Month: February 2016

contest: st. party’s day toronto

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner – tomorrow is March, it’s crazy. And that means there are lots of great ways to celebrate the Irish in all of us coming up in Toronto.

One of those is the annual Carlsberg St. Party’s Day, happening this year on March 12th inside Brassaii on King St W. It’s time to find your best green outfit, hit up the dollar store for some ridiculous accessories and grab your best beer loving friends and celebrate the luck of the Irish with Carlsberg.

And you’re in luck! Carlsberg’s St. Party’s Day has given me not one, but two pairs of tickets to some lucky readers! Contest is on now until March 6th!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And don’t want to wait to find out you’ve won and just want to get your tickets now? No problem! Tickets start at $15 and are available online, there are different entry times but once you’re in, you’re in and can party on until 2am!

dining out: the gladstone

West Queen West is a bit of a trek for me, so I don’t make it out to that neighbourhood too often. Last week, I was seeing Venus’ Daughter and my boyfriend and I needed to grab dinner before. I don’t know the area too well so we just started wandering along Queen and then I remembered that I had once had amazing fish and chips at The Gladstone, so The Gladstone it was.

Unfortunately the Melody Bar has changed their menu since I was last there but the options looked good so I wasn’t worried. img_20160217_185224.jpg

I went with the fried cauliflower sandwich, clearly something I enjoy (see Maha’s) which came with fries that were really good. The sandwich was great, there was coleslaw, mayo and sharp cheddar on it. I didn’t notice the sharp cheddar in the description so it was a delicious surprise. My boyfriend got the tempeh “bacon” BLT, I’m not exactly sure what tempeh is, but his sandwich was also good (mine was better, just saying).

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I forgot that the Melody Bar always has fun things going on, on Wednesday nights, they have Music Bingo. What is Music Bingo you ask? Well, you get a bingo card with songs on it and a couple of dabbers and the DJ/caller calls out the songs and plays a short clip. People are singing and shoulder dancing. We only got to stay for a few songs because we had to head over to the show but it was fun and I’d definitely recommend it if you’re looking for something fun and not-to-crazy of a thing to do on a Wednesday. They also have adult colouring and wine drinking on Thursdays, I mean it’s not too far off of my typical Thursday night, but perhaps I could be more social about it 😉

What’s your favourite activity at The Gladstone?

dining out: asian bowl

I usually don’t like eating around Yonge and Dundas, it’s so busy and touristy which usually means over-priced and not very good but a couple weeks ago, I was going to the Mirvish Theatre and didn’t have a ton of time, so Yonge and Dundas area it was for dinner.

We tried to get into a couple different places but it was all busy but we walked by a brightly lit Asian restaurant and decided to give it a try. We ate family style, which is usually my favourite way to eat because you can have a bit of everything.

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We started with the lotus wrapped rice and spring rolls. Turns out, the lotus leaves were not my cup of tea. My boyfriend loves them so he got to eat his and half of mine. The spring rolls were really good. I try not to get spring rolls if they’re the frozen ones because they’re just terrible but these were definitely made on site and delicious.

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For our mains, we got the cashew chicken and the singapore noodles, we also added a side of steamed rice because you need something to soak up all that saucy goodness. Both dishes were really tasty and I think you can tell from the size of the photo, they were also gigantic. We definitely had enough to have lunch the next day.

Service was pretty quick, we were in and out in less than an hour which was perfect for us. For dinner, we spent less than $40 including tip although we didn’t have any drinks (it’s crazy how much of a price difference it can make adding drinks even non-alcoholic to the bill). So, if you’re in the neighbourhood and want to avoid a chain restaurant, I’d recommend Asian Bowl!

What’s your go-to in the Yonge-Dundas area?

thirsty thursday: left field brewery

TWO POSTS IN ONE DAY?! I just had to share this Thirsty Thursday with you and I had to tell you about Venus’ Daughter in case you still needed things to do this weekend.

This week’s Thirsty Thursday is actually how I spent my Valentine’s Day because my valentine is a pretty cool guy. I saw that Left Field was having a beer and chocolate pairing and I just had to go. Side note: Left Field seems to have a ton of awesome stuff going on in the next couple of months so make sure you check them out.

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For Valentine’s Day, they paired up with chocolates x brandon olsen, a fancy chocolate maker in Toronto. They did a chocolate and beer pairing for 2 people for $25 and it was totally worth it. At first, I was a little concerned about the chocolate flavours but they were amazing. I’ve included the tasting menu, so you can recreate it at home, if you desire.

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My favourite by far was the lime ginger black pepper, not something I would think would go in chocolate but absolutely it does and it was delicious. Not only was the chocolate (and beer) delicious but the chocolates were such beautiful works of art. The chocolates would be a fantastic gift (again, with the beer).

So if you’re looking to spoil yourself or someone else, definitely pick up some locally made chocolates x brandon olsen and left field and make somebody’s day.

theatre in toronto: venus’ daughter

I wrote last week about getting to meet with the cast and the writer of Venus’ Daughter and last night I had the privilege of seeing the show. I did manage to avoid reading too much about the play before going to see the show, but for those of you who like to read the back of the book: Venus’ Daughter is a play about how women and their bodies are viewed and how we work so hard to cover it up, or change it to fit what we think everyone else wants to see.

The play is told from a number of perspectives, focusing on one woman’s story looking at her childhood and her ancestors and weaving them together to see how she became the woman she is today. I’m sure most women (and maybe even more men then we realized) would be able to relate to struggles Venus’ Daughter addresses. Most people have had at least a time in their life where they wish they could change something about themselves, they wear different clothes trying to hide or disguise something, they wear bras to make it look like they have more breast than they do or use make up to try to perfect a specific look.

This creative play was really remarkable and the talent was unbelievable. It has been a very long time since I’ve been on stage but I can always empathize with how difficult it is to put yourself out there and in this case, the writer is also standing on stage. I’ve said it before but I’m always blown away by the great talent we have in this city and it was great to see young and talented actors last night in this show. I can’t wait to see where their careers take them next, I know I will definitely want to see it.

Venus’ Daughter runs until February 28th, tickets range from $25-$35 with discounted tickets for students, seniors and arts workers.

 

dining out: indie ale house

Until last week, I had never been to indie ale house and every time I said that people said – what?! People know my love of beer and food and so it seemed like a natural fit and indeed it was.

They have a constant rotation of beer and a bottle shop in the front. You have to go to see what they have available on tap, the website isn’t really kept up to date. But for this post, I’ll stick to the food.

I had the mac and cheese, which was a natural choice for me, I’m a huge fan of mac and cheese. This one was a goat cheese and butternut squash, they have another brisket one.

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I was quite surprised by a number of things in the dish, pleasantly surprised I should say. The toast that came with it was huge and tasted like a grilled cheese which I realized is just taste of buttery bread. I also expected the sauce to be the butternut squash component but it there was actually chunks of butternut squash in it. It was so good, and looks small but was so filling I had some to take home.

img_20160205_214949.jpgMy friend got the margherita pizza and added prosciutto because as she said, if that’s an option you should always say yes. It was a decent thin crust pizza but I definitely preferred my mac and cheese.

I would recommend indie ale house if you haven’t been if you love good beer and great food, the kitchen does close before midnight so make note of that and like most good places in the city, be prepared for a wait.

Have you been to indie ale house? What did you get?

delicious brunch: maha’s

Normally when you think brunch in the city you think of waffles and eggs benny and long lines but not at Maha’s (although… there is still lines).

Maha’s is an Egyptian restaurant in Leslieville known for it’s brunch. It is very very tiny and very very popular so pack your patience as they don’t take reservations. I went with a group of bloggers, as part of Happy or Hungry’s Eat The World project. I was surprised that the most popular Egyptian restaurant in the city is known for it’s brunch and it’s delicious.

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We started with dokka, pita triangles with olive oil and nuts and sesame seeds. It was really good but a very small portion for the 5 of us but it was tasty.

Everyone at the table was getting lentil soup so I decided to try it, I’m not sure I’ve every really had lentil soup. It was creamy (but vegan so no real cream) and really flavourful. I would definitely get it again.

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It was pretty hearty but my main was on the smaller side so I was glad I got it. My main was a fried cauliflower sandwich. I love fried cauliflower because well… fried and this sandwich was perfect. I was expecting the sauce to be more like a tahini but it was actually more like a garlic mayo, which was fine by me.

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I would recommend Maha’s if you’re looking for a new brunch place but beware that you will have to wait, as the place is super tiny.

Have you tried Maha’s?  What did you think?

thirsty thursday: mocha marshmallow stout

Hope you’re all staying warm on this chilly Thursday. We can’t complain, it’s mid-Februrary and it was the first time I blasted my heat in the car.

This week’s thirsty thursday is definitely a fun one! Left Field Brewery is known for mixing it up once in a while and pairing up with other awesome local vendors and this new stout is no different. The mocha marshamallow stout is a collaboration with Sweet Jesus and you may have seen my social feeds showing off this beauty of a beer. Served with a toasted marshmallow, how can you not love it?

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Look at that marshmallow! I love it. all stouts should come with a marshmallow! The beer itself tasted more like mocha than marshmallow but it is a delicious stout, I definitely picked up a couple bottles for home.

And this weekend, the brewery is having a beer and chocolate tasting for anyone looking for some Valentine’s plans :)

upcoming show: venus’ daughter

I had the great fortune to sit down and chat with the stars of Venus’ Daughter, a play put on by Obsidian Theatre. You may remember Obsidian Theatre from last year when I saw The Mountaintop. The show opens on February 18th and runs until February 28th at the Theatre Centre on Queen West. I got to ask the actors about the upcoming show and their thoughts on the remarkable Toronto theatre scene.

First, I sat down with Akosua Amo-Adem, an actress from Toronto. She graduated from York University’s theatre program in 2009 and has been performing in the city since then. She first got involved with Obsidian Theatre when they were workshopping the play, working through different versions of the script. I love going to see shows without knowing too much about them, just like how I try to avoid the back of books. I asked what she loved most about Venus’ Daughter and she told me it’s magical, things are unexpected and out of no where and she hopes that the audience allows themselves to surrender to it all. We also chatted about how supportive the Toronto theatre community is and how there is something always happening. It’s really amazing how much is happening in the city all the time, the theatre scene in Toronto is more than just Fringe.

Next had I the chance to speak to Meghan Swaby, who is not only performing in the show but she wrote Venus’ Daughter. Also from Toronto, she graduated from Windsor University in 2007. She came back to the city and joined b. current, which she considers her “training ground” – where she made great connections and found great mentors within the Toronto theatre community. Her first show was a one woman show called Hysteria and it was the moment that she found she could tell stories and that people wanted to hear them (you know that feeling, when people actually acknowledge your work, it’s really exciting!). She loves the agency that writing gives her, as an actor, you’re told the material that exists and you have to fit within it but if you can write, then you can create whatever you’d like. She began writing Venus’ Daughter about 3 years ago and it was in the summer that she decided that she actually wanted to perform in it. She loves opportunity to have the perspective of both the writer and actor, something people don’t normally get to experience.

And finally, I spoke with Kaleb Alexander, an actor from Toronto as well. All the cast members knew each other before coming together to work on Venus’ Daughter but it wasn’t actually how they all came together on this show, which just shows me that the theatre community is just like all other industries, everyone knows everyone. When asked what excited most about Venus’ Daughter, it was the opportunity to explore the black female form. People’s identities are shaped by so many factors and he is interested in how the play explores where strength comes from, as well as a person’s insecurities. He was also interested in how we compare to people of the past, how all experiences can be difficult but in so many different ways and how people are able to get through all the difficult things they have to endure. Speaking with Kaleb, I got even more excited about the play, I knew there was three actors so I assumed that there were three characters within the show, but in fact, he alone is playing 7 different characters, ranging from a ditzy child to a couple of doctors. Although it’s been a while (a long while) since I’ve been on stage, I can imagine how difficult it would be to be able to pay 7 distinct characters within one show.

I’m so glad Obsidian Theatre gave me the opportunity to speak to the cast prior to the show, it got me even more excited about the play. I promise to share with you more details about the play once I’ve seen it but in the meantime, tickets can be purchased through The Theatre Centre’s box office.