Posts Tagged ‘toronto’

SpeakEasy 21 brings cocktails & bites to Scotia Plaza

1-Desktop8SpeakEasy 21 has only been open for a short time, but when I arrived early evening to check it out, it was already packed with people. (Mostly suits).

Conveniently located inside the Scotia Plaza, but also has street access. I was able to successfully avoid the rain by using the PATH, which I liked.

Headed by Chef Andrew Wilson (Canoe & Origin North) SpeakEasy 21 brings handcrafted cocktails and contemporary bistro fare to the Financial District.

The sleek space offers up a wide selection of martinis, shaken mason jar cocktails, wine and beer. The menu is extensive, but here are a few drinks I tried that night.

1-IMG_0536Rob Roy (Dewar’s Scotch, Sweet Vermouth, Bitters, Orange Twist)

The Adelaide

1-IMG_0562Baja Sunrise (Cazadores Tequila, Triple Sec, Pineapple Juice, Lime Juice)

1-IMG_0543Canadian Cooler (Eristoff Vodka, Lime Juice, Simple Syrup, Mint Leaves, Cucumber Slices)

The food ranged from modern comfort food with a twist, to more eclectic fare. Think, fried chicken sandwiches and salted pecan brittle. Here’s what I sampled.

1-IMG_0552Bulgogi Tacos ($15) Korean style short rib taco, served on a white corn tortilla, with bibb lettuce, apple kimchi, marinated mushrooms, and sesame seeds.

1-IMG_0557Whitefish Tacos ($15) Battered whitefish filet, with green mango relish, spicy avocado, cilantro and house made queso fresco. This was my second favourite dish. The house made queso fresco was a nice touch. Delicious!

1-IMG_0547Beef Tartare ($15) Ontario AAA dry-aged sirloin, paired with fried capers, ceasar aioli, and prawn chips.

1-IMG_0544Short Rib Croquette: Crisp and filled with tender short rib.

1-IMG_0558Shrimp & Chorizo ($17) Crispy shrimp on a milk bun, with Luis Suarez’s chorizo, iceberg lettuce, cheddar, and a fennel tartar sauce. A bit of an odd combination, and not my favourite.

1-IMG_0555Melon Soup

1-IMG_0549SpeakEasy Club ($18) Served on a toasted ciabatta, and topped with fried chicken, double smoked bacon, guacamole, watercress, and smoked chili aioli. This sandwich was my favorite, and basically has all of my favourite things on it. (Read: Bacon & Guac) The fried chicken was full of flavour and moist.

Short Rib Croquette

SpeakEasy 21 has two levels, gleaming wood finishes, large windows and an open kitchen. In the summer, a massive 3,500-square-foot patio will open.


One of my favourite features was their phone charging station at the host desk.

1-IMG_0568Exchange your phone for a key, and it’ll be charged up while you eat. (Insert rebounding cries of, how will we Instagram?) It’s a neat idea! (But, really.)

1-IMG_0564Stop by for a drink or snack!


SpeakEasy 21 at 21 Adelaide Street West Toronto, ON

Dinner at the Guild

November 2013

The Guild Restaurant in Duffrin Grove  used to be a 20 year old flower shop, but you would never guess that standing inside the restaurant. Chef Mani Binelli whips up fresh made pasta, sausages and even smokes his own bacon. He strives to use local and organic produce as much as possible.


The Guild - dining room


I was impressed with the beautiful open kitchen  and layout of the Guild. I especially loved the gilded ceiling, and it was fun to peek into the kitchen during the meal.

At the bar, you can have a classic drinks such as Negroni, Mai Tais or Manhattans. For the more adventurous, check out the original cocktails. I recommend Winter is Coming (mulled port, four roses bourfon, pumpkin spice honey, lemon, chamomile citron tea and hot water) , and totally not just because of Game of Thrones.



Duck Confit: Bourbon black pepper jam and endive slaw

That night, the new menu at the Guild started off with a rich Duck Confit appetizer.


Aged Balsamic Marinated Tomato Salad

Next up was the Aged Balsamic Marinated Tomato Salad. This simple dish was packed with flavour, and was my favourite! Warm Quebec goat cheese served over a bed of cherry tomatoes and arugula. Mmm.


Curvy Rigatoni

It was nice to see a departure from the typical penne noodle found on most menus in Toronto with the Curvy Rigatoni. The noodles were covered in roasted garlic tomato cream sauce with spinach and house smoked chicken. The chicken was tender and was quite good. However, I wished that the chicken was also covered in sauce, as it looked a bit out of place.


Wellington County Skirt Steak

The main dish of the evening was the Wellington County Skirt Steak. The purple potato celeriac mash was outstanding and so was the perfectly cooked steak. The pico de gallo was very fresh.


We were all full but of course had room for a double chocolate toasted almond biscotti.

The Guild Restaurant has a great atmosphere, and manages to be both romantic and a fun place to hang out after work for drinks. Their new menu is available now, so check it out!

The Guild is located at 1442 Dundas St West and is open for brunch and dinner.




Dinner at Reds Midtown Tavern

Recently Updated

Reds Midtown Tavern is unexpectedly larger than I thought it would be. The elegant split level restaurant has beautiful exposed brick and genuinely friendly staff.

Dark mahogany tables sourced from McGill University  are scattered throughout the restaurant.  The shuffleboard table in the corner give the restaurant a modern luxe library feel.

You might be wondering…why is it called midtown? The name is a playful interpretation of where two friends might meet if they were coming from opposite ends of the city. Get it?



Tucked away in a corner is a beautiful private dining room.


Classic Peach Bellini

The culinary team at Reds is led by Executive Chef Matt Robertson.

 Here are some of the yummy apps we started with.


P.E.I Mussels: ($16.50)  Steamed in Sauvignon Blanc with fresh fennel, saffron threads, tomato and herbes de Provence.


The Crispy Potato Flatbread ($10.50) is a house specialty, and was the fan favourite of the evening.

Topped with fresh arugula, shaved Parmesan cheese, sweet garlic, chimichurri aioli, slow-roasted tomato
and balsamic gastrique. The combination of the spicy aioli and the Parmesan was delicious.


Baby Kale & Quinoa Salad ($9.50) Tossed with sweet spiced pecans, dried cranberries, caramelized sweet potatoes, smoked Manchego cheese and a light citrus vinaigrette. This salad also had diced green apples. It was a very eclectic salad but all ingredients worked really well together.

Pictured is the hearty Knife and Fork Caesar. ($10.25) Tender romaine lettuce with mild white Spanish anchovies, shaved parmesan, bacon and garlic confit dressing.



Steak Frites ($34) 7 oz Filet Mignon of AAA Canadian Beef, truffle parmesan frites, wild mushrooms, Madeira jus. The steak was perfect and melted in my mouth. I loved the wild mushrooms.


Pan Roasted Salmon ($23.45) with sweet pea purée, sugar snaps, fingerling potatoes and heirloom carrots with a light butter sauce

At this point, we were all crazy stuffed but still had room for dessert!


The Grasshopper Parfait ($7.95) was like a grown up Girl Scout mint cookie. (remember those?) The minty peppermint mousse was thick and just below it was dark chocolate mousse. On top were thin slices of delectable chocolate crisps.

With it’s perfect location and varied menu, Reds is the perfect place to mingle after work or a trip to the Eaton Center.  Take a look at the menu here.

Reds Midtown Tavern is located at 382 Yonge St., Unit 6, Toronto, ON M5B 1S8.


Fancy Franks


Fancy Franks pulled out all of the fancy stops to show us a peek at their new menu at their anniversary celebration.

It was my first time at this gourmet hot dog restaurant and I loved the fresh design and the cool mural painted on the outside. I also loved the hot dog themed children’s books on the wall! Awesome.

You can choose to get your all beef hot dog as a mild, spicy or turkey sausage.  Along with hot dogs Fancy Franks also doles out milkshakes and french fries.

Here are some of things that we tried that night:

Francy britt
My favourite creation was the Fancy Britt, a Britain inspired dog with the unique additions of mashed potatoes, peas, gravy and cheddar cheese. It was surprisingly amazing. I just might add mashed potatoes to all of my hot dogs now. 😉
The Seattle Frank was loaded with cream cheese, grilled onions, jalapenos, fries and mustard.
The insanely named FFGHD TX. This hot dog is dressed in cajun spiced grilled onions, BBQ sauce, cheddar cheese and chipotle mayo.
Although hot dogs are the main draw here, if hot dogs aren’t your thing then enjoy an adorable and delicious Bacon ‘n Eggs Poutine.

If you manage to have room after all of those delectable hot dogs, finish off with a sweet treat- warm Nutella and Crushed Biscotti donuts.

This was a great introduction to Fancy Franks, and I fully intend on returning to try some more hot dogs.

Fancy Franks is at 326 College Street, Toronto.

Eaton Chelsea Hotel in Toronto


The Eaton Chelsea Hotel may be one of the best kept secrets in Toronto. At least to this local girl. It was obvious when I checked in that this wasn’t a secret to travelers around the world. The hotel was very busy with families, couples and businesses travelers checking in.

The Eaton Chelsea hotel was given a fresh re-branding in July. This is Canada’s largest hotel with 1500 guest rooms!And it’s right in the heart of downtown Toronto. There are four restaurants and lounges in the hotel including Bb33 Bistro & Brasserie, Monarchs Pub, Market Garden and Elm Street Lounge. Click here to find out more.


I enjoyed my stay in a t 315 ft Deluxe King room. The bed was comfy and the room was spacious, with a nice view! Although the hotel was busy and my room faced the street, the room was very quiet. I loved the little sitting area, and was pampered with their customised bathroom amenities.

Complimentary amenities included:
• Hotel-wide Wi-Fi Internet
• Iron and ironing board
• In-room coffee and tea
• LCD flat screen TV

All in all, this is a large hotel with cozy rooms and a fantastic location.

The Eaton Chelsea, Toronto is at 33 Gerrard Street West, Toronto, Ontario.

Miami Living in Toronto at Cabana Pool Bar



Cabana Bar is exactly how I picture Miami in my head. Lots of white, people hanging out in bikinis and swimming in infinity pools while holding cocktails. Welcome to Cabana Bar, a little piece of the beach life in the city. Cabana Bar just opened this weekend, and yet it already seems like the majority of people I know have been there. (On Saturday the weather was perfect, so I don’t blame them.)

Entry on Saturdays is $10, or $20 if you’d like to swim in their beautiful pool. The vibe is very daytime clubbing. Pulsing dance music and girls dancing on the tables in bikinis. (for real.) Shisha is available, if you enjoy that, and tables have bottle service.

Oliver & Bonacini has created an interesting menu of sandwiches, wraps and appetizers. We tried the grilled angus beef burger, heirloom tomato and watermelon salad, and classic poutine. We found the food to be fine, but nothing outstanding. Our waitress also messed up our order several times, and service was slow. Still, this was their opening weekend, so maybe they need time to adjust.


Cabana has room for a whopping 2,500 (standing) on their 50,000 sq. foot enclosed patio area. They also have 12 elevated and private cabanas. If you love to soak up the sun, people watch and pretend that you live in Miami, then this is the place for you. It’s certainly a nice way to spend a Saturday!


Starting in July, Cabana Pool Bar will be open 7 days a week. The bar is located at  11 Polson Street, Toronto, Ontario .

Jelly Modern Donuts


There is nothing quite as lovely (or nothing that will make you quite as popular) as getting a box of gourmet donuts delivered to your workplace.

Jelly Modern Donuts are what most donuts aspire to be. Each donut is hand filled and dipped, made fresh daily with inventive, gourmet ingredients.

Great branding!

This popular Calgary gourmet donut shop finally has a store in Toronto. The list of flavours is dazzling! Some flavours that I had my hands on were: Bacon Maple (one of their most popular), Lemon Curd, Peanut Butter Cup, Skor Bar, Marshmallow, Nenshi’s salted caramel and Callebaut chocolate just to name a few.


I loved the way that the donuts were presented, and how fresh all of the ingredients were. The donut itself is very light and airy classic honey dip. The toppings and filling are what make the donut. Everyone at my office that tasted the donuts (what, you didn’t think I ate those all by myself, did you?) were smitten, and asked where they could be bought.

My personal favourites were the Lemon Curd and the Marshmallow donut. The lemon curd was delightfully sweet, with just enough sour to make it perfect. The marshmallow donut was topped with handmade marshmallows and marshmallow cream. Delicious!

Taking a peek at their menu, I’m really excited to visit them and try their red velvet cake donut and their whoopie pie ones. You can order your donuts online or in person at their shop. 1 dozen donuts are $29.95, and they also make smaller 3 bite donuts.



You can find Jelly Modern Donuts at 376 College Street West, Toronto.

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