Archive for the 'organic / vegetarian / vegan' Category

Gandhi’s Roti and other Roti Restaurants in Toronto

contact July 24th, 2014

roti restaurants in toronto canada
A definite hole-in-the-wall favorite roti restaurant of local Torontonians in the know. You’ll find East Indian roti. The butter chicken and chicken jalfrizi rotis are some of the best you’ll sample in Toronto. I’m drooling now.

Gandhi’s Roti
554 Queen West, Toronto
Toronto ON M5V3P2
(416) 504-8155

Other rotis in Toronto: Roti Hut on Pitfield, Tarin Roti Shop on Gerrard east of Parliament in Regent Park, Patty King on the south side of Baldwin, Blue Water on Vic Park n of Eglinton, Island Foods at King and Dufferin, Bacchus and Ali’s on Queen West, and Roti Lady in Parkdale, Drupati’s at 925 Albion Road, Roti Roti on Islington, Alima’s, Village on the Grange on Dundas and University, Don Mills on Don Mills north of Lawrence, Caffeteria at the Bay at Yonge & Queen, Coconut Grove, Dundas east of University, Mona’s in Scarborough, Pam’s Kitchen, Brendan’s Roti Garden, on Hayden just south of Bloor, Ritz Caribbean Food on Yonge Street, Danforth Roti in East York on Danforth, Roti King on Eglington W between Dufferin and Oakwood, Caribbean Queen of Patties on Bloor just east of Lansdowne.

Featured City: Toronto

contact June 28th, 2014

Make sure to head over to concierge where they’ve featured our favorite Canadian city of Toronto. Here’s what they say about Toronto in a nutshell:

“* It’s a chowhound’s paradise, with everything from Nigerian to Laotian, Moroccan to Azerbaijani food

* An architectural renaissance is transforming the skyline with additions by Daniel Libeskind and native son Frank Gehry

* Toronto has become one of the most ethnically diverse cities on the continent, with lively neighborhoods, festivals, and restaurants to match

* The Eaton Centre. It’s a big suburban-style mall with all the wrong kinds of shopping

* When to go to Toronto: May, June, September, October”

More here

Eco Wedding & Lifestyle Show, Toronto

contact June 18th, 2014

eco wedding and lifestyle show toronto canada
The Eco Wedding & Lifestyle Show will help the discerning couple make purchasing choices that have a lighter impact on the environment without sacrificing style and joy. It’ll provide couples with a place to meet both non-traditional vendors who offer these alternatives, and established, traditional vendors who are excited about the changes being made in their organizations to create a sustainable example.

Eco Wedding/Bridal Show
March 1 & 2, 2008
at the Design Exchange
234 Bay Street
Toronto Ontario M5K 1B2 Canada
10am to 7pm
Website: Eco Wedding Show

Gluten Free Restaurants in Toronto

contact May 13th, 2014

From ryerson.ca:

Annapurna, 1085 Bathurst Street (south of Dupont), Toronto, Ontario, M5R 3G8, 416.537.8513

Annapurna is a South Indian/Sri Lankan vegetarian restaurant inspired by Sri Chinmoy. Its specializes in Southern Indian poori-based vegetarian dishes, an amazing number of which are gluten-free. Annapurna is an economical and very casual restaurant that also offers take-out and catering. Masala Dosai, made of rice and lentil flours, is only $5.99. All milk ingredients are clearly indicated, and many of the dishes are dairy-free. The staff is able to provide accurate information about ingredients, and could even answer my question about cross-contamination of fried foods.

Biryani House
, 25 Wellesley Street East, Toronto, Ontario, M4Y 2S9 & 6 Roy’s Square, Toronto, Ontario, M4W 2Y2, 416.927.9340

Now Magazine says: “this hole in the wall has morphed into an almost classy boite dishing up some of the best Indian food south of the 401…and it’s still dirt cheap.” Biryani House has opened a new location just just off Yonge Street, at Wellesley, and has kept it Roy’s Square location. The food is really excellent, and I have been able to confirm ingredients with no trouble. In my experience, none of the curries contain any wheat. As usual, please ask.

Café Next Door, 790 Broadview Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, 416.469.1971

Café Next Door is operated by Magic Over (see listing below). The owner informed me that the menu features vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and wheat-free options for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch.

Le Commensal, 655 Bay Street (at Elm Street), Toronto, Ontario, M5G 2K4, 416.595.9364; fax 416.596.9365

Le Commensal is a pay-by-the-weight vegetarian restaurant in downtown Toronto. The menu promises no preservatives or additives, and dishes are labeled V (vegan), O (egg), and L (dairy). The wait staff has a list of gluten-free items, and happily walked me through the buffet to show me which dishes were gluten-free. Ingredients like wheat and dairy are also indicated on the back of the dish label. For eat-in buffet menu, take-out menu, Toronto.com editorial, and review click here.

Il Fornello (several Toronto and area locations)

Il Fornello offers selections from an Alternative Menu: gluten-free pasta, gluten-free pizza crust, and gluten-free bruschetta are available, but call ahead because selections differ at each location.

Fox and Fiddle, 535 Danforth Ave, Toronto, Ontario, M4K 1P7, 416.462.9830; fax 416.462.3132

The Fox and Fiddle Pub used to be owned and operated by Dennis Hansen, a Celiac. They used to prepare a range of gluten-free items, such as chicken wings and fish and chips in a dedicated deep fryer. I am unsure about the status of the menu now that he is no longer the owner.

Fressen, 478 Queen Street West, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2B2, 416.504.5127

Fressen offers a completely vegetarian cuisine sensitive to many food allergies and intolerances. Several GF menu items were available during my visit (I really should go back, ’cause it’s been a while). Please note that Fressen also serves the usual fair of gluten-laden items. Editorial profile and review at Toronto.com.

Indian Flavour, 595 Bay Street (at Dundas, in the Atrium on Bay), Toronto, Ontario, M5G 2C2, 416.408.2799; fax 416.408.3651; cell 416.885.5080

As with the majority of Indian restaurants, most of the food is wheat-free and gluten-free. I have confirmed this on my visits. Indian Flavour uses no commercially-prepared sauces, and avoids MSG and other additives. The menu includes a good selection of vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. The most popular option is probably the lunch buffet, which offers a minimum of seven dishes. Toronto Life calls Indian Flavour ” Toronto’s most successful Indian self-serve.” ZagatSurvey gives praise for this restaurant’s “great vegetarian menu.”

Indian Rice Factory, 414 Dupont Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5R 1V9, 416.961.3472

The menu asks customers to advise wait staff of any allergies. Pakoras are made with 100% chick pea flour; Papadums are made with 100% lentil flour; no wheat products are present in any curry or sauce (please verify this information when you call the restaurant: you may also want to inquire about cross-contamination). The Factory has a small, but nice, patio out back. See Toronto.com for description or Tordine.com for a brief review.

Island Grill, 3434 Weston Road (at Finch), Toronto, Ontario, M9M 2W1, 416.742.9200

Thank you to Randy for telling me about the Island Grill, a Jamaican restaurant with several gluten-free dishes. Although some dishes contain wheat four, most of the beef, pork, chicken, and fish dishes are GF, and apparently quite good too. The restaurant is owned by Patrick Lyn.

Juice for Life (now called Fresh by Juice for Life) 336 Queen Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2A2, 416.599.4442; 894 Queen Street West, Toronto, Ontario, 416-913-2720; 521 Bloor Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 1Y4, 416.531.2635

Good for juice and shakes, but not so good for food. Juice for Life is a completely vegetarian juice bar with food counter. Milk and cheese products are clearly labeled, and the menu promises no hidden milk ingredients in any dishes. Unfortunately, most dishes–even Rice Bowls–contain wheat products (usually tamari or soy sauce). You can find a few gluten-free items, especially salads, but the choices are slim. The vast array of juices and shakes, however, may make Juice for Life useful. You may be able to make a special request for a rice bowl without the offending ingredients.

Kensington Natural Bakery, 460 Bloor Street West, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 1X8, 416.534.1294

Kensington Natural Bakery (in business since 1980) is a pay-by-weight vegetarian cafe offering dishes free of sugar and preservatives. You may choose from a variety of pre-made dishes in the display case, which are then heated in a microwave. Many dishes are gluten-free. Almost everything would be gluten-free but for the presence of barley syrup or malt syrup (used as sugar substitutes) in many dishes. Despite this, there are several GF dishes to choose from. The cafe also specializes in dairy-free, wheat-free, and yeast-free baking, but keep in mind that none of its baked products are gluten-free. Freshly squeezed juices and herbal teas are also available.

Magic Oven (2 locations): 788 Broadview Ave., Toronto, Ontario, M4K 2P7, 416.466.0111; and 127 Jefferson Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M6K 3E4 416.539.0555, feedback@magicoven.com

Described as the “best pizza this side of Italy” by the National Post, and among the city’s best by Toronto Life, Magic Oven offers a gluten-free rice flour pizza crust – now available by the slice. The restaurant also caters to other dietary requirements by offering a wheat-free (but not gluten-free) spelt crust, a yeast-free whole wheat crust, as well as dairy-free and organic cheeses. A large selection of vegetarian toppings are available. Magic Oven delivers to the Danforth, Riverdale, Cabbagetown, and Rosedale areas and to Liberty Village, Parkdale, Harbourfront, Downtown, Annex, and Roncesvalles from its Jefferson Ave location. See catering section, below, for Magical Catering.

Magic Oven has recently opened Café Next Door. See listing above for more details.

Megas Restaurant, 402 Danforth Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M4K 1P3, 416.466.7771

This is a recommendation from Rod. He syas: “The Greek food is excellent and there are many gf choices as well as lactose free meals possible.” I haven’t been there yet.

Messis, 97 Harbord Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 1G4, 416.920.2186

Messis is located very close to the University of Toronto’s downtown campus. I have managed to get a gluten-free meal every time I have dined there. I doubt if there are ever any vegetarian gluten-free items, but you may want to check. See a brief description at Tordine.com.

Mong-Kut Thai, 596 Danforth Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M4K 1R1, 416.463.2667; fax 416.463.2678

Mong-Kut, located in Greek Town, offers eat-in, take-out, and delivery. I have never visited this restaurant, but the owner has asked me to ad it to this page. If you dine there, please tell me about your experience. The website has a full menu.

New York Fries, various locations, including two in the Eaton Centre.

NYF is my emergency lunch (when I haven’t brought anything and I am rushed for time). According to Celiac Canada’s Fast Food Fries list, which includes some information on toppings, NYF are fine. I think the staff at the Eaton Centre’s north location is beginning to recognize me. A listing of Ontario locations is available here.

El Palenque, 653 St. Clair Avenue West (east of Christie), Toronto, Ontario M6C 1A7, 416.656.0725; fax 416.656.3757

El Palenque, a family-owned business, bills itself as an “Authentic Mexican Restaurant.” While the waitress was not familiar with Celiac Disease or gluten, she was able to confirm the ingredients of several dishes. Reservations are recommended, but just be sure not to accept a seat in the basement. Even if you are not afflicted from claustrophobia, you’ll run away screaming and agitated before you ever get to taste the food. (There is a second location, which I have never visited: 9 Milvan Avenue (Weston Road and Finch), Toronto, 416-740-9718). Now has a lengthy review. See my recent (short) post on my blog about this place.

Royal Thai Garden Restaurant, 524 Bloor Street West, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 1Y3, 416.536.6868

I have ordered from this restaurant many times, usually when we are too tired to cook. Verifying ingredients may be a challenge, depending on when you call and if the person who answers speaks English well-enough. If you can get “no wheat” written on your order, you should be fine. You may get a better explanation while dining in, but I haven’t done that in a very long time. A brief review is available here.

Salad King, 335 Yonge Street (entrance off Gould), Toronto, Ontario, M5B 1R7, 416.971.7041, asyliu@yahoo.com

This Thai restaurant is a frantically busy operation, because it sits on the fringe of the Ryerson University Campus, and is close to Yonge & Dundas, Toronto’s busiest intersection. Salad King recently renovated, so it is no longer quite so loud and uncomfortable. I include it because I can see it from my office window :-) Both the menu and a large red sign at the cash ask customers to alert staff to any food allergies. In my experience, the staff are aware of ingredients and can make recommendations. If you want to talk to the chef, you would be advised to go as early as possible, or wait for the small drop in traffic after lunch and before the evening students descend. You might want to read my recent entry on the blog about Thai food.

Swiss Chalet, (various locations: try SW’s Restaurant Locator), 1.800.860.4082

Swiss Chalet operates more than 180 restaurants in Canada and selected parts of the USA. The menu focuses on rotisserie chicken, but other dishes are available. Please read the Allergy Information fact sheet before dining. The allergy information seems comprehensive (it includes nuts, dairy, eggs, fish, shellfish, soy, wheat & glutens, sesame, and sulphites) but you may want to make further inquires when you arrive.

Tiger Lily’s Noodle House, 257 Queen Street West, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 1Z4, 416.977.5499

Tiger Lily’s is located on the east end of the trendy Queen Street West area, a few steps from the City-tv headquarters. The restaurant is able to make most of its dishes GF by substituting rice noodles and GF Tamari. When I visited, the wait staff serving my table was friendly and knowledgeable about gluten. Eye has a short review. Here is another short review.

Town Grill, 243 Carlton Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5A 2L2, 416.963.9433; fax 416.963.9303

As reported in the March 2002 issue of the Gluten-Free Press (newsletter of the Canadian Celiac Association’s Toronto Chapter), David McGann, chef of the Town Grill, spoke about the difficulties in preparing GF meals and some important issues in food preparation that we should be aware of. The good news is that he is eager to serve Celiacs and welcomes us at his restaurant–called one of the best in Toronto, by Cabbagetown Corners

El Trompo
, 277A Augusta Avenue (at Oxford), Toronto, Ontario, M5T 2L4, 416-260-0097

Hilary recommended this Mexican restaurant in Kensington Market. Now recently gave this restaurant three Ns (out of five), saying that it “pumps out first-rate southern Mexican street food without the Tex-Mex watering-down.”

Sushi Restaurants
Toronto has dozens of Japanese restaurants. I have only listed the two that I am most familiar with. Your best strategy is to follow the advice on Japanese restaurants in Jax Peters Lowell book, Against the Grain. For those requiring more information, I recommend that you read this extremely interesting posting on the Celiac Listserv regarding Sushi and gluten. There are probably better Japanese restaurants in Toronto, but I haven’t visited them yet.

Dr. Sushi, 26 Roy’s Square (Yonge & Bloor), M4Y 2W2, 416.929.3435; fax 416.929.9262

Dr Sushi is a tiny hole-in-the-wall near the busy corner of Yonge & Bloor. This place is small and unattractive, but the food is good, and it is close to where I work. In the summer, you can find a table in Roy’s Square. Dr. Sushi also delivers. As you know, bring your own wheat-free soy or tamari sauce.

Sushi on Bloor, 515 Bloor Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 1Y4, 416.516.3456

An extremely popular and very busy sushi restaurant in the Annex. A reservation is recommended (update: they have just expanded and opened up the second floor). Delivery is available. Sushi on Bloor offers a casual dining experience. If you sit at the back, you can watch the chefs prepare the food, and maybe even have a conversation with them. Read Toronto.com’s editorial and review.

Ice Cream

Baskin-Robbins, (various locations around the city)

Publishes LifeStyles 2000 Consumer Information Guide, an eight panel pamphlet that addresses special diet needs and nutrition, food sensitivities and allergies. Baskin-Robbins claims to be the first Canadian retailer of ice cream, and other frozen desserts, to offer customers the Canadian Diabetes Association Food Choice Value symbols. Each product is labeled with an information strip containing important ingredient details. Wheat and gluten content is indicated along with egg, sulfites, nuts, lactose, etc. The symbol for wheat and gluten indicates the presence of “flour, wheat, oats, oatmeal, oat bran, graham, wheat germ, starch, malt and derived ingredients.” (Each BR location usually has one sorbet that is dairy-free & gluten free). An independent laboratory prepares all of the nutritional information. More information is available by calling 1.800.268.4923.

Dairy Queen, (various locations; try DQ’s store locator); contact address in Canada is: 905 Century Drive, Burlington, Ontario,
L7L 5J8, 905.639.1492

DQ has an allergy information page, including a short page about gluten in its products. It is probably wise to discuss ingredients in your local franchise.

Catering

The Big Carrot, Natural Food Market, 348 Danforth Ave., Toronto, Ontario M4K 1N8, 416.466.2129, fax 416.466.2366 (see retail store listings for description).

The Big Carrot can cater a gluten-free lunch or dinner buffet. A description is available on its catering page.

In Her Hands Vegetarian Cooking Service, 416.696.6566; vegmeals@idirect.ca

Prepares low fat, low salt foods free of peanuts, eggs, dairy, gluten and vinegar.

Just Eat It Vegetarian Cooking Service, 905.881.9463

Provides low fat meals that can be vegan and gluten-free.

Kilgour’s Party Platters, 220 Industrial Parkway South, Aurora, Ontario, L4G 3V6, 905.751.1455; fax 905.713.1715; info@kilgours.com

This company will cater all kinds of parties and social gatherings. It offers standard party platters and can provide gluten-free platters as well. Visit their website for lots more information.

Kosher, Naturally, 905.770.0646; fax 905.770.3623; kosher@rogers.com

All dishes are dairy-free, nut-free, kosher, and mostly organic. They can accommodate special diets for those with allergies or food sensitivities. I am unsure if this includes gluten-free.

Magical Catering, 788 Broadview Ave., Toronto, Ontario, M4K 2P7, 416.466.0111, event@magicalcatering.com

From the Magic Oven people, this catering service can supply “organic foods, gluten or wheat free foods, vegan or religious requirements.”

Vegan Delights, 416.491.6781

Makes baked vegan food with no hydrogenated fats or refined sugars. Many items are wheat free, but I am not sure if this means gluten-free.

Wholly Macro Food, 416.463.1467

Prepares organic vegan meals. Wholly Macro is sensitive to allergies and food intolerances.

[source: ryerson.ca]

Green Earth Organics – Fresh Organic Food Delivered to Your Home or Office

contact May 7th, 2014

blueberries
Green Earth Organics offers up an excellent and amazing service. Once or twice a week, they deliver to your home or office boxes of organic fruits and vegetables and other organic foods. There are three box sizes to choose from Harvest $36, Family Harvest $46, and Super Harvest $60. The contents of the boxes change on a weekly basis (due to seasonal changes). But you can also call the weekend hotline at 416-285-5300 or visit their website, to hear what is in your box ahead of time and make any substitutions you’d like when available. A great and obvious option: when you sign up for their service you can let them know which items you never want to receive, and order items you prefer.

All deliveries are done on the same day every week. Deliveries take place in the evening, 2pm. – 9pm.

Green Earth Organics buys locally grown produce whenever possible and 10% of their profits go to various non-profit groups around Toronto.

Give them a call or sign up online so you can order organic food and have it delivered to your door.

Green Earth Organics
3 – 70 Wade Ave
Toronto,Ontario
Canada. M6H 1P6
Tel: 416.285.5300
24 Hour Hotline: 416.532.2713

The Magic Oven

contact April 16th, 2014

the magic oven pizza
Yummy pizzas in Toronto. Period. They offer organic spelt pizzas, wholewheat pizzas with sprouted grains, gluten free riceflour pizzas with vegan and lactose free cheese. Yay!

About the Magic Oven
Magic Oven was born in 1997. The first location at Broadview and Danforth in Toronto was a huge success. Winning the Best Pizza, Best New Restaurant and Favourite Lunch Place in the NOW Magazine’s Readers poll. That was just the start of the media attention Magic Oven has received. Further coverage by CityTV, Rogers Cable, As The World Turns, National Post, Toronto Star, Toronto Life, Cheap Eats, WHERE Toronto, Globe and Mail, CBC Television, Entertainment Tonight, Breakfast Television, FoodTv Canada, Rogers Daytime, Toronto Dining, Patron Picks, Get Stuffed in Toronto, Vitality Magazine has kept Magic Oven in the news.

Magic Oven was featured on the cover of the Canadian Pizza Magazine and Foodservice and Hospitality Magazine billed it as – The Innovator – in its Pizza Section.

Fresh food, free of additives and preservatives has been the mainstay of the menu. Frequent menu changes with upgraded ingredients is a given. The concept, over its 10 year existence is still fresh and poised for expansion and growth.

The husband and wife team of Tony and Abby Sabherwal are the founding principals of Magic Oven. It was their passion for good food, good service and great people relations that drove the first Magic Oven to its success.

The people of Magic Oven have always been an integral part of its success. They are creative, hard working team players who thrive on challenge and learning.

Magic Oven has always been an equal opportunity employer. The turnover is a lot lower than industry averages. The staff of more than 75 works well in self-managing teams and reflects the commitment to quality and customer service.

The last few years have seen growth for Magic Oven. The concept has grown to five locations. A Cafe has been added to the Broadview location and Magical Catering has grown to hosting events for 000′s of guests.

The Magic Oven
798 Danforth Ave.
Toronto, ON
M4J 1L6
T: 416.462.0333

Made in Tieland

Love Handles

contact April 8th, 2014

love handles toronto handmade bags
Love Handles is a hand-crafted handbag company based out of a Toronto bedroom. The handles are hand-made and wooden and the fabric is organic or vintage. Since it is all found in charity shops, there is a real variety of patterns and colors, from little girl to Scandinavian and a variety of choices in between.

You can order online or shop at these stores:

LEFT FEET @ 88 Nassau St
Located in Kensington Market, Toronto Ontario.
(a sweet Vegan Shoe store you should check out either way)

Heart on Your Sleeve @ 61a Bellevue Ave
a sustainable boutique… that includes organic cottons & reused/reworked clothes!
(corner of Nassau & Bellevue… attached to Left Feet!)

The Bag Boutique @ 1018 Queen St. West
Located just west of Ossington.

Love Handles

The Spice Trader, Toronto – Organic Spices

contact March 23rd, 2014

the spice trader toronto
You’ll never need to get your spices anywhere else in Toronto. The Spice Trader has about 150 different kinds of spices that adorn the shelves yummily. All spices are organic or wild-harvested, and you can even try them before you buy them. I love Spice Trader!

Sometimes you try unusual recipes that call for uncommon spices. You inevitably just forget about the recipe unless you can find the spices. If you’ve ever been stumped trying to find Ras Al Hanout or quality reverse osmosis cando twigs from antarctica (ok. I made that one up.), look no further. It’ll be a rare occasion that you don’t find what you’re looking for. To note: there’s an excellent sel­ection of salt, from hand-gathered, flaky Welsh Halen Mon to Pacific Alderwood Smoked Salt. Also try the shop’s signature spice blends—including a dill-fennel salt for fish—and assorted dry rubs.

That’s not all. There’s a good variety of accessories, too, from quality spice grinders (Peugeot grinders, graters mortars and pestles, etc.) to frying pans. You might even turn your nose up at William’s Sonoma! Maybe.

The Spice Trader regularly creates new blends, coming up with different ways of using traditional flavours. There are also The Spice Traders own blended salts and herb spice infusions.

The gift boxes make wonderful presents for those who have everything. There are starter kits, salt samplers, and custom gift boxes.

The Spice Trader
805 Queen St. W. (at Niagara St.)
Main level
Toronto, Ontario M6J 1G1
647.430.7085

Gift Ideas: Toronto Travel Books

contact February 27th, 2014

toronto travel books
The holidays are rolling around the corner. And fast. Don’t get into the last minute scramble of gift buying, because you know what happens then? You get something for someone and it is so totally inappropriate for them because you simply got fed up with the grumpy crowd, and you bought any ole thing so you could escape. Sound familiar?

Sorry to remind you of sad remembrances of things past but how about getting your loved one a trip to Toronto? Give them a travel book and they’ll then wonder why you’ve given that to them for Christmas. Then the lightbulb moment will turn on (hopefully) and you then have to plan your wonderful trip to the largest city in Canada. Here are some suggestions:

1. Lonely Planet Toronto – This comprehensive guide is your entree to its many facets: the culinary scene is as deliciously diverse as its population, the artistic community breaks conventions on a daily basis and its great outdoors are awash with options – from cycling and skiing to hiking and hockey. Socially enlightened, multicultural and uniquely Canadian.

2. Fodor’s Toronto – Skyrocket to the top of the CN Tower, hit the patois for great eats and people-watching, sail on Lake Ontario, wander through the Hockey Hall of Fame, or browse the art at a downtown gallery – Fodor’s Toronto offers all these experiences and more.

3. Top 10 Toronto – Whether you’re looking for the finest cuisine or the least expensive places to eat, the most luxurious hotels or the best deals on places to stay, Eyewitness Top 10 Travel Guides provide useful information by local experts to find the best of everything at each destination.

Hidden Gem Restaurants: Le Petit Déjeuner

contact February 25th, 2014

le petit dejeuner restaurant toronto
In French, “Le Petit Dejeuner” means breakfast, so it would be very understandable to see that this retro-y, organic bohemian chic establishment thrives on the 1st meal of the day crowd (but do also check out their dinners!). Their weekend brunches are not to be missed and you will not regret having to wait in the long queue for it. It’s a great reward to get the lovely food, from Chef Johan Maes (trained with Michelin star chefs in France), to your mouth after your stomach’s been growling for a while. Grab some apple pancakes, eggs benedict, paninis and more at this hidden gem in Toronto.
le petit dejeuner restaurant toronto map

Le Petit Dejeuner
191 King St. E. (at Jarvis St.)
416-703-1560

Organic Gardens in Canada, An Upward Trend

contact February 17th, 2014

Via ENN:

As climate change makes longer, drier summers a reality in many parts of the world, a new trend in landscaping is taking root in Canada.

In Toronto, where precipitation levels were 52 percent below the seasonal average over the past six months, according to government data, residents are trading in their manicured lawns for environmentally friendly organic landscapes.

“Irrigation is a huge issue as water is such a valuable resource,” said Claire Suo-Cockerton of landscaping company Aesthetic Earthworks. “We are trying to plant material that is more appropriate today in our climate.”

Organic landscapers use drought resistant plants and shrubs native to the region, which encourage the development micro-organisms in the soil. This attracts birds and insects to act as natural pest and disease control.

A well-managed organic landscape is self-sustaining, whereas a traditional yard needs to be watered at least once per week, Suo-Cockerton said.

“It’s a drastic lifestyle change for those who incorporate it in their homes,” she added.

But the change may be a bit too drastic for average homeowner.

Kevin MacDonald, operations manager of Humber Nurseries near Toronto, said he hasn’t seen an increase in the sale of native plants and shrubs. He said the downside to native plants is they are more susceptible to native insects.

“By planting a cultivated variety, that is non-native, you may not end up with diseases and insect problems, simply because the diseases and insects that would traditionally attack that plant are not found in the new location,” he said.

Still, the main reason why traditional gardens remain popular may be purely aesthetic.

“In most cases homeowners will have a preference for what looks best,” MacDonald said.

While the bare shrubs and woodchips of an organic landscape don’t quite have the curb appeal of an ornamental garden, commercial and residential buildings looking to go green are picking up on the trend.

“From a developer’s standpoint it’s a great marketing tool because people are becoming very conscious of the environment,” said Melissa Ferrato of the Canada Green Building Council (CGBG).

The CGBG uses the leadership in energy and environmental design (LEED) standard developed in the United States to measure the “green factor” of a building. Avoiding pesticides, lawnmowers and leafblowers all reduce a building’s carbon footprint, contributing to a higher LEED score.

“Native, organic plants is what we’re all about,” said Ferrato. “We really discourage the use of manicured lawns and pesticides.”

While organic landscaping is only now gaining popularity in the private sector, it has long been used by city parks departments.

“We’ve been moving away from traditional lawns for many years now,” said Patricia Landry a liaison officer at the Toronto parks department. “We are using plants able to withstand drought, pollution and the changing climate.”

Organic landscaping makes economic sense for urban municipalities, Landry said. Less money is spent on labor and irrigation. And reintroducing native plants provides habitat for birds and small animals.

While efforts to convert Toronto’s ornamental flowerbeds to organic gardens were met with public opposition, some of the cultivated annuals were swapped with native plants.

“It’s about trying to keep a balance,” said Landry. “Finding different ways to keep those areas a little more environmentally friendly.”

B&B for Vegetarians!

contact January 28th, 2014

les amis b and bDeep in the very heart of downtown Toronto, you might find some friends. Well perhaps, but at least you’ll definitely find Les Amis, a quaint and special kind of bed and breakfast. You will be welcomed by the owners, Paul Antoine and Michelle, an expatriated Parisian couple, and because of the location, you will have easy access to Toronto’s main attractions. In addition to this convenience, every morning you’ll be treated to an organic, gourmet vegetarian breakfast. (Vegan breakfasts are available as well upon request.) It can’t get better than this. If you stay for several nights or more, each day you will have a different breakfast, so things don’t get boring. How is that for service?

Les Amis
A Vegetarian Bed & Breakfast in Toronto /
Paul-Antoine & Michelle Buer
31 Granby St., Toronto, Ontario M5B 1H8 Canada.
Tel. (416)928-1348
Fax (416) 591-8546
Website and Rates (Canadian Dollars)
E-mail: les-amis@bbtoronto.com

Recommended Restaurant: Tabule

contact January 3rd, 2014

tabule restaurant
Zagat describes Tabule, a Toronto restaurant, the best:

“Superb, wonderfully fresh middle eastern eats (especially the namesake dish) purveyed by friendly, helpful people, draw crowds to this cheerful, contemporary midtowner. The tiny spot’s success has resulted in line-ups out the door, so waits are to be expected.”

Tabule Restaurant
2009 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON
Call for Reservations: 416-800-1375
email: info@tabule.ca
Website: Tabule Restaurant

Feast of Fields’ Bio Dynamic Organic Wine

contact December 16th, 2013

First Things First: What is Bio Dynamic Farming?
Biodynamic farming and gardening looks upon the soil and the farm as living organisms. It regards maintenance and furtherance of soil life as a basic necessity if the soil is to be preserved for generations, and it regards the farm as being true to its essential nature if it can be conceived of as a kind of individual entity in itself – a self-contained individuality. It begins with the ideal concept of the necessary self-containedness of the farm and works with furthering the life of the soil as a primary means by which a farm can become a kind of individuality that progresses and evolves.

Biodynamic agriculture is a way of living, working and relating to nature and the vocations of agriculture based on good common-sense practices, a consciousness of the uniqueness of each landscape, and the inner development of each and every practitioner.

Common-sense practices include striving to be self-sufficient in energy, fertilizers, plants, and animals; structuring our activities based on working with nature’s rhythms; using diversity in plant, fertilizers, and animals as building blocks of a healthy operation; being professional in our approach to reliability, cleanliness, order, focus on observation, and attention to detail; and being prompt and up-to-date in doing one’s job.

The concern with the uniqueness of a particular landscape includes developing an understanding of the geology, soils, climate, plant, and animal life; human ecology; and economy of one’s bioregion.

Biodynamic farming and gardening combines common-sense agriculture, an understanding of ecology, and the specific environment of a given place with a new spiritual scientific approach to the concepts, principles, and practices of agriculture. From biodynamics.ca
wine bottle biodynamic wine toronto
Feast of Fields farm has been certified biodynamic by Demeter Canada since 1996. The Biodynamic method goes beyond organic in a sincere effort to enliven the farm entity through growing in harmony with nature and working towards the goal of a self sufficient farm entity.

During the growing season, visit Feast of Fields at Riverdale Park Farmers Market on Tuesday 3-7 pm, Dufferin Grove Thursdays from 3-7pm, The Brickworks Saturday 8 -1 am or Withrow Park Saturdays from 9-1 pm. Feast of Fields also maintains a B&B cottage.

Feast of Fields Biodynamic Vineyard
RR # 1 St Catharines
Ontario Canada L2R 6P7
email: laura-sabourin@sympatico.ca

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