Friday, 25 February 2011

Saturday’s Cabbagetown Square Dance
The ROTM square dance at St Simon Church (Parish Hall, 525 Bloor) happens on Saturday, February 26 from 6 to 10 pm. A cash bar and food are available as well. Music and calling are provided by Al Calhoun and Whiskey Jack. Tickets are available at the door. Inside Toronto has done a very informative article on ROTM’s program and its importance for our community in St James Town: For ten dollars, you can enjoy a great evening and lend a lot of support to this important initiative.

Just open – The Winchester Kitchen & Bar
Congrat’s to the new Winchester Kitchen & Bar – just opened at 51A Winchester, above the Stonegrill. This promises to be a great addition to our neighbourhood and the staff are already planning ways to welcome Cabbagetown groups for special events in their spacious room. There’s a great Facebook page at and a handy website at The room has kept its classic Art Nouveau design while introducing modern features throughout. The same is true for its menu – comfort foods with a modern sensibility. You’re invited to drop in on Wednesday, March 2 from 7 pm when they host a Grand Opening party with complimentary nibbles and bites.

So, you want some quick and easy pasta
Patty at The Epicure Shop (473 Parliament) has everything you need. This weekend, she has virgin olive oil from Italy at $9.99 (save $5 litre) and a new supply of ready-made scrumptious tomato sauce at $2.99/bottle (save $2 each). Of course, you can also get a full range of pastas. And when you need something sweet, she has Ontario maple syrup from the memorable 2010 vintage at $7.99 (for more savings of $2 each).

Cabbagetown Regent Park Museum
Last week, the museum opened an exhibition about policing in our neighbourhood from Victorian to modern times. It’s located in the lobby of 51 Division (51 Parliament). The ceremony included an appearance by Chief Bill Blair who has deep personal roots in our area where he walked the beat as a young officer in the 1970s. The public is welcome to view the exhibit and to check out the amazing lobby space at 51 Division.

CNH’s Third Annual Scrabble Tournament of Words
Central Neighbourhood House (349 Ontario) is hosting its third annual Scrabble tournament on Saturday March 26. They’re giving lots of advance notice so you can gather up your team (4 people) and collect your pledges ($25 per person). There’ll be prizes for the highest score and also for the person who collects the highest pledges. For more info, go to the new CNH website at

Fair Trade Jewelry
Ryan Taylor’s FTJco (523 Parliament) has been highlighted as a retailer of special note in NOW magazine. The current issue has a great story about Ryan’s “ethics and eco-friendliness” as a fair trade jeweler and his wonderful designs and craftsmanship. He’s also been collecting attention for his unique status as the only fairtrade-certified jeweler in North America and he recently appeared on CBC’s Hear And Now to talk about the meaning of this approach to his business.

More fun at Labour of Love
Regina has turned her attention to our four-legged feline friends with lovely results. Created by two industrial designers from Montreal, her cat tepee features a little home that can be decorated with different features so you can select and change your favourites – a dream catcher, feather, tomahawk, eagle and a bull’s head. Only $29. More details at 242 Carlton.

Kendall & Co
This week, Kendall is featuring a Bergere chair that’s a beautiful marriage of form and function. Check out their upholstery services where you can adapt their design ideas or develop a style all of your own. For more ideas, go to their website: 438 Parliament, just across from Spruce.

Host your party at Mylk Uncookies
Toni and Elaine have plans for your special event. Their room is a very pretty space that’s ideal for small and medium sized gatherings. Special occasion liquor permits can be arranged for you as well. Some groups have already been booking their meetings here. For more info, drop in and have a coffee (and a brownie – personally tested and highly recommended) while you discuss your arrangements. 253 Gerrard

Foxy has a huge sale
Michelle has announced that her store will close in mid-March. It’s a sad move but she’s determined to leave with a big splash. Her inventory is now on sale at deep discounts – up to 75% off during her closing sale. There’s a lot of stuff in store right now so you’ll be sure to find lots of good bargains. Handbags, sexy heels, comfy flats, new jewelry and lots more. Foxy Boutique, 251 Gerrard.

Butter Chicken gets NOW’s nod
NOW Magazine has given the Butter Chicken Factory (556 Parliament) a favourable review in their recent issue. “Virtually every subcontinental kitchen in town does a version of butter chicken but only this Cabbagetown cantina prepares three different versions…” Read the whole article at

Friday, 11 February 2011

A sizzling Valentine’s weekend

Red roses are the traditional way to say “I love you”
Tina at Simmons says, “They’re a meaningful gift, perfect for expressing your feelings for a loved one on Valentine’s day.” Of course, Simmons (540 Parliament) has lots of other colours available as well. They’re open the entire weekend, Saturday and Sunday, for your convenience – it’s a good idea to book your flowers early, especially if you want them delivered on Valentine’s day. (416) 920-6580.

Get over to Riverdale Park on Sunday afternoon
Central Neighbourhood House is sponsoring a Winter Fair to celebrate their 100th birthday. There’ll be free horse and carriage rides, live music, games, and giveaways. It’s a family event. Sunday, February 13, noon to 3 pm, Riverdale Park (Sumach at Carlton).

Make your own home-cooked sizzler.
Mark at St James Town Steak & Chops (Parliament) has two special treats for you – long stemmed strawberries dipped in chocolate and specially trimmed, heart-shaped tuna steaks.

Absolutely delicious
Absolute Bakery (589 Parliament) has become a popular stop for any Cabbagetowner who enjoys good baking. They have an amazing range of sweets and breads. Whether you want to start your day with a Danish and a coffee or end up with a gorgeous cake for dessert, they can handle your request.

Epicure has Valentine’s stuff – lots of it
For Valentine’s, Patty has cupcakes, ginger bread and Linzer hearts, fun-filled mugs (only $4.99) and Chocolate Claire’s chocolate lollipops. You can get a gift bag for only a loonie. For her weekend special, she’s offering stainless steel reuseable mugs at $7.95 - you’ll get a free coffee and a treat when you buy your mug. The Epicure Shop, 473 Parliament.

Daniel et Daniel have a special Valentine’s brunch feature.
Take a quick look at the menu and you’ll agree that it’s a cozy way to start your celebrations. In the food shop, they also have heart shaped cakes (large for 8 to 10 servings and individual small ones) and lots of Valentine’s sweets, cookies and chocolate strawberries. 248 Carlton

Sexy boots and hot dresses
Michelle at Foxy Boutique (251 Gerrard) has a whole new batch of sexy leather boots in wild colours. Some with fringes and some with studs. And hot dresses from strapless to all strapped up. By the time you get there, she’ll also have new jewelry, tops, skirts and sweaters. All of this at 50% off.

Cabbagetown Square Dance tickets available
Join this family-friendly event on Saturday, February 26, from 6 to 10 pm. Whiskey Jack and Al Calhoun will provide the music and the calls. There’ll be a cash bar, a light buffet and a raffle. Your $10 admission supports Reach Out Through Music, providing music and social opportunities for kids aged 6 to 14 living in St James Town. Tickets available at the door or at the BIA Office (237 Carlton) after February 22.

On February 14, your dog needs love too
Don’t just obsess about your beloved spouse. Think about your lovely canine pal. We all know that candy is dandy and liquor is quicker, but in some quarters, bones will make you a real hero. Kaelo at Menagerie Pet Shop (549 Parliament) has 3-pound packages in the fridge just waiting for you.

You’ve gotta give a gift …
Kendall & Co have a Valentine’s Day gift guide with suggestions for your budding romance and for your life-long love (or both, you rascals!) They have heart-shaped keepsake boxes, necklaces, jewelry cases, vases, candles and organic spa products. Plus, there are gift cards so your sweetie can get whatever. 438 Parliament across from Spruce.

And you need a card …
Labour of Love (242 Carlton) is Cabbagetown’s new card headquarters. Regina has a big selection of both Valentine and anti-Valentine cards. This is a time for both when we all have messages to send out to our heart’s delight and our worst enemies.

Where’s the HOP?
It’s gone, you say? Nope – just miraculously moved, right next door. Tania and Beau bought the building and they’ve spent a long time and lots of cash renovating it beautifully. Inside, their new location has window seats, a comfy dark-oak bar area, soft banquettes, lots of exposed brick walls, and the traditional, friendly HOP service. Their menu continues to offer the award-winning quality that’s made their gastropub a Cabbagetown destination. House on Parliament (454 Parliament).

Welcome to Young Thailand
Our newest restaurant has just opened at 446 Parliament and it’s a beauty. For everyone who enjoys Thai cuisine, this is a sure-fire destination. The room has been given a careful, elegant interior with white table cloths, lots of artwork, the big front window area and a complete makeover. This is Wandee Young’s third Toronto location. You can see menus and reviews at For takeouts, hours of operation and more information, call (416) 920-8424

Our restaurants have a scrumptious weekend ready for you
In fact, this year’s offerings are really interesting. You’ll find artichoke hearts, lobster fettuccini, chicken marsala, borsch, truffle wrapped veal tenderloin, grilled T-bone with a lobster tail, and coq au vin all listed among these enticing menus. We’ve also provided addresses, phone numbers and web site details.

At The Ben Wicks (424 Parliament), Valentine’s is a weekend-long celebration, starting on Friday and finishing on Monday night. This year’s dinner is a three course prix fixe at $27 per person. The choices are very interesting and, as always, well prepared. For appetizers, there’s escargot or a mixed green salad. Entrees include chicken marsala, roast butternut squash risotto with a lobster tail, and braised pork ribs. For dessert, there’s sticky toffee pudding, Guinness cake and butter tart pie. You can check it all out here: (416) 961-9425.

Big Mamma’s Boy (554 Parliament) has a lovely three course meal at $35/per person. Start off with warm artichoke hearts, oysters to share, shrimp cocktail or grilled asparagus and strawberry salad. For the main event, there’s Rowe Farm’s duck breast, New York striploin, stuffed red pepperAmazing and lobster fettuccini. The dessert selections include flourless chocolate cake, strawberry pomegranate crumble and lemon gelato with raspberries. For reservations, call Caroline at (416) 927-1593. For a full description, click here:

Cranberries (601 Parliament) has a unique selection for this year’s Valentine’s day menu. Borscht, arugula salad, or smoked salmon for your appetizer. Poached sea bass with crab risotto, grilled chicken breast with pappardelle pasta or horseradish crusted beef tenderloin for your main course. Poached pear for dessert. $39.99 each. There are special Valentine’s cocktails and a wide selection of coffees and liqueurs. (416) 925-6330

On Saturday and Sunday, JAMCafe (195 Carlton) has a five-course Valentine’s dinner for two at $90/couple. For a special treat, the a cappella quartet, JAMsession, will perform for you as well. Start with a lamb’s lettuce salad. Then there’s cauliflower soup or lobster ravioli. For your third course, there’s truffle flower fettuccini followed by prosciutto wrapped veal tenderloin. To finish there’s a dessert duo – tarte au citron along with chocolate mousse. JAM’s events regularly sell out, so reservations are a good idea: (416) 921-1255. Read all the yummy menu details here:

Merryberry (559 Parliament) is hosting their first evening dinner on Valentine’s. The theme is “Love Bites” – yes! – and there’ll be bite sized dishes and nibblies to share. To start, there’s a plate of soups and appetizers. Then come the mini-mains followed by a nice palate cleanser and on to the desserts. The raspberry tartufo hot chocolate is addictive. $29.50/each. (647) 348-0411

As always, Peartree (507 Parliament) has amazing choices for your three-course dinner. Prices depend on your selection. Appetizers include butternut squash & sweet potato soup, shitake mushroom & sun-dried tomato soup, and spinach salad. For your entrée, you can choose from a grilled T-bone with lobster tail, roasted rack of lamb, seafood classic, grilled black angus steak, roasted salmon, chicken supreme and sweet potato stuff angolati pasta. Desserts here are always a highlight – cherry cheese cake, chocolate truffle cake, carrot cake and apple or strawberry rhubarb pie. (416) 962-8190. For the details, go here:

Stonegrill (51B Winchester) has a truly beautiful dining room setting and wonderful menus to match – some items prepared for final finishing on a stone at your table and others prepared in the kitchen. This year, they’re offering dinner for two at $99. So you can pick any two choices from their appetizers, mains and desserts. For a start, there’s broccoli soup, Portobello mushrooms or caprese salad. Main courses include salmon, scallops, shrimp, tenderloin, and wild boar (all for the stone) and coq au vin or linguine primavera (from the kitchen). At dessert, there’s chocolate crème brulee or chocolate soup! You can read this enticing menu in full detail here: (416) 967-6565

Stout Irish Pub (221 Carlton) is our newcomer and this is their first Valentine’s event. It’s a goodie –a special dinner for two at $50/couple. You’ll start off with an arugula salad. For your second course, there’s a pound of mussels done in St Andre Vienna lager and bacon butter. For your entrée, there’s European sea bass, pecan and spinach stuffed chicken or a devil’s stew. Dessert features chocolate mousse or crème brulee. 647-344-7676.

No Newsletter next week.
For some unknown reason, there will be a gap in our service. We’ll be back in two weeks.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Big screens in C’town
Yup – Super Bowl is time for a fun crowd and a really big screen. So try The Ben Wicks (424 Parliament), Stout (221 Carlton), Athena (488 Parliament), House on Parliament (456 Parliament) and Cranberries (601 Parliament). All of them have great game-time munchies as well as a genial atmosphere and good brews. Yes, we all have favourite teams that we’re betting on – but here’s a harder question. What are your odds that the coin toss at the start of the game will come up heads?

Super Bowl this weekend
Patty’s got what you need for a great football party. Her baba ghanou and her spinach dip are both on sale at 99c/100g. She’s got lots more dips, spreads, pates, cheeses, nachos and desserts. You know that you can’t lose when you’re playing with Epicure Shop. 473 Parliament.

Musicent has a weekend workshop
Sharon Lee Williams at Musicent (555 Parliament) is holding a Hidden Treasure Weekend Workshop for musicians ages 16 and up on February 12 and 13. Musicent is a leading coaching facility specializing in pop, hip hop and R&B. They help to cultivate your skills for both live and in-studio performances. These workshops are small group experiences where students can safely open up, expand and advance in their skill development. For more information, visit and click on the Workshop button.

Whiskey at Big Mamma’s Boy
Caroline’s hosting a whiskey tasting on Monday, February 7 at 7 pm. There’ll be three single malts and a bourbon to enjoy. Add on a four-course meal and it’s a must-attend event for all whiskey lovers. $65/each. (416) 927-1593 for reservations. 554 Parliament

New vegetarian sandwiches
They’re on the menu now at Mylk Uncookies (253 Gerrard). Toni and Elaine have had lots of requests for them. Stop in and try one, then wash it down with a glass of house-made organic almond mylk. They recommend that you try your mylk in a cappuccino, a latte or a hot chocolate.

Diggity Dog at Pet Valu
Marilyn is back at Pet Valu (240 Carlton) on Saturday from 11 am to 4 pm to do her nail trimming for your pets. She’s been doing some work on Don Taggart’s dog Dudley – he’s just had a bath and a pawdicure. (Anybody who’s visited Nettleship Hardware knows that Dudley is a real charmer.) She’s reminding us that our dogs need to have their nails neatly trimmed in winter when they’re wearing their boots outdoors. Marilyn also trims nails for cats, rabbits and guinea pigs. It’s a bargain at $10.

Congratulations Merryberry
Cyril must be pleased with the warm reception that he’s had as Merryberry opens its doors. Across Cabbagetown, people have been very complimentary of his playful décor, warm hospitality and satisfying menu. Merryberry has just had a great review in the Toronto Coffee blog,

The Health Service Centre
Carol reports that their line of juicers has become a popular favourite. You can see for yourself at She recommends that you check out the info on the Hurom Juicers and there’s a Youtube video there for your enjoyment. 489 Parliament.

Neighbours for 100 Years
Central Neighbourhood House has been serving our community for a century. To celebrate, they’re holding events across eastern Toronto throughout the year. Their first free community event happens here in Cabbagetown. It’s a Winter Festival on Sunday February 13 in Riverdale Park from noon to 3 pm. There’ll be games, horse & carriage rides, toboggan rides and food and warm drinks. Save the date.

It must be Valentine’s. Things are getting sexier around here…

Kendall & Co have a love guide ...
It’s a Valentine’s Day Gift Guide – click here to view it You’ll find heart shaped keepsake boxes, handmade jewelry, vases, candles, organic spa products, and lots more. All of it can be beautifully gift wrapped for you. 438 Parliament across from Spruce.

And Daniel et Daniel want you to have breakfast in bed with two French guys...
Just order their "Breakfast in Bed” Valentine’s special. Their menu tells the whole story. To order your own, visit the food shop at 248 Carlton.

And at Labour of Love ...
Valentine’s is a big day (of course – with a name like this!). Regina has a wide range of Valentines and anti-Valentines cards plus a “Love Me Tender” music box. 242 Carlton.

Make a reservation at your favourite place.
Valentine is a busy holiday. We’re gathering menus for the special evenings that our restaurants will be offering next weekend for your Valentine’s enjoyment. We’ll list them here next week. Watch for details.

What a holiday!
We mentioned several times that Mark from St James Town Steak & Chops enjoyed a well-earned holiday a few days ago. He went to Florida and then on a cruise through the Caribbean. Of course, he took along his Cabbagetown Tee shirt. And he wore it when his family toured NASA’s Florida facilities.