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Restaurants

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U.S. fondue franchise eyeing the GTA
(Image: The Melting Pot/Facebook)

(Image: The Melting Pot/Facebook)

 

American fondue chain The Melting Pot announced earlier this week that it’s “actively seeking franchisees to bring its interactive dining experience to Toronto.” The experience—which is currently available at 135 outlets across the States and Mexico, plus a single Canadian location in Edmonton—involves, as one might expect, dunking various skewered things (breads, meats) into pots filled with cheese, broth, oil or chocolate. (There used to be a Melting Pot location in Richmond Hill, but it closed last year.) This jokey vid provides a primer on the melty wonders potentially in store. [Via Eater Toronto]

The Dish

The Ridiculist

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Six downright silly soft-serve cones from La Carnita spin-off Sweet Jesus

sweet-jesus-intro

(Image: Caroline Aksich)

This wasn’t the summeriest summer ever, but that didn’t stop the team at Little Italy taqueria La Carnita from debuting a new soft-serve side business. The Sweet Jesus pop-up menu, created by executive chef Jonathan Hamilton and his wife Sasha “Frozen” Bogin, has found a temporary home at Home of the Brave, La Carnita’s spin-off diner on King West. (Come spring 2015, the ice cream biz will become its own irreverent entity.) These towering cones (all priced between $3.50 and $7) channel the CNE with their carnivalesque intensity—they’re injected with gooey sauces and topped with everything from roasted marshmallows to tufts of freshly spun cotton candy. Here are all six of Sweet Jesus’s signature cones, ranked in order of sweet-and-sticky silliness.

See all six soft-serve cones »

The Dish

Food News

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Tim Hortons debuts weird Buffalo-sauce doughnut; Gawker calls Canadians “food-confused”

(Image: As Eaten on TV/Twitter)

(Image: As Eaten On TV/Twitter)

The orange beauty above is a Tim Hortons Buffalo Crunch doughnut (a yeast doughnut dunked in Buffalo sauce and crusted with corn chips). It’s being served this weekend at The Great New York State Fair in Syracuse, and some people are weirdly incensed about it. Here’s what Gawker had to say, in a post titled “Is Canada Mocking Us With This Fucking Doughnut”:

This Frankenstein swimming pool…proves that Canadians have a bizarrely passive-aggressive but thoroughly performative sense of humo(u)r. The Buffalo Crunch doughnut is only an embarrassing repeat of the grotesque pizza cake, another misfire by the food-confused Canucks. What are you guys doing up there? Leave our food mashups alone.

According to Global News, the doughnut was invented by a Syracuse franchisee (who is, admittedly, Canadian by birth) and it’s not going to show up on Canadian menus anytime soon.

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Openings

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Introducing: Yunaghi, the Japanese tasting restaurant that replaced Ici Bistro on Harbord

yunaghi-intro

(Image: Renée Suen)

Name: Yunaghi, Gastronomie Japonaise
Contact Info: 538 Manning Ave., 416-588-7862, faceboook.com, @yunaghi_toronto
Previously: Ici Bistro
Neighbourhood: Little Italy
Owners: Yurika (who used to work at Ryoji), and Yasuko Miyata
Chefs: Executive chef Tetsuya Shimizu (formerly the sous chef at Yours Truly and chef-consultant for Ryoji’s recently overhauled menu) and sous chef Koichi Fujioka (Hapa Izakaya in Vancouver)

The Food: Shimizu studied traditional kaiseki—the highest form of Japanese cuisine—for 12 years in Japan before moving to North America. At Yunaghi, he uses French techniques to create modern Japanese food that you won’t find at a ramen shop, izakaya or all-you-can-eat sushi joint. Expect a refined tasting menu ($68 for seven courses; $80 for nine) comprised of dainty, complex dishes like black sesame tofu with wasabi and brown butter powder, or white asparagus dressed with almond glass chips and a paste made of tofu and Grana Padano cheese. For those who’d rather not commit to multiple courses, à la carte options are available on request.

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Step by Step

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How do you turn jellyfish into ice cream?

(Image: Giordano Ciampini)

(Image: Giordano Ciampini)

Olenka Bazowski, the owner of Etobicoke chocolate shop and ice cream parlour Sweet Olenka’s (which recently opened a temporary Queen West offshoot), is surprised by the popularity of her miso-jellyfish ice cream. “It sells out like crazy,” she says. “It’s weird.” Bazowski invented the Cnidaria-spiked cone as a twisted form of payback after she was stung on the ear a few years ago in Cuba. “It was the most painful thing ever. It blistered and hurt for a month and a half. I thought I was going to die.” So, how do you turn a gelatinous sea mammal into a tasty frozen dessert?

See how Sweet Olenka’s makes ice cream from jellyfish »

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Food News

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Burger King buys Tim Hortons; everyone makes the same joke

 

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Closings

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The Coffee Mill closing after half a century
(Image: Renée Suen)

(Image: Renée Suen)

 

The midtown institution began churning out sandwiches and goulash in 1963, back when Yorkville was overrun with banjo-strumming stoners and barefooted mystics. Later, it became a hangout for luminaries like Margaret Atwood, Carol Shields and Leonard Cohen. Now, the 51-year-old business (and the neighbourhood’s least pretentious patio) is closing. According to the Star, the reason for the closure is pretty much what you’d expect. “Not many people come anymore,” said Mashi Kerenyi, who’s worked at the restaurant for 18 years. “They go to Queen West, King West or the Distillery District.” The Coffee Mill will serve its final meals on September 7.

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Openings

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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.

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Recipes

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Recipe: goat cheese panna cotta from Toca chef Gihen Zitouni

Toronto Life Cookbook 2013: Panna Cotta
Toronto Life Recipes | Appetizers
PANNA COTTA
By Gihen Zitouni
Toca
PANNA COTTA
By Gihen Zitouni
Toca

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Stat

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Time to consider selling your Timmies stock

$85.11
—The price per share of Tim Hortons stock on the Toronto Stock Exchange at 1:24 p.m. this afternoon, a more than 20 per cent increase over last Friday’s closing price (shares are currently trading at about $82). The midday surge followed news reports about a possible merger with Burger King that would turn the newly created corporation into one of the world’s biggest and wealthiest fast-food chains.

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Openings

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Introducing: Linwood Essentials, the stylish new speakeasy near Trinity Bellwoods

(Image: Jackie Pal)

(Image: Jackie Pal)

Name: Linwood Essentials
Contact Info: 930 Queen St W., linwoodessentials.com, @Linwood_TO
Previously: Yours Truly spin-off A-OK Foods
Neighbourhood: Trinity Bellwoods
Owner: Jake Valianes
Chef: Ryan Law, who staged at famous Spanish restaurants Tapas 24 and Arzac

The Drinks: Linwood Essentials is run by cocktail enthusiast Jake Valianes, a former bartender who spent a year traveling and tasting cocktails before turning his research into a business. His cocktail menu lists 24 drinks, some of which are rather unusual—a cocktail called “Lunch,” for instance, blends cream cheese infused Amaro with whiskey and black garlic bitters, while the “Artisanal Middle Finger” includes both green chartreuse and a syrup made out of super-concentrated PBR (it’s served in a mason jar and garnished with an orange-rind mustache and a pair of knock-off Ray Bans). Experimental syrups abound, including a particularly mysterious one called “Indian takeout.”

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Restaurants

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Jamie Kennedy signs on at Parkdale brewpub
(Image: Davida Aronovitch)

(Image: Davida Aronovitch)

 

Duggan’s Parkdale Brewery isn’t messing around when it comes to food. Canadian Beer News reports that the Bellwoods-style business, coming this fall to 1346 Queen West, has joined forces with Toronto’s original celebrity chef. As executive chef, Kennedy will “oversee menu development and staffing of the kitchen,” which sounds like a somewhat hands-off role—understandable for someone who already has three major food businesses on the go (Kennedy’s current projects include fine-dining restaurant Windows in Niagara and Gilead wine bar in Corktown). According to a spokesperson for Duggan’s, Kennedy’s brewpub menu likely won’t make its debut until the brewery’s grand opening in October.

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Restaurants

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The Real Jerk is coming to the Beach
(Image: Dominic Bugatto)

(Image: Dominic Bugatto)

 

There was a time, not too long ago, when it looked like the Caribbean restaurant’s days were numbered, so this expansion story is a heartwarming one. Owner Ed Pottinger has confirmed rumours of a second Jerk location opening shop in the Upper Beach. According to Pottinger, the new Jerk will be housed in the former Burger Palace space at 1004 Kingston Road, and will serve all the original restaurant’s staples (chicken, ribs, rotis), plus booze. He wasn’t able to confirm the opening date, but the storefront in question has a sign reading “Oct. 5” propped in the window, so that’s probably something to go on.

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Food News

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It was a trap!
(Image: Veg Food Fest/Twitter)

(Image: Veg Food Fest/Twitter)

 

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.

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Food Events

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Snack on the asphalt at TRES, La Carnita’s annual parking-lot party

BB_LaCarnita1

The scene at DOS in 2013 (Image: Laura Serra)

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

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