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Hot Bunzz Available Inside The Urban Bistro

Mark Oliver started his Hot Bunzz concept one year ago at the Toronto Underground Market. From those humble beginnings, Mark has expanded the business and now has a permanent location to serve his Hot Bunzz from, inside a new concept restaurant at Yonge and St. Clair called the Urban Bistro. Located at 21 St. Clair Ave. W., Urban Bistro is scheduled to open for business on Monday, May 6, 2013.

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Originally inspired by the steamed buns found in Chinese cuisine, Mark fills his food with what he like’s to call “flavour adventures”. Taking flavours from around the world and putting them inside a bun. Each day he’s going to offer fresh street gourmet style buns with options like Canadian bison short rib, Canadian elk, and seafood offerings on Fridays like tiger shrimp and jumbo scallop. They will also serve buns known as #StreetCuizine, based around comfort foods we’ve all grown to love like texas pulled pork, brazilian beef, thai basil beef, and thai curry chicken. There will also be a different daily vegetarian offering.

The buns are baked fresh five times a day. Single combos are available from $8, with that you get, one bun, fresh made potato chips, a salad and a drink. Double combos, with two buns, are also available and start at $10. Mark’s plan is to go after the office lunch crowd from the nearby office towers. Hot Bunzz is scheduled to be open initially from 11-8pm, the plan is to extend those hours once the Urban Bistro receives a liquor license. Mark also plans to expand the menu to offer up breakfast buns, gluten free options and dessert buns.

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Hot Bunzz is one of three food offerings that can be found inside the Urban Bistro. Mark’s friend Mandy Lau took over the space that used to be occupied by a Hero Burger / Lettieri café to create his unique concept of of an asian inspired urban food court, simulating the food stalls found on the streets of Hong Kong. Lau is running the other stalls, one is a breakfast spot, and the other a fast-casual chinese stir-fry/noodle option. Mandy wants to prove that not all Chinese food is greasy, with easy to order dishes based around eight key ingredients. Mandy is also offering create your own noodle bowls, as seen in the image above, with options like shirataki noodles, shrimp, and vegetables in a light chicken broth and topped with Lau’s special hot sauce.

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Even with the new brick and mortar location, Mark can still be found selling Hot Bunzz at pop up events like TUM and the ROM’s Friday Night Live nights series.

For more information, follow @HotBunzzTO on Twitter, @HotBunzzTO on Instagram, like HotBunzz on Facebook and tag your Hot Bunzz food pics with the #StreetCuizine hashtag.

HotBunzz, 21 St. Clair Ave. W., inside the Urban Bistro, Toronto, Ontario, M4V 1K6

May 4, 2013 | By | 2 Replies More

Death Row Meals presents Pogo Jump Up, Throwdown!

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Looking for something to do this Cinco de Mayo? Head on out to Rock Lobster Food Co. on Sunday for the second Death Row Meals competition style event of 2013, Pogo Jump Up, Throwdown! Chefs will be competing for the 1st ever Pogo Championship. The rules are simple: stick, protein, coating, and cook, these are the only instructions our chefs have been given. There will be lots of great food, drinks and a killer reggae playlist to ease you into your Sunday afternoon.

The previous competition was the immensely popular Taco Throwdown, so definitely don’t miss this one! The $45 ticket price includes pogos and alcohol pairings. Details are still being confirmed, but this will be a great event!

Confirmed kitchens participating: 

Limited tickets are available online via uniiverse.

Pogo Jump Up, Throwdown! Sunday May 5, 2013 at 12:30pm. Rock Lobster Food Co., 110 Ossington Ave; P 416-533-1800.

May 3, 2013 | By | Reply More

Lisa Marie, New Brick and Mortar Restaurant from Fidel Gastro

Food entrepreneur Matt Basile, aka Fidel Gastro, in the past two years went from working a corporate 9 to 5 job to starting a food pop up (Elvis), a food truck (Priscilla), a television show (Rebel Without A Kitchen), and now a brick and mortar restaurant, Lisa Marie. The new Toronto hotspot is located at 638 Queen Street West (Queen and Bathurst).

Pork Belly Cheese Thang

Pork Belly Cheese Thang

Matt and his team spent the past two months transforming the former Prague European Kitchen into a space usable for both a restaurant and commercial kitchen. Continuing with the King of Rock and Roll theme, the restaurant is a shrine to all things Elvis. Featuring a menu of Cicchetti (pronounced “chi-ket-tee”, a Venetian style of street food and snacks), Lisa Marie also features an extensive ‘drinkies’ menu served up by resident bartender Mitchell Stern as well as a market space in the back where they will be selling freshly canned items, pickles, sauces, meats and more!

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Matt has enlisted chef Kris Topping (formerly of McEwan’s) to run the kitchen. The menu is concise, with most dishes ranging from $4-8. Some favourites from the menu:

  • Pork Belly Cheese Thang. Smoked pork belly with cilantro cherry tomato salsa, served on a melted Havarti cheese crisp, topped with chili basil aioli.
  • Deep Fried Cheese Burger. Seasoned coarse ground beer stuffed with aged cheddar topped with a house made pickle and quail egg (no bun).
  • Alabama Tailgaters. Season smoked bacon wrapped beef carpaccio, cilantro, aged cheddar and kimchi.
  • Eggplant in a Jar. Brined eggplant, tallegio cheese, thai chilis and fresh lime served with zucchini chips.
  • Mozzarella and Marrow Sangweech. Buffalo mozzarella, roasted bone marrow on two slices of focaccia bread, deep fried and topped with a lemon.
Testa Dura

Testa Dura. Tequila Tromba, Aperol, Agave, Lime Juice.

Basile plans to also offer a daily lunch menu that will serve up his famous extremo sandwiches, as well as a weekend brunch menu.

For more information, follow @fidelgastros on Twitter, like Fidel Gastro’s on Facebook, or visit fidelgastro.caRebel Without A Kitchen airs on Travel + Escape every Tuesday at 10 pm.

Lisa Marie, 638 Queen Street West, Toronto, Ontario, M6J 1E3.
Limited reservations are available, call 647.748.6822.

April 18, 2013 | By | Reply More

Rebel Without A Kitchen Premieres Tomorrow

“OLE!” Rebel Without a Kitchen, the new television show following Fidel Gastro (Matt Basile), premieres tomorrow night at 10pm on the Travel+Escape channel. The 13 episode, half-hour series, follows Matt as he works on his temperamental food truck Priscilla, from collapsible card tables, gets ready to take on underground food markets, overnight bush parties, street corners and over-the-top private events.

The production covered everything from hosting pop-ups in different cities, the food truck phenomenon, and just growing the business as a food entrepreneur says Basile. Rebel Without A Kitchen was produced by General Purpose Pictures.

Evident by the series, Matt is continually on the go. Aside from Rebel, Matt is slated to open his new brick and mortar restaurant, Lisa Marie, at 638 Queen Street West later this month. He’s also giving back to the food community with a virtual workshop about hacking the food industry to build a food business from the ground up.

Rebel Without a Kitchen premieres April 9 at 10 p.m. on Travel and Escape.

View the full sizzle reel for Rebel Without a Kitchen below.

April 8, 2013 | By | Reply More

SLURP Noodlefest Returns

On Sunday March 3rd 2013 some of Toronto’s best and brightest chefs converged on The Great Hall for the first SLURP Noodlefest presented by NOW Magazine, delivering their unique culinary spin on pho, ramen, and other popular noodle dishes, as well as a wide array of globally-inspired streetfood snacks.

A brand new line-up of Toronto chefs will gather at 99 Sudbury as SLURP Noodlefest returns on April 20, 2013 for the second (and possibly final) instalment that promises to be bigger and better than the first!

Confirmed vendors Include:

SLURP Noodlefest v2 will also feature more of the best in local brewing and distilling from Double Trouble Brewery, Tequila Tromba, Dillon’s Distillery and Chateau Des Charmes winery.

Tickets are $10 and are now available at Uniiverse.com. A limited number of tickets are available, so be sure to order your ticket today. Note that admission does not include the price of food or drinks. Food items will range between $5 and $10 and will be priced at the vendor’s discretion. This is a 19+ event.

April 3, 2013 | By | Reply More