Toronto Weekender: June 14 through 17, 2012

Father’s Day weekend is ahead, and if you’re anything like us you’re drooling with thoughts of BBQs, sunshine, patio-surfing and the like. Here’s a rundown of what to do in between your usual weekend antics…

For dinner, you should probably haul ass over to La Carnita. That’s right, we’re getting feisty on this one. La Carnita built up a huge following early on thanks to social media and their pop-up tacos-meet-art events. Now, they have a permanent home on College Street, and are serving up their signature Mexican goods for sit-down crowds. 

The 25th annual Power Ball in support of The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery takes over the scene tonight. Experience the ultimate birthday bash when The Power Plant celebrates 25 years of the most innovative contemporary art at the best contemporary art party, with Toronto’s glitterati on-hand.

Claudio Aprile’s second Origin Restaurant opened softly this past Monday at 171 East Liberty Street. It’s similar to the first in direction: gourmet tapas-sized plates of gastronomical goodness to appease diners en masse. Excellent, if you ask us. Stop in for dinner, maybe stay for drinks, and leave being one of the first trendsetters to test out the new instalment. 

A new craft beer bar is opening up tonight on King West, promising three staples: Beer, Food, Life. Since we often equate the first two as being a large parcel of the third, we think that’s pretty notable. With 24 beers on tap, another 50 or so by the bottle or can, and some great haute grub like mussels, osso buco, and beeramisu, Barhop is set to heat up King Street West. 

This Friday, the world’s largest dinosaur, Futalognkosaurus, will be unveiled right before the eyes of revellers at another instalment of Friday Night Live @ROM. And, you can accompany this breathtaking display with a special ticketed gourmet dinner in C5 featuring culinary fare from Argentina and Saurus Wines. The fun continues with a performance by DJ Dave Allison featuring Higgins.

Luminato ends on Sunday, so now’s your last chance to get in on the artsy action. This annual arts/performance festival celebrates and showcases everything from visual arts through to music, literature, performance, and so much more.

Now in its 18th year, NXNE has become a phenomenon. The Northern sister to SXSW, NXNE features over 780 bands – including The Flaming Lips, Raekwon and Ghostface Killah, Matthew Good, Bad Religion, and many, many more – and 40 films over 7 days as part of this interactive music and film festival. It ends tomorrow, so you should probably get yourself in to see a show or two. Like, now. 

It’s Father’s Day, so we’d highly suggest taking Dad out for some awesome brunch. How about Beast, or Barque? Smokehouse brunches have become a favourite standard in the city, and Pops will love the meat-forward meals with smokey goodness. Now, if he’s a vegetarian, try going to Hogtown Vegan on Bloor West. Just keep in mind, it’s a cash-only resto that serves weekend brunch from 12pm to 4pm on Saturday and Sunday.

The second Brewer’s Back Yard is at Brick Works this weekend. Think of it like a boozy patio in the middle of lush greenery, though you’re right in the middle of the city. Lots of different beers from Amsterdam Brewery, food from Death Row Meals, live music and bike stunts and tricks will abound Sunday. Admission is free, but you front the tab for food and beer on site.

For dinner, make a jaunt over to Dupont. Why? Opening just last week at 1627 Dupont Street, Farmhouse Tavern is quaint new resto rooted in the charming influences of the rural Ontario farmhouse. They were featured on an episode of Junk Raiders for the space’s build, and are cooking a blackboard menu of farm-driven food. Cool notes: Sunday nights have $1 oysters at 9pm, and 1/2 price food at 10pm.

Photo courtesy La Carnita