• Toronto,  WorldWide

    barchef… A New Movement in Mixology

    “A cocktail is an example of one’s passion”- Frankie Solarik

    Last night I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Brent Vanderveen and Frankie Solarik; owners of the stylish and sophisticated barchef. Located on vibrant Queen Street West at the corner of Queen and Augusta; it is the only cocktail-focused bar in Toronto! barchef came on the scene on December 9th, 2008 with cocktails from $8 to $45 and there all totally worth it!!

    Visually, this place is a dream! You step into a dark room that’s brought to life by candle light, and the scent of fresh herbs, spices and caramelised fruits immediately captures you. The decor is simple, clean and classic and you can’t help but notice the colorful glow of the 50lb block of ice that’s sits atop the bar, as well as the mise en place of fresh ingredients. There’s an energy in the room that is indescribable… Frankie greets us with a smile, as he places a simple and elegant menu in front of us; “Time for some cocktails ladies?”

    There are four categories to this exciting menu: Recession, Sweet, Sour and Molecular.

    The Recession page, an “ode to a classic style, with a barchef twist” features a variety of $8 cocktails, and a disclaimer that warns: “Drinks back in the day were hardcore so please bear in mind that you will taste the booze”. This page rocks!!

    The Sweet page features a number of sweet and tantalizing $12 cocktails as well as two award winning cocktails. The Rosemary Orange, a popular cocktail that consists of vanilla infused lemoncello, Amaro, fresh squeezed orange, lemon, muddled rosemary, rosemary syrup, rosemary, vanilla, and a cinnamon sugar rim! Another popular cocktail is the Barchef Rocket- Toronto’s Official Cocktail! This cocktail consists of Smirnoff raspberry, curacao, fresh lime, lemoncello, pomegranate aril, and an effervescent citric sugar rim! Mmm mmm GOOD! Now that’s how you put on for your city!

    The Lavender Cosmo, which by the way is my new favourite cocktail can be found on the Sour page. It features fresh muddled cranberry, lavender, vodka, navan, fresh lime, cranberry, vanilla, effervescent and a sugar rim. The cocktails on this page will really bring your taste buds to life! With the Lavender Cosmo you first taste the sweet crunchy sugar on the rim, followed by the smooth and delicate vanilla foam, and lastly the cool refreshing taste of the cranberry, vodka and fresh lime! This is definitely one for the ladies! Frankie enjoys playing with both taste and texture, and this cocktail is loaded with both!

    The cocktail of ALL cocktails can be found on the Molecular page; The Vanilla Hickory Smoked Manhattan. If the name doesn’t get you, then the preparation will! This cocktail features vanilla and hickory smoked Crown Royal Extra Rare, fresh lemon, in-house cherry-vanilla bitter, hickory smoked syrup, and vanilla cognac. It’s $45 and is definitely worth every single penny! It’s sophisticated, savoury and smooth. This drink is for anyone that appreciates the finer things in life…

    Interviewing Brent and Frankie was truly an amazing and inspiring experience. Frankie’s passion for cocktails is reflected in the menu, and is demonstrated in his cocktail preparation. His understanding of taste and how to pair ingredients to make unique and tasty cocktails is remarkable! He makes it a fun and interactive experience, answering questions from the mesmerized crowd all the while mixing, shaking, and even cooking! People whip out their cameras every time he makes the Vanilla Hickory Smoked Manhattan; there’s smoke, there’s fire, it’s quite a show! When asked how he feels about this cocktail he responds, “it’s the epitome of what I can do as far as respecting the subtlety and complexity of a spirit”. Spoken like a true mixologist. Brent speaks passionately about the cocktail movement, about wanting to introduce Toronto to the cocktail culture. Brent wants to show Toronto something new and exciting, and I they’re doing just that!

    Visit their website www.barcheftoronto.com for hours of operations and more info!

    In the words of Brent Vanderveen, “Don’t do the regular, DO Barchef!”

    If you’re looking for something fun and new to do tonight, DO Barchef! Every Thursday is Absinthe Thursdays!!

    “We don’t want to market ourselves as untouchable. We want everyone to come to barchef, enjoy a few cocktails with a good crowd, and have a good time”– Brent Vanderveen.



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  • Uncategorized

    Laid Off Camp

    Misery loves company, as the saying goes, but so, too—one could argue—do creative ideas. It should come as no great surprise, then, to see growing numbers of laid-off professionals coming together at newly launched LaidOffCamps to network, brainstorm and find inspiration for the next phase of their careers.

    Founded in January, LaidOffCamp organizes free, ad-hoc gatherings of unemployed and nontraditionally employed people—including freelancers and entrepreneurs—who want to share ideas and learn from each other. Sessions at LaidOffCamp meetings address topics such as living on an extreme budget, building a personal brand, how to be a freelance consultant and more. The camps are based on the Bar Camp model in which all attendees participate, and there are no prescheduled presentations. All planning and coordination is done through the LaidOffCamp wiki. The first day-long LaidOffCamp took place earlier this month in donated space in San Francisco, and was reportedly packed to bursting with attendees and potential employers alike. Many more LaidOffCamps are planned, beginning next month in Los Angeles.

    Necessity is the mother of invention, to use another oft-repeated saying. It may be rough going these days, but it’s also a time of opportunity, both for innovators and for sponsors. Apply free love and/or sympvertising today, and reap the rewards for years to come!

    Website: www.laidoffcamp.com
    Contact: info@laidoffcamp.com
    Follow LaidOffCamp on Twitter

    Living on a budget
    Building your personal brand
    Finding a job / work in this market
    How to freelance / be a consultant
    Finding co-founders
    Affordable health insurance

    from SpringWise.com

    From NatalieDee

  • Uncategorized

    Lipstick Effect

    The ‘recession’ is real. More real than the receding hair line on that dude, more real than the receding tidal waves at dusk on a beach, and more real than the receding hem lines at every private girls school in the city. Yep. I read this article on Forbes today and it talked about the Lipstick Effect that occured during the Great Depression, production of beauty producted halved but sales rose between 1929-1933. This is an economical theory that women will buy more beauty products and lipsticks to make themselves feel better in times of economic uncertainity. After 9/11, US sales in lipsticks doubled. Well this makes a lot of sense to me – as many of you know, I do freelance work and there are often times of economic uncertainities in my person budget – hence the 100 lipglosses I have! These are ‘feel good’ items that does the job without the heavy $$. So! Hello to Sephora, Make Up For Ever and all that good stuff. Buy yourself a little lipstick or lipgloss because you have to wait on that bag, those shoes and that spring trench you have been eyeing. A lipstick is a reasonable indulgence.

    Some of my personal favorites:
    L’Oreal Color Juice Stick in Island Punch

    Elizabeth Arden Hot Pink or Pink Vibrations

    Thierry Mugler Lip Lacker in Pink

    GOSH High Shine Lip Cream in Raisin

    Urban Decay Lipstick in Peroxide

    Sephora Lip Attitude in Trendy Pink

    While clothing stores are shutting down left, right, centre – accessories and makeup stores are actually doing quite well. I have noticed that several stores on Queen St W have shut down. The stores between BlackBull to Lemor are all gone, the shoe store on Beverley and Queen also goners, the jewelry store by Adidas also for lease. And all 6 RK stores are shutting down. Yikes. But, M.A.C has these wicked ChromaLiquid Liners in blue, yellow, white, green! PS: I think you can get the same effect with clown paint and a great brush.

    Since 2009, I gave up Starbucks, shopping per event habit, eating out only 15 times a week now as opposed to 21 times :). I will not give up my Blackberry data plan, buying fresh meat for my dog, getting my eyebrows waxed, going to the movies at least twice a week and books.

    Hard times ahead, but lips sure are glossy. What will you give up?

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