- January 2018 (9)
- December 2017 (14)
- November 2017 (7)
- October 2017 (12)
- September 2017 (6)
- August 2017 (8)
- July 2017 (9)
- June 2017 (6)
- May 2017 (6)
- April 2017 (9)
- March 2017 (8)
- February 2017 (6)
- January 2017 (4)
- December 2016 (8)
- November 2016 (5)
- October 2016 (7)
- September 2016 (5)
- August 2016 (1)
- July 2016 (3)
- June 2016 (10)
- May 2016 (8)
- April 2016 (8)
- March 2016 (7)
- February 2016 (7)
- January 2016 (6)
- December 2015 (7)
- November 2015 (3)
- October 2015 (10)
- September 2015 (5)
- August 2015 (2)
- July 2015 (2)
- June 2015 (4)
- May 2015 (7)
- April 2015 (5)
- March 2015 (8)
- February 2015 (7)
- January 2015 (6)
- December 2014 (6)
- November 2014 (8)
- October 2014 (6)
- September 2014 (6)
- August 2014 (6)
- July 2014 (7)
- June 2014 (9)
- May 2014 (8)
- April 2014 (4)
- March 2014 (6)
- February 2014 (5)
- January 2014 (5)
- December 2013 (6)
- November 2013 (5)
- October 2013 (5)
- September 2013 (7)
- August 2013 (5)
- July 2013 (7)
- June 2013 (6)
- May 2013 (3)
- April 2013 (7)
- March 2013 (5)
- February 2013 (6)
- January 2013 (6)
- December 2012 (5)
- November 2012 (6)
- October 2012 (6)
- September 2012 (6)
- August 2012 (4)
- July 2012 (8)
- June 2012 (5)
- May 2012 (4)
- April 2012 (5)
- March 2012 (5)
- February 2012 (5)
- January 2012 (5)
- December 2011 (4)
- November 2011 (4)
- October 2011 (6)
- September 2011 (4)
- August 2011 (6)
- July 2011 (5)
- June 2011 (7)
- May 2011 (3)
- April 2011 (1)
- February 2011 (4)
- January 2011 (5)
- December 2010 (3)
- November 2010 (5)
- October 2010 (2)
Happy Holidays BITC readers!
It’s that time of year to create some cheer, to get us through the short days, and the long hours of darkness. I’ve decided to share a family recipe for simple shortbread cookies that will impress friends and fam, and bearded Santas!
My mother was given the recipe by her Aunt Jo, and they are a holiday staple when we are able to see each other during the festive season.
These cookies are easy to make and fun to customize! And they taste delicious, just as they are. I’ve added some sugar snowflakes on top of the ones I made. My mother likes to add candied cherries to the mix, but no additions are necessary.
They are not too sweet and can be paired with fun holiday drinks! And wine!
For this recipe you’ll need a bowl to mix ingredients, a rolling pin, board or flat surface, cookie cutters, and a cookie tray.
1 cup soft butter
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 300 F.
Blend softened butter with cornstarch, sugar, vanilla, and flour. I did this by hand, just enough for the dough to stick together, and be evenly mixed.
Roll out balled up dough on floured board to 3/8″ thickness.
Cut in festive shapes! I used star and rabbit shapes. I couldn’t resist, I love rabbits.
And use the excess dough to form new balls to roll out.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
And now you have some yummy cookies to share and enjoy!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone!
Isn’t this awesome? Shortbread cookies and wine? Let’s go!
Pierre Sparr Réserve Gewurztraminer 2016
So for this wine review/pairing I picked a dry Gewurztraminer and I shall go into explaining why and then talk about the wine specifically. So first off, I chose this wine because it has a nice oily texture that I think would pair very well with the buttery goodness of the shortbread and I picked a slightly dry one because the shortbread will be not too sweet. Now this wine is, like I said, dry and has a nice full body. It has aromas of stone fruit, orange, and spice and that can be picked up on the palette too. The wine has medium acidity that helps balance the body. Chill this well and enjoy with your shortbread!
Erik Flemming Wine with Erik
Sarah Germani Journey with Germani
B.I.T.C Holiday Note!
I just wanted to take a quick moment to thank Sarah and Erik for their wicked wine and recipe blogs this year. I’m lookong forward to your great articles in 2018! Watch for Sarah and Erik back the first Tuesday and Wednesday in January!
Editor Mary Ellen Monk
For the past few years I’ve done a top 5 Canadians list at my blog’s year end! This year I’m posting it a bit early because I’m just too excited to wait any longer! So people here we go! I’m happy to announce that there are three from “The 6” in my top 5 this year!
#5 The number five spot belongs to Michelle Duberry. Hands down the most influential female impersonator and drag queen in Toronto’s iconic Gay Village as well as Canada. Her story has been featured on many news media spots and her contribution to Toronto is that of a true social changing icon. I personally adore her and wish Michelle nothing but health, happiness, and riches!
#4 In the fourth spot I am pleased to announce another
community is note worthy. The owner of The Lodge, The Drink, and with his influence on many other iconic watering spots along the Church Street strip Jimmy has encouraged the importance of supporting gay owned and operated establishments. He has supported many important social awareness initiatives and an unintentional advocate of body proud! Larger set, gay males (Bears,Cubs etc) face many of the same body shaming behaviours within the gay community that larger woman face in both straight and gay communities and Jimmy has been a champion within the Bear social groups! We are sexy too!
#3 This fellow I’m certain by now has become a household name! Eric McCormick! If I’m not mistaken from Scarborough. See good stuff can come out of there.
he has been in my top 5 in the past and I’m glad to have him back on my list. He has been an advocate for Gay Rights and for a straight man he is definitely super fabulous. I was his customer service ambassador once while I was at Holt Renfrew and he was a really down to earth dude. I love that he has also helped champion the Gilda Radner charity. I attended the Gilda Radner charity fundraiser and he along with many other artist entertained and educated us all on the importance of cancer research. I’m a huge fan of course of Will & Grace which made its triumphant comeback this year and Eric once again, along with the whole cast, are killing it!
#2 This man just makes me laugh. Pure and simple. A Canadian icon in his own right Rick Mercer is my number two choice for top Canadian this year! I think he may have made my list in the past so welcome back. With the announcement that Rick will be retiring The Rick Mercer show it’s so important to take the time to recall what it was that he did for Canada! He reminded us everyday the importance of togetherness, awareness and the concept that in the craziness of ever growing communities we are one village. He has been vocal in his political ideas and has engaged the everyday person before it was in vogue. He is a shy and private man at his roots, remaining ever humble and approachable. Rick has shed light on indigenous culture to the importance of our fishing industry. If you want to know more about our wonderful country you can hit up Youtube for previous episodes and of course watch the current episodes on CBC! Simply put, Rick Rocks!
#1 Gord Downie
He gets my number one spot for a second year. With the passing of Mr. Downie I can’t help but recall all the incredible albums of music, all so riveting. I was strolling a local
Roots shop the other day and The Hip was playing in the stereo overhead. That incredible voice and those unmistakable lyrics. It’s impossible to describe an artist like Gord Downie. There are only a handful of artists that have changed the face of Canadian consciousness like Mr. Downie has. Look at his latest work, just as an example of what makes him ever relevant. Our prayers remain with you always. Gord Downie will forever live in the conscience of Canadian culture.
It’s time for Badass B.I.T.C Beard of the Week! This local bearded bear can be found mixing drinks at a local watering hole called The Lodge. This is Aaron! He is an excellent artist and I’m looking forward to featuring his work right here on my blog in 2018! I think he’s available boys! Aaron you have been entered for the year end prize! Good luck!
Editor Mary Ellen Monk
And so it is that time of year again that stores pull out all the props to tempt you and lure you into their dens of delectables and whether you are a traditionalist or more of a modern novice, Christmas shopper gift giving is no easy task. I have found a perfectly magical shop this holiday season and I’m even inspired enough to call it my number one destination this year for novel, naughty, sentimental, classic, coy, and collectable gifts you will find in Toronto. Turn on your favourite Christmas song and allow me to paint you a picture.
The nights begin to chill in the fall of 1986. To boys, Ted & Mario, have been planning for months to fulfill their life’s dream of opening a shop that would celebrate Christmas year round. The holidays are soon approaching and as the weeks draw closer, the snow begins to fall one hustle bustle night late November as Ted & Mario open their doors for the first time. “Flatirons” was their Christmas dream come true and a tradition was born. It may or may not have happened just like that but one thing is for sure, Toronto has been loving them ever since. I asked the boys to share their story with me and as I explored their shop, they shared their dream with me.
We opened in 1986 and have been Toronto’s year-round Christmas market for over thirty years. At one point we had 3 stores, most notably on Church St. for 20 years. We have specialized in high quality and authentic Christmas items by going to Europe and sourcing nutcrackers and blown glass (in a riot of incarnations) as well we always look for truly exceptional pieces like the Merman you purchased in our store today. We like to push the boundaries. Over the years we have pioneered and introduced countless treasures to our customers, “everyday folk” (all types) as well as many celebrities (that’s another story). We see people from around the world looking for something to remind them of their visit to our wonderful city. We have made some wonderful friends. Many people have extensive collections. We know regulars who have hundreds of nutcrackers, vintage glass, snow globes, and themed ornaments. The appetite is one you can’t fill. Toronto Life has awarded us with the distinction of having the most outrageous selection of risqué greeting and seasonal cards in the city. We elves can be very naughty.
We have received numerous awards for marketing, have appeared on television shows (even in Japan and the Netherlands), in a book about Christmas in Canada and in print and other media. We have also contributed to many community projects over the years. We hope we’re not boasting too much but it’s been 30+ years… It’s been quite a life.
We were young when we started, now…. well we won’t go there and have seen a lot. The “Christmas World” is always changing reflecting fashion, demographics and tastes but there are constants. The goodwill for one and the so-called spirit of Christmas is still there if we look for it. We have the pleasure of sharing it with so many customers especially at this time of year.
They are kindred spirits that visit and shop in our store.
Bruce, we have a book or two inside of us but that’s for another day.
Ted Genova and Mario Friedrich,
Christmasmarket, 35 Jarvis St.Open MTWT 11:00am-6:00pm, Sat.10:00am-5:00pm, Sun.11-5
” We Believe in Santa Claus ”
I could not have summed up your magical shop any better. I trust I’ll get an invite to your book launch.
With much Christmas affection!
And now one of the newest but ever growing in popularity, The Badass B.I.T.C Beard of the Week!
This week it’s all about Mark! Born in Toronto he used to be a gold miner and worked for the CN Tower underground. Mark loves northern living. He has a beautiful other half that is his soul mate. He is very proud of his son.
Some of this sexy mans favourite things are a nice meal a good drink and close friends. Mark also loves to cook. If that doesn’t get your heart pitter pattering he also draws and loves to make things with his hands! And woof! Am I right Guys and Gals?!? Congrats Mark you are now enter in the year end draw!
Bruce in the City
Editor Mary Ellen Monk
Hey B.I.T.C readers!
It won’t be long now and that big, old, fat bear with that big, old, white beard will be filling your stocking with all kinds of treats. It’s Toronto Christmas launch with the Santa Clause Parade today. I thought this would be the perfect time to pre-holiday prepare you with my top 5 cool picks for gift giving ideas, entertainment, and places to refuel while getting into the holiday spirit in Toronto. It’s really starting to look a lot like Christmas and even though many hum-buggers are all whining right now because it’s too early, just remember those are usually the people that give the shittiest gifts so the next time you hear someone complain about Christmas and the Holidays be thankful to Old Saint Nick that you’re not on their gift giving list. Why? Repeat after me, their gifts suck!
Now that we have totally insulted more than a quarter of my readers I topologically apologies for my harsh words even though they’re true.
#5 I think it’s so important to be entertained over the season. Don’t be fooled, I’m not oblivious to how stressful this season is. I’m not so sure why we put so much pressure on ourselves but we do and it’s fruitless really. Every year it’s the same old thing. People panicking to give to impress. Seriously, if I had friends like that I would ship them off to misfit island and I wouldn’t give out the Jedi map to get them back. At number 5 this year of coolest picks it would have to be “High Five”. I just love this quartet of women. I’ve had the chance to enjoy their musical talents the last two Christmas at a shop I was managing. I may have to call them up for another run at my new shop. They are acapellically talented. Singing all the holiday classics and it’s so cute. I think the hardest of hardcore Metallica fans would enjoy this vocal highlight. I’m certain they are getting booked up pretty fast so if you have a special event they would bring some welcomed magic to it, no doubt.
Shows, Corporate Events, Caroling, Parties!!
Contact: Julia @ 905-304-8282 or Julia @ email@example.com
#4 Every good holiday is not complete without a fabulous delicatessen. Am I right? Of course I’m right. I found a good one. Have you heard of Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market? It is fabulous as a landmark all on its own but it’s what is inside that really counts which is what I say about everything. As I made my way through the massive market the other day I came across a very fabulous spot, Scheffler’s Delicatessen & Cheese. It has been in business since 1955. How great right? They have all kinds of great stuff. Homemade and ready for consumption! Preserves, an endless buffet of deli meats, cheeses in inviting displays as high as the sky and the ladies behind the counter are so helpful and fun. Of course I can’t help but notice the stunning bearded men and so I buy until my hearts content. You have to stop by the market this season or you’ll be missing out on a really tremendous experience.
Scheffler’s Delicatessen & Cheese
93 Front St East
St Lawrence Market
Upper Level #7
#3 Next on my Cool picks has got to be Kozlik’s Mustard Store! I just loved their selection of hand crafted mustards and I had no idea there were so many to choose from. Also located in The St Lawrence Market this cute, cool spot caught my attention pretty quick as I made my way through the grand hall. Kristie was my mustard guide. I really hope I got her name right. If I didn’t, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll correct this right away. She was wonderful and it surprised me when I asked her if she was the owner and she said no. It’s almost impossible to find people who will treat a business like it’s their own when it’s not. Businesses are foolish to not treat these special people with care. It’s rare. I hope this company treats her well. She seemed very happy so I’m going to assume they definitely do. She was very passionate and knowledgeable and I ended up buying a couple of mustards and enjoyed a taste when I arrived back at my condo. It’s a great gift idea and stocking stuffer if you felt inclined to help Santa out this season.
Dedicated to making the best mustard possible since 1948
ADDITIONAL CONTACT INFO
Good Mustard is Hot!
All Natural Canadian Mustard
Located in Toronto’s historical St. Lawrence Market
Follow us on Instagram @kozliksmustard
38 varieties of Canadian mustard
I’ll be stopping by before Christmas is through. I have a few friends in mind who will really enjoy this! I really hope you will also take the opportunity to discover these incredible Canadian mustards. It’s always great to support local business. It keeps the culture alive and well.
#2 Well readers, I don’t know about you but when I’m done shopping I need a great place to unwind, eat, drink, and be merry. The Irish Embassy has got you covered. It’s such a spectacular setting inside a 1870’s heritage bank. Its hospitality is truly an authentic Irish public house. It’s perfectly located in the heart of Toronto and of course I have frequented this cool spot on an occasion or two. I personally love the live music which ranges from folk to country to pop favorites and traditional Irish melodies. Live music is random so give them a shout if that’s what you’re looking for so you can pick the right time. I can’t help but get lost in the accents of my own family heritage, being of an Irish Scottish and French background. Where’s my kilt? Framed in marble and wood flooring with ceilings that are like 35 feet high this spot is a visual crowd pleaser. There is actually two rooms. The Embassy & The Dublin Lounge. The latter is more for partying. I’ve never actually enjoyed that room. I must take my pals there as soon as possible.
I could go on about this very special venue but I will let you enjoy their beautiful website which will fill in all of the blanks! But first read on to find out who the Badass B.I.T.C Beard of the Week is before you hit the link.
Irish Embassy Pub & Grill
49 Yonge Street Toronto On M5E 1J1
Next week find out which amazing cool spot is number one on my Holiday Cool List!
It’s that wicked time when I announce our Badass B.I.T.C Beard of the Week! Drum roll please. Where is the guy with the drum when I need him?
Ladies and gents please meet Kero!!!! Kero is the founder of Arabian Knights LGBTQ (instagram @aklgbtq) and is also an advocate for Middle Eastern refugees and immigrants living with or are affected by HIV. He also helps Middle Easterners find their voice and become leaders of their own lives. Kero’s message is “A Life with Love” which is perfect especially as we get closer to the Christmas and holiday season.
He is a really great guy and hey, he may even be single boys, but don’t quote me, I don’t keep up on everyone’s love life. I heard a rumor he is an amazing movie buddy.
Editor: Mary Ellen Monk
I kind of assume that most people know places that I blog about exist, like sushi restaurants, pubs, bear bars, leather clubs and such. But really, when you live in a place like Toronto you do tend to forget that some of these places are not the norm, as fun as they are. I’m thinking this place I’m about to tell you about may be just one of those places. It’s called “The Men’s Room”. Now you all may be picturing a cigar shop or maybe a steam bath. This place however is just a bit more edgy than that. They just celebrated their fourth anniversary and I took a couple of buddies of mine and spontaneously crashed their party. Now the real reason I wanted to stop by is because I actually have purchased and received their flavour of service. Let’s just say it’s for the more open minded male that’s not inhibited and jailed to the confines of penal conservatism. They carry male related toys and jock straps and even beard care. Kilts and T’s and full body sculpting of the hair removal kind and hair styles and grooms of the head. It’s the hair removal and undergarments that got my attention along with their array of beard oils and beard products. They’re an interesting team of men who basically remove the barriers of sexual and sensual limitations really for gay or straight men. Although, and this is only my opinion, I don’t believe straight men are as creative in bed as their queer counter part. I think they could use a trip to the men’s room just to get them on board with post millennium sexuality. Times have changed and labels don’t always help to open the mind to sexual maturity and awareness. The Men’s Room is fabulous and fierce. I will continue to be a fan as long as they keep us boys body beautiful, inside and out. Happy four years boys!
Editor: Mary Ellen Monk
Its that very awesome time again when we find out who is this weeks Badass B.I.T.C Beard of the Week! It’s wicked to get to know my followers on a new level by hearing about what drives their passion. This beard is for the ladies! This dude is definably a passionate tattoo artist with a killer beard! This is Brian and he creates amazing body art in London Ontario. I think he may be single ladies! If you would like more info on where this Badass Beard does his work just email me at email@example.com and congrats Brian you are now entered for the year end prize!
Hello B.I.T.C Readers!
I miss our Summer days but now we have cozy layers, hot drinks, and hearty food to enjoy!
I wanted to set out and find a recipe I hadn’t tried before, using seasonal and affordable ingredients. Which led me to Brussels sprouts and McIntosh apples. Yum! While doing some research and looking for ideas, I saw a lot of recipes that added bacon to the mix and thought, why not?
This is a recipe for roasted Brussels sprouts, apple, and bacon with a pinch of cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Super easy, just be careful to watch your fingers while prepping the sprouts and bacon. I recommend using a reliable, sharp knife for that step.
Enough Brussels sprouts to fill your tray, I grabbed about 6 handfuls (my hands are relatively small).
A McIntosh apple.
5 strips of bacon. You could use turkey bacon or veggie bacon, or you could skip it entirely.
A pinch of cinnamon, salt and pepper.
Lemon juice (optional).
A baking sheet and an oven.
Set your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit/220 Celsius.
First, wash and trim the ends off of the Brussels sprouts. Then cut them in half and add them to your baking sheet.
Cut up the apple into small chunks. Whenever I cook with apples, I like to squeeze some lemon juice onto the apple, to prevent it from prematurely browning but it’s not necessary. Add that apple to the sprouts.
Add a couple of shakes of cinnamon, salt, and pepper.
Next pour some olive oil over the pan, enough to lightly grease the bottom of the pan and coat the sprouts and apple once you have mixed everything together. I just got in there and used my hands.
Cut up your bacon into small pieces and add them to the mixture.
Once your oven is ready, pop that sheet in!
Bake for about 30 minutes, until bacon is nice and crispy and sprouts are tender.
Halfway during the baking, I turned my ingredients over so that they would cook more evenly and so that they wouldn’t stick to the pan.
An additional reason to make this dish: your home will smell amazing!
This is a great sweet and savory side dish using simple, seasonal ingredients. It is also a delicious way to prepare and dress up Brussels sprouts for someone who might find them bland.
Enjoy and happy cooking!
Sarah Germani for Bruce in the City
Edited by Mary Ellen Monk
Hey B.I.T.C readers!
I gotta say I’m a bit concerned with what I see going on around my city. Permit after permit for the allowance of condo development in the heart of local Toronto villages. It’s spookier than Halloween.
I love progress but it’s totally out of control. I love all the villages in my great city but I’m going to take this opportunity to keep my focus on the gay village. It’s literally getting pillaged with obsorbant rents giving way for major condo developers to swoop in and build their massive structures. The government makes their gold through taxes and we get stuck with corporate coffee shops and drug marts. We lose all the heart and heritage that makes a city a place where people want to mingle and mix and be. The crap truth is that these condos are getting bought up by foreign investors that’s don’t even live in the places. It’s a flip property in many cases driving up the cost of living for everyday Torontonians. So before our very special landmark village is raped into the condo jungle that our crap government is allowing, I’ve got more sexy hot spots you gotta check out before, heaven forbid, they become Shoppers Drug Marts.
I went on Halloween with some buddies of mine thanks to a cute fellow down at the door inviting guests in. I think the real highlight of this cute coffee house/cocktail lounge is its great view of the village street below where all the gouls were out in full force this hollows eve.
It seems this local trend of mixing coffee house and pub seems to be a crowd pleaser. I know I love it! Of course there is alway so much more to tell but alas, I’ll have to save it for another blog. After the long night that was Halloween it was most appropriate to vanish to the north lands to relax at my buddy’s cottage. Made for a perfect Halloween detox. By the way this property is available for summer and fall renting so if you’re looking for a fabulous escape from you’re crazy busy life get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll point you in the right direction!
The Drink 4 kisses out of 5. (Keeping the gay village alive)
Badass B.I.T.C Beard of the Week…. This hot bearded bro has got a nice big one! A beard of course.
Geoffrey is a Toronto local who works with costumes for small and large theatre productions in the city. He is also an entrepreneur and has his own kilt making business among other things. Look for a feature blog on this talented fellow later this month! Hey boys! I do believe this bearded bear is available!
Editor: Mary Ellen Monk
photos by Bruce Christopher and The Drink
So I have a pretty interesting wine this month for you all, it fits with the theme at this time of year. I’m also showing a little love to California this month to support all that is happening (you know the fires that wiped out a bunch of wineries). Also on a more cheery note, happy All Hollows Eve!
Carnivor Cabernet Sauvignon $17.95
This wine has a suuuper deep dark purple colour, its almost opaque! (at least in my lighting it is). The aromas coming from this wine are beautifully robust and complex with notes of mocha, blackberry, toasted oak, cassis, blueberry, and vanilla. It’s a dry wine with rich notes similar to the nose, and a full well rounded body. The wine has a great balance of acidity and bitterness that makes it feel very smooth. You can pair this wine with all kinds of food like a burger, grilled pork, or is you are inclined, a cigar!
Erik for Bruce in the City
Edited by Mary Ellen Monk