Showing Our Pride – Cookie Style! Flags, Rainbows & Drag Kings & Queens From All the Best Fine Foods

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Happy weekend, everyone!  It’s a crazy one with Pride going on, the first weekend celebrating the end of the school year and the official start to summer vacation, World Cup, and Canada Day weekend!  And if you’re one of the lucky ones who gets or is taking Monday off to make it a long weekend, you must be feeling elated!  Sorry for missing the last few days here though.  I’ve been under the weather and in a lot of pain and discomfort and honestly, I just need some serious TLC for both my mind and body because the stress of everything – finding work, losing sleep over finding work, and then getting sick – took its toll for the greater part of this past week and I’m really looking forward to mindlessly watching tv to calm everything down.  BUT!  I did manage to enjoy a bit of Pride Week/World Pride, foodie-style, before a bout of sickness took over so I’m so excited that I was able to squeeze that in because after getting an e-mail about these babies, I did NOT want to miss out: Pride maple gingerbread cookies from All the Best Fine Foods in the Church-Wellesley village!

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I subscribe to e-mails from All the Best Fine Foods, a gourmet food shop here in the city with two locations (one by Summerhill station and the other by Church & Wellesley; check out my first post on them HERE, featuring their chocolate fudge cupcakes!) and I received one last week with a whole bunch of summer news and goodies, including the news about Pride and the Church & Wellesley location selling special Pride-themed gingerbread cookies.  I saw it and freaked out because the little picture of them looked so darn adorable!  So amidst all the chaos of this week, I managed to make a trip down to grab a bunch of these beautiful cookies to celebrate Pride.  It is SO awesome seeing the community decked out in all its rainbow glory and even just walking through the neighbourhood and buying these cookies for the occasion felt special.  It was like being a tourist in my own city.

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I picked up five cookies ($1 each!) including a set of rainbow maple leafs, a rainbow Pride flag, a rainbow Canadian Pride flag, and a cutie-patootie drag king and queen, ha!  And to round out my purchase, I picked up a few Russian doll Pride keychains because I’m a total sucker for cute accessories and knick-knacks like that.  And you know what?  They taste AMAZING!  The cookies, not the keychains.  Some might dismiss decorated cookies as just that: cookies that are decorated but bland in taste and purely admired for their aesthetic.  Not these.  The maple gingerbread cookies are so soft and delicious and I love them.  The icing wasn’t hard (seriously, there are decorated cookies out there that have the capacity to chip a tooth!), the sweetness was perfect, and they screamed fun and cuteness.  I’ve already eaten four – three maple leaf ones and one of the flags.  My brother and I are totally gorging on the rest of them for the rest of the weekend.

However you’re celebrating this weekend, I hope everyone has a fun one.  Happy Pride and fingers crossed for a rain-free parade tomorrow!

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All the Best Fine Foods is located at 493 on Church Street near Wellesley in the Church-Wellesley Village.  Their 2nd location is south of Summerhill station at 1101 Yonge Street in the Rosedale neighbourhood and area.

Bulk Candy, Cheese, Sweets, Meats & More – The European Food Emporium That is Yummy Market!

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Yummy Market in Vaughan

The Yummy Market location in Vaughan!

I never thought I’d say this, but I think I’ve fallen in love with a supermarket.  I do have a special place in my heart for the Maple Leaf Gardens Loblaws (come on, the snazzy cupcake counter alone would make anyone’s heart melt!), but I’ve never been to a supermarket where I felt like I could go absolutely berserk snatching up specialty items and shop for basics.

“But, but, you’re a foodie!  Why wouldn’t you love supermarkets?!”

Yummy Market in Vaughan

The scrumptious offerings at the dessert counter!

Yummy Market in Vaughan

Perusing through the grocery aisles

Because when you shop at the same supermarkets on a regular basis, you know them all too well and while you may not dislike them, only shopping for your staples leaves you feeling a little bored while being surrounded by too many specialty items (like in gourmet markets) leaves you feeling kind of at odds because you don’t have the staples to balance them out.  When time is of the essence and you’re food shopping because you simply need to fill your fridge and pantry, you just want that awesome supermarket that can give you both without having to run around.  And while we all know that it’s common to do grocery shopping at multiple locations (hello sales!), isn’t it a wonderful feeling knowing there’s a place that can offer you specialty and staples?  And Yummy Market, with its 2 locations in the GTA (one in Toronto and the other in Vaughan), gives you just that.

Yummy Market in Vaughan

SO MUCH DELICIOUS CHEESE!

Yummy Market in Vaughan

Green and lush!

This place is all sorts of awesome.  REALLY awesome.  I’ve known about Yummy Market for years now.  I used to pass by their Toronto location on Dufferin St., just south of Finch Ave. West every single time I was on the bus to and from school and Downsview station in university.  However, the bus route I took was an express route that didn’t stop by the supermarket so I just never took the opportunity to take the bus that did.  I knew it was a European supermarket of some sort but I had no idea just how amazing it was until now.  It wasn’t until last month that I found out that their brand spankin’ new 2nd location was in Vaughan and much closer to my neck of the woods.  SCORE!  It was time for my first visit and I couldn’t have been more excited.

And so began my exploration of this fantabulous emporium of European and even Russian food.  Greek, German, Polish, Italian, you name it, it’s here.  Their bakery offers baskets of bread samples for you to try so you can make a totally informed decision on which loaf of bread floats your boat the most (my suggestion?  The olive Mediterranean loaf!) as well as European and Russian baked goods (strudels, rugelach, Russian ponchick donuts and more), their cheese counter is to die for (I think I counted at least 8 freakin’ different types of feta alone!), their meats are just waiting to be presented on eleventy billion charcuterie platters, their veggies and produce are lush (my mum and I picked up beautiful green beans and radicchio!), and OH MY GOD their tea section left me gobsmacked.  Oh and did I mention their bulk candy and chocolate section?

Yummy Market in Vaughan

Come here for the fantastic loaves of bread and baked goods!

Yummy Market in Vaughan

Tea lovers paradise

Yummy Market in Vaughan

Bulk candy party, anyone?!

And their cold and hot food counters with salads, potato patties, croquettes, stuffed eggplant, sausages, and more that makes you feel like you’re running suicides because the counter is so damn long and so damn awesome?!  I’m not kidding.  Now I know I don’t have any photos of this droolworthy counter (there were too many people around!), but trust me when I say that I was literally jogging between different parts of this food counter as I was being served!  My recommendations: the turkey slaw with cabbage and slaw (OH YES WE DID), the little bratwurst sausages with sauerkraut, mushroom-stuffed potato croquettes, potato-veggie pancakes, butternut squash and millet porridge, and cheese stuffed eggplant roulades among MANY other mouthwatering, delicious things!

Yummy Market in Vaughan

Ooo, what’s that in the freezer?

Yummy Market in Vaughan

European ice cream pops, treats and sandwiches!

Yummy Market houses a cafe, a dessert counter, an ice cream sandwich and dessert freezer section, and plenty of tea, chocolate, candy, seafood, meats and grocery staples.  Oh!  And samples.  They have wonderful samples.  On this particular weekend they were sampling arancini balls!  I love this supermarket dearly and I can’t wait to share all the great stuff I get from here with all of you.  My blackcurrant Twinings of London was just the beginning!

*****

Yummy Market serves 2 locations, 1 in Toronto and 1 in Vaughan.  The Toronto location is located at 4400 Dufferin Street, south of Finch Ave. West, close to Downsview station.  The newer Vaughan location is right by Major Mackenzie Drive West and Dufferin Street at 1390 Major Mackenzine in the Eagles Landing shopping complex.

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Bagels & Bread, and Glorious Dips & Spreads at the Leslieville Cheese Market!

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I have a wee bit of an obsession problem at the moment.  Let it be known that I am all over dips and spreads like a bad rash and that because of 1) the scrumptious homemade beet hummus from Luscious Dips (which, to my heartbreak, has relocated to Niagara Falls) during my blogging run at the Toronto Lunchtime Office Markets, 2) the fabulous spinach basil pesto and sprouted chickpea hummuses I purchased from my girls at Earth & City, and 3) the black bean and roasted avocado with tomatillo dips I bought from Mad Mexican at Evergreen Brick Works, I am hunting dips and spreads down the same way I hunt for lip gloss.  Oh yes, it’s THAT bad.  Granted, I don’t have a deep sliding drawer full of the stuff like I do lip gloss, but let’s just say that if these condiments didn’t have a shelf life and if my fridge was bigger, I would have swept Leslieville Cheese Market clean!  And this, my dear friends, is the long-awaited introduction to the Leslieville Cheese Market! 

It’s about darn time.  Considering how much I love cheese it’s any wonder I haven’t been here every week since I found out about its existence last year.  I finally stepped inside this glorious little gourmet food shop and market for the first time this month though, after pining over their grilled cheese sandwiches for months.  And now I almost wish I hadn’t.  Gone to the shop I mean.  There is way too much food I love here!  Not only is the shop teeming with fresh cheese, it also carries Fred’s Bread, St. Urbain bagels, smoked fish and cured meats , jams and jellies, fruit and nut bread loaves, crostini and crackers, a whole menu of grilled cheese sandwiches and soups, and dips!  Loads and loads of fantastical dips!  I’m positive most people come here for the bread, cheese, and grilled cheese sandwiches.  I will come back because I want several containers of dip and spreads.  And a grilled cheese and soup.  But not before I buy a dip.  I can’t help it.  The second I slathered on my beet hummus dip from Luscious Dips onto my veggie sandwich back in March, it was all downhill from there.  I had been bitten by the homemade dip and spread bug and as a result, I have had a bad case of, “I just dip and dunk and spread this stuff on everything!”        

  

Leslieville Cheese Market, located at 891 Queen Street East (with 2 other locations in Toronto and 1 outside of the GTA), has an entire refrigerated section dedicated to spreads brimming with savoury flavours such as smoked salmon, roasted red pepper and white bean, basil pesto, red lentil dahl, baba ganoush, sundried tomato and tapenade, and artichoke blue cheese and walnut among numerous others.  It’s a little pricier than what I normally pay for (most of my spreads and dips have come in at around $5 with a few for $6) with most of the ones at Leslieville Cheese Market priced at $6.75, but the containers are relatively big and many of flavours are really unique so they just might be worth the extra $1 or $2 to check out and try.  My absolute favourite thing to do with my dips and spreads is to spread them on a tortilla, fill it with spinach and other vegetables, shredded cheese, and maybe some smoked turkey or tofu, and fold it over in half to make a quesadilla on the grill.  So, so delicious.

Another highlight of the Leslieville Cheese Market is their fresh bread.  I’m not even that much of a bread head (that would be my mum), but I LOVE fruit and nut breads and I’m a sucker for anything with herbs, so I was super excited to see that they had breads like pecan and fruit, and rosemary and olive oil.  Loaves of bread are also priced around the $5 to $6 range depending on the loaf.      

 

And of course, no discussion of the shop would be complete without a thorough breakdown of their grilled cheese!  I wanted to feature them during the month of April (read: National Grilled Cheese Month) but just wasn’t able to get around to it.  Even though I don’t have any photos of grilled cheese for you all in this post, I promise I will and in the meantime I figure we can drool over their menu.  Their grilled cheese sandwiches ($7.91 including tax) are made on light rye bread with your choice of the following grilled cheese filling combinations: provolone and beef summer sausage, ham and gruyere, chipotle tuna swiss melt, sundried tomat, artichoke, and chevre (goat cheese), a combo of white cheddar and a cheese called muenster, and cheddar cheese and bacon. 

And, there are dipping sauces!  There are 3 to choose from (balsamic ketchup, sweet thai chili, and piri piri which is a spicy blend) and if that’s not enough to get the motor running, there are also soups to accompany your grilled cheese such as corn chowder and potato leek.  Finally (I know, there’s more!), the cheese market also hosts cheese and wine night classes!  I may not drink, but learning about cheeses and pairings and nuances and regional differences and specifics sounds like a lot of fun and maybe in the future I’ll spring for something like it.  Right now though, I’m just feeling excited at the thought of sitting out on bench in the neighbourhood with a yummy grilled cheese and soup on a nice fall day and I can’t wait to do that sometime soon.

*****

Leslieville Cheese Market in Leslieville is located at 891 Queen Street East, east of Broadview Ave., with 3 other locations including a brand new one on Donlands Ave. just south of O’Connor Dr.

Hallowe’en Headquarters – If Only Real Mummies Looked This Cute! Gingerbread & Hallowe’en Confections

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BOO!  It’s Gingerbread Mummy peeking out to haunt you with his yummy frosted coated ginger cookie body and chocolate eyes!  If only real mummies were this cute.  I was “heehee”ing as I took him out of his paper bag “coffin” to snap his photos this morning (I actually wanted to pose him in a bed of crushed Oreo cookie crumbs to make it look like he was coming from the ground, but I ran out of the house this morning in a rush so alas, no crushed Oreos) and couldn’t wait to give this little guy to my boyfriend for his afternoon snack.  For the record, my boyfriend wanted to eat it for breakfast and I scoffed and told him to save it for the afternoon because he had already eaten the Hallowe’en cupcake I had also brought him.  That also had a chocolate topper on it.  Sigh.  Boys.  Anyway, he (the mummy) was too cute to do any real scaring so he was much better off being gobbled up by sweet tooths like us.

I think Hallowe’en has totally evolved from a candy-centric occasion into a full-0ut creative foodie fest.  The holiday has morphed into a foodie affair, incorporating cupcakes, cake pops, pastries, and savoury foods (Witch’s Cauldron Tortellini, anyone?) all in one and I only wish I could have planned an entire week’s worth of Hallowe’en themed foods.  Even though I didn’t get to do everything I wanted to do this year for Hallowe’en, I still had fun nevertheless.  Not only did I hit Mount Pleasant and Avenue Road yesterday, but I also paid a visit to Kensington Market to walk around (it was a really nice day out) and to take photos in my favourite bakery, My Market Bakery, and to Cabbagetown where I picked up my container of ravioli and this cute-as-button gingerbread mummy cookie at Daniel et Daniel.

I can always count on My Market Bakery to do seasonal everything and anything!  Their cookie selection is amaaaazing and they have something for every palate: fruit and nut cookies, chocolate chip, chunk, and fudge cookies, biscotti, gingerbread, tea cookies, sugar cookies, shortbread cookies, thumbprints, and others.  They had frosted pumpkins, ghosts, jack-o-lanterns, black cats, and Hallowe’en sprinkle cookies and if I hadn’t already picked up cupcakes, I would have mostly liked snatched up an orange frosted pumpkin because they were so cute and pretty. 

I was so excited to go to Daniel et Daniel later on in the day because they have some of the most gorgeous pies and tarts and I knew they would decorate and be decked out for Hallowe’en.  And I was right!  They had a ton of pastries, pies, tarts, and cakes decorated in beautiful Hallowe’en motifs, such as a lemon chiffon cake with googly eyes, a chocolate raspbery cake with smiling fruit pumpkins, and my favourite, the mixed berry fruit tart with carved fruit bats!  What totally got me though were the gingerbread mummy men! 

I LOVE gingerbread cookies.  Not the hard kind that tastes like cardboard and makes me roll my eyes because it’s so bleh, but the soft, chewy, spiced ginger molasses kind that melt in your mouth.  I love these so much.  I nosh on the ones from Tim Hortons whenever they have them and over the summer I went crazy for the ones by More Than Pies Baking Co. Ltd. at the David Pecaut Square farmers’ market.  Ginger molasses cookies are huge and round and I always break off half so I can eat half and save the other for later, but I never end up sticking to that.  I just happily eat the whole thing in one sitting.  And if we’re going to be talking about our favourite types of cookies now that the holidays are in full effect (like my friend Amanda @ Fake Ginger did yesterday), I actually like gingerbread cookies more than I like shortbread and sugar cookies.  Although I have my shortbread and sugar cookie weaknesses, I just love how gingerbread molasses look and taste with the crackling, sprinkled sugar, and spiced flavour.  And combining chocolate and icing the way Daniel et Daniel did with their Hallowe’en mummies just seals the deal.  Pun totally intended.

Oh cookies, how we love thee.  I saw so many amazing cookies when I was out yesterday and I had to mentally tie my hands together because I wanted to take home one of everything I saw.  I was a good girl though and I only brought home 2 cupcakes (another one for myself and one for my brother), this gingerbread mummy, and some stuffed ravioli to share with the fam for dinner.  I know, the stuffed ravioli has nothing to do with Hallowe’en (unless of course you count the fact the ravioli was covered in yummy orange sauce with chives), but the cookies certainly do!  And I know I was being a nice girlfriend by getting the gingerbread mummy for my boyfriend (because he loves gingerbread too), I really wish I had gotten one for myself now.  Sigh.  Like eating two Hallowe’en cupcakes wasn’t enough yesterday, right?

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My Market Bakery is located at 184 Baldwin St. in Kensington Market.  The bakery is located west of Spadina Ave. and south of Nassau St.  Daniel et Daniel is a gourmet food shop in Cabbagetown that does event catering.  They are located at 248 Carlton St. near the intersection of Carlton and Parliament St.

For the Sweet Princess in All of Us – Fudgy, Chocolate Frosted “Fairy Flower” Cupcakes from All The Best

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This post is for all of us girls who used to put on glittery fairy wings and dreamed we could fly.  For all of us who love sparkly things.  For all of us who know how to enjoy the sweet things in life.  For those of us who used to skip along, picking flowers up along the way.  For those of us who are sugar and spice and all things nice, but who can still kick major ass when the situations calls for it.  This post is for every cupcake lover out there who loves all things pretty and all things chocolatey, fudgy, and deliciously frosty.  I present to you, chocolate fudge frosted cupcakes from gourmet market All the Best!

Like many of my foodie discoveries, All the Best was unexpected and accidental.  Over a year ago, I had never explored the Summerhill and Rosedale area (so basically the stretch of Yonge St. north of Bloor but south of St. Clair) so one day I thought, “I wonder what’s there, let’s give it a whirl” and did that day ever turn out to be a fun one!  Even though it wasn’t a part of town I initially thought of as foodie, I was excited to see what was around and there were some real nice finds, things like tea shops, gourmet pastries shops, and individual stores for cheeses, meat, and fish. 

All the Best, located on Yonge St. just steps away from Summerhill subway station, is a catering and gourmet food business and a meca of foodie goodness.  Like Daniel & Daniel in Cabbagetown, it’s a great place to pick up salads and food for picnics and lunches to go.  Up in the front, there are loaves of fresh bread and baguettes, and shelves upon shelves of jams, jellies, preserves, honey, tomato sauce, pesto, spreads, coffee beans, candies, chocolates, and packages of sugar cookies and sweets.  Further in the back, you’ll find the gourmet cheeses, and deli sandwiches and salads.  They also offer a selection of seasonal kitchenwares and accessories, as well as cookbooks.  Right behind the deli sits the bakery full of tarts, meringue shells, cakes, and rows and rows of sugar cookies.  Oh, and cupcakes of course 😉 

On any given day, All the Best offers four flavours of cupcakes for $2.75 a pop: red velvet, carrot cake, vanilla, and chocolate.  Think fun cupcakes with lots of coloured sprinkles, sprinkled sugar, and thick frosting.  I’ll definitely report back when I see other flavours, but for the time being, All the Best focuses on several simple flavours of cake and frosting with dainty, pretty toppers and decorations.

I call these my “fairy flower” chocolate cupcakes!  So pretty and so cute, they make me want to prance around sprinkling fairy dust on everything.  These are chocolate cake cupcakes with rich, thick chocolate frosting and adorable edible, sugary candy flowers dotted with a tiny edible pearl.  While the cake is good, it’s the frosting that wins me over.  It’s SO DAMN GOOD.  It’s sweet without being cavity-inducing sweet and the thickness of the frosting is perfect.  It’s not a thin buttercream, yet it’s not a super thick frosting that will stick to the roof of your mouth.  It’s the kind of chocolatey, rich frosting that you imagine yourself secretly dipping your finger into on a cake.  And the pretty edible flower was melt-in-your-mouth sweet.  It was such a nice touch. 

On this particular morning they had so many pretty colours of candy fairy flowers on their chocolate cupcakes: red, blue, green, yellow, orange, and purple.  How does an indecisive girl like me choose which cupcake she wants?  Take a wild stab and guess how I chose the colour I wanted.  Answer: I chose the pretty lilac purple one because it matched my outfit 😀  In a world where cupcake flavours know no boundaries, sometimes it’s really nice to have a good old fashioned fudgy chocolate cupcake with amazing frosting that makes you want to eat it by the spoonful.

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All the Best Fine Foods is locted at 1101 Yonge St. just south of Summerhill subway station on the east side of Yonge St.  It is next to Harvest Wagon and across the street from The Rosedale Diner.  For more info, check out their website here.

Lemon Vanilla Panna Cotta & Lemon Macarons: The Gourmet Delights at Daniel et Daniel in Cabbagetown – Part II

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Have you ever had the experience of making a fabulous foodie discovery only to reluctantly tear yourself away because you found it after you already ate?  Or because the weather wasn’t nice and you couldn’t be bothered to take your food to go in the rain?  Or because you already had other plans in mind and you were too stubborn at the time to change them for something else?  I’ve had all three experiences. 

Daniel et Daniel has been mocking me for a year.  I feel kind of foolish that it’s taken me this long to eat their delicious desserts because it was a little over a year ago (last March to be exact) that my hun and I found this Cabbagetown gem.  For one reason or another, we just never got around to getting food from here.  Last month though, I dug my heels into the ground and finally went back for those desserts that I had been longingly staring at through the shop window for ages and I am SO glad I did.   You stare at their glass displays of beautiful tarts, pies, macarons, chocolate truffles and bark and a little squeal slips out because you can’t believe what’s in front of you.  The desserts here are delicious and sweet and decadent and everything your sweet tooth could possibly desire.

Daniel et Daniel is a gourmet food shop and event catering business that serves not only desserts, but plenty of gourmet jams and jellies, chocolates, sauces, vinegars and oils, and antipasto among other things.  Along with desserts and great pantry style items, they have a fantastic selection of lunch foods that are priced by weight – think stuffed peppers, salmon, chicken parmesan and lots of cold picnic salads like tomato and bocconcini; asparagus, snap pea, and cherry tomatoes; long string green beans and mushrooms; beets and orange fennel; and chick pea and corn salad.  It’s a gourmet food, grab-and-go kind of shop.  It’s SO perfect if you’re looking to have a picnic at Riverdale Park West which isn’t too far of a walk from the shop – just several blocks east of Parliament St. which you can get to if you walking on Carlton St.

There were so many amazing desserts staring back at me.  I can never resist a lemon dessert though, so I bought – get this – a lemon vanilla panna cotta (!!!) and a lemon cream macaron!!!  OH.MY.GOD.  The lemon loving part of me was going berserk!  In a nutshell, panna cotta is a firm, Italian gelatin dessert that is made with milk, cream, sugar, and gelatin and is similar to a custard and pudding.  Panna cottas are incredibly soft, silky, and smooth and the lemon vanilla panna cotta was delicious in both taste and texture.  

The body of the panna cotta  was so nice and firm yet it still had that beautiful milky silkiness to it which was important.  Too jelly means too delicate and it’ll up end flopping around and losing its shape (basically making a mess of itself).  Too firm and it’ll end up tasting like a flavourless blob.  To me, the texture was great because the firmness was just right and it allowed the lemon glaze and citrus peel to stand out without overwhelming the body of the dessert.  It had a delicious lemon glaze on top along with a scrumptious piece of soft, chewy, lemony candied citrus peel that was all sorts of amazing.  It had that amazing mix of sour and sweet and ugh, it was just SO good.  Not to mention the price was fab: $3.  So worth it and I am whimpering for another one just looking back the photos now. 

And the macaron!  Oh man.  Thumbs up.  There are a number of places around the city that make the beautiful, delicate French macarons, including Petit Thuet (which I blogged about and liked), Nadège Patisserie (with locations on West Queen West and most recently, Rosedale), Pusateri’s, and Whole Foods Market.  I’ll tell you why I enjoyed the lemon macaron from Daniel et Daniel so much and why I would recommend their macarons.  The lemon flavour was absolutely phenomenal.  Even though lemon is a single fruit flavour, it’s often a very difficult  flavour to execute well.  Often times it comes across too strong in its sourness and other times, it’s tamed too much by sugar and it ends up being sickly sweet and artificial.  Their lemon macarons have the PERFECT balance of sour and sweet.  Creamy, fruity, tart, and sweet, they nail the lemon flavour and the macaron itself is delicate, airy, and crispy without being too chewy. 

Another reason why the macarons are great?  The price.  All other places charge around $2 for their macarons.  Daniel et Daniel charges $1.50.  And if you’re trying several at a time, it makes a BIG difference, especially when others are the same size.  With the exception of Whole Foods Market who makes theirs a little bit bigger for $2, I would totally give everyone the push to try the macarons here.  Obviously I’m only taking into consideration the traditional French-style macaron and not the jumbo-sized ones at Metro supermarkets.  I LOVED the lemon macaron and could honestly eat a dozen of them.  I am so incredibly happy with the desserts I got from here and I can’t wait to try some of the more savoury stuff.  And you know, some chocolate and dried fruit bark.  But that’s for another time.  Enjoy the scrap pages and photos!

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Daniel et Daniel is a gourmet food shop in Cabbagetown that does event catering.  They are located at 248 Carlton St. near the intersection of Carlton and Parliament St.

Scrapbooking materials used: beige and buttercup yellow cardstock (Recollections); patterned cardstock (The Sweet Stack by DCWV); pink and lime green argyle patterned paper (Making Memories); lime green daisy vine felt borders (Forever in Time Scrapbook Collection); alphabet stickers (Make It Special Crafts); black and floral epoxy stickers (Horizon Group).

The Old-Town Victorian Feel of Cabbagetown and the Gourmet Delights at Daniel et Daniel: Part I

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When I recommend good eats to friends and tell them about my fun walks and exploration days in the city, my friends will often ask, “how in the world do you find these places??”  I know my brother has asked me that very question on more than one occasion and the only answer I can give everyone is that I walk.  A lot.  And I look at maps of the city.  A lot.  I have a hunger and a thirst to see and do as much as I can and to learn about my surroundings.  I’m fascinated by the different neighbourhoods and enclaves in the city and their histories.  Every part of town has a story and exploring it all on foot (or bus or streetcar) is like experiencing a visual playbook.  Finding food gems in every Toronto neighbourhood is one of the best – and most rewarding – parts of exploring and discovering Cabbagetown has been no different.  Walking east from my favourite indoor garden conservatory in the city, Allan Gardens, seemed like a no-brainer for me and this “just keep walking” mentality of mine led me to one of my favourite foodie discoveries last year.

The cheerful “Welcome to Old Cabbagetown” billboard sign sits right at the intersection of Carlton & Parliament St. and it beckons you to take a stroll and to take a look at what is now one of the largest areas of restored and preseved Victorian housing and architecture in the city.  And you feel it and see it when you walk around.  You see the historial significance of the neighbourhood’s name when you pass by a house donning an old green-and-white Cabbagetown flag, indicative of the Irish immigrants who settled into this neighbourhood in the 1800s.  You feel as though you’ve entered some parallel universe where the contemporary and the old have fused into one.  You see where the old has been retained and at the same time, you see where the gentrification has happened.

On the one hand, Cabbagetown makes you envision old school general stores and barber shops with the iconic striped twirly outside along with vintage bicycles and horse-drawn carriages roaming through the streets.  You envision men in tweed and women carrying parisols.  But on the other hand you have hip home decor stores and cafés amongst buildings reminiscent of the early 1900s.  There’s so much history; from Cabbagetown being dubbed by media outlets as an impoverished slum from the effects of WWII and the neighbourhood’s proximity to low-income social housing by Regent Park to the gentrification of the area in past decades, you can’t help but get immersed in it when you get to know the neighbourhood. 

Visually, gourmet haunt Daniel et Daniel near the corner of Carlton and Parliament St. tips their hat to this history with its old-fashioned lamp posts and their logo of a man riding a vintage pennyfarthing bike carrying French baguettes.  Daniel et Daniel is a foodie’s gourmet dream.  With walls of gourmet jams, jellies, mustards, antipasto, and chocolates, along with glass displays featuring mouth-watering picnic salads and fresh baked desserts, it would take a lifetime to feast on everything the shop has to offer.  So, consider this post as a little intro into my exploration of Cabbagetown and its good eats as well as a teaser to tomorrow’s thorough Daniel et Daniel post, complete with scrapbook layout and food porn of tarts, chocolate bark, and lemon luscious desserts.  It’s going to be good 😉    

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Daniel et Daniel is a gourmet food shop in Cabbagetown that does event catering.  They are located at 248 Carlton St. near the intersection of Carlton and Parliament St.