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Food Events

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Buy tickets today for Hunt Camp’s fourth game-meat feast

(Image: Hunt Camp/Facebook)

(Image: Hunt Camp/Facebook)

Hunt Camp, the semiannual dinner series hosted by Junction Triangle restaurant Farmhouse Tavern, is the stuff adventurous carnivores’ dreams are made of: past iterations of the $200-a-head meal have included plates and platters heaped with all kinds of interesting animal parts—roasted rabbit hearts, whipped trout livers—prepared with care by former head chef Alex Molitz. This fall’s version of the event may be a bit different, since Farmhouse recently lost Molitz to the Hinterland winery in Prince Edward County, but one thing’s unlikely to change: as in previous Hunt Camp “seasons,” this month’s meals will likely sell out quickly. There are currently two confirmed seatings (October 22 and 29), with only eight seats available per meal. Anyone who’s interested may want to set up some kind of reminder for 8 p.m. tonight, which is when the restaurant will begin taking reservations for those 16 coveted spots.

Wed. Oct. 22 & Wed. Oct. 29. $196.50 (tax & tip incl.). Farmhouse Tavern, 1627 Dupont St., 416-561-9114, HuntCampTO@gmail.com, facebook.com

The Dish

Restaurants

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Swish by Han is closed; a new restaurant from the owners of Woods is moving in

(Image: Caroline Youdan)

(Image: Caroline Youdan)

Swish by Han was the upright Dr. Jekyll to Ossington snack bar Oddseoul’s Mr. Hyde. The two Korean-fusion restaurants, both owned by brothers Leemo and Leeto Han, attracted different crowds, with Swish luring a straighter-laced kind of diner (the kind, probably, who’d frown upon a food business that doesn’t have a website, a telephone number or obvious business hours). Unfortunately for those people, Swish is no more. A few weeks back, telltale brown paper appeared in the windows at 38 Wellington Street East, along with the less-than-informative message, “Coming Soon.”

We weren’t able to reach the Han brothers for comment, but we’ve got some intel from another source: Carlos De Veyra, the chef at nearby restaurant Woods, told us that he’ll soon be running the kitchen at a new casual Italian restaurant in the former Swish space. (The business, it turns out, was sold earlier this year to Woods owners Robin Singh and Byron Messier, who also own Pravda Vodka Bar a few doors down on Wellington.) “It’ll be pizza and pasta,” said De Veyra. “We’re putting in marble bar tops and a mobsters’ booth in the corner.” (A mobsters’ booth, apparently, is a big circular booth with a really tall back.) The restaurant doesn’t currently have a name, but it likely will have one soon enough. De Veyra says it’s scheduled to open in just six weeks.

The Dish

Food Shops

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Bobbette and Belle’s pretty pastries are heading uptown

 (Image: Bobbette and Belle/Facebook)


(Image: Bobbette and Belle/Facebook)

Bobbette and Belle, Leslieville’s prettiest patisserie, is soon to open a second location at 3347 Yonge Street, just north of Lawrence Avenue. The bakery is known for its macarons, dainty fruit tarts and fabulous cakes, which range in style from impeccably prim wedding stacks to less traditional creations, like an eerily realistic slab of bacon, or this barbecue-themed birthday spread. According to a recent post on the business’s Facebook page, the new shop will be making its grand debut on Saturday, October 11.

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Step by Step

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How do you turn raw cocoa beans into picture-perfect truffles?

How do you turn cocoa beans into fancy truffles?

(Image: Giordano Ciampini)

David Castellan and Cynthia Leung, the husband-and-wife team behind Toronto chocolatier Soma, have been breathing new life into old machines since 2003. That’s when they opened their tiny chocolate factory in the Distillery District, and began magicking raw cocoa beans into impeccably smooth slabs, bars and truffles. Castellan, a former pastry chef, took a course on chocolate-making before committing to the new business. “I learned to make chocolate from the bean, which no one else was doing at the time,” he says. Even a relatively simple product, like Soma’s dark almond cluster truffles, involves a fairly labour-intensive manufacturing process. Here’s how they do it.

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Drinks

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In Absinthia: where to sip the strong stuff in Toronto

The legendary wormwood liquor of green fairies, severed ears and global bans is in the midst of a revival. Here, three excellent places to sip the strong stuff.

Where to Drink Now: In Absinthia

Geraldine
564 Queen St. W., 647-352-8815
Stepping into the 20s-themed Parkdale parlour is a like taking Owen Wilson’s Midnight in Paris taxi to the belle époque. The pomaded and mustachioed barkeeps shake the most serious absinthe cocktails in the city, like The Lew Field, which muddles Le Clandestine (a blue-hued, Swiss-distilled brand born in 2000), fig syrup and fresh mint with crushed ice in a frosty copper cup. The anise-powered slushy makes a bracing contrast to a plate of briny oysters. $18.

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Restaurants

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La Cubana soon to land on Ossington

(Image: Timothy Franklin)

(Image: Timothy Franklin)

When Corinna Mozo announced the impending closure of her French-Cuban restaurant Delux last June, we speculated (extremely wishfully, and based on zero evidence) that she might be planning on turning the space into a second location of La Cubana, the year-old Cuban diner that’s helped turn Roncesvalles into a trendy dining destination. Amazingly, it turns out we were right. Temporary signage for the new restaurant has gone up at 92 Ossington Avenue, right across the street from Bakerbots spin-off Bang Bang—which may soon have a new rival for longest queues on the strip.

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Food Shops

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Anthony Rose is opening a Jewish “appetizing store” behind Fat Pasha

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(Image: @TOfoodie/Twitter)

It’s funny how food trends happen. One day everyone’s happily eating tacos, the next they’re sipping Manischewitz cocktails and spending $14 on matzoh-ball soup. Traditional Jewish foods (potato latkes, chopped liver) have shown up on the menus at People’s Eatery in Chinatown, Essen on Dundas West and Anthony Rose’s Annex restaurant Fat Pasha, which serves schmaltz fried rice and babka bread pudding. Now, according to Post City, Rose is extending the Jewish theme with Schmaltz Appetizing, a food store tucked behind Fat Pasha in the little coach house that used to house the Indian Rice Factory’s Chai Bar. For those who don’t know, an “appetizing store” is a Jewish specialty shop that sells all the stuff you’d typically eat with bagels, like smoked salmon, whitefish and cream cheese. The new store is scheduled to open later this month, in the week following Thanksgiving.

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Openings

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Introducing: Nuit Social, a new charcuterie bar on West Queen West

Introducing: Nuit Social

Name: Nuit Social
Contact Info: 1168 Queen St. W., 647-350-6848, nuitsocial.com
Neighbourhood: Little Portugal
Previously: Low-key snack bar Happy Child
Owner: Tino Bianchi
Chef: John Rosal, formerly the executive chef at Modus

The Food: The menu is divided between “social boards” (pick-your-own charcuterie, cheeses and olives) and “social plates” (shareable snacks). Meats and cheeses are sourced from all over the world—there’s soppressata from Richmond Hill, salami from Milan and a rosemary-rolled sheep’s cheese from Spain, plus a varied assortment of olives, including a Peruvian option. Traditional Italian plates (arancini balls, crispy artichokes, citrus-braised octopus) round out the menu, which will continue to evolve over time (for instance, chef Rosal is planning to add some Asian dishes, like maple-soy glazed short ribs).

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Free Stuff

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Free poutine in Yonge-Dundas Square

 (Image: Smoke's Poutinerie/Facebook)


(Image: Smoke’s Poutinerie/Facebook)

Wander down to Yonge-Dundas Square this weekend and you’ll not only score some free food, you’ll also get to watch other people cram that same food down their throats for sport. The fifth annual World Poutine Eating Championship, which takes place on Saturday, October 4, will involve two separate feats of digestion—an amateur gobbling contest at 2 p.m. followed by the real-deal professional event at 3 p.m.—plus free poutine from Smoke’s Poutinerie for all spectators. At last year’s event, a guy named Joey “Jaws” Chestnut set a new record by consuming 24 pounds of gravy-soaked fries (48 regulation-sized boxes) in 10 minutes, which could be a spectacle worth seeing—and a rare opportunity to eat tons of poutine while knowing for sure that you’re not the grossest person around.

 

Sat. Oct. 4, 10-4, Yonge-Dundas Square, smokespoutinerie.com

The Dish

Drinks

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Globe-Trotting Whiskies: fermented grain mashes from everywhere but Scotland

Where to Drink Now: Globe-Trotting Whiskies
Everyone knows that Scotland produces some of the best whisky on the planet, but the British isle isn’t the only country making excellent grain-based spirits. Distilleries from unexpected locales—including India, Taiwan and South Africa—are barrel-aging brown liquors infused with flavours and aromas that are distinct to those regions. Here, five world whiskies worth sampling.

Circle Red 1
Amrut put India on the map as a bona fide producer. The Fusion single malt is spicy and tropical with bold peat flavours typically found in a scotch. $78.25. LCBO 220756

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The Dish

Closings

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Ursa on Queen West is closing (or rather, hibernating)

(Image: Liam Mogan)

Ursa’s elk tartare. (Image: Liam Mogan)

Jacob Sharkey Pearce, co-owner and chef of Ursa, announced on Facebook today that his high-concept Canadian kitchen will be shutting its doors at 924 Queen West. Despite some excellent dishes, Ursa always seemed a bit somber next to the strip’s other dining options (Fonda Lola’s family-style Mexican feasts, The County General’s Korean bar snacks), so the news doesn’t come as a total shock—not everyone wants to pay $30 for a wee little entrée, no matter how exquisitely garnished with foraged juniper berries and ox-eye daisy buds. There’s reason to believe that the closure may not be a permanent shutdown; in his very earnest goodbye note, Pearce characterizes the situation as follows:  “It’s now time to hibernate and gather strength for the spring…When we surface from our slumber we will continue the task of discovery—finding better ways to eat and to live.”

The Dish

Openings

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Introducing: Essen, a new spot on Dundas West for brisket, smoked salmon and matzoh-ball ramen

(Image: Caroline Aksich)

(Image: Caroline Aksich)

Name: Essen
Contact Info: 1282 Dundas St. W., 416-534-0407, essentoronto.com
Neighbourhood: Little Portugal
Previously: Quinta
Chef/Owner: Leor Zimerman, who closed his Portuguese-French bistro Quinta earlier this year and reopened the restaurant as Essen.

The Food: Essen serves the kind of food you would’ve eaten at home, if you’d been raised in a Jewish household with a French-trained chef for a mom. Ashkenazi and Sephardic dishes are unfussy but prepared with care by Zimerman, who likes to tweak traditional Jewish staples (matzo ball soup gets a ramen makeover, for example). Though à-la-carte options are available, meals are designed to be eaten family style; Zimerman suggests ordering a main (beef brisket, roast Muscovy duck breast), a veg (tsimmis roast carrots, braised cabbage) and a side (duck fat fries, pearl couscous). Essen isn’t strictly kosher, but they don’t serve pork or shellfish, and meat and dairy never mix.

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The Dish

Free Stuff

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Free beer and burgers in Parkdale

(Image: Christopher Stevenson)

(Image: Christopher Stevenson)

Parts and Labour, the rowdy restaurant and bar responsible for at least some of the intermittent griping about “Partydale” and its community-destroying ways, is throwing a big noisy party tonight in honour of chef Matty Matheson’s new Vice Munchies series, Keep It Canada. According to some shouty tweets from Matheson, free beer and burgers will be available to those who attend—which is pretty exciting because (1) hey, free food; and (2) Parts and Labour’s gooey bacon cheeseburger is one of the best in the city. Brief word of advice: anyone planning to attend might want to swing by early, seeing as “the entire world” has been invited.

 

Thurs. Oct. 2 (doors open at 8 p.m.), Parts and Labour, 1566 Queen St. W., 416-588-7750

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Sponsored Content

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Platinum Dining at Luma Restuarant

setting-top

American Express Platinum members were treated to an exclusive night showcasing an eclectic assortment of Toronto food trends. For Taste from Platinum at Luma, Chef Michael Wilson put his signature spin on street-level culinary trends of recent memory.

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The Dish

Drinks

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Alcoholism is no joke for the LCBO

“The LCBO has no sense of humour.”

Alain Delaet, owner of Belgium’s Brouwerij Huyghe, speaking to the Star about the Ontario liquor seller’s longstanding refusal to stock his most popular beer, Delirium Tremens, on account of its not-entirely-PC name. (Latin for “shaking frenzy,” the term refers to a set of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms experienced by hardcore alcoholics.) According to the Star, the LCBO blacklisted the beer in 2004 and has since refused to reconsider its decision, despite Delaet’s offer to change the label so that it just reads “Delirium.” The Beer Store isn’t such a stickler—the controversial bottles began hitting its shelves this week.

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