While I conjured images of the actual apocalypse greeting us in 2019, so far, we’re safe and sound(ish) in Toronto. January might be 31 days of blah to most, but don’t let the weather stop you from bucking those blahs and exploring the best and in some cases, quite literally the brightest the city has to offer. From outdoor light festivals, beer festivals, charitable eating and new restaurants, here’s your best bites for January 2019.

Cafe Boulud- Winterlicous

Reservations kick off tomorrow for Winterlicious. And while I have my reservations about this program (have you seen how long the list of participating restaurants is?!) but there are some gems for sure, check out our list here for our top Winterlicious restaurants.

Viktor Vicsek-Talking Heads-photo c/o Justine Apple

After the hullabaloo of the Christmas Market, all now packed up and cleared out until next year, the Distillery District can feel downright dark. Enter Toronto Lightfest, a FREE festival taking over the historic ‘hood for 45 days kicking off January 18th, running until March 3rd.
Open Kitchen is back, this time for a brunch session at sunny Dundas West Ufficio. Chef Suzanne Barr is tapped to lead this delicious two seating event, on January 20th. Teaming up with Chef Olivia Simpson, the co-founder of Ricky + Olivia Events, Suzanne is pledging her profits from ticket sales to her charity of choice, the Massey Centre, a non for profit children’s mental health initiative in East York. Tickets are only $40, and sales start on January 14th.
Our friends at TO Foodies have taken over at The Drake for a new chapter of 86’d, a monthly mash up of food competitions, this month, chefs will be pitted against each other to create a dish that creates the least amount of waste. Very timely! It’s totally free, but you should bring a non-perishable donation to support The Stop.
The first 500 people in the door at the upcoming The Roundhouse Winter Craft Beer Festival will snag a toque for their troubles, and plenty of heady options at this outdoor beer festival. Did I mention it was OUTDOORS? Prizes for best retro ski wear and more. Tickets start at $25 with limited tickets day of, January 26th.
Chefs for Change are back, proving do-gooding and eating-good can go hand in hand. The $175 per ticket may seem steep, but it includes a tax receipt for charity, so get off your alligator arms, it’s for a good cause. The chefs are the city’s finest, and there’s two dates to choose from, either January 23rd or 30th.
Multi-faceted Mark McEwan has been working on the newest McEwan’s, set to open this month at Yonge and Bloor. The 17,000 sq ft space is a bedazzling display of Mark’s finest- pizzas from Fabbrica, a signature cafe, sushi bar, dry ageing room, carving stations and probably some actual groceries too.
Mark McEwan

Mark McEwan

The 127 year old Gooderham House has been spruced up to serve as Maison Selby, a morning to late night cafe, bistro and hangout for the Bloor and Sherbourne pocket. As with any O&B project, we’re stoked to see this concept open, and will generally be stalking them until the official opening. In other words, stay tuned for more!
Flipside Donuts will be opening in the Distillery District in early spring. Offering Homer approved donuts is just the beginning, there’s also savoury donut options and plans for a liquor licence. Maybe Homer is behind this after all…
Soothing ourselves after the loss of Luckee is no small feat, but greatly improved with the promise of pizza. Pizzeria Moretti from Montreal will be moving into the SoHo Metropolitan Hotel, aiming for a May launch.
Buzzy Unboxed Market is nearing completion at Dundas and Dovercourt. The market will be offering goods for the greater good, with no bulky packaging or environmental detractors. BYOP or use their biodegradable and recyclable containers and save the planet while you’re at it.
Not much is known about the soon to open Adelina other than it’s a new Russian Restaurant & Bar, with modern influences on Russian cuisine. Yes, there will be vodka.
Previously of the Baldwin restaurant Kon-nichi-wa, co-owners and Chefs Kohei Matsuyama & Michiko Takahashi and partner Squid-Ti are set to unveil their Ossington project The Shozan Room. With decades experience between the trio, this new eatery ushering in “new wave Japanese,” where rules will be broken and they’ll be creating Japanese food that is unexpected and forward thinking.
Bombay Street Food Closing- After two and a half years on Bay Street, the Indian eatery closed it’s doors on December 19th. 🙁
The legendary Parts and Labour is joining it’s shuttered sibling The Anne Boylen and has closed it’s doors for good. Fear not, those craving the P&L Burger can snatch Matty Matheson’s new cookbook…he’s included it for you to DIY!
Got a food tip? Want a shout out for your new spot? Drop me a note- Libby@auburnlane.com