Spinach Eggs Benny, Fresh Fruit, & a ‘Sour Cream n’ Onion’ Hollandaise! Breakfast at Gayley’s Cafe

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Up, down, left, right, and all around – it was a day to explore part of the west end with good eats, a great market, and plenty of new food discoveries!  I sat myself down to a nice, quiet meal at Gayley’s Cafe on the same day I skipped around Sorauren farmers’ market and the west end of Toronto.  I walked and walked and walked till I pooped out at the library on Roncesvalles.  And then I walked some more. 

But before we give Roncy and the rest of the west end some more love (and trust me, it’s coming!), we’re going to start with a fab breakfast at Gayley’s!  My last visit to this great brunch and lunch cafe was about a year ago and I promised myself I would come back and have a hack at their breakfast menu, chock full of eggs benny dishes, waffles with apple compote, chocolate chip pancakes, and good old fashioned home fries and bacon.  Much like their lunch menu, their breakfasts are all priced around$5-$10 with many different choices to suit both savoury and sweet appetites. 

There were so many things I loved about this particular visit.  For starters, I realized right off the bat that the artwork on the walls had changed.  Instead of the colourful, vibrant paintings of whimsical flowers and fairy-like female portraits, there were beautiful photographs of the Azores islands in the North Atlantic ocean!  They switch up their artwork and I love how they remain committed to giving Canadian and local artists exposure doing this, and how it gives the cafe a sense of freshness and newness and a bit of a different vibe each time.

Next, Gayley’s is so thoughtful when it comes to their food.  I was in the mood for some spinach eggs benny so I ordered their eggs benedict florentine and I was completely taken aback when the nice gentleman who took my order asked me if I wanted my poached eggs well-done, medium, or runny.  OH.MY.GOD.  I have had eggs benny on a number of occasions and I have NEVER, EVER been asked that!  I was floored.  I happily told him I wanted them medium (I looove my eggs a little runny) and I was met with even more jubilance when I asked him if I could have a side of fresh fruit instead of home fries or salad. 

I really wanted some fruit with my breakfast so I asked if it would be okay to substitute (yes, for an additional $1 which I was more than fine with) and since I knew the fruit salad would most likely contain something I was allergic to, I asked him what types of fruit were included in it and he was so nice about listing them and ticking them off his fingers one by one.  After making sure it would also be okay to only have cantaloupe, strawberries, and other berries (and not honeydew, pineapple, and pears), the meal actually became even more fantastic!

My plate of beautiful eggs benedict florentine covered in hollandaise with fresh cut fruit on the side came to me with two delicate poached eggs on a bed of baby spinach and crunchy English muffins.  It was so pretty!  My plate looked like a happy rainbow and that, in turn, made me even happier.  I was told that none of my fruit had come into contact with anything I said I was allergic to (how thoughtful, careful, and sweet!) and after that, I dug in!  HOLY MOTHER OF PEARL!  Ladies and gents, you must go to Gayley’s for eggs benny.  Actually, forget that, just come for food!  Aside from the fact that their English muffins are crunchy as opposed to soggy (big turn-off) and their poached eggs are perfect, their hollandaise sauce is to die for! 

I can’t even wrap my head around how insanely delicious, scrumptious, and mouthwatering their hollandaise is.  It smelled divine straight off the plate but having it envelope your tastebuds is a completely different experience.  Their hollandaise tastes like Ruffles sour cream and onion potato chips!!!  Yes, that deserves three exclamation points – and then some!  Just think back to those childhood days when you would chomp on those sour cream and onion chips everyone loved so much, grabbing every last tiny crumb from the bottom of the bag and licking your fingers for that last bit of yumminess.  Okay, so that might be a little gross, but we all know we did it and maybe some of us still do!  I have never had hollandaise that tasted like this and it was so, so good.           

It’s a shame I’ve been missing out on their breakast all this time but I’m glad I finally made my way back here.  I am definitly looking forward to trying their waffles with apple compote (I’m not allergic to preserves, hurray!) as well as some of their other items.  Gayley’s is both dine-in and take-out and with its laid-back atmosphere, its a wonderful cafe in the west end for those lazy mornings and quiet togethers surrounded by nice people and great food.  

*****

Gayley’s Cafe is located at 1424 Dundas St. West, east of Dufferin St. off Gladstone Ave.  They serve all-day breakfast as well as lunch with a number of meat and vegetarian sandwiches, soups, baked goods, and coffee drinks.

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The Vegetarian Sandwich Series: Thirteen Veggie Sandwich Choices at Gayley’s Cafe on Dundas Street West

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As promised, here’s the list of vegetarian sandwiches available at Gayley’s Cafe on Dundas Street West!  Like I mentioned yesterday, their sandwiches are served on your choice of calabrese, rye, pita, multigrain, or white bread.  These items are taken straight from the menu which I photographed for my own reference.  They don’t have a website and their menu isn’t accessible online for the time being, so I hope this helps!

  1. Avocado, cucumber, roasted peppers, alfalfa sprouts
  2. Avocado, roasted peppers, alfalfa sprouts
  3. Avocado, melted cheese, sautéed mushrooms
  4. Roasted zucchini, cheese, sundried tomatoes
  5. Avocado, sundried tomatoes, roasted peppers, lettuce
  6. Grilled zucchini, cheese, sundried tomatoes, alfalfa sprouts
  7. Grilled zucchini, cheese, olives, alfalfa sprouts
  8. Roasted peppers, cheese, tomatoes, alfalfa sprouts
  9. Cucumber, cream cheese, sundried tomatoes, alfalfa sprouts
  10. Lettuce, tomatoes, cheese
  11. Hummus, red peppers, alfalfa sprouts
  12. Grilled cheese
  13. Fried egg sandwich

*****

Gayley’s Cafe is located at 1424 Dundas St. West, east of Dufferin St. off Gladstone Ave.  They serve all-day breakfast as well as a number of meat sandwiches and coffee drinks.  The next time I go, I’ll jot down their breakfast dishes, well as their other non-sandwich meals!

The Vegetarian Sandwich Series: Crunchy Calabrese & Veggie Sandwiches at Gayley’s Cafe on Dundas West

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Some of the best discoveries are purely accidental.  Remember that ridiculously long walk I took on Dundas Street West back in April?  The one I took because I was curious and feeling ambitious?  And remember how I said I made a bunch of really great foodie discoveries along the way?  Well, Gayley’s Cafe was one of them!  Thinking back to that long walk I took on that gray, overcast, chilly day, I’m amused.  I remember wearing my knit hat, a scarf, and my fuzzy mulberry purple winter coat and little flurries floating around when I left downtown to go back home.  And when I actually came back to Gayley’s for a meal a month and half later?  I was hot and sweaty in the blazing sun *chuckles* That’s the passing of time for you!

Located east of Dufferin St. near Gladstone Ave. on Dundas Street West, Gayley’s is a beautiful, homey breakfast, brunch, and lunch cafe with enough sandwiches to last us all a lifetime!  Gayley’s is gorgeous with an air of lightness and sunnyness.  It grabbed my attention with its exterior of pale yellow and cornflower blue, and it delighed me with its interior of neutral colour bricks and colourful, whimsical paintings and artwork.  The brick walls are studded with the work of local artists that are actually for sale, and all I could think of was, “what I would give for such beautiful artwork!”  Not only is Gayley’s a feast for the tummy, but it’s a feast for the eyes.

Gayley’s menu speciality is their sandwiches.  And if you’re looking for vegetarian options, boy do they ever have a list!  I’ll write out a list of all their vegetarian sandwiches soon, but a quick count from their menu shows 13 vegetarian sandwich options.  Most of their vegetarian sandwiches have a combination of vegetables such as roasted peppers, roasted zucchini, avocado, alfalfa, olives, cheese, sundried tomatoes, mushrooms, and spreads such as cream cheese and hummus.  There’s also grilled cheese and a fried egg sandwich too. 

Their sandwiches are served on your choice of calabrese, rye, pita, multi-grain, or white bread and all come with a side green salad with vinegar dressing.  It took me forever and a half to narrow down my choices because there were so many, but I finally decided on an avocado, melted cheese, and sautéed mushroom sandwich on crunchy calabrese bread.  If you ask, they’ll put additional ingredients in your sandwich with an additional charge, so I also added roasted red peppers to my sandwich for an extra dollar.  I can’t say for sure exactly what type of cheese was used, but it tasted like a combination of cheddar and jack cheese. 

I loved my sandwich.  It was HUGE!  The bread was nice and crusty and the best part of my sandwich was the way the melted cheese meshed with sautéed mushrooms and roasted peppers, while the avocado provided the sandwich with some fresh creaminess.  The avocado, although not the creamiest I’ve ever had in my life, was very good still and was sliced in cubes in my sandwich.  I also enjoyed my salad which was comprised of romaine lettuce, mixed greens, sliced carrots, and red cabbage.  If you’re not into vingear dressing though, tell them to hold it because they do dress their salad generously.  I don’t mind the vinegar dressing at all because my tastebuds like the slight sour tang to it.  It makes sense considering how I love salt n’ vinegar potato chips!

Even though I didn’t try their all-day breakfast, I did order a side of home fries with my sandwich.  I know, I eat like a horse, and no, I didn’t eat the whole dish of home fries!  I shared them with my boyfriend and we brought the rest to-go with us when we finished our meal.  Anyway, Gayley’s home fries are awesome!  Every place that serves breakfast has a different way of serving home fries; some places will do them beefsteak, potato wedge style (like Futures Bakery), while other places dice them into small cubes, or serve them like scalloped potatoes (coin home fries as I like to call them) among other ways. 

Gayley’s home fries are like half circle (or half moon) wedges of potato and gosh, are they ever good!  I really love my home fries in wedges like these, and they weren’t dry, overly starchy, or overly chewy.  They were delicious meaty potato home fries that I would order again in a heartbeat!

Prices here are well worth it.  Their vegetarian sandwiches are all around $5.95-$6.95 and I was so satisfied after my meal.  I haven’t had any of their breakfast dishes yet, but judging the plates I saw on others customers’ tables they are biiiig.  Their breakfast and lunch menus are together on the same menu, so if you want a sandwich on rye at 10am, you could totally go for it!  The only blip in their menu that I noticed was the very last vegetarian sandwich listing which was, well, not vegetarian, but hey, one minor mistake at the end of the menu isn’t too big of a deal for a place that has over 30 sandwich options.  It’s a bright sunny cafe with a ton of options for both carnivores and vegetarians alike, so I would definitely recommend Gayley’s for those who loves sandwiches, and for those who adore breakfast, brunch, and lunch meals 😀

*****

Gayley’s Cafe is located at 1424 Dundas St. West, east of Dufferin St. off Gladstone Ave. 

Scrapbooking materials used: pale yellow and blue cardstock (Recollections); patterned paper (Green Tea stack by DCWV); bright blue alphabet stickers (Recollections); adhesive flower embellishments (Posies by Autumn Leaves, Creativity Inc.); paper corner rounder (ek success); black felt tip Sharpie marker.