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.

The Magical Marriage Between Milk & Cookies (& Ice Cream!) – Moo Milk Bar on Queen East in the Beaches!

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Raise your hand if you love ice cream.  Raise your other hand if you love cookies.  Okay, awesome, you’ll love this post then!  *slaps you two high fives*  I present to you all, Moo Milk Bar on Queen Street East in the Beaches!  Seriously, this sweets and dessert bakery is one of the most fantastical places in the entire city.  If you’ve never been, you have to go.  And if you already have, drool right along with me.  And for those who are skeptics thinking, “well, I can get ice cream and cookies at other places too”, I understand.  Fair enough.  But do those other places offer 16 different kinds of cookies on any given day?  Do those other places offer Banana Chocolate milk?  Strawberry milk?  Caramel milk?  Cinnamon milk?  VANILLA BEAN milk?!  And a few different kinds of ice cream to make ice cream cookie sandwiches with any one of those 16 different kinds of cookies?  Nah, I didn’t think so.  Moo Milk Bar is such a special place because it is devoted to the sweet and innocent, tried and true, childhood staple of milk and cookies,  with the addition and option of ice cream.  Which just makes it all even more amazing than it already is!

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In truth though, I’ve always been in love with milk and cookies on paper and in theory more than I’ve been in love with milk and cookies in actuality.  How can that be?!  You all know how much I adore cookies, eating them and baking them.  There’s never been any question about that.  And I love the concept of milk and cookies so much that I even have an adorable pair of socks with an image of a glass of milk with chocolate chip cookies on the ankles.  But milk?  Eh.  Ever since I was a baby, milk straight up has never sat well with me and it’s not because of lactose intolerance (cheese, yogurt, and ice cream all make my belly feel quite happy), it was just something that I didn’t digest well when I was little and over time, I stopped drinking cow’s milk because it wasn’t enjoyable to drink and primarily just drink almond milk now.  I even developed an allergy to soy milk in my teens.  I couldn’t catch a break.  But Moo Milk Bar has honestly given my aversion to milk a talking-to with all their yummy different flavours.  There’s no reason to be apprehensive about it now because I can try a flavoured milk every once in a while and actually enjoy it!

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Moo Milk Bar, located at 1918 Queen Street East just east of Woodbine Ave. in the Beaches neighbourhood, offers a huge selection of cookies including banana chocolate chip, mocha, red velvet, salted caramel dark chocolate and peanut butter coconut among others ($1.90 each, $11 for half a dozen, $21 for 1 dozen, and $31 for 1 dozen and a half or 18 cookies), milk from Hewitt’s Dairy Farm in Ontario flavoured in-house by bakery staff like the ones I listed at the beginning of the post up top ($3.33 each in a 355 mL milk jug-style bottle), brownies and bars ($3.33 each), ice cream cookie sandwiches ($3.10 for a scoop of ice cream sandwiched between 2 halves of one cookie, and $5 for a scoop of ice cream sandwiched between two cookies), milk and cookie combos ($5 for a cookie with a milk), cakes, and cookie gift bags.

It’s a cute and small bakery with baking tools tacked up on the walls, faux picnic grass on parts of the floor, and some side counter space for folks to sit by to stuff their face.  While I would loooove for them to be in Markham (or just closer to me in general), their location really is great because the Beaches is such a walkable neighbourhood and it’s such a nice, fun summertime spot.  You can grab some cookies or a bottle of milk to enjoy during a leisurely stroll, you can grab some some goodies and enjoy them on the beach or at a picnic in the Kew Gardens, or you could come by after a weekend brunch at one of the many Queen East spots for a delicious dessert.

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For the my first Moo Milk Bar experience, I went all out with an ice cream cookie sandwich AND a flavoured milk.  Go big or go home, right?!  I had myself a Cookies n’ Cream cookie with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream and vanilla bean flavoured milk and ugh, for the cookie and vanilla loving freak in me, it was PERFECT.  Who wouldn’t love a big and fresh cookie with cold, creamy ice cream and a sweet and delicious drink?

The great thing about it as that it’s not too difficult to handle, even for messy eaters!  You drink your milk from a straw (like a little kid!), the ice cream is dead center so you can work your way in without having to lick drippy ice cream from the edges (or from your fingers) from the get-go, and the milk bottles are capped and portable so you can bring or carry it around with you if you don’t finish it right away (granted, in hot weather it might be a good idea to just finish it in one seating unless you’re planning to bring a mini ice pack along with you while you’re out!).  There are so many possible combinations and so many different ways to mix things up and that’s the beauty of it.  You can be like me and keep it “themed” or you can go wild and try the wackiest of combinations, all in the name of yummy fun.  And that is what Moo Milk Bar is all about, the joy, fun and innocent behind the magical marriage of milk and cookies.

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Moo Milk Bar is located at 1918 Queen Street East just east of Woodbine Ave. in the Beaches neighbourhood.  They are open 6 days a week (closed Mondays): Tuesday-Saturday 11am-7pm, Sunday 12pm-6pm.  You can follow them on Twitter @moomilkbar