Saturday, April 30, 2016
by via Toronto Networking Events
It may not be the most well-known ramen joint in town but one of Toronto's newest destinations for the Japanese comfort food has been winning over crowds with its complex flavours and great prices.
Read my profile of Hakata Ramen in the restaurants section.
by Darren "DKLo" Susilo via blogTO
The Toronto laneway is the vein to the artery that is the city's streets. There are over 250 kilometres of laneways and alleys spread across the city, though you wouldn't know it without looking at a map. You could pass by the entrance to a laneway for months without taking notice of it, relegated as they are to background status.
Yet, it's precisely the degree to which our laneways are overlooked spaces that makes them so intriguing. This is messy urbanism at its finest. I'm not just talking about graffiti, but the strange process that takes place when people share urban space that's outside of everyday view.
If the front yard is all about putting on a face, the laneway is about utility. From irregular garages, fences, and trellises to coach houses, car ports, and basketball nets, you can learn more about a person's life by strolling through these spaces than past the manicured lawns that face the street.
Toronto used to have places where the untidiness of the laneway was writ large, but the progressive loss of our industrial heritage has led to the steady sanitization of the city, such that there are few places that have escaped the march of development. For all the good that surrounds such a process, something important is lost as well.
No one would say Liberty Village was a better place 20 years ago, but there was an intrigue that's long been forgotten. You'll find that some of this remains in the Port Lands, where the city has aged with less intervention than elsewhere and we can marvel at the Hearn, but there's an expiry date here too.
Overlooked places tend to promote contemplation and the taking stock of things. They are spaces where we might ask about the direction we're headed and how the past has shaped us. Think back, Toronto's lanes and alleys have played host to countless childhood dreams of grandeur as kids assemble to play ball hockey, basketball, soccer, and makeshift versions of other sports.
I grew up in these overlooked spaces, riding my bike through the pothole-strewn lane behind Millwood Rd. for hours on end. When I would tire of riding, I would explore the open garages, some of which were filled with old furniture, boxes of National Geographic magazines, dumbbells, and other half-discarded items. This never felt illicit because the laneway was a protected space.
There are various initiatives in the works to make Toronto's alleyways more usable spaces, and for years small battles have occurred to build houses along our lanes. The latter hasn't met with much success en masse, which is probably for the best, as it preserves the unpredictable and irregular character of these places.
We should dream up new ways to use our laneways, but one doesn't need to wait for a cue to get out there and explore them. These are great places to escape traffic on a bike, to take in Toronto's graffiti culture, and to remind oneself that underneath its shiny finish, this city is still rough around the edges in the best way possible.
by Derek Flack via blogTO
Ice cream offerings in Toronto seem to be getting more outrageous each and every year. Gone are the days of the standard vanilla scoop in a sugar cone. Now's the time to hit up some of Toronto's best ice cream parlours and try some epic creations.
Here are my picks for 5 must-try ice cream in Toronto right now.
If you have an Instagram account you've most likely witnessed these cones floating around. This ice cream shop is all about over-the-top, indulgent soft serve with toppings almost too creative to dream up.
Eva's Original Chimneys
You can now eat doughnut cones in Toronto courtesy of the Eva's Original Chimneys food truck. Track down these eye-popping creations by visiting Toronto Food Trucks, which will tell you where the truck will be next.
Over the past 30 years this ice cream parlour has become locally famous for its wide selection of ice cream flavours and tricked-out waffle cones. With so many options available the sky is the limit for delicious creations.
Bang Bang Ice Cream and Bakery
While the shop may be making headlines for their ice cream sandwiches don't pass up the chance to get your hands on their ice cream cone. Hong Kong style waffles are baked fresh and loaded with your choice of ice cream. I'd recommend the London Fog.
Tom's Dairy Freeze
Toronto's institution for soft serve ice cream serves up cones ranging from your basic chocolate vanilla swirl to more unique offerings like the Cookie Monster , which is vanilla soft serve dipped in blue raspberry and coated with Oreos.
What did I miss? Add your favourite ice cream cone creation in the comments.
by Jaclyn Skrobacky via blogTO
The top events in Toronto for May will fill your schedule with films festivals, conventions and art events. Whether you want to embrace the great outdoors and building hop for Doors Open or cozy up in a comfortable theatre for a show, there's an event or two for you.
Here are my picks for the top events in Toronto this May.
Hot Docs (April 29-May 8)
The annual documentary festival is the largest of its kind in North America and shows over 200 films from Canada and around the world to massive audiences. See our picks of what to see here.
Canadian Music Week (May 2-8)
Top-notch homegrown and international artists like Eagles of Death Metal, Dilly Dally and Tegan and Sara, will be hitting stages all over the city - from Lee's Palace to Massey Hall. If you're in the market for more than music, there will be comedy shows and movies on all week, as well.
Feast In The East 5 Year Anniversary & Cookbook Launch (May 6-7)
Head to the Anchored Social Club on the first weekend of May for a special edition of Feast in the East. The event is celebrating its 5 Year Anniversary with two days of music, food, art and installations. Day one will also act as the launch for the Feast In the East Cookbook, so get excited.
INLAND (May 6-8)
From May 6 to 8 Queen Richmond Centre West will be taken over by contemporary Canadian fashion, apparel and accessory vendors. Over 65 brands will be selling their wares, including Coup de Tete, Mary Young, November Lark and many more.
Toronto Comic Arts Festival (May 14-15)
The two-day exhibition brings out hundreds of comic creators and fanatics from around the world. Look forward to readings, interviews, panels, workshops, gallery shows, art installations, and more.
Toronto K-Pop Con (May 20-22)
This convention is bringing some of the brightest stars in the world of K-Pop to Toronto for a 3-day celebration. Head to the MTCC to catch shows by VIXX, GOT7, GFRIEND and DAY6 and get your hands on goods by brands like Shu Uemura and Cosplay FTW.
Electric Island (May 23)
The first Electric Island concert of the year will be taking over Hanlan's Point at the end of May. The inaugural concert of the season promises acts like Jamie Jones, DJ Tennis and Job Jobse (among others). If you can't make it out in May, don't get too stressed, you'll only have to wait until July 1 for a follow-up bash.
Inside Out Festival (May 26-June 5)
One of Toronto's best annual film fests showcases flicks made by and focusing on the LGBTQ community. Over 11 days you'll be able to catch screenings, artist talks and discussions and attend some pretty killer parties.
Anime North (May 27-29)
At the end of the month Anime North is coming to the Toronto Congress Centre and International Plaza Hotel for its annual convention. Expect to find plenty of vendors, speakers and performers dressed in their most creative costumes.
Doors Open (May 28-29)
Ever wondered what lies behind the doors of Toronto's most architecturally, historically, culturally and socially important buildings? Find out when Doors Open gives everybody a free pass to snoop around inside of them
What did I miss? Add your top event picks for May in the comments.
Photo via GOT7 on Facebook.
by Alice Prendergast via blogTO
Toronto's Bunz Trading Zone was up in arms recently. And when I read the inflammatory post on Facebook about an Islamophobic and homophobic group called Catch the Fire Ministries that'd supposedly opened the new Central Coffee cafe in Bloorcourt, I got riled up too.
The commenters, however, seemed to switch gears a bit after a leader from the GTA-based Catch the Fire church - who's behind the cafe in question - shared a letter saying that despite sharing a name, his organization was not affiliated with the controversial Australian Catch the Fire Ministries.
"I think people had misunderstood and thought that we were the same organization as that one in Australia," says Benjamin Jackson, Catch the Fire's communications director.
The organization itself is a massive charismatic, evangelical church based near Pearson airport. It has campuses around the world, including many in Toronto. The Central Campus, which mainly attracts young professionals and students, has been moving around the city for the past few years. Its new Bloorcourt used to be a restaurant, so it was already outfitted for food service.
"One of the big things that they were hoping, or we were hoping for really, was that it could be somewhere that could be open more than just Sundays," Jackson explains. Opening a cafe made sense.
It brews Propeller Coffee and opens at 8 a.m. during the week. It's right inside the church's main worship space and includes a few tables as well as WiFi. When I pop in, I spot a few students huddled over their laptops, a mother and son doing crafts and a older man playing solitaire.
While it's a community space for churchgoers, it also beckons to passersby with slick-looking branding and exterior signage advertising summery iced mochas. Although Central Coffee doesn't appear to be hiding behind its latte art and frothy treats.
"There's not really a spiritual agenda with the coffee shop," Jackson says. "But it really just tries to be, you know, what the church has been for centuries, which is a place of refuge and a place where people can come and seek God and find out more. And the coffee shop is a sort of way to make that a little less intimidating than perhaps coming to church itself."
But of course that's why it's there. And if that's not what someone's looking for with their morning joe, there are plenty more indie cafes in the neighbourhood.
by Amy Grief via blogTO
The Junction offers excellent brunch opportunities. The Toronto neighbourhood, once compared to the Wild West, has a rich history, and while no one could sell alcohol there throughout much of the 1900s, this prohibition ended for good in 2000. The area's now filled with restaurants, bars and cafes, many of which are happy to serve brunch with boozy beverages.
Here's where to eat brunch in The Junction.
3030 Dundas West
Want to booze it up and get your caffeine fix all at once? Start the weekend off right with a Stoutpresso or spiked coffee before moving on to options like mini quiche, eggs Benny, buttermilk waffles and breakfast burritos.
Cool Hand of Girl
This all-organic cafe opens at 8 a.m. on weekends to serve up breakfast plates packed with scrambled eggs, multi-grain toast, coleslaw and roasted potatoes. Yogurt granola bowls and sandwiches are also on the menu.
All-day breakfast options at the veggie-friendly The Beet include huevos rancheros, fea sunny side up eggs on blue corn tortillas with spicy black beans, pico de gallo, cheddar, avocado and sour cream.
Hole in The Wall
You can find an ever changing line-up of seasonal, scratch-made brunch dishes at this bar starting at noon every weekend. Your options include pulled-pork eggs Benny, a full English breakfast and crab madame.
This restaurant with a glorious patio draws on the neighbourhood's history as a railway hub. At brunch-time, you'll find indulgent selections such as lemon ricotta poppy seed pancakes, maple bacon BLTs on brioche buns, breakfast burgers and a weekly eggs Benny feature.
Breakfasts with fried catfish and eggs, bacon, baked beans and fried green tomato, or fried chicken and waffles with buttermilk bran waffles and bourbon maple syrup are among the house favourites at this Cajun cocktail bar in the Junction.
Bennies built on cheddar-scallion biscuits, pulled pork hash and pickerel po'boys share the menu at at this Souther-style restaurant on Dundas West. You'll find brunch served Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m here.
Pancakes sprinkled with sugar and piled with fruit, croissant'wiches and breakfast burritos are all on the menu at this family-run cafe on Pacific Avenue. Cafe Cranberries serves breakfast all day, meaning you can brunch whenever.
Photo from Cool Hand of a Girl by Hector Vasquez.
by Liora Ipsum via blogTO
Friday, April 29, 2016
Vegan Big Mac's have finally arrived in Toronto. This new meatless offering comes to Hogtown via Los Angeles and is now available at this vegan restaurant that also dishes out loaded fries and donuts.
Read my profile of Doomie's in the restaurants section.
by Liora Ipsum via blogTO