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Host Story: Richard and Rana Florida throw an intimate dinner party for their interesting friends

Mario Batali’s white bean bruschetta

Mario Batali’s white bean bruschetta

1 ¼ cups dried cannellini or other white beans
1 carrot, halved
1 red onion, halved
1 celery rib, halved
4 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 bay leaf, preferably fresh
1 sprig each fresh Italian parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, or more to taste
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme
Sea salt
Coarsely ground black pepper

1. Soak dried beans for 12 to 24 hours in cold water. Transfer the beans and liquid to a medium pot, add enough water to cover by 2 inches and bring to a simmer, skimming off the foam. Add the vegetables, garlic, bay leaf and herb sprigs, reduce heat and simmer until the beans are tender, 35 to 40 minutes. Season with salt to taste.

2. Drain the beans, reserving ½ cup of the cooking liquid. Remove the vegetables and spread them on a platter or baking sheet to cool slightly. Transfer the beans and garlic to a medium bowl (discard the bay leaf and other herbs).

3. Coarsely chop the vegetables and add to the beans. Add ¼ cup of the reserved cooking liquid, then add the oil, stirring gently. Sprinkle with the chopped thyme and season with salt and pepper. 4. Spoon onto 1-inch-thick slices of Italian peasant bread, drizzled with high-quality extra-virgin olive oil and grilled.

Serves 6.

Recipe from Molto Gusto: Easy Italian Cooking.

  • dave davis

    so elitist it makes me puke.

  • Bored

    Dear Toronto Life,
    No one cares what self-promoting, aging socialites eat for dinner.
    Love, me

  • John


  • Laura

    Love the story, too bad the other comments are so negative (don’t hate or be angry because you feel like it’s “Elitist”)

  • IS

    I think this is a great inpiration for a dinner party. Thanks for inviting us in.


    “Their interesting friends?” Are you fucking kidding me? Well, I am now going to do the following:

    -Cancel my sub to Toronto Life
    -Cry at how worthless my life now seems
    -Jump in front of a subway due to the former point.

    Seriously TL…THIS IS SO GROSS

  • hillcrest


  • Jenny

    Aside from not finding this couple interesting, I think this is a horrible concept in general for a “feature.”

  • singher

    See, maybe this story *might* have been interesting if they actually prepared the food themselves. Disaster struck when she was changing? The hosts needed to remain calm for their guests? WHY? Because they hired the help to do the work for them? Give me a break.

  • rogerdodger

    “Rana’s usual guy, Eliano.” oh my…

  • Heather

    While the author claims that these people are “interesting” there is nothing in this article that makes them seem so. Pointless and poorly written, everyone involved comes across as a preening narcissist.

  • jK

    Ditto. Quel BS

  • the BayStBull

    How are any of these people interesting? Is it because Richard and Rana have bags full of toiletries and phone chargers ready to go? Who cares about shameless self promoters like Jonas Prince and his wife Lynda? You’ll find more interesting people eating dinner in a soup kitchen or a homeless shelter than these these fool! What a terrible terrible feature.


    Who really gives a flying F@$^!!!!I would rather have a root canal, than be at that Mutual admiration society party.

  • BG011

    I really like the dinnerware :)

  • martyfortheparty

    This is the douchbagiest article that TL has ever posted. Who ARE these people? Are we supposed to like them or want to be like them? I for one actually cook and host when I have people over (while my 2 toddlers run around). I usually hate comments on postings but this time most of them are bang on.

  • Dave

    What self indulgent crap

  • stella

    I think they got the idea from Gossip Girl and thought that the general public would find it thrilling, I think not! more like pretentious Canadians trying une peu too hard n’est ce pas!

  • tk_in_TO

    Barbie and Ken have a dinner party. MEH!!

  • Canadian in Thailand

    With periodicals like Toronto Life and articles like this one, believe me, I never get homesick for Toronto.

  • margarets

    Sorry, this is not interesting at all.

  • JL

    They just HAD to know this article would be trashed (as it should be). It’s almost as if the author wrote it that way (…”for their interesting friends”….that’s just an invitation to be mocked!) Although in all fairness she does seem to be doing some of the preparation anyway – although perhaps only after the fire broke out.

  • PT

    My guess is that these people are all friends of someone on the editorial staff of Toronto Life. The piece reads like it was written by a PR flack… I don’t find it offensive but it illustrates the editorial laziness and obsequiousness of Fulford’s regime at TL.

  • rana

    BARF. If toronto life gets any more elitist than an article about how these two entertain (“The Manhattan-based chef is an old friend of Richard’s; they met at Rutgers university, where Batali studied.” — excuse me but who tf cares?”) with their bubbly and their rosedale pad — btw did anybody mention that florida was a little fish in a big pond until he came here — well, most us will simply have to throw up.

  • Max

    Just stumbled on this “gem” of an article. So inane I don’t know why TL would publish this dreck.