Wine with Erik! Victoria Day edition!

Hey all! Erik here once again!

Its pre long weekend stock the cellar time so I got a couple wines ready for ya! I went away to the Niagara region last weekend so since last month I did PEC, this month I’m going to have Niagara wines!

Red stone sparkling rose – $29.95

This is one of my favorite sparkling a in Niagara and is consistently good every year. This wine has a lovely pink colour and has a very tasful label. The wine has soft creamy bubbles, only a touch of sweetness and mouth watering acidity to balance it all together. Very great sparkling for out in the sun!

Thirty Mile Bench gwertraminer – $29.95

My friend didn’t enjoy this wine while we were going through the Niagara but it was the first one we had and was still my favorite of every style we had of this wine. And that’s the fun thing about this wine! It has many different styles and people love it or hate it so try at your own risk! On the nose the wine has notes of honey, peach, spice, lychee and floral note but I’m bad with flowers so not sure haha. On the mouth the wine has a rich kind of oily body, is very dry, and has a nice acidity that isn’t to sharp. Have this on its own slightly chilled or with some old cheese.                                             Chateau de Charmes Cabernet Sauvignon – $15.95
This is a fun fruit forward wine with some oak to soften it even more. On the nose it has notes of dark cherry, blackberry, black current, and vanilla. It’s a dry wine with nice soft tannins and juicy acidity with the fruit just bursting out to greet you. Enjoy on its own or with BBQ burgers!

Erik Fleming for Bruce in the City

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Journey with Germani! Feel Good Foodies!

Hello BITC readers!

Here’s another step in my journey to enjoying feel good food, and spreading a little food love.

We’ve made it to May! In preparation for the long weekend and the lovely month of May, I wanted to shine the spotlight on some salads that are great additions to a long weekend BBQ spread.

I make a pretty good marinade and can babysit some meat on the grill, but usually I’m the person bringing the salad/side to a potluck.

These are some of my fave salads to make and share with others, preferably outside and in the sunshine. I’m definitely not the first person to make salads like these, this is just a small collection of the salads that have become staples for me, my friends, and my family.

Cabbage salad:

Red pepper
Red onion
Red wine vinegar
Olive oil

Thinly slice cabbage, red pepper, and red onion. Arrange and drizzle with the dressing (half red wine vinegar, half olive oil, and a pinch of sugar). The small amount of sugar adds just enough sweetness to balance the bitterness of the cabbage.

Mango salad:

Ripe mango
Red onion
Red pepper
Lime juice
Chili pepper

This salad is sweet, tangy, and fresh. It’s a great companion to some hot and spicy BBQ, or anything with some heat to it. Thinly slice mango, red onion, and red pepper. Sprinkle crushed peanuts and chili pepper and drizzle lime juice. Don’t break the bank on pre-crushed peanuts, I just smashed a couple of whole roasted peanuts with the end of a knife (don’t cut yourself!).

I also used an Ataulfo or honey mango, and I would highly recommend them if you see these Mexican mangoes at your local grocery. They are sweet and very delicious.

Beet and date salad:

Beets (pickled or fresh)
Baby spinach
Pitted dates
Olive oil
Roasted cashews

This is another sweeter salad. Top baby spinach with sliced beets. Pickled beets are sweeter but fresh beets are quite tasty as well. Add a few chopped pitted dates. Drizzle with a dressing composed of half balsamic and half olive oil. Top with roasted cashews.

These salads are simple to prepare and can be adapted and added to depending on taste and what you enjoy. If you’re going to a potluck for the long weekend and don’t know what to bring, these are easy to prepare and travel-friendly.

I hope everyone is enjoying the pleasant weather and that everyone is in good spirits, despite the crazy times we live in.

Cheers to you! Enjoy a glass of your favourite summer beverage, and please treat yourself and others with kindness! You deserve it.

Sarah Germani for Bruce in the City


Mary Ellen Monk

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It’s All About The Irv

Hey Brucesters!

The sun is shining! The grass is green! The maples and evergreens sway! It’s such a perfectly gay day just before the month of May! Ok, ok. I ripped that off of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas!
If only everything was perfectly perfect. Well it is getting close. John and I are all a tizzy with the prospects of him getting a new church to direct. It’s been some time since he has been full time on an organ bench and it feels like this could be the one. I know one shouldn’t count their chickens before they’re hatched but I’d really love for him to get this. He’s directed there the last two weeks and I don’t know, call me impartial, but I thought he was brilliant and the congregation is really great. We decided after his service today that we would hit a little hot spot for some much needed substance. Of course, I mean food, not like substance. John suggested this little Gastro Pub on Carlton called The Irv. Honestly, at first glance, there almost seemed a glowing Epiphany star leading us to this non-descript spot. Humble and beckoning from the outside yet so trendy on the inside and barely a seat to be had. Clearly many had followed the same star.  Jacklyne greeted us and showed us a perfectly perfect spot in the rear end of the eatery. The decor was trendy bistro chic and the tunes today were early 80’s. There was a cute couple beside us who I chatted with for a moment about it being a little on the warm side in there, but apparently the landlord went off to Greece and left the heat blasting so not their fault. Our server was really amazing and we learned that the pub was in fact a family affair. They’ve been open about four years now and their story is a very special one. I’ll let Regan tell it in his own special way.

“After losing my Dad to ALS in January of 2013, my wife Jackie and I wanted to open a place of our own to pay tribute to the man they called Irv. With the support of my mother Tina our dream became a reality. Just over a year later on March 1st 2014, we opened our doors, trying our best to provide great service, a comfortable atmosphere and delicious homemade food.”
Cheers from our family to yours,
– Regan Irvine

I never cut and paste but honestly, I couldn’t have shared that any better. What an incredible story of hope and strength, family and community! Just an extra bit of info I thought was amazing they in their first year raised over $100,000 for ALS. Visit their official website at the end of this article for more fabulous facts about this wonderful pub!

We had the eggs benedict traditional and smoked salmon. Lovely hollandaise sauce with sweet potato and traditional home fries. Super yum! I had a cider (Pommies Cider from Caledon On) which is only $5.50 a pint on a Sunday and John had the house white. Both enjoyable! We chatted over the prospects of his new post and we hoped a little and prayed a lot. I personally hope he gets the position because it would mean more reasons to visit Irvs again and again! And who knows, John may even convince me to join the choir!

5 kisses out of 5


edited by Mary Ellen Monk

Posted in Check it Out!, Pubs, Restaurants, Try It! | Leave a comment

Badass B.I.T.C Beard #17

It’s Badass B.I.T.C Beard time again! Here is our last beard entry for April. This is Robby! Vote for this cute beard on my Instagram @bruceinthecity

Hey I’m Robby. I’m 53 years young!
I love making things with my hands, artsy stuff! I love to cook and bake.
I have diabetes and I am an amputee from my condition. I also have a shiny new pace maker. And with all that I’m still super easy going and loyal! Vote for me!
You heard him! Get over to my Instagram and vote for Robby! April’s winner will be announced next Friday!


edited by BWC

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Big News!!

Happy Birthday to my amazing editor Mark Ellen Monk! I couldn’t resist sharing this kick ass photo!


Bruce in the City

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Thoughts and Prayers

My beautiful city. Heartbroken. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and families of this terrible and violent act.

Bruce Christopher

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Oh bada boom, badda bing!

It feels like a lifetime ago when I rented a small white house just across the parking lot from the Oshawa Centre. I had gotten a job at East Side Mario’s as a server. I must have been in my early 20’s. I don’t think since that time have I ever gotten closer to people that I worked with. We were such a group and we were all coming of age. I decided to get out my video recorder and document our lives together. There was Jay (the groups designated cute guy. He reminded us of this lead singer from a popular band of the time), Paula (the crazy blonde because everyone needs a crazy blonde), Brenda (who didn’t actually work with us but was a friend of mine I brought into the circle as the perfect party companion), Aaron (the coolest and cutest fellow who had all the girl’s hearts a flutter, who also very sadly passed away recently), Grant who was the big boss with another intimidating dude name Sean, he was the owner. I did my best to make him laugh so he didn’t seem as scary.
It was the time of our lives, or at least it was for me. I never thought I’d get the job but my interview went off like a hitch! Grant, one of the managers I mentioned asked me what type of vegetable I’d like to be and I said a carrot. He asked me why and I calmly said it seems like a vegetable that could have a lot of fun. Well, I landed the job instantly and the next few years we worked and partied together it felt like every night. Enid, by the Barenaked Ladies was top of the charts along with The Tragically Hip and some early Sarah McLaughlin. The music just seemed so great back then.
All these people I mentioned and more came to mind today when I stopped into an East Side Mario’s near Eglinton and Victoria Park. The atmosphere and food has always been really great. I was craving that amazing house salad, the soup, and that warm garlic loaf. I sat in the booth and was transported back to a time in my life that was so expressive and awakening. Creating that documentary was one of the best times in my life. Believe it or not I still have it in my personal library. I pull it out once in a while and feast on the incredible memories. My server brought me back from my memories as he said hello and introduced himself. He was Connor. He was cute. I explained I just came in for the soup and salad combo and even though I had missed the serving time of that combo he smiled as if he knew I was reliving something that needed honouring and I was really happy he did. I watched everyone scooting around. I even heard one of their popular birthday songs I did so many nights on the clock! “It’s your birthday, where are you? We’re coming over to sing to you! East side Mario’s wishes you a happy day.” Etc., etc., etc. I can’t recall the rest but we all secretly hated doing it. Except for this guy named Darcy who always seemed game to lead the call for everyone. He was a funny guy. I think I annoyed the hell out of him if I remember correctly. Connor brought my soup, salad, and home loaf to me and again threw me another “I get it” smile. He may have been a bit clairvoyant. It was as great tasting as I remembered from years ago. The garlic loaf seemed smaller but that’s probably a good thing. I mean how many carbs does a mid-lifer need? Wow, did I just say that? It’s so true. I have to start embracing that fact if I want to avoid the pending mid life crisis which so far I think I’ve evaded. Connor was the best and really made my visit down memory lane worth every bite. I’ll be back. I always return home when I need to remember who I was so many moons ago! Oh bada boom, badda bing!


This blog is dedicated to every single amazing person I met and worked with at East Side Mario’s. There are so many I couldn’t name you all. I remember you all though. And to Aaron, one of the sweetest fellows I ever knew. I wish you didn’t have to go so soon.

edited by Mary Ellen Monk

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Badass B.I.T.C Beard #16

Its beard time!

I’ve been getting quite a bit of fan mail about my beard segment. The contest grows on. Those beards! Woof! I’ve got another hottie for you. I’m a bit of a fan myself. His Instagram is really great! You should check it out! @itsandrewstupid So without further delay here is Andrew!

Andrew is passionate about Interior Design. He’s worked in the industry for 8 years. One of his favourite travels places is Thailand, where he’s been 5 times. Andrew says he’ll retire there in the future. Sorry Folks, Andrew has been in love for 12 years with his future husband and they share a beautiful 11 year old Labrador Retriever named Rex together. Andrew has 5 tattoos and plans to get more in the future.


Visit my Instagram and vote for Andrew now! @bruceinthecity


edited by BWC

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Join Me on Instagram

Hey Brucesters!

If you enjoy my ranting on my blog, you may enjoy my life in photos on my official Instagram! Sign up now @bruceinthecity I’d love to follow back! What can I say? I’m nosey!


See you there!

Bruce in the City

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British Baked

A note to my readers: This article was written prior to the store sustaining damage caused by the recent ice storm. This location is currently closed. I’m unsure when or if they will be reopening. I will try to keep you posted. I wish them all the best. B.I.T.C

What is going on? What happened to spring? I don’t get it. It was looking hopeful and then Mother Nature barfed all over us. It’s not right and it’s not ok! (to reference the late great Ms. Houston). I’m just pretending I’m somewhere else. As much as I love to stroll the streets of Toronto you can’t in this crap. Welcome to ice storm 2018.
I’m not a huge lover of the corporate shopping malls but you know even on a day like this they really are an acceptable alternative. It was with that in mind I decided to wander around Eglinton Square. It’s an old mall east of Don Mills. It was when wandering this retro furlong that I discovered a shop perfect for my great escape. In one second I was transported to England. A little bakery called Mrs. Bridges British Bakery. With all the buzz around the royals with that handsome ginger Prince Harry getting married, what better time to get my British on. I’m Scottish though I’ve never been. I don’t do much travelling outside of Canada so I personally appreciate these specialty shops. On a side note, I think it’s a shame that people don’t dress more in their cultural dress. Some cultures do and it’s pretty obvious, but when was the last time you saw someone rocking a kilt or Lederhosen! I get tired of the same old North American fashion confines, because they really are. What’s your background? Maybe sport some of your cultural attire once a month or something. Do we all have to look like an American Eagle assembly line?
Anyway, all this going through my mind as I meet this outgoing woman named Leona. She runs the shop with another woman I’ve not had the privilege of meeting yet. Leona and I started chatting about her goods. British baked goods, Scottish crackers, cheeses brought in from the UK. I love cheese. We chatted cheese and wine a bit and then she showed me a product I knew well. Mars. You know the chocolate bar, not the planet. She challenges me to a taste test. A Mars bar from the UK verses the North American equivalent. She said, “Open the package slowly and take in the aroma”. I’m like, “okay”. She said to come back and tell her what I thought. Okay, I took that bar home, I opened it and I smelled it and I honestly couldn’t believe it. Essence of cocoa and fresh caramel. I bit into it and tasted the creamy, milky, caramel, toasty essence. You think I’m joking? I dare you to try it. I triple dog dare you. The difference between the two mars bars was literally the difference between eating a well produced chocolate bar and salted wax. No comparison! Why are we being fed this crap. I went back to Leona to share with her my experience and I asked her, “What’s the difference?” First have you ever heard of wax filling? I hadn’t until my chat with her. That is just one major difference in the way the chocolate is made in Britain as oppose to the US or Canada. They use natural ingredients while we get fed filler and man made poison literally. An American Mars bar won’t kill you but it does taste like crap when you get the chance to eat the real thing. I was kind of miffed. Why are we being sold this wax filled low grade chocolate? It’s tosh really! I’d have to say that the Mars bar from the UK was the bees knees. Every bite was satisfying and you know what else I didn’t taste? SALT! Mars Bars made here taste like salt! It’s just absolutely minging! Her shop on the other hand was not and I’ll be back to grab myself some of that British cheese to go with the Scottish crackers and of course my Mars fix! One thing I won’t be doing is eating another one of those ghastly Mars bars made in North America. Just terrible! Check out this shop. It’s a trip.


edited by Mary Ellen Monk

A word from the editor:

Interesting to know because Wesley LOVES Mars bar. They are his favourite.
Good for you for venturing out at all today. I hibernated all day. Dave even took the boys to bowling by himself. I’m still fighting a nasty cold so I rewarded myself with a two hour nap while they were gone.


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