Posts Tagged: brunch

Jul 13

Toronto adventures: Where to eat


Welcome to the T-Dot.

Welcome to T Dot.

Cafe Keriwa, 1690 Queen St W. T 00 1 416 533 2552. You simply don’t hear enough about First Nations (Aboriginal) cuisine in Canada. Is it because (as had been suggested to me) they don’t traditionally have a ‘restaurant’ culture?  I have no clue, but I do know that I want to learn more and eat a lot more of their food. If you’re in town then a perfect place to start is Cafe Keriwa who serve Blackfoot First Nations-inspired dishes using traditional Ontario ingredients like sea buckthorn berries and stinging nettles. Absolutely delicious.

First Nations-inspired cuisine and utterly delicious

First Nations-inspired cuisine and utterly delicious

Grand Electric, 1330 Queen St W. T: 00 1 416 627 3459. It’s the hottest taco joint on the block – with all the apparently ‘necessary’ hipster restaurant ‘rules’ – no reservations, no cheque splitting, a menu with very few items and service that veers between delightful smiles and ‘you’re-lucky-you’re-even-eating-here’ scowls.  That said, there’s a reason why there are queues every day to eat at Grand Electric – the tacos are flat-out wonderful. Just amazing. The ‘Jesus Juice’ cocktail was pretty damn fine too. Join the queue and take your chances.

My favourite, the Baja gish taco

My favourite, the Baja fish taco

Saint Tavern, 227 Ossington Ave. T: 00 1 647 350 2100.  There was nothing I didn’t adore about brunch at the Saint; from the lovely room with its booths, long bar and superb service to every damn thing on the menu. There was an absurdly delicious bacon-maple-bourbon dish that had me cleaning my plate with sticky fingers, a fine alternative to boring old eggs and bacon when paired with a gorgeous creamy-spicy paprika-dusted deviled egg. Even the rice krispy-encrusted French Toast made me gurgle with foodie-glee. And I don’t even LIKE French Toast.  Love, love, love.

Rice krispy-crust French Toast YUM

Rice krispy-crust French Toast YUM

Dakota Tavern, 249 Ossington Ave. T: 00 1 416 850 4579. I can’t recall the last time that just walking into a restaurant made me want to cry with happiness. It was a bright sunshiny Sunday when I found the Dakota Tavern. I pushed open the door and went into the beer-y darkness and down a flight of stairs into a windowless basement… only to find a magical room – lit with fairylights – a sweet, smooth bluegrass band playing on the handkerchief-sized stage and the room filled with starry-eyed music fans forking up the all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast.

Take a seat and soak up the magic

Take a seat and soak up the magic

Hawker Bar, 164 Ossington Ave. T: 00 1 647 343 4698. There’s a slightly annoying trend for places to not open for lunch around the Parkdale/Ossington area – so I didn’t get to eat at a few of the places I meant to visit… however that did mean that I wandered into Hawker Bar by complete chance and was rewarded by a brilliant East-meets-West fusion of a pulled pork steamed bun for lunch.

Yeah, OK - having menus on cardboard is a touch hipster, but I loved it

Yeah, OK – having menus on cardboard is a touch hipster, but I loved it

Caplansky’s, 356 College St. T: 00 1 416 500 3852. The one thought that dominated my mind as I sat and grazed my way through a ‘highlights reel’ at Caplansky’s? ‘Damn. I haven’t eaten enough deli food in my life.’ I could go on for hours about the sheer brilliance of the kishke with smoked meat gravy, the hand-sliced in-house smoked meat, the grilled salami with chopped liver and red onions, but I’ll just get upset that I live so far from Toronto and can’t go and have it all RIGHT NOW. But you know what? You go when you’re there and have it for me.

Home-smoked and hand-sliced

Home-smoked and hand-sliced

I stayed in Toronto as a guest of Toronto Tourism. However – as always – my views are 100% my own.

Find out more:  Toronto Tourism

Dec 12

Clouds in my coffee: brunch at Fable

Oof. Homesickness has hit. Just like Proust got sucked into a world of nostalgia and memory from one bite of a madeleine, so I found myself in tears after a sip of latte at Fable on West 4th. It was perfect; silky steamed, frothy milk and rich, smooth coffee – just exactly the way I love it – and how the fine folk at Small Batch make it in Brighton.

Silly, but it tasted of home and made me cry…

I thought of all my friends that I missed sitting and having coffee with and oh, it hurt. Silly really, to cry over coffee but isn’t it always food that makes you feel connected to memories and special occasions? I’m sitting back at home now, indulging in a small sob-fest. It’s three months on Thursday since I arrived in Vancouver and this is the first time I’ve felt truly homesick. How typical that it was because of a coffee!

Only another six days until I can brunch-out and eat this again…

Fortunately apart from weeping over the latte, I was also raving over the brunch menu at Fable. I went with my friend from Toronto, Alyssa, who confessed to being not much of a brunch person – but looks like she may have changed her mind after the dazzling meal that we shared. We kicked off with brunch cocktails; a pink grapefruit Cava mimosa for me (loved the tartness of this) and a tongue-tingly spicy Victoria Gin Caesar for Alyssa. We split the special, a smoked salmon benedict, which came with a satisfying wedge of almost-candied smoked salmon, completely different from the usual waxy sliver of salmon that arrives with a benny. Paired with a peppery olive oil hollandaise and dressed salad leaves, this had us both gurgling with glee.

An extra squirt of Parmesan foam? Yes please, chef!

The must-have is definitely scrambled eggs; served in a glass jar, layered with buttery spinach, salty bacon and topped with a parmesan foam; they arrived with hefts of fluffy brioche and a brilliantly-crunchy rosti. After one bite, thoughts of how far I was from home faded and instead I started to feel glad that I was within walking distance of these eggs instead.

Perfect scrambled eggs.

I tried the french toast – I’m not a fan as a rule, maybe it’s the cinnamon, maybe it’s the overly-sweetness of it? – but this might change my mind. I liked the chewy, carmelised, buttery edges and the smooth dollop of Mascarpone, along with the freshness of the blueberries served on the side, cut through the usual teeth-rattling sugaryness. Alyssa loved it.

Let’s just call it a possible game-changer.

We sat at the bar – recommended for fans of kitchen theatre and the sheer joy of watching a good crew work together – but next time, I plan to bring a crew of my own, maybe for the monthly boozy brunch, and sit in the back. It’s time I started to create new traditions in Vancouver, and I think brunch at Fable is just the thing to make me feel at home.

We were hosted by Fable, but my views are 100% my own. In fact I’ve been back for that boozy brunch a few times since – it’s still great!

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