All stories relating to Devin Connell

The Informer

Random Stuff

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Pearson Goes Posh: the most luxurious new features at the airport Toronto loves to hate

Things to Do at Toronto Pearson Airport

Things to do at Toronto Pearson Airport (clockwise from top left): renderings of the duty-free shopping area, Vinifera, the new GoodLife Fitness club and Marathi (Images: Nuance, GTO, GoodLife)

Is Pearson airport officially swanky? YYZ has a new fitness centre, a luxury shopping space in the works, and a handful of restaurants serving food worthy of an Ossington hotspot. In other words, Canada’s busiest airport is finally transitioning from an if-only-I-could-nap-on-these-benches airport into an interesting place to pass the hours between flights. It’s unclear whether credit should go to Toronto’s increasingly upscale tastes, the need to compete with Billy Bishop’s free lattes, or sheer numbers (35 million people passed through Pearson Airport in 2012 alone). Whatever the motivation, here are our favourite new things to do at Toronto Pearson Airport.

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The Dish

Food TV

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Top Chef Canada recap, episode 4: a little backbone

Trish Stratus and Elizabeth Falkner joined the judges this week (Image: Top Chef Canada)

TOP CHEF CANADA Season 3, Episode 4

Last night’s episode of Top Chef Canada started with some heavy-handed foreshadowing. Sounding downbeat, Vancouver’s Kayla Dhaliwall told the confessional cam that after embarrassing herself in the first three challenges, she never wanted to find herself on the bottom again. Toronto’s Becky Ross, on the other hand, was flying high as she lifted weights and did pushups on the the balcony of the chefs’ penthouse (a move she actually admitted was an intimidation tactic). We were ready to call it at this point. One of the two chefs was going to win, and the other was going home. The only question: would the producers pull the classic role-reversal, with Kayla taking the win and 0ver-confident Becky taking a fall? Or would they go for the double-fakeout? Find out in our recap, below.

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The Dish

Restaurants

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The new restaurants at Pearson Airport are starting to open

Cibo Express

The new Pearson International Airport dining options we told you about last year are finally starting to roll out. First up, health food take-out stand Cibo Express, which opened last month in Terminal 1, followed closely by Heirloom, a new a health-conscious bakery café from Devin Connell (Delica, Paulette’s). In February, Mark McEwan’Fetta Panini Bar should open, and by the summer, look for Marathi, a casual curry-meets-street-food spot from Hemant Bhagwani of Amaya. After that, launch dates get a little murky, but expect restaurants or bars from Claudio Aprile, Rocco Agostino, Guy Rubino, Brock Shepherd and John Szabo, all of them run by New York restaurant operator OTG Management. At this time last year, who would’ve imagined that Pearson would have more restaurants opening in 2013 than Parkdale?

UPDATE (Jan. 17): We’ve just heard that Boccone, Massimo Capra’s Italian restaurant, will open in Terminal 1 on Tuesday, January 22.

The Dish

Restaurants

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Year in Review: 2012’s biggest food trends, from the shadow return of fusion to the reign of ramen

Taste moves in waves: one year tall food is on every menu in town, and the next year, it’s a half-forgotten embarrassment. Sometimes, though, those embarrassments come back in a new guise. This year saw the quiet return of certain tendencies that we thought were long-buried, like fusion cuisine and wine bars, as well as the full-blown emergence of others that were bubbling away just below the surface, like tacos and, of course, ramen. Below, a roundup of what was hot in 2012.

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The Dish

Restaurants

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New Reviews: Paulette’s Original Donuts and Chicken, Farmhouse Tavern and Origin Liberty

A doughnut shop, a Junction farmhouse and Claudio Aprile’s Origin story

Paulette’s Original Donuts and Chicken $30 Gourmet
913 Queen St. E., 647-748-1177

New Reviews: Paulette’s Original Donuts and ChickenFried chicken and doughnuts, the ultimate savoury-sweet-trashy combo, have come to Leslieville courtesy of siblings Devin and Luke Connell and chef Graham Bower, the team behind the midtown lunch stop Delica. The tiny takeout shop is a pocket of nostalgia, with cheery staff sporting pointed caps and bow ties and the room decked out in mint-green paint. The free-run chicken is brined and double-deep-fried until tender and golden but surprisingly greaseless (add a squirt of mustard seed–laced honey or tandoori barbecue sauce for kick). The rotating doughnut menu lists seven flavours, such as eye-poppingly citrusy mango-yuzu and white peach–maple. The dense, cakey rings make Timmies treats seem like sad doughnut simulacra. There are only a few seats, so it’s best to hit nearby Jimmie Simpson Park for a retro picnic.

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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 June

The Hogtown Pub and Oysters (Image: Karolyne Ellacott)

Openings

  • Origin Liberty Village—The latest outpost in Claudio Aprile’s burgeoning empire has a dining room inspired by the Bren Gun factory that used to occupy the restaurant’s building. Read our Introducing post »
  • Farmhouse Tavern—Darcy MacDonell (formerly of La Société) serves up a host of Ontario-grown food and wine, the perfect complement to the Agrarian-inspired decor. Read our Introducing post »
  • Lil’ Baci Taverna—Not your nonna’s spaghetti and meatballs: Mark Bacci heads midtown to offer a creative take on classic Italian dishes. Read our Introducing post »
  • The Hogtown Pub and Oysters—Formerly The Auld Spot Pub, this College Street bar is under new management and offering revitalized pub fare (think: chipotle beef heart tacos and dried cherry and brie quesadillas). Read our Introducing post »
  • La Carnita—Last year’s pop-up taco stand upgrades to a permanent bricks-and-mortar residence at College and Bathurst. Read our Introducing post »

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The Dish

Openings

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Introducing: Paulette’s Original Donuts and Chicken, Leslieville’s new house of indulgence

Introducing: Paulette’s Original Donuts and Chicken

Owner Devin Connell with her doughnut slingers, decked out in ’50s garb (Image: Signe Langford)

Back in May we told you about the happy convergence of two of Toronto’s favourite fried things that was about to take place in Leslieville in the form of Paulette’s Original Donuts and Chicken. Well, the deed is done and Leslievillians are lining up. Maybe not quite Sunday-brunch-out-the-door-onto-the-sidewalk lining up, but a near-bewildered Devin Connell (Delica Kitchen) tells us she’s been running out of doughnuts by 3 p.m. and chicken by 6—and they’re open until 7 (they’re working on this). But since her chicken isn’t a freezer-to-fryer kind of thing (it goes through a 24-hour process of brining, battering and double frying), there can be a bit of a lag in replenishing exhausted stores. Connell is truly blown away by the response. “We’ve been selling out—doing almost 300 covers a day—from the moment we opened.”

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The Dish

Restaurants

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Chicken and doughnuts, together at last at Paulette’s Original Donuts and Chicken

Devin Connell (Delica Kitchen) was torn between two loves: a really good, artisanal doughnut and super-crunchy fried chicken. “I knew I wanted to open a place that focused on one thing, did one thing only, and did it really well, but I couldn’t decide,” she told us. “Then, one night I woke up and thought, ‘I don’t have to choose! Why not do both?’” And so, with Paulette’s Original Donuts and Chicken, Connell—of the Ace Bakery Connells—along with brother Luke and chef Graham Bower (Pangaea, Globe, Delica), is bringing her idea of a very happy meal to Leslieville. “We don’t shy away from what our food is: it’s not healthy food. It’s happy food. And it’s made with wholesome ingredients.”

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The Dish

Restaurants

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Mark McEwan, Claudio Aprile and others to launch new restaurants at Pearson Airport

Toronto travellers rejoice: your airport dining options are about to expand far, far beyond the crushing indignity of eating a cold cut trio sub while sitting on your suitcase. The Globe reports that some big-name Toronto chefs will descend on Pearson International, opening several bars and restaurants intended to compete with the best spots downtown has to offer (well, that’s the idea at least). Here’s what to expect from the transformation, which will begin this summer and continue into 2013:

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