Trust the Flo!

Seating and access for everyone in the family

Written by Fleur Boomsma

Many homemade and gluten free options are available at your newly opened cafe on Gerrard St East // FLEUR BOOMSMA

Many homemade and gluten free options are available at your newly opened cafe on Gerrard St East // FLEUR BOOMSMA

Elvy & Flo is that cute corner café on Gerrard where you can sit down for hours and unwind. Whether you’re taking a break from work or you’re there to get work done, owners Ann Peel and Perry Caicco don’t see you as a transaction but rather as a friend. This definitely isn’t your typical Second Cup or Starbucks in Toronto.

The walls are decorated with blue and yellow restored woods, combined with the brick wall. The large windows allow the shining sun to come through and the space automatically feels ten times better than it already is. You can see it as a warm and cheerful community space, and don’t be surprised to mommy groups and teachers’ meetings taking place!

Whether you want to sit in the front or in their sun room, tons of light shines through the windows and it even has a stroller accessible side door! // FLEUR BOOMSMA

Whether you want to sit in the front or in their sun room, tons of light shines through the windows and it even has a stroller accessible side door! // FLEUR BOOMSMA

The name, Elvy & Flo signifies the owner’s grandmothers because they were so good at creating warmth and community. The names of their grandmothers captured the essence of what they wanted to convey. 

“We mainly want to be a woman centred space, which is also the purpose of the café’s name because it’s named to the women that were important in our lives,” Ann said.

Seating is available for the whole family, who doesn’t love that? !// FLEUR BOOMSMA

Seating is available for the whole family, who doesn’t love that? !// FLEUR BOOMSMA

The food

Ann and Perry work with the Taste Canada Award winning food blogger, Susan (better known as Sue) Keefe. Sue is not only the in-house chef and baker, but she is also the mastermind behind the café’s recipes. We highly recommend you try the maple tofu panini or the homemade cinnamon brioche!

Cozy up with Elvy & Flo’s house-made cinnamon brioche and a latte // SUE KEEFE

Cozy up with Elvy & Flo’s house-made cinnamon brioche and a latte // SUE KEEFE

If you have a gluten intolerance, this is another reason why Elvy & Flo is the new spot for you. The café offers many sourdough products because Perry also has a gluten intolerance. We suggest you try the sourdough pizza and the baked dough sandwich (the milk buns are homemade)!

Follow Elvy & Flo on Instagram to see their most delicious meals!

“Pop in for a slice of Sweet Heat pizza. Piled high with mortadella, chunks of fresh pineapple, and spicy banana peppers covered in a blanket of gooey provolone, this pizza is sure to cure you of your rainy day blues,” // SUE KEEFE

“Pop in for a slice of Sweet Heat pizza. Piled high with mortadella, chunks of fresh pineapple, and spicy banana peppers covered in a blanket of gooey provolone, this pizza is sure to cure you of your rainy day blues,” // SUE KEEFE

A Neighbourhood crush: Vibes speak louder than words at KA Space Café

A place where you can feel at home

Written by Fleur Boomsma

Photography credit:  @MANUANDPASCAL

Photography credit: @MANUANDPASCAL

The whole name defines itself: Space. As you walk in, you realize how much space there is. The big windows, large wooden tables combined with the small and round marble tables describes it all. You can almost see it as an interior designer’s dream café because of its artistic touches and furniture. The open kitchen in the café makes it feel like you’re at home.  

 “Vibes speak louder than words,” very well said by the fashion designer Kevin Allwood. This is the brand and the café’s slogan; as it’s imprinted on the wall and menus. We were lucky to speak with the owner himself about his life, his brand, and the café itself.

Image by Fleur Boomsma

Image by Fleur Boomsma

 The KA Space brand is co-owned by the Canadian-Jamaican designer Kevin Allwood and his wife Ashley King Allwood. Originally from Montreal, the couple moved to Toronto to set up their venture on Carlaw several years ago.

Kevin and Ashley are very mindful of their atmosphere and the café has essentially designed itself. The space is decorated with healing crystals, plants and of course (our favourite part), fresh bread and baked goods.

When Allwood walks into a place, he likes to feel that he’s not a number and that he matters as a customer. He likes to have room around him, enjoy natural lighting, and he definitely does not like clutter. This is his idea behind the design of the café.

“The whole point behind the design of this space was to create a place that had an open kitchen, a playroom for the children, and to give people the feeling that they have space,” Allwood said.

You can come in with your family to have brunch over the weekend or grab your laptop to get some work done during the day. The point is, you have room and it gives you the ability to relax.

You may find it surprising that this organic, vegan, and vegetarian place is reasonably priced. The café sources their ingredients from Sweets from the Earth (vegan) and Epi Breads (European-style stone baked bakeshop), and they even source their sea salt from Vancouver which is hand harvested.

Meet the designer himself: Kevin Allwood / Photography credit:  @MANUANDPASCAL

Meet the designer himself: Kevin Allwood / Photography credit: @MANUANDPASCAL

Kevin is also very conscious on what’s being put in the human body. He sees his body as a machine and you need to be healthy in order for it to function properly.

“When I eat, I don’t want to feel like I’m putting bad things in my body, so I really couldn't do that to somebody else,” Allwood says.

He also doesn’t like the labels of veganism and vegetarianism but says that’s what you have to use in order to communicate the truth.

So, looking at the menu options, you may see that everything is very simplified. Kevin went down the list of what a human’s basic needs are with regards to food. His favourite items on the menu happen to be the breakfast sandwich and the pink lychee cactus pear juice (trust us, this is a great combination).

Future vision for KA Space Café

Come and enjoy the avocado artisanal toast with tomato and sea salt at the KA Space Cafe / Photography credit:  @MANUANDPASCAL

Come and enjoy the avocado artisanal toast with tomato and sea salt at the KA Space Cafe / Photography credit: @MANUANDPASCAL

Kevin laughs when we asked about the café’s future, “it’s an interesting thing because the whole idea behind the place is very divine,” he says. The café can be replicated because it’s so structured.

Can he see himself opening up this kind of café in every city? His answer: definitely.

“I can see myself opening a few more here in the city and also stay within the context of veganism/vegetarianism.”

Location: 1183 Queen St East

Time Travel to a Living Room in the 90’s

Farside bar plays VHS, vinyls and trivia to help quell any nostalgia you’ve had for the last great decade.

photo courtesy of Toronto Life

photo courtesy of Toronto Life

Article by Marlene de Leon

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The host with the most, Russel Harder, is nicknamed the man in the bow tie.

Deep in the heart of East Chinatown flashes a neon “Open” sign with a palm tree. It’s Wednesday trivia night, which Russel Harder, aka the man in the bow tie, holds every other week at Farside bar (really, he wears a bow tie to every trivia night).

Priding itself on its sense of community, Farside calls itself the neighbourhood’s communal living room. Nestled in the heart of Riverdale at 600 Gerrard St. E., the bar is an anomaly. It’d be difficult to find any other locations in the area that can speak to the vibrancy of the community.

The bar hosts Trivia Club biweekly on Wednesday, VHS movie screenings every Monday and guest DJs who spin vinyl records on Saturdays. (See their monthly schedule here.)

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The bar also hosts Post a Letter Social Activity Club, where patrons write letters to politicians, loved ones and everyone in between.

Time travel never looked so good.

Comfy sofas are upholstered with fabric straight out of the 90’s (florally and reminiscent of something you’d find in your granny’s basement) and are stationed right by the front window. The wall behind the couches is adorned with a mural (which photos just don’t do justice), painted by a Toronto artist. Friends curl up, gathering their wits for trivia night.

Russel gives you a sheet of paper for your trivia answers and asks for your team name. You are now a member of Farside Trivia Club.

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Order classics and cocktails at the bar.

You’re part of the community as soon as you walk through the door.

The bartender hands you a menu, each one showcasing a different illustration by a Toronto artist.

While ordering a drink and hot dogs, a Disney VHS plays from a projector onto the back wall of the bar.

It feels like you’re 10 years old again, hanging out at friend’s house in 1998… except you can drink alcohol.

Trivia begins.

There are three rounds, each one packed with questions relating to old movies, songs and pop culture from decades past. The game evokes equal exclamations of both “I remember this!” and “I can’t believe I don’t remember this!”

Then, just like in grade school, you exchange trivia pages. You’ll go through another team’s answers, evoking equal exclamations of both “I can’t believe they didn’t remember that!” and “How could they possibly have remembered that?”

At the end, Russel returns your trivia sheet and gives you a sticker. You’ve earned it!

Stay a while. Have another drink. Maybe celebrate with a piece of cake served on a Spice Girls plate. (This is a real item on the menu!) It’s not everyday you get to time travel to the 90’s.

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The seating is as comfy as your nana's old sofa and the mural by a local artist adds a sense of Toronto community pride.

Farside Toronto
600 Gerrard St E, Toronto, ON M4M 1Y3
www.farsideto.com
(647) 347-7433