Yum, Yum: Drift Bar and Kitchen

The Bloordale area just scored with a new easy-going joint that hits the spot. Drift Bar and Kitchen is both restaurant and casual bar. It blends a sweet beverage list with an eclectic, little dining menu featuring homemade fare. This is the type of one-two hit that we love. Good homemade food, dive-bar comfort.

This is a wonderful place to have a drink with friends at the end of a long work day. Add a few apps or a gourmet sandwich from the ever-changing menu and you have the makings of a fab Friday night.

We checked out the poutine, starring what co-owner Damian Gaughan calls “18-hour gravy.” It has depth of flavour that goes on forever and when combined with double-fried potatoes and authentic cheese curds, the outcome is perfect comfort food.

Thick, tasty peameal bacon burger, complete with homemade bun.

We also tried the smoky, satisfying peameal bacon burger, and then gave the bean and cucumber salad a whirl. Both were fresh and simple. The made in-house bun on the burger takes it from good to awesome, and the salad was nicely seasoned.

The decor is relaxed and rustic-vintage. Lots of wood, reclaimed materials and a nice sized beer list on a chalk board. 

Delicious bean and cucumber salad with lime and cilantro. 

As for service, the staff members seem truly happy to be there, and the consideration that owners Gaughan and Matt Michowski put into every detail make it an all-around much needed shining star in the Bloor-Dufferin strip. They also serve soups, salads, sandwiches and sides, as well as brunch on the weekend.
Drift Bar and Kitchen (1063 Bloor St. W.).


My ‘Hood: Lara

By Lara

I know that for a lot of you, anything north of Bloor is considered the nosebleed section of Toronto. But there is life beyond the Annex – here’s what’s happening around my ‘hood at Avenue and Lawrence.
Fun fact: Many of the stores on the Avenue strip have created a real community among themselves; coffee shops exchange a latte for a movie rental, for example. It’s a special area! Here’s why:
First and foremost – food. My local haunt is Safari Bar and Grill


I love coming to Safari for the friendly atmosphere (think Cheers), the huge outdoor patio in the summer, the lounge upstairs where you can meet friends for a game of pool or a cozy drink in the evening, but mostly for the nachos. You won’t find them on a menu here, but all the ingredients are ready if you say the magic word, and they are hands down some of the best you’ll find in the city.
If there is just one reason to visit my hood, it’s Extoggery. An upscale consignment store, you can find anything from A to Z – as in Alexander Wang to Zegna.
Whether selling Chanel or buying Michael Kors, Extoggery carries jewellery, shoes, clothes and much more. It’s a great place to shop and browse.

Another great store to find a dress for any occasion is Want Boutique. I’ve found a prom dress here, an outfit for a wedding, a bridesmaid’s dress, a dress for my cousin’s opera recital; the list goes on. Owner Pari Davis goes on frequent buying trips to New York and Los Angeles to bring back labels that can’t be found in other shops in the city.

Hungry again? A guilty pleasure of mine is shopping at Pusateri’s. If you are looking for gourmet food, this is the place to go. Their produce is undeniably the freshest and highest quality that you can find in the city. As my friend once put it, “every single grape has the perfect crunch to it.”

It’s also the only place I have found in T.O. that carries grapefruit-flavoured Perrier. I’m sure it will catch on soon, but until then, I can’t help popping in on my way home from work for some fruity bubbly… and admittedly, sometimes a pre-made dinner. I love their delicious Southwestern salad.

The quintessential community shop at Avenue and Lawrence is definitely Videoflicks. In a sea of mainstream video rental stores, this independent rental store has been neighbourhood owned and operated for more than 25 years.

The inventory at Videoflicks is staggering. The main level of the store is new releases and the lower level is stacked to the ceiling with a library of older DVD’s and VHS (yes – VHS) movies. With a water bowl and treats for dogs, as well as free popcorn in the basement, the store welcomes the community with open arms.

A little bit further down the road, in between Alana’s hood and mine, is Joy Nails. Sit down, get comfy, and choose your favourite smoothie to sip on while you get pampered. My sister and I go together as a way to catch up, but if you’re in the mood to relax, get your nails done and watch a romantic comedy, this is your place.

My neighbourhood is a one-stop shop for pretty much anything all within walking distance from your house. For a bit of history and a lot of culture, stop by my ‘hood!