Round two in Toronto is coming to an end for Adam and I, but I feel like there’s a lot more to eat. After two years in this city, I’ve eaten out many times. Many times. The checklist on my iPhone is still growing and eating at …
Tag: Toronto Restaurants
Afternoon Tea has so much going for it. Where else do you get to indulge in copious amounts of tea, sweets, scones and Prosecco for hours on end? And who doesn’t love miniature sandwiches? No one, that’s who. The first afternoon tea was held by Anna, the …
On the weekend Adam and I eloped, we decided to do all the things we always talk about doing in Toronto and never do. Venturing east on the Danforth to visit a restaurant that specializes in my favourite breakfast food was one thing we just had to check off the list.
Hollandaise Diner opened late 2015 and has been on my brunch radar for months. This isn’t any old brunch spot: this diner specializes one of my all time favourite dishes — eggs Benedict. I won’t bore you chattering about my love for hollandaise, take one look at my Instagram and you’ll see the plethora of over-table brunch shots oozing with hollandaise.
Let’s just get on with it, shall we?
This place is a local spot through and through. Even though I travelled from the far depths of the Distillery District, I felt at home right away. It’s bright and cheery with white walls and colourful local art, full of families and regulars. It made I lived close by although this would probably make me very fat: They are open every day, even holidays, 7am-3pm.
Our server was beyond kind, and just the right amount of chatty, and got us coffee right away. The all-day breakfast menu has a variety of options, although I don’t know why anyone would order anything but eggs benny. There’s the classic breakfast, frittatas and pancakes for those not hollandaise-inclined.
What we ate
I went with the build-a-benny option ($11.95). Baked polenta with bacon and classic hollandaise sauce — there are five different types to choose from: classic, coconut, HP infused, cajun and zesty. Served with a pile of homefries, I was happy with my build. The flavour of the hollandaise had the perfect amount of lemon and just creamy enough to coat my medium-poached eggs.
Adam selected from the unique benny concoctions on the menu. He went with the Meatloaf benny ($11.95) with the two slices of meatloaf, mushrooms and topped with HP-infused hollandaise. I wasn’t really on board for the HP-infusedness of this dish, but Adam loved it. To each hollandaise his own.
What will I try next time?
The Croque Madame eggs benedict ($11.95) boasting grilled cheese as the base, topped with fried ham and classic hollandaise.
The coffee? Pretty good, hot and bottomless at a buck-ninety-nine, which is always a major plus for brunch, especially at that price! If you love eggs benedict even as half as much as I do, head to Hollandaise Diner. Super reasonably priced for brunch in Toronto, a variety of hollandaise, and neighbourly service.
Go forth hollandaise addicts!
2231 Danforth Avenue (nearest subway is Woodbine) | Toronto, ON | (647) 344-7466
It’s that time of year again, again!! Summerlicious is one of the best parts about living in Toronto, aside from Winterlicious (you can see my rave about that here). I have a tough time not going broke eating at all the restaurants constantly opening in the …
Every morning on my way to work, I walk past what has to be the busiest dermatological clinic in Toronto. People are literally waiting for the doors of AvantDerm to open at 8am to get an appointment in their prime Distillery location. So, you can imagine …
The following comments could possibly exile me from The Six, but I don’t see what all the fuss is about with The Drake Hotel.
I went there for brunch last weekend to catch up with a friend. After consulting my Toronto Brunch Map and strolling along Queen West, we decided on The Drake because we both had never been there, and not living under a rock for the past decade, we both had heard so much about it.
There was no line so we didn’t have to wait long at all for a table (tip: if you stay at the hotel you get to skip the brunch line; in the short time we waited, two couples were seated who had just checked out).
The space is absolutely gorgeous and the atmosphere oozes hip with whiffs of Ossington trendiness hanging in the air. But the service was below average — those servers in denim aprons did not perform. We both had the classic breakfast and it was good, not great, but good. I loved the beans, and the toast was thick and fresh, but the tough bacon was a disappointment.
Don’t get me wrong, I am dying to stay at The Drake Devonshire and have heard nothing but raves about the food there, but at $14 for an average breakfast at The Drake Hotel, I would rather spend $10 and get a solid Irish breakfast at George Street Diner.
1150 Queen Street West | Toronto, ON | (647) 531-5042 | thedrakehotel.ca
This is utterly and truly a first world problem. But it happens, I just can’t help myself.
I hate-hate-hate when someone order’s something more delicious than me at a restaurant — order envy strikes when I least expect it.
Last Saturday, I met up with Kelly, my friend from journalism school, for a catch-up brunch. I chose Origin Restaurants & Bar because Adam and I had a fabulous anniversary dinner there over the summer, and I was eager to see how MasterChef Canada judge Claudio Aprile cooks his eggs. Origin is also one of the few spots in Toronto taking brunch reservations, so in an effort to avoid the morning brunch line-ups, I booked a spot at this classy eatery across the street from St. James Cathedral on King East.
The decor is sleek and kitschy at the same time: Modern furniture with exposed brick, black walls with pink accents are paired with eclectic light fixtures, and a large Victorian family portrait features a Stormtrooper’s mask imposed on a youngster’s face.
After much deliberation, Kelly ordered the fried rice with crispy eggs and pork belly ($19) and I went with my typical choice, the eggs benedict. I just love the classic brunch dish, and it’s always good.
Service is done well at Origin, our waters were refilled constantly, and my cappuccino ($6) was perfect. All around me, beautiful plates piled high with food were coming out of the open kitchen, the salivating began. I could not wait to see the eggs benny.
My plate arrived first, two poached eggs placed upon a thinly-layered pile of honey glazed ham, with a spit of hollandaise and not much else. No potatoes, no side salad in sight. When the server arrived a few seconds later with Kelly’s sizzling platter, my heart began to sink.
As she cut into her oozing tempura eggs, I felt my skin slowly turning envy-green. To add insult to injury, the hollandaise was a little cold. My optimism vanished in a puff of steaming fried rice.
Order envy in full force.
Don’t get me wrong, the eggs benny were good, the ham was plentiful and delicious, and though the hollandaise was scant, it was tasty and lemony. The biggest issue: no side! I had assumed it came with fries or salad or something, especially for the $18 price tag — but alas, my brunch dreams dashed.
Meanwhile, Kelly’s overflowing plate was impeccably appetizing. There was so much deliciously fried rice that she was kind enough to let me taste her breakfast. The pork belly was melt-in-your-mouth flavourful and rich, and the eggs — oh my god, those tempura eggs — they were so good! I mean, really how can anything fried in tempura be bad, but the eggs were flawless, light and crispy on the outside, and the perfect oozy poach on the inside.
Overall the meal was good, the company even more so, but the green-with-envy pallor of my skin is only now beginning to fade.
I might never order Eggs Benedict again.
107 King Street East | Toronto, ON | (416) 603-8009 | origintoronto.com
During our Spring Break eating marathon in Toronto a few months ago, Adam and I went to La Carnita with our good friends Krista and Kara. The food baby of Andrew Richmond and Amin Todai, La Carnita, once a roving pop up restaurant that featured local street art, has turned into a Mexican sensation in Little Italy. A self-proclaimed celebration of street art and street food, this hip College street restaurant is nestled amongst the plethora of restaurants that blend into Little Italy in the Toronto west end. The outside of the restaurant is conservative with heritage features and black accents with only a Dios de Los Muertos inspired Skull identifying the eclectic restaurant.
Inside is a very different story. The walls are covered in awesome graffiti and the street art that adorns the walls changes on a regular basis. The gritty and contemporary decor consists of a juxtaposition of new and old with its heritage architecture featured in the moulded plaster ceilings and the trendy modern details of unique industrial lighting, low wooden furniture, and colourful vintage seating. The restaurant does not take reservations, so when we entered La Carnita around 7pm on a Tuesday evening we were delighted to get a table for four right away. However, by 7:30 the restaurant was filled to capacity and had the ambiance of a Saturday night!
The restaurant is casual, boisterous, and vibrant, full of life and loud music. This is not a place to take your grandmother, or for a first date; it is however, an awesome place to eat, drink, and get drunk. We all started off with local draft beer and perused the short but interesting menu. There are only about six tacos on the menu, but there is a wide range of ingredients, from ceviche to beef cheek and pickled red cabbage to mole sauce.
To start off, we chose to share a couple of appetizers and went with the Guacamole and Tortilla Chips with Ancho Chili Powder as well as the Choriqueso. The Guacomole was fresh and delicious and the warm chips had just enough spicy bite to compliment the coolness of the avocado in the guac.
Choriqueso is also a dip starter with those yummy tortilla chips. More of a layered dip, the Choriqueso was filled with frijoles (beans), chorizo sausage, and salsa fresca with melted oaxaca and cotija cheeses. It was amazing!! The gooey layers combined to make an delicious flavour explosion in your mouth, and once again the tortillas were an awesome spicy vessel for the dip.
And then came the tacos. Oh dios mio, the tacos. Between the four of us I think we ordered at least one of every taco on the menu. They all came out four at once on these huge paper lined platters and were presented open faced to show off all the fresh and delicious looking ingredients.
My first taco was the Beef Cheek, which had Ancho braised beef cheek, lime avocado, green cabbage, pickled jalapeño and crispy shallots to top it off. It was spicy. Really spicy. I consider myself to be pretty tough when it comes to spicy food, but wow, it was intense. Luckily it was more of the aftertaste spicyness, so I was still able to enjoy the flavours of the beef, with the help of a lot of water! Adam also had the Beef cheek which he loved, but didn’t find as hot as me, (apparently his taste buds are not as acute as mine), and his second was the Calamari taco, which was the feature that particular evening and he loved it! I rounded out the meal with the ‘Pollo Frito’ with peanut mole sauce, pickled green cabbage, and salsa fresca. I love mole sauce, and this taco didn’t let me down, it was great!
Krista’s first choice was the ‘In Cod we Trust,’ which consisted of breaded cod, Voltron sauce, lime crema, pickled red cabbage, green apple, and cilantro. The Voltron sauce is the signature sauce at La Carnita and is a spicy tamari-based sauce that is apparently named after the 1980s anime character. She also had the ‘Tostada de Ceviche’ which combined swordfish, guacamole, coconut milk, habanero tomato, and cucumber. Krista found this one disspointing beacuse “it was overloaded with guac and didnt let me enjoy the ceviche goodness.” The Voltron sauce was the clincher for Krista’s favourite of the evening and her love for ‘In Cod we Trust.’
Kara’s favourite taco that evening was the ‘Crispy Avocado & Frijoles’ that had beans, crispy avocado, chipotle sauce, queso fresco & cilantro. She also had the swordfish ceviche like Krista, and wasn’t a fan either; she found the crispy shell of the taco took away from the experience and much preferred the avocado one!
To finish off the evening, we split the Churros for dessert. The homemade Cajeta sauce, which is a caramelized goat’s milk syrup, was perfect with the brown sugar Churros and made for the ideal sweet treat at the end of a spicy meal!
I will say that the only slightly negative aspect of our experience at La Carnita was the service. Though we got everything we needed and the server was friendly, the laissez faire, too cool attitude of the service was a little off putting, and can be intimidating to some. The four of us are relatively easy going and were pretty indifferent to it, but I think it can turn some people off sometimes. Overall though, the experience at La Carnita was great. The atmosphere was fun and vivacious. The dark and trendy restaurant is a great spot to party with friends, and a place to enjoy innovative Mexican food and experience some awesome street and pop art!
Things Worth Mentioning…
Cost: 95$ for Two people including tax and tip. Keep in mind this includes numerous rounds of beer, starters, tacos, and dessert. The tacos actually range from 5-6$ and the starters at 6-9$!!
Things I liked: The tacos, the music, and the awesome atmosphere.
Things I didn’t: The average service.
The best place to sit: Anywhere really, but try to avoid the small wooden stools if you can, they are hard on the tucas.
What to order next time: The Rice and Corn Frituras, they looked amazing!