3 Years in the Making – A Return Visit to the East York Farmers’ Market! The Ate by Ate Daily, Vol. 007

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Time passes by so fast that sometimes, you don’t even notice how long it’s been since you last did something because each and every day comes and goes in a blurry flurry of activity.  You think, “oh, it must have only been a year or so” until you think back real hard or look at photos and realize, “holy jeebus, make that three!”  That was me today after my visit to the East York farmer’s market just outside the East York Civic Centre at the corner of Mortimer and Coxwell.  I haven’t been back to this market in three years.  THREE.  And oddly enough, almost right down to the day: June 14, 2011 when I took those first photos and wrote my post on the market and its baby eggplants.

It’s the strangest feeling in the world when the realization sinks in that while three years have gone by, some things just don’t change.  In some ways I feel like I’ve come full circle to where my life was at three years ago and feeling somewhat…stuck.  And in other ways, everything has changed.  In June 2011, I had just graduated from grad school, I hadn’t yet started my baking adventures with Lisa and Miya at Le Dolci, and Ate by Ate was only 6 and a half months old.  I don’t even think I had a Twitter account for Ate by Ate at that point yet.  The one constant though?  How my routine jaunts to the markets have grounded my blogging, made photography so much fun, and in general, made me happy.  They’ve pushed me to keep positive.  You get out for fresh air.  You walk.  You meet nice people.  You visit neighbourhoods you wouldn’t otherwise visit.  And you get those creative juices going like you wouldn’t believe.  And as a bonus, you get to eat and buy some awesome local food.  Who knew fruits and veggies were good for your health in more ways than one?!

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Today’s morning visit to the East York farmers’ market was so lovely.  The weather was beautiful and it was so nice to get out and clear my head for a bit.  That and I just love taking photos of fruits and vegetables!  I definitely got a lot of amused smiles and stares from vendors and fellow market-goers as I clicked away at tomatoes, asparagus and baby zucchinis.  It happens every time; I’m used to it!  The market is set up in a really great green space outside the civic centre near plenty of benches to sit on, trees and shade to keep cool under, and even some pretty gardens to enjoy.  Despite the generous crowd of people who filter in soon after the market is up and running at 8am, there’s still this beautiful sense of peaceful to it and I love it.

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At the market today: heirloom tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, jams, jellies and honey, bread and pastries, sausages and cured meats, baby eggplant, baby zucchini, wild mushrooms, bell peppers, fresh herbs and herb plants, lettuces and kale, strawberries, rhubarb, and asparagus – lots and lots of asparagus!  I know this sounds weird, but asparagus has truly proven to be one of the most photogenic vegetables.  I’ve photographed asparagus many times over the years and it still amazes me how you can get such cool shots of it time and time again.  Hello total foodie geek moment.

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So, what did I pick up from the market this morning?  Two big bunches of gorgeous green leaf lettuce, $2 a pop.  YES, lettuce.  I know it’s nothing glamourous but I love me my greens and lettuces!  I’ve been going nuts over the arugula at Wychwood Barns as of late so why not throw some more greens into the mix?  The stuff is less expensive AND nicer at the farmers’ market than it is at the supermarket so there’s really no reason to pass on such nice food.  I can’t wait to use it in sandwiches and as the base for lettuce wraps.  I can see it now: green leaf lettuce wrapped around shredded chicken, sprinkled with sesame seeds and drizzled with peanut sauce.  Or wrapped around shredded chicken with black beans, avocado, and shredded cheese.  Or with fish.  Or shrimp.  YUM.

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*****

East York Civic Centre is located at 850 Coxwell Ave. at Mortimer Ave.  The East York farmers’ market takes places on the front terrace of the civic centre every Tuesday from 8am-2pm, May to November

It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood, It’s Beautiful Day for a Market – A Trip to Trinity Bellwoods!

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bellwoods collage2Last Tuesday was one of the most topsy-turvy days I’ve experienced all year.  I was taking a vacation day from work as a “me” day and I had my fun day all planned out: lots of yummy food, walking around town, a little bit of shopping, and oh, going to the amazing Taste of PEI and PEI Cooking Challenge event taking place at Mildred’s Temple Kitchen in Liberty Village and MEETING MICHAEL SMITH!  Holy shit on a stick.  Rest assured, you will all see and hear about it once I get my wits together and bang out those posts in the new few days!

But was last Tuesday ever a rollercoaster.  One minute I was in such happy conniptions I was ready to jump out of my skin, the next I wanted to cry because my head was pounding so hard from an oncoming migraine that couldn’t decide if it wanted to just call it a day and leave me alone once and for all or, well, kill me.  I could not believe my rotten luck.  SERIOUSLY.  On the day I was set to immerse myself in PEI cuisine and Michael Smith’s presence.  The sheer coincidence was worthy of an eye-roll and a few choice curse words at the very least.  It really shouldn’t have come as any surprise though.  The weather had been shit: it was cool and overcast, then drizzly, then back to overcast, then sunny and warm, then uncomfortably warm and it’s any wonder I made it through the entire day in one piece.

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Then as soon as I thought the dull pain in my head had subsided, my feet decided to revolt against me.  I mean, I know I was walking around town in Mary Janes but in my defense, they had nice rubber soles and were quite comfortable aside from the fact that the strap on my right shoe was strangling my right foot because my right foot is lame and is slightly bigger than my left.

Even after that, I made it out at the end of the day happy and excited and so full of joy.  And a part of that joy came from making a return visit to the farmers’ market at Trinity Bellwoods!  It was Tuesday, the event didn’t start until 4pm, the market started at 3pm, and I was only a hop, skip, and step away from Ossington which would take me straight into Liberty Village on bus.

IT WAS MEANT TO BE.

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I miss going to weekday markets SO MUCH.  Coming back to this one felt like home.  I snapped photos of beautiful asparagus, granola cookies, the pretty rainbow of colours in Evelyn’s Crackers’ packaging (my boyfriend is quite the fan of their stuff and I’d recommend their lavender shortbread!), the cutest of mushrooms and baked goods among other yummies.  Highlights?  Seeing Apple Mint being sold by Wooler Dale Farm (I didn’t know such a thing existed!), drooling over lemon ricotta croissants and apple, coconut, almond granola from Breadsong, snapping shots of the gorgeous yellow oyster mushrooms from The Mushroom Man from Waymac Farms (can you imagine how awesome these would look on a mixed mushroom pizza or flatbread?!  It’d be gorgeous and most likely delicious), and seeing the giant Trinity Bellwoods market banner strung over the fence by the kids playground in the park.

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Markets are so integral to our communities and woven so tightly into our communal fabric.  It’s a beautiful thing to see and an even more beautiful thing to be a part of regardless of what part of town the market is in or the size of it.  No matter how many times you go to the same market, there will always be something a little different to see, to try, and to explore.  Looking back at my Trinity Bellwoods market posts, with the exception of nice asparagus in the spring posts, nothing is exactly the same and that’s a good thing because while consistency is nice, it’s the new and the different that will keep things fresh and keep everyone engaged.  I’m happy I braved my head pain to make this visit and while I didn’t pick anything up to bring home this time around, I can’t wait to come back later on in the summer during my time off and really take advantage of the market groceries!

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*****

The farmers’ market at Trinity Bellwoods Park is located at Dundas St. West and Shaw St. every Tuesday from 3pm-7pm.

Good Food & Brunch Are Knocking at Your Door – Chicken Salad, Watercress, & Asparagus at Hammersmith’s, Part I

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All hail the brunch and lunch in the east end!  Riverdale and Leslieville round up some of the best brunch cafes in the city with the likes of Le Papillon on the the Park, Bonjour Brioche, Table 17, Lady Marmalade, and my latest brunch favourite, Hammersmith’s!  Located smack dab on the corner of Gerrard Street East and Logan Ave. and humbly referred to as Riverdale’s friendly neighbourhood corner brunch spot, Hammersmith’s boasts seasonal, farmhouse style food that is simaltaneously wholesome and simple, yet unique and deliciously complex. 

You’re probably wondering how I found out about Hammersmith’s in the first place.  I know many of you are accustomed to hearing me (or rather, reading me) say that my food discoveries were made during random walks around town or by random sightings on a streetcar.  Not this time.  Let it be known that even the most die-hard of foodies rely on some holy grail food bibles every once in awhile.

 

I found out about Hammersmith’s in one of my issues of Where magazine Toronto!  Yes, that’s right, a free tourist magazine made available at hotels, the Eaton Centre, and in Union Station.  I will always and forever see myself as a tourist in my own city because there is always something new to explore and learn about and food is at the top of this list.  Where magazine Toronto has been one of the best things in my life for over 2 years now and I digilently pick up my free monthly copy at the Eaton Centre at the beginning of every month to flip through throughout the month.  And once I read about Hammersmith’s within the magazine’s sea of restaurant listings, I knew it was only a matter of time before I made my way here.

One of the things I love about Hammersmith’s is their menu focus.  They have one blackboard menu for the season as oppsoed to pages upon pages of items that may or may not garner any interest on a regular basis.  It’s about quality here, not quantity and they keep it simple, fresh, and mouthwateringly delicious with their mix of meat and vegetarian dishes.  What you might find on the menu on any given day?  A duck plate (hello duck confit hash!), a smoked bacon omelette, a mushroom omelette, a braised beef and goat cheese sandwich, a smokey bacon sandwich with tomato and arugula, chicken sandwiches with different fixin’s and fillings, an asparagus plate, and plenty of fresh sides to go along with these mains including a scone plate, bacon hash, a watercress and green bean salad, and asparagus with miso and scallions.   

Their menu changes based on what’s in season and they build a menu that flows from one item to the next, in the sense that they utilize their ingredients in more than capacity and in more than one dish.  Nothing goes to waste and they find scrumptious ways of using “leftovers”, so to speak, and you’ll see what I mean later on in the post.

Open from Wednesday to Sunday (10am-3:30pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays, an Fridays, and 9:30am-4pm on Saturdays and Sundays), Hammersmith serves brunch and lunch all 5 days, with a new special $35 price fixe dinner promotion currently in place from 6pm-9pm on Thursdays and Fridays.  Prices for brunch mains range from $9-$13, with sides coming in at $5 each.  In addition to their farmhouse stye food, Hammersmith’s also serves up a mean, decadent selection of baked goods and sweets along with an entire blackboard menu full of drinks!  This Part I post is specifically focused on the food, but if you have a hankering for sweets and drinks, don’t fret because Part II and III will soothe those cravings with strawberry lemonade and cupcakes!

Back to the food though.  I knew right off the bat that I wanted to try both a main and a side and since I’m a huuuge lover of watercress and asparagus (can you tell by all the asparagus photos I post in the blog’s Facebook  farmers’ market photo gallery?), I went with the chicken salad and watercress sammy ($10) and the asparagus with miso and scallions ($5) will a cool glass of strawberry lemonade, which I’ll rave about tomorrow. 

Their sandwiches are served on a crusty baguette with an amazing side salad of mixed bitter greens and arugula and razor thin slices of radish, tossed in a mouthwatering olive oil dressing.  Their chicken salad is so moist and so fresh, and deliciously creamy without being soggy or laden with mayo.  The chicken breast was shredded and piled onto the baguette and topped with watercress and it’s moments like these where you just know you’re eating some of the best chicken out there.  Much like my experience at Delux with their achiote and lime chicken sandwich, I thought the chicken salad was pure fantastic.  Combined with the salad, I cleaned off my plate till it was shiny.

And the asparagus!  Oh my goodness.  Spears of crisp asparagus were bathed in miso butter and special hot sauce and it was unlike anything that I had ever had before.  The miso butter was savoury and toned down the slight bitterness of the asparagus while the special hot sauce gave every bite that amazing bit of kick.  And to really kick things up a notch, I was given a special little “extra” to go with my meal.  Rememeber how I said Hammersmith’s doesn’t waste anything and utilizes all their food and ingredients in different ways?  Well, when you make chicken salad without the skin, it has to go somewhere.  And that somewhere was on little plate.  That’s right, folks – crispy chicken skin partnered with dollops of hot sauce and spicy grainy mustard!  A little like peking duck only with crispy chicken skin.  Now THIS was different – and delightfully delicious!

I love it here so much and now that I’ve come here once, I’m determined to come back and eat my way through their blackboard menu, season after season.  Part II and III, we go sweet and fruity fresh with Hammersmith’s cupcakes and drinks!

*****

Hammersmith’s is located at 807 Gerrard St. East in Riverdale, at the corner of Gerrard and Logan Ave.  They are a brunch and lunch cafe open from Wednesday to Sunday (10am-3:30pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, and 9:30am-4pm on Saturdays and Sundays), with a price fixe dinner currently available on Thursdays and Fridays for $35.  Currently, for the summer, they are also now open on Mondays from 10am-3pm!  They accept cash and debit only.

Baked Omelettes With Asparagus, Roasted Red Pepper & Goat Cheese – Checking into Hotel Gelato for Breakfast!

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I LOVE finding new breakfast, brunch, and lunch places!  The thought of relishing a good meal in a comfortable cafe makes me feel all dreamy and floaty on the inside.  And if you can believe (which I think you all can), I spent a good deal of time last week circling spot after spot in one of my Toronto magazines of all the places that offered breakfast and weekend brunch.  Aside from cupcakes, sushi, and pasta (my three great food loves), nothing gets my engine running more than a great breakfast and lunch cafe. 

I love the vast array of menu items, I love the feeling of freshness during the day (and admittedly, it makes my life easier taking photos in the daytime), and I just love the idea of sitting down to a great sandwich, brunch dish, and/or cafe drink with dessert.  I enjoy dinner, yes, but as Daphne Oz on The Chew reiterated on one of the more recent episodes, “eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper”.  Although in my case, I’d change that to a queen and a princess.  But you get the idea.  And it does, in fact, ring true for me.  I eat dinner almost out of necessity rather than want.  The star of the show is my breakfast and lunch and I sure as hell eat like it.  So, what’s my latest breakfast/brunch escapade?  Hotel Gelato on Eglinton West!

Hotel Gelato is a beautiful sit-down breakfast, lunch, and gelato cafe with an open, airy, inviting atmosphere.  Located on Eglinton West in the Upper Village neighbourhood, iIt’s exactly the type of place you envision yourself relaxing in during an easy Sunday morning or afternoon brunch, a midday coffee break, or a bright and refreshing weekday lunch with your best friend.  With its sleek black and white decor and upholstery, it’s pretty and fancy pants without being overly frou-frou and pretentious. 

In all honesty, I was taken aback when I stepped inside.  I knew it was pretty from the photos I saw on their official website, but I was not expecting it to be THIS pretty.  Chandeliers clothed in sheer black, clear plexi tables and chairs, comfy black upholstered chairs by the cafe’s front window, black and white wall decor, a beautiful fireplace mantel with candles, orchid flowers, and a sleek espresso bar and machine in acid bright turquoise!  In a nutshell, Hotel Gelato is NICE.

I was overjoyed when I viewed their menus online.  In addition to the gelato that makes them famous (and oh boy is there ever a ton of gelato goodness to devour!) and the cafe drinks and desserts that can ordered up at the front, they serve weekday breakfast from 8am-11:30am, weekend brunch, and all day lunch.  Although a number of their daily breakfast items appear on their weekend brunch menu, their weekend brunch menu does have some very special items that are not available from Monday-Friday including their challah French toast and their – wait for this – LEMON RICOTTA PANCAKES!  I almost bounced off the walls when I found out they served this.  Weekend brunch would have to wait though as I decided to stick to their daily breakfast menu first. 

Menu items include breakfast sandwiches with either peameal bacon or smoked salmon with eggs, flavoured mayo, and different cheeses, baked eggs, waffles, breakfast parfait, smoked salmon and cream cheese with bagels, and more.  Prices range from $8-$12 for most items, with a separate set of prices ($3.50-$5) for extra sides including daily scone, basket of mini almond, chocolate, and apricot croissants, peameal bacon, and toasted ciabatta with butter and preserves.  As much as I wanted to inhale a breakfast sandwich or smoked salmon (and, come to think of it, their waffles), I went with their baked omelette because I got to choose my fillings and toppings! 

The baked omelette ($8) is made with three eggs and herbs and comes with crusty bread to go with it.  Filling and toppings ($0.75 each) include aged cheddar, goat cheese, Jarlsberg, portobellos, sauteed spinach, smoked ham, bacon, asparagus, and roasted red peppers.  Wanting to inject some veggies into the meal, I chose asaparagus (how very spring-like!), roasted red peppers, and goat cheese because I love goat cheese like crazy. 

T0 my surprise, my omelette and bread were accompanied by a dish of fresh fruit (how sweet!) and my omelette, just like the menu said, was literally baked!  I don’t know why I forgot about that detail, but I was delighted when my breakfast was brought to my table.  The omelette was baked into a small baking/casserole dish, almost like a skillet or casserole and the fillings dotted my baked eggs like a beautiful mosaic.  It was piping hot and so unique to any egg dish I had ever had.  And I was also pleasantly with how much bread I was given – almost like a little mini sliced loaf of delicious crusty bread!  I know the menu specifically said grilled flatbread as opposed to crusty French baguette, but frankly, I didn’t care because the bread was so good and so darn cute!

The asparagus was crisp and flavourful and the goat cheese in the omelette was to die for.  There were creamy, tangy pockets of goat cheese throughout the entire dish and it truly went a long way in making the omelette burst with flavour and dimension.  The eggs were light as air and so, so fluffy.  Keep in mind though that the eggs for this particular dish are baked and thus well done and thoroughly cooked.  If you’re like me and you like your eggs a little runny, just mention it to your server because the dish is cooked well done by default. 

It’s really just based on preference because my mum, for example, reeeeally doesn’t go for runny eggs and prefers hers cooked from top to bottom.  If you love your eggs the way my mum does, no sweat.  If you like yours the way I do, ask them if they can undercook them just a tad and if they can’t (which I can’t imagine them not being able to do, but for the argument’s sake let’s just throw that our there), just choose another menu item.

I am so, so looking forward to coming back because there’s so much more to try!  There’s the gelato (hello, creamsicle and strawberry shortcake oh my god), the drinks (teas, pumpkin spice lattes, and pot of hot chocolate?!), the lunch paninis and sandwiches, and yes, the multitude of breakfast and weekend brunch items waiting for me!  Like those lemon ricotta pancakes.  It’s only a matter of time.

*****

Hotel Gelato is located at 532 Eglinton Ave. West just west of Heddington Ave. between Avenue Rd. and Bathurst Street.  They serve breakfast and lunch every day from Monday to Friday with a weekend brunch menu on Saturdays and Sundays.  Their breakfast menu is available from 8am-11:30am and lunch all-day.

The Fall Harvest Series – Pumpkin…in Sushi! Build Your Own Sushi Rolls at Avocado Sushi on Bay Street

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Here’s a little cocktail party trivia you may not know about me: I love reading take-out menus.  If places have them, I grab’ em.  I have so many that I bought a take-out menu organizer to keep them all neat and tidy.  I KNOW.  A take-out menu organizer!  The stationery fanatic in me was over the moon when I stumbled on it at the Sears outlet by the 404 and Don Mills last year (I find the strangest things in the most unlikely of places and it makes me giddy) and actually, now that I think about it, the organizer could use a bit of tidying up because I kind of added another small pile to the mix *whistles*.  It’s so much fun to go through a take-out menu (especially a sushi menu!) and circle all the items I would hypothetically want to stuff my face in.  Sometimes I even daydream about what I would eat during my next visit.  It’s like being an 8-year-old with a toy catalogue and circling everything you want for Christmas in bright red marker.  Only in my case, it’s food 😀

After passing by Avocado Sushi near Bay and Charles St. for the upteenth time, I finally stopped to snatch a take-out menu from the pile attached to the outdoor menu board.  Everything changed after I took that take-out menu.  My sushi world was flipped upside down and inside out as a I discovered what a ninny I was for not having eaten here sooner! 

I unfolded the menu brochure and found out that I COULD BUILD MY OWN SUSHI ROLLS AND CHOOSE ALL MY OWN FILLINGS AND INGREDIENTS!!!  I just had to shout that from the rooftop because my sushi dreams have come true because of this revelation!  Not only does Avocado Sushi boast a number of maki combos, bento boxes, appetizers, and individual sets of rolls, but they also offer something very, VERY special: the chance to build your own “salad sensation” bowl, or your very own custom-made set of of maki rolls!  Each set of build-your-own-maki comes with 10 rolls and sets start at $7.95.

As my eyes were roaming up and down the list of ingredients on the menu, I couldn’t believe how much choice there was!  Now I know what some of you might be thinking.  If the set of rolls start at $7.95 for the 10 pieces, the total price will end up sky-rocketing if you add the littlest thing, right?  Nope.  I was in conniptions when I realized just how much I could stuff in my sushi rolls and still have it for $7.95! 

You can choose up to 7 ingredients in the first list, which includes BOTH veggie and meat options, at no extra charge.  Think yams, shittake mushrooms, avocado, asparagus, crab meat, salmon sashimi, and grilled salmon amongst others, as well as other goodies such as tempura bits and tobiko.  Then, on top of all that, you get to choose a sauce for your sushi rolls from a list of 6 options.  The 2nd and 3rd lists are add-ons for $1, $2, and $3 where you’ll find yummies like smoked salmon, deep-friend shrimp, soft-shell crab, cheese, and others.  Given how much I adore building my own “specially” made meals (hello, Fresh and Freshii!), you can imagine how happy all of this made me!  I started circling menu items and building my own sushi roll set in my head over a week before I actually went to eat there! 

So, what makes this meal worthy of being in the Fall Harvest Series?  Avocado Sushi has Japanese PUMPKIN!  Well, specifically, kampyo which is a type of Japanese dried gourd which comes in strips.  This was the first time I had seen kampyo on a sushi menu, so there was no way I was passing up the chance to try it and subsequently, feature it on the blog in the Fall Harvest Series!  To fill my 10-piece sushi roll set, I chose kampyo, avocado, asparagus, shittake mushrooms, green onions, crunchy tempura bits, cream cheese (add-on for $1), and spicy mayo. 

Oh my gosh everyone, you need to come here and build your own rolls and eat them silly because they are so delicious.  The maki rolls are nice and big and really soft and I was SO happy with the combination that I chose because everything was savoury and fresh.  I had a little bit of everything going on: the crunch from the tempura bits and asparagus, the creaminess from the avocado and cream cheese, and the meshing of sweet and savoury happening with the kampyo and mushrooms.  The kampyo had a very subtle sweetness to it and the texture was exactly what I would expect from a gourd, squash, or pumpkin: very soft and a tiny bit stringy.  I knew you all wouldn’t be able to see the kampyo from the photos of the rolls untouched, go I lifted a piece of it out to show y’all!

The presentation was lovely (hell yes to the drizzling of spicy mayo!) and I would eat here again in a heartbeat.  I feel so lame for having not eaten here earlier (you know me and my sushi), but I was so happy with my food and the service that the wait was worth it.  I had fun taking photos (Ooo, red and green decor with a pair of wooden shutters and blossom branches!), the people who work here are so incredibly nice, and what makes the deal even sweeter is the student discount!  Show them student ID and you’ll receive a 10% discount off your bill.  

Avocado Sushi is located in the heart of downtown Toronto (it’s on Bay Street!  If that’s not downtown central, I don’t know what is!) and is easily accessible by public transit which works perfectly for me because I’m eating here again.  Nothing like build-your-own-sushi to get those creative and hunger juices going 😀

*****

Avocado Sushi is located at 1105 Bay Street just south of Charles Street (which is just south of Bloor St. West).  They are open 7 days a week from 11am-10pm.  Receive a 10% discount when you show your student ID!

How Do You Like Your Eggs? I Like Mine Over Easy…at Over Easy!

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In a very cute scene, Richard Gere asks Julia Roberts how she likes her eggs in Runaway Bride.  He presses her to really think about this.  It’s the moment when she finally lets her guard down and reveals a part of yourself even unbeknowst to herself.  Who knew eggs could create such a bubble of debate and conversation?!  But it’s the truth: everyone loves their eggs a different way and it’s a big no-no when they’re not made the way you like them.  I’m talking nose wrinkling, scoffing, and tsking.  Some like them best scrambled.  Others, like my boyfriend, prefer them boiled.  My mum and best friend refuse to eat their eggs sans ketchup.  And me?  Over easy with lots of fresh black pepper! 😀 

Okay, truth be told I don’t have pictures of eggs for this post, but rest assured there will be plenty of future egg posts from Over Easy because this sunny, cheerful breakfast eatery is amazing!  With 2 locations in downtown Toronto, this homey establishment, with framed pictures of fresh fruit on the walls, kitschy kitchen decor and figurines lining the ledges, red-and-yellow plaid booths, and sunny yellow and cornflower blue walls, serves up breakfast proportions worthy of an evening meal.

The menu selection is vast and for lack of a better word, ginormous!  It makes the breakfast food lover in me prance around with delight.  It also drives the indecisive part of me insane.  Oh well.  Divided into categories, breakfast options include omelettes, eggs benedict, pancakes, waffles, French toast, fruit and granola, and a plethora of fun and classic egg dishes: 3-eggs breakfasts with the bacon or sausage works, eggs in a hole, huevos rancheros, steak and eggs, corn beef hash, and everything in between. 

This diner is not for the faint of heart.  You do not step in here if you are looking for a “snack”.  You saddle up and prepare yourself for a MEAL.  Just ask my honey, Richard.  I told him that he would most likely have to take a portion of his meal to go.  He had ordered chocolate chip pancakes and he was presented with a plate of 4, count ’em FOUR, pancakes.  He stubbornly insisted that he could eat them all.  I told him he was nuts.  Oh, he ate them all.  And proceeded to moan and groan for the rest of the day.  Oh, boys, sigh.  Proportions are incredibly generous and prices range, on average, from $5.50-$13 for most dishes, with the majority of mains coming in at around $8-$10 without a drink.

With eyes roaming up and down the menu, the veggie lover in me squealed when they landed on the Vegetarian Skillet: sautéed red bell peppers, asparagus, zucchini, sliced button mushrooms, and diced potatoes, covered in melted ooey gooey aged cheddar cheese, with juicy sliced Roma tomatoes on the side.  This was vegetable heaven.  The savouriness from the mushrooms and melted cheese tones down the slight bitterness of asparagus, the juiciness of the tomatoes breaks up the starchier quality of the potatoes, and this baby just delivers an amazingly flavourful meal that makes you want to eat vegetables all the live long day – or week!  And seriously, when you get that forkful of cheesy potato goodness, it’s reminiscent of poutine *happy sigh*  A meal chock full of hearty, delicious vegetables and melted cheese – what more could you ask for? 😀

*****

Over Easy serves 2 locations in downtown Toronto (and yes, I have been to both!):

  1.  208 Bloor St. West (west of Avenue Rd. and east of St. George St. and Bedford Ave., across the street from the ROM, Royal Ontario Museum)
  2. 56 Yonge St. (north of Wellington St. and south of King St., on the west side of Yonge)

The Yonge location is open from 7am-3pm and the Bloor location is open from 7am-4pm.