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!

Community Events, Downtown Toronto, Entertainment, Family Vacations in Toronto, Holiday Events, Toronto Family Travel, Vacation Travel

Five March Break Activities for the Family

March 17, 2015

Schools Out! March BreakIf you are not one of the 116,000 people traveling during the March Break period (March 16-20), this is your time to explore Toronto with your family. We have written about our favourite family-friendly activities in Toronto previously here, but here are a few March break activities and ideas to keep your children entertained during the week.

1. Disney Classics at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Watch some of the famed movie maker’s classics on the big screen and relive your childhood too! If you’re staying in one of our furnished suites downtown, there is no excuse not to go to these special screenings. There are also March Break camps and to start planning early, summer camps for your kids.

2. The Toronto Public Library’s (TPL) March Break Program. The TPL has a variety of activities for both kids and teens, including a Lego program and a first-aid babysitting course.

March Break Activities3. A Day Trip. One of  our favourite March Break activities for the day would be to the Kortright Centre for Conservation, where you and your kids can learn about sustainability, hike, and also participate in their maple syrup programs. Nearby, is the McMichael Art Gallery, a great alternative from the Art Gallery of Ontario to learn about Canadian art. March Break camps are also available here. The Toronto Zoo is another great idea for a day trip if your kids love animals; they have special programming for the week.

4. Stay In. Sometimes, a day at home is overrated. Cook with the kids. Break out the arts and crafts. Watch a favourite or new movie on the couch or have a sleepover for your kids and their friends. Many of our locations also have a pool so this might be a fun way to break up your days.

5. Visit the Aga Khan Museum. One of Toronto’s newest attractions, the architectural masterpiece is also your gateway to learn more about Muslim civilizations. The museum and all of its exhibitions are free every Wednesday from 4-8 p.m. There is also a special March Break camp for your kids. If you are brave enough and have the energgroup students jumping end of exam yeary, you could also plan an excursion afterwards to the Ontario Science Centre, which is located nearby.

What are your favourite March break activities to do with your family in the city? However, if you are traveling with your family, here are some of our tips to handle the journey with ease.

Events, Holiday Events

5 Places to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Toronto

March 13, 2015

St. Patrick's Day in TorontoOne of the biggest parties of the year, St. Party’s Day, er St. Patty’s day is your annual chance to paint the town green. If you’re not having a party in one of our furnished suites in Toronto, here are our top five places to celebrate St. Patrick’s day in Toronto; Ireland’s patron saint.

1. Steamwhistle Brewery. Their annual party, held this Saturday March 14, is one of the liveliest in town but if you miss out on the party opt for the healthier Achilles St. Patrick’s Day in Toronto, 5 kilometre run/walk on Sunday March 15. Bonus: the brewery is a quick stumble back to your furnished apartment.

2. The Ceili Cottage. This packed party is the closest you’ll get to Ireland and its craic in Toronto. The bar–known for its winter yurt and its famous oysters–is hosting a St. Patrick’s Week of events starting March 13 and ending on March 17. On Monday, March 16, the yurt will be host to a dinner of four courses and four Irish whiskies co-hosted by Jameson. (Tickets are $50; call 416.406.1301 for more information.) The big day will include live music from 3pm-7pm. For more information, check out their Facebook page.

3. Stout Irish Pub. Located in the charming area of Cabbagetown, Stout has an impressive variety of taps, and bottles plus cask. Events on Saturday March 14, and on Tuesday March 17 will feature Jameson shots, Lucky Charm Lager, and Devil’s Hurricanes. Live music will be available from 8pm to 1am on both nights. No reservations.

4. The Brazen Head. This two level Irish funhouse in Liberty Village is hosting celebrations every day leading up to St. Patrick’s Day including Irish inspired dishes, $4 brunch Caesars, and the Leprechaun Olympics (don’t ask…we don’t know either!).  More information is available on their Facebook Page.

5. Dora Keogh’s. This long-standing sister of Allen’s on the Danforth is a cozy room with copper stools and Guinness on tap. Dora’s is known for its live music, which you can hear in the afternoon and in the evenings this weekend. The bar will be open from noon on Tuesday.

For next year, plan ahead and book St. Patrick’s Day in Toronto at Amsterdam Brewery’s all-day party (already sold out).

Family Vacations in Toronto, Lifestyle talk, Toronto Family Travel, Vacation Travel

How to Avoid Expensive Holiday Airfares

March 12, 2015

Save on AirfareAs many of our guests are, you may be on the go and expected to travel frequently, whether for business or pleasure. (Check out our tips here on how to get the best deals.) But sometimes, the only time you can get is over the holidays –when everyone else is traveling. Here are some ways how to avoid expensive holiday airfares.

1. Do not book last minute. More likely than not, the closer you travel to your desired date of departure, the higher the price of your flight. You may be lucky and get a last minute fare -if others are not going to your destination or it’s not a popular destination – but the best advice is to book as far in advance as possible. This advice is especially useful for summer travel to Europe and the recommended time to book is around three to six months in advance, if possible. Rumour has it, however, that the ideal number to book in advance is 49 days or 7 weeks in advance.avoid expensive holiday airfares

2. Be flexible with your dates and times. Inflexibility could result in a higher airfare. If you cannot budge on your date or time or if you’re traveling on a weekend, this will increase the costs of your flight. But if you can travel on an early weekday (Monday to Wednesday or even a Saturday, as some experts say) or in the early mornings/nights or nudge your date a day or two, it could be worth the change in savings.

3. Track your fare. Services like Yapta and airfare watchdog enable you to track and analyze when your flight price will increase, which can help you make decisions.

4. Alternate modes of tranAvoid Expensive Holiday Airfaressportation. If your flight is too expensive, consider driving to your destination or taking an alternate airport like Buffalo (a popular option in recent years). What you will lose in time, you will make up in savings.

5. Points. If you can’t get around the cost for an airfare, using your airline points (if you are loyal to one airline), Air Miles, or a co-branded credit card that will accumulate points for you, will help towards the cost of your flight.

How do you avoid expensive holiday airfare or save on flights? We’d love to hear your tips! Do check out our top ten essential travel apps for your next trip here. Of course, if you’re staying in Toronto, check out our properties.