Agave y Aguacate owner/chef Francisco Alejandri shows off his flank steak salad.
After impressing the pants off Anthony Bourdain, Francisco Alejandri's shuttered Kensington Market food stall, Agave y Aguacate (35 Baldwin, at Henry, 647-748-6448), is set to resurface in the old Elle M'a Dit in Baldwin Village in late June. The two-storey space, with patio, comes with quite the culinary history. Back in the 80s it was home to colourful TV chef Gaston Schwalb's eponymous bistro.
Former Origin chef and Top Chef Canada contestant Steve Gonzalez has teamed up with the Unique Lifestyle group to turn their defunct Cheval party space into Valdez (606 King West, at Portland, 416-363-8388, valdezrestaurant.com, @ElValdezTo). Gonzalez says the Latin American-themed resto will have an emphasis on ceviche come its early June launch.
Seafood will also be the focus at the imminent Geraldine (1564 Queen West, at Sorauren, 647-352-8815, @GeraldineResto) in the old Cowbell, and at the Chase Fish & Oyster (10 Temperance, at Yonge, thechasetoronto.com, @thechaseto) in the financial district. Both are scheduled to open late June.
Soon to launch in the downtown core, the Drake Hotel's Drake 150 (150 York, at Adelaide West, drake150.ca) appears to be aimed at the artier end of the Bay Street crowd. The 175-seat resto and 70-seat patio will sport postmodern brasserie decor as well as a performance and DJ space once it opens in August.
Harbourfront returns for another season of multiculti culture events with significant food content. The Latin American Ritmo Y Color weekend will feature an empanada throwdown on July 6, while the pan-Asian Fortune Cooking fest hosts a ramen competition August 9. And the heavily attended Hot & Spicy Food Festival returns August 30 to September 2 with its annual Iron Chef smackdown on September 1. For more information: harbourfrontcentre.com, @HarbourfrontTO.
Hero takes the City
Over at beleaguered City Hall, our local Hero Burger (100 Queen West, at Bay, heroburger.ca, @HeroBurgers) chain has won the contract to run the spectacular new snack bar in the new skating pavilion on Nathan Phillips Square. We're surprised Mayor Ford didn't require it to have a drive-thru.
A buncha brunch
The extraordinarily debonair Micah Barnes and his trio kick off a month of Sunday brunches starting June 2 and running through June 23 at the recently launched Jazz Bistro (251 Victoria, at Dundas East, 416-363-5299, jazzbistro.ca). There's a $15 cover, and he takes requests.
The 19th edition of Toronto's Festival Of Beer takes place July 26 to 28 at the bandshell in Exhibition Place. Saturday, when the Spin Doctors perform, is already sold out. Tickets for Friday, with De la Soul, and Sunday, with Big Sugar, are still available online but going fast. For more information: beerfestival.ca, @TOBeerFestival.
Running from August 9 to 11, the Taste Of The Danforth street food fest celebrates its 20th birthday this summer. And though there'll likely be more souvlaki-on-a-stick than you can shake a souvlaki-on-a-stick at, you'll also discover a wide variety of global grub amongst the flaming saganaki and midway rides. For more information: tasteofthedanforth.com.