Rodney’s Oyster House

The Dish

Drinks

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Coming soon to King West: the world’s biggest “permanent ice lounge”

(Image: Chill Ice House/Facebook)

(Image: Chill Ice House/Facebook)

It takes balls to open a frigid winter fortress in Toronto just as the city is finally beginning to thaw. That’s not stopping entrepreneur Gresham Bayley from betting that his massive ice lounge will be a hit when it opens at King and Bathurst this spring. Bayley has helped set up ice lounges all over the world with Iceculture Inc., a business owned by his family, and now he’s branching out in a big way. At an anticipated 1,300 square feet, Chill Ice House is set to become the largest year-round ice lounge in the world.

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The Dish

Food Events

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See Ontario’s best shuck it off at last weekend’s 2012 Oyster Fest

Ontario Oyster Festival 2012

(Image: Igor Yu)

This past Sunday, Rodney’s Oyster House, the centre of gravity for all things bivalve in Toronto, played host to the annual Ontario Oyster Festival. This was the 24th year for the seafood celebration, which raises money for Environmental Defense, an organization which promotes green causes ranging from clean beaches to banning BPA. The highlight of the day (and the event which brought us down there on a rainy Sunday): the crowning of the Ontario Oyster Opening Champion, who gets to go on to nationals in PEI.

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The Dish

Food Events

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Luminato announces lineup for 2012 edition of 1,000 Tastes of Toronto

One of Toronto’s 1,000 tastes, from last year’s festival (Image: Luminato)

On Friday, Luminato announced the full list of restaurants, vendors and food shops participating in its annual 1,000 Tastes of Toronto event, which moves back to the Distillery on June 9 and 10 after last year’s foray onto John Street. Notable among the list of attendees at the street food festival is Bent, the upcoming restaurant headed by Susur Lee’s sons Levi and Kai Bent-Lee (which is slated to open very soon). Other food programming at this year’s Luminato includes Rainer Prohaska’s Toronto Carretilla Initiative, a kind of participatory art installation that’s also a public feast, and a conversation between New Yorker writers Adam Gopnik and Calvin Trillin about Canadian cuisine, a subject both writers have experience waxing charmingly condescending about.

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The Dish

Food Events

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Weekly Eater: Toronto food events for April 16 to 22


Monday, April 16

  • Jamie Kennedy’s Local Food Movement Dinner: Kennedy partners with 13th Street Winery for a four-course meal with wine pairings. Gilead Bistro, 4 Gilead Pl., 647-288-0680. Find out more »
  • Austria Uncorked: Taste vintages from 30 producers from the wine regions of Austria. Trump Hotel, 325 Bay St., 416-967-3348. Find out more »
  • Piola’s Monday Night Mixer: Starting this week, Piola offers aperitivo italiano on Monday evenings, with cocktail and beer specials and complimentary snacks. 1165 Queen St. W., 416-477-4652. Find out more »
  • Shellshocked: Saving Oysters to Save Ourselves Canadian Premiere: The filmmaker and environmental experts discuss the importance of protecting North American waterways and oyster culture. Rodney’s Oyster House, 469 King St. W., 416-363-8105. Find out more »
  • 86’D: Ivy Knight hosts the launch of Culinary Adventure Co.’s 2012 season. The Drake, 1150 Queen St. W., 416-531-5042. Find out more »
  • Sorauren Farmers’ Market: 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the field house at Sorauren Park. 50 Wabash Ave. Find out more »

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The Goods

Weddings

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Weddings 2012: eight trendy finger foods to satisfy the health nut, the gourmand and the junk-food addict

Weddings 2012 | Appetizers
VIEW BY CUISINE:
RAW: ENDIVE SALAD | GAZPACHO SHOOTERS
MEXICAN: DUCK CONFIT TACO | LOBSTER QUESADILLA
FRENCH: CROQUE MONSIEUR | FOIE GRAS TORCHON
COMFORT FOOD: LOBSTER POUTINE | OYSTER CORN DOG

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The Dish

Food Events

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Two Torontonians duked it out for national oyster shucking title last Friday

In what must have been acutely embarrassing for shuckers from the east and west coasts, the final round of the Canadian Oyster Shucking Championship in P.E.I. last Friday came down to two monster shuckers from non-coastal Toronto: Eamon Clark (son of Rodney Clark of Rodney’s Oyster House) and Patrick McMurray (of Starfish and Ceili Cottage), both of whom have previously won the championship multiple times. As reported by the Summerside Journal-Pioneer, the two former champs made it to the last round in a dead heat, which necessitated a shuck-off of 18 Malpeques (captured in this immortal slideshow). In the end, it apparently all came down to speed versus finesse (we won’t spoil the result). Read the whole story »

The Dish

Openings

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Introducing: Fishbar, the new Ossington seafood restaurant from the people behind Salt

Fishbar’s dining room is adorned with Edison lights and salvaged and reclaimed furniture (Image: Gizelle Lau)

After keeping eager would-be patrons waiting for almost six months, Fishbar, the new restaurant from William Tavares (co-owner of Salt Wine Bar just a few doors away), will officially open tomorrow. We snuck in during Fishbar’s soft opening to see what it was all about and meet the staff Tavares has assembled for the front and back of the house.

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The Dish

Random Stuff

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Toronto is Canada’s “party town,” Country Style is sold, wedding catering nightmares

Sold! Ontario's second-largest doughnut chain gets a new owner (Photo by Kevin Steele)

Sold! Ontario's second-largest doughnut chain gets a new owner (Photo by Kevin Steele)

• Montreal’s King of the Food Court, Stanley Ma (the owner of Yogen Früz and Sushi Shop), buys Ontario’s second-largest coffee chain, Country Style. Who’s up for some fusion doughnuts? [Toronto Star]

• Britain’s Telegraph offers a Londoner’s guide to Toronto, “Canada’s party town.” Among the culinary picks are Delux, Rodney’s Oyster House and, wait for it, Second Cup. For homesick Brits, the article recommends the gastro-pub Crush. [Telegraph]

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The Dish

Random Stuff

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Recessionary gratuities: Is 2009 the year of lousy tips?

Thanks for the tip (Photo by Wade From Oklahoma)

Thanks for the tip (Photo by Wade from Oklahoma)

What to tip at recession time? This is the latest question in the never-ending gratuity debate; and since the market went south, it appears to be striking a nerve in Toronto and elsewhere. The New York Times‘ etiquette authority, Frank Bruni, wrote about it on his blog recently, sparking chatter about servers getting stiffed during hard times. Apparently diners are not just ordering less food, but they are then dialling down the percentage of their cheques left for gratuity. The recession effect—Bruni calls it a “double whammy”—is being felt closer to home, too. Toronto servers have been reporting paltry pourboire during the downturn. “Before the crisis, money was getting thrown around, but now people are more careful,” says France Salmon, who has been serving for over 10 years at celeb sanctuary Bistro 990. It seems even stars can be guilty of skimpy tipping (we’re looking at you, Madonna). With everyone else getting their bonuses trimmed and salaries frozen, is it all right to be less generous with the gratuity?

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