Friday, 16 January 2009

Watch for it…
The Amazing Couch Toboggan

It’s been seen on two separate nights on the steep hill in Riverdale Park. It’s a two-seater couch with skis nailed to the bottom, a plank nailed between the skis behind the couch, arm rests hollowed out and headlights installed inside them. Six people careen down the hill – two on the seat and four standing on the board behind them. It goes very fast. It also looks insane. When asked what the first trip down the hill was like, one rider confessed that “it felt like a deathtrap.”

What would Robbie Burns think about this sleigh?
Ask him yourself on Robbie Burns Day, Sunday, January 25. You have your choice – The Ben Wicks (424 Parliament) always has a piper, a haggis and lots of scotch. So does the House on Parliament (456 Parliament). Check out both of them and see what haggis, neeps and tatties really are.

Peartree’s specials at 1994 prices Peartree's solarium
For fifteen years, Asokan and Ilango have given Cabbagetown diners reliable meals at very affordable prices. This comfortable spot has become a permanent favourite for us. To celebrate their 15th year, they’re offering two specials at 1994 prices: New York sirloin steak at $12.99 and grilled Atlantic salmon at $11.99. Their celebration continues until February 28. 507 Parliament, (416) 962-8190. Click here:

Another tasting at JAMCafe JAMCafe (195 Carlton) is launching its 2009 wine tasting series with a special evening highlighting Edward Sellers’ Rhone-style wines. Chef Av Atikian has prepared a five-course menu to match with the wines. Since only forty tickets will be sold, reservations are important. Please call (416) 921-1255. $85 per person (not including tax and gratuities.) For all the details on food and wines, click here:

Mark your calendar
Brass Taps
Superbowl 43 (or is that Superbowl XLIII?), Sunday, February 1. Kick off about 6 pm.
Brass Taps (221 Carlton) has prizes, pools and lots of partying. Ben Wicks (424 Parliament) has a 42” plasma TV, extra televisions around the room, chili, hot dogs and good cold beer.
No doubt, there’ll be more and we’ll update you as game time approaches. Click here: and

Cranberries opens Room 601 Cranberries chef - Siva

Those of us who frequent the Wellesley & Parliament area have long enjoyed Cranberries ambiance and good food. Siva, the chef, offers both pub fare and fine dining. You can get fish and chips or you can feast on chicken breasts stuffed with enokitake mushrooms. It must be the chef’s school in Paris where he studied. So now, they’ve expanded into a room next door and they’ve prepared a special menu for each evening to February 13. Click here: (603 Parliament)

Meet the author at Big Mamma’s Boy
Big Mamma's Boy
Saturday, January 31, 5 to 7 pm. Ah yes, another step upward toward the literature hall of fame. This time, Cabbagetown welcomes Lulu Taylor to Big Mamma’s Boy (554 Parliament) to do a reading and to meet her fans. Ms Taylor, from Los Angeles, is the author of “Stop the Mama’s Boys”, a moving story of a young woman caught between a mother and her son. You can catch the full story line at Big Mamma’s Boy website,

The Epicure Shop

Epicure Shop
Good savings this weekend for all salad lovers. When you buy a container of potato salad, cole slaw or macaroni salad, you’ll receive another one free. Patty is offering the same deal with her renowned spinach dip – buy one and get a second one free. And a reminder: on Friday and Saturday, you can pick up Brick Street breads – all natural and organic. (And when you’re in the store, ask Patty why she wants us to use this photo of her building instead of the lovely one that shows her at her bubbly best. Ah well.) 473 Parliament.

Carlton & Parliament
Ever since the plans for the reconstruction of the old JavaVille site were unveiled, we’ve been getting a lot of comments from residents about the exterior design. The BIA has taken the initiative with neighbourhood consultations. This week, for example, the building architect met three Cabbagetown architects and planners to go over these reactions, to look at the proposed design and to figure out how to accommodate these different views. The building owner, George Foulides, has also discussed his plans with the heritage advisory group and they’ve agreed that the demolition of the current building is a reasonable option.
Whenever a project like this comes along, there are three options: restoration of the existing building, or demolition with a new construction using a Victorian emphasis, or demolition with a new construction that has a contemporary exterior.
JavaVille is a 1920s wood frame building with a rotting interior. George Foulides found that restoring it would be a prohibitively expensive undertaking. The three architects who met last Tuesday agreed. It is their view that the cost is too high, especially for a building that lacks any real design features that make it historically memorable.
So why not rebuild a replica in a Victorian style to mirror the nature of nearby houses? This approach has been discouraged consistently by heritage advocates. Victorian replicas have not worked elsewhere because they’re false imitations.
That leaves the third option. A building that has a contemporary quality but is not jarring or out of place in its context. Its size, brickwork, windows and doorways, and other exterior features will be appropriate to its location and its neighbours.
This is the choice that George Foulides is now pursuing and this consultative approach is the process that resulted in the pleasant new building at the corner of Aberdeen and Parliament.

Next week, another round of meetings will happen. We’ll keep you up-to-date.