Vegetarian Sandwich Series: Grilled Mushroom Goat Cheese Wrap & Curry Egg Salad at Hank’s

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Here’s a secret, and maybe even a tip for those who want some inspiration: even though I make a lot of my foodie discoveries all on my own just by walking around, I have a little help finding out about a lot of others.  When I feel like roaming around the interwebs for yummylicious places that might be up my alley, I actually look up Winterlicious and Summerlicious listings and menus and jot down notes! 

And I mean actual notes, as hastily scrawled as they are.  I have a page in my Muffymade notebook with scribbles of places I want to revisit, a page dedicated to places I want to nosh at in the near future, random photos of places to keep in mind when I’m in a hurry and can’t whip my notebook and pen out, and a word document saved on my computer specifically devoted to “places of interest” taken from past Winterlicious and Summerlicious listings.  I think to myself, if the menus during the price fixe events intrigued me so much that I was compelled to take notes, there has to be something of substance on the regular menu and these places are probably something pretty special.  And that’s how I felt about Hank’s.

Hank’s is a fresh and lovely breakfast and lunch diner, located on Church St. just south of Front St. East and sandwiched between Wine Bar and Great Burger Kitchen.  The restaurant is used to hold private functions and parties in the evenings, but it’s best to call them in advance to see what their hours are as I noticed a note on their chalkboard when I went about a change in evening dining hours.  Hank’s is crisp, clean, and kind of like a breath of fresh air with their open French doors, and white and gray decor with pops of red and shimmering chandeliers and lights.  The diner is spacious and roomy with more intimate booths and table further into the diner for intimate social gatherings, a few bar tables and stools for those having a drink, and two tables beside the open French doors with cushy seats and round tables for that perfect breezy lunch.  It’s exactly like being out on a nice patio with the fresh air without actually being outside.

I was so curious about Hanks’s from the Winterlicious and Summerliciuous appearances that I looked them up and browsed their regular menu online.  To my delight, there was a ton of food totally worth going for on a regular non-Winter/Summerlicious day including their weekday breakfast menu and large weekend brunch menu, as well as a host of lunchtime sandwiches and other diner eats.  Prices for lunch will probably run you an average of $6-$10 (before taxes), and brunch floats around the $7-$11 mark.  I can’t blog about this just yet, but for non-vegetarians and vegans (basically carnis) you absolutely MUST order the smoked chicken poutine.  It will change your life.  But, more about that another time!   I know, I’m a tease. 

I noticed several vegetarian sandwich items on the menu and thought, “sweet, an even better reason to give this place a go!  I’ll get to add to my blog series!”  Aside from their daily specials which could include vegetarian items (a daily soup, maybe an omelette or frittata, and a lunch main), Hank’s has three vegetarian sandwich lunch options on their day-to-day, regular menu:

  1. Mushroom and goat cheese wrap with roasted garlic and white bean, spinach, sweet red peppers, and pickled onions
  2. Sweet chili tofu pita with avocado, zucchini, eggplant, spinach, and sun dried tomatoes
  3. Deviled egg salad sandwich with green onions, curried mayo, paprika and lettuce

What’s really nice is that a number of their sandwich lunch items come in half portions at, obviously, a lesser price.  Granted, even though getting a whole portion would be more worth your money, it’s great for people like me and others who want to try more than one item but can’t eat two full portions or can’t afford paying for two at full price!  I was lucky because the two menu items I was contemplating on having had that option, so I chose the mushroom and goat cheese wrap and the deviled egg salad sandwich.  Win-win!  The tortilla wrap was awesomely grilled and it was stuffed with tons of juicy, fresh vegetables.  It was so full of crunchy spinach leaves (there was probably a very generous fistful in it), sweet red onions (not raw but pickled, so they were soft red onions that had less of that spicy bite), and soft juicy red peppers and plump mushrooms with creamy goat cheese.  I loved both of my lunch items but if I had to choose a favourite, the deviled egg salad sandwich knocked it out of the park.

This is not your ho-hum egg salad sandwich in your old kiddie lunch box.  This egg salad was SO flavourful and so delicious.  When I read the description, it sounded great but I had my reservations.  Not because I thought it wouldn’t taste good, but because I was unsure how the curry and paprika flavours would play out.  I was afraid that the flavours would be too subtle and that it would end up getting lost, thus reducing my egg salad sandwich to ho-hum status.  When something says curry, you expect that great punch of flavour.  This sandwich was so not ho-hum.  I could eat an entire mixing bowl of this egg salad because it’s that good.  The mix of spices is so perfect and when I bit into it each time, the flavours were reminiscent of the savoury curry sauces I loved so much from Indian and Chinese places.  The lettuce added a great dimension of crunch and the bread…oh the bread.  Delicious stuff.  Hank uses Fred’s Bread and for the egg salad sandwich, they used Fred’s whole grain variety.

The neighbourhood Hank’s is located in is super convenient because it’s just steps away from the St. Lawrence Market and the “greater” downtown core, and walking distance from Union Station making it easily accessible by public transit.  The atmosphere is great and I’m so glad my ridiculous note-taking paid off because I have found myself (and others, if you’re interested in trying them out!) yet another wonderful breakfast and lunch spot that I can’t wait to go back to.

 

*****

Hank’s is located at 9 1/2 Church St. (no, that’s not a typo, 9 1/2!), just south of Front St. East.  They are open for breakfast and lunch 7 days a week and offer a weekend brunch menu on Saturdays and Sundays.  They are open from 7am-5pm on weekdays, and from 8am-4pm on weekends.  Call them if you’re interested in dining there for dinner as they have changed their hours for the evenings.  The diner is also available for private parties and corporate events.  Click here to view their website and menus.

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The Perfect Milk-and-Cookie Cookie! Rich, Chewy, Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies With Sprinkles!

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The Cookie Monster (aka. ME!) just can’t get enough of cookies and cookie baking.  All I want to do is bake cookies all the live long day.  I feel all sorts of happy envisioning myself in a cheery kitchen whipping up cookie dough with music on in the background and the fresh aroma of cookies coming from the oven.  I rifle through my Joanne Fluke foodie murder mysteries checking off all the ones I want to eventually try (this one comes from Plum Pudding Murder!), I just bought a brand new, super thick cookie cookbook the other day, and I’m “crazy” enough to bake through an oncoming thunderstorm.  I put “crazy” in quotations because only my mother thought I was off my rocker mixing up dough with thunder clapping in the distance.  I, for one, did not.  She took a gasket, told me I was out of my mind, and asked me what I was going to do when the power went out.  I scoffed and continued washing dishes and mixing all by my lonesome because my intuitive sense told me the rain was going to be nothing.  And I am proud to say that the power wasn’t even close to going out (the rain lasted all of 2 minutes) and I ended up with two batches of fresh chocolate oatmeal cookies.

These chocolate oatmeal cookies turned out great!  I was so happy with how these turned out.  I couldn’t believe how great the crackling on the cookies turned out (I had no idea there was supposed to be crackling in the first place so it was a pleasant surprise) and the oatmeal was so apparent on and inside the cookies.  Anyone looking at these cookies would have no doubt in their mind that they’re chocolate oatmeal ones.  The exterior has a lovely crunch to it and the insides are moist, chewy, and chocolatey rich! 

If you’re looking for a great milk-and-cookie type of cookie, this cookie is your ticket.  Milk complements the richness of the chocolate really well and sprinkles taste great with these too!  The recipe is basic enough that you can integrate your own add-on decorations in the cookie dough as you’re rolling them into balls.  I didn’t think of this until after I baked them though, so I simply stuck my thumb in the middle of the cookies to create a little crater for the sprinkles soon after the came out of the oven.

Recipe for Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies (yields 3 dozen chewy, chocolatey cookies)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup softened butter (1 stick, 4 oz., 1/4 pound)
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 2 one-oz. squares unsweetened chocolate (*Deb’s note: I didn’t have any squares of chocolate so I used unsweetened chocolate chips instead.  I used around 1/3 cup of chocolate chips)
  • 1 beaten egg (just whip it up with a fork)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 3/4 cup of flour (pack it down in the cup when you measure it)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups dry oatmeal (quick cooking oats or old-fashioned will do)

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F, rack in the middle position.
  • In a large bowl, mix the softened butter and the sugar until it’s fluffy.
  • Unwrap the squares of unsweetened chocolate and melt them in the microwave (*Deb’s note: I used unsweetened chocolate chips, but I still melted them the same way.  I blast them for 20 seconds at a time, stirring between each blast until it’s smooth and all the chocolate is completely melted).  Add the melted chocolate to the butter and sugar mixture and mix well.
  • Feel the bowl.  If the bowl is cool enough, add the beaten egg, mixing until thoroughly incorporated.
  • Mix in the baking powder and the salt.  Then add the flour, mixing it in thoroughly.  Add the oatmeal and stir until the mixture is completely blended (*Deb’s note: it’s important not to use the electric mixer when you incorporate the oatmeal because the mixture gets thick and stiff and will gummy up the mixing blades/beaters!).
  • Drop my teaspoonfuls onto greased cookies, 12 to a standard-sized cookie sheet (*Deb’s note: I used parchment paper and instead of using the drop method, I rolled the dough into balls with my hands.  It can get a bit messy with the chocolate, but it’s fun nevertheless.  I also fit 15 on each of my cookie sheets).
  • Bake at 325°F for 13 to 15 minutes or until slightly brown (*Deb’s note: my oven runs hot so I only baked mine for 11 minutes, and I left them in the oven for another minute after switching the oven off).  Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes and then remove them to a wire rack to cool completely.

*****

Recipe taken from Joanne Fluke’s Plum Pudding Murder.  New York: Kensington Publishing Corporation, 2009.  Photographs taken by me.  The recipe can be found on page 213.

One of the Prettiest Cakes You’ll Ever Lay Eyes On – Food & The Famous Rainbow Cake at Wanda’s Pie in the Sky, Part II

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I am so happy that I went to Wanda’s Pie in the Sky for the first time when I did because I was met with one of the prettiest, happiest things I’ve ever seen in my life!  And a very delicious and flavourful thing at that.  Let me back up and start from the very beginning though before I unleash the prettiness in all its glory.  In all the years I’ve been walking around Kensington Market, I always noticed and admired Wanda’s Pie in the Sky from the outside, but never got around to going inside or eating there. 

Like I mentioned yesterday, I was partly misguided by my assumption that it was mainly a dessert cafe.  I know, I know.  Even with my misguided assumption, I should have just went in, right?  Even if I did think Wanda’s was purely a dessert cafe, that certainly shouldn’t have stopped me from paying them a visit.  Deb loves sweet things the same way Homer loves donuts!  I should have been to Wanda’s a million times by now.  I really don’t have a good reason why I haven’t gone until this summer other than I’m weird!

Thus, when I saw a WagJag deal for Wanda’s several months ago, I pounced on it without so much as a second thought.  With my WagJag voucher in hand, I finally gave myself a swift kick in the bum and went to enjoy some delicious goodies.  And I was in one heck a foodie delight!  Wanda’s Pie in the Sky is so cute.  There are whimsical paintings of cartoon drawn characters on the walls, lanterns hanging from the ceiling, and the whole place is painted head to toe in pastel colours: pale blue, mint green, periwinkle, pale yellow, bubblegum pink, and lavender purple.  And the food!  I was in awe as I walked around scoping out all my options in a happy daze, stupidly thinking to myself, “oh my goodness, I can eat lunch here!”  Yes, Debra, yes you can.  There were huge platters of fresh salads being put out, vegetarian sandwiches, quiche, pizza flatbreads, and enough dessert to create a real-life version of Candy Land.

Wanda’s has a number of combo options on their menu (located up on the wall on a chalkboard behind the glass case of food) for lunch.  You can mix and match things like quiche and salad, salad and sandwich, soup and sandwich, and a number of others.  You can definitely order all for their food separately or on their own, but the combos may it easier to pair up items for a bigger lunch at a less expensive price.  Prices for combos range from $6-$12, and individual servings range from $4-$7.  For example, the sandwich and salad combo I ordered was a $9 one. 

Although I’m saving my sandwich report for The Vegetarian Sandwich series on the blog, I will say that I ordered their avocado sandwich and the seeded sour dough bread it was made with is absolutely delicious.  Sure, the sandwich filling is pretty standard in terms of vegetables, but it’s good and the bread was so good that it compelled me to ask one of the girls behind the counter what bread they used.  Oh!  And although the salad was for my boyfriend, it was a sundried tomato and feta penne pasta salad with LOTS of sundried tomato, large chunks of feta, yellow and red bell peppers, shredded cucumber, green scallions, and very good dressing.

And of course, a meal isn’t complete without dessert, especially in a place like Wanda’s Pie in the Sky!  I saw everything from macarons to vegan cupcakes to pie (of course!) to frosted sugar cookies.  And then I saw IT.  Are you prepared for the awesomeness and gorgeousness that’s about to come?  Yes, no, sort of?  Okay, well, I hope you’re sitting down for this one.  I have been waiting what feels like forever to show you all these pictures!  Behold, the rainbow cake at Wanda’s Pie in the Sky!  This rainbow cake is a sight for sore eyes and is the epitome and embodiment of sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows in the sky!

Even though I know anyone would be skeptical of a cake like this because something that looks beautiful doesn’t necessarily mean it tastes amazing.  I promise you though, this cake isn’t just for looks.  Each layer of the rainbow cake is a diffferent flavour!  Starting from the purple and working our way up, the flavours of the layers are as follows: lavender, mint, green tea, lemon, orange, cherry, and dark cherry.  It is SO DAMN PRETTY and yes, delicious and sweet and creamy and scrumptious.  The cake in its entirety was very yummy, but my favourite layers of the cake had to be the lavender, mint (I know, surprising given how I’m not much of a mint fan), lemon, and orange.  

One of the best things about this cake was that it wasn’t too sweet.  I know cake tastes great when it’s sweet, but I’m talking sickly sweet where the frosting just tastes like gritty sugar.  When a cake is like that, it ends up tasting artifical and becomes very unsavoury to eat.  This cake isn’t like that at all.  The frosting is so soft and creamy and airy whipped in texture with just the right amount of sweetness.  It’s a great complement to the cake because it doesn’t overwhelm or take away the fun flavours but it also lends itself to that perfect cake to cream ratio. 

A slice is $6 and even though it might cost more than a meal you might put together yourself or eat at another place, in my opinion, it is well worth it.  Just think about it.  This is a 7-layer cake where each layer is a different flavour.  Let’s not even talk about the cream frosting.  Imagine trying to make this yourself and spending the money on 7 different flavourings and extracts, baking 7 different layers of cake, frosting each layer, and then neatly putting it altogether to make it as beautiful as this.  I don’t know about you, but the labour that went into making this cake is enough for me.  And by golly is half a slice even filling and satisfying!  This is cake that makes everything more colourful and happy, and having a meal at Wanda’s makes me feel just as lighthearted 😀

*****

Wanda’s Pie in the Sky is located at 287 Augusta Ave. in Kensington Market.  Wanda’s Pie in the Sky is located in between Nassau and College St.  They are open every day from 8am-9pm.  For more info on placing orders, attending classes, and dessert items they serve, check out their website here.

Scrapbook materials used: Pale blue and mint green cardstock (Recollections); dessert themed patterned cardstock (The Sweet Stack by DCWV); dessert stickers (Sticko); glitter alphabet stickers; gold alphabet stickers (Sticko); white felt with silver glitter.

It’s Pedestrian Sunday in Kensington Market Tomorrow! Head On Over to Wanda’s Pie the Sky, Part I

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Given how tomorrow marks August’s Pedestrian Sunday in Kensington Market, I thought it would be super appropriate to crank out my posts on Wanda’s Pie in the Sky and a new scrapbook layout to go with it!  I love Pedestrian Sundays and I only wish Sundays were a little more convenient for me transportation-wise because if they were, you can bet I’d make it to the market for this at the end of every month!  In a nutshell, the last Sunday of every month from May to October is Pedestrian Sunday.  The roads are completely blocked off in Kensington to motor traffic so you can skip and twirl in the middle of the streets with your delicious food and cute purchases swinging about to your heart’s content.  There’s often live music out on the streets, vendors and shop owners bring out all their wares, and there’s always some really cute activity happening in the market.  Case in point: giant, larger-than-life Scrabble on the street with square foot tiles!  Anyone who hasn’t been should skip on over, stat!  And while you’re there, check out Wanda’s Pie in the Sky.

Wanda’s Pie in the Sky is one of my favourite spots in Kensington and for the longest time, I always thought it was a dessert place exclusively selling pies, cakes, and the like.  I was so wrong.  And I don’t often say this, but I’m so happy I was wrong.  Wanda’s is, quite possibly, one of the BEST lunch spots in the city for a lunch date and I say this not only because of the sheer volume of food available, but also because Wanda’s is vegetarian and vegan-friendly, which makes it PERFECT for carnies and veggies alike. 

I was gobsmacked when I walked in and discovered just how much delicious food was inside those pastel brick walls.  Pasta salads, vegetarian sandwiches, soups, pizza flatbreads, quiche pies, vegan cupcakes, soft-serve ice cream, cookies, macarons, tarts, cakes, and yes, lots and lots of PIE!  It is incredible and because I like to tease you all, this is a teaser post to tide you over until tomorrow’s big fat Part II, complete with scrapbook layout and the prettiest, coolest, most awesomet cake you’ll ever lay your eyes – and possibly teeth – on.  Hint: look at my header image 😉  Enjoy!

*****

Wanda’s Pie in the Sky is located at 287 Augusta Ave. in Kensington Market.  Wanda’s Pie in the Sky is located in between Nassau and College St.  They are open every day from 8am-9pm.  For more info on placing orders, attending classes, and dessert items they serve, check out their website here.

Sipping Tea in the Park on a Sunshiney Day – “Tea”licious Coconut Blossom Green Tea at Tealish!

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Tealish is a place that makes me cheerful and happy the minute I step through the door.   A fun and fresh tea boutique located at 728 Queen St. West, Tealish’s walls are lined with shelves upon shelves of colourful pastel coloured canisters offering everything from black, green, white, oolong, rooibos, and herbal loose leaf tea, as well as adorable tea accessories.  Think little red, blue, and turquoise teapots, little tea cups, tea thermoses, tea strainers, and individual loose leaf tea packets in a host of flavours.  Tins of loose leaf tea in any one of their 100+ flavours can be purchased in 50g, 100g, and 250g, and prepackaged tins of loose leaf tea are available for purchase in gift sets and individual tins on the shelves.

With its hardwood floors and bright lime green and white decor and storefront, there’s a brightness and freshness about that is so refreshing and inviting.  It feels and looks so cozy inside, especially on a sunny morning with the warm sunlight filtering in through the storefront window.  It’s the feeling you get when you’re lying back relaxing with a good book a lazy summer day.  When you’re inside, you don’t feel like you’re in a tea shop in the retail sense of the word; you feel like you’re in a sunny country kitchen with an inviting tea room in the back just beckoning you to sit back, relax, and sip on some soothing and delicious tea.

I love Tealish’s loose leaf tea selection.  For one thing, deciding on the type of tea you want is super easy because 1) each shelf is allocated to a specific type of tea and 2) each type of tea is colour-coded.  If you want loose leaf flavoured green tea, check out the lime green canisters on the 3rd shelf.  Feel like a rooibos variety?  Puruse the bottom shelf with the pretty pink metal tins.  I am crazy about fruit teas and dessert teas and Tealish has plenty to choose from.  Just the thought of teas such as lemon meringue, coconut cream chai, orange marzipan, and double chocolate make me salivate.

I knew I wanted a dessert tea and because I’m crazy for coconut flavoured anything and everything, I got myself a small ($2.50) coconut blossom green tea, iced.  I was so excited about my tea that I completely forgot to write down and take note of the prices for the other sizes, so I promise I’ll get that for next time!  Now, I love coconut dessert stuff and I enjoy green tea, but I’ll be honest and say that I really didn’t know what to expect from this tea.  I didn’t know if the coconut flavour would be too subtle for my taste, if it would end up being diluted, if it would come across too artificial in taste, that kind of thing. 

I was not disappointed AT ALL!  In fact, this tea figuratively knocked my shoes off.  The coconut blossom green tea is DELICIOUS!  The coconut flavour hits you right from the first sip but isn’t so strong or aggressive that it takes away from the green tea herbalness.  It’s a beautiful meshing of flavours and there is no mistaking the coconut flavour.  It tickles your tastebuds as you drink and it leaves a yummy after taste that leaves you licking your lips for more.  Drinking this tea makes you feel like you’re eating a piece of sweet coconut cream pie.  It’s THAT good.

Located in the West Queen West neighbourhood, Tealish is just steps away from Trinity Bellwoods Park which I think is such a perfect fit.  In the spring and summer, it’s so nice sitting out on a bench sipping some iced tea and in the fall and winter, you have your hot cup of tea to warm you up while you crunch through fallen leaves and fresh snow.  And that’s exactly what I did with my coconut blossom green iced tea.  I sipped on my cool drink, sat back on a bench with the warm sunshine beaming down at me while I watched cute puppies running around, and enjoyed the nice breeze that nipped the trees around me.  With a tea as “tealish” as this one, I almost felt like I was catching some rays out on a cabana.  Almost 😉

*****

Tealish is located at 728 Queen St. West at Claremont St. just steps away from Trinity Bellwoods Park.  In terms of major streets and intersections, Tealish is located in between Bathurst St. and Ossington Ave. on Queen.  Their official website is located here where you can purchase teas online and puruse their many “tea”licious flavours!

Vegan Treats & Baked Goods, Sheep’s Milk Ice Cream, & Lots of Chocolate! The Riverdale Farmers’ Market, Part II

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This is the first time that I’ve ever had to split up a farmers’ market post into two parts because of the number of photos I have of both dessert and non-dessert foods.  I know juicy fruits are sweet and dessert-like as well, but today we’re talking about oodles and oodles of fair-trade chocolate and chocolate baked goods, vegan baked treats, cinnamon rolls bigger than your hand, platters of fresh pastries, and sheep’s milk ice cream.  If you have a sweet tooth and you’re looking for a good variety of things to try (or, you know, to stick your face in), the Riverdale farm farmers’ market in Cabbagetown is really fantastic.  I wanted to take away so much more with than just my baby orange grape tomatoes and giant loaf of poppyseed egg bread but there was simply no way I could do that without 1) dropping everything and 2) squishing everything.  I had a lot of bags on me that day (my canvas tote, mini backpack, and my market groceries!), so my take-home sweets will just have to wait for another day.

BUT, that’s not to say I didn’t grab myself a little something to eat while I was there 😉  Before I get to that though, I want to show you all a bunch of delicious photos of ChocoSol’s table first.  I totally remember seeing them at the Bay-Adelaide farmers’ market last month (blog post forthcoming) and drooling over their vegan baked treats.  The sheer volume of chocolate they have on their table would make any sweet tooth beg for mercy.  ChocoSol is a community group dedicated to creating and maintaining trans-local relationships specifically through chocolate goods.*  They had bars and bars of fair-trade chocolate, as well as many vegan baked goods: gorgeous frosted cupcakes, fresh blueberry tarts, giant cookies (seriously, these cookies were the size of a small pizza), cookie cream sandwiches, and cake loaves. 

Oh!  And they have Mexican-inspired vegan drinking chocolate!  I watched a few girls order some and ohhhh man, did they ever look good.  The drinking chocolate is made by putting two pucks of chocolate and 1 cup of hot water in a blender and serving the drink cold with ice.  There is also an option of putting raw hemp (a protein-rich seed that is unprocessed) and agave sweetener in it as well.  When I looked at the finished product, it looked so creamy and refreshing and I can only imagine how good it tasted.  That Mexican drinking chocolate is going to be mine next time.

In addition to the chocolate and vegan baked goods, there were these delicious cranberry custard cream danishes on the same table I nabbed my poppyseed egg loaf.  While the rational part of me walked away without any because I knew they’d get squished and ruined on the way home, the irrational part said, “I want four!!”  The recognition of good self-control is really no consolation here.  I wanted those danishes! 

I did get myself something sweet though: honey vanilla sheep’s milk ice cream!  They had a number of  flavours that day including blueberry, strawberry, raspberry, coffee, and vanilla chocolate chip.  I got my honey vanilla on a cone (a small for $2.50) and I ate it right in the park on a park bench under a tree.  It was lovely, and really, not small at all!  The ice cream was sweet and creamy, with a noticable difference in texture from regular ice cream.  It was little less thick and dense and it was very good.  I’m really glad I got the ice cream to try, but good grief, I am still thinking about that drinking chocolate and those danishes two days after.

*****

The Riverdale Farm farmers’ market is located at 201 Winchester St. in Riverdale Park.  My way of getting here is to either walk along Carlton St. eastbound from Yonge St., or take the College St. streetcar eastbound to Parliament St. and Carlton.  From there, keep walking eastbound on Carlton until you get to Sumach St. and you’re there!  This year, the market is held every Tuesday from 3pm-7pm from May 17th to October 25th.

*source = ChocoSol website and blog

The Closest I’ll Ever Get to the Moo-Moos and Oink-Oinks – The Fabulous Riverdale Park Farmers’ Market, Part I!

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Good morning everyone!  The skies are bit overcast and cloudy right now (and as I am writing this, the rain has just started coming down), but I’m hoping that this fabulous selection of farmers’ market photos will lift your spirits.  After how the beginning of the week started off, I think we could all use a bit of good cheer.  I’m actually splitting up this week’s market post into two parts because it’s THAT big!  I’m going to save the sweet stuff for tomorrow’s post and just focus on the fruits, vegetables, and other goods today.  And there is plenty to show you all. 

I went camera snap-happy yesterday and for good reason: the Riverdale Park and Farm farmers’ market in Cabbagetown is absolutely incredible.  Week after week, my socks (or rather, my flats.  I haven’t worn socks in weeks!) have been knocked off by the sheer calibur of these markets.  I thought the market outside the East York Civic Centre on Coxwell was amazing.  Then I thought it couldn’t get any better after I went to the one in Mel Lastman Square.  And we all know what happened after that.  I couldn’t stop raving about the market at David Pecaut Square by Roy Thomson Hall.  My lovelies, my shoes have been knocked off once more.

The park itself is a wonderful green space, the type of space perfect for picnicking, sitting out on a bench with a book, walking and playing with your dog, and splashing around in the wading pool with your little ones.  The farmers’ market at Riverdale Park in Cabbagetown is remarkable.  It is HUGE, stretching from one side of the park to the other with white tent after white tent offering pints and baskets bursting with fresh fruits and vegetables, herbs, baked goods, jars upon jars of jellies and preserves, ice cream (yes, ice cream!), and vegan chocolate sweets among other things.  The market is located at the north end of the park, where the park meets the street all the way to the entrance of the animal farm. 

Speaking of which, I’m really sorry for not being able to show you any photos of farm animals.  Just as the post title says, the market is the closest I’ll ever get to an actual farm because I am, unfortunately, allergic.  To hay, specifically.  And how did I come to find out about this allergy you ask?  The hard way.  Long story short, on a school field trip to the farm at the age of 6 in 1st grade, I began to choke and weeze so severely the teachers and chaperones had to remove me from the premises and from the other kids, and stick me in a porta-potty so my reaction would calm down.  I was taken to the doctor shortly after where I was told, “hey, you’re allergic to hay!  Oh, and you have asthma”.  Not in those exact words, but you get my drift.  Needless to say, farms and I don’t mix.  I may have outgrown my asthma, but sadly not the allergies.

Anyway, the market was chock full of sights, smells, and sounds yesterday.  The smell of fresh pizza, the sight of juicy, fuzzy peaches (which I am also allergic to, but that’s beside the point), tiny colourful bell peppers, the tiniest and purplest of eggplants (and I thought the ones I bought at East York were cute and small!), and the sounds of kids laughing and asking their parents were ice cream.  After purusing the market and jogging back and forth between vendors, I walked away with some amazing goodies: a large pint of baby orange cherry tomatoes and a hulking huge loaf of poppyseed egg bread! 

Oh my goodness, you have no idea how excited I was to get my hands on these two things.  For one, the orange cherry tomatoes were a steal.  While a number of other markets were selling them for $4 or $5, I got mine for $3 yesterday!  I was doing a happy dance.  Or as my boyfriend likes to call them, happy fists.  I tried one of the little orange tomatoes last week and I have never in my entire life tasted a tomato so sweet.  It tasted like a peach!  Everyone, you must get your hands on these.  They will make you wiggle with happiness.  Oh, and the bread.  Jeebus, I could not stop smelling my loaf of bread on the way home.  And I cannot wait to sink my teeth into it.  I am a big fan of poppyseed bread.  Really, I must have looked like a pothead on the bus, sticking my nose into a paper bag every so often.  It’s bread, y’all.  Very good bread.  And one very amazing farmers’ market.

*****

The Riverdale Farm farmers’ market is located at 201 Winchester St. in Riverdale Park.  My way of getting here is to either walk along Carlton St. eastbound from Yonge St., or take the College St. streetcar eastbound to Parliament St. and Carlton.  From there, keep walking eastbound on Carlton until you get to Sumach St. and you’re there!  This year, the market is held every Tuesday from 3pm-7pm from May 17th to October 25th.