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The Dish

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Flavour of the Month: eight sublimely sloppy breakfast sandwiches

Toronto chefs are reimagining the McMuffin with house-made breads and luxurious ­ingredients

Flavour of the Month: Morning Glory

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The Dish

Restaurants

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Must-Try: gourmet doughnuts we’d devour by the dozen at the Harbord Room

Must-try: Slam DunkChef Cory Vitiello at the Harbord Room likes to change the menu every couple of weeks, but whenever he tries to take his Sicilian-style doughnuts off the dessert card, there’s a backlash from diners. Blame it on the ricotta batter, which makes them as fluffy as the Twilight novels, along with orange zest and pistachios, which elevate them way above the lowly Timbit. Three of them arrive fresh from the fryer next to a little bowl of velvety espresso-caramel pot de crème topped with tapioca pearls, whipped cream and crispy shards of meringue. It’s tempting to inhale the ethereal fritters first, but we recommend saving one to soak up every last ­remnant of sweet pudding. $9. 89 Harbord St., 416-962-8989.

The Goods

Shopping

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Where to Get Good Stuff Cheap 2012: our guide to living the good life for less

Where to Get Good Stuff Cheap | 2012

One problem with living here is how easy it is to part with a loonie. The temptations—exotic cocktails that cost as much as a gourmet locavore dinner, gourmet locavore dinners that cost as much as a designer dress, designer dresses that cost as much as a German sedan, etc.—multiply by the minute. Even our cheapskate mayor couldn’t resist upgrading his business cards with gold filigree. The safest way to avoid following in Greece’s footsteps is to swear an oath to cheapness: never buy full-price, always be on the lookout for a bargain, and haggle when appropriate. Here, our annual shortcut guide to the good life for less.

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The Dish

Restaurants

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Where to Get Good Stuff Cheap 2012: a pimped-out sandwich, the ultimate bargain gourmet meal

Where to Get Good Stuff Cheap | Sandwiches
Where to Get Good Stuff Cheap | Sandwiches

Waldorf chicken salad
Bannock
401 Bay St., 416-861-6996
The excellent sandwiches at Oliver and Bonacini’s new downtown Canadiana spot Bannock epitomize the high standards and unfussy elegance of big brother Canoe, at grab-and-go prices. A savoury Waldorf salad—the classiest vehicle for mayonnaise and chopped chicken—arrives on a perfectly buttery, flaky croissant.

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The Dish

Restaurants

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Where to Get Good Stuff Cheap 2012: bar snacks that are as lip-smacking as they are cheap

Where to Get Good Stuff Cheap | Posh Nosh
Where to Get Good Stuff Cheap | Posh Nosh

Gourmet junk food
Toca Bar
181 Wellington St. W., 416-585-2500
Done up in corporate neutrals and colonized by Seven Sisters partners, the Ritz-Carlton bar serves the kinds of cocktails that come with lotus root garnishes and elderflower infusions—and cost $16 each. Sounds steep until you factor in the freebies delivered with the drinks: sticky, maple-glazed bacon, pan-fried capers and corn nuts. It’s gourmet junk food that’s impossible to stop eating, which is okay because the bartender replenishes the supply without judgment.

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The Dish

Restaurants

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Where to Get Good Stuff Cheap 2012: 14 foodie finds, from family-style feasts to cut-rate craft beer

Where to Get Good Stuff Cheap | Food

Family-style dinner
The Queen and Beaver
35 Elm St., 647-347-2712
The Sunday feasting menu at Elm Street’s authentic British pub is aptly named: for $22 a person, chef Andrew Carter will brine a loin of Ontario pork for two days before slowly roasting it and presenting it whole, bones included, for the head of the table to slice and serve. A bevy of seasonal sides—like golden beets, roasted root veg, mashed potatoes, heirloom carrots and green beans—is included, along with homemade apple sauce. Reservations are required by Thursday to give the kitchen time to prepare. Minimum five people.

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The Goods

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Where to Get Good Stuff Cheap 2012: four exercise regimens that will help you drop pounds, not dollars

Where to Get Good Stuff Cheap | Sweat it Out
Where to Get Good Stuff Cheap | Sweat it Out

Spynga
Spynga South Studio
1415 Bathurst St., 416-588-7796
Work up a sweat while improving your inner chi at this hybrid exercise class that combines a high-intensity spinning workout with the restorative benefits of yoga. An introductory offer of two classes for $20 means you can sample the goods for a steal.

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Where to Get Good Stuff Cheap 2012: 10 services that help you live the good life for less

Where to Get Good Stuff Cheap | Help

Best dance class for Gaga wannabes
Lindsay Ritter Dance
National Ballet School, 400 Jarvis St., 416-817-5460
Learn to vamp like a music video star in Canada’s best pop-jazz classes—basically mod­ern dance with a few kicks and turns thrown in. Artistic director and instructor Lindsay Ritter emphasizes what’s new and hot in her 90-minute classes, where so-you-think-you-can-dancers learn a routine set to the biggest pop hits (including Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way”). All sessions are drop-in and just $14 each, which means you’ll have plenty of extra money to buy that meat dress you always wanted.

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Where to Get Good Stuff Cheap 2012: 14 fashion finds

Where to Get Good Stuff Cheap | Fashion

Tote
Studio Biba
2583 Yonge St., 416-921-6780
It used to be considered a travel bag, but over the past couple of years, Longchamp’s iconic Le Pliage nylon tote has become an everyday standard—celeb fans include Pippa Middleton, Katie Holmes and Rachel McAdams. Studio Biba at Yonge and Eglinton offers a deal on the sturdy, chic shoulder bag, selling it in a range of colours and sizes for as low as $99.

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Where to Get Good Stuff Cheap: Bundled, winter-defying kids’ clothes that match stylishness with handmade durability

Where to Get Good Stuff Cheap | Kids
Where to Get Good Stuff Cheap | Kids

Parka
Planet Kid
87 Roncesvalles Ave., 416-537-9233
Multifunctional clothes are easy on the budget—and extra fun for little kids. This cozy, stylish hooded winter parka from 7 A.M. Enfant becomes a full bunting bag with just a couple of quick snaps. Available in lilac and navy blue.

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Where to Get Good Stuff Cheap 2012: professional-quality beauty and grooming supplies at bargain prices

Where to Get Good Stuff Cheap | Beauty
Where to Get Good Stuff Cheap | Beauty

Shampoo
Beauty Supply Outlet
1568 Yonge St., 416-929-6533
While salons might charge exorbitant sums for a wash and cut, they make their real money selling product. The Beauty Supply Outlet isn’t technically wholesale, but salon-quality Goldwell shampoo sells for several dollars less than anywhere else. $14 for 300 mL of Goldwell Rich Repair.

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The Goods

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Where to Get Good Stuff Cheap 2012: everything you need for a cost-effective happy hour

Where to Get Good Stuff Cheap | Happy hour
Where to Get Good Stuff Cheap | Happy hour

Mixing glass
BYOB
972 Queen St. W., 877-989-8980
The classic Japanese Yarai mixing glass is large enough for making two cocktails at once, and its heavy glass frame looks good—but it’s infinitely more durable than similarly stunning crystal pieces (and infinitely less expensive, too).

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Where to Get Good Stuff Cheap 2012: what to cook with when you cook at home

Where to Get Good Stuff Cheap | No reservations
Where to Get Good Stuff Cheap | No reservations

Pasta maker
Consiglio’s Kitchenware
1219 St. Clair Ave. W., 416-653-6622
Forget the pricy attachments for your KitchenAid Stand Mixer. To make genuine fresh pasta alla nonna—the rich, soft, eggy kind that’s the star of the dish instead of a mere sauce conduit—you want a stainless steel, made-in-Italy hand-crank device by Imperia.

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Where to Get Good Stuff Cheap 2012: how to decorate your home for less

Where to Get Good Stuff Cheap | Home

Edison bulbs
Eclectic Revival
3075 Dundas St. W., 416-766-5500
When LEDs and compact fluorescents became the norm, decor radicals opted for replica Edison bulbs—the low-tech lighting equivalent of a turntable. The bulb’s distinct amber glow is produced by fragile carbon filaments; it’s a warmer, softer light than the tungsten coil on an incandescent emits. They’re becoming easier to find—Restoration Hardware carries them now—but the city’s cheapest source remains the vintage lighting store Eclectic Revival. $15 each.

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Holiday Gift Guide 2011: 30 fantastic presents for homebodies everywhere

PC Black Label
Holiday Gift Guide 2011

By Fraser Abe, Karolyne Ellacott, Kevin Naulls and Mark Teo | Photography by Carlo Mendoza

For friends and family just moving into a new place or on the lookout for their next apartment, it’s nice to pick out gifts that will make those places feel like home. We scoured the city and found a fantastic hand-carved deer for a dose of Canadiana (it says, “Hey, I know I don’t live in a log cabin, but I can try”), a cord chair that beats those schoolhouse ones we used to think were cool and a selection of tchotchkes that aren’t likely to be re-gifted or simply tossed in the garbage. 

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