Couillard on the move again
Unceremoniously dumped by Queen West hot boîte Habitat in September, peripatetic epicure Greg Couillard has just announced plans for his, oh, 653rd resto. But who's counting? The new supper club, to be known as Mocca , takes over the John Street Victorian next door to Club Lucky and conveniently around the corner from Avalon and across the street from Hooters. (Who says location isn't everything?) Named for the Yemen spice-route city known for its fine coffees (and not an acronym for the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art), Couillard and kitchen colleague David Ng'Ang'a promise a mid-December opening and a card featuring their patented "sexed-up" Asian Afro-French cuisine. Just don't expect his signature dishes.
"I certainly won't be doing Jump Up Soup," says Couillard, who's been doing special dinners at the Swan in the interim. "The menu's all new, nothing from the past, and I'm excited again for the first time in quite a while. Lord knows I've been treading water in this town for years."
Prague falls and rises again
One of the last outposts of old Queen West has kicked the bucket. After a 37-year run, Prague Deli is toast. But devotees of its authentic Mitteleuropean schnitzels and goulash will be heartened to learn that Prague lives on under a new guise - Prague Fine Food Emporium , no less. Although the re-branding hasn't affected its Old World comfort food or its billfold-friendly prices, it has transformed the former storefront decked out in red-and-white-checked gingham and lacquered rec-room panelling into a stylish gourmet food shop complete with tables and stripey banquettes.
Chrystian soldiers on
Not one to rest on his laurels since leaving the Drake, charismatic chef David Chrystian has formed the Centre for Wine and Food Experimentation , a consultation group aimed at Niagara-area wineries interested in raising their culinary profile. On Tuesday (November 22), Chrystian hosts a casual Ontario varietal-wine-pairing and tasting menu event at Oyster Boy (872 Queen West, at Massey, 416-534-3432). As you can imagine, the evening begins with raw Malpeque canapés coupled with a local sparkling rosé, continues through five tapas-style courses and concludes with chocolate panna cotta with mojito-infused granita coupled with Cabernet Franc ice wine. Tickets are $110. To reserve, contact the restaurant or Chrystian directly at email@example.com.
To mark the 30th anniversary of her celebrated bakery, downtown dessert diva Dufflet Rosenberg has reduced the prices on a selection of her remarkable cakes - including her acclaimed carrot cake, New York-style cherry cheesecake and legendary Mocha Cube, a flourless chocolate torte layered with coffee-flavoured butter-cream - to an anniversary $19.75. As well, she's also donating a portion of November's takings to Moorelands Camp , a group that works with inner city kids. Dufflet will be cutting birthday cake at her original Dufflet's outlet (787 Queen West, at Manning, 416-504-2870) on Saturday (November 18) from noon till 2 pm and next Saturday at her uptown location (2638 Yonge, at Craighurst, 416-484-9080, same hours).