November is here which means we’re hitting the eighth month of pandemic closures, lockdowns and life looking remarkably different for each and every one of us. If you’re having a hard time keeping things in check, and reality is looking more like a Michael Bay movie than your regular routine, then trust us, we feel that. And while our crystal ball is in the repair shop, we do know one thing, we’re glad to be on this side of the border.

Here’s the latest scoop for what’s happening in the Toronto food scene.

Let’s face it, if you have four-wheels, you’re likely getting out of dodge this weekend. Just a little east is the lovely hamlet of Ajax, home to a drive-thru POUTINE FEST, happening this weekend, from November 7th-8th at Ajax Fairgrounds. And if you missed out on the carnival feels for 2020, Tiny Tom Donuts will also be on standby.

poutine

The Marquee from Cabana is still the city’s most glammed up patio, with ample heaters at their lake-side restaurant-retreat. Thursday offers half-price wine by the bottle and a full brunch menu makes for a Sunday statement reminding you, yes, it really is the weekend.

Our friends at Ufficio have your plant-based picks for this weekend. Give  jencoburn@gmail.com or place an order on @tockhq to place your super-safe and sanitary curbside pickup for their plant based spaghetti with ‘calamari’ or wild mushroom lasagna.

lena chef kits

Meal kits can move over, Chefs Kits are the evolution of just that, backed by your favourite chefs and restauranteurs around the city. Our friends at Oliver & Bonacini have countless curated experiences from some of the city’s best chefs, from everywhere like Canoe and Auburge du Pommier, but we’re still obsessing over the lovely heat-and-eat meals from Leña

Noble House, from Dustin Gallagher and Flo Leung, is a kitchen-studio-dining room-workshop that just opened, wisely, the concept is evolving for Covid times. They’re currently offering family-style takeout kits, including this week’s Bo Ssäm Party, with slow-roasted pork and super soft steamed buns.

Azhar Kitchen and Bar from Janet Zuccarini’s Gusto 54 Restuarant Group and Executive Chef Stuart Cameron will launch soon on Ossington, offering Middle-Eastern eats and no doubt a killer wine list too. Look for this restaurant to open this winter.

Matty Patty’s is now open at 923 Queen St. West, directly across from Trinity Bellwoods Park. Known as the Parkdale burger baron at his old space Parts & Labour, it will be Matty who brings all the boys to the yard with his insane smash burgers, decked out in all the greasy goodness with a distinct Hawaiian influence. Pre-order your grinds, each combo comes is $20, and sell out daily.

kinka izakaya

Tokyo Sando & Chicken and JapaSando & Co are the latest concepts from the Kinka Family. Known for their boisterous izakaya concepts dotted around the city (and now, world), the brand is bringing quality eats to your doorstep via delivery apps. I hope the driver yells at you, there are some things that just wouldn’t be the same.

Luisa’s Burritos & Bowls and Revival Pizza are a new concept from the former owner of DavidsTea, and current Mad Radish frontman, David Segal. David onboarded these two new brands using Mad Radish locations as the hub for a gourmet fast-food experience, that is totally contact-less of course.

Beauty BBQ, is now Beauty Eats. Located at Bayview Village, the BBQ menu got a sidestep to Detroit-style pizzas, fried chicken and other things I want to eat right now. Look for Beauty Eats in the parking lot by Parcheggio.

And in other BV gossip, looks like Libretto has inked a partnership for pies using the O&B Cafe wood-burning oven. Stay tuned for more fired up pizza gossip next month.

Kibo Secret Garden has opened in Yorkville. Part of the Kibo Sushi House family, with almost 23+ locations in Canada, the concept crushed it since January, taking the highest grossing sushi sales on Uber Eats across North America. Whoa! The new omakase experience is an evening of splendor and refinement, it’s our new top spot for sushi, and you can see why we won’t shut up about it.

And finally something we can all agree upon has moved in at Yonge and Eglinton. Stock TC, the stunning concept that brings butchery from Cumbraes, sweets and treats from Sud Forno and classic rustic Italian eats from Terroni has opened. The full spread service including a wine shop is a perfect addition to the neighbourhood, it’s the unofficial Eataly North.

nuit regular

Hot news again hits Yonge and Eglinton with the word that PAI is set to open later this year. Chef Nuit Regular is blessing this block with her flavour of regional Thai dishes that literally put Thai food in Toronto on the map. The 12,000 sq ft space will feature two storeys and a stage for live music, eventually. Takeout game will be strong too, with a dedicated door just for deliveries. SWOON! We spoke to Chef Nuit Regular before this whole pandemic happened, stay tuned for that interview for #AuburnLaneLadiesFirst soon.

lynn crawford- ruby watchco

Ruby Watchco has run its course on Queen Street East after 10 years. Long now a celeb-chef, Lynn Crawford is not going anywhere anytime soon.

And it’s lights out for the great one. Wayne Gretzky’s has officially made way to make room for, wait for it, more condos.

Bar Buca, lead photo, at Yonge and Eg closed after just over a year on the south side of Eglinton. Heartbroken, the community somehow manages to soldier on.

Jamie’s Italian has closed its doors in Canada. The brit-fronted Italian eatery saw major declines before the COVID forced closures, and with pandemic lockdowns, it was the final nail in the coffin for this brand.

Some people are upset that Pickle Barrel closed at Yonge and Dundas. Others thought it happened decades ago.

Got a hot food tip? Hit us up! food@auburnlane.com