Where Toronto Eats: Chop Chop

Succulent dumplings and glistening stir fried noodles are by now a mainstay in many Torontonians’ diets — they are everywhere and affordable, unselfconsciously delicious despite their stints as American-Chinese food. In the precarious food world where trends bubble over, these classics seem somehow eternal. We’ll be slurping up versions of glistening noodles long after toasts become toasted bread again, terms of authenticity are redefined, and the kingdom come. And if there is a place to slurp, slurp as the world pirouettes out of orbit, Chop Chop on Dundas West is the place to do it.

The tall windows, the white walls, and the high ceiling of Chop Chop would put one in mind of a hip brunch place with colorful hollandaise sauce and ‘creative’ takes on French toasts, if it weren’t for the subtle nutty smell of woks being worked in a small open kitchen. The simple menu, divided into three short sections, ‘Dumplings’, ‘Appetizers’, and ‘Mains’, feels like a bridge between a menu at a corner takeout joint and one at a place marked authentic. Ginger beef, Shanghai Noodles, and General Tao chicken sit side by side with mapo tofu, Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup, and spicy cucumber salad. The daily specials menu that includes braised eggplant and pig ears continue the theme. Chop Chop does not cater to the shooters in search of the authentic, nor does it fall back on the comforts of the simulacrum. It’s truly welcoming, in the way eating at a friend’s place is: Come eat what we like to eat.

If you luck out and find the pan-fried vegetable dumplings on the daily specials, start there. The thick and chewy skin that’s absorbed the nutty oil lead the way to the sweet fillings of cabbage and other veges I was frankly too absorbed in eating to decipher. The Shanghai noodles is unsettling as it reminds diners of how good this simple dish can be: vegetables sautéed to be soft with a hint of crunch, slivers of pork and small shrimps swimming in the tangle of oil-glistened, perfectly seasoned noodles. The mapo tofu, more mellow and tangy than it would be in a Sichuanese restaurant, is silky and comes with just the right amount of kick to offset its own sweetness. The braised eggplant makes the apostate believe in vegetables again.

Among the fortune cookie-like aphorisms written in crisp red letters throughout Chop Chop, every syllable of “Happiness begins from within your stomach” rings true like a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Perfect Spring Trends for Your Zodiac Sign

Everyone loves knowing their zodiac. Even those who pretend they could care less about what their star sign says about them find themselves skimming through astrology books to see if their personalities match  their zodiac signs’ attributes. One fun way to match your personality with your star sign is in terms of personal style. In the same way that every sign has their own specific set of unique personality traits that make them who they are, zodiac signs have specific traits that guide what decisions in appearance each one makes. Infusing each unique sign with a personalized style guide made especially for them. So how about it, why not try and match your astrological style with some of this spring’s best trends to see if your everyday style matches your signs preferred style.

ARIES

Stella McCartney / Vogue Runway

Always ever so self-confident and self-assured. Aries’ have a knack for drawing attention to themselves with their strong personalities and their demand for respect. This headstrong and aggressive personality falls perfectly in line with fashion’s most assertive and aggressive Spring trends. For an Aries, the perfect spring trend is all about colour. Bright reds, citrine yellows, and tropical greens.

TAURUS

Jacquemus / Vogue Runway

Grounded Taurus, as close to the earth as the plants that grow from its soil. Taurus is a very earthy sign. So when it comes to fashion and style, it’s all about how the clothes feel rather than how they look. For that reason, Taurus spring trend is the straw hat. Earthy and organic, fashion’s take on the straw hat reimagines the farmers straw hat and farming is career birthed from mother earth herself.

GEMINI

Since Gemini’s can’t decide what they want, do the same in terms of fashion. Wear whatever you feel like wearing. You’ll probably hate it by tomorrow anyway.

CANCER

Proenza Schouler / Vogue Runway

Always the sensitive one, Cancer tends to be the most emotionally vulnerable and emotionally driven. As a sign guided by feeling, Cancer is best off looking for a spring trend that’s based more the material rather than the look. To put it simply, opt for trends rooted in texture and fabric, soft, silky, and comfortable are your best bets. This ultimately leaves Cancer with the opportunity to wear one of this and last seasons biggest trends, feathers!

LEO

Acne Studios / Vogue Runway

Proud Leo loves a good injection of drama. Like Aries, it’s all about drama and flash when it comes to Leo’s style and this spring’s trends came through with a decent supply of drama. One of the most dramatic trends of the summer has to be the multitude of rubber that was used this season. From Paris to New York, colourful rubber seemed to pop up over and over. Here’s to you, Leo!

VIRGO

Jil Sander / Vogue Runway

Virgo, the Zodiac’s resident perfectionist, is right at home with clean and well put together looks. Pristine tailoring and crisp design are exactly what any Virgo needs. This season, crisp white suits were all the rage on the world’s runways. Now, most people would run from the idea of wearing an all-white suit. But well maintained Virgo is the perfect person to keep a white suit bright and shiny from day 1 to day 365.

LIBRA

Christian Dior / Vogue Runway

The scales of the zodiac are the embodiment of balance in the human world. Libra’s are known for their balanced personalities. Always weighing the scales of logic in hopes of making the best decisions. Unfortunately, this season’s fashion trends were more about the chaos coming together in unison than the perfect balance of equals. However, one of spring’s trends does embody the idea of linear equals and that’s the square neckline. Which perfectly frames the neck and almost looks like an upside down scale itself.

SCORPIO

John Galliano / Vogue Runway

Fiery and sensual Scorpio is all about exploring the body. Scorpio is essentially a sign with an affinity for drama, however, Scorpio uses a unique form of dramatics to feel their best. The name of the game for a Scorpio is sexiness, with that said, the perfect spring trend is the flirty peek-a-boo panty. Showing just enough skin to provoke, nut still being deeply rooted in what’s relevant in fashion.

SAGITTARIUS

Carolina Herrera / Vogue Runway

Sagittarius is the adventurer. Always one to be a free spirit, Sagittarius can’t be tied down by the conventions of everyday life. Spontaneity is the name of the game and their fashion choices should follow suit. Try bright colours or punchy patterns. One of this season’s perfect pattern trends is polka-dot. Opt for a fun and graphic black and white polka-dot for the best visual effect.

CAPRICORN

The Row / Vogue Runway

Like Virgo and Libra, Capricorn’s personality is built around being organized in all aspects of your life. However, Capricorn’s are known to focus their perfectionism and organizational skills on education and career more than anything else. Since Capricorn’s focused mind would most likely be created with functionality in mind. And what’s more functional than the everyday white tank top. Created to serve a sole purpose, just like Capricorn likes it.

AQUARIUS

Delpozo / Vogue Runway

Individualistic and creative Aquarius’ are known for their unique personality and style. Their lives are dominated by the idea of being different. One to always move against the grain, Aquarius will most likely be the sign to either avoid trends altogether or pick the most outrageous one to stand out from the pack. That’s why Aquarius is best paired with the modern Leg of Mutton sleeve, a trend that very many would dread to wear. But to Aquarius, it’s the perfect way to stand out.

PISCES

Y/Project / Vogue Runway

Pisces, like Cancer, is a deeply emotionally sign. Guided through life by their ability to be completely in tune with their emotions, the name of the game of Pisces is sensitivity. Like Cancer, Pisces would most likely enjoy a trend that involves creating emotion through feeling and texture. Like feathers, which is essentially a tactile trend, Pisces would enjoy spring’s obsession with ruching. Especially since ruching mimics the ripples seen on the surface of a body of water, Pisces, being a water sign, would highly enjoy this spring trend.

Four Simple Holiday Cocktail Recipes

With Christmas just days away, Here are some simple recipes or tips and tricks to carry you through the holidays and NYE.

Bright yellow alcohol cocktail garnished with rosemary and cinnamon set on fire on black background

Something About Christmas 

1.5 oz. Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Rye

0.5 oz. Amaro

1.0 oz. Cinnamon Honey Syrup

0.75 oz. Fresh Lemon

Muddled rosemary

Garnish with toasted rosemary and cinnamon stick

Pour cinnamon honey into a shaker tin and gently muddle it with the rosemary. Add all other ingredients and ice. Shake to dilution and double strain into a rocks glass filled with ice.

French 75 

2 oz Death’s Door Gin

1 tsp Simple Syrup

0.5 oz. Lemon Juice

5 oz Champagne (or sparkling wine)

Add all ingredients except the champagne into a shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into a champagne flute.  Top with champagne and garnish with a lemon zest.

Mulled wine with spices and christmas decoration on wooden background

Uncle Jack’s House

1.5 oz. Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Rye

0.5 oz. Herradura Reposado Tequila

0.5 oz. Earl Grey tea / Passion fruit/ Orange sports drink reduction

3 oz. Tropical Blend Juice

2 Dashes Angostura Bitters

Top with Ginger Beer

Add all ingredients and ice into a shaker tin, shake and pour into a tall glass filled with ice. Top with ginger beer.

Jackoriander 

1.5 oz. Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Rye

2 oz. Apple juice

0.5 oz. Passion fruit syrup

0.75 oz. Lemon juice

Fresh Cilantro

Ginger ale

Pour passion fruit syrup (available at specialty grocery stores) into a shaker tin and gently muddle it with the cilantro. Add ice and all other ingredients except ginger ale. Shake and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Top with ginger ale.

Everyday Icon — Saucony Originals

The ever-polarizing sneaker trend has been wondrous in its staying power.

Over the past few years, we’ve seen front-row-fashion plates showing up in their freshest kicks. It is the best example of mixing highs and lows: a two-piece Chanel suit with a running shoe; a vintage Balenciaga dress with a pair of well worn sneakers.

Shadow Original CL Polka Dot, Saucony Originals

It’s no wonder why this is such a tenacious trend. We’re busy. We need to sprint to get from point A, to B, to C. Comfortable footwear is more necessity than choice. And let the naysayers be — the vanguard is for the light footed, not the irresolute.

We need to be comfortable, but we want to look good. And if there is ever a need to look good, it’s while breaking rules.

“Know the rules well, so that you can break them effectively.” — Dalai Lama. “Break the Rules” Saucony Originals.

Which is why we teamed up with Saucony, the iconic shoe brand, to model some of their latest kicks. Here in Toronto, we’re passionate about our arch support and matching your shoes to your overall look. We don’t want our style mug shots to look amiss — we want them to look as ungodly and beautiful as any proper rule breaking should look.

Grid 9000 HT Jersey, Saucony Originals

Visit Saucony Originals for details regarding size and fit. You can order online here. 

5 Body Treatments Every Guy Should Consider This Winter

Text: Peter Minkoff

We age — it’s inevitable. But we have better ways to combat that than ever before, especially since the taboo of men + beauty is on its last legs. Winter is coming and it’s time to prepare yourselves for those holiday dinners and parties. Good thing there’s no need to undergo invasive cosmetic surgeries just to look your best. Take a look at these five beauty treatments every guy should consider before Christmas.

Massages

One hours on the massage table will do wonders for your body, you can be sure of that. Taking a sport massage should definitely be on your to-do list before the end of 2017. Sports massages are not only for the Michael Jordans of the world. Make your muscles fresh, and up and running again. If you’re an athlete, this is a must for you — if you train like a pro, you should learn to relax like one. Even if you’re not really training for anything, try this massage and you’ll see the results as soon as you get off the table.

Facial treatments

Drinking beer, fixing cars, chopping wood — that whole “being a real man” thing can really take a toll on your face, but you still think facial treatments are only for women? Anti-aging treatments, removing impurities and chemical peels are just some of the things you can treat yourself with. Not only will these treatments make your face look fresh, but they will also help your skin remain young and soft. So promise yourself to visit your beautician at least once every two months!

Manicure / Pedicure 

Even though you can’t spell manicure without man, it took ages for guys to consider getting their fingernails done. Did you know that almost 1/3 of times a mans’ hands are one of the first things anybody notices? Up until a couple of years ago, many men had manicures and pedicures in the comfort of their own homes (they would maybe have been embarrassed were they to be seen in a beauty parlour), but a lot of athletes and celebrities have since been vocal about their beauty treatments, and, now, it’s not unusual to see a guy getting his nails done. If you think you should get one done, do so. Hands are very important and leave big impressions on people.

Non-surgical liposuction

After botoxing was normalized, many men turned to other non-surgical treatments to get their bodies or faces into shape. One such procedure is the non-surgical liposuction, which is a non-intrusive and pain-free way of getting rid of all the unwanted fat pockets in your body. With a body sculpting treatment, in just about 60 minutes, you could eliminate that chunk of fat you were trying to get rid of through diet and exercise.

Eyebrows

Groomed beards are definitely a thing now. It’s almost impossible to see a bearded guy who doesn’t take care of his beard. However, many forget the eyebrows, another set of facial hairs that’s equally important. Monobrows, McDonald eyebrows, birds, etc. should most certainly be a thing of the past. Add plucking your eyebrows and simply taking care of them on your list.

To sum up, getting a nice beauty treatment is for both guys and girls, and you shouldn’t be scared to do this for yourself. Do this at least once, and see the results. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to do it again. But it’s at least worth a try.