When traveling to a city as big as Toronto, food choices are overwhelming. Restaurants live on every street. The sound of cocktails being shaken vibrates out doors. And fogged up windows are damp with dinner conversation. If you’re only visiting a city for a short amount of time, a taste bud tingling feast isn’t something to gamble with. You can’t take chances by walking into just any restaurant with a grumbling stomach.
Here are our picks for dining in Toronto…
The Black Hoof
928 Dundas Street West
Their speciality is meat… Tongue on Brioche, Bone Marrow, and Pork Belly and Cappuccio are just a trio of items listed on the short menu. And they make their own rules… closed Tuesday and Wednesday, no credit cards.
797 College Street
Under heavily seductive red lights, Bar Isabel could be located in a small Spanish town. The din of College Street and the lights of Toronto are forgotten with each minute spent inside the intimate enclave.
800 Dundas Street West
Gaining notoriety for being the only restaurant to host both Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston (separately, of course) during TIFF, Hudson Kitchen has made it their mission to reinvent food by making each dish an adventure.
678 Queen Street West
Serving the kind of meals that warm every inch of your body, Czehoski is the perfect place to hide on a winter’s night with friends or solo.
~ Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider
Images (left to right, top to bottom): Bar Isabel (via Toronto Life), Czehoski (via Blog TO), Hudson Kitchen, The Black Hoof (via Up Magazine).
Escape to Los Angeles
There’s this distinctive smell in the air that hits you when the doors from LAX open into Los Angeles. It’s a heady mix of Marilyn Monroe’s rose geranium perfume, the whiskey soaked breath of Charles Bukowski, the ink from Harvey Weinstein’s pen signing off on a flurry of deals, the salty Pacific Ocean breeze, and that sweet smell of hope and dreams.
The city, spread across a sea of palm trees, checkered bungalows, and headlight-lit streets, sucks visitors in with a smacking of its red-stained lips. If you only have a weekend in LA, you must spend it imbibing in the energy with tastefully savoured mouthfuls.
We’ve got some OPUS-approved destinations to stumble upon during your visit.
Chateau Marmont or Sunset Marquis for Hollywood and Rock and Roll histories that can be felt on your skin as you walk the hallways or lounge by the pools.
Grab a sandwich at Joan’s on Third or succumb to vegan-ism at Veggie Grill. For dinner, savour Italian cuisine at Ceconni’s or lounge on pillows at Fig & Olive.
Get yourself to Santa Monica to watch the sunset while sipping on a Bitchin’ Sangria at The Bungalow. Listen to jazz at the Parisian-inspired Pour Vous. Drink a bourbon at Bar 1200 at the Sunset Marquis. And you can’t go wrong with a martini at the timeless Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
Hop in a car and cruise the winding roads of the Hollywood Hills before hiking through Bronson Canyon in Griffith Park (home of the Batcave). If you make it before the end of June, get inside Stanley Kubrick’s head at an exhibit dedicated to his works at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Salivate over art at the Getty Center. Admire another culture at the Malibu Hindu Temple. Shop for sartorial finds on Melrose Avenue.
~ Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider
Images from top: Cindy Crawford by Terry Richardson; Chateau Marmont; view of LA from the Hollywood sign; Bar 1200 at Sunset Marquis, Griffith Park Trails, streets of LA.