Weston’s Second Annual Buskerfest – A review

The Weston Village BIA certainly outdid themselves by putting together an incredible Buskerfest 2018.  The event was slated to be a one-time event to celebrate Canada 150, but since it was so well received it is now likely to become an annual event.

Attendees to this years’ event were amazed by a bevy of incredibly talented performers.   As the decadent sounds of pan drums danced through the air, performers captivated onlookers.  Amongst them was a world-renowned fire performer, a Mime and of course Silver Elvis  (photo posted by Roy).

The event was well organized and lots of fun!  It took place Weston Road north and south of Lawrence Avenue from 2 PM – 6 PM on Saturday.

If you missed this year’s event, not to worry, we are hopeful that the Weston Village BIA will host another one next summer.

Some reflections

We’re officially in the summer doldrums – at least I am. Adam’s still incredibly productive.

In spite of having a new premier with his early announcements and the delicious prospect of October’s civic election, my side of Weston Web’s virtual office is eerily quiet with ceiling fans gently moving stale air over the desks, typewriters and silent telephones.

WestonWeb’s imaginary virtual office in busier times. From Early Office Museum.

Before the civic election campaigns begin in earnest, this might be a good time to take a breath and reflect on some of the almost 3000 articles that have appeared on Weston Web since Adam began publishing in 2010. Incidentally, every article written on Weston Web is still available and can be searched by topic or date.

WestonWeb uses WordPress which keeps statistics on the number of times each article is viewed. Interestingly, some articles have a life of their own and are constantly being read – even years after publication. Many of these most popular articles were written by student writers who are paid a small stipend for their efforts.

Grab a beverage and get comfortable; here’s a list with links to the 20 most popular Weston Web articles of all time – in reverse order. You’ll have to supply your own roll of the drums.

20. St John’s Anglican Church up for sale. February 2016. The mid-19th Century church at 2123 Weston Road was for sale at that time.

19. Weston Wins. February 2016. This is about former Premier Wynne’s (those were the days, remember?) decision to lower fares on the UP Express that resulted in dramatically increased ridership.

18. Drake general store pop up hits Mount Dennis. December 2016. Whenever you have an article with the words ‘Drake’ and ‘Weston’ in it, there’s bound to be lots of interest. Sadly for Drake fans, this was a Drake Hotel pop up.

17. Atlantic Salmon should hit Weston this weekend. September 2013. This one is popular when salmon are running in the fall.

16. 5 buildings to be ashamed of in Weston. May 2010. As a mark of Weston’s transformation over the past eight years, all of these buildings have disappeared entirely except for the Plank House which continues to sit empty and unloved.

15. TV show filming in Weston. March 2011. An interesting article on Weston’s film operations at the time. Scroll down to view an informative comment from Weston Historical Society’s Martin Proctor.

A prop NYPD car outside Weston Lions Arena in November 2012

14. Longtime York South-Weston resident and advocate to become NDP candidate. November 2017. This article about (now MPP) Faisal Hassan is from guest writer Riley Peterson.

13.  WCI home to the youngest recipient of Volunteer Toronto’s Legacy Award. June 2016. This was written by one of our student writers, Natalie while she was a student at Weston Collegiate Institute.

12. Weston youth flies to Sweden to represent Canada in Youth World Cup. July 2014. An earlier article from Natalie about a talented WCI soccer player.

11. Zeal Burgers; real burgers. October 2016. Yet another of our student writers, Lieselotte Noort writes about the best burger joint in town.

10. P&Ms – lots of history and a bright future. June 2012. Guest writer Melissa wrote this about the restaurant that has been serving Westonians for decades.

The old P&M location.

 

9. New vegetarian restaurant. March 2016. This is about Budda Chay, the vegetarian restaurant at 1784 Jane.

8. Wakame Sushi is the best sushi joint in Weston. March 2012. Another of Adam’s excellent restaurant reviews; Wakame Sushi is still going strong at 2625 Weston Road.

7. Book review: Safe as Houses. August 2012. Adam’s review of an excellent novel by Eric Walters, written for young adults based around the historical background of Hurricane Hazel.

6. Mark DeMontis is PC candidate. November 2017. This gentleman generated considerable interest during his campaign to become a PC MPP. Adam’s astute observations proved to be correct.

5. Lutong Pinoy: A new Filipino restaurant on Weston. June 2016. Guest writer Charlie Siddayao wrote this about Weston’s first Filipino restaurant, still in business at 1754 Weston Road.

4. P&M: Ready for the Move. January 2015. The story of P&M Restaurant in the weeks before moving to its spanking new location in May 2015.

3. Irving Tissue expanding. July 2012. Irving Tissue is the last of the big employers on Weston Road and guest writer Laurie Mace covered the proposed expansion of the plant.

2. Scarlett Heights Academy to close. October 2017. There has been intense interest around the closing of this school which is not strictly in Weston but obviously of interest to residents locally.

1. Ahmed Hussen wins YSW Liberal nomination. December 2014. The dramatic federal Liberal Party nomination of Ahmed Hussen astonished pundits who expected former councillor Bill Saundercook to win. This story has been accessed more than 2000 times.

Just a couple of observations: the restaurants reviewed in our top 20 are still in operation. If you want them to stick around, keep patronizing them. It’s easy to forget that Weston has undergone some quite remarkable changes in the past eight years with more still in the pipeline. With large numbers of people about to make Weston their new home, the next few years will be interesting.

Today in Weston – March 23, 2017

The menu at Zeal Burger offers a wide selection for burger lovers. Click for larger image.

Today I tried Zeal Burgers on a whim as I was passing. I won’t attempt to duplicate the excellent review our Lieselotte Noort wrote on this local restaurant last fall but I have to say owner Mark Ghopros makes one of the best cheeseburger and fries I have tasted in a long time. His walk-in special of cheeseburger fries and a drink is $10.00 all in.

Mark tells me that he’s planning an update of the menu soon to include some exciting new items.

Zeal Burgers: 1926 Weston Road. Phone: (647) 352-3933

Zeal burgers; real burgers

When people think of Weston Road, they usually think of the UP Express, traffic and a plethora of different places to shop and eat. But now people of Weston will have to think of mouth-watering juicy burgers with a side of crisp fries; thanks to Zeal Burger, located at 1926 Weston Road.

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The month-old restaurant is cooking up some of the best burgers I have ever had, using triple A steak and other fresh ingredients to whip up some seriously mind blowing creations. The family-run business is dedicated to making fresh food inspired by places all over the world.

With burgers topped with everything from guacamole to a fried egg to tzatziki sauce, there’s something on Zeal Burger’s menu for everyone! They’ve even got their own take on poutine that’s topped with a cheeseburger, and their signature Z Sauce! In the words of Mark Ghopros, the owner, “My favourite thing on the menu is the Chef’s Poutine. It’s like a meal on its own, the flavours on it are insane.” Even if you do not eat meat, Zeal serves up fries in many different ways, including Greek style. So no matter what you like, you’ll be able to find a meal at Zeal.

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Ghopros has dreamed of owning his own restaurant since he was a teenager. After having worked at places like the Keg and the Granite Club, Ghopros was waiting for the right moment to open a place of his own. When he saw the location he thought it was the perfect spot to open shop. “When I first came to the area I thought it was perfect. Everyone was so nice and I loved the community” he stated. Mark went on to tell me all about how he wanted to create an experience for his customers. Using an open-concept kitchen to create handmade burgers, he wanted to ‘throw it back’ to the 50s and 60s, when burger shops like his, where you can get killer food and milkshakes, were everywhere. From one conversation with Mr.Ghopros, I could tell he was extremely passionate about food and his business.

 

“I’m not trying to re-invent the burger; I’m trying to perfect the burger”

On my visit, I feasted on “The Heat”, a burger with pico de gallo, guacamole, lettuce, cheddar and jalapeno mayo, and their classic fries. It was honestly one of the best meals I’ve ever had. Every bite had more flavour than the last, and the hand cut fries were perfectly hot and crisp. I dipped mine in the restaurants homemade Z sauce, which just added to the great taste of the fried potatoes. Usually I’m not the biggest fan of burgers, however, Zeal has won me over. I know for a fact that I will be back on multiple occasions, to try everything on the menu.

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On top of all of this, Zeal offers a 15% off student special, with a valid student ID, and is planning on creating a senior discount as well! But even if you are not a senior or student, Zeal Burgers prices are already incredible!

Zeal Burger is a new gem to the Weston Community that I highly recommend everyone to visit. Everything on the menu is made with love and great ingredients. Zeal is the real deal when it comes to burgers, and I know that soon it will become a landmark of the area.


This article was sponsored by:Luisa Bada: Living in Weston and Loving it

 

Lutong Pinoy: A New Filipino Restaurant on Weston!

 

There’s a new Filipino restaurant in town and correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s the first in Weston!

Front store of Lutong Pinoy
Nora preparing our food.

Lutong Pinoy is a Filipino restaurant that opened its doors on May 22 at 1754 Weston Rd.  (south of Weston and Lawrence), just beside the 89 bus stop at Wilby Cres., heading south.

Just a quick Tagalog lesson (Philippines’ official language): “Lutong Pinoy” roughly means “Filipino cooking.” Lutong= “cooking from”. Pinoy=informal way of saying “Filipino” (like describing Canadians as Canucks).

I’ll be straight to the point: they’ve got some good dishes, fair prices and of course…karaoke! I’ll highlight dishes I recommend in just a bit. But let me just say, we’ve definitely got a restaurant here that’s stayed true to its roots. No bells and whistles, just straight up good cooking. The main cook, Chef Lito Garma has years of experience cooking at Filipino restaurants in the Sherbourne area (one of the first areas Filipinos settled in Canada). So this is definitely not a rookie restaurant.

I had a chat with Nora Transfiguracion, the restaurant’s main front server when I went in for lunch with my cousin last week. Her brother Zobel Garma, and his wife Joy Garma are the restaurant owners, so it truly is a family-run business. They had always wanted to open a restaurant and it was only recently that they’ve been able to give this venture a shot. I found out they’re actually from Scarborough and are getting to know the Weston area slowly. They scoped neighbourhoods in Toronto and found out Weston didn’t have any Filipino restaurants. There are a few on Eglinton West, plenty on Bathurst St. (dubbed little Manila), a good number to choose from in Scarborough, the modernized (and a bit expensive) restaurants slowly popping up downtown and there’s also one popular restaurant in Rexdale. But none in Weston.

Never tried Filipino food before? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered!

I recommend trying their BBQ pork skewers ($2.50/skewer but oh so so good), bistek (marinated, tenderized and sliced sirloin) or the very famous adobo chicken dish. If you’re more adventurous, they have a good number of dishes for you to try from oxtail with peanut-based sauce, to the popular pancit canton/bihon noodles. Since the food is laid out buffet style, you can pick and choose whichever dish catches your eyes.

BBQ Pork Skewer
BBQ Pork Skewer

 

Bistek on styrofoam
Bistek

For dessert, I would absolutely recommend turon, or simply, fried banana. For $1.25 a piece, you get a good size and they do not skimp on the sweet bananas!

2 pieces of turon (fried bananas)
Turon (fried banana)

Dishes and Special Combos

They currently have two regular combos: For $6, you can have any main dish like the ones above, with rice or noodles. For $8, you can get two main dishes with rice or noodles. But they also have a special deal on Tuesdays: fried chicken with rice or noodles for only $4. And finally on Wednesdays, you can have a rice and main dish for only $5. The portions are fair; one main dish was enough for me, and I almost couldn’t finish it—so you’ll be well fed if you have a couple of toonies to spare.

Combo #1 at Lutong Pinoy
Regular Combo #1- 1 dish + rice or noodles
Combo #2 at Lutong Pinoy
Regular Combo #2-2 dishes + 1 rice or noodle

In addition, Lutong Pinoy also does catering! They have a catering menu with detailed pricing and a long list of dishes to choose from. I know for my family, we won’t need to trek to Bathurst or even St. Clair when we make large orders of pancit or dinuguan.

There are plenty of restaurants to choose from on Weston Road, and this only adds to the many choices. The karaoke machine is running if you’re in the mood also, and maybe, just maybe, the chef will sing along with you ;).

Kareoke at Lutong Pinoy
Karaoke time!

Hours of operation:
Monday: Closed
Tuesday-Saturday: 10am-8pm
Sunday: 10am-6pm
(416) 264-6975
(647) 988-5494

5 Fantastic places to eat for under $10

Who doesn’t love trying foods from all over the world? While trying amazing dishes from all over the world is great, we can’t exactly hop on a plane whenever we want some piping hot juicy jerk chicken.

But, you can take a spin through Weston, and Mount Dennis, to find an array of amazing, and authentic restaurants, without breaking the bank!

Here’s a list of my personal favorite places to eat, in no particular order, in the Weston and Mount Dennis area!

Sun Crisp Fish and Chips: 2047 Weston Road

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I have never been the biggest fan of seafood until I tried the fish and chips here. Sun Crisp serves up an array of fish and seafood, served with the fluffiest French fries I’ve ever tried. With options of halibut, cod, haddock and more, cooked up in a soft batter, it’s hard to not like fish after trying a plate from this amazing joint! Throw on some vinegar, and you have the perfect meal! Not a fan of fish? No worries! Sun crisp also serves up shrimp, scallop, and chicken! Plus, everything tastes good with a side of fries, so you can’t go wrong with whatever you order from this friendly little restaurant

Brioni’s: 169: Gary Drive

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I’ve mentioned before how much I adore this place. But I cannot stress how amazing everything here is! If you’ve got a taste for veal, veggies, pasta, or anything in-between, you will fall in love with Brioni’s! With friendly owners and a life changing tomato sauce, Brioni’s will be loved by your entire family. On top of all that, the portion sizes are huge! If you head to Brioni’s for lunch and get a serving of $5.50 lasagna, it’ll be enough for lunch and dinner! You can taste the love in this food, and will fall in love with it as well.

Golden Star: 1690 Jane Street

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Need a great lunch? Only have $5? Golden Star will be your savior! This Asian noodle house has some amazing food, for dirt cheap! A small, which is more so large, lunch special will get you an order of either spicy chicken or chicken wings and fried rice or noodles (and it’ll only cost you $3.80)! Golden Star is run by some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet and their food is mind boggling! They also serve up delectable entrees such as beef and broccoli, hot and sour soup, sesame chicken and countless others

Kings Delight: 1658 Jane Street

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Close your eyes after having one bite from King’s and you’ll question if you’re in Toronto or somewhere under the palm trees in the luscious Caribbean. Spicy pull apart chicken, mouth watering rice, beef patties and any other Caribbean dishes you can think of are severed here. After one bite, you wouldn’t be able to stop eating! Kings serves up some amazing food and drinks from all over the Caribbean for prices that will blow your mind! It’s no wonder this adorable restaurant is called Kings, it’s built for one!

Papino’s Pizza: 1788 Jane Street

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This place is more than just the name. Not only do they serve some amazing pizza, but they also specialize in amazing fries, wings, and wedges! Amazing pizza with a huge variety of toppings, and wing flavors, Papino’s will make you forget about your one true love, pizza. This joint serves up some great fast food, for great prices. If the cheesy pizza doesn’t win you over, the crispy wings and fries will. Dipped in cool garlic sauce, Papino’s Pizza will transport you to an Italian villa. (or maybe just be the best fast food fix you


This post was brought to you by: Patricia, who thinks that you should get out and enjoy the Humber River.

Perfect Blend: A perfect spend

Perfect Blend at 1971 Weston Road.
Perfect Blend at 1971 Weston Road.

As many of you already may know, Perfect Blend has finally opened! This café is snuggled between Elsmere and John Street, beside the TD bank. If you’re looking for a charming coffee joint while avoiding the Timmie’s at Lawrence’s greasy food pit, then this is the place for you.

The menu consists of coffees, juices, teas, salads, sandwiches, crepes, ice cream, pastries, and the such. A surprisingly cute item I spotted was the ‘Wake Up Weston’ breafkast crepe. Baskets of freshly baked bagels and various breads await your choosing, and pasta sauces can be purchased as well.

What makes Perfect Blend more inviting is the reasonable price range. Pastries remain under the $4 mark, and coffee is between $4 – $5, depending on type and size. Of course, this is isn’t your normal coffeshop franchise (thankfully), so be prepared to squeeze out that extra buck on your meal – it’ll be worth it.

Upon walking through the glass door, the relaxed and sophisticated atmosphere of this quaint space instantly washes over you. Shades of brown cover the walls and floors, and are contrasted with splashes of orange accents. A glass display case houses baked goods, from croissants to decadent chocolate cakes. Ornate lighting fixtures hanging from the ceiling and natural light pouring in from the big window brighten up the cozy café. Jazz music plays quietly over the din of the coffee maker. I was instantly in love.

Greeted by easy-going, smiling staff, I ordered myself a caramel macchiato latte (with no knowledge of what a macchiato is), hot chocolate, and a slice of chocolate cake with a name I connected spiritually to – ‘Chocolate Devotion’.

Caramel Macchiato Latte.

After years of buildling a Tim-Hortons-based standard of what hot beverages I deemed acceptable, the hot chocolate and caramel latte brew me away. Never again shall I fork over $4 for a water-downed ‘Caramel Dream Latte’ again – this concotion, topped with an intricate foam-and-caramel design, pleasantly surprised me. The hot chocolate could only be described as a celestial experience of drinking smooth, liquid chocolate; no strange powder or thick, syrupy residue stained the bottom of the glass. The Chocolate Devotion obviously did not disappoint.

Having already attracted a few regulars, the place was bustling with young moms and elderly couples chatting over stylish white plates of sandwiches and salads. The baristas sparked friendly and casual conversation with us, and made sure our experience was smooth.

Perfect Blend adds that extra ‘omph’ of clean, modern charm to the Weston community; something we’ve needed for a while. And ever-so-eloquently stated by ‘bobyouruncle’ in the comment section of a previous Perfect Blend post, this place is definitely better than Starbucks.

 


This post was brought to you by:

The Victory Community Credit Union, now at their new location at 2011 Lawrence Avenue West, Suite 11. Stop by and meet Weston’s best bankers!