For the second year in a row, Drake One Fifty and Momofuku (with help from Pizzeria Libretto, Richmond Station and Thoroughbred) will transform some not-so-green space downtown into a night market every Tuesday evening for the month of August. Starting August 4, the financial district restaurants will take over the York Street parkette between Richmond and Adelaide, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., for Twilight Tuesdays. Attendees can expect street food snacks (bo ssäm plates, sandwiches filled with sliced-to-order slow-roasted pork shoulder), frozen treats (slushies, soft serve ice cream) and entertainment by local artists. The Drake General Store will also have a booth set up, because what would a night market be without an oddball impulse purchase or two? While there’s no admission fee, tickets ($5 each) can be purchased at the event and each is redeemable for one food or drink item. Twenty per cent of all ticket sales will be donated to the Out of the Cold program at St. Andrew’s Church. Last year, Twilight Tuesdays raised $9,000 which helped to purchase more than 1,600 meals for those in need.
Taste of Toronto—not to be confused with Toronto Taste—is returning to Fort York this July for four days of refined gluttony, and event organizers just gave us first dibs on the list of participants so far. This year’s roster of restaurants and their chefs includes returning favourites David Neinstein from Barque Smokehouse, Los Colibris’ Elia Herrera, Mark McEwan of the McEwan Group, Michael Bonacini alongside his Oliver & Bonacini team, Richmond Station‘s Carl Heinrich, Victory Barry from Splendido and The Harbord Room‘s Cory Vitiello. New this year will be Michael van den Winkel of the Indonesian snack bar Little Sister. All of them will be serving three different dishes, each one costing between five and 10 “crowns” (the festival’s currency and just a fancy way of saying “dollars”). Between mouthfuls, guests will have the option of attending culinary demonstrations, hands-on cooking classes with top chefs (last year, Momofuku Milk Bar’s Christina Tosi did some) and wine tastings with Franco Stalteri of underground supper club Charlie’s Burgers. Tickets for the event go on sale mid-April; the full lineup of participants will be announced closer to the date of the event as more chefs register.
July 2–5. $25 and up. Fort York, 100 Garrison Rd., tasteoftoronto.com
A highly discerning look at the festival’s hottest hot spots
10 Temperance St., 647-348-7000
The glitzy surf-and-turf room on Temperance Street serves up expense account dining at its finest. Last year, at the after-party for Enemy, Jake Gyllenhaal and Alyssa Miller were holed up in a booth with a view on the fifth-floor terrace, and Isabella Rossellini hung out nearby, laughing with friends, while director Denis Villeneuve schmoozed with Dallas Buyers Club director (and fellow French Canadian) Jean-Marc Vallée.
The Momofuku Shrimp Stack is a cheeseburger topped with lettuce, pickled onions, “Momofuku Hozon sauce” (a kind of fermented nut paste) and a slender supplementary patty made out of pulverized shrimp. If that sounds like sheer heaven, you’re in luck: the burger was recently added to the lunch menu at Daishō, where it comes with kohlrabi slaw and tempura onion rings for $21. When David Chang debuted the surf ‘n’ turf burger at Shake Shack’s 10th-anniversary event in New York, it drew the longest lineup in Shack history (and got overwhelmingly positive reviews, at least on social media). A word of warning, though: it may look slightly less glamorous in real life.
Starting next Tuesday, August 5 at 5 p.m. and continuing weekly throughout the month, Momofuku and Drake One Fifty will be hosting an evening food fair in the little parkette between Richmond and Adelaide on York Street (the one across the street from The Keg and a couple doors down from Volos). Like all traditional nighttime bazaars, this one will have food (flank-steak spiedinis with gremolata, pizzettes with smoked ricotta), drinks ($5 cups of Grolsch), entertainment (local indie acts) and lots of people milling about (in this case, probably mostly suits).
—David Chang, the creator of Momofuku, speaking to Metro Morning’s Matt Galloway about Toronto’s “underdog” status among great North American food cities. Luckily, Chang likes underdogs, which is why he brought Momofuku here in the first place. “I think Momofuku’s scrappy…and that’s how I view Toronto. I don’t mean that as a backhanded compliment at all.”
David Chang knows his fast food, so it makes sense that he’s signed on as the official Northeastern U.S. “burrito scout” for ESPN blog FiveThirtyEight, which is currently conducting a rigorous, March Madness–style search for the country’s top burrito (and, in the process, examining the relative reliability of crowdsourced recommendations versus other sources of data). Chang recently spoke with the site about his personal views on user-generated restaurant reviews, particularly those on Yelp. To put it concisely, he’s not a fan. Here’s what he had to say:
I’m just going to come out and say: Most of the Yelp reviews are wrong. They just are. Yelp is great for finding information if you forgot the address of a place. […] But for the most part, no chef is going to take a Yelper’s review seriously, even though they might read them.
The problem with Yelpers, according to Chang? They take everything way too personally, and usually don’t know what they’re talking about.
The best analogy I can give is fantasy sports or lawn-chair stockbrokers. For the most part, unless you’re really studying the stats and you’re a former football player or baseball player and know the industry inside and out, it’s most likely that your insights aren’t that great.
Chang’s 12 restaurants across North America have pretty solid reviews on Yelp—but that’s nothing a few hundred outraged, vindictive Yelpers can’t change. You can read the full interview here.
It turns out Deadmau5 has much fancier taste in restaurants than David Chang, the James Beard Award–winning chef who introduced the world to cool fusion food. The Globe’s Ann Hui spent a night drinking and eating around town with Chang and his entourage of famous friends, including David McMillan and Fred Morin (masterminds of Montreal restaurant Joe Beef) and food writer Peter Meehan. Chang picked the venues, which included dim-sum restaurant Crown Princess Fine Dining, Oyster Boy on Queen West and, perhaps most surprisingly, Real Sports, home to one million chicken wings and TV screens. “The wings are really good. And people love it,” he said. “I’m over going against popular opinion.”
In a slightly contradictory vein, Chang also ragged a bit on Toronto’s good-but-not-awesome dining scene. “I’m not trying to piss people off, but why is it not elevated to the level where—people should be in awe of Toronto dining.” This from the owner of three of the most popular restaurants in Toronto. Change starts at home, pal.
Toronto’s lunchtime delivery options just got 85 times more exciting (and, we suspect, more calorific). As of today, downtowers can order and consume Momofuku Noodle Bar’s pork buns, roasted rice cakes and belly-topped ramen bowls without leaving their desks. (The online platform also lets diners order desserts from the Momofuku Milk Bar kiosk, including whole Crack Pies.) The new bicycle-delivery service operates weekdays between 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., and there’s a $25 minimum. For now, the delivery area is fairly circumscribed, with the main targets seeming to be—unsurprisingly—office towers in the financial core. So, Toronto’s high-powered lawyers and bankers can look forward to a couple things: delicious, delicious ramen, and way more time spent napping under their desks.
UPDATE: It turns out that Noodle Bar’s lunchtime service was just the first step in a more comprehensive delivery plan. The restaurant has now expanded its delivery hours to include a dinnertime window that runs Monday to Friday from 4:45 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Next up: weekends?
It’s that time again, when end-of-year lists start clogging our Twitter feeds and Facebook timelines. One we look forward to every October, though, is “Canada’s Best New Restaurants” by EnRoute—Air Canada’s consistently (and surprisingly) good in-flight magazine. This year, three excellent Toronto restaurants made the list. At number 10 is Parkdale’s “twisted hymn to the American South,” Electric Mud BBQ. At number two, David Chang’s University Avenue ode to the chef’s menu, Momofuko Shōtō. And at number one, Bar Isabel, where Grant van Gameren shows off his prowess with dish after dish of Spanish delights. You can see the full list here, along with notes about the trends EnRoute loves (lamb belly as the new pork belly) and hates (tables that are way too small).
Torontonians have never been more spoiled for places to eat, drink and schmooze al fresco. In the last month alone, at least half a dozen new venues have opened, including El Catrin, a chandelier-lit Mexican terrace in the Distillery District, The Beverley, a swishy rooftop lounge on Queen West, and Food and Liquor, a cute backyard hideaway in Parkdale (not to mention soon-to-open patios at The Chase in the Financial District and Agave y Aguacate in Baldwin Village). That’s in addition to the list of dreamy open-air spots that opened earlier this summer. It only makes sense, then, that the city’s most dazzling culinary complex would join the patio party. Momofuku Daishō’s new terrace will be unveiled at next week’s midsummer soirée where guests will feast on steamed buns, bo ssäm and booze slushies in true summer style.
The August Long Weekend is bittersweet: it’s at once a day off and the official midsummer hump. The Momofuku Summer Party is a chance to revel in some of the joys of summer—like food and booze—and stave off premature September blues. The August 7 soirée, which takes place at third-floor Daishō, will have food and drinks from Momofuku, including pork bo ssäm and booze-spiked slushies, and music from DJs Soul Proprietor and Phantom Signal. Tickets go for $75 with proceeds benefiting the City Life Film Project, a film program for at-risk youth.
Momofuku Summer Party, August 7, 8–11 p.m., Momofuku Toronto, 190 University Ave., momofukusummer13.eventbrite.ca
The Place: A refrigerated 12.5-by-six foot glass room on the second floor of the glittery Momofuku triplex at University and Richmond, just big enough for five or six people at a time. Baked goods are fully prepped at Milk Bar’s Brooklyn headquarters and shipped daily to the Toronto shop, where customers help themselves and pay at a register on the first floor. Some treats will also show up on the dessert menus at Noodle Bar and Daishō.
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