Reasons You Should Visit Colette This Summer

Colette Grand Cafe in Toronto has a reputation for being a strikingly beautiful French restaurant and cafe, and it's easy to see how they hold that status. Pictured below is their outdoor pavilion, situated between a calm water feature on one side and a bustling park on the other.

Wednesday was a customer appreciation day of sorts, where Colette served up free food and sangria to local patrons. Upon entering the pavilion we were immediately offered freshly shucked oysters (good call guys!) and were greeted by the fragrant smell of a charcoal BBQ. Oysters are one of my favorite foods to eat in a restaurant because they are generally freshly shucked right before serving which reduces the possibility of cross-contamination. They are also a meal or snack on their own, and pair really well with either wine, bubbly, or beer, depending on the restaurant and location. There are enough varieties that the meal can be interesting without getting too adventurous into the front of unknown (and un-allergy-tested) foods. So oysters are unsurprisingly one of my go-to menu items to order when dining out.

I've been to Colette for coffee, lunch, and dinner many times and I'm always impressed with how they handle my food allergies. When dining with my family there are three of us with severe allergies and the staff is always able to accommodate our requests with diligence and grace. They tick off all the boxes I generally check for:
- The server is understanding, writes down the allergies, clarifies when needed, and doesn't make a patronizing remark
- They check with the chef before confirming that the item I've ordered is suitable
- The allergies are reiterated when the plate is brought to the table
- The staff is knowledgeable about the menu specifics and about allergens, cross contamination, etc.

Joella and Bran tasted some of their other offerings, including this delightful little salad skewer, a grilled octopus bite with raisins, and sangria. They gave rave reviews to everything especially the octopus. In Bran's words, "This is how octopus should be done!"

Another reason to visit Colette is the atmosphere. The place is full of thoughtful little touches and fresh flowers. It's a great place to sit and sip a coffee or linger after an abundant dinner.If you live in Toronto, head over there this weekend! And if you don't, add it to your list of places to try out on your next visit. You won't be disappointed.



Rexfords. A fresh way to eat in Toronto

Do you love comfort food?
Do you want it to be healthy?
Do you not have the time or skills necessary to make healthy comfort food at home?
And finally, do you live in Toronto and love a good deal?

If you answered 'yes' to any of these questions then you've gotta check out Rexfords, a new local meal prep company that's delivering fast, healthy, delicious comfort food to the 416. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Kevin, one of the founders, to talk about their mission as a company. To my delight and surprise it ended up being a discussion of his passion for Rexfords and for food.

Chef Kevin
As I mentioned, Kevin is seriously passionate about food. He learned to cook from his grandmother and grew up with foodie parents who owned a Chinese-Canadian restaurant in Hamilton where he was exposed to life in the kitchen. He described moving from slower-paced Hamilton to the big city as a pretty big undertaking and from what I gathered it's because he managed to accomplish so much. While managing several restaurants around the city he also ran pop-up restaurants where he was able to showcase his talent and build good rapport with local food bloggers before starting this endeavor with his best friend Peter. Despite all of his success I would best describe Kevin as humble and grounded.

The Rexfords Mission
He explained to me his philosophy that when you let ideas grow organically you end up doing your best work. They want to provide customers a Sunday night meal for every night of the week, and their menu is designed to provide everyone's favorite comfort foods. From Beef Bourguignon to spaghetti and meatballs, they offer something for everyone and the menu changes every week. They don't feel that good food should come at a price either. They believe in total body health which means recharging properly after working out or at regular meal times. Each meal has a protein, vegetable, and starch to provide the balanced nutrients your body needs.

That Killer Logo
If you're wondering how Peter and Kevin came up with the name, Rexford is the name of the street Kevin grew up on in Hamilton, where both guys are from. The T-rex is a clever play on words but also signifies the scale and impact of their move to Toronto, while the small human next to it represents themselves and this massive project they're conquering. These guys really put a ton of thought into everything! Both went to McMaster, where they met, and have been friends for almost 10 years.

How They Handle Allergies
I couldn't leave without asking Kevin how they handle food allergies in such a busy kitchen. His answer was pretty simple and made a lot of sense; someone preps the meals for people with allergies in an area physically separated from the rest of the food prep. They really value cleanliness and all hands in the kitchen wear gloves. Not only does this help keep the kitchen clean but it makes it easier to prevent cross-contamination. Very little nuts or peanuts are used in their meals to begin with as it's such a common allergen. All emails regarding dietary restrictions are answered by Kevin personally so that he can get the full scope of their needs and ensure clear communication to the rest of the kitchen staff. We talked about the difference between preference and allergy, a distinction he always takes time to clarify. As you can see in the photo below, all meals are labelled with which common allergens they are free from as they have a number of regular clients with food allergies.

Where Can You Get This Amazing Food?
The focus of their branding right now is on gyms and fitness centres where you can find fridges stocked with Rexfords meals for $8 each. They also have a fridge at BrightLane, a communal office space on King St West. And of course you can order their meals online at