• [Food Post] Tsujiri Toronto

    Tsujiri Toronto's first North American outpost opened earlier this week near Bay and Dundas amid much fanfare. This is their first foray into a market outside Asia, but they are planning on expanding to other cities in North America in the future. I had the pleasure of getting a sneak peek of some of the products that Tsujiri Toronto has to offer a day before its soft opening, and got the chance to chat with one of the managers, Tylor Shek.

  • [Food Post] Nordstrom Eaton Centre Opening Gala featuring Daniel et Daniel

    The gala opening epitomizes what Nordstrom is all about - great customer service and consistency of the brand. Hence why they partnered with Daniel et Daniel to be the official caterer of the Nordstrom Opening Gala, as both companies share the same ideals and business ethics.

  • [Food Post] Waterloo Food Tour

    The Region of Waterloo is home to many regions that inspire start-ups (such as Thalmic Labs), housing, and of course many restaurants. The Region is developing and propelling a movement alike many urban areas, by bringing innovative ideas and talented people together, whilst keeping the scenic and spacious rural landscape. Andrew Coppolino of www.waterlooregioneats.com (@WatRegionEats on Twitter) gave us a tour on behalf of Waterloo Region Tourism, with 4 set destinations in mind for the day.

  • [Food Post] Ebisu on Queen / Ebisu Toronto

    Ebisu Japanese Restaurant originated from Vancouver, as its first location opened in December of 2006. There are two locations in Vancouver and one in Richmond, along with two restaurants under the Kamei names. The brand itself is very well-known in Vancouver, and they hope to expand it in Toronto with this new outpost.

  • [Food Post] Dave and Buster's Oakville Grand Opening

    However, over the last two decades, much has changed, including the demise of arcade and game centers due the emergence of mobile phones and Netflix. The health movement over the last six years has also made Dave and Buster's traditional burger and fries menu far less appealing than what it was. With that being said, they have changed their food menu, and the options are now more diverse. The menu is rather extensive with items like shareable appetizers, side salads, beef steaks and ribs, pasta, sandwiches, and so much more.

  • [Food Post] Morals Village Mississauga

    Morals Village is a hot pot restaurant chain with over 600 locations in China. They opened their first Canadian location in 2015, and has since grown at a relatively rapid pace. About 1.5 weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending the Morals Village Mississauga Grand Opening Event. The Mississauga location is their 5th Canadian location, and they have plans to open another in Ottawa. With that being said, Morals Village prides themselves in providing top-notch quality and Szechuan cuisine influenced flavour with their hot pot offering.

  • [Event] The Royal Dinner with Chef Michael Bonacini

    The Royal Winter Agricultural Fair is now open until November 13, 2016 at the Exhibition Place, Toronto. Start the holiday season early by attending one of the largest combined indoor agricultural fairs and international equestrian competitions in the world. The fair takes place every November in Toronto, and it is where guests can enjoy the best in agriculture, local food, and equestrian competitions from across the country. There are so many things to do, and see at this year's The Royal Winter Agricultural Fair.

  • [Food Post] CNE Media Preview 2016

    Every Sunday, Montecito offers a brunch buffet starting at 11 am to 3 pm. Brunch isn't new at Montecito, but they recently revamped their brunch buffet, and added several new items to the menu. The 12,000-square-foot Montecito opened up its doors late 2014, and is a partnership between Hollywood director Ivan Reitman and Chef Jonathan Waxman.

  • [Travel] Satsuki and Mei's House from Totoro

    My Neighbor Totoro is a 1988 animated production written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It's a childhood favorite of many people and I have seen many shops dedicated to selling Totoro merchandise while in Japan.

  • [Travel] Day #15 in Japan [Koyasan]

    A shukubo is an accommodation that allows you to stay in a Japanese temple or shrine for the night, and enables you to experience the culture. You are given your own personal room, and there are multiple washroom facilities throughout the temple.

Toronto's Festival of Beer 2017 (July 28-30)

One of the hottest beer festival is back! Toronto's Festival of Beer presented by the Beer Store will be taking place July 28 to July 30. Tickets for the much anticipated event are sold out for both Friday and Saturday. However, you can still purchase ticket for Sunday's event at https://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/1263171.

Toronto’s Festival of Beer:

Date: Friday, July 28 to Sunday, July 30
Hours: July 28 (4:30 pm - 11:00 pm , July 29 (1:30 pm- 8:00 pm), July 30 (1:30 pm - 8:00 pm)
Location: Bandshell Park - Exhibition Place at 100 Princes' Blvd, Toronto, ON M6K 3C3
Website: http://www.beerfestival.ca/


Get Social:

 Toronto's longest running summer beer event returns to Bandshell Park @ Exhibition Place, with a great roster of chefs, food purveyors, and of course ... BEER!!

This Year's Food Purveyors:

Campagnolo
Chimney Stax
Fidel Gastro’s
Heirloom Farm to Truck
Hot Bunzz Street Cuisine
Jack Links
Mangia & Bevi
Meltwich Food Co.
Ontario Corn Roasters
Oyster Boy
Queen Margherita Pizza
Smoke’s Poutinerie
South St. Burger Company
Ted's World Famous BBQ
The Pie Commission
Tiny Tom Donuts

See you there!

 


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Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria's Spring/Summer Menu

I had the pleasure of returning to Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria to check out their new Spring/Summer menu a couple of weeks ago. The menu features two new pizzas and the return of a seasonal favorite. We opted to return to the Bloor Street West location, which opened its doors in 2012 and has become a local spot in the Annex. Famosa is best known for its authentic Neapolitan style cuisine, which makes no apology for their creative menu of fusion pizzas. Dean (the owner) runs two locations with his brother, and he is very passionate about the trade. He explained in details about the journey that they embarked on to bring us this delicate taste of Naples menu that we were able to sample.



We started dinner off with the Fire-Roasted Tomato Bisque - roasted Campania tomato soup topped with feta cheese, and served with flatbread. This was one of the highlights of the evening. The bisque was rich with flavor, as the tomatoes hail from Pompeii, Italy. The body of these tomatoes taste stronger, sweeter, and have less acidity in them due to the growing conditions of the volcanic ash that makes up the significant content of the soil. With some added crushed peppers, and Parmesan cheese, the aroma of the bisque was brought to its greatest. 



Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria offers a limited menu of seasonal pizzas, which changes every season. The first new pizza that we got to try was the Prawn Pesto ($16.95) - fior-di-latte, seasoned ricotta, sautéed prawns, roasted garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, arugula, pistachio pesto, lemon wedge. In a departure from the standard pizza toppings, the new pizza is topped off with sautéed prawns, which remarkably makes a very delicious pizza.  Out of the three new pizzas on the menu, I'd say that this one was my favorite.


The Mattina ($16.95) - parmesan crema, sautéed leeks, pancetta,  prosciutto crisps, Grana Padano, Italian parsley,  topped with a fried egg, was the second new pizza on the menu. I didn't like this one as much, but J really liked it.


We were quite stuffed from the two pizzas, but the owner (Dean) graciously brought out a third one for us to try. The third pizza was a returning favorite, the Don Andreas ($16.95) - crème fraîche, fior-di-latte mozzarella, roasted chicken, corn and chipotle salsa, avocado, cilantro, lime wedge, side of Valentina hot sauce. I could definitely see why it was a favorite among patrons. All of the toppings just came together well, and it was one tasty pizza.


Dean has some leeway when it comes to their drinks menu, and tries to be creative with the ingredients. We opted for the non-alcoholic options, which was the Strawberries Mocktail (comes with one free re-frill).



If you're craving pizzas with some creativity and fusion, then make sure you try out Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria They do also have standard pizzas like the margherita pizza and pepperoni topped ones if you want safer choices.



Address: 386 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S 1X4

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Disclaimer: The food provided in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.


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Moxie's Grill & Bar Lemonade Pop-Up Patio / $150 GC Giveaway

I had the pleasure of checking out Moxie’s Hard Lemonade Pop-Up at the 9th Wine & Spirit Festival this past weekend. The two-day event (presented by Sobeys) officially kicked off the summer season, and Moxie's Grill & Bar was part of the fun. If you missed out on their hard lemonade at the festival, don't fret! Moxie’s Hard Lemonade Pop-Up Patio will be popping up at select events in the GTA between June 16th to July 15th, 2017.


The idea was inspired by Moxie’s thirst quenching, crafted house-made hard lemonade (available in the restaurants). Since it's summer and everyone will be out and about, Moxie's Grill & Bar wanted consumers to quench their thirst with some refreshing lemonade this summer, and came up with the patio. The patio is custom designed with an adult lemonade bar, bright yellow lounge sitting and fitted with a large patio umbrella. Great place to socialize with friends, and hide out from the hot sun.

Moxie’s Hard Lemonade Pop-Up will be making an appearance at the following events.

1) June 24th - Port credit Yacht Club as part of the Toronto Area Hospice Regatta from 2 pm to 6pm. The event is put on by the Port Credit Yacht Club to raise funds for a great cause.

·         2) July 15th - In the beer garden of the GWN sports Regatta at Marylin Bell Park from 11 am to 6 pm serving our Moxie’s Hard Lemonade




Join me for some hard lemonade at one of the pop-up events this summer. The lemonade is handcrafted, and made-to-order to ensure that you cool down with every sip. The lemons are hand-squeezed, mixed with soda, and topped off with Tito’s Handmade Vodka over ice. Patio season has never been so freshly squeezed!

Check out their hashtag #squeezesummerhard for more pictures.


GIVEAWAY ALERT:

 I am giving away a $150 gift card to any Moxie's Grill & Bar location in Canada, which you can enter here at https://www.instagram.com/p/BV0Qezng5Eh/

 
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Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Moxie's Grill & Bar. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.



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#GoodFoodPromise with Fionn MacCool's

We had the pleasure of visiting the Front Street location of Fionn MacCool's last month to check out their new #GoodFoodPromise menu. The philosophy that they instilled is that they believe in sourcing great tasting and quality ingredients from responsible Canadian family farms that they know and trust. Fionn MacCool's has several locations in Ontario, and their menu offers a variety of Irish-inspired and North American classics.



The Chicken Tacos - 3 tacos with fresh pulled chicken, cilantro-lime coleslaw and mango salsa packed into flour tortillas. Drizzled with fresh lime cream sauce and finished with a little Sriracha for some heat, was super filling and delicious.


I usually love calamari, but the Calamari - lightly dusted calamari tossed in salt, pepper and green onions. Served with our made-in-Pub fire-roasted red pepper sauce, from here was slightly too soft for my taste.


The beef used in Fionn MacCool's dishes are sourced from the proudly Canadian Beretta Farms. The cows are raised without the use of antibiotics, hormones, or steroids. For my main course, I opted for their Steak & Fries - 8 oz. Alberta top sirloin grilled to order with sautéed mushrooms, grilled tomato and fresh-cut fries. My steak was cooked perfectly as I requested - medium and the sautéed mushrooms really added to its flavor. As a steak lover, it was a highly recommended item for me.


Over-fishing is a huge issue, and Ocean Wise is helping consumers identify species that are caught or farmed in a way that ensure the long-term health and stability of that species. Fionn MacCool's is proud to serve Ocean Wise wild cod in their fish and chips and also fish tacos. My guest opted for the No.1 Fish & Chips - the only two food groups that matter. Keep it classic with a cod fillet fried to order in our made-in-Pub Barking Squirrel amber lager beer batter. It’s served with rainbow slaw, our Dungloe Sauce and fresh-cut fries. Unlike some of the other fish and chips on the market, the ones here was non-greasy. It was tender on the inside, and lightly battered on the outside. The fish are offered with hand-cut fries, tartar sauce and coleslaw (but you can substitute the fries for side salad).

If you are interested in reading about the sustainability and traceability in the seafood industry, please read my blog post on MSC.


In addition to sourcing the best ingredients, Fionn MacCool's is also deeply rooted in the community. 50 cents from every Mill St. Original Organic Pint sold goes to a local charity. So, don't forget to pair your food with a pint ... drink for a good cause. 

Fionn MacCool's #GoodFoodPromise menu features many new items that I think people will enjoy whether it's with friends or casual dinners. It was definitely good knowing where the ingredients came from and the chain pubs' overall message. 


Address: 310 Front St W, Toronto, ON M5V 3A4

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Disclaimer: The food provided in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.


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Chopsticks + Forks - Korean Food 101

Earlier last month, I had the opportunity to attend a Korean Food 101 courtesy of Chopsticks + Forks Food Tour. The tour takes place every Sunday afternoon at 5 pm hosted at Song Cook’s in Thornhill, ON. 

So what is Korean Food 101? It is a dining experience introducing diners to the diversity of Korean cuisine. The program was designed to teach people about the richness of Korea’s culinary delights, one that goes beyond Korean BBQ. The dinner was a 7-course tasting menu, and the portion was pretty substantial for our table of 6 people. Since it was a communal dinner, we were encouraged to socialize with those at the table.

Rice (Bap) - not just a staple, rice is the foundation of Korean cuisine


Bachan - side dishes served in every traditional Korean meal


Man-doo - Korean style dumplings (steamed and fried)



Jap Chae - "Glass Noodle" dish of Imperial decent


Cha-Jang Myun - a dark black bean noodle dish


Tang Su Yuk - deep fried sweet and sour pork


Bulgogi - thinly sliced marinated beef


Donkatsu - Korean version of the pork schnitzel


Tdeukguk - A traditional rice cake soup eaton on New Years [NOT PICTURED]

The 2.5 hour guided "Korean Food 101" sit-down dining experience ($53 CAD person) introduced us to many dishes that are loved by Koreans. I am quite familiar with Korean cuisine, but I did learn a lot about some of the dishes served that night. We had a total of 7 dishes (+ bachan) that night, and each course was accompanied by a detailed explanation of the origin and background of the dish. For example, I didn't know that the Jap Chae was considered a dish of Imperial decent. 

The concept behind Chopsticks + Forks is to explore the rich culture of Korean food with other like-minded people who also love food. The company is run by Jusep, who have traveled to over 50 countries, which is very impressive. He was full of energy and enthusiastic about Korean culture and its food. Jusep also shared several personal stories about his childhood and his life growing up eating Korean cuisine, and explained his reason behind Chopsticks + Forks. Overall, I found the event to be extremely well-organized and the food came out in a reasonable time frame. Lastly, the evening ended with a guided tour around a Korean supermarket that is located next door to the restaurant.

Great tour! For more information, check out Chopsticks + Forks.


PROMO CODE: Use the coupon code FRIENDS2017 to get 30% off

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Disclaimer: The food provided in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.



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Brunch at Momofuku Daishō

Brunch culture is very popular in Toronto, where people are willing to line up for hours just for pancakes, or eggs benedict. So, it's no surprise that several restaurants in Toronto offer brunch menus on the weekends. We had the pleasure of attending a private tasting at Momofuku Daishō for the launch of their new Spring/Summer brunch menu. The new brunch menu features several take on brunch classics, but they have put their own spin on it as well. Chef Paula Navarrete helms the kitchen with her team, and they have created a variety of exciting brunch options like the Everything Bun, Buckwheat Pancakes, and Niagara Ham.


 Located on the corner of University & Richmond lies the three-story Momofuku Toronto complex. Momofuku Daishō is located on the top floor that overlooks the busy University Street. The interior was quite nice with floor-to-ceiling windows allowing natural light to seep through. I love the clean space, and the lighting allows people to capture good Instagram photos.

Please enjoy the pictures from our brunch at Momofuku Daishō.

** Pictures by Brian Lai. Visit his Instagram to check out his feed ** 


 English Muffins ($5)


Lemon Meringue Pie ($5)


Mimosa (4.0 oz) ($12) - orange, sparkling


 Everything Bun ($9) - smoked white fish, capers, dill 


Pork Sausage ($18) - grits, frisee, poached egg 


    Potatoes + Onions ($7)


The amazing brunch spread from Sunday Brunch at Momofuku Daishō. Food kept on flowing out!


The new brunch menu offers an array of sweet and savory dishes. You can also complement your meal with a glass of refreshing mimosa. Sunday Brunch is available every Sunday morning at Momofuku Daishō from 11 am to 2 pm.

** Pictures by Brian Lai. Visit his Instagram to check out his feed ** 


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Disclaimer: The food provided in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.


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[Giveaway] Win 1 of 5 Pairs of Tickets to Lobster Clam Jam Toronto

This Victoria Day long weekend, come join me at the Cabana Pool Bar for the first ever Lobster Clam Jam (Toronto).



Lobster Clam Jam is a highly acclaimed outdoor food festival. It's not just for seafood lovers, but also an affordable, family-oriented culinary showcase offering guests the opportunity to experience the creations of a variety of renowned local chefs and restaurants. Guests will have the opportunity to experience a wide selection of meat, fowl, game, fish (and of course, lobster and shellfish) dishes, while enjoying the nice weather. It is also for a good cause as a portion of the proceeds will be donated to SickKids Foundation.
“The Lobster Clam Jam festival has been overwhelmingly successful the past four years in Montreal,” says Billy Alfonso. “We intend to duplicate this success in Toronto, working with the best local chefs, restaurant brands, and food and drink partners, while partnering with INK Entertainment, Canada’s leading entertainment company, at Cabana Pool Bar.”
The Lobster Clam Jam event launched in Montreal, Quebec in 2013, and will be making their Toronto debut this upcoming Victoria Day long weekend. Come join the fun =) There will be delicious food by talented chefs, and creative and delicious cocktails by marquee mixologists.

EVENT DETAILS

WHEN: Saturday May 20 and Sunday May 21, 2017
WHERE: Cabana Pool Bar at 11 Polson Street, Toronto ON
DATE/TIME: Saturday (May 20) & Sunday (May 21) from 12:00 pm. to 9:00 pm
WEBSITE: http://www.lobsterclamjam.com/toronto/ 

Buy Tickets: https://www.ticketmaster.ca/LOBSTER-CLAM-JAM-tickets/artist/2342913?tm_link=seo_bc_name

PRICE

Admission: $25

Currency: 

We have introduced our own Lobster Clam Jam currency called CLAMS.
A CLAM is a branded Lobster Clam Jam token (coin)
Each CLAM is valued at $3 CAN (Including Taxes)
Restaurants will collect CLAMS (Tokens*) in exchange for FOOD.
*TOKENS are available for purchase on site.

There will be over 20 restaurants, a Mojito Bar, a Beer Bar, a Wine Bar, a Coffee Bar and Dessert stations on site!



Giveaway Time

Enter to win 1 of 5 pairs of tickets to next week's Lobster Clam Jam (Toronto) at Cabana Pool Bar. Contest is open to all Toronto and GTA residents, and will end on 05/18/2017 (Thursday) at midnight.


a Rafflecopter giveaway
IMPORTANT: Tickets include complimentary entry ($25.00 admission per person) only, but no actual food coins. You can purchase the food coins on-site. Winners can only redeem for one day. 

The event will feature delicious creations from well-known restaurants from Toronto and
Montreal such as Patria, Weslodge, Oliver & Bonacini, Jae Anthony of Seasoned Dreams, Blowfish, Notre Dame Gourmet, Queue de Cheval Steakhouse and Raw Bar, Buster’s Sea Cove, The Food Dudes, Bac Ky Pho, Buonanotte, Boehmer, Calii Love and Cherry Street Barbeque, plus many more. Guests will be treated to a culinary experience by each restaurant along with a freshly shucked oyster station. The Festival will also feature their very own signature whole or half lobsters. Mixologists will offer signature flavoured Mojitos, Bloody Caesars as well as a wide assortment of beer, wine and other libations.

Disclaimer: Tickets are courtesy of INK Entertainment




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Walter Craft Caesar Rim

Did you know that the Caesar is a cocktail created and primarily consumed in Canada? It was first invented in 1969 in Calgary, and has since become a widely-consumed drink in Canada. Walter Caesar is well-known for their all-natural craft Caesar mixes, giving Canadian the opportunity to create Caesar drinks at home. They recently released their Walter Craft Caesar Rim to complement their line of mixes. Like their award-winning mixes, the rim is also an all-natural, free of preservatives, gluten-free and contains no added MSG or artificial colours.




Walter Craft Caesar Rim is proudly made in Canada in small batches with flaked salt, organic cane sugar, cracked black pepper and a secret blend of herbs and spices. The result is a rim that provides a nice balance of salty, sweet and umami. The craft Caesar rim is designed to be the perfect compliment of exceptional taste, and pairs well with both flavours of Walter Craft Caesar Mix.




We were given the Classic Spice Walter, which has grated horseradish, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, a few select spices, sea salt & cracked black pepper. Classic Caesars are often mixed with vodka, Worcestershire sauce and spices. However, you are free to add additional garnishes like celery, bacon, and lobster tail.

I attended a BBQ with some friends this past weekend, and we decided to crack open the bottle and made some Caesars. Our drinks were made with vodka, a bit of bacon bits on the bottom, and topped with the new Walter Craft Caesar Rim. What a delicious blend!

Tested With: JJ, Friends, and Myself





Walter Craft Caesar Rim is available in both major grocery stores and many independent retailers across Canada and retails for approximately $4.99. Walter Craft Caesar Mix is available in all major grocery stores across Canada and comes in a 946 ml format in both Classic Spice and Mild Spice and retails for approximately $7.99.

It's National Caesar Day this upcoming May 18, so why not make your own Caesar with Walter Caesar?


Disclaimer: The products provided in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.


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Brewers Plate 2017 - #RockThePlate

The annual rock and roll themed event, Brewers Plate 2017, returns to Toronto on May 4th from 6 pm to 11 pm. The event will take place at the Corus Quay Building (25 Dockside Drive) in support of War Child Canada.




The event is to help War Child Canada raise money to support children and families around the world. All of the  restaurants and Ontario brewers involved in this charitable event has graciously donated their time and materials to create a wonderful night for attendees. The indulgent food event features an array of craft beer and unlimited sampling of local dishes. 

"We are thrilled to mark the 10th anniversary of the Brewers Plate with our most exciting and diverse roster of brewers, restaurants and Chefs ever," said Les Murray, President of Beerlicious Inc., “sampling great food and beer while having a great time in support of such a worthwhile partner in War Child Canada makes this event a must attend."



Last year's event raised $9,200 in support of War Child Canada to help children in war-affected communities reclaim their childhood through access to education, opportunity and justice. They hope to do the same this year! 

The Brewers Plate 2017 is proud to present its curated list of brewers, restaurants and Chefs including:

Restaurants

Palais Royale
Trattoria Nervosa
Le Dolci Toronto
Heirloom Toronto
Ted’s World Famous BBQ
Hangry Catering Co.
Tundra Restaurant & Bar
Globe Bistro
Cheese Boutique
Mangia & Bevi
Beaus All Natural Brewing
ChocoSol

Brewers

Old Tomorrow Beer
The Collingwood Brewery
All or Nothing Brewhouse
Station Cold Brew Coffee Co.
Henderson Brewing Co.  Walter Craft Caesar
Beaus All Natural Brewing
Sawdust City Brewing Co.
Great Lakes Brewery
Muskoka Brewery
MacKinnon Brothers Brewing
Steam Whistle Brewing



Tickets to the Brewers Plate 2017 are now on sale through www.BrewersPlateToronto.org and start at $90 each + taxes and fees. New for this year: Brewers Plate 2017 is offering an Entourage 5 Pack, valued at $400 + taxes and fees, so if attendees are planning on bringing friends this may be the ticket pack for them. They'll be able to see savings of $10 per ticket with this package. They can also try their luck at winning tickets in the coming weeks by tuning in to Brewers Plate's fantastic partners at Q107 and 102.1 the Edge.

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