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Staff Picks: 10 Cold-Weather Cocktails


photo by Emurray

It seems that winter has finally arrived in southern Ontario. To keep cozy, it’s wise to layer—a truism as applicable to cocktails as it is to sweaters and long johns. Go beyond the simple shaken-or-stirred and discover some of Toronto’s most flavourful artisan libations, guaranteed to give you a warming glow. (more…)

TIFF List: 10 Celeb-Approved Nosh Spots

The Toronto International Film Festival is ramping up for its 35th excellent year, with more than 300 movies showing between September 9 and 19. Follow this space in the days leading up to TIFF 2010 for features on much-anticipated premieres, the Bell Lightbox—the festival’s exciting new headquarters—and scads of sites at which to spot visiting celebrities. During the festival itself, we’ll bring you details on each day’s film offerings plus what to do before or after your screening.

Find out which famous patrons have been attracted to the fare at these top restaurants and cafés.

Tomorrow: The 2010 Toronto International Film Festival officially begins!

Top Sipping Spots

Toronto’s hottest season is in full swing; after so much sightseeing, you’re no doubt in need of refreshment. Pull up a patio chair or stop by a swanky lounge for a sophisticated cocktail, local microbrew and a tempting taste of city life. Click the images below to discover our favourite patios, drinks and more. By Marisa Baratta

Hot Dining: Ambitious Upgrade

King Street stalwart Brassaii has spruced up for spring with a new chef and an updated interior. The restaurant’s vast, historic warehouse space remains an exemplar of the industrial-chic aesthetic, but now offers a front-of-house café area—perfect for enjoying a morning coffee and fresh-baked Danish—plus such welcome decor enhancements as antique doors from Egypt, a reclaimed barn-wood accent wall, and a lighting feature made of old fire extinguishers. For lunch and dinner, the large open kitchen, now helmed by chef Bruce Woods (formerly of Centro), serves up a compelling mix of familiar elements and modern flair in such dishes as lobster ravioli ($24), roast ostrich ($32) and black cod with spiced mango coleslaw ($29).

Best of Brunch

Weekends are meant for leisurely pursuits, and a long, languid meal is an ideal way to spend time in Toronto. Relish comforting, familiar fare while soaking up the local ambience at these restaurants.

The Drake Hotel's Corner CaféDRAKE CORNER CAFÉ
THE SCENE Located in the deservedly hyped West Queen West hotel where the city’s hipsters (artists, musicians, style makers) gather to exchange cutting-edge ideas, it’s as much about the cultural substance as the sustenance here.
ORDER UP Pastry chef David Chow’s hand-rolled blueberry scones have been declared the city’s best by foodies and critics alike. The curious combo of chicken and herb waffles may raise eyebrows, but it’s a surprisingly savoury selection. And for sheer amusement, order one of the vibrantly coloured smoothies with equally bright names, such as the “raspberry beret” or “famous blue raincoat.”
GO Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Eggs Benedict at Le Papillon on FrontLE PAPILLON ON FRONT
THE SCENE Traditional Quebecois and French fare is the specialty at this Old Town staple. Bright, street-facing windows shed pools of light into a dining room with exposed brick, red leather-clad seats and pink floral banquettes.
ORDER UP Although the menu abounds with mains such as Atlantic salmon, steak frites and tourtière, Le Papillon was originally conceived as a creperie back in 1974. Choose from nine tantalizing concoctions, ranging from the regional crepe bourguignon (French beef ragout marinated in red wine from Burgundy) to veggie varietals like crepe aux asperges (asparagus and cheddar cheese in a béchamel sauce).
GO Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Frank<br>photo by Edward PondFRANK
THE SCENE At the Art Gallery of Ontario, this Frank Gehry-designed resto boasts walls paneled with Douglas fir—one of the architect’s trademark materials—and is furnished with minimalist Danish tables and chairs. A zigzag bar and an installation by famed American painter and sculptor Frank Stella set the vibe for cultured comfort cuisine.
ORDER UP Highlighting locally sourced ingredients, executive chef Anne Yarymowich’s menu has many mouth-watering dishes, including the roasted buttercup squash and cheddar souffle served with caramelized russet apples and an apple cider reduction. Satisfy your sweet tooth with the chocolate-espresso bread pudding served with brandied sour cherries and vanilla whipped cream.
Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

THE SCENE Housed in a converted turn-of-the-century warehouse, the interior upholds an airy feel with minimal adornment. Imposing, factory-sized windows bathe the room with light, casting flecks of shimmer off the stainless steel communal table that faces the open kitchen.
ORDER UP Tuck into a croissant with nutella and banana or get your caffeine fix with fresh doughnuts served with chocolate-espresso dip. Fortifying yourself for a big day? Try the Kentucky hot brown: bourbon-glazed turkey, French toast, double-smoked bacon and tomatoes served with béchamel sauce.
GO Saturday 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

And if the lineups are too long at those restaurants, fret not! There are dozens more eateries in the city that are eager to appease your appetite. Among them:

BONJOUR BRIOCHE Drop by this Leslieville boîte for flaky Parisian pastries and chocolate croissants that are worth the calories. (Tuesday to Sunday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

EDWARD LEVESQUE’S KITCHEN Be prepared to wait patiently at this Leslieville hot spot where locals line up early for the banana pancakes. (Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.)

Joy Bistro's Eggs TeddyJOY BISTRO Hungry hordes congregate at this yellow-fronted space for a gluttonous selection of eggy mains: Benedict, Benentine, Florentine, Norwegian and house-favourite Teddy (poached eggs, peameal bacon, grilled onions, spinach and tomatoes on an English muffin with hollandaise sauce). (Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

LE PETIT DÉJEUNER This small, bohemian bistro with sparkly green booths serves honest fare like light and crispy Brussels-style waffles and heavenly apple coleslaw. (Saturday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.)

OKAY OKAY This retro diner with all the trimmings—TVs with dials and worn leather booths—serves generous portions of fluffy blueberry and banana pancakes or eggs Brunhilde, a poached-egg dish with asparagus, smoked salmon, hash brown patties and horseradish hollandaise sauce. (Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

SWAN Red-leather stools, Formica tables and a vintage Coca-Cola cooler nod to the nostalgic diner ambience, while the small menu offers comforting omelette specials. (Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.)