Hot List: Cresta Toronto

Often restaurants first create their menus and then select wines that are complimentary. How does this Italian-inspired restaurant differ? Cresta’s executive chef Tri Tran switched it around by building a menu around the complex palette of Thomas George Estates world class wines. Named after the iconic California vineyard Cresta Ridge vineyard of Thomas George Estates, the restaurant’s wine selection will definitely go great with your meal.

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Since warmer weather is finally here, we decided to grab a table outside on the patio. Located at 118 The Esplanade across from St. Lawrence Market, the mix of the gorgeous weather and very quiet and relaxing atmosphere was a great start to our evening.  

The interior of the restaurant has a very modern but yet a warm feeling to it. The bar is located right in the middle, and is perfect for customers who just want to go and enjoy a glass of wine.

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Left: Mayacamas Margarita. Right: Market Street Lemonade)

Once our Fashion and Content Director Drew Brown and I sat down, we were greeted by our friendly and extremely knowledgeable server Chris who recommended we start with one of their signature cocktails. Of course after a busy day, we didn’t mind trying one out and they were absolutely delicious! (left: mayacamas margarita. right: market street lemonade)

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heirloom tomato pizza made with fresh tomatoes, red onions, olives, shaved parmesan, basil.

Since it was our first time here we weren’t sure of what to order so the server was happy to give us a hand, telling us the popular choices. We first started off with what the restaurant was known for: pizza. I guess in my opinion, ordering pizza would be considered a main, but in this case it was actually our appetizer. I do not regret our decision .

We selected the heirloom tomato pizza topped with red onions, olives, shaved parmesan, and basil could quite possibly the tastiest pizza I’ve ever had!There was so much delicious sauce on the pizza, that we didn’t need to add their chill oil which is made in-house.

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flat iron steak, potato cake, blistered tomatoes, dandelion greens, balsamic rosemary jus

We wanted try a variety of dishes, so for our next course, I ordered the skate (fish) served with a parsley infused torchietti, grilled corn and tomato salsa. Usually I’m a bit hesitant when it comes to ordering fish because of my past restaurant experiences of being served fish that is either dry or tasteless. The skate was perfectly cooked with the just the right amount of flavour and not dry at all.  I strongly recommend this dishes if you are wanting something light but fulfilling; especially with these rising temperatures.

Drew ordered a medium rare steak that was cooked to perfection. The dish comes with potato cake, blistered tomatoes, and topped with a balsamic rosemary jus.

Both of us are not big a fans of brussel sprouts, and even though it’s a popular item on the menu, we were not completely sold when our server suggested we order it as a side dish. Since at this point all of  his recommendations were perfect, we decided to give it a shot. Gotta try something new once in a while, am I right? One bite and there was no turning back. Cresta’s crispy brussel sprouts with a balsamic glaze truly changed my whole perspective. 

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poached apple crumble with vanilla ice cream on top

Even though we were feeling stuffed after both courses, a meal is never truly complete without dessert. We ordered the poached apple crumble with vanilla ice cream on top. The combination of the cold ice cream with the warm poached apple and the crumble at the bottom was simply heavenly.

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After the most exquisite meal I’ve had so far, they offered us muffin made in-house as a parting gift. I am still raving about their food and service and Drew has finally managed to come out of his food coma.

I truly enjoyed my experience at Cresta Toronto and after learning they now serve brunch, I cannot wait to visit again. Call (416) 901-9113 and make a reservation. Trust me, you won’t regret it!

 

 

 

 

 

Novellahoods: A tour of the Upper Beaches

After over three years of living in Toronto, I feel like I’m pretty savvy when it comes to getting around the heart of the city. But being a west-ender, I’ve never really had many opportunities to cross over to the far-eastern side of Toronto. This whole time, the DVP has seemed to me like the Great Wall of China. What the hell is on the other side? I imagined tumbleweeds. Or maybe factories, or subdivisions for as far as they eye could see. It was all very mysterious.

But last night I finally got the chance to explore the Great Unknown that lies beyond the Don Valley: the neighbourbood of the Upper Beaches. ~TRUMPET SOUNDS~

Streetcar Developments hosted the tour — they’re the guys who build snazzy living spaces all over the city, condominiums that promote a tight-knit community amongst residents and within their neighbourhoods. It’s a really nice company who does really nice work, and their most recent project, The Southwood, is going to continue that track record right in the heart of the Upper Beaches.

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Our tour began at the sales office for The Southwood, where some bubbly was poured and we were introduced to the concept for the condominium, which will be ready for occupancy in spring 2017. Chatting with one of the Streetcar reps, I found out that they’re building on the Upper Beaches turf because the neighbourhood is gaining a lot of momentum — especially amongst the city’s young professionals.

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RoFo? Is that u?

After downing my champagne and deciding to start saving up for one of The Southwood’s south-facing one-bedrooms (SO. PRETTY.), our tour led us out of the sales office and we headed east down Kingston Road, the main street where all the magic happens.

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Yellow House was our next stop, a charming little gallery-slash-framing studio owned and operated by an OCAD grad. Within seconds of talking to her I realized there’s a huge artistic presence in this pocket of the city, and gazing at the walls of her gallery I took in some pretty incredible work. I made a mental note to take my next artistic excursion out this way.

Up next was The Art of Cheese. This place really gave me a feel of how tight-knit the Upper Beaches community is. The owner, Bill Miller (a.k.a. “The Grand Fromage”) is a retiree who opened this tiny shop as his passion project, and he could talk for literally hours about the magic of cheese. After feeding us some beautiful San De Oro cheese and local red wine (I nearly died of happiness in this moment) he divulged all the secrets of his craft. Like, the mind-blowing fact that cheese is supposed to be eaten at room temperature — if it’s too cold, you’re only tasting 40% of its flavour. (WHAAAAT.)

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The Grand Fromage in his element

After being charmed by Bill and his cheese (and his fromage-shaped foam hat), we headed to our next stop: Collected Joy. This beautiful odds-and-ends boutique is owned by Sharon Smyl, a former marketing director who worked with Minto Group and Starbucks. She lives right around the corner from the shop, and most of the brands she carries are local.

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I adored Collected Joy. Sharon kept describing things as “exquisite” and I was just in awe of her style. Maybe I’ll get her to design my new condo at The Southwood. One day…

Second-last stop was at The Stone Pizza, where my fellow media people and I had an impromptu pizza photo shoot. The pies were, as Sharon would say, exquisite. Who would have thought to put apple slices on a pizza? And who would have thought it would taste SO GOOD?

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Finally, we found ourselves at The Beech Tree restaurant and bar. This cosy, beautifully decorated spot is like the “Cheers” of the Upper Beach. The owner, like a lot of the shop owners in the area, used to work at a desk crunching numbers all day and abandoned that job to pursue his passion. The Beech Tree blew me away — literally everything is made in-house. Not one ingredient enters the store in a bottle or package. The mayonnaise, the syrups, everything is handcrafted from scratch in their little kitchen. Swoon. Oh, and the gnocchi can attest to the quality. I was almost reduced to tears while eating this. In a very good way.

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(I couldn’t get a good photo of the gnocchi because it was dim and my photography skills are not on point)

On the walk to our ride home, we were pleasantly surprised by one final Upper Beaches experience. Farmacia Juice Bar‘s tiny cooler-on-wheels rolled up to the sidewalk and served up some scrumptious house-made juices, smoothies and freezies. As if I hadn’t fallen in love with the neighbourhood already, the owner told us that a few weeks prior, when their cart was stolen, the community banded together to find it and bring it back. It’s like the whole Upper Beaches ‘hood is #squadgoals.

So, my dear west-of-the-DVP-ers, here is my advice to you: if you’re getting bored of downtown and want to make a little escape from the city without going too far, go to the Upper Beaches. It’s not as swanky-snotty as the — er, Lower Beaches? — but it’s equally as beautiful and full of boutiques that will steal your heart. I’d live here. And maybe one day I will. I mean, who wouldn’t want to live in a charming small town that’s hidden in a huge city?