The fancy dog shop, home to some of the city’s most lovingly crafted street meat (including the Rob Ford–inspired “Crack Dog”), is no longer in business. The closure was confirmed by co-owner Brian Morin, who opened the restaurant last summer with two partners (one of them Beerbistro’s Kathleen McGinn) in the heritage building at 75 King Street East.
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
“Dim sum inspired snacks” are currently a big thing on trendy Toronto menus, but they don’t always come cheap, which is what makes this pop-up such a treat. Mean Bao is a small Chinese restaurant in the Village by the Grange food court near Dundas and McCaul. Since opening last summer, it’s been supplying locals and OCAD students with Chinese bao, steamed dumplings and noodle bowls, all very reasonably priced between $3 and $8. Now, during August only, the owners are introducing an even better deal: on Monday evenings throughout the month, they’re inviting people to sample the restaurant’s new “Dai Pai Dong” dinner menu for just $12, tax and tip included. The pop-up meal includes pork-belly bao, Sichuan eggplant, sticky quinoa wrapped in lotus leaves and four kinds of dumplings, plus house-made ice pops for dessert (vegetarian and vegan menus are also available). Early sign-up is recommended.
Aug. 18. $12. Mean Bao, 275 Dundas St. W., eventbrite.ca
Completo, the sandwich shop that moved into the old Le Matin bakery space at Queen Street and Coady Avenue, is named after a type of elaborately topped Chilean hot dog (“completo” is Spanish for “the works”). The Leslieville version is more sandwich than dog—it consists of griddled steak, pork or chorizo sausage heaped on a toasted bun with mashed avocado, mayo, tomatoes and homemade hot sauce (there’s also a veggie version with sliced cucumber and sprouts). Completo co-owners Matias Balmaceda and Brett Williams tested out their South American snack-bar concept last summer in a makeshift stall in Kensington Market. Their new, permanent space has counter seating for seven, a sunny front patio and a slightly larger menu. In addition to the namesake sandwich, it includes fully loaded grilled cheeses, Argentinean empanadas, salads, dressed tortilla chips and something called The Box—a take-out container filled to the brim with fresh-cut French fries, fried eggs and various condiments. The entire Completo menu is also served at Hitch, the bar just down the street.
1096 Queen St. W., 416-551-0589
The old Nyood space on Queen has been stripped naked and given the twee trappings of west-side dining: Edison bulbs, tea-towel napkins, even a precious general-store façade selling the house olive oil. The menu, from Top Chef Canada alum Vittorio Colacitti, has a few bumps, like a cumin-heavy eggplant dip that’s as lumpy as Pablum. But he shines at the kinds of refined dishes he made at Didier and Lucien. Read the rest of this entry »
Read the rest of this entry »
Contact Info: 503 College St., dailoto.com, @DaiLoTO
Previously: Grace bistro, which ended its six-year run last February
Neighbourhood: Little Italy
Owners: Nick Liu, Anton Potvin, and husband-and-wife team David Dattels and Jen Grant
Chef: Former Niagara Street Café chef Nick Liu, who’s been planning this restaurant for years
The Food: This is the latest Toronto restaurant to combine two culinary concepts in a single space. The ground floor is DaiLo, a sit-down restaurant with a full dinner menu. The second storey houses LoPan, a more casual snack bar. On the debut menu, Liu takes the kind of food he grew up with—mainly Chinese cuisine from the Hakka region—and reinterprets it using French techniques (and, in some cases, a hefty dose of irreverence). Some recipes stick fairly close to tradition, like the intricately folded pork-and-shrimp dumplings, which are served with house XO sauce. Others, like Liu’s much-anticipated “Big Mac bao,” are brazenly inauthentic. Read the rest of this entry »
Read the rest of this entry »
The Momofuku Shrimp Stack is a cheeseburger topped with lettuce, pickled onions, “Momofuku Hozon sauce” (a kind of fermented nut paste) and a slender supplementary patty made out of pulverized shrimp. If that sounds like sheer heaven, you’re in luck: the burger was recently added to the lunch menu at Daishō, where it comes with kohlrabi slaw and tempura onion rings for $21. When David Chang debuted the surf ‘n’ turf burger at Shake Shack’s 10th-anniversary event in New York, it drew the longest lineup in Shack history (and got overwhelmingly positive reviews, at least on social media). A word of warning, though: it may look slightly less glamorous in real life.
I’m thrilled to see an actual washroom when I arrive at Chill Ice House. This allays my very real fear of having to pee on a hand-carved ice toilet.
It’s Saturday night and I’ve just showed up for my pre-booked time slot, which will run from 11:15 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. Chill Ice House charges $19 admission per 45-minute time block—presumably because that’s the longest most people will freeze their butts off before they start to feel miffed about having to pay for the experience.
From the outside, the place looks like a fairly normal King West club. Inside, not so much. Read the rest of this entry »
Read the rest of this entry »
The five-star cakelet was created by Le Dolci bakery on Dundas West—yes, that Le Dolci bakery—for the world’s most generous (albeit possibly misguided) husband, who figured it would be just the thing for his wife’s birthday. And what, you ask, turns a kids’ party snack into something priced on par with a really good mattress? All the following things, according to the Globe: pastry cream spiked with $1,000-a-bottle champagne, buttercream frosting made with imported European ingredients, delicate sugar-spun flora painted with edible gold, and a miniature vial of Courvoisier (for drizzling atop the dessert prior to consumption). What isn’t included, unfortunately, is all the booze required to erase the memory of spending $900 on a very tiny cake.
As a kid, Christopher Stopa used to bake gooey butter tarts with his mom to sell door-to-door for Scout fundraisers. The neighbours went nuts for them. Today, he’s following the same recipe at Home, a new farmhouse-style bakery and ice-cream parlour at Bloor and Landsdowne. The Bakerbots co-owner (and unintentional Radiohead imposter) mans the ovens alongside fellow baker Genna Gingerich, who cut her teeth making konditorei-style cakes in Berlin. The shop’s name isn’t just a cosy idea: every baked item in the place—from the triple-tiered carrot cake to the chocolatey pumpkin-seed brownies—is made with recipes passed down from Stopa’s mother and grandmother. Wisely, Stopa also borrowed a thing or two from his first successful baking business, including its rotating ice-cream flavours (Burnt Toffee, London Fog), which can be ordered by the cup or, even better, smushed between a pair of chewy cookies.
Home Baking Co., 1242 Bloor St. W., @HomeBakingCo