A Quiet Morning of Apple Tea & Golden Brioche with Jam at Terroni Bar Centrale

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Sometimes it’s the tiny things that bring us the most joy.  A little over a month ago I decided to take a random vacation day off from work to be alone with my thoughts and to be out and about on my own.  I wanted to walk around, I wanted some fresh air and most of all, I wanted to eat yummy things and get a head start on my Christmas shopping!  Truthfully, I’ve really missed the days when I had the flexibility of being out during the week and not just on the weekends.  The pace and atmosphere is just different and it’s something I can appreciate more now that I’ve been a full-time working girl.  I have such great memories from my days in grad school just exploring the city during the week (and working my tail off every other moment!) and growing as a person.  I knew taking a day for myself would do me some good and in true Deb fashion, I had a super fun day planned out for myself: tea and breakfast at a cafe, walking, window shopping, lunch with a friend, and more walking and window shopping.

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I’m nothing if not prepared!  So prepared that I woke up at the exact same time I would have woken up had I gone to work.  My alarm woke me up at 5:30am, it was pitch black out and no, I am not a crazy banana.  Even though I mumble and grumble every morning when my dreaded alarm clock wakes me up, quiet, peaceful mornings in the city are moments I really cherish.  I love sitting back and relaxing with a magazine, a cozy pot of tea and a plate of  warm comfort food like bacon and eggs or fresh bread hot out of the oven.  Having quiet breakfast to myself just makes me happy and it makes me look forward to the rest of my day that much more because I know I’ve taken advantage of every possible moment.

I hopped on the bus, headed to the subway, got off at Summerhill station and skipped on over to Terroni Bar Centrale for some hot tea and sweet breakfast nibbles.  After going to Terroni for weekend brunch last fall, I remembered their menu well and knew that they had sweet breakfast options and of course, darling little pots of loose leaf tea.  After choosing a pot of their Torta Di Mele black tea with apple ($4) to start, I hemmed and hawwed over my food: did I want biscotti?  Or maybe the yogurt and granola parfait with fruit?  Or their special Pandolci, Scandinavian-style pancakes with Nutella and jam?!  After some careful thought, I chose the Brioche con Burro e Marmellata: housemade brioche with housemade jam ($6).

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Believe it or not, good ol’ fashioned toast and jam is a weakness of mine and truly one of my favourite things in the world.  It’s a total comfort thing.  Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches cut into quarters was my go-to lunch as a little kindergardener.  Toast and jam is the only thing I will touch when I’m not feeling well.  And there is nothing like the feeling of warm, crispy toasty golden bread crunching between your teeth with the sweet, fruitiness of jam or jelly lingering on your tastebuds.  It’s like a cozy hug from your favourite childhood teddy bear and I love it.  Terroni laid their golden slices of brioche on an adorable wooden platter with some butter and a VERY generous amount of jam!  It was warm and soft and buttery and oh so delicious.  Coupled with my pot of loose leaf tea, it made for the perfect way to start my day.  The wonderful thing about brioche is how it stands up to things like jam.  It doesn’t get soggy, it retains its shape and it has this lovely mix of thickness and lightness that just works.

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Mission quiet, peaceful, delicious morning to myself accomplished.

*****

Terroni Bar Central is located at 1095 Yonge Street on the corner of Price St. between Summerhill and Rosedale subway stations in midtown Toronto.  They’re open 7 days a week: 11:30am-10pm Sunday to Wednesday, 11:30am-11pm Thursday to Saturday.

Scones & Strawberry Marshmallow Macarons – Afternoon Tea Treats on a Fall Morning at Yorkville Espresso Bar

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Ste. Anne’s coconut black tea at Yorkville Espresso Bar!

An espresso bar and cafe with amazing tea, delicious scones, and adorable macarons among other afternoon tea-style sweets and treats?  In the picturesque neighbourhood of Yorkville?  That’s a cafe after my own heart!  Yorkville Espresso Bar, located at 3 Yorkville Ave. just west of Yonge Street near the Toronto reference library and just steps away from the Cookbook Store and my beloved Italian-vegetarian Mela Cafe, is a new cafe that just opened up last year and after my very first visit, I think it’s a wonderful and splenderific addition to the neighbourhood.  Brunch, vegetarian, Mexican, ice cream, macarons, Italian, Middle-Eastern, pub classics, and now a new espresso bar and cafe – aside from Kensington Market, Yorkville is truly my ideal place to eat to my heart’s content.

The pretty Yorkville park nearby

I know, there are plenty of cafes in the area including Lettieri and Zaza, not to mention around the city in general, so what makes this space so great?  The thing about cafes is that they have to offer something different, something a little more unique in order to stand out from the others.  Because let’s face it, it’s not like we have to go very far to fetch an Americano, a cappuccino, or an espresso and while yes, every cafe will have their own way of making these drinks, it’s the atmosphere and the food goodies that accompany these drinks that will make us foodies feel compelled to come back for more.  Some cafes offer the comfort factor with plushy seats to relax in while you read, sip, munch, or type away on a laptop (or a tablet, sigh), others are great as meeting spots for friends, and then the are the ones that are fabulous purely for the food and drink.  THIS would be Yorkville Espresso Bar’s forte.

It’s a small space so you wouldn’t necessarily see large groups inhabiting it, but it is cozy enough for you to sit down with a friend and a coffee, tea, and light meal or snack.  And let me just say, Yorkville Espresso Bar is awesomesauce in the food and goodies department.  There is something here for everyone: the sweet tooth, the vegetarian, the gluten-intolerant, and the just plain hungry!  Often times I’ll shy away from certain spots, not because I think their drinks are bad persay, but because I want something a little more special than baked goods wrapped in saran wrap in a basket or baked goods that look as though they just got a shot of steroids and a bath in grease.  That could be the food snob in me tsking but really, it’s unappealing and I know I can’t be the only one who feels this way!

Yorkville Espresso Bar is great though because their selection of food and sweets changes on a pretty consistent basis (from what I gather on their Facebook page where they announce menu items for the day), they’re always coming up with new and unique yummies to showcase, they offer a number of gluten-free menu items (see below in the next few paragraphs for examples!), and you know everything is fresh and hot off the press because the adjoining kitchen studio that handles the baking, cooking, and catering for the espresso bar doles them out throughout the day.  They were already baking their 2nd round of scones at 10am on a Sunday morning because they sold out of their 1st round.   Can you believe it?!

Oh!  And I can’t forget about their tea!  I honking LOVE the tea.  They get their teas from Ste. Anne’s (Ste. Anne’s Extraordinary Teas), which is actually a spa located in several spots in Ontario (Grafton and Port Hope) and the whole concept behind the tea is driven by the relaxing spa experience.  I had their black tea coconut tea with my cinnamon scone and strawberry marshmallow macaron (I KNOW – MARSHMALLOW!) and I loved it to itty bitty pieces.

Their food menu is insane.  Let’s start with the savoury, gluten-free muffins first.  These are items that have graced their display case of goodies over the last few months:

  • sweet potato chocolate chip muffins
  • sweet potato and cranberry muffins
  • carrot and beetroot muffins
  • blueberry flaxseed muffins
  • gluten-free, vegan chocolate zucchini muffins!

Other savoury bites include jalapeno cornbread, brioche with dates, Parmesan, and thyme, 8-year old cheddar and chive scones, and bacon and thyme scones.  Okay, now the sweet stuff including cupcakes, gluten-free sweet muffins, sweet scones, chocolate and confectionery, and more:

  • mini chocolate cupcakes with mango and Nutella frosting and dried mango
  • mini chocolate cupcakes with mango buttercream frosting
  • mini chocolate cupcakes with mocha buttercream frosting
  • mini chocolate berry cheesecake cupcakes

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