All the Best Fine Foods

The Dish

Restaurants

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Top Five: Toronto’s best take-out dinners

Great home cooking, done by somebody else

Top Five: Toronto's best take-out dinners
1. Côte de Boeuf (pictured above)

Ossington’s old-world butcher shop has an array of gourmet classics, including a daily selection of meat pies, bolognese, potato salad and especially excellent duck confit. 130 Ossington Ave., 416-532-2333.

2. McEwan

Chef Mark McEwan’s 20,000-square-foot grocery store serves ready-to-cook meals based on his signature recipes (Bymark burger patties and truffle mac and cheese) along with fully prepped soups, salads, sides and restaurant-quality meals like braised beef tenderloin with peppercorn sauce, roasted fingerling potatoes with caramelized onions and roasted heirloom carrots. Shops at Don Mills, 38 Karl Fraser Rd., 416-444-6262.

3. All the Best Fine Foods

All of Rosedale comes to this Shops of Summerhilll stalwart for dinner and party provisions, chiefly the wide range of prepared daily-made food, including the top-selling chicken pot pie—a flaky, creamy, oozy staple known to every school kid in the neighbourhood. 1101 Yonge St., 647-351-4793.

4. Dundas Park Kitchen

In their small shop on Dundas West, Alex Tso and Melanie Harris prep fresh takeout lunches and suppers using quality ingredients. Creamy quiche is chock full of mushrooms, and the popular chicken stew (which reheats beautifully) has heaps of shredded meat in every bowl. 2066 Dundas St. W., 416-901-3355.

5. Appetite

This bright, mostly-takeout place’s strengths are rotisserie chickens, brined and roasted, and virtuous salads—mash-ups of kale, pomegranate, edamame and seasonal vegetables, legumes and vinaigrettes. 722 Queen St. E., 416-850-8835.

The Goods

Weddings

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Wedding Guide: the best catering companies in Toronto

Where to Find It: Caterers

(Image: Marigolds and Onions Catering)


À la Carte Kitchen
2 Thorncliffe Park Dr. (at Overlea Blvd.), Unit 43, 416-971-4068
Founders Simon Kattar (a chef) and Brian King (a sales and events professional) count royalty and other VIPs among their clients; they move effortlessly from large-scale events (at Roy Thomson Hall, the ROM and the Ontario Science Centre) to more intimate settings. The kitchen’s roster of chefs might start a meal with a chilled foie gras–fig jam appetizer with sauternes gelées and frisée-almond salad. Kattar strives to include local, organic ingredients, and has been pursuing his Lebanese roots with Middle Eastern–French cuisine, as in speckled trout with bulgur and green onion salad. Cocktail menu from $17.50 per person. Sit-down and buffet dinner $30–$60 per person (with a maximum of 2,000), plus wait staff and chef’s charges. No charge for tasting if event is booked. By appointment.


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The Dish

Food Events

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Weekly Eater: Toronto food events for December 10 to December 16

Farhouse Tavern hosts F*CK Mondays on Sunday (Image: Gizelle Lau)

Monday, December 10

  • Toronto Christmas Market at the Distillery District: Every day through December 16, stop by the Distillery District for the third annual Christmas Market. Enjoy the festivities while browsing the locally made treats and gifts. 9 Trinity St. Find out more »
  • Monday Night Dinners at Local Kitchen and Wine Bar: Every Monday night, Local Kitchen serves a $40 prix fixe menu of Italian fare with half-price wine bottles and no corkage fee. 1710 Queen St. W., 416-534-6700. Find out more »
  • 86’D With Ivy Knight—Holiday Party: Stop by for some Appleton’s and eggnog and enjoy holiday cookies from the Sweet Escape. The Drake, 1150 Queen St. W., 416-531-5042. Find out more »
  • Burger Mondays: Enjoy $5 burgers and $5 pints on Mondays, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the Gladstone Melody Bar. Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen St. W., 416-531-4635. Find out more »
  • Lettuce Wrap Night at Chantecler: Chantecler’s popular lettuce wrap night is now taking place twice a week. Come out on Sunday and Monday nights for lettuce wraps with meats, assorted pickles and condiments for $19 per person until 1 a.m.—or until the food runs out. Chantecler, 1320 Queen St. W., 416-628-3586. Find out more »
  • Indian Inspiration: Join Marni Wasserman for a lesson in how to incorporate the fragrant flavours of Indian cuisine into simple, healthy recipes. Menu includes chana masala, lentil dahl and chai lattes. Marni’s Kitchen, 26 Lauderdale Dr., 647-477-8131. Find out more »

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The Dish

Food Events

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Weekly Eater: Toronto food events for December 3 to December 9

Foodies on Foot leads their Streetcar Food Tour on Saturday (Image: Robert Taylor)

Monday, December 3

  • Monday Night Dinners at Local Kitchen and Wine Bar: Every Monday night, Local Kitchen serves a $40 prix fixe menu of Italian fare with half-price wine bottles and no corkage fee. 1710 Queen St. W., 416-534-6700. Find out more »
  • 86’D With Ivy Knight: Third annual Battle Offal. The city’s top chefs prepare the gnarly bits for you to sample. Competitors include the Group of 7 Chefs, Beast, The Stop, the Tempered Chef, Nick and Nat’s Uptown 21, Richmond Station and GwaiLo. The Drake, 1150 Queen St. W., 416-531-5042. Find out more »
  • Burger Mondays: Enjoy $5 burgers and $5 pints on Mondays, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the Gladstone Melody Bar. Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen St. W., 416-531-4635. Find out more »
  • Guiltless Dessert Indulgence: Learn how to use healthy alternatives to dairy, wheat and sugar. Menu includes chewy chocolate brownies, carrot pineapple cake, coconut mango pudding and jam dot cookies. Marni’s Kitchen, 26 Lauderdale Dr., 647-477-8131. Find out more »
  • Simple Healthy Meals in 30 Minutes: Learn to quickly prepare three delicious and healthy meals: winter salad with pine nuts, radicchio and Asian pears; penne with sausage, fennel and pecorino; and fresh fish with tomato sauce and cherry tomato couscous. The Chef Upstairs, 516 Mount Pleasant Rd., 416-544-9221. Find out more »
  • Workshop—Naturally Fermented Condiment Gift Pack: Holistic nutritionist Kate Leinweber leads a workshop that covers the how and why of simple fermentation while you prepare a delicious batch of homemade ketchup, mustard and relish, perfect for holiday gift giving. The Depanneur, 1033 College St., 416-828-1990. Find out more »

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The Dish

Food Events

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Weekly Eater: Toronto food events for October 1 to 7

Shuck U: Oyster 101 takes place at Hooked on Wednesday (Image: Gabriel Li)

Monday, October 1

  • 86’D With Ivy Knight: This week, a “twisted foodie adventure” with Rodney Dangerfood, plus reinvention of the cosmo by GwaiLo cocktail queen Christina Kuypers. The Drake, 1150 Queen St. W., 416-531-5042. Find out more »
  • Monday Night Dinners at Local Kitchen and Wine Bar: Every Monday night, Local Kitchen serves up a $40 prix fixe menu of their Italian fare with half-price wine bottles and no corkage fee. 1710 Queen St. W., 416-534-6700. Find out more »
  • Piola’s Monday Night Mixer: Piola’s weekly aperitivo Italiano, with cocktail and beer specials and complimentary snacks. 1165 Queen St. W., 416-477-4652. Find out more »
  • Burger Mondays: Enjoy $5 burgers and $5 pints on Mondays, 5 to 8 p.m. at the Gladstone Melody Bar. Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen St. W., 416-531-4635. Find out more »
  • Grocery Innovations Canada 2012: Exhibitors and delegates from all over the country gather to discuss their plans for the coming year and the top trends that will hit aisles in 2013. October 1 and 2. Metro Convention Centre, 255 Front St. W. Find out more »

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The Dish

Food Events

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Weekly Eater: Toronto food events for June 11 to 17

Cherries from the Nathan Phillips Square farmers’ market (Image: Robert & Pam)

Monday, June 11

  • 86’D: Join Ivy Knight for the Blue Ribbon Pie–eating contest. Wash the pies down with boozy lemonade from guest bartenders with The Order of Good Cheer. The Drake, 1150 Queen St. W., 416-531-5042. Find out more »
  • Sensational Summer Recipes: Marni Wasserman demonstrates recipes for a summer menu perfect for outdoor dining. Marni’s Kitchen, 26 Lauderdale Dr., 647-477-8131. Find out more »
  • Dolce Vita in Lazio: Chef Massimo Bruno teaches a menu inspired by Roman home cooking. Dish Cooking Studio, 390 Dupont St., 416-920-5559. Find out more »
  • Piola’s Monday Night Mixer: Piola’s weekly aperitivo italiano, with cocktail and beer specials and complimentary snacks. 1165 Queen St. W., 416-477-4652. Find out more »

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The Dish

Food Events

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Weekly Eater: Toronto food events for June 4 to 10

Luminato’s 1000 Tastes of Toronto takes place next Saturday and Sunday

Monday, June 4

  • 86’D: Join Ivy Knight and Toronto’s top foodies for the season finale of Top Chef Canada. Rock Lobster Food Co. will be dishing out their east coast lobster rolls. The Drake, 1150 Queen St. W., 416-531-5042. Find out more »
  • Green Goddess Workshop: Marni Wasserman demonstrates how to incorporate nutrient-rich greens into simple recipes.  Marni’s Kitchen, 26 Lauderdale Dr., 647-477-8131. Find out more »
  • Piola’s Monday Night Mixer: Piola’s weekly aperitivo italiano, with cocktail and beer specials and complimentary snacks. 1165 Queen St. W., 416-477-4652. Find out more »

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The Dish

The Month That Was

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The Month That Was: the Toronto restaurants and bars that opened and closed in March

The meat mural at Rob Rossi’s new European tavern, Bestellen (Image: Meaghan Binstock)

It can be hard to keep pace with all the new restaurants and bars that open and close in Toronto—which is why every month, we round them all up.

Openings:

• The Federal Reserve—Four friends, mostly with other jobs in the industry, opened this new Dundas West brunch spot, with a late-night menu and cocktails to follow. Read our Introducing post »

• Thirsty and Miserable—A new Kensington Market bar in a storied space, with a fine slate of craft beers (and a menu written on a piece of cardboard). Read our Introducing post »

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The Dish

Openings

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Introducing: This End Up, Dundas West’s new sandwich shop and cocktail bar

Co-owners Karen Young and Adam Urquhart (Image: Karolyne Ellacott)

This End Up is the latest in a series of new Dundas West eateries to colonize the once Portuguese-dominated strip. Co-owners Karen Young and Adam Urquhart serve a menu of sandwiches and easy-to-share options, along with a long list of cocktails (“Ever since he was a little boy, he’s dreamed of having a sandwich shop,” Young tells us). The couple met (and starting dating) 16 years ago while working at All the Best Fine Foods, and after dabbling in the film world, they realized they were spending most of their spare time thinking about food.

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The Dish

Food TV

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Top Chef Canada reveals the rather stacked list of guest judges for season two

Remember last year when Chris Cosentino, one of the pioneers of the offal revival, visited Toronto for undisclosed reasons and claimed he could smell Chinatown from three blocks away? Or when Richard Blais, the molecularly inclined winner of Top Chef All-Stars, tweeted about the interesting tasting menu he’d just lunched on in Toronto? Or when Italian food legend Lidia Bastianich dropped in at All the Best Fine Foods? Turns out they weren’t here just because they love us—they’re all guest judges on season two of Top Chef Canada. Other notable judges and tasters include—and let us be clear, this is a bit of a spoiler for those who really like to keep their Top Chef Canada viewing pure—east-coast chef Michael Smith, season one host Thea Andrews (no hard feelings, we guess!), chef-about-town Matty Matheson of Parts and Labour, Leafs assistant captain Colby Armstrong, Susur Lee and his soon-to-be restaurateur sons Kai and Jet Bent-Lee, Toca’s Tom Brodi, Roger Mooking, Top Chef Masters winner Marcus Samuelson, last season’s winner Dale MacKay and his adorable son Ayden, Keisha Chante, Rick the Temp Campanelli, Lorenzo Loseto of George, Charlie’s Burgers mastermind Franco Stalteri, husband-and-wife dynamos Marc Thuet and Biana Zorich, Odd Bits author Jennifer McLagan, Vancouver Indian restaurateur and chef Vikram Vij and assorted competitors from last season, not to mention the somewhat bizarro guests we already told you about, like Alan Thicke and Mike Holmes. (Whew!) Not bad.

The Dish

Restaurants

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10 of the most mouthwatering Toronto pies and tarts

Life of Pie | Holiday Special

Hit the ’nog and let the city’s best bakers do dessert. Here, 10 top Toronto pies

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The Dish

People

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Toronto Taste 2011: We get the latest news from top chefs and restaurateurs from Woodlot, Buca, Nota Bene, O&B and many more

Rob Gentile (Buca), David Lee (Nota Bene), Andrea Nicholson (Great Cooks on Eight), Paul Boehmer (Böhmer), Teo Paul (Union)

Two thousand of Toronto’s food lovers and makers gathered at the ROM on Sunday for the 21st edition of Toronto Taste. The annual fundraiser—which raises money for Second Harvest—saw more than 60 restaurants and 30 beverage purveyors offering their best to the guests. Burgers and tacos might have been the plats du jour, but new restaurant openings seemed to be the hottest item on the plates of many chefs and restaurateurs we spoke to. Here’s what we heard from Buca’s Rob Gentile, Woodlot’s David Haman, Scarpetta’s Scott Conant, Splendido’s Victor Barry, Top Chef Canada contestants Dustin Gallagher and Andrea Nicholson and many more. 

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The Informer

Events

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The Weekender: Jane’s Walk, Toronto Comic Arts Festival and six other can’t-miss events

CCTV, DJ Woody and Abel Boulineau

1. JANE’S WALK (FREE!)

Inspired by urban writer/activist Jane Jacobs, this festival of walking tours, led by Toronto-loving volunteers, is all about seeing the city with new eyes. With over 170 walks to choose from, we’ve narrowed our selection down to three: (Video) Eyes on the Street, U of T prof Andrew Clement’s exploration of the downtown core’s CCTV cameras; a gentrification-focused tour of Cherry Beach; and the cultural studies pick, A Hipster’s Guide to Ossington. May 7 and 8. Various locations, janeswalk.net.

2. KARDINAL OFFISHALL (FREE!)
Kardi’s made some headway south of the border, signing with Akon’s Konvict label and recording with chart toppers like Estelle and David Guetta, but he’s still a hometown boy. Proof? This free concert in Yonge-Dundas Square, part of Coke’s 125th anniversary celebrations. And last year’s “The Anthem” of course. May 7. Yonge-Dundas Square, icoke.ca.

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The Informer

Events

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The Weekender: The Lion King, Easter Eggstravaganza and six other can’t-miss events

Woody Harrelson, Measha Brueggergosman as Vitellia in La Clemenza di Tito and Adam Jacobs as Simba in The Lion King

1. THE LION KING
You wouldn’t think a theatrical adaptation of a Disney movie would run for so long (nearly 14 years), earn so many accolades (more than 70 awards, including a Tony for Julie Taymor’s direction) or turn out to be so good, but somehow The Lion King does all of that. Oh, and did we mention it’s gorgeous? The puppets, costumes and stage design have been consistently blowing young minds since the show opened. This limited engagement is only in town for eight weeks—don’t miss it. To June 12. $35–135. Princess of Wales Theatre, 300 King St. W., 416-872-1212, mirvish.com.

2. CHOCOLATE AND CHEESE PAIRING (FREE!)
We usually pair cheese with wine and chocolate with, well, more chocolate. But this free foodie event, hosted by chef Chris McDonald (of Cava and Xococava fame) and Jane Rodmell (founder of All the Best Fine Foods), pairs two of our favourite foods with each other. Expertly spiced chocolate tiles are partnered with their ideal matches from All The Best’s stock of specialty cheeses. To be honest, we’re just a tad skeptical, but if anyone can make this pairing work, it’s McDonald. April 23. All the Best Fine Foods, 1101 Yonge St., allthebestfinefoods.com.

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The Dish

Restaurants

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Passover 101: Caplansky’s and others hosting traditional Seders

Tomorrow evening, Zane Caplansky will put away the carving knives to host two seven-course Seders featuring traditional Passover foods (Image: Renée Suen)

Passover, the holiday commemorating the ancient Israelites’ exodus from slavery in Egypt, starts tonight at sundown. During the Passover Seder, an age-old ritualized dinner derived from Biblical commandments, a number of symbolic foods are consumed to represent the themes of slavery, freedom and springtime, including: matzo (unleavened bread), a reminder of the haste in which the Israelites fled Egypt; maror (bitter herbs, usually horseradish), to represent the bitterness of slavery; beitzah (hard-boiled egg), a symbol of life; karpas (green vegetables, typically parsley), to represent hope; zeroa (roasted lamb-shank bone) to symbolize the sacrificial offering; and, our favourite, four glasses of wine to celebrate freedom. While the Seder is usually celebrated in the family home, a number of Toronto institutions are offering alternate options.

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