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Good Catch General Store
Posted by Sheryl in Toronto + Places on 14/Feb/2007
Good Catch: PinsWhen I say the words "General Store", what do you think of? I bet it's the television show "The Waltons", isn't it? And then maybe the image of a dusty-shelved, small-town shop with some outdated products in faded packages and maybe one of those huge jars of pickled eggs on the counter, surrounded by locals, gossiping and chatting. Not exactly the kind of thing you'd think you'd ever find in downtown Toronto. And on that count, you'd be both right and wrong...

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Boom Shiva
Posted by Sheryl in Toronto + Places on 09/Feb/2007
Squash I was always under the impression that "tapas" was a Spanish word meaning small bites or small plates. In Spain, tapas is something you eat after work with a drink or two before heading off to dinner, sometime between nine or ten o'clock. Those little bits of snacks and olives, maybe some bread, are meant to tide you over until the big meal.

Not so in Toronto, where tapas bars have morphed away from Spanish snacks and drinks to full meals of every genre, at high-end prices. Problem is, you've got to eat a lot of little dishes to come up with the equivalent of a meal.

When Boom Shiva opened on the West Queen West strip last summer, they were the hit of the season -- finally, a bar with exclusively vegetarian food. Local critics sang the praises of the crusty old bar revamped into a fun and funky space with live music, tasty cocktails and a knowledgeable beer menu...

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Queen Mother Café
Posted by Sheryl in Toronto + Places on 29/Jan/2007
Queen Mother (Door) Certain restaurant reviewers in Toronto have a longtime habit of instantly dismissing the service at any Queen West establishment as having too much attitude. Maybe I'm immune to it, or maybe the black leather jacket and dark sunglasses I've worn for decades make me attitude-repellant, but it's a complaint I've never seen the merit of.

With one exception. I have walked out of the Queen Mother café almost as many times as I've eaten there, unwilling to put up with the really crappy service. I keep coming back, though, because the food makes it all worthwhile...

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Beer Bistro Light Canadians have a reputation for loving their beer, but the mental picture most often associated with your average beer drinker is not generally a positive one. Loutish frat boys drinking cases of mediocre mass-produced brew is an image that lovers of good beer abhor.

One Toronto restaurant is determined to polish the reputation of both the drink and the drinker -- their logo says it all -- changing the way people think about beer.

Read the rest of: "Changing the Way People Think About Beer
The Other Taste of India
Posted by Sheryl in Toronto + Places on 12/Jan/2007
Dosa Say "Indian food" to just about anyone and they'll swoon over chana masala, paneer, maybe tandoori chicken. Say the word "dosa" and their faces will get a confused expression.

India, like many countries that are long in length and encompass a variety of distinct geographic areas, has many different cuisines. Most Indian restaurants concentrate on the cuisines of the northern regions; heavy on dairy, tomatoes and meat. In the south of India and Sri Lanka, the food is very different. Dairy is rare, the spices are hot (deep fried chili peppers make a common and tasty snack) and the heavier breads of the north are replaced with large, light, crepe-like breads called dosa...

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Mill Street Brew Pub
Posted by Sheryl in Toronto + Places on 17/Nov/2006
Mill Street Sign You've seen it if you go to the movies. It's the backdrop for most of Chicago and parts of Cinderella Man. Walking the cobblestoned laneways of Toronto's Historic Distillery District is like a journey back in time.

Established in 1832, the Gooderham and Worts distillery grew to become the largest in the British Empire. Known as the most well-preserved collection of Victorian Industrial Architecture in North America, the Distillery District covers 13 acres and is made up of over 40 buildings...

One of the biggest complaints about the neighbourhood was the dearth of good restaurants. Balzac's coffeehouse offered sandwiches and crepes, but the other two restaurants onsite, run by the same management company that runs the entire complex, were overpriced and more than a little pretentious...

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The Revue Cinema I once read a statistic that indicated Torontonians watch more films per capita than the residents of any other city in the world. It's not that we go to first run movies more than most people do, it's that we go to a lot more film festivals.

When someone says the words "Toronto" and "film festival", the natural assumption would be that they're referring to the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), one of the world's most well-respected gatherings of movie folk. While the TIFF is definitely Toronto's biggest and best known, attracting films, celebrities and celebrity-watchers from around the world, it's actually only one of dozens of film festivals that take place in this city throughout the year...

Read the rest of: "Toronto Film Fests and the End of the "Nabes"
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