Weekly Feature: The Grad Lounge – Make Way For Bruschetta!

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You know the bruschetta is delicious when even my picky eater of a sweetie who hates tomatoes likes it!  I love bruschetta because of its versatility.  I have a weakness for things like prosciutto  with olive oil and capers, or smoked salmon, or mussels and oysters, and I’ve tried bruschetta made in different ways from different places like the avocado bruschetta from Southern Accent which is yummy as hell!  Crunchy grilled bread rubbed with garlic and olive oil would make anybody drool just by thinking about it and The Grad Lounge’s dish of bruschetta is a vegetarian version, juicy and fresh with lots of diced veggies and a reeeeally nice helping of melted cheese! 

The appetizer dish (3 for $3.95)  comes with 3 wedges of crispy bread topped with diced green bell pepper, juicy tomatoes, red onion and lots of melted marble cheese!  The bruschetta is available on The Grad Lounge’s daily permanent menu and comes in 2 sizes, one with 3 wedges and the other with, I believe, 5 or 6.  This is SO good.  There’s so much yummy stuff on it that you can’t even see the bread underneath.  The cheese is ooey and gooey and the combination of juicy and melty is perfect because the veggies and cheese balance one another well, and the veggies don’t make the bread soggy.  Good for sharing, or good for stuffing your own face.

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The Grad Lounge is located at 166 South Ross at the York University Keele campus.  They offer a number of daily specials in addition to their permanent menu, and provide numerous vegetarian and vegan options.

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Weekly Feature: The Grad Lounge – The Melty, Toasty, Crunchy Tuna Melt

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The tuna melt  is one of my favourite Grad Lounge dishes!  It’s funny, when we were in elementary or high school, sandwiches were one of those things that we often brought because 1) hey, that’s just what our parents used to make and if you didn’t like it you didn’t get lunch, 2) they didn’t need to be microwaved, and 3) they didn’t leak and make a mess all over the place (hopefully).  We brought them so often, day in and day out, that we would get bored of them and the last thing you’d want eating out was a sandwich.  And here I am eating a schooltime staple at the age of 25 and loving it: tuna salad.

Now I know it may seem like your regular sammie, but this ain’t no boring schoolyard lunch in a lunch box.  It’s one of my favourites because it incorporates 2 of my sandwich loves: tuna and cheese!  Served together or separately, I’m quite fond of tuna salad and you all know how dearly I adore cheese.  The tuna melt is fab.  It’s served on 3 slices of  toasty, crusty marble rye bread with tuna salad, slices of cucumber, melted marble cheese, and dried parsley flakes sprinkled on top with a side salad of mixed greens and sun-dried tomato dressing.  I love how toasty and warm and soft everything is and the melt gets brownie points in my book because the tuna salad is made in my favourite way: with chopped celery!  It’s how I make my tuna at home and it makes me all squealy knowing others make it and serve it the same way 😀  The tuna melt is part of the permanent Grad Lounge menu, so you can order it any day of the week and it is all sorts of warm and comforting.  Our schooltime sandwich is all grown up.  Awww.

*****

The Grad Lounge is located at 166 South Ross at the York University Keele campus and have extended their hours to 9pm in the evening from Monday to Thursday, and until 7pm on Friday.

Valentine’s Series: The Keys to My Heart Part III – ‘L’ is for Love…and Lasagna at The Grad Lounge

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A favourite among Grad Lounge regulars, meat and veggie lasagna dishes!  Lasagna can taste different based on its noodle-meat/veggie-cheese ratio, but these squares (or cubes, rather) of lasagna are so outrageously delicious with their soft lasagna noodles and ooey gooey melting cheese.  I especially love the veggie lasagna with its freshly grated carrots, chopped spinach, and crunchy bread crumb topping.  The meat lasagna is a staple in the permanent menu, and the veggie lasagna makes a consistent appearance in the rotating menu of daily specials, as well as at numerous Dinner & Dialogue events.  The lasagna is hot and steamy and so fresh strings of cheese drag for miles; it then lounges out on your plate waiting to be devoured.

The veggie lasagna is one of my favourite Grad Lounge dishes and I love it so much that I could eat the whole aluminum tray of it Homer Simpson style.  Remember the Simpsons episode where Homer goes bat apeing shit crazy at the all-you-can-eat seafood buffet at the Fryin’ Dutchman?  And instead of taking a plate, he just grabs the whole steamed tray of seafood?  Yeah, that would be me. 

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The Grad Lounge is located at 166 South Ross at the York University Keele campus and have extended their hours to 9pm in the evening from Monday to Thursday, and until 7pm on Friday.  I’m working on getting a list of ingredients used in both kinds of lasagna, so when I do I’ll be sure to update!

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.