Tag Archives: isaan Der

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2018 – THE YEAR IN REVIEW

2018 was an interesting year with clients from numerous business sectors coming on board and long-term clients Urban Gallery & Urban Source Catering creating some great events that I enjoyed promoting, and the delicious Thai restaurant, Isaan Der, serving up delicious plates for bloggers and celebrating their 1st anniversary. Recording artist, flautist and Canada’s leading international musical ambassador, Ron Korb, released his 20th solo album featuring Latin-themed original compositions that made it onto the nominations ballot for this year’s Grammy Awards.   A lot of less positive stuff happened over the past 12 months but I finally learnt to let it go so instead of dwelling on those who “forgot” to pay me for my services or just plain behaved badly, let’s take a look at some of the high points throughout Fordham PR’s year….

In January, Katica Visic, the Toronto promoter behind Cronnexion Concerts, brought the talented classical singer & flautist, Barbara Suhodolčan (below) from Croatia to entertain her legion of fans across the GTA. Barbara has a huge fan base in Europe and this was her first foray into the North American market. www.instagram.com/barbarasuhodolcan 20180103_110038In February, KulKat Entertainment Founder Kristina Kulikova and her partner Anton Azanov,along with Chantal Fry, Founder of Glisse on Ice Shows presented the Shiver Show at the Glenn Gould Theatre. Featuring dancers, skaters, aerialists, singers and gymnasts, the family-friendly show featured some spectacular entertainment, the likes of which Toronto had never seen before.  https://shiver-2.shivershow.ca/Kristina & Anton DSC_8046Sadly, February also brought a major loss for the publicity & promotions world – my dear friend and colleague Peter Ashworth of Ashworth & Associates passed away suddenly, leaving a huge hole in my heart as well as the local PR industry. Peter was always supportive of Fordham PR, assisting with media outreach when I couldn’t connect with certain journalists, and was kind to offer freebies to his events such as the annual Eat to the Beat breast cancer fundraiser (below) and the Toronto Home & Garden Show for which I blogged and undertook social media posting for him as a thank you. RIP, my friend.20161101_202703_001March ushered in Isaan Der’s 1st anniversary – the modestly sized Thai restaurant serves up authentic northern Thai dishes to their fans in The Junction, and beyond and after 1 year, owners Donald and chef Ko celebrated with their staff and local dignitaries and social media influencers. Since then, Isaan Der has added numerous food delivery services that have attracted even more customers to their yummy dishes. You MUST go try it sometime. www.isaander.com 20180313_181638In April, I attended the opening of local artist Al Runt’s jaw-dropping art show at #HashTag Gallery. Al and I go waaaay back to the 80’s when he became famous for his ground-breaking colourful murals across the exterior of Lee’s Palace.  www.instagram.com/alrunt20180412_190939 20180412_192355Throughout May, I helped publicize comedian Glen Foster’s radio show (with Lawrence Morgenstern) Hump Dump Live. Back in the 80’s when I ran Yuk Yuk’s Komedy Kabaret and it’s comedy agency, Funny Business, Glen and Lawrence were both in-demand stand-up comedians whom I booked across the country. They’re both still going strong and writing for themselves and others. www.thatcanadianguy.com   And Urban Gallery hosted their annual CONTACT Photography Festival showcase, featuring images of women at work which proved very popular.Head_shot_0089 (1) 011320180505_14250020180505_135110June is the start of Toronto’s big outdoor art shows and I attended several, gathering stories and photos for my new blog and online magazine Fly in the Gallery Wall. It’s also a big month for Urban Source Catering  [www.urbancatering.com] as they host numerous PRIDE events throughout the month.fly_on_wall_frame4 Grape & Burrata Crositini 3 Beet Cured Salmon on Cucumber 4July brought the annual Toronto Outdoor Art Show as well as a couple of days of playing hooky – I particularly enjoyed my visit to Port Hope with artist Nancy Bennett [www.nancybennett.ca] who took advantage of the sunshine and glistening Lake Ontario to sit down for some plein air painting. Urban Gallery hosted Wild in the City, a group show featuring four talented artist incl. Libby Sims (bottom image) [www.urbangallery.ca]20180717_13293720180707_134058August was hot, humid and hectic with promoting author and holistic family therapist Kristina Virro’s new book The Anxious Teen [www.fresh-insight.ca] strategizing flautist Ron Korb’s new album launch in the fall [www.ronkorb.com] and planning the September launch party for filmmaker/tv writer/director Caleb Olivieri’s webtv series, Unapology. [www.unapologytheseries.com]20180819_152749TorontoJazzCa-jpg (small)banner picSeptember is TIFF month – the Toronto Int’l Film Festival – which usually means I’m busy with incoming filmmakers and actors, hosting parties and promoting their films. This year, I pulled back and focused on working with young local producer/director/writer Caleb Olivieri whose webtv series, Unapology, told stories of the city and numerous families and individuals dealing with emotional and physical challenges. We hosted an official launch party for the series during TIFF to take advantage of the social media opportunities that allowed us to reach so many visiting media and personalities. Urban Gallery hosted another solo show this month, this time by Grace Dam who is a frequent exhibitor and popular with gallery visitors.

Caleb (R) with crew members

Caleb (R) with crew members

20180906_165424In October, Ron Korb produced a wonderful launch concert for his Latin-themed World Café album at Toronto’s Jazz Café. He was joined on stage by some of Canada’s premier musicians, several of whom had played on the album. The club was packed and Ron and his talented graphic designer/photographer wife, Jade, nearly ran out of CDs. And on the 27th, Kristina Virro appeared on CHCH Channel 11 (Hamilton) Morning Show Live to promote her book and she was a real hit with the viewers. I was also retained by an old friend and Flamingo Cabaret cast-mate (1979-80) Brian Kaulback to promote his 80th film appearance in the upcoming (April 2019) Shazam! Blockbuster movie. You might recognize Brian from his long-running stint as Const. Hodge in the hit TV series Murdoch Mysteries.20181017_21533920180927_071851

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November saw Ron’s World Café album not only make the nomination ballot for the Grammy Awards but also receive numerous accolades and chart-topping hits around the world. Ron did lots of media interviews including one with CIUT-FM’s Ken Stower – an advertising campaign was launched on this popular University of Toronto radio station whose listeners tune from across the globe!  Urban Gallery hosted Judith McKay’s solo show Hiraeth (below) featuring stunning abstract tree portraits.

Judith (L) w/family

Judith (L) w/family

LIVE THE WINDI’m normally thrilled to see the first snows of December but this year, Toronto has been spared the white frosty blanket…so far. Ron continued his media outreach with more interviews and an appearance on PBS TV when he guested on Canadian guitar legend Liona Boyd’s TV special.  We programmed a social media campaign for Thai restaurant client Isaan Der featuring the “12 Thai Dishes of Christmas”, a virtual “advent calendar” of delicious menu items for home delivery or in-house dining….see below20171101_145157As I close out 2018, I’ve been filing more stories for The Rider magazine, Ontario’s “voice of the horse” for whom I’d been writing an arts & entertainment column since the 90’s. Am also re-launching the Fly on the Gallery Wall eMagazine/blog which had been hacked a few months ago (damn those online vandals). Boxing Day was a big deal this year…it was my 65th birthday and although I now get out of bed each morning with a few more grunts and groans, I still feel about 35 years old between the ears…will I ever grow up? Hope not. Those little grey cells, as my favourite fictional detective Hercule Poirot would call his brain, are working just as fast and as efficiently as in my youth, although now I have a lifetime’s worth of experience & mileage from which to refer when making career or personal decisions, or offering advice to new clients. So bring it, 2019…do your worst and I’ll do my best.

With a little luck (and maybe a Lotto 649 win) I’ll be writing my 2019 year-in-review from my new office….
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Congratulations on 1st anniversary to Isaan Der Thai restaurant in Toronto

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of joining owners Donald Drouin and Chef Ko as they celebrated their 1st anniversary of serving authentic north-eastern Thai cuisine to diners in The Junction neighbourhood as well as across the city. ISAAN DER is a cozy restaurant located along the Dundas Street W stretch known as restaurant mile and over the past twelve months, they’ve earned many loyal foodie fans who dine-in or order online for personal pick-up or via 3 of the city’s leading delivery services.  www.isaander.comstorefront20171101_145157Attending the auspicious occasion were local City Councillor Sarah Doucette and her aide Catherine (below centre), online influencer Vernon Chang a.k.a. MoVernie (3rd from L), and local food producers/entrepreneurs Sandra and Carlos Dasilva from No.7 Hot Sauce (at left)who were on hand to raise a glass of cheer with Donald, Chef Ko and their staff.20180313_181638Regular diners were also treated to celebratory mimosas and some fruity treats…20180313_171817MoVernie interviewed Donald & Chef Ko for his blog and social media, then took some great close-up photos of his meal…20180313_174445 20180313_191226To celebrate this special milestone, Isaan Der is actually giving gifts to their customers – complimentary $20 gift cards (while supplies last) when diners spend $50 or more (before tax, tips or alcohol) for in-house dining or online personal pick-up orders, so make sure you visit or order your pick-up meals between March 13 – 18 to take advantage of this great reward.20171126_164001(0)So here’s to another year’s success and even more deelish Thai feasts with friends and family!20180313_164131

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Foodora photo shoot @ Isaan Der, Toronto’s coolest Thai restaurant

Yesterday, the lovely folks from Foodora.ca home delivery service dropped into ISAAN DER Thai Restaurant in Toronto’s Junction neighbourhood, to take photos of the exquisite dishes available for delivery (or personal pick-up) via their website. Here, photographer Melissa sets up her shots….20171101_141613 20171101_143524Foodora account manager, Dana, was on hand to help direct the shoot and talk with owners Donald and Chef Ko about the fabulous menu now available to a wider online customer base. Just take a look at these dishes – you could almost eat the photos, yes?20171101_145157 20171101_151249 20171101_151944 20171101_151938Online foodie influencer Cindy of @wakeupeatthis (below) also dropped in to cover the shoot, after which we all feasted on this magnificent spread…burp!20171101_150229(0)

Click here if you’d like to order online via Foodora:  https://www.foodora.ca/restaurant/s4jx/isaan-der-thai-food

And to visit the restaurant in person, Isaan Der is located at 2961 Dundas St West (between Pacific & Keele), Toronto.  www.isaander.comlogo

 

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A Thai feast fit for a King….and I!

So apart from the bad grammar (s.b. “and me”) the headline here really does tell the story of Toronto’s small but mighty ISAAN DER Thai restaurant and its equally small but mighty queen of the kitchen, Chef Ko (pictured below).Chef Ko 2I was recently turned on to this snug and beautifully decorated dining establishment located in the heart of Toronto’s Junction neighbourhood by fellow foodies and owners of No. 7 Hot Sauce, Carlos and Sandra, who told me about the incredible food and lovely people who run Isaan Der. Chef Ko, along with her Canadian husband Donald, run the place like clockwork, juggling take-out and home delivery orders with quiet aplomb as they and their servers offer personal but discreet table-side service to their guests, many of whom are neighbours and regular/repeat diners.20171018_183950Attention to detail is key at Isaan Der – just look at these cute elephant hooks for coats or purses located behind every table for diners’ convenience.20170829_184227I recently spoke with Donald and Chef Ko about their journey from Thailand to Toronto and the fabulous food they serve to hungry fans Tuesdays thru Sundays.

Chef Ko, what first inspired you to become a professional chef?  Having had the opportunity to travel around Thailand as a journalist for Channel 7 news, I have discovered that it’s not all Pad Thai and Tom Yum Goong. There are lots of delicious dishes from every part of Thailand. 20170525_121454Did you study under any well-known chef or in a professional kitchen?  I studied at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, which is also a 5-star hotel in Bangkok, in their Professional Thai Chef program as well as at Kasesart University to learn about the origins of some of our well known dishes.

You specialize in traditional fine Thai cuisine at Isaan Der– how important is it that you use fresh, locally sourced ingredients for your menu?  We only use the freshest of ingredients for our food and every dish is made à la carte, meaning every dish you order is made specifically for you. We do NOT have anything pre-made so dishes might take a few minutes longer getting to your table….but the wait is worth it!sataysDonald, since opening Isaan Der in Toronto’s Junction neighbourhood in March , how have you seen your customer base grow?  Since opening, we’ve seen tremendous growth; from 3 people in the kitchen to now more than 8 dealing with the volume which we handle with great care and efficiency. It’s our loyal customers with whom we have had table-side conversations, educating them on the many differences in Thai food. We are certainly no better than any other Thai restaurant, but we do know that we are ‘different’.IMG_20170321_030403_608received_159738710362409620170320_20050620170320_200409Donald, any exciting news about menu or service you’d like to share?  Here we grow!  We recently changed our menus adding several new items to replace those we have “retired” for now. We cater to everyone with dietary restrictions such as celiac, vegan, food allergies as well as likes/dislikes. We can do it all as our dishes are made for you…any way you like it!

We’ve seen a tremendous increase in our Doordash delivery as well as personal take-out with our online ordering. Thanks to our brand new ordering app (for both iPhone & android) we’re able to streamline the dining experience for those dining at home. Easy-peasy with a simple click, click and done! We no longer take phone orders so we’re able to focus on personal table-side service in the restaurant.  But if people have questions about our menu we are certainly available via phone queries. See below the special promotion for 1st time app orders:July 2017454

Isaan Der is definitely one of my favourite Toronto restaurants and I’m especially fond of their Shrimp Roll appetizer – I frequently construct a meal by combining 2 orders of those with a salad. I love the little noodle ribbons and bows tying them up (see below). The handcrafted chili dipping sauce is super deelish, too.20170829_180825You MUST try the Golden Bags and Spring Rolls (below)….
17155630_1495954417121699_3390928405222378590_n 20170525_110821And each Wednesday is “Wine Wednesday” with $3 off your glass of featured wine…..20171018_184058…followed by “Beer Thursdays” when your favourite brew is only $5!20171018_184024Located at 2961 Dundas West (a few blocks W of Keele) there’s lots of parking (on street and in the green P lot behind) and prompt bus transit (take the #40 from Dundas W subway stn). Check out their menu, hours of operation and directions here: www.isaander.comlogo