Showing initiative

The restaurant industry has always given unstintingly of its blood, treasure and, more importantly, time whenever a good cause has arisen. Way above and beyond the call of duty, I’d say. Here is just one more example – an initiative called Stop For Food. Until Saturday March 28, no fewer than 26 Toronto restaurants are offering a locally focused prix fixe menu for $50 per person, with $10 of that being donated directly to The Stop Community Food Centre. I think it’s a brilliant way to promote local cuisine, help The Stop in its invaluable work and also support the restaurants involved. Here is the list of 26:

Alice’s Restaurant, Amuse-Bouche Restaurant, Batifole, Blu, C5 restaurant, Citizen, Cowbell, Crush, Czehoski, Fat Cat, Frank, H20, Gamelle, The Gladstone, Grano, The Harbord Room, Kaiseki Sakura, Marben, Niagara Street Café, Perigee Restaurant, Rosebud, Torito, Trevor Kitchen, Universal Grill, Vertical, Victor.

Cut the list out. Glue it to your fridge. Keep another copy in your wallet and another in your car. Let it become your default gazette of Toronto dining options now and for all time. These are the good guys.

But what if wine is your dearest love – and I mean really good wine – wine you cannot actually afford. Hie thee to Lucien where co-patron Simon Bower has devised a brilliant way to put savvy bums on seats. For the next few months he has slashed the usual mark-up on some very primo bottles. Examples? Luighi Righetti Amarone 2005 for a mere $58. Château de Maligny Chablis 2007 for $59. Lane Tanner Pinot Noir 2007 for $79. Domaine Leflaive Puligny Montrachet Clavoillion 1er Cru Burgundy for $137. And more than a dozen others. Bower calls the idea Great Wines for our Times but of course these wines are perennially great and these prices are extraordinary. Why, it’s almost as if you had a fabulous wine cellar of your own.

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