Confessions of a Brunch Obsessed Foodie – From Ossington to Bloor West Village: West End Brunch Picks!

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Introducing west end brunch picks!

Maybe it’s the late night munchie cravings talking, but I could really go for some good old fashioned bacon and eggs.  It’s after 10pm on my side of the pond though so I really don’t think it’d be a good idea to haul out the frying pan to soothe that craving right now, so the next best thing?  Counting down another 5 weekend brunch spots on my brunch club hit list!  Lately, and even throughout the summer, I’ve been focusing more heavily on the east end with posts on Joy Bistro and The Commissary in Leslieville, Simple Bistro on Mount Pleasant, and Hammersmith’s in Riverdale, and I realized that I really owe the west end some more love!  From Ossington Village to The Junction, here are 5 eateries I can’t wait to eventually get to!

The Beet Organic Cafe – located at 2945 Dundas Street West, west of Keele St. and east of Pacific Ave. at the corner of Medland St. in The Junction.  One of these days, I will follow through on my plan to go to The Beet after a farmers’ market trek to the Junction Market on a Saturday morning!  It’s only a matter of time.  My first brush with The Beet was when I made my unforgettable first trip to Bunner’s Bake Shop down the road during last year’s Veggielicious.  It was then that I realized what a goldmine of a foodie district I was in – an organic, raw, vegetarian, and vegan one in particular!  I never did get around to re-writing my Junction Foodie District post that got sucked into the internet black hole, but I’m totally committed to doing more food things in the neighbourhood and one of them is brunch at The Beet!

A foodie fixture in The Junction

With a focus and commitment to using as many local, Canadian, seasonal, and organic ingredients, The Beet’s menu has items for both carnivores and veggies alike.  My picks: the Huevos Rancheros ($12) starring two baked eggs with Quebec cheddar, sweet potato mash, sour cream, pico de gallo, and avocado, all on an Ontario corn tortilla; Farmer’s Harvest Salad ($7 sm., $10 lrg.) featuring green and red leaf lettuce, Chef’s selection of seasonal veggies, pumpkin seeds, and a choice of dressing; and the Buenos Dias Wrap ($13, wheat and gluten-free!) stuffed with avocado, spicy black bean spread, quinoa, pico de gallo, and raw Quebec cheddar.  Oh!  And we can’t forget their truckload of fresh fruit, nut, and milk smoothie  options as well!      

Cuban & Latin American Sunday morning munchies await you!

Delux – located at 92 Ossington Ave., between Queen and Dundas Street West.  Name 3 spots in the ciy, off the top of your headd, where you can get Central, South, and/or Latin American-inspired brunch and lunch.  Having a hard time, right?  We can easily tick off our options for vegetarian, Italian, and traditional greasy spoon, but South, Central, and Latin American morning meal options are a little harder to come by.  Which is why Delux is extra special!  I thought their lunch menu during my first visit back in the spring was amazing, with their thick-as-bricks delicious sandwiches and gobsmackingly good coffee crème brûlée, but when I found out they offered Sunday Cuban brunch, I think I stared at my computer in awe and wonder with my mouth gaping open for a good few minutes. 

Their Sunday brunch menu embodies warmth, heartiness, and comfort food with no shortage of sweet and savoury Cuban and South American flavour!  My picks: the dulce de leche smothered French toast with bananas, chantilly cream and maple syrup ($10), the big Cuban breakfast featuring roast pork, poached eggs, rice and beans, tostones (crispy fried plantains), and salad ($14), and the duck confit picadillo ($12) (Cuban style ground beef and veggies) hash with sunnyside up eggs and tostones!

Good morning, guava!

The Good Fork Brunch & Bistro – located at 2432 Bloor Street West and Jane St. in Bloor West Village.  Oh gosh, The Good Fork is the quintessential brunch and breakfast diner with an honest-to-goodness menu to die for!  I urge everyone to go.  I know I haven’t been yet and I’m basing this urgency on, well, nothing really, but seriously, I just have the most fantastical feeling about this place and I cannot wait to go!  C’mon, they have red velvet pancakes.  YES, THAT’S RIGHT.  Red velvet paaaaancakes.  I may not be the biggest fan of red velvet (don’t throw things at me now), but heck, even I know that a dish like that will get people to come in droves.  My picks: the Deep Green Benny ($11.25) boasting fried green tomatoes and cilantro; Lemon Cheese Pancakes ($9.75) bursting with lemon ricotta and blueberry compote; Baleek Omelette ($10) made with bacon and leeks; Bruleed Pound Cake French Toast with Orange Butter ($10.75) – total self-explanatory in yum factor.

Mildred’s Temple Kitchen – located at 85 Hanna Ave. off of King Street West, east of Dufferin St. in Liberty Village.  I’ve read about Mildred’s Temple Kitchen.  I’ve heard about it.  I’ve drooled over its famous brunch menu offerings.  Doesn’t it just make sense then to just go and stuff my face?!  I think so.  Famed for her first born restaurant, Mildred Pierce, culinary expertise in both food and cookbook writing, and for her presence in the kitchen, chef Donna Dooher doles out the simple pleasures of brunch and dining in her scrumptious menu: the infamous fluffy blueberry buttermilk pancakes ($13.50); Mildred’s poached eggs on a flakey croissant with either smoked salmon or rosemary bacon smothered in béarnaise sauce with mixed greens; Mildred’s sourdough grilled cheese with pickles and tomato relish ($12); and Green Eggs and Ham!

There are plenty of other brunch spots on my hit list, but these are the ones I wanted to showcase in particular today and if all goes well this weekend with the weather, I just might hit one of them up.

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You’ll Want to Take the Bakeries Home With You – Anna’s Bakery & Deli and Sweet Eats in Bloor West Village

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October 25th: I have a great post coming for you all but it’s going to have to wait as I have a raging migraine right now and I just cannot bang out this post tonight.  I’ll have a full post all sparkly and new to accompany the photos up top, so in the meantime, admire some of these yummy bakery goods in Bloor West Village while I recuperate!

October 26th: Gooood morning everyone!  It’s still gross and rainy out (with the way the whether has been for weeks I can’t tell I’m still in Toronto or if some kind of geographical vortex has turned us into Vancouver or London, England.  Sigh.), but I am feeling MUCH better and the migraine has left the building – for now anyway.  Let it be known that overcast and rainy weather do not do good things to my head and brain and I’ve been lucky this fall so far because last night’s migraine was the first major one of the season.  I’m well-rested though and I’m here to give you guys a fabulous, yummy post!  Introducing yet another amazing foodie village and neighbourhood: Bloor West Village!

The very first time I explored Bloor West Village was about a year and a half ago.  I remembering reading about it in a pamphlet featuring some of Toronto’s popular shopping and strolling destinations, and hearing about it from some friends.  I remember having some breakfast at the Sunset Grill location in the area and spending the entire afternoon walking around afterward.  I loved the area and could mosey along day after day, week after week, without ever getting bored.  There are SO many foodie options!  There are tea shops (including my beloved David’s Tea), brunch spots, Eastern European deli and hot food shops, and even a gourmet burger pub to boot!  Yellow Griffin Pub and its 30+ burger options (all of which can be served on meat or veggie) are calling my name. 

Every time I come here, I always feel like I can never get enough and that’s how I feel about many of the areas in the city.  I absorb as much as I can, but there’s always something that I can’t get to, something I didn’t get a chance to see, or just something I missed entirely.  For the food alone, I’ll be coming back for months, and even years, to come.    

Sandwiched between Runnymede Road and Jane St. (and their respective subway stations), Bloor West Village is, in my opinion, very similar to Roncesvalles in the best ways possible.  First off, the neighbourhood is extremely walkable.  Like many areas in downtown Toronto, you’re looking at shop after shop after shop.  There are no large gaps between establishments, you don’t have to worry about being in the middle of abandoned industrial nowhere (it’s a little unnerving!), public transit is very accessible should you need to use it, and walking around is the easiest thing ever because the neighbourhood mainly runs on in an East-West/West-East direction and there is so much to see. 

Second, both Roncesvalles and Bloor West Village are known for their Eastern European communities, culture, and food, specifically Polish and Ukrainian respectively.  Thus, many of the businesses in the area cater to, and are owned and run by these ethnic groups.  Finally, the most striking similarity between Roncesvalles and Bloor West Village is the sheer volume of bakeries!  I can’t get over the number of shops that have bread and pastries and baked goods coming out of their rooftops!  Off the top of my head, bakeries include Hot Oven Bakery, Sweet Flour Bake Shop, Bread and Roses Bakery Cafe, Max’s Market, and one of my favourites, Anna’s Bakery & Deli! 

Now, since I haven’t eaten my way through the bakery or any of the bakeries for that matter, this post is primarily a photocentric post just to show you all what the neighbourhood has to the offer and what my favourite bakery has to nosh on!  My favourite thing about Anna’s Bakery & Deli is the storefront.  By golly do they ever know about to entice people!  Just look at it – I could die.  Rows and rows full of giant and mini meringues, bundt cakes, fruit turnovers, loaves of bread, custard donuts, sugar twist donuts, shortbread cookies, danishes, fudge brownies, hazelnut squares, date squares, pecan tarts, fruit tarts including apple, cranberry, and raspberry with powdered sugar and streusel crumble topping oh my god, and giant strawberry tarts among a bajillion other sweet eats. 

It’s any wonder why I didn’t go in and grab one of everything.  I don’t even know how my mum is going to react when I eventually bring her here.  She’s never been in the area before and she loves bakeries even more than I do, especially ones with bread in them.  Her bread obsession is through the roof and because of me, she drools over pastries even more than she used to.  If it was up to her, we’d bring the bakery home with us.  And if I’m bringing her to Bloor West Village, we’ll have at least five bakeries coming home with us.    

*****

Anna’s Bakery & Deli is located at 2394 Bloor Street West in Bloor West Village.  Bloor West Village can be accessed using public transit via the Runnymede and Jane subway stations, or any of the TTC buses that service both Runnymede Road and Jane St.