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The Dish

Closings

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Craft Dogs on King Street is closed
(Image: Carlo Mendoza)

The Crack Dog (Image: Carlo Mendoza)

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 Dish

Food Events

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Pop-Up Pick: cheap dim-sum dinners at Dundas and Spadina

(Images: Mean Bao/Facebook)

(Images: Mean Bao/Facebook)

“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

The Dish

Recipes

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Recipe: Parkdale bakery Glory Hole’s delectable chai-spice doughnuts

Toronto Life Cookbook 2013 Recipe: Chai Spice Doughnuts
Toronto Life Recipes | Appetizers
CHAI SPICE DOUGHNUTS
By Ashley Jacot De Boinod
Glory Hole
CHAI SPICE DOUGHNUTS
By Ashley Jacot De Boinod
Glory Hole

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The Dish

Restaurants

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Two new brewpubs are coming to Liberty Village
Big Rock Grill in Calgary (Image: Big Rock Grill/Facebook)

Big Rock Grill in Calgary (Image: Big Rock Grill/Facebook)

Residents of the condo community are really into beer, or at least that’s what a couple of new businesses are banking on. Earlier this month, Alberta’s Big Rock Brewery announced that it was opening a “brewpub restaurant” in the former Artscape building at 60 Atlantic Avenue. That’s just a few doors down from the planned site of Toronto’s second 3 Brewers brewpub, currently under construction at 99 Atlantic Avenue, as noted by Canadian Beer News. Both beer halls are expected to open in the next year or so. In the meantime, locals can head to Local Public Eatery, where drinks can be guzzled by the bootful.

The Dish

Restaurants

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Completo brings South American fast food to Leslieville

(Images: Renée Suen)

(Images: Renée Suen)

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.

Completo, 5 Coady Ave., 416-901-9233, facebook.com, @CompletoClub

The Dish

New Reviews

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Review: The Good Son has some impressive plates (and cheaper pizza than Terroni)

(Image: Gizelle Lau)

(Image: Gizelle Lau)

SEE ALL NEW REVIEWS
The Good Son 1 star½
1096 Queen St. W., 416-551-0589
The Good Son 1 star½
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.

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The Dish

Restaurants

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A Prohibition-themed bar has replaced A-OK Foods
(Image: Linwood Essentials/Instagram)

(Image: Linwood Essentials/Instagram)

The second-storey space at 930 Queen West, tucked above a convenience store, never seemed like an optimal spot for a food business, but it may be uniquely well-suited to this one. Linwood Essentials, Toronto’s latest modern-day speakeasy, has everything an Ossington kid could want: comfy booths, decadently trashy snacks (salt-cod doughnut, foie-gras Philly sandwich), over 50 bottled beers (including hard-to-find brews, like the much sought-after Westvleteren 12) and a long list of totally nontraditional cocktails, some of which sound more like dares than drinks. The “Breakfast in Portland,” for instance, blends gin, Aperol, egg whites, soda and “Froot Loops milk.”

The Dish

Openings

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Introducing: DaiLo (formerly GwaiLo), Nick Liu’s long-awaited “Asian brasserie”

Introducing: DaiLo

Click to view gallery (Image: Renée Suen)

Name: DaiLo
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.

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The Dish

Restaurants

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Now available at Daishō: the cheeseburger that caused the longest lineup in Shake Shack history

(Image: Momofuku/Twitter)

(Image: Momofuku/Twitter)

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.

The Dish

Nightlife

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What it’s like to spend Saturday night in a nightclub made entirely of ice

(Images: Tiffy Thompson)

(Images: Tiffy Thompson)

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.

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The Dish

Restaurants

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Fancy falafels are coming downtown
(Image: Jackie Pal)

(Image: Jackie Pal)

Shontelle Pinch, one of the women behind Rose City Kitchen on Queen West, revealed last February that the restaurant would soon be expanding with two more outlets, the first of which would open near the corner of Yonge and King streets. Now we’ve got an address and a tentative launch date. According to BlogTO, the first downtown outpost will open this fall (“October or November”) at 36 Toronto Street, where it will share space with a pair of spin-off concepts: a coffee shop called Clockwork and a juice bar called Smash.

The Dish

Food Shops

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This is what a $900 cupcake looks like

(Image: courtesy of Le Dolci bakery)

(Image: courtesy of Le Dolci bakery)

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.

The Dish

Openings

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Introducing: The Sterling Social, a pretty new sandwich shop in the Junction Triangle

Introducing: Sterling Social

Click to view gallery (Image: Jackie Pal)

Name: The Sterling Social
Neighbourhood: Junction Triangle
Contact Info: 1421 Bloor St. W.,647-978-3977
Owner/Chef: Shauna Jones

The Food: Chef and owner Shauna Jones is excited to share her homey dishes with the Toronto public (they’re already a hit with her son, who always orders the tilapia tacos). Her sandwiches are stuffed with slow-cooked meats, like braised barbecue chicken piled high on a crispy Kaiser, or Dr. Pepper–glazed beef brisket on buttery brioche. Almost everything is made in-house, including a thick Greek yogurt, which is served with granola, and chewy double-chocolate cookies, which can be ordered plain or as part of an ice-cream sandwich.

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The Dish

Restaurants

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Belmonte Raw is bringing green juices, kale salads and chia puddings to the PATH
(Image: Belmonte Raw/Facebook)

(Image: Belmonte Raw/Facebook)

Come December, the pioneering raw-food emporium will have a new standalone store on the concourse level of the Exchange Tower, nestled between Starbucks and Sam James Coffee Bar. The take-out shop will sell Belmonte’s familiar assortment of cold-pressed juices, smoothies and unusual raw snacks (e.g. jicama “fries” with walnut-sunflower “meat” and cashew-chipotle “cheese”). The plan, eventually, is to provide direct door-to-cubicle service. “After being open in the PATH for a couple of months, we’ll start delivering with carts up and down the towers,” says Carol Belmonte.

The Dish

Food Shops

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Bakerbots co-owner opens a new bakeshop and ice-cream parlour on Bloor West

Inside-Home

(Image: Valerie Howes)

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

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