vegetarian

The Dish

Openings

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Introducing: Rakia Bar, a new outpost of the Slavic restaurant occupying the old Hrvati space

Introducing: Rakia Bar, a new outpost of the Slavic restaurant occupying the old Hrvati space

Name: Rakia Bar
Contact Info: 690 Euclid Ave.rakiabar.com, @RakiaBarTO, 647-350-4227
Neighbourhood: The Annex
Owner:
Dušan Varga, owner of the Leslieville Rakia Bar outpost
Chef: Dustin Peck (The Auld Spot, Politica)

The Food: Traditional Balkan fare like ćevapi (“ché-vap-ee”), grilled mixed meat kebabs, and sarma—that’s sauerkraut leaves stuffed with a pork-beef mix (imagine a Polish cabbage roll, but tangier). Baka might not approve of the Canadian spins of Slavic fare like a rabbit goulash poutine, but vegetarians will be thankful for the hearty veg-friendly options like a meatless stuffed bell pepper.

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The Dish

Openings

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Introducing: The Bickford Flexitarian, a new Harbord Street café that caters to raw foodists, vegans and vegetarians

Introducing: Bickford Flexitarian

Name: The Bickford Flexitarian
Neighbourhood: West Annex/Little Italy
Contact Info: 326 Harbord St., 416-535-7717, thebickfordflexitarian.com, @TheBickfordF
Owners: Kyle Debouvrie, Jessica Cain, Lena Ciarlariello and Gualtiero Cavaliere
Chefs:
Kyle Debouvrie and Jessica Cain

The Food: Baked goods, salads and sandwiches, including raw, vegan, gluten-free, nut-free and sugar-free options, as well as meats like blackened chicken, roast beef and ham. A vegan BLT subs dehydrated eggplant for bacon (according to the raw food philosophy, dehydrating veggies preserves their nutrients).

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The Dish

Restaurants

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Live Market brings healthy lunches and gourmet coffee to Liberty Village

(Image: Karon Liu)

Liberty Village is now one step closer to becoming a yuppie’s dream. Live Market, a collaboration between Jennifer Italiano, who owns Live Organic Food Bar in the Annex, and Ezra Braves, who owns the Dundas West coffee house Ezra’s Pound, opened last week at the corner of King Street and Atlantic Avenue. The organic café, which serves espresso and gluten-free, fair-trade-certified wraps and salads, as well as Live Organic’s juice cleanses, is perfectly at home among Liberty Village’s 24-hour gym, doggy day care, hip mid-market furniture stores West Elm and EQ3 and Zumba studio.

Live Market. 134 Atlantic Ave., livefoodbar.com, @livefoodbar.

The Dish

Restaurants

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The Dish Power Rankings: The Valentine’s madness edition

Toronto Life’s weekly assessment of the restaurants with the biggest buzz, the longest lineups and the toughest tables to snag.

Edulis’s charming (and tiny) dining room propels the restaurant to the top this week on the strength of its Valentine’s bookings. Lower down, a couple new sold-out tasting menus debut, as does College Street’s next hot brunch destination.

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The Dish

Trend Watch

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Trend we Love: Philly cheese steak, spotted in low- and middlebrow incarnations

The traditional cheese steak from I Went to Philly, and OddSeoul’s Koreanized version

Those who’ve grown weary of sanctimonious locavorism will welcome the sudden ubiquity of the Philly cheese steak on Toronto menus. The greasy cafeteria staple, in its traditional incarnation, is an oozing mountain of sliced rib-eye, grilled vegetables, hot peppers and Cheez Whiz piled into a squishy bun. It arrives on red checked paper, sends a rivulet of dribbling cheese down your shirtfront and defiantly flaunts its lowbrow junk factor in the face of fresh-and-local ideals. Here are some of the traditional and revamped versions we’ve spotted on menus around the city of late:

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The Dish

Food Events

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Weekly Eater: Toronto food events for October 22 to 28

Cask Days takes place at the Evergreen Brick Works this weekend, complete with a Halloween costume judging contest (Image: Connie Tsang)

Monday October 22

  • Monday Night Dinners at Local Kitchen and Wine Bar: Every Monday night, Local Kitchen serves a $40 prix fixe menu of Italian fare with half-price wine bottles and no corkage fee. 1710 Queen St. W., 416-534-6700. Find out more »
  • 86’D with Ivy Knight: This week, celebrate with the chefs from Soupstock, and enjoy a tasty night of pairing Acadian Sturgeon caviar with Stillwater vodka. 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 »
  • Burger Mondays: Enjoy $5 burgers and $5 pints on Mondays, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the Gladstone Melody Bar. Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen St. W., 416-531-4635. Find out more »
  • Veggin’ Comfortably Workshop: Marni Wasserman demonstrates how easy it can be to switch over to a more veg-friendly lifestyle. Menu includes butternut squash, lentil and coconut soup, arame soba noodle salad, marinated kaleslaw salad and black bean burgers. Marni’s Kitchen, 26 Lauderdale Dr., 647-477-8131. Find out more »
  • Sustainable Living and Ethical Eating—Cooking With a Conscience: Learn simple tips for a greener, guilt-free kitchen. The menu includes leek and golden beet barley risotto with spicy kale chips and whole roasted organic chicken infused. Dish Cooking Studio, 390 Dupont St., 416-920-5559. Find out more »
  • Luscious Greens and Grains: Chef and cookbook author Nettie Cronish prepares tasty and nutritious leafy green and grain dishes. Menu includes pot barley split pea soup with Shiitake mushrooms, spinach and dill and hot and sour buckwheat noodle salad. Kingsway LCBO, 2946 Bloor St. W., 416-239-3065. Find out more »

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The Informer

Events

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The Weekender: TIFF, Lewis Black and five other events on our to-do list

Lauryn Hill performs at the ONEXONE fundraiser on Saturday (Image: Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images Entertainment)

1. LEWIS BLACK: RUNNING ON EMPTY
If Lewis Black comes across as a shouting man more than a funny man, that’s because there just seems to be so much to shout about—and never more so than in a U.S. presidential election year, when sanity tends to leap out the window. Hence his latest show, Running on Empty, in which Black brings his signature curmudgeonly exasperation to bear on Democrats, Republicans, Tea Partiers and a host of other groups that make him sick. The Daily Show regular says he enjoys playing to Canadian audiences, since they don’t arrive at the theatre with the built-in Democrat or Republican bias his U.S. audiences have, so perhaps the anger will be toned down a half per cent or so at his Massey Hall engagement. September 7. $35.50-$55.50. Massey Hall, 178 Victoria St., 416-872-4255, masseyhall.com

2. TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
Toronto’s biggest, shiniest week-and-a-half-long party kicks off tomorrow with the world premiere of the confusing time-travel thriller Looper, and doesn’t let up until the end of next week at the earliest. Film buffs have already filled out their ticket packages, but for the less organized, there are still plenty of single tickets available for the less celeb-strewn screenings (check out our guide to this year’s 50 buzziest flicks for tips). Gawkers and (celeb) stalkers of all stripes will be on the scene, and party crashers will be practising their smoothest bouncer-buttering-up all weekend long. Keep a browser tab open to tiff.to for full coverage of the insanity. September 6 to 16. Various locations, 416-599-8433, tiff.net

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The Dish

Restaurants

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Weekly Lunch Pick: the bokit combo at Kensington Market’s Le Ti Colibri

Weekly Lunch Pick: Le Ti Colibri

(Image: Renée Suen)

Although Kensington Market’s Le Ti Colibri caters mainly to takeout orders, those with a little more time can escape to the tiny restaurant’s quaint back patio, with its relaxed island vibe and zouk music. The meat-free, vegetarian- and pescatarian-friendly menu is a unique showcase for the bright flavours of the French Caribbean.

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The Dish

Restaurants

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Weekly Lunch Pick: a vegetarian Italian lunch (with homegrown veggies) at Mela Café

(Images: Andrew Brudz)

Neapolitan chef Roberto Granata, who’s put in time in kitchens around Toronto and as far as Sydney and L.A., has been serving up Italian vegetarian favourites since 2005 at his airy Yorkville café. Located in Wanda’s Pie In The Sky’s old home (before it headed to Kensington) Mela opens out onto the street, with bistro tables for those who don’t need to scurry back to their office. A display case shows off the rotating daily creations, including pies, pastas, panini and salads, with about half of the veggies grown in Granata’s own garden in the Beach (in the summer at least).

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The Dish

Random Stuff

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VIDEO: How to make a Big Mac (and other valuable lessons from McDonald’s Canada)

McDonald’s has been the subject of any number of stomach-churning, PETA-offending stories over the years, and it seems that they’ve finally had enough. McDonald’s Canada launched an online forum last month where Canadians can ask questions about its food (from ethical practices, to vegetarian options, to that thing about the rat head) and have the company answer (a.k.a. tell you that the rumours are absolutely not true).

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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

Licious

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Summerlicious 2012: our food editor picks the top 10 offerings from this year’s Licious list

Summerlicious-2012

One of Colborne Lane’s innovative concoctions (Image: Renée Suen)

Ten years in, Toronto’s loved (and loathed) bacchanalia of affordable dining is larger than ever, with 181 restaurants offering three-course prix fixe menus for $25, $35 or $45 from July 6-22. Despite common complaints—packed rooms, harried dining and more salmon and chicken than a buffet wedding—an ineluctable truth remains: Summerlicious is a good opportunity to sample new restaurants on the cheap. To that end, we’ve sifted through the overwhelming list of participants to find the most interesting dishes and the very best value. Start making your reservations now.

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The Dish

Food TV

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Top Chef Canada recap, episode 8: later, caterer

(Image: Top Chef Canada)

TOP CHEF CANADA Season 2 | Episode 8

Last night’s episode started with some reflections from the chefs back at their, um, glamorous condo. Xavier Lacaze was amazed that he’d made it so far. Ryan Gallagher thought that Curtis Luk had been sent home too early. Carl Heinrich missed his girlfriend (it was her birthday). And Jimmy Stewart? He revealed that he still lived with his mom. “A lot of people might find that embarrassing,” he said. “Home will always be there. This will not.” Was that a sly forshadowing by the producers of things to come? Read on to find out.

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The Dish

Openings

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Introducing: Lilly’s Lunches, a new bike-based brown bag delivery service

Lilly’s Lunches owner Elizabeth Callahan packs brown bags into her custom-design basket (Image: Karolyne Ellacott)

Lilly’s Lunches is a new one-woman and one-bike operation run entirely by Elizabeth Callahan. After growing weary with her day job, Callahan fled her cubicle and landed on a bicycle instead. Throughout the workweek, she pedals her way around the downtown core, dropping off brown-bagged lunches to office workers too busy to head out for a bite. We decided to join her on her route for a day’s deliveries.

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The Dish

Openings

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Introducing: Hawker Bar, Toronto’s first spot for Singapore-style street food

(Image: Karolyne Ellacott)

Hawker Bar joins the likes of The Saint and Bellwoods Brewery on the strip as the new kids on the Ossington block. Run by a pack of longtime friends—Casimir Alyea, Andrew Mistry and brothers Nicholas and Frederic Laliberté, who are also behind Poutini’s—the joint offers up a first for the city: Singaporean street grub.

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