Lovin’ Flapjacks – A Photo Spotlight on the Juicy, Tart, Monstrous Blueberry Pancakes from T&T Bakery & Cafe

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Shrove and Pancake Tuesday may have come and gone for the year, but that certainly doesn’t mean the love for flapjacks can’t stay in the spotlight.  I know there are many weekend brunch fanatics among my fellow food bloggers and foodie friends, so let’s get this breakfast club started with a classic, big breakfast meal of fluffy blueberry pancakes!  I promised you guys more pancake posts this year, so this is me indulging everyone with pancake food porn.  I’m sure you don’t mind. 

I’ve been thinking about waffles and pancakes more and more as of late and how much fun it would be to do a series of classic breakfast compilation posts, posts that would provide a macro snapshot of what the city has to offer.  We know we can find egg breakfasts up the wazoo, but waffles and pancakes of a more unique nature are a bit of a bigger challenge and I am totally up for it.  Buttermilk, vegan, fruity, savoury, you name it, I’m on it.  If you can believe it, aside from the Aunt Jemima pancake experiments I conducted with my mum at home, the only other pancake post on the blog is the one for the apple cinnamon buckwheat pancakes from Sadie’s Diner.  Clearly, I have my work cut out for me if I want this year to be a big impact year pancake-wise, but at least the journey will be delicious!  We’ll start the first official pancake post of 2012 with a classic: blueberry pancakes with bacon from T&T Bakery & Cafe in Markham.   

You all know how deeply I adore the food, and especially the breakfast, at T&T Bakery.  However, if I’m going to toot my horn about one, and only one, breakfast menu item from here, it would be this one.  You will eat yourself silly and into a food coma after this blueberry pancake party – providing that you actually get through it.  It is HUGE.  Jack and the Beanstalk huge.  King Kong huge.  What you see in these photos is actually half the meal (I shared and split the meal with my boyfriend).  The whole shebang consists of four monstrous, fluffy, puffy, cakey, blueberry pancakes the size of your head with two strips of savoury, crispy, salty bacon and a side of maple syrup for $6.87. 

The pancakes are studded with so many juicy, tart blueberries and combined with the maple syrup, it has that sweet and sour taste that people love so much.  The pancakes themselves are blank canvases; the blueberries completely do the talking and for good reason.  Just look at how many blueberries there are and the size of them!  It’s like someone in the back had a little blueberry gun and said to themselves, “hmm, I think I’ll take some practice shots on the pancakes!”  It is the best bang for your buck and it will seriously feed two people.  I’m no food contest eater, but I can pack it in pretty decently every once in awhile and even I had a hard time finishing my two.  My mum?  I’d call it a gold metal victory if she was able to get through one.  I had forgotten just how amazing this meal was because it had been so long since I last had it.

    

This blueberry meal is a special one because it reminds me of the very first time I took my family to T&T Bakery & Cafe for breakfast years and years ago.  I don’t know about everyone else, but I love the anticipation and excitement of bringing family and friends to new places, places that have been ingrained into my food repertoire and places that hold so much promise for others down the road.  There’s the nervousness and anticipation: “will they like the food?  Will their experience be just as good as mine?”.  And then there’s the elation you feel when everyone has a great time and can’t wait to come back for another meal.  You feel like you did the food community proud and you’re so happy that you were able to share and pass along an experience to remember.  After introducing and leaving this gem multiple times to and with my family, boyfriend, and friends, it’s exactly how I feel about T&T Bakery & Cafe.   

*****

T&T Bakery and Café is located at 35 Main Street Markham at the intersection of Highway 7 and Markham Rd., just north of Highway.7 and on the east side of Markham Rd.  They have a permanent breakfast menu that is available every day and different lunch specials throughout the week.

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Committed to Food, Committed to Friendship – A Scrapbook Snapsnot of the Breakfast Club Girls

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Eating breakfast classics, drinking cups upon cups of tea and coffee, and catching up with friends during a weekend or holiday brunch is one of the best feelings in the world and making this breakfast scrapbook layout made me so happy.  I’ve been down in the dumps lately and even though I know how much I love to write, scrapbook, and design, it still catches me by surprise when both of these loving pastimes calm me down and give me a little piece of mind.  Writing and scrapbooking function as both my creative outlets and my stress relievers and they have been so therapeutic for me. 

This scrapbook layout served as yet another reminder of all the reasons why I love food, story-telling, and the time spent with friends.  I feel so lucky to have a sweet boyfriend who humours me, supports me, and is up for anything when it comes to my blogging and photography escapades, and I love having different friends with whom I can enjoy different food activities.  I have friends who love to go on sushi lunch dates, friends who are just as obsessive about cupcakes as I am, and friends who are my vegetarian and vegan partners in crime.  Finally, I have my group of breakfast and brunch girl friends!

Friends since our first year of high school (and beyond for my other three girls who have known one another since sandbox and playground days), the four of us have formed a lifelong bond and tradition over breakfast get-togethers and have coined ourselves Team Commitment as an ode to our friendship and our commitment to delicious food.  This year we celebrated our 5th consecutive year as a group (our 3rd here at T&T Bakery & Cafe!) and each and every single our breakfast club gets together, there’s always fabulous food involved!  Not only have we noshed on waffles, poached eggs, bacon, sandwiches, bagels, and French toast, but we’ve also exchanged food gifts.  I baked cookies for my dear Lindsay over Christmas, Laura surprised us all with chocolatey Tim Tams and hot cocoa two years ago, and Lisa shared some of her fabulous homemade caramel, nut, and white chocolate bark and homemade cinnamon sticky buns!  Even some of our non-edible gifts have been food-related! 

Food has quietly (or maybe not so quietly) played a starring role in our get-togethers over the years.  It has anchored us, giving us a little stability and a lot of excitment and anticipation.  Over tea and coffee and plates of food, we have celebrated graduations, weddings, break-ups and heartbreaks, new loves, new jobs, new schools, and even a new country to temporarily call home.  Every breakfast get-together is, simaltanously, a sign of change and growth on the one hand and comfort and familiarity on the other.  The scrapbook layout is a snapshot of several moments frozen in time of four very different young women who, despite having their own aspirations, dreams, and goals in life, always make the time and effort to eat, laugh, and cry together.  We look forward to our breakfast meals as we reminisce and catch up on each other’s lives and this scrapbook layout is my way of capturing the story of four girls who come together to celebrate food and friendship.

*****

T&T Bakery and Café is located at 35 Main Street Markham at the intersection of Highway 7 and Markham Rd., just north of Highway.7 and on the east side of Markham Rd.

Scrapbook materials used: Cornflower blue, watermelon pink, pale lemon yellow, and textured beige cardstock (Recollections); breakfast waffle patterned paper (MMMMM Waffles – Mom’s Diner by Recollections); blue journalling tags (Darcy collection by Anna Griffin); glittery breakfast pancake and waffle adhesive embellishments (Waffle Baking stickers by Martha Stewart Crafts); floral and garden gold foil stickers (atd by Momenta); strawberry sticker (Sticko); sapphire alphabet stickers (Recollections); circle paper punch (ek success); deckle edged decorative scissors (Provo Craft).

Golden Brown and Fluffy – The Strawberries and Whipped Cream Waffles at T&T Bakery & Cafe!

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It’s waffle time on the blog!  I raved about T&T Bakery & Cafe’s breakfasts and home fries yesterday so today, I’m shining a spotlight on their wonderful and delicious strawberries and whipped cream waffles!  This works out perfectly because I’ve wanted to feature more waffles on Ate by Ate for some time now, having only Cocoa Latte’s amazing giant banana and nutella waffle and Lady Marmalade’s savoury aged white cheddar and spinach waffles to represent the beloved breakfast and brunch staple. 

I know it seems like I enjoy pancakes more given how many Aunt Jemima pancake posts I made last year but in all honesty, between pancakes and waffles, I actually love waffles more and get more excited about them in all its forms!  I just discovered Christmas tree waffles this past Christmas thanks to my friend Amanda over at Fake Ginger and my Lady Marmalade brunch was the first savoury waffle meal to make it into my tummy!  Not to mention I just think it’s cute and fun when toppings get stuck in the little waffle squares.  I can’t wait for the day I buy and have my very own waffle iron in my own kitchen because there are so many flavour and topping combinations I want to play around with.  And I am very giddy about the possibility of introducing a Hello Kitty waffle iron to the kitchen crew of appliances and tools as well!

Now, I know I said I preferred savoury breakfast items over sweet ones (which is hard to believe since I have such sweet teeth), but after seeing my dear friend Lindsay order T&T’s strawberries and whipped cream waffle on more than one occasion, I knew it was her favourite and I knew I had to have it.  I loved waffles, I felt like a waffle, and I really wanted to a part of the deliciousness, so I caved and ordered myself one during a recent Sunday morning breakfast outing with a friend and was rewarded with one of the best waffles I have ever had in my life.

The waffle breakfast ($5.89) is comprised of one large fluffy and crispy waffle ladled with juicy and sweet strawberries in syrup, four mountains of fluffy whipped cream, and several thick slices of scrumptious extra crispy bacon.  I go through stages where I truly believe I’m a sausage type of girl (me and breakfast sausage are dear friends and you should see me go to town with Italian, Polish, and Oktoberfest sausages!), but when I get around to eating some great bacon every so often, I’m reminded of how much I enjoy that too and come to the conclusion that I’m just game for either, any time.  T&T’s bacon is fabulous because of the crispyness and thickness and I’d say the taste and texture rivals that of cooked pancetta.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it too.

And then there’s the star of the show, the waffle!  What I love most about the strawberries and whipped cream waffles is how light and fluffy the waffles are on the inside and how they retain their shape and golden crispness on the outside.  We all know it’ll end up a bit messy and soft once you really dig into it mid-meal, but what you don’t want is a waffle that’s too moist and soppy from the get-go.  You can practically taste the golden browness of the waffle and it is just a delight to eat.  There’s lots of fresh strawberry slices and strawberry syrup in the middle and what I appreciate is the actual presence of strawberries as opposed to jam or preserves, and the four big swirls of whipped cream on each waffle quadrant makes the meal more fun and fluffy!

I’m a big lover of breakfast and brunch (I look forward to breakfast and lunch more than I do dinner!) and I’m excited to see what other fabulous waffle breakfasts I find!  I know off the top of my head there are a few great Belgain waffle places in the city so we’ll see how this year pans out waffle and breakfast-wise.  If it’s anything like the three I’ve featured on the blog so far, it’s going to be fantastic.

*****

T&T Bakery and Café is located at 35 Main Street Markham at the intersection of Highway 7 and Markham Rd., just north of Highway.7 and on the east side of Markham Rd.

Friends & Great Breakfast Food – Salmon Sandwiches, Home Fries, & Vanilla Milkshakes at T&T Bakery & Cafe

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Going to T&T Bakery & Cafe for breakfast turned into a holiday and winter tradition for myself and my friends several years ago when we gathered together for a meal to catch up with each other’s lives.  Since then, we’ve done coffee shops here and there when an early morning T&T breakfast wasn’t an option, but in total, T&T has made its way into our holiday and winter memories for three years and I find myself looking forward to every breakfast meal here during the gray winter months.  Like Winterlicious, it’s a beacon of light. 

I can eat breakfast here at any time and at any point in the year, but I love coming here during the winter the most.  Located on Main Street Markham, coming here with a little bit of snow and chill in the air feels quaint, magical almost.  T&T may not have pages and pages of menu items, but it’s the wholesome goodness and simplicity (not to mention fabulous portions!) that keeps me coming back for more.

T&T’s turkey pot pie, Christmas shortbread cookies, and crunchy, ooey gooey grilled cheese with veggies were both introduced on the blog last year and today, I’m finally read to post and write about some of their famous breakfast dishes!  Breakfast was actually what drew me in and what made me fall in love with the cozy smalltown cafe and bakery and judging by the crowds, I’m not the only one who adores their breakfasts and baked goods.  There are seven permanent, everyday breakfast dishes on their menu ($5.09-$6.87): 1) 2 poached eggs, bacon, home fries, toast, and beans; 2) 2 fried eggs, bacon, homenfries, and toast; 3) Peameal bacon on a bun; 4) French toast with bacon; 5) Pancakes with bacon; 6) Blueberry pancakes with bacon; 7) Waffle with strawberries, whipped cream, and bacon.  As you can tell, bacon is the name of the game at T&T and this is perfect for the MANY bacon lovers and fanatics out there and you know who you are!

I'm having a blast with my food up top!

Even though I haven’t blogged about their breakfast until now, trust me when I say that I’ve had their breakfast four times on four different occasions.  Where are all the photos?!  Well, I have two sets for you all today and tomorrow and the other two sets won’t be making it to the blog because 1) I didn’t take photos of one of them (shocking, I know!  It was years ago, before I started doing food photography full-time, and 2) the other meal was taken with my camera flash on and although the photo was okay a number of years ago for a photo album on my bookshelf, it’s not something I’d use as the main attraction.  Not to worry though, I see myself cycling through the breakfast menu eventually so the two meals I had from before will be eaten again in due time!

First up: home fries and a salmon salad sandwich!  Okay, so the salmon salad sandwich is actually part of the sandwich menu and not the breakfast menu, but what’s great about T&T is that you can order a sandwich any time you want!  The best thing about T&T sandwiches is the crispness and freshness of ingredients and the generous portions and fillings.  Sandwiches are super thick, simple, and delicious and prices range from $3.55-$5.19.  Their sandwiches aren’t exclusive to lunch and/or dinner hours and since I’ll eat a sandwich at any old hour, I had myself a salmon salad one.

It reminded me of my university days during the 2nd year of my undergrad when I used to order a salmon salad bagel sandwich with pickles for my early morning Children’s Literature class at the nearby coffee shop.  One of my friends used to roll his eyes and snicker at me whenever I brought my “weekly” sandwich into class; I swear it’s not as disgusting as it sounds!  This one was sans the pickles though.  Mine was a thick sandwich stuffed to the nines with salmon salad with some lettuce and tomato with a generous side of my favourite home fries!

Their home fries are what I look forward to the most when I’m here and I love that I can order a side of them for $2-$3 and get a plate of delicious crispy-on-the-outside, moist-and-tender-on-the-inside potato coins that are exactly like scalloped potatoes.  It’s great for sharing among friends and they are just the best because they’re not overcooked, overseasoned, or dry.  Some home fries, although great, need a little sauce or a little something to go with them.  Not these.  These are perfect the way they are because they maintain their starchy meatiness while at the same time tasting tender and soft.  They are so delicious and between friends, incredibly easy to scarf down!

And finally, no meal is complete with something to wash it all down so in addition to my favourite homefries, I ordered another one of my favourites: a milkshake!  Aside from King’s Cafe, T&T makes my favourite milkshakes because they’re so creamy and sweet with just the right amount of thickness to it.  A runny, diluted milkshake is gross while a milkshake that is too thick ends up being goopy and undrinkable (you might as well just give me a spoon for it because it ain’t going anywhere in a straw!), and I’m delighted to say that T&T’s milkshakes are neither. 

They come in the neapolitan flavours of vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate ($2.38) and so far I’ve had their chocolate and vanilla and I love them both.  Although some may not care for the styrofoam cup, I know many will appreciate the tallness of it.  They serve giant milkshakes that are deliciously sweet and they give the cafe that hometown diner feel that everyone feels so comfortable in.

 

*****

T&T Bakery and Café is located at 35 Main Street Markham at the intersection of Highway 7 and Markham Rd., just north of Highway.7 and on the east side of Markham Rd.

The Keys to My Heart: My Favourite Crunchy, Gooey Grilled Cheese Sandwich at T&T Bakery and Café!

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The day was sunny, the air was crisp, and I was happily skipping over to one of my favourite bakeries and cafés in town for lunch: T&T Bakery and Café on Main Street Markham.  I hadn’t been back since the holidays when I tried their adorable little turkey pies and I was dying to go back to enjoy a simple, breezy lunch with my boyfriend.  That and also because I desparately wanted a gingerbread cookie.  They have the best gingerbread cookies (not to mention the softest, yummiest shortbread cookies with sprinkles!) in the cutest seasonal shapes and frosted decorations, and I reeeally wanted to see what adorable spring and Easter themed goodies they had in the cookie baskets.  Nothing gets in the way of me and my cookies! 😀

T&T Bakery and Café is like a comforting hometown country kitchen with menu items written on boards, and bustling customers enjoying big plates of French toast and waffles for breakfast, picking up fresh-baked pies, tea biscuits, and scones, and sitting down for a relaxing lunchtime or midday meal.  The prices are fabulous (a great meal for $4-$8?  Count me in, babe!) and it’s a family business with a big heart and great people and I just LOVE coming here.  Like I mentioned in my very first post about T&T over the holidays, I’ve had amazing breakfasts here and I’m still able to vividly recall how yummy the scalloped potato homefries are and how thick and delicious the chocolate milkshakes are.  And on this day, I had the most delicious grilled cheese sandwich EVER, loaded and stuffed with veggies with plenty of hot kicks from the hot peppers!

Oh was this sandwich all sorts of awesome.  My grilled cheese sandwich was delightfully crunchy, cheesy, gooey, and flavourful and it was amazing in so many ways.  I knew I wanted veggies on my sandwich and when the nice girl asked me what I wanted on it (after I told her it was more than fine that it would cost an extra dollar from the regular grilled cheese), I simply replied, “everything!”  You have it, I’ll eat it!  My grilled cheese ended up with a mountain of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, pickles,and hot peppers and OH.MY.GOD. the sandwich kick-boxed my taste buds and I had a field day fitting this thing into my mouth with every bite.  Oh, and using up my entire pile of napkins. The sandwich was so crunchy and perfectly grilled I crunched bread crumbs onto myself after every bite.  My hands and mouth were a mess and I couldn’t have been happier!

Not only did I love the hot spicy kick from the hot peppers, but I loved how this sandwich was constructed.  The cheddar cheese was melted on both the top AND bottom so you had mouthfuls of melty, gooey cheese enveloping the vegetables and bread and hello, best moisture barrier ever!  Without the cheese on both sides, the veggies risk making the bread soggy, but no such situation here.  They are smart thinkers!  And a bad or less than stellar grilled cheese doesn’t retain its shape and ends up floppy.  Not sexy.  This sandwich stuck its tongue out to the not-so-great grilled cheeses around the world and held up to the very last bite.  YUM YUM YUM!

To celebrate this fab meal, I got myself that gingerbread cookie I wanted so badly.  I got the cute yellow tulip flower one 😀  And yes, part of me wants to run back and snatch up that bunny one too.

*****

The T&T Bakery and Café is located at 35 Main Street Markham at the intersection of Hwy 7 and Markham Rd., just north of Hwy.7.     

A Little Turkey Pot Pie and Shortbread Cookies – Christmas at T&T Bakery and Café

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Thanks to my honey Richard, I have oodles of candids like these to remember for many Christmases to come *chuckles*.  This is me this past Tuesday thoroughly enjoying my sweet delicious red and green Christmas sprinkled shortbread cookie.  Oh how I loved this cookie.  I love shortbread cookies and the sprinkles made these so cute and colourful and they were impossible to resist.  Christmas is not Christmas without cookies and this giant morsel of loveliness was so soft with just the right amount of sweetness to it.  It took all the willpower in the world not to snatch the entire basket of them before I left! 

T&T Bakery and Café (located at 35 Main Street Markham, at the intersection of Hwy 7 and Markham Rd., just north of Hwy.7) holds a lot of Christmas memories for me.  I went for the first time 3 years ago, back in 2007, for a get- together with 3 close friends for a holiday breakfast and this sweet bakery and café has been close to my heart ever since.  Located in the heart of the quaint, historic village of Main St. Markham, it has such a homey, community feel to it and they have fantastic food to boot!  They have breakfast dishes to die for (think homefries that look and taste like scalloped potatoes and waffles piled with fruit and whipped cream) and lots of bakery goods to nosh on like tarts, cakes, bagels, and pies along with sandwiches and lots of comfort food.

This past Tuesday I enjoyed a comforting lunch of savoury turkey pot pie and a fresh mixed green salad – and my cookie! 😀  I don’t know about you, but I loooove places that incorporate turkey into their menu and T&T’s little pot pie was so good.  It was packed with rich turkey meat seasoned with just the right amount of salt and pepper and surrounded by warm pie crust in the shape of a pineapple ring.  How cute!  It was warm, flaky, and packed with flavour and what I really loved about it was how much turkey meat was in it (they are beyond generous) and how the pie crust wasn’t bitter in the least as I find that some pie crusts tend to taste that way.  Not this one.  This one high-fived my taste buds, and my salad was fresh and crunchy alongside my favourite French dressing on the side to make me wiggle with glee. 

Sweet people and good food.  That’s what an eatery should be all about.  Being here evokes feelings of warmth, community, and comfort and it reminds you that food doesn’t need to be “fancy” to be enjoyable.  It’s the love that goes into it and the love that comes out of it when someone eats it that matters.  Sometimes it’s the simplest pleasures that create the best memories and experiences and I’m really happy that I got to tuck away another T&T Bakery and Café meal in my memory (and soon to be scrapbook!) this Christmas. 

I’ve enjoyed two breakfasts and one lunch here thus far and trust me, there will be many more to come!  Sandwiches range anywhere from $3-$5 and full breakfast and lunch meals come in at around $5-7.  There are many items that you can order a la carte (the turkey pot pie, for example, can be ordered on its own) and off to the side are baskets of baked goods, like cookies, that are packaged and ready to go.  2 days later I am still thinking about my cookie.  I desperately want to run back and buy a pack of cookies.  I think I will.

 

Thank you to Lindsay, Laura, and Lisa (Team Commitment!) for introducing me to this lovely place 3 years ago.  I love you ladies!