Apparently, all roads lead to Kasa Moto. Just a few days after running into the brilliant publisher/writer Marnie Kay outside the Four Season’s d/bar, I ran into this very same gorgeous person at Kasa Moto. This glamourous and simply fabulous woman seems to be everywhere. For some unfathomable reason I always seem to be drawn to these types of otherworldly women, like Ulysses to the Sirens’ call. They are hypnotic, captivating, and totally irresistible. (Pictured above, Marnie Kay on the left.)
In the middle sits the raven-haired Jennifer Goulart, a member of the famous podcasting sister team of Jennifer and Ashley Goulart. Their show, Lovegistics: The Science of Love, is an addictive listen. Their most recent dialogue on the pros and cons of Bumble vs Tinder, and thoughts on love, sex, and all that jazz was very stimulating. These women know how to deliver great audio!
I suppose that in the Lovegistics vernacular, I am “old school.” Though like most dudes, I like “cake by the ocean” or “pie under the sky.”
The second floor patio of Kasa Moto, a high-end Japanese restaurant in Yorkville, is one of the most beautiful and popular patios in all of Toronto. It overlooks the chichi shops of Yorkville and provides an amazing view of the Toronto skyline to the south.
But many of us Kasa Moto regulars do not just come to the patio for the view or even the so-called beautiful people all fapitzed (Yiddish for dolled-up) in their four-inch Stuart Weitzman’s and tight, clingy white jeans. And those are just the guys.
We come because the Kasa Moto servers and bartenders are some of the best in Toronto’s booming hospitality industry.
The Queen B of bartenders is my friend, Courts Shanahan. She is experienced (having been in the business for nearly ten years), professional, quick, responsive, smart, warm, and gracious. Prior to her current Kasa Moto gig, Courts ruled the bar at the Toronto Four Seasons’ d/bar, one of my other favorite haunts. Her knowledge of wine and spirits is encyclopedic and very impressive. With such a wide array of drinks up her sleeve her two favorite libations are: the Apple Martini (3 oz. apple sours, ½ oz. vodka, 2 oz. lemon juice), and the Kasa Moto Caesar (2 oz. Shishito pepper-infused vodka, Sirracha, Yuzu ponzu, Walter’s Caesar mix, Wasabi, rimmed with salt and a garnished with a house-made pickle).
Courts has to wear many hats, acting as both a mixologist and psychologist to her clients. She is also a friend, a confidante, and, on occasion, a discrete and trusted adviser relating to matters of the heart.
And not only does she remember the names of regular habitués of Kasa, but also their liquid pleasure. In my case, it’s pretty easy: Diet Coke on the rocks with a twist of lemon. Neither shaken nor stirred. But gently poured.
By day, Courts is a kick-ass software app developer. Who knew?
Though her nightly bartending job is highly intense and stressful (especially on the warm summer nights of Thursday to Saturday), Courts always greets me and treats my fellow Kasa Moto types with a warm smile and easy manner.
And frankly, after a tough day in Toronto’s ultra-competitive rat race, that makes all the difference.
Oy Vey Zmir! You should have seen the blonde(ish), botoxed beauties in five-inch Jimmy Choo’s doing a double take as they wiggled their way the to the chichi second floor patio of Kasa Moto.
Zane Caplansky, Toronto’s King of Smoked Meat, has made the move from the mean streets of College Street to the rarefied environs of Yorkville. He is literally muscling into territory currently owned by such upscale eateries as Café Boulud, Buca, and McEwan’s Hazelton One. It is a real gutsy, chutzpah move, and I hope he is a big success. Caplansky’s will certainly add some sizzle, hustle, and schmaltz to Cumberland, whose restaurants have become somewhat tired and dated.
I, for one, am with the Zane Man. Note the new entrance to Caplansky’s Deli: it looks like a chic murder scene with the yellow construction taping in front. I betting Zane will kill at this location.
I am normally a Greek yogurt, blueberries for breakfast, and a light kale salad for lunch kind of guy. But for Caplansky’s? I will happily fall off the vegan lite wagon and go back to my Montreal-based Snowdon Deli roots.
I highly recommend Caplansky’s classic Chicken-Matzo Ball soup and Cabbage Borscht. (See photos, below.) The Matzo ball, swimming confidently in a flavourful chicken broth, is surprisingly light. The Cabbage Borscht recalls that made by my Toronto grandmother from a recipe from the old country (Russian/Lithuanian). There is real love cooked into that Cabbage Borscht, a great comfort food in both cold and hot weather.
The smoked meat sandwich is, in my humble opinion, one of the finest in Toronto: meaty, fatty, a bit spicy, and moist. I could inhale these suckers for hours. (Of course, this would quite literally be my Last Supper.) Note Caplansky’s also has a terrific pickle and mustard bar, from which you can choose a variety of sweet and sour pickles and both hot and regular mustards. I also recommend their Meat Knish, which is a very light, delicious, and meat-filled thin pastry. And the meat gravy? Yummy.
The classic Breast of Turkey sandwich, complete with crisp greens, is also an appetizing and healthy alternative—definitely worth a shot. Follow that with a heaping basket of addictive, thinly cut fries. By this time, I am afraid that I had completely gone off the reservation. But it was all worth it at Caplansky’s.
Recently, I attended with the Silver Fox (resplendent once again in her off-the-shoulder, long red number) a wonderful evening in support of brain health and rehabilitation at the Toronto Sinai Health system.
The location: the new Saks Fifth Avenue flagship store in the Toronto Eaton Centre on Queen Street. Note the “Lady in Red” seemed to warm up to one of the Saks’ models in particular. She confessed to me that she preferred the strong, silent, discreet, and very buff type.
The above title is more aspirational than real. And anyway, who wants to become a multi-billionaire overnight?
And lose my “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish” status. Not me. Not in this lifetime, cowboy!
Note the photo of me with the hot black Lamborghini, is not mine. It belongs to a friend of mine. Though this Lambo perfectly matches my dark hair+dark brown eyes. But this Lambo got me thinking. What if very successful, independent women, wanted to retain hot Uber guys to drive them around in Lambos, Maseratis, Porsches and take these lovely women out to dinner, dancing, shows, luxury hotels and resorts. And basically drive them and take them wherever they want to go. No Questions asked. No Judgment.
Hence I came up with the brilliant idea of merging Uber with the hot dating app Tinder to create: Voila- UberXrated-Tinder. Genius, I know.
My friend from Goldman, Sachs just cut me a cheque for $100 mill for 10% of the action. You know to lease a fleet of fancy sports cars and the services of hot, educated and eligible men for the very discerning and high-powered female clientele. Now, if I could only learn to drive “standard”, I would be golden. Ciao, babe.
The d/bar, comfortably nestled in the new Four Seasons Hotel at Bay/Yorkville, is the “go-to-place” for Toronto’s growing population of male and female Boomers – to engage in casual encounters.
But if you relied solely upon the Toronto liberal media, you would never be aware that such a vibrant and dynamic subculture does actually exist in Toronto, “No Longer The Good”.
Awhile back, Toronto Life magazine was all agog at its discovery of Toronto’s downtown sex-crazed Tinder generation – sex texting, drinking, partying and literally getting it on from nooners to last call at such hotspots as Earls Kitchen & Bar and Drake One Fifty.
Both establishments, located on York Street amid phallically-inspired bank buildings, cater to the downtown 20-early 30-somethings who populate the nearby towers as male and female junior bank/securities analysts, lawyers, accountants and consultants.
Of course in this breathless Toronto Life article, there was no mention of 50 something Boomers (aged 51-67).
As if they do not exist.
What are they? Chopped liver?
Contrary to popular opinion, Toronto’s aging Boomers have not all retired to die in some sleepy suburban Amica Retirement Home called Aspen Woods or Celestial Gardens. Nor do they spend their nights in their condos or apartments chugging back Metamucil as they stare dimly at CBC’s follically challenged Mansbridge of The National, as he tries to lull them to sleep with liberal platitudes and empty bromides.
Though many of these Boomers are no longer Bay Street or Wall Street masters of the universe, they are still more than masters of their domain.
Many of these Boomers, unencumbered by spouses, children and mortgages, are still working hard and playing hard.
As in the classic film “Casablanca”, where all roads led to Bogart’s “Rick’s Café”, in Toronto – for Toronto Boomers and their friends – all roads still lead to the Four Seasons’ d/bar.
I have been dropping in at the d/bar on a semi-regular basis. For research, of course. It is a Dirty Martini job, but someone has to do it. As a result, I have become familiar with the regular denizens of d/bar.
Just around the corner from the hotel’s lobby on the main floor, the d/bar displays a certain casual elegance- from the gracious hostess, to the friendly bar tenders manning the long marble bar to the taupe comfy chairs and couches located strategically around the room.
The place, particularly on Thursday evenings, is packed with a good and even natural mix of male and female lawyers, dentists, doctors, real estate agents, business people, publicists, consultants and wheelers/dealers and guests of the hotel. As expected, the men are roughly older (50-65) than the women, who are generally a little younger, 38-50, but not that age inappropriate.
Fred, the “Closer”, and Jerry, the “Dentist”, (actual names withheld to protect the innocent and not so innocent) are your typical d/bar habitués.
Both men in the late 50s, are fit, single, divorced and apparently quite content with the cards life has dealt them.
Fred is a friendly real estate guy, happily unmarried. His three children, all finished university, are independent and working. Woo-hoo! Off the family payroll.
Jerry is a semi-retired dentist, also with grown and independent children.
These two are not your typical Tinder demographic.
Their approach to women at d/bar is more old school. Easy banter and buying of drinks all around.
The only swiping they do, is with their credit or debit cards.
(FYI: Tinder is a dating app, in which men and women, living in close proximity, post photos and brief profiles online, and when two strangers on their smart phones swipe to the right on each other’s profile, an oral contract to Tinder date each other is consummated.)
As Jerry the Dentist confided to me, “d/bar sure beats sitting around alone in your place or at a sports bar with a bunch of strange guys, all staring at the female server’s tight t-shirt.”
Jerry, like the Closer, hangs out at d/bar, mainly for the regular social connections and the chance of meeting a new person or reconnecting with a familiar face. If these encounters lead to dinners, film dates, brunches and casual hook-ups, even better.
At this stage of their lives, they are just happy to let nature takes its course and just go with the flow.
Interestingly, the women at d/bar have more aggressive agenda. Sophia (mid 40s) a single mom from Brampton with two teenage children, regularly hangs out at d/bar in the hopes of meeting her Mr. Right or Mr. Right Now, for a little roll in the hay.
Lillian, Scottish-born from Burlington, is a married woman of two teenagers. Though happily married, she had confided to me of her desire to three way with another woman and a willing male participant. Apparently, she envisioned the male member more a bit player in this fantasy. Hence her nickname, the “Scottish Sappho”.
This quiet and sweet suburban married Burlington mother also confided to me that she fantasized about having rough sex with strange men in the d/bar unisex washroom. And then proceeded to ask what our safe word would be?
The first word that popped in my head was “Ezra” as in Ezra Levant, a notorious conservative right wing provocateur and pundit.
The Scottish Sappho laughed, nervously, then excused herself from the table, muttering into her Neo-Negroni cocktail, that I was really weird. I never saw Sappho again.
Clearly, she was a left wing Trudeau supporter.
Even here at this Boomer haven d/bar cocktails and politics apparently do not mix.
I was never a big fan of former three term Liberal prime minister Jean Chretien, but I must doff my frayed chapeau to this straight-talking dude. Chretien’s solution to this horribly dysfunctional Cree reserve is to encourage its inhabitants to get the hell out of dodge. Or more appropriately, leave this extremely isolated community on the west coast of James Bay and head for a more metropolitan centre, i.e. the city of Timmins about 500 kilometres south of Attawapiskat.
The implication is that this reserve is done like dinner. No amount of combined federal and provincial support can revive this place. No amount of hard-earned Canadian taxpayers’ money can solve the fundamental problems within this isolated reserve. No amount of bleeding heart provincial and federal liberals beating their breasts can turn this situation around. This reserve is doomed to disease, suicide and death. Period.
As Chretien wisely noted referring to this situation, cutting through the political BS and political correctness, “there is no economic base there for having jobs and so on, and sometimes they have to move, like anybody else”.
Chretien is no “Jean-come-lately” to this file. Back in the day, he was Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development from 1968-1974 in the Pierre Trudeau cabinet. While Prime Minister in the mid nineties, his government was faced with its own Attawapiskat-like disaster. It was called the Davis Inlet Innu reserve in Labrador.
Attawapiskat in 2016 is reminiscent of Davis Inlet in 1993 – the same sad and tragic story.
Prior to the relocation of all the 500 Davis Inlet residents, six Innu youths, aged 11-14 were caught on video, attempting suicide by sniffing gasoline fumes. According to the then CBC report, many children, some as young as six months, were neglected by parents too drunk to care. The majority of these children suffered from tuberculosis and skin infections caused by poor hygiene.
95% of the adult population suffered from alcoholism.
In 1993, 25% of the population tried to commit suicide. Of the then 360 children (about 10%) some as young as five years old, were “problem sniffers” of gasoline.
As in the Davis Inlet situation, in the last six weeks in Attawapiskat there have been 39 suicide attempts in a community of 2,000 – including 11 attempted suicides in the last week. I suspect these figures are just the tip of the tragic iceberg.
I suspect the number of residents of this community, like in Davis Inlet, who have attempted suicide is much higher.
Also like in Davis Inlet, the children suffer from poor hygiene. And alcoholism, drug abuse, depression and despair are rampant among both young and old residents.
Predictably, Indian officials like Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day, point their fingers at the federal and provincial government. Of course, these suicides and these multiple problems are a result of that old “go to” scapegoat: “the residential school” system.
Leftist NOW magazine blames this situation on the “usual suspects” of Canadian colonialism and institutional racism.
Of course none of these politically correct native Indian officials or misguided leftists, point their fingers where the fault clearly lay – the Native Indian elders, the chiefs and the adult natives Indians and parents of these children.
All these so-called leaders and adults should be held accountable for their apparent negligence, their carelessness and for their wrong-headed desire to stay attached to a land and to their traditions of hunting and fishing that cannot sustain this isolated community or provide the bare necessities of life to themselves and certainly not to their children, who prefer taking their lives, than living another day in such deplorable conditions.
If this Attawapiskat reserve was instead an extreme Jewish cult in which its children were attempting suicide, the provincial and federal authorities would be all over this place, removing the children to save their lives, and throwing the cult’s leaders in jail.
But because it is 2016, and native Indians appear untouchable, their children are doomed to die early deaths due to our national liberal political correctness. Shame.
Years ago, Lakeshore West had a very wild west reputation. It was populated with a string of sleazy motels fronting on beautiful Lake Ontario. This place was located on the western fringe of Toronto and it appealed to those on the fringe of society – hookers, gamblers, hustlers – and those were the pillars of this society.
Well, all these motels are gone, replaced by a glass and steel forest of condo towers. Fronting on the lake or set back from the lake.
From the ashes of these sketchy motels, a vibrant condo community has risen. Composing of seniors who have sold their Etobicoke homes North of the Queensway; young families with a kid or two in tow; swinging singles, young professionals, aggressive entrepreneurs, hustling real estate agents, hot PR folk, divorced middle-aged men and women reinventing themselves and of course, the odd escort or twenty, reflecting Lakeshore West’s storied past.
The Firkin group of pubs owns and operates over 30 British style pubs in the Greater Toronto area, in the suburbs of Mississauga and even farther afield in Cambridge, the Kitchener Waterloo area and in Aurora, Whitby and Pickering.
The Firkin group’s newest pub is on the main floor of these new condos overlooking Humber Bay on Marine Bay Drive (south of the Queensway, Lakeshore Road, east of Islington/Park Lawn area). This pub is simply spectacular.
Spacious, modern, warm, friendly and architecturally, very cool.
The architecture can best be described as clean, modern, chic industrial. Very open and reminiscent of The London Tube – aspirational, without the grime, heat, graffiti and hundreds of commuters crammed cheek to jowl. Note: the London Tube-like sign, Firkin on the Bay.
The main dining room soars over 30 feet upwards. One wall, overlooking the Humber Bay contains gorgeous floor to ceiling windows. At night, from your booth, you can see not only the lake, but across the lake, the iconic CN Tower and the sparkling Toronto skyline.
Look up at the ceiling and you see piping, smartly silver encased as if an exhibit in the Art Gallery of Toronto. The artwork is of course British inspired. Larger than life colourful lithographs of Winston Churchill, English Bulldogs and my favourite, the incomparable Jimi Hendrix, intensely hanging out in Marylebone in the heart of London.
The main foyer soars majestically two stories, easily 40 feet. Also, huge floor-to-ceiling windows. The L-shaped bar faces flat screens and colourful piping representing the major London subway routes – Bakerloo, Central, Piccadilly and Jubilee, to name a few.
There is a private party area on the second floor accessed by a staircase with a brilliant life-like mural of the Minister of Silly Walks, John Cleese of Monty Python fame.
The food is generally excellent. It is pub food: tasty, fun, plentiful and very good value. The three fellows next to me chowed down on hot and spicy chicken wings with a side mountain of crispy fries. They were impressed with the size of the chicken wings and the fries. Another couple had the lamb burger and chicken fingers – also engulfed by freshly cut fries. Another table of two couples had more traditional British pub fare – fish and chips and Shepherd’s pie, Firkin’s specialties. All signaled their approval.
The group at my table also went the traditional British pub route. You know, when in Rome!
We shared the following: Three Little Yorkies. No, they were not British hot dogs but instead consisted of three mini Yorkshire puddings, stuffed with pot roast, mashed potatoes and smothered in Guinness gravy. Delicious, filling, fattening, great comfort food. I chose and enjoyed the Ploughman’s Lunch – aged, white cheddar, Danish blue cheese, a hard-boiled egg, gherkins, kalamata olives, a Ciabatta bun and a Branston pickle.
This Firkin, as in all of the Firkins I have experienced, is known for its wide and varied selection of brewskis. One of the most popular beers is Butler’s Brew, a light refreshing lager, brewed exclusively for Firkin by Molsons.
Other popular brands on tap include: Barking Squirrel, Flying Monkeys Hoptical Illusion, and Moosehead Lager.
Cute names. Cute names. And according to my beer-drinking bro each of these brands taste so smooth and clean.
What I most loved about this place was its attentive, excellent and attentive service. Hostess Nina, a truly lovely woman. The other hostess, Suzanne, was superb as well. Our server, Daniella, was also terrific and so professional.
Daniella could not do enough for us. And she appeared to genuinely like us and she hoped that we would come back soon. What a sweetheart!
Later in the evening, another server, Stephanie helped us select the perfect late night munchies which just hit the spot prior to our departing for the night.
This Firkin bar is fast becoming the local hang out for the Toronto West condo crowd. A place where the staff know your name and a great escape from the surrounding concrete jungle and the downtown Bay Street rat race.
Kudos to general manager Bobby Schuette and his great staff. This place is a great addition to the growing and fast expanding neighbourhood. I can’t wait to return. And the outdoor patio, overlooking the lake, must be fabulous in the spring and summer.
Many friends of mine have been extolling the virtues of Mildred’s for years, especially its legendary Sunday brunch.
When it comes to fancy Sunday brunches, I am generally indifferent. Agnostic. But this past Sunday, friends of mine encouraged me to tag along. Why not? And I became a true believer. A convert. Definitely a happy member of Mildred’s Temple.
Mildred’s is located in the King/Dufferin area, amidst a forest of steel + glass condominiums, aka Liberty Village.
In the middle of this high rise condo village is a ‘village square’ of sorts. Anchored by a 24 hour Metro grocery store, bakers, candlestick makers, Nike, a Shoppers Drug Mart, banks, hair and nail spas, and Mildred’s.
Mildred’s is very airy, high-ceilinged and cool with an open kitchen in the middle, for all to see. Sunday brunch is from 9am to 3pm. Waits are at least one hour+ to get a seat and no reservations are taken. First come, first serve. Recommended 9am at the opening bell if you want a seat.
Unfortunately, my friends had had a late night the night before – some random dude’s birthday party. Apparently many vodka sodas and straight whiskeys, well into the morn, had pushed our brunch to 2pm.
Silver lining for my friends, Mildred’s rocks as great comfort and hangover food.
So we arrived at 2pm and as expected, there was at least a 60 minute wait.
But my friends were smart, they grabbed some chairs at the bar and ordered a single pancake special with The Bungalow Island Caesar (Iceberg Vodka, Mott’s Clamato juice, signature rim, curly celery and fresh horseradish to cure the hair of the dog).
(See photo of Mrs. Biederhof’s Legendary Light & Fluffy Blueberry Buttermilk Pancake served with Lanark County maple syrup & whipped cream.)
Since the single pancake was so large and fluffy, and just oozed decadent whipped cream, blueberries and maple syrup, they just shared a single one. Sort of a pre-brunch, like a pre drink, before the main event. According to these two, this buttermilk pancake was heaven on a plate.
Our initial server Kaitlyn was just a doll. So upbeat, attentive and empathetic. My two friends, still suffering from the throes of a major hangover, sought Kaitlyn’s professional advice on how to combat such a debilitating hangover.
Dr. Kaitlyn wisely steered them away from morning mimosa of Spanish Cava and orange juice to hot black coffee, which seemed to do wonders.
Within 45 minutes, hostess Margo helped us to our table and we were handed off to Calvin, also an excellent server.
Calvin was so upbeat and helpful. He recommended to my two friends Veda’s Choice – Mildred’s classic poached eggs on a flakey croissant. One chose the rosemary bacon option while the other chose smoked salmon. Both topped with Béarnaise sauce and served with mixed greens. (See photo of this Mildred classic.) This dish was a huge hit with my friends. The 45 minute wait was clearly worth it.
For my part, someone had to show some calorie-counting discipline. I had Mildred’s famous house-made crunchy granola with toasted honey oats, macadamia nuts, dried apricots, currants, cranberries and a hint of ginger, topped with yogurt and fresh seasonal fruit. It was delicious, hit the spot. And I could respect myself in the morning.
Calvin was a gem. He anticipated all our strange and unique needs. One of my friends, was vegan-lite and required constant refills of Almond milk as opposed to skimmed milk. And she made other organic and natural demands. Calvin handled all these requests with aplomb and equanimity.
And he kept magically appearing out of nowhere, to refill our steaming hot cups of Java.
In short, the afternoon brunch service at Mildred’s Temple, was short and sweet. We were uplifted by the service, the ambience, and the food, of course. Thank God, no sermon was necessary.
Alex Rad’s BBQ emporium and craft cocktail haven “Smoque N’ Bones” on Queen Street West blows away all his Toronto competition.
For those who know and have read me know that in the past I was a huge BBQ gourmand. More accurately, a BBQ glutton. A raunchy pork rib porker. A pulled pork pundit. And a crazed beef brisket banshee.
I used to stalk the Stockyards on St. Clair and constantly blacken the door of the Black Camel near the Rosedale subway. Sometimes I would travel way across town to deepest, darkest Parkdale, grow some facial hair and don a hoodie for Electric Mud BBQ, all for its crispy, juicy pulled pork sandwiches.
Most recently, due to doctor’s orders, I’ve gone veggie lite.
Recently I have fallen off the pork/rib chuck wagon, having fallen in love with a very rad “Smoque N’ Bones”.
Truth be told, I have gone several times to “Smoques” and every time, it was better than the last visit.
I have tried most of the delicious meats and sides. My favourite is the sampler. A choice of three meats and three sides.
I love the pork ribs. Smoky, tender, succulent and juicy. More slow bite, savour and chew, than fall off the bone.
No question, Alex Rad’s southern smoker delivers the goods. The awesome ribs are served naked, just the way I like them as does most rib aficionados. I hate them pre-slathered and over-slathered with unnecessary BBQ sauce. Smoques supplies you with your own glazing brush and extra BBQ sauce so that you can apply its house-made sauce as you like it.
Pulled pork is hard to pull off, but chef Alex does it with great aplomb. Roasted daily for about 14 hours, the pulled pork, sans bun, is moist, soft, flavourful and the tangy, smoky sauce complements without obscuring its zesty taste.
The beef brisket is not like my dear old mom used to make – thanks goodness! In this case, the brisket is insanely moist and surprisingly scrumptious. It is must be chef Alex’s secret smoking and sauce. Also, the extra subtle layers of fat jumpstart its juiciness.
Smoque’s sides are a misnomer. Supporting actors, they are not. They can easily stand on their own, as full meals in themselves.
Feeling guilty about my non-veggie binging, I naturally gravitated to the crisp collard greens, candied yams and caramelized onions and brussel sprouts. They were all excellent. And seemingly healthy.
Unfortunately, that diet-conscious ship sailed a long time ago. On subsequent trips to Smoques, I macked out on the creamy mac and cheese and then dove head first into the devilishly delicious buttermilk onion rings and obscenely fine waffle sweet potato fries.
Aren’t sweet potato fries supposed to be healthier than your run of the mill greasy French fries?
But by my third visit to Smoques, who gives a flying fry? I was mainlining those earthy subtle sweet potato fries, fried to a perfect crisp, dipped in chipotle mayo, directly into my thickening thighs. Oh well.
Don’t get me started on the addictive pecan pie with Bourbon Crème Anglaise!
Chef Alex had to cut me off at two servings of that Bourbon-infused pecan pie or I would have been pecan pie impaired.
But man cannot live on Smoque’s bread pudding alone (with intoxicating Bourbon sauce).
True, the food is the thing, but what drives me back on a regular basis to Smoques, is the people and the service.
Chef/owner Alex, a former Bay Street financier, is the heart, soul and driving force of Smoque N’ Bones.
But he has also surrounded himself with a tremendous group.
The beautiful and extremely competent Lexa, is Alex’s “go to” person. She has worked closely with Alex from the outset and has helped him define and implement his vision for Smoques. Also I understand Lexa assisted Alex in renovating the second floor into a really cool, open bricked, original barn wood floor, smoky, retro “old school” cocktail bar.
Lexa also prepares, slices, dices and serves the meaty entrees with skill and experience way beyond his years.
There is also the lovely and warm Vanessa, who works the front and ensures that every patron is always satisfied.
Vanessa also on occasion mans the upstairs cocktail lounge. She is a true artist and cocktail craftsman.
I am not normally a bourbon, vermouth or gin drinker but Vanessa’s Marakesh and Wild Rose crafted cocktails went down oh-so-smoothly.
In big, bad and often personally cold Toronto, Smoques is truly a place where they always know your name and treat you like family. Actually, better than family.
I guarantee you will first go for the food, but you will keep coming back because it is like a second home, for us urban dwellers who are constantly searching for a place with great food and a staff who genuinely enjoys your company and can’t do enough for you.