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Category Archives: Diary of A Tourist: in Her Own Hometown

Them Buns!

Best new bakery of 2016 had recently been posted. Great we thought! It’s within walking distance as we were starting to run out of best-of’s near us. All well and good except Rosen’s Cinnamon Buns is not open on weekends and they close at 3pm! What were we to do?! Luckily we were taking a long weekend with Friday and Monday off, to go to Quebec City for Carnaval. We took transit to Ossington and College which left us plenty of time to walk over to Billy Bishop Airport to catch our flight.

We almost walked right by the place as they still have the signage from an old business on the exterior. I suggested we get our cinnamon buns in boxes, as I was anticipating not being able to finish it. That’s how it always is with cinnamon buns, they are too rich and sweet to finish. Yes they are delicious but man alive do they ever hurt your teeth and send you into a sugar coma. Not these buns! These cinnamon buns were so light, fluffy and buttery. The perfect amount of cinnamon and frosting, not overly sweet. And bonus: they were warm. I devoured it in no time.

Best bakery? Tough to say as all they sell is cinnamon buns, so no, not really. Ok, I guess it was not that tough to say. However, I would say they are best cinnamon bun in the city. Hands down. Not sticky hands, cinnamon buns are to be eaten with a fork, duh.

 

What A Wait

We recently cleared out most of the places within a reasonable walking distance of our house. One that we had not been to yet was Pai in the Entertainment District, voted best Thai restaurant. And that’s because it took us almost a month to be able to get a reservation. When we got there the line went from the host stand all the way up the stairs to the front door. I felt like a jerk by-passing the line, but we had reservations. Unfortunately the previous people had not yet left our table and were just sitting there talking, after some milling about and consulting with others, we were soon seated. Looking around, the place was absolutely crammed. It was incredible. A Wednesday night and the wait was 45 minutes to an hour for a table.

We had looked up the menu before going out so we knew what we wanted. I was torn between two cocktails, one had a Polish liqueur, Krupnik, in it and was served with ginger beer and ginger garnish. The other one had Thai iced tea. I ended up going for the first, saving the other one if I decided to have a second round.

We were voraciously hungry and we each ordered an appetizer and a main- which almost never happens. Good thing we had, the coconut shrimp I chose was easily the best dish of the night. Second place actually went to my cocktail. The rest of the food was delicious but it was not an epic stand-out meal. I did not really enjoy the deconstructed salad. The pork was good but who needs that much lettuce?

I would have been mad had we been waiting 45 minutes to an hour. It was a good meal but nothing spectacular.

 

Can’t Go Wrong with a Sandwich

For some reason it seemed perfectly fine to go to Kensington Market on a Saturday evening. It was only once we turned and entered the street that it dawned on me:… Saturday’s are so busy here! There were people everywhere, well what I could see of them through the fog.

I was worried we would have to walk and eat and that Torteria San Cosme, best cheap eats 2016, would be rammed. Thankfully I snagged two stools by the window while Brent ordered our sandwiches. On the side we had agua frescas. I was expecting water with a few bits of fruit and hibiscus leaves in it- not something more like juice. No complaints here, it was better than I had expected.

Our sandwiches were somehow so drastically different- yet we could not decide whose was better. The guacamole in mine, but the bacon in Brent’s? We were tied. It was nice to sit and relax, enjoying a delicious steak sandwich while people, er.. dog-watching. I saw some real cuties and one not-so-cutie. As if the meal was not awesome enough, we finished it off with fresh churros and dulce de leche sauce.

Our 2017 fooding was off to an amazing start. And so cheap, so far! Did I mention we went to Birreria Volo after and they had not one, but two (!!!), two Cantillon’s… on tap!!!

 

So Much Rice

Best bbq chicken was re-voted (yet again!) and this time it was even further from us, St. Matthew’s was north of St. Clair all the way over by Keele. However we had cleared out everything nearby and this was now all we had left, and best Portuguese restaurant which was a block or two away. The best of 2016 lists were only slowly starting to trickle in and as of Saturday the only one posted was best bar, but we already been there, of course it was Birreria Volo.

I was wary of going for bbq chicken, I knew exactly what to expect: two pieces of potentially dry chicken, buried under a mound of rice and potatoes. I was pleasantly surprised. The chicken was the best yet (we have been to so many places already!) the skin was crispy but the meat was not dry. The rice, while plentiful, was actually quite good. Everything was doused in hot sauce as well.

 

What A Start!

The new year got off to a great start fooding-wise. Tahkt-e Tavoos was voted best Persian restaurant and apparently they feature an awesome brunch. The even better part? We did not have to get up super early because brunch did not start until 10am. Even still, when we got there just after 11 there was a bit of a wait. That is one of the upsides to being a party of two- we don’t have to wait as long for getting seated.

Because we had gone on a weekend they had a specialities menu- making ordering a no-brainer. Of course I would get a speciality dish! And what’s a fancy brunch dish without a delicious glass of Persian chai tea? It was all delicious. My dish featured sausages and scrambled eggs. But the real winner was the flatbread and the lentils to dip it in. The potatoes were also tasty. I did not even try the feta cheese mini-brick, no amount of anything will ever convince me that feta is tasty or that I should eat it.

 

Ending on a Delicious Note

The posting avalanche ends with our last fooding outing of the year (and what a year it was!). We finally managed to get reservations at Mamakas, voted best Greek restaurant. Apparently a very popular place, it had looked like we may have to save it for 2017 but we managed to get in.

And no wonder it is so popular, the food was incredible! I ate goat tartare atop goat cheese. More than one bite and only mildly tasting off that tinge I hate so much. It was worth it to try the in-house made pitas. Everything was made as a sharing plate, so we did not have to do the awkward plate-swapping halfway through. We just tore into one big plate. Brent got suckered into ordering fries on the side, our server was like that’s not enough food you guys. The fries were good, save for the feta. But again, that’s just me hating feta. The winner was the Mediterranean sea bass, it was so simple and yet so delicious. Olive oil, sea salt lemon and every bite was gustatory heaven. The cured swordfish was also delicious. The baklava was incredible as it was not overly sweet.

Mamakas had been billed as having a “high-end booze” menu as well, so of course we dug right into the cocktail menu. High-end? I have no idea. Fancy and delicious, yup.

 

ReGuu

Guu in Parkdale was recently voted best izakaya restaurant in Toronto. This might not seem like news, Guu already held that title, what of it? Well the other two locations are no longer Guu, now they’re Kinka and there was some ownership split and some kerfuffle. What matters is the food.

We made a reservation and good thing too, the place was really busy. We were by the door and for most of the night when things were quiet we talked to the host. He was awesome. I ordered a sake mojito and it came with a Japanese soda that had a little plug I had to pop into the soda to open it. It was confusing at first, but I figured it out. After drinking it I realized I should try sake on it’s own. Then to round it out, I tried the sake chocolate mojito, why not.

The menu was pared down and had more culinary styles compared to what we were used to. But my old standby, the jellyfish was there. But it got relegated to the second tier if were still hungry. The best dish of the night, hands down, was the sous-vide cooked steak. It was incredible and so flavourful! Albeit eating the mashed potatoes with chopsticks was awkward. On the host’s recommendation, in the second round we got the jerk chicken… and my beloved jellyfish. We gave the fried chicken another chance, and it was better this time, but still not that great.

We stopped in at Duggan’s for a drink before heading home. I had passed it a few times but we were never in the neighbourhood since it had opened (ironic given we used to live nearby). The raspberry beer really hit the spot and it was nice to sit back and relax. Until Brent recognized a logo on a guy’s shirt and tried to do a secret hand-shake at/with the guy. At first he was bewildered, then he quickly caught on and was delighted. His girlfriend meanwhile remarked to me on the topic of being embarrassed by one’s partner. It was lightly snowing out and soon about 20 people in Santa hats and elf costumes came in. I was ready to go home, four drinks and a tonne of great food made for an excellent night out. Plus I had caved and ordered a West Ave cider (who could resist?). I was ready for sleep.

 
 
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