ossington, restaurants, bars, art galleries, theatre, music, community, neighbourhood,

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    Live band #karaoke starts soon with some @beausallnatural on tap @thegarrisonto

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    Gorgeous root vegetable #salad @porterhouse_to #vegan #duwest

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    Tonight it's @la_languagearts and many other bands at @thegarrisonto for the @collectivebrew showcase.

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    Scallop crudo deliciousness @borealia_to

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    Coin - artwork by Jochen Zeirzer #vectorto15

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    The guava beef bbq short ribs at the all new @lacubana_to now on #ossington #brunch http://t.co/KLOGNeBx9f

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    #lol #grammys #reposado

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    The show is about to start @lotheatre #SpringAwakening #toronto #theatre

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    Winter in #TrinityBellwoodsPark #snow #Toronto #parklife

Our Local Beer Store Property for Sale

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 10.44.35 AMThe property at 1200 Dundas, where the Beer Store is, has been put up for sale. One of our readers tipped us off with a sales brochure for the property. Bids were due on February 26th. It’s a large piece of property that contains just The Beer store and a local parking lot that keeps ZipCar cars and serves as quick-stop parking lot for people visiting Nova Era and doing other local shopping. Last summer, the parking lot was also a music venue for the Dundas West Fest.

It seems to be a likely development spot on a prime piece of downtown real estate – perhaps for mid-rise condos or other mixed use developments. See the description below:

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Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 10.18.15 AMWith Bellwoods Brewery in the neighbourhood, and an expanding craft beer selection at the LCBO, we haven’t ordered much from the Beer Store in the last year or so, but it is a convenient place to return empties (even if they don’t accept the Bellwoods bottles). It’s not clear whether the lease to the current tenant extends into the sale, but the description from the broker seems to imply that it does.

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We Finally Tried Porter House

IMG_20150226_212002Porter House opened in December at 1321 Dundas Street West, former home to Brockton General, and we finally got in last night!

Yes, we have tried unsuccessfully a couple of other times to find a seat at this new vegan pub on Dundas a few blocks west of Ossington, mostly on weekends. Porter House does not take reservations, and the food is good and plentiful, so be prepared for a little waiting time during busy periods.

One of the main reasons that Porter House should be popular is its description: a vegan pub with craft beer. That’s the first of its kind in our part of town, if not the whole downtown, and they deliver on both counts and then some: tasty, filling vegan meals and a good list of uncommon craft brews from Oast House, Bellwoods, Great Lakes and many more.

We got 2 snacks – the root vegetable salad and the curry fries – and one plate – the lentil and ale pie – to share. The portions are generous: we had leftovers. If you’re not vegan, it shouldn’t make a difference; we omnivores thoroughly enjoyed every bite.

Root Vegetable Salad:

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Lentil & Ale Pie:

IMG_20150226_203335Decor of craft beer:

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Sign for a cold winter’s night:

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109 Oz Demolition Begins

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 9.59.01 PMThe people who purchased homes at 109 Oz can be happy, as they have finally started demolishing the building which previously occupied the space. Yes, the storage facility (which showcased the heritage of Ossington, (sic)) is being knocked down for a condo.

There are fences up, probably to prevent people getting too close and hurting themselves, so it’s not easy to get photos, but we took some and they are posted below:

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Here’s what it is supposed to look like when it’s done:

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La Cubana opens on Ossington

IMG_20150214_124403After much anticipation, La Cubana is finally open! Yes, as of this weekend, we now have a Cuban joint on Ossington. The owners of one of the early restaurants that made the strip famous, DeLux, have converted 92 Ossington into a snack bar style restaurant – similar to their successful location on Roncesvalles.

 

We already stopped in for lunch today. The space is bright and cheery, and the Cuban jazz playing on the stereo enhanced the party mood. It is a snack bar, so when you arrive, you must go to the counter to place your order. They are new, but we didn’t have to wait long for anything.

The menu is small and focuses on a few Cuban specialties including medianoche sandwiches and larger plates of ribs and roasted chicken. You can complement these with authentic side dishes of tostones, conch fritters and yuca frita.

They have a beer specially made for them, La Cubana beer, make by the Junction Brewing Company, vintage sodas, and red and white wine, as well as a selection of mixed cocktails including Cuban favorites mohitos and Cuba Libres.

For this opening weekend they are open from noon until 10pm today and tomorrow, and closed Monday, while reserving the right to change those hours while they are learning the ropes and training.

The snack bar:

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Cafe con leche:

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Guava BBQ short ribs plate:

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Traditional Medianoche

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Snack bar style:

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Local Festival For Video Game and New Media Art

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Vector Festival is in town next week, and InterAccess on the south end of Ossington is a partner and the main host of this festival which celebrates and showcases art in games and new media. The line-up sounds informative and fun, and while some events are ticketed, there are many freebies too!

Running from Wednesday, February 18th – Sunday, February 22nd, the festival offers lots of opportunities to explore, discover and enjoy new media and video game art, with workshops, exhibitions, parties and more. They are also using venues at Bento Miso workspace south of Trinity Bellwoods and Videofag in Kensington.

At Interaccess, the events start next Wednesday night with a free opening reception from 7-9PM. One highlight  is on Saturday night, where 3 Canadians perform their versions of computer music.

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Sounds interesting, right?

Hawker Bar Adds 2nd Floor Dining Room

If you’ve ever tried to get into Ossington’s Singapore street food restaurant Hawker Bar on a weekend night, it could be a challenge. But that’s now going to change. Hawker Bar has finally opened their second floor dining room to expand their seating area, and serve more hungry customers.

In early 2013, the team at Hawker applied to the city for a back patio to add to their small space, but unfortunately their application was denied. The plans then changed to renovate and redevelop the second floor. For about a year they’ve been gutting and rebuilding and the last couple of nights they’ve offered a sneak peek with a soft opening. They’ve also added some new menu items, including the “”Fry””-nanese and a Black Angus Strip Loin, pictured below.

Expect a public opening this coming Sunday, February 15. For more updates, follow their hashtag #HawkerUpstairs

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Spring Awakening Entertains at The Lower Ossington Theatre

Tspringhe latest musical onstage at Lower Ossington Theatre is 2006’s multiple Tony winning story of sexual teenagers in turn of the century Germany, Spring Awakening. The rock musical is now playing on the small stage on Ossington Avenue, where it opened this weekend.

For those who don’t know, the musical was created with music by pop singer-songwriter Duncan Sheik. The original Broadway production launched careers of stars who went on to Glee, Pitch Perfect, The Newsroom and other hits.

The show offers a glimpse into the repressed lives of German teens in the 1890s as they discover their sexuality in many different ways. This is a very dramatic musical, and the stars at LOT deliver worthy performances. It’s also impressive to have a full live band backing the singers and dancers – the show is lively even when it’s sad. Spring Awakening runs 2 hours with a 15 minute intermission. Some of the topics are mature, and songs with names like “It’s A Bitch” and “Totally Fucked” tell you who you should and should not bring with you.

Spring Awakening is heartfelt and features drama and some laughs along with great vocals and the players put their all into the performances. It’s onstage until March 1st and tickets are available here.

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 Photo credit: Seanna Kennedy.

 

Restaurant News – Feb 2015

opensignThe Toronto restaurant scene is always changing, and our part of Toronto is no different. We’ve got some information on new and upcoming restaurants on Dundas and Ossington, plus a couple of changes at existing dining spots.

Three restaurants have opened in the last month and a half. We haven’t even made it to all of them, but we did post about Hanmoto on Lakeview.

Another new spot on Dundas is a vegan restaurant and beer bar called Porter House. Located in the space previously occupied by Brockton General, it’s getting good reviews for it’s meat-free fare and relaxed atmosphere. We’ll let you know when we get in!

Another newly open Dundas west eatery we’ve visited is Junked Food Co. With a menu of what they’re calling “gourmet junk food”, they’re serving up the snacks late at 1256 Dundas West and Dovercourt – open until 4am on Fridays and Saturdays.

We’ve also already told you about the salon at Cote De Boeuf. But it certainly doesn’t hurt to remind you of their buck a shuck oysters, tasty ribs, drinks and more they are serving Thursday – Saturday night and all Sunday afternoon.

When the owners of Ossington’s much loved Hawker Bar‘s attempts to add a patio were denied by the city, they built up. They are renovating the 2nd floor so they can feed more people more of the time. They’re renovating right now so expect word on the #HawkerUpstairs any minute now!

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Coming soon-ish to 229 Ossington, former home of beloved Yours Truly, is a lounge and bar called La Saucisserie. They posted some signs this weekend, and they are hiring. PS. Did you know there is a working pay phone on Ossington? Just realized it myself.

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Another much missed dining spot, The Grove, is being converted into a restaurant called Ufficio (Italian for Office). We spoke to one of the employees outside on the cold sidewalk this weekend and learned that it will feature a chef from Campagnolo and will focus on fish and vegetables in a Mediterranean style. They don’t expect to be open until April.

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Finally, popular Greek taverna Mamakas is expanding their hours – as of February 15, they’ll be serving Sunday brunch.

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Enjoy your eating adventures around the neighborhood! Let us know what you liked!

Junked Now Open

junkedsignJunked Food Co is now open and serving creative and tasty snacks. In a former kitchen store at Dundas and Dovercourt, Junked has prime placement for the Dundas West hungry.

Located at 1256 Dundas West, Junked is a take-out joint for locals and the local bar crowd. They open at 6PM and close as late as 4am on the weekends, and have two tables, each with one seat. They also do not serve liquor.

With dishes like deep dish pizza, sandwiches made out of donuts, and chili on top of Doritos, Junked will serve all of your snack cravings. We tried some of the food tonight, and this is not your mini market junk food. They make a lot of their ingredients from scratch and you can taste the freshness and quality. They are officially open as of tonight, so stop by!

We took some photos of the interior and the food.

The menu:
junked menuThe interior

junkedinsideThe bacon and cheese donut:

wafflebaconMac and cheese:

macncheeseJunkedThe “Treat Yo-Self” dessert:

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Now Open: Hanmoto

Hanmoto, the new snack bar from the men behind Oddseoul, is at 2 Lakeview Avenue just north of Dundas and has been soft open for a few days. We stopped in on Friday evening and sampled some of the delicious Japanese snack food. The place was already hopping when we arrived and very busy – with a wait list – when we finished.

Hanmoto is a tiny space, maybe fitting 20-25 people max. They’ve converted what was for a very short time a men’s vintage store into a bar, kitchen with sushi bar, and 5-6 tables for diners. It’s really that small.

We tried some hamachi tartare, Japanese shisito peppers and eggplant. The peppers were among the most popular dishes, along with the Moto bun, a “burger” of chicken curry and daikon in a soft bun. We’ll have to go back and get one!

The exterior of Hanmoto – there’s no sign, so don’t miss it:

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The food menu:

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And our peppers:

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They tweeted that they’ll be open daily as of tomorrow from 6p-2a, so we’ll all have time to try the Moto Bun and more.

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