Category Archives: Food + Drink

From the ashes of The Social rises The Dog & Bear

Richard Lambert at The Hoxton

Decked out in a Tijuana t-shirt and rocking there-was-no-water-in-my-apartment-this-morning hair, Richard Lambert taps his foot on the hardwood floor of The Hoxton. Between chats with his landlord and phone calls from contacts he reassures are not being purposely ignored, Lambert mulls over what exactly The Hoxton is. Situated at King St. W and Bathurst St. in a building with no street number (the address is 69 Bathurst St. for the curious), The Hoxton will mean many things to many people.

“It’s an event space. It’s a nightclub, it’s a corporate event space, it’s a concert hall, it’s all of the above and that would be perhaps the reason for its possible success,” Lambert told OurFaves last week. “You’re not leaning on just one concept. ”

If you’ve never heard of Lambert, you probably know him through his food, club and vintage fur coats. The nightclub impresario is behind the uber popular Parts & Labour, 69 Vintage and The Social (now defunct). Up until about six months ago, Lambert was an ever-present figure at his beloved Parkdale restaurant, Parts & Labour, but most recently, he’s been logging long hours in the west end at The Hoxton prepping it for its opening just in time for the Toronto Film Festival.

Once The Hoxton is up and running, Lambert won’t have much of a break. With the closing of The Social comes a new project – The Dog & Bear pub – slated to open in November. It’s an homage to an identically-named pub in Canterbury, England owned by Lambert’s father.

If you’ve ever wondered where one of Toronto’s most prolific trendsetters dines, drinks and rests his head, read on. Continue reading

President’s Choice Home – Fall Preview

A kitchen scene at the President's Choice Home preview

You’re probably guilty of it. Walking into your local Superstore or Loblaws supermarket with a shopping list for the night’s dinner and walking out with pajama pants and candle holders beside your red bell peppers. Impulse shopping at the Canadian chain is going to get more exciting (or more complicated, depending on who you ask) this fall. With the introduction of a new electronics brand, J+/-, and the launch of new home products, eggs and milk may be beside the point the next time you hit the grocery store. Continue reading

The Drake Hotel’s Anthony Rose dishes on the Dining Roadshow and the secret to his famous burgers

Later this month, The Drake Hotel is hitting the road but isn’t leaving its backyard. Beginning June 23, Chef Anthony Rose and his audacious posse of cooks are taking the dining room on a field trip to a mess hall and Chinatown. The “restaurant-within-a-restaurant” concept will come complete with ketchup and mustard squeeze bottles, cafeteria trays and tomato alphabet soup. In September, the restaurant will transform yet again into circa 1940s Chinatown in Los Angeles. Just in time for TIFF, The Drake Hotel will be dishing out pork belly fried rice, firecracker maple shrimp and oxtail wontons. Continue reading

Q&A with Mogette Bistro’s owner and chef Daniel Muia

Daniel Muia, the owner and chef at Mogette Bistro, has a culinary upbringing that foodies can appreciate. Starting in the dining room at the Granite Club on Bayview Ave., Muia worked his way up the ranks to eventually took a position at The Fifth under Didier Leroy and eventually moved on to work at Restaurant Didier, Celestin, and Lumiere in Vancouver with the Food Network’s Rob Feenie. Before opening up his own restaurant, Muia was the chef de cuisine at Jamie Kennedy Restaurant.

We caught up with the busy chef recently and asked him about his gastronomic inspirations, favourite cooking utensil and his secret affection for Star Trek. Here’s what he had to say… Continue reading

The devil is in the sweet details: Q&A with cake master Bonnie Gordon

Intricate, detailed and fussy. That’s how master cake artist Bonnie Gordon loves her cakes. Over the years, as a cake instructor and decorator, Gordon has paid her dues, putting in serious time with precision pastry cutters, paint brushes and her trusty turntable. Now serving as the director of the Bonnie Gordon College of Confectionary Arts, it’s Gordon’s turn to have her cake and eat it too.

On Sunday (May 15), the college will host its annual Cake Show at the Artscape Wychwood Barns in Toronto’s St. Clair and Christie Neighbourhood. The event will be a battling ground for ardent cake artists to showcase their sweet stuff in various competitions. One competition, the Cake Star Face-Off seems especially grueling – 3 contestants (accomplished cake decorators in their own right) will have 6 hours to create a cake that evokes the four seasons. For the faint of heart, another competition will feature 3 designers who will be given one hour to create a mere 6 cupcakes.

On a recent afternoon, Gordon invited OurFaves to visit the college for a behind-the-scenes peek into a real cake factory. With furrowed-browed students working carefully on their final cake projects in the background, Gordon let us in on the cake the brought her out of her self-imposed cake-making retirement, her favourite dessert (it’s not cake!) and the first baking cookbook she ever owned. Continue reading

The magic of Poutini’s

Poutine. It’s the great Canadian snack tradition. In our expansive city, you can enjoy it many different ways. Get it at your local diner in a chipped bowl, try it the Jamie Kennedy way with beef brisket and cheddar cheese at Gilead Cafe, or enjoy it with lobster (and a classic bearnaise sauce) at Bymark. In any given establishment, poutine wears many hats. It’s an appetizer, an entree, and in others, a tongue-in-cheek shout out to a Canadian culinary tradition. However, in a sunny little storefront on Queen Street West, just a block east of The Drake Hotel, poutine is the bottom line.

In 2008, the Laliberte brothers opened the doors to Poutini’s – a little eatery with only one thing on the menu. “It was just the one size and just our poutine – fries, cheese curds and we had the beef gravy and vegetarian gravy and that was it,” Nick Laliberte told OurFaves recently. Since then, the retro-cool House of Poutini’s with its old, dented wood floors, exposed brick walls and painted tin ceiling, has been the birthplace of three new variations on the Quebec treat: It’s been the birthplace of three new variations on the Quebec treat: the pulled pork, the “Pou-ti-gly” (poutine avec bacon), and The Works (poutine topped with sour cream, bacon and chives). We sat down with Laliberte and four bowls of poutine recently to get the lowdown on the best way to enjoy poutine, why lineups sometimes extend out the door on Friday and Saturday nights, and whether it’s possible to get sick of poutine. Continue reading

A few of iYellow Wine School’s Angela Aiello’s favourite things (ie. Riesling)

Angela Aiello, founder of the Toronto-based iYellow Wine School inadvertently practices what she preaches. Throughout the year, Aiello can be found standing with a wine glass in hand leading a class on how to to appreciate a fine sparkling wine (among other varieties). The fizzy wine is bubbly, refreshing and focused, she might say. But so too is the teacher. It all started in 1998 when Aiello popped open a bottle of Vineland Estates riesling after work at the winery. “I just turned 18,” Aiello told OurFaves. “I brought it home from the winery and I had to push the cork into the bottle. I definitely remember that memory a lot.”

What was meant to be a summer job slowly turned into a career. In 2006, Aiello inaugurated iYellow Wine School. Since then, more than 6,000 people have sipped and sniffed reds, whites and sparklings with Aiello. Recently, OurFaves hitched a ride with Aiello as she toured a bus load of iYellow Wine Clubbers around Niagara-on-the-Lake. There was wine, there was cheese and there was a singing bus driver.

After the tour (and a new appreciation for all things riesling), we sat Aiello down and made her tell us about a few of her favourite wine things… Continue reading