Timbits Love! Featuring the New Strawberry Glazed Cuties on The Ate by Ate Daily, Vol. 013

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DSCN2354IT’S TIMBIT TIME!  Has everyone tried the new strawberry and birthday cake sweets yet?!  I don’t know about all of you, but I looooove when Tim Hortons comes out with new Timbit flavours and I looooove when I stumble across flavours that I can’t get at every location, like the cherry ones (which I always see at the Dufferin Mall location along with a few other spots) and the Boston cream ones (which, sadly, I have no idea where to get now since I used to be able to get them at the Tim Hortons inside the Sears at Eaton Centre which is now, you know, no longer there).  So yes, I love me my Timbits and my new flavours and since we’re on the topic, my favourite is the sour cream glazed, my least favourite is the chocolate, and I’m dying for them to come out with some delicious coconut concoction!

Now I know the new limited time line of strawberry pastries and donuts is being promoted and offered pretty much everywhere this summer, but that certainly doesn’t stop me from feeling giddy over the the ‘new’ness of it.  I was so excited to try Tim Hortons’ new strawberry glazed Timbits that I staged a mini photoshoot with them and posed them in a bowl of strawberries that I had just happened to have in the fridge.  Seriously, the timing couldn’t be more impeccable.  They’re so darn cute!  And they taste so yummy.  I would have taken photos of the birthday cake ones too but everyone in the house ate them before I could do anything so I’ll have to go out and get me a 10-pack of them one of these days so that I can get proper photos.  They would look so stylish with my cupcake tablecloth background.

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Warm, Heavenly, Bite-Sized Morsels of Cinnamon Sugar – Mini Donut Bliss at Little Nicky’s Coffee

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It’s about time I started some donut love on the blog!  Last Saturday (November 5th) was Donut Day (or Doughnut Day – I can’t decide which spelling I like better so forgive me if I started using them both interchangably in future posts) and I felt so lame for not having anything donut-related to post.  Even though I don’t eat them on a regular basis, I enjoy donuts in all of their many sugary shapes and varieties.  My favourites are ones with sprinkles (especially ones with chocolate sprinkles, and the pastel-coloured sprinkled donuts in the Bathurst subway station bakery!), Boston Creams, Sour Cream Glazed, cinnamon sugar dusted ones, and jelly donuts.  Oh, and coconut cream donuts.  That sounds like a whole lot!  I promise I’m not a glutton like Homer with a bottomless pit stomach for donuts.  Simply put, these are my favourites and if given a choice, I would choose these over other varieties in a heartbeat. 

I’ve certainly eaten my share of these glazed, powdered sugar dusted, jelly-filled, cream-filled, sprinkled confections over the years, yet here we are with zero donut posts on the blog.  A food blog with an undying devotion to sweets, no less.  All of that changes today though, thanks to my dear Lisa of Le Dolci!  She brought amazing, delicious, scrumptious mini donuts back to the studio for us yesterday and I loved them so much, I ate three of them and asked her where this mini donut heaven resided.  She told me and I went to get myself some more today.  Because they’re that delicious.

Behold, Little Nicky’s Coffee and the magnificent minis!  I know, I couldn’t believe it either when I first found out that these fabulous mini donuts that sent my tastebuds over the moon came from a hole-in-the-wall coffee shop in downtown Toronto just off of Queen Street West and Peter Street.  Finding out about Little Nicky’s reminded me of how much fun it is to visit every coffee shop in town and to see what goodies are hiding behind the espresso machines and coffee mugs. 

Granted, coffee and coffee drinks should obviously be a coffee shop’s strong suit, but these shops function as more than just places to fuel up on some much needed caffiene.  Coffee shops are meeting spots for friends, casual date spots for couples, and over the last number of years, the perfect place to get cozy with your laptop.  Finding good eats and unique sweets is one of the best things about exploring coffee and tea shops and I’ve found some delicious sweets, baked goods, and tea time snacks in some of the most unexpected places.  I couldn’t be more thrilled about these adorable mini donuts! 

Little Nicky’s Coffee is a retro-style coffee haunt with cute decor to match – and I mean cute.  They have 30s, 40s, and 50s style wall ornaments and framed posters on the walls, and even a retro Chiclet dispenser machine on the counter!  I had to keep myself from snorting with giggles when I saw it because I remember how popular Chiclets used to be when I was little and how cool my friends and I felt when we were allowed to chew gum and got these in our Hallowe’en trick-or-treat bags.  Or maybe that was just me.  ANYWAY. 

They serve both coffee and tea drinks including steamers, lattes, espressos, Americanos, cortados, cappuccinos, as well as hot chocolate, apple cider, and smoothies.  They’re food menu consists of a daily assortment of baked goods (cookies, cake loaves, banana bread, and more) and toasted bagels and sandwiches to order.  One of these days I’m going to have to go to Little Nicky’s earlier in the day because some of their baked goods were sold out when I arrived today.  They had an empty glass cases/cookie jar that had a sticker on it that read “Oreo stuffed chocolate chip” which I can only assume refers to cookies.  OREO STUFFED CHOCOLATE CHIP?!  Sigh.  Next time. 

Their amazing, fresh, hot-out-of-the-donut-flippy-machine cinnamon suagr mini donuts are what draws the crowds to this coffee shop though!  Nearly everyone in the shop walked away with either half a dozen ($2.75) or a dozen ($4) warm mini donuts and they are fantastic.  Oh!  And all prices are inclusive are tax.  Hallelujah!  Trust a Canadian like myself to get excited about something like that.

It’s so much fun watching them put together your donuts.  The rings of donut dough float in a little vat of oil in the donut machine where a person uses a long chopstick-like stick to flip them over and guide them along until they reach the “conveyor belt” part of the machine.  From there, the mini donuts fly off the moving chain conveyor belt into a large white catch basin where they rest until a generous amount of minis congregate.  The mini donuts are then placed in a metal mixing bowl where they’re first tossed with powdered sugar between two mixing bowls (you can think of the toss and tumble process of the sugar and donuts as kind of like the separation of an egg white from an egg yolk when you use the shells to plop the yolk back and forth) and then tossed again with a generous helping of cinnamon.  The result?  Pillow-soft, mouthwatering cinnamon sugar donuts that are hot and fresh and waiting to be devoured.

These mini donuts are some of the best donuts I’ve ever had.  Are you familiar with Tiny Tom donuts?  You are?  Good.  Little Nicky’s cinnamon sugar minis totally own the Tiny Tom ones.  Oh c’mon, you don’t have to look so incredulous.  I know Tiny Tom donuts have a large following, but I’m not kidding around when I say these blow them out of the water.  They’re incredibly soft, they don’t taste cakey or dry, and the cinnamon sugar flavour is perfectly sweet with that dusted coarse sugar texture that literally melts in your mouth as soon as you eat them.  And one of the best parts?  They’re not greasy!  I was half-expecting my little paper/wax baggy to get blotchy oil spots on it as the day went on, but the bag was clean as a whistle when I brought them home.  It is so easy to eat an entire batch of these and if I wasn’t so concerned about sharing these with the rest of my family, I would have downed the entire half dozen all on my own.  It really isn’t hard.

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Little Nicky’s Coffee is located at 375 Queen Street West, just south of Queen on Peter Street.  Peter Street is just east of Spadina Ave.

You’ll Want to Take the Bakeries Home With You – Anna’s Bakery & Deli and Sweet Eats in Bloor West Village

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October 25th: I have a great post coming for you all but it’s going to have to wait as I have a raging migraine right now and I just cannot bang out this post tonight.  I’ll have a full post all sparkly and new to accompany the photos up top, so in the meantime, admire some of these yummy bakery goods in Bloor West Village while I recuperate!

October 26th: Gooood morning everyone!  It’s still gross and rainy out (with the way the whether has been for weeks I can’t tell I’m still in Toronto or if some kind of geographical vortex has turned us into Vancouver or London, England.  Sigh.), but I am feeling MUCH better and the migraine has left the building – for now anyway.  Let it be known that overcast and rainy weather do not do good things to my head and brain and I’ve been lucky this fall so far because last night’s migraine was the first major one of the season.  I’m well-rested though and I’m here to give you guys a fabulous, yummy post!  Introducing yet another amazing foodie village and neighbourhood: Bloor West Village!

The very first time I explored Bloor West Village was about a year and a half ago.  I remembering reading about it in a pamphlet featuring some of Toronto’s popular shopping and strolling destinations, and hearing about it from some friends.  I remember having some breakfast at the Sunset Grill location in the area and spending the entire afternoon walking around afterward.  I loved the area and could mosey along day after day, week after week, without ever getting bored.  There are SO many foodie options!  There are tea shops (including my beloved David’s Tea), brunch spots, Eastern European deli and hot food shops, and even a gourmet burger pub to boot!  Yellow Griffin Pub and its 30+ burger options (all of which can be served on meat or veggie) are calling my name. 

Every time I come here, I always feel like I can never get enough and that’s how I feel about many of the areas in the city.  I absorb as much as I can, but there’s always something that I can’t get to, something I didn’t get a chance to see, or just something I missed entirely.  For the food alone, I’ll be coming back for months, and even years, to come.    

Sandwiched between Runnymede Road and Jane St. (and their respective subway stations), Bloor West Village is, in my opinion, very similar to Roncesvalles in the best ways possible.  First off, the neighbourhood is extremely walkable.  Like many areas in downtown Toronto, you’re looking at shop after shop after shop.  There are no large gaps between establishments, you don’t have to worry about being in the middle of abandoned industrial nowhere (it’s a little unnerving!), public transit is very accessible should you need to use it, and walking around is the easiest thing ever because the neighbourhood mainly runs on in an East-West/West-East direction and there is so much to see. 

Second, both Roncesvalles and Bloor West Village are known for their Eastern European communities, culture, and food, specifically Polish and Ukrainian respectively.  Thus, many of the businesses in the area cater to, and are owned and run by these ethnic groups.  Finally, the most striking similarity between Roncesvalles and Bloor West Village is the sheer volume of bakeries!  I can’t get over the number of shops that have bread and pastries and baked goods coming out of their rooftops!  Off the top of my head, bakeries include Hot Oven Bakery, Sweet Flour Bake Shop, Bread and Roses Bakery Cafe, Max’s Market, and one of my favourites, Anna’s Bakery & Deli! 

Now, since I haven’t eaten my way through the bakery or any of the bakeries for that matter, this post is primarily a photocentric post just to show you all what the neighbourhood has to the offer and what my favourite bakery has to nosh on!  My favourite thing about Anna’s Bakery & Deli is the storefront.  By golly do they ever know about to entice people!  Just look at it – I could die.  Rows and rows full of giant and mini meringues, bundt cakes, fruit turnovers, loaves of bread, custard donuts, sugar twist donuts, shortbread cookies, danishes, fudge brownies, hazelnut squares, date squares, pecan tarts, fruit tarts including apple, cranberry, and raspberry with powdered sugar and streusel crumble topping oh my god, and giant strawberry tarts among a bajillion other sweet eats. 

It’s any wonder why I didn’t go in and grab one of everything.  I don’t even know how my mum is going to react when I eventually bring her here.  She’s never been in the area before and she loves bakeries even more than I do, especially ones with bread in them.  Her bread obsession is through the roof and because of me, she drools over pastries even more than she used to.  If it was up to her, we’d bring the bakery home with us.  And if I’m bringing her to Bloor West Village, we’ll have at least five bakeries coming home with us.    

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Anna’s Bakery & Deli is located at 2394 Bloor Street West in Bloor West Village.  Bloor West Village can be accessed using public transit via the Runnymede and Jane subway stations, or any of the TTC buses that service both Runnymede Road and Jane St.