Monday, August 4, 2014

1794: Another #Local Option

It's only been a year since gastro-love hit a fever pitch in the nabe when The Wren opened, but it seems like an eternity in comparison to the pace that restos open and close in the west end. Pioneer's been eying the sleek new sign and trendy garage doors at 1794 Danforth with anticipation, wondering what's behind the craft paper obstructing our view. Never one to let something like that get in our way, we decided to pop in for a surprise tete-a-tete with Harry, the owner of new restaurant Local 1794.

The old Columbo's space is unrecognizable - what was once 85% kitchen and 15% fast food counter, is now a beautiful, sophisticated space lined with comfortable booths, cedar wine racks and probably the longest wooden bar on the Danforth. Harry said he's going for the casual comfort look and feel, designing the space himself to get the right atmosphere where the Junior Pioneers can feel comfortable throwing around pizza at kiddie happy hour, and Pioneer and her gal pals can guzzle red wine and appies late into the night.

Speaking of pizza, the old Columbo's pizza oven was completely rebuilt and Pioneer is just waiting for the green light to head over for some mouth-watering, hand rolled stone baked pizza pie. Harry's menu won't be focused around Italian food, but will be a mix of some solid mains with lots of fresh appetizers, salads and rotating specials from the smoker.

The beer list promises to be intense. Harry has 24 taps installed and is working closely with local breweries and craft beer makers to get it just right. Pioneer knows a fella or two in the neighbourhood (Pete!) who will be keeping a shine on the bar with the sleeves of their coat....

We bet you're wondering about the magic question: when will Local 1794 open? We'll have to wait and see. The City of Toronto is holding the water pipes hostage at the moment, and we all know how these things work. So keep your eyes peeled on 1794 Danforth for the opening of a very welcome addition to the block - but until then, it will have to be a surprise!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Danforth: Home of #wethemeat

We've been meaning to post this for awhile, but sometimes summer & wine & life on the Danforth just gets too fun to find time to write. So, it's not really news that we have a new butcher shop called Stock N Trade (1272 Danforth). By now, I'm sure you've all tried their fresh, hand made mouthwatering sandwiches or picked up some of their made in Ontario meat. So since it's Friday, we'll just post one quick photo of something that we love about this new place: they make picnic baskets made to order!

If you're out pioneering at the jazz fest, or heading out to pioneer the actual northern wilderness, Stock N Trade will pull together a fantastic picnic basket assortment of marinated meats, cheeses, sauces and the like. No need to sweat the small stuff if your in-laws are dropping by dockside - just throw something on the grill and grab a fresh margaritas!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Homegrown Delight

Pioneer has been known to have a teeny bit of an obsession with homegrown, local Ontario wine and so when we heard this little news tidbit we are about to share, we couldn't hold back our excitement.

At the beginning of this month, just days before the election call, the Wynne government passed legislation on a pilot program to allow Ontario wineries to sell their delicious and mouthwatering vintages at farmers' markets. This works out perfectly for Danforth East, since we have not one but TWO farmers' markets here.

The energetic and passionate team behind the East Lynn Farmers Market was on this like a toddler on fish crackers - they obviously know their audience here: hardworking young, hip parents who like to relax with local wine after the juniors are in bed.

Starting next Thursday, June 5, three Ontario wineries will be selling their wares at the market: 13th Street Winery, Pillitteri and Tawse (which is the one we are most excited about!). The 2010 Tawse Sketches Chardonnay was one of the best values at the LCBO for Ontario chard, and in recent years, their beautiful wines have won not one but 11 awards at the Ontario Wine Awards. 13th Street is also a rising star who has some great vintages on their hands this year.

So, next Thursday evening, instead of waiting in line at the ElCee for your generic, sugary shiraz blend from Australia, head on over to East Lynn Farmer's Market and take a taste test for yourself. Cheers!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Destination Curry

This blog has always been about exploring along Danforth East, but sometimes you don't have to go too far to discover something new. On Friday night, Pioneer and the juniors left Daddy Pioneer at home to slave away on our current renovation project while we enjoyed a 5-star meal at the Bus Terminal. You might think we are joking but here is one of those golden local tips that always amazes us! 

Previous to this dining adventure, the Pioneer clan had never ventured into the retro diner at Coxwell and Danforth past a certain hour of the morning. Eggs and bakey were pretty much all we've ever ordered. We blogged here years ago about a summer sangria special at the Terminal, but what's Sangria without the patio? It was only due to an invitation from another EEWSK (east ender with small kids) that we ended up at the empty, child friendly resto at dinner hour where the junior Pioneers and friends embarked on a (not so) quiet riot with their chicken "dolphins" and fries. 

A diner is a diner, so we expected the usual 'specials' menu but did a double take when we noticed a lamb curry and a lamb and lentil stew on the board. My inside source, who is a Friday regular, let it spill that the Friday curry is "to die for". Although we can't confirm it happens every Friday, the Sri Lankan staff and owners apparently make their own special curry from scratch. Pioneer couldn't resist a steamy (reasonably priced) bowl of stew and the verdict is that it IS to die for. 

So next time you're craving the slow burn of a lamb curry, don't walk south to Gerrard, head on over to the Bus Terminal for a one-way ticket to delicious!