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

Lackluster Dinner

Best Chinese restaurant had been re-voted, but thankfully it was still on Spadina (it’s so annoying when the new winner is really far away when it used to be so close). We went to Rol San without a reservation. There was no way it would be crammed on a Wednesday late afternoon. We did not make the mistake this time of ordering rice. Neither of us likes rice that much and we would rather eat something tastier. Even still we ended up getting too much food. However, the coconut shrimp and egg rolls were so blah that we did not even bother attempting to finish each dish. Those two stood in stark contrast to the sweet & sour chicken and the soy ginger beef which were both amazing.

Our fortune cookies gave me false hope. Mine said “Good news is on its way” and Brent’s said “A confidential tip will clue you in to a great financial deal.” Of course, I thought why not play the numbers from the fortune in the lottery. I lost.


What A Knockout!

White Lily Diner had been voted best new brunch 2016. I was just happy that something near us had been posted. As it turns out, going out for best-of’s once a week can quickly clear out the surrounding area. We were going out more often than the lists were being generated. We risked it and did not get there for open. Luckily we snagged two stools by the bar. No sooner had we been seated, the last few seats got snatched up. By the time we left there were 3-4 groups waiting.

I did not have superbly high expectations. Best brunch, but only of the last year not best brunch period. Man was I wrong. I was so wrong. This place was amazing. I cannot even begin. It is a must-eat-at in Toronto. We split a plate of two donuts: vanilla custard and sour cherry. Something so simple, vanilla custard and yet it was outstanding. It had real vanilla, you could even see the specks. I ordered the pancakes and I could not resist a side of thick cut bacon. I assumed Brent would help me finish it off. I am not a fan of bacon, but the thick cut sounded intriguing. I just wanted a filling side with my pancakes. I was blown away. I seriously considered asking where they source the bacon from. I wanted a lifetime supply. I ate past the point of being full, the bacon and pancakes were that good and the portion sizes that generous. Every time I put my fork down in defeat I would find myself lifting it to my mouth, for one last little bite. My stomach felt like it was going to explode. But the bacon was just so damn good. And they kept offering to refill my coffee, as any true diner would.

We were finished just before 11am, so close to being able to order alcohol! How could we resist a pour-your-own-mimosa?! Plus I still kept nibbling at the bacon, we could easily draw out our meal. It was funny because as the server was clearing our plates she was looking at her watch, she had heard us talking and knew we were waiting for that magical hour to strike. The food was incredible and the service amazing. I’d go back in a heartbeat for the thick-cut bacon and donuts.


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.

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