Deb’s New Morning Haunt – Coffee, Tea, and Beautiful Country Kitchen Gifts and Goodies at La Merceria

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Thanks to Lisa from Le Dolci, I am now aware of this beautiful gem of a coffee, tea, and giftwares shop!  I felt so silly the first time Lisa took me here because it’s located on a street I’ve been on a number of times and in a downtown neighbourhood I’m not entirely unfamiliar with.  Located near the intersection of Adelaide Street West and Portland Street (just east of Bathurst), La Merceria sits snuggly beside Sadie’s Diner and is wedged neatly between the Fashion Districts of King and Queen.  With a few mannequins standing in the storefront window draped with pretty scarves, I completely mistook the shop for being a hip clothing boutique and always strolled past, conveniently averting my eyes so as to not tempt myself with more pretty things.  I love accessories and clothes, yes, but we’re in the downtown core here; I want to come home with something in my wallet.  I often avoid independent boutiques like the plague not because I don’t want to own all the gorgeous garments they have to offer, but because window shopping in such shops just makes me heart whimper a little.

So when Lisa took me here, I was shocked out of my pants to find out that La Merceria was in fact not a clothing boutique but was instead a fusion of 1) a gift shop, 2) a kitchen housewares store, and 3) a coffee and tea cafe with drinks and food.  I could have died right there on the spot.  It walked in and it was like a halo of light floated around me.  This cafe and shop is beautiful.  So country chic, so bright and clean, and so wonderfully cozy.  Think wood floors, wood chairs, wood tea tables, cushiony seats and pillows, brilliant sunlight streaming through the front windows and door, and shelves and tables lined and stocked with some of the most adorable kitchen housewares, accesssories, stationery, and gifts imaginable. 

It’s perfect for the cafe lover, droolworthy for those in love with interior decorating, and just dangerous for the kitchen accessory fanatic.  Oh, this was bad.  This might have been even worse than a clothing boutique.  And all because I couldn’t stop ogling the lavender and powder blue tea cups, dishes, and tea towels.  Oh, and the tote bags in the back of the shop.  And the cute stationery.  And the rest of the shop.

As Lisa informed me, the owners of La Merceria hail from Argentina and many of the drinks, artwork, and interior design and decorating in the shop show off this cultural heritage.  I can’t wait to show you guys more of the food and coffee drinks they have here in future posts; I may not be a coffee drinker but I’m sure I can make an exception every once in awhile 😉  They have both hot and chilled coffee drinks (lattes, americanos, espressos, mochas, and more) and they also have lemonades and In terms of food, think more along the lines of light breakfast and lunch, snacks, and tea time with crunchy cream cheese toasted bagels, quiche pies, salads, sandwiches, small baguettes and biscuits, cookies and sweets, and vegan, dairy and nut-free desserts from Sweets From the Earth.  I am so excited to actually have some food here.  The quiches, biscuit cookies, and cute biscuit sandwiches were calling my name!

For the time being though, my favourite thing to do here (aside from staring at all the pretty things I want to buy) is to sit down at one of the lovely wooden tables by the front with the squishy cushions behind me with a hot cup of tea.  They serve a selection of yummy Tealish teas and thus far I’ve had their Sweetie Pie Rooibos and Tahitian Moon Vanilla Rooibos and between the two I’m definitely in love with the Sweetie Pie!  What I absolutely adore about La Merceria and their “tea”ness is how they serve it!  The tea is served in giant glass or ceramic mugs on a dish with a little spoon (to stir with or to add honey or sugar) and the cutest little shortbread cookie biscuit!  This biscuit with my tea just makes my morning.  I may not have been to every cafe in town, but I can assure you that no other place I’ve been to serves their tea like this.  It makes me so giddy and I love starting my morning this way.  It’s the kind of place you envision yourself having a sunny bite in or a great coffee or tea date.  It’s so peaceful, relaxing, and beautiful being here and I love it.  This, my lovelies, is my new morning haunt.

 

*****

La Merceria is located at 506 Adelaide Street West by the northwest corner of Adelaide and Portland Street, east of Bathurst.  La Merceria is located beside Sadie’s Diner and Juice Bar.  Visit their website and blog here for updates, info, promos, events, pictures, and contact information and visit their Facebook page here.   

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The Cupcake Life – My First Day As the Newest Icing Sugar Queen at Le Dolci Cupcake & Design Studio!

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Bags of icing sugar.  Tubs of buttercream frosting.  Cooling racks with fresh, golden brown vanilla cupcakes.  Aprons, mixing bowls, measuring spoons, spatulas, and a mixer that rivals the Energizer Bunny!  I was surrounded by all of these tools, goodies, and everything in between on my first day interning at Le Dolci today and I had such a fun, wonderful time with Lisa and the other ladies learning about the business and getting my mixing and baking on!  For those who saw my happy announcement on my facebook page, you knew about my soon-to-be adventures in flour and frosting bliss, but for those of you who didn’t see the news,  yours truly has joined the Le Dolci team as the newest Icing Sugar queen in their cupcake, baking, and design studio!

Hailing from the UK, Le Dolci is Lisa’s cupcake and baking empire which now resides in the heart of downtown Toronto.  Located on Portland Street between King Street West and Wellington Ave., Le Dolci is a cupcake studio that specializes in teaching, catering, and creating a fun atmosphere to build relationships and baked goods!  Le Dolci hosts and organizes cupcake decorating and baking classes and parties, catering for corporate and personal events, and fun Iron Cupcake challenges for businesses who want to treat their employees to a day of team-building and fun!  Have you always dreamed about getting your girlfriends together for a day of cupcakes, frosting, and decorating with oodles of supplies and yummy goodies at your disposable?  Le Dolci is at your service.  Thinking about ordering cupcakes for a reception?  Done.  Yearning for a creative outlet to learn or perfect a baking or decoraing skill?  Also done!  The studio is so versatile because aside from cupcakes, Lisa and the girls host classes for baking cake pops, macarons, cookie decorating, and so much more.

My first day was so much fun.  With some of my favourite music playing in the studio, I helped Lisa, Miya, and Lisa’s mum with the basics today, making tubs of vanilla buttercream frosting in pretty pastel colours (a tub of white, bubblegum pink, pale yellow, and mint green) and oodles of freshly baked vanilla cupcakes for orders and events!  

Even though I do cupcake and cookie baking myself, this was such a different experience because for one thing, I was using a stand mixer (I use a hand held electric one at home because we just don’t have the counter space in our kitchen for one) and for another, we were making cupcakes and frostings in VERY large quantities.  Thanks to my foodie reading material, I’m well aware that baking in large quantities calls for a different way of measuring out ingredients, using mass “weight” measurements as opposed to cup measurements.  Even though I knew about this very important nugget of baking knowledge, today was the first time I actually had to utilize it and I know I probably sound like a nerd when I say this, but measuring out ingredients is so incredibly relaxing and therapeutic.

I have cake pop making in the near future and lots of experimenting, designing, and baking!  I’ve learned so much on the first day already and I can’t wait to help out in bringing some ideas the others are bouncing around to life, as well as creating some of my own.  It’s going to be a lot of fun posting more photos of everything we’re doing at the studio as we go along, so I’m definitely going to be adding to these posts!     

It’s hard to put into words how much being here means to me right now.  Scrapbooking, food, photographing food, cupcakes, baking, designing pretty things…they all make me so happy.  I’ve never felt good without a creative outlet.  To be soul-baringly honest, my life has felt so empty during times without art in it in some shape or form.  I struggled for years against my parents’ idea of what constituted a lucrative career versus my own aspirations and true loves, and I’ve worked really hard for my happiness.  Sometimes fate works out in peculiar ways and I am so grateful that things worked out and that I’m here, even if it may not forever.  Everything about my time at Le Dolci screams “ME!!” and it’s exciting because it’s just the beginning.

*****

Le Dolci is a private studio located at 75 Portland St., just east of Bathurst near King St. West.  The studio hosts cupcake decorating classes and handles catering for both corporate and personal events.  For more information on classes, schedules, rates, and more, visit their official website here and their Facebook page here.

Special thanks to my friend Sophie for the inspiration for the post title!