Food & Drink, Venues

Etc. April 2013

Rock Lobster

Photo credit: David G. Christen, CA7 Media Photo credit: David G. Christen, CA7 Media

Lobsters, oysters and clams oh my! Crustaceans and bivalves are the culinary cornerstone of Smoked & Cracked, a new full-service caterer celebrating the shelled water dwellers with ever so many delicious menu ideas and ways to serve. Think raucously fun traditional East Coast lobster boils with tables piled high with fresh-from-the-pot tails and claws, pre-cracked for easy eating, and all the fixings. Customized sit-down menus and grazing stations zero in on tastes ranging from flavourful chowders and bisques and lobster any which way (thumbs up to lobster poutine and lobster rolls!) to raw bar offerings and small plates such as smoked scallops.

Michael Kash and Ron Raymer launched the company in December 2012. Their chosen logo, a top-hatted “smoking” crustacean, is an iconic image from 1906 which is around the time lobster first gained popularity as a high-end cuisine. Along with catering in the GTA and Muskoka, the pair, who have 60 years combined culinary experience, plans to expand their specialty into a retail concept.

Game Changer

Who says games are just for kids? Certainly not the adults engaged in the lively air hockey and virtual bowling matches happening in Cineplex’s XSCAPE Entertainment Centres. The movie theatre juggernaut recently rolled out the red carpet on the full-service, licensed lounge and interactive games concept at several SilverCity and Cineplex Odeon locations across the GTA. Casual, spacious and lively, XSCAPE’s gaming-lounge combo is available for private buy-out with capacities ranging from 60 to 250 depending on location.

Event options include pairing a big-screen presentation, whether company-focused or a blockbuster movie, with post-viewing fun. Or customize a unique Olympics-style team-building competition around the 80-plus interactive game stations, gathering players in the lounge for a post-champion toast and meal. Super kid-friendly, the centres make a great corporate family destination. Game points can be traded for Cineplex-supplied merchandise at redemption counters – swap out prizes for your event’s corporate swag.

Raise A Pint

Get your Octoberfest on year-round with the opening of Mill Sreet Brewpub the Beer Hall, which extends the local brewery’s Distillery District footprint with private event options. Multi-coloured wood, steel and copper provide interesting layered textures and a modern take on a classic beer hall. In addition to the rotating selection of Mill St. beers, there’s Bierschnaps as the house drink, a traditional German liquor being distilled onsite and served in frozen shot glasses.

Spacious throughout with communal seating, events can book out the back of the restaurant for 110 people. A heated, covered patio adds an alfresco element for an additional 110. Total restaurant capacity is 350. The open-concept kitchen’s menu focus is wood-fired pizzas and unpretentious sharing plates featuring beer as both ingredient and pairing. Owner, pub-powerhouse Fab Concepts, has also launched its second Against the Grain urban tavern in Leaside. Private event space is available on the tavern’s second floor with large group bookings on the patio.