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    Catching a final #cmw2015 show with @ashgrunwald at @thedakotatavern. He rocked the house.

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    Trying out the new @la_saucisserie on #ossington just south of Dundas. Good sausage, very fresh bread,friendly staff. Full post to come tomorrow.

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Restaurant Specials and Events

There are some special events and dining deals coming up which we thought you should know about.

Two Ossington restaurants are planning big meals and there’s still time to reserve your place.

The Saint is hosting “An Ode to Beef” next Tuesday, May 12. Their own chef Jesse Valins will collaborate with British chef Richard H. Turner of London’s The Hawksmoor, which is known for it’s steak. The dinner is a 4 course tasting menu, pairing All-Canadian beef with beer from Sam Adams. Tickets are $85 pp before tax and tip.

Later this month, Boehmer is holding a 6-course wine dinner, pairing the food with Sonoma Pinot Noirs. The dinner is May 27 at 6:30PM and costs $190 pp plus taxes.

If you haven’t visited La Saucisserie yet, since it just opened last week, tomorrow is a good time. They are having a grand opening party starting at 7PM Saturday, May 9, with drink and food specials and a DJ.

Bellwoods Brewery is continuing their guided tastings on Tuesday evenings only, from 5-6:30pm and include 4 draft samples, charcuterie & cheese, and a delicious selection from their reserve bottle list. Spots are $35/person, with a max of 8 per tasting, email them soon because these tickets go fast.

TBFM

Let us know via Twitter, Facebook or the comments if you hear about any other special events.
And don’t forget, the Trinity Bellwoods Farmers Market is back on Tuesdays from 3-7PM.

In conjunction with the Farmers Market, Le Dolci‘s market class is back. Let Chef Michael Hunter take you through a fast paced evening of shopping at Trinity Bellwoods Farmers Market and making a 3 course meal back at their studio. It looks like they’re offering it once a month, and the May 26th episode is already sold out, so check their calendar to book.

 

La Saucisserie Opens, Offering Sausages, Beer & More

La SaucisserieLa Sauciserrie opened this week at 229 Ossington, in the old location of Yours Truly. There isn’t a lot of change to the internal decor but the premise is very different. La Sauciserrie offers a menu of sausages with various toppings and sauces priced between $6 and $9, as well as some smaller appetizer platters including fries, poutine, and even a cheese platter.

They have a fairly extensive beer list offered both in cans as well as a number of draught taps. The focus for the beers is more on European imports than local, but they do have a good selection of Ontario brews available. In addition to that they’re also offering choices like Haufbrau and Ceres. The beer came with a cup of glazed pistachios, adding a nice addition to the beer.

We took a few photos, but for better ones, check out their Facebook account.

The Sausage List (and Menu):

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The Beer List (apologies for the blur):

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Some of their beers on Tap:

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And here’s what a sausage looks like:

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Walk Local With This Weekend’s Jane’s Walks

janeswalklogoOne of our very favorite annual community events is back this weekend. Jane’s Walks are volunteer-led free walking tours named after and inspired by Toronto local and community activist Jane Jacobs. With Jane’s Walks, there are few rules. Participate by showing up at the scheduled start time and place, and walk, listen, contribute and learn. Each walk is different, and they tend to get better with community involvement.

Jane’s Walks will take place on May 1st, 2nd and 3rd. There are walks all across Toronto, Canada and the world. We will focus on the walks in the Ossington and Dundas area.

  • Hidden in Plain Sight on Dundas West: Led by Alec Keefer, who is an architect, social historian, and veteran walk leader, this should be a very informative walk mixing history, architecture and current use. Sunday, May 3 at 2pm.
  • The Urban Legends of West Queen West: This 2 hour walk, led by Daniel Rotsztain, tours the Trinity Bellwoods neighbourhood and beyond. The tour should be interesting just based on Rotsztain’s website and his enthusiasm for the stories within and about Toronto neighbourhoods. Sunday, May 3 at 2:30pm.
  • Anatomy of a Street Festival, Year 3: This 90 minute walk, led by Dundas West BIA coordinator and Dundas West Fest organizer Helder Ramos, is one we can endorse because we took it last year. Ramos takes you on a leisurely stroll along Dundas, telling stories about the locals, businesses and community groups, while getting you excited about the upcoming Dundas West Fest, one of Toronto’s newest, and most fun, street festivals. Sunday, May 3 at 11:30am.
  • Neighbourhood Transformation Through Adaptive Reuse: Led byMichelle Xuereb, a Senior Associate and Sustainability Strategist at Quadrangle Architects. With the abundance of adapted factories and warehouses being converted in the King and Queen West and Liberty Village neighbourhood, this walk will spark conversation about the changes being made and how they are impacting communities. Saturday, May 2 at 1PM.
  • City By Heart: Lifestyle, History & Culture in West Queen West, Lower Ossington and Trinity Bellwoods Park: Blogger Michelle Pinchev plans to lead a tour of cultural landmarks and community hubs, focusing on food and lifestyle in a great part of town! Sunday, May 3 at 10am.

The Jane’s Walks website is constantly being updated so there may be more local ones after we post. Another way to stay updated is via the official Twitter feeds: @janeswalk and the Toronto one: @JanesWalkTO. Our other advice: wear comfortable shoes, dress for the weather, and participate. Happy walking!

Boralia and Other Local Restos Rank High in Kates 100

Kates-2015-headerOur neighborhood has been a hot dining scene for years now, and, according to restaurant critic Joanne Kates, whose annual list of the top 100 eating establishments in Toronto was released today, Ossington and Dundas is still a destination for food lovers in the city.

Newly opened last fall, Boralia has gotten kudos from us and the press at large since day one. Today is no exception: the Canadiana themed spot at 59 Ossington debuted on Kates’ list at #6.

Enoteca Sociale, the Dundas West spot serving homemade pastas and wine on tap, ranked #32 – up from a year ago – and has become a stalwart of good Toronto dining, often making these lists since opening in 2010.

Another highly regarded local spot, Teo Paul’s Union Restaurant, ranked #34 versus 42 in 2014. Kates loves the room and the consistency of the food, calling Union “one of the anchors of Ossington.”

Yet another local favorite, Foxley actually dropped from #30 to #40 this year, but still makes the grade. The only negative she offers is the lack of reservations.

The Saint made the list again this year at #49, calling it “the hottest eating tavern in the city” and compliments the brunch, dinner, and Jesse Vallins famous sausage.

Hanmoto is another new Dundas West (Lakeview) restaurant to make the list. Ranking at #53, this tiny spot is being called “grunge” with great food.

Another new, almost under-the-radar local restaurant to congratulate is Mr. Flamingo, debuting at #67 in Kates’ rankings this year. It may be a hipster hangout, but she loves the food!

Pizza Libretto Ossington came in at #75. Two of the Pizza Libretto locations are on her list, the best pizzas in the city, according to Kates, but the Ossington original is her favorite.

There are two well-liked pho joints on Ossington, and preferences are fiercely debated. Kates takes a stand on the issue, ranking them neck and neck with Pho Tien Thanh outranking it’s slightly northern competitor, Golden Turtle, #77 to #78.

 Next time one of your friends or visitors asks for a local recommendation, there are some great ideas! Haven’t tried all of them? Now is as good a time as any. Congratulations to all the restaurants who were recognized.

Canadian Music Week Hits the Local Music Rooms

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 10.11.43 AMA few years ago, Toronto had music festivals which offered music fans the chance to see a variety of bands from the comfort of their local bars and music venues. Well, guess what? Canadian Music Week‘s Music Festival is bringing that novel idea back. This is great news for live music lovers in our hood: get a wristband for $75 for access to all the clubs (except the Concert Lottery Shows – hey, we didn’t say this was the good old days), or just buy a ticket to a 1-night showcase at a venue (those seem to range from $10-$20).

We won’t go into a rant about the byzantine rules these festivals make up to keep wristband holders out of premium shows and get more money in the pockets, but there still are some good options here. CMW covers 10 days, including shows on 2 weekends, and several local venues are included on the schedule. Those local spots are The Painted Lady, The Garrison, The Dakota Tavern and The Great Hall.

As some examples of some of the great music in the neighbourhood, on Tuesday night you can find some of the best female musicians in Toronto. The Garrison is presenting a Toronto Women in Music showcase with this great set-list:

Megan Bonnell 9:00PM
The WAYO 9:45PM
PROGRAMM 10:30PM
Dirty Frigs 11:15PM
Maya Postepski (of Austra) 12:00AM
DJ Bambii 1:00AM

Just around the corner at the Painted Lady, you’ll find an aBabe Music showcase:

Jesse Parent 8:00PM
Bride & Groom 9:00PM
Lobu 10:00PM
Big Dad And The Pool Girls 11:00PM
Big Name Actors 12:00AM

Read the entire schedule here and stop by some of the venues. Canadian Music Week runs May 1-10.

It’s May! Welcome to festival season in Toronto! Now get out there and do something!

American Idiot Onstage at the LOT this May

lot-am Our favorite local theatre, the Lower Ossington Theatre, is once again mounting a famous musical production perfectly suited to their hip young audiences. American Idiot opens this weekend at the LOT.

This award winning show, with songs from Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, is loosely based on his band’s album of the same name. It features hit Green Day songs like “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” and a story featuring drugs, war and angst. This production will have live musicians onstage and a strong cast of 14, with a lot of returning LOT performers from other shows like Hair, Rent and Cabaret.

I sat in on a rehearsal last week and enjoyed watching the cast run through some songs while learning their choreography. The LOT is a great place to see a show: it’s a small, intimate space and every seat offers a good view. The casts are always enthusiastic and very talented, and when they have live musicians onstage (and up some stairs, in this case), the vibe is even better.

American Idiot runs from May 1-May 24th, with 5 shows Thursday through Sunday at the LOT. Tickets range from $49,99-$59.99 each and are available online.

 

CONTACT Photography Festival Has Big Community Presence

The CCONTACTPHOTOONTACT Photography Festival dominates Toronto each May with photo exhibits and shows, public and private, and the Ossington Village area is a great place to see a wide variety of the photos on display this year.

This year’s festival breaks away from it’s usual annual theme; instead, this year it celebrates that photography is a medium with no boundaries. As a result, expect a wide variety of displays and executions as you visit the exhibits in 2015.

Locally, the event will have a huge presence. The opening night festival launch takes place on Friday, May 1st at MOCCA, which also hosts several exhibitions both inside the museum and outside in the public courtyard on Queen Street West. Artscape Youngplace on Shaw hosts a number of interesting exhibitions, and local galleries like O’born, Angell and Loop are also participating.

Most of CONTACT is free to the public. There are also lectures, outdoor exhibits and even billboards that usually show ads get taken over by CONTACT exhibitors, so explore it for yourself! The festival runs for the month of May.

 

 

Ossington Area a Hot Stop on Vintage Crawl

vctoVintage shoppers already have lots of reasons to hit the Ossington and Dundas area, but next Thursday they’ll have more to enjoy when Vintage Crawl returns. This bi-annual event is back on Thursday, April 30. Lots of local shops will stay open late and offer special deals and snacks while you shop!

Vendors will stay open as late as midnight, and be sure to pop in to more than a few, as each will have different specials for this event. In this part of town, you can cover a lot in a short distance, and we’re all about shopping local!

Participating Dundas and Ossington shops:

Silver Falls Vintage

Rescue Vintage

Bridge + Bardot

Penny Arcade

And feel free to stop off for a beverage or snack at one of the great local restaurants along the way!

 

Restaurant News – March 2015

We wanted to update you with some news from the local restaurant scene.

A negrowoplogow juicebar and eatery will open soon on the street. They call themselves The Grow-Op, and are instagramming as they renovate the former fish market at 222 Ossington, just south of Dundas.

Hawker Bar‘s expansion to the second floor allows for some creative events at the beloved Asian resto-bar. You can rent the space out yourself, and the staff are also planning some fun themed nights. Stay tuned!IMG_1219

Fans of the vast selection of craft beer at Get Well no longer have to leave when they want food to go with it. Beginning this weekend, North of Brooklyn Pizzeria is serving slices and pies to eat in or to go from the bar.

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supersnackbrosRock Lobster founder Matt Dean Pettit is launching a Food Network web series! Not satisfied with three outposts of his seafood restaurant, including the original at 110 Ossington, a line of seafood products in supermarkets, and an acclaimed cookbook, he’s going to become a Food Network star! Matt and Damian Abraham from punk band F*cked Up did a series called Super Snack Brothers, which we’ll be able to watch as of Friday, March 27.

Changes on Ossington: Philip Sparks moves and Lush and Lavish Closes

As is always the case, change comes whether we want it or not. Boutique fashion stores have bloomed along Ossington in the last few years – from the early arrival of Johnathan and Olivia to the recent addition of Tiger of Sweden to PopUp 120. The list goes on. This week, unfortunately, we heard about the imminent departure of a beloved independent local retail store, Philip Sparks, as well as local salon Lush and Lavish.

PhilipSparks

Philip Sparks ran a number of pop-up shops on Ossington before deciding to move in permanently in March of 2012. His store has been a staple of the fashion industry on the street and in the city, and he’s a regular host of evening cocktails, tie making and other events during festivals and other times of year. He has always maintained his studio in the junction and he’ll be continuing to sell his clothes from there. In the meantime, stop in to his shop this weekend as he is having a good sale.

Lush and Lavish was the first beauty salon on the strip, having opened in 2008. LushlavishAfter giving haircuts, blowouts, massages, manis and more, and posting a series of fun and light-hearted signs out front of 200 Ossington, they posted on their site that as of March 1 they are closed. The strip is now home to 2 full-service hair salons and a mani-pedi/wax spot, so who knows what will fill the space? In their message, they promise “new and exciting things” so we’ll keep you posted.

As always, remember to shop – and get your hair done – local! Support our neighbors.

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