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.