in full swing, this week has been crazy for all of our downtown venues, especially those located inside the TIFF Bell Lightbox: O&B Canteen
, and Malaparte
, our stylish event space up on the sixth floor.
From corporate events to themed bashes, Malaparte can be transformed to suit any type of event.
On Tuesday, September 10th, I stopped by Malaparte to check out William F. White'
s annual TIFF party. William F. White is Canada's oldest and largest provider of motion picture, television and theatrical production equipment. They've thrown a TIFF party every year for their clients, but this was the first year they hosted the event at Malaparte. And since 2013 marked the company's 50th anniversary, this soirée
was due to be extra special!
As it was a casual early evening affair, about 200 guests popped in and out at their leisure between 5:00pm and 7:30pm. While servers circulated the floor with trays of wine, some thirsty folks opted for ice cold bottles of Grolsch
instead. After all, it was the hottest day of the summer! While the sun was still blazing, most guests stayed under Malaparte's tent, slowly venturing out onto the uncovered terrace to take in the view as the sun set over King West (and I even took a Vine
of the view from the steps!).
As more people poured onto the terrace, I caught up with Malaparte's Executive Sous Chef Joseph Carta to see what kinds of canapé
s were coming out of the kitchen. Chef Joseph and his team have been prepping for this particular event for two full days, while also executing other events in the building.
"TIFF requires a ton of organization," says Chef Joseph, who works closely with Corporate Events Chef Jamie Meireles
on developing seasonal menus. "My team is strong enough and knows what has to be done. It can get pretty intense here in the kitchen, but we just make it happen."
First up: Tuna Tartare
, served in a refreshing cucumber cup for easy handling. Using the freshest (and therefore tastiest!) ahi tuna, Chef Joseph flavours it with pickled ginger, shallot, lemongrass, salt, pepper and lime juice.
"It's a classic," says Chef Joseph.
Another classic O&B canapé
is the juicy Harissa-Spiced Lamb Burger
with goat's milk yoghurt and fried onions. Each time a platter of these sliders were brough out to the terrace, they were all gobbled up in a matter of seconds. Who could resist those two delicious bites?
Lamb isn't the only filler you can choose between two mini buns. From porchetta sliders to chicken parm to beef with Thousand Island dressing, Malaparte's kitchen has a whole bunch of options for all you meatlovers.
Not a meatlover? No worries, because Chef Joseph and his team have lots of veggie-friendly nibbles up their sleeves, including Soft Tacos
with black beans, roasted corn salsa, and avocado mousse. Even a meatlover would appreciate these mini taco treats.
"At Malaparte, we often host lots of guests with dietary restrictions, so we try to cater to all the different needs that people have," says Chef Joseph.
Another amazing vegetarian option are Roasted Garlic Mushrooms
with duxelles, which are finely chopped mushrooms, onions, shallots, and herbs sauté
ed in butter and reduced to a paste. Shiitake, oyster, and cremini mushrooms are paired with goat cheese and honey, before being placed on pieces of rosemary brioche. For such a small bite, there is an awful lot of variety that goes into it. Plus, all the mushrooms are locally-sourced from Northern Woods, just north of the city.
"You've gotta support the farmers!" Chef Joseph grins. "Farms feed cities!"
Seafood aficionados will love the Grilled Branzino
with white bean paste, red onion and tomato cebolada. Chef uses Sustainable Blue
branzino, which ensures a responsible use of our resources. The branzino is served on jalapeñ
o and bacon cornbread, which is housemade and then redried in the oven to create a toast with more rigidity.
If you're looking for more than a two-biter, look no further than the Mini Beef & Yorkshire Pudding Sandwich, which features shaved medium-rare beef with horseradish mayonnaise and crispy leeks
. I'd be impressed to see anyone take this sucker down in less than four bites. These might be the heartiest of canapés, as well as the most popular!
"The Yorkie pudding actually tops the sliders in popularity," says Chef Joseph. "We serve them at about 90% of the receptions here."
These are just a small sampling of the canapés that Chef Joseph and his team execute every day at Malaparte. To learn more about Malaparte's breakfast, lunch, and dinner productions, plus food and beverage stations, check out
our events website
For the latest, up-to-date news, you can also Like Malaparte on Facebook
Today marks the first day of TIFF 2013
, and the city is buzzing with excitement. There are dozens of bars, restaurants, clubs and party venues around Toronto that festival-goers will flock to in hopes of catching a glimpse of George Clooney. But no TIFF hotspot is quite on the same level as Luma, which combines globally-inspired cuisine with world-class service and a gorgeous setting that's smack dab in the middle of all the action.
One of my favourite things about Luma are the creative cocktails the team of bartenders come up with. Often film or theatre themed, these cocktails are much more than your standard mixed drink. In the late afternoon, enjoy these in the Luma Lounge with a couple of bar bites
. In the evening, join us in the dining room for our TIFF Quick Fixe
and pair your cocktails with Chef Jason Bangerter's
global and artisinal Canadian cuisine, from line-caught Humboldt squid to whisky and maple-marinated Canadian cheddar.
This year's signature film festival cocktail is the V.I.P.
, which combines premium Polish vodka with Ontario icewine and French Champagne, producing a stylish drink that oozes with Hollywood glamour. To be more specific, the V.I.P. calls for an ounce of Belvedere vodka, 3/4oz of Cave Spring
Riesling icewine, topped with 3.5oz of Perrier-Jouë
t Champagne. Now do you get where the name comes from?
"We wanted something that was going to remind you of the red carpet," says Ben Tucker, one of Luma's bartenders. "For a little bit of romanticism, we garnish with a strawberry."
is named in honour of the 3D animated short
premiering at TIFF, which explores "ordinary moments of sudden, beautiful chaos." The same could be said of this sparkling beauty.
An ounce of Cox's Apple & Plum Cordial provides a burst of fruit while the freshly squeezed Chaser's
lemon juice adds a bit of acidity. Topped off with 5oz of Prosecco, this is definitely a drink that is meant to make you feel a little bit special.
"We wanted something sparkling with a little bit more pop and a little bit more zing," says Ben. "This is something you can treat yourself to."
The final touch is a sweet baby apple, dropped into the Champagne flute to create a splash of sparkles.
"Luma is known for its eccentric garnishes," says Ben, grinning.
The Love Punch
, named for the romantic comedy/heist thriller
starring Emma Thompson and Pierce Brosnan, is a lovely drink for those of you still in summer mode. Combining 1.25oz of Beefeater gin with 4oz of fresh Chaser's watermelon juice, as well as diced cucumber and lime, the final product has a refreshing pink hue with a punch of green accents. Garnished with a Maynard's watermelon candy, this cocktail certainly doesn't take itself too seriously.
"The flavours combine really beautifully," says bartender Vegar Samuelson. "It's very smooth, which makes for easy drinking."
The Granada Seduction
, which is a play on the highly anticipated Grand Seduction
, incorporates pomegranate (in Spanish, granada)
using La Pinta
pomegranate-infused tequila, a product new to Luma's bar shelf. Blended with muddled orange slice and blueberries, as well as 0.5oz each of Olmeca tequila and crè
me de cassis to sweeten it up, the Granada Seduction is the result of a tantalizing fusion of flavours.
"I originally made it without the Olmeca," explains Eryn Handley, another one of Luma's talented bartenders. "But we quickly realized it need a little more booze!"
Missing some of Luma's old favourites? While the Fairy Tale and Lazy Caprese have gone to that big bar in the sky, the fan favourite Moneypenny
has managed to stick around ever since the launch of last year's Bond-inspired martinis
, which coincided with the Designing 007 exhibit at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.
Using top-shelf liquor, Beefeater 24 gin, as well as elderflower liqueur, fresh lemon and grapefruit bitters, this cocktail well represents the classy, sassy Miss Moneypenny
"It's definitely one of our most popular drinks," says Eryn. "I have a feeling it will be around for a while."
No time to linger over cocktails? If you find yourself dashing from theatre to theatre, trying to pack in as many films as possible, you may find yourself forgetting to eat lunch (no, popcorn and Milk Duds do not count). Or, if you work in the industry, chances are you're working a 12 hour day with little to no downtime in between. That's why Luma always offers a lunchbox to-go every day of the festival, between 11:30am and 3pm.
The star of the Luma Lunchbox is Chef Jason's daily sandwich, which could be anything from a roast BLT on O&B Artisan bread to Ocean Wise
flaked salmon and halibut salad with spicy greens and lemon mayo on soft pretzel bread. The lunchbox also includes a drink (water, pop, juice or chocolate milk) and a sweet treat (like macaroons or biscotti) or a piece of fruit (fresh apples, plums, oranges or grapes). Vegetarians can rejoice, as we will always have a veggie sandwich option available as well (grilled summer vegetables with tabbouleh and dill yoghurt, for instance).
It's essential that festival-goers are well-fueled throughout these chaotic 11 days. Whether you're grabbing a quick bite on the go or unwinding in our lounge after a long day of screenings, we've got you covered.
With Labour Day weekend quickly approaching, it appears another summer has come and gone. And that means Windermere House
on Lake Rosseau in Muskoka is getting ready to close up shop for another season. Our restaurants at Windermere House will be running until Thanksgiving weekend, which will mark the last hurrah of 2013.
Muskoka chairs overlooking Lake Rosseau
Our marketing team was lucky enough to be able to spend an overnight at Windermere House last week, which made for a well-needed mini corporate retreat. From marketing meetings and photo shoots to swimming in the lake and relaxing on the dock, the retreat was a great balance of work and play! If we had more time available, we would have definitely taken advantage of some of the fantastic team-building activities the resort had to offer. Sushi-making classes, anyone?
But let’s not forget about the food! We had a standout dinner at The Rosseau Grill,
where Chef de Cuisine Andy Robertson spoiled us to no end. Take a look at some of the fabulous dishes we were able to sample…
Windermere House Chef de Cuisine Andy Robertson preps his ribs for our food photo shoot
Baby back ribs with smoky BBQ sauce, mashed potatoes, summer greens & cheddar scallion corn bread
The Baby Back Ribs are certainly a cottage country staple and the smoky BBQ sauce makes this dish all the more succulent.
“The secret lies in the naturally smoked tomatoes,” says Corporate Concept Chef Markus Bestig, who helped created this summer’s Windermere House menus. “I don’t like overly sweet BBQ sauce, so the splash of apple cider vinegar really rounds out the sauce.”
Not too wimpy, this sauce is given a bit of spice from chipotle peppers.
“This gives it the extra kick,” says Chef Andy.
Ontario trout amandine with thyme-roasted Yukon Gold potatoes, green & wax beans, almond brown butter
On the lighter side of things is the Ontario Trout Amandine.
Often sourced from Milford Bay
, just a 20 minute drive from Windermere House, or Cole Munro Trout Farms
in St. Thomas, this fish represents some of the great products that local suppliers bring to our tables. Not only does buying local allow Chef Andy to serve a fresher meal, it’s also more environmentally-friendly.
Black tiger shrimp linguine with white wine, vine-ripened tomatoes, basil pesto and extra virgin olive oil
The Black Tiger Shrimp Linguine is a classic combination of flavours. The pesto and tomato give the dish “great depth and an endless game of flavours in your mouth,” says Chef Markus.
Shrimp cocktail with jalapeño cocktail sauce and grilled lemon
Grilled 7 oz top sirloin, hand-cut fries, malt vinegar aioli and red wine jus
Rosseau Grill is well-equipped to execute old-school dishes at the highest level. From the Shrimp Cocktail to the Steak Frites, the kitchen doesn’t mess with these time-honoured classics.
One floor below Rosseau Grill is Windermere Pub
, which prides itself on its fun, casual food. The Old-School Cheddar & Bacon Burger
is another example of a classic that requires no meddling. The pub keeps this dish true to its good old-fashioned form. “There are many chefs these days trying to put crazy spins on food and classic dishes,” says Chef Andy. “Sometimes keeping things old-school and doing them well is what guests want.”
Old-school cheddar & bacon burger, with flame-broiled 100% chuck beef, agedcheddar, maple bacon, roasted garlic aioli, lettuce, tomato, onion, dill pickle, served with sweet potato fries
One pound of chicken wings, served with crisp veggies and chunky blue cheese dip
A pub would not be a pub without copious amounts of chicken wings
- and wing deals, to boot. That’s why Windermere Pub offered Half-Priced Wing Wednesday all summer long. Going through upwards of 200 pounds of chicken wings in a single night, it’s safe to say that this deal was a hit with the Muskoka crowd.
While Wing Wednesday won’t be back until spring 2014, the pub will remain open on weekends this fall. With eight different sauces to choose from, wing connoisseurs can enjoy simple and clean flavours, or get down and dirty with something hot and spicy.
Hog sandwich with pulled pork, BBQ sauce, Jack cheese, coleslaw and crispy onions, served with Yukon Gold fries
The Hog Sandwich is super tasty, but we admit it is certainly a handful. Need tips on how to tackle this bad boy? Chef Markus has you covered.
“Tuck your napkin in, have lots of wet naps ready
, and let loose! No one is judging here,” says Chef Markus.“It’s maybe not the best sammie to order on a first date, but if my date ordered it, I’d truly be in love!”
Chef Andy suggests eating the sandwich however you want, and dealing with the fallout after. "If you need to wash off after, the lake is about 100 metres away!” he says.
Carne pizza with pepperoni, smoked bacon, BBQ pork, hot Italian sausage and tomato sauce
The Carne Pizza is truly a meatlover’s pizza. With four types of pork on this pizza, this dish proves that you can never have too much bacon. In fact, Chef Markus will always ask for an extra side of bacon ranch sauce to dip his crust.
“Unless you just had a coronary bypass, bacon is the way to go,” he says.
While we didn’t manage to capture photos of some of the insanely tasty desserts we had, which included the Skillet S’mores
and Strawberry Shortcake
, we did discover that the kitchen has all the fixings to DIY your own s’mores over a campfire. As for the perfect marshmallow roasting sticks, you better be prepared to go for a walk in the bush!
Graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate = everyone’s favourite campfire treat
Between the late-night campfire, swimming in the lake and seemingly endless amounts of food, we did actually manage to get a bit of work done! Equipped with wireless high-speed internet, four state-of-the-art conference rooms, fax and photocopying services, audio visual technology services, Windermere House provides everything you need to stay connected. And since time spent together outside of the boardroom was just as (if not more) important to our team, Windermere House truly is the ideal destination for an executive retreat.
So, if the prospect of lounging in Muskoka chairs while staring at a sparkling Lake Rosseau (in between meals, that is) sounds like heaven to you, consider booking a corporate retreat
at Windermere House this fall or next spring. After all, you can’t do business on an empty stomach.
Photos by Alexandra DaPonte, Cindy La, and Allison Woo
It's been exactly two months since I left for the UK to meet up with the Auberge du Pommier
team in London. I was lucky enough to tag along to provide live coverage of the Canada Day gala dinner at Canada House and the days leading up to it. As prefaced in this previous blog entry
by Cindy, Chef Marc
was invited to cook for 170 high profile British and Canadian business executives and dignitaries, including High Commissioner Gordon Campbell. The team that he brought with him included General Manager Jocelyn Maurice and Taka Li of Auberge du Pommier and Chef John Horne
All of us were jetlagged when we arrived at the off-site kitchen in the suburbs of London (Chef John and Taka came straight from the airport, where they just got off a 7+ hour red-eye flight!), but it was the adrenaline that kept us all going. And you’d never know that we were sleep-deprived based on these photos/videos! We all had a blast and the gala dinner itself was a huge success.
For a recap of the coverage, you can go back and look at our tweets
and Instagram photos
using the hashtag #AdPDoesLondon, and the complete photoset
can be found on Flickr
The video above does a great job of summarizing the trip as a whole (thanks to Said the Whale
for the awesome song!), but here are some additional highlights:
Day one in the rental kitchen, out in the suburbs of London. This is where the majority of the prep work happened in the days leading up to the dinner.
After our dinner at Marcus Wareing
at The Berkeley, we took a long walk and stopped to take a picture in front of The Dorchester
, Chef Bonacini's
old stomping grounds!
We spent several hours at Borough Market
on Saturday morning, where we picked up some produce for the dinner and tasted our way from stall to stall. Steak and kidney pie, Thai coconut pancakes, raclette with cornichons and potatoes, fresh fruits and plenty of cheese - oh, so much cheese...
...we also stuffed our faces with meringue and other sweets :)
Later that evening, (after several more hours of prep work in the kitchen) we had an incredible dinner at St. John
where we shared a good sampling of the menu, including the Bone Marrow & Parsley Salad, Broad Beans & Berkswell, Rabbit Offal & Radishes, etc. The freshly-baked Madeleines were the perfect way to end our meal!
The day of the gala dinner was a whirlwind - we packed everything up at the off-site kitchen in Ealing, and cabbed our way through heavy traffic all the way to the Canada House kitchen at Trafalgar Square. When the guests started to arrive around 6:30pm, the Canadian canapés that were voted at our O Canapé VIP event
were devoured eagerly and the excitement in the building was palpable. Once all the guests were seated, Marc gave a speech introducing his menu that evening, which can be seen below:
It was a wonderful event put on by the organizers of Canada Day International
/ Canada Day London
and Chef Marc and his team were honoured to be a part of it.
You can find photos from the remainder of our trip (with us playing tourists at the London Eye
and watching The Hip
perform at the Canada Day concert at Trafalgar Square) along with all the outtakes over on our Flickr photostream
Everybody knows that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Yet for some reason we often find ourselves skipping it, much to the chagrin of our poor tummies that growl at us come 10am.
But let’s not forget that there are some amazing breakfast to-go options in our city’s downtown core. From sweet strawberry scones to hearty breakfast sandwiches, it’s impossible to resist lining up at our Grab + Go counters on your way to work. Here, some of the tastiest options for all you early risers out there.
O&B Canteen serves its casual breakfast fare seven days a week, from 8am to 11am. Gorgeous fresh pastries, including pains au chocolat, banana chocolate chip muffins, assorted fruit danishes, cinnamon rolls and blueberry lemon muffins, are delivered by O&B Artisan daily. Light, heart-healthy options include Stone Cut Oatmeal with Apple Compote as well as Poached Eggs on Toast.
Stone Cut Oatmeal with Apple Compote
Poached Eggs on Toasted O&B Artisan Loaf
If you need to be able to bare hand your breakkie, then the O&B Canteen Butty is a great choice, featuring a fried egg, aged cheddar and smoked ham on freshly baked pain au lait.
O&B Canteen Butty
“It has a great balance of sweetness, fat and acidity, and most importantly it hits the spot in the morning,” says Michael Hay, Canteen’s Chef de Cuisine
But the classic O&B Breakfast is the real star of the show. Three eggs, your way, succulent sausage, smoky bacon, roasted mushrooms, crispy home-fries…this breakfast has it all.
Perhaps not ideal for tucking into on your way to the office, this dish is meant to be enjoyed on the job. Since the O&B Breakfast is also a mainstay on the dining room menu, it’s available all day long for take-out. So if you still haven’t had breakfast by noon, better late than never!
“Breakfast gives you that initial push that you need to get up and going,” says Chef Michael. “Everything tastes so much more intense in the morning, because your senses are starved.”
A few blocks away, Bannock has its own take on breakfast. An assortment of freshly baked fruit danishes, croissants, scones and muffins hit the shelves at 7:30am, and are usually all snatched up by hungry Bay Streeters two hours later.
Savoury Cheddar & Thyme Scone
Bannock Chef de Cuisine Stephen Pynn is a big fan of the classic old school croissant. “It’s fun, flaky and buttery,” says Chef Stephen. “With a coffee or tea, a croissant is a perfect companion.”
The Danish is a close runner up, says Chef Stephen, due to its flaky exterior and sweet creamy middle. It certainly makes your morning that much sweeter.
Strawberry Danish and Amandine Croissant
If you’re hungry for more than batter and dough, perhaps the Bologna & Egg on Maple Cinnamon Focaccia is more your style.
Chef Stephen makes this sandwich extra yummy by cutting bologna sausage into strips and frying a handful to create a crispy texture. Once this is done, he creates a small hole in the pile of bologna strips and cracks an egg into it. He breaks the egg’s yolk and gently mixes the egg around the bologna evenly. After adding cheddar cheese, Chef smears some spicy ketchup onto a freshly baked maple focaccia bun and finishes it with tomato, green onion and pickled jalapeño.
Bologna & Egg on Maple Cinnamon Focaccia
“Fried bologna and egg is a classic Canadian thing,” says Chef Stephen. “We have a funky house-baked bun and put a little spin on it with a zingy ketchup and pickled jalapeños.”
Egg White Vegetarian Breakfast Wrap
Vegetarians fear not, because Chef Stephen also serves the Egg White Vegetarian Breakfast Wrap. The whole wheat tortilla wrap is bursting with sautéed mushrooms, spinach, egg whites, Gruyère and mozzarella, and seasoned with a soffritto of chili, shallot and ginger.
“The soffritto adds a mellow heat and Asian flavour without changing the simplicity of the wrap,” says Chef Stephen.
So next time you’re heading out the door with an empty stomach, remember to do yourself a favour and stop at one of our downtown Grab & Go counters for a quick bite and a hot cuppa Joe. Your tummy will thank you!