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Drinks

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Steam Whistle debuts dial-a-bottle for downtown Toronto

(Image: Mihnea Stanciu/Flickr)

(Image: Mihnea Stanciu/Flickr)

Here’s a potential solution for people who don’t live in reasonable proximity to an LCBO or Beer Store, or for anyone who’s just incredibly lazy. Steam Whistle Brewery has introduced a new beer-delivery service, and it’s 100-per-cent free (the delivery part, at least—you have to pay for the beer). There are other alcohol-delivery outfits in Toronto, but they all change a premium for door-to-door booze. Steam Whistle’s service is somewhat limited for now: it operates on Thursday and Friday evenings from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., and the delivery area is fairly circumscribed (it doesn’t extend east of Yonge or west of Bathurst). Also, unlike some of those shady dial-a-bottle operations from the late-90s, the Steam Whistle version is unlikely to be useful in the underage-drinking department (a rep for the brewery confirms that drivers will check the IDs of anyone who appears to be under 30). Still, the service could be helpful in unexpected beer emergencies. The options include a 12-pack of bottles for $25, a case of cans for $50, or, for $23, a ten-beer “Can Van” (bonus: it comes in a fun box that looks like a van). [Via BlogTO]

 

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New Reviews

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Review: Peoples Eatery (mostly) lives up to the buzz

Review: People's Eatery

(Image: Caroline Aksich)

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Peoples Eatery 1 star½
307 Spadina Ave., 416-792-1784
Peoples Eatery 1 star½
307 Spadina Ave., 416-792-1784

The owners of 416 Snack Bar have replicated the bourbon-jacked buzz that made their first place so fun. Peoples fills up in the after-work hours with Bay Street freshmen and chic young women flaunting bandeau bras, sleeve tattoos and status handbags. The dishes, made by the wandering former Top Chef contestant Dustin Gallagher, are divided between Chinese-American snacks and Jewish deli staples to represent the neighborhood’s dual heritage.

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Quoted

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Toronto chef Matty Matheson: “We don’t want a 45-year-old food writer to understand what the fuck we’re doing”

“First time I got a review, I was like, Œoh, you get reviews? Like I didn’t even fuckin’ understand that stuff…We don’t want a 45-year-old food writer to understand what the fuck we’re doing.”

Matty Matheson, the notoriously hard-partying (but recently reformed) chef and owner of Parts and Labour in Parkdale, speaking to the Chefs Feed Network about why he isn’t interested in the opinions of middle-aged restaurant reviewers. You can go here to watch the full three-minute interview.

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Recipes

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Recipe: Campagnolo chef Craig Harding’s incomparable spaghetti all’amatriciana

Toronto Life Cookbook Recipe: Spaghetti All'Amatrciana
Toronto Life Recipes | Entrees
SPAGHETTI ALL’AMATRICIANA
By Craig Harding
Campagnolo
SPAGHETTI ALL’AMATRICIANA
By Craig Harding
Campagnolo

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Restaurants

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Toronto has two new downtown food-truck hubs

Introducing: Hogtown Smoke

(Image: Karolyne Ellacott)

No thanks to city council, Toronto food-truckers seems to be doing okay. More than okay, actually. In the past couple weeks, they’ve banded together to form two semi-permanent snack venues, both set up on private lots. On the east side, there’s Food Truck Alley, a Wednesday-through-Friday lunchtime hub located on a wedge of asphalt at Queen and Jarvis streets (there’s currently only room for two trucks at a time—so, baby steps). Servicing the west side is King West Eats, a larger operation that’s open seven days a week, for lunch and dinner, in a parking lot near Adelaide and Brant streets. It’s not exactly an east-west rivalry (Toronto food truckers are a pretty tight-knit bunch), but downtowners will have to decide where they want to pledge their lunchtime allegiance. Or, you know, just go to whichever one is closer to work.  A complete Toronto food-truck calendar is available here.

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Openings

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Introducing: Eastside Social, a new Maritime-themed restaurant near Queen and Carlaw

Introducing: Eastside Social

Click to view gallery

Name: Eastside Social
Neighbourhood: Leslieville
Contact Info: 1008 Queen St. E., 416-461-5663, eastsidesocial.ca
Previously: Italian bakery and brunch spot The Upper Crust
Owners: Former Ruby Watchco co-owners Cherie Stinson, of Restaurant Makeover fame, and her husband Joey Skeir
Chefs: Chris Mentier (Céilí Cottage) is helming the kitchen with the help of Stefan Skeene (Ruby Watchco)

The Food: Born-and-bred Haligonians Stinson and Skeir wanted to bring Maritime cuisine to Toronto’s east side. Rather than sticking to straight-up Scotian food, the menu lists coastal fare from spots around the globe, including Peru (sea bream ceviche with pink grapefruit), Portugal (cod croquettes), Mexico (surf-and-turf tacos) and New England (clam chowder). There are also a few contemporary British dishes, like a Yorkshire-pudding poutine swimming in rich demi-glace.

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Restaurants

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Fine China: Susur Lee’s Luckee is a crowd-pleasing slam dunk

For his new dim sum hot spot, Luckee, Susur Lee scaled back his signature esoteric fusion in favour of good old-fashioned Chinese food

Fine China

Clockwise: Luckee’s glowing sign is a beacon on this sleepy block of Wellington; Luckee was designed to evoke an old Chinese drugstore, with tiled floors and apothecary cabinets; Diners can perch on red lacquered stools and watch Susur at work in Luckee’s open-concept dim sum kitchen

Luckee 2 star
328 Wellington St. W., 416-935-0400
Luckee 2 star
328 Wellington St. W., 416-935-0400

As weekend rituals go, the leisurely dim sum pig-out is hard to beat. I’ve chop-sticked my way through the encyclopedic menus of Markham strip mall banquet palaces, waited for a table with a lake view at Queen’s Quay Terminal’s Pearl, and arrived underdressed for the crystal chandelier and gold leaf Versailles that is Crown Princess on Bay. For years, I had a standing appointment with a group of old friends at Spadina’s suspiciously cheap Bright Pearl, before it closed in a cloud of steam carts and rumours of sanitation violations. Dim sum is the best cure I’ve found for a hangover—all those greasy dumplings and watery pots of steaming tea, and everyone too busy ­grazing to keep up a serious conversation. In general, I’m not too fussy about where I go—at reputable spots, one siu mai is as springy as the next. I mostly measure the quality of a dim sum place by how frequently the grannies (and they’re always grannies—it must be a law) circle your table with their trolleys.

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Food News

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What do you think about the proposed new food-nutrition labels? Health Canada wants to know

(Image: Health Canada)

(Image: Health Canada)

The Nutrition Facts tables on Canadian food products may be getting a fresh new look. Earlier this year, Health Minister Rona Ambrose asked a bunch of Canadians what they liked and disliked about the way ingredients and nutritional stats appear on food products sold in Canada. The results were summed up in a report, which was published last month. Now, the minister has unveiled the prototype for a new, improved Nutrition Facts table. Aside from font and layout tweaks, there are a few significant changes. They include the addition of a separate “percentage of daily value” stat reflecting the total amount of sugar in a given food, and the grouping-together of sugar-based items on ingredient lists (so that complicated chemical names like “dextrose” and “maltodextrin” don’t fly under the radar). The change that’s likely to make the greatest impact, though, relates to portion sizes, which would finally become consistent among similar types of products. An online consultation process on the proposed new labels will run for the next 60 days, until September 11.

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Free Stuff

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Free food on Dundas West

(Image: Ossington Station/Facebook)

(Image: Ossington Station/Facebook)

Apparently, there is such a thing as a free lunch, and it’s happening this Thursday, July 17, in Little Portugal. Between noon and 5 p.m., The Ossington Stop, the new transit-themed snack bar that replaced Arrow Café at 1164 Dundas West, will be ingratiating itself with area residents by giving a bunch of stuff away for free. Passersby will be able to choose between three complimentary plates: honey-garlic chicken and waffles, barbecue ribs with slaw, and steamed Russian buns stuffed with pork and cabbage.

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Openings

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Introducing: Mr. Ciao, a new Italian restaurant on Gerrard from the owners of AAA Bar

Name: Mr. Ciao
Neighbourhood: Riverdale
Contact Info: 598 Gerrard St. E.,  416-901-8711,  mrciao.ca, @MrCiaoTo
Owners/Chefs: Racquel Youtzy and Tiziano Pivetta, who also own AAA Bar on Adelaide

The Food: Situated smack in the middle of Chinatown East, the pizza-pasta joint offers a handful of homey Italian dishes—deep-fried olives, seafood linguini—as well as less conventional items, like mozzarella-stuffed “egg rolls” and Peking-duck pizza topped with wasabi peas. The restaurant’s specialty is pizza fritta, a Neapolitan street snack that takes all the gooey decadence of regular pizza and adds a crunchy, deep-fried crust (the Mr. Ciao version is hand-stretched, flash-fried and finished in a stone oven). For dessert, there’s an Italian take on churros: sticks of fried pizza dough rolled in cinnamon sugar and topped with scoops of maple ice cream.

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Food Shops

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Stock in Trade brings handmade sausages and fried-tofu sandwiches to the Danforth

(Image: Gizelle Lau)

(Image: Gizelle Lau)

Take a stroll through Greenwood Village and you might just spot a pig being butchered in the window of Stock in Trade, Toronto’s newest “haute” meat shop (and further evidence of the Danforth’s ongoing culinary revitalization). The shop, which opened just over a month ago, specializes in hormone- and GMO-free proteins sourced from local farms, plus homemade sausages, marinades and ready-made dinners, like whole roasted chickens and mac ‘n’ cheese. Most enticing, though, are the sandwiches: soft buns piled with thick-sliced pastrami and caramelized onions, or fried sweetbreads with pickled veggies. There are even options for vegetarians, like a crunchy tofu patty topped with slaw and hot-pepper sauce.

Stock in Trade, 1272 Danforth Ave., 416-792-5059, @stockintradeto

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Food Events

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Pop-Up Pick: Tori’s Bakeshop in the Beach hosts a surprisingly decadent vegan dinner party

(Images: Tori's Bakeshop/Facebook)

Some of the sweet and savoury creations available at Tori’s Bakeshop. (Images: Tori’s Bakeshop/Facebook)

Tori’s Bakeshop, the pretty little bakery in the Beach, makes great peanut-butter brownies, lemon tarts and grilled-vegetable sandwiches—all of which happen to be devoid of dairy, eggs and, for the most part, gluten as well. Last summer, owner Victoria Vaccher’s plans to open a wine bar in the same space met with opposition from a disgruntled neighbour, making it tricky to secure a liquor license. Things appear to have worked out, though, because next week the bakeshop will be celebrating its soon-to-commence evening activities with a pop-up vegan dinner party. Even skeptical carnivores may be impressed by the five-course menu, which doesn’t list a single sprouted veggie loaf or murky bean stew. Instead, diners can expect things like plum-cassis gazpacho with tarragon creme fraiche, roasted cipolini onion pie and blackened corn grits with pepita mole sauce, all prepped by chef Daniel Holloway of local caterer Urban Acorn. The meal costs $100 per person, with wine pairings, and there are just a few tickets left.

July 15. $100. 2188 Queen St. E., uniiverse.com

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Openings

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Introducing: Tilde, the taqueria it took a neighbourhood to build (in exchange for tacos)

Name: Tilde
Contact Info: Tilde, 699 Danforth Ave., 416-469-8226, tildetaco.ca, @tildetaco
Previously: Bistro 699
Owner/Chef: Gauravi Shah, who co-owns Tilde with her husband

The Food: After working as a nuclear engineer for five years, Shah dropped everything to enrol in culinary school at George Brown. Her debut restaurant is technically a taqueria, but the menu is hardly traditional—tortillas come topped with gochujang-spiced chicken and curried Bengali fish in addition to more familiar options, like pork with mole sauce. Appetizers include chicken wings, nopal (cactus fritters) and, of course, chips and guac.

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Recipes

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Recipe: Bar Isabel chef Grant van Gameren’s grilled steak with shishito peppers

Toronto Life Cookbook Recipe: Steak with Shishito Peppers
Toronto Life Recipes | Entrees
STEAK WITH SHISHITO PEPPERS
By Grant van Gameren
Bar Isabel
STEAK WITH SHISHITO PEPPERS
By Grant van Gameren
Bar Isabel

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The Dish

Drinks

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Top Five: Toronto’s best rum cocktails

Five innovative takes on the classic pirate’s grog

Top Five: Toronto's best rum cocktails
1. Dr. Painkiller (pictured above)

At the County General, bartender Jeff Carroll creates a tart, fruity punch with cucumber-infused white rum, house-made grenadine, cranberry bitters and lime juice. He tops it off with a splash of ginger beer. $12. 936 Queen St. W., 416-531-4447.

2. Fresco

Our favourite cocktail at Rhum Corner, the new Haitian café from Black Hoof owner Jen Agg, is a spicymix of Havana rum, pomegranate syrup and falernum—a traditional Caribbean clove-lime-ginger syrup—poured over crushed ice in a chilled copper mini-mug. $10. 926 Dundas St. W., 647-346-9356.

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