The Fall Harvest Series – Thanksgiving in the City! Turkey Sandwiches, Crêpes, Buffets, Harvest Fests, Veg & More!

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I can count the number of times I’ve had traditional Thanksgiving food and dinner on less than one hand.  My family was never really into it growing up and even till this day, they can kind of take it or leave.  But I have to tell you, I LOVE the idea of the whole nine yards: roast turkey and gravy, roasted and steamed vegetables, potatoes, cranberry something or other, and plenty of pumpkin pie and other fall-inspired desserts!  My ideal traditional Thanksgiving dinner spread would consist of turkey and gravy, green beans, mashed potatoes (or any type of potato for that matter!), some squash, and some sweet and decadent apple caramel dessert with a little special pumpkin something on the side.

Whether you’re spending Thanksgiving at home with your family, going out of town, or scoping out delicious Thanksgiving yummies around the city, I hope everyone takes the time to slow things down and really enjoy the time off – providing you have it!  Things have been an absolute whirlwind for me, especially this past week, and I am so relieved to have this long weekend to myself.  Here at Kraft Kitchens, we’re in the middle of working on our summer 2013 magazine, we’re busting out new recipes and content to the web for holiday and festive 2012, we just pulled off a fantastic and crazy Kraft Kitchens Open House yesterday, and in several months we’ll be putting the spring 2013 magazine to bed.  I love my job and I love what I do, but truth be told, I am exhausted and was ready for this weekend weeks ago!

If you’re looking for some Thanksgiving feasts around town, here are some options you can check out as well as some Thanksgiving-inspired dishes that will totally hit the spot if you’re looking for something a little more casual but with the same holiday flair and flavour. Some of these events were pulled straight from the October Food Calendar while others are completely new to the blog, so enjoy and jot these down!

First off, turkey!  I love a good turkey sandwich and 1) Sky Blue Sky Sandwiches in the Annex (605 Bloor Street West just west of Bathurst St.) has the perfect Thanksgiving-inspired sandwich for that hungry tummy!  Their “One Wing” sandwich ($4.99) is stuffed with sliced oven roasted turkey, cream cheese, cranberry sauce, and stuffing on their signature cranberry and cream cheese bread.  Talk about Thanksgiving rolled into one!  And hopefully if you’re lucky, Sky Blue Sky sandwiches will have their sweet glazed pumpkin cookies on hand to go with it as well as some fall soups.

In addition, 2) Spin Cafe (2177 Yonge Street by Yonge & Eglinton, as well as several other locations around the GTA.  Click the link above for more info) is dishing out the fall and Thanksgiving seasonal goods with an ENTIRE menu of delicious food!  Drinks, desserts, entrees, you name it, they have it.  Just in time for Thanksgiving, Spin is featuing their Thankful Savoury Crepe ($14.25), a crepe filled with carved turkey breast, potatoes, and stuffing with a side of cranberries and savoury gravy!

Source: Mary Macleods Shortbread e-newsletter

Mary Macleods Shortbread on Queen Street East in Riverside is also celebrating the Thanksgiving Harvest with some ridiculously adorable shaped shortbread cookies!  Turkey birds, fall leaves, and cute-as-a-button smiling pumpkins are all here for the weekend, so visit the shop if you want in on the goods.  And if you’re in the neighourhood for yummy shortbread, swing by the Leslieville Farmers’ Market on Sunday from 9am-2pm for their Harvest Celebration!  Pick up some amazing food at the market to outfit your dinner table and feast your eyes and tummy on an assortment of pumpkin pies, pumpkins and apples, pumpkin and apple desserts (Augie’s is selling pumpkin popsicles!), sweet potato curry, meat pies, cranberry and lingonberry compotes, fresh fall vegetables and more!

As well, don’t forget to check out THIS POST from Blog TO where they list 6 spots in the city serving special turkey dinner and Toronto’s Vegetarian Association (veg.ca) for some fabulous tips and recipes for non-turkey, vegetarian and vegan Thanksgiving meals!

And if you’re in the mood for something extravagent and lavish or just plain festive, here are some feasts and fests that are right up your alley:

  • At Home for Harvest at The Gibson House, October 6-8. 12pm-5pm.  5172 Yonge Street just north of the North York Centre subway station.  $5.48 admission for adults, $3.10 for seniors 65+ and youth ages 13-18, $2.62 for children ages 2-12.  Enjoy a celebration of the harvest over Thanksgiving weekend at one of Toronto’s historic houses!  Spend time in a busy, bustling historic farm kitchen and watch as harvest foods are prepared for tasting!  http://www.toronto.ca/culture/museums/featured-events.htm

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  • Thanksgiving Day Brunch at Casa Loma, October 7.  Seatings at 10:30am, 11am, 12:30pm, 1pm. 1 Austin Terrace (near Spadina Ave. and Davenport Rd.).  $51.45 +HST/adult, $26.45 +HST/child 4-12, $13.45 +HST/child 1-3 (prices include brunch and admission to the castle).  Feast on a Thanksgiving meal like no other in the majestic setting in the stately library in Casa Loma!  http://www.casaloma.org/events.index.gk

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  • Thanksgiving Dinners at Black Creek Pioneer Village, October 7 & 8. Seatings at 12pm, 2:30pm, and 5pm.  1000 Murray Ross Parkway near York University at Black Creek’s Half Way House Restaurant.  $53.99 +HST/adult, $27 +HST/child (prices include meal, gratuity, and admission to the grounds).  Enjoy the bounty of local Ontario produce and meat in a historical pioneer setting with a horse-drawn wagon ride to boot!  The elaborate Thanksgiving dinner menus will include dishes and options such as butternut squash soup with maple crème fraiche, rustic maple root vegetable risotto with sage and brown butter, local Ontario turkey with walnut sage stuffing, cinnamon orange cranberry sauce, green beans and bacon and mashed potatoes, and much more! http://www.blackcreek.ca/events/event.dot?id=144010
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The Fall Harvest Series – Today’s Thanksgiving! Enjoying Baked Goodies From Evergreen Brick Works, Part III

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Happy Thansgiving to all my fellow Canadian lovelies!  I hope everyone’s had a fun and relaxing long weekend and I hope you all got the chance to eat some amazing food, with or without the turkey!  I’ve had a fabulous weekend, going to Evergreen Brick Works with my family for the first time, having a delicious Sunday brunch at Cardinal Rule (blog post forthcoming!), visiting two more markets on Sunday, and catching up on some much needed sleep today!  There’s so much that I want to do and see still (I still want to get in an apple orchard visit for starters!), and I feel like the days and weeks go by so quickly I can never get everything I want done actually done.  I will say though that this weekend was fantastic and I’m glad I got to fit in so much of what I wanted to do. 

I am bummed though that I wasn’t able to get out and capture a Thanksgiving meal to the nines for you all though.  There were some amazing Thanksgiving feasts being put on by some really places in the city, but the timing just didn’t work out for me.  No extravagent Thanksgiving meal photos – not for this year anyway!  Even though my family and I fancy the idea of traditional Thanksgiving food (you know, the roast turkey, potatoes, cranberry sauce, that kind of thing), there have been very few times in my life that I’ve actually had that type of meal with all the trimmings.  Just think, the first time I ever had pumpkin pie was last October and the last time our family did the big Thanksgiving dinner with the turkey was five years ago!

Mini pumpkins from Kensington Market. Awww ❤

Amazing mini buns from Evergreen Brick Works!

Do I wish that I had more of those meals to enjoy?  Sure I do, but at the same time, I’ve been really happy just having fun with the season in other ways.  I love fall comfort food and baking, and every year I get excited about the festiveness that surrounds Thanksgiving.  My brother and I love watching the Thanksgiving episodes of F.R.I.E.N.D.S, I adore reading holiday-centric books (the Baby-Sitters Club fan in me is still alive and kicking!), I get inspired by scrapbooking fall themed pages, home decor and kitchen accessories, and flipping through fall food magazines and cookbooks.  I may not have the tradtional meals under my belt, but what I have are sweet memories from Thanksgivings past (I don’t think I’ll ever forget the amazing spread my aunt put out when I was 9!), wonderful, homecooked food, and a family, boyfriend, and friends to go through life with.

    

Pumpkin cranberry scones!

I’m bookending the Evergreen Brick Works fall series today with a look at some of the mouth-watering baked goods at the market!  Bread and baked yummies and sweets are definitely a weakness for both my mum and I.  She’s a breadhead and I have a sweet tooth, so together we basically carry a whole bakery home with us when we decide to purchase things.  The market is amazing for things like this because there’s so much variety.  Different kinds of baguettes, loaves, and buns, muffins, cakes, pies, squares, pastries, and all sorts of other goodies.  We picked up a beautiful and delicious mini vegetable and cheese pizza  for my lunch, a blueberry maple syrup scone (OH.MY.GOD), a raisin muffin, and a grab bag of 8 mini bread buns in all these different flavours!  The grab bag had plain ones, wheat ones, corn bread, pumpkin, and BEET BREAD!!!

As my family and I were waiting for the Evergreen Brick Works shuttle bus, there was this nice woman who we chatted with who told us about the famous beet bread at the market and we totally lucked out finding the vendor and bakers who made it.  I’m a weenie though because in my giddy haste over cute buns I didn’t take a photo of the booth itself or get the name of the lovely people behind it.  All I can tell you is that it’s one of the first tables you see on the left when you come into the farmers’ market barn.  I promise I’ll get the name for you guys next time!  The bread was absolutely delicious and I loved it because we were able to try so many different kinds in the grab bag.  We popped them in the oven for our Thanksgiving brunch this morning and they were crispy on the outside and mega soft on the inside.  Every farmers’ market has its own draw and for me, this would have me coming back for more all on its own.

I’ve enjoyed doing the Fall Harvest series so much over the past week and there’s so much more that I want to show you guys that I’m going to continue the series intermittenly for the rest of the month!  I would keep it going every day for the next two weeks or so, but if I’m going to be honest, I am so behind on my scrapbooking that there are certain posts I don’t want to post because I want to do my scrapbook pages for them first.  I’m having a lot fun with the series though, so I’m not going to stop it until winter hits.  There’s still too much pumpkin fall fun and delicious food I have yet to unleash 😀

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Evergreen Brick Works is located at 550 Bayview Ave.  The farmers’ market takes place year-round every Saturday from 8am-1pm.  If taking public transit, there is a free shuttle bus that operates 7 days a week beside Broadview subway station, as well as the 28A Davisville TTC bus that runs on Saturdays from 8am-3pm between Evergreen Brick Works and Davisville subway station.  Click here to learn more the site, their events and programs, and how to get here by bus, bike, car, or foot.