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Unique Contest Comes to a Head

Wed, 09/21/2011 - 10:01

Toronto Restrooms


Along with chilly mornings and an expanded offering of faux-pumpkin-flavoured drinks, the onset of autumn delivers the promise of beautiful bathrooms. The annual Cintas Canada restroom contest, now in its second year, seeks to crown the country’s finest throne, as voted on by the very public that might rest its tender parts thereon.


The ultimate winner (vote at www.bestrestroom.com/canada) will be announced on October 24, but among the five best-bathroom finalists that came out last week, find two hopeful Toronto johns.


The bathroom at e11even is remarkable for a slew of reasons, not the least of which are the heated toilet seats. And the warmth continues at this spacious public restroom, with top-to-tail marble and some of those really funky sinks that make you call your girlfriend in for a look...more

Where to Get Your Pemmican on

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 10:12


Looking for Turkish nosh in Toronto? No problem. Got a hankering for Ethiopian? You bet. How about Ukrainian, Italian, Spanish, Thai or Greek? Just a matter of being pointed in the right direction. But options have historically been sorrily scant for locals looking for a taste of their own country’s most native fare. Until recently, thanks to the launch of two initiatives dedicated to the service of Aboriginal cuisine.


First, the Keriwa Café, which opened in Parkdale (1690 Queen St. W.) in mid August. Promising a menu of fresh and authentic ingredients, this restaurant is the breathless product of the efforts of owner and chef Aaron Joseph Bear Robe, a Blackfoot with the impressive pedigree that having worked at Splendido and Michael Städtlander’s Eigensinn Farm bestows on a guy....more

Eating the Ex

Tue, 08/23/2011 - 12:03


food at the CNE


So you’ve eaten your weight in donut cheeseburgers (this year’s superstar artery clogger at the Ex) and stuck it to all the food-on-a-stick choices you could wrap your grip around (pausing, perhaps, to appreciate the miracle that is a deep-fried peanut butter and jelly sandwich on a stick), and now you’re wondering what other food-based trouble you can get up to at the CNE in the summer of 2011. 


Wonder no longer, inquisitive fair-goer. ...more

Calling All Entrepreneurial Food Enthusiasts

Tue, 08/16/2011 - 07:03

Under Ground Market


Would-be chefs, home food purveyors and open-minded foodies take note: a fresh opportunity to pursue gastronomical passions is about to unfold in the form of a renegade food fair, due to launch here in the early fall. The Toronto Underground Market proposes to be a kind of food experiment wherein sellers and buyers of tasty victuals will congregate in a communal space without the confining strictures of the typical commercial environment.


Neither a farmers’ market nor a restaurant, the TUM is a “social food market” that seeks to matchmake adventurous food lovers with folks who have unique foodstuffs to sell—but not the official means of doing so...more

Tax Fraud Uncovered at Toronto Restaurants

Mon, 08/08/2011 - 14:43

Toronto Restaurant Fraud


There’s something fishy in the Toronto restaurant scene and it ain’t the shellfish boil at Big Daddy’s. After an exhaustive investigation that lasted a year longer than anticipated, the Canadian Revenue Agency has uncovered evidence of some big-ass tax evasion among a slew of area eateries.


Over three years, the CRA looked into the records of 424 Toronto establishments and discovered at least $141 million in so-called “phantom sales” that proprietors had attempted to erase from their systems. They’ve done this, says the agency, with the aid of high-level “phantomware” or stand-alone software “zappers” that wipes clean the memory of sales data in an instant. ...more

Island Dining 101

Mon, 08/01/2011 - 08:44

Toronto Restaurants in Centre Island


After more bellyaching than any of us cares to cop to, summer’s finally taken residence in the great north, and why the deuces any of us is still crammed between city sidewalks and sweating highrises when we could be catching the breezes on one of our city’s glorious, away-from-it-all land masses is a mystery. 


All told, 18 islands fan out a mere 10-minute ferry ride from the foot of Yonge St. They promise, among other attractions, panoramic views, acres of parkland, some nude guys on a beach and at least one antique carousel ride. 

Here’s where to find Toronto restaurants, on your island adventure:...more

Summerlicious’s Triumphant Return

Fri, 07/15/2011 - 06:52



As reliable as crabgrass and deerflies, the annual summer discount dining festival that is Summerlicious—this year’s the ninth—is once more upon us. And Toronto Summerlicious 2011, sprawling deliciously across all corners of our food-lovin’ city, promises to be every bit as tasty as it has in years past.


The deal this year is the same as always: For a fixed price, you can score a three-course lunch or dinner at those Toronto restaurants participating in the party. Lunches are $15, $20 and $25; dinners are $25, $35 and $45. (Beverages, taxes and—most critically—tip are extra, so don’t be cheap and stiff your server just because you’re getting a deal on your grub.) 

Some 150 eateries are throwing their hat into the ring this year, most of them delivering up specially prepared Summerlicious menus that are designed to provide an entry-level sampling of some of this city’s gloriously perse cuisine....more

Watching What You Eat

Tue, 06/21/2011 - 11:13

Food Inspection Toronto Public Health


The stories about rats skittering inside front restaurant windows may be the sexier, headline-grabbing ones, but the ones unfolding quietly behind the scenes—and behind window panes interrupted by nothing more than a green-framed “pass” notice—are actually the more newsworthy.


And the great preponderance of such success stories in this city is why Toronto Public Health has just scored recognition as the first health department outside of the United States that’s demonstrated “unsurpassed achievement in providing outstanding food protection.”


The award—the Samuel J. Crumbine Consumer Protection Award—arrives just as the 10th anniversary of the city’s restaurant inspection disclosure program does. Its allocation is the purview of DineSafe, an internationally recognized consumer protection system that posts results not only in front windows, but on line, generally 24 to 36 hours after an inspection....more

Paella Party

Fri, 06/10/2011 - 08:18

Paella festival at Embrujo Flamenco


The month of June marks the muy tasty arrival of the Paella Festival, at the Embrujo Flamenco Tapas Restaurant at 97 Danforth Ave., just inside the lip of Toronto's Greektown. With this annual event (this year’s the third), Mediterranean cuisine enthusiasts are invited to “rice to the occasion!” and sink their North American incisors into the sizzling flavours of this ancient Spanish dish.


This year, paella de pescado (fish paella), arroz negro (black rice) and paella de langosta (lobster paella) will make the rounds, but the restaurant’s menu selection rotates daily, and diners can expect some bit of Spanish novelty on offer every day of the celebration. Embrujo Flamenco will also include a Canadian version of the recipe for its 2011 oeuvre, this one featuring ground beef and, natch, peameal bacon....more

Hungry Enough to Eat One?

Wed, 05/25/2011 - 09:39

Horse Meat Restaurants Toronto

As Canadian viewers rear up in response to an episode of Top Chef Canada that troted Secretariat onto the menu, let us consider the virtues of putting the noble horse in us, rather than under us.


The May 16 TCC episode, which had French cooking as its theme, inspired a whinny of response from incensed viewers. “I AM DISGUSTED!!!” one Facebook comment begins. “I will NEVER watch your program again and will be sure to let others know about what you are willing to do for ratings. SHAME ON ALL OF YOU!!!!”


The program responded diplomatically, acknowledging that “this content may not appeal to all viewers,” but encouraging an open mind, culinarily speaking....more

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