Tag Archives: breakfast

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.


Tags: , , ,

Ottawa Winterlude: Day 3

Mon. Feb. 15, 2016:
Train back to Toronto

We lucked out, it was family Day and that meant that the National Gallery of Canada would actually be open unlike on a regular Monday. On our walk back to the hotel yesterday we had passed a place near Byward Market called Planet Coffee, what better place to get my morning coffee fix from? Checking their Facebook page I discovered that they were going to participate in a hot chocolate competition at the market! I was way too excited about these prospects.

It was still cold out, a cool -21C but the weather report promised it would warm up as the day wore on. I caved into temptation at Planet Coffee and got a mocha with whipped cream, they were after all entering a hot chocolate contest therefore it must be good. Right? It was delicious and if it was any indication of the quality of their hot chocolate, they had the contest in the bag.

Byward Market was very small and not at all what I had expected. There were only a few vendors and it was just two rows of them. We peered down at them from the walkway above and decided that the wood-fired oven Montreal-style bagel place down below seemed like a good place to grab breakfast. It was fun to watch the bagels cooling near the oven, and it raised my hopes for breakfast. It was a really popular place and there were no free seats. The hot chocolate contest was only being set up, we decided if we had time we could pop by later.

Feb.15 (2)

The herb and cheese bagel was amazing and it was crammed full of smoked meat, egg and cheddar cheese. My only regret was not having a drink on the side. By the time we were done breakfast and packed up the temperature had risen to -19C, a cause for celebration- even though we were walking one block. Still that one block was a cold walk, I only had on one pair of tights and one pair of socks and I did not double up my long sleeve shirts. We would be walking around a gallery for a few hours and it would be way too hot.

We had double lucked out at the Gallery, it was the last day of the Monet show. After having been to many art galleries I still do not understand contemporary art or colour block painting or any of the other weird stuff. We did get to see some gorgeous Inuit art pieces, the most miniscule carvings imaginable and it boggles the mind. This was the first time in a gallery or museum where I did not end up freezing cold. We managed to finish the Gallery in three hours, earlier than we had expected.

Feb.15 (3)

We went to Dunn’s for smoked meat sandwiches. But we had so much time that Brent suggested we get the sandwiches for later and go elsewhere for lunch. Hooch Restaurant did not open until 5pm. There had been an Irish pub on my list and as Brent was about to look up the address to the Aulde PoorHouse I saw it across the street. The hot chocolate contest across the street was well under way and we figured it would make a good dessert option afterwards. We were in an Irish pub so of course I had to get the BBQ Guinness chicken wings. It was too early in the day for drinks, instead I opted for a green tea with lemon which was perfect after all the cold weather. The spicy curry chicken with fries was also delicious.

Feb.15 (5)

They had managed to take down the event tent and everyone had cleared out. As we left the pub it was as if the hot chocolate contest had never even happened. They had vanished without a trace. Instead we stopped in at Sugar Mountain where I went a little overboard. It was a long slow walk back to the train station, my legs were dead. The stupid highway made our route quite inefficient as we had to make a giant detour to get around it. It made me mad because I could see the hotel near the train station yet we had to go all the way around, adding on an extra 15 minutes that felt like eternity.

In the train station Brent opened his smoked meat sandwich from Dunn’s and the pickle smelled so good I had to open mine and eat it, after all the pickle might make the sandwich soggy. I could not resist a bite of the sandwich. It was underwhelming to say the least, which is too bad as thus far all of our fooding had been quite good. The WiFi in the train station was lackluster and I was getting antsy. It did feel good to sit though. It turns out that being really cold really does a number on one’s body and is exhausting.


Tags: , , , , , ,

Pinka’s World Cup World Tour: Day 17

Mon. July 21, 2014:
Cologne, Germany to Brussels, Belgium:

It turned out that breakfast was not included with our hotel room, and it cost a whopping €20/person! We went with option B, breakfast from the gas station. I had a pretty decent croissant with a Nutella filling and an iced coffee (the can had coffee beans on it, so I assumed it was coffee). Thankfully we also still had snacks left over from the day before. The Haribo sour gummy fries were delicious; the white chocolate Lion bar was not as good as the original.

The rain had let up while we ate breakfast. Rather than try to figure out the lockers at the trains station we left our bags at the hotel front desk. After buying our train tickets to Brussels for the afternoon we set off in search of the Locks of Love Bridge. We knew it would be near the train line, we had seen it when we first got in. we could not find a path to it from the side by the Dom Cathedral, so we cut through the train station to the other side of the train tracks, logically we should be able to get to it from there. After wandering past the bus terminal and through a parking lot, all the while able to see the bridge we finally found stairs leading up it, rejoice!

July 21, 2014- Cologne (5)

The locks were very dense in the middle of the bridge. Some people had put bike locks; there were even a few broken hearts. The locks were all different sizes, colours and quality. Some had been etched others drawn on with marker. Some even had photographs stuck on them. We crossed under the bridge and to the other side. Walking back we had a great view of the entire Hohenzollern Bridge and the Dom Cathedral in the background. This was clearly the more popular side of the bridge, given how many more locks there were. Some people even added chains to make more room, others were double-locked. I sort of regret not having planned ahead and brought a lock.

July 21, 2014- Cologne, Germany (4)

The Dom Cathedral was packed, partly because there was a mass going on. I quickly figured out that there was a separate entrance to the belfry for the stair climb. We managed to get ahead of a giant group of tourists. The sign by the ticket booth said that there were 509 steps to the top: oh my god, I thought, this sounds terrible!! There were a lot less look-out stops on the way to the top. The only stop was the room with the bells. Just as we were leaving it, the bells started to ring. We ran back but it was too late, we had missed it. We had to circle around the room again (it was a one direction hallway, circling the bells).

July 21, 2014- Cologne, Germany (2)

There were little open slits of windows throughout the tower, letting in a breath of fresh air that was desperately needed. I was sweating so badly. I really needed that cool air. The view from the top was obstructed by metal grating that had been put up to prevent people from further graffiting the church. All available surface in the cathedral had been scribbled on, not just the walls of the belfry but also the gargoyles at the top, the buttresses, everything! It was appalling.

July 21, 2014- Cologne (6)

On the way back down there was a stupid lady who was counting all the steps. We stopped at the bell level again. We waited 13 minutes for the bells to ring and one bell only rung twice. It did not even move, just a little unseen hammer dinged the bell. It was rather unsatisfying. I wondered if the upper windows had once had stained glass in them, now they were just frames like stained glass windows without the stained glass. Back on ground level mass was over and we were free to wander the cathedral without being a nuisance. The cathedral was gorgeous with lots of beautiful stained glass windows and high vaulted ceilings.

July 21, 2014- Cologne, Germany (10)

For lunch we tried the nearby McDonalds again, but it was crammed. I remembered seeing a McDonalds in the train station so we went there instead. My salsa beef burger had much more salsa this time, it was a lot spicier. I regretted not getting a drink. The Bounty McFlurry was not as good as the Daim one. My back-up dessert plan had set sail: the yogurt boat was gone.

At the archaeological dig site there were only three people and they were on lunch. We got to the train station with 45 minutes before the train. I wandered around the giant concourse below. The Dunkin’ Donuts had a huge line-up, so much for my coffee fix. I ended up buying an iced coffee, but decided to save it, unsure of what the breakfast situation would be the next day.

This was by far one of the worse train rides of the trip. We did not have reserved seats, every other time we had managed to find seats. Not so this time. Even more infuriating was the fact that there were unclaimed reserved seats that were empty. The train was very crowded; there was luggage and people standing around everywhere. The ride was bumpy and twisty. Making things worse, I ran out of podcasts to listen to. Thankfully I had downloaded another book on the iPad, Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. It is not comfortable to read a book while standing on a moving train. I eventually resorted to just staring out the window. This was all well and good until I saw a terrifying sight: a row of military tanks on the highway taking the offramp. WHAT THE HELL WAS GOING ON?! I thought to myself in a mild panic.

At the hotel shuttle at the airport we met another couple from Toronto. They were old and they were talkative. I was too tired for their banter. The upside to staying at a hotel near the airport is that you are close and there is a shuttle. The downside is that your dining options are limited to what is available at the hotel (unless you drive/take a cab somewhere). We were staying at the same brand of hotel as the previous day, but thankfully today the restaurant was open.

Dinner at the hotel restaurant was the same stuff that was on the room service menu, sans the room service charge of course. The Belle-Vue Framboise beer was nice and refreshing. The curry chicken with rice hit the spot, it was a nice change. I was still kind of sick of Belgian frites. The tiramisiu we had for dessert was ok, but I would have rather eaten candy and Ben & Jerry’s. The TV was finally really good. I watched a few episodes of The Simpsons but then Bones came on and I did not like that it was filmed like a reality TV show (visually clearer, no filter?). We realized we would have to do breakfast at the hotel. There was nothing good at the airport.


Tags: , , , , ,

Apple Streusel Muffins

What to do when you have a pile of apples and eggs that will soon go bad, seeing as you are leaving for Florida? Apple streusel muffins from the magazine Fitness to the rescue! Bonus: I finally used up the last little bit of chopped pecans I had left over from the turtle cookies I made a long, long time ago.

And yet again, as is becoming the norm it seems, I did not have all the ingredients. It seems I not only lacked buttermilk, but also something called apple pie spice. I could only assume it was mostly made of cinnamon, but I threw in some nutmeg just in case.

Project 28- Fitness magazine apple streusel muffins (7)

This was my kind of recipe, it mentions that the dough will in fact be lumpy and that is perfectly fine. Owing to the healthiness of the recipe (i.e.: no butter) the batter was not as tasty as I would have hoped- I was worried. Turns out I worried for nothing. The muffins are delicious. However the crumble on top is flawed. I thought it was an odd way to make a crumble (as I had always been taught to mix sugar, butter and flour) of just butter and pecans. The butter just melted into the muffin and the pecans sat on top- and then comically fell off as you ate a muffin.

I did get to use some handy tips, finally giving my Resources board on Pinterest a use. First off, I was not sure if the eggs were even still good, as they were past the expiration date. I had heard that eggs last forever but I was not about to crack one open and risk the stink. The internet saved me here by telling me to place it in a glass of cold water. The egg promptly sank- and so did my heart for I had mixed up the tip and assumed it was a bad egg. I double-checked before tossing it only to find out I was wrong, the egg sank and was therefore good. Close call. The recipe was still a-go! Until I reached for the brown sugar which had formed into a rock hard lump. Back to the internet! I followed the directions that seemed least likely to burn down my house (a plastic bag in the microwave?!) and would not take 2 days (who can wait that long for muffins?): placing it in the oven for 5 minutes on 250F. Worked like a charm. Thanks internet!

Project 28- Fitness magazine apple streusel muffins (2)


Tags: , , , , ,

Top O’ Tha Mornin’

Now that I have my frying pan back my kitchen is that much better. Earlier in the week I had been craving an omelet- no frying pan to make it with however. Plus the omlete was second in the queue. First I still had a small bottle of Bailey’s kicking aruond, one which I had specifically purchased in order to make Bailey’s french toast, courtesy of the Portabella’s.

Project 24- Bailey's french toast (2)

It is so tempting to just let the bread soak for a few minutes and then throw it on the frying pan, rather than having it marinate overnight. I resisted temptation and hid it in the fridge. It smelled so good, I was looking forward to the next morning. I was a tad worried that the bread would just turn into a sopping gross mess but thankfully that did not happen. In the morning I found two intact pieces of bread smelling of heaven. So tempting was the smell that I ended up adding a tiny bit of Bailey’s to my morning coffee. What could be better than Bailey’s french toast AND Bailey’s coffee? The actual flavour of the Bailey’s was rather subtle, but just enough to make it a new twist on french toast.

Project 24- Bailey's french toast (3)

A delicious success.

Project 24- Bailey's french toast (4)


Tags: , , , , ,

Super Soft Sugar Cookies Take 2

It’s been weighing on, slowly driving me nuts: those failed sugar cookies. Failed because of my errors, not the recipes. I was finally going to do something about all the frozen strawberries in my freezer: strawberries and cream on rice*. It might sound gross, but it is in fact delicious. I grew up on it and it is easily one of my favourite dishes and I was in need of some comfort.

Project 21- super soft sugar cookies take 2 (3)

And then I put too much sour cream. I was left with extra sour cream that was strawberry flavoured. I could not possibly throw it out, what a waste! I also happened to have one last egg left in my fridge. I was originally going to make Bailey’s french toast on the weekend, I guess it will have to wait.

Project 21- super soft sugar cookies take 2 (5)

Round two was a lot better. I had to add more sour cream, so it toned down the strawberry flavour to just a subtle hint. All was going well until I got to the part about wrapping it in saran wrap and sticking it in the fridge: I have no saran wrap. I bought a rolling pin today, but no saran wrap. I split the dough and put it on plates, sticking it in the fridge and hoping for the best. We’ll see. I have 1-2 hours now while it chills.

Project 21- super soft sugar cookies take 2 (7)

The first attempt at rolling them with a rolling pin was disastrous to say the least. The dough stuck to the parchment paper and was such a mess I had to toss the whole thing (I was rolling it between two pieces of parchment paper). I added more flour and that seemed to do the trick, no more sticking. It was fun cutting out little chickens with my cookie cutter. I over-baked them a tiny bit and so I now have crunchy cookies. That might also be from rolling the dough too thin. I threw on some sprinkles before baking- alas they fell off when I ate the cookie.

Project 21- super soft sugar cookies take 2 (10)

I baked half the dough and left the other half, I had taken this project up a little late in the day. The second batch warranted some experimenting. The first batch was tasty yes, but kind of boring. They needed some jazzing up. The strawberry flavour got lost in the baking, so I added some almond extract (as originally called for in the recipe) knowing I would not end up with some horrible concoction. The second problem was the sprinkles, so I mixed some in for one variation. The second variation was to add some Bailey’s. Third was adding cocoa powder and fourth was cocoa powder and cinnamon (although at first I accidentally sprinkled a tiny bit of allspice).

Project 21- super soft sugar cookies take 2 (13)Project 21- super soft sugar cookies take 2 (12)

While mixing the cocoa in, the side of the bowl popped out. There had been a large crack and it had grown and formed into a circle- that popped right out. I was too tired to roll out the dough, so I just made blobs that I flatten ed as much as I could. Apparently I did not flatten them enough as they grew into little puff cookies. For versions 3 and 4 I rolled them out and brought out the cookie cutter too.

Project 21- super soft sugar cookies take 2 (15)

So how did the cookies fair? They are better when rolled out thinner (and not overbaked). If I had added just a little more Bailey’s it would have been better- and that was the best variation of them all. In the end, the sugar cookie recipe I had posted earlier is still the clear winner, at least in my stomach.

Project 21- super soft sugar cookies take 2 (18)


Tags: , , , , ,

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Coffee Glaze

I’d had my eye on a mixer at Wal-Mart for a while, it was more expensive than a hand-held mixer but that was fine by me. I’ve never been good with a hand-mixer, I always get tired and bored, when I was younger I was always so desperate to help out in the kitchen and that was always the first task given to me. Before long I would give up, claiming my arm was tired from holding it and that the batter was mixed well enough (it never was). Enter the standing mixer: throw in the ingredients and walk away for a bit. Or at least just stand there, not having to hold anything.

I finally caved and decided I would buy the $40 mixer. I was a tad concerned about the brand, I had a blender by the same company and it was not the greatest. The mixer was gone, it was no longer on the website. I found it on along with the horrid reviews. I no longer wanted it. At all. Well, not that particular one anyways. I found a better one from a better brand (Sunbeam). Although it was more expensive, it seemed better than a mixer that would break as soon as it was out of the box.

I found it in-store at Wal-Mart, which at first seemed like a great thing! I did not have to order it online and wait patiently by the door! No, instead I got to lug the giant thing home. My arms still hurt 2 days later.

Project 16- gingerbread latte cupcakes (2)

I was ready to bake! But what to bake? I had bought some Greek yogurt- in my ongoing quest to find a better substitute for butter- so I was set on making a cake/cupcakes instead of cookies. A quick glance over my Pinterest board and I decided on a gingerbread bundt cake with a coffee glaze. Only problem was I did not have enough eggs (I was fine with the lack of a bundt pan). On to plan b: I was now set on something gingerbread-y as I scoured my board. My eyes landed on gingerbread latte cupcakes. Bingo! Only I did not have the ingredients for the icing. Plan c: make the cupcakes and use the glaze from the first recipe, compromise. Plus I could finally use some of the molasses I still had sitting in my drawer since the last time I made gingerbread cookies- three months ago.

Project 16- gingerbread latte cupcakes (3)

The mixer was great. While it combined the yogurt and sugar, I could measure out the dry ingredients- saving myself some time, fives minutes is five minutes. The mixer came with various attachments, one of which was whisks- the recipe called for a lightly beaten egg, a great excuse to use the whisk attachment, albeit as a w whisk, not as a mixer attachment. Because I was using Greek yogurt instead of butter the batter was runnier than usual and it worried me. I added a little bit more flour, but that barely made a difference. I decided not to mess with it anymore and just bake it.

Project 16- gingerbread latte cupcakes (5)

Soon the house was filled with the smell of gingerbread. As soon as they were out of the oven I was tempted to eat one. I withheld and waited until they cooled to pour the glaze on them. The glaze was easy to make: just add powdered sugar to a couple tablespoons of hot, strong coffee and mix. The glaze just poured down the cupcake and pooled around the edge where the cupcake met the liner. Some of it stayed on top though. I figured if the cupcakes were cool enough to glaze I could eat one. The problem was that the wrapper stuck to the cupcake. I blamed this on the lack of butter. I was wrong. It was that they were still too warm. When I had one the next day the wrapper came right off. Two days later they are still so soft and delicious, a bit chewy (I blame the yogurt) but damn good. This recipe is a keeper. I am not 100% sure about using Greek yogurt as a butter substitute however. I might just make tzatziki sauce with the rest.





Posted by on April 18, 2013 in I Will One Day Attempt To Make This


Tags: , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: