Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Your guide to entertaining and dining on New Year's Eve. You can stay home, go out to a bar or pub, enjoy some fine dining, have some takeout and get coffee and brunch on the morning after. It's all here.

Staying Home?
Seven businesses will help you make your evening perfect. Check them out here –

Absolute Bakery, 589 Parliament Street
Cabbagetown Organics, 499 Parliament Street
The Food Shop at Daniel et Daniel, 248 Carlton Street
The Epicure Shop, 473 Parliament Street
Simmons Flowers, 540 Parliament Street
St Jamestown Steak & Chops, 516 Parliament Street
Sweet Creamery, 521 Parliament Street

Going Out?
The Cobourg
, 533 Parliament Street (416) 913-7538
Grasshopper Bar, 460 Parliament Street (416) 323-1210
Underdown Pub, 263 Gerrard Street (416) 927-0444

Fine Dining
Ben Wicks, 424 Parliament St (416) 961-9425
Special a la carte menu with individually priced items. DJ John will perform from 9 pm. Main course specials include a rib eye steak, bouillabaise and roasted chicken breast. For dessert, there’s sticky toffee pudding or chocolate guinness cake.

Big Mamma’s Boy, 554 Parliament St (416) 927-1593
Three course prix fixe with a complimentary glass of bubbly at midnight. DJ starts at 11 pm. Shrimp cocktail, warm salad or mushroom soup. New York striploin, chicken pot pie or tuna steak. Flourless chocolate cake, trifle or Sweet Creamery gelato. $59.95

House on Parliament, 456 Parliament St (416) 925-4074
The HOP is moving and will be next door in 2011. So it’s “The Last Hurrah” here, a night to celebrate this spot without shedding too many tears for it.
Appetizers, salad, Wellington County beef tenderloin, pan-seared sea scallops, Ontario rack of lamb, dessert. Individually priced items or four-course prix fixe menu with complimentary Prosecco at $58.

JAMCafe, 195 Carlton St (416) 921-1255
Five course prix fixe menu. Curried lobster bisque, New Brunswick sturgeon gravlax with salad, duck confit soufflé and fois gras, veal tenderloin, dark chocolate mousse and lemon tarte. Specially chosen wines available for each course. $80.

Peartree, 507 Parliament St (416) 962-8190
Three-course prix fixe. Soup, salads, shrimp cocktail and calamari. Your choice of steak and lobster tails, tenderloin beef, seafood classic, sea bass, salmon, chicken breast or sweet potato ravioli. Six different desserts. From $19.99 to $24.99.

Provence Delices, 12 Amelia St (416) 924-9901
Four course prix fixe with a complimentary flute of champagne and amuse. Appetizers include marinated salmon and house chacuterie plate. Endive salad. Beef tenderloin, tuna or duck confit for entrees. Marquise au chocolat. $48.

Stonegrill, 51B Winchester St (416) 967-6565
Three course prix fixe. Soup, baby spinach salad or calamari. Main course choices: on the stone - salmon, swordfish, tiger shrimp, beef tenderloin, rack of lamb or striploin and from the kitchen - stuffed chicken supreme or butternut squash ravioli. Creme brulee, cheese cake or German chocolate layer cake. $50.

Pizza for your party
2-4-1 Pizza, 251 Parliament Street (416) 241-0241.
Justa Pizza, 553 Parliament Street (416) 927-7777
Peter’s Cajun Creole Pizza, Parliament Street (416) 368-8099
Pizza Pizza, 560 Parliament Street, (416) 967-1111

Grab ‘n Go
Gourmet Burger
, 482 Parliament Street. Burgers.
Takeout & eat in.
Lin’s Burgers, 296A Gerrard Street. Burgers, chicken.
Takeout & eat in.
Mr Sub, 296 Gerrard Street.
Subway, 531 Parliament Street.
Wing Machine, 443 Parliament Street (416) 961-1000.
Wings. Takeout, delivery & eat in.

Specialty Choices
, 200 Carlton Street (416) 962-6565.
Japanese, licensed.
Butter Chicken Factory, 556 Parliament Street (416) 964-7583.
Indian, licensed. Takeout & eat in.
China Gourmet, 235 Carlton Street (416) 515-0088.
Chinese. Takeout, delivery & eat in.
Ginger, 252 Carlton Street (416) 923-7979.
South Asian, licensed. Takeout, delivery & eat in.
Hamdi, 193 Carlton Street.
North African, Halel.
Margarita’s Mexican Fiesta, 229 Carlton Street (416) 929-6284. Mexican, licensed.
New Diamond,178 Carlton Street. Pakistani, Indian.
Tender Trap, 580 Parliament Street (416) 920-5147.
Chinese, licensed. Takeout, delivery and eat in.
Suruthi, 585 Parliament Street.
South Indian and Tamil. Takeout.
Thai to Go, 452 Gerrard Street (416) 515-8424.
Thai. Delivery.
Wow Philippines, 584 Parliament Street.

Coffee for the morning after
Coffee Time
, 541 Parliament Street
Jet Fuel, 519 Parliament Street
Mylk Uncookies, 253 Gerrard Street East
Starbucks, 490 Parliament Street
Tim Hortons, 537 Parliament St (at Winchester) & 581 Parliament St (Esso Station)

, 488 Parliament Street
Best Breakfast, 432 Parliament Street
Cranberries, 601 Parliament Street
Chew Chew, 186 Carlton Street
Johnny Gs, 478 Parliament Street
Merryberry, 559 Parliament Street

Friday, 17 December 2010

Santa’s weekend in Cabbagetown
Bring your pooch, your cat, your sweetie and any other pet you have for a photo with him. He’ll spend the noon hour at Pet Valu and the later afternoon at Menagerie Pet Shop. Our friend Eric Morse will again be the man behind the lens. Don’t miss this chance to create your pet’s personal masterpiece.
Saturday, December 18
Pet Valu – 240 Carlton, 11 am to 2 pm
Menagerie Pet Shop – 549 Parliament, 2:30 to 5:30 pm
Your photos: $10/set of three.

Have a sweet with Santa
By a special miracle, Santa can be in two places at one time. On Saturday and Sunday afternoons from 2 to 4 pm, he’ll be at Sweet Creamery (521 Parliament). Stop by for a sweet, a hot drink and a special visit.

Tuba time at the Ben Wicks
This is it – a major landmark on Cabbagetown’s social calendar - the afternoon when the best of the best gather to sip a pint, to sing their favourite carols and to melt in the warmth of the dulcet tones from the Sterling Brass. The Brass will perform at the Ben Wicks (424 Parliament) on Sunday from 3 to 6 pm. No cover charge. Be part of it all.

Patty has help
She’s brought in her entire family to handle the Christmas rush. No wonder - how can you say “no” to a cupcake when Vanessa’s offering it to you? She’s escaping the snow in London where she goes to school to join her family here for Christmas. Drop in to The Epicure Shop (473 Parliament) and get an introduction. And while you’re there, get a Christmas Gift Basket (tax free), some Summerfresh dips (buy one, get one free) and some La Sauvagine (the #1 cheese in Quebec).

Congratulations to JAM’s Av Atikian
In November, Av (chef at JAMCafe, 195 Carlton) was asked to join a team who prepared a VIP luncheon for 90 guests at the new Tibetan Cultural Centre. The Dalai Lama was there to dedicate the centre and teach some classes. Among the other chefs were Art Smith from the Food Network and Tal Ronen, a noted BC vegan chef, and cookbook author. From the photos that Av has sent us, it looks like a yummy day for everyone.

Welcome Toni and Elaine
Milk Uncookies is a lovely new coffee shop that’s just opened at 253 Gerrard offering coffee, baked goods and vegan specials. My own taste-testings have proven that the coffee is outstanding and so are the butter tarts. Toni and Elaine have transformed a rundown, tired little corner into this bright, comfortable spot. Finally, there’s a convenient place for all the caffeine addicts living and working near Gerrard and over by Sherbourne.

Underdown Pub is open
While you’re on Gerrard, drop in for a drink at Underdown Pub (263 Gerrard at Berkeley). This is a very comfortable room. In the summer, they’ll have a patio outdoors. Reports about the food from people who have already visited are very approving. The room will feature a different musician every night . You can see lots of photos, the menu and the weekly entertainers on the website: http://www.underdownpub.com/

Kendall & Co
It’s the last weekend before Christmas, so Kendall & Co are extending their shop hours to 8 pm for Friday and Saturday. Just in time for last-minute buyers, they have a ceramic “Princess and the Pea” coaster set. Drop in to the store and see what you can find for your holidays – 438 Parliament across from Spruce

Christmas Day at Cranberries
Cranberries (601 Parliament) always hosts a special Christmas Day dinner and it’s always well attended. This year’s event happens from 5 to 11 pm. It’s a four-course feast featuring soup, choice of a salad, turkey with mashed potato, fresh veggies, stuffing, cranberry sauce (of course) and gravy, followed by fresh apple pie and ice cream. All of that at $24.99

New Year’s Eve
Of course it’s early. Christmas hasn’t happened yet, but even so our local restaurants are already planning New Year’s Eve events to tempt you out of your house. Special menus and holiday extras are all being prepared. So far, we’ve heard from JAM (195 Carlton), Peartree (507 Parliament), Big Mamma’s Boy (554 Parliament), Stonegrill (51B Winchester), Ben Wicks (424 Parliament), House on Parliament (456 Parliament) and Provence Delices (12 Amelia). We know that The Cobourg and Underdown will be having special events as well. Next week, we plan to give you a complete list and we also plan to distribute a brochure to our neighbourhood. If you’re planning an evening out, then call your favourite spot for a reservation now.

Win a Fiat 500
Baci is the Italian way to say ‘I love you’. Baci Chocolates are sponsoring a contest to win this lovely little car. Patty Junior from The Epicure Shop (473 Parliament) invited the Baci Ambassador to visit Cabbagetown on Friday to draw our attention to the contest. Just figure out how many Baci will fit inside the Fiat and then enter your estimate on-line at http://baciperugina.ca/contest.html The draw takes place on Valentines.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Christmas in Cabbagetown

SOUP sale
This is the weekend for SOUP’s Christmas craft sale (603-1/2 Parliament). Be sure to drop in and browse through the paintings, jewelry, handmade cards, accessories and crafts. There are plenty of selections across a wide price range for your Christmas gifts and your own pleasures. SOUP is also a fascinating place to visit – the businesses there include computer wizards, design experts, a yoga studio and a gardening non-profit. Be sure to ask about them – the SOUP people love to talk.

Saturday – the Cabbagetown Community Youth Choir
Daniel Eby and the kids from the Cabbagetown Community Arts Centre (424 Parliament) will be performing on Saturday from 1 to 4:30 pm at the corner of Carlton and Parliament. Join them and enjoy an outdoor afternoon of Christmas carol singing.

Santa’s gonna be busy
Next weekend, Santa has a heavy schedule. Bring your pets for a photo with Santa. From 11 am to 2 pm at Pet Valu (240 Carlton) and from 2:30 to 5:30 pm at Menagerie Pet Shop (549 Parliament).

Santa at Sweet Creamery
By magic, Santa will also appear at Sweet Creamery (521 Parliament) on Saturday and on Sunday afternoon next weekend from 2 to 4 pm. It’s also a good time to try special seasonal gelato flavours that Santa has prepared – ginger bread, eggnog, candy cane and pumpkin pie.

Bob & Glen are having a party
Bob Rae and Glen Murray invite you to a neighbourhood drop-in at Winchester School (15 Prospect) on Sunday December 12 from 11 am to 2 pm. Everyone is welcome. There’ll be lots of activity and plenty of opportunity to meet our elected representatives and give them your best seasons’ greetings.

Merryberry café + bistro
A cozy and very charming new café has just opened at 559 Parliament, just south of the gas station. Cyril and Nimmi have designed a very light, whimsical room and their menu is equally interesting. They’re open daily for breakfast and lunch. I joined John Jay (from The Cobourg) there for lunch today and enjoyed a Mediterranean stew and an egg salad sandwich – delicious. On the weekend they’re emphasizing a brunch menu and they’re open from 9 am to 5 pm. This weekend, they’ll have their regular menu plus a selection of salmon dishes to highlight today’s arrival of fresh Atlantic salmon.

A new manager at Starbucks
A warm welcome to Semret who’s the new manager at our Starbucks (492 Parliament). She’s been here for a few weeks now. She’s worked for Starbucks for seven years and her last assignment was in the financial district. She’s been fully informed about the heartening progress toward an outdoor patio along Aberdeen which we hope can be opened by the Spring (and many thanks to residents there who voted almost unanimously in favour of the patio location.) Semret has reminded us that Starbucks has a toy and food drive underway on behalf of the Yonge Street Mission – you can drop off your donations at the store.

Kendall adds a new staff member
Meet Roxie – Kendall’s new personal assistant. He’s training her in customer service and she’s very enthusiastic. She’s made friends immediately with everyone else on staff. She keeps her ear to the ground and her nose to the grindstone. For the holiday season, Kendall & Co (438 Parliament across from Spruce) have extended their store hours to 8 pm every Friday and Saturday. Be sure to check out their gift guide at http://kendallandco.ca/fyi/holiday/holiday-gift-guide/

JAMCafe hosts Rosewood Winery
JAM is hosting Rosewood Winery for a tasting of their premium Ontario boutique wines. There’ll be seven wines and some surprises and a chance to talk to the winemakers. Av Atikian will prepare a special selection of his hors d’oeuvres to match each wine as it’s presented. Read about all the wines and the menu here: http://www.jamcafe.net/events JAM’s wine tastings are often sold out so reservations are a good idea (especially at this time of the year!) Call (416) 921-1255. Wednesday December 15, 6:30 pm, 195 Carlton.

Barracuda’s pre-Christmas sale
Most of the inventory in Barracuda (527 Parliament) is now offered on sale, just in time for your Christmas gift-giving. There are lots of great bargains in glass wares and accessories. These beautiful brass leaves, for example, are only $20 (small), $30 (medium) and $45 (large).

Baby’s skincare products
Lennie’s Health Centre (489 Parliament) now carries a natural chemical-free skincare line from Sprout Botanicals. Gentle soaps, salves, natural bug sprays and sunscreens – all for babies and anyone with sensitive skin. Dr Aileen Lim-Trotter is a Naturopathic doctor (and a Cabbagetown homeowner!) and she developed the formula for these products. She’s telling Alex all about their good qualities. You can learn the details at http://www.sproutbotanicals.com/

Peter’s Cajun Pizza
The next few weeks get really hectic. Give yourself a break. Let Peter do the cooking and deliver one of his lovely pies right to your door. He’s got New Orleans Cajun, traditional, and gourmet recipes plus a nice selection of pasta, sandwiches, salads, panzerotti and wings. You can see his menu and prices at his web site, http://www.peterscajunpizza.ca/ You can also just drop in and enjoy his bright cheerful restaurant at 415 Parliament.

Another charming tour
The folks on Aberdeen Avenue and in Cabbagetown South have designed a tour for a small group of people to view festive trees in three Cabbagetown homes. The theme is Victorian Trees in Cabbagetown. It happens from 7 to 9 pm on Saturday December 18. There’s no charge. Donations are being accepted for the new Cabbagetown Regent Park Museum. For more information, http://www.cabbagetownsouth.ca/

The Epicure Shop is full of Christmas stuff
Patty has really done her best to make your Christmas meals a great success. She’s got black or white truffle oil, foie gras, 25-year old balsamic vinegar and the best olive oil in the world. To bring you into the store, she's offering all her boxed chocolates at $1.00 off (plus, she’s paying the tax). And, on top of all of this, cheese lovers will really want the Fifth Town lines from Prince Edward County – Cape Vessy, Lighthall Tomme and Quinte Crest. 473 Parliament.

Advance notice
You can win a car from Baci, the Italian chocolate company. The Epicure Shop is bringing the car to Carlton and Parliament from 1 to 4 pm on Friday December 17. Visit the car to find out how to enter the contest.

World Jazz for Haiti
Number 9 Audio has produced a two-disk album that features 23 outstanding artists from around the world. Net proceeds from the sale will be donated to the Canadian Red Cross to help, its aid efforts in Haiti. The music is awesome and the cause is memorable. Albums can be purchased for $25 at the BIA office (237 Carlton) or at Number 9 (222 Gerrard). So far, over half of the $10,000 target has been raised – many thanks to those who’ve contributed.

No guilt at Organics
Cabbagetown Organics (499 Parliament) has guilt-free cookies – no butter, low sodium, nut free and dairy free. They’re available in several flavours, ginger and spice, lemon and granola. (Even though Fernando is bragging about these cookies, he secretly admits that he really loves butter…) If you drop in on Saturday, try some samples of Eva’s oils and balsamic vinegars and on Sunday, there’ll be some samples of Sarafino oils. And you can still check out their wide selection of good Christmas candy and chocolates.

Hi Tech Seven
One of Cabbagetown’s computer hubs, Hi Tech Seven (453 Parliament) now also offers world-wide delivery services. Nurul has become an authorized shipper for both FedEx and DHL. It’s a nice mixture. Some countries won’t allow FedEx to operate, so the DHL link adds to your international shipping options. While you’re there, check out his fine line of computers and accessories.

Good ideas at Church Street Winery
In fact, there’s plenty to celebrate. Gunnar has gift certificates – a perfect present for wine enthusiasts in your family. Give the gift of winemaking this Christmas.

Cycle Solutions sale
Kale has been renovating his store (444 Parliament) and he’s holding a super renovation sale to clear away space and get ready for next year. All of his 2010 bikes are available at 20% off and most of his in-stock parts and accessories are offered at 25% discounts. These are great bargains. You can see all of this at his spiffy website, http://www.cycle-solutions.com/

Me To We Store
InsideToronto has just published a nice story about our new Me to We Store (225 Carlton). If you’re curious about the way that Me to We fits in with Free the Children, you can read it here: http://www.insidetoronto.com/news/business/article/913855--gifts-information-all-part-of-the-me-to-we-store-experience

Impulse 2010
See tomorrow’s contemporary dancers today! The School of Toronto Dance Theatre is mounting works by Valerie Calam, Allison Cummings, Michael Trent, Danny Grossman and Sharon B Moore. $19 general admission and $15 students, seniors etc. For more information, http://www.schooloftdt.org/ and (416) 967-6887. Performances happen this weekend through to Saturday, December 9 – 11, at 8 pm at 80 Winchester.

Coming soon – the Cabbagetown Christmas concert
The Sterling Brass concert at the Ben Wicks is one of the big highlights on our annual Christmas calendar. It’s not to be missed. There’ll be a chance to join in the caroling, to bask in the glories of a tuba concerto and to marvel at the splendors of Handel’s Messiah. All of this and the cozy warmth of the Wicks as well. No cover charge, Sunday December 19, 3 to 6 pm, 424 Parliament.

Fire at 456 Parliament
There’s good news about the businesses affected by the fire last month. Of course, House on Parliament (456 Parliament) reopened almost immediately. Next door, Grasshopper has opened as well. Upstairs, Superstein staff aren’t worried – they have more renovations with the drywall and fixtures before they’re ready but progress is satisfying. Graham at Capability Brown continues to work from House of Dumont (200A Carlton) and he’s informed his customers to expect that he’ll be there for a while yet.

So what’s happening here?
The Salvation Army’s Warehouse Mission is moving into new office space above Ginger at Carlton and Parliament. They plan to use the third floor for office space, teaching, counseling and worship. The Warehouse Mission is named after a small coach house located on a laneway at Wellesley and Parliament. The building is owned by Toronto Community Housing and the Salvation Army is one of several community groups using the space. It’s in heavy demand and quite small so this move to new quarters above Ginger gives the congregation a welcome expansion.