An insider's guide to Toronto with Anthony Rose
Chef Anthony Rose has just debuted his latest project, the compact Schmaltz Appetizing store devoted to Jewish-style brunch foods. It's the latest in a string of eateries - which also include Fat Pasha, Big Crow and Rose & Sons - where familiar foods get a luxe spin.
For a chef who's now slinging $45 bagels smothered in caviar, you might expect his tastes to be of the champagne variety. Surprisingly, that's not the case: his go-to favourites in Toronto, for the most part, veer from what's trendy and "happening", and are instead made up of long-standing stalwarts and oft-overlooked old-school joints.
Like most chef/restaurateurs, downtime is scarce, so I asked Chef Rose to share how he makes the most of his time off. His ideal day in Toronto might surprise you, or at the very least offer up some new spots to try out.
Where would you start an average day?
I start five days a week at Rose & Sons eating breakfast at the counter. I usually have our house cured salmon, scrambled eggs, tomato and avocado or a variation on that. I've been trying to stay away from bread ... so it's kind of a little paleo, and I'll eat that five days a week.
What would be your first stop after breakfast?
Then I'll go from restaurant to restaurant to shop checking everything out and then back to the office, and then I do it all over again.
Are there any shops (groceries/knives/books/etc.) you like to frequent?
I go to Smash in the Junction quite a bit and I love it. I went in there the other day and I really wanted to get this beautiful Indian Chief meeting sign from the 1950s, but when I went to buy it, they told me Diane Keaton had already bought it. I told them to call her and tell her I want it ... they thought I was serious.
I also go to Bulk Barn, where I get generic peanut butter cups.
What's your go to for lunch on the run?
I don't usually have lunch. I tend to skip that part of the day and go straight to an allonge, which is a really long, deep, extremely dark, extremely caffeinated coffee.
What's one restaurant you've been going to forever? What keeps you going back?
I go to House of Chan on Eglinton a lot. It's really kind of old school and funky and it's been there forever. It has got this old man, clubby feel about it, it's all red leather banquettes and very dim lighting and lots of mirrors. I usually have martinis and steak.
How would you spend an evening off?
I don't have a lot of evenings off, but one thing I do is hang out with my son eating sushi (from Sushi Couture on Bloor) and watching Netflix at home. I also started doing yoga a few months ago and I go to Ahimsa Yoga on Bloor in the afternoons.
Is there a bar or pub you consider your local?
Allen's on The Danforth for the burger. Again, it's got that kind of feel like it's always been there, like you've always gone there and, I have, all my life. I go for the burger, the three different types of french fries and I'll get the Caesar salad and beer.
What's your go-to for after hours eats?
I go to the Rhum Corner quite a bit. I like to hang out at the bar and drink many different types of straight rum, and I'll eat rice and beans and fried fish. The music there is to die for.
If you were to play Toronto tour guide where would you take out of town guests?
I like to take people rowing at the waterfront - Kerry Knight taught me how to row and I really enjoy it - at the Rowing Club of Toronto or whatever the f--- it's called. (Editors note: I have no clue what it's called either ... maybe one of these?)
This summer I also learned how to sail. I sailed a boat from Nice to Rome for eight days and it was a lot of work, but when I came back I was like, wow, I really enjoyed that, so then I found someone here to lend me their boat. I like to go out on Lake Ontario with usually one other person and we'd camp out overnight on the lake and it's gorgeous ... I did that a few times this summer. I'd also take my guests back to my house for a wood fire in my backyard and drink bourbon.
Coffee shop: Ezra's Pound
Brunch spot: Emma's Country Kitchen
Hummus: Rosedale Diner
Restaurant to take someone from out of town: The Steak Pit
Museum or Gallery: I'm looking forward to the Basquiat exhibit coming to the AGO.
Bookstore: Silver Snail
Movie theatre: Bloor Cinema
Music or record store: Sonic Boom
Clothing store: Jimmy T'z Vintage
Previously: An insider's guide to Toronto with Rick Mercer
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