Where Toronto Eats: Latin World

Latin World is a Mexican and Latin American restaurant located on Bloor West.

Latin World is a grocery store taqueria that offers, alongside the traditional tacos, dishes from other parts of the Latin America. As with many grocery + taqueria combos, Latin World is, despite its yellow and orange banner outside, a small hole in the wall you can easily miss, perhaps distracted by the looming castle-typography adorned gentleman’s club just a block away. What’s harder to pass by, however, is the smell of the food wafting out of the door onto Bloor West. It’s tantalizing on a late afternoon when the store keeps its door ajar. On a recent visit, I wasn’t even hungry but went in anyways. It’s that irresistible.

Once inside, the signs are clear: this is going to be good. A long wall is covered with shelves of Latin American pantry stables; some of them familiar like P.A.N cornmeals, El Yucateco hot sauces, cans of chipotle, dried chili of various colors and sizes; some not, like cleaning products, mysterious canned goods, drink mixes, etc. It’s the equivalent of walking into a Chinese noodle shop and seeing four things on the handwritten menu — this is going to be, in today’s ambiguous parlance, authentic.

Though in what ways and to what extent visual signs and cultural cues signal authenticity or quality in an ethnic restaurant is unclear and ethically questionable, Latin World gives the non Latin individual with a taste for tamales the cravings, the excitement of having come a step closer to the real. After all, most people are both physically and financially very much detached from Tulum, Mexico, and René Redzepi’s kitchen while dizzyingly familiar with the representations of said world of luxurious authenticity (thanks, Jacob Richler).

But, unfortunately, and, to a degree, inevitably, Latin World is not that slice of a Latin world on Bloor. Though the complementary chips and hot sauces, tamales oaxaqueños — tasty masa, spicy pork, and little chicken — with mole, and the enchiladas are good, the tacos, the crown jewel of a taqueria, are highly disappointing. Perhaps this is harsh. But then again, perhaps cochinita pibil, my absolute favorite, — Yucatan-style roasted pork (traditionally a suckling pig marinated in citrus and wrapped in banana leaves) — shouldn’t be chewy and so damn spicy and not sweet and tangy. The carnitas and the fish were decent, if not great.

I’d be amiss to say that my stance on Latin World — neighborhood joint with great service, decent food, and daily specials— is entirely dependable, as my experience with pozole or flautas or variety of other offerings are limited. My fellow customers, who seemed familiar with the cook and the waitress, ordered a plate of quesadillas, enchiladas, and tampiqueña, and enjoyed themselves thoroughly. As it is the case in every ethnic restaurant, perhaps it’s a matter of knowing what to order. In this sense, perhaps, I’m wrong to say that Latin World isn’t a slice of the Latin world on Bloor. Who knows? Perhaps in Yucatan, unbeknownst to everyone outside, cochinita pibils are actually chewy and spicy and not melt-in-your-mouth, sweet, and tangy. The matter of Latin World’s authenticity, whatever that means, isn’t for me to judge. What I do know is that the other customers seemed perfectly happy, that the tamales are good, and that I know how I like my cochinita pibil.

Latin World, 1229 Bloor St W, is open daily from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., though it’s sometimes open past 10. Continue following our arts & culture coverage on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Cookbooks to Really Cook With

I feel nostalgic when I walk through a farmer’s market for a childhood I did not have, wherein the many vegetables, picturesquely growing in gardens and wildly spreading in nearby ditches, would have been common-fare, eaten daily in-season, missed over winter, and ingrained in my diet and thought. In this imaginary world, corns grow side by side with all kinds of beans, which are not so far from wild fiddleheads and asparaguses, and fields of heirloom tomatoes just below the kitchen window, which looks towards a hill where sheep graze. Beyond them, a river, a nice beekeeping neighbor. A vineyard somewhere.

In my defense, I’ve only lived in cities all my life. So my fantasies of vegetables are really fantasies for the final product, a plate of food, a bowl of soup, a pot of stew, and not the dirt and the work. This is an ill omen to me, the separation is, once considered, jarring in its magnitude and meaning.

But nevertheless, I persist in dreaming up new recipes, trying old ones, reinventing classics — because you have to live your fantasy somehow. These cookbooks I’ve listed below helped me get there. They are not coffee-table books, though some of them would also look great in the living room; they will be, by the time you’ve gone through some of the recipes, spotted, spattered, and crinkled up with use.

Tartine Bread by Chad Robertson

Cover of Tartine Bread by Chad Robertson

Baking is essentially so far from cooking that the two are almost disparate, or at least they are in my experience, since I use ‘pinches’ of this and that because it ‘feels right’ when cooking, whereas I’m all mathematics and precision when it comes to a loaf of sourdough. But, for the purposes of this list, let’s consider this wonderful book of recipes and stories by Chad Robertson a cookbook, especially since bakebook hasn’t entered common usage yet. Robertson, the man, the hands, the sleepless nights, behind the Tartine empire give us the basic how-tos of baking a good sourdough; he’s with us from the sourdough starter to an aside on modern ovens to sitting around to the loaf. If you choose this book as your first book on bread making, you will need some extra help here and there, either online or from some other book, as a beginner’s experience of things can only be explained by another beginner. But I think it is nevertheless the book to begin with, as Robertson’s writing makes you want to wake up early in the morning to bake the bread for dinner.

Marcella Cucina by Marcella Hazan

Among Marcella Hazan’s great Italian cookbooks, Marcella Cucina is the most acclaimed, perhaps because it was awarded the James Beard in 1997. Marcella brings together dishes from different regions of Italy and each recipe, each paragraph on food, culture, and flavors come with her great personality. Just watch her chat with Mark Bittman. She knows more than any of us will probably ever know about cooking, yet she tells you it’s all very simple. And, if you listen, it really is.

Lucky Peace Presents POWER VEGETABLES! by Peter Meehan

Lucky Peach’s POWER VEGETABLES! by Peter Meehan

Vegetables: you may very well not want it but you know you need it. Peter Meehan of the acclaimed Lucky Peach food magazine brings you POWER VEGETABLES!: TURBOCHARGED RECIPES FOR VEGETARIANS WITH GUTS, that cookbook you know you need; after reading a few of the recipes, one you know you want. Recipes include ‘Braised Cold Celery Hearts Victor,’ ‘Caponata,’ ‘Vegetable Tex-Mex Shepherd’s Pie,’ and more alongside pantry suggestions that will rig your system into loving vegetables. Finally, with classic Lucky Peach attitude, a lot of the recipes are fuck yous to your mama’s boiled broccoli.

True, I have mentioned these two + Peter Meehan (ah, the formidable six degrees of Peter Meehan) before in these pages. But it was more of an aside, and Frank Castronovo and Frank Falcinelli deserve more than that. For one thing, the meatball recipe as dictated above has garnered me, personally, a certain kind of respect, a certain kind of presence at the dinner table. People look at me differently, as if I’m capable of things. The secrets — sans my personal touches here and there — are available, along with many more, in The Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion & Cooking Manual. With it, you, too, can be a temporary venerable master of the dinner table. 

Jewish Soul Food by Jenna Gur

Jewish cooking needs more PR than you’d think as many, even those initiated into the love of appetizing, pickled herring and onions, hot knishes with hot mustard, often egregiously think that it can be  easily grasped through pastrami, gefilte fish, and matzo balls. Janna Gur shares ethnic Jewish and Arabic foods of Israel made by immigrants in Jewish Soul Food: from Minsk to Marrakech. It’s a fantastic addition to your stack of Joan Natahn, Gil Marks, and Mimi Sheraton (whose writing I also admire), and other more traditionally Jewish-American cookbooks.

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How To Turn Your Kitchen into a Coffeeshop

Do you love your coffee? Do you love your cool local coffeeshop? Is that love emptying your bank account? If you’re trying to save money on your daily coffee runs, or just trying to give your home a cool coffee shop aesthetic, here’s what to do:

Coffee

For coffee, you can support local Toronto brands like Pilot Coffee Roasters, which offers direct trade coffee (similar to fair trade, ensuring that farmers have been paid fairly for their labour). Other Toronto-based roasters that offer direct trade include Hale Coffee and Reunion Island Coffee. Another Toronto-based brand to try is De Mello Palheta, who have house blends with fun names like Dancing Goats and Butterfly KissIf you want steamed milk, it can be as easy as simply heating the milk in a saucepan (but watch it carefully so the milk doesn’t burn), or even just microwaving it. If you want frothed milk, you can buy a frothing wand like from Amazon for relatively cheap.

Coffee Makers

A regular automatic drip coffee maker (if you don’t already have one) is a great investment, and you don’t necessarily need to get a super-fancy one. I would advise against paying more than $75 for one, depending on how big a pot you want to make in the morning. If you don’t mind the extra effort involved (and purchasing a coarser grind of coffee to go with it), using a french press can produce a more flavorful cup (not to mention, french presses are a bit cheaper than drip coffee makers). Instructions on how to use a french press can be found here. If you want espresso, you can use a moka pot (instructions on how to use them can be found here), or an AeroPress, which works much in the same way as a French Press, but uses a finer grind and produces a pretty different coffee. You can read about how to use an AeroPress here. Moka pots and AeroPresses are usually around the same price, so it’s really a question of taste preference, and which one you feel more comfortable using.

Decor

For decoration, I like to create an industrial, vintage vibe, like you’re walking through an old European cafe from a century ago (albeit with updated technology). First, you can get a hanging light (or two) such as this one from Amazon, and a wooden mug rack, like this one.

Be sure to add something to your walls. To continue the theme, I’d suggest impressionist art posters, or old-style maps. If you don’t mind getting a little cliché, you can pick up a poster depicting Van Gogh’s ‘The Café Terrace at Night,’ or something similar. I’d also suggest adding one of Lautrec’s paintings, like ‘Le Moulin Rouge.’ Another decor recommendation I have would be to dry out some flowers and keep them in your kitchen.

Mugs

I’m typically pretty grumpy in the morning, so I like to have funny mugs to cheer me up. For example, since it’s never too early to fight the patriarchy, you can buy this Male Tears mug, available in three different sizes. Or, perhaps, you’d like a heat-changing mug that reflects how you feel before and after your first cup of coffee. You also may want to think of picking up some containers for milk and sugar. Such as this cute cow-shaped creameror, if you’re also feeling a little crabby, a crabby sugar jar. 

Happy Brewing!

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A Patio Season Guide That Won’t Leave You Constantly Waiting on a Table

About two weeks ago on a Wednesday the weather hit about 26 degrees and people of Toronto celebrated the best way we know how: on a patio. I myself was graced by the retail gods on this day and was released early from my steaming duties and, of course, like everyone else, set out to find a good spot in the sun to grab a drink in. This goal was much more taxing than I realized it would be as my boyfriend and I were repeatedly shut down by stressed out servers telling us the wait would be over an hour. Finally, in a little nook on Kensington we found a place that was wide open, just waiting for those in search of libations! While this was a small victory, it had me thinking that that this journey didn’t have to be so difficult if I just knew about this wonderful outdoor watering hole all along. Here are some no fuss, no frills and usually no wait time kinds of patio’s sorted by location that will be your favourite places to hang on your next downtown adventure in the sun.

Kensington Market

El Rey (2a Kensington Ave)

Photo Courtesy of El Ray’s Instagram

The bench’s at El Ray give a very simple feel but the location mixed with the red aesthetics and Mexican music makes it a great place to spend an afternoon after hitting up some stores in the area. They also offer a wide selection of cheap beers (priorities, people), a huge mezcal selection, and delicious options for shareable Mexican snacks.

Bloor West/The Annex

Paupers Pub (539 Bloor Street West)

Photo Courtesy of Ernesto Garcia

Paupers Pub is an endless building with multiple levels including two patios! With one on the roof and one on the street, it’s less likely for you to get turned away due to a large waitlist. The staff is super accommodating to large groups and the patio on the rooftop has its own bar, making it okay to stand around if there are no seats or tables available. Paupers Pub’s large and always developing draft beer collection is another reason to want to spend the day in the sun here.

The Entertainment District

El Patio (145 Pearl Street)

Photo Courtesy of El Patio

If you want Instagram worthy photos while having fun taking them, then El Caballito‘s El Patio is where you want to check out! It has a beautiful atmosphere and is known for their tacos — definitely a drunk, hungry person’s oasis. For party options, you can organize a tequila tasting event on the patio for the summer or you can chose to create your own type of event with the staff as they are very accommodating with the specific needs of their patio lovers!

Queen West

The Bovine Sex Club (Tiki Bar) (542 Queen West)

Photo Courtesy of Blogto

A true no fuss zone. Above the debaucherous Bovine Sex Club lies the Tiki Bar. This patio has great music, tiki themed drink options, and a colourful crowd of like-minded strangers who just want to drink. A huge disguised benefit to coming here is their lack of kitchen, which means you can bring your own food from any takeout place you’d like!

The Village (Church-Wellesley)

Hair of the Dog (425 Church Street)

Photo Courtesy of @simplyharmonyxo (Instagram)

I feel like I am in my grandparents carefully tended to garden each time I go to Hair of the Dog. The multiple levels of patios are covered in vines, decorated with fountains, and each spot still somehow manages to provide the perfect balance of sun and shade — it is a picky person’s dream! Hungover breakfast is the best thing to have on this patio as the greenery surrounding the space makes you feel like you are breathing in some fresh goodness while you are still in the air polluted, city streets.

Parkdale

Caddilac Lounge (1296 Queen Street West)

Photo Courtesy of Blogto

An old-school rock themed bar makes the Caddilac Lounge‘s back patio a great place to go when exploring Parkdale. Some patios on the street can be really nice, but the secluded area that the bar provides for its sun worshipers continues their theme and is a fun space to bring a bunch of friends on a Saturday afternoon. The venue is just a few steps inside, so a great place to have an all night adventure.

Harbourfront

Amsterdam Brew House (245 Queens Quay West)

Photo Courtesy of StreetsTo

While Amsterdam Brewhouse can be a little touristy, their lakeside view is totally worth the extra crowd. Also, their patio has multiple levels and wraps around the building, which is great for your chances of finding a seat quickly. The beer is also house made and the servers are extremely knowledgable on their specific beer options and pairings, making this a beer, food, and sun lovers’ paradise!

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Novella Picks the Realest ‘Best Of Toronto’

Artwork by Michelle Cheung for Novella Magazine

There are Best Of.. articles everywhere these days — the best brunch, the best shops, the best bars, the best theatre, not to mention the best restaurant for a particular dish like pizza, ramen, etc. Despite the information overload in the internet, some categories, also essential to getting the most out of the city, have been egregiously left out. Hence this somewhat tongue-in-cheek but in all honesty a well-curated list picked by Novella’s motley contributors! Take notes.

Best Place to Get Shitfaced

Every crazy drunken night has started and ended at Sweaty Betty’s located at 13 Ossington ave. The bartenders are really cool, it has a nice patio, and the drinks are cheap enough to make you ask yourself the next the day “how the hell did I get home?”. — Drew Brown, Editor-in Chief

McQueen’s Pub on Queen East is a great place for a series of afternoon pints. Start at three and by the time dinner bell rings, you’ll be well into conversations with the barkeeps — whose names I, naturally, forget — and the nice usually older regulars around the bar (shout-out to the older gentleman always on a tablet, drinking pinot-grigio and the PBR tall boy lady), and find it hard to leave. Order another pint, some wings, and sit around some more. — Hoon, Managing Editor

When you need a place to chill out with your friends, have a good drink, and take your epic dance moves for a spin, you need to get yourself to The Beaver (1192 Queen Street W.). The atmosphere is warm, the bartenders are friendly, and the drinks are cheap. After dancing the night away, the bar has a back patio where you can get some air and cool off before catching your second wind and starting the boozy dance party all over again. – Michelle, Social Media Coordinator

To be honest, I feel like you can get shitfaced pretty much anywhere. But, if I had to choose, I tend to enjoy getting shitfaced at The Ballroom on John Street. The atmosphere is chill, the dress code is casual, the decor is creative, and there are two floors to choose from, including a bowling alley on the first floor and a large restaurant, bar, pool table, ping pong table, and dance floor upstairs. The best part? Live music. — Claire Ball, Contributor

Best Place to Get Over a Hangover

Caplansky’s Deli (356 College St) With all day breakfasts full of eggs, smoked meats, and loads of lovely carbs, Caplansky’s is the perfect place to nurse that raging hangover. The atmosphere is nice and cozy, the service is excellent, and the prices aren’t terrible. Not to mention, compared to other weekend brunch spots, there are never any huge crowds or lines to ruin your day. I’ve spent many a weekend morning/afternoon gorging myself on challah french toast and smoked salmon eggs (and endless cups of coffee). — Adina Heisler, Contributor

Wake up, get dressed, and look up a pho joint closest to you; the fresh noodles soak it all up; the broth flushes everything out; the tai (rare beef, eye of round), nam (brisket), gan (tendons) rejuvenate. In my case, the neighborhood go-to is Pho Linh in Brockton Village. There’s one closer, on Bloor, and we won’t name names, but there are reasons for the extra hungover ten minute’s walk down to Pho Linh. If you’re in Leslieville, where I used to live, Com Tam 168 was always a solid choice. And if any champion out there knows of oxtail pho in the city, please give me a shout-out. — Hoon, Managing Editor

Clinton’s Tavern (693 Bloor Street West) — Let’s get real, no one really makes it out for hungover brunch before 12 pm. That’s why I ask, why restrict myself to breakfast foods? The club area at Clinton’s may be the place that did the damage the night before, but allow it to be your spot to replenish and you will be widely impressed by the chill atmosphere and massive amount of delicious and creative pub food. Other bonuses include it being affordable and any dish can be altered for a vegetarian! — Meg, Contributor

Last year I went to an event at Starving Artists located at 810 College St. and I am still dreaming about the waffles. This west-end all day brunch restaurant serves delicious stuffed waffles or just waffles with the ingredients on the side. I had the waffles with bacon inside and it was sooo good. Yes, after a night of drinking there is very little that can drag me out of bed but the food at Starving Artists is great motivation. -Drew Brown, Editor-in Chief

Recently I went to Insomnia on Bloor Street West and now I am obsessed. Their brunch menu is what dreams are made of. With a variety of benedicts to choose from, and the best coffee I’ve ever tasted. This place is a must try! Once you’re finished with your daily coffee dose, they have $5 mimosas! What better way to cure a hangover? — Claire Ball, Contributor

Best Place to Take Your Date When You’re Broke but Want to Look Rich

This really depends on how rich you want to look and how broke you actually are. But if I am to err on the side of optimism, let’s say you’re broke in the sense that Becky literally has no money but Ubers four blocks to a spa. In this case, consider Kintaro near Church and Wellesley. The dishes are conducive to sharing, the atmosphere feels cozy, if not swanky, and is nicely decorated, and pints of Sapporo are cheaper than glasses or a bottle of wine. A good night at Kintaro will set you back around $50~60 for two people. Not cheap, but not French bistro prices either. — Hoon, Managing Editor

I feel like this situation all comes down to the proper execution of the date. Going to any restaurant that’s not on the pricey side might just give you up right away, so why not play the “I’m too fly to want to go to nice places card” and maybe take the opportunity to show off the little places in Toronto you like to go to for fun. Some of my favourites are, hitting up Pancho’s Bakery in Kensington for a signature $1 churro and looking through the stores, putting some Baileys in a cup of coffee and heading up to the top of Casa Loma, or teaching your date your favourite card game over a tall can in Trinity Belwoods. Any of these will make a memorable date that will show them that you are a keeper despite your ever shrinking bank account. —Meg, Contributor

Best Place to Take Mirror Selfies

Nordstrom, The Eaton Centre — This is weirdly specific but the Nordstrom bathrooms are hella nice and are the perfect size and length to take full outfit pictures. The lighting is decent and it’s not too shabby to post a pic with a fancy af bathroom in the background. Maybe people will assume you shop at Nordstrom. You’re welcome. — Natasha Grodzinski, Contributor 

In the privacy and coziness of your private domain, be it the living room, bathroom, or kitchen countertop. Doing so also gives you extra good karma points for saving other people from having to see you try multiple times to get that shot right. As they say, way to hell is paved with publicly taken selfies then posted on Instagram. — Hoon, Managing Editor

Locals Only on King Street West has exceptional mirror selfie potential. Honestly, I don’t really take mirror selfies frequently, but I’ve already planned my next one to be taken here. The bathrooms have decorative wallpaper that makes for a great background, and the mirrors have a soft light around them so the lighting is on point. Mirror selfies from the Locals Only bathroom are definitely Instagram worthy. — Claire Ball, Contributor

Best Place to Buy Art When You’re not a Art Snob

Museum gift shops always have good selections of nicely printed posters, either framed or not. They also have puzzles that can be glued afterwards and framed, if you’re into that sort of thing, which I unashamedly am. So next time you visit the AGO or ROM or wherever, don’t skip on the gift shop! Mingle with the tourist group and discuss best bargains. — Hoon, Managing Editor

Once you walk into Kid Icarus (205 Augusta Avenue) in the eclectic Kensington Market, you will see beautifully well-designed posters plastered on the walls, handmade cards, and stationary goods. They are a design shop that specializes in printing, and if you feel like stretching your own artistic muscles, they offer workshops in screen-printing and linoleum carving. Be sure to give yourself at least thirty minutes to explore this little shop — it will be worth your time. — Michelle, Social Media Coordinator

Best Neighborhoods for Thrift Shopping

Bloordale — The strip along Bloor St. in the west-end between Dundas West and Ossington is filled with tons of thrift stores. You’ve got everything from Value Village and Vintage Depot to smaller independent stores all within a fifteen-minute-walks of one another. My personal recommendations are the Odd Finds General Store and Ransack the Universe. Perfect for spending a Saturday afternoon browsing away. —Natasha Grodzinski, Contributor

Parkdale — Personally, I’ve always been an avid Queen West vintage buyer (usually between John and Bathurst). However, the other day I sat on the 501 streetcar a little longer and was in absolute clothing bliss. From Public Butter to House of Vintage, my Levis collection has doubled in size and expanded in quality! A definite must go! — Meg, Contributor

Best Thing to Buy at LCBO When You’re Hosting

Jive Elderflower Pearl Edition Sparkling Wine $8.30 — Not only is this one of the LCBO’s  best-kept secrets, it clocks in at just about $9.40 after taxes. Making it unbelievably cost effective when hosting a party. But don’t let the price fool you, this stuff tastes like citrus, flowers, Paris, and sunshine in a bottle. The stuff is so good you could probably bring loved ones back to life by just sprinkling this elixir of the Gods over their grave. I stand behind Jive sparkling one so much that if it was socially acceptable, I’d pour some into a travel mug and start my day with it. — Chris Zaghi, Fashion Editor

Bulleit Rye is $40 and that may seem like a lot until you consider that it’s a multi-awards winning Rye and that you can make Sazeracs, Old Fashioneds, and Manhattans, drink it on the rocks, drink it neat, drink it out of the bottle, cook with it, and still have some left over for the day after in case you need the hair of the dog. You may ask, I like it fine but what if my friends don’t like whiskey? Well, nothing wrong with a party of one. — Hoon, Managing Editor

This may sound strange but Twisted Tea Original is a great go-to drink to have stocked in your fridge if you’re hosting. They’re refreshing, delicious, and, just in case things get a little rowdy, they go super easy if you need to start chugging or shotgunning. So make sure you buy the cans instead of the bottles! You never know when you might need them. — Claire Ball, Contributor

Best Place to See a Band You’ve Never Heard Of

I don’t know that many bands, so I’m not sure if the bands I’ve never heard of are necessarily bands everyone’s never heard of, and I’d hate to frown and have malicious thoughts at someone who’s supposedly known the said bands since they were in utero. But the last couple of times I’ve been to REX on Queen West, the bands, some of them student bands, were really great. — Hoon, Managing Editor

The Hideout (423 College Street) — I was personally offended when the Hideout closed the doors of their always bumpin’ Queen West location but ecstatic when learning that they’d be just down the road at a new location on College! The venue does a really great job at hiring bands that will play for the people in the bar. Even if you’ve never heard of the band, you’re bound to join the dance floor and hear a great mix of the bands personal songs and covers! —Meg, Contributor

Self-claimed as the best place for live music and cold beer, it’s hard to argue with The Dakota Tavern (249 Ossington Avenue). When I feel like visualizing myself in an indie folk music video, this is my go-to. The bar, with low ceilings and Christmas lights strung on stage all year around, offers a more intimate experience with bands. Order a few beers with your friends and you might even find yourself belting out some tunes. – Michelle, Social Media Coordinator

Best Underrated Festivals

TURF (Toronto Urban Roots Fest) — I wouldn’t necessarily call TURF underrated because it is quite popular, but it’s definitely not on the level with other music festivals you see come through the area. The headliners get attention but the rest of the festival is low key. The line up is a mix of bigger names and small bands touring around the country – some of those smaller bands draw small crowds, but those shows are a blast to be at. You can absolutely find one of your new favourite bands here and take in some of the amazing food options they have at the same time. — Natasha Grodzinski, Contributor

Corn Fest on St. Clair, happening later this year in August, is just something I’d like to attend. I expect a lot of varieties of corn, cuban corn, grilled corn, popcorn, tortillas, tamales, and more. Apparently there will be free BBQ as well. — Hoon, Managing Editor

Best Place to Workout and not Feel Judged

The YMCA — There’s a reason there’s a song about it. You get your regular gym nuts at the Y, but there are also so many people of all ages that go for so many different reasons. We have seniors chilling, kids running around and everyone in between just trying to do their thing. Everyone’s going at their own pace. Just avoid those in the middle of a personal trainer session. They can get intense. — Natasha Grodzinski, Contributor

Sully’s Boxing Gym is an old school boxing gym up on Dupont by Dufferin. You might get yelled at and pushed to do better but nobody will judge you, as long as you keep trying. The crowd is always friendly and Tony and Winslow, the two beyond fantastic coaches, are always helpful. — Hoon, Managing Editor

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