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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Voulez-Vous Coucher Avec Moi? Nah, Let’s Stick to All-Day Brunch at Lady Marmalade in Leslieville

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Leslieville has made it onto the blog and with it, Lady Marmalade!  I promise to do a Foodie District round-up post for Leslieville the same way I did for Kensington Market and no, I haven’t forgotten about our beloved Roncesvalles Village either!  I’m so excited to be posting about all these different neighbourhoods in the city and showcasing the yummiest of the yummiest, at least to me!  I pass by and even frequent certain areas of town on the streetcar fairly often but it’s a totally different story when you hop off and walk east and west, north and south, up and down and all around. 

Queen Street is probably the road I’ve travelled most frequently on via streetcar (almost from one end to the other and back on a number of occasions!) and I’ve passed by breakfast, brunch, and lunch diner Lady Marmalade in Leslieville more times than I can remember.  I had heard fabulous things about Lady Marmalade and I had seen the fabulousity taking place out on the curb.  People weren’t lying when they said the diner faced lineups out the door during weekend brunch!  For the record, I ate here during a weekday morning and I thankfully secured a spot before the real crowds started coming in, which they did at 10:30am no less!

The decor at Lady Marmalade almost makes me giggle because there are aspects of it that are so 70s it hurts!  Think 70s mismatched upholstery, moss green and burnt orange, and salt and pepper shakers.  It’s all in good cuteness and I find it endearing!  I think it’s what makes Lady Marmalade the brunch powerhouse and character that it is.  Aside from the punchy decor, the menu packs a punch like you wouldn’t believe.  They serve all-day breakfast and all-day lunch, and classic breakfast dishes such as eggs benny, crepes, and huevos rancherous are given special touches that make them uniquely Lady Marmalade.  Think miso-scallion cream with crepes, huevos rancheros with basmati brown rice, pesto bennies, tofu scrambles with bok choy, a good morning poutine, and a menu boasting lots of scrumptious avocado!  

Lunch items include sandwiches, rice bowls, and meal size salads, and the large drink menu offers fruit smoothies, loose leaf teas, coffee, juices, and different types of soda drinks.  Brunch prices come in at around $7.50-$12.50 with most dishes at $11.50.  The only down side?  Lady Marmalade only accepts cash.  No credit cards or debit cards, much to the chagrin of many hungry brunch goers.  You know everyone brushes off that little bit of nose wrinkling though because no matter what,  this place is popular and packed.

One of the best things about their menu?  You can easily make many of the breakfast dishes vegetarian and vegan which makes Lady Marmalade the perfect brunch spot for meat-lovers, vegetarians, and vegans alike.  A number of their dishes are already vegetarian to begin with, but we all know breakfast options can be laden with eggs and butter and cream, so Lady Marmalade’s menu offers plenty of opportunities to turn meat or vegetarian meals into vegan ones with little lists of “a, b, or c” choices that accompany said menu items.  Even though some meals offer bacon, sausage, and ham, as meat choices, I find Lady Marmalade’s menu to be pretty darn healthy in general!  I mean, breakfast diners are breakfast diners; you’re going to have some level of indulgence and decadence no matter what.  You can tell though that Lady Marmalade’s menu was, and is, well-thought out for the healthy and hearty in mind because there are lots of vegetables in all different forms all over the menu in the breakfast portion and in the lunch portion. 

Everything on the menu sounded delicious, but I wanted to go for something a little different.  There were many options I would have normally pounced on (tofu scramble and huevos rancherous, I’m looking at both of you!), but I wanted to show you all a dish unlike anything else I had previously blogged about so I chose the mouthwatering aged white cheddar and spinach savoury waffles!  The waffles, which come Belgian style and sliced in half diagonally into perfect triangles, are served with melted aged white cheddar cheese and creamy orange sauce on the tops, spinach cooked right into the waffles, and roasted tomatoes, salad, and a choice of bacon or avocado.  I could live off of avocado, so that choice was a no brainer for me!

There were so many amazing dimensions to this meal and they were all delicious for completely different reasons.  I loved each and every part of the dish, but what I loved and appreciated the most was the complexity of flavours and the cohesiveness of the dish in its entirety.  Every single thing had a flavour role to play and they played off each other so well.  Before I get into the deliciousness, I want to explain what I mean by cohesiveness.  We’re talking about savoury waffles with cheese on them, a rather strong cheese that’s been melted on spinach waffles.  When we think waffles, more often than not, we associate them with sweet flavours.  Thus, if the waffles had been served on their own, they would have been too rich and too savoury because dishes like these need other textures and flavours to break up the richness. 

Alongside the roasted tomatoes, salad, and avocado, everything worked because all of these functioned as palate cleansers.  The tomatoes were warm, juicy, and slightly acidic, the giant avocado (they gave me half an avocado, oh my goodness!) was cool, thick, and creamy with no distinctive sweet or salty taste, the orange cream added a zing of fruitiness, and the green salad was crunchy (which contrasted with the chewier texture of the cheese waffles) and extremely refreshing with an amazing sesame dressing with white and black sesame seeds to boot!

Here’s another very important thing to point out: the waffles taste 100x more fabulous when they’re cold!  I don’t mean refrigerator cold, but just no longer warm.  I KNOW.  No, I am not nuts.  I don’t know what it is about certain foods tasting a thousand times more foodgasmic when they’re cold, but I’m dead serious about this.  It could be that the flavours have time to settle in and intensify over time, or maybe heat just alters the way certain things taste.  We all know how disgusting French fries taste when they get cold, but we also know how some people are gaga over cold pizza.  This is one of those delicious cold pizza or spaghetti examples.  I know, when you eat out you’re most likely ravenous, but trust me on this one.  If you have the willpower, take a bite when it’s hot, chat with a friend for about 10-15 minutes before digging in again, and you’ll notice the difference and thank me for it.        

*****

Lady Marmalade is located at 898 Queen Street East in the Leslieville neighbourhood just west of Logan Ave.  They are open 7 days a week for all-day breakfast and all-day lunch.  From Monday-Friday, the diner is open from 8am-4pm, and from 8am-3pm on the weekends.

A Scrumptious Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese Bagel – An Introduction to Brunch at Niche on Queen Street West!

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Given how this weekend marks the 9th annual Queen West Art Crawl in the city, I thought it’d be a great time to introduce another fab café on the West Queen West strip: Niche Coffee & Tea Company!  Art has been such a huge part of my life since my kindergarten days of holding crayons and smearing paint on kraft paper (like you couldn’t tell from all the scrapbooking, right?), so I was really excited to finally go to the Queen West Art Crawl last year to enjoy the outdoor art show at Trinity Bellwoods Park, sidewalk art, and all the art installations along Queen West.  It was during this trek last year that I found Niche with its signature baby blue and brown storefront signage stamp, just east of Palmerston Ave. and west of Bathurst St.  It took my tastebuds forever and a half to make their way back, but they finally did!  And I am SO happy that they did because holy hell do they ever have a brunch menu to die for!

Their brunch is served all-day and I can say with eager certainty that their brunch menu is one that I would be happy to eat my way through.  For starters, their menu is really well-rounded because it incorporates a least one item from almost all of the popular brunch favourites that we love so much: egg breakfasts, omelettes, French toast, eggs benedict, and breakfast sandwiches.  You might be looking at the list and thinking, “well, it sounds kind of run of the mill, stuff I can get anywhere”.  Not to ruffle your feathers, but if you’re thinking that, you are wrong.  No, no, lovelies, it is SO much more than that.

What makes their brunch really unique is all the sides you get with all the brunch mains.  Just reading through the descriptions will make you salivate and make your heart beat a little faster because there’s just so much yummy food that’s included with everything!  You have sides such as pan-roasted lemon herb potatoes, greens with maple dijon dressing, homemade foccacia, pumpernickel toast, challa bread, chicken chirizo sausage, and sweet potato rounds.  Now I don’t know about you, but this was the first time I had ever come across a menu with such a varied assortment of brunch sides!  Not only do all the mains come with an assortment of these sides, but they’re also available (at individual extra charges) on their own, which makes for wonderful mix-and-match fun!

And the mains!  Sweet mother of pearl.  You have your savoury: poached eggs BLT, build-your-own cheese and veggie omelette (choose between 3 types of cheese and 5 different veggies), and the Niche’s signature eggs benedict served on homemade cornbread, just to name a few.  On top of that, you have your sweet: deep dish French toast using thick challa with bananas and burnt sugar sauce, and homemade grilled banana bread with cinnamon sugar and nutella.  Yes, that’s right, I said nutella.  Jot that down on a sticky note now – because I have!  Finally, what makes the menu even more awesome?  Vegetarian and vegan options!  I mean, sure, the French toast and cheese and veggie omelettes are vegetarian in the sense that they don’t serve meat, but vegans, are you ready for this?  Niche has a grilled tofu on vegan chili brunch!  OH.MY.GOD.  When I saw it on the menu, all I could think of was, “my friends will flip over this…and I am so ordering this next time!”  Individual sides average around $2-$4, and mains with all the fixins will run you around $7.50-$11.

What I did enjoy on this particular morning was a delicious open-faced, toasted sesame seed bagel with cream cheese, red onions, capers, smoked salmon, and fresh sprigs of dill with a side salad of crisp romaine with vinaigrette dressing.  Here’s a secret: before this, I hadn’t had a bagel in years.  That’s right, years.  Why?  Well, I’m a little embarrassed to say this, but I cut bagels out of my diet because I was put-off from the jumbo-sized ones I kept seeing that looked as though they had been pumped with steroids.  I thought, “geez Louise, I could throw one of these into the wall and make a dent because they’re so darn dense!”.  It didn’t sit well with me so I stopped eating them altogether, even my beloved Tim Hortons bagels that are actually a good size.

I reeeeally love a good bagel with cream cheese though (forget butter, pft) and smoked salmon just seals the deal for me.  So I threw caution to the wind that morning and got myself a delicious smoked salmon bagel brunch.  My sesame bagel wasn’t ridiculously thick, puffy, or overly starchy at all and I absolutely loved the inclusion of dill on it.  Call me a glutton, but I also loved how the cream cheese was wedged into the grill mark dents because it made for some scrumptious mouthfuls of cream cheese with the capers, onions, and dill.  The smoked salmon was so good and in such a generous portion.  There weren’t just a few measly, thin slices.  Oh no, there were slices upon slices on EACH bagel half.  I only wish though that there was a selection of bagels to choose from.  I love sesame, but it would have been really nice to have had the option for, say, poppyseed or something.  My smoked salmon, cheese bagel was delicious though and it totally renewed my faith in bagels 😀 

Niche is a beautiful, breezy brunch and café spot with an outdoor patio in the back and an open storefront during nice weather.  There are gorgeous paintings and artwork on the walls, and there’s plenty of grab-and-go snacks at the counter including marshmallows squares with chocolate and dried fruit, scones, muffins, and other pastries.  Since Niche is a coffee and tea café, they also have a whole blackboard menu up top dedicated to coffee (brewed coffees, espressos, white mochas, lattes, cappuccinos, etc.), chilled coffee drinks, tea and chai, Italian soda, homemade lemonade, and a host of others.  You can bet I’ll report back with some drink goodies for all the next time I’m there!  It’s a lovely spot that I’m so looking forward to going back to and given the menu tidbits that I gave you guys, I wouldn’t be surprised if you made your way there before my next visit.

*****

Niche Coffee & Tea Company is located at 626 Queen Street West just east of Palmerston Ave. and west of Bathurst St.  They serve brunch during all hours of operations and are open 7 days a week at 8am on weekdays and 9am on weekends, with closing hours at 5pm on all days.

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.

Crepelicious! Juicy Strawberries and Golden Yellow Crepes at Futures Bakery

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In honour of the ridiculously early morning outing I had yesterday, here’s some breakfast for anyone and everyone who needs a delicious energy boost!  Yesterday morning reminded me just how much I adore breakfast and breakfast foods (especially in a state of ravenous hunger), and also how much I’ve missed being in the water.  I used to be a hardcore swimmer when I was little, taking my fins all the way to Whalers life-saving class (Level 8 in my swim program and the first of three life-saving levels) when I was 11 years old.  I stopped swimming on a regular basis shortly after and only took it up again, briefly, when I started high school.  It’s been nearly 10 years since I last went swimming and I went to the pool with my dad yesterday morning at the crack of dawn for the first time since I was 15.  Needless to say, I had one hell of a workout!  It’s going to take some time for me to get my groove back (most of the time I was just flutter kicking, doggy paddling, and treading water), but it felt so good to swim again and I’m really glad I stuck it out and ran out of the house in a sleepy stumble at 6:15am! 😀

That morning swim worked up quite the appetite, so to celebrate all yummy breakfast things, I have fresh and fruity strawberry crepes from Futures Bakery for you!  Futures Bakery has a mouth-watering breakfast menu (along with a hunger-inducing lunch and dinner menu), that boasts thick slabs of French toast and several different kinds of eggs benedict, omelettes, breakfast sandwiches, pancakes, and of course, crepes!  Their spinach and feta omelette was the first breakfast dish I blogged about and I absolutely raved about their portions, their home fries, and everything in between.  I made a solemn foodie promise to myself that I would eat my way through their menu, so this is my second breakfast post with much more to come in the future (no pun intended).

Futures serves 3 different kinds of crepes on their all-day breakfast menu ($6.95): strawberry, blueberry, and maple.  And if you can believe, between myself, my mum, and my brother, we’ve eaten through all 3 kinds!  And we love all of them.  I love crepes, but I’m always a little wary about them.  And what I mean by that is their potential to fill you and satisfy you as a full-fledged meal, without falling into the dessert category.  I’ve had non-dessert crepes that tasted good, but that have sadly left me hungry and a little empty in the end.  Off the top of my head, I know Demetres has GIANT dessert crepes (which prompted an old friend of mine to look at our non-crepe dessert plates and say, “why does mine look the most gluttonous?!”), and there are plenty of other places in the city I would love to go to that specialize in crepes, both savoury and sweet.  I am to say though that Futures breakfast crepes are AH-MAZING.

It was the combination of crepe and filling that makes the dish so good to eat.  One doesn’t trump the other because both are equally as delicious and of stellar quality.  The filling is so fruity and sweet and fresh.  You are not eating some lame filling that resembles jam out of a jar.  You’re literally cutting into a thick, yummy crepe and watching the juicy strawberry puree ooze out and let me tell you, there’s a lot of it. 

As well, they’re not the paper thin kind that we’re accustomed to seeing.  They’re thicker, like a pancake, but chewy instead of cakey.  If I could make an accurate comparison of their appearance and texture to any other kind of food, I would say that they resemble blintzes.  I say this time and time again, but Futures does not skimp and it’s great quality food at bang-for-your-buck prices and portions.  The crepes are plump, wonderfully crispy on the edges, golden in colour, and folded into cute little “envelopes” of strawberry fruit filling.   This meal reminds me so much of summer mornings with baskets of fresh fruit, and why breakfast is so much fun to eat.

*****

Futures Bakery and Cafe is located at 483 Bloor St. West, in between the main intersections and subway stations of Spadina Ave. and Bathurst St.  It sits right at the corner of Bloor St. and Brunswick Ave. on the south side of Bloor.  They are open from 7:30am to 2am 7 days a week.

I See Delicious Breakfast in Your Future! All-Day Breakfast and Good Eats at Futures Bakery & Cafe

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I’m so super excited to finally do a blog post featuring Futures Bakery.  It’s one of my favourite places to eat in the city and it’s situated within a very well-known and well-loved neighbourhood in Toronto, The Annex.  Sandwiched between Spadina Ave. and Bathurst St. on Bloor St. West, it’s surrounded by sushi bars, coffee shops, pubs, Thai and Indian restaurants, bookstores, and independent retailers with quirky, offbeat fashions, candy, stationery, and other trinkets.  In other words, it occupies a fabulous location with a heck of a lot of foot traffic during the day!  There’s plenty to explore and I’ve walked up and down this neighbourhood so many times for the past 3 years I’ve lost count.  I’ve been here for breakfast, for lunch, with friends for brainstorming sessions for school, with my boyfriend for a midday meal, and most recently, with my mum and my brother for breakfast, and each time has been fun and has provided me with such a sense of comfort.

Futures Bakery, to me, is a jack of all trades.  The cake selection in the bakery would make anybody’s jaw hit the floor (and then, you know, drool out puddles) with their offerings of key lime cheesecake, Oreo cheesecake, tiramisu cake, black forest cheesecake, and carrot cake cheesecake just to name a bunch.  And their all-day breakfast and lunch/dinner menu offers plenty of delicious eats!  Their breakfast menu includes both sweet and savoury meals such as strawberry, blueberry, and maple crepes, French toast, omelettes, pancakes, eggs benedict, eggs florentine, grilled cheese, and others, served with sides such as toast, fruit salad, and potato wedge home fries. 

Their lunch and dinner entrees are just amazing.  Not only do they offer all-you-cat-eat pierogies night every Wednesday from 5-9pm (the pierogi lover in me squeals like teenybopper at this) but they also have a menu dedicated to ridiculously large sandwiches and comfort food such as cabbage rolls, lasagna, chicken and pork schnitzel, chili, and a selection of soup and salads.  Entrees come with either a choice of 2 salads, or a choice of salad and mashed potatoes and mushroom gravy.

I’ve eaten here a handful of times, but I’m going to start by showcasing their breakfast for this blog post first.  I brought my mum and brother to Futures Bakery for breakfast last week for the first time and they both LOVED it and that made me so happy.  And not just because everything tasted delicious, but for other reasons which I’ll get to a bit later in the post.  I adore breakfast food.  I am totally amoured by my vision of the perfect meal: great food, great company, and beautiful sunshine and a light breeze streaming through the windows.  Basically, a meal of relaxation, peacefulness, and absolute bliss.  I ordered the spinach and feta cheese omelette and I was so happy with my food.  A large omelette (I’m positive they must have used 3 eggs for this) chock full of fresh spinach leaves and savoury feta, served with a helping of potato wedge home fries and ketchup, and whole wheat toast with jam and butter.

I loved my omelette and home fries for so many reasons.  My omelette let the feta do the talking.  In other words, it wasn’t salty or oily or overcooked.  The feta was allowed to shine with its creamy saltiness without being overwhelmed by the eggs or the spinach and I was able to appreciate all three without having the flavour muddied up together.  And the awesome thing about the spinach was that there were fresh leaves of it in my omelette.  It didn’t taste like it had been sitting in a packet in the freezer the whole time and really, you can tell.  Frozen spinach does not come in leaves!  The potato wedge home fries definitely deserve lots of “yays!” because they’re soft, not too starchy (I hate the potato wedges that come out so starchy they make your mouth feel parched and then make you want to gag), and I LOVE how they’re seasoned!  They taste like all dressed Ruffles chips!

And here’s why I love Futures Bakery so much.  Of course I love it here because I have enjoyed everything I’ve eaten, but it’s more than that.  Their prices are SO freakin’ awesome (breakfast and entrees for under $10) and their portions of food say this: we want you to eat.  That’s not to say they give you a buffet on a plate and want to give you a heart attack (read: super size syndrome), but you can tell from the food on your plate that they take the care, the time, and the love to give you good food.  They give you bang for your buck and they want you to leave feeling full and satisfied.  

People can say that their biggest turn-off with a place is the atmosphere, the service, the menu choices, etc.  My biggest turn-off is when I can SEE, from my plate, that the establishment is nickeling and dime-ing me.  There is no bigger turn-off.  I can’t tell you how much it warms my heart whenever I get a plate of food from here because it embodies the comfort and love of food, and the people who work here have been so nice and welcoming each time.  And it’s because of all these things that I will continue to come back, time and time again.

*****

Futures Bakery and Cafe is located at 483 Bloor St. West, in between the main intersections and subway stations of Spadina Ave. and Bathurst St.  It sits right at the corner of Bloor St. and Brunswick Ave. on the south side of Bloor.  They are open from 7:30am to 2am 7 days a week.