Alternatives to your office holiday party
It may be the height of Christmas-party season, but sometimes you just want to be with the handful of co-workers that you actually like. Here are some options for after-work fun without having to book out an entire floor.
The Audit: Me and Mine, a quaint brunch and dinner spot on College
Name: Me and Mine. Read More
Chefs/Owners: Joel MacMillan and Melissa daSilva.
Cuisine: Comfort food.
Signature: Sausages, savoury pies, and brunch.
Price: Mains average around $14.
Open for: Lunch Tues–Sun, brunch on weekends, and dinner Thurs–Sat.
Opening: Boots ’n’ Bourbon Saloon and Rock ’n’ Horse Saloon
Two western-themed saloons are opening this week, just in time for office Christmas parties. Rock ‘n’ Horse Saloon (250 Adelaide St. W., at Duncan) is in the Entertainment District and Boots ‘n’ Bourbon Saloon (725 Queen St. E., at Broadview) has set up shop in Riverside. Both are big venues that promise live music, line dancing lessons, food, booze, and rides on mechanical bulls.
Food Spy: Chopped Canada is heavy on Toronto cooks
Food Network Canada released the list of 52 (!) contestants for next month’s debut of Chopped Canada. The roster of participants leans heavily on Ontario representation, followed by Quebec, with a few B.C. and Maritime competitors thrown in. The show, hosted by Dean McDermott, debuts Jan. 2, 2014. Here are the Toronto chefs taking part.
Opening: Fonda Lola aims to expand your idea of Mexican food
Diners may be reaching the breaking point for Mexican-ish restaurants rife with loud music, fish tacos, and Dia de los Muertos iconography, but Fonda Lola (942 Queen St. W., at Shaw) owner Andres Marquez (pictured, top) insists there’s still a lot about his home country’s cuisine Toronto hasn’t yet seen.
The former Milagro Cantina partner opened Fonda Lola (which first operated as a pop-up at Ossington’s Reposado Bar last summer) on Wednesday with partners Ernesto Rodriguez and former LAB chef Howard Dubrowsky. A fonda, as Marquez describes it, is an independently run, casual restaurant that people go to for cheap and quick food, as opposed to a taqueria that focuses on tacos, or a cantina, which is more like a bar.
Food Spy: Barrio Coreano, newest member of the Playa Cabana family, opens tonight in Koreatown
On a stretch of Bloor West largely dominated by bibimbap shops and Korean grill houses, the fourth outpost of Dave Sidhu’s Playa Cabana empire, Barrio Coreano, officially opens to the public tonight.
Food spy: Dr. Laffa fries up sufganiyot for Hanukkah
It’s the first day of Hanukkah, and to mark the occasion, Israeli restaurant and bakery Dr. Laffa has been whipping up sufganiyot, those fluffy strawberry-jelly donuts that (like all the best Hanukkah food) have been fried in oil. The donuts ($11.50 for a dozen, or 85 cents each) are made each morning at the restaurant’s main North York headquarters (401 Magnetic Dr., near Steeles and Dufferin) and are also available at its takeout spot (3023 Bathurst St., at Lawrence). So even if you don’t celebrate the Festival of Lights, there’ll be cheap, delicious, sugar-dusted jelly donuts for you the next time you drop in for a falafel. At least there will be until Dec. 4, when Hanukkah ends.—Karon Liu
Vittles: Nachos at Gourmet Gringos
Latin food truck Gourmet Gringos recently opened a sit-down spot near St. Clair West. On the menu are certain dishes that can’t be found at the mobile eatery, like these nachos ($7.95), which are better suited to where napkins (and tables) are readily available.
Made-to-order tortilla chips, loaded with cheese, chipotle aioli, diced tomatoes, ranchero salsa, guacamole, and a generous amount of meat (house-made chorizo, grilled chicken, or carne asada) eat like a meal. Salty chips, fresh from the fryer, remain crunchy until the very end, and are sturdy enough to withstand the weight of the toppings—but be sure to grab a fork to scoop up what falls off.
Opening: P&L Burger takes over White Squirrel Snack Shop
Ever since Parkdale’s Parts & Labour won the title of best burger on CMT’s Burger Wars back in August (country music and burgers, just go with it), chef Matty Matheson says sales of their house burger have shot up from 125 to 500 a week, and people have even ventured from out of town for a taste. Rather than having the burger overshadow the rest of the menu, the restaurant’s owners Richard Lambert and Jesse Girard decided to open a separate burger joint. Their friend David Ginsberg offered up his White Squirrel Snack Shop space at 507 Queen St. W., so they decided to move in (Ginsberg remains a part owner).
Food Spy: Playa Cabana hosts fundraiser for typhoon victims
Starting at 6 p.m. tonight, Playa Cabana Hacienda (14 Dupont St., at Avenue) is holding a big fundraiser to help rebuild communities in the Philippine city of Tacloban, where Typhoon Haiyan struck two weeks ago. Owner Dave Sidhu, whose mother is from Tacloban, says all of the revenue from tonight will go directly to the Canadian Red Cross and the Canadian government will also be matching that amount dollar for dollar.