Tag Archives: Bistro 990

Luba returns to her roots, Rick goes back to school(s), and flashbacks to tasty times at Truffles

END OF AN ERA: Sooner or later we’re all history. Bistro 990 is gone — witness Bill Marshall’s splendid salute in the National Post — and the Four Seasons closed last week, and I enjoyed some wonderful times in both places. In its heyday the Four Seasons restaurant Truffles was even better than Le

MACLAINE: dining at Truffles

Cirque, and many New Yorkers shared that opinion.  At Truffles one night I shared a saffron palate cleanser with Shirley MacLaine, who put one spoonful in her mouth and grimaced. “Don’t eat it!” she warned. “It takes like tin!” When I explained it was saffron, she stared back at me blankly. “Saffron,” I persisted. “Like the colour of a monk’s robes.” Her eyes widened. “Oh, saffron!” she purred, and gobbled up the rest of it. At Truffles I introduced 75-year-old theatre legend Helen Hayes to Gordon’s Gin Tomato Soup, and she liked it so much she ordered it again the next day. “I should go out to dinner with you more often!” she teased. But everything must change, and now Sutton Place is set to close its hotel doors June 15 to begin the process of reconverting the property

HAYES: Gordon's Gin soup

into an upscale condominium. (So where do the hotel’s current apartment dwellers go from here? Just askin’ … ) However, I’m not nearly as nostalgic about that hotel anymore. It was glorious in the Hans Gerhardt era, when that superb hotelier would import Wolfgang Puck and the namesake nephew of Italian legend Alfredo De Leio  (as in Fettucine Alfredo) to cook up a storm in his elegant Sanssouci dining room. In those days you could barely make it through the lobby without bumping into two or three mega-stars – but that was once upon a time, many years ago. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for hotel space downtown in the next two months, I’m told Sutton Place is offering some of its rooms and suites at deep discounts. So enjoy it while you can.

HELLO WE MUST BE GOING: Two more season finales tonight. First, Rick Mercer wraps up his ninth (!!!) season by going back to school, attending celebrations at the winning schools in the annual Mercer Report Spread the

MERCER & FRIENDS: back to school

Net Student Challenge. Watching Mercer interact with elementary school kids is definitely something to see. Following his 8 pm Rick Mercer Report on CBC is the season finale of 22 Minutes, with Shaun Majumder at the Junos, Mark Critch at the Trudeau-Brazau fight and, if we’re lucky, HRM

SHORT: comedy special tonight

Cathy Jones making another Diamond Jubilee visit. Immediate following the 22 Minutes show is Martin Short’s off-the-wall comedy special, I, Martin Short, Goes Home, a 60-minute tour de force by Short and sidekicks Andrea Martin, Eugene Levy, Robin Duke, Fred Willard and your boyfriend George Stroumboulopoulos, who’ll be watching from B.C,  Strombo starts three nights of taping today at CBC Vancouver with guests Sandra Oh, Daryl Hannah, ‘Dragon’ Jim Treliving, Brent Butt, Kim Campbell; Ian Hanomansing, Jane Goodall and too many more to list here.

LUBA: back on the boards

PEOPLE: Special bulletin to Air Farce fans (and I know you are legion:)  Your favourite funny lady Luba Goy is coming home to a stage near you. She’s set to open May 7 at the Berkeley Street Theatre in Luba, Simply Luba, an autobiographical one-woman show penned by Diane Flacks …  John Peller, whose family makes those tempting Peller Estate wines in Niagara, and Wayne Gretzky, who needs absolutely no introduction, have joined forces and vineyards to make new vintages together. “Our families share the same commitment to quality,” Keller recently told his subscribers, “and we both feel passionate about making award-winning wines that we can share with you.” Okay, but will they sell for $99? Never mind, just kidding … devoted jazz buff Tim

TOWNSEND: lucky XIII

Tamashiro took over the reins of Tonic on CBC Radio this week from legendary music maven Katie Malloch, retiring from the airwaves after a 40-year career …  Juno Nominee George Olliver performs at the Old Newcastle House in – where else? – Newcastle, ON this Saturday night …  Stuart Townsend is back in T.O. to headline season two of the one-hour conspiracy thriller XIII.2 which will film in and around Our Town from now through to mid-July. Townsend plays XIII, a lethal former secret agent whose memory has been erased. The 13-episode original series will air on Showcase this fall …  The Voice judge and Maroon 5 front man Adam Levine is in talks to make his acting debut with Jessica Lange on American Horror Story … and how did Aaron Sorkin keep his new HBO series The Newsroom under the radar so brilliantly for so long? And will Ken Finkleman want his title back? Stay tuned.

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Bye bye Bistro, Kathleen keeps her clothes on, and Titanic goes on and on (and on, and on, and …)

ANCHORS AWEIGH: Apparently it’s not only Céline’s heart that will go on and on. A boatload of new productions mark the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic next month. First up is the premiere of the new Julian Fellowes four-part mini-series Titanic on Global this Wednesday. This new version by

TITANIC: sinking ship syndrome?

Fellowes, who penned Downton Abbey— which, coincidentally, started with news of the Titanic sinking – follows the aristocrats staying in first-class cabins and the lower class families residing in steerage. “Each episode focuses on individual families but will feature every character as their stories become

REID: in four-part mini-series

intertwined with each other. Viewers will also see the ship begin to sink in every episode as the series builds up to the finale when it will be revealed who survives and who doesn’t.” Advance reviews are a bit iffy so far (c’mon, we already know how it ends) but insiders say the real fun is betting on which of the familiar faces on board (eg., David Eisner, Toby Jones, Linda Kash, Noah Reid, Linus Roache) will sink or swim. Next up: Titanic: The Canadian Story, a new two-hour special on the historical event we can’t seem to get enough of, set to air Thursday April 5 on CBC’s Doc Zone. Did you know that included among the more than 2,200 passengers and crew on the Titanic were 130 men women and children bound for Canada? Me neither. But

CAMPBELL: in 12-part series

wait – there’s more. On Monday April 9 National Geographic kicks off a week-long Titanic salute with Titanic: The Final Word with James Cameron. (Do we believe that ‘final word’ bit? Not for a minute.) But wait – there’s more. Also in the works is Titanic: Blood & Steel, at 12-episode dramatic series that focuses on the construction of the ship, its owner and the workers, and is set in the Belfast shipyards in 1907. All-star cast members already signed include Sir Derek Jacobi, Neve Campbell and Chris Noth.  Can Titanic: The Musical and Titanic: The Mobile App be far behind? Stay tuned.

QUOTABLE QUOTES: “I’ve learned that great style has little to do with what you wear. It’s how you wear it and who you are. Confidence is the best fashion

BEKER: 60 reasons to celebrate

accessory. I’ve learned never to wish to be in someone else’s shoes — you never really know where they’ve come from or where they’re going. I’ve learned that aging should make us better, not bitter. I’ve learned that Botox can help.” The learner? Jeanne Beker, suddenly 60, in one of her best columns ever, in today’s Toronto Star. My personal favourite? “I’ve learned that inner beauty is the only kind that really counts. But good lighting helps.” To read the unsinkable Ms. Beker’s unique summing up of what she’s learned so far, click here.

FOOTLIGHTS: Toronto audiences will get a chance to see Kathleen Turner’s much-lauded stage performance as a salty nun trying to rehabilitate a 19-year-old drug user when High opens in May at the Royal Alex. And before you ask, this

TURNER: on a High

time it’s her young male co-star who appears on stage in the nude. Sister Turner, I’m advised, keeps her clothes on … among the sparklies on the New York stage this week is Eric McCormack, currently treading the boards with Angela Lansbury, James Earl Jones, John Larroquette and Candice Bergen in previews for a star-studded revival of Gore Vidal’s truth-searing political drama The Best Man … Tony Award-winner Rob Ashford is set to direct and choreograph the stage adaptation of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, a new big-budget Disney musical set to premiere in London next year. The musical will

McCORMACK: back on Broadway

incorporate Burton’s unique aesthetic into the show’s design, follow the plot of the 2010 film — the ninth highest-grossing film of all time (!!!) — and will feature a book by the film’s screenwriter Linda Woolverton … and Kate Winslet is toying with the notion of making her stage debut in a revival of David Hare’s drama Skylight. The production would be helmed by Hare himself, with Bill Nighy reprising his role as Tom Sergeant, most likely for a West End opening followed by a limited Broadway run.

Stay tuned.

THE NIGHT THEY CALLED IT A DAY: Once the Sardi’s  of Toronto, Bistro 990 served its last suppers Saturday night and officially closed Sunday morning, with a closing party on the premises last night. Among the dozens of

BISTRO 990: Going, going ... gone

merry mourners greeted by owner Tom Kristenbrun and maitre d’ Victor Magalhaes were Bistro regulars Austin Clarke, Larry Dane, ‘Party Barbara’ Herschenhorn, Bill Marshall, Gordon Pinsent, Sari Ruda, Rob Salem, Sara Waxman and Rita Zekas, whose Stargazing columns put the French bistro on the media map and kept it there for decades. Meanwhile, across town at Eglinton and Bathurst, despite headlines announcing its imminent demise due to city expropriations, the House of Chan is still thriving.  One media scribe reported

HOUSE OF CHAN: Business as usual

that the restaurant entrance was locked after he personally checked it out; apparently he didn’t realize that the legendary Toronto steak oasis that Donny Lyons lyonized  is open only for dinner, from 5 pm on. If proposed subway construction forces the restaurant to close in the future — and that’s still a big If —  it won’t happen until at least 2014. Until then, you can expect Chan to continue to serve up all its famous specialties seven nights a week. And amen to that!

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Almodovar gets Banderas, Carrell gets a slice of Bacon, Hot Docs gets Ghomeshi and Louise gets un-stuck

OUR TOWN: Host-with-the-most Jian Ghomeshi returns to helm tomorrow night’s Hot Docs Festival awards at the Isabel Bader … after flying across the pond to premiere the new

PITRE: back to T.O.

Benny Andersson-Bjorn Ulvaeus musical Kristina at Royal Albert Hall, show-stopping stage diva Louise Pitre got ‘stuck’ in London for an extra three days due to that pesky cloud of volcanic ash. “London’s not a bad place to be stuck in!” she adds, especially since her hubby Joe Matheson had taken a week’s holiday from his on-stage gig with still-thriving Jersey Boys to join her. Mamma Mia alumnus Pitre’s now home again, safe and sound and  shooting Season 2 of Star Portraits for Bravo!popular public relations pro Shelagh O’Donnell is the ROM’s new Head Of Communications … George F. Walker’s hit comedy Featuring Loretta makes its second debut  to the Factory Theatre tonight, officially kicking off the Factory’s 40th (!!!) Anniversary celebrations. Longtime Walker cheerleader Ken Gass directs Monica Dottor, Lesley Faulker, Kevin Hanchard and Brandon McGibbon in this brand new production … and the bad news is, Yorkville haunt Michelle’s Brasserie, the café  in

FARMIGA: going outlaw

Renaissance Square just off Cumberland, has closed. Good news is, Crème, a new French bistro devised by Ricardo Sousa (Cibo, Lolo) and chef Ricardo Roque (Magna Golf Club, Bistro 990,) is now underway and is tentatively set to open June 1.

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Young Lily Collins, so good as Sandra Bullock‘s daughter in The Blind Side, is set to co-star with Taylor Lautner in Abduction, a new thriller … Kevin Bacon has signed on to guest star in Steve Carrell’s next project … Pedro Almodovar alumnus Antonio Banderas is set to star in the director’s next opus, La piel que habito … Up In The Air seductress Vera Farmiga

AGRON: new sci-fi role?

is set to portray a wild west outlaw in A Thousand Guns … watch for an announcement linking about-to-depart Global TV anchor Kevin Newman with a major new digital platform initiativeand don’t bother inviting Phil Collins to your Canada Day BBQ this year. He’s already booked to open the 44th annual Monteux Jazz Festival with a special July 1 concert.

NO BIZ LIKE SHOW BIZ: Glee star Dianna Agron has signed on for  a leading role in the sci-fi film I Am Number Four … living room favourites Peter Mansbridge, Brian Stewart and Adrienne Arsenault are in London today, continuing to deliver CBC’s in-depth play-by-play of today’s General Elections in the U.K. …  Shia Labeouf is set to play Charlie in the dark comedy The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman Mireille

JEAN-BAPTISTE: in Central Park

Enos (Big Love) is reportedly signed to star in AMC’s new series The Killing …  bright young things Emma Roberts and Freddie Highmore are set to co-star in a new indie feature, Homework … Nurse Jackie scene-stealer Anna Deavere Smith is taking her New York solo show Let Me Down Easy on the road. Hope she brings it here …  what becomes a legend most? Hard work. Which is howcum Ann Rhomer is still a household favourite after more than three decades on local TV. We’ll miss her after she exits CP24‘s morning show next month … and although you know her best from her role as an FBI agent in Without A Trace, did you know that Anthony LaPaglia sidekick  Marianne Jean-Baptiste was the first British black actress nominated for an Oscar, for Mike Leigh‘s 1996 drama Secrets & Lies?  Ah yes, how quickly we forget. The gifted Mme Jean-Baptiste is spending her summer vacation in rep with Al Pacino, performing Merchant Of Venice and The Winter’s Tale in Central Park..

TOMORROW:

All about Liona Boyd, Zero Mostel,

Piper Laurie (yes, Piper Laurie!) and more.


A rose is a rose — especially when it’s golden

The show biz bible Variety notes that Switzerland’s four-day Rose d’Or festival  “is Europe’s top TV competition.”

So it’s fun to note that, after surviving an eyeball-challenging pre-selection gamut of 424 entries, Canada has ended up with no less than nine, count ‘em, nine nominations, in almost as many categories.

KARPLUK: with Strombo tonight

KARPLUK: with Strombo tonight

CBC’s new Wednesday night crowd-pleaser, Being Erica, is one of three Canadian drama nominees, along with the crime mini-series Guns and the drama Windfalls & Misfortunes from Montreal.

CBC also scored two big comedy nods, for The Rick Mercer Report and Little Mosque On the Prairie, and Bravo! won a nomination for its Bravo!Fact Art In Action special.

Other plaudits went to Maple Leaf entries from Xenophile Media, Productions Pixcom and producer Henry Less.
Would-be rivals include such diverse series as the U.S. reality series I Survived A Japanese Game Show and BBC’s Last Choir Standing, and winners will pick up their golden Roses at the May 5 awards ceremony in Lucerne.

And speaking of winners, Being Erica star Erin Karpluk, who also graced home screens in Godiva’s, guests tonight with Strombo on The Hour.

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QUOTABLE QUOTES. “The Bible contains six admonishments to homosexuals and 362 to heterosexuals. This doesn’t mean that God doesn’t love heterosexuals, it’s just that they need more supervision.”

The speaker? U.S. comedienne Lynn Lavner, frequently billed as America’s Most Politically Incorrect Entertainer.

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HE TOOK THE FIFTH: It’s official. Toronto Star-gazer  Rita Zekas broke the news last week that Bistro 990 alumnus Fernando Temudo has returned to T.O., this time to the theatre district, as the new GM of The Fifth Grill supperclub on Richmond Street …  meanwhile,

MOORE: Coulter kudos

MOORE: Coulter kudos

back at 990, Victor & Susan are still happily holding court with all their fans … and yes, Robert Downey Jr., Sam Rockwell and Samuel L. Jackson are all set to reprise their characters in the Iron Man sequel, but Downey’s new nemesis will be none other than Hollywood comeback kid Mickey Rourke. Mickey will play a bad guy called Whiplash (insert your own punchline here) … Colm Feore and director Des McAnuff guest with Antoni Cimolino on tonight’s Stratfortd Festival webcast at 6:30 pm …  National Ballet corps members Elena Lobsanova and Noah Long will dance Dénouement, a new work commissioned by their boss Karen Kain  from Canadian choreographer Matjash Mrozewski, when they compete for the Erik Bruhn prize tonight at the Four Seasons Centre … and no, he’s not just a pretty voice. John Moore, CFRB’s popular drive home show host, is still winning kudos for his analysis of Ann Coulter last week in the National Post. And by the way, you don’t have to live in Toronto to hear him — just tune in to http://www.cfrb.com.

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SEE/HEAR:  The buzz on the Star Trek prequel has already begun, and if the movie is half as good as its trailers you should be in for one truly action-packed evening. To preview the Star Trek trailers, just click here.