Hot list: Paese Ristorante


Italian-inspired with distinctive made-in-Canada twist, Paese Ristorante, located on 3827 Bathurst Street, offers a wide range of Italian favourite eats including authentic appetizers, homemade pizza (with gluten-free and vegetarian options), and a variety of pasta dishes with homemade sauces. The space is dimly lit, creating a cozy and intimate atmosphere. 

I brought along my coworker, Jen Lee, to the tasting and we were able to try a variety of Paese favourites, which included the soup of the day – asparagus with garnished goat cheese, grilled octopus for appetizer,  grilled shrimp linguine and their daily special Ontario lamb chops for mains, and lastly, cioccolato for dessert.


While waiting for our dishes to arrive, we started off with their homestyle bread and hummus, which had a nice taste with the right amount of spice that didn’t overpower.


Asparagus with garnished goat cheese in veggie stock was the soup of the day. I’ll be honest, I’m not really a huge fan of goat cheese, but the cheese really mixed well with the asparagus soup. It added a rich creamier texture with the right consistency.


The grilled octopus was the next dish we had. It was lightly grilled with a bedding of grilled capers, vegetables, and potatoes. I can tell you that not many people are a fan of overly “fishy” aftertastes when eating seafood; however, the minimal seasoning on the octopus, you can barely taste the “fishy” flavour, which is a definite plus.


After our appetizers, came main course. Jen ordered the grilled shrimp linguine, and I ordered the daily special – Ontario lamb chops. Everything about the linguine tasted very fresh – the jumbo shrimp, pasta, and the sauce. Since the sauce was freshly made, you can taste the fresh basil in it with tomato chunks – a nice balance between rich and light.


My lamb chops  came with a side of mashed sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts. It was perfectly cooked to medium rare, lightly sauced, and juicy. The mashed sweet potato evened out the taste of boiled brussels sprouts. It might not look a lot at first glance, but it was extremely filling,

img_7053 As if we haven’t eaten enough already, and have been experiencing a severe cause of good food coma, we couldn’t leave without trying their dessert. The cioccolato (dark chocolate terrine with white chocolate mousse, Nutella and hazelnut brittle) was not too sweet, with lightly whipped white chocolate mousse in between.

Our delicious tasting put us in a ‘food coma’, which is a sign that I truly enjoyed my time at Paese Ristorante. Make sure you try them out when you get the chance!







Top 10 Instagram Moments: Upcoming Toronto Urban Photographers

We picked out 10 upcoming Toronto urban photographers who capture the city in various heights and angles bringing our views of the city to a whole new perspective. To our fellow Torontonians, these people are a must follow! (No particular order)

1. @tgaweco

Surrounded by tall buildings, the Gooderham Building really knows how to stand out.


2. @macklesome

What’s better than capturing the beautiful bluffs during sunrise?


3. @brxndonbrandoff

A good mix of old and new in one.


4. @cha.siu

Pedestrians crossing the “yellow brick road”


5. @sashadeart

Just look up and you’ll find yourself in an urban forest.


6. @jxkson 

Whether it’s from day to night or from rain to shine, this skyline really shows progression.


7. @typicalmitul

This is Toronto, a.k.a the glass jungle.


8. @aroyamotos

Everyone can take a pic of the skyline, but it’s all about how you choose to take your shot.


9. @mattmotayne 

The gradual transition from brick buildings to glass as we enter downtown core.


10. @to.capture

That golden hour hitting the CN Tower really did it in this pic.


A Conversation With Oz Ziv, Pumpernickel’s

If you haven’t checked out my review on Pumpernickel’s, be sure to take a look at it here. During my tasting, I had the chance to meet one of the founder’s son, Oz Ziv. We had a bit of a chit chat throughout my tasting, and I got to learn more of their establishment and their future plans.

Joyce Li (JL): What are three tips for running a successful restaurant?

Oz Ziv (OZ):

  1. Your product has to be really good, because customers can’t be fooled, people will know if something is good or bad. Even if they don’t know it, they’ll know it subconsciously cause they won’t come back.
  2. It involves a lot of micromanagement. Constantly looking at every single detail and not giving up on anything because what makes something good – the collective of the tiny little things that add up setting you apart from the competition. It’s incredibly competitive in the food industry.
  3. To remember that you’re still in need to offer value. What’s happening in the food industry – people are replacing style with substance. You can have style and look great, but in the end you’ll have to be able to offer a valuable meal for them that the people pay.

I think that’s the reason why we’re successful, cause we deliver all three.

JL: Do you constantly think of new recipes to create at Pumpernickel’s ( even when you’re making your own dinner at home)?

OZ: It’s give and take, sometimes when I go home and I’m trying to figure out what to make, I’ll take something that one of our chef’s made. Sometimes when I cook at home, I get inspiration from here. The way these recipes started was actually my parents, who founded this company and they got a lot of inspiration from their home cooking. They brought recipes that they always loved in a restaurant format and they made it work and over the years, expanding.

We’ve had so many chefs coming in and out and each one of them has left an impression on us. People who have taught us things along the way, constantly building upon that. We also go to other restaurants, it’s a very common thing. We’ll spend hours walking through the PATH, looking around. We’re always trying to see what people are doing and to see what we do differently and how we can have edge. Being a part of the industry is that you can’t eat uncritically. Even when you’re going to a restaurant, you’re not just thinking of the taking but you’re thinking how that works for them as a dish.

JL: I can see that locations are expanding all over Toronto and the GTA, do you think you’ll be opening another location anytime soon?

OZ: We are opening the one on Bloor west, it’s in a big business complex. We tend to open around businesses because we have a strong focus on catering to them, that’s really the core of out clientele, but we also feed a lot of people who walk in on the streets. We’re doing a lot more of this sort of concept. We want to expand in a solid way, not just open up tons of restaurants and franchise it to anyone. We want to make sure each one is up to our standards, and so we think it’s better to open fewer restaurants with more intensions to details.

JL: What are the future plans for the restaurant?

OZ: We’ve spent the last about 3 or 4 years developing this concept. We were sort of like a deli – huge menu, all over the place. But we’ve always had our quality, we’re still the same place but we just have a refined look and menu and a cleaner concept. What you’re seeing here, this is what we’re going forward – a nice walk in restaurant, big and spacious, lots of seating and a full hot food/salad bar/ sandwich station concept and a carving station coming soon.  Also at the same time, expanding our catering operations, We’ve become a very big corporate cater in Toronto and we’ve never lost sight of that. We’re also opening a central office soon.

The way we do catering – each location produces the food that goes out to the client. What a lot of companies would do with multiple locations is that they would open up a central locations, where everything is produced in one place and then shipped out in the morning to all their various locations. Everything is fresh made to order in each individual store, giving us an advantage.

JL: What inspired you to start this whole restaurant?

OZ: It started 30 years ago, I was just 3 years old. I think when it started is when my parents moved to Canada. They couldn’t get into industry where they needed to use written language skills cause english wasn’t their first language. They had to learn everything from scratch so they did what they know, which was food and they were good at it. My parents has always been very smart business people. They understand food and also how to run a business. For that you don’t really need to be influenced in the language if you know those things. That’s why they succeeded.

JL: How often to you eat at your own restaurant?

OZ: I eat here almost everyday, because I’m here all day, but that’s not the reason why. I eat the salad almost everyday, I would switch it up but never sick of it. I even bring it home sometimes for dinner – because for the same reason why customers come to us 5 days a week, and they don’t get sick of it. It’s a healthy, diverse and big menu. Sometimes what we do, we sometimes change the menu but not for the customers, but for us.

Hotlist: Pumpernickel’s


Celebrating their 30th anniversary with a brand-new look and menu, local culinary family-owned gem, Pumpernickel’s reinvents themselves while keeping their core values. With eleven locations across the city and GTA, they are best known for their stellar lunch and breakfast catering. From days long ago of being a mom-and-pop deli shop style, Pumpernickel’s has come a long way in its 30 years in the restaurant business. The reinvented restaurant is now entering the fast yet casual arena scene, debuting a fresh new menu and look.

Thanks to Butter PR, I had the opportunity to visit their most recent location at 655 Bay Street, Suite 101, Toronto. Entering the restaurant, it felt very spacious and clean with a lot of seating – which is not what you would expect from what used to be just a deli-shop. To add, the menu is laid out nicely across the back wall with creatively designed fonts.


From the menu, I tried their BBQ Chicken Avocado sandwich, in addition to a variety of their salad from the salad bar, which included spiced chickpeas, quinoa, couscous, kale, with a teriyaki salmon to top it off, and lastly, their famous schnitzel.


Moving on, the BBQ Chicken Avocado (chipotle mayo, avocado, smoked provolone pickled onions on rosemary focaccia), had a lot of flavour to it. The chicken was not dry and the sauce in the sandwich was just the right amount. The pickled onions gave the sandwich a kick, balancing the bbq flavour of the chicken.


Although it was just salad, it really felt like a whole meal itself. The fact that I had no limit to how many types I can order, I ordered four different types of salad and topped it off with teriyaki salmon. This meal itself already sounds healthy, and the fact that Pumpernickel’s is in the “fast food” area, it doesn’t feel like it at all! Everything was freshly made and delicious.


Lastly, I couldn’t go without trying their Famous Schnitzel (with sautéed onions served on a long bun). The portion of that schnitzel was unreal. There were three pieces in just one sandwich. I was already stuffed and satisfied with everything, but this schnitzel was too hard to deny. The schnitzel was not overly coated with breadcrumbs, and with light dressing, I could really taste the meat.

I’m sure by now you know how my experience at Pumpernickel’s was. No need to doubt that I will definitely be going back for a healthy lunch. Make sure to try them out, you won’t regret your decision. Since they are well known for their catering business, you can share this wonderful restaurant with your co-workers/colleagues.




Grey Goose Le Grand Fizz Cocktail Recipes

A couple weeks back, we shared some of Chef Jamie Kennedy’s dishes that were presented during the Grey Goose Boulangerie Bleue event from last month. Along with the amazing recipes, Pomp & Circumstance PR also shared the cocktail recipes that was served throughout the night. There is no question that we wouldn’t want to share these with you. Cheers!

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  • 1 1⁄2 Parts GREY GOOSE vodka
  • 1 Part ST-GERMAIN elderflower liqueur
  • 2 Parts chilled soda water
  • 1⁄2 Part freshly squeezed lime (Approx 2 wedges to taste)


  1. Build ice into an oversized cabernet wine glass with lots of ice.
  2. Add GREY GOOSE vodka, then squeeze fresh lime and discard.
  3. Top with ST-GERMAIN and chilled soda water.
  4. Garnish with fresh lime and a GREY GOOSE stirrer.

TIP: For added aromatics, twist the zest of the squeezed lime wedge over the top of the drink

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GREY GOOSE L’Orange Grand Fizz

  • 1 1⁄2 parts GREY GOOSE L’Orange
  • 1 part ST-GERMAIN elderflower liqueur
  • 2 parts chilled soda water
  • 1⁄2 part freshly squeezed orange (approx. 2 wedges, to taste).
  • Garnish with fresh orange wedges and a GREY GOOSE stirrer

GREY GOOSE Le Citron Grand Fizz

  • 1 1⁄2 parts GREY GOOSE Le Citron
  • 1 part ST-GERMAIN elderflower liqueur
  • 2 parts chilled soda water
  • 1⁄2 part freshly squeezed lemon (approx. 2 wedges, to taste)
  • Garnish with fresh lemon wedges and a GREY GOOSE stirrer
  • 1⁄2 part freshly squeezed lemon (approx. 2 wedges, to taste)
  • Garnish with fresh black cherries and a GREY GOOSE stirrer

GREY GOOSE Cherry Noir Grand Fizz

  • 1 1⁄2 parts GREY GOOSE Cherry Noir
  • 1 part ST-GERMAIN elderflower liqueur
  • 2 parts chilled soda water
  • 1⁄2 part freshly squeezed lemon (approx. 2 wedges, to taste)
  • 2 parts chilled soda water
  • Garnish with fresh black cherries and a GREY GOOSE stirrer

GREY GOOSE La Poire Grand Fizz

  • 1 1⁄2 parts GREY GOOSE La Poire
  • 1 part ST-GERMAIN elderflower liqueur
  • 2 parts chilled soda water
  • (Optional freshly squeezed lime, to taste).
  • Garnish with fresh slices of pear and a GREY GOOSE stirrer

Editor’s Note: GREY GOOSE La Poire is available in BC, Alberta and Quebec only.