky tzatziki. On the sweeter side, the bougasta brings a tower of crisp phyllo pastry layered with orange semolina custard and topped with a gooey honeyed fig. Read the rest of this entry »
Read the rest of this entry »