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FREE-1

Last week we attended the official launch of “The Creator Class”, a channel dedicated for those who share their passions for a living. It’s a new breed of creatives in Music, Style, Adventure, Arts and Culture that have become the voices of our generation.

The night was produced by FREE – a next generation content studio built for Creators, by Creators – in partnership with Canon. They featured the art of Camille Jodoin-Eng, the music of Dead Horse Beats, and the food of FeasTO. Everyone who attended also got the chance to get their hands on the brand new Canon 7D Mark II.

Some of the notable attendees included: Visionelie, Sean Brown, Jayscale, Jackie Beale, and many more.

With so much talent in the city, and around the world, a project like this only makes sense!

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For more info, visit thecreatorclass.com

Congrats Chris & the entire team!

Follow @1LOVETO #thecreatorclass

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As Amex Ambassadors and Platinum Cardmembers, we decided to take full advantage of the benefits of the card, which includes the exclusive American Express ‘Taste from Platinum’ Program.

We didn’t know what to expect, so we called the Platinum Concierge at 1-866-323-6979 to learn more about the participating restaurants in the Platinum Dining Program. The Concierge informed us that Amex holds a reservation at hundreds of the most acclaimed restaurants here in Canada, US and abroad. After letting the Concierge know that we wanted a reservation in Toronto, they named off some participating spots including; Weslodge, North 44, The Chase, Colette and Splendido. As soon as we heard ‘Splendido’, we asked for help securing a last minute table reservation with all the special ‘Platinum’ perks. The Concierge is also on hand to review menus and wine lists, and offer advice on house specialties; provide travel directions to your restaurant of choice; and make special arrangements such as accommodating a group or making sure flowers are waiting at your table.

We’ve driven by Splendido countless time’s, always making a mental note as a place we’d like to try. After tasting their incredible oysters at this year’s first annual Taste of Toronto Festival, we knew we’d enjoy this restaurant. What we didn’t know was that we were in for a unique dining experience full of fancy perks. The Concierge made sure we got the best seat in the house, complimentary champagne, one of a kind appetizers and even a small take home desert item.

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Our night started off with a warm welcome and a chilled glass of complimentary champagne at the bar, accompanied by a delicious appetizer. We felt like VIPs right from the start!

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We finished our drink and appetizer and made our way to the dining room, with the help of our server Aldy. (Side Note: Aldy is hands down the best server… ever!) After reviewing the menu options customized by the chef, we decided to go with Splendido’s 5-course meal, including: Caviar and ice-cream, lobster, oysters, sashimi, house-made bread and butter, carrots, steak, salad and more.

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Everything Splendido offered as part of the Amex ‘Taste from Platinum’ Program surpassed our expectations. From atmosphere, staff, cocktails and of course the food, we recommend Splendido for your next special occasion. Tell them that we sent you ;)

Check out the full list of participating restaurants at americanexpress.ca/platinum

FYI: The Platinum Card is not limited to just dining, Cardmembers can take advantage of everything from exceptional travel perks from over hundreds of fine hotels & resorts, airport private lounge access, exclusive entertainment offers, and of course the impeccable Concierge service.

To learn more about the American Express Platinum Card, please CLICK HERE.

Follow @1LOVETO @AmexCanada #DineWithAmex #PlatinumDining

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We hope you got the chance to enjoy the inaugural 4-day Taste of Toronto festival, sponsored by American Express Canada! From Thursday July 24 to Sunday July 27th, Fort York was transformed into a foodie heaven, with specialty menus from some of Toronto’s best restaurants, top local chefs, Q&As, interactive cooking classes, tasting sessions, and more.

If you’re an Amex Cardmember there’s a good chance you got to experience a few of the perks that Taste of Toronto had to offer. For example, with a flash of our Amex Card we were escorted past the main line up to the VIP priority entrance. The time we saved by not waiting in line allowed us to start taste testing before anyone else!

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After checking out a few of our favourite spots like Momofuku, Shocka Coconut Hub, Barque Smokehouse, and Splendido, we decided to take a break at the exclusive Amex VIP Lounge. The lounge offered comfortable seating under a giant tent (which provided some much needed shade on Saturday) with a variety of snacks and complimentary water for each guest.

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After a quick recharge in the Amex Lounge we made our way to our reserved seats (courtesy of Amex) at the Taste Theatre, to watch Christina Tosi, chef and owner of Toronto’s Momofuku Milk Bar. Let’s just say we learned a thing or two about cooking, lol.

If you like attending events such as Taste of Toronto, Amex Cardmembers get access to presale tickets, plus exclusive VIP perks that help to make an unforgettable experience. As proud Amex Ambassadors, we can tell you firsthand how exciting it is to get the VIP experience at every event!
We can’t wait for next year!

Tweet us your favourite photos from the festival using @1LOVETO @Amexcanada @TasteOfToronto #DinewithAmex #TasteofToronto

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In a city as big as Toronto we sometimes get stuck in our comfort zone and forget to explore what the rest of the city has to offer. A recent study commissioned by American Express, reveals more than half (53%) of Canadians feel stuck in their comfort zone, and almost everyone (98% of respondents) believe exploring our home towns or cities helps us live a more enriched life.

Toronto is filled with so much potential, not only the people, but the places. At 1 LOVE T.O. we constantly get the chance to explore and be #InspiredBy the different places throughout our city.

We’ve selected 5 of our ‘potentials places’ that highlight areas in the city where we get inspired through healthy living, fashion and style, music, reading and food/cooking.

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1. Healthy Living: When it comes to clearing our minds and taking a break from the daily grind, while staying healthy and active, we head over to High Park to hike the trails. You can’t help but be inspired when you’re surrounded by mother nature.

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2. Fashion: If you’re anything like us, we love to people watch! On any given day you can pull up a chair, or find a spot on the giant rock in Yorkville Park and you’ll see all different types of style. Summertime is the best time to get inspired by this place.

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3. Music: There’s something special about watching a concert outdoors! We’ve always been inspired by live music at the Molson Amphitheatre, especially in recent years with the now iconic OVO Fest. Seeing artists from Toronto like Drake, Kardinal and The Weeknd share the same stage as Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, Eminem, TLC, Stevie Wonder, (the list goes) is nothing but inspirational.

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4. Reading: Believe it or not, we love to read on the Subway and/or Streetcar. Passing the time on your daily commute gets a whole lot better when you’re reading an incredible book.

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5. Food: Shopping for food is almost as much fun as eating! Wandering around St. Lawrence Market has always been something we enjoy. Seeing the different types of food, people and the history of that building is all inspiring to us.

We want you to help us ‘realize the potential’ of Toronto by telling us your favourite places and hidden gems that provide you with inspiration?! Tweet your suggestions to @1LOVETO & @AmexCanada using the hash-tag #InspiredBy or leave a comment below.

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Summer is in full swing and we’re back with one of our biggest SUMMER SALES events to date! Join us this weekend, Friday-Sunday at The Distillery District as part of Bacardi’s Festival Libre. Our pop up shop will be featured in this three-day cultural experience, celebrating rum culture in Toronto’s largest licensed outdoor patio! There will be everything from live music, food, cocktails, art, fashion, and of course more rum than you can drink.

Tees and Tanks are on sale for $20 this weekend, or 2 for $35! Make sure you check out the map below to see where all the action is taking place!

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For more info: festivallibre.ca

Follow @1LOVETO #FestivalLibre

Digest Digest

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Digest Digest is a day of making, tasting, and good conversation celebrating the past, present and future of food. Programmed as a series of talks, interviews, workshops, and tastings, culminating in a dinner infused with narrative and theatre – Digest Digest examines the ways we create, consume and interpret food.

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The next instalment will be held on Thursday, June 26th at The Theatre Centre (1115 Queen St West) with the following schedule:

2-4pm: Raw Food & Bev Lab Workshop
4-6pm: Future of Food Speaker Series with Ken Waagner, Rob Bolton, and Scott Friedmann
6-9pm: The Centre for Genomic Gastronomy Performance
10pm: DANCING! Natural Animal DJ Set

For more info & tickets visit: digest-digest.com

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Recently we got the chance to enjoy a unique tasting experience with the good folks from Dine Alone Foods. That’s right, Dine Alone Records founder Joel Carriere and Alexisonfire’s Jordan Hastings launched Dine Alone Foods with three all-natural sauces, including a classic Southern Blues BBQ sauce, a sweet smoky Northern Soul Chipotle BBQ sauce, and a spicy Rock N’ Roll hot sauce.

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The event took place at the Dog and Bear on Queen St West with food by Hogtown Smoke and Parts & Labour Catering. The highlight of the night was a three-tiered BBQ sauce fondue fountain ready for dipping! Our favourite sauce was definitely the Northern Soul Chipotle (it’s a must try).

If you’re looking to try something new, here’s where you can buy it in Toronto: dinealonefoods.com/where-to-buy

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Photos by Becca Lemire

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Taste Of Toronto

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Taste, the World’s Greatest Restaurant Festival is touching down in Toronto this summer from Thursday July 24th to Sunday July 27th. Toronto is the first North American city to host a Taste Festival validating the notion that TO is in fact, a Foodie’s paradise. If you want it, you can find it here, and the rest of the world is beginning to take notice.

The Taste of Toronto festival will feature food from establishments such as Richmond Station, JaBistro, El Caballito and Rose and Sons, just to name a few.

We were fortunate enough to attend the preview to see what the festival will offer this summer. Our taste buds were engaged by the spicy shrimp salad from KHAO SAN ROAD and we were especially satisfied by Ninutik and their Canadian inspired cheese and maple syrup pairing, appropriately titled “SASSeh!”.

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For more info: tasteoftoronto.com

Posted by Jesse Ingalls

Follow @1LOVETO #TasteOfToronto

Winterlicious 2014

It’s that magical time of year where the city is bursting with tantalizing fragrances that’ll whisk you away and wet your palate. Winterlicious 2014 is upon us!

For two weeks, starting January 31st to February 13th, over 200 restaurants city-wide will be participating in the Prix Fixe promotion for lunch and dinner menus. That means you could eat a delectable, three-course, gourmet dinner for just under $50.00 or lunch, for under $20.00.

The city produces Winterlicious and Summerlicious every year to highlight our colourful array of global cuisine prepared by some our finest chefs and restaurants. It also gives us a chance to experience different dishes and expand our tastes, without breaking the bank.

And we can’t forget the always popular Culinary Event Series which offers amazing cooking and dining experiences. Spice Route, Ciao Wine Bar, Rosewater, along with many other restaurants, will be providing interactive demonstrations and lessons on everything from Italian braising to creating a divine gnocchi. You’ll leave with a head full of knowledge and gut full of grub.

Restaurants are now accepting reservations and are quickly coming to capacity!

For ticket info CLICK HERE

Posted by Samira Zia Rehman

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The Beverley Hotel Toronto (Menu Tasting)

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We had the opportunity to check out the private menu tasting at The Beverley, Queen West’s newest boutique hotel, which celebrates its grand opening today. Inspired by the heart, soul and creative spirit of the vibrant Queen West neighbourhood, The Beverley boasts 18 modern and contemporary guest rooms, a rooftop patio with a great view of the downtown core, and an eclectic restaurant helmed by Chef Eric Wood, formerly of Hawthorne Food & Drink and Fabarnak.

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“It’s a space catered for young, urban professionals in the Queen West area. So we created a menu that reflects the lifestyle and culture of the neighbourhood and people,” explains Chef Wood of his menu- contemporary Canadian with a bit of international flair and a focus on local and seasonal produce. Highlights of the evening included his take on a deconstructed caprese salad featuring the 2013 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix winner (a local, delicious ricotta); a sweet and savory edamame; a beautiful and fresh crudo dish; and a clever “rags to riches” play on caviar.

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For more info: thebeverleyhotel.ca

Posted by Jenelle Antolin

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The Stop’s 2nd Annual Night Market

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It was a “feast for the eyes, heart, belly” when The Stop’s 2nd annual Night Market descended into Honest Ed’s alleyway for two nights on June 18 and 19. The event, which sold out within the first two hours of ticket sales, raised over $100,000 for the Stop Community Food Centre’s critical hunger and anti-poverty programs, and featured over 60 of Toronto’s best chefs and 35 stunning, one-of-a-kind food carts created by local designers. The Stop’s Night Market offered hoards of foodies a unique chance to experience the iconic space with the best of Toronto’s street food and local design.

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Form and function: Some of our favourite booth designs created by local designers and architects.

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The boys at 416 Snackbar served up some tasty Korean Fried Chicken.

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Chef Nick Liu with the Gwai Lo girls.

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Tori’s Bakeshop’s gluten free donuts in strawberry cream and vanilla bean – served in packages cleverly used as part of their booth design.

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Marben’s tequila-infused rainbow trout ceviche, served in an oyster shell.

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Mini red velvet cupcakes from Sullivan & Bleeker.

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Côte de Boeuf’s house-cured corn beef, homemade grainy mustard, aioli, marrow and pickled jalapeños on a baguette.

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Libations from Tequila Tromba.

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Takoyaki from The Stop.

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Paulette’s Garam Masala donuts.

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Lamb mechovi, smolina flatbread, radish pickles from Yours Truly.

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Generous offerings from Momofuku Shoto included a crab soup, cuttlefish salad, and a beef brisket.

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The Stockyard’s Pig in a Blanket- house-smoked andouille sausage, buttermilk biscuit batter and creole mustard.

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The Gabardine’s take on a classic Indian tikka dish, with a Canadian twist – Ontario pickerel tikka with puffed rice, tamarind chutney and coconut yogurt sauce.

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Hakka-style wontons with crispy onions and toasted Ontario nuts from Gwailo.

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We’re always amazed with the preparedness of pop-up-food-event veterans, but this hanging tray takes the cake!

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Among many of the pork dishes, the pulled pork taco from Universal Grill.

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Babi & Co’s padang-style pulled chicken curry on a fried Chinese bun, with cucumber and fried shallots.

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Top Chef Canada finalist and Richmond Station sous-chef Dennis Tay.

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Posted by Jenelle Antolin.

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SPiN Toronto’s Spring Menu

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Spring is in the air, and with the change in seasons, comes a transition from the hearty winter menus, to lighter, fresher fare. We hit up SPiN Toronto – King West’s ping pong social club – to check out their new spring menu launch, featuring local and seasonal ingredients, and a fresh take on classic cocktails. Toronto doesn’t have many places like SPiN – part bar and restaurant, part lounge, all ping pong – it’s definitely the perfect venue to catch up with friends over great food and drinks, while engaging an active but low-key activity like ping pong.

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SPiN’s menu features mostly sharing plates- amped up takes on the kind of low-key pub grub you’d expect to find at a place like this, while also incorporating some more unexpected gourmet fare. House favourite Chicken and Waffles platter ($16) is taken up a notch served with local honey and jalepenos, while the Can O’ Tuna ($12) is really a fresh Ahi tartare – a surprising find on a menu as relaxed as this. Garlic-and-buttery Cast Iron Prawns ($12) and colourful Fresh Veggie Chips ($8) provide healthier alternatives. Other favourites include the Sloppy Joe ($11) sliders, Hogtown Grilled Cheese ($11) sandwiches served with house-made ketchup, and 5 Step Fries Supreme ($9) – an elevated version of the Taco Bell staple, which features their house-made spray cheese. And who doesn’t love a good Cheese and Meats board ($18)? SPiN’s features market cheeses and house-cured meats.

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You can’t go wrong with their cocktails either. Served in mason jars, the Hurricane ($10.60) and Peach Pit ($12.40) are sweeter concoctions, and the 2oz Spring Negroni ($12.40) is bright and fresh with a splash of aperol and a sprig of lavender to lighten it up.

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And you can’t forget about the ping pong!

www.toronto.spingalactic.com | 461 King St. W., Toronto

Posted by Jenelle Antolin

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