Cumbrae’s: Great Local Butcher

 

No matter how much you love meat, it’s hard to love the factory farm system. Growing as many animals as possible, as quickly as possible, for as low a cost as possible, can’t be ideal for the quality of the meat, or the quality of life of the animal. When we buy meat in a supermarket, we don’t like to think of where it comes from. We like to picture the animals being raised naturally on small family farms. The labels on the packaging may even play into this idyllic image of happy animals on sunny farms. The reality is usually much different, unless that label says Cumbrae’s.

 

Photo credit: Cumbrae’s

Photo credit: Cumbrae’s

 

Cumbrae’s is a big city butcher that actually sources its meat from small old-fashioned farms. Cumbrae’s tells us:

 

In an age where local and artisanal are the buzzwords that huge brands are built on, it can be virtually impossible to find the real thing. That’s where Cumbrae’s is completely unique. What Cumbrae’s has done is connect all the farmers who are doing things right – the old-fashioned way – and brought them into the fold and given them a place where they can farm without the enormous pressure, constraints and quotas of the factory system.

Photo credit: Cumbrae’s

Photo credit: Cumbrae’s

The factory farm system is interested in producing maximum product at minimum cost. This puts farmers who sign on with big agriculture companies into what can be a stressful situation for themselves and the animals. In order to meet quotas within the constraints of the factory system, farms and farmers are forced to change they way they operate. Quality must take a back seat to efficiency.

 

The way the Cumbrae’s operation works means that everyone in the equation needs to be treated well in order for everyone involved to stay involved. It’s simple. Take care of the farmers who want to take care of the animals, and the result is meat that is unsurpassed in quality and taste.

 

As strange as it may seem, a big city butcher shop with its own farms and a network of small family farms working with them is almost unheard of. Its what sets Cumbrae’s apart. Their animals are raised well, fed well and expertly butchered and processed in small abattoirs. Happy animals lead to high quality meat. But you don’t need to take Cumbrae’s word for it. In addition to their stores, Cumbrae’s also supplies over 50 of the region’s best restaurants. Listen to what the chefs like Cory Vitiello of The Harbord Room and Flock have to say:

 

The beef has a unique smell and flavour that no other beef I’ve tried has. That is, in fact, why I buy Cumbrae’s beef. I like the 45 day aged bone-in ribeye côte de boeuf, for me it is the best example of their beef. I just roast it in a cast iron pan with lots of butter, garlic and salt. Maybe throw in a little thyme and rosemary, then I carve it up tableside. It will change the way you think about beef.

Photo credit: Cumbrae’s

Photo credit: Cumbrae’s

Chef’s not only serve it in their restaurants, but Cumbrae’s products are also what they serve to their families. Anthony Rose of Wilder & Rose Restaurant Group says;

 

I bring home the butterflied chicken and brine it for 48 hours, then sear it in a cast iron pan and go low and slow in the oven, skin side down, until it’s done. Then just kiss the perfectly roasted bird with salsa verde. It’s my son’s favourite meal.

In today’s world, where commerce too often comes before quality and common sense, isn’t it nice to know that there’s a local butcher doing it the right way? A business built on local and artisanal food practices.

 

We bring the country to the city and to do that well we cultivate great relationships on each end – with the farmers and the animals in the country, and the educated and informed customers in the city.

Visit your local Cumbrae’s butcher today for the best meat the city has to offer.

Cumbrae’s, at 481 Church Street, serves the Church and Wellesley neighbourhood including the Greenrock Village Green Community (50 Alexander Street, 40 Alexander Street and 55 Maitland Street). For more information onGreenrock Property Management and our Communities throughout the city.

 

Eat Green at Urban Herbivore

 

Urban Herbivore changed the Toronto landscape for plantbased fast food when it first opened its doors 12 years ago with a tiny café in Kensington Market. The café has since expanded, as has the Urban Herbivore concept. There are now three locations including 64 Oxford Street (Kensington Market), and The Eaton Centre Food Court, with a brand new location opening soon in Union Station. The man behind it all is chef, food pioneer and restaurant veteran, Stephen Gardner. We spoke with Stephen to catch up on where the concept is at today, and where it’s heading.

 

What was the original concept/inspiration for Urban Herbivore?

 

I opened the first Urban Herbivore in Kensington Market with the intention of hosting a community space where I would offer cooking classes and seminars. I wanted to play off of the theme of Kensington Market and all that it had to offer. But I quickly learned I couldn’t fit all of my dreams under one roof. I was able to follow through with installing a green roof, produce a plantbased menu, source produce directly from local farmers, use organic ingredients wherever possible, use no refined sugar or processed ingredients, and provide 100% biodegradable take-out packaging.

 

 

Has that original concept evolved/grown as the business has grown?

 

The original UH was a café with limited seating and menu options. Over the last 12 years, we have expanded not only the square footage of the Kensington Market location, but also into new arenas with greater foot traffic. We have had to slightly tailor some of the menu items to be more efficient to serve. With the addition of a few fun rotating menu items, our food and concept is the same as it was from day one: plantbased whole food for herbivores in a hurry.

 

 

What is your restaurant’s specialty/best selling item(s)?

 

These can be grouped into seasonal preferences. Winter: Sweet Potato Club Sandwich with “Cheeze” and a Berry Blue Smoothie (blueberries, banana, apple, oats, lemon, cinnamon). Summer: Possum Bowl (watercress, kale, romaine, marinated mushrooms, broccoli, black beans, “cheeze sauce”, roasted Yukon & sweet potato, red onion, coconut “bacon”, tahini dressing) with a glass of our house made Pineapple Lemonade.

 

What has the growth process in the city been like? When/How did you know when it was time to expand and how do you choose the next location/neighborhood?

 

For a plantbased restaurant, foot traffic is important. You need to be accessible, either along the TTC route or at a major destination like Kensington Market. But to be honest, expansion, like any real-estate, is all a gamble. When I find myself with a little more free time on my hands, it’s time to start looking for new projects.

 

 

Who is your clientele? (Is it mostly dedicated vegetarians? The veggie curious?)

 

You know, 12 years ago, we were definitely a gold mine for vegans simply because veggie options weren’t so available. But now, I think the driving force is environmental foodies. Toronto is a food mecca. We love to eat out. And for all of us that participate in this “fast-food” lifestyle, Urban Herbivore lends a quick, whole food option that isn’t destructive to the environment.

 

What do you enjoy most about what you are doing?

 

I think my satisfaction comes most from knowing that the food that Urban Herbivore provides is one of the healthiest food options in Toronto. Besides seeing regular guests and the relationships that we have created it is great being able to put legs to my ethics and see them in action. I value a sense of environmental sensibilities and an awareness of social responsibility. We practice stalk to root cooking and are vigilant in our composting efforts. All of our packaging is compostable except for two lids and we don’t sell bottled water for that same reason even though we get many requests for it. We donate some of our baked goods to a local charity organization and try to care for our family of employees as well. We have quite possibly the most liberal food policy in the industry, our employees can enjoy a meal in one of our stores at anytime as long as the store is open regardless if they are working that day. I have deeply held convictions and these guide all of our practices.

Fast-food is not what is used to be. Thanks to Urban Herbivore, it’s possible to get nutritious and delicious food – fast. Health conscious food that is also socially conscious and sustainable. Urban Herbivore and Stephen Gardner are expanding your options for fast, fresh, plantbased food as they evolve and expand their menu and locations. Urban Herbivore made our list of the Best Restaurants with Gluten-Free Options. Look for their new location in Union Station and exercise your option to eat well on the go – it will make your body and mind feel good.

 

Urban Herbivore and Greenrock are proud to be members of your community. For information on our Village Green Community at 50 Alexander Street, 40 Alexander Street and 55 Maitland Street – please visit our website.

Discover amazing dishes at Lola’s Kitchen!

Discover amazing dishes at Lola's Kitchen!

Discover amazing dishes at Lola’s Kitchen!

 

Tucked away in the heart of Old Toronto, only steps away from Yorkville and Church and Wellesley Village, you’ll find Lola’s Kitchen. The hidden gem is housed in a classic Victorian Mansion at 634 Church Street.  Lola’s has been serving high quality comfort food in a casual and relaxed atmosphere since 2009. We spoke with General Manager, Spencer Reynolds to find out what makes Lola’s Kitchen work so well.

 

At Lola’s Kitchen, they pride themselves on a fresh, from-scratch menu. “With the exception of bread and desserts, we make everything in house! We even make our own ketchup”, Spencer says. Lola’s features naturally raised, local meats, fresh organic produce and serve only local craft beers. They also offer a great selection of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options, and even made our list of The Best Restaurants with Gluten Free Options. As Spencer tells us:


Lola’s has evolved over time into the restaurant we know and love today. Established in 2009, Lola’s has always made a point of keeping things fresh and changing our menu to suit the trends. We try to stay current!

photo courtesy of Lola's Kitchen

photo courtesy of Lola’s Kitchen

 

Even though Lola’s Kitchen is constantly evolving and changing to stay current and cater to the tastes of their clientele, they manage to stay true to themselves and the spirit of neighbourhood.


 

The Church St. corridor has always informed the ethos at Lola’s Kitchen and has definitely become our home. The community that surrounds us, especially throughout the summer months in which the Pride parade goes right past our door, is an integral part of what we do.

photo courtesy of Lola's Kitchen

photo courtesy of Lola’s Kitchen

 

Lola’s patio is the perfect place to watch the parade go by, or simply to settle in and enjoy the all-too-short summer season with a friend or two and a drink or two. When the weather isn’t cooperating, don’t let it rain on your parade – the interior atmosphere at Lola’s is relaxed, comfortable and inviting. It’s no wonder Lola’s attracts a wide spectrum clientele from all walks of life.

 

We have a great mix of clients. Many people love the menu for being accommodating, while others love the proximity to work and the quick service. The brunch crowd is usually younger and more diverse, while the lunch and dinner crowd are the regulars: our die hard fans.

photo courtesy of Lola's Kitchen

photo courtesy of Lola’s Kitchen

 

And those die hard fans keep growing. Lola’s doesn’t need to be flashy or loud to attract your attention. If you go there once, chances are you’ll be back. The food, the friendly service and the easy-going vibe make Lola’s easy to come back to. If you’ve never had the pleasure of eating at Lola’s, Spencer recommends the California Bowl ($15.50) – black and purple kale, organic quinoa or brown rice, avocado, sundried tomatoes, toasted organic nuts and seeds, sweet cider vinaigrette and grilled organic tofu (or substitute chicken breast for $2). “The California Bowl is by far our most popular item; healthful, simple, delicious.”

 

Whether you’re looking for a relaxed weekend brunch, a quick workday lunch or a delicious dinner, Lola’s Kitchen is truly your friendly, neighbourhood hangout and a proud member of the community. Come home to Lola’s kitchen, you’ll be glad you did!

 

Greenrock is also a proud member of the Church and Wellesley community. For information on ourVillage Green Community at 50 Alexander Street, 40 Alexander Street and 55 Maitland Street, please visit our website.


How to save energy this Fall

How to save energy this Fall

When it comes to saving energy—and money—it’s the little things that make the biggest difference. Learn more about how to save energy at Davisville Village Apartments (77 Davisville Avenue, 45 Balliol Street, 225 Davisville Avenue) with this helpful checklist from the Greenrock Property Management blog team.

 

Check your light bulbs

 

Since heat is included in your rent at Davisville Village Apartments, a bigger concern for your budget than heat might be your electricity bill. As the days get shorter, you’ll depend on your lights more—but that doesn’t need to cost you more money. Make sure that each and every light bulb in your home is an energy-efficient model, such as a compact fluorescent light bulb. You can find these at pretty much any local hardware store. From Davisville Village Apartments, bike less than 10 minutes to Home Hardware (1420 Yonge Street).

 

Unplug electronics

 

Between your laptop, desktop, toaster and curling iron, you might be surprised by how many appliances in your house are currently absorbing energy. Cut back today by unplugging these electronics when you are not using them. After all, even in power-saving modes these things still waste small amounts of energy.
Start saving energy today, using today’s blog post from Greenrock Property Management as your guide on how to begin. For more information about eco-conscious Davisville Village Apartments, simply visit our website.

Sample incredible conscious fare at Veg Food Fest!

Sample incredible conscious fare at Veg Food Fest!

It’s a familiar story — you went to a food festival, only to feel guilty about all the fatty, fried food consumed afterwards. At the upcoming Veg Food Fest, happening near Toronto apartments, you can sample fare that is both delicious and eco/health-conscious. Learn more about this end-of-the-summer festival in today’s post from Greenrock Property Management.

 

Mark your calendar

 

Veg Food Fest 2016 takes place Friday, September 9th through Sunday, September 11th at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay West), a 15-minute drive from Benlamond Apartments (5 Benlamond Avenue) or 25 minutes by public transportation from Village Green Apartments (50 Alexander Street, 40 Alexander Street, 55 Maitland Street). The festival is hosted by the Toronto Vegetarian Association, a local nonprofit that aims to promote healthy, green, compassionate lifestyles across the city and beyond.

 

New in 2016

 

Festival organizers have been busy planning what’s rumoured to be the biggest Veg Food Fest yet. In addition to expanded programming, the 2016 edition of the event will feature an enlarged map on the East Side of Harbourfront Centre. This area will serve as home to a new stage, more food vendors and the brand-new Veg Out zone — a place for laid-back eating and fellowship.

 

Make the most of your weekend

 

While delicious food is of course the centerpiece of Veg Food Fest, you’ll want to save time to catch a few of the great workshops and food demos on the schedule. Start your festival experience with Gourmet Vegan Cooking with Chef Doug McNish, happening on Friday at 7:00 p.m. at the Lakeside Terrace. Craving a healthier, more active lifestyle? Bad Ass Vegan Fitness with John Lewis will help you uncover the secrets of vegan fitness, happening Friday, 4:30 p.m., at the Studio Theatre. On Sunday, Kelly Childs and Erinn Weatherbie, co-authors of Made with Love, will demonstrate how to make mouthwatering vegan treats using supplies available in any standard grocery store.

 

Sample incredible, conscious fare at the upcoming Veg Food Fest, showcased today by the blog team at Greenrock Property Management. For more information about nearby Toronto apartments, simply visit our website.

5 Things to do this Earth Hour

Earth Hour is a global phenomenon where millions of people unite each year and support the cause and awareness of climate change by unplugging for one hour. On March 28th from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. people, businesses and even governments around the world turn off their lights and go electricity-free for just one hour. Greenock Property Management has put together a few eco-conscious suggestions for ways to celebrate Earth Hour with your friends and family.

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