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Downtown Toronto, Entertainment, Food & Recipes, Lifestyle talk

Where to get High Tea in Toronto near Your Furnished Rental

May 6, 2015

High Tea in TorontoAs Mother’s Day approaches, one idea to celebrate the day is to partake in the tradition of afternoon or high tea in Toronto. Luckily, there are a number of places across the GTA near your furnished rental to indulge in this leisurely treat. Pinkies up!

1. The Old Mill
Near our Nuvo and Park Nuvo properties, The Old Mill is a storied tradition and has been at the Old Mill Inn in Etobicoke for 100 years. Bring your favourite fascinator and celebrate with your mom in style. For $30, you can snack over a varied menu of finger sandwiches, scones, and afternoon tea pastries, a variety of teas, and even bubbles (at an extra cost). With a view of the outdoor garden through the old-fashioned windows, this is one of the best atmospheres for afternoon tea in the city.

2. The Windsor Arms
One of the most famous places to enjoy the afternoon tea tradition in Toronto (and not too far from our 173 Duplex and High Tea in TorontoRepublic short-term rentals at Yonge and Eglinton), The Windsor Arms also has one of the most luxurious tea rooms in the city. In one of the three elegant tea rooms, you can sip from over 20 different selections of tea as well as a savoury menu of finger foods. The Windsor Arms arguably has the best scones and devonshire cream in the city. If you can’t make the regular seatings, there is a twilight menu serving the tea menu at 5:30 and 6:00 PM daily. Fancy hats or fascinators are encouraged. You can borrow one for $5 and proceeds benefit the Look Good Feel Better program, a charity that offers hands-on cosmetic and hair alternatives workshops for women with cancer.

3. The Old Curiosity Tea Shop
This high tea tradition is not too far away from our Circa apartments for rent in Markham which offers over 50 different teas. The Victorian tearoom also specializes in current and discontinued Royal Doulton china replacements. The afternoon tea tradition is by reservation only.

High Tea in Toronto4. The Tea Room, Streetsville
An affordable place for this tradition in Mississauga, you can choose from three different menus for afternoon tea. The Tea Room High Tea menu offers a garden salad in addition to the three tiered tray of tea sandwiches, quiche tartlet, scones, and sweets. You can also choose among an array of black, oolong, and herbal teas.

5. DEQ at the Ritz Carlton
This modern take on the afternoon tradition is a short walk from our Icon, 300 Front Street, and Element furnished apartments in downtown Toronto. There are four different menus to choose from, each which feature the luxury Sloane tea, its blends sourced by certified tea sommeliers. Nibble an updated twist of the traditional menu such as a larger size of the salmon sandwiches served on croissants and macarons served on a modern version of the tiered tray.

Where is your favourite place for high tea in Toronto?

Downtown Toronto, Entertainment, Food & Recipes

Top 5 Favourite Bars for Craft Beer in Toronto

April 7, 2015

Craft Beer in TorontoCraft beer is big business in Toronto. According to the Ontario Craft Brewers Association, “there are currently over 100 craft breweries in Ontario employing over 1,000 people in direct brewery jobs across the province. This represents over 30 per cent of the direct brewery jobs in Ontario.” Now that grocery stores will now have the opportunity to sell beer and wine, this will not replace your visit to your local bar to taste test brews. If you don’t want to stay in your furnished suite or apartment to drink, here are our favourite places in Toronto for this niche experience.

1. Bellwoods Brewery. The popular indie brewery on Ossington Ave–with its white picket fence and prime people-watching patio– is listed as one of the 100 best breweries in the world by Rate Beer. Sip and savour on IPAs, stouts, single hop series, Belgian saisons, and a variety of ales. There’s a good selection of charcuterie to nibble alongside your pints. The brewery is dealing with its line-ups with a next door bottle shop (you’ll also want to save those beautiful labels for your home collection) and are opening a new location at Dupont and Dovercourt. Currently, you can quench your thirst by participating in a spring guided tasting.

2. Bar Volo. Bar Volo is the craft beer bar that was ahead of the trend and now 25 years old. It’s a great centralCraft Beer in Toronto location if you are living in our furnished suites downtown or North Toronto. The dim-lit, intimate, wooden space gets crowded early. It’s a casual process: look at the list on the walls for over 30 rotating regional beers on tap, casks, more than 75 international types of bottles, and a hectolitre nano brewery. You then find your own table, and order/pay at the bar. Though known for beer, there are two VQA wines served on tap, and over 60 bottles of bourbon and rye for non-hopheads. In the summer, there are DJ nights and during those times, cans of Howe Sound Lager is available for $5 (as previously stated on their site, last year).

3. Bar Hop. Located a short walk away from our 300 Front, Icon, and Element locations, Bar Hop is the ideal unpretentious after-work spot on King West. The bar has over 36 rotating taps plus tap takeovers, gluten-free beers and ciders, aCraft Beer in Torontond two casks. Special deals like Sunday Sessions ($5 for select craft beers); Mussel Mondays (2 pounds of mussels and fries for $9.95); and Buck-a-Shuck Tuesdays ($1 Oysters) make this a bustling place. Fret-not, a second location is in the works around Richmond and Peter.

4. Indie Ale House. If there is one reason to head over to the Junction, it’s for its noteworthy brewery. There’s a variety of beers here, including their speciality of bold ales. Peruse their menu for collaborations and their original brews with fun flavours and names like the Broken Hipster, Zombie Apocalypse, and the Breakfast Porter. Add a flavourful, varied menu of healthy options and bar staples with a twist; tours, and tastings, and you’ll never want to leave (unless you go here first and then dance the night away at 3030 down the street).

5. Amsterdam Brewery. Though it now feels like a tourist attraction due to its Harbourfront location, Amsterdam Brewery has bCraft Beer in Torontoeen in Toronto since 1986 and come a long way from its first location on John St. Now the brewery is a short walk away from our temporary housing Toronto. Amsterdam Brewery is known for its Boneshaker unfiltered IPA and has other original brews like the Sweetwater Squeeze Radler, the 416, and the all natural Blonde. Sip lakeside on a muskoka chair with an unparalleled view of Lake Ontario and the Toronto Islands. A bonus if you can’t grab a seat on the patio is that you can grab your favourite beer from their bottle shop, which is open 7 days a week until 11pm.

Honorable mentions go to some of Toronto’s newer breweries like the soon-to-open Left Field Brewery (which is hosting tastings and pop-ups to buy select bottles from time to time); East York’s new Muddy York brewery; and the established Granite Brewery at Eglinton and Mount Pleasant.

What is your favourite bar for craft beer in Toronto?

Downtown Toronto, Food & Recipes

Top Food Trucks in Toronto

March 24, 2015

Food Truck 2015There is such a demand for food trucks in Toronto but unfortunately, you don’t see many of them around due to the city of Toronto’s strict laws. In April, 2014 city council launched the sale of 125 street permits for $5,000 apiece. Yet the allowance came with more rules: trucks can be parked for only three hours, they cannot be within 50 metres of a restaurant and only two are allowed per block.

Food trucks are trying to get around these rules and many cater, as a result. In the summer of 2014, food truck business owners came together to test launch a Food Truck Alley at Queen and Jarvis to bypass these fees, as per a report in the Toronto Star. But regular pitstops or a section of the city for food trucks in Toronto are still an uphill battle. Our favourite top food trucks in Toronto are listed here and many of them have been pioneers in the industry.

Most of these businesses have a truck as a compliment to their catering companies or restaurants. Many of our picks have also stood the test of time. Let’s hope we’ll see themFood Trucks in Toronto back on our streets more regularly. All trucks are active on social media and it’s best to check updates there, as noted. That said, other cities like Hamilton and Niagara don’t have these restrictions and have thriving food truck businesses. Check out the Ontario Street Food website for more information.

1. The Food Dudes. You’re likely to hear the blaring hits you’d hear at a wedding, thanks to this successful catering company that is now also an empire complete with a truck and other restaurants (Formerly Bloke & Forth, Rasa, and the soon-to-open, Junk). The menu is a cornucopia of favourites including Mac N Cheese, Captain Crunch Fish Tacos, and those delectable and gooey nutella bombs. Worth the wait.
2. Stoke Stack Barbeque. One of Toronto’s top food truck newcomers in 2014, the truck serves up Texas BBQ beside Zero Gravity Circus on Gerrard Street East and Greenwood Ave. in between its catering gigs. Aside from the BBQ,Food Trucks in Toronto look out for the loaded poutine, veggie tacos, and Schwartz’s-inspired deli sandwiches. Up-to-date listings can be found on their twitter page. They are also available for weddings and events.
3. Caplansky’s. Thunderin Thelma, Caplansky’s Deli Food Truck, serves up on wheels what Caplansky is known for: deli classics. Based on its twitter feed, the truck roams all over the GTA to dish up its famous smoked meat sandwich, BBQ brisket sandwich, and pulled pork tacos. If you’re hungry at lunch, this one is a must.
4. Buster’s Sea Cove. If you can’t make it down to one of Buster Sea Cove’s three locations (in the St. Lawrence Market, across the street from the market at Market Street Catch, and its newest shop on Bremner Ave), its food truck is on the road at various events. Though its a pared down menu of Ensenada-style fish tacos, shrimp tacos, and lobster rolls, the offerings are some of the best on the market. Check up-to-date listings on their twitter handle and for information to book the truck for your next event.
Food Trucks in Toronto5. El Gastrónomo Vagabundo. El Gastro, as it is affectionately called, is one of the most popular food trucks in Ontario. Though it’s not based in Toronto but in Niagara-on-the-Lake a(one of our favourite weekend escapes), the truck makes visits in the city for major food events and festivals. In Niagara, they are set up in the beer shed at the popular Niagara Oast House Brewers for the cooler months. The truck is known for its gourmet offerings including gourmet tacos, tapas, southeast Asian dishes, and garden fresh salads. El Gastro is very active on social media and will keep you updated on new events and dishes on their twitter and facebook pages.

The food truck industry in Toronto is in constant evolution. Though these are our top picks right now, we cannot guarantee that they will be around forever. In most cases, food trucks also operate seasonally. So get to your favourite craving, whether it’s on the streets of TO or at a summer event, as soon as you can! We suggest keeping up to date on which food trucks are on the streets on the official foodtrucks website.

Community Events, Downtown Toronto, Downtown Toronto Condos, Entertainment, Food & Recipes, Toronto Condos

10 Things to do in Downtown Toronto

March 20, 2015

Things to do in Downtown Toronto Downtown Toronto is one of the most vibrant parts of the city. That said, with so many choices of activities and restaurants, it can be difficult to know where to begin to figure out what to do. Here are our top picks of things to do in downtown Toronto, all close to your furnished apartment!

1. Eat! The quality and number of options of where to dine and drink in Toronto has ranked as one of North America’s great food cities. Our current favourites include Thoroughbred for upscale food in a casual environment, a great after-work option; Real Sports Bar, right near our 300 Front Street building is always a good alternative Things to do in downtown Torontoto watching the game at the ACC. Montecito is the new fancy restaurant in town, with a California-inspired menu. Thai options are readily available in the downtown core, including the popular Pai. For healthier fare, Fresh has a number of locations in Toronto (many downtown) and now serve cold pressed juice. Rush Lane is our pick for classy cocktails. For brunch, the Swan or the Drake Hotel never disappoint. Thor Espresso is our pick for grab and go coffee (and do check out their new location, Odin Hus, opening in Corktown in February. Little Nicky’s is irresistible for those mini donuts, and for your craft beer needs, Bellwoods Brewery on Ossington offers some of the finest in the city.

2. See live music. There are a number of fantastic venues to see live music, usually most days of the week. You will also get a senThings to do in Downtown Torontose of Toronto’s history through these old buildings. Massey Hall is one of those classic venues. On Queen Street, The Cameron House and the legendary Horseshoe Tavern are great for rock and roll and a cheap drink. Try Sneaky Dee’s on Bloor for a mix of concerts and dancing. For a more traditional experience, check out the Toronto Symphony Orchestra or an opera at the Four Seasons Centre for Performing Arts. Of course, if you want to see a big concert experience, The ACC or the Rogers Centre are your best bets.

3. Explore a new park. Toronto’s park system is expanding with the advent of the Pan Am Games. Downtown, there are a number of trails and parks near your furnished apartment or condo. Trinity Bellwoods is the perennial favourite, ideal for a downtown picnic and people watching. The Harbourfront Trail is a great option near the lake and if you walk or bike far enough, you can visit a number of little parks along the way. Further east, try Cherry Beach for its secluded spots near the water, but up the street near the Distillery District and the upcoming athletes village of the Pan Am Games, you’ll find the Corktown Commons, Toronto’s newest interpretation of an urban park with a phenomenal view of the city skyline.

4. Shop! Downtown Toronto isThings to do in Downtown Toronto our shopping mecca. You can check out our favourite stores for your Christmas Shopping needs here, though they are great shops year round. Our main shopping centre is the Eaton Centre, which is anchored by the Hudson’s Bay Company on Queen Street. King Street East is the main furniture shopping strip (you can go further west to the Junction for furniture stores as well). Queen Street is your best bet for clothing boutiques. Kensington Market is a fun area to shop for vintage. Ossington also has some interesting vintage finds. If you’re a book collector, check out some interesting bookstores like Monkey’s Paw on Dundas West and Type on Queen Street West.

5. Art Galleries We have listed our favourite art galleries in Toronto but it’s also one of our favourite things to do downtown. The AGO consistently has a number of thought-provoking exhibitions and distinct Canadian collections. MOCCA, the Museum of Canadian Contemporary Art, is a wonderful alternative if you’re strolling along Queen Street. Plus, it’s free!

6. The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) Now into its centennial year (100 years!), the ROM has been a beacon of education and discovery for kids and adults alike. Make sure to take a walk along Philosopher’s Walk at the back of the musuem to the neighbouring University of Toronto after your visit and for a chance to gaze at the architecture of the Royal Conservatory of Music.

7. Ripley’s Aquarium One of Toronto’s newest attractions and one of our favourite activities for families, Ripley’s Aquarium will keep you occupied for hours. The dangerous lagoon is the highlight of the aquarium. On the moving walkway, you can get up close and personal with marine life swimming above you, including a varitey of sharks aThings to do in Downtown Torontond stingrays. The aquarium now offers live jazz every second Friday of the month as well as interesting events for the kids like daycamps, sleepovers, and a stingray experience.

8. The CN Tower Edgewalk if you’re a thrill seeker, walking around the outer edges of one of the world’s tallest towers will elevate your adventures to another level. There is no view like it in Toronto and you get a video and photo as a souvenir at the end of the experience!

9. Festivals and Events Year round, there’s always things to do in downtown Toronto whether it’s in January or August. Aside from the buzz-worthy TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) and its neighbouring year-round exhibitions at the TIFF Bell Lightbox on King Street, try Hot Docs in March if you’re into film. Canadian Music Week and NXNE are a riot for music fans; beer lovers love the craft beer festival in January; and though sports fans are always at The ACC for a basketbaThings to do in Downtown Torontoll or hockey game if not at the Rogers Centre for a baseball game, the Pan Am Games will bring an extra jolt to the city this July.

10. Laugh! Canada is not short of incredible comedians. Check out Yuk Yuk’s where Russell Peters got his start or for a more participatory experience, try the Second City for improv just steps away from our central properties downtown.

Whether you’re in Toronto for a short term period or extending your visit to a long term stay, you won’t run out of things to do while you’re downtown. Have a great time!

Downtown Toronto, Food & Recipes, Lifestyle talk, North York

Top 10 Restaurants in Toronto, 2015

March 6, 2015

Top 10 Restaurants in TorontoWith Spring just around the corner, getting out on the town made us think of our favourite restaurants in Toronto. It’s a mix of those classics you might find on a list like Winterlicious mixed with newer restaurants and cafes. If you’re looking to get out of your furnished apartment in Toronto or try something new at one of Toronto’s many diverse and delicious restaurants, look no further to our comprehensive top 10 restaurants in Toronto. Our list is in no particular order.

1. Bar Isabel. It’s no surprise that this Spanish-inspired restaurant with a Black Hoof twist (owner Grant Van Gameren used to co-own the Black Hoof) is on many top ten lists. We love the chorizo, grilled octopus, and basque cake with sherry cream. Be on the lookout for Van Gameren’s anticipated opening, Bar Raval, this year. Reservations are recommended.

2. Canoe. Canoe remains one of the best restaurants in Canada and a homage to haute Canadian cuisine. It is the perennial place for a special occasion with views of the Toronto Islands and CN Tower to match from the 54th floor of the TD Tower. You’ll be lucky to sit at the chef’s table and interact with Chef John Horne. It is a treat! It is also one of our picks to drink with your fellow corporate executives.

3. Big Crow. Big Crow is the city’s answer to a backyard BBQ, complete with an Algonquin and Canadiana theme year-round (in winter they bring out the blankets and heaters). Chow down with your friends over ribs smothered in pesto sauce, steel-trout poke nachos, and s’more ice cream sandwiches in the summer.

4. Fat Pasha. Another extension of Anthony Rose’s empire (including Big Crow, above), Fat Pasha is your excuse to eat through the MiddleTop 10 Restaurants in Toronto Eastern trend. We love the dips (especially labneh and hummus) and the nutella babka cake. A must if you’re looking to venture out of your usual tastes.

5. The Black Hoof. Since 2008, The Black Hoof has set Toronto on the charcuterie trend and remains the best place for the boards. It has since expanded its menu so you can more adventurous parts of an animal (whether it’s offal or horse) and never fails to impress the tastebuds. We love the staples of charcuterie, bone marrow, and cheese but give the horse tartare a try. Try its intimate cocktail bar across the street, aptly named Cocktail Bar, pre or post meal.

6. Electric Mud BBQ. Owned by Black Hoof alum, Colin Tooke and Ian McGrenaghan, Electric Mud BBQ is their second outpost of the Electric empire (Grand Electric around the corner on Queen West slinging out tacos). Chow down on good ol’ BBQ, bourbon alongside a great soundtrack at picnic tables with your friends. The ribs are classic but we return for the chicken, crack rolls, and $2.50 pints of Great Lakes Beer on Monday nights. They also now deliver. We love a good deal!

7. Origin. Tapas has become one of Toronto’s biggest culinary trends and Origin executes it in an original fashion. The restaurant is so popular it has expanded from its original location at King and Church to Origin North at Bayview and Sheppard (a sophisticated option near our furnished apartments in North York). We love the deviled eggs, tostones and guacamole, hand rolls, miso glazed cod, and dulce de leche. Look for chef Claudio Aprile to expand his repertoire of fresh, global dishes to the Toronto PeTop 10 Restaurants in Torontoarson Airport soon.

8. Eastside Social. One of Leslieville’s newest additions to the neighbourhood, Eastside Social is casual enough to sit and chat with someone at the bar over a dark n stormy yet sophisticated enough for a date. Share their inventive fish charcuterie platter. Their oyster special is every Tuesday and Wednesday.

9. Campagnolo. Our pick for Italian cuisine, chef Craig Harding, continues to deliver the classics that make us feel like it’s okay we can’t hop on a plane at a moment’s notice to Italy. You’ll salivate over his burrata with roasted grapes, spaghetti all’matricana, rabbit saltimbocca, and his famous budino.

10. Mildred’s Temple Kitchen. For the brunch lovers, Mildred’s Temple is large enough to accommodate your group but popular enough for you to be waiting in line even 15 minutes after opening. It’s worth the trek to Liberty Village. If it’s one thing to order it’s those fluffy, blueberry pancakes.

It’s difficult to add our all of our top 10 Restaurants in Toronto (honorary mentions go to Lady Marmalade for brunch, Porchetta & Co. for lunch, and Chantecler for dinner).

What are your favourite restaurants in Toronto? What are the restaurant openings in Toronto you’re looking forward to?