Crazy in Love with Lemon Blueberry Scones! A Visit to Cobs Bread – The Ate by Ate Daily, Vol. 009

2 Comments

DSCN2331Current obsession: the lemon-blueberry scones from Cobs Bread!  I’ve been going crazy over these since May, to the point where I almost can’t pass them up any time I’m around a Cobs Bread now.  Even my brother, who normally wouldn’t touch a blueberry much less eat one (it’s one of his least favourite fruits) has totally given in to the lemon-blueberry scone love and scarfed a few of these babies down right along with me.  THEY ARE SO DARN YUMMY.  The glaze, the oodles of blueberries bursting from every scone and the sweet and zesty lemon make for delicious teatime snacks and, if you like things sweet in the morning, breakfasts.  Just think, they’d be so perfect paired with the Blueberry Jam tea from David’s Tea or the Lemon Meringue tea from Tealish or any other sweet or citrusy fresh flavours.  You could plan a whole breakfast or tea menu around these lovely pastries, what with blueberry pancakes, lemon tarts, loaf cakes, lemon bars, blueberry oatmeal cookies…I could daydream about this for a long time!  I am a lover of all things lemon, especially lemon desserts, and most blueberry things as well so the two married together in a scone is just heaven in my mouth.

DSCN2012 - Copy

DSCN2012

DSCN2330

They’re $1.75 each and I’ve been getting mine from the Annex location just west of Spadina on Bloor Street West but any Cobs Bread location will do.  So far I’ve only tried the lemon-blueberry and cinnamon flavours but my brother has given the thumbs up for the apple butterscotch one and my boyfriend has given a heartfelt, “Mmmm….” for their double chocolate ones so none of us have struck out on any of their scone flavours just yet.  While I love the lemon-blueberry ones to itty bitty pieces, I wouldn’t mind trying their berry white chocolate ones too so we’ll see if I can get my hands on one of them in the near future.  In the meantime, I think I’ll continue drooling over these.

DSCN2332

 

DSCN2335

DSCN2336

*****

The Cobs Bread shop in the Annex is located at 370 Bloor Street West several blocks west of Spadina Ave. between Walmer and Dalton Rd.  Visit the Cobs Bread site: http://www.cobsbread.com/local-bakery/my-local-bakery for other locations in and around Toronto and the GTA.

Mini Croissants, Crostini, Crème Brûlée & More – Afternoon Tea at Dessert Trends & Bistro, Part II

1 Comment

f1242368

“…bringing many different generations of women together in one room to share stories and memories, reminisce over old photographs, and enjoy the bonding ritual of afternoon tea.” – Melissa Placzek, Teatime magazine (March/April 2013: 55)

And bond we did as my best friend and I enjoyed a girls day out sipping mimosas and cups of tea, enjoying scones, biscuits, cookies, petit fours and savoury pastries and finger sandwiches at Desserts Trends & Bistro (DT Bistro) on Harbord Street one sunny, beautiful Saturday afternoon.  Surrounded by flowers, vibrant paintings and cushy seats bathed in creams and cappuccino browns, we laughed, took too many photos (scratch that, that’s not possible in my world), talked about our friends, our family, and memories.

We argued over who would get the last finger sandwich and the last petit four (“no, YOU take it…no, you take it!”), we ordered mimosas on a whim, we drank so much tea we rolled out the patisserie like watermelons, we rummaged through our wallets and coin purses for those darn extra loonies and quarters to split the bill as evenly as humanly possible (the last time I stole the bill I chased down our server when she wasn’t looking and when she found out she tried to shove monies at me as we were leaving – it was about as aggressive as I’d ever seen her in our 13 going on 14 years of friendship) and we gushed about how much fun it was.

f1143488

f1321600

f1004992

For 3 hours.

Yes, you read right.  THREE HOURS.  I’m not kidding.  By the time we had paid our monies and were grabbing our bags, my best friend checked the time and gasped, “oh my gosh it’s 5!”.  “IT’S FIVE?!”  She looked at me.  I looked back at her.  We both wore the same incredulous yet amused expression.  We sputtered giggles.  “We stayed for the entire duration of afternoon tea!”

And it had truly felt like nothing.

f1052416

f1114240

f1304832

I know a food blog isn’t a food blog without, well, food on it.  And stories about food.  And photos of food.  But every so often, it’s worth it to step away from that – even for just half a post – to reflect.  To reflect on why we food bloggers do what we do.  I know we all have our own motivations, reasons and intentions, all of which make us who we are.  But I can truly say, from the happiest corners of my heart, that blogging has transformed so many of my relationships for the better and created lasting new ones.  And I continue to blog because it strengthens them.

It brings joy to my life when someone’s face lights up after I mention a great place I’ve been to that they love too and we then proceed to yap our mouths off about it.  My heart swells with happiness and pride when a person comes back to me and thanks me for recommending a place.  And it makes me so happy knowing I have made memory after memory after memory doing food-related things.  And now, afternoon tea has proved no different: a tradition with the bestie has been born.

f1154880

And really, Dessert Trends & Bistro (DT Bistro) is one of the most beautiful places to create those memories and make those lasting traditions and relationships.  Their dining area is just all sorts of gorgeous and while I haven’t explored the 2nd floor, their website has indicated that a beautiful rooftop patio and garden exist, ripe for the lounging, eating, and relaxing.  Known for their weekend brunch and of course, they’re desserts and catering, DT Bistro also offers afternoon tea service on the weekends from 2pm-5pm for $28 per person.  Along with bubbly like wines and cocktails (bestie ordered a regular mimosa while I took the plunge and went after the lavender passionfruit variety), their afternoon tea offers 9 loose leaf tea options including such flavours as Blood Orange rooibos, Egyptian chamomile, Jasmine green tea, Royal Earl Grey, Genmai Cha (a Japanese fusion nutty puffed rice and green tea), and my pick, the Marrakech Mint, a blend of green tea, Moroccan mint, and bergamot.

Each person receives their own pot of tea with constant hot water refills throughout the meal with a set of savoury tea sandwiches, scones and biscuit cookies with cream, jam, and lemon curd, and sweet desserts a la petit fours.  Now, a full afternoon tea follows somewhat of a consistent format that you would likely expect at any establishment, but it’s the execution and style that sets these tea services apart.  It’s absolutely fascinating to see how the different presentations and interpretations play out on the tiered tray of yummies.

f1213760

f1190912

f1293440

Windsor Arms makes their finger sandwiches in spiral, pinwheel style.  Le Dolci does the triangles with the crusts cut off.  Dessert Trends?  A mish-mash of everything in the best way possible!  You have the mushroom strudel wrapped in pastry, the sundried tomato and roasted goat cheese crostini, the seafood spring roll with crab and shrimp with mango and lime vinaigrette salsa dipping sauce, and the most adorable crispy, airy mini croissant filled with pickled fennel, sour cream and smoked salmon.  What’s an afternoon tea without smoked salmon, yes?  It was so very cool seeing such a wide assortment of savoury bites and was it ever delicious eating them!

Scones were accompanied by cream, raspberry jam and lemon curd and my word was the raspberry jam ever amazing!  The lemon curd is a giveaway to me; I love everything lemon so it was a love no-brainer.  But that jam.  We were both taken aback at how yummy it was!  Along with those scones sat shortbread cookies, pound cake, chocolate covered seed cookies and thumbprints.

f1230912

And no afternoon tea is complete without dessert and lots of it!  We were given an assortment of petit fours: a raspberry chocolate fudge tart, a creme brulee mini cheesecake, a rhubarb and tropical fruit cream custard, and a green tea eclair.  It was all so beautiful, different, vibrant and colourful and aside from the delicious food, what really meant a lot was not feeling uncomfortable or rushed during our tea.  Our teapots were refilled with smiles and not once did we feel like we were being shooed out.  We left with happy hearts and full tummies, knowing this would be filed away as one of the most special, fun, and delicious afternoons ever.

DSCN7624

*****

Dessert Trends & Bistro (DT Bistro) is located at 154 Harbord Street by the corner of Brunswick Ave., between Spadina Ave. and Bathurst Street.

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

4 Comments

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

Continue Reading »

Adorable Tea Cups, Dishes, & Saucers and Enough Tea Sandwiches & Sweets to Last a Week! Afternoon Tea at Le Dolci!

3 Comments

I always knew I enjoyed tea (I thank all those weekend dim sum brunch meals growing up for that!), but I never thought I’d love it and engage with it as much as I do now.  I drink tea every morning when I come into work (it’s such a delight rotating between my current 5 loose leaf packets from Steeped & Infused), I keep up with seasonal flavours, I read tea books, I love marrying cupcakes with a cup of hot tea, and I am absolutely amoured by tea time and afternoon teas!  The atmosphere, the food, the beautiful accessories, porcelain and china; the dining experience it affords is in a league of it own.  My dream would be to attend every imaginable afternoon tea in the land – I would be so happy!  I think my obsession with tea is definitely nearing its peak and I really don’t see it waning any time soon.

So I indulged my warm and fuzzy feelings for afternoon tea with a special Sunday afternoon tea at Le Dolci’s sweet studio!  Soft music floating in the background, adorable tea cups, saucers, and dishes, and over 5 different types of decadent desserts among other delectable eats – afternoon tea at Le Dolci is as sweet as it gets!  I was so, so excited when I found out Lisa and the team would be doing afternoon tea sessions at their new studio on Dundas West back in August.  I knew the experience would be really fun, different, and yummy, but I also knew that this was something really personal and special to Lisa.  After living and working in the UK for a decade, the tea bug is bound to bite you one way or another if you haven’t been bitten already!  Lisa, Miya, and I used to drink tea together all the time when I was interning at the studio and we’d always Ooo and ahh over sweet accessories we would find.  Aside from cupcakes and sweets, tea was a common love and it just made everything that much more mellow and relaxed when we took that time to savour it and enjoy it.

I was so excited to see what Lisa would have in store for this tea session.  Afternoon teas, held on Sundays (keep in mind that afternoon teas aren’t held every Sunday at this point though, they just happen to fall on Sundays when they are made available on the class schedule as opposed to Fridays or Saturdays for instance) from 12pm – 2pm, are non-instructional sessions that are open to anyone and everyone with a love for sweets and tea!  Non-instructional simply means that the afternoon tea is purely a “come in and stuff your face while having a lot of fun!” type of session.  There’s no workshop or seminar, no demo or crafting of anything ; it’s just pure enjoyment of food and drink.

Teas are priced at $35/person and spaces must be booked in advance, either by phone or through their website via the class schedule.  Now, I had a brain fart when I first booked my spot because I mixed myself up and thought the entire tea took 2 hours, but the 12pm-2pm tea time is completely flexible!  So long as you’ve booked your spot you’re welcome to start your tea at 12:30pm, 1pm, whatever floats your boat (within reason – obviously if you show up at a quarter to two, that’s not going to fly!) and subsequently, you can finish up any time within those 2 hours.  You simply need to book your spot in advance so Lisa and her team can plan out their tea menu and know exactly how much food to make so nothing goes to waste and so they can make sure everything is ready to go the morning of for the freshest baked goods and eats.

Beautiful sunlight streamed through the studio’s front display window and the big, long, stainless steel worktable was decked out in a white tablecloth with tea cups and saucers, milk and sugar, and small dishes to enjoy our nibbles!  The dishes and accessories were so darn gorgeous.  Enjoying the food on such pretty tableware was half the fun!  Some of these dishes were special antiques and works of art from the UK (that dish featured in the first photo?  Hand-painted!), while others were just nifty pick-ups around town.  The crazy tea accessory lover in me was lapping all this up like an eager puppy!

Okay, so what does afternoon tea at Le Dolci entail?  Hot loose leaf tea from Tealish (4 flavours on hand including Sweetie Pie, Earl Grey Classic, Sencha Organic green tea, and Peppermint!), 4 different kinds of tea sandwiches on multi-grain bread with the crusts cut off (but of course!), and literally enough sweets and baked goods to last you an entire week – no joke!  The awesome thing about the tea specifically is that you can try different kinds!  Lisa will brew a pot of whatever flavour you want at first, but if you decide that you want to try a different one middway through, she can brew another one.  Granted, I wouldn’t start asking for all 4 flavours, but it’s fine if you want to sip on another one later on in the tea.

Another thing I really loved was the sheer volume of food!  All afternoon teas are based on a per person count, but holy bejeebus, after my boyfriend and I polished off our sandwich plate with 8 portions, Lisa came by and plopped another plate of 4 in front of us!  That’s 6 sandwiches in total, 3 per person (each portion is half a sandwich).  I don’t know about you, but I have never eaten 3 sandwiches plus sweets plus a bajillion cups of tea.  I knew there would be leftovers (gut intuition) so I came prepared and brought tupperware.  It came in handy!  That day, we were given an assortment of roast beef with mustard, smoked salmon, ham, and a fantastic egg salad with crunchy green onions!  You all know I love smoked salmon to pieces, but I have to say, I loved the ham and egg salad ones a lot too!  So simple yet so good.

And the sweets.  Oh, the sweets.  Full-size frosted cupcakes (vanilla with coffee frosting and chocolate with vanilla frosting), mini cupcakes (vanilla and coffee), biscotti, little scones (cheddar and dried fruit ones), brownie squares, lemon coconut squares, macarons (coconut and strawberry), and lamingtons, an Australian and New Zealand dessert made of sponge cake and coated in chocolate and rolled in shredded coconut!  Did you get all that?!  It was such a great varied assortment and there were so many different things to try!  I loved the variety and if I had to choose, my favourites would have to be the lemon coconut squares, the cupcakes with coffee frosting, and the macarons!

It was a really fun, sweet afternoon tea and I’m so happy Lisa decided to have it as part of her fun foodie line-up.  I genuinely enjoyed all the food we were given and it’s just nice being in the studio surrounded by yummy smells and great people.  I am no doubt coming back for more – the leftovers are just the icing on the cake!

******

Le Dolci brand new studio is located at 1006 Dundas Street West, right at the corner of Dundas West and Montrose Ave. The studio is across the street from Trinity Bellwoods Park and are open for business 6 days a week.  Operating hours are from 10am-6pm from Tuesday to Saturday and 12pm-5pm on Sundays.

Home Sweet “Cupcake” Home – Whoopie Pies & Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes at Sweet Bliss Baking Company, Part II

Leave a comment

Sweet Bliss Baking Company is one of the cutest, sweetest, most adorable country chic bake shops in the city.  Each time I visit a new cupcake bakery, I think I’ve seen it all.  But as soon as I skip on over to the next cupcake shop on the master cupcake list (or just whichever new bakery that just happens to be in the vicinity), I’m met with an entirely different atmosphere and feel.  Some cupcakeries go sweet and colourful, some go haute couture cupcake style, and others keep it low maintenance and simple. 

Sweet Bliss Baking Company?  As warm and fuzzy as it gets.  It feels just like a cottage country, hometown bakery with its numerous shelves of homemade jams and preserves, wooden crates and accents, decorative mason jars, sweet daisies, and homey country decor.  It fits so perfectly in the Leslieville neighbourhood and as one of many cupcake and bakeshops on the Queen Street East, it totally holds it own and sets itself apart.  As well, Sweet Bliss is a great little shop to pick up cute gifts such as vintage trinkets and cinnamon bun candles!  Come for a sweet treat and come for some gift shopping!  I love it.  I love the soft colour palette, I love the happy, sunshiney outlook the shop has, and of course, I love the mountains of delicious desserts!  Sweet Bliss caters to every sweet tooth with their assortment of cupcakes, tarts (butter and lwild blueberries from Nova Scotia), cake loaves and squares (got lemon?), brownies, cookies, pies, scones, cinnamon buns (tooted as the best in the city by some!), whoopie pies, and cheesecake bars, in addition to savoury tarts (spinach) and coffee and tea drinks. 

While they do sell much of their product in single servings, they sell many of their of their products in what I like to call, “sweet and hungry packs”.  They have baskets full of multi-cookie bags such as raspberry jam-filled cookies, brownie bliss cookies, and ginger cookies among others.  Their prices for baked dessert items range from $1.90 to $$6.95, with “sweet and hungry packs” coming in at the latter price.  Cupcakes, specifically, are priced at $2.50 each which is phenomenal because there are very few cupcakeries now that have stuck with the $2.50 price point.  Most have either bumped it up to $2.65 or $2.85 for the most part, so Sweet Bliss earns extra brownie points for keeping things affordable!  As much as I wanted to inhale a juicy tart lemon bar or blueberry cheesecake tart, I held off on getting one and opted to stick with what I came into the shop for: the reigning cupcake.

Sweet Bliss has a variety of flavours to choose from including a pretty pink frosted vanilla, a carrot cake, a red velvet, a double chocolate, two types of coconut, and several others, and they keep their cupcakes cool in their sliding fridge along with their monstrously huge chocolate whoopie pies which are priced at $3 each.  They’re actually one of the very few bakeries I know of that keep their cupcakes cool in a fridge.  Aside from Miss Cora’s Kitchen in Kensington Market, nobody else does that and I have to say, given how we’ve had some ridiculous heat in the city so far this summer, it’s something I really appreciate it.  I know some people think refrigerating cupcakes is a sin, but we’re not talking about putting them into the deep freeze, we’re just talking about keeping them cool and keeping them from melting right off the bat. 

Their chocolate coconut cupcake looked amazing so I snagged one of those as well as a giant chocolate whoopie pie with pale blue marshmallow cream filling.  They looked too delicious to pass up!  And I mean it when I say that their whoopie pies are huuuuge.  The whoopie pie was almost the size of my entire hand!  And I know I don’t have the biggest hands in the world, but still!  Not only was it big and fat and round, but it was also stuffed with the yummiest looking pale blue marshmallow cream frosting.  The chocolate whoopie pies are SO fudgy (seriously, you have chocolate fudginess stuck to your fingers while you’re eating) and the marshmallow cream is so smooth, light, and airy with the delicious taste of vanilla cream.  It was wonderful because the lightness and airiness didn’t translate into thinness; the marshmallow filling was creamy with just the right amount of thickness and density to keep it from being runny or mushy.  It was delightful and so worth it.   

And the cupcake!  OH.MY.GOD.  You would also think that after all these cupcakes I’ve eaten, I’d feel nonchalant towards flavours that are relatively common.  Chocolate and coconut are flavours we see all the time on and in cupcakes but that certainly didn’t stop me from salivating it over the chocolate coconut cupcakes when I saw them through the glass door.  This chocolate coconut cupcake is NOT your average cupcake.  The chocolate cake was cocoa-y and fudgy, yes, but what makes this cupcake ridiculously amazing and delicious is the frosting and shredded coconut on top.  You’re used to having buttercream on a cupcake in either the soft, whippy state or in the thick, sweet, and creamy one.  Sometimes you even get some with the swiss meringue or ganache dip.  How many chocolate coconut cupcakes do you know of that have CREAM CHEESE FROSTING ON TOP?!  Holy mother of pearl!  This cupcake was like a fudgy chocolate creamy coconut cheesecake!  The cream cheese frosting on chocolate with shredded coconut was unbelievably delicious and every bite was like heaven.   

Two amazing sweets from one very fabulous bake shop and worth every penny for the wonderful quality, and not to mention, size!  Sweet Bliss has terrific product, a sweet shop with so much character, and incredibly nice people working in it.  It took me awhile to finally check it off my master cupcake shop list, and it lived up to all my sweet expectations, and then some.  I can’t wait for all the follow-up trips I plan on making in the future.

*****

Sweet Bliss Baking Company is located at 1304 Queen Street East in Leslieville, two blocks east of Leslie St.  Sweet Bliss Baking Company offers an assortment of sweet treats including cupcakes, tarts, cookies, and brownies, as well as coffee drinks, gifts, and more.  Hours and days of operation to be posted!

Country Sweet Chic – Jams, Cupcakes, Tarts, Whoopie Pies and More at Sweet Bliss Baking Company, Part I

Leave a comment

*****

Sweet Bliss Baking Company is located at 1304 Queen Street East in Leslieville, two blocks east of Leslie St.  Sweet Bliss Baking Company offers an assortment of sweet treats including cupcakes, tarts, cookies, and brownies, as well as coffee drinks, gifts, and more.  Hours and days of operation to be posted!

Back to Cupcake Basics With Sweet Chocolate & Vanilla – Scones, Cupcakes, & Desserts at Hammersmith’s, Part II

1 Comment

Happy 1st Birthday, Hammersmith’s!

What’s better than a brunch cafe with delicious sandwiches, salads, and breakfast fare?  A brunch cafe with all of those things plus desserts for sweet endings!  I love it when I can plan a meal from beginning to end with either an appetizer and a main or a main and a side, and a dessert to neatly book end the happy experience.  I especially feel this way when I go out for sushi – if there isn’t dessert on the menu, I am one very sad cookie!  While I don’t order appetizers, extra sides, or dessert every time I’m out (I’d say this happens maybe 2 times out of 10 – foreshame!), it’s just nice knowing I can enjoy a variety of sweet and savoury items in one go because it also means an endless amount of mix-and-matching possibilities during future visits.  

Hammersmith’s delivers on all fronts.  Not only does Hammersmith’s do a mean sandwich and salad brunch plate (I could eat their arugula salad with olive oil and razor-thin radish slices endlessly), they also bake homemade baked goods and desserts on site including fresh scones, giant monster chocolate chunk cookies, and fluffy, mouthwatering cupcakes!  Much like their savoury brunch menu, their selection of sweets will change on a regular basis to reflect the season or pure inspiration.  They will always have scones though.  Their scones are available for purchase individually for $1.25 a piece, or as a scone plate for brunch with jam and cream for $5.  You could totally transform this into a lovely morning tea type of meal with a pot of hot loose leaf tea!

Brunch and afternoon tea scones

The frosted cupcake crown jewels

The showcase of desserts!

I truly believe I was blessed with good fortune on this day.  On Canada Day, Hammersmith’s celebrated their 1st anniversary and birthday!  How exciting it was to be a part of their special day!  And can you take a wild guess as to what made the birthday/anniversary festivities even mor jubiliant?  CUPCAKES!  Every patron was given a free cupcake in honour of this occasion and I was absolutely taken aback and shocked – in a good way!  Can you believe it?!  It’s almost as if the foodie gods wanted me to inhale a fresh cupcake over the weekend! 

They had cake stands full of plump cupcakes in different vanilla and chocolate combinations with the sweetest of decorations (rainbow sprinkles!  Chocolate sprinkles!  Pink sugar sparkles!  Crushed chocolate bits!) and they were all so pretty and so inviting.  Choosing my free cupcake (normally priced at $2.85) was like choosing a crown jewel – giddy but really hard to do!  Part of me was dying to snatch up the vanilla with sweet rainbow sprinkle dots and another part of me was yelling to grab the marble cake with marble frosting.  The “all-things-pink-and-pretty” part of me won over though and I chose the sweet chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting and pink sugar sparkles.

If you love that fresh cocoa taste combined with moist-out-of-the-oven softness and soft, creamy, whipped buttercream, these are right up your alley.  It’s crazy because even though they’re light, airy, and fluffy in both cake and frosting, their cupcakes are surprisingly filling!  They’re decorated and piped beautifully and they truly have that comfort food, straight from home oven feeling to them and they taste delightful.  They make you feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside because they really exude that “I was baked with love” glow.  It’s good old fashioned cupcake basics at its finest. 

The chocolate cake was fudgy with all sorts of warm cocoa goodness lurking throughout and the frosting was so soft.  The cake wasn’t so soft that the cupcake toppled over, but it wasn’t stiff and dense either and you could enjoy it the way it was meant to be enjoyed – in one piece in your hand (or in my case, with a dainty fork!) as you take bite after bite of fluffy goodness.  What was fantastic about it was how they compared to other buttercreams.  It didn’t leave a greasy film, it didn’t taste like a mouthtful of butetr, it wasn’t too sweet or bland, and the ratio between cake and frosting was perfect.      

Fluffy and soft like marshmallow cream

Happy 1st birthday to Hammersmith’s and happy cupcaking, cookie noshing, and scone nibbling for all the sweet tooths!  Next up tomorrow: Hammersmith 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.