Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Corso Italia on The Grid

Formerly, Eye Magazine, The Grid has a great website that covers everything from the print edition and more. We especially love the neighbourhood features. Corso Italia has it's own section along with all the other major west end hoods. Don't forget to comment about any of the plceas you've been to!

You can check out Corso's page here.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Christmas Lights On Steroids

While walking south on Caledonia Road...

Baby Jesus would be proud, and possibly blinded.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Big Love for The Big Ragu

I think I've died and gone to food Cielo.

Last night, Matt's parents came down to visit and we decided to take them to the popular Corso Italia restaurant, The Big Ragu.

We arrived just in time - the owner and head chef, Carmine Accogli, had just finished a shoot for OMNI TV, and the restaurant was open for business. Carmine greeted us warmly as we entered and joked about how he was going to be a big TV star.

As we were brought to our table, we noticed two women having dinner in the corner, and one of them was our very talented wedding caterer, Jen Draper, from Eatertainment. Suddenly it felt like we were regulars at a local Trattoria, and Carmine commented that Jen seemed to know everyone. She told us that The Big Ragu was the first place she goes when she's craving Italian cuisine, and she lives on the other side of the city. And knowing that Jen has a palette for fine food, we knew we were going to have a great meal.

So, let's just get to the food already!!

For appetizers, we had grilled calamari served over a bed of greens topped with homemade salsa verde...

...Along with "magic mushrooms": Portobello & button mushrooms baked with goat cheese over arugula with a wine reduction...

...oh, and don't forget the toasted bread with prosciutto, pear, gorgonzola & toasted walnuts, drizzled with honey.

Pair that with a bottle of Italian white wine, and we were off to a good start.

For my main dish, I went with one of their specials for the evening; Tagliata di Manzo, a savoury steak fillet on a bed of arugula and paired with roasted potatoes.


Matt had a pasta dish drizzled in Truffle oil (a favourite of his since our honeymoon in Tuscany), and his parents had a white fish filet dish and a chicken filet in a lemon & white wine sauce.

The service was great (our glasses were never empty and the bread basket was always full), the atmosphere was pleasant (lucky for us, we got there before the regulars filled up the place), and well, suffice to say, the food was delicious!

If you're looking for an intimate space for great Italian food or a venue to hold your next special event, this is definitely the place to be.

Big Ragu, you've made regulars outta us. See you soon!!

The Big Ragu is located on 1338 Lansdowne Avenue, just south of St.Clair.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Sunday Morning at Nova Era

What smells like fresh baked bread and sounds like a bunch of old Italian / Portuguese men deep in conversation?

Give up?

Nova Era on a Sunday morning!

Matt, sporting his Movember 'stache, which only makes him look more like all the other patrons.

Heading over for some coffee and almond filled croissants after a night of debaucheries has become somewhat of a tradition for us since we moved to the west end. Walking in, it's as if suddenly we've been transported to a local bakery in a small Italian village, where's it's packed with fresh baked goods and tons of chatty people (how do they do it so early in the morning?!).

Another highlight for us is bumping into our friend's dad ("Home Deeps") and all of his friends, who also make it a point of meeting there every Sunday morning to talk about work, politics, and women (mind you, these are all guesses, since they're speaking Portuguese and we don't understand a word they're saying).

We've been here so often that on our last visit the cashier said our order out loud before we did. We've finally reached "Regulars" status and we're loving it.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Corso Italia's Shnazzy New BIA Site

Check it out!

Corso Italia's brand spankin' new website!

For those left in the dark, every major neighbourhood in Toronto has a BIA (Business Improvement Area). A BIA focuses on local events, businesses, and beautification projects within that neighbourhood. It's a great way to build a sense of community and attract new residents.

What we love about Corso's new site is how clean and modern it looks. It's very well organized and represents the area with a good mix of tradition and modern. The featured merchant section is a nice touch.

We're glad they kept the Corso map though (below)

To find out if your area has a BIA, check out the City of Toronto BIA website for listings.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Stockyards Development

While paying a visit to our new favourite store, Home Depot (or as our Portuguese friend's dad would say "Home Deeps"), we realized that we didn't know much, ok anything, about the Stockyards development across the street.  So we got our Google on at home later and learned about the new commercial space being put up.

Trinity Development Group is the developer of the site and focuses primarily on suburban power centres.  We'll let the video of the proposed plans do all the talkin'.  Although, we suggest turning off the volume because the cheesy classical music kinda kills it.

Admittedly, our first reaction was "Heck ya, a Target!". And then we considered the pros and cons about the development, such as:

- New life to an otherwise dead stretch of land
- Access to tons of big name stores

- The suburban feel
- More traffic

If they can put in restaurants, a movie theatre, or some kind of entertainment area that would keep people there for a length of time in one visit, this could be a great addition to the neighbourhood. An example of this is the Quartier Dix30 development that was put in Quebec. It is currently Canada's largest lifestyle commercial centre which was designed to emulate an urban or downtown shopping experience with boutiques.

Waddaya think?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

3 Months of Fixin' thanks to Friends of Dufferin Grove Park

Ok, so it's been a while since our last post, we know.  But for good reason, we swear (although judging by the zero comments on all previous posts, we're not sure it really matters).  However, for the love of our end of the city, we wanted to keep the post alive for a little while longer.

So about this delay.  Well, who woulda guessed that a 98-year old home would need some work?!  For the last three months, we've been busy updating the electrical, installing new eavestroughs, doing cement work...just to name a few tasks on our ever-growing house to-do list.  How exciting our lives have become :)

When we first set out to get it all done, it dawned on us that as former apartment renters, we didn't have a clue who to reach out to to get the work done.  And while we fancy ourselves as smart urban professionals, there was no way we were going to trust ourselves to undertake the big jobs.  It felt a little hopeless at first.

So when a West End Friend sent me a link to Friends of Dufferin Grove Park, we saw the light at the end of the tunnel (even if the light was wired with knob and tube).  On this site, residents of Dufferin Grove, which is just one neighbourhood Southeast of us, can post recommendations for house maintenace professionals.  Thanks to this site, we found our electrician (Ken = amazing) and our carpenter (Vlad = also amazing), two very honest and hard working professionals who got the work done at a very reasonable price.

Now our dear old home is safe and up to code.  And we'll be paying it off for the next year.

Yay home ownership!

Check out the site if you're looking for anything from electricians, carpenters, landscaping, and plumbers!