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There’s a new popup in Toronto happening this weekend serving up Chinese noodles and Italian lasagne.
On May 15 and 16, the Emmet Ray––a whiskey jazz bar in Little Italy––will be hosting both Cheng's Noodle Shop and Strati Lasagne. The two vendors, though drastically different, are former coworkers who lost their jobs in the industry due to COVID. Now, they are both running their own independent concepts and will be collaborating at this pop-up.
Strati Lasagne, owned by Jelena Smiljanic, does classic lasagne and tiramisu. Smiljanic used to work in corporate catering until the pandemic pulled the reigns on the business. She bought a pasta machine years ago to host pasta making parties with friends, and now has made a living out of it.
Coming in two different variations, the lasagne dishes are both made with fresh egg sheets layered with sauce and cheese. The Lasagne Formaggio is made with rosé sugo, béchamel, mozzarella, asiago, parmesan, gruyere, and pecorino. The Lasagne Bolognese is made with a beef and veal ragu with house-made sugo, béchamel, parmesan, and pecorino. Sticking to a layered theme, Smiljanic makes her tiramisu with an accent of coffee, liquor, and chocolate.
Cheng’s Noodle Shop, owned by Cheng Feng, does traditional Chinese noodle dishes originating from the city of Nanning.
“During Covid, I just played around with different noodles and went through a lot of different dishes. Now, I decided to make the most iconic street food of Nanning, which is the city I am from,” says Feng.
They will be offering their 'Old Friend Noodles', which consists of pork, tomatoes, pickled bamboo shoots, dou-chi, bean sprouts, chilli paste, lettuce and pork bone broth. They will also be offering a vegan option that uses daikon radish, lotus roots, cauliflower and a vegan broth.
“I am doing this dish because it’s not just iconic, but also contains memories of home for people like me from China living in Canada," says Feng.
The Emmet Ray is located on 924 College Street in the heart of Little Italy. The pop-up is happening this weekend on both May 15 and May 16 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Pre-orders are still going on right now and there are limited offerings available for walk-in, so be sure to place yours now. You can place an order through Instagram DM's of each respective vendor.