Share an exotic meal at Ethiopian House

 

The Yonge and Wellesley neighbourhood in downtown Toronto is a vibrant and diverse area where there is always something new to discover. It’s a truly walkable neighbourhood full of bars, interesting shops and exotic restaurants.Ethiopian House is shining example of the diverse food available in the area. It’s a family business that has been a fixture in the neighbourhood for over 20 years! Ethiopian cuisine traditionally consists of a lot of vegetable curries, from mild to spicy, and very spicy meat dishes, served in dollops on top of a spongy sourdough flatbread called injera which is made from fermented teff flour. The flatbread is torn by hand and used to scoop up the curries. It’s incredibly delicious and very healthy! If you’re tempted to try Ethiopian fare but don’t know where to start, we are here to help! Trying a new-to-you cuisine can feel intimidating, so we spoke with Mohammed Haddis owner of Ethiopian House, for his best advice to help you add a little spice and variety to your life.

 

So Mohammed, how long have you been in business in the Yonge and Wellesley neighbourhood?

 

Since 1996. It was my brother in law’s idea. We wanted to be in the center of town to introduce Ethiopian cooking to more people, to be more inclusive.

 

It certainly worked! What keeps your customers coming back for more after all these years?

 

The ambiance, the food definitely. We take care of our customers. We’re on the reasonable side for pricing, but we are also consistent and the food is good here. The ambiance has to be great for people to keep coming back.

 

Some of our readers may be new to Ethiopian food. What dishes do you recommend for first-timers?

 

It all depends, really. There are vegetarian options and meat options. If you are vegetarian, we suggest the Vegetarian Combo. My favourite curry is Shiro Wat, a chickpea curry.

If you are a meat eater we hope you’ll try the Meat Combo. We serve 8 curries in the Vegetarian Combo, and the Meat Combo features both vegetarian and meat dishes.

photo credit: Ethiopian House

photo credit: Ethiopian House

 

Ethiopian food is great to share, what shareable menu options do you recommend for couples and groups?

 

The Sharing Platter on our menu can be shared easily. We also have a delicious chicken stew which is great for sharing, it’s great paired with a veggie combo to share.

 

photo credit: Ethiopian House

photo credit: Ethiopian House

 

That all sounds delicious! Please tell us about the Ethiopian coffee ceremony that you offer.

 

We offer a great coffee ceremony, if you have the time and the company to enjoy it it is a very nice ceremony.

 

Is there a proper technique for eating Ethiopian food?

 

Yes and no, if you are looking at traditional culture we use the right hand to eat for religious and hygienic reasons but if you’re a lefty, you’re a lefty. The most important thing is that you enjoy the food. It’s fun to eat with your hands, but we do have cutlery if you need it. Injera is traditionally eaten for every meal. We offer takeout for large and small groups. We do catering as well for parties and events. We’re here to offer a bit of our culture in Toronto.


The Yonge and Wellesley community is fueled by its diverse and inclusive culture. The variety of flavours available here is hard to match. If you’re looking to spice up your life and engage in all that this neighbourhood has to offer, pay a visit a to the Ethiopian House at 4 Irwin Avenue. Their comfortable, welcoming  and unassuming atmosphere will make you feel right at home and offer you an exotic experience at the same time.


Greenrock Property Management is proud to help connect you with your community. For information on Greenrock Rental Communities including Village Green (50 Alexander Street, 40 Alexander Street and 55 Maitland Street) pleasevisit our website today.

NXNE Port Lands is back!

There’s never been a better time to be a music lover in Toronto! NXNE Port Lands music festival is back for its second great year. They’ve added an extra day to pack in as much music as possible. Featuring 30 acts representing the best in indie rock, hip hop and soul, this year’s festival will take place from Friday, June 23rd to Sunday, June 25th at the Port Lands (Pier 35 off of Cherry Street). Get your tickets while you can!


“Since our inception, NXNE has proudly built up the reputation of curating a festival that always includes a strong element of discovery.” says Michael Hollett, President and Managing Director of NXNE. “With this year’s Port Lands lineup, we have brought together some of the biggest performers in the world, as well as a fantastic group of artists who are about to be launched into the musical stratosphere.”

Photo credit: @NXNE


NXNE Portlands features three days of non-stop music on two stages. Headliners include Passion Pit, KAYTRANADA and Post Malone. Some multi-day summer music festivals mean standing out in the blazing sun, paying a steep price for something as basic as water, and having little else to do if you’re not into the band that’s performing. NXNE Port Lands solves all of these problems. The festival goes out of its way to ensure lots of shade and seating, limitless free water, tons of food trucks, stand up comedy, plus a carnival midway with rides and games, art installations and much more!

Photo credit: @NXNE


If you’re looking for a fun way to get out of the sun, visit the Stand Up Comedy Tent. It’s programmed by the pros at Comedy Bar and features some of the best up and coming comedians. When hunger strikes, take a tour of the many food trucks featuring everything from ice cream from Heavenly Dreams, to local and sustainable braised lamb sandwiches at the Heirloom, and everything in between. You may want to check out the midway rides before you eat. Climb atop the twirling Paratrooper ride, check out the music, and snap some great pictures from the top of the ferris wheel or challenge yourself with some carnival games like Long Range Basketball, Tubs of Fun, Dragon Darts, Cover the Spot or Mini B-ball. Whatever you choose to do, boredom is definitely not an option.

Photo credit: @NXNE


Summer always seems to fly by before you know it. Make the most of the sunny weather this year and have as much fun as you can! The NXNE Port Lands music festival is the perfect way to kick off the season. Single day tickets are available, but for the best value opt for weekend-long general admission or VIP passes. This year you also have the option of leaving your wallet at home thanks to their new comfortable-to-wear cloth chipped wristband. The band allows you to get through lines faster while not having to carry any cash. You can enable a credit card when you sign up with your wristband. Up to two wristbands can be added to the same card.


Getting to the Port Lands site is easy. It’s located off Cherry Street at Pier 35,  just south of the Gardiner and the Distillery District. There is regular TTC service and free valet bike parking on site! Two major bike trails meet at the Port Lands — the Lower Don Recreation Trail (North-South) and the Martin Goodman Trail (East-West). If want to drive, there is also plenty of parking.


If you make it out to NXNE Port Lands this year, we hope you have a great festival experience!


Greenrock Property Management wants to connect you with your city and your community. For information on Greenrock Rental Communities in Toronto, please visit our website

Enjoy gourmet seafood at Zee Grill

 

Deep in the heart of midtown, in the Davisville neighbourhood near Yonge and Eglinton, sits a treasure. Zee Grill (641 Mt Pleasant Rd) is one of oldest and best oyster bars and seafood restaurants in the city. They  have been sourcing and serving the finest oyster, clams, mussels, lobsters and fish – as well as an excellent selection of duck, steak and lamb – since 1981. That’s a long time to keep your head above water in the restaurant business. Zee Grill has managed to survive and thrive in a sea of competition. The restaurant is owned and operated by Jac and Beth Eckhardt — a chef and sommelier husband and wife team. We spoke with Mr. Eckhardt to learn about the secret to their success.

 

Photo courtesy of Zee Grill

Photo courtesy of Zee Grill

 

So Jac, what sets Zee Grill apart from other seafood restaurants?

 

That’s a difficult question to answer but I’ll try. I think the main difference is the composition of our dishes. For example, our tuna. We plate it in a variety of flavors without the flavors getting in the way of each other. Our tuna is served rare only and seared in a crust of Cajun style spices. We serve it with shiitake mushrooms that are sautéed in a ginger carrot broth.

It comes with shanghai bok choy, a bit of mango salsa, pickled daikon and fermented cabbage. It is finished with an asparagus spring roll, with fresh wasabi and soy on the side.

I don’t think that a lot of seafood restaurants go to the extent of making every single plate different. We do.

 

Photo courtesy of Zee Grill

Photo courtesy of Zee Grill

 

That sounds like a brilliant dish and approach! What’s your most popular menu item and why?

 

Our grilled calamari and our crab cakes are extremely popular and are in the appetizer category, however, lots of people order just appetizers and share them for the table. As a main, our tuna is something that is impossible for me to take off our menu. I would lose some clientele if I did.

 

Photo courtesy of Zee Grill

Photo courtesy of Zee Grill

 

We noticed that you refer to Zee Grill as the oldest seafood restaurant in the city — when and why was it founded?

 

We opened in 1981 and we have been the sole owners of Zee Grill since. We opened as Phebes Oyster Bar but changed that name to Zee Grill in 1998. The reason for the name change was simple: we started to drift away from the simple and short oyster bar menu and I was getting into a more diverse cooking style. Zee is Dutch for Sea. I am Dutch. The reason we opened the restaurant is simple, I am a chef and Beth is a certified sommelier.

 

Photo courtesy of Zee Grill

Photo courtesy of Zee Grill

 

It seems like opening the restaurant and changing your focus were the right decisions! Is there anything special about the fish you serve? For example, is it sustainable or sashimi-grade?

 

I like to serve wild caught fish and other seafood like shrimp, squid etc. I am all for sustainable and therefore I try to source my products from respectable companies. I like to buy Ocean Wise product as long as it is not farmed. If it is farmed and I buy it, it has to be organic.Organic fish for example is not fed with hormones or antibiotics. I also use sashimi grade fish and other seafood for some of my dishes. Yellow fin tuna, scallops for our ceviches and other fish types for our crudo or carpaccio.

 

Thank you for speaking with us, Jac! Your success and longevity at Zee Grill is not surprising. You and your wife obviously take great pride in what you serve and invest in quality ingredients that speak for themselves. It’s no wonder Zee Grill has become a fixture of the Davisville community over the past few decades.

 

Greenrock Property Management is proud to connect you with your community. For information aboutGreenrock Communities, including Greenrock at Davisville Village, please visit our website.

 

 

Drink up at Granite Brewery

 

The Granite Brewery and Tied House (245 Eglinton Ave E) is not easy to define. It’s part brewery, part restaurant, part bar, part beer store and all awesome. Whether you want to enjoy a quick lunch on one of their two patios, have a relaxing dinner by the fireplace in the dining room, sip your favourite brew at the bar, or grab a growler to take home — The Granite Brewery has everything you want and more.

 

Photo courtesy of The Granite Brewery

Photo courtesy of The Granite Brewery

 

The original location of The Granite Brewery was opened by Kevin Keefe in Halifax back in 1985. His brother, Ron Keefe, opened the Toronto location in 1991. They helped usher in the age of craft beer. The Keefe family has been running the brewery ever since. Ron’s daughter, Mary Beth Keefe, is now the head brewmaster. We spoke with Sam Keefe, Co-owner and General Manager, to find out more about this amazing local establishment.

 

Photo courtesy of The Granite Brewery

Photo courtesy of The Granite Brewery

 

When Granite first opened in Toronto in 1991, the craft beer market was not at all what it is today. How does Granite stay current and set itself apart in such a competitive market?

 

We brew all natural, English style ales using open fermentation. Most brewers prefer using closed fermentation systems to avoid the risk of infection and brew different styles of beer. Our yeast strain is so rigorous and aggressive that it is able to fight off infection from the surrounding environment and forms a protective layer over the beer. Open fermented ales are very rare…there are only a few other breweries in the country who brew this way. Ironically, it is one of the oldest and most traditional forms of brewing and it’s what separates us from all of the other great breweries in the province. We’ve been in business brewing this way for over 25 years, so in a way we feel more like a “heritage brand” in the market. We stay current by keeping it classic.

 

Photo courtesy of The Granite Brewery

Photo courtesy of The Granite Brewery

 

It sounds like your beers are very distinct. You offer a very wide selection of craft brews. What advice would you give to someone coming into Granite Brewery for the first time to help them navigate their way?

 

We get a lot of customers who come in not knowing exactly what they like but are adventurous enough to try new styles. The best option is to try one of our flights. We offer four 5 oz samples of our draft list which is a great way to try a few different beers without committing to a full pint. We also sell growlers (2L jugs) and tall cans from our on-site Beer Store which you can take home and enjoy with your friends and family. Our Beer Store is open from 11:30 am until 11 p.m., seven days a week, including holidays!

 

Photo courtesy of The Granite Brewery

Photo courtesy of The Granite Brewery

 

That sounds like a great way to get a lay of the land at your establishment! Could you please describe the distinct qualities of the varieties of beer you serve, an IPA versus a Stout for example?

 

We offer a wide range of tastes and flavors that will please any palate. If you’re looking for a nice, light patio beer, we recommend our Ringwood or Summer Ale. Both are crisp, blonde and refreshing, with minimal bitterness. One of our most famous beers is the Peculiar Ale — a malty, English strong ale that has a slightly sweet finish. If you prefer hoppy beers, our Hopping Mad or our Galactic Pale Ale are staff and fan favourites. Our Keefe’s Irish Stout that is rich with notes of coffee and chocolate is very popular as well. It is our most popular beer carried by other bars and restaurants in the city.

 

Thanks for speaking with us, Sam!

 

If you enjoy quality craft beer and good food served in a friendly atmosphere, you’ll love The Granite Brewery. It’s a mecca for great brews and delicious food in the Davisville neighbourhood, all in one convenient location!

 

Greenrock Property Management wants to connect you with your community and local businesses. For more information on Greenrock Communities including Greenrock at Davisville Village (77 Davisville Avenue, 45 Balliol Street, 225 Davisville Avenue), please visit our website.

 

Enjoy a taste of Indonesia at Little Sister!

 

Toronto’s Davisville neighbourhood has always been unique. It’s an area for everyone, popular with (and populated by) singles, couples and families. It’s also home to Little Sister Indonesian Food Bar, the first and only authentic Indonesian restaurant in the city. The restaurant appeals to the same demographic – everyone. Little Sister has an open and friendly atmosphere. Whether you choose to sit at one of their cozy high top tables, grab a seat at the bar or sit at the communal table, there’s a place for you. You can watch the chefs do their thing through the large, take-out style window reminiscent of Indonesian street food carts. The big idea at Little Sister is to be part restaurant, part bar and completely authentic – both in terms of the menu and the overall vibe of the place. We spoke with co-owner Jennifer Gittins about this concept.

 

Photo Courtesy of Little Sister

Photo Courtesy of Little Sister

 

So, Jennifer, what makes Little Sister unique?

 

Well, we happen to be the only full on Indonesian place in the city. We call ourselves a “food bar”, a restaurant dressed up in a bar jacket. So we play our music at a louder level than a traditional restaurant, but still keep great levels of service and quality. We serve wine and cocktails that pair really well with our Indonesian cuisine. We also have a bar open above Little Sister called Bar Batavia, which is a speakeasy style bar, with plush velvet seating that’s open late, Thursday through Saturday.

 

We’ll have to go there next! How long have you been in the Davisville area and what keeps your customers coming back for more?

 

We have been in this area for 20 years now. Our first place was called Stork on the Roof, then we opened Quince Bistro, then Little Sister / Bar Batavia, and our latest is Noorden Food Bar. Noorden is Toronto’s first gin bar to open, with more than 50 gins from around the world, it serves modern Dutch cuisine, keeping to my partner’s Dutch background.

 

Photo Courtesy of Little Sister @littlesisterto

Photo Courtesy of Little Sister @littlesisterto

 

That’s a lot of gin variations! We’re definitely intrigued. At Little Sister, what dishes do you recommend for first timers at the restaurant?

 

They should definitely try any of the skewers, the Udang curry (coconut shrimp curry), Semur Java and of course our Nasi Goreng rice.

 

Photo Courtesy of Little Sister

Photo Courtesy of Little Sister

 

Which drinks pair well with those dishes?

 

All our cocktails and wine have been chosen to pair with the food. Indonesian food is all about 4 tastes: sweet, salty, sour, and spicy. Indonesia is the original spice islands, so our food is full of spices.

 

Photo Courtesy of Little Sister @littlesisterto

Photo Courtesy of Little Sister @littlesisterto

 

Thanks for guiding us, Jennifer!


Photo Courtesy of Little Sister

Photo Courtesy of Little Sister

 

They certainly don’t shy away from spices here. The food at Little Sister is both bold and confident. The intriguing restaurant is co-owned and operated by Dutch chef, Michael van den Winkel. The Netherlands has a long history with Indonesia and its cuisine and Mr. van den Winkel is well versed in its nuances. Jennifer and Michael are heading into their third year of operations at Little Sister and are going stronger than ever. This wonderful restaurant certainly adds another layer of complexity to the ever-evolving and diverse Davisville neighbourhood. If you haven’t paid Jennifer and Michael a visit, you owe it to yourself to see what you’ve been missing at Little Sister.

 

 

Photo Courtesy of Little Sister

Photo Courtesy of Little Sister

 

Greenrock Property Management is proud to highlight what your community has to offer. For more information onGreenrock Communities, including Davisville Village (77 Davisville Avenue,45 Balliol Street and 225 Davisville Avenue), please visit our website.