Daily deals are getting better – I actually want to buy them. Last week was a good deal for About Cheese and today we have Fin Izakaya (which I enjoy) and Callebaut (ditto).
I’m about 10 days away from CIBC’s Run For The Cure and I’ve done no fund-raising. So I am resorting to baked-goods and pictures of kittens in an attempt to get things going in a hurry.
First there was an open letter from chef Scott Conant to Torontonians. Several weeks later, Amy Pataki fired back her response. And despite these two highly talked-about writings of chef and critic, there’s been surprisingly little chatter about Scarpetta itself. Though I hadn’t planned to visit so soon, an out-of-town friend gave me the necessary (feather-light) push to make a late Sunday night visit. Keeping in mind that the restaurant had only recently opened, we went in eager to try highly-lauded signature dishes and to suss out other possible treasures on the menu.
The weather is already cooling off as we near the end of August, and many of the small in-city farmers’ markets are coming to a close. It’s a great time to get out and take a walk around. Also, walking its a great opportunity to check out all the new restaurants opening, as well as sampling what they might have to offer. Here are some eating notes I’ve collected in the last little while during my travels around the city.
Burgers are a hot-topic no matter where I look. However, I tend to gloss over the plethora of places that offer this sandwich because the burger isn’t usually my meal of choice. Apparently though, it’s burger-time for me, with four notable ones in the last little while. If you’re a true burger-lover, turn thine eyes away! I did not do an exhaustive search. I did not compare like-burgers. I just thought these were just remarkably tasty.
Late at night, Böhmer is quiet with a muted buzz from the still busy bar. We get seated by one of the large windows at the entrance and check out the menu of seasonal and local ingredients. While we didn’t order very many dishes, I was quite impressed with the plating.
Though we’re mid-way through summer, I thought I’d do a quick round-up of markets in the downtown Toronto core. There are several in a (roughly) 1km radius of City Hall, which makes it easy to pick up fresh local fruits and produce before work, during the lunch hour, or on a weekend. I’ve enjoyed ridiculously fragrant peaches, sweet cherries, and intensely flavoured wild blueberries during my numerous excursions to the various surrounding markets. I’ve also gotten duds too, so when you go, look out for those offering samples – and use your nose.
Escaping the brouhaha that was the G20 in Toronto, I ran off with Endy to Chicago for an extended weekend. Though our hotel was located just off the shopping Mecca that is the Magnificent Mile, we, of course, hadn’t chosen Chicago for its shopping, but rather for its food. After some extensive research, the itinerary was set up and like all my trips, sight-seeing was optional and merely a good way to kill time between meals. I had short-listed 7 restaurants, 3 markets, and a pig butchering demo during our stay, with several optional places (mostly of the drinking variety) to hit if we had time.
Despite the many recommendations to hit The Violet Hour when I was researching places to go in Chicago, it was only due to serendipity that a visit occurred. However, this elegant space with an old-world flair charmed me the moment I stepped through its heavy velvet curtains.
Unable to make the Maxwell Street Market that morning, I sub-in a quick bite at Big Star instead. I had heard that there were long lines, to be aware that there was an alternate take-out line, that the patio was always packed, etc. Well apparently, noon on a Sunday is a good time to go – the minute it took to be carded was the most trouble we had getting into the place.