California Dreamin’ – The California Classic Salad & A Day of All Things New at Fresh on Eglinton!

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DSCN0252It’s finally here: my post on veggie eats at Fresh on Eglinton!  Let it be known that when these photos were taken, there was still snow on the ground.  And ice.  And some slush.  In the dead of what became a ridiculously frightful winter.  But!  The yummies I have for you all today scream summer so at the very least it’s seasonally appropriate to be posting about this now (I think I ordered what I ordered at the time to make myself feel better about the wretched weather and to silently send winter “go away” vibes.  Because, you know, that totally helps.  NOT.) instead of say, a hot hearty stew that would probably make us break out into an uncomfortable sweat at this point.  So even though it’s been months since I made my first visit to their newest location and took these photos and even longer since this location officially opened, it’s now in the books for real!

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Fresh on Eglinton, located at 90 Eglinton Ave. East a few blocks east of Yonge Street at Dunfield Ave. is the latest addition to the Fresh empire and the foodie in me is so geeked that I have now eaten in all 4 of their locations: Queen & Spadina, Queen & Crawford, Spadina & Bloor, and now Yonge & Eglinton.  And while I LOVE Fresh and all their different locations in their own way, I have to say, the Eglinton one has captured my heart.  For starters, it’s in the Yonge & Eglinton neighbourhood.  Hello, Deb’s wheelhouse of foodie fun!  David’s Tea, The Cupcake Shoppe, Kale Eatery, tons of cafes, Italian, and weekend brunch spots, walking distance to the Yonge & Lawrence, Yonge & Davisville, and Mount Pleasant neighbourhoods and so much more.  There’s so much to love.

In addition, this one boasts the largest space of all Fresh locations.  It’s so pretty and spacious –  pops of pineapple yellow, lime and celery green and chargoal grey, wooden and mirror accents, plenty of spacious booths and suspended from the ceiling, Fresh’s signature sparkly chandeliers.  And did I mention the really nice, big patio?  Yeah, there’s a really nice, big summer-ready patio that’s just calling everyone to come over to eat till they’re silly.  Mark my words, I WILL have a patio meal there before the summer is over!

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To make this first visit to the new location feel even more ‘new’, I decided to try something, well, new!  To me anyway.  I went over in my head all the things I’ve eaten so far and realized that the only category I hadn’t yet eaten from was the salad one.  I’d had their rice and soba noodle bowls, a few of their appetizers, a few of their burgers and wraps on beds of salad greens, their weekend brunch, their juice, their soups, heck, I’ve even created my own custom brown rice and soba noodle bowls!  So I thought, “what better way to celebrate this lovely occasion than to knock out the last category in my ‘to-eat-at-Fresh’ list?”  Salad it was!

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Fresh’s salads are meal/entree size ranging from $10 to $13 with all sorts of delicious veggie combinations atop a big pillow of salad greens: marinated tofu cubes with grilled spinach and sunflower seeds; edamame with napa cabbage and sunflower sprouts; grilled tempeh bacon with jicama, avocado, tomatoes and kale; yellow beets with jicama, napa cabbage, peanuts and peanut lime dressing; quinoa, kale and goji berries; and a soup, salad and cornbread lunch combo.  I picked a salad that had Deb written all over it: the California Classic ($12), a giant salad comprised of pesto white beans, toasted pecans, avocado, grape tomatoes, and hearts of palm on spinach and mixed salad greens.  I ordered tahini dressing with it (a mouthwatering creamy dressing of sesame with garlic, lemon and parsley) along with a side of goat cheese because a cheese lover like myself would feel naked without it, and a side of their famous kale slaw.  And a fresh mango juice with coconut water to wash it all down.  YUM!

I could seriously just stuff my face with pesto white beans, pecans and avocado all the live long day.  The wonderful thing about salads is how full of flavour and texture they are when they are constructed well.  I mean, you can construct it based on the ‘kitchen sink’ philosophy where you kind of throw in some of this and some of that or some leftovers here and some things in the fridge you need to finish there, but it may or may not taste good depending on what you use.  But salads like these, bursting with colour and life, give you all sorts of different yummy sensations.  Crunchiness from the greens and pecans, creaminess from the avocado and dressing, juiciness from the tomatoes, starchy savouriness from the pesto white beans, and meatiness from the hearts of palm.

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And you know what?  Something else was new about this experience: my first time eating hearts of palm!  YES, I had never eaten hearts of palm before this meal and quite honestly, had no idea what to expect.  I didn’t know what they looked like, how they would taste.  For some odd reason, I went into it thinking hearts of palm were similar to endive!  Um, I was very wrong.  Hearts of palm are not green.  Or leafy.  If I had to describe the appearance, texture and taste, I’d have to say they’re like a cross between bamboo shoots in appearance, cooked mushrooms in texture and artichokes in taste.  They’re extremely mild but meaty and yet kind of cool and refreshing at the same time and its softness complimented the soft and creamy avocado.  They’re like blank canvases, able to absorb all sorts of different flavours that surround it so it was very cool tasting it for the first time.  How’s that for trying new things all in one day?!

Here’s to another handful of delicious, mouthwatering vegetarian meals at Fresh for the remainder of 2014!

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*****

Fresh currently serves 4 locations in Toronto:

  1. 326 Bloor St. West (right off the intersection of Spadina Ave. and Bloor St. West, just east of Spadina)
  2. 894 Queen St. West (at the intersection of Crawford St. and Queen St. West, near Trinity Bellwoods Park)
  3. 147 Spadina Ave. (near the intersection of Spadina Ave. and Queen St. West, a block south of Queen)
  4. 90 Eglinton Ave. East (at Dunfield Ave. on Eglinton east of Yonge St.)
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Strawberry Season is Under Way! A Photo Spotlight on the Strawberries n’ Cream from The Cupcake Shoppe

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It’s the first week of June and I think I have full-blown red fever: strawberry season is here!  Call me crazy but for the past few months I’ve been daydreaming about strawberry desserts, strawberry socials, strawberry picking and strawberry themed everything.  Much like apples, lemons, and blueberries, you just can’t go wrong with planning a menu around them.  Strawberry shortcake, strawberry trifle, strawberry mousse, chocolate dipped strawberries – is there anything the awesome strawberry can’t do?!  Generally speaking, our local strawberry season lasts for two months from June through July so I’m excited to see what kinds of strawberry-related goodies I can post about over the next little while.  To kick things off, I’m featuring a photo spotlight on – what else – a strawberry cupcake!  I’m actually surprised that I’ve done 5 posts on strawberry cupcakes from different shops around the city already.  It’s hard to capture the full breadth of what the city has to offer when it comes to a single flavour because some of them are seasonal and/or limited time offerings and some of them exist on rotating menus so it can take a long time to photograph and eat them all!

The Strawberries n’ Cream cupcake ($2.85) from The Cupcake Shoppe is a vanilla cupcake filled with strawberry jam in the centre, topped with vanilla and strawberry swirled buttercream and a dainty and adorable strawberry candy.  It seriously looks like it was plucked straight out of the Strawberry Shortcake cartoon – it’s cute and pink and fluffy!  And the jam-filled centre is a sweet and fruity bonus.

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*****

The Cupcake Shoppe is located in the Yonge and Eglinton neighbourhood at 2417 Yonge St., north of Eglinton on the east side of Yonge St.  Their second location in Vaughan is located by Bathurst St. and Rutherford Road at 9340 Bathurst.  Hurray for more cupcake options in York Region!

They have a rotating menu of cupcake flavours each day and each cupcake is priced at $2.85.  For more Cupcake Shoppe goodness on Ate by Ate, check out The Cupcake Chronicles feature page HERE!  There are write-ups, scrapbook layouts, and tons of photos on The Cupcake Shoppe’s following flavours: Cookie Dough, Eh? (maple), Lemon Drop & Lov’n Lemon (the first one is one of the most amazing lemon cupcakes you will ever eat), Red Velvet, Naughty n’ Spice (fall seasonal), After Ate (mint chocolate), Pretty in Pink (raspberry cupcake with raspberry buttercream), Triple Chocolate Fudge (chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and chocolate chips), Sleepless in Toronto (coffee), Confetti (vanilla cake studded with confetti with gorgeous blue-purple (or in my words, periwinkle) frosting and sprinkles, the holiday seasonal Candy Cane Lane (chocolate cake with candy cane buttercream and candy cane topping), and the delicious summer seasonal Lime n’ Licious.

The Holiday Cupcake Blitz Begins! Fudgy Candy Cane Lane & Sweet Vanilla Confetti from The Cupcake Shoppe!

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I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy running across the street from The Cupcake Shoppe with a box of 2 cupcakes to take photos of them in all 3 years of blogging and Cupcake Shoppe cupcake eating.  There I was by the cement seating block in front of the Canada Post building across the street from The Cupcake Shoppe clicking away with my camera with my bare hands in the cold, all the while making sure my cupcake box didn’t blow away from the wind and grinning from ear to ear.  Was it cold?  Yes.  Was my mum waiting for me inside the David’s Tea across the street while I was snapping away?  Yes.  Am I a crazy nut?  Just a little.  But I don’t care.  Because you’d feel the same way if you were in my shoes. This moment was 3 years in the making.  3 YEARS!  The moment me and The Cupcake Shoppe’s seasonal holiday cupcake, Candy Cane Lane, exchanged pleasantries and shared cupcake hugs had finally arrived.  I was so full of jubilance I almost starting squealing mid-snap.

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It was a scrapbook moment.

I’ve been eating cupcakes from The Cupcake Shoppe for over 3 years now.  And each and every single year I missed out on their beloved fudgy Candy Cane Lane during the holiday season.  And every time I did I wanted to shake my fists over my ridiculously poor planning and timing.  I just couldn’t get to it.  I either wasn’t in the Yonge & Eglinton neighbourhood (before and after the holiday blitz, yes, during, no.  I don’t know why!) or I was visiting another cupcake shop or bakery.  Or I was just preoccupied with family, school or work.  I know, it sounds like the dumbest thing in the world.  If I want a cupcake, I should just go out and get it.  All I can say is that every holiday season passes by in a dizzying whirlwind of activity and at times it feels over before it even begins and I’ve missed my window of opportunity on a number of things.  That and my stomach could only hold so many different cupcakes and sweets and hot chocolate on any given day so something had to give.  And that something was Candy Cane Lane for the last 3 years.

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NOT ANYMORE, WEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!

The chocolate cake was as fudgy as chocolate fudge could be and the buttercream, adorned with a cute little candy cane piece, was white as snow with flecks of candy cane peppermint strewn throughout it.  The buttercream was soft and whippy with both vanilla and candy cane peppermint flavours mixed together.  The flavour is subtle as opposed to in-your-face (or in this case, in-your-mouth) so it’s great for those who enjoy a little pepperminty freshness without the abrasiveness of full on peppermint (i.e. mouthwash.  Because that’s so not sexy).  I kind of liken it to a peppermint hot chocolate in cupcake form!  The peppermint doesn’t overpower the chocolate and I think they actually complement each other pretty well.  And if I could make a cutesy suggestion, take the candy cane piece and roll it in the fudgy chocolate crumbs on the cupcake wrapper.  It will taste SO yummy!

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Seeing that I couldn’t possibly leave The Cupcake Shoppe with only one cupcake, I had to choose a 2nd to enjoy for the next day so I jumped on the super pretty, super fun and super cute-as-a-button Confetti!  It’s one of their newer ones and it has quickly become a favourite of mine from The Cupcake Shoppe.  It’s simple but truly delicious.  It’s one of their sweeter ones and it’s everything you love about birthday cake in a cupcake.  The vanilla cake and blue vanilla frosting are sweet and rich and deliciously yummy, the cake is studded with specks of rainbow sprinkles and the frosting is topped with a smattering of rainbow funfetti.

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While it might not scream Christmas, it does scream celebration and fun and that’s what the holidays should be all about so I think it’s a fabulous one to have alongside the Candy Cane Lane.  And if you’re looking for tea and cupcake pairings, try the Candy Cane Lane with David’s Tea White Chocolate Frost (one of their new Winter 2013 teas) or Read My Lips and definitely try the Confetti cupcake with David’s Tea Birthday Cake tea!  You’ll be glad you did.

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*****

The Cupcake Shoppe is located in the Yonge and Eglinton neighbourhood at 2417 Yonge St., north of Eglinton on the east side of Yonge St.  Their second location in Vaughan is located by Bathurst St. and Rutherford Road at 9340 Bathurst.  Hurray for more cupcake options in York Region!

They have a rotating menu of cupcake flavours each day and each cupcake is priced at $2.85.  For more Cupcake Shoppe goodness on Ate by Ate, click HERE!  There are write-ups, scrapbook layouts, and tons of photos on The Cupcake Shoppe’s following flavours: Cookie Dough, Eh? (maple), Lemon Drop & Lov’n Lemon (the first one is one of the most amazing lemon cupcakes you will ever eat and the latter, not so much), Red Velvet, Naughty n’ Spice (fall seasonal), After Ate (mint chocolate), Pretty in Pink (raspberry cupcake with raspberry buttercream), Triple Chocolate Fudge (chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and chocolate chips), Sleepless in Toronto (coffee), and the delicious summer seasonal Lime n’ Licious.

The Weekend Brunch Series – Loving Prosciutto & Eggs Benny at La Vecchia at Yonge & Eglinton

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poached eggs benedict weekend brunch with prosciutto and arugula at La Vecchia

Thinly sliced meats, cubes and wedges of cheese, olives and tapenade, honey, mountains of arugula…good god, my mouth is watering just thinking about all of the scrumptious delights!  I think the month of April really changed me.  I’ve always loved things like cheese and crackers and cured meats (one of my favourite guilty pleasures is a herb and garlic cream cheese sandwich with thinly sliced German salami – YUM, YUM and YUM), but after going to dinner with coworkers at Obika Mozzarella Bar in Brookfield Place, having an amazing, wonderful dinner at Hockley Valley’s Cabin restaurant with my FBC friends during FBC 2013 and basically having enough cheese and charcuterie to last me two lifetimes during the month of April alone (I might as well be a walking cheese wedge), I have really begun to appreciate the artistry behind charcuterie platter creation.

I would always eat things in isolation; some cheese cubes on a toothpick at parties, some antipasto, a few slices of meat.  All enjoyable but never really together because, let’s face it, the nagging voices that sternly tell us to stay away from all that sodium will deter us from that fun.  But I am here to say that every so often, I DON’T CARE.  I definitely plan on paying much more attention to charcuterie platters from here on out and to indulge in one of my favourite charcuterie staples, prosciutto, when given the opportunity.  So when eggs benny with prosciutto stared at me in the face from the menu of one of my more recent weekend brunch meals at La Vecchia by Yonge & Eglinton, I had to take advantage!

La Vecchia weekend brunch menu in Yonge and Eglinton

La Vecchia weekend brunch menu in Yonge and Eglinton

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked past La Vecchia over the years.  Located on the east side of Yonge Street a few blocks north of Eglinton by Broadway Avenue, it’s sandwiched between so many different eateries, many of which I’ve visited on a regular basis.  But what set La Vecchia apart and what drew me to it in the first place is its ambience.  It exudes that feeling and atmosphere of old world Italy (historical but with plenty of character, and a quiet, easy-breezy sophistication and glamour) and when the patio is set up during the summer, it makes you feel so relaxed just walking by it.  It’s the type of place I feel I can truly soak in a dining experience.  The type of place that gives you more than just delicious food but also a delicious experience – sitting back and taking your time, savouring those bread and olive oil moments, sipping water as you people-watch; all those little details that make those meals so memorable and enjoyable.

La Vecchia dining room in Yonge and Eglinton

La Vecchia has a FABULOUS weekend brunch menu.  Not only do they offer plenty of savoury and sweet options, but they also offer plenty of choices within those options.  You never have to feel like you’re caged in when you’re perusing their menu.  Case in point: 7 frittatas, 6 egg (uova) breakfasts (benedicts, sunny side ups, poached, and style of your choice), 5 sweet brunches, a whole host of veg, salads, and antipasto, fresh focaccia sandwiches,  and – wait for this – 9 (nine!) pasta and risotto brunch dishes!  And lots and lots of yummy things like portobello mushrooms and grilled vegetables, sausage, cured meats, goat cheese, parmesan, bocconcini and Asiago, calamari, and so much more!

Prices are very brunch-typical, hovering around $11 or $12 for most mains and dishes with a few less expensive ones ($8 or $9) and a few more expensive ones ($14 to $16).  This menu makes me think of “Around the World in 80 Days” only more like “Around the Menu 80 Times” because of all the different types of dishes!

poached eggs benedict weekend brunch with prosciutto and arugula at La Vecchia

poached eggs benedict weekend brunch with prosciutto and arugula at La Vecchia

poached eggs benedict weekend brunch with prosciutto and arugula at La Vecchia

My brunch pick for my first visit to La Vecchia: the Semplice Uova (egg) breakfast ($12) featuring 2 poached eggs on a bed of juicy, thick slices of tomato and fluffy arugula topped with thinly sliced mouthwatering prosciutto with a side of home fries, diced roasted red pepper and fruit.  So many of the my favourite things rolled into one!  I love prosciutto and arugula like nobody’s business, the prosciutto imparted so much flavour in the dish, the runny yolks in the poached eggs (which, by the way, were perfectly runny and poached) gave the dish this great, thick, egg yolky “sauce” for me to dip my home fries and tomatoes in, and the fluffy arugula just soaked up every flavour around it, just like an English muffin would in a traditional eggs benny.  There was a great balance of flavours and textures (salty, juicy, starchy, runny, and crunchy) and I didn’t find the prosciutto to be overbearing or overpowering in the dish with its cured salty flavour.

poached eggs benedict weekend brunch with prosciutto and arugula at La Vecchia

I love poached eggs and eggs benny so much and it’s so much fun trying different combinations and variations.  We’re used to seeing the classics (the florentine, the peameal, and the smoked salmon) and while I love them, it’s awesome seeing different meat and veg combinations that also really speak to the Italian cuisine of the eatery.  You can bet I’ll be back to try some of the sweet brunch dishes (they have crepes with strawberries and chocolate sauce!) and their pasta – lots and lots of pasta!  La Vecchia is a fabulous weekend brunch spot and with spring finally here their open front windows and patio will make dining here even sweeter.

*****

La Vecchia is an Italian eatery that serves lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch 7 days a week (11am lunch Monday-Friday, 10:30am-3:30pm brunch and 3:30pm dinner on Saturday, and 10am-3:30pm brunch and 3:30pm dinner on Sunday).  They are located at 2405 Yonge Street on the east side of Yonge Street several blocks north of Eglinton by Broadway Ave. in the Yonge-Eglinton neighbourhood.  You can view their menus and contact info on their website HERE.

Summer Can’t Come Soon Enough – A Work-in-Progress Look at the *NEW* Fresh Location at Yonge & Eglinton!

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It may be below zero out but I am all warm and fuzzy inside because I am absolutely ECSTATIC and bouncing off the walls over Fresh’s brand spankin’ NEW location opening this summer!  For those of you already know, jump up and down with me!  For those who don’t, start jumping up and down with glee now!  Fresh is expanding, opening a beautiful new location uptown in the Yonge & Eglinton neighbourhood right at the intersection of Eglinton Ave. East and Dunfield Ave.  Expected opening?  Just in time for the gorgeous, sun-kissed season of summer.

I should have posted this exciting news back in December when I first found out, but we all know I was hardly here so better late than never!  My breath literally caught in my throat when I found out the news from Fresh’s December newsletter.  One of my favourite restaurants opening a new location in one of my favourite neighbourhoods in the city?  PURE GOLD.  I cannot wait.  The patio area is going to be spectacular (just look at it!  Envision patio tables and chairs and sipping freshly blended juices out here!  Ignore the snow.  It’s ugly and it needs to go away, like, NOW).  And even after all my Fresh meals and visits, I am far from exhausting their menu and I am so looking forward to trying something I’ve never tried before at this new location.  It’s only appropriate!  Here’s what’s on my to-eat list (taken straight off their online menu) at Fresh!

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Source: Fresh Restaurant website

  • All-Star Salad ($12) – quinoa & adzuki bean tabouleh on shredded raw kale with goji berries, Toasted Nut & Seed Mix, parsley, cilantro, sunflower sprouts, grilled sweet potato & tofu steaks
  • California Classic Salad ($12) – quinoa & adzuki bean tabouleh on shredded raw kale with goji berries, Toasted Nut & Seed Mix, parsley, cilantro, sunflower sprouts, grilled sweet potato & tofu steaks
  • Sam Houston Burrito ($10) – slow cooked soy & sweet potato taco filling, sautéed peppers & onions, salsa, avocado chipotle sauce, lettuce and alfalfa sprouts
  • Powerhouse Bowl (with either brown rice, $14 or soba noodles, $16) – avocado, chick peas & grilled tofu steaks with sunflower sprouts, Toasted Nut & Seed Mix, tomato, red onion & spicy tahini sauce
  • Dragon Bowl (with either brown rice, $14 or soba noodles, $16.  Also available in baby size. Rice, $10.  Soba noodles, $11) – grilled tomato, zucchini & tofu steaks with rich miso gravy, sesame seeds, cilantro & green onions
  • Energy Bowl (with either brown rice, $14 or soba noodles, $16.  Also available in baby size. Rice, $10.  Soba noodles, $11) – marinated tofu cubes, rich coconut curry sauce, chick pea & vegetable stew, cucumber, tomato, red onion, sunflower sprouts & tahini sauce
  • Brunch Burrito (weekend brunch only, $11) – scrambled tofu with tempeh bacon, tomato, lettuce, alfalfa & house mayo in a grilled whole wheat tortilla served with your choice of soup, salad or home fries
  • Banana Nut Pancakes and Blueberry Almond Pancakes (weekend brunch only; double for $8, triple for $10)

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I will consider my mission accomplished if I can even check two options off this list!  It’s just a never-ending list of scrumptious wants, especially when you factor in how much I love creating my own custom bowls too!

Summer can’t come soon enough.

*****

Fresh currently serves 3 locations in downtown Toronto:

  1. 326 Bloor St. West (right off the intersection of Spadina Ave. and Bloor St. West, just east of Spadina)
  2. 894 Queen St. West (at the intersection of Crawford St. and Queen St. West, near Trinity Bellwoods Park)
  3. 147 Spadina Ave. (near the intersection of Spadina Ave. and Queen St. West, a block south of Queen)

Fluttering Into the Thick of Summer – Juicy Lime Vanilla and Fairy Pink Cupcakes at Bakes & Goods

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Light and sweet and pretty – just as a cupcake should be!  Bakes & Goods has fluttered into the thick of summer with their soft and creamy cupcakes decked out in sweet flowers, ballerina pinks, and fruity summer flavours that taste even better than fruit juice.  With so many new cupcake shops cropping up, so many I need to make return visits to, and so many I still haven’t been, cupcake duty has turned into quite the triple threat!  Each season brings new and exciting flavours to try and decorations to admire; heck, some cupcake bakeries even dish out the shiny and new once every month so it’s dizzying and fun keeping up with everything that comes out. 

I made a return visit to Bakes & Goods in Yonge-Eglinton and my eyes lit up the second I walked into the little shop.  Fluffy pink flower lanterns!  Pink butterflies!  Pink flowers!  And…is that a lovely new white bench I can sit on to eat my cupcake over there?!  I want to take this moment to say that I love their newly added bench.  I buy single cupcakes all the time and more often than not, I just want to eat my cupcake right then and there.  It’s much easier to take photos, there’s waaay less room for handling catastrophes (did I tell you all about the time I knocked my cupcake box over in a shoe store at the mall and nearly burst into tears?  Well, now you know!), and it feels nice sitting in a happy place like a cupcake shop as opposed to a concrete slab by the side of the road.  And it’s also fun seeing people coming in and out of the shops, seeing what flavours they choose and demonstrating just how enjoyable the cupcakes are when people glance over and see me stuff my face.  With the combination of pretty decor and a seating arrangement, I felt jubilance coming out of my ears and everything inside was so pretty it made me momentarily forget how hot it was outside and that much more giddy over my afternoon cupcake break.         

In addition to the regulars such as cookie crumble, chocolate ganache, and lemon meringue, Bakes & Goods had a slew of new flavours on hand that day that screamed summer fun in the sun including a chocolate mango (come to mama!) and my pick for the day, a delightful fruity tutti lime on vanilla!  I don’t know what it is about sour citrus fruits that make me so happy, but I can’t get enough of lemon and lime desserts.  Any time I can get my hands on a lemon or lime cupcake, I’m on it like a bad rash, especially lime since lemon flavours and combinations are a little more common at cupcake shops than its green sister.  If my memory serves me right, aside from the Lime n’ Licious from The Cupcake Shoppe down the road, I think this is the only other time I’ve had a lime cupcake and I was beside myself when I saw that they had this one.  The cupcake ($2.75) was vanilla and lime in cake and lime buttercream in frosting adorned with Bakes & Goods signature flower candy on top, this time in sunny yellow.

The cupcake looked very cool since the cake was tinged with green from the lime and the buttercream was so bright and cheerful.  I know the texture of soft, whippy buttercream isn’t for everyone (my boyfriend doesn’t care for it but my mum loves it) and at times, it’s a hit or miss even for me, but luckily, this time was a hit and I really enjoyed it and thought it was delicious.  The lime flavour was fruity without being overpowering or too sour (or artificial for that matter) and it was SO soft and fluffy.  The part that really struck a chord with me was the combination of the lime buttercream and the very top of the cupcake.  I could have sworn I imagined it, but it was there and unmistakeable: a golden vanilla graham cracker texture and taste.  My tastebuds nearly did a double take.  The cake itself was light as air but when I bit into the top of the cupcake right where the buttercream met the cupcake, I was met with this warm, sweet slightly graham crumb texture and made the cupcake taste like a key lime pie!  I couldn’t believe it.  I don’t know if this was a lucky result or intentional, but either way, it made for one very fab cupcake that I happily scarfed down!

I hope all my fellow Canadians who have the Civic Holiday long weekend are enjoying their time off immensely and having a lot of fun!  I’m actually laying low and enjoying some much needed sleep, quiet scrapbook time, Olympics watching all day long (I’m so proud of Team Canada!), and working on a ton of blog housekeeping.  Happy weekend, everyone!         

*****

Bakes & Goods is located at 2523 Yonge Street in the Yonge & Eglinton neighbourhood.  The bake shop is situated on the east side of Yonge Street between Sherwood and Keewatin Ave., several blocks north of Eglinton Ave.  They have recently moved into this new home from their original Bathurst and Ranee location (around the Lawrence West area) and are open 6 days a week (Monday-Saturday) at 11am.

Blueberry Lemon & Rose Lychee – A Photo Spotlight on the Rainbow of Macarons at Ruelo Patisserie

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*****

Ruelo Patisserie serves two locations in the GTA with one located in Richmond Hill and the other in uptown Toronto.  Ruelo Richmond Hill is located within the Times Square outdoor plaza at the corner of Hwy 7 East and Leslie Street (550 Hwy 7 E., unit C73; cafe faces south) while Ruelo uptown will be celebrating three months of sweets at their second and new location at 4-6 Erksine Ave. in the Yonge-Eglinton neighbourhood.  The Richmond Hill location is open 6 days a week from Tuesday-Sunday (12:30pm-8pm from Sunday-Thursday and 12:30pm-11pm on Fridays and Saturdays) and Ruelo uptown is open 7 days a week with earlier opening hours (8am-8pm Monday-Friday, 11:30am-8pm on Saturdays, and 11:30am-6pm on Sundays).