Each issue of Quench magazine has a useful little feature called “Next Stop”. This feature is dedicated to giving you ideas about where you should go the next time you’re out on the town, visiting a new city or looking to try something new.
Quench’s expert socialites have explored everything from tea rooms to restaurants, to wine boutiques selling specialty items, in order to provide you with a comprehensive list of places to visit.
Read on as we plan your day on the town … then subscribe to Quench Magazine to read about your Next Stop.
Originally published in the November 2014 issue of Quench.
Brunch – not many things draw us like this perennial tradition. Restaurants across the nation are serving up innovative dishes to satisfy late-morning foodies. From banana-bread French toast with Gianduja chocolate ganache to duck-and-onion-jam eggs Benedict, brunch is more than ever a sophisticated affair made all the more enticing by global influences and tasteful presentations.
Chef Claudio Aprile’s upscale downtown Toronto eatery serves up experimental tapas-style dishes peppered with international flavours noon and night, and brunch is no exception. With all the makings of a traditional late-morning meal, the MasterChef Canada judge’s brunch menu boasts a taste of the unexpected. Case in point: French toast with duck confit, blueberries, hoisin, sesame-seed brittle and sour cream, or a steak flank with sunny side up eggs, chimichurri sauce and a side of fries. The décor, complete with plush black leather seating, an exposed brick wall and an elegant open kitchen, only adds to the unique dining experience.
Whether it’s eggs Benedict served over Black Angus beef, pancakes topped with a hearty serving of cheddar and bacon or French toast glazed with Nutella and caramelized rum bananas, the dishes on offer at L’Avenue in Montreal defy convention. The décor, complete with motorcycles hanging overhead, comic strip-like menus (in French only) and glow-in-the-dark art lining the restroom walls, is also out of this world. Late-night Plateau revellers can keep the party going around a hearty breakfast at this psychedelic spot, and late risers savour a generous brunch amid a festive hubbub. But be warned: a wait of up to half an hour and more is not uncommon at this popular spot.
With 36 seats spread out over a communal table in the centre of the space and banquette seating along the walls, brunch at this small Calgary diner is like a family affair. And judging by the lineup Chef Mauro Martina’s restaurant draws on a regular basis, everyone wants a place at the family table. Traditional brunch fare (breakfast burritos, eggs Benedict and waffles) alongside unique variations – think porchetta eggs Benny with roast pork, porcini mushroom, white truffle ragu and brow-butter Hollandaise – make up the eclectic menu. Martina uses locally sourced and seasonal ingredients, including gluten-free meat and free-run omega-3 eggs from his own flock, sweetening the deal.
Originally published in the December 2014/January 2015 issue of Quench.
Cabernet, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay – wine in all its incarnations makes for a satisfying libation. A handful of Canadian boutiques share in this passion for the drink, providing everything from custom-made wine racks to specialty stemware for wine enthusiasts to revel in its smell, taste and presentation, and enjoy the full gourmet experience.
Oenophiles in Calgary know to beat a path to Kensington Wine Market for bottles that are out of the ordinary. Specialty wines from around the globe abound, grouped by origin and with a short description attached to ensure clients know exactly what they’re getting. The market is also a prime location for single malt scotches, whiskeys and all types of brews, from the rare to the seasonal ale brewed in smaller batches. Wine-tasting journals and a set of Bordeau wine glasses are only some of the wine accessories on offer.
As the name suggests, this [21,000] sq. ft. showroom in [Mississauga]* is home to all manner of residential and commercial wine cellars, complete with custom racking systems, handcrafted doors and even wine cellar management software to help wine aficionados sort through their growing collections. In addition to the wine storage, there is an extensive and enviable selection of wine accessories, including decanters, luxe stemware and leather-encased corkscrews made with previous wood.
*Rosehill Wine Cellars moved from Etobicoke to Mississauga in February 2015 after the original article was published.
While many boutiques boast a dedicated section for all things beer, this Brampton store is virtually all about the home brew. From brewing equipment to supplies – think the requisite brew kettle, funnel, straining tools and the like as well as brewing hops, malt and other ingredients – it’s a one-stop shop for beginner home brewers and bona fide beer cicerones alike. In addition to brewing essentials, the quirky vintage tap handles for sale make this supplier all the more appealing.
Originally published in the February/March 2015 issue of Quench.
Since its inception during the third century AD, tea has become the most widely consumed beverage worldwide — after water. Customs and ceremonies around this originally medicinal drink abound, including afternoon tea, courtesy of our neighbours across the pond. Presently, tea rooms from east to west, with a staple of seasonal blends both old and new, delectable finger food on tiered trays and even Victorian hats, celebrate the ritual and all its charms.
Teatime at this serene Montreal establishment is an experience. A selection of some 40 teas, sourced from China, Japan, India, Vietnam and Taiwan by owners-cum-tasters Hugo Américi, Kevin Gascoyne, François Marchand and Jasmin Desharnais can be enjoyed using the infusion technique from its country of origin. Whether steeped Gaiwan, Gong Fu Cha or Senchado-style, the menu boasts the ideal sweet accompaniment for your brew of choice, including Japanese-style pastries made in house.
In Victoria’s Chinatown district, this quaint tea room is the fruit of a love affair that, incidentally, blossomed over a cup of tea. Husband-and-wife team Sallie and Alain El Alaily run the vintage-inspired eatery, where afternoon tea includes classic varieties like Earl Grey and Darjeeling alongside signature blends like the house’s Cherry Blossom tea (Japanese sencha laced with natural cherry and rose notes). Sandwiches, scones, savouries and petits fours — think roasted butternut squash aioli sandwiches and Blue Sapphire Earl Grey shortbread — sweeten the deal while vintage bicycles overhead add to the whimsical atmosphere.
Grandma’s tea room in Charlottetown, PEI sheds the stuffiness of the old-world custom but not its charm. Located inside a bed and breakfast, patrons are invited to sip on any one of 22 tea varieties, ranging from traditional to fair-trade blends. Homemade tea scones, with owner Cindy Cousineau’s signature clotted cream, and an assortment of finger sandwiches and sweets are also on the menu. Victorian hats are optional, though they’re free to borrow and make afternoon tea all the more fun.
The Toronto Windsor Arms Hotel’s afternoon tea service, much like its posh tea rooms, is a sophisticated affair. Black Velvet (ginseng, peppermint, liquorice and China black) and Russian Caravan (lapsang, souchong and bergamot) are just a couple of the eclectic teas on offer, together with a glass of sherry, Chardonnay or Prosecco for good measure. The delicacies on offer, like a goat cheese and caramelized shallot tart, and smoked salmon and wasabi sour cream with salmon caviar sandwiches, are equally enticing.
Originally published in the July/August 2014 issue of Quench.
Locally sourced ingredients, shareable portions and fresh menus of the season: a handful of Canadian restaurants and their Quench-selected Maverick Chefs are using nature’s finest with aplomb – satisfying the most fickle palates of foodies nationwide with fare that rivals the best eateries on the international scene.
Chef Scott Geiring opened this culinary haunt in 2002 and ever since, he’s proven time and time again that a great dining experience is equal parts quality food and innovative menu. Specialties including a Polynesian style tuna poke with kimchi, a barley risotto with wild mushrooms and truffle, and a Canadian lobster poutine with aged cheddar and white wine sauce are prepared before patrons in an open kitchen using fresh ingredients brought in daily. The ever-changing tapas-style menu keeps things interesting while the bring-your-own-wine caveat keeps the bill reasonably low.
Located in Vancouver’s hip Gastown neighbourhood, this offbeat restaurant is a meat lover’s dream. Executive chef Wesley Young serves ethically raised meats and sustainable seafood with seasonally sourced local produce in new and unexpected ways. Some of these carefully prepared dishes include a slow-cooked natural Angus beef short rib, smoked salt and hay jus; hay-aged, smoked quail, wild berry honey, and salt and pepper; and Yarrow Meadow duck leg rillettes with house pickles and country bread. Like the menu and rather original cocktails, the décor – complete with high ceilings, open kitchen and banquette seating – strays from convention.
With a tiny patio open in the summer, a small bar located on the main floor and an equally intimate dinning area aloft, this pint-sized Edmonton eatery has rustic charm by the ton. Chef-owners Brayden Kozak, Brian Welch and Chuck Elves are all about sharing in the experience – and the food. Fine pours accompany a rich and varying menu of small dishes made to be shared, where farm-to-table fare takes centre stage. Locally sourced ingredients give way to unique creations with an international feel – think miso-braised pork belly, steel cut oats cooked in dashi, pickled beech mushroom, tobiko and hijiki seaweed. It’s a different dining experience that challenges both the palate and the mind, but the initial discomfort is well worth it.
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Art direction and production by Paris Associates.
Story photos sourced from:
- Let's Start with Brunch – Yum! - Origin Restaurant website
- Dinner with the Mavs - Carambola Bistro website