Archive for ‘toronto’

November 8, 2010

Creating ink.

A beautifully shot short on how ink is made here in the GTA.  Think of it as if TLC’s How It’s Made had an art director (or a good videographer).  Watch the whole thing, they make a Vaughan factory feel beautiful.  Thanks be to BlogTO.

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October 18, 2010

Evergreen Brickworks.

Wow.  Toronto points.  Actually, midtown Toronto points.  Midtown doesn’t get enough love.  C and I were thinking of moving to High Park area, but this place now has some big pull in the moving decision.

Evergreen Brickworks is the newly retrofitted environmental education centre that used to be home to Toronto’s brick quarrying and manufacturing.  A massive geologic deposit of clay soil allowed for major brick production in the quarry stopped producing that now features an environmental education centre, modern art installations, a Saturday farmer’s market, event space, and about 8 other buildings worth of drools.  The best part?  Our walk involves no roads or streets or sidewalks. Through the park, through the Mud Creek ravine trail system, right to the Brickworks.  They knew what to do.

Bustling market – beautiful looking prepared baked goods, hot lunches, etc.  Not much produce when we got there (late), just apples + cider.

Construction is still ongoing, but most is done.

Into the art installation building.  Yes, I loved that they’ve kept as much of the graffiti intact as they could.  Sad to say, I’m not Rob Ford. Was impressed (with myself) that I recognized a name from one of the installations (Werner Herzog).

Forgive me and my blatant perspective photos, I’m no photog.  And we did not leave empty-handed.  Of all things I found some great looking tomatillos at the market.  Never made Mexican salsa verde before so I went for it.  That’s why I love markets – great alternative ingredients to really get something new on your Sunday dinner plate.

This place really stands at the Venn circle intersection of food, environment, and design.  Let’s start our own lecture series and call it FED Talks.

July 26, 2010

Late July links.





July 26, 2010

Jarvis bike lanes.

One small spoke for Toronto. One small leap for simple ideas?  muh.  Jarvis got a bike lane today, going from 5 lanes to 4.   We’ll see how it goes, but I think it will be nice for those cyclists.

ergo de facto, I’m your boss.   Capacity 2,100.  Busiest traffic much less.  Even with margins of error, still looking good.  Numbers don’t politicize, you disappointingly poor mayoralty candidates you.

via Twitter @larrylarry.

July 12, 2010

Guu Izakaya.

Everything they say is true.  This place is a blast, and the food is absolutely brilliant.  One of Toronto’s bests.

Guu Izakaya, the Vancouver Japanese pub institution, exports the greatness to Toronto.  Toronto tries to kidnap the best of all Canadian cities – the rise of gourmet poutine and Japanese food is no coincidence.  Our own insecurity feeds this buzz, so we can stay south of Steeles and quell any cockiness from the justifiably proud Montrealers and/or Vancouverites.

You may know how it goes – the hostess stays outside and minds the 20 or so in line (always a line).  Once she pries open the weighty front door, it’s instant surprise party.  Loud, smiling, chanting.  Almost exclusively communal tables (we sat on the end so impact was minimized).  Small $5 plates, $15 Sapporo pitchers.  Love it.

  • Takoyaki – deep fried octopus balls w mustard mayo and an Asian style BBQ sauce
  • Okonomyaki – deep fried pancake w mustard mayo and BBQ
  • Kakuni – sweet miso braised pork belly with boiled egg
  • Grilled saba – simply the best whitefish I’ve ever had the pleasure of ingesting
  • Homemade udon noodle w kimchi
  • Salmon natto yukke – salmon sashimi, garlic chips, diced veg, raw egg yolk all mixed together and put in nori.
  • Tontoro
  • Karagge

Just get those, I promise you will flip. Go. And go early, and be patient, and be tolerant of the 2hr time limit.

Go to’s post on Guu, they have some great photos.  Go.

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July 12, 2010

mid-July links.







July 2, 2010

Globe Earth.

photo c/o

I’m starting a new job at the Ministry of Environment soon.  I get to look at water quality science on a provincial scale.  HI. Excited is a large understatement.   To celebrate, Cara and I went to Globe Earth in Rosedale.

Their ethos is local food (with a bit hypocrisy with many international wines, but I digress).  They source all ingredients from local suppliers, very responsible, bourgeois, Rosedalian but reasonable prices.  No complaints.

Here’s our rundown:

  • Norman Hardie Prince Edward County white
  • some of Rodney’s famous oysters
  • Crispy ewenity curds (photo above) – deep fried cheese curds with house made ketchup.  Think of the best possible mozza stick fritter with some nice curd mouthfeel.  It’s all about the squeaky bouncy.
  • Sunday roast special – lamb w chorizo, fingerling potato salad, tomato relish.
  • Beef tenderloin with charred asparagus salad – whenever asparagus hits a grill, there is magic.
  • Had some fruit ginger crumble with some amazing Niagara late harvest to finish it off.  The server made a mistake so it was on the house!  If you dislike ice wine or port, try late harvest. It’s the perfect happy medium.  Not too sweet, super delicious.

Bill wasn’t too damaging, especially for a nice place in Rosedale.  Great service, vibe a bit too modern but very comfortable.  Definitely will return.

July 1, 2010








June 30, 2010

Northern Dumpling Kitchen.

Sometimes it pays to work in Richmond Hill.  The reverse commute, and amazing value Chinese food.

Enter Northern Dumpling Kitchen, in “Times Square” at Leslie and Highway 7.  Good try Richmond Hill, a clock at the top of your GTA mini-mall does not quite equal 42nd and Broadway.  Northern Dumpling Kitchen mainly serves dim sum and some northern Chinese dishes.

One of the coolest things on the menu is tea smoked pork belly, served with scallions, hoisin, and the tastiest pita like bread product you’ve ever had.  Hybrid of naan, croissant, and the deep fried Kelsey’s pita chip (that partners the ubiquitous spinach dip).  Unreal.  Here she is.

Big thanks be to Paigu for the photos.

June 27, 2010

This weekend.

Toronto – “a changed city”.  One side completely fueling the other.  The postitive feedback loops of completely excessive and addictive media coverage, massive government spending and isolation, and public anger.  More obvious – everyone is to blame.  A few hundred angry idiots smashing and burning.  A few hundred cops way too eager to assault and arrest.  All the while the press coverage is literally fuelling the fire with 95% chaos, 5% ACTUAL G20 policy.  And we’re all not that surprised.  Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrghhh sigh.

Follow Steve Paikin on Twitter, you know who he is.  The host of Ontario’s best television program, The Agenda.  One of our best interviewers/journalists.  He witnessed very undemocratic protests last night downtown.  I’m sure he’ll be throwing down on The Agenda on TVO tomorrow night.

June 8, 2010

The weeklyish links.

Few but mighty this week.





June 4, 2010

Probably my favourite Kensington resto.

Cheap, reliable, east meets west, small plates, entertainment in the back, good beer selection, no split cheques.  Cause you know, you’re sharing.  Favourites at The Supermarket in Kensington are:

  • Shrimp & crab wonton tacos with avocado and salsa verde
  • Grilled Argentinian styled steak with chimichurri dressing and matchstick potatoes on roasted mushroom salad with a balsamic vinaigrette
  • Dumplings: Crispy shrimp, pork and garlic chive dumplings served with a ginger-soy dip
  • And of course their famous whiteperson accessibility Thai dish, Pad Thai.  They make a mean one.

We were just there last weekend.  On Sundays they are making Kensington streets pedestrian-only, and we had a fun funk band playing right outside the Supermarket with compulsory Kensington crazies dancing to their own drums.  It was fantastic.

I find I always go back to this part of Toronto to eat.  The Augusta/College vibes.  Torito, Grace, Sidecar, Caplansky’s, Burger Bar, Negroni, .  Now L.A.B. has just opened up to major buzz, as has Cinq 01 for the yuppie dates.  College is back.

June 4, 2010

I saw LCD Soundsystem last week.

Read a great review of this very show c/o Toronto music blogger Frank Yang @ Chromewaves. In Toronto @ The Kool Haus.

Going to a show like this is undeniably fun.  As Chromewaves said, it was great to see so many different groups of people sweat exactly the same amount.  Other than Daft Punk a few years back, this was the only show where so much evaporated sweat was gathering above our heads that the ceiling and ductwork had pure sweat condensation saturated all over the venue.  Near the end of the show, it was literally raining sweat.  Well more like spitting sweat.  From the ceiling.  LCD Soundsytem: the shows where 5% of the sweat is yours.

They played some classiques and some solid new offerings from their new record, This is Happening. This is fun, repetitive, backbeat-based music with a scholarly knowledge of rock’s broad history.  Simultaneously immature and mature, smart but primal.

June 2, 2010

This week’s links.



  • John Tory heading back into the mayor race? – the Toronto media has been going nuts hoping John Tory enters the race.  I would undoubtedly vote for this man.  That may surprise the politically minded of you bunch, but he’s a pro-transit centrist conservative.  He’s smart and he’s sensible and I really think he’d cut some of the city hall crazy – [Toronto Life]
  • Torontoist’s guide to the G20 summit – [Torontoist]




May 14, 2010

Auberge de Pommier.

I was star-crossed to be able to go to Auberge de Pommier with C and some of her fam.  Owned by the Oliver and Bonacini empire (Canoe, Jump, Biff’s, etc.), this is the sort of restaurant where expectations and preparatory menu gawking accomplish very little.  This will not be a foodie freakout because guess what.  The evening was amazing, just as it should have been.

Tucked behind country club landscaping, adjacent to a gawdy evangelical temple and benign office buildings, Auberge is located in a simply weird spot north of Yonge and York Mills, a true island in the North York corridor.

Once you forget about the neighbours and walk up the entrance and head inside, you forget everything.  This is likely the nicest dining room in the city.  Massive cushy chairs, country home stone, undeniably beautiful.  Like a whitewashed Club Chasse et Peche but with more money and less adventure in interior design.

Service was perfect – warm, friendly but distant, almost classic French service just without the white gloves, thank goodness.  Massive white plates, precious presentations, tasteful portion sizes, lots of butter.  Classic haute cuisine stuff.  Maw.

Here’s a rundown of some choice selections we had at the table:


  • I had caramelized sea scallop and braised beef cheek with sweet peas, morels and summer truffle Champagne cream.  Never had beef cheek before, beautifully done, super tender, just like braised brisket.

This totally furthers my proof that apps are always better than mains.  Always.  Something other than protein/pureed starch/vegetable.  The highlights were definitely the appetizers.


  • I had grilled beef tenderloin on creamy cauliflower velouté with wild mushroom croquette, horseradish scented tomato confit and Bordelaise.  Arguably the best cut I’ve had, just would’ve liked a better sear.  Regardless, who wouldn’t be ecstatic over a beautiful Chateaubriand, cipollini onions, and croquettes.
  • Butter poached lobster glazed under an aromatic, citrus and tarragon mousseline with braised endive and citrus salad.  Beautifully cooked lobster, but other things on the plate weren’t as impressive for us diners.  And butter butter butter.

Cara’s dad bought the envy of every wine freak’s dreams – Châteauneuf-du-Pape, 2006 Reserve.

This isn’t  meant to be a gloaty post.  If you have a very special evening and you want to celebrate with the best vibe in the city and beautiful French food, you know where to go.  I was a lucky man to be able to go, definitely a big check mark on the Toronto restaurant canon.


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