Sotto Sotto

The Informer

People

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The List: 10 things Kevin O’Leary, the professional Dragon and author of Cold Hard Truth, can’t live without

The List: Kevin O’LearyThe List: Kevin O’Leary1| Fine wine
I have a cellar of wine from Burgundy and Bordeaux. Château Latour ’90 is my current favourite. I bought a couple of cases when they weren’t expensive, but now the Chinese have discovered French first growths, and they’ve gone way up in price. It’s hard to drink them because I know they’re impossible to replace.

The List: Kevin O’Leary2| My vintage camera
I got hooked on photography when I was a TV editor and would take stills during filming. I have lots of cameras—both film and digital—but my most prized is a Leica M3 that has never left its box. I have the sales receipt from 1963. It’s worth thousands. If you know Leica, and you see this, it’s better than sex!

The List: Kevin O’Leary3| My digital music
I have more than 129,000 songs in my collection, all of which I ripped from old CDs and vinyl. It was a labour of love that took me three years. Vinyl just sounds different—listen to an album like Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue, and you’ll notice the bass you can’t get with digital recording.

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TIFF Talk

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At A Dangerous Method’s party at Soho House, A-list celebrities outnumbered the common folk

Ryan Gosling is with this guy (Dave Matthews) (Image: Soho House)

The sheer abundance of A-listers at A Dangerous Method’s party at Soho House put celeb gossip mongers on overload, and by 2:30 a.m., the party was still going strong, making those working the event wish George Clooney would just go back to his hotel already so the rest of us could call it a night. Who we spotted, who they hung out with and what we overheard after the jump (plus pictures, lots of pictures).

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The Dish

Openings

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Introducing: Ceno, Av and Dav’s latest spin on haute Italian

Ceno's venison comes with bones, blueberries

To set up a new Italian restaurant in the epicentre of Yorkville’s Mini Italy—that short stretch of Avenue where L’Unita, Sotto Sotto, Maléna and Spuntini pretty much join hands—is quite a gambit. And it’s a good thing for Ceno, which opened up here last month, because despite pervasive trappings of Italian-ness, this is not exactly an Italian restaurant. It’s close, though: nearly all the staff hail from the motherland (maitre d’ Juri Giannelli uses his mother’s maiden name to prove his authenticity), its moniker is Latin for “to dine” and service is based on the old-world tradition of schooled waiters.

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The Dish

Openings

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Just opened: Malena, by the restaurateurs who brought L’Unità to Yorkville

(Image: Karon Liu)

Yorkville’s own little Little Italy—that block of Avenue Road where Sotto Sotto and L’Unità have stood these past few years—just got an added taste of the home country. Malena opened last week, setting itself apart from its neighbours with a focus on seafood from the Ionian Sea. “We believe that the more restaurants the better. The more people it brings in the better,” says co-owner David Minicucci, who is also a co-owner of L’Unità. “They might come here one night, see Sotto Sotto next door and decide to go there next time. We’re all friends here.”

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The Dish

Random Stuff

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Black carrots are the latest craze, Madonna hates cheese, Prohibition feud heats up

Oprah14-257x3871

Oprah dined at Sotto Sotto while in Toronto for TIFF (Photo by Karon Liu)

• Feuding continues at Queen Street East bar Prohibiton. Ex-manager Joey McGuirk published a letter from his lawyer on Prohibition’s old Web site this summer, which detailed how he came up with the concept of the bar and demanded compensation after McGuirk was fired. Some of his cutting-edge ideas include serving “high-end pub fare,” focusing on customer service, offering more than 15 kinds of beer and being “fun and sexy.” We hope he patented those, because they’re restaurant gold. [BlogTO]

• When Madonna told David Letterman that she’s never had a slice of New York pizza, the host got her a slice with olives but no cheese. Madonna reports that she’s “not a cheese person.” (A body like that doesn’t happen by eating cheese.) We’re just happy she’s no longer a fake-British-accent person. [Grub Street]

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TIFF Talk

TIFF 2009

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Elevated Oprah takes no chances with security (except sometimes)

Destination unknown: elevator numbers were switched off at the Hazelton when Oprah was changing floors (Photo by Karon Liu)

Destination unknown: elevator numbers were switched off at the Hazelton when Oprah was changing floors (Photo by Karon Liu)

Going up? O, no you’re not.

When Oprah Winfrey rides the elevator, the numbers go black, or so claims a Yorkville insider we met at the InStyle party. The insider told us that although Oprah fans had swarmed the Four Seasons in hopes of catching their 4 p.m. saviour, the Precious producer was, in fact, staying at The Hazelton. We also learned that when Oprah wanted to go up or down the elevator, FBI tactics were in play: all the elevators went dark so no one could know which floor she was on. To further ensure her safeguard, security would block off the foyer to prevent other guests—A-listers or not—from getting to their room.

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TIFF Talk

TIFF 2009

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Was George Clooney dining at Jack Astor’s?

Prego Della Piazza, Sotto Sotto, Giancarlo Trattoria…Mamma Mia! Where does George Clooney eat his pasta? Apparently, Jack Astor’s at Yonge and Dundas, so we gave them a call to clarify:

“THANK YOU FOR CHOOSING JACK ASTOR’S, HOW MAY I HELP YOU?”
“Did George Clooney eat pasta at your restaurant last night?”
”Yes, I got to work this morning and everyone was talking about it.”
”Does he like a sprinkle of parmesan?”
“Call me back in 20 minutes. I’ll talk to one of the managers who was here last night.”

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TIFF Talk

TIFF 2009

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Canada’s queen of gossip, Lainey, tells us what she knows about the coming of Oprah, Mariah, Clooney, Cage and more

Goss boss: The queen of "fun" smut, Lainey Gossip

Goss boss: The queen of "fun" smut, Lainey (Photo courtesy of CTV)

TIFF starts tomorrow, so for our last-minute update on what to expect, who to look for and where to go, we sat down with none other than Elaine Lui, a.k.a. Lainey of eTalk and Lainey Gossip.

Where Oprah goes, the congregation will follow—even to Sotto Sotto.

TIFF.TO: What does it mean that Oprah Winfrey is coming to Toronto for the world premiere of Precious?
LAINEY:
For a long time I’ve referred to Oprah as ‘The Mighty O’ and use capitalized pronouns when referring to her because people act like she’s God. Sometimes, I feel like she acts like she’s God. So it’s almost like God is coming to Toronto…like we should have a temple or something in her honour.

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The Dish

Restaurants

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Decoding the real and imagined T.O. restaurants in Shinan Govani’s new novel

boldfacenamesAs the social columnist for The National Post, it is practically part of Shinan Govani’s job description to eat out in Toronto. No wonder, then, that in his debut novel, Boldface Names, there are plenty of dishes served along with the dishing. Govani calls the book a “tell-some,” in which Ravi—a fictional gossip columnist for, ahem, The National Mirror—navigates the semi-imaginary Toronto “of the rich, the famous and the wicked.” This includes the restaurants, of course, and some of the locales may seem very familiar to local foodies and gadflies. We’ve pulled back the thin veil and created this crib sheet to the eating establishments of Boldface Names.

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