Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Coconut Festival 2016


For the 2nd year in a row I attended the Coconut Festival at David Pecaut Square on August 28, 2016

There were different vendors this year than last year.  Not just coconuts there were all kinds of vendors selling things like (in photo below):
  • Coconut Soap
  • Watches
  • Hats
  • Sunglasses
  • Cocobutter
  • Coconut Milk
  • Thai Food
  • Jamaican Food
  • Hawaiian Food
  • Coconut Candle

and a whole lot more.

I tried a sample of fresh mango smoothie and a thai bar and chocolate nut bar.

I purchased a great Thai Noodle Dish called from Pai for $5 with a great coconut curry flavour.

I also purchased a Chocolate Coconut Pie for $4 from Big E.

I didn't stay as long as last year because a bunch of my friends showed up last year but I did enjoy the foods that I tasted and it's a festival you can pop into and stay for a minute or a while.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Sweetery Festival - sweets and more


I checked out the 2nd Annual Sweetery Festival at David Pecaut Square on August 21, 2016.  It was the second year but it was the first time I attended.  It had expanded from a parking lot the previous year. Still a very young festival run by very young people so it has a bit of growing to do.
It is an initiative of George Brown College to have some of their advanced Baking students and other Sweets and confection vendors have a dedicated show to showcase their goods.

The name Sweetery is Sweets and Eatery combined as explained by one of the organizers.
The George Brown Students use this event as part of their grading and also the proceeds of the sales of the products go towards a trip to France that they had planned.

David Pecaut Square is a lovely square easily accessible off of King Street West.  With a lovely grassy open area.  You can see from this photo that they set up red and white umberellas for people to sit and have shade.  It looked really nice and had a function which is what I like to see.

 There was all kinds of different treats.  From some of the things in this photo,  shaved ice from ,  Cookie topped Iced coffee, Macarons from Masterchef winner baker Sui from Daan Go.   Also a vanilla custard cake, really great butter tarts from Andrea's Bakery, pizelle and gelato, cookies and other croissants and pastries from George Brown College, not pictured.

I didn't try very many things.  I did try the shaved ice with sweet soy and condensed milk.  It was very light and nutty tasting.  Very popular on the hot day.  I also sampled the fantastic butter tarts and the vanilla custard cake and a bit of a couple of the macarons.

One of my favourite things at the show wasn't even food but food jewellery by Smitten creations.  It was so creative.  I first spotted sushi rings and then saw all the cute dessert rings, necklaces and ear rings.   I bought one with a chocolate birthday cake in a dome.  So cool and I think reasonably priced.

There were also a couple of food trucks and other food vendors there.   One of the other interesting things not in the photo was flavoured marshmallows from I love Puffy Love in flavours like Merry Mojito that could be set up for your next party.

David's Tea also had some great cold tea samples like strawberry flavour on hand to cool you off.

I would love to see this festival grow and become a bit more organized.  There were a few issues with setting up on the sunday morning that I hope they can sort out for next year.

Look out for some of these treats in the city in the future.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Best places to Eat at TIFF16

If you are attending the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and you are hardcore about seeing as many films or attending as many parties that you can and you don't spend a lot of time in the Festival area then I hope this list will help you decide where to eat when you have no time between films or you have time to kill and want a sit down meal because your next event isn't for a couple of hours.  You are either rushing or waiting during Tiff so I hope this list is a quick guide of places to go near the theatres and in the general TIFF Festival area.  They are great anytime but this is for you when you are so tired and can't think anymore and you are starving.  STARVING FOODIE is here to help with this list of Where to Eat when you are at TIFF -by venue location.


1. Bell Tiff Lightbox - 350 King Street West
  • A&W Restaurant - 8 Mercer Street - When you need cheap and fast eats.  
  • Luma or Canteen in the Bell Tiff Lightbox - 350 King St. W.  - When you don't have time to go far between films.
  • Montecito - 328 Wellington St. W. -  When you need a break from the Festival this is a great place to get some great food and a drink.
2. Elgin and Winter Carden Theatre - 189 Yonge Street
  • Richmond Station - 1 Richmond St. W. - Just great food by 
  • The Chase - 10 Temperance St, - The Chase has a fantastic patio and sister shop Little Fin for seafood take-out.
  • Foodwares - 176 Queen St. W. - Not open all hours but during the weekday it's great for a fresh fast meal when you don't know what you want.  Marche type of restaurant.

Richmond Station Burger
3. Glenn Gould Studio at CBC - 250 Front Street West
  • Wahlbergers - 46 Blue Jays Way - Owned by the Wahlberg brothers Donny, Mark and Paul.  Their own Burgers etc. 
  • Luckee Restaurant 328 Wellington St W- The best Dim Sum in the city by Susur Lee.
  • The Shore Club - 155 Wellington St. W. - I haven't been to this one yet but it's an upscale steakhouse closeby.
Luckee - Shrimp Cheung Fun

4. Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema - 506 Bloor Street West
  • Big Tuna Poke Bar - 599 Bloor St. W. - This is where I would go. A little west of Bathurst but worth it for an excellent Poke Bowl.  I tried the Classic Tuna poke and loved it.
  • Aroma Espresso 500 Bloor St. W. - This is the best place to grab a healthy bit and a coffee or one of their Aroma chill drinks and watch all the people in the ticket holder line.
  • Pauper’s Pub 539 Bloor St. W. - This is right across the street and has a patio and multiple floors.  Pub food and drinks when you need to fuel up
  • Big Tuna Poke
5. Isabel Bader Theatre - 93 Charles Street West
  • Gabby's  - 192 Bloor St. W. - The cheap pub chain food that is fairly closeby.
  • La Societe - 131 Bloor St. W. - French Bistro food in a beautifully designed space.
  • The One Eighty - Manulife Centre, 51st Floor, 55 Bloor St W - Formerly called Panorama for the great view of the city.  It is run by the people from Eatertainment.  New menu and fantastic place to hang with friends.

6. Jackman Hall, AGO - 317 Dundas Street West
  • Mean Bao  in the Village by the Grange Food Court  - Cheap, fast Bao's and dumplings
  • Provo Food Bar - 308 Dundas St. W.-New Gourmet Casual dining and the food is really good too.
  • Frank - 317 Dundas Street West in the AGO - I have had food from the AGO catering at events and it's pretty good.
  • Provo Food Bar gnocchi

7. Scotiabank Theatre - 259 Richmond Street West
  • Carver Eatery -  101 Peter St.  - This place is a tiny hidden gem with the best award winning slow roasted sandwich take-out.  Tell the owner Rob that I sent you.  It will make him very happy.
  • Thoroughbred 304 Richmond St. W. - A place to chill with some interesting food and a drink.
  • Khao San Road 326 Adelaide St. W.
Carver Eatery
8. Princess of Wales Theatre - 300 King Street West
  • PAI 18 Duncan St. - Great That food.  It's a busy place but it's the real deal.  They have a tiny patio.
  • Byblos - 161 Pearl St. - Upscale Greek Food.  You should make reservations because it may be closed for private parties.
  • Figo - 295 Adelaide St. W. - 2 minute walk from Princess of Wales and Lightbox.  Great classic Italian Food and they have a patio too.  Get the Zucchini Fritti
Figo - Zucchini Fritti
9. Roy Thompson Hall - 60 Simcoe Street
  • Ritz Carlton - DEQ -  181 Wellington St.W. - This is where my team goes for a break between films or after a film.  Great patio and the fries are great too.
  • Elephant & Castle 212 King St. West - This is where my Entourage team goes when we are hungry because it's comfort food that fills you up and you can get a beer too.  The menu has changed but the food is still great. You can get Jalapeno Mac and Cheese with Chicken or Shrimp.  It's fantastic and the perfect amount.  
  • Los Colibris /El Cabalito - 220 King St. West - Got a taco craving?  They got Tacos and guacamole and Los Colibris has upscale Mexican food.  They have a rooftop patio but be warned the music is so loud you will be talking very loudly.
Elephant and Castle - Jalapeno mac and cheese with chicken
10. Ryerson  - 43 Gerrard St. E.
  • Banh Mi Boys - 399 Yonge Street - Fast, cheap and great.  Get a Banh Mi sandwich and eat it while you are waiting in a Rush line.
  • Reds Midtown 382 Yonge Street - Right at the corner of Yonge and Gerrard. with a patio if you need to chill.
  • Salad King -340 Yonge Street - Great Thai food. Always packed. You can eat in communal style or take out. 
Banh Mi - Bao and sandwich 
These are all my choices and I have been to almost all of them.  I picked 3 places near the theatre venues.  Some have more choices than others but to get it into a handy list I chose 3.

Hope you like my choices and return to them even when you aren't at TIFF.

*This is not a sponsored post. This is my own curated list.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

BBQ dinners with friends

In Canada we wait through months and months of cold, snowy, rainy weather for those days that we can go outside and spark up a BBQ and hang out with our friends.  Some people can't wait for that summer weather and will go outside in Parkas just to grill their meats.

But the reason we can't wait for the limited great weather is to enjoy BBQ's with friends.  It really is what the perfect summer is all about.

I lived in a house most of my life and could have BBQ'd whenever I wanted to but I didn't BBQ much, and now that I am in an apartment I wish I could BBQ on nice days.

So It's always nice when I get to go to my friends house for a BBQ.   It's even better when you call up one of your friends to see what they are doing and they ask if you want to come over for a BBQ that day and you combine forces and cobble a dinner together.  That's what happened last weekend.  I sent my friend a text about 4:30pm to see what he was doing.  He was at his sisters but said he would be home around 7pm.  Then he texted back and asked if I wanted to come over for a BBQ.  I was itching to get out of the house so I said "heck ya" and he picked me up on his way home.  He said all he had was chicken and maybe a salad.  I said I could bring some of the veggies I got in my Fresh City Farms delivery that week.  I had a mini watermelon, a whole fennel, a bunch of Swiss Chard and some Green Beans,   I blanched the green beans and tossed them in a light garlic coconut oil vinaigrette.  That took all of under 10 minutes to do.  I trimmed the fennel and cut it up for grilling.  I left the Chard whole because I hadn't decided what to do with it.  And the watermelon was whole.

Once I got to my friends place the plan was to Char the Chard and the Fennel.  I never BBQ'd Swiss chard before but there are a lot of people that grill lettuce so why not.  I just washed it and trimmed the ends and we put a bit of olive oil and salt on it and placed it on the grill.  Once they were charred we took them off and I cut them into smaller pieces.  The smell was interesting.  It was kind of like Kale chips.  I read that you could blanche the Chard first but I didn't bother and it was interesting and crispy this way.  We also grilled the fennel in a metal tray with holes after just a drizzle of olive oil and salt on it.  

My friend insisted that I cut up the watermelon into tiny cubes so I worked on that.  It would have been great if we had limes and mint to make it into a refreshing watermelon salad.  Next time.

My friend put the chicken on skewers and grilled them to perfection.

Once everything was ready my friend Randy insisted that we make a fancy plate and he wanted to layer the chard and fennel.   In a bowl I added some more olive oil and salt and pepper and some cayenne and splash of vinegar and tossed it lightly for flavour.  

He took a bit of the Chard and placed it on the side of the plate and then put the fennel on top.  He said it needed more color and something red, so I went inside and grabbed a few grape tomatoes and we cut them in half and placed them on top and drizzled a bit more olive oil.
The green beans went on the side and then I used a Balsalmic glaze to fancy up the plate and the skewered chicken was placed on top of that.  

It was not only a beautiful plate but everything came together fantastic.  It was a total team effort between three of us and even for a last minute meal you would think we planned it.  We were all pretty impressed with ourselves.   My friend said "I like it when Linda comes over for dinner because she brings great food".   It helps when my friend has a nice BBQ set up and everyone pitches in to make it work.   I handle prep and my friend Adam does the grilling and Randy does the clean up.  What a combo.  And now we have a new thing to grill on the BBQ that is amazing.
And for dessert even though I thought we were just going to eat the mini watermelon my friend Adam comes out of the house with fancy toasted waffle ice cream sandwiches.  So much for our perfectly healthy meal.  It's all about balance I guess.

I am planning a BBQ at another friends condo for some blogger friends but it's a little more planned but I gave them the option to bring something to make it a bit more spontaneous and interesting.  So will see how it goes and I hope that we don't have any insane storms like we had yesterday.

Here's to summer BBQ's with friends.  They are the best thing ever!   Go forth and Grill Master!.

Street Food & Street People

I have lived in Toronto all of my life but I have been noticing a drastic change over the past 5 years in so many ways. I started working a temporary contract in April and in July the office moved to Yonge and Dundas.  Right smack in the Yonge and Crazy area or centre of the Universe in Toronto if you don't know. This area is such a contrast of humanity and life.  There are huge retailers and brands all around and not just in the Eaton Centre but up and down Yonge Street and there are always cultural events and brand activations and entertainment happening at Yonge and Dundas Square.  At the same time there are street people dotted every 10 feet or so just sitting on the ground asking for money from people passing by.  

The thing that I have noticed is that there is an increase of these "Street People" I call them street people because I can't assume that they are homeless because who knows what their story is.  But there are a lot more with varying degrees of impairment.  I would say that the majority are able bodied but there are some with visible signs of mental illness and a few with physical disabilities but I would say a lot of them seem to be physically ok.  They all have a story but some seem to me in my cynical brain to be fake stories.  Why do I say that?  Well because I know a guy who is on disability who is physically able but has as he calls it "undiagnosed" disability.  When pressed he said he had dizzy spells.  He is socially challenged or what I think may be a mild case of Asbergers but he spends his time volunteering but his brother is also on disability but doesn't really have a disability other than the fact that he is a substance abuser.  I was told that he collects his disability cheques and then spends it on drugs and alcohol and when the money runs out his band of buddies heads downtown to pan handle.  The guy I know lives with this guy and his pan handling buddies crash at their Etobicoke apartment regularly. I always wonder who are legitimately in need and who is just pulling a scam.  I have gotten to the point that there are so many people around town that you just walk by and don't pay attention anymore.

Last week there was an altercation on Dundas just west of Yonge with a guy in a suit with a knife or something and another guy who appeared to be a homeless person and the guy in the suit lunged at Police when they tried to resolve the problem.  I don't really know the whole story but the end result was that the guy in the suit was shot by Police and the street was closed off for investigation for half the day.

 A couple of weeks ago there was a fight in a known area where homeless people gather in the St. Lawrence Market area and one guy fell and hit his head and died.

In the past couple of weeks I have seen people in wheelchairs, a young girl, pregnant girls, guys with dogs, older people and a whole bunch of young people.

I don't understand why people would choose to sit on a scorching hot sidewalk in the middle of a heatwave and beg for money.  People have been camping out next to garbage cans on Dundas and on Yonge Street.  We have had 30 days over 30 degrees this month too, so it's been extremely HOT.  I have been precariously employed for the past 5 years but I would never consider doing this so I am not sure why so many think this is a solution.  I know that government assistance doesn't really work but there must be a better way to solve this problem.

At the same time as some of these guys are sleeping on the sidewalks I was given some of these treats for FREE while walking around the area.  I got Hummus, chip and the Gummies while walking by Ryerson.  I got Brookside bars at a brand activation at Yonge Dundas Square and a Matilda fan while walking down Yonge Street.  I also got a sample of ice cream from a New Ice cream place because they were late opening.  I got all of these free things within a couple of weeks.


 There really is no shortage of free food in Toronto if you are out and about.  Lot's of brands hand out samples around the city and at food events.  While I was getting these things all of the "street people" were sitting or sleeping on the sidewalks just a block away.

So what exactly is the problem?  They hold up signs that say they are Hungry.  Is that the problem?  Like I said there is plenty of "Street Food" in the city.  Mostly in the summer but there are lot's of times that brands do activations in high traffic areas year round.  I have told the story before where I tried to help a guy saying he needed money for food and tried to give him a $10 cafe gift card and he just blew me off and only kept it after another passerby told him to.

I really thing the problem is JOBS and HOUSING.  If you aren't a professional most jobs don't pay enough to support living in decent housing in the city.  If rent starts at $1000 a month for a bachelor apartment and you are working a minimum wage job you just have no money for anything else.

You are supposed to spend 25% of your wage on housing but I can tell you that 75% of my current wage is going to my housing and I am not living in a fancy house.  I live in a one bedroom apartment in an old building and not even in the central downtown area.  I have had to give up my car and haven't been able to do a lot of the things I used to be able to do.

It's getting tougher and tougher to get by living in a big city.  The second part is the Job situation.  In Toronto more full time jobs have been lost over the past year than it has in the past 30 years.  I haven't had a permanent job in years and most jobs that used to be permanent are now contract jobs so that employers don't have the extra cost of benefits.  You have no guarantees on steady employment anymore so it's really tough to be able to plan a budget or to be able to pay your bills consistently.

I saw these 2 guys in this tree covered laneway behind the Eaton Centre.  They were at least in a shaded area but this is no way to live.  It's bad for these people and it's bad for the City of Toronto.  In a city as developed as ours this problem seems to be getting bigger and bigger.  I do not want to see our city like the cities in the U.S. where there are huge homeless areas where there are high crime rates.

What can we do to solve this problem?  Some of these people just need to learn that they are in control of their life and this street living isn't the solution, while others need help with drug and alcohol addiction and others need help with affordable housing and others need a decent job.

If you see someone that clearly needs help you can call *311 and they can send someone out to assist them but for how long?   I called last winter when a guy was consistently sleeping on Richmond Street during sub zero temperatures.   He was gone for a few days but back again a week later.  For some this is their choice.  They prefer to be on the streets than in shelters.  I don't think shelters are the answer but I think a new version of affordable housing is.

I also don't think giving a guy a loonie on the street is going to solve his problems.
Actor Colin Farrell tried to help a guy and gave him money and it didn't stick but when he took him to an outdoor store and got him hooked up and then paid his rent for a year I think it finally helped the guy get back on his feet.  Short term is not the answer a long term solution is but how do we collectively make it happen?  Do our votes for politicians make the difference?  or is there another solution?

Some of the things other countries have done:

1. Small houses where homeless people can sleep, shower and eat for a small fee.
2. Fridges outside of restaurants where homeless people can get the unsold food from the restaurants.
3. Mobile trucks with showers that homeless people can use to take a shower
4. Dress for Success and other charities provide clothing for people that need the proper attire for interviews.
5.  There are a number of organizations that hand out backpacks with basic toiletries and things like socks.
6.  Second Harvest collects leftover foods from restaurants and has events to raise money for programs year round.
7.  The Stop/Food Share has kitchen training programs for people in need.
8.  Habitat for Humanity provides housing to people that put in volunteer sweat equity hours.
9.  If you are hungry you can volunteer at a food festival.  They will most likely feed you for your time.
10.  A library card will give you a place that is air conditioned and the use of a computer and you can get Linda.com online training for free.  There are also other job finding events at the library.

There are a lot of agencies around cities that provide some help but I think there needs to be a way for these people to find out about and get to these programs.

Everyone is a "SITUATION" away from being homeless these days so we need to find a way to make a change.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Girls night out at Paese Restaurant

Blogger Girls Night Out
Location:    Paese Ristorante, located on 3827 Bathurst Street (just north of Wilson Avenue)
Date visited:  August 6, 2016
Instagram @paeseristorante

My blogger pal Natalie (http://www.cookingquidnunc.com/) and I were invited to go for dinner at Paese Restaurant in North York.  I live in North York so it was nice to go to a dinner pretty close to home.  We brought along fellow blogger Shuang (http://www.theteleporta.com/) and my friend who lives within walking distance of Paese.  Normally Natalie and I attend larger blogger media dinners with about a dozen other bloggers trying to get their photos and food in within a limited amount of time.  This time we had a great Girls Night Out and took our time and all ordered different things so that we could sample a lot from their menu.  

A nice touch was that they seated us near the window.  This is an important thing because the rest of the restaurant had lighting that wouldn't have been flattering for food photos.  We really wanted to get some great photos because the food was presented so beautifully.

We shared this amazing Seared Scallop dish with grapefruit segments and shaved fennel.   This really is a classic pairing that works together to elevate the whole dish.   We really loved this dish and my friends were amazed at how good the fennel was.  I wasn't because I have done this before and it really makes the fennel shine.  The Scallops were perfectly seared and tender and seasoned to perfection.

We also shared the Polenta Fries.  We could have easily eaten an order of these each.  They were better than fries with a whole lot more flavour and crispy on the outside and creamy inside.

As my main I chose the Veal Scallopini.  For some reason I thought this would be breaded but it was just pan seared and served with a lemon beurre blanc sauce and green beans, grilled fennel and a piece of charred corn.  The veal was like butter.  I hardly needed a knife to cut it.  The whole thing was skillfully put together.

For Dessert I chose the Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookie and Affogato.  I really wanted the cherry chocolate cookie.  It had some sea salt on top.  Some people like that but I don't think it needed the salt.  It wasn't overly sweet and with the espresso and vanilla ice cream it was just enough.

And there was a whole lot more.  Some of the other things we all ordered were from (l to r):
Braised Lamb and Green Beans,  Seared Salmon with tomato salsa and fennel,  Mojito's and wine, A dark and white chocolate terrina,  Goat cheese and leek ravioli, charred broccoli, Charred Octopus, Foccacia bread and white bean spread, Pomegranate gelato, strawberry cheesecake, Caramel pudding.  And in the mix is Natalie taking a photo of her dish while Shuang quenches her thirst.

We all really enjoyed our meal and the place was really nice.  We had our own little private section because most of the people were seated on the other side.  They didn't know what to make of us when we tried to take photos of the inside of the restaurant. I think they thought we were nuts so we stopped taking photos so we wouldn't get them in any of them.

PAESE is starting a contest for you to EAT. SHARE .WIN on Social Media that you can enter starting August 15 and it ends on September 1st, 2016.

SHARE a photo of your Favourite PAESE meal on INSTAGRAM using the Hashtag #PaeseXO and don't forget to follow @paeseristorante on Instagram to see what everyone is eating.

A winner will be chosen on September 1st to WIN a Dinner for TWO at PAESE Italian Ristorante

If you go to Paese for the first time make sure you tell them that you read about it on my Blog.  I am sure they will take really good care of you.

Get away from the crazy downtown lineups and parking tickets and eat in North York where you can enjoy a relaxing meal and hopefully get a spot in their parking lot for free.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Kultura brings the Philipines to TO

For the second year in a row I attended the Kultura Filipino Arts Festival on Sunday August 7, 2016 at Nathan Phillips Square in downtown Toronto.  

It is in it's 11th year though and has grown from a small BBQ in Kensington Market.

This year it moved from Yonge and Dundas Square to more space at Nathan Phillips Square.  It’s a festival of Filipino foods, arts, crafts and music with a marketplace of local vendors.

There are a lot of stereotypes about Filipino food and the Filipino community, I know because I have heard them from a few people.  I have been to a couple of Filipino restaurants for Blogger dinners and both were very different experiences.  One was traditional and one was modern. Both were incredibly hospitable and the food was very distinct.

Although there was a lot more room I think there were a few less food vendors.  It was a very hot day with a high UV sun rate and I was wearing black so I only sampled the 4 dishes that were up for an award in the Chef Challenge because I was too hot to stay longer.  They are all $3 dishes that each vendor creates to make an affordable bite of food for the attendees.  With a passport you receive when you purchase food tickets you are then able to choose which Chefs dish you preferred.

The list of participating vendors and their dishes were:

KANTO by Tita Flips (Reigning Champ): Cabcab (Cassava Wafers) (bottom left)
LAMESA Filipino Kitchen: Pork Neck Inasal (top left)
MERIENDA: Pandesal with Ube Cream Glaze and Coconut Jam (bottom right)
TITO RON’S: Filipino Spaghetti Hotdog (top right)

I had to wait a really long time for the Cabcab because they couldn’t get their fryer to work but in the end that was my favourite bite.  The flavours were great and worked very well together.

There are a lot more Filipino restaurants in the city but the participants were some of the most popular and well known around the Filipino community and experienced in the street festival world too.  One of the longest lines was at Kanto for the popular rice, egg and meat dish.  I guess the only full meal available but they had a hard time keeping up with orders.  They also make the tasty Turon which is plantain wrapped in wonton wrappers and fried and coated in a caramel sauce. I have had these before and they are really yummy.

 It's over for this year but I hope it returns with more vendors next year and you have a chance to try the food but you don't have to wait a whole year because Lamesa has a restaurant on Queen Street West, Tito Ron's has a spot in Kensington Market, Marienda is located in the quickly growing Filipino community at Bathurst and Wilson and Kanto is located on Dundas St. West.

I'm sorry I can't write about the rest of the vendors and the entertainment at the festival.  I was pretty focused on the thing I know best....the Food.

If you haven't tried Filipino food then take the opportunity to go out to one of these restaurants and sample a few things and decide for yourself what Filipino food is.

UPDATE:   LAMESA wins the Street Food Chef Challenge with their Pork Neck Inasal and they also win a trip to the Phillipines.  Congratulations Lamesa team.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

You better Verk at Verkspace


Last week I went downtown to check out Verkspace, is a newly opened shared work space concept that as been carefully designed to have form and function.  The name Verkspace is Icelandic for labout and this space was designed with Scandanavian influenced design.  It is meant to be clean like office space but comfortable like a home space.  Only having been open for a short time this building is still in development for future uses in the different areas in the building.  They are planning on developing an space for food demos and events in the upper floor area.  There will also be more private office spaces along with the communal spaces.  An area with no windows meant to be used for designers and techies that need to just focus on their computer screens with little distractions.  This space is meant to be used for people that are start up entrepreneurs and people that travel a lot and don't need permanent office space.

The basic membership is $95/month and includes 2hr/month boardroom booking.

Membership Perks:
  • Downtown address
  • Package Receiving
  • High Speed Internet
  • Printing
  • Cleaning Service
  • Neigbourhood Perks
  • Boardrooms + Lounges
  • Community Managers & Reception
  • Coffee & Beverage Service
Hot Desk - $250-$275/month
Dedicated Desk - $500-$575/month
2 Person Office - $1,500-$1750/month
3-4 Person Office - $2,200-$2500/month
4-6 Person Office - $3200-$3500/month

The advantage of using a service/space like this is that you don't have to invest in all of the office furniture and the investment of starting up an office and all of the logistics and you can customize to get what you need as you grow your business.  It makes your company look larger than it is because you don't have to pay for the whole space on your own so you can get a large space with out paying the huge overhead of it.  You will also get to meet other entrepreneurs that you could partner with or trade services with.  If you have a big meeting but have just started up and are still working out of your home this could give you an instant office where you could have meetings or do collaborative work if you don't have the space or the location that is convenient to meet up.  Unlike a coffee shop you won't have the distractions and you can have the privacy you may need to discuss confidential information and not worrying about the guy next to you having a coffee hearing your whole conversation.

I have seen other shared work spaces but this is the nicest and cleanest place with the most flexibility of any of the other spaces that I have seen.   During a short contract I worked at an organization that helped young start ups get help and I can tell you that they have enough work to do without dealing with office space.  This really makes it easy to get work done in a professional and comfortable environment.  I highly recommend checking it out and see if it might be useful to your business needs.

Website: www.verkspace.ca
Instagram: @verk.space
Twitter: @join_verkspace
Facebook: Verkspace
Hashtag: #VerkBetter

Verkspace location:
32 Britain Street, Suite 200. 
Toronto, ON M5A 

T. 416-286-5749

I will be trying out this space soon and will do another post about my experience then.