Category Archives: Reviews

The Workshop by Latitude Review: cheese and wine lovers, prepare yourselves

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I recently finished reading “The Apprentice,” Jacques Pépin’s stunning autobiography. Among other important lessons he imparts in the novel, I loved how the classically trained Frenchman wrote without fear or arrogance about accepting an American style of dining. Food that tastes good is the objective, rather than strictly following scripted French techniques. Fussing over guests can be overwhelming for them, as well as for the host, but casual American service actually serves to put everyone more at ease.

So it was fitting that just days after putting the book down, I found myself having dinner at The Workshop by Latitude on Roncesvalles. Composed cheese plates are one of the restaurant’s core concepts. Accompanied by charcuterie and a glass of wine (or four — the wine list changes every couple of weeks, so you’ll always have a great variety), Workshop can feel very French and simply refined. But, like Pépin would recommend, the atmosphere is like dining in the home of an old friend. Service is knowledgeable but familiar. The music is soft (typically they play a lot of Beatles) and the candlelit romance of it all makes the place a perfect date or girls night spot. Whatever the occasion, you’re likely to lounge for hours, as I did. Though you may be luckier with the weather and get to enjoy their large, charming back patio. In all, Workshop is host to the kind of food and atmosphere that spurs deep conversation and the sharing of secrets.
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Chopped Canada S1E1 Review

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The credits begin! Chefs spin, smile, panic! Celebrity judges spit out soundbites, like Anne Yarymowich noting, “That was quite bland.” And, apparently, she wasn’t just speaking about the episode we’re about to watch unfold.

We’re greeted first by Dean McDermott and his old bags. No, I’m not talking about Tori Spelling. Seriously, the guy looks more sleepy than I feel after listening to Michael Smith’s voice. Continue reading

Playa Cabana’s new Photo-ready Resto

Can’t make yourself a piece of toast without Instagramming the shit out of it? Barrio Coreano will be your iPhone’s new favourite spot. Brought to you by the Playa Cabana empire (if it’s not too soon to call it that), the Mexican-Korean fusion restaurant actually dazzles with flashing lights and a dilapidated style that is ultra cool. As for cocktails, think ingredients like kimchi and yuzu being shaken and stirred into your sangria. Oh, and they serve pretty good tacos, too.

Click below for the photo gallery slideshow.
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Double Life: Experiencing the Visa Infinite Dining Series from both sides of the table

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This weekend brought to you by the Visa Infinite dining series.

I am an employee for Sunday’s brunch at Splendido, while on Monday I am a guest at the 10-course meal held at Buca in support of the University of Guelph’s honey bee research.

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Chopped Judge Showdown: Which Celebrity Chef’s Restaurant Will Prevail?

As much as I am a devotee of the Food Network, I do recognize that there is one serious flaw to food television. Though you can watch the dishes being created, hear the sizzle, identify every spice and technique going into it, you’re not able to taste the dish. Judges’ commentary and your imagination only go so far (the same can be said for reading someone else’s food writing, of course). And so, becoming a fan of a TV chef seems almost silly, as your affection can only be based on their personality and speaking ability, not who you know from experience cooks the most delicious meal.

In an attempt to justify my almost irrational fandom of Iron Chefs Alex Guarnaschelli and Geoffrey Zakarian, as well as Top Chef Masters winner Marcus Samuelsson, I used part of my recent trip to New York City to visit their respective restaurants: Butter, Red Rooster and The Lamb’s Club. Do these chefs, all of whom are judges on Chopped, practice what they preach? Is their food every bit as creative, their execution every bit as perfect on a daily basis as they expect from the contestants they judge? There’s only one way to find out.
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An Edible Family Tree

A tasting menu is the ultimate opportunity for a chef to show off. Perhaps a daring flavour combination, a challenging ingredient or a technique too time consuming for the regular hustle and bustle of a busy restaurant.
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For Claudio Aprile, the tasting menu event held at Origin Liberty on April 15th was both more grande and more meaningful than any one chef could have created on his own. Continue reading

Matt Pettit’s Rock Lobster Pop-Up Settles Down

NOTE: THIS WAS ORIGINALLY POSTED ON IMCHARMINGYOU.COM ON DECEMBER 13, 2012

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If you haven’t met Matt Pettit yet, you must be living under a rock.
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Deep Dish vs. Small Potatoes: An Assessment of The Grid and NOW Magazines’ Food Journalism

Originally posted on my Tumblr

Since September, I’ve been collecting every printed food-related page from both The Grid and NOW magazine, to analyze what makes our city’s biggest tastemakers tick.
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All Aboard Richmond Station

Originally posted on my Tumblr

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Richmond Station is going full steam ahead and those wise to the food scene should be jumping on the train immediately.

The restaurant is bigger than immediately obvious, its slight chef/co-owner Carl Heinrich having set the place up to be all business in the front, party in the back. Continue reading