Where to Eat: The Fifth Pub House in Toronto

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DSC_1423 (800x533)What happens to a nightclub when it gets a makeover?

It becomes a gathering place for enjoying craft beer and classic Canadian comfort food. Over 15 months, the basement of the red brick building on Richmond Street was transformed into The Fifth Pub House – a rustic bar inspired by the British gastropub tradition. The space had once been the site of Fluid nightclub, but had laid empty for almost two years – until the Fifth Pub House opened.

DSC_1418 (800x533)Walking through the doors, the Pub House is riddled with character. It feels like an upscale barn but with modern trimmings, such as televisions broadcasting the hockey game. Red tartan stools, antlers, and an oversized plate and utensils mounted on the wall gives this place a bit of character. There are 14 beers on tap, including a house brew called The Fifth Stock Ale.

DSC_1333 (800x533)But The Fifth is more than a watering hole. Chef Brad Livergant prides himself on serving gourmet grub at a fair price. The menu incorporates local and organic ingredients into traditional pub favourites, and includes a selection of sustainable fish.

 “I wanted to do really good pub food, the right way,” Chef Livergant says.

DSC_1346 (800x533)Every Wednesday, the Pubhouse serves “get shucked” oysters, fresh from Prince Edward Island, for $1.00 each. To put frippery into the dish, the Chef demonstrates how to add a shot of red wine vinaigrette to the oysters. (more…)

Winter Hiking in Jasper National Park

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Maligne Canyon, Jasper“We’re Canadians, so we all know how to walk on ice, right?”

Joy, our guide, is prepping our group to begin our trek into the frozen Maligne Canyon, not far from Jasper, Alberta. I have to windmill my arms to stay upright when skating, so I give her a doubtful glance.

“Use your toes to grab when going up a hill and dig in your heels when going down,” she explains. She adds that because the mercury’s crept above zero, the ice might be slick in some places and sticky in others.

DSC_0187 (800x536)Over our boots we’re wearing crampons — strap-on soles with metal divets. I take a few tentative steps at first, unsure if these tiny chunks of metal will keep me vertical. But they do, and before long walking on ice feels no different than hiking a muddy trail: you just need to pay attention. And for the steeper spots along our route, Joy is carrying an ice pick to hack out miniature steps where needed. Although the members of our group wearing snow pants decide that sliding down the hills is easier — and more fun.

Frozen waterfall, JasperIt’s midday, but most of the canyon is shaded. Huge sheets of ice cling to the sheer, limestone walls — towering frozen waterfalls more than 30 metres high and up to a metre thick (above). (more…)

Best Places to Eat and Drink in Saskatoon

Lead Photo (800x533)Forget everything you assumed about Saskatchewan. 

Saskatoon, a city located in central Saskatchewan on the South Saskatchewan River, was not at all what I expected it to be.  A very walkable city boasting a beautiful riverfront with seven arching bridges, it is surprisingly trendy and home to fiercely proud, welcoming and friendly Saskatonians.  If you love to experience places by means of their cuisine and eat your way through your travels, Saskatoon has a great food scene with some noteworthy food and beverage establishments.

Here is a sampling of the eats and libations that Saskatoon has to offer:

AydenAyden Kitchen & Bar

A new Saskatoon hotspot, Ayden Kitchen & Bar is the brainchild of Saskatoon native and Canada’s original Top Chef Canada winner, Chef Dale MacKay.  Using locally sourced and seasonal ingredients whenever possible, Ayden Kitchen & Bar brings patrons a globally inspired menu of modern comfort foods.  Pop in for lunch and give their Thai chicken wings and award-winning pulled pork sandwich a try.  Paired with an oh-so-good dipping sauce of lemongrass, kaffir lime, fresh cilantro and garlic oil (I wanted to drench each morsel of chicken in it!); the lightly dusted wings were so tender and delicate, while the soft pulled pork sandwich perfectly nestled in a chewy homemade bun. 

Not only is the food superb, but the hand-crafted beer cocktails are a must try!  The restaurant is a cleanly designed urban space adorned with interesting artwork and objects you would find in your kitchen cupboards and drawers.  Their open kitchen concept gives you a view of all the cooking action and the full bar makes for a great place to dine in or just pop in for a cocktail. (more…)

What’s On: The Vintage Clothing Show

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7I may not be a fashionista, but I appreciate unique and special pieces…the types that can only be found in vintage clothing stores. So I was very excited to be able to attend the Toronto Vintage Clothing Show on March 23 in Toronto.

8This show featured 45 vintage clothing vendors, selling everything from dresses, scarves, purses, hats, jewelry and shoes, to the several thousand attendees.

Even being almost seven months pregnant didn’t hinder my experience. Perhaps I couldn’t get a new cocktail dress, but accessories are my bread and butter these days and there was no shortage of cute add-ons. I purchased two fedora hats, a rabbit-fur scarf and several vintage, costume jewelry necklaces. I’m all set for spring…minus pants that fit.

I spoke with Show Manager, Catherine Knoll, who informed me that because of the show’s success, they plan on having it semi-annually, in both spring and autumn. If you can’t wait that long, the Ottawa Vintage Clothing Show is taking place this weekend, on April 13.

Regardless of what you do and when you attend, check out the websites for discount tickets and great tips on getting the most out of your experience.

– Katie Adamchick

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