Toronto Weekender: December 5 through 8, 2013

Just in time for the holiday rush, we’ve a slew of new hotspots to eat and drink at, along with some great artisanal holiday markets. Here’s what’s up this weekend in Toronto… 

Start the night with dinner at the newly opened The P & L Burger. Hot off the heels of their CMT Burger Wars win for favourite patty in Toronto, Parts & Labour has just opened up this satellite burger shop on Queen Street West. The new joint serves up seven wonderfully greasy and delicious burgers, like the famed The P & L Burger and the spicy The Italian.

It’s time for another instalment of AGO’s First Thursdays, wherein the famous gallery is transformed into a fusion of art + drinks + entertainment + food. This week, Canadian singer-songwriter Julie Doiron heads the evening in celebration of the AGO’s landmark exhibition, The Great Upheaval. 

Check out the newly opened The Dock Ellis for dinner Friday night. Found at Dundas and Dovercourt, The Dock Ellis is a sports bar for people who aren’t typically into sports bars. Makes sense, since it’s located in hipster haven. Sophisticated bar snacks are on the menu, like nachos topped with brisket and uber-tasty milk buns. 

Foodies were all aflutter this week with the Toronto premiere of food-centric documentary Spinning Plates. And now, we the public can join in on the action at TIFF Bell Lightbox. This stunning doc tells the stories of three extraordinary restaurants and the incredible people who bring them to life, speaking to the passion, tradition, and sense of communion that goes into the creation of exquisite cuisine. 

On the holiday hunt for unique gems, fashion finds, vintage scores and other market must-haves, but hate the idea of spending the weekend knee-deep in thrift store piles? Well The Gladstone Hotel has teamed up with two uber-cool fashionistas – Anita Clarke and Haley Mlotek – to bring you a curated holiday marketplace this Saturday. Packed with artist goods, reclaimed vintage, craft, design, jewelry, clothing, and more, Gladstone Flea curates the market to help save you from the thrift store itch. 

If you’ve yet to mosey on over to the Distillery District, then this weekend’s the time to check out the Toronto Christmas Market. Modelled after the quaint European christmas markets in Germany, Austria and the like, the Toronto Christmas Market sees some exceptional local vendors with wares, fine foods, and more ready to tempt your pocketbook. 

From the genius behind Rock Lobster Food Co. comes new East End country bar Boots & Bourbon Saloon, which recently took over the Riverside Public House space at Queen and Broadview. Saturday night marks the official grand opening of the new restaurant/bar/country jamboree, which boasts cocktails aplenty, comfort food, line dancing lessons, and live music – the latter of which will be a heavy draw for the cool space. 

Get ready to brunch in style at Buonanotte’s La Domenica Brunch. With a set menu by award-winning Chef Davide Iannaci ($45/person), and music by Montreal’s Thomas H (a blend of house, hits, and remixes), this is one Sunday morning shebang you don’t want to miss. 

Sunday marks the end of another year’s One of a Kind Christmas Show & Sale. The Direct Energy Centre plays home to the marketplace of artisanal goods, ranging from clothing to preserves to fine foods to reclaimed awesomeness to knick-knacks and more. This is where you’ll find those truly unique gifts for everyone on your list.

Top photo: Parts & Labour

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