Elizabeth has been lucky enough to be a part of the Duke family for the last 5 years as a server at the Duke of Kent. She loves writing, playing guitar, running and Guinness. Not always in that order.

8 Posts by Elizabeth:

What a newbie needs to learn about the World Cup from another newbie …

So you want to get in on the action, eh? Me too. Problem is, while I can sit through and enjoy the odd game of soccer (see I messed up already), ahem, football, when there’s bacon around, I don’t know enough to truly comment on anything World Cup related.  Yes, I know how many players are on the field at once and the rules and what not, but what about the more subtle nuances that will help me feel part of the cool football crowd? So here’s my slightly researched attempt at preparing for the World Cup, beginner-styles:

WC Groups

1.  The big names are the obvious ones

Immediately, I assume that every team that is actually good is going to be from a country I wouldn’t immediately think of when I think football. This is not the case. It’s pretty much the standards. Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Brazil, England (sometimes), etc. So don’t bother cheering for Iran or Japan because you think they’re underdogs (although … see number 2).

2.  Everyone loves an underdog

Of course, we do. We’re Canadian for Pete’s sake, and we’re Torontonian to boot. So if that’s your game your picks should be:

    • Belgium
    • Ivory Coast
    • Uruguay
    • Australia

The best part about these options is they’re all from different continents so you can choose the one you most identify with or the one you want to travel to the most, or the one you just recently visited.  No, I can’t tell you anything specific about these teams. But I hear they’re great, just not the greatest.

3.  No “I” in team … except for these guys


Balotelli. Ronaldo. Torres.

It’s great to have a favourite team, but what about the actual players, the men.  You can’t just yell “Go Spain” at a TV for two hours now can you? Well, you could, but serious football fans wouldn’t appreciate it very much. So here are a few names (that are incredibly biased) that you can shout until your heart’s content.

  • Spain: Fernando Torres (and he’s a bit of a dreamboat too)
  • Italy: Mario Balotelli (He’s a crazy one to watch: he usually scores and/or gets sent off in the same match. He’s also allergic to grass [not even kidding] and he once set off fireworks in his bathroom, almost causing his house to burn down  [again, not even kidding])
  • Brazil: Neymar (yup, one name, like Madonna)
  • Germany: Phillip Lahm
  • Portugal: Cristiano Ronaldo
  • England: Steven Gerrard
  • Uruguay: Luis Suarez (another crazy one; he’s been known to bite the opposing players)
  • Argentina: Lionel Messi
  • France: Karim Benzema

4. World Cup Moments worth knowing about



  • Two World Cups ago some French dude, Zinedine Zidane, headbutted an Italian dude, Marco Materazzi and that was kind of a big deal. For all the gory details click here.
  • Last World Cup, I had just returned to working at the Duke of Kent after a stint in Edinburgh and Spain won the tournament. It was a busy day at the pub and I remember the constant horn honking on Yonge Street. That’s why living in Toronto is awesome.
  • A bitter rivalry exists between England and Argentina. In June 1986, these teams met in the quarter finals. Six minutes into the second half, Diego Maradona (arguably one of the best footballers ever) scored using his hand. Following the match he claimed the goal was scored “a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God”. Argentina went on to win the match 2-1 and knocked England out of the tournament.
  • One of the saddest stories in World Cup history was the murder of Andrés Escobar. The Colombian scored an own goal in 1994 against the USA, and was shot and killed in his home country two weeks later. One common theory is his own goal caused gambling losses to several high-powered criminals of the time. Technically, this has never been proven. Talk about taking the world’s most popular sport too seriously.

So you still don’t really know anything about soccer. Yes, ok, I call it soccer. Here’s an easier solution to your football naiveté. Head over to your favourite Duke and saddle up to the bar. Early, so you get a good spot. Ask the person sitting next to you to tell you a bit about the World Cup because you read a silly blog about it and you didn’t learn a thing. They’ll probably tell you a story or share a specific moment that changed their idea of a player or the sport and, in turn, that might change you too. Either way, get out there, make friends and have fun. You’re bound to say something silly but who cares, because when it comes to any sporting event – it’s all about the enthusiasm.

Let the Dukes Spice Things Up!

Good KarmaThere’s something about the Duke Pubs’ curry that I can’t quite put my finger on. As a server at the Duke of Kent, I quickly became mildly addicted to the Bombay Chicken Curry over the five years I worked there. I recall genuinely being excited for a shift at work just so I could order it. Needless to say whenever I’m at a Duke Pub these days, it’s my standard order.


The funny thing about the Duke’s curry recipe is that it’s been around as long as me. How long is that? Promise not to tell anyone? An incredible 30 years. So that alone gives you an indication of how popular the dish is on the menu. The most interesting part is that each location has a slight variation on the dish. Like any recipe, it’s the Chef who gives a dish its unique flavour and the Dukes incorporate customer feedback to ensure everyone is getting the kind of traditional curry they’re craving. For instance, I like a curry with a lot of kick, so when I order my curry, I ask for an extra side of the Duke’s homemade suicide sauce and an extra side of Duke Pubs Rhubarb Chutney while I’m at it. Truth be told, I’d eat the chutney on its own if it were socially acceptable. The flavourful heat is the perfect dish to warm you up this long (never-ending-why-won’t-you-just-go-away) winter we’re having and even if you’re more of a mild kind of a currydiner, a crisp pint of Steam Whistle Pilsner will help cool things down.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve had patrons ask or almost beg for the curry recipe to take home. If that sounds like you, you’re in luck. The Duke Pubs Curry Spice and Rhubarb Chutney are now on sale for a special March price of $12.99. To start off this venture, the Dukes partnered with


 George Brown College Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts Food Innovation and Research Studio to perfect their rhubarb chutney recipe. Next they were off to David’s Condiments who helped them master the recreation of their Curry Spice and Sabatini’s Gourmet Foods who handled the Rhubarb Chutney. It’s always best to leave jarring to the pros.  Not only do these kits come with the Curry Spice and Rhubarb Chutney but they include the new Chicken Karma Masala recipe so you don’t have to guess once you’re in the kitchen.
But that better not mean you won’t venture into the Dukes as much because, let’s face it, no matter how good the curry you make at home is, there’s something about the Duke Pubs that just keeps you coming back for more. But hey, if you don’t pop in as often … more for me!

Meatless Mondays

Last month celebrated the tenth anniversary of a dietary movement that takes place in over 29 countries around the globe: Meatless Mondays. You might already participate in this day of veggie-based eating but now you can find more vegetarian options at your favourite Duke Pub.

Meatless Mondays

What’s the deal with Monday?

It’s long been observed that people tend to start new regimes on Mondays. These can range from booking doctor’s appointments to beginning exercise programs or diets to quitting smoking. Bottom line: You probably indulged a little too much on the weekend and you want to start the next week on the right foot. Why not accomplish that by cutting one thing out of your diet on a Monday.

What’s the deal with no Meat?


As Canadians, we consume a lot of food. Much of this is produced through labour and land intensive farming practices. Globally, we can’t continue at the pace we’re at if we want all of our great-great-grandchildren to live the kind of fabulous lives we’re living right now.  Now, what is one burger or steak less per week going to do? If every Canadian ate one less burger a week, over time that would be a lot less cattle being farmed and on a global scale, that’s going to make an even larger impact.

It’s about your health too

Moroccan Stew

While no one’s going to tell you what to eat and not to eat, we can all agree the good ol’ veggies are always a great option in any diet. Taking meat out of the picture forces you to get creative with your main dishes. Without that pork chop taking up the space on your plate you might be at a loss for what to fill it with. Do not fear! Take to the internet for recipes, ask your pals (everyone has one friend that’s an amazing cook, right?) or you can always come to a Duke Pub on Mondays and let us help you out! The best part is that dishes will vary at different Duke locations so you’ll always be able to try something new. But don’t worry, if you are vegetarian 7 days a week, we have the Moroccan Vegetable Stew on the menu at all locations everyday!