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Monthly Archives: March 2016

Sandwiches in the Rain? Not Really

I was wary of best late night sandwich. The two do not seem to go together, late night and sandwich just conjures up images of Homer eating the days old sub from behind the radiator.

Nonetheless, Tuesday evening (see just about every post previous about my thinking regarding “late night”) we found ourselves walking down to King and Spadina. The weather was less than stellar. It was only raining lightly, but it promised to get worse. Bellybusters Sandwiches was more like Subway than what I had been picturing. Not noticing the lack of an oven, I ordered a pizza sub. It was warmed up in the microwave. Other than the  subsequent lack of crispness in the bread, it was delicious. A horrible mess to eat, as it started to disintegrate, but still delicious. I can definitely see this being a better late night option than McDonalds. It was not spectacular by any means. Just a delicious sandwich.

 

 

Meat Pies

I have never really liked pie all that much. Sure a pecan pie is delicious but that’s about it. Fruit pie, meh. Meat pie? I really did not know what to expect from the Pie Commission, voted best meat pie. Would it be a convenient and hand-held way to eat meat? Not really. It was greasy as hell. I took to stabbing the top of it and eating it in a most messy manner. The steak was tasty and the pie crust was buttery. I am still not sold on meat pies though. It was frustrating to eat and I just gave up.

 

Double Best

Bar Raval had been voted not just best new bar of 2015 but also best tapas in Toronto. Two birds with one stone and within a walking distance? Our anniversary dinner plans were settled. We got there around 5:30 and the place was packed, literally standing room only. There was one spot left, standing by the bar. There were other people standing at high tables as well, so we were not the odd ones out. At first it kind of sucked, standing? An annoying guy beside me? Thankfully the music started drowning him out and I settled in. I soon forgot I was even standing, the bar has a great atmosphere and I had fun watching the bar tenders making cocktails.

Like a dummy I forgot that this was best new bar of 2015 and I ordered a glass of sparkling wine. Sipping from the fancy gimlet glass (and feeling like I was in the Great Gatsby) I realized I would have to order a second drink, a fancy cocktail. Otherwise how could I verify if this was truly best new bar of 2015? Atmosphere and decor-wise yes, but would the drinks hold up? More than. The “dust bunny” was amazing, it was adorned with a dried apple ring and it was one of the best cocktails I have ever had.

Now on to the tapas. We ordered two rounds of food, it made more sense than ordering too much in one round and regretting it. The shishito peppers were the clear winner, they had been fried and sprinkled with sea salt. Nothing else really stood out as amazing. Best tapas still goes to Torito in Kensington Market.

 

Jammin’

I ran out of jam again. That is what precipitates my jam-making sessions, not the availability of fresh/seasonal food. Rather than make the same old variation on a berry jam I am so used to making that I no longer need the recipe, I decided to actually try another (yes, I actually have pinned more than one) of my jam recipes. The blueberry lemon sounded delicious and different. I followed the recipe almost exactly, save for my modified cooking. I cook it at a lower heat for longer, it just works for me. The recipe called for a slightly different ratio of sugar to berries. It called for 3.5 cups to 6 cups of berries. I thought maybe this was to counter the sourness of the lemon juice. Nope, the recipe writer just has a real sweet tooth. The flavour combination is awesome, even if it takes a bit of getting used to with peanut butter. For next time I will stick with the usual that I have found works for me, 1 sugar to 2 fruits. (I have no math background, I have no idea how to write ratios.)

 
 

Dear Birds: Ssshh!!

Auntie’s & Uncle’s had recently been voted best french toast in the city, just in time too as we were running out of places within a walkable range. Unluckily because Auntie’s & Uncle’s opens at 9am and you have to be there at least 15 minutes early else you will have a long wait for a table. I had no trouble waking up early, as the birds outside my window decided to chirp incessantly and loudly around 7:30 in the morning. Granted it was just before I was supposed to wake up anyways, still I was annoyed. I got ready and proceeded to have a mini nap on the couch until it was time to leave.

We got to Auntie’s & Uncle’s and already there was one group ahead of us. We promptly took our place in line behind them, at least we had benches to sit on. No sooner were we seated, more people started showing up. By the time we were seated they were full and telling people they would have to wait. It made me secretly feel really good. I was unsure about what to order, having had the waffles last time and really being in the mood for greasy or meaty (otherwise the obvious choice is a croque monsieur). I lucked out, they had blueberry pancakes on special and in the last few years I have managed to quash my blueberry aversion*.

The french toast and pancakes both had little pats of butter on top slowly melting, making for some extra delicious top bites. The french toast, while delicious, was not as good as at School (thus that one is still the contender for best french toast in my books). The pancakes were crammed full of blueberries, each bite was so bursting with them. We looked up my post from last time to determine what I had ordered. The post mentions peeling airplane wallpaper and Bob Dylan playing over the speakers, both are still true.

Up next we walked over to Neo Coffee, down the street from my original alma-mater (and interestingly, fun fact, the birth place of the original of this blog) George Brown College**. Neo Coffee had been voted best new cafe of 2015. I was immediately smitten, they had a punny chalkboard sign outside. I cannot for the life of me remember the joke. The coffee was delicious and I was impressed with the selection. They had bagged coffee from many city roasters. Going along the shelf I rexognized most of them. I pointed out to Brent that this was my equivalent of his favourite beers and breweries. He did not seem to understand, (jokingly? I hope) saying that all coffee is the same. The roll cake was as good as a strawberry roll cake can possibly get, so moist and fluffy and not overly sweet. If this place had been open while I was at George Brown I could definitely see myself spending at least one day a week here.

 

*As a child I ate a whole plate of blueberry-filled perogies, a Polish delicacy I am told, afterwards I took a look in the mirror and to my horror discovered my mouth, tongue and lips were all tinged a horrible blue. Only a few years ago did I start sneaking blueberries in here and there to the point that now I can eat a blueberry yogurt- happily.

**Please don’t do the math of how long it has been.

 

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Burrito for the Win!!!

An afternoon outing to the pub warrants some late night burritos of course. Keep in mind that “late night” for me is like 7:30pm. Trouble is that we ate so much at the pub we were nowhere near hungry. The following day however we were both having regrets, thus our dinner plans were set: late night burritos. We would not mess it up this time by eating too much beforehand.

I could have sworn that Burrito Boyz was closer to my house. At least they had the option to order online, I could finally be as picky as I wanted. Alas, it was only for large orders. But I had already made up my mind, this was going to be the perfect burrito therefore I would be that one annoying person who does not just order everything. I slowly named off the toppings I wanted which happened to be about half, so I couldn’t even save myself with “everything except for.”

It was a long slow walk back, partly because I was hungry and partly because I was craving soda. Mostly it was because the weather forecast called fr rain so I wore rain boots with too-thick socks and now my feet were blistering and my legs were hurting.

I was wary of this burrito. Firstly there were way less options, only chicken, no other types such as baja chicken as I am used to at Fat Bastard Burrito. Secondly the toppings seemed to have been applied sparsely, I almost wanted to request more guacamole, she only gave me a small smear!! Then I took a bite. One bite and I was smitten. This was not just the best late night burrito, this was the best burrito period, in the city. The burrito sauce really made it. A new go to for us now.

 

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Beast of a Brunch

I had seen a post on Instagram of an epic looking donut. I had to go to this place, I had to try this donut. I did not care that it was not a best of Toronto according  to the list. And so we wound up waking up early and making the walk down to Tecumseth & King in the hopes of an awesome brunch at Beast. They get bonus points for opening at 10am, any earlier and it may have been a deal-breaker.

We got there 15 minutes early, as I had read online that you must get there early, the tables fill up and the donuts sell out. I was expecting an Auntie’s & Uncle’s situation, get there early and still not early enough. This was not the case, maybe it was the all the snow, who knows. There was one other person lined up outside. I was still secretly worried that the donuts would sell out, as they are also sold from the back of the restaurant.

I was not expecting such an elaborate set-up when I ordered coffee. It was special enough on its own, being from Sam James Coffee Bar. I was presented with french press and a timer, once it went off I could press myself a fresh cup of brewed coffee. We ordered two donuts, deciding it made sense to order the house special: maple bacon. I had avoided that combination for so long but was willing to try it again. It was actually quite good, as the bacon was a light sprinkling of bacon crumbs. The mocha crisp donut was still better. The donuts were delicious and fresh- but not as good as Von Doughnuts.

Brent had ordered the chicken club sandwich on a buttermilk biscuit. Rather than order another sandwich, I opted for the breakfast platter. I was worried I’d have too much food. But the sandwich was enormous, I did not even attempt to bite it, I just stole a piece of fried chicken. The grilled chorizo sausage in the platter was delicious and spicy and you can’t go wrong with potatoes. Even the eggs were delicious, as over the years I have grown accustomed to eating egg yolks- only when scrambled with the egg whites though, let’s not get crazy. All in all it was a very delicious brunch with a few stand outs.

I cannot remember for the life of me how I found out about it, but somehow I found out that Quantum Coffee (newly opened at King and Spadina where the backpackers hostel was since forever) serves a creme brulee latte. Given we were already in the area, I thought why not have another coffee? Becuase the top has to be torched, the coffee is not made to go. If we were going to sit in the cafe, we may as well order some baked goods too? Right? It was a themed order as I was enchanted by the delicious looking toasted marshmallow pastry puff, which was tasty but not as much as I had expected. The cappuccino (I had been calling it a latte when in fact they said it was a cappuccino) was delicious even though the topping was not rock hard and I barely had to break it with my spoon. Still a fun place to go for a coffee.

 
 
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