VIVA TASTINGS FOODIE DESTINATION (409 College, at Lippincott, 416-506-0054) Complete meals for $15 per person, including all taxes, tip and a coffee. Average main $6. Open Tuesday to Saturday 8:30 am to 7 pm, Sunday 10 am to 5 pm. Closed Monday. Unlicensed. Access: short step at door, washrooms on same floor. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
Remember Kali's Crepes, that curb side al fresco creperie that set up shop on the sidewalk in Baldwin Village a couple of summers back?
Well, Kali's Amanda Bent and her mother, Karen Viva-Haynes, who operates a luxe catering company called Viva Tastings that has a stall in the north St. Lawrence Market Saturdays, have banded together to launch Viva Tastings Foodie Destination on College near Bathurst.
Crepes are still on the agenda - sweet strawberry, sour cream and brown sugar, savoury Gruyère with dill and black peppercorns (both $5.95) - but are now served in a swanky studio space that seems like it should be located uptown instead of on the same funky block as Sneaky Dee's, Mars and Aunties and Uncles.
While the inevitable high-end coffees are on offer as well as a few eat-in sandwiches like deliriously creamy basil pesto chicken pâté on Ace black olive loaf tied with coloured raffia ($3.50), most of the pair's wares are party food to go.
Accurately described by the chefs as "bite-sized portions of intensely flavoured food," these takeout items include nuke-able tubs of complexly textured soups like black bean with smoky chipotle and bitter cocoa, or velvety caramelized apple and squash with ginger ($6/500 ml). Serve them in shot glasses and impress the guests.
Hardly jumbo, both pork and apricot empanadas ($1.75) and marmalade duck turnovers ($2.50) make tasty finger food, while dips such as roasted garlic and almonds in sour-cream mayo and the vibrant house guac (both $5/6 ounces) create an instant spread with the help of a package of Viva-baked whole wheat peppered crostini ($4.50).