Rave: My ‘hood: Christie Station

By Abby
 
I live near Christie Station, which is home to Christie Pits Park, Koreatown, Fiesta Farms and is just a quick jaunt from Honest Ed’s. It’s a pretty awesome part of Toronto to live in – close to The Annex, TTC and even close to cool stuff north of Bloor (who knew?).

One of my favourite places is this little Korean restaurant on the corner of Bloor and Clinton. It’s orange, and that’s how I let people know where to find it, since I’m not exactly sure how to pronounce the name, which is Buk Chang Dong Soon To Fu (according to BlogTO).

Anyway, the service is quick and friendly, and the food is fantastic. It’s also pretty inexpensive – around $25 plus tip for two dinners and two drinks. The Bibimbap is delicious, and served piping hot. Fresh veggies (love the pickled daikon), beef and steaming hot rice, with a perfectly cooked fried egg perched on top make this an amazing one-bowl dinner. The stone bowl its served in is hot, so the rice gets crunchy midway through. I’m not a vegetarian, but will sometimes opt for the veggie version of this dish too. Yum.

Another great menu item is the bulgogi – beef served sizzling hot with onions and rice. I have a hard time deciding between the two – it usually has to do with how healthy I want to eat that night. The beef wins a lot.

I love the Korean condiments served with each meal – two kinds of spicy kimchee, pickled bean sprouts and soy beans in a sticky sweet soy sauce. My fiancé and I always get a bottle of the Korean liquor to go with, and leave the restaurant full, warm and slightly intoxicated by good food, smooth alcohol and great conversation.

Photo credits:
blogto.com 
http://icameisawiate.tumblr.com/

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Yum, yum: The Dakota Tavern’s Mint Julep

From time to time, we like to get down to some live music. One of the best music spots in the city is The Dakota Tavern, known for Sunday Bluegrass brunch, The Beauties, surprise musical appearances by Ron Sexsmith, Serena Ryder, and members of The Barenaked Ladies, and just generally as a place for good, ol’ fashioned fun. No BS, no club beats, no frilly drinks (motto: “Unless Malibu comes in a bottle of Wild Turkey, we don’t have it.”).

Aside from a massive beer selection, they boast some great whiskey and bourbon cocktails. One of the best is their Mint Julep. Simple, refreshing and makes you feel right at home with the guitars and banjos.

Insider’s tip: The Dakota Tavern has an amazing menu. They make their own sausage and burgers from different types of game (like venison), use local fish in their fish tacos, and have a mean three-cheese macaroni dish. Nearly everything is housemade, and they use as few pre-mixed ingredients as possible. Go early enough for dinner – you’ll be glad you did. Dinner is served from 6 p.m. to midnight, daily.

The Dakota Tavern’s Mint Julep

1½ oz. bourbon
½ oz. simple syrup
10 mint sprigs, muddled

Mix all in a tall, thin glass. Top with crushed ice.

To get into the true Dakota spirit: pour 1 oz. bourbon in a short glass. Drink. Repeat.

Rave: Lexus Live at The Distillery

To fully enjoy one of the last weekends of summer, we’re going to rock out at an amazing indie concert series, presented by Lexus. The Lexus Live event will be held all weekend (Friday, August 27 to Sunday, August 29) at the Distillery District (55 Mill St.), with four fantastic Canadian bands, for free!

The purpose behind pulling together this great concert? The worldwide launch of the tour for the new Lexus CT200h. This hot new hybrid car makes its debut in Toronto, with a prototype and “sophisticated virtual setting”, including an interactive iPad and digital display. 

We’re très excited for Montreal-based, Juno-winning The Stills tonight from 7 to 8 p.m.

The other bands are equally thrilling: Lily Frost and her lovely voice will take the stage Saturday afternoon, from noon to 1 p.m. You might recognize her as the singer and songwriter of the Being Erica theme song, All I Ever Wanted To Be.

The Midway State, who infamously leaked a Peter Gabriel cover with Lady Gaga last year, will perform Saturday from 5 to 6 p.m.

 

Finally, Paper Lions close out the concert series with a show on Sunday from 3 to 4 p.m. The P.E.I. band has won an East Coast Music Award, and we hope they’ll perform their tune, Travelling.

A cool car and hot bands? See you there! Be sweet and tweet – #lexuslive.

Photo credit: 
The Stills: themiddledistancerunner.wordpress.com
Lily Frost: lilyfrost.com
The Midway State: last.fm
Paper Lions: http://www.myspace.com/paperlionsmusic  

Media, Darling: Noreen Flanagan

Noreen Flanagan has been with ELLE Canada since its second issue back in 2001. In April of this year, she was named editor-in-chief. She has covered arts, entertainment, fashion and beauty for the magazine. Prior to working at ELLE Canada, Noreen worked at FLARE magazine.

Twitter: @elle_canada
ELLE Magazine online

How can someone grab your attention with a pitch?
I always appreciate it when a publicist has taken the time to customize their pitch for our publication. It shows they’re attentive to our needs and genuinely familiar with our magazine and its audience. The subject line on an email pitch is essential. If it doesn’t grab my attention, I don’t even open it. When I’m going through my emails in the morning, I’m all too keen to quickly weed out the ones that aren’t essential.


What do you find most useful when dealing with public relations professionals?
Open, straightforward discussion of what’s on offer and what the expectations are. Also, when possible, a prompt reply to interview requests, or at least updates as to the status of interview requests.


What is the biggest mistake PR professionals make?
They aren’t familiar with our audience, and hence make pitches that reflect a lack of understanding about what we’re after. If it happens repeatedly, I conclude it’s either a lack of respect for the publication or genuine lack of interest in their work.

Your pet peeve?
Follow-up phone calls with messages: “Just calling to see if you received our email…”. I can appreciate that some emails don’t make it, but for the most part, if an editor doesn’t nibble after receiving your email, it’s because he/she isn’t interested or it isn’t relevant for the book.


Any other thoughts you’d like to add?
I always appreciate humour! Either in the pitches or just the banter back and forth.


A visit from…Michelle Bilodeau

Since rock-it promotions is mainly an office of women, it goes without saying that we love shopping. Our rad office on Queen West only fuels that addiction. When our long-time friend Michelle Bilodeau popped by the fourth floor the other day, we knew it meant we’d get some dish about hot spots for buying the latest and greatest. Our chat turned to buying online (especially with recent group-buying chatter!) and she shared her top spots to click and purchase.

As a fashion and entertainment editor for almost 10 years, Bilodeau began her career at FLARE magazine. She left her position as the associate copy editor in 2005 to become assistant features editor at Weekly Scoop, a much-hyped but short-lived celebrity and entertainment weekly. After a year of freelance writing and public relations work, Bilodeau landed at FASHION magazine as the associate managing editor before becoming senior editor at Gardening Life. After only four months, Bilodeau was back on staff at FASHION as the acting managing editor for a one year contract, which ended in the summer of 2009. Bilodeau, a Toronto-native, is continuing her freelance writing and editing career and she lives downtown with her five-
year-old min pin, Carter.

Front Row Magazine
Twitter: @FrontRowMag

My five favourite online shopping sources:

LuisaViaRoma.com
With creative collaborations with designers such as Gareth Pugh, Viktor & Rolf and Jean Pierre Braganza, LuisaViaRoma.com is a haven for online shoppers. Not to mention their killer accessories sales, and free shipping to Canada.

Jonathan + Olivia
I fell in love with Jonathan + Olivia when they first invaded Ossington Avenue. Even more so now with the addition of TopShop (though it’s not available online). Jackie O’Brien has a very keen eye when it comes to style.

Ssense.com
The only major online retailer dealing designer duds in Canada, SSense.com has an extensive list of designers I love, including Alexander Wang (and his T line, from which I’ve purchased a few tanks and dresses), Elizabeth and James, Marc by Marc Jacobs and Alexander McQueen’s McQ.

Topshop.com
The American site for Topshop now delivers to Canada, and if an item is not at J+O, this is the easiest way for me to get it. I can literally get lost for an hour skimming through this site.

Net-a-porter.com and Theoutnet.com
The site that started it all, Net-A-Porter.com, cannot be left off this list. While I’ve never had the luxury of buying directly from this site, I visit Net and younger sister TheOutnet.com at least a few times a week to peruse what’s going on online. And I love that this is a female-run business that’s made millions!

Fashion-able: Your bag goes on your back for fall 2010

OK, so we have to eat our recent words about how much cooler messenger bags are than knapsacks. Immediately after posting, we started to notice that backpacks were hot for this fall. Some amazing designers have taken the old school standby and made it cool for those of us that have made the transition to working girl (or guy). They did a good job. Sigh.

We hate when we’re wrong.

Here are some of the coolest bags from the fall 2010 collections:

Alexander Wang

The darling of the fashion world has created a very chic felt, velvet and wool backpack collection. We love that these three are unisex, cozy and luxe enough to differentiate us from the students. 
  Sydney bags in grey felt, black velvet and grey and black striped wool. Price upon request.

Louis Vuitton
Another man-friendly option is the classic LV pack. You know it’s high quality. It’s gonna wear well. The warm browns are spot-on for fall. ‘Nuff said. 

Louis Vuitton Bosphore bag. $1,410
Tory Burch 
The lovely Tory Burch has updated the childhood nylon sack to a sleek adult version, complete with funky gold hardware and striped straps.
Palma Small backpack, $295
Free People
Sometimes, Free People errs a little on the hippie side with lots of unusual prints and flowery embroidery. But this gorgeous backpack blurs the line between country and urban. The rich-looking leather is a great burnt sienna, which we just love. There are some clever little details, like the key hanging from the strap to the right. Drool.
 
  Free People leather and canvas backpack, $298.54
All these hot backpacks are making us nostalgic for the days of fresh new notebooks, squeaky white gym shoes and schoolgirl crushes.We’ll have to make do with slinging one on our backs and bringing a bagged lunch to the office.

Yum, yum: Our favourite ways to drink beer

Admittedly, most of us weren’t the biggest beer fans until we became well acquainted with various university beer promos: Toonie-Tuesdays at the campus bar, beer pong tournaments and $25-four-litre pitchers at an infamous Toronto pub. Beer used to be a means to an end, but years of enjoying this beverage have led to true love of that refreshing combination of hops, barley and bubbles.

Here are some of our favourite ways to consume brewskis, with a summer spin:

The Beergarita
A lovely combination of lime, tequila and Mexican beer that is delightful when enjoyed on a patio.

1 can frozen limeade
1 pint tequila
3 to 4 Corona (or other similar beers)

Combine one cup of tequila with three to four beer in a large pitcher. Stir in limeade and serve over ice with a slice of lime and dash of salt. Mmmmm. 

The Beer Float
Josh Rubin of The Toronto Star opened our eyes to the possibility of beer as a dessert beverage. It’s a tasty, sweet snack that’s perfect for a warm evening. 

Vanilla ice cream
Dash of maple syrup
1 bottle Rickard’s Dark (or other flavoured beer – we are keen to try the Nickel Brook Apple Pilsner with a scoop of vanilla and dash of cinnamon, and Mill St. Coffee Porter with a scoop of chocolate).

Toss a scoop (or two) of ice cream in a tall glass. Slowly pour in beer and add maple syrup to taste. Best enjoyed with a spoon. Whipped cream optional.

The Ice Cold Pint

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Head to your favourite pub, patio or bar, grab some pals and down a frothy glass of your favourite brew. Top picks: Alexander Keith‘s, Mill St. Lemon Tea, Steam Whistle and Stella Artois.

Photo courtesy of http://www.guardian.co.uk 

Bonus points for appropriately branded glassware and a smooth pour.

Bottoms up!