New to Toronto? Welcome!

First, great choice. You couldn’t have picked a better city at a better time. Seriously, it’s absolutely booming here. You surely noticed all the construction. It’s everywhere. Heck, we’ve even got our own little project going on here on the block: bringing the first Eataly to town!

But this boom is so much more than what’s coming, because Toronto’s already an amazing place to live. Here’s why:


You’re going to eat so well in Toronto

There’s a vegan restaurant called Planta up the street from us. They replicate dishes like short ribs, sliders and crab cakes. It’s so innovative, which is so typical of Toronto’s food scene. All over town, chefs inspired by the diversity of the city are doing some pretty unique things. You can pick by trend, style or ethnicity (we’re still the world’s most multicultural city and you can taste it). Here’s BlogTO’s list of this season’s top 10 restos. Also, if you don’t know about BlogTO yet, you should bookmark it right now.


You’re going to love walking it off through Toronto

Toronto’s best enjoyed on foot, especially from where we are on Charles Street. In 45 minutes, you can take in the high-end Mink Mile (which includes our neighbours to the north Manulife Centre), stroll through the University of Toronto’s beautiful campus and make your way into dynamic Korea Town. If you walk south from our place for half an hour you’ll pass by Queen’s Park (where the Ontario Government sits), the Discovery District, and then you’ll find yourself on trendy Queen West. No matter where you are in town, you’ll have the same experience because neighbourhoods spill into each other here. And everybody gets along.


You’re going to have something to do all the time.

Theatre. Film. Art. Sport. Food. All of it’s on full display in the city, most of it’s walkable from where we are at Bay and Bloor, and if it’s not, the subway’s accessible to 44 Charles without even having to go outside. But our residents have told us that the best deal for this kind of stuff is three blocks away at the University of Toronto. They put on fantastic showcases all the time, and Varsity Stadium’s one of the best spots in the city to catch a game.


And you’re going to love it here

We look after each other. We value our green spaces and keep them clean. We brave the winter together. We make it easy to live downtown, and easier to enjoy everything the city has to offer.

5 simple yet scrumptious recipes for holiday hosts

Hosting your family for the holidays is so much better than having to go somewhere. No fighting traffic. No lugging wrapped gifts. No having to flip a coin to decide who’s going to be the evening’s DD. It’s brilliant.

We’d argue that the best part of hosting is deciding what to make. It’s the one meal everyone will remember, and your opportunity to reset the bar. Fun, but also a lot of pressure. So if you’re stuck for ideas, here’s a five-course meal you can put together or use as inspiration for something better.



Bacon-wrapped stuffing

Spoiler alert: we’re not going with a turkey as our main. But not to have stuffing at a Christmas dinner borders on blasphemous. This easy-to-make popper care of the chefs at Walmart needs just two ingredients and 30 minutes to make — although most of that time is spent filling your house with the sweet smell of bacon as it cooks.



1 box of stuffing mix (find it at Bloorstreet Market)

6 slices bacon, cut in half


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Cook the boxed stuffing according to package directions. Let cool for 5 minutes.

3. Use a cookie scoop to create stuffing balls or roll two tablespoons of stuffing into two-inch balls.

4. Wrap with 1/2 slice bacon and secure with a toothpick.

5. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until bacon is crisp and top of stuffing is lightly browned.


Chestnut Soup with Grappa Cream

If our suites had fireplaces, we could all roast our chestnuts the way Bing Crosby intended. But since they don’t, this Fabio Trabocchi creation is an equally delicious way to enjoy the festive season’s official nut. It’s super creamy — so perfect for a cold night — but best served in small cups or bowls, lest it fill you and your guests up before the main.



2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 ounces thinly sliced pancetta

2 medium shallots, sliced (1/2 cup)

1/2 cup diced peeled celery root

1/2 pound white mushrooms, sliced

One 14-ounce jar vacuum-packed roasted chestnuts, coarsely chopped

4 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth

1/4 cup Cognac

1 fresh bay leaf

1 sage sprig

1 thyme sprig, plus 1 tablespoon thyme leaves, for garnish

3/4 cup half-and-half

Salt and freshly ground white pepper

1 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons grappa



1. In a large saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the pancetta and cook over moderate heat until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the shallots and celery root and cook until the celery root is just tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl, leaving the pancetta and fat in the saucepan.

2. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter to the saucepan along with the mushrooms and all but 2 tablespoons of the chestnuts. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have released their liquid and are slightly softened, 6 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of the chicken stock and the celery root mixture and cook for 1 minute. Add the Cognac and cook until evaporated, 2 minutes.

3. Add the bay leaf, sage and thyme sprigs to the saucepan along with the remaining 3 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons of chicken stock. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Discard the pancetta, bay leaf, sage and thyme.

4. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until creamy and smooth. Return the soup to the saucepan. Stir in the half-and-half, season with salt and white pepper and keep warm.

5. In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Beat in the grappa and season with salt and pepper.

6. Ladle the soup into small bowls. Dollop the grappa cream on top, garnish with the thyme leaves and the reserved 2 tablespoons of chestnuts and serve.



Leg of lamb with garlic and rosemary

The name of the game for your main is simple. It’s the centrepiece of your dinner and you don’t want to run the risk of it going awry. It doesn’t get much easier than this holiday mainstay from Epicurious. For your guests, it’s a welcome change from the expected turkey — and it’s tryptophan-free so you can keep going into the wee hours.



1 (7-pound) semi-boneless leg of lamb, aitchbone removed, fat trimmed to 1/4 inch thick and lamb tied

4 garlic cloves

1 tablespoon fine sea salt

2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 cup dry red wine or beef broth



1. Pat lamb dry and score fat by making shallow cuts all over with tip of a small sharp knife.

2. Pound garlic to a paste with sea salt using a mortar and pestle (or mince and mash with a heavy knife) and stir together with rosemary and pepper. Put lamb in a lightly oiled roasting pan, then rub paste all over lamb. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 350°F.

4. Roast lamb in middle of oven until an instant-read thermometer inserted 2 inches into thickest part of meat (do not touch bone) registers 130°F, 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours. Transfer to a cutting board and let stand 15 to 25 minutes (internal temperature will rise to about 140°F for medium-rare).

5. Add wine to pan and deglaze by boiling over moderately high heat, stirring and scraping up brown bits, 1 minute. Season pan juices with salt and pepper and serve with lamb.



Harissa-Roasted Winter Squash

Hearty and savoury with a bit of zing, this Food Network side goes perfectly with cold weather. You can find the harissa paste downstairs at the Bloorstreet Market, or you can make it yourself with crushed hot red chilies, caraway, cumin, coriander, garlic, salt and spearmint leaves. The pomegranate seeds are optional, but definitely make for a festive touch.



1 acorn squash, cut into wedges

3 Tbsp harissa spice blend

2 Tbsp maple syrup

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp goat cheese, crumbled (optional)

pomegranate seeds (optional)



1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Whisk harissa spice blend, oil and maple syrup in a small bowl.

2. Cut the squash in half from top to bottom and scrape out the seeds with a spoon. Cut each half into 4 equal wedges.

3. In a large bowl, toss squash wedges with harissa mixture to coat. Roast for 10 minutes, toss once and continue to roast until squash is tender, 20-25 minutes.



Apple Cake

Like with the main, simple wins the dessert game. Courtesy of @ld_kitchen.



1 cup vegetable oil

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

3 extra-large eggs

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

3 tbsp Tia Maria

3 1/2 cups chopped cooking


1/2 cup chopped walnuts



1. Preheat oven to 325 °F.

2. Grease and flour a 10-inch springform cake pan and set aside.

3. Put oil, brown and granulated sugars in bowl: mix with an electric hand beater for 2–3 seconds.

4. Incorporate eggs, one at a time, beating well between additions.

5. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon into a separate bowl. Incorporate into egg mixture until well blended.

6. Fold in Tia Maria, apples and walnuts with a spatula. Pour the batter into mold and bake for 1 1/2 hours or until a wooden pick stuck into the cake comes out clean.

Spring Cooking

The birds have started chirping, the cyclist/car struggle has picked up right where it left off last fall and the first few sun-worshippers are back on the rooftop garden. Yup, spring is in the air, and there’s no better way to celebrate than with some delicious food that simply screams spring.

After much experimentation, several food-induced naps and a trip or two to the Bloor Street Market, we’ve picked our winners.

Strawberry Quinoa Salad with Brie
From The Kitchen Magpie

Bowl with Strawberry Quinoa salad

Refreshing, zesty and full of life, this is the perfect dish to welcome the warm weather. The salad is light and delicate, but the brie makes this dish filling enough to enjoy as a main. The spinach, chard and strawberries are all in-season, and the creamy brie conjures up visions of picnics in the grass. Insider’s tip: you can replace the recommended mustard with any grainy mustard.

Serves: 4


  • 4-5 cups of mixed kale, spinach and chard
  • 1/2 cup quinoa, cooked
  • 1/3 cup of diced brie – rind off (this is personal preference)
  • Strawberries – as many as you like, cut in halves and quarters (I used 8)
  • Vinaigrette:
    • 2 tbsp maple syrup
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 tbsp brassica mustard
    • 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar


  1. Combine the greens mixture, strawberries and the brie.
  2. Combine the vinaigrette ingredients completely, using either a lidded jar to shake the ingredients together or a fork to whisk it rapidly.
  3. Heat the vinaigrette and the quinoa up, the microwave works fast & easy for this.
  4. Combine the hot vinaigrette and the hot quinoa with the salad rapidly, wilting the greens slightly and softening the brie  further.
  5. Serve and enjoy!


Snap Pea and Avocado Pasta
From Martha Stewart

Avocado Pasta

The queen of the kitchen retains her crown with this pasta dish bursting with seasonal spring veggies. Filling you up without weighing you down, it can be served either hot or cold. It can be prepared in under 30 minutes – perfect for when you’re rushing out the door to meet friends for a potluck. For the herbs, they give you the choice of mint, parsley or basil — go with basil.

Serves: 6


  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 1 pound sugar snap peas, strings removed
  • 1 pound bow-tie pasta (farfalle)
  •  4 tablespoons butter
  •  2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan or Pecorino cheese, plus more for serving, if desired


  • In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook asparagus until bright green, about 2 minutes. Add snap peas; cook 30 seconds. With a slotted spoon or small sieve, scoop out vegetables; transfer to a bowl.
  • Return water to a boil; add pasta and cook until al dente, according to package instructions. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta water; set pasta aside in colander.
  • In pasta pot, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add asparagus, snap peas, and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter, cooked pasta, avocado, herbs, cheese, and reserved pasta water. Toss to combine; season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with additional cheese, if desired.


Herb Roasted Lamb Chops
From Epicurious

Image of lamb chops

If March comes in like a lion, it should go out with a healthy helping of lamb. The beauty of these chops is that you don’t have to marinate them for long to bring out a rich, herb-infused flavour. It’s delicious with a side of leafy spring greens, and makes for an unforgettable dinner party main course. Whether you’re trying to impress your partner, or just feel like rewarding yourself at the end of a long week, you can’t go wrong with these succulent spring chops.

Serves: 4


  • 4 large garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, lightly crushed
  •  1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, lightly crushed
  • 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 6 1 1/4-inch-thick lamb loin chops


  • Mix first 4 ingredients and 1 tablespoon olive oil in large bowl.
  • Add lamb; turn to coat. Let marinate at room temperature at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in heavy large ovenproof skillet over high heat.
  • Add lamb; cook until browned, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer skillet to oven and roast lamb chops to desired doneness, about 10 minutes for medium-rare. Transfer lamb to platter, cover, and let rest 5 minutes.

Bon Appétit!


Explore 44 … on a date

If you live at 44 Charles, you don’t have to go far to put a great date together, from a restaurant with the best view of the city to a movie at the best theatre in town. (more…)

The Deli Next Door

Between haute cuisine in Yorkville and late-night take-out on Yonge, sometimes you just need some weekend afternoon comfort food. And if you live at 44 Charles, you find it across the road at The New Yorker Deli.

Image of the front of the deli shop

This isn’t a corporate eatery styled with the requisite New York flair. You definitely feel the love for the iconic American city, as well as a love for what delis like this represent: a simpler time when home-cooked staples stuck to your ribs and the coffee refills were endless. The friendly staff are genuinely welcoming, cracking jokes while they make recommendations. This is the sort of place where the regulars gab with the staff, and newcomers quickly become regulars.

The walls

While its address may read Bay Street, the restaurant’s heart clearly rests in the Big Apple. Inside, it’s lovingly decorated with the paintings and posters you’d see in a late-night diner in Manhattan, mixed in among carefully curated vintage film memorabilia and head shots – see if you can spot some classic actors hanging on the walls during your meal.

The mustards

Each table boasts no fewer than five different bottles, ranging from sweet honey to fiery wasabi. Don’t feel compelled to sample each on your first trip, your waiter can advise you on which pairs best with any entrée like a mustard sommelier.

The crowd

And at the tables, retirees read newspapers next to Bay Street execs running in for a quick bagel and smoked salmon platter (with a delicious twisty bagel and all of the fixings). Kids struggle to overcome mountains of French fries. All are greeted with the same enthusiasm.

And of course, the food

The menu’s huge, and everything’s fantastic, but if we had to choose, it’d be the corned beef. Keep in mind that the portions are epic – you’ll be bringing leftovers home, more often than not. Whatever you choose, pair it with a milkshake. It’s a house specialty and it’s served in a metal shaker a la 1940s Brooklyn malt shop.

Visit The New Yorker Deli at 1140 Bay Street, just across from Indigo.