946 1/2 Queen Street East
Toronto, Ontario Canada
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Toronto, ON: Up a flight of stairs, dinner in a jar
Toronto's Leslieville neighborhood—a pawn-shop row-turned-artsy nexus—just keeps getting better.
You can hunt down an address, tromp up a flight of stairs, and spend the evening eating homemade things like brandied duck rillettes and pineapple upside-down cake out of jars with spoons, by candlelight, in a tiny one-bedroom apartment above a pet store.
You could call Swirl Toronto's first all-jar menu. Aside from a fridge, the apartment has no kitchen, so owner Janean Currie tapped Joan Olsen (best known as the sous-chef at Toronto's Brassaii, where you can go to eat slabs of Bershire pork in a converted warehouse) to create a menu of things that could be prepped elsewhere and preserved in jars. So Olsen confits duck, churns out pâtés, pickles pretty much anything you can pickle (onions, quail eggs) and stuffs it all into the fridge. Save for a few cheeses and some homemade charcuterie, if it's on the menu, it's in a jar, from whiskey-spiked Stilton with caramelized apples to chocolate cake.
And here's the best part: Every jar is $6. No storefront and no kitchen—and décor done on the cheap, from an antique sewing machine desk found on Craigslist to a farm table built by friends—means low overhead. That in turn means stuffing your face with decadent homemade food for a handful of loonies (that's localspeak for $1 coins). And wine, too: It's offered on a consignment basis, and served in (what else?) a jar.