Last week Square One hosted media and influencers for a preview of their upcoming Food District, opening to the public on April 1st. The ultimate influencer, the Food God, Jonathan Cheban was on hand to experience all of the deliciousness.
Guests sampled appetizing eats, coffee, juice and beer from some of the merchants and restaurants that will be part of The Food District. Take a look below and prepare to get hungry.
It was a night to remember as the Grand Rotunda was transformed into beautiful Italian landscape to welcome guests into this year’s La Dolce Vita event. The second annual fundraising gala was held in support of the Oakville Hospital Foundation and The Trillium Health Partners and raised a record-breaking $90,000! The evening featured a pizza cook-off, shopping for a cause, and of course, some Italian antipasto.
Over 1500 community members, influencers and celebrity guests came to Square One Shopping Centre to experience a large variety of food stations, cocktails, and espresso. The vendors included the cutest gelato bar truck, and guests could indulge in a charcuterie spread as people on stilts paraded around the venue in Venetian masks.
The event featured special culinary host Bobby Flay, who personally judged the pizza making contest between two representatives from the foundation. Flay was pictured trying different vendors and commenting on how to make the perfect pizza to event emcee and Top Chef Canada judge Janet Zuccarini.
The mall was transformed into a beautiful Italian-inspired piazza with fountains, bite-sized decadent Italian pasta, and even Italian treats do try. Guests were transported into a sweet night for a good cause and the evening did not disappoint!
Thank you to everyone who supported La Dolce Vita we can’t wait to see what happens next!
Want to see a preview of the night? Check out this highlight reel here.
On Wednesday, August 23rd, we hosted our annual Festival Countdown to officially kick-off Film Festival season and #NKPRIT18, brought to you by Hounds Vodka and Lise Watier.
The night was filled with glamour and sophistication, withSwarovskicrystals dazzling from the trees, fun activations that captured moments of the night and a plethora of refreshments and sweets (of course).
Upon entrance, a stunning Lise Watier tree was styled with twinkle lights, hanging crystals (hello, Swarovski!) and white roses as the backdrop for guests’ shared photo booth moments. Designed by the talented Caspar Haydar Design, the entire event was completely stunning and the perfect atmosphere!
As guests mingled, Pusateri’sserved delicious hors-d’oeuvres throughout the night along with a full charcuterie spread with Joselitolive ham slicing and a fresh mozzarella pulling station. There was something delicious for everyone and even a delicious sweets table that featured an #NKAllBlackEverything cake provided by Cakes by Mickey!
The cocktails for the evening were provided by Hounds Vodka, serving up signature and speciality drinks with their charcoal-infused black vodka, including “Ziggy Bardust” and “Hounds On The Rock”. The “To The Moon and Black” cocktail was definitely a crowd favourite, made with fresh lime juice, creme de cassis and simple syrup, and served with blackberries! The bar was also stocked withAce Hill Beer and various refreshing flavours of Flow Water.
For all that sparkles, guests could visit the Lise Watier makeup playground to get their makeup touched up with the best and newest products. Guests could also take home a personalized Lise Watier makeup compact embossed with Swarovski crystal lettering (Yes, please)!
The surprise musical guest was Toronto star Fefe Dobson, who put on an incredible set of her new songs to celebrate #NKPRIT18. She performed mid-party with her all-girl band with singles like “Get You Off” and “Love” perfectly combining the theme of film and music.
Near the end of the evening, breakfast was served with Tim Hortons, with their Breakfast Anytime items! Who doesn’t love a breakfast sandwich at 10 PM? These late-night snacks gave guests one last chance to fuel-up and continue the festivities well into the night!
SHAYNE STEPHENS, SANGITA PATEL, CHRISTI HIMMELHEBER, AND GREGO MINOT
Thank you to everyone who celebrated the start of the film festival season with us!
On September 15thGusto 54 Catering joined forces with Toronto-based artist and performer JessGo (Jess Gorlicky) to bring together food and art through a live art spectacle outside of Gusto 101. Gusto 54 Catering served bites of its Southern Italian inspired menu to the community, while JessGo created two canvasses inspired by food. The King West community was pleasantly surprised as they walked by Gusto 101 to hear live music, were offered delicious food and invited to join in on the fun. Guests were also encouraged to take pictures, share their experience on social and watch the live art spectacle. Not only were the festivities a hit, but Gusto 54 will now be auctioning off the pieces of art in support of #AmatricianaTOto help raise funds for the Italy earthquake relief efforts.
Needless to say, the food was a hit and the art turned out beautiful! Scroll down for behind the scenes images and a video from the event:
Last week we celebrated the grand opening of Ovest Cucina e Vineria; Toronto’s cantina-inspired Italian kitchen and wine bar. Located at 788 King St W, Ovest is a brand new concept in Italian dining and entertaining.
With an innovative space, Ovest offers an in-house pizza oven, local salumeria, and walk-in vineria. Their menu is updated seasonally and features a combination of fresh regional Canadian and authentic Italian offerings including produce, meat, and cheese, with a special focus on seafood.
Leading the kitchen is Chef Luca Stracquadanio (previously of La Bettola di Terroni and Terroni) who brings his unique Italian traditions mixed with French techniques creating dishes with unparalleled flavour and spectacular presentation.
Whether you want to grab a quick bite at the bar with a paired glass of wine or signature cocktail, or enjoy a relaxed sit-down dining experience, Ovest has it all – and let us tell you, it’s delicious!!
If there’s one good thing that comes from the cold, grey months of fall-winter, it’s the delicious comfort-foods filled with rich, hearty ingredients that bring us back to our childhoods with warm fireplaces and bustling dinner tables.
There’s no secret about it… pasta is absolutely an NKPR favourite. In honour of the Italian staple, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite recipes from a variety of restaurants around Toronto featuring different types of Barilla pasta.
Orecchiette with Sausage and Rapini – Recipe by Chef Saverio Macri
150g Barilla Orecchiette Pasta
Rapini – ½ a bunch
1 Whole Spicy Sausage
50g Fontina Cheese
2 cloves Garlic
Extra Virgin olive oil to taste
Parmesan & Fontina Cheese
– Put pasta in boiling water for 10-12 minutes and the rapini for 5-7 minutes (until fork tender)
– In the meantime, get a pan and add olive oil and brown some sausage. – Next, throw in the garlic and let brown together. – Toss in the cooked Orecchiette and rapini, and finish it with parmesan and fontina cheese. Serves 2
Did you know? “Orecchiette” means little ears in Italian – and that’s because the pasta is shaped like little ears.
Federico Fellini Farfalle alla Bolognese – Recipe by Chef Eron Novalski
500 g Barilla Farfalle Pasta
2.5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1.5 tbsp butter
1/2 carrot, finely, diced
1/2 medium onion, diced
1/2 rib celery, finely diced
1/2 pound veal, ground
1/2 pound fresh pork sausage
1/4 pound pancetta or slab bacon, ground
1/2 tube tomato paste
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup dry white wine
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Parmigiano-Reggiano, for grating
– In a 6 to 8-quart, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, carrots and sweat over medium heat until the vegetables are translucent and soft but not browned, about 10 to 15 minutes. – Add the veal, pork, and pancetta and stir into the vegetables. – Add the meat over high heat, stirring to keep the meat from sticking together until browned.
– Add the tomato paste, milk, and wine and simmer over medium-low heat for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. – Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and remove from the heat. – When ready to use, the cooked Barilla Farfalle pasta should be added to a saucepan with the appropriate amount of hot ragu Bolognese, and tossed so that the pasta is evenly coated by the ragu.
Rigatoni “Alla Carbonara” – Recipe by Chef Giacomo Pasquini
1lb Rigatoni Barilla Pasta
2 egg yolks
1 whole egg
1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup guanciale (pancetta) cut in lardons
Pregiato Black Truffle
– Cook the Guanciale in a fry pan with the oil until crispy and set aside
– Mix the egg, yolks, pecorino and the black pepper together in a bowl and set aside
– Cook the pasta. When it is nice and al “dente” drain it and pour it in the fry pan with the crispy guanciale. – Turn the heat on, add some pasta water and leave it a bit moist than usual. Turn heat off. Add the eggs and cheese mix, sauté off heat until nice and smooth. – Add extra black pepper and truffle Serves 6 – 8
**NKPR Tip: We recommend our favourite Zwilling cookwares to prepare this dish. Pasta cooks beautifully in the Zwilling Prime pots while offering guests parmesan cheese in these ramekins.
Cut Ziti with Arugula Pesto *Vegetarian – Recipe by Chef Paolo Marabello,
400 g Cut Ziti Barilla Pasta
1 cup Basil leaves
2 cup Arugula salad
1/2 cup Pinenuts
1 Garlic clove
1/2 cup of Pecorino Chese
1/3 cup of Parmesan
1 cup cherry tomatoes – cut in half
1/2 cup of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
– Put basil, arugula, garlic, pinenuts, pecorino cheese and extra virgin olive oil in the mixer and blend well for a one minute.
Meanwhile: – cook the pasta until al dente – Sauté cherry tomatoes with a little olive oil – Drain Pasta, but keep 2 spoonfuls of cooking water. – Mix the pasta with cherry tomatoes and pesto sauce. Add the 2 spoonfuls of cooking water. – Serve with shaved parmesan cheese and buon appetite! Serves 4 people
Last week we had an amazing opportunity to discover Montecito, a new restaurant partnership between Hollywood director Ivan Reitman, world-renowned New York chef Jonathan Waxman, and local restauranteurs Tom and Jordan Bitove from Innov8 Hospitality.
Located in the heart of Toronto’s Entertainment District and just steps away from film festival headquarters, Montecito’s decor (inspired by Reitman’s expert eye) combines a casual elegance with effortless sophistication. The menu, which changes daily, marries the simplicity of California cuisine (that Waxman pioneered) with ingredients that pay homage to the best of Canada coast-to-coast.
Montecito welcomed 50 of Toronto’s top foodies to sample a specially curated menu with some of the best signature dishes served family-style from Jonathan Waxman and exec chef Matt Robertson.
From cocktails to homemade pizza, see our favourite moments from the night here.
Summer is the perfect time of year for fresh ingredients and delicious outdoor eats… And what better way to spend a beautiful, sunny day than out for a picnic with your favourite home-made sandwich?!
We’ve been inspired by ZWILLING incredible Panini/Sandwich Knife that easily slices through crusty breads and deli items and has a wide blade for easy spreading of condiments – definitely a summer must-have!
If you have questions in the kitchen (which most of us do!), ZWILLING.ca is a fantastic resource for all your cooking needs offering incredible how to’s and easy-to-follow tutorials. The Knife Tutorial is definitely worth checking out – it breaks down each individual knife from the ZWILLING Pro Collection and explains why each one is sized differently and how their unique shape is dependent on each knife’s purpose.
So before you hit the grill, click here for lots of helpful tips!
**Tweet us at @NatashaNKPR and tell us YOUR favourite summer sandwich using #cookwithzwilling for your chance to WIN your very own Zwilling Panini/Sandwich Knife ($150 value)!
Take a look at some of NKPR’s favourite summer sandiwches…
Bunmi: BLT with avocado
Meg: Grilled Cheese
Denise: Wichcraft (minus the eggplant and courgette)
Tory: Walnuts, prosciutto, pear and blue cheese on a baguette
Jasmin: Nutella, peanut butter, jelly and banana on rye bread
Nicole: Anything peanut butter
Kristin: Caprese sandwich with buffalo mozzarella and tomatoes
Ashton: Grilled cheese with tomato and bacon
Ania: Rye bread with avocado, tomato and jalapeno havarti
Andre: Chicken Panini – kaiser with grilled chicken, avocado, olive oil and sauteed bell peppers
We’ll admit it. The NKPR team loves a great party. Needless to say, when we heard Montreal hotspot Buonanotte was expanding to Toronto, we were just a little bit excited to check out the new venue. The original Buona is known for its nightlife, celebrity spottings and most importantly, its delicious food! And after attending Tuesday’s Buonanotte launch on 19 Mercer, we can confirm this Toronto outpost will bring that same Montreal flair to the city, with a few Toronto-inspired menu items, of course!
Check out our Top 5 highlights from the Buonanotte Toronto opening:
1) The Crowd Toronto photographer extraordinaire and editor of The C Daily, Ryan Emberley, tweeted that the Buonanotte Toronto launch felt like the first day of school. And we couldn’t agree more! Amid a snowy and cold January, we were thrilled to get out and see everyone for the first time after the holidays.
2) The Porchetta Okay so we’ll be honest… not many of us have ever seen a full roasted pig before. And while it was maybe a bit alarming at first, the moment we tried Chef Davide Iannaci’s flavourful porchetta on a neapolitan pizza crust, we were sold on the presentation.
3) The Other Food Those that know us, know that we are an office of food-lovers! Buona showed off their true restaurant chops on Tuesday with food stations complete with risotto, gnocchi, charcuterie, pizza, cheese, olives and passed hors d’oeuvres.
4) The Vibe Buonanotte Montreal is known for its nightlife and we can tell Toronto will also be a fun fusion of music, good food and friends!
5) The Team We had a great night working at the Buonanotte Toronto launch and celebrating the opening of this fabulous new spot. We’ll be back soon!