Sunday, June 5, 2016

See our favourite dishes from Toronto Taste

With just a week to go until the 26th edition of Toronto Taste, we're looking back at some of our fave food from the past few years.  The event raises money for Second Harvest and brings together Toronto's top chefs, restaurants and beverage purveyors for a great cause.  Tickets are still available and each one sold provides 520 meals to Torontonians in need.  Since 1991, Toronto Taste has raised $11 million to support Second Harvest's food rescue program.  

(2015: Mark McEwan's sweet and sour chicken tacos) 

(2014: Cafe Boulud's crispy duck egg with jambon de Paris) 

(2013: Buca's Italian breakfast) 

(2012: Ruby Watchco's chicken liver parfait) 

(2011: Woodlot's asparagus salad) 

(Our favourite dessert every year from Gelato Fresco)

Sunday, May 29, 2016

True True Pizza

The world of gourmet pizza and salad deliciously collide at True True Pizza on King Street East.  
It's hard to miss the colourful space with its bright pops of pink and blue and modern day diner vibes.  
If you're feeling a pie, you can choose one of the many personal-sized pizzas off the menu like 'The Aristocrat' or 'The Pro' (both pictured below), or you can design your own.   Pick from an abundance of fresh toppings and dough (including gluten free), which they proof for 48 hours, hand stretch to order and bake in just over two minutes.     
There are four different salad options that are jam packed with vegetables including one called 'Juno' with chickpeas, eggplant, zucchini, red and yellow pepper or 'Heartbeet' that has, you guessed it, beets, marinated kale, red and white quinoa, pecans, dried cranberries, pea shoots and sliced orange.  
One of the side salads is called 'Kale, Caesar!', so points to whoever came up with all of the names. 

And if you're thinking True's pizza would go well with a glass of wine, it does.  True True offers red and white by the glass or bottle, and also draft beer.    

(Chop Chop with romaine, red & white quinoa, red & yellow pepper, avocado, grape tomatoes, pomegranate seeds, green onion, pea shoots, cilantro tamarind vinaigrette) 
(The Aristocrat with tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, garlic confit, pesto, arugula, extra virgin olive oil and parmesan)  
(The Pro with extra virgin olive oil, shredded cheese, prosciutto, goat cheese, caramelized onion, asparagus, rosemary oil, parmesan)   

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Sunday Brunch at Ufficio

At Ufficio it's so easy to fill up on their perfectly grilled sourdough, you practically have to force yourself to stop eating it.  It comes on its own with two different types of preserves, it comes with four scrambled eggs, smoked butter, chopped truffles, grated parmesan and truffle oil, it comes with two poached eggs, mashed avocado, red onion, smoked salmon and bearnaise, and it comes with half a ball of burrata, olive oil, maldon salt, pepper, truffled butter, truffled honey and toasted pistachios.  

You'll want to order a dozen of the burrata, but just order one for the table to start. It's also the most photogenic dish we've snapped in a long time.

Of course there are items on the menu that don't include bread; like the buttermilk pancakes with whipped lemon ricotta, rhubarb compote and maple syrup, and the sunnyside up eggs with tomato sauce, wilted spinach, smoked provolone, basil, oyster mushrooms, basil cress and olive oil.

Go early to snag the coveted window banquette for optimal Dundas West people watching, and you can also use the light to get that burrata pic.  We know you'll want to.         

(Grilled sourdough with preserves) 
(Burrata, olive oil, maldon salt, pepper, truffled butter, truffled honey and toasted pistachios) 
(Scrambled hens eggs, smoked butter, chopped truffles, grated parmesan and truffle oil)
(Poached eggs, mashed avocado, red onion, smoked salmon and bearnaise)
(Buttermilk pancakes with whipped lemon ricotta, rhubarb compote and maple syrup)
(Sunnyside up eggs with tomato sauce, wilted spinach, smoked provolone, basil, oyster mushrooms, basil cress and olive oil)

Monday, April 25, 2016

Little Shmiddy's Hot Meat House

With a strong focus on meat that's hormone and anti-biotic free, naturally raised and locally sourced, not to mention flavourful and delicious, Little Shmiddy's is worth a visit.

The tiny spot on Parliament, in the heart of Cabbagetown, seats around 20 people. So if you're planning to check it out for dinner or brunch on the weekend, make a reservation.  We stopped by on a Sunday right when they opened at 11am, and were able to just squeeze in. 

Everything on the brunch menu is fairly heavy but you're at a meat house, so there shouldn't be any surprises there.  The smoked salmon bennie with hollandaise, buttermilk biscuits and home fries, came with perfectly cooked poached eggs.  The melt in your mouth brisket was the right combination  of lean and fatty and came with black beens, avocado, roasted tomatoes and a fried egg.  But beware: if you ask to substitute a poached egg instead of the fried, they will charge you $3.50.  That's not for an additional egg, just to cook it differently, which doesn't make much sense to us.    

Despite the egg up-sell, the service and food were both great.  The restaurant is getting set to launch their spring dinner menu, and we're looking forward to going back for brunch to try the Shmiddy's double down with chicken schnitzel breast, bacon, cheddar, green slaw and toasted duck fat brioche. Yup.         

(Open-face brisket sandwich with poached egg, black beens, avocado, roasted tomatoes and greens) 

(Smoked salmon bennie with poached eggs, hollandaise, buttermilk biscuits, home fries and greens)

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Montecito's Farm to Table Brunch

There's a new Sunday brunch buffet in town and it's impressive.  From 11am - 3pm indulge in everything from Montecito's mouthwatering polenta, spicy chili, sausage, bacon, J.W. potatoes (extra crispy and named after chef Jonathan Waxman), kale and pecorino salad, fried chicken, corn bread, pulled pork shoulder lettuce wraps and so much more.  There's also pancakes, omelettes and even a glorious dessert table.  The buffet will set you back $39 but that includes coffee and tea and of course multiple trips to the buffet.  You'll be full for a while, trust us.      

Sunday, January 17, 2016

It's a Food App Revolution

In a time before smartphones and Siri, ordering in consisted of opening up a paper menu, picking up your landline and calling Pizza Pizza, a Chinese place or Swiss Chalet.  Then, with your stomach growling, you’d wait about an hour.  If you wanted take out from a restaurant, there were delivery options, but they were pricey and took even longer.  Now with the swipe of your finger a hot meal can be at your doorstep within minutes.  You can pick up your lunch without waiting in a line or even having to pull out your wallet.  These new food apps are changing the way we eat today. 

Uber Eats
Taxi drivers can’t compete with this.  First launched in Toronto within the Uber app last spring, the service became so popular the company recently created a standalone Uber Eats app.  Partnering with over a hundred top restaurants across town (mostly in the downtown core) you can order lunch or dinner with delivery times between 30-45 minutes.  On weekdays between 11am - 2pm there’s the option for ‘instant delivery’ where roaming Uber drivers have 3-5 different dishes already in their vehicles available to you within minutes.  And with options like Grand Electric, Queen Margarita Pizza, Playa Cabana and so many more, be prepared to be overwhelmed and darn right indecisive. 

Launched in Toronto last year Ritual is all about saving you time and simplifying your lunch or coffee run.  The app has partnered with over 250 downtown businesses so you’re  guaranteed to find something you like.  Once you’ve clicked on the restaurant or coffee shop you’re feeling and chosen the meal or beverage you want, a countdown appears along the top of your phone telling you when your order will be ready.  Then all you have to do is find the Ritual sign on the counter and pick up your order.  The app charges your credit card and the best part - you skip the line.  You can also view recent orders making it quick and easy to get your favourite thing again and again.  After its success in Toronto, the company is now expanding to the U.S. 

This lunchtime delivery app is all about local, fresh and sustainable food.  The fine people behind Feast pride themselves on the healthy meals they make and their creative and delicious menus.  A few examples of their always changing dishes include a flank steak cobb salad, harissa spiced tomato chickpea soup and a naturally raised chicken sandwich.  Feast is available in downtown Toronto between 11am - 1:30pm with delivery promised within 20 minutes.     
Dinner service is said to be coming soon.  

Too hungover to get off your couch to go to McDonalds? Don’t worry because for $6 (plus 5% processing fee) Favour will deliver you that Big Mac you need so badly.  They also deliver from Chipotle, Tim Hortons, Subway, Starbucks and Banh Mi Boys and many other non-fast food chains (but equally desirable) like Salad King, House on Parliament, Fresh and Pai.  But the game changer here is the ‘Order Anything’ button.  Type in the store or restaurant name,  the item/dish you want and you’ll have it at your door within 35 minutes (average delivery time).  You also pay over the app, making things that much easier.           

When it comes to dining out, Tab is really all you need.  You can find restaurants near you, make reservations, easily split the bill with friends and settle up, all over the app. There’s no waiting around at the end of the meal for a bill and credit/debit machine.  Tab has partnered with a number of popular restaurants in Toronto including Terroni, Campagnolo, Byblos and Portland Variety.  The app is also available in Montreal.      

If you’re a Starbucks lover then you’ll agree this app is the best thing that’s happened to the company since the creation of the red holiday cups (well that's up for debate!).  There’s no fumbling around for change, just flash the barista your barcode and you’re good to go.  Recently they’ve taken the app to the next level.  You can now order ahead, skip the line and pick up your drink directly at the bar.  And don’t forget, for every 12 drinks you purchase over the app, you get 1 free.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Bar Begonia

If you're wondering what that huge lite-brite smiley face floating above Dupont and Spadina is all about, well, it means Bar Begonia is now open.
This is Chef Anthony Rose's latest and it joins his other spots on Dupont including Rose & Sons, Big Crow, Fat Pasha and Schmaltz Appetizing (plus Rose & Sons Swan on Queen Street West).  Begonia, open 7 days a week, is housed in an odd shaped white building that's been vacant since 2005.  Chef Rose has painted the outside dark grey and done wonders to the interior giving it major Parisian/Brooklyn vibes.  Those vibes are also reflected in the drink menu with classic cocktails, others that are inventive and fun, Manhattans and Negronis are on tap and there's a well curated wine selection.  As for the food menu, it's made up of 8 different sections including - petites bouches, raw (oysters, steak and trout), tartines, foie gras, cured + confited, le fromage,  'after 5pm' and sucree.  All of the dishes are meant to be shared.
Come Spring Bar Begonia's back parking lot will transform into a grassy oasis.  Until then though, cozy up inside, and be sure to smile.        

(Blinker - Canadian rye whisky, grapefruit and raspberry) 
(The Sun also Rises - gin, grenadine, clementine, pastis and sparkling wine) 
(Radish with Quebec butter) 
(Potted Brandade - whipped cod and potato) 
(Pomme frites and aioli) 
(Boeuf bourguignon) 
(Squash and potato gratin with herbs) 
(Creme Brulee)