La Palette

The Dish

Openings

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Introducing: The Feasting Room, a carnivore’s delight of a pop-up on College

Thursdays to Mondays, The Feasting Room takes over The Orbit Room for dinner service

The Feasting Room is a six-month project by Noah Goldberg and Mathieu Dutan, who, much like the founders of certain other restaurants in the city, met on Craigslist. Goldberg, who has cooked at Lee and Daniel Boulud’s DB Bistro Moderne in New York, was working at nose-to-tail temple St. John in London, England, when he decided to return to Toronto and posted an ad to enlist a general manager who would share in his vision. Dutan, who has spent time at Bistro Bakery Thuet, Gamelle and La Palette in Toronto and has also trained as a sommelier in Paris, answered Goldberg, and The Feasting Room was born.

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The Dish

Drinks

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Gallery: the fifth annual Brewers Plate brought Ontario craft brewers together with Toronto chefs

(Image: Safa Jinje)

On Wednesday, 450 Torontonians gathered at Roy Thomson Hall for the fifth annual Brewers Plate, a fundraiser that celebrates the marriage of sustainable food and Southern Ontario craft beers. Each year, Brewer’s Plate raises money to benefit a Toronto-area initiative in the food and farming sectors. This year, the beneficiary was Green Thumbs Growing Kids, an innovative program that seeks to reconnect urban youth to their food through a variety of garden-based programs. There were a total of 47 serving stations offering up a springtime feast that featured in-season, locally produced ingredients. Each chef was teamed up with a craft brewery; some made dishes that paired well with their partner brew, while the more intrepid chefs featured beer as a key ingredient in their dishes. In all, a dozen chefs were in attendance (including Lora Kirk of Ruby Watchco, Aaron Joseph Bear Robe of Keriwa Cafe and Brook Kavanagh of La Palette), along with 21 craft breweries (Wellington, Great Lakes, Beau’s) and 11 other food producers (Wanda’s Pie in the Sky, Buddha Dog, Monforte Dairy).

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The Dish

Food Events

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We dropped by the Great Toronto Tartare-off to discover a meatetarian frenzy

Luma’s Jason Bangerter predicted the event was going to be a meat fest, so he opted for a tuna tartare instead.

Last night, Grapes for Humanity corralled some of the city’s top culinary talent under one roof (that of the Fairmont Royal York Hotel) for RAW! The Great Toronto Tartare-Off, an event to raise funds to support a high school in Guatemala. A panel of judges, consisting of John Higgins, Amy Rosen, Josh Josephson, Corey Mintz and, to the delight of many, Geddy Lee, was tasked with crowning one chef the King—or Queen—of Tartare. Those chefs included Jamie Kennedy (Gilead), Didier Leroy (Didier), Lorenzo Loseto (George), Jason Bangerter (Luma), Mark Cutrara (Cowbell), Brook Kavanagh (La Palette), Albert Ponzo (Le Sélect), Patrick McMurray (Starfish and Ceili Cottage) and, most impressively, Luke Wood of Thornton’s Wine and Tapas Room who flew in from Yellowknife specifically for the function.

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The Dish

Random Stuff

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La Palette brings back the horsemeat 

La Palette’s horsemeat hiatus didn’t last long—viande chevaline will return to the menu at the Queen Street bistro as of this week. Co-owner Shamez Amlani stopped serving the French delicacy late last summer after the Toronto Star exposed questionable sourcing in the horsemeat industry, but he didn’t let the matter drop. “We’ve spent the past six months doing as much research as we can,” he told Post City. “We’re very certain that we’ll be serving our customers high-quality meat.” So what makes him think the meat is now safe? One reason could be that President Obama recently lifted the American ban on horse slaughter, meaning American workhorses would no longer be mixed into the Canadian food supply. We have a hunch this isn’t the end of the story, though—horsemeat, like shark fin and raw milk, always seems to stir up controversy. Read the entire story [Post City] »

The Dish

Restaurants

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Year in Review: each of 2011’s weekly lunch picks, ranked

Trying to choose a selection of our favourite lunch picks from the last year proved too much like choosing a selection of our favourite children. So instead we present a complete year of lunch picks, ranked by price, from a humble porchetta sandwich (a reasonable $6.75) to a somewhat less humble five-course feast (treat yourself for $100).

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The Dish

Random Stuff

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Horsemeat poised to make a comeback in the U.S.

(Image: James Byrum)

Top Chef Canada made headlines (and alienated horse lovers everywhere) earlier this year when it featured horsemeat during a classic French cuisine challenge. The scandal prompted an in-depth investigation of the industry by the ever-intrepid Toronto Star, which explained how a 2007 slaughtering ban in the United States led to a boom in Canada’s industry. Now, according to a story in the Chicago Tribune, horsemeat may be making a return to the U.S. market in the coming months.

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The Dish

Restaurants

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Toronto’s five best steak frites

The city’s most impressive meat-and-potatoes pairings in order of awesomeness

Best Steak Frites
No. 1
A good hand with seasoning (rosemary, thyme and a few drops of olive oil and balsamic) brings out the complex flavours of Nota Bene’s grass-fed strip loin, which has flesh so tender it could be cut with a butter knife; frites are crunchy and lustily salted. 180 Queen St. W., 416-977-6400.

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The Dish

Restaurants

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Weekly Lunch Pick: a rotisserie chicken sandwich at Le Kensington

(Image: Andrew Brudz)

The storied La Palette space in Kensington Market is now in the assured hands of chef Jean-Charles Dupoire and his partner, longtime friend and sommelier Sylvain Brissonnet, the duo behind Harbord Street’s Loire. At Le Kensington, their menu showcases simple French dishes Dupoire learned from his grandmother.

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The Dish

Openings

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Introducing: Le Kensington, the new French bistro from the owners of Loire

(Image: Karolyne Ellacott)

Le Kensington Bistro, the second eatery from the owners of Harbord Street’s Loire (one of 2009’s best new restaurants), recently opened in the space that used to house La Palette, the market’s original French bistro (La Palette decamped to Queen Street last year). Owners Sylvain Brissonnet—who spent a decade as the sommelier of Langdon Hall—and Jean-Charles Dupoire—who put in hours at both The Savoy and The Berkeley in London—purchased the spot at the start of the year but were bogged down with lengthy renovations. Brissonnet tells us the pair “really wanted to do something very French” and are keeping the focus on their homeland’s cuisine.

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The Dish

Restaurants

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La Palette pulls horsemeat from its menu following Star exposé

Inside the Queen West bistro (Image: Jon Sufrin)

Yesterday we dove into the Toronto Stars hard-hitting investigation of the horsemeat industry in Canada. Among those implicated was Queen West bistro La Palette, where horsemeat has been a staple. Well, those days are over (for now), as this morning La Palette co-owner Shamez Amlani went on CBC’s Metro Morning to announce that as of today horsemeat has been removed from their menu.

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The Dish

Random Stuff

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Six things we learned from the Star’s investigation into the Canadian horsemeat industry

A horse tartare sandwich from the Black Hoof (Image: Jen Chan from the Torontolife.com Flickr pool)

Any time an investigation takes place at a “kill auction,” you know its findings will be grim. This weekend’s report from the Toronto Star’s Robert Cribb on Canada’s central role in the horsemeat industry is no exception. Horsemeat, which predominantly comes from animals not bred for food, has come under fire in Canada before (notably during Top Chef Canada) over complaints of poor sourcing and inhumane practices, and recently many countries—including the U.S.—have banned the stuff. Six things we learned from the Star’s investigation, after the jump.

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The Dish

Food TV

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Next week’s episode of Top Chef Canada to feature horsemeat, outrage ensues

Oh, the controversy. At the end last week’s episode of Top Chef Canada, the preview for episode six featured, among other things, French-culinary-god-by-way-of-NYC Daniel Boulud as guest judge, a classic French cuisine challenge, and—how did we miss this?—horsemeat. Well, other viewers didn’t miss it, and many have been up in arms with Food Network Canada via Twitter and Facebook. They’ve even begun an online petition to boycott the network.

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The Dish

Restaurants

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Marben set to host Toronto’s latest sausage fest on Wednesday nights

Completing its transition from King West chic to rustic barnyard, Marben has announced it’s hosting the first annual Marben Sausage League. Over the next five months, 12 chefs from some of Toronto’s hottest restaurants—including C5, The Harbord Room, La Palette and Parts and Labour—will compete for the title of “Sausage Champion.”

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The Dish

Restaurants

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Weekly Lunch Pick: a sweet and savoury lunch at La Palette

The confit and clafoutis at La Palette (Image: Andrew Brudz)

Last year, Shamez Amlani transplanted his beloved bistro from Augusta to Queen West. The new location retains the original’s ramshackle charm and brings executive chef Brook Kavanaghs classic French fare a little closer to the downtown lunch crowd. 

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The Dish

Restaurants

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DIY Gourmet: how to make La Palette’s Platonic French onion soup

(Image: Edward Pond)

The secret to La Palette’s peerless French onion soup is chef Brook Kavanagh’s slow-roasted beef bone broth

“French onion soup is a classic for good reason. The ingredients are straight­forward and cheap, but if the broth is done right, the result is deeply flavoured and totally comforting. I like to make my stock from organic shank bones for an intense and meaty taste. I started testing out recipes as a 14-year-old working in a butcher shop—I would take bones home with me—and 15 years later, I’m still tinkering as I make four or five batches of the stuff every day.”

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