Monthly Archives: May 2012

Pierogi i Kawa

Continuing the Doors Open fun I headed to Roncesvalles today to check out some buildings that my mom wanted to see. How could I resist a chance to continue my search for good perogies in Toronto? I could not, hence I found myself sitting in Cafe Polonez awaiting a plate of minced pork perogies. I was starving so I munched on bread at the table. It was not enough. I devoured the plate, barely stopping to take it all in. So far, these are the best traditional perogies (outside of homemade) that I have had. They came with a side of fried pork (in place of bacon) to put on top. Delicious. I had to poke one apart to look at the filling to make sure they were not those store-bought ones I was served at Chopin. They were not. They did lack the imperfections of being hand-made but there are machines you can use to speed up the process of sticking the edges together, and this being a restaurant I assume that is what the did.

After dinner we walked up Roncesvalles and passed by Alternative Grounds, having heard good things about the coffee, being weak-willed, I went in. It was worth the $1 I paid. It is up there among the best coffees I have had and the cheapest, which is a rare combination. The coffee was from Nicaragua, it was very smooth and mild and all around a good well-balanced cup of coffee.


Blink Blink… Blink

Yesterday I went into a serious food coma. I was falling asleep while sitting upright! That’s how bad it was! Why the food coma you ask? I walked to Brent’s house, this left me starving. Before leaving I made the mistake of checking my email, wherein I had a message from the Toronto Food Truck Mailing list. Buster’s Sea Cove’s brand new food truck was going to be a stones throw away from Brent’s house! But I was in a rush to get to his house because we were going to Porcehtta & Co. for the best breakfast sandwich. Why they serve a breakfast sandwich until 3pm, I do not know.

As we walked along Dundas we looked down Ossington to see if we could see the food truck, we could not. But we did see a lot of people eating fish tacos. We got a bit paranoid, imagining up crazy scenarios of the food truck running out of fish. We almost went back. Almost. We thought better of it, we had our eyes on Porchetta. Buster’s was going to be a follow-up snack en route back to Brent’s. Good thing we didn’t. We had been under the impression that the sandwich (a Porchetta sandwich with an egg and smoked gouda on top) was served until 3:30pm. We got there ten minutes before they stopped serving it.

Yet again, I ended up swearing with a mouthful of food. I thought the Porchetta sandwich was good. I thought what difference would an egg make? Somehow it was breathtaking. I made the mistake of not having a bite of Brent’s, so I cannot say how mine with the truffle sauce tasted compared to non-truffle sauce. It did not make it taste awful is all I can say.

It was Doors Open so we went to see some open stuff. We wandered into a fire station where my illusions were shattered… there was no firepole for the firefighters to slide down! I left. The Buddhist temple that was supposed to be open was not. So we turned back and headed to find that food truck!

Alas, the food truck was not what I had expected. There were only three things on the menu: fish tacos, crab rolls and lobster rolls. Having just eaten a giant sandwich, I was hardly in the mood for more bread. As we waited for our fish tacos we overheard some girls contemplating their orders. One was considering a lobster roll, but she doesn’t like mayonnaise. Yeah, lobster/crab roll is not the order for her.

The fish tacos were subpar, given we had already experienced the sublime ones from Grand Electric (to which no fish taco could ever stand up to), but not all that bad. But they did not hold a candle to the best.

And then we topped it off with candy. I could barely move at the end of our escapade.


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So how was my first week of actual summer (Victoria Day= official kick-off to summer)? Well there were the good times and the not-so-good times, where do I begin?

First the good:

  • Finally got around to going running, even in my post-hibernation state I manage to run past more than a few people
  • I rocked the bikini on the deck… while tanning! Double good!
  • Tim Hortons has brought back the raspberry flavour shot!
  • Thanks to the super hot weather I have an awesome tan from wearing barely any clothes
  • Survived. No, enjoyed, canoeing.
  • Read Mary Roach’s book Stiff in half a day

And now the bad:

  • Running resulted in not being able to walk for two days and a gnarly blister on my foot
  • I got some horrid sunburns in places I missed while tanning.
  • Nearly fainted & almost fell into the lake due to too much time in the sun on the deck
  • Tim Horton’s bringing back the raspberry flavour shot (bad for my wallet)
  • Thanks to the hot weather, I broke in my new summer sandals which broke my feet. So badly. My left foot is mangled.
  • And then my back-up alternate sandal broke. I am down to one pair of sandals. Not good.
  • I spend more time reading then in the real world
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Posted by on May 26, 2012 in Uncategorized


Oh Mon Dieu!

I had a revelation yesterday. It turns out I have been eating sub-par chicken my whole life! My eyes were open to this yesterday at dinner. We ate at Ici Bistro last night, voted best french restaurant in the city. I had the chicken supreme and Brent had the braised beef. We narrowed it down to those two, but there were quite a few other things on the menu that stood out. Good thing we had the chicken. It was otherworldly. It was so soft and succulent and juicy. I have never had chicken this delicious. The braised beef was also delicious, it was so soft it fell apart, or as Brent said repeatedly “it melts in your mouth” which it doesn’t really, it just falls apart in tiny meaty tender juicy pieces.

The braised beef came with a side of bone marrow croquettes. I have had croquettes before and did not like them. And bone marrow did not sound like the most appetizing thing in the world either. I cautiously bit into it… and holy crap. It has to have been one of the best things I have ever eaten! It was meaty and greasy and yet light and soft and it just fell apart. Another surprise was the goat cheese and shallot little pie thingy that we were served as an amuse-bouche before the meal. Shallots? Goat cheese? Mixed together in a puff pastry? Somehow it was delicious. And funny because Brent yelped that it was hot.

Being at a french bistro, ordering fancy food, we could not pass up the chance to have fancy wine to go with it. Hardly a wine connoiseur, even after we had gone to Enotecca Sociale, I played it safe and ordered the wine paired with my chicken. But which wine?! For there were two to choose from: a Canadian one and a French one. Duh I went for the French wine. Did it compliment my chicken? Sure, it did, why not.

Going to a french restaurant and not ordering dessert is a crime. Especially if there is creme brulee on the menu. Even moreso if it is a creme brulee TRIO! AS IN THREE!!! I thought we were just going to get three small creme brulees.Yes, they were small, but they were all different flavours! There was regular, “frambois” (as she called it, as in raspberry) and Grand Marnier. Frambois was the knock-out, barely, they were all amazing. We got to see the chef whip out his blow-torch so we knew it was going to be good. The tops were actually still warm! Hands-down the best creme brulee I have ever had and more than likely will ever have. Does that mean I should never ever order creme brulee ever again unless I am definitively sure that it will be as good? Nah, creme brulee is just too damn good.


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Airport Antics

I hate airports. They are big and confusing and needlessly complicated. Yesterday I went to pick up my mom from the airport. Being lost in a great book, I almost missed my stop. I stood up to get off the bus, until the bus driver announced that it was Terminal 1, so I sat back down. I got off the bus at Terminal 3 and rushed to Arrivals, except her flight was not listed on the board. So I asked about it and was informed that in fact her flight was landing at Terminal 1. Dammit.


Off I went in search of some elevators that would take me to the train to Terminal 1. She told me to take the elevator when I could have easily taken the escalator. It would have been faster and much less crammed. For the train there are 2 platforms where you can board. I almost got on a train going to the parking garages but thankfully I caught my mistake and made my way on an empty train to Terminal 1. I got to see a bunch of parking structures and planes. The train route seemed needlessly long and not like the most direct route.


I got to Terminal 3 and yet again, no flight on the arrivals board. I was getting worried, had I messed something up? I rushed to the info desk and she pointed at the board and then it showed up there, I looked like an idiot. I had rushed only to find out that my mom’s flight was late. ACK.


There just so happened to be a cafe there. They just so happened to be a Birds & Beans outpost! Or a place that just took their logo and sells their coffee. I think it might be option #2 because this cafe serves coffee in Styrofoam cups. If you’ve ever been to Birds & Beans you will know that they are enviro-friendly. The lids for their cups are even made of a biodegradable corn oil.

(Look how tall they are! Guy in front and in back right)

Eventually my mom’s flight landed. There was a Polish team of some sorts on the flight as well. I am guessing they were a basketball team given that most of them were over 6 feet tall. And also EuroCup is starting soon, so why would they be leaving Poland? Maybe Poland inexplicably sent over their basketball team here?

Thank God there is at least a Tim Hortons there.

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Posted by on May 15, 2012 in Adventures of Pinka!


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It was just gorgeous outside yesterday and given that we have eaten at all the best-of places near Brent’s house, we ventured a little further out than usual. As in not in Parkdale! We decided to take advantage of the nice weather and head out to Khao San Road for the best thai food in the city. As we got closer, a small feeling of dread washed over us. We had feared that the place would be full, as the internet had warned us. Instead we found a giant construction site. Had the restaurant been bashed down or moved?! All was not lost, we had a back-up plan in case the place was packed: go to Sadie’s for brunch and then next door for best Latin American cafe. Thankfully the restaurant was next door to the construction. And not packed. We were quickly seated.

We ordered what was recommended in the write-up. We ordered the squash fritters to start. Neither of us was right in terms of what to expect. Brent said it would be like a patty, I of course imagined a donut a-la Tim Horton’s apple fritter. It was closer to french fries or calamari, little breaded & deep-fried things you could dunk in sauce. The squash fritters were outstanding! It was unbelievable how good they were, especially considering I was of the mind that I was not too fond of squash. For the mains Brent ordered the pad thai and I had the khao soi, both spicy of course. Honestly, the dishes were nowhere near the caliber of the squash fritters. It was delicious food and just the right amount of spicy but there was just too much food. Neither of us ended up finishing our dishes. After a while the coconut milk started getting to me. And it was a mildly frustrating dish to eat, splashing myself in the face with the curry sauce with every spoonful.

For dessert we went to Jimmy’s Coffee for the best americano in the city. What is an americano? It is watered down espresso is what it is. For a cup of watered down espresso it was still pretty damn good. It retained the nutty flavour of the espresso without any hint of bitterness. The place is very nondescript, it looks like a regular house, I really thought we were about to have a horribly embarrassing moment.


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And now for a new segment called Hipster Round-Up.Everyone once in a while, whenever I feel like it (in keeping things hipster) I will post about fun & interesting hipster sightings! Mostly centralized in the Toronto area, more specifically Parkdale.

Along Queen Street today, we had many a hipster sighting, it being a Saturday and Parkdale being overrun with them. Were they out antiquing? Getting ice cream? Out & about because there is something secretly ironic about it and non-hipsters have no idea what it is but when hipsters see other hipsters walking along they nod their hats because they re in the know?!

Top 3 hipster sightings for today:

  1. Hipster with a pierced nose and his baby blue plaid shirt unbuttoned… all the way down his belly button.
  2. A group of three hipsters walked by Grand Electric and considered going in, “hey, come on guys, let’s check it out”, man were they in for a surprise. Grand Electric on a Saturday evening an hour after opening when the weather is nice? The fact that the windows had been opened so that the window seat could be a (very uncomfortable looking) seat says something… I laughed quietly to myself. Ahahahaha.
  3. I forget

Soon I will not be a giant chicken and I will photo-document these hipsters with my camera phone, in keeping with the theme.

Ah, I got a story for 3.) 250lb shirtless guy riding a moped downtown. Not hipster, but still worth mentioning.

And now a temp image, because I like when my stories are illustrated:

thanks google!


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I Can Now Officially Say: I HATE BRUSSEL SPROUTS

Last night Brent and I went out in the rain to have dinner at Woodlot, best new restaurant 2010, we had been meaning to go there for a while now. To say that the restaurant is bare-bones and minimalist is an understatement to say the least. It is insanely low-key and unassuming. There is no fancy decor or loud music or pompompery. Just tables and a second floor with more tables. There is a giant table beside the kitchen that we guessed was for walk-ins without reservations, they had to suffer through sharing a table with strangers. We periodically would laugh at the people down below (we were on the second floor overlooking the first). The kitchen is not hidden somewhere in the back, a magical place behind swinging doors that you only get a glimpse of. It is right there near the doors. We could watch them put food into the giant, and I really do meant giant, (wood-fired?) oven.

We knew beforehand what we were going to order. We figured we would be in and out of there in no time. We were wrong. Apparently our order was put in just after the orders of a fairly large group. People kept showing up to apologize/tell us our food was on its way. We had ordered the pork chops and the steak and when we placed the order she said due to the nature of the food it would take a little bit longer. It took a lot longer than a little bit. At least we had a nice view to keep us occupied. We got to watch them make stuff in the kitchen as well as check in on a weird couple at the common table. They were there when we got there, they were there when we left. It was weird, they were leaning in so close to each other, must have been intense conversation. Or they are just weirdos. I say the latter. Lucky for us they ordered the treat platter for two, which did not look all that astounding and therefore not worth the wait.

The food was really good, that is except for the brussel sprouts that Brent had ordered on the side. Turns out I am not allowed to say that I do not like them if I have never tried them. So I did. I had a bite, made a face and downed a lot of water. They are awful. No amount of grilling or topping with bacon could ever save them. They taste too much… like vegetables. The steak was better than the pork-chops but only because the first bite I had of pork chop was just fat. Which was mildly jarring to say the least. There were two pieces of steak left so I had one… only it was a piece of mushroom, whihc was really unexpected and yet again, jarring.

What we realized when we left is that we are fast eaters. Not to say that we inhale our food without savouring it. Just as soon as the food arrives, any socializing ceases and we eat! Every once in a while we will give a thumbs up or make a face, but as per talking, not a heck of a whole lot. We almost always look up the menus online beforehand so when we get there we know what we want to order, lest what is on special changes that, which I don’t think it ever has. It would appear we don’t really care much about atmosphere. What matters is the food. That being said, the atmosphere at Woodlot is relaxed, but also kind of dark. Not exactly the best lighting hence the less-than-perfect (to say the least) photographs. Or maybe I was too busy eating.


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Tame Your Fears

Scary right? It is all spooky and dark and the eerie light… ooohhhh atmosphere. Nope, the above image is not the fear I am speaking of. Am I writing about the fact that it has somehow ended up that I am going to visit Detroit as part of a road-trip (it was inevitable, look how close it is!). Nope. And also Detroit does not seem so scary any more, partly because it is mostly empty and the only people there are all in Greek town which is apparently the happening place to be right now in Detroit (never, ever, thought I would be saying THAT).\

Nope I am talking about my “fear” of balloons. Not so much a fear as a hatred. I hate the suspense of “it can pop at any minute resulting in a loud *bang* sound” and I also hate the rubbery smell of them. So what to do when I got on the elevator and was face-to-face with my nemesis… a balloon in the shape of an animal! I put on a brave face and stuck it out. At the opposite corner of the elevator.


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Posted by on May 9, 2012 in Adventures of Pinka!


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Take it EASY

I’ve been having a rough go of it lately, to put it lightly. The combination of recently graduating and having to harass agencies to take me on as an interpreter, a death in the family and subsequently most of my family leaving to Poland because of that. Yeah, things were wearing on me.

What better pick-me-up is there than… WAFFLES!!! If waffles do not cure your blues, then I don’t know what could. And at this point I would like to say I am in no way (yet) affiliated with or paid by any Waffle Councils. Man would that be awesome though. We went to Easy because it is at the halfway point between my house and Brent’s and also we had been meaning to go there for quite a while now. Brent had the Huevos Divorciados (voted best Heuvos Rancheros in the city) and I, as mentioned, had the waffles. I was wary of ordering the house specialty because it sounded disgusting, here are just a few of the components: re-fried black beans, sunnyside-up eggs, ancho jam. Everything else in it, not so gross sounding. But how did that giant mess of food taste? Surprisingly delicious. I liked the spiciness and the overall mix of a bunch of different flavours. I may have even ingested some egg yolk and a few beans!

Given that best waffles has yet to be announced/determined on the BlogTO website I would suggest Easy as a strong contender. I was rather shocked, I admit. Why the shock? They were whole wheat waffles! And they came with blueberries! They tasted amazing, they had a slight hint of oatmeal instead of the usual sand-flavour one associates with bad whole wheat. And the fruit was not just on the side, as I pleasantly discovered, there was also fruit underneath! Made all smooshy and soft from the heat of the underside of the waffle.


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