Welcome to a week of foodie delights in the heart of Leslieville on Queen East! Roughly bounded by Empire Street to the west, Coxwell Ave. the east, the CN rail and Gerrard Street to the north, and Eastern Ave. to the sout, Leslieville has truly grown into a powerhouse of great food and a culinary force to be reckoned with in the city. The food directory boasts brunch spots, bistros, wine bars, organic food emporiums, cupcake shops, cheese markets, tea shops, coffee shops, pizzeria, bakeries, and so much more. There are even culinary tours dedicated to the neighbourhood because of the sheer amount of food goodies to explore! I love the neighbourhood for so many reasons.
First off, it’s incredibly easy to walk through. When you look up store locations on a map, the gaps, streets, and intersections look a little more spaced out than they are in actuality; you can easily amble through the Queen East strip of Leslieville in an hour or less. Granted, that timeframe allows for a little window shopping and dawdling and food gawking, but still – it’s feet friendly! Second, there is so much variety. It’s a neighbourhood that caters to all moods and tastebuds as well as budgets because the area isn’t necessarily concentrated with high-end dining spots or fast food joints. There’s something for the health-conscious, the carni, the vegetarian, the sweet tooth, and the caffiene-craver. The neighbourhood thrives on growth and I’m telling you, every time I come to this part of town, I’m always discovering something new, something that I hadn’t seen during a previous trek.
And finally, I love it because I’ve always been met with friendliness and while that can be said for many other parts of town, it’s never a given so it always makes me feel good when I have happy, positive experience and memories to talk about and remember. Leslieville has that sweet, small-town feel to it and I think it’s nice. And what’s just as nice (or maybe even nicer) is the plethora of food! So, let’s hop to it!
One of my absolute favourite tea shops in the city is Steeped & Infused in Leslieville. I love their selection, I am head over heels for their products, and this past year they just went through a bit of a renovation to transform the loose leaf tea and gift shop to a sit-down cafe which means more time to enjoy tea in a sweet and comfortable sit-down environment! However, they’re not the only tea shop on the block; Majesteas is your one stop shop for all things tea and royalty!
Located at 950 Queen Street East just west of Carlaw Ave. with sweet and cushy seats, framed photos and accessories of our Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth II, on the walls and shelves, and glass canisters full of loose leaf tea just ready to be sniffed and loved, Majesteas is a wonderful space to sit down with a cuppa. They really do exude the British art of afternoon tea because their selection of teas are much more refined and classic than other tea shops in the city. They’re not about the wild n’ wacky and out of this world. They are all about the classic, traditional black, green, and oolong teas which is PERFECT for the tea drinkers out there who aren’t into 15 million flavoured teas. I personally LOVE flavoured teas of all kinds, but there are many, like my brother and my boyfriend’s mum, for example, who enjoy keeping things simple with an orange pekoe, an English breakfast, or an Earl Grey. They carry flavours such as coconut, blueberry, and chocolate orange, but for the most part, Majesteas is as classic as it gets and I know a lot of people who appreciate that!
And now, a new food discovery! Paulette’s Original Donuts and Chicken! Wait a minute…donuts and chicken?! Before you freak out and think Leslieville (or I) have gone off the deep end, let me make it clear that Paulette specializes in donuts and chicken meals, but not together! Donuts are donuts and chicken is chicken and they do not mix and mingle. Unless of course you happen to order a chicken meal with a donut, but I wanted to make sure you all weren’t thinking that the chicken was sandwiched between donuts or something. Because we have enough of that heart attack-inducing food at the CNE and county fair!
I literally stumbled on this brand spankin’ food shop and was instantly intrigued! Only a month and a half old (one of the nice girls behind the counter told me so), the gorgeous bright aqua colour was impossible to miss and as soon as I saw the word “donuts” I was in! It wasn’t until I read the menu board that I realized that they also took their chicken very seriously as well! In a nutshell, Paulette’s makes a slew of donuts in delicious flavours, donut holes in two flavours, and fried chicken meals.
They have 7 flavours of donuts on hand every day which are sweetly and cutely displayed in the little glass window by the counter (the selection when I walked in? Vanilla bean nutmeg, cinnamon latte, raspberry rose with graham cracker crumble, root beer float, grapefruit maple, dark chocolate pretzel, and mojito!), two flavours of donut holes (maple sugar and garam masala sugar), and a number of fried chicken combinations (snack chicken, half chicken, and combo chicken with white meat, dark meat, sides, and/or donut holes) where you can choose your dipping sauce and rub. I honestly don’t know if another shop like Paulette’s exists anywhere else in the city, but this is truly the first I’ve ever seen and I find it incredibly interesting and funky!
I can’t promise any posts on the chicken (I don’t eat fried chicken and while the chicken sauces and rubs and accompanying sides do sound yummy, it’s going to take a bit of arm-twisting from a third party to convince me to try some!), but you can bet your sweet bottom I’m going to try some of those donuts! I totally apologize for not having any real donuts to show you all in this post, but I had already eaten a toasted coconut donut the day prior to this impromptu, unexpected visit and I never eat the same indulgent treat two days in a row, not even cupcakes! So I’ll just have to come back.
I’ve made a handful of Leslieville food posts since I started Ate by Ate highlighting spots such as Sweet Bliss Baking Company, Lady Marmalade, Steeped & Infused, Bobbette & Belle, and the Leslieville farmers’ market among others but this post right here just proves that this really is only the beginning of an amazing, lengthy food journey across a growing, well-loved community in the east end.