To help inspire you to explore the Middle of Somewhere, this list will be updated each week of 2021 with things to do in Toronto. Follow along on the adventures, or look back on past weeks when you are in need of inspiration.

Also be sure to check out the “Eating & Drinking Throughout Toronto” and “In The Know Toronto” pages for more inspiration!

52 weeks of exploring the middle of somewhere

Week 11

I know it’s been a minute since I posted Week 10 – I promise to get caught up shortly, so you can continue to discover more of Toronto! Follow the Middle of Somewhere Instagram account for the latest update on what’s been keeping me from the blog!

For Week 11, we’re inviting you to create a delicious cheese & charcuterie spread featuring goodies from some of Toronto’s best bars & restaurants, turned grocers. Read the post here for some great places to order from to make an excellent at-home spread. You’ll also find a list of some of my favourite grocers for an even broader selection to suit your fancy.

Nothing beats an afternoon cheese & charcuterie board, am I right?!

Week 10

During quarantine I have been cooking up some delicious meals, all thanks to virtual cooking classes. There are plenty of local classes available and since the world is virtual these days, you can also join classes with instructors from around the world. In the past year, I’ve made gnocchi, holiday cookies and donairs through various corporate cooking classes, made dumplings with my family to celebrate my mom’s birthday, learned to roll pasta by hand for a date night, perfected the ultimate sear on a steak through a class run by one of Toronto’s great restaurants, and had a blast making souffle pancakes with my girlfriends. All done virtually, of course. 

Below is a round up of some of my favourite virtual cooking classes to date (yes, I’ve attended a lot of classes!). You can also pop over to the In-The-Know Toronto page to find out the city’s latest offerings and a roundup of more classes that I haven’t been able to attend quiet yet. 


  • Pasta Forever TO: The best for learning to make hand-rolled southern Italian shapes (no equipment required!), and possibly the best (and easiest) tomato sauce ever. $35 pp – book online.
  • Enoteca Sociale: Great if you don’t want to have to shop for ingredients – all ingredients are supplied by the restaurant and are available to be picked up on the day of your class. The class includes salumi or cheese to start, homemade pasta, and dessert. You can also shoot them a DM via Instagram with requests to cook other Italian staples. $60 pp – book via emailing (4 people minimum). **Note: I haven’t yet attended this class, but it’s in the works & is one of my favourite restaurants in the city, so I have a hunch it’ll be great!

Local Groups

  • Eat the City: Eat the City is run by the Gusto brand. They brought together six Toronto restaurants and offered three months of meal kits and virtual cooking classes. The last class is on March 17th, to be sure to sign up asap if you want to secure a spot. The class will be run by the executive chef of newly opened Azhar. You’ll receive pre-portioned restaurant-grade ingredients delivered to you home, a curated playlist for the perfect soundtrack to your at-home cooking and access to a virtual cooking tutorial lead by the restaurant’s executive chef. I joined the Gusto 501 edition, and it was excellent! $90 for two people – book online.
  • Elle Cuisine: Perfect for corporate or other large events, Chef Lauren Mozer runs seamless virtual cooking classes that feature multiple camera angles so everyone can easily follow along. You can get ingredients delivered to each participant’s home, eliminating any last minute scrambling to purchase ingredients before the class. Price varies – request a quote online.

Going Global

  • Fēst: Tremendous variety and a great option if you want to have multiple people dial in from different homes. Prices are in USD, but I found Fēst to be one of the most affordable options if you plan to have multiple people dial into the zoom on separate screens (most companies charge per person or per screen and Fēst offers a variety of options for different group sizes). You’ll be paired with a chef based out of the US and will need to pick up your own ingredients before the class (the ingredient list is shared ahead of the class). All classes are private. I’ve done two classes, with two different chefs, and both were fabulous. The only caveat is they don’t typically cook along with you, so sometimes it can be a bit more challenging to follow their directions since you can’t watch them do it first. It all worked out in the end regardless and Fēst has become one of my favourite platforms. Prices vary – book online.
  • AirBnB Experiences: A fantastic platform featuring classes from individuals around the world. Make pasta with Nonna, craft the perfect paella with a top chef from Barcelona, discover Korean home cooking, learn the skills behind two kinds of hand-pulled noodles, cook with a Moroccan family, or whip up Mexican street tacos. There are classes for everyone, with so many cuisines and both private and group formats available. Prices vary – book online. *Note I haven’t attended all of the AirBnB experiences, but the ones that I have participated in have been fantastic. I recommend you read the reviews prior to booking!

Week 9

If you’ve been following the @mdlofsomewhere Instagram account, you’ll know that I’ve been enjoying my fair share of #betweenthebuns food (sandwiches, burgers, you name it). This week, you’ll be spoiled with a round up of some of my favourite foodie spots as of late. After the restaurant and hospitality industry was severely impacted by COVID-19, a few people still managed to brave a launch mid-pandemic. So this week is all about supporting these wonderful entrepreneurs as they make a go of it, with their delicious #betweenthebuns options.

Swing by this newly launched food truck, just north of Yonge and Eglinton, and get yourself one of their delicious burgers, fried chicken sandwiches or donuts (made from a family recipe). Or do what we did, and order it all! You will not be disappointed.
Bonus: I had the pleasure of interviewing Rob & Jen and learning all about the immediate impact COVID-19 had on their livelihood and the decisions that went into launching the truck mid-pandemic. They are two incredibly kind people and I am grateful to be able to share their story. For anyone who lives midtown, we are spoiled to have their new truck in our backyards!
Read the article here.
Why Go? Grab a burger and donut to warm you up on a winter walk (and to support local, duh!).
Location: 2444 Yonge St. Toronto (Yonge & Roselawn)

Mattachioni – East

Mattachioni, a popular west-end Italian bodega, opened a second location in late 2020 for all the east-enders to enjoy. At their new Gerrard St. E. location you’ll find excellent staples (sauces, dry pasta and other canned goods, wine, local beers, stocks, and more), fresh bread (the sourdough didn’t last more than 24 hours in our house), meats & cheeses, and a full menu to-go of pizzas, paninis and salads.
Why Go? Pick up all the Italian staples needed to cook a delicious dinner, and spoil yourself with lunch on the go (who would ever say no to a panini while they shop?!)
Locations: 1617 Dupont St. and 1501 Gerrard St.E.
Instagram: @mattachioni
Okay, I might be a little late to the game on this one – since they opened in the fall of 2020 – but better late than never, right? Manita is brought to you by Ian McGrenaghan and Colin Tooke, both popularly known for Electric Mud BBQ joint and and Grand Electric taco hotspot. Manita describes themselves as a “Neighbourhood cafe, grocery & bar” and boy is it a good one. We drove over 15 minutes just to pick up lunch at Manita (and then proceeded to eat it in the car, pick up Bellwoods beer and drive home). If Manita was down the street from me, my wallet would be hurting, because I would be swinging by multiple times a week. We devoured the BLT and the breakfast sandwich, and rounded out our lunch with a cookie (am I getting too predictable?). I have a laundry list of menu items that I am longing to return to (note: every single menu item is on my list) and I’m thoroughly looking forward to Manita being able to open their doors to sit-down diners, as their interior space is beautiful. For now, enjoy your meal or drink under their outdoor heat lamps, or follow in our latest tradition and start normalizing eating in your car.
Why Go? Incredibly cravable sandwiches and too many surprise and delights to count (cookies & other treats, house-made condiments, carefully curated olive oils and hout sauces, and more!).
Locations: 210 Ossington Ave
Instagram: @manitaossington

Week 8

This week is all about featuring pandemic ‘essentials’ that give back (essentials is a loose term here, but I’ve tried to cover some of the trending buckets: masks, puzzles (did you know that puzzle purchases have skyrocketed?), and bread (because we can all use some delicious sourdough). If you’re stocking up on these essentials regardless, you may as well pick brands that are giving back! Read on for some favourites.


  • IZ Adaptive: Headquartered in Toronto, IZ Adaptive creates clothing for wheelchair users and people living with limited mobility. Their masks are made in Canada and for every mask sale, 20% of the purchase goes to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation or Canadian Hearing Services. The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation is dedicated to finding treatments and cures for paralysis caused by spinal cord injury and other neurological disorders and the Canadian Hearing Services is a hearing clinic that provides services for individuals with hearing loss. Shop here.
  • MOJI: All of MOJI’s masks are manufactured in Toronto. They’ve partnered with Canadian fashion start-up, Sprout Collection, as well as other local designers to create stylish & unique masks. If you purchase a Pink Ribbon Mask, 100% of proceeds will go to the Canadian Cancer Society – Canada’s largest national cancer charity and largest national funder of cancer research in Canada. Note that they also have plenty of other masks – ones for sports lovers, beach lovers, bold patterns, solids and everything in between. And while the proceeds of those masks don’t go to the Canadian Cancer Society, MOJI hired seamstresses who were directly impacted by the pandemic, so you know you are directly helping drive down unemployment. Shop the full collection here.
  • Roots: During February, Roots is donating a portion of mask proceeds to The Black Academy. The Black Academy is dedicated to celebrating Black talent across Canada and inspiring generations to come through education, mentorship, and recognition. And of course, coming from Roots, you know the masks will be made out of super comfortable material. Shop masks here.

Bonus: Not a mask, but worth a shout out nonetheless as not everyone has the ability to cozy up at home this season. For every pair of socks purchased, Province of Canada donates a pair to a Canadian homeless shelter. Shop socks here. The slipper socks look devine!


  • Toronto Public Library: By purchasing this 200 piece puzzle offered by Page & Panel, you’ll be providing a $20 donation to the Toronto Public Library. Shop here.
  • Piecetogether: Piecetogether offers puzzles with pictures of local business and artists in an effort to “help support the small local businesses and artists that we cannot visit right now”. How does it work? Local business and artists submit photos that represent them and Piecetogether turns them into puzzles available for purchase. A portion of the proceeds cover the cost of making the puzzle and the rest go to the local business/artist. Shop here.


  • Bread & Better: Bread & Better was my inspiration behind this post. They’re baking sourdough in support of @momhalo‘s effort to raise $1M for SickKids. The Hospital for Sick Children, or SickKids, is a pediatric teaching hospital in Toronto. The $1M is meant to build a Parent’s Lounge within Sick Kids Hospital, providing parents with a haven to rest, to process, and bond one with one another. Order sourdough by direct messaging Bread & Better via Instagram.

Week 7

Last week, we were pleasantly surprised by my uncle, who sent us two negroni’s in the mail! You read that correctly: you can send a pre-made negroni in the mail. Simply order via this website and surprise someone with a cocktail. They’ll receive a package with a pre-mixed negroni in a cute box. All they need to do is add ice and an orange peel!
The National Chowder Festival runs all February and is the perfect way to warm up this winter. The festival celebrates sustainable seafood as Ocean Wise Seafood partners from across Canada sell sustainable seafood chowders with part of the proceeds being donated to the not-for-profit Ocean Wise Seafood program.
You can check the participating partners here. Scroll down on the link to learn more about each participant and their chowders. Then head to their website or give them a call and ask to purchase their Ocean Wise Festival Chowder. You can also post and follow along on social using the hashtag #chowderchowdown2021.
Girls Night In virtual comedy shows run every Tuesday at 8PM EST. The show is internationally acclaimed and will surely shake up your Tuesday night. Shows include “games, improv, comedy, musical guests, and so much more” according to their site. Note that shows are first-come, first-served, so be sure to log in 10 minutes before showtime to secure your spot.
The ensemble cast met while being part of the award-winning She The People sketch comedy revue (which I saw with colleagues and can attest, it was amazing).
Click on the show icon near the top of this page to register and get access to the web link.

Week 6

Missed last week’s menus (scroll down to Week Five if you aren’t sure what I am talking about)? Not to worry – I’ve curated a list of some of the best Valentine’s Day menus that Toronto restaurants have to offer. Read more here.

Enjoy A Film Festival

Watch some films from the comfort of your own home, brought to you by the Toronto Black Film Festival. The 9th annual Toronto Black Film Festival is running from February 10th to 21st. You can purchase individual tickets ($12) or an all-access package ($69). There are 154 films from 25 countries available, as well as additional programming – like panel discussions. The festival was started in 2013 by Fabienne Colas with a vision described as, “Cool, international, independent, politically incorrect and eye-opening, the Toronto Black Film Festival (TBFF) is about discovery. TBFF will showcase the most outstanding and most powerful Black films while creating a space to debate major cultural, social and socio-economic issues”. Buy tickets here.

Furthermore, Cineplex has partnered with The Black Academy for Black History Month. Rent a film in February and $1 from every transaction will be donated to The Black Academy to “foster opportunities for young and emerging Black talent in Canada’s entertainment industry”. They’ve curated a wonderful selection of films with the intention of “[elevating] Black history, artists and filmmakers and spark discussion”. Rent here and don’t forget that you can also order Cineplex’s amazingly buttery popcorn straight to your home!

Another option is to rent a film from the TIFF Next Wave Film Festival. It runs from February 12-15, and also includes several events. Choose to watch brand new films, engage in a chat with Finn Wolfhard, or connect with film gurus for advice and inspiration. Films are released daily, on February 12, 13 and 15, at 10AM for virtual viewings (free for anyone under 25, otherwise pay a small fee for a rental once released). Read more here.

Participate in Frost Bites 

Frost Bites is a winter performance festival hailing from Hamilton. The event features a diverse array of Canadian artists who present performance “bites”.

This year, Frost Bites is offering virtual shows that are participatory-based interactive experiences, sure to shake up your regular weekly activities. Their focus is “on building a sense of community and connectivity, bringing us together at a time when we must remain physically apart”. The shows are brought to you by five artistic companies and they all focus on using technology to engage audiences in unique ways. They run 15-40 minutes in length from February 11 – 14th. Four of the offerings are virtual, giving you the ability to participate from your own home (be sure to read the descriptions to understand what is required, with respect to technology and physical abilities). I am particularly curious about the Escape event. I am part intrigued, part intimidated, but need to know more!

See all shows here.

Week 5

For week five, you’ll find three spots featured with Valentine’s Day goodies. No, I don’t have my weeks mixed up – the menus are expected to sell out quickly, so consider this your advanced heads up! The below list includes delicious items for one or two, perfect if you’ll be celebrating self-love or with a partner or roommate. This list highlights restaurant chefs that launched their own businesses out of their home after the pandemic hit. I will forever be amazed at the hussle and the ingenuity demonstrated by so many after the onset of the pandemic – and there are so many worth celebrating and supporting. Be sure to give them a follow, regardless of whether or not you place a Valentine’s Day order – they offer great food all year round!

Looking for more Valentine’s Day menus? Check out more favourites here.
Jess has been running Pasta Forever since the beginning of COVID-19. Prior to launching Pasta Forever, Jess spent ~6 years making pasta at restaurants like Paris Paris and Woodlot in Toronto, as well as Lawrence in Montreal. Read more on her about page here. Through Pasta Forever, she is making pasta at home and completing contactless drop-offs within 10km of downtown Toronto. She also hosts pasta classes that have been so popular, they were booking up months in advance. Thanks to my brother who managed to secure a spot, I’ve got a class booked for February!
Lucy launched Breadhead Bakery when the hospitality world began to shut down in March 2020. Her background is as a baker and pastry chef, working for almost ten years at some of Canada’s top restaurants and cafes. Read more here! Her treats are delicious and a great way to spread the love (whether it’s for yourself or sending a dessert to family/friends). I’ve ordered a cake for a friend’s birthday and just finished devouring 6 cookies over just a handful of days (boy they were good!).
Jess and Lucy are partnering up for Valentine’s Day to offer what is sure to be a delicious menu. Be sure to follow Pasta Forever and Breadhead Bakery to get the latest scoop – it’ll certainly sell out fast (the menu is set to drop on Pasta Forever’s site at 9AM on February 2nd). If you miss out, fret, but not for too long – you can always order other items for delivery – both businesses have delicious weekly offerings as well as frequent new drops.

Justin was working as the Sous Chef at Toronto’s downtown Buca Osteria & Enoteca until the pandemic hit. He then quickly pivoted to offer pasta classes and make-at-home kits out of his home. His pasta kits were the first that I tried – I drove to his house to pick up my order off his front porch and fell in love with his homemade pasta sauces (shout out to the spicy vodka sauce!). For Valentine’s Day, he is offering a box that includes:

  • Ingredients to cook a Margherita pizza for two
  • A bottle of red wine from Italy
  • A pizza cutter
  • 100ml bottle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • A custom hand-tied flower arrangement of ~20 pink/white flowers
  • 2 pieces of The Cheesecake Factory cheesecake (2 pc)

The box also comes with a YouTube link to follow along a video of Justin making the pizza.

Place your order by Feb 4th via the link in Justin’s Instagram bio.

22-layer olive oil chocolate cake. Normally I would tell you that’s all you need to know. And just to go order this. Now.

But this time, I’ll encourage you to stick around to learn about the founders behind Adobar. Adobar was launched by a brother and sister duo after they were laid off from their jobs post-pandemic. They were quick to pivot and began cooking up Filipino dishes in their home and making them available for pickup and delivery. Their food has been described as “sinful”, “decadent”, “adventurous” and “delicious”.

For Saturday, Feb 13th (because yes, it’s okay to celebrate on the Saturday instead of the Sunday!), they’re offering their 6″ full cake (no savoury items that day). If you’re also dying to try their savoury items – order for a timeframe outside of Valentine’s weekend via their web platform (pickup & delivery available). Alternatively, if you’re keen on celebrating ON Valentine’s Day, check out their collaboration with Tala, Thyme Studio, Soft Dough Co here. They’re offering Valentine’s Day Kamayan Kits that include food, dessert and flowers. Their kits come in three different sizes, because as they put it “who knows how everyone’s celebrating this year. Together? Apart? With baby boo? With the whole pamilya? Third-wheeling? Or just wheeling period.”

Week 4

I just can’t stop dreaming and talking about Gertie’s Peanut Butter Pies. They’re pure deliciousness and anyone who remotely likes peanut butter will be in heaven. Each pie is certainly shareable between two, but don’t be surprised if you end up devouring it all to yourself!

See the list of retailers on their website here. I ordered from Salt Gourmet Foods (they have a ton of excellent gourmet food items – see our interview with the owner here).

Outside of the pandemic, Second City serves up excellent Improv & comedy shows in downtown Toronto. If you haven’t been in person, do yourself a favour and visit once it’s safe to attend in-person events again. Until then, catch a virtual show – purchase tickets here for their weekly Happy Hour special, which occur every Thursday at 8PM EST (note: there are a variety of other shows in subsequent weeks).

Looking for something more hands on? Second City also offers virtual classes for adults and kids/teens.

For those of you that weren’t sold on the Dry January post from last week – I’ve got you covered with cocktail kits and pre-made cocktails for delivery! Maison Selby offers bottled cocktails that you can purchase individually or in a larger size. They’re one of the few restaurants that offer individual sizes, which is perfect for anyone who wants to add one drink to their food order. If you’re looking for more cocktail kits – we have you covered on this page (just scroll down a little!).

Speaking of food, Maison Selby offers their regular menu along with chef kits to cook at home, should you want something more interactive. You’ll find kits for their famous french onion soup, french onion burger, truffle tagliatelle, boeuf bourguignon and more.

You can even pre-order their Valentine’s Day menus – and there is plenty to choose from! Options include: a four-course dinner for two, chocolate fondue kit, cheese & charcuterie, shrimp cocktail, duck & goose terrine for two and a few more cocktail options.

Order here!

Week 3

Participating in Dry January or are simply interested in taste-testing no-alcohol cocktail alternatives? Try out Salty Paloma’s Non Alcoholic Cocktail Kit featuring Seedlip Spice (a non-alcoholic spirit), Bonne Maman Orange Marmalade, Fresh Sour Mix, Grapefruit and Pine Cordial, Fever Tree Lemon Tonic, Cashew Orgeat (Syrup), Chai Tea, Lemon and Dehydrated Fruits. The kit also comes with three non-alcoholic cocktail recipes.

Salty Paloma also offers a newly launched subscription kit – check out the In-The-Know Toronto page to learn more! I’ve previously ordered one of their kits and attended a virtual cocktail class, and thought both were excellent.

If you like the idea of Dry January, but didn’t start this month – opt for Dry February instead and consider participating in the Canadian Cancer Society’s Dry Feb campaign to raise money.

Join Rasa – a Toronto restaurant by the Food Dudes – for a virtual dinner in collaboration with Event Circle. The event runs on January 23rd at 6:30PM. Purchase your ticket and you’ll receive all of the ingredients for a three-course meal and access to a virtual class to cook with Rasa’s chefs.

The meal includes Rasa’s amazing chopped salad, truffle gnudi, the famed Rasa burger, and a dessert. It costs $90+HST / person.

Early in the pandemic, several chefs, restaurants and home cooks came together to contribute to Toronto’s very own open source cookbook. Contributors include: Canoe, Woodhouse Brew Pub, Drake Devonshire, Alimentari (see our interview with the owners here!), Chef Rocco Agostino (of Pizzeria Libretto and Enoteca Sociale), Chef Craig Wong (of Patois and Bar Mignonette), Shori Imanishi (of Imanishi Japanese Kitchen) and many more (see the full list of contributors here). Cook up something that might be a bit outside of your wheelhouse – everything in the book is meant to be approachable and as described by the creators, “It is meant to be shared so that we can learn from each other, inspire one another and at the very least, derive joy from each other.”

Find the cookbook here. You can also download a PDF version from this site.

Week 2

Order yourself some delicious, limited edition zaa from a new kid on the block: Sohmers. One rectangular pie feeds two hungry people. Order via the link on their Instagram feed (keep an eye on their Instagram for the new weekly drop dates – this week, they’re opening orders on Wednesday. Check back weekly if you miss the boat this time!). Pickups are on Saturday’s between 4:30 – 8:30PM.

Also be sure to order the Middle of Somewhere pizza checklist and make your way through some of Toronto’s most popular pizza joints!

What was once a happening waterpark now offers great walking trails and plenty of stunning views of the water and CN Tower. There is paid parking onsite and is also accessible via TTC with a bit of a walk. Make your way around the West Island – taking the trail as far to the west as possible and looping around the island – then head out over the peninsula that looks like a ship. Circle back and head over to the East Island for some more great views of the city.

Despite the province shutting down almost every activity this winter, I was thrilled to learn they kept skating rinks open. That excitement quickly dwindled when I learned it was near impossible to book a slot on the city’s website. Luckily, the Bentway’s booking system opens up every Friday at 10AM with new slots. Pop onto this site, promptly at 10AM to secure your rink time. The Bentway is always a great loop to skate in the winter, but will be even better with fewer people (there is a fixed capacity of 25 people)!

Week 1

Eat at the DaiLo Popup

DaiLo is extending their pop-up at midtown’s Hot Black Coffee for the next few weeks (just north of Yonge and Davisville). They’ll be serving up a small menu of delicious items like bao bun burgers & wings. Follow their Instagram for the latest dates & info. Of course, I’ve taste-tested and it’s well worth the hype. Order in person at the front window.

Tip: If you are unfamiliar with DaiLo, the restaurant serves up New-Asian cuisine with Chef Nick Liu at the helm (you may have seen him on the Food Network). The food is delicious and one of the few tasting menus in Toronto that I’ve returned to multiple times.

Explore Crothers Woods

Crothers Woods is over 100 acres of woodlands, meadows and wetlands in the Don River Valley. It makes for a perfect hike in the middle of the city.

Depending on which trail you take, you may come across the Redway Road staircase, thought to be a neat hidden gem inside the woods. The stairs were originally built as an escape route from the employees of the North Toronto Sewage Treatment Plant, which was built in 1929 (I know what you’re now thinking, but no worries – I couldn’t smell the plant on the trails in the winter, which makes it an even better time to go for a walk in the area!).

Follow the directions to here (or just type in Crothers Woods into Google Maps) and you’ll be guided to trail entrance and a parking lot beside the Loblaws off of Millwood. 

Tip: The trails can get pretty muddy and icy, depending on the weather. Be sure to wear appropriate footwear!

Secure your spot at stackt market’s crokicurl

Okay first off, what the heck is crokicurl?! The game is played on ice and is a large scale hybrid of curling and the board game Crokinole. It was invented by Canadians Liz Wreford and Leanne Muir and was first played in Winnipeg. 

Why should I care? It’s one of the few activities that hasn’t been shut down in Toronto this winter and it still has available time slots to book, unlike Toronto’s skating rinks (note – you may have to look a few weeks ahead, and there are only a few spots remaining so book swiftly). You’ll have the rink to yourself, so it’s a great, safe outdoor activity. I’ve booked my slot in Feb and am looking forward to it!

Book here.


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