locavore

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The Way We Eat Now: how foraging infiltrated fine dining and became a foodie phenomenon

The Way We Eat Now: Where the Wild Things Are

(Image: Left: Caballo’s sautéed wild Saskatchewan chanterelles; right: Forager-chef Michael Caballo at Edulis)

On a late-summer evening, I descended into the Don Valley with 50 well-to-do Torontonians—mostly middle-aged couples in chinos, linen suits and sandals. We paid $50 each to identify edible plants. Like churning your own butter or whittling your own driftwood spoons, foraging—finding and harvesting food from wild resources—is one of those rugged pioneer traditions that has reached the peculiar status of urban artisanal fetish. Days before the tour, I imagined the calamities I might encounter: stinging nettles, disturbed wasps’ nests, rodents of unknown rabidity status.

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Restaurants

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Flavour of the Month: Eight locavore chefs on what to do with their favourite farmers’ market finds

Flavour of the Month: Bounty Hunters

For a few short weeks every year, farmers’ markets are flush with obscure fruits and vegetables you’ll rarely see in grocery stores. We asked the city’s most fanatical locavore chefs for their favourite finds and dead-simple prep tips.

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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

Food Events

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Weekly Eater: Toronto food events for August 20 to 26

Foodies on Foot leads a culinary tour of Roncesvalles on Saturday (Image: Danielle Scott from the Torontolife.com Flickr pool)

Monday, August 20

  • Dinner at the Bellevue: Chef Robbie Hojilla, formerly of Woodlot and Ursa, cooks a five-course, modern Filipino–inspired feast. $35. The Bellevue, 61A Bellevue Ave., 647-340-8224. Find out more »
  • 86’D With Ivy Knight: A preview of Savour Stratford, with complimentary samples from Château des Charmes, Mill St. Brewery, Mercer Hall, Rene’s Bistro and Monforte Dairy. A flight of cocktails showcasing Stratford mixologists will also be available. The Drake, 1150 Queen St. W., 416-531-5042. 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

Restaurants

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New Reviews: Hoof Raw Bar, Lamesa Filipino Kitchen and Edulis

A raw seafood bar, a serious locavore bistro and Filipino fusion downtown

Hoof Raw Bar star ½
926 Dundas St. W., 647-346-9356

New Reviews: Hoof Raw BarJen Agg, the owner of the legendary hearts-and-tongues hot spot The Black Hoof, has opened up a seafood restaurant next door on Dundas West. She brings to her new place the same meticulousness that made her original restaurant such a success. The small room is gracefully ramshackle, like a polished-up Cape Breton seafood joint, which perfectly matches chef Jonathan Pong’s short all-seafood menu. The substantial cured fish board, arranged from delicate to powerhouse, includes standouts like buttery, fragrant albacore gravlax and chorizo spice scallops. Skip the overpriced raw oysters ($34 per dozen) in favour of the baked versions, which maintain their delectable brininess despite the toasty crunch of panko flakes and layer of rich, smooth foie gras. A wildly exuberant dessert closes the meal: deconstructed sponge cake set off by stewed rhubarb, freeze-dried caramel, salt flakes and rosewater jelly. The drinks are aimed squarely at fish lovers: spicy tomato cocktails and a dozen or so wines by the glass that come with more origin stories than Batman. Sharing plates $8–$22.

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Random Stuff

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CNN Travel lists the St. Lawrence Market as one of the world’s 10 best fresh markets

(Image: b.m.a.n. from the Torontolife.com Flickr pool)

The St. Lawrence Market is having a moment: not only did celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain recently stop by to film a segment for The Layover, but CNN Travel also included the market in its roundup of the world’s 10 best fresh markets. It’s always nice to see the Toronto landmark back in the spotlight (in 2009 National Geographic dubbed it the number one food market in the world in Food Journeys of a Lifetime)—but we were surprised to read the list of items that “Toronto locavores” allegedly swing by the market to pick up. In addition to fresh produce, homemade pies and freshly baked bread (the usual suspects on any shopping list), “elk, venison and other locally sourced game” made the cut. Sure, we know the market shills even more exotic meats, but there’s the distinct sense that CNN sees Torontonians as living in some kind of bountiful northern wilderness where forest-grown, game-y dishes abound. [CNN]

The Dish

Food Events

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Weekly Eater: Toronto food events for July 16 to 22

The crowd at the Hot and Spicy Food Festival, which takes place this weekend (Image: Tsar Kasim)

Monday, July 16

  • 86’D With Ivy Knight: Join scotch makers Bowmore and Oyster Boy and the Canadian Professional Bartenders Association for the Oyster of Good Cheer, with top bartenders showcasing their Bowmore cocktails alongside freshly shucked oysters. The Drake, 1150 Queen St. W., 416-531-5042. Find out more »
  • Thirsty and Miserable: A Beer Class: Join certified Cicerone Mirella Amato for a guided tasting of six delicious beers. Learn about the various flavours in beer and where they come from. Good Egg, 197 Baldwin St., 416-593-4663. Find out more »
  • Grillin’ and Chillin’ Barbecue Cooking Class and Pig Roast: Learn to barbecue like a pro with pitmaster Jason Rees of the renowned Pork Ninjas Barbecue Team and the Culinary Adventure Company. Fuel House, 53 Clinton St., 416-565-1730. 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 »
  • An Introduction to Wine Appreciation: An LCBO-led tasting and lecture that will demystify the wine world. This degustation will focus on the four principal wine categories: white, red, sparkling and fortified. Kingsway LCBO, 2946 Bloor St. W., 416-239-3065. Find out more »
  • Locavore Food Camp: A five-day program that offers city kids a variety of hands-on opportunities designed to increase their physical fitness and help them understand the importance of making healthy food choices. July 16 to 20. Evergreen Brick Works, 550 Bayview Ave. Find out more »

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The Dish

Closings

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European Quality Meats to end its five-decade run in Kensington Market

(Image: Josh Evnin)

After more than 50 years of purveying pork and selling salami, Kensington Market institution European Quality Meats and Sausages will close on April 7. Larry Leider, son of septuagenarian founder Morris Leider, told the Toronto Star that both rising property values and the shift towards locavore meat sellers prompted the family to consider selling up. After “testing the waters” of the real estate market earlier this month (with a reported $1.8 million asking price), they received “an offer we couldn’t refuse,” he said. The new occupants are not butchers, but fans needn’t despair—European’s Etobicoke and Brampton locations will remain open. Read the entire story [Toronto Star] »

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Restaurants

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Windows by Jamie Kennedy set to open in Niagara Falls this February

Jamie Kennedy and chef de cuisine Ross Midgley (Images: Jamie Kennedy Kitchens)

Back in May, we reported that Jamie Kennedy was lending his expertise (and perhaps more importantly, his name) to a fine dining restaurant on the 14th floor of the Sheraton on the Falls Hotel, to be called Jamie Kennedy on the Falls. The restaurant is now set to open sometime in the next month, under a new name: Windows by Jamie Kennedy. “We’ve been told mid-February,” Jamie Kennedy Kitchens spokesperson Jo Dickins told The Dish. Partner Canadian Niagara Hotels has already started the search for staff to work under chef de cuisine Ross Midgley, with Tony Aspler running the wine program. The restaurant hopes to draw GTA residents familiar with Kennedy by sticking with his famously locavore philosophy—but we’re sure the views of the falls won’t hurt either.

The Dish

Random Stuff

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Nine members of Toronto’s backyard-chicken underground on the special bond between man and bird

On November 30, councillors Joe Mihevc and Mary-Margaret McMahon took on the considerable challenge of trying to overturn nearly three decades of city hall opposition to backyard hens. They didn’t quite succeed. (Their motion to study the issue was referred to the municipal licensing and standards committee for consideration in February.) With his trademark zeal for kindergarten humour, Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti opined, “Now we’re going to have thousands of chickens crossing the road and we’re going to have neighbours fighting against neighbours because they don’t want to hit the chickens.” But what Mammoliti and his ilk don’t understand is that urban hen keeping didn’t really go away when it was outlawed in 1983. It just went underground—into garages, sheds and secluded corners of backyards. The hopes of these renegade urban hen keepers are now running high, riding Toronto’s ever-growing wave of locavorism. Here, nine of those rebels, who break the law every day, talk about that other love that dare not speak its name: that between man and hen.

First up, Jill and Sunshine »

The Informer

Random Stuff

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Weekend Reading List: top stories from our sister sites, from chimpanzees to zucchinis

Every weekend we round up the highlights from the other websites in the St. Joseph Media family. Check them out, after the jump.

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The Dish

Restaurants

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Weekly Lunch Pick: a hearty soup and sandwich in Corktown

The chicken galantine sandwich and curried pumpkin purée soup at Gilead Café (Image: Andrew Brudz)

With Jamie Kennedy’s withdrawal from the Wine Bar and Hank’s, and his Gardiner Museum restaurant turned into an event and catering space, the Gilead Café and Bistro is now the best place to go for his French-inflected locavore cuisine. Inside, the trademark wall of colourful preserved fruit and vegetables makes a cozy spot for a fall lunch.

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The Dish

Drinks

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David Lawrason rounds up some of the best Ontario wines from off the beaten track

New Ontario vintners are planting vines in unlikely places and making wine that will warm your indie-loving locavore heart.

(Illustration: Jack Dylan)

In the last five or so years, vineyards have popped up off the beaten track of Ontario’s wine circuit—in Norfolk County (Port Dover), Grey County (Collingwood) and the south of Prince Edward County (Milford). To adapt to the idiosyncrasies of their untested terroirs, trail­blazing winemakers are trying out new types of grapes and growing techniques. For example, at the Coffin Ridge winery near Owen Sound, they’re planting hybrid vines, like Marquette and Frontenac, that are designed to survive -34°C winters. To accommodate a growing season that’s two weeks shorter than that of much of the rest of Ontario, the Georgian Hills winery near Colling­wood plants early-ripening gamay. And at Burning Kiln, on an old tobacco farm near Port Dover, they’re drying ripe grapes in tobacco kilns to produce the big, flavour-rich reds that generally come from warmer climates. After a few years of experimentation, these small operations are now turning out intriguing, often very good wines, but because the LCBO doesn’t carry small-batch bottlings, you have to order them online or make the pilgrimage to the wineries. Here, nine bottles worth the extra effort.

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Restaurants

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DIY BBQ Guide: three meat delivery services for locavores who can’t fit a side of beef in their freezer

From farm to freezer

(Image: Joel Kimmel)

Being a locavore doesn’t come cheap. While buying in bulk can help, not everyone has a minivan and a deep-freeze big enough for a side of beef. The solution? Meat boxes, delivered monthly from the farm.

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The Dish

Random Stuff

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An Oedipal feast: human breast milk ice cream

The Icecreamists pop up shop at Selfridges in London (Image: Everjean)

Remember that that chef in New York who made cheese out of his wife’s breast milk? Well, now a London store owner has also taken it upon himself to make ice cream out of human dairy. Matt O’Connor, owner of Icecreamists, wants customers to think of this breast milk ice cream as an organic, free-range treat. Except in this case, “free range” refers to the 15 women who answered an on-line ad on Mumsnet and provided their milk to be creamed.

Priced at a whopping £14 (roughly $22) per serving, the concoction is inexplicably named “Baby Gaga,” and its recipe calls for human milk mixed with Madagascar vanilla pods and lemon zest. Victoria Hiley, one of the women who provided her milk to O’Connor’s cause, told Reuters she stands behind the free-range rationale for the product.

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