Local

A Night at the Opera: Così fan tutte by Didier Young

After the dramatic temperature drop caused by the polar vortex this past week, I was definitely in the mood for some comedy in my life. Coincidentally, I was invited to attend the opening night of the Canadian Opera Company’s newest opera, Così fan tutte, a whimsical production of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s comedy. So I dusted off my suit, polished my shoes and made my way to the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts this past Tuesday.

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Sustainability and Merchant Sons by Didier Young

When we think of the topic of fast fashion, clothing stores such as Zara and H&M often come to mind. Other than fast food, we seem to only think of clothing when the fast lifestyle subject comes up. However, there are other ways in which our daily lives are affected by the phenomenon. Every time we give in to the purchase of cheaper replicas where no original creativity was required, where products were the result of mass manufacture and without taking in environmental consequences or long term durability, we are giving in to the fast lifestyle. This rushed way of living, when conformity and quick results are pre requisites, surrounds us everywhere, from the mug in which you consume your morning coffee to the sheets you sleep in. 

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A Brunch at Ufficio by Didier Young

We all have specific food items that we would not be able to resist if we were faced with a plate of it. For some people it’s salted caramel and chocolate chip cookies. For others, it might be a bowl of chips with a side of freshly made guacamole. In my case, I’ve always had a soft spot (a.k.a my belly) for Italian cuisine. Who can resist a beautiful plate of pasta, a burrata salad with roasted beets or a bowl of tiramisu? If you disagree, we are probably not meant to be friends. Obviously the more variations of the same item you eat, the more you start to learn what you like and dislike in the making of the dish. You start becoming a picky eater. You begin to expect to be blown away at each bite of your Margherita pizza and it is with high expectations that I visited Ufficio for brunch a few weeks back.

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Sam James/ Stüssy by Didier Young

In theory, the act of roasting coffee seems quite easy enough to accomplish: green coffee beans are poured into a roaster, where they are slowly roasted to the desired degree and they are then dumped from the roasting chamber and air cooled. While one could attempt the whole procedure simply by looking for a specific colouration to the beans, it takes an expert to understand the subtle calibrations in temperature, smell, colour and sound that result in the finished product that they are aiming to achieve. One such master roaster is the owner and namesake of Sam James Coffee Bars in Toronto and the creator of Cut Coffee.

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Bake Club: The Greenhouse Cookbook's Key Lime cups by Didier Young

Before I shifted professions and became a full time blogger and photographer, I used to be a pastry chef at a popular restaurant in Toronto. There seems to be a certain idealization of the profession and I often get asked whether I miss my old job. The hours were long, the upper management was impossible to please and let’s be honest, working in hospitality isn’t the most lucrative career choice. However, I will admit that I do miss baking sometimes. Thankfully, I usually meet up with a bunch of talented bloggers at least once a month for our Friday Bake Club.

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A Brunch at Lavelle by Didier Young

This past weekend, I attended a large blogger gathering at the beautiful Lavelle, located near Bathurst and King. I had been to the restaurant twice prior: I initially went for the La La Land premiere after-party (where I arrived shortly after Ryan Gosling left. Sad I know) and I had also been to the restaurant the weekend before for a more intimate brunch with five of my friends. Now that I have been to the restaurant three times, what are my thoughts about it?

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A Coffee at Safehouse by Didier Young

There is no denying the fact that Toronto has slowly, but surely, become a coffee metropolis of its own. Coffee shops in Toronto are often supplied by local roasters such as Sam James’ Cut Coffee, Pilot Coffee and Demello but they also do not shy away from ordering coffee beans from places such as The Barn in Germany.  With this array of coffee shops all showcasing fantastic beans, it is often hard to pick out your allegiance. Often it all comes down to location, instagrammability, latte art abilities and service. Today’s post is the new coffee shop and Instagram darling, Safehouse Coffee.

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A Change of Scent: Transitional perfumes from Parisian Brand Le Labo by Didier Young

I once had a friend who told me that when it comes to investing in key pieces in your wardrobe, you should always start with a wallet and shoes because those would be the first two things that people will judge you on. However there is one thing that is even more important to invest on: fragrance. While a lot of people downplay the power of fragrances, it is usually the first and last thing that they will notice about you when you are in their presence. No matter if you are carrying a Louis Vuitton wallet and wearing a pair of Ferragamo shoes, if you stink then the illusion is broken. 

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Four places in Toronto to Brunch by Didier Young

Sunday morning, we wake up and put on our best attires. we clean up and try to make sure we look as decent as possible and we head out for one of the most important rituals of the week: brunch. An amalgamation of breakfast and lunch, this special meal originated in England in the late 19th century and gained popularity in the 1930s in the Unites States. Acting as a perfect excuse to consume alcohol at eleven in the morning, brunch has traditionally consisted of english muffins, egg benedicts and pancakes drizzled in maple syrups. It will come to no surprise to everyone that brunch is my favourite meal of the week but most brunch places often offer safe and interchangeable menus. Today, I am talking about food from my favourite brunch places in Toronto who offer their own take on the weekend meal.

 

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Blogger life by Didier Young

June 2016. I packed my bags and left for Scandinavia. After nine days in Stockholm and Copenhagen, I had an epiphany, a revelation of shorts. I realized that I was not happy doing what I was doing and that I needed a change. Thus began my career as a full time blogger. Was it everything I thought it would be? Above and beyond. Was it as much of a breeze as everyone thinks it is? Absolutely not.

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Kasamoto by Didier Young

My latest visit to Kasamoto marked my fifth time at the upscale Japanese restaurant in Yorkville. Opened in 2015, the two-story restaurant has been a blogger favourite for quite a while now. After experiencing their great brunch, a night out having cocktails with the girls and a few dinners, it was finally time to give their lunch a try. 

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Four places in Toronto to Fika by Didier Young

Ingrained deep in Swedish culture, you will find a word that refers to a very special social institution; Fika. A back slag originally created during the 19th Century, the word fika is derived from an old variant of the word kaffe, meaning coffee in Swedish. While the literal meaning of the word is “to have coffee”, it now also refers to small meal breaks that may be taken during the day, similar in concept to an afternoon tea with the inclusion of sandwiches and fikabröd (fika bread) such as cardamom buns. The global crush we seem to have developed for everything Scandinavian started with fashion and furniture and organically led to our desire to adapt their lifestyle ethos to our lives. Today on the blog, I am talking about a few of my favourite places to fika in Toronto.

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Tabule Souk by Didier Young

Bulgar wheat and diced tomatoes. Chopped parsley, green onion and fresh mint. Add in some olive oil, lemon juice, salt and black pepper. This is not a hot new recipe that I have just come up with as part of my New Years resolution but it does make for a nice salad. Those are the ingredients of tabule, one of the quintessential Middle Eastern dishes and the mixture immediately conjures up images of pita bread, delicious hummus and shakshuka dishes. It also happens to be the name of a restaurant in Toronto.

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Winter Village by Didier Young

I am your father. You had me at Hello. I’m gonna make him an offer he won’t refuse. Movies and televisions shows have often been a source of popular culture quotes that transcended time. Each generation of viewers end up adapting their own jargon to the movies of the moment. I remember when Mean Girls came out and everyone could quote the entirety of the movie. To this date, I can still quote parts of it. Isn’t it fetch? In my everyday life, I make a lot of references to such quotes and yesterday I got to use one of my favourite ones from Gilmore Girls. I smell snow.

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PLANTA by Didier Young

The food chain is something that is simple to comprehend. Plants take in the minerals and nutrients from the earth and are then eaten by small herbivores. Medium predators prey on the former and are in turn the prey of larger animals, including humans. That is the gist of it. Over the years, humans figured out ways to obtain additional by-products from animals up and down the ladder. Milk is harvested from the cow and made into cheese and their hides are turned into wearable goods. However a subgroup of the population chose to forgo some steps in the food chain and to go back to its roots. The term veganism was hence born and allowed for the rise of food institutions such as PLANTA.

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One of a Kind Online Shop by Didier Young

Tis the season to be shopping. It is mid-November and it once again this time of the year when we all have to wave our magic wands and somehow conjure up the perfect present: One that is personal, unique, pretty, within a specific price range and that your special ones have not purchased for themselves yet. It is becoming increasingly hard in this highly consumption centric society to find such a rare gem. Sometimes it feels like it would be easier to find a needle in a hay stack. Thankfully we have wonderful shows like the One of a Kind Show and its online shop.

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Good Fortune Bar by Didier Young

Toronto’s subway system is the cause of many a heated conversation in Toronto. While it is easy for people to adapt to the simple linear routes taken by the trains, the subway itself seems to incur more issues adapting to its environment. Each weekend is marked by disruptions in the traffic flow and constant maintenance being undertaken in the underground tunnels. The one thing we may all agree about however, is the wide expanse that the subway system covers in the city. While most people would count the Toronto downtown to end at Bloor station, the subway system allows us to explore further areas in the city. One such exploration date took us to Eglinton station to check out Good Fortune Bar.

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Bar Raval by Didier Young

When asking people why they love travelling, a few diverging answers may come up. Day dreams of pretty peaks covered in snow, cherubic pink flowers filling the air or plates filled to the brim with warm croissants come to mind. All those answers boil down to the same desire: an allure to fully immerse yourself in another culture or to camouflage with the environment you are in. Personally, I chose to do so by tasting the local food, as you will rarely be able to find something as authentic in another country. Then again, sometimes one restaurant opens up and completely breaks the rules. Such is the case with Bar Raval.

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The Commodore by Didier Young

If you asked anyone about the Parkdale neighbourhood a few years back, you would have most likely been told to avoid stepping foot in the area. Showcasing an above average percentage of renters and some of the lowest income people in the city, the area was considered to be undesirable and unsafe for quite some time. Fast forward to today and Parkdale has begun a process of gentle gentrifications which started with the inclusion of a culinary strip on Queen West among which you may find The Commodore.

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Pai by Didier Young

Originally, I come from a fairly multicultural island called Mauritius. Growing up, the food I ate was primarily of Chinese and French influence, but I was also exposed to lots of African and Indian food. However I had never had sushi prior to moving to Toronto and if you would have mentioned Pad Thai I would probably have said Gesundheit. My first experience with Pad Thai was not necessarily the best for a very simple reason: I ordered it from Spring Rolls. Over the years, I gave the noodle dish numerous chances at various institutions in the city but all in vain. I never loved it and thought it was always too vinegary or spicy or tasted closer to ketchup than anything else. After expressing my distaste for the dish to the astonishment of many people, I decided to visit the one place that they all seemed to recommend: Pai.

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