Farmhouse Tavern

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Farmhouse Tavern’s Alex Molitz is taking on Prince Edward County

Toronto Life Cookbook Recipe 2013: Duck Trio

(Image: Raina and Wilson)

Alex Molitz, the chef who helped turn Farmhouse Tavern into a Toronto food destination, is taking his talents to the real-life countryside. Molitz recently left Farmhouse and took a new job as head of culinary operations at the Hinterland winery in Prince Edward County. He’s got big plans for the project. “It’ll change the face of Prince Edward County,” he said. “If everything goes right, this is going to be a game-changer.” Despite the grand plans, he’s taking things one step at a time. Right now, that means developing a simple lunch menu for guests at the winery. The food will be familiar to anyone who’s enjoyed Farmhouse Tavern’s mammoth meat boards and foraged herbs. “It’s going to be rough and rugged, cool-looking food. Food that has a story to it,” Molitz said. He’s looking forward to roughing it a little, although he suspects some things may take a little getting used to. “I have to learn to shovel pig shit,” he said.

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Best of Toronto

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Best of the City 2014: Food

Best of the City 2014: Food
Modern raw bar

Yasu
81 Harbord St., 416-477-2361
In a narrow white room, chef-owner Yasu Ouchi delivers glistening sushi, one piece at a time, to 10 guests seated at a marble-topped bar. Yasu is the city’s first sushi-only omakase restaurant, and as at other tasting menu–driven spots, you give yourself over to the chef’s whims. Ouchi and his one sous bring Jiro-like fanaticism to the 20-course experience, offering fresh cuts of fish and shellfish draped over perfectly ­seasoned rice. One night he served up a plump scallop lightly torched for sweetness and dressed with yuzu ­vinaigrette, then ­mackerel with ­pickled radish and scallion, then salty, foie gras–like monkfish liver with a julienne of shiso leaf. And on and on and on. Seatings at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., reservations a must. $80 per person.


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Farmhouse Tavern is the latest Toronto restaurant to open a spin-off

(Image: Farmhouse Tavern/Facebook)

(Image: Farmhouse Tavern/Facebook)

Why have one great restaurant when you can have two? That seems to be the logic behind Toronto’s new run of culinary spin-offs. In just the last few months, Buca begot Bar Buca, The County General launched County Cocktail, and now Farmhouse Tavern, the Junction Triangle spot known for serving côte de boeuf on giant wooden slabs, is opening Farmer’s Daughter, a new eatery located just down the street at 1588 Dupont Street. Similar names aside, the new spot won’t have much in common with its progenitor. “There aren’t going to be any antiques, no chalk board, no knickknacks,” says owner Darcy MacDonell. The sleeker, more feminine decor will complement a very on-trend menu of light, seafood-focused dishes crafted by ex-Daishō and Libertine chef Leonie Lilla. The new spot opens in May—just in time to make good use of its roomy, 40-seat patio.

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The Top Food Trends and Who Does Them Best: Shared Meals

Foie gras–stuffed chicken, porterhouse steak and whole suckling pig are the new extravagant norm

The Top Food Trends and Who Does Them Best: Shared Meals

Perfectly seared côte de boeuf at ­Bestellen

There were six of us up against one pork butt—and the pig won. It was a beauty, grown massively plump at a small farm just outside St. Jacobs. Rubbed with brown sugar, it spent a slow afternoon in the oven until the meat pulled apart effortlessly, clouds of steam breaking from the sweet crust. We dug in, mixing the shreds with fresh oysters and kimchee, then wrapping it all in lettuce leaves and savoury crêpes. After a couple of blissful hours, we’d barely made a dent.

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Restaurants

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Top Five: Toronto’s best brunch spots

Where to go for the city’s most hedonistic breakfast feasts

Top Five: Toronto's best brunch spots

Farmhouse Tavern

1. FARMHOUSE TAVERN

Sunday-morning reservations are filled far in advance. The crowds are here for Alex Molitz’s way with duck—one dish brings slices of ruby duck prosciutto and two duck eggs rolled in panko and deep-fried. They’re like intensely rich, overgrown scotch eggs. 1627 Dupont St., 416-561-9114.

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Recipes

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Recipe: a three-part duck feast from Farmhouse Tavern’s Alex Molitz

Toronto Life Cookbook Recipe 2013: Duck Trio
Toronto Life Recipes | Breakfast
DUCK TRIO
By Alex Molitz
Farmhouse Tavern

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New Year’s Eve Dinners: eight delicious ways to ring in 2014

(Image: Momofuku)

$120 at Momofuko Daishō buys an eight-course, family-style feast (Image: Momofuku)

The key to a successful New Year’s Eve: making a firm plan and sticking to it. Scoring a great reservation ensures that part of your night will be warm, celebratory and delicious—even if the other part involves shivering on street corners trying to flag down cabs. Here, eight completely different ways to eat your way into 2014.

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Top Five: Toronto’s best Caesar salads

toronto-best-caesar-salads-intro
Toronto menus are filling up with luxe, light and irreverent takes on the classic starter. The basic components are the same—romaine lettuce, crunchy croutons and a yolk-thickened sauce—but the add-ons, ranging from flower petals to pine fronds, are anything but standard. Here, our five favourite reinventions.

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Features

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Critic: Toronto’s love-hate relationship with brunch

How the unholy amalgam of hangovers, soggy toast and overpriced eggs became a city-wide ritual of belt-loosening hedonism

The Critic: The Brunch Boom

(Rose and Sons, a newfangled greasy spoon in the Annex, serves up brunch decadence. At right, a hulking stack of brisket, brie, cornbread and fried eggs, a dripping patty melt and Dr. Pepper–soaked bacon with schmaltz-fried hash browns and eggs)

Rose and Sons Two Stars
176 Dupont St.,
647-748-3287

Farmhouse TavernTwo Stars ½
1627 Dupont St.,
416-561-9114


Brunch always seemed to me a silly invention, the Hallmark holiday of meals. We have this fantasy of idle gossip over mimosas with Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha, but more often than not it’s spoiled by lineups, slowpoke service and $5 thimbles of orange juice. The menu options are eggs Benedict with gloopy hollandaise or bone-dry pancakes decorated with waxy, unripe strawberries. No serious chef would open at that in-between hour, except to make quick cash on piles of potatoes and toast.

Then, in the past year or so, restaurants started opening at a breakneck speed, and, to remain competitive, chefs began offering increasingly decadent brunches. The most talked about are the Trimalchios who raise the bar with epic breakfast feasts that leave you so terrifically bloated you cancel dinner plans. At Origin Liberty, Claudio Aprile’s west-end place, the French toast is loaded with blueberries and duck confit, and the bartender shakes cocktails like it’s 11 p.m., not a.m. At Edulis, the homey oasis in the middle of King West’s condos, brunch involves half-price wine, velvety pâtés, slow-roasted pork belly and a slice of Black Forest cake, a leisurely gout-fest that stretches over three hours. And, after 23 years, the upscale institution Splendido launched its first brunch service, a $35 prix fixe that includes freshly baked brioche with lobster.

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Restaurants

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The Dish Power Rankings: the Jack Bauer edition

The-Dish-Power-Rankings

Toronto Life’s roundup of the restaurants with the biggest buzz, the longest lineups and the toughest tables to snag.

Bar Isabel holds strong at the top and Jack Bauer’s presence pulls a normally buzz-free tavern into the number ten spot.

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Restaurants

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The Dish Power Rankings: Terroir-ism edition

The-Dish-Power-Rankings

Toronto Life’s roundup of the restaurants with the biggest buzz, the longest lineups and the toughest tables to snag.

The seventh annual Terroir Symposium brought a raft of international food stars to Toronto—and rearranged this week’s top restaurants. Further down, the first reviews for Chantecler’s new tasting menu shoot it up the list.

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Trend Watch

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Trend We Love: tableside ceremony

Trend We Love: tableside ceremony

Chefs are perfecting their tableside manner and bringing a bit of ceremony back to dinner. We heartily approve.

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Trend Watch

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Trend We Love/Hate: Toronto’s inflated comfort food economy

Trend We Love/Hate: Pricey comfort food

We at Toronto Life are avid consumers of upgraded comfort food—but we’re beginning to notice that the prices are climbing in lockstep with our cholesterol levels. Below, four down-home dishes at premium prices.

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Restaurants

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Flavour of the Year: Five tips for preparing vegetables from the city’s top chefs

A miracle has occurred in this meat-obsessed city: vegetables have shown up on menus. Here, five top chefs offer easy tips for home prep.

Flavour Craze: Garden Party

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The Dish Power Rankings: April fools edition

The-Dish-Power-Rankings

Toronto Life’s roundup of the restaurants with the biggest buzz, the longest lineups and the toughest tables to snag.

A long running powerhouse prepares for a three-week break and David Chang spills the beans on where he eats in Toronto.

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