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Cheese Please_

VIEWS: 243 PAGES: 17

									                                                              June / July 2005 | F R E E |

The hunt for great poutine
Just Say Neigh
Eat horse, feel better

Beyond Roti
Stir it up with Caribbean cuisine

Patio Perfect
Our guide to the great outdoors

Sum of All Cheeses
New column
Drinking with
Russell Smith

Fruit Beers | Chinatown Vibration | Henry of Pelham | Delectable Leslieville

Letter from the Editor                                FreshBites                                                                                                                            June / July 2005
                                                      04 Centro’s $2-million renovation brings
                                                           the funk to an old classic
                                                                                                                                                                                            Editor Dick Snyder
I just bought these incredible, extra-aged rib-
                                                      05   NewsBites Richler goes off restaurants;                                                                                          Senior Editor Gene Shannon
                                                           the scourge of the water sommelier;                                                                                              Editor-at-Bar Tom Gierasimczuk
eye steaks from Di Liso’s in St. Lawrence Market.
                                                           much ado about Taboo
I like them thick, so the dude took a small
                                                                                                                                                                                            Art Direction
roast and sliced it in half between the bones.        06   The only thing wild about your salmon
                                                                                                                                                                                            Designer Mark Herd
Now I have these absolutely perfect rib-eyes,              may be the labeling
bone in, and they look like huge meaty ping-
pong paddles.
                                                      07   La Fromagerie brings stinky cheese to                                                                                            Contributors
                                                           Little Portugal                                                                                                                  Greg Bolton           Alexa Petrenko
   A while ago, I was buying some meat from
                                                                                                                                                                                            Tanya Cole            Julia Rogers
Upper Cut, also in the market, and there was a        08   Lunch Time Toronto makes its claim as
                                                                                                                                                                                            Leanne Delap          Abi Slone
cop standing next to me watching the butcher               a sandwich superpower
                                                                                                                                                                                            Madeleine Greey       Russell Smith
carve off these humongous New Yorks. I swear
these were at least two inches thick. Cop said:
                                                      09   Behind the Bar Who says being called                                                                                             Kim Izzo              Eric Vellend
                                                           to the bar doesn’t have its perks?         Ivan Tchohlev serves up his moveable feast at City Hall.                              Trish Kaliciak        Josey Vogels
“I like to sear the hell out of one side, and
                                                                                                                                                                                            Guy Leshinski
then just flip it for a few minutes on the other.”     10   Cheese Math Add Spanish Zamorano cheese to
By my calculation, that would yield a charred              these tasty snacks to summon summer
                                                                                                                                                                                            Photographers & Illustrations
and bloody mess, but to each his own. The nice
thing about buying from a real butcher is you can
                                                      11   Chef Speaks Going sour on the dearth                                                                                             Malcolm Brown         Chris Klugman
                                                           of properly cut lemons                                                                                                           Ed Goncalves          Sarah Lazarovic
make your own choices.
                                                                                                                                                                                            Mark Herd             Steve McKinley
   I bring this up because when I tell people about   12   Out & About Patio spots for the sun-starved
St. Lawrence Market, or any farmers’ market,
they say: “Oh, but it’s so expensive.” To this
                                                      13   The Good Bite Fruit beers ain’t no girly thing                                                                                   Proofreader
                                                                                                                                                                                            Trish Kaliciak
I say: Balls! In fact, you’re actually cutting out
the middleman when you shop the markets,
                                                                                                                                                                                            Design Intern Sheila Sampath
especially at ones like Dufferin Grove and
Riverdale Farm, where you’ll find the actual
                                                                The Specials
                                                                                                                                                                                            Publisher Gene Shannon
producers selling their own wares. (Watch for a                 14 Stir It Up The city’s West Indian cuisine will warm your stomach
look at farmers’ markets in the next issue of City                    and your soul — by Abi Slone
                                                                                                                                                                                            Director of Sales & Marketing Kelly Drennan
Bites). As for meat, you’ll pay about $10 a pound
at St. Lawrence for a New York steak that has
                                                                16    They Eat Horses, Don’t They? If it’s good enough for Krushchev,
                                                                      Karl Lagerfeld and the French, why aren’t you eating it? — by Alexa Petrenko                                          Account Executives
been beautifully aged and butchered on site,
                                                                                                                                                                                            Carolyn Goff          John Walker
versus upwards of $17 for mystery meat at the                   18    Don’t Be Shy A little curiosity will be rewarded in Toronto’s other Chinatown
supermarkets. The quality of the banter is much                       – by Madeleine Greey
                                                                                                                                                                                            City Bites is published six times
better at the market too.
   You gotta expand your mind, dude. In this
                                                                20    Brewed Tranquility This ancient Ethiopian coffee ritual brings Peace,                                                 a year by City Bites Media.
                                                                      Harmony and the Spirit – by Guy Leshinski
issue, we’ve got a terrific look at Toronto’s
                                                                                                                                                                                            Subscriptions are available for $12 per year. To
other Chinatown, and a fun and informative                      22    Cheesy Goodness Poutine that (just about) hits the spot – by Josey Vogels
                                                                                                                                                                                            subscribe, please mail a cheque for $12.84 ($12
plunge into West Indian cuisine. And we
                                                                                                                                                                                            + GST), along with your full name and address, to
debut three regulars: in her first Out & About                                                                                                                                               the address below.
column, Leanne Delap turns an acerbic phrase
on the topic of patios; Russell Smith tears a
                                                      Drinks & Nibbles
                                                                                                                                                                                            Contact us at
strip off booze snobbery for the first of his          26 Winery The Speck family stakes out the frontier                                                                                    429-720 King St. W., Toronto, Ontario M5V 3S5
regular Drinking screeds; and Julia rogers waxes
on the joys of curd in her Cheese Math column.
                                                      28 Drinking Russell Smith on peasant booze                                                                                            Phone 416-849-2483
                                                                                                                                                                 Cover photo: Finn O’Hara

   Enjoy, eat up and drink well. — Dick Snyder        30 On the Block BookTelevision’s Rachel Giese spills the secrets of Leslieville                                                       Advertising inquiries
                                                                                                                                                                                            Editorial inquiries


2 City Bites                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    June / July 2005 3

                                                     FreshBites                                                                                                                                 ... After five years and 300 meals as restaurant critic for the National Post, the notoriously
                                                                                                                                                                                     grumpy (but fair) Jake Richler is being replaced by an as-yet-unnamed scribe. Richler tells City Bites that         DoEatDrink
                                                                                                                                                                                     the powers at the Post said he “didn’t like food enough” to be a reviewer. “The good chefs would prefer to
  Every weekend in May                                                                                                                                                               have someone rigorous, as it keeps them in line and challenges them,” said Richler, who will continue to            June 4 – 12
  Niagara-on-the-Lake Wine & Herb Festival                                                                                                                                           pen articles on trends in gastronomy. As to the identity of his replacement, Richler states bluntly: “They’ve       Niagara New Vintage Festival
  For the third year running, weekends in May                                                                                                                                        hired someone with a more indiscriminate appetite.”...                                                              Taste and buy the new vintage as more than 30
  are devoted to wine and herbs. Not so odd,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             wineries between Grimsby and Niagara-on-
  this pairing: You can educate your palate with a                                                                                                                                               ... So let’s look at the other dailies: We can rule out Amy Pataki at the Star, who’s on maternity      the-Lake provide tours, tastings and special
  Touring Passport for the 16 Wineries of Niagara-                                                                                                                                   leave, as well as her recently dismissed replacement. That leaves Sara Waxman of the Sun; interesting that          events to celebrate the first taste of On-
  on-the-Lake, an Herb Fair in the Heritage                                                                                                                                          former Sun publisher Les Pyette now helms the Post. As for Joanne Kates, well, she seems, as for eternity,          tario’s newest wines. Other events include:
  District of the Old Town, herb seminars and                                                                                                                                        rock solid at the Globe... swoon!                                                                                   the Dairy Farmers of Canada Spring Garden
  cooking classes, and herb-themed menus at                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Party on June 5 and the TD Bank Financial
  restaurants. On May 21, the Herb Fair takes                                                                                                                                                    ... This is as good a time as any to get hammered, so how fortunate that has           Group Niagara New Vintage Gala Wine
  over Market Square from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.                                                                                                                                          just started up the Wine of the Month Club, wherein for $39 or $49, one can receive home delivery of a              Tasting on June 11. 905-688-0212,
  Admission is free.           Front and Centro: Armando Mano (R) with Bruce Woods and William Holland.                                                        choice of two specially selected wines from two different Canadian wineries each month...                 

  Tuesdays                                                                                                                                                                                      ... Be on the lookout for one of the world’s nastiest trends, the water sommelier, which has somehow     June 12
  Riverdale Farm Farmers’ Market
  Just opened and running to the end of October,
  the Riverdale Farm Farmers’ Market is in its
                                                     Centro Lightens Up                                                                                                              infiltrated the GTA. Didn’t anyone see The Player, in which a teetotaling film exec (Tim Robbins) terrorized
                                                                                                                                                                                     Hollywood waiters with his inane boutique water demands? Who the hell thinks this is a good idea?...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Toronto Taste
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Celebrating its 15th year, Toronto Taste
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         raises money for Second Harvest, which
  fifth season. Mostly organic, all vendors are
                                                     Hip, happening and wallet-friendly — it’s a new era for a Toronto icon                                                                     ... At least it’s soft-shell crab season, for another few weeks or so...                                 feeds the city’s hungry by picking up excess
  actual Ontario producers. New this year: a         By Dick Snyder                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      fresh food from restaurants, retailers and
  native fishery from Georgian Bay, Turtle Fish,      gone is the impenetrable fortress of black glass and granite that used to greet lesser                                                      ... Michael Stadtlander is closing his restaurant at Eigensinn Farm through July to concentrate on      suppliers for daily delivery to social service
  selling fresh and frozen whitefish, lake trout      mortals on arrival at Centro’s door. So is the garishness of yesteryear: Inside, only the                                       building a series of giant and no doubt freaky sculptures to populate the grounds. The farm reopens week-           agencies. With music, a silent auction and
  and salmon. Occasional “shop with the chef”        meandering downstairs bar was spared. Three massive chandeliers now punctuate the                                               ends in August for a dining experience that will take place among the new creatures; the 10-course menu             dishes prepared by 70 chefs, this worthy
  courses feature local celeb chefs, and mini-       sleek main dining room, and huge hanging mirrors line one wall, opening up the space.                                           will cost $300 a person. Call 519-922-3128 for info...                                                              cause is one of the year’s great feeds. 6 p.m.
  festivals celebrate seasonal crops. Tuesdays       It’s all soft plumes of creamy fabric and suede now, tempered by strokes of dark wood.                                                                                                                                                              $225 (with tax receipt for $125). Harbour-
  3 p.m. to 7 p.m., rain or shine. In the park         With Centro’s recent grand re-opening, general manager Armando Mano is preparing                                                         ... Congrats to Gina Mallet, whose book Last Chance to Eat just won a James Beard Foundation             front Centre – York Quay Centre, 235 Queens
  at 201 Winchester St., 416-461-6474,               for an earful from critics and former patrons who may say the restaurant is not what it                                         award for food writing. There’s a nice interview with Mallet from February in the archives at      Quay W., 416-408-2594,                        once was. But that’s the point. “It’s classic with a touch of funk,” Mano says. “We want
                                                     our old clientele to be comfortable. But it’s a new feel, not like your grandfather’s dining                                    ...There’s much ado at Taboo, the luxury resort near Graven-                                                        June 16
  May 22 – 29                                        room.” With a final bill topping $2-million for the two-month gutting, it must also be the                                       hurst that reopened this month after a winter’s reinvention.                                                        Ontario Wine Awards
  Cheese Boutique                                    most expensive downscaling ever in Toronto’s world of haute-haute cuisine.                                                      Miami-styled décor and chic-and-cheerful staff are part of                                                          Yes, there are a lot of Canadian wine awards,
  Catch guest chefs at the Cheese Boutique             Franco Prevedello — the granddaddy of Splendido, Acrobat, Pronto and many other                                               the redo, not to mention a gourmet talent blitz with Executive                                                      but this is a really good one, directed by
  each weekend in May from noon to 4 p.m. —          Toronto landmarks — built the place in 1987, creating a proving ground for the city’s best                                      Chef Michael Pataran at the helm of a 30-seat “culinary theatre.”                                                   local wine guru Tony Aspler. Celebrate the
  with demos and sample dishes from Donna            chefs, including Mark Thuet, Jamie Kennedy and Michael Bonacini. It’s been an opera of                                          New to the resort is Egyptian-born chef Tawfik Shehata (R), who                                                      10th year of the OWA by sampling the
  Doohar of the Cookworks and Mildred Pierce,        takeovers ever since, but the current ownership is a friendly partnership between Mano                                          will bring seasonal dishes to the Elements restaurant. Shehata’s                                                    winning wines (complete list online)
  May 21; Jonathan Gushue of Truffles, May 22;        and chef Bruce Woods, with Bay Street brokers Michael Wekerle and William Holland.                                              last Toronto stint was at the short-lived Eau on King West,                                                         and rubbing glasses with the producers.
  Massimo Capra of Mistura, May 28; and Lino           The goal is to spice the place up a bit. These players, huge wine fans all, have reduced                                      and he’s done duty at Boba, Truffles and Moishe’s. But back                                                          6:30 p.m to 9:30 p.m. The Distillery District
  Collevecchio of Via Allegro, May 29. 45 Ripley     the pricing on Centro’s cellar treasures. Markups will be around 40 per cent (compare to                                        to Pataran, who will be guesting at Oro on Elm Street, sharing                                                      Fermenting Cellar, 55 Mill St., 416-398-
  Ave., 416-762-6292,            at least 100 per cent most other places). “Bill said to me, ‘I don’t want a good restaurant, I                                  the kitchen with resident Dario Tomesselli, on July 18. Call 416-                                                   3335 ext. 2,,
                                                     want a great one, where people don’t feel taken.’” Now, a ’94 La Tache goes for $350 (less                                      597-0155 for information...                                                                               
  June 4                                             than retail, if you could even find it); an ’89 Sassicaia goes for an unheard of $150. “These
  Black Prince Winery                                wines have been here for years,” says Mano. “What am I going to do, look at them?”                                              … Watch for Mark McKewan’s TV debut later this year or early next. A couple of pilots are already in the can        June 24 and 25
  Officially opening its doors this season,             Chef Woods presides over an elaborate and varied menu that includes mains of venison,                                         for this 30-minute look at the real goings on in the world of fine dining, catering, private parties, etc. “You’ll   Drinks Show 2005
  Prince Edward County’s Black Prince Winery         jumbo prawns and organic salmon in the $25 to $35 range, and late-night tapas for $12 to                                        see, for instance, that you can’t cover things up,” said McKewan, chef at North 44 and Bymark. “At this level       North America’s only show devoted to the
  celebrates its first pinot noir with music          $18. Sushi master Eddie Wong, adored by Centro regulars, returns. Woods’ entrees can                                            of expectation and price, people demand perfection and you have to deliver. There’s no choice….”                    good stuff! Twenty bones buys a whirlwind
  and mingling over a glass of 2004 Sparkling        be ordered on their own, with sides added at will. “We don’t want to just put food on the                                                                                                                                                           of cocktail demos, samples of rare and not-
                                                                                                                                                       Photography: Steve McKinley

  Pinot. Geoff Heinricks, author of A Fool and       plate as filler,” he says. “Now you can build your own plate.”                                                                   … In the “I can’t believe it actually tastes good” department, City Bites nominates Marcy’s                         available-in-Ontario spirits, and more than
  Forty Acres, provides insight into the care          But this isn’t Movenpick. Mano wants people to drop by for a glass of wine and a few                                          Maple Syrup Vinaigrette and Marinade, a thoroughly Canadian blending of balsamic vinegar                            a little lurching about the Distillery District.
  and feeding of pinot noir in Prince Edward         snacks, take in a little jazz in the lounge, and feel like they’ve experienced the best restau-                                 and maple syrup from Marcy Mihalcheon (she has a range of good and healthy products out                             Samples galore, plus a chilled outside patio
  County. Local wines and snacks. 2 p.m. 13370       rant in the city — without breaking the bank. His sense of pride is unwavering: “I want to                                      there). And here’s the best part: Marcy’s husband Alan Frew (he of Glass Tiger crooning fame)                       to put things in perspective. $20 admission
  Loyalist Parkway, Picton. 613-476-5339,            be able to look people in the eye.”                                                                                             stumbled upon the odd flavour pairing when he absent-mindedly dipped some balsamic-                                  (sample tickets extra). The Stone Distillery,,                                                                                                                                           tinged greens in maple syrup. Our verdict: weird on its own, but splash it on greens and it’s                       55 Mill St.,
                                                     Centro Restaurant and Lounge, 2472 Yonge St., 416-483-2211,                                                          pretty damned tasty….
4 City Bites                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          June / July 2005 5

                                                                                                                                                                                        Bring the Funk
Salmon Stakes                                                                                                                                                                           La Fromagerie stinks up Little Portugal
                                                                                                                                                                                        By Greg Bolton
It may be wild salmon season, but it’s also buyer beware                                                                                                                                this guy once brought a cheese to my
                                                                                                                                                                                        house to accompany a friendly round of
By Kim Izzo
                                                                                                                                                                                        poker. It was so pungent my wife banned
love your fillet of salmon? Glistening sashimi? Delicate gravlax? Yet you also love
                                                                                                                                                                                        it. This toxic little wheel smelled like the
being an informed consumer, and what you’ve been reading and hearing these past
                                                                                                                                                                                        farts of Satan. Naturally, it was delicious.
couple years from the scientific community is this: Farmed salmon has 10 times more
                                                                                                                                                                                        Creamy and complex, it offered a taste
contaminants than wild salmon. Of course this has incited heated debate among the
                                                                                                                                                                                        not for the faint of heart. Eating it, I felt
scientists who conducted the study — over 700 fish were tested from around the globe
                                                                                                                                                                                        like the Tony Hawk of cheese.
including salmon from Toronto — and both fish farmers and government bodies such as
                                                                                                                                                                                           I live in Little Portugal, so until recent-
our own Food Inspection Agency.
                                                                                                                                                                                        ly getting the funky stuff meant a trip to
   The study went so far as to suggest consumers restrict their farmed salmon intake to           Taro Akiyama is a Japanese fish trader
                                                                                                                                                                                        Kensington Market. But now we have
less than one or two meals a month. Fine, the study won you over. You’ll eat only wild         who works both the wholesale and retail
                                                                                                                                                                                        the brand-new La Fromagerie on Col-
salmon. Think the problem’s solved?                                                            market from his shop in Markham. He
                                                                                                                                                                                        lege Street. It’s a bright, tidy shop with a
   Back in March The New York Times bought eight samples of salmon sold as “wild” by           supplies the Four Seasons, Jamie Kenne-
                                                                                                                                                                                        fridge full of unusual farmhouse chees-
eight local stores and, on the sly, had them tested. Six were farmed. With wild salmon         dy Wine Bar, Opus and the Drake Hotel.
                                                                                                                                                                                        es from Quebec, France, Italy and — sa-
fetching as much as $29 U.S. a pound in Manhattan, compared to $5 to $12 a pound for           “Wild salmon is seasonal and people
                                                                                                                                                                                        luting the ’hood — Portugal. As well,
farmed, you can see what’s at stake here besides your health.                                  need to know that. But you can buy good
                                                                                                                                                                                        they’ve got a nice collection of gourmet
   When the story hit the stands on April 10, it wasn’t just New Yorkers who felt the sting.   aquaculture, organic farmed salmon.”
                                                                                                                                                                                        imports: pastas, whole spices, sea salts,        GGI_city_bites_ad_april25                                        4/25/05                 1:37 PM                 Page 1
If it could happen there it could happen anywhere.                                                So how do you know, when you’re
                                                                                                                                                                                        oils and vinegars.
   “In the Fish Act there are no regulations to label as wild or farmed, ” says Marc Rich-     standing at the seafood counter, whether
                                                                                                                                                                                           The world of so-called artisanal cheese,
ard, a spokesman for Canada’s Food Inspection Agency. “There are general labeling pro-         or not that fish is really wild? Check the
                                                                                                                                                                                        can be impenetrably cult-like. And, while
visions which say you can’t be misleading.                                                     calendar! So few salmon are swimming
   This requires consumers to fight their own battles, which rankles David O. Carpenter,        the Atlantic these days that you’re pretty
                                                                                                                                                                                        always friendly, the Toronto cheese-shop
                                                                                                                                                                                        veteran who’s always behind the counter
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   freshness delivered
a professor at the Institute for Health and the Environment at New York’s University at
Albany and one of the authors of the original study. “It is a sad commentary on the lack of
                                                                                               much guaranteed the wild stuff comes
                                                                                               from the Pacific. Early May through
                                                                                                                                                                                        asked not to be named for this article.                     right to
honesty in our society that farmed salmon would be sold as wild,” says Carpenter. “The
solution to this problem is almost certainly legal — this is false advertising, and should
                                                                                               November is the general timeframe. If
                                                                                               you’re buying it in February or March,
                                                                                                                                                                                        Her answer to a query as to the supplier
                                                                                                                                                                                        of the Quebec selections was “a guy in               your door.
                                                                                                                                                                                        Montreal.” Next question.
be stopped by governments.”
   Professional chefs have their own ways of ensuring they don’t get duped. “Check tags
                                                                                               like our pals in New York, chances are
                                                                                               it’s farmed.
                                                                                                                                                                                           Any mysteries are resolved with a few          Your time is
on the fish [if buying whole] and use a reputable supplier,” says Lynn Crawford, execu-            No matter what or who you believe,
                                                                                                                                                                                        samples, which are offered enthusiasti-
                                                                                                                                                                                        cally, and usually with a good story. To
tive chef for the Four Seasons Hotel and Truffles restaurant. “It’s the relationships that I    salmon is one wanted sea creature. “It is
                                                                                                                                                                                        satisfy my own craving for the soft and
build, the people… that share with me out in the market. That’s a trust relationship.”         the most popular fish, the number one,                                                                                                      • More than 6500 items                     • Longo’s private
                                                                                                                                                                                        stinky, I like classic French Brie de Meaux                                                    label products
   She’s adamant, as well, about the taste difference. “The taste is pure and sweet and        followed by halibut,” says Crawford.                                                                                                       • Top national brands
                                                                                                                                                                                        and Quebec’s Riopelle de L’Ile-aux-Grues,
clean.” Out of season, she buys organic farmed fish.                                            “But everything is seasonal.”                                                                                                              • Highest quality fruits                   • All backed by our 100%
                                                                                                                                                                                        a triple-cream cow’s milk number with a                                                        Satisfaction Guarantee.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            & vegetables
                                                                                                                                                                                        huge floral bite. The little raw-milk Ca-
                                                                                                                                                                                        price des Cantons from Quebec, with an                WE DELIVER TO BUSINESSES TOO!
                                                                                                                                                                                        orange, almost menacing rind, would
                                                                                                                                                                                        surely appear on my wife’s no-no list.
                                                                                                                                            Photography: Thomas Nicole Dexter Pointon

                                                                                                                                                                                           The Italian farmhouse selections will
                                                                                                                                                                                        soon expand, which is good because
                                                                                                                                                                                        they can be hard to find. Already in stock
                                                                                                                                                                                        is beautiful Blu di Frabosa, a delicate raw

                                                                                                                                                                                        sheep’s-milk cheese that’s less salty than                                               *     Register at and get an instant
                                                                                                                                                                                        most blues, and Testun al Barolo, a wine-                                                      $5 credit toward your 1st order.
                                                                                                                                                                                        soaked goat cheese whose ruby outer
                                                                                                                                                                                        rind makes it as nice to look at as to eat.      save                                          Already a customer? Enter CITY in the “Promotion Code”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       box at checkout and save $5
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               *Above offers are mutually exclusive. CITY promotional code may not be used in conjunction with any other promotional offer.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Limit one coupon per household. Offer valid on a minimum $45 order (excluding taxes and delivery fee). Offer expires June 30, 2005.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Coupon redeemable online only. For more information call 905-564-8778 or toll free 1-877-447-8778.
                                                                                                                                                                                        La Fromagerie, 868 College St., 416-516-4278.
6 City Bites                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      June / July 2005 7
Lunch Time                                                                                                                                                                                                 Behind the Bar

The Earl Can Get Stuffed                                                                                                                                                                                  There’s No Life Like It
The United Nations of sammies, Toronto offers a world                                                                                                                                                     If you can hack it, a career slinging rye-and-Cokes
of taste enveloped by dough variations                                                                                                                                                                    affords surprising luxuries
By Eric Vellend                                                                                                                                                                                           By Tanya Cole
in university, away from my mother’s kitchen for                                                                                                                                                          tending bar was never on my short list of career options. As a
the first time, my entire culinary repertoire consisted                                                                                                                                                    matter of reference, my first introduction to the biz was quite
of anything that could be squished between two slices                                                                                                                                                     short, quite painful, and I was quite relieved of my duties in a most
of bread. You’d think four years of sandwich subsis-                                                                                                                                                      gruesome manner. Canned and banned: In a span shorter than your
tence would make one weary, but instead I developed a                                                                                                                                                     average vacation I had managed to butcher the fine art of waiting
deep affinity for the handheld meal.                                                                                                                                                                       tables and tending bar.
   Toronto hosts a diversity of sandwich shops to keep                                                                                                                                                       Nary an order big or small stayed in my head, either in sequence
an adventurous palate on its toes. Philadelphia has its                                                                                                                                                   or in its entirety, for more than a few seconds. I had yet to master the
cheese steak, Montreal has its smoked meat, but To-                                                                                                                                                       wiggle and shake my first boss deemed a necessary, if not mandatory,
ronto has a whole international sandwich board to                                                                                                                                                         part of service. My interest in the customers’ every desire fell well
brag about.                                                                                                                                                                                               short of their expectations.
   The current “it” sandwich is the Saigon sub (banh                                                                                                                                                         I was plainly not cut out for this line of work. I wasn’t tough
mi), a crusty roll smeared with pâté and filled with                                                                                                                                                       enough, quick enough or clever enough to handle an onslaught of
mystery-meat cold cuts, cucumber, lightly pickled                                                                                                                                                         the hungry, the thirsty and the lewd — and that was just my boss.
vegetables, cilantro and an optional blast of fresh chil-                                                                                                                                                 But as life deals in cruel irony, I would find myself behind the bar
lies. You can find purveyors of this French-influenced                                                                                                                                                      years later, with hundreds of thousands of rye-and-Cokes slung over
sub all over the city, but my favourite is in China-                                                                                                                                                      the wood, a head full of useless facts and an elephant’s ability to
town East at Rose Café (324 Broadview Ave., 416-406- Jesse Dell shares a laugh with chef Eric Strippoli at Jules.                                                                                         remember every minutia of every order, even from years gone by.
9906). Their “assorted” ($1.50) smokes anything from                                                                                                                                                         My choice of career was the result of survival instinct more than anything, but I had
Subway and is a third the price. If you’re feeling hungry, drop an extra fifty cents for the chutney and a spicy lentil soup (rasam)                                                                       no idea how much fun one could have at 4 a.m. My daily life is afforded, contorted and
double-stuffed deluxe.                                                                             for dipping. Udupi Palace is a rare veg-                                                               thoroughly exploited to concentrate the most amount of gain in the least amount
   The empanada, a stuffed savoury pastry popular all over Spain and Latin America, etarian restaurant where you won’t have                                                                               of time — and almost never wake to a buzzing alarm clock.
enjoys au courant status with the city’s eat-and-run cognoscenti, but you won’t likely to listen to the culture jamming rhetoric                                                                             I would have to grant my inherent stubborn streak most of the honours for my relative
find it on the refreshed McDonald’s menu anytime soon. Kensington Market’s Jumbo of dreadlocked fauxhemians drowned out                                                                                    success in this industry. And, of course, the unending patience of those who found me
Empanadas (245 Augusta Ave., 416-977-0056) delivers the goods: the beef version ($3.50) — by an overworked juice machine.                                                                                 green and trained it out of me, spectated and then coached, and nurtured my skills, my
a strange and delicious combination of ground beef, hard-boiled eggs, olives and raisins —            Finally, francophiles can get their                                                                 character and my charming personality.
is a gargantuan pleasure pocket. After a few pathetic attempts wielding a plastic knife sandwich fix at Jules (147 Spadina Ave.,                                                                              The bar industry is not a place that coddles the weak of heart or mind. And as my
and fork, I gleaned the proper etiquette from the regulars: split in half, stuff with 416-348-8886), a sunny bistro popular                                                                               clientele trade their overstuffed, windowless cubicles for a fleeting weekend of booze,
homemade salsa and use hands.                                                                      with second-tier media types on lunch                                                                  bars and babes, I work my proverbial tail off selling the dream, producing the goods,
   The legendary California Sandwiches (244 Claremont St., 416-603-3317; 1239A St. dates with their BlackBerries. The cheesy                                                                              socking away the tips and ripping through the wee hours of the morning. And on Monday,
Clair Ave. W., 416-654-2771; six other locations) has been serving enormous hot Italian banter from the neighbouring tables                                                                               I lounge in bed till one or two, amused with the image of all of those puffed-up suits and
panini from their original Little Italy location since 1967. The veal ($6.50) is the big seller, may inspire the croque monsieur ($11)                                                                    cougars hanging their heads in shame from what their fleeting weekend did or did not
but don’t ignore the eggplant ($5.75) — a Dagwood tower of fried eggplant smothered — a ham and tomato on white-broiled                                                                                   produce, and the idea that they will spend the next five days chasing the weekend — and
with tomato sauce and mozzarella miraculously contained within a soft kaiser. There is under a thick layer of fromage. The pan                                                                            that phone number they wrote on a sopping wet cocktail napkin.
                                                                                                                                                                          Illustration: Sarah Lazarovic
                                                                                                                                              Photography: Ed Goncalves

a dining room, but the clanging pinball machine and the relentless shouting of “THREE bagnat ($11) is Provence’s signature tuna                                                                              It’s another lazy afternoon, midweek, and I linger over a late lunch at an empty bistro,
VEAL! ONE HOT, TWO SWEET!” makes take-out the best option.                                         sandwich, loaded with hardboiled eggs,                                                                 cruise a deserted Ikea just for kicks or catch a mid-afternoon matinee. I have the good
   To get in touch with your inner vegan, head east for a dosa ($5.75 to $8) at Udupi Palace peppers, onions and olives. Skip the pe-                                                                     fortune to lead a life with no lineups, no rush hour and all the days in the world to sleep
(1460 Gerrard St. E., 416-405-8189). The South Indian dosa is a large, crispy crêpe made destrian salad and side your sandwich                                                                            in. A few of the luxuries that are part and parcel of a life outside the norm.
from a batter of ground rice and lentils. Like something out of a Cheech and Chong movie, with hopelessly addictive frites — with
it’s rolled into a giant cone around a curried vegetable filling and comes with coconut homemade mayo, of course.                                                                                          Tanya Cole will soon return from her world tour. Look for her at a bar near you.
8 City Bites                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            June / July 2005 9
Cheese Math                                                                                                                                        Chef Speaks

                                                                                                                                                   Suck on This
                                                                                                                                                   Wherein Chef explains the virtues of
                                                                                                                                                   good citrus etiquette
It Warms the Heart                                                                                                                                 you decide to go out for lunch with a
                                                                                                                                                   good friend. A long lunch, not an eating-
                                                                                                                                                   for-fuel type lunch. Since it’s a day off
The heritage of Spain and Portugal combines with the shabby                                                                                        you decide alcohol might be in order. A
chic of No Frills to chase those naughty chills away                                                                                               Bloody Caesar.
By Julia Rogers                                                                                                                                       It arrives garnished with celery
despairing over cool weather? Pining for a hot summer’s day?                                                                                       (good), rimmed celery salt (good) and a
  With the right sum of elements, damp, chilly evenings can be          Spiced Pear Chutney                                                        wedge of lime — what the hell is a lime
better than bearable. Recent research proves the following:                                                                                        doing there? You ask for lemon and they
  Zamorano + Walker’s Highland Oatcakes + Spiced Pear                 Wash, peel, core and discard the really gross bits, then chop pears and      bring a couple of lemon slices. Lemon
  Chutney + Henriques and Henriques Single Vintage                    put in a pot with 1/4 cup shredded ginger, 1 cup raisins, 1 1/2 cups brown   slices really piss me off. All you can do is
  Madeira 1995 = The cure for spring showers.                         sugar, 3/4 cup cider vinegar, 1 tbsp brown mustard seeds, 1 or 2 whole       look at them. You certainly can’t squeeze
  Zamorano is country cousin to Manchego, Spain’s prototypical        dried chilies, and 1 tsp each cinnamon and cloves. Boil, then simmer until   them. You could, I suppose, jam them
sheep milk cheese. Manchego is possibly the ur-cheese, its rind       thick. Your grandma would can it, but you can refrigerate portions for up    into your drink and abuse them with a
pattern an exact impression of woven Bronze Age curd draining         to a month, or freeze for almost ever.                                       straw. But that doesn’t seem right.
baskets. What’s not to love about a 6,000-year-old tradition?                                                                                         The server returns and the negotia-
Zamorano shares Manchego’s rich, tangy sweetness, but with a                                                                                       tions begin. A few wedges please. And
raw-milk rusticity that kicks things up a notch.                     where, from the 16th century on, seafarers would pick up casks                here they come. What’s this? The white
  Walker’s Highland Oatcakes taste of under-salted toasty oats       for onboard refreshment. Curiously, the hot temperatures and                  part that runs along the top edge has not
and fat. No concessions to cracker chic here. Fie on fancy foreign   constant jostling of the hold produced a beverage that was way                been sliced off. With a squeeze, the juice
seasonings and effete crispness! Two of these make a meal:           better than before setting sail.                                              ends up anywhere but in the drink. If, on
three and you need to nap. The funny thing is, when you slather        Modern Madeira-makers replicate these conditions by heating                 occasion, the bar staff have had the pre-
them with spiced pear chutney and shards of Zamorano, they           the wine to 50°C before cask aging. Henriques and Henriques has               science to properly trim the wedges, the
go down a charm, and soon no one’s counting.                         been up to this since 1850, and produce nutty, woody dried fruit              surgery has usually been performed with
  So, when the dollar rack at No Frills bulges with five-kilo bags    flavours that merit serious sipping. As a bonus, through some                  a dull steak knife. Abused, scarred little
of last winter’s mushy, half-fermented pears — grab them up for      kind of magic, the drinker is also heated to 50°C. No small detail            lemons do not make for a happy plate.
this lovely conserve.                                                when it’s “spring” in Toronto.                                                   Hiring criteria for bar staff should
  Naturally, it’s the wine that pulls our equation together. (Wine                                                                                 include a lemon slicing session. Have the
keeps everything together, including me.) No ordinary fermented      Julia Rogers runs Cheese Culture (, consulting and           cutting board, lemon and a selection of
grape juice, Madeira is named for its Portuguese island homeland     advising in the judicious use of curd for the common good.                    knives right there in the office. You just
                                                                                                                                                   graduated from the program? Shaddup
                                                                                                                                                   and cut the fucking lemon, my friend.
                                                                                                                                                      Wither the finely honed lemon slice?
                                                                                                                                                   Even Swiss Chalet doesn’t come through
                                                                                                                                                   anymore. Order a big pile of fish and
                                                                                                                                                   chips — here’s one sorry lemon wedge.
                                                                                                                                                   Crispy fried things need lemon. Folks,
                                                                                                                                                   they are not that expensive, they have a
                                                                                                                                                   pretty good shelf life and having fresh
                                                                                                                                                   juice on your sauce station is a must.
                                                                                                                                                      Oh, I like limes too.

                                                                                                                                                   Banished but not forgotten, our chef toils
                                                                                                                                                   away in a citrus-friendly kitchen up north
                                                                                                                                                   (but not that far north).

10 City Bites                                                                                                                                                                                     June / July 2005 11
 Out & About                                                                                                                                                                       The Good Bite

                                                                                                                                                                                   A Little Berry in Your Beer?
                                                                                                                                                                                   By Trish Kaliciak
                                                                                                                                                                                   as long as it’s cold and in a brown bottle. Now that’s a good beer-drinking rule — for
                                                                                                                                                                                   a retired CAW worker. Thank the gods for microbreweries! They’ve saved beer from its
                                                                                                                                                                                   slide into blandness at the hands of the big boys (this means you, Molson — mess with
                                                                                                                                                                                   Creemore and I’ll kick your ass).
                                                                                                                                                                                      Sure, the Beer Store’s 300 brands can cause anxiety, but I’m glad to see a nice choice of
                                                                                                                                                                                   beers brewed with fruit extracts. Don’t give me that macho line about how “fruit beer is
                                                                                                                                                                                   a girlie thing.” Or that it’s a drink for wifflers who enjoy white zinfandel. Hear this: The
                                                                                                                                                                                   Belgians have been tarting up their brew for centuries. And you should trust the Belgians
                                                                                                                                                                                   — they put faith in beer over water and made it safely through the bubonic plague.
                                                                                                                                                                                      Fruit beers have a hint of sweet and taste like summer. Montreal’s McAuslan makes a
Under the Sun, Under the Stars                                         Shopoholics and bikers compete for the sun-drenched tables of the Black Bull.                               stellar apricot wheat ale, crisp with a heady aroma. A full-bodied raspberry wheat with
                                                                                                                                                                                   lots of tang comes out of the Kawartha Lakes Brewing Company. The Brick Brewing
Patios for every taste, but perhaps not for every palate                                                                                                                           Company has just launched BamBay, a citrus beer with 2.5% alcohol. It’s a quaffer, tasty
                                                                                                                                                                                   like a punchy ginger ale, but the “MTV Spring Break” label is downright offensive.
By Leanne Delap
                                                                                                                                                                                      For great packaging, try Belle-Vue Kriek or Mort Subite Framboise. Both are full
the pool bar at the Standard Hotel in L.A. sets the international, well, standard,
                                                                                                                                                                                   flavoured and come in a 375 ml bottle topped with a real cork — makes you feel like a
for patios, but frankly I find the whole Astroturfy “pool-boy-included” scene a little
                                                                                                                                                                                   beer-swilling princess when you pop it open.
precious. Hereabouts, the private cabanas at C Lounge on Wellington are sexy (there are
curtains, which does set the mind to wandering) and arranged around gardens. There are
                                                                                                                                                                                   Where: The Beer Store, and larger LCBO stores
big pillows, low settees and tables to snuggle around; unfortunately in this town the VIP
                                                                                                                                                                                   Price per 12 pack: McAuslan Apricot Wheat, $21.95; KLB Raspberry Wheat, $19.95; BamBay
scene is often a little sleazy. Ditto at Ultra on Queen West, where the VIP benches along
                                                                                                                                                                                   Citrus, $16.35; Belle-Vue Kriek, $3.15/375 ml; Mort Subite Framboise, $4.15/375ml.
the back wall attract the best-heeled of the Capri pant set; the guys buying the champers
are often a little too slick for school.                                                         though for the life of me I can’t see why. I
  So we’ve dispensed with the starry scene patios, on to cozier perches. The Moroccan-           mean, I can eat better at home, and I can
themed patio at Amber on Yorkville may be undergoing a reno this sunny season. There             hang my own fairy lights. The patio at
is really no greater thrill in Toronto than drinking vodka tonics on this lovely patio (go       Allen’s on the Danforth, also strewn with
early in the evening, as come midnight it becomes a frat party for the fashion set) and          a few lights, makes much more sense.
looking up at the suburban hooligans hooting above you on Remy’s party patio. Also               A big grill is set up through the summer
in Yorkville, the Prego della Piazza patio is jammed every nice evening. Ten points for          months. You can come here with a passel
every ’80s socialite you can spot.                                                               of buddies and get a bit rowdy. My top
   The courtyard patio at Bymark, smack in the centre of the TD tower, is perfect in every       pick in this genre, though, is Gamelle
way. Clever Mark McEwan has managed to insulate consumers of his $35 burgers from                on College, which serves terrific bistro
wind and from wankers. The servers are very attractive, always, in a classy way.                 food and yummy wine among a field of
   Now on to more accessible places. You can’t eat a damn thing at the Dip at the corner         wild flowers.
of College and Grace, but who cares? The west-facing patio gets fine unfiltered sunlight             Betty’s on King East is cute at lunch,
from noon onward. Across the street is Sotto Voce, where you must arrive at the stroke           when the sun warms the beer-soaked
of 5 p.m. to secure a table. You can eat here. You can also eat at Teatro, where summer          benches. For that matter, you can
evenings extend the party hours. The tables become somewhat liquid near to midnight,             actually have fun on the roof patio at
with pretty people floating from table to table. Air kiss alert!                                  Hooters, watching the poor gals pretend
   Souz Dal and its sister Sutra, both on College, have a moody, dark after-six patios,          to have “hose” fights.
where couples intent on conversation tend to huddle. An obvious patio pleasure is the              And for real grungy fun, hit Squirly’s
Black Bull, again with an unblocked western exposure. The people watching is fun                 or the Done Right Inn on Queen
here, as patrons are a mix of the biker dudes who use it as a hang all winter and the kids       West near Niagara, where you can do
shopping the Queen West strip. Further along, the Rivoli and the 360 patios are a bit            shots and drink draft on truly crappy
                                                                                                                                                       Photography: Gene Shannon

exposed, but can be perfect in mid-afternoon for a quick refreshment. Keep on heading            Sally Ann furniture. And if you want
west to Terroni, where you’ll spot all the photographers and stylists eating pizza and           to let it all hang out, head to Barraida
drinking little glasses of red wine. Even further west on Queen, the same crew can be            Churrasqueira on College near Duf-
found later drinking hot pepper martinis and eating shrimp dumplings at Kei, one of my           ferin, where you can suck cheap brews
very favourite places in the city.                                                               while a suckling pig roasts before you
   As for backyard patios, there is always a lineup to get into Café La Gaffe on Baldwin,        on a spit. Heaven!

12 City Bites                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     June / July 2005 13
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Where to Eat
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Ali’s West Indian Roti Shop
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Ali’s is well worth the trek a few extra blocks
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     along Queen West past the more famous
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Bacchus Roti Shop, and past the Caribbean
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     grocers, almost to Lansdowne. The Trinida-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     dian restaurant is a gem. There is little here
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     for the vegetarian, and nary a vegetable in
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     sight not counting potato, but there is a large
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     selection for carnivores and those with a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     taste for something different. Ox tail, goat
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     and conch are served in every form, from
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     roti to soup to rice and beans. The subtle
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Trinidadian flavors and mild spice make this
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Caribbean food experience easy on the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     novice. For a finish, taste some sweet wares
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     — sugar cake (a coconut and sugar cookie-
                                                                                                                                                                    Left: Ali’s subtle Trinidadian flavours favour the carnivore at Ali’s West Indian Roti Shop.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     like concoction) is pink and beautiful and
                                                                                                                                                                    Above: A plate of baked fish and ackee from the kitchen of Marie Antoinette at Eazy Eats.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     sits alongside tamarind balls and homemade
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     tooloom. 1446 Queen St. W., 416-532-7701
                                                                                                                                                                      In the Caribbean this ethnic                           and breadfruit are almost non-existent
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Channaman’s Caribbean Corner
                                                                                                                                                                    mash-up is a regular part of life and                    and a good bread pudding is nearly
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     A Scarborough institution, this strip mall
                                                                                                                                                                    the cuisine, the result of so many                       impossible to find. But there are a handful
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     restaurant at Eglinton and Kennedy has
                                                                                                                                                                    colonial legacies — African, East                        of restaurants spread throughout the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     been around since the early ’80s. Nothing
                                                                                                                                                                    Indian, English, French, Portuguese                      city that will warm your stomach and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     in downtown Toronto compares. The décor
                                                                                                                                                                    and Spanish — sprinkled throughout                       soul, whose cooks work the stoves as if
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     is as expected: 12 standard-issue tables
                                                                                                                                                                    a closely knit chain of islands.                         they’re in their home kitchens and have
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     and chairs with three stools in front of the
                                                                                                                                                                      In North America though, a certain                     invited you over.
Stir It Up                                                                                                                                                          amount of food assimilation is un-
                                                                                                                                                                    avoidable. Spice is watered down,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               And if you ever get the chance to eat in
                                                                                                                                                                                                                             the kitchen of a suburban grandmother
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     bar. Here’s why it’s worth the drive: You’ll
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     likely walk in and find six men drinking beer,
From grandmother’s Trinidadian kitchen to the streets of the GTA, reassuring flavours of the                                                                                                                                                                                          watching cricket and talking about when
                                                                                                                                                                    starch-heavy vegetables like cassava                     from the West Indies, don’t pass it by.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     they’ll go back home. The menu ranges from
Caribbean islands are never far away                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 a flavourful West Indian Homemade Soup full

By Abi Slone
                                                                                                                                                                     What to Eat                                                                                                     of cassava, plantain and beef, to fresh soft
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     polourie with sour sauce and salt fish cakes.
like many children of the Trinidadian diaspora, I spent a lot         or auntie or friend, homemade pastels (meat with capers                                        Bake: A leavened bread rolled flat and either fried        cheese, the Caribbean version is enhanced             Also the best fried plantain in the GTA. 2480
of my youth at my grandparents’ house. They had a small               and raisins wrapped in cornmeal and banana leaf ) ready for                                    or baked; in a variety of sizes, from individual          with things like hot sauce, tomatoes, pepper and      Eglinton Ave. E. (just east of Kennedy), 416-
bungalow in Scarborough at the corner of Kennedy and Lawrence.        steaming, salt prunes and some black cake (fruit soaked in                                     serving to large enough to be cut up and shared.          other ingredients.                                    266-4591
The constant buzz from the large electrical towers across the         rum for practically a generation, mixed with flour and made                                     Bread pudding: Baked in a casserole dish, this            Peanut Punch: Sounds like an impending culinary
street became a comforting sound, lulling me to sleep on the          into a cake that weighs several pounds). Usually there was                                     combination of stale bread, raisins, egg and milk         disaster, but is in fact remarkably delicious. A      Eazy Eats
weekends my mom and I would sleep over. At the house there            enough of it to keep us going until the next visit.                                            is shockingly delicious. Barely spiced other than         combination of peanut butter, condensed and           Marie Antoinette, with her husband, is the
was always food cooking and a steady stream of family to sample                                                                                                      cinnamon, it is often served warm with some milk,         evaporated milks, some bitters and water. Very        woman behind this Trinidadian home-cooking
the wares. I was the child of one of my grandparents’ 11 children .                                                                                                  and is relatively firm in texture.                         refreshing over ice.                                  restaurant on Broadview just south of the
  My father, a straightlaced Jewish guy from a conservative           “No one expected the white Jewish girl to                                                      Calaloo: A soup made with okra, spinach, black            Pelau: A rice-and-meat dish (chicken, beef or         Danforth. She is a master at making macaroni
                                                                                                                                                                     pepper, pepper sauce and coconut milk. Crab or            goat). The meat is browned with sugar in a big        pie like your mom (well, certainly like my
Ottawa family, would drop my mom and me off on aSaturday
morning and return late Sunday afternoon to pick us up.
                                                                      have a Trini mom, or to be eating pelau, or                                                    other fish can be added, but it’s the silky texture of     heavy pot, then water and rice are added. Cooked      mom) used to make. The shark and bake
  The food (hot, spicy and “foreign”) and the bacchanal               salt fish, or rice and beans for dinner.”                                                      the cooked spinach and okra that makes it great.          slowly over low heat and seasoned with pepper         is very popular. The crab and calaloo soup
(craziness) were too much for him, but for me, as a culturally                                                                                                       Coo coo: A cornmeal side dish with rounds of okra.        and, according to most people, whatever else.         is silky and soft, as it should be — and the
mixed kid, the house was instrumental in my development.                In her own right, my mother is a great cook. When I lived                                    Doubles: Small, flat bread, deep fried and eaten           Plantain: Large banana shaped fruit. Can be boiled,   bread pudding must not be missed. This is a
                                                                                                                                       Photography: Chris Klugman

From it we would trek by bus all over the east end of the city —      at home I used to imagine my house smelled like Trinidad,                                      with curry channa.                                        fried or baked, and is pronounced plan-tin.           welcoming place for those curious about
to Channaman’s roti shop, to the Scarborough Mall and the big         warm and intriguing. And inviting suburban friends over                                        Mauby: A drink made from tree bark, with flavours          Polourie: Deep fried chick pea flour spongy            Caribbean food. The aging posters of outdated
Caribbean grocer, west of Kennedy, but not too far.                   to our house for dinner was quite an adventure in                                              of cloves, orange peel, cinnamon and aniseed.             goodness. Made with spices that include garlic,       cultural events give it a certain charm. 759
  When it was time to leave, my mother and I always had more          diversity, since no one expected the white Jewish girl to have                                 Combined with condensed milk for Mauby and                saffron and turmeric, the mixture is rolled into      Broadview Ave., 416-461-9576
bags than we came with, always filled with homemade food               a Trini mom, or to be eating pelau, or salt fish, or rice and                                   Milk, a popular favourite.                                small balls for frying.
and treats from Trinidad. A jar of hot sauce made by a cousin         beans for dinner.                                                                              Macaroni Pie: Similar to a baked macaroni and             Tooloom: Coconut and molasses balls.

14 City Bites                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   June / July 2005 15
Meat                                                                                                                                                                  Many Toronto butchers that specialize
                                                                                                                                                                      in exotic meats will custom-order horse
                                                                                                                                                                      on request, but none wanted to be
                                                                                                                                                                      mentioned in this article.
                                                                                                                                                                         It seems that horsemeat, though per-
                                                                                                                                                                      fectly legal, is still taboo. In cosmopolitan
                                                                                                                                                                      English-speaking Canada — never mind
                                                                                                                                                                      the encouraging words of Kruschev —
                                                                                                                                                                      it’s obviously more than just a question
                                                                                                                                                                      of taste. A supermarket in Calgary was
                                                                                                                                                                      charged in 2000 with selling horsemeat
                                                                                                                                                                      labeled as beef. The owners pleaded
They Eat Horses, Don’t They?                                                                                                                                          ignorance. Apparently, their customers
                                                                                                                                                                      were plenty pleased with their meat
Quit your squirming. The French don’t seem to mind                                                                                                                    orders before routine testing by
                                                                                                                                                                      the Canadian Food Inspection Agency
By Alexa Petrenko
                                                                                                                                                                      revealed the truth.
He who cannot eat horsemeat need not do so. Let him eat pork. But he
who cannot eat pork, let him eat horsemeat. It’s simply a question of
taste. — Nikita Kruschchev
it started with a review I wrote for a local health magazine,
about a tasty little neighbourhood bistro on Gerrard called
Batifole. The editor got to the part about the tartare, made
with horse in accordance with correct French protocol, and
instantly spiked the story.
   Which is kind of ironic, given that if you must eat red meat,
horse is healthier than beef, veal or lamb. It’s higher in pro-            He’s considered taking horse
tein, lower in fat and cleaner, not being susceptible to plagues        off his menu, but customers
like TB or mad cow. It can even be helpful for weight loss:             keep returning for their tartare
Fashion mogul Karl Lagerfeld, whose book, The Karl Lagerfeld            fix. Texier is an animal lover
Diet, hits stores this month, claims to have lost 40 kilos on a         — he dreams of retiring to a
creative regimen of horsemeat, tomatoes and Diet Coke.                  horse farm — who refuses to
   But the editor’s reaction is not unusual, reflecting an attitude      serve chicken because of the
inherited from the British, where horses, like dogs, are regarded       abusive conditions in which they are raised. “Horses are at least
as companions rather than food.                                         raised in the best of conditions, and are probably the happiest
   Much of the rest of the world feels differently. At least            animals,” he says.
150,000 tons of horsemeat are consumed every year, and                     At La Palette in Kensington Market (256 Augusta Ave.,
Canada is the world’s fourth largest producer, with most                416-929-4900), Mark Harrington has been serving horse for
being exported. The Swiss love their horsemeat fondue.                  three and a half years. His horse tenderloin in a rosemary veal
In Japan, horsemeat sashimi is called basashi, and the heart            jus is, Harrington says, “so tender, you can cut it with a butter
is considered especially delicate. In Germany they’ve got               knife.” (The entrée also comes in a half portion paired with a
Pferdewurst (horse sausage). In Canada, the west coast’s                duck leg, whimsically named Quack and Track.) Harrington
Japanese population and the French Quebeckers are enthusiastic          says response to the cheval on his menu has been “90 per cent
consumers of horse. It’s not uncommon to find horse sitting              great, and it just flies out.” One long-time vegetarian chose
alongside beef in Quebec supermarkets.                                  La Palette’s horse as “his meat of re-entry.”
   In Toronto, most of our horsemeat is devoured by denizens of            When asked what goes with horse, Texier suggested pinot
the zoo, the big cats thriving on a diet of 93 per cent horse and       noir or a cabernet franc from the Loire, something not too heavy
7 per cent vitamins. But there are a few places where discerning        and slightly chilled to cellar temperature. Harrington prefers
human carnivores can enjoy it too.                                      a full-bodied red with some sweet fruit, perhaps a Petit Verdot
   At Batifole (744 Gerrard St. E., 416-462-9965), chef-owner           from Ballast Stone Estate.
Jean-Jacques Texier serves up a lean, delicately spiced tartare            These chefs both get their cheval from Quebec’s La
that’s never mushy. “Horse is the only really safe way to eat           Ferme, purveyors to restaurants only. But there’s at least one
                                                                                                                                            Illustration: Mark Herd

tartare,” he says. “Horses graze only the top part of                   horsemeat butcher shop in Toronto serving the public:
the grass, they don’t eat dirt or feces, unlike cows, lambs and         Cavallino Carne Equina & Groceries (2995 Islington at Steeles,
other herbivores, so they don’t enter into contact with parasites.      416-749-1633). When asked about cuts and prices over the
This is important in uncooked meat, though of course they               phone, the owner refused to provide details, but extended an
disappear in cooking.”                                                  invitation to his shop, saying, “anything you need, we’ve got.”
16 City Bites                                                                                                                                                                                                         June / July 2005 17
                                                                                                                                                                       stock (there’s nothing like a hen’s toes for
                                                                                                                                                                       a memorable soup). Charlie keeps a good
                                                                                                                                                                       supply of exquisitely thin beef and lamb
                                                                                                                                                                       slices for hot pot parties in the freezers.
                                                                                                                                                                       Also under ice are thin, bony blocks of
                                                                                                                                                                       short ribs: marinate, toss on the grill and
                                                                                                                                                                       wow your guests with “Korean barbecue”.
                                                                                                                                                                          Due south is Sing Sing. Give the guy
                                                                                                                                                                       holding the cleaver a jolt by tossing in a
                                                                                                                                                                       thankful Cantonese “mm goy” once you’ve
                                                                                                                                                                       ordered half a roasted Peking-style duck.
                                                                                                                                                                       All those hanging birds and beasts in the
                                                                                                                                                                       window are not only safe to eat but pack
Don’t Be Shy                                                                                                                                                           much more flavour than supermarket-
                                                                                                                                                                       variety rotisserie chicken. Price is right,
Nerves of steel reward a shop stop at Toronto’s other Chinatown                                                                                                        too. Check out honey-coated wings, buy
                                                                                                                                                                       a pound of roast pork (the crackly skin
By Madeleine Greey
                                                                                                                                                                       is sinful), but leave the heavenly braised
i love to shop. Not for shoes or diamonds, but frozen
                                                                                                                                                                       duck livers for me (they always run out).
banana leaves at Broadview and Gerrard, my shopping
                                                                                                                                                                          Across the street is the Rose, where
stomping grounds. The signs, labels, language and
                                                                                                                                                                       sweet but strong-like-bull iced Vietnamese
odours transport me to the streets of Southeast Asia.
                                                                                                                                                                       coffee awaits, sans Starbucks-like lineup.
OK, the vibe isn’t exactly consumer friendly… but the
                                                                                                                                                                       Choose from eight different, custom-
stores have the goods that make my stomach sing.
                                                                                                                                                                       made banh mi or Vietnamese subs for
   This is where I pounce on the greenest, crispest
                                                                                                                                                                       $1.50 (extra hot peppers are free) and don’t
Shanghai bok choy and feel a flutter of retail rejoic-
                                                                                                                                                                       miss the neon green 1,000-layer jelly cakes
ing when scooping a crate of 16 yellow, kidney-shaped
                                                                                                                                                                       nestled beside the cash register.
Ataulfo mangoes for a shocking $9.99. Friends beg me
                                                                                                                                                                          Before you leave the area, head over to
to show them around so I’ve culled a tip or two for the
                                                                                                                                                                       Maple Garden and load up on fresh herb
food-obsessed among us.
                                                                                                                                                                       plants. Grab a flat and fill it with sprightly
   Like earplugs. You’ll want a pair when browsing Fu
                                                                                                                                                                       Thai basil, Vietnamese peppermint and
Yao Supermarket. The current management plays
                                                                                                                                                                       bitter melon to cultivate that Gerrard-and-
sappy Mandarin pop CDs that skip endlessly. Amid a
                                                                                                                                                                       Broadview feeling in your own backyard.
repetitive blur of “Wo Ai Nee” (I love you), try to stay
focused and rifle through the freezer section, where
frozen dim sum lies in hiding. Best finds are har gau
(shrimp in rice flour dumplings) or shiao mai (ground pork, open-faced dumplings). Storekeeper Bill Cheng shows off his live Alaska king
                                                                                                                                                                        Shops and Eats
Heat in a cabbage leaf-lined bamboo steamer (sorry, best sets are in the other Chinatown crab at Bill’s Lobster.
                                                                                                                                                                        Bill’s Lobster
at Tap Phong, see sidebar) and blatantly lie about your culinary prowess when you serve
                                                                                                                                                                        599 Gerrard St. E., 416-778-0943
them to dinner guests.
   Fu Yao is also HQ for Thai cooking supplies. Pantry essentials include club-size tubs of
                                                                                                                                                                        Charlie’s Meat and Seafood
Cock Brand Thai curry paste (available in red, green or yellow), fish sauce (Gourmet mag
                                                                                                                                                                        383 Broadview Ave., 416-261-1312
recently gave Phu Quoc brand the thumbs up) or Aroy-D coconut milk. For Chinese stir-
fries, you gotta own a bottle of Lee Kum Kee oyster sauce (at very least, perk up some
                                                                                                                                                                        Fu Yao Supermarket
steamed broccoli with it) and a jar of LKK black bean and garlic sauce (perfect on stir-fried
                                                                                                                                                                        639 Gerrard St. E., 416-778-1920
yard-long green beans). If you like to barbecue, you and hoisin sauce should be on a first-
name basis. Again, go with LKK and slather it over lamb chops or wild salmon steaks.
                                                                                                                                                                        Maple Garden Florist and Gift Shop
   Bill’s Lobster usually has that politically correct, PCB-free fish, not to mention tanks
                                                                                                                                                                        673 Gerrard St. E., 416-466-9811
full of live lobster, clams, mussels and West Coast crab. Once, I spotted shrimp, dancing
like drug-addled insects. Owner Bill Cheng breaks the Chinatown norm. He’s (a) friendly,
                                                                                                                                                                        Rose Café
(b) informative and (c) will give you a better price if you smile the right way. Sushi-master-
                                                                                                                                                                        324 Broadview Ave., 416-406-9906
wannabes take note: they’ve got supplies from wasabi to nori to sushi-grade fish.
                                                                                                                                          Photography: Chris Krugman

   I have to admit they also smile at Charlie’s Meat and Seafood but in a fiendish way. (I
                                                                                                                                                                        Sing Sing BBQ House
presume I would too, if I owned a butcher shop in the shadows of the Don Jail.) You’ll find
                                                                                                                                                                        351 Broadview Ave., 416-778-8029
some of the cheapest, freshest slabs of pork tenderloin and beef flank steak here, not to
mention bins overflowing with chicken feet, wings, backs, necks and drumsticks. Unlike
                                                                                                                                                                        Tap Phong Trading Co. Inc.
the rest of Toronto’s poultry fans, the shoppers at Charlie’s aren’t infatuated with chicken
                                                                                                                                                                        360 Spadina Ave., 416-977-6364
breast (Chinese chefs prefer those juicy, dark cuts) so you’ll leave breast-less but rich in

18 City Bites                                                                                                                                                                                                         June / July 2005 19

Brewed Tranquility
Waiting 400 years for the city’s best coffee
By Guy Leshinski
the aroma is mesmerizing; a finger of frankincense
wagging in the air. The barrista — the preternaturally
calm proprietress, Ethiopian-born Aster Belayneh —
puts down her newspaper and saunters over.
“Coffee, please,” I say, and she disappears into the
cramped kitchen.
   Moments later, she is waving a bowl of pungent,
still-roasting coffee beans under my nose. I am
meant to appraise them like the aroma of a fine
wine, part of an ancient Ethiopian ritual I have
stumbled upon. “The smell of the coffee makes us feel
released,” she says. “It provides a peaceful mind and
cleans us inside and out.”
   The beans are from the Ethiopian province of
Harar. Belayneh imports these and other varieties
herself, occasionally replenishing her stock at a
shop in Kensington. She has just roasted the beans
over a small stove, blackening them to intensify their
flavour and dim their caffeine. Tradition calls for three
pots to be drunk in succession, one each for Peace,

Harmony and the Spirit. As she herself proves, hers
are not a wired people.                                      Aster Belayneh’s five-buck coffee is worth every penny.
   I nod my approval and she returns to the kitchen,
the wafting scent drawing envious looks from several tables. In the back, she grinds
the beans and stirs them in boiled water, pouring the mixture back and forth between
two pots until it runs smoothly.
   Now she comes carrying a wooden tray loaded with the accoutrements of the 400-
year-old qahwa (coffee) ceremony. In the middle of the table she sets a ceramic bowl of
crystallized frankincense burning on a coal puck, its fragrant smoke purling in ghostly
streams. “It’s spiritual and cleansing for the immune system,” she explains.                                                                      �������������������������
(In Ethiopia, the resinous stones are chewed as a relaxant and digestive aid.)
The qahwa is traditionally flavoured with sugar, honey or “less than a pinch” of
salt, or with an aromatic African herb called rue, which Aster grows in a pot at
the restaurant’s entrance. She lifts the delicately fluted clay pot and fills my small                                                                                          ��������
                                                                                                                      Photography: Ed Goncalves

ceramic cup to the brim.                                                                                                                          �����                       �������

   The drink is slow and luxurious, a hot syrup that rolls down my throat. Sugar brings                                                           ��������������������
out a gust of mocha; salt a carbonized tartness. Soon the pot is empty. I am calm and
content. The bill arrives at just over five dollars. I don’t wait for change.

Addis Ababa, 1184 Queen St. W., 416-538-0059.
20 City Bites
Snacks                                                                                                                                                                                 Poutine Purveyors
                                                                                                                                                                                       The “Real” Thing

                                                                                                                                                                                       Rebel House
                                                                                                                                                                                       1068 Yonge St., 416-927-0704. $5.75

                                                                                                                                                                                       Mel’s Montreal Delicatessen
                                                                                                                                                                                       440 Bloor St. W., 416-966-8881. $6.59

                                                                                                                                                                                       Sneaky Dee’s
                                                                                                                                                                                       431 College St., 416-603-3090. $6.65
Cheesy Goodness
                                                                                                                                                                                       “The Blue Truck”
A search for the true meaning of poutine in Toronto                                                                                                                                    At Nathan Philips Square. $4.50
By Josey Vogels
i’m a poutine snob.                                                                                                                                                                    Haute Poutine
   You can add foie gras to it, or demi-glace gravy, and call it
poutine but, I’m sorry, it’s not poutine.                                                                                                                                              Rosedale Diner
   Poutine should not cost more than a cheap bottle of wine, and                                                                                                                       1164 Yonge St., 416-923-3122
I want to wash it down with Diet Coke, not Veuve.                                                                                                                                      Poutine “Flanken Arabesque” — short beef
   Yes, Diet Coke. Don’t bug me about it.                                                                                                                                              ribs with frites, cheese curds and demi-glace
   Oh, and it’s pronounced “puh-tsin” (more spit than spoken,                                                                                                                          gravy. $16. With Veuve, $116
really) not “pooh-teen.”                                             Ivan Tchohlev in front of the blue truck that has graced the edge of Nathan Phillips
   I developed my poutine snobbery while living in Montreal,         Square for more than 25 years (so he claims).                                                                     Bouchon Bistro
where restaurants offer 15 varieties to choose from (none of                                                                                                                           38 Wellington St. E., 416-862-2675
which involve foie gras).                                                                                                                                                              Poutine topped with foie gras. $22
   As tempting as Poutine Elvis (with hamburger, peppers and
mushrooms) and Poutine Poulet (with chicken and peas) sound,
I’ve always been a purist — fries, gravy and cheese curds. Rien
d’autre, merci.
   I was a macrobiotic poutine virgin when I first moved to
Montreal back in 1989. I crinkled my nose at the thought of          nothing like the original, whose origin is actually the subject of
French fries, with gravy and melted cheese. Then I discovered
poutine’s hangover-curing quality. Or it’s “3 a.m., after the bar”
hangover-prevention quality. Before long, there were mandatory
                                                                     some debate, with the cities of Drummondville, Victoriaville and
                                                                     Quebec City all laying claims to the “invention” in the late ’50s.
                                                                       I decided that if I couldn’t get to Montreal for poutine,
                                                                                                                                                                                           Win Tickets to
casse-croute (roadside snack bars in Quebec) stops during
summer Sunday drives in the country.
                                                                     Montreal might come to me in the form of Mel’s Montreal
                                                                     Delicatessen on Bloor. I had high hopes as I watched the cook
                                                                                                                                                                                           Toronto Taste
   Since moving back to Toronto a few years ago, I’ve had to find     load up a nice plate of the right kind of fries — not too chunky,
a new hangover cure because a good poutine, my friend, is hard       not too thin, slightly golden — then my heart sank as I watched
to find. (Ironically, last December, Dundas Square in Toronto was     him lace them with, yup, grated cheese and smother them in                                                         City Bites is giving away
the site of the “World’s Largest Poutine,” created to raise money    pasty, thick, much-too-salty gravy.
for the Daily Bread Food Bank.)                                        I went out on a limb at a place I didn’t expect to find poutine:                                                  a pair of tickets for this
   But while the novelty of this French-Canadian delicacy has        Sneaky Dee’s, a loud, utilitarian student hangout at the corner
prompted many a restaurant to add it to their menu, like I said,     of College and Bathurst. Poutine is good, cheap, fill-you-up-for-                                                  special evening with 70 of
naming it doesn’t make it so.                                        the-day student food, so I thought, maybe, just maybe…                                                                Toronto’s top chefs.
   Determined to find a place in Toronto for an occasional fix of        And I was pleasantly surprised. A massive serving of hand-
golden, potato-ey fries, smothered in smooth, thick (but not too     cut fries, a nice, smooth brown gravy and, yes, grated cheese,
thick) brown gravy, and real cheese curds (not cheddar; and fresh    but grated finely enough so as to not turn the whole thing into a
enough to melt, but firm enough to maintain some cheese-curd          French-fry-and-gravy pizza. It would do in a pinch.
                                                                                                                                                                                                       Log on to
squeak), I headed to the Rebel House on Yonge Street, where            Finally, on a tip from a friend, I headed to “the blue truck”                                                
                                                                                                                                                            Photography: Finn O’Hara

the menu promises “an Ottawa Valley favourite made with fresh        in the line of chip trucks at Nathan Philips Square. “Been here
cheddar curds, smoked mozzarella and homemade gravy.”                25 years,” it says on the side, and it sure looks like it has. “Chips
                                                                                                                                                                                            to find out how to win.
   What I found was a bowl of flat, half-moon shaped fries,           and gravy: $3.50. Poutine: $1 extra.” I ordered and, sure enough
swimming in gravy topped with melted cheese. If there had been       — while it was no Montreal Pool Room poutine — it was the
any cheese curds involved, they were no longer recognizable as       closest you’ll find in Toronto. Now if they would just sell beer
such. But maybe that’s how they like it in the Ottawa Valley. It’s   and wine in variety stores…
22 City Bites                                                                                                                                                                                                                          June / July 2005 23

  The Wines
  The 2004 whites have just been released, so get
  them while they’re hot. This is a rare chance to
  snap up some Niagara gewurtz, which Henry of
  Pelham only makes when winemaker Ron Gies-
  brecht deems the fruit worthy. Visit the winery
  for a very informative comparison tasting of                                  The Speck brothers Matthew (L), Daniel and Paul have been tending the
  Pelham’s various treatments of chardonnay,                                    vineyards at Henry of Pelham since their teens.
  riesling and pinot noir, based on yield, wine-
  making style and quality of vineyard. (Except
  as noted, these wines should be available at
  LCBO/Vintages, but check the vintage dates.)
                                                     Frontier Family
                                                     Henry of Pelham’s wines let nature speak
  2004 Non-Oaked Chardonnay ($11.95)
  A stellar deal for summer sipping. Cha-            By Dick Snyder
  blis–styled, with aromatic apple/citrus nose,      Daniel Speck seems like such a kid, he’s that excited about his family’s work. He’ll talk,
  steely minerality, bracing acid and balanced       never boastful, but full of enthusiasm, about Henry of Pelham’s potential to make really
  spicy finish. For less than $12!                    great wines. But he doesn’t spout superlatives; creating the best wines the land will bear,
                                                     and his team can craft, is good enough for him.
  2004 Gewurztraminer ($14.95) Pale, with faint         “Every Saturday I come out and stroll the vineyard with the baby and the dogs, and
  spice and lychee/canteloupe, opening up to         I feel I’m on the frontier,” he says, as the dogs flake out on the cold stone tasting-room
  scents of rose petals. Light-bodied; reserved      floor. “Not everyone gets to do that.”
  fruit is dominated by a medium spicy finish. A         A quintessentially Canadian attitude, thanking the forces of nature and hoping they
  serious wine.                                      continue to be kind. But these guys — Daniel, who’s 30, and his brothers Matthew, 35,
                                                     and Paul, 38 — are shrewd, bending the forces to obey their will. From a modest-looking
  2004 Rosé ($13.95) Just great, a joy to            estate winery tucked beside a country crossroads in Niagara, these boys send their wares
  drink — juicy cherry, strawberry flavours, a        out across the land, and across the ocean, meeting nothing but success as their reward.
  short semi-sweet finish... a fun, easy wine            If you haven’t heard of Henry of Pelham, you’re living under a mighty thick rock. The
  for everyday. (And I mean every day.)              father, a schoolteacher now deceased, bought the land in the ’80s. He actually bought it
                                                     back from relatives — the place had been deeded to the family’s great, great grandfather
  2002 Speck Family Reserve Pinot Noir               in 1794. The brothers and dad got out there in the fields with shovels and planted the
  ($40, winery only) Deep red (unfiltered).           vineyards with European clones chosen for frost-resistance and consistency. That’s how
  Dried cherry nose, with clove. Seems wild,         winemaking got into their blood — from dirty work and on-the-job learning.
  untamed; medium tannins will resolve in               In the tasting room, Daniel explains the Speck philosophy. It’s an old-world outlook,
  a few years as the wine comes together.            where the winemaker is viewed as “an assistant to the fruit.” So, unlike many off-the-
  Enormous potential.                                rack Australian or Californian wines, which are cajoled and manipulated into fruit-bomb
                                                     cocktails (can you say Yellow Tail?), the Pelham wines let nature speak.
                                                        “This is really about our terroir and our older vines,” Speck says, taking a sip of 2002
                                                     Speck Family Reserve Chardonnay. For Speck, the mass-marketing of generic wines — the
  Eat & Run                                          ones with cute animals on the labels — leaves a bitter taste. “The term ‘wine consumer’
                                                     turns people into rabbits. Wine buyers are very educated now.” Pelham’s chardonnays
  The Coach House Café at Henry of Pelham offers     are pure expressions of grape and soil: You can taste the mineral quality of the Niagara
  snacks and quick service, all the better to keep   Escarpment. It’s there, just as in a good Burgundy. “It’s like licking a wet stone,” Speck
  your wine tour moving. “It was inspired by         says. (Trust us: This is better than it sounds.)
  visits to Europe,” says Daniel Speck, “where          With the reds, the goal is ageworthiness, even at the entry level. All the $20-plus bottles
  you could grab an incredible lunch at a gas sta-   are unfiltered. The pinot noir, especially, gets careful treatment, from “green” harvesting
  tion.” Baby-friendly, with outdoor patio tables    (or pruning) to concentrate flavours, to small-batch, gravity-based fermentation tanks,
  and everything from grilled panini to salads to    which reduce handling of the juice.
  Canadian cheeses, it’s a nice alternative to the      Next up for Pelham: screw caps, the first in Niagara, debuting on some of the 2004s.
  formal dining joints at other wineries.            It’s a smart move: tradition on the inside, technology on the outside. The Specks wouldn’t
                                                     have it any other way.
24 City Bites
                Drinking                                                                                      MarketPlace
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                                                                                                                 Have your wine list ‘renovated’ by Peter Boyd, one of
                The Bullshit of Booze                                                                             ‘Canada’s top sommeliers’ - Wine Access Magazine

                Peasants distilled cactus and potatoes into alcohol because that’s all they had.                   Staff & Service Education, Food Matching & Sales
                Only a fool would pay $12 for a shot                                                              Strategies, Special Wine Functions, Private Cellars
                By Russell Smith
                it’s about these vodka tastings. It’s about all these overpriced vodkas, generally,
                                                                                                                    416-538-8073 or
                these vodkas that advertise having been distilled 12 times, 18 times, 550 times. Let’s all
                get a grip, people: You distill vodka to remove impurities, to remove jarring flavours, to
                remove anything but alcohol. In other words, to remove its taste. The more you distill it,
                the “smoother” it’s going to be; in other words, the less it’s going to taste of anything.           Want to be the first to get the                                 Win free tickets to Mondovino!
                   That’s the point of vodka. It is a delivery system for alcohol. And you’re going to put
                tonic water in it anyway. Or lychee juice, or curaçao, or chocolate sauce. (Or, if you are            latest copy of City Bites?                                      Camera presents Mondovino, the ultimate film
                under 20 and out for the first time, all three.) Whatever slight fruity notes you discern                                                                           about wine and wine culture, made by filmmaker and
                during your civilized and serious tasting, whatever faint hint of flavour amid the burning
                ice of spirits, will be instantly nuked, obliterated, incinerated by the overpowering sugar
                                                                                                                Become a subscriber!          Get on our mailing list!                   sometime sommelier Jonathan Nossiter.
                in your mix. You don’t put lychee juice in single malt Scotch, now, do you? That’s because      Get the latest on Toronto’s     We’ll email you when the
                Scotch is worth drinking on its own.                                                                                                                                Filmed in five languages over a three-year period,
                                                                                                               food happenings, delivered       next issue comes out and
                   And don’t even talk to me about this tequila nonsense. This is a peasant drink made
                                                                                                               directly to you. A one-year     tell you where you can pick
                                                                                                                                                                                         the documentary features interviews with
                from cactus. Peasants used the thorny desert plant (just as they made vodka from
                                                                                                                 subscription is only $12.      it up. We’ll also send you          Michel Rolland, Robert Parker, Hubert de Montille,
                potatoes) because they lived in an inhospitable climate that allowed hardly anything else
                                                                                                                                              great news and events listings.          Aime Guibert, Neal Rosenthal and members of
                to grow. If they had grapes they would have made wine. The effort to make these things
                                                                                                                  To subscribe send your                                                           the Mondavi family.
                appear sophisticated — to sell this crudest of all liquors as “Dos Cojones Gran Extra
                                                                                                                name, address and phone           Just send an email to
                Special 16-Year Old Gold Label” for $12 a shot — is merely a brilliant way of disguising
                the fact that it is all basically gasoline. And do you really like tequila? Or do you just      number, and a cheque for                 May 27, 28, 31 & June 1, 2. Shows at 7 p.m. & 9 p.m.
                like the romance of the desert, and that archaic-looking gold label? Does anyone really        $12.84 ($12 + GST) made out      with “mailing list” in the
                like tequila? If they did, why would they numb their mouths with lemon juice and salt             to “City Bites Media.”              subject line.               Call for details on Camera’s opening night wine tasting.
                before dosing themselves with it?
                                                                                                                                                                                      City Bites is giving away a pair of tickets to each
                   Resist the marketing: know that anyone who claims to discern a difference between
                tequilas, once they have squirted lemon juice into them, is lying. If you want to get              Next issue comes out July 14.                                       night’s screening. Log on to
                drunk, buy tequila by all means, but buy the cheapest one available.
                                                                                                                                      City Bites                                                      for a chance to win.
                   Speaking of cheap, here’s a tip: My favourite blended scotch of the moment is actually
                the least expensive. It’s called Whyte and MacKay, and its principal constituent part is                         429-720 King St. W.
                                                                                                                                                                                        Camera | 1028 Queen St. W. | 416-530-0011
                the Dalmore, a single malt with a distinctive port-tinged flavour. Except the Dalmore is                          Toronto, ON M5V 3S5
                $124.99 at the LCBO, and Whyte and MacKay is $21.75.
26 City Bites                                                                                                                                                                                                                         June / July 2005 27
 On the Block

Delectable Leslieville                                                                                                                                                              �����������
The new hip east end offers more than enough choice
for three picky eaters
Wide, stroller-friendly sidewalks and welcoming kid-friendly
food joints — what more could a young couple want for them
and their impish two-year-old? Last year, as they waited for
the adoption process to come through, BookTelevision host and
producer Rachel Giese and Ontario Trillium Foundation grants
officer Jen Miller decided to take the plunge and buy a house.
“The Beach was too far and Riverdale too expensive,” Giese says.
So they chose Leslieville, now Toronto’s hip and happening
borough. But when Devon arrived quicker than anticipated last                                                                                                                              ���� ������� ���� ������ ���� ��������
August, the couple realized the benefits of living a skip and a
stroller from restaurant row. And there’s even stuff for grown-ups.   Rachel (L), Devon and Jen enjoy breakfast at the new Okay, Okay Diner.                                        �����������������������������������������
What’s the best thing about your new           If you could be a farmer, what kind of             but we had such a spectacular time, we
                                                                                                                                                                                    ����� ���� ������� ��� �������� ������������
neighbourhood?                                 farmer would you be?                               forgot to worry.
Before moving here, we were die-hard           In a perfect world, we’d own an organic                                                                                              ������������������������������������������
                                                                                                  You’d pay any price for the... samosas
west-enders, but we have since become          berry farm in Northern California
                                                                                                  at Surati Sweet Mart. (But they’re a deal                                         ������������������
born-again east-end converts. Leslieville
is a peaceful, multicultural little enclave
                                               The best reading-and-eating snack is...            at $0.75.)                                                                               ������������������������������������
with great people and great shops and
                                               almonds and apricots. Chocolate leaves                                                                                               �������������������������������������������
                                               smudges on the pages.
great restaurants.
                                               Devon’s favourite book with food in it is...
                                                                                                     On your strip                                                                  ��� �������� ����������� ���������� ��� ������
What’s your guilty-pleasure food item?
                                               Yum Tummy Tickly by Karen Baicker. It’s all
Food is something one should never feel                                                              Where’s the best:                                                              ������������������������������������������
                                               about snack time. A sample line: “Tickle
guilty about.
                                               in my tum tum/time for tasty yum yum.”                Coffee Tango Palace is the perfect neighbour-                                         ���� ���� ����� ���� ������� ������ ���� ��
Who’s your favourite cookbook author?                                                                hood café.
Alice Waters, of course. I haven’t read
                                               When you let him choose the restaurant,                                                                                              �����������������������������������������
                                               Devon picks... Licks in The Beaches for               All-day breakfast Edward Levesque’s Kitchen.
Anthony Bourdain but I love his                                                                                                                                                     �������������������������������������������������
                                               the burgers, fries, balloons and adorable
philosophy about eating: If you can’t
                                               staff; and Madras Durbar in Little India for
                                                                                                     Weird food Pulp Kitchen for the surprisingly                                   �����������������������������������
appreciate the simple stuff — bread and                                                              tasty vegan food. Try the Meatlover’s
                                               mango lassis and masala dosai.
butter, food from a street vendor, that                                                              Veggie Burger!
kind of thing — you can’t appreciate           As much for the staff as for the food, you
                                                                                                     Haute cuisine Verveine is pretty, with fine food

fancy food either.                             like to hang out at... Okay, Okay Diner. It
                                                                                                     and a terrific wine list without pretensions.
                                               just opened up around the corner from us
What’s the most you’ve ever spent on
                                               and the good people there serve up terrific            Eggs Scrambled with smoked salmon at Bon-
                                                                                                                                                       Photography: Malcolm Brown

a bottle of wine, either at the store or in
                                               pancakes and French toast and are very                jour Brioche.
a restaurant?
                                               welcoming to Devon.
I’m not sure. My friend Lesley is a som-                                                             Fish Filet of skate with lemon butter and
melier and she’s taught us that expensive      The most romantic neighbourhood                       capers at Batifole.
wine isn’t always the best wine. We’ve had     restaurant is... Tomi-Kro. We celebrated
                                                                                                     People watching Going to Lahore Tikka House
a lot of great wine that’s less than $15 for   our anniversary there in the fall. It was                                                                                                                             ��������������������������������������������������������
                                                                                                     is like crashing a fabulous Pakistani wedding.
a bottle.                                      the first time we left Devon with a sitter,
28 City Bites
Jack Astor’s gets a
    Front row seat,
 in the   B IG Cit y!
                                  ou r

  downtown Toronto
     will never
          be the same!

            144 Front St.W.
            Toronto, Ontario
                M5J 2L7

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