College Street is known around the world. It is the street Johnny Lombardi nurtured, and it inspired a love that touched everyone's heart. Immigrants came to Toronto and College Street and became a beacon in the storm. Sometimes when people leave their native land, there is the fear their spirit will be lost. College Street is a neighbourhood where the spirit of the community is a pulsating reminder of life itself.
Kalendar, at 546 College St., is a significant part of life in Little Italy. O
wned and operated by childhood sweethearts, Ellis and Cher-Ann, Kalendar is the favourite child of a 19-year relationship filled with love and devotion. On Friday, Kalendar will celebrate its 10th birthday, remembering a decade of great food and wonderful people.
Everything at Kalendar is fresh and exciting. The swordfish with a ginger butter sauce is served with spring beans and snow peas, and finished with an aromatic wine sauce. This dish is a testament to Ellis and Cher-Ann's love for food and each other. They have a creation called Scrolls, which are wrapped in a flat pastry shell with a variety of fillers. I had Scroll Five, filled with grilled chicken, avocado, plum tomatoes, feta cheese and herbed mayonnaise. Cleopatra would give away her jewels for this dish.
At Kalendar, pizza is a word that means creative and delicious. The crust is thin, and wonderful combinations of toppings put a twist on the traditional fare. Try one with chicken, havarti cheese, plum tomatoes, snow peas and herbs. Ellis and Cher-Ann believe different styles and flavours make a great menu. Avrum, my friend and colleague, had a Nannette - an oven-baked round Nan bread topped with pesto, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, roasted red peppers and asiago cheese. He described the Nannette as a taste that has travelled miles, growing wiser and stronger before landing at Kalendar. People come to Kalendar for different reasons. Some come for the amazing healthful food. Others visit for the ambience, reminiscent of bygone times. And many people come on weekend mornings to watch life on College and enjoy Kalendar's weekend brunch.
The Stuffed French Toast is the most popular brunch item. Filled with bananas, fresh mango and cream cheese, it is a breakfast fit for gods and one that would leave them full and pleased. Lombardi's presence will never leave College Street. His love for people and his understanding of the importance of traditions and ethnicity are a source of pride for many College Street vendors.Ellis and Cher-Ann, your child, Kalendar, makes us proud to be part of a neighbourhood that not only welcomes people from all parts of the world but embraces their cultural differences.
FIVE STARS: (Extraordinary) A one-of-a-kind, world-class experience.
FOUR STARS: (Excellent) Superior. Memorable, high-quality menus and/or savvy service.
THREE STARS: (Good) Solid places that beckon with generally appealing cooking.
TWO STAR: (Fair) Just OK. A place not worth rushing back to. But, it might have something worth recommending.
ONE STAR: (Poor) Below-average restaurant.
*Reviews are meant to describe a dining out experience at a given period in time and are the personal opinion of the writer.
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