Toronto Weekender: November 1 through 4, 2012

Ah, November, what some think of as the most foul month. (Grey all the time…grey isn’t the best colour on many a skintone.) And with the less than stellar weather we’ve been having this week, its arrival is nothing short of unwelcome. But, we’re savvy young professionals with a penchant for making the most of lacklustre situations, right? So, in keeping with that dogma, here’s your Weekender to net you a vibrant break from the workweek… 

Koreatown has another…no surprise here…Asian restaurant with the recent opening of Japas Japanese Tapas and Oyster Bar at 692 Bloor Street West. Think: izakaya type dishes, non-izakaya type atmosphere. Featuring Japanese beers and cocktails galore, the real focus is the small and cheap share plates of innovative Japanese food – like sushi pizza, lotus root, deep fried fish, and more. It’s a perky li’l stop to get your weekend underway. 

The night’s hottest ticket is the third annual Chair Affair taking over Palais Royale in support of Furniture Bank – an organization that recycles furniture and supplies it to underprivileged homes in the GTA. This year’s event, hosted by Global TV’s Susan Hay, sees prominent Toronto artists, celebs and designers creating extraordinary works of art with ordinary chairs that are up for auction.

TOCA at the Ritz-Carlton was rocked by the departure of Chef Tom Brodi. But now, it’s relaunched with a new concept, new menu, and new chef. Chef Gihen Zitouni takes the reigns in the kitchen, and has recreated the menu to reflect her career experiences. The Mediterranean-Canadian focus will surely please Toronto’s diners, and the sophisticated space will please the world. Start at DEQ for drinks then head to TOCA for dinner Friday night.

Bridezilla’s need not apply. The Civilized Bride takes over 99 Sudbury tonight for a luxe evening of all things wedding. Getting your groove on down the aisle next year? Check it out. Been given the ‘honour’ of being the prime maid? Check it out. Like living out childhood fantasies? You should probably stick to home for that. In any case, all things beautiful bride will be showcased. (This is definitely a hipper and more sophisticated bridal show than most, fyi.)

Forgo your regular brunch craving for something a little out of the ordinary but wholly extraordinary. Fancy Franks recently opened up on College Street, bringing a gourmet twist to your favourite hot dogs. Everyone gives burgers their deserved glory, so why not franks as well? Bonus, these gourmet dogs are perfect for a hangover… (PS, it’s website doesn’t have much, but you can find it at 326 College Street.)

The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair launched yesterday, and it’s so much more than the farm haven it used to be. Demonstrations, top chefs, live entertainment, artisans, carriage races, competitions, and so much more are a massive part of this annual event that’s been on for 90 years.

The Nth Lounge and Emporium is on over at The Gladstone Hotel. Created as a way for top luxury brands to interact with a top luxury audience – aka you – the Nth Lounge sees a day of shopping turn into an indulgent experience with fine wine, on-site spa services, a sweets bar, and so much more.

More ‘new’ to feast your fangs on. From one of the owners of Rodney’s on Bay comes John & Sons Oyster House. While you can go and get a slew of half shells, they also have an interesting Sunday brunch that mixes seafood favourites with breakfast classics. Try the lobster benedict or the French toast made from bourbon brioche. It’s a delectable way to end the weekend.

In the Roy Thompson Hall Rotunda on Sunday, you’ll find a luxe wonderland that’ll please your palate while aching your sweet tooth. Yessir, the Toronto International Luxury Chocolate Show is back showcasing the best chocolate, chocolate products, chocolate innovations and more from around the world. The best part? It’s all in one place so you can sample your way around the world of chocolate literally and figuratively… and it’s all luxe!

Photo courtesy TOCA