Toronto was truly “enjoying” a picture perfect Winter Wonderland. I found myself marching up Bay Street in the middle of a blizzard at 5pm on a Friday evening in the middle of January. I rounded the corner at Yorkville Avenue and soon found myself standing at the entrance to The Hazelton Hotel’s One Restaurant and Bar.
Located in the heart of Toronto’s creme de la creme fashion district, Chef Mark McEwan’s One has been a celebrity fan favourite for years. In September, during the height of the Toronto International Film Festival, this Yorkville restaurant and bar is the place to see and be seen.
I was quickly seated at a table overlooking the bar and offered sparkling water and lemon as I waited for my guest, Jonathan Morton Schuster to arrive. A massive portrait of Lady Gaga hung behind me while Penelope Cruz seemed as though she were in a framed fit of ecstasy across the room.
When Jonathan arrived we exchanged a kiss-kiss before absorbing ourselves in menu decisions. I had just completed three rather exhausting press trips and had barely seen my best friend all month. We had plenty of catching up to do! Shortly after he sat down a small bowl of One’s complimentary bar mix was placed in the centre of our table. Jonathan and I both winked at each other as our fingers eagerly shot across the table. An addictive mix of premium nuts tossed in sugar, butter and cayanne.
We spent the next several hours sinking into our soft leather chairs while sipping on some of the cities most creative cocktails. Our beverages were complimented by smug mugs ready to devour a wild variety of the kitchens comfort food centric offerings.
Our favourite cocktails that evening were The Hazelton (madame butterfly infused gin, rosemary lemonade, ginger syrup, perrier) and the Headless Horsemen (bacardi oakheart, orange pumpkin cinnamon puree, smoked syrup, perrier, dehydrated orange). My two favourites from camp savoury: perfectly crisped tempura prawns and an addictive BBQ chicken quesadilla oozing with red onions and double cream brie. We were both wide eyed as our meal came to a close with the arrival of a massive salted caramel sundae. A work of sweet art adorned with carmel corn, orange and chocolate crunch.
We sampled (* notes my favourites):
The Hazelton *
madame butterfly infused gin, rosemary lemonade, ginger syrup, perrier
grey goose la poire, st. germain elderflower, sauvignon blanc, apple, lime
raspberry infused ketel one vodka, fresh raspberry, champagne
Headless Horseman *
bacardi oakheart, orange pumpkin cinnamon puree, smoked syrup, perrier, dehydrated orange
bacardi black, antic formula, taylor’s port, creme de cacao, xocolati mole bitters, angustura bitters
Bar Snacking *
hazelnuts, peanuts, cashews, brazil nuts, almonds, butter, sugar, cayanne
BBQ Chicken Quesadilla *
grilled red onions, double cream brie, jalapeno crema, guacamole
Tempura Prawns *
thai curry aioli, peanut sauce
8oz U.S.D.A Prime Burger
applewood smoked cheddar, roasted pork belly, “mac” sauce and fried green tomato
Grilled Cheese Bacon Sandwich
smoked cheddar, double smoked bacon, pullmans loaf
Salted Caramel Sundae *
salted caramel ice cream, caramel corn, orange, chocolate crunch