A Photo Spotlight on Luxurious Macaron Bites & Gourmet French Eats at Nadège Patisserie

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Nadège Patisserie is a gourmet food boutique and patisserie specializing in Parisian macarons, French pastries and cakes, and fine chocolates.  They serve two locations in Toronto: 1) 780 Queen Street West beside Trinity Bellwoods Park and 2) 1099 Yonge Street several blocks away from Summerhill subway station, where these particular photos were taken on a rainy Sunday afternoon!  They are open 7 days a week: 8am-8pm Monday to Wednesday, 8am-9pm Thursday and Friday, 8am-8pm Saturday, and 8am-7pm Sunday.

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The Cupcakes, Cookies, & Cakes in the Hat – A Photo Spotlight on Dessert Oasis, Bakerbots, in Bloorcourt Village, Part I!

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Bakerbots is located at 205 Delaware Ave by Ossington subway station, nearest major intersection being Bloor Street West and Ossington Ave. in Bloorcourt Village.  Bakerbots specializes in all things sweet with desserts and baked goods being churned out by the truckload!  They are part bakery, part design studio, part ice cream parlour, and full on dessert emporium!  Their hours of operation: Tuesday-Thursday, 6pm-10pm (ice cream treats only); Friday, 4pm-11pm; Saturday, 11am-11pm; Sunday, 11am-10pm.  You can visit their site HERE.  Part II full write-up post coming tomorrow!

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

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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.

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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

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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!

Photo Spotlight on Mushroom and Collard Green Mini Pies by Yorktown Pie Company

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It’s time for me to divulge yet another food confession: throughout my almost 27 years of life, I have never been a pie lover.  Ice cream, yes.  Cookies, yes.  Cupcakes, OH YES.  But never pie.  I know, it sounds absurd considering how much I adore Wanda’s Pie in the Sky and my dear Raymerville Bakery & Deli up in my neck of the woods; but it’s true.  I once read in one of my Martha Stewart Living magazines that Martha herself thought that the best dessert was a piece of pie.  And I rememeber reading that sentence and thinking, “really?!”  I just couldn’t wrap my head around that.  My mum and brother would share an entire 8-inch between the two of them and I’d stare at them quizzically and wonder what the heck was wrong with me – or maybe what the heck was wrong with them.  I’ve always thought pies were beautiful.  And at times I would even salivate over varieties such as lemon meringue and cherry and the occasional cream pie.  But, truth be told, if I saw an ice cream truck passing by, I’d leave the pies in the dust and chase the truck down the street. 

There’s always a place and time to for preferences and tastebuds to evolve though, and our beloved hometown Yorktown Pie Company has carved a little pastry wedge into my heart with their adorable sweet and savoury mini pies, tarts, and turnovers.  I always internally squeal over how cute they are and I marvel at how so much amazing food and flavour can be tucked away in such a little package.  The aesthetic makes my heart melt and all the different fillings and flavour combinations have me coming back for more.  Everything is baked and handmade with so much love and care, with family recipes spanning decades and generations coming to fruition at farmers’ markets across the city.  All of Yorktown Pie Company’s little pie gems are priced between $2-$6 and their savoury pies are great to have for lunch alongside a salad while their sweet ones are fantastic all on their own as a full-blown, foodgasmic dessert.  There’s a reason why their apple sour cream is nicknamed “apple crack”! 

I am all over their sweet pastries and pies (their butter tarts are delicious and anything apple of theirs needs to be inhaled) and their vegetarian offerings such as their spinach and goat cheese and this little guy over here: the mushroom and collard greens pie with soy egg base!  I love mushrooms like PB loves J and anything with collard greens piques my interest since it’s not something you see in baked goods very often.  And the soy egg base!  It’s like silky egg tofu and savoury custard all in one.  What makes the pie even more terrific is how great it tastes both warm and cold and how it’s literally studded from top to bottom with veggies and filling. 

It’s the kind of food that would be great as part of a brunch or light lunch and if you’re looking for something a little heartier, Yorktown has a number meat pies including a chicken pot and a stout steak mushroom!  I haven’t had anything of theirs in weeks (I know, what a lengthy period of time!) and I would love to get my hands on another one of their coconut butter tarts, their apple sour cream, their apple crumble, and anything with cheese in it.  It’s going to be one heck of a warm and sunny Canada Day long weekend this weekend, so head out to Wychwood tomorrow if you’re looking to enjoy some great eats and adorable pies at a great market.  Happy weekend, everyone!

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Yorktown Pie Company is a local food business here in Toronto specializing in everything pie!  From pot pies to tarts to turnovers, they churn out the sweet and savoury baked goods and pastries on a weekly basis at farmers’ markets across the city.  You can find their vast array of good eats at The Stop Farmers’ Market at Wychwood Barns on Saturdays and the Toronto Office Market at the Soft Choice courtyard on Wednesdays.

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.