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Sandoozles Smokehouse; Tiki Culture; Bivy; Home of The Brave & More

Liora Ipsum learns about smoked meat and Parks and Rec jokes at Sandoozles Smokehouse & Pub on Mount Pleasant. With a wood-and-patio stone-style decor, and bare orange walls, Sandoozles "takes cues from backyard barbecues" rather than the sitcom based on which it was named. The smokehouse serves up starters, soups, salads and sandwiches. "There are also 'tray trays' (platters)," writes Ipusm. "Initially the gimmick evoked a laugh, but after seeing the concept rolled out in print, it only elicits an eye roll." The Montreal Smoked Meat Sandoozle comes with meat that's been curred, soaked, smoked and steam for a total of 288 hours. "Is it as good as the iconic sandwiches of Montreal delis?" Ipsum asks, answering herself: "I won't make that argument, but it's satisfying enough and fills a niche in the immediate neighbourhood." [BlogTO]

According to Jen Hunter, tiki bars - and tiki culture - are on the rise in Toronto. What is tiki culture, you ask? It's "a collection of syrup-laden girly drinks in silly glasses" originating in the 1930s when "bars were trying to recreate Polynesian culture for the many service men, who, upon returning from duty in the South Pacific, had a hankering for something different." Hunter mentions some old Toronto tiki-inspired joints like Sutra, Hawaii Bar and the Bovine Sex Club, but fails to mention Bamboo, that iconic Queen West tropical destination that eventually became Ultra Supper Club and Cube. Her top 5 picks for tiki culture in the city today include Toronto Temperance Society, Salt, Ursa, The Miller Tavern, and Cocktail Parlour at STORYS. [BlogTO]

Caroline Youdan says it's not tiki culture that's trending in Toronto's restaurant scene but the "multi-stage launch." Pointing to Dundas West's Bivy to demonstrate her point, she refers to nearby restos The Whippoorwill and The Federal who also "employed similar toe-in-the-water approaches." Bivy is upgrading from a lunch spot to a dinner destination but Youdan stresses that the evening menu "stays true to his Parisian roots with bistro standards like duck confit, steamed mussels and charcuterie boards loaded with cured meats and country paté." There's also a $35 family-style Potbelly Dinner. [Toronto Life]

The Toronto Life staff also reviewed Home of the Brave, the retro diner on King West from the owners of La Carnita. Garnering only 1 1/2 stars, "the place looks like a mid-century greasy spoon with a clubby downtown spin: diners wear mini-skirts and bespoke suits instead of trucker caps and fleece." And although the "dishes are literally all over the map," inspired by the Northeast, Midwest and deep South, "the cooking is spot on." The house-made rum cocktails are (in true tiki fashion? perhaps it really is trending here) "gimmicky and too strong." Commentators are a bit confused by the mainly positive review but low star count. [Toronto Life]

Erinn Beth Langille drinks coffee at a place called Tea Dot near the University of Toronto in the Annex. Langille writes that "owner Omar Soliman is still ironing out the kinks (there are no real baked goods yet- soon I'm told), but he's certainly done well with his hiring" - referring to the "cheerful and enthusiastic" baristas who pulled a great Americano. She was also pleased "to see they had included affogato ," adding that "there is something really pleasurable about that Italian treat, looking down into your cup to find a scoop of vanilla ice cream drowning in hot espresso." There is also "a full kitchen that supplies a small fridge with boxed sandwiches and vegetarian salads." But when it comes to hanging out Friends style, this is not the place to hold your study group. "'Keep 'em moving' is not just the Toronto restaurant mantra, but seems to be the new modus operandi in Toronto's coffee shop scene as well, and with little seating besides two stools and a small booth in the front window, Tea Dot Coffee is no exception." [BlogTO]
[Above photo:HOTB/Yelp]

Home Of The Brave

589 King Street West, Toronto,


924 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1G9 416-536-8963