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Monthly Archives: November 2015

♪ Cheeseburgers in Paradise ♪

Best cheeseburger was recently updated and I was thrilled, burgers are great, with cheese they’re even better. I was so psyched just thinking about the cheesey messy gooey goodness that awaited me for our Saturday lunch date at Indie Alehouse in the Junction. When we got there I realized I had pointed the place out when we went to Playa Cabana Cantina.

My only lunch-time concern was drink options. This was a microbrewery (read: beer)… would they have a winelist or cocktails? Better still, they had an aptly named raspberry ale (Punch Buggy). At first I strongly considered getting it as part of Brent’s tasting flight of 5 different beers, but at the last moment I decided to get an entire glass. Worst case, if I didn’t like it Brent would (happily?) have finished it for me.

We ordered the Royale burger and the short rib burger. After one bite of the short rib burger I passed it back to Brent, it had too much going on and it was too much meat. He felt similarly unimpressed with my burger and we traded back. I actually, for once in my life, liked the lettuce. It added a refreshing crunch to it. The bun was also amazing, topped with sesame seeds and it did not get soggy from the burger juices.

Was it the best cheeseburger in the city though? No. That title is still held by Burger’s Priest burger The Priest. It had lots of cheese, not just one slice that results in only one gooey bite. Indie Alehouse does win however for best microbrew pub in the city. The raspberry ale is a beer I would happily drink more than once. It’s too bad they didn’t it bottled for sale in the shop. I tasted some of the other beers as well, and they were quite delicious (keep in mind I hate beer).

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Secret Manhattan

I am not a fan of the Manhattan cocktail. Every time there has been a best Manhattan, I leave it to Brent to order it and then I take a cautious sip. In reading the description on the BlogTO page I now understand why I had previously not liked them. They were perfect/dry. Whereas the one Brent had at Cold Tea last night was sweet. And so delicious!!! It made me rethink my dislike of Manhattans.

When we first got to Kensington and made the trek down the lonely hallway I was wary it would not be open. We had just eaten at Bannock and the bar was supposed to open at 5pm according to Twitter. It was now 6:30/7pm and I was worried it would be busy. It was closed instead. Dammit.

We were going to go on the way to The Ace but we were short on time. The following day, we would make an evening trip of it. It was again supposed to be open at 5pm, but we were so slow and distracted by the newly acquired Mario Maker game that we did not get there until 7:50pm. The light was not on again, but still we tried the door. No luck. What was going on?!

We went to Mr. Sub, as Brent ate I used the next door Burger King’s strong wi-fi signal to get to the bottom of this mystery. It turns out they need to update their Twitter info. Yelp said that Cold Tea opened at 8pm on Saturdays. Mystery solved.

When we got there a few minutes past the hour the place was already a little busy. There is no menu at the bar. You either know what you want or you ask the bar tender for help. He asked what base alcohol I would like, rum I said. A dash of rum, a splash of gingerbeer, mix it up, add a lime wedge… presto! I was presented a Dark & Stormy. It was delicious.

For the second round I inquired about the five-spice simple syrup I’d read about online, but apparently they no longer had that. In a panic, I asked if he had any specialities. Again, he asked for a base alcohol. This time I said bourbon. And the magic process began again, this time the edge of the glass was rubbed with a piece of orange and garnished with an orange twist. I was a little bit wary of this one. The previous one was served in a larger glass, therefore had more mix. This seemed like more straight alcohol. Again, I was wrong. I did not know bourbon could be made to taste so good without drowning it in other flavours!!!

When we had ordered our first drinks were overheard that they had a lot of fresh mint. We debated having a third round. A mojito would be nice, and then I’d have tried three base alcohols*. And this time I would know beforehand what drink I wanted. I felt a little bad for ordering something so complicated, the mint leaves had to be muddled into the bottom of the glass. It was tasty, but not as good as the best one I’ve had so far, at the Rosedale Diner (when I mistakenly thought that it was the drink of the Kentucky Derby, thinking instead of the mint julep).

Cold Tea was a lot of fun and a great evening.

 

*turns out mojitos are made with rum, my bad

 

Aces!

The Ace on Roncesvalles was apparently voted best family friendly restaurant, so in retrospect it makes sense that I would invite my sister to dinner with us before we all went to the Polish film festival Ekran. The restaurant is a small dimly lit bar-seeming-place, I did not see a single kid in there or any evidence that any had been there.

We ordered the steak frites and the fried chicken and traded halfway. The fries were amazing and managed not to get soggy from the jus accompanying the steak. I was not as impressed with the fried chicken, which was surprisingly lacking in grease.

The clear winner of the night was the hot apple cider with Maker’s Mark bourbon. The cocktail came in two price points, the more expensive one had the fancier base alcohol of which you could choose. The Ace had an amazing list of cocktails, of which I tried no others. I loved the apple cider so much I ordered a second one, this time with El Dorado 12 Year Rum. Sitting there, drinking our alcoholic drinks by dim candlelight… looking back, it does not seem like somewhere to take the kids. But then again, how would I know? Now I need to recruit some kids and go back.

 

The Pizza That Almost Killed Us

A long time ago, a restaurant opened on Queen Street by the Eaton Centre. Their call to fame was a pizza, topped with poutine… and duck. Alas, I was too poor to splurge on something so divine-sounding, at a sit-down restaurant no less. Well Bannock was recently voted best turkey burger, and we needed a second food item to make it a complete dinner. Nothing else on the menu really stood out, and we figured we would eat as much as we could.

We ordered a side of bread as well, we had to try the bannock bread that the restaurant is named after. And I remember them having really good bread from when I used to eat from their cafeteria-style restaurant downstairs. To drink I could not resist a cocktail that included lemonade, maple syrup and a maple sugar rim. Maple lemonade is now one of my new favourite things.

When I ordered the pizza the server looked at me quizzically and warned me that it was enormous. I laughed and said we are splitting it. He was not kidding. The pizza took up a sizeable space on our table. The turkey burger was delicious, better than any I’ve had previously. But I am still not big on turkey burgers, the meat does not lend itself well to burgers. The poutine pizza hit so many good spots. However each bite was the equivalent of three bites of regular food. It was so heavy and delicious, with just the right amount of duck and really good cheese. It very quickly became too much and we had to bail about 2/3 of the way in. The really unfortunate thing is that fries do not hold up well cold, ruining our future plans of cold pizza.

 

 

Halloween Brunch

I’m against leaving the house on Halloween, too many people and its impossible to get around. This does not hold true for the mornings though, and so one Saturday morning we took transit out to Liberty Village for an early morning breakfast. Mildred’s Temple Kitchen had recently been voted best pancakes and I had to see for myself.

We got there early, I was afraid we would have another Auntie’s & Uncle’s situation on our hands. Even worse I feared they would run out of pancakes, on the website they suggest trying the pancakes on a weekday. I imagined at least a few people milling around outside, waiting for the place to open. I was wrong. I was so wrong. We circled Liberty Village twice and went in 5 minutes after open. There were not a lot of people inside. It was only 9 in the morning.

Turns out going out in the daytime on Halloween is fun. The staff were all in costume and they had even set up a Halloween table display near the entrance, two skeletons having wine.

When I ordered the pancakes, Napoleon Bonaparte (our server was in costume of course) commented that it was the best item on the menu. I had really high hopes for these pancakes, I was less so interested in Brent’s steak and eggs sandwich. Even though it promised garlic bread.

I was presented a giant stack of fluffy pancakes with blueberries throughout and just the right amount of maple syrup (hence the reason they did not provide any on the side). I tore into them immediately. The restaurant was already in my good books, they kept topping up my coffee. The pancakes were so light and fluffy and there were blueberries baked into them as well. Definitely some of the best pancakes I have ever had. The sandwich was OK, but it was too much food by that point and most of the garlic brioche had disappeared. I found some under the salad, but it was too late. I was too full. The rosemary bacon, though that is what made me so full, was so worth it.

 

Farmhouse Brunch

Farmhouse Tavern was voted best brunch place that takes reservations (leading one to realize how many liberties “best of” has taken, what next, best brunch west of Yonge St.?). This was my kind of brunch place, opens at 11am and no need to show up super early before opening to get a table.

The menu was written on a chalkboard behind us but it was not entirely clear, what exactly was the breakfast threesome? The server had to explain to us the details of the menu items. Then it became clear, the breakfast threesome sounded awesome: foie gras, a deep-fried egg and crispy duck. We ordered drinks, I had jumped the gun, and as soon as I saw mimosa I was set. Until Brent noticed the apple cider sangria. He did not like it as much, and so we traded drinks.

The bread (found underneath the duck leg) was amazing!! As was the duck, the skin was nice and crispy but the meat was deliciously greasy. The foie gras was where it dipped off for me. Turns out I am just not a fan of foie gras. The knockout was the apple cider sangria.

 
 
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