The Summer Patio Dining Series – Fluffy Rice, Grilled Vegetables & Ground Lamb & Beef Kefta at Tabule!

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Ate by Ate is back!  The lazy days of summer are upon us and we all know what that means: we’re either coming or going with exciting stories and plans of summer vacation, big and small, basking in those gorgeous summer vacation moments when the days seem endless and fleeting all at the same time.  I didn’t jet away to an exotic destination or drive off to a lakeside cottage though.  Nope, my glorious week away took place right here in the city where I patio dined, felt the warm sun on my face, shopped till I dropped, ate yummy things, and spent time with my favourite people in the world!

With the exception of checking e-mail every once in awhile, I completely unplugged myself over the last week and a half during my summer “stay-cation” and made the most out of the time I took off from work.  Even though I feel like I could’ve squeezed out so much more out of my time off, I loved what I DID do and the time away just makes all those little moments that much happier.  Sleeping in an extra hour (or two!), staying up late knowing you don’t have to get up at 5:30 the next morning, reading and completely losing yourself in a mountain of books, eating soft serve, walking around the city till your feet hurt and having some of the most delicious meals your heart could ever desire.  I’ve missed being out during the week so much and I’m so grateful for the time off.

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I know I’m a little behind on things (I don’t even have my August Food Calendar for you guys – sorry!), but I think we should be able to pick up where we left off and talk food pretty easily!  This post marks the return of The Summer Patio Dining Series with a mouthwatering look at Middle Eastern food at Tabule!  I almost can’t even find the right words to express how much I freakin’ love Tabule.  A space washed in olive green and metallics, colourful lantern light fixtures and a menu chock full of Middle Eastern grain, vegetable and meat dishes that will have you coming back again and again.  And to think it took me YEARS to finally park my hiney in their beautiful, delicious space!  A friend from grad school told me I HAD to come here and it took my mum’s birthday and a light bulb moment on my part to finally give me the shove I needed to go.

My mum desperately wanted to go to either a Mediterranean or Middle Eastern spot for dinner for her birthday so I happily offered to take care of dinner plans.  Choosing the dining destination for the whole fam and having the reins in my hands?  Totally up my alley!  I hemmed and hawwed over a few options when suddenly, as I was typing away on my laptop on the couch one afternoon I exclaimed, “OH, DUH!” and rolled my eyes at myself.  Which drew a few weird stares from the fam, but I didn’t care.  I was excited!  Like a bolt of lightning, genius struck and instantly knew Tabule was the perfect place to go.  The meal was SO wonderful and I loved it SO much I went back a second time and ordered the same thing!

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Tabule, located at 2009 Yonge Street between Davisville and Eglinton (with a new second location on Queen East in Riverside), serves up dishes such as falafel and fattoush/fattüsh salad, halloumi/hallüm cheese and arugula, hummus and baba ganoush/babaganüj platters, tabbouleh (of course!), fried eggplant and cauliflower, vegetarian grape leaves (warak enab), TONS of pita sandwiches, Lebanese spicy sausage, skewers of grilled ground lamb and beef, chicken breast, lamb chops, and a number of fresh fish dishes, all served with grilled vegetables and rice and onions.  While prices differ slightly for lunch and dinner, prices range from $14 to $19 for main entrees and $5 to $10 for most appetizers, salads, sandwiches and sharing plates.

Now, I didn’t get to stick around long enough to watch the belly dancers at dinner (belly dancing on Saturdays at 7:30 and 9:30!) but both my meals both times were fantastically awesome.  The photos here are only of my lunch though.  I wasn’t able to get any of the tabbouleh salad I ordered for my fam and I to share during that first dinner but in 5 words: refreshing!  Minty!  Leafy!  Crunchy!  Juicy!  What we have here is Tabule’s Kefta dish ($14.95), balls of grilled ground lamb and ground beef mixed with garlic, onions, tomatoes, parsley and spices (cooked on the skewer but taken off for plating), on a bed of rice with grilled vegetables and onions.  OH.MY.GOD.  I could eat this meal every single time I come here.  I could eat this every single month.  Hell, maybe even every single week.  It is SO freakin’ delicious.  I have honestly never eaten lamb before so this was all brand new to me and I LOVED it.  So many things on the menu sounded scrumptious but I wanted to try something different and I’m so happy I did.

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The kefta was by far some of the moistest, juiciest, most flavourful meat I have EVER had in my life!  There were 6 bundles on my dish and each forkful was as tender as the last and the amount of spices and garlic were perfect.  The meat was incredibly easy to cut and bite into and the meat never dried out.  I love dunking things into sauce but in all honesty, you don’t actually NEED any for this meat, it’s perfect on its own.  And the rice!  Many times we associate carbs with heaviness but their rice, which had this wonderful, fresh lemony flavour to it, was light as light could be.  The rice was so fluffy and airy and it even had some yummy texture as there were onions strewn throughout the rice.  It paired with the meat wonderfully and the vegetables rounded out the meal with a bit of that smoky char, brightness and juiciness.  And to wash it all down?  A beautiful pot of Moroccan mint tea!

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Tabule has become one of my favourite spots in the city and I just love that I can do take-out and dine-in in both their dining room and patio!  My family was all over their chicken breast meal like mud on a pig and the next time I go I am totally going berserk over an appetizer or two and definitely dessert!  It’s a beautiful place to have a glorious and delicious summer meal.

*****

Tabule serves 2 locations in Toronto: 2009 Yonge Street (between Eglinton and Davisville subway stations, just north of Millwood) and 810 Queen Street East by Jimmy Simpson Park and Degrassi Street.  They serve both lunch and dinner with belly dancing on Saturday nights!

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Potato Pancakes & Sweet Apples – Weekend Brunch at ViVetha Bistro in Yonge Lawrence Village!

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Happy St. Patty’s Day, everyone!  Okay, so today’s weekend brunch post isn’t an Irish one but it does involve potatoes so that’s something!  I’ve missed blogging about weekend brunch so much.  Aside from cupcakes and sushi, it’s my favourite  thing to write about on Ate by Ate and it’s the one series on the blog I’m most passionate to see grow.  I started a fun “Get Cracking – Egg Breakfasts!” photo gallery on Ate by Ate’s Facebook page that I can’t wait to add more to (can you tell I love eggs in all its forms?!) and I’m so happy that I’ve been able to rack up over 20 posts on weekend brunch meals in the city thus far!  And that’s not even counting the non-weekend breakfast posts I’ve done.

I’m especially excited about this particular post though because I’ve been trying to integrate more pancake related material into the series and this totally fits the bill in a non-traditional way – we’re talking pancakes potato-style!

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My family and I love potato pancakes.  I’m obsessed with crispy potato rosti with sour cream, my brother and I love wafer thin, crispy hash browns, my brother has had the potato pancakes from Futures Bakery, and one of my all-time, favourite home-cooked dishes made by my mom is her potato patties with green onions and diced barbecued pork.  She mashes freshly boiled potatoes, mixes the green onions and pork in, shapes them into cute little patties, and throws them into the skillet to get them gorgeously golden brown.  It is such a treat and it’s been a favourite of mine since I was little.  She doesn’t make them often just because they’re a little more time-consuming and labour intensive, but when she does, everyone in the house is over the moon!  One of these days I’ll give it a go and we’ll see if they measure up!

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This post features a potato pancake weekend brunch meal from uptown bistro, ViVetha Bistro in the Yonge & Lawrence neighbourhood!    This spot is AMAZING!  I cannot wait to come back for another round.  Their food is delicious, their menu is varied and big, and their space is sweet, sunny, and cozy.  And how did I discover such a fabulous spot?  By walking around.  Again.  I make my best food discoveries just strolling around on a relaxing day of exploration.  I was in the Yonge & Lawrence neighbourhood months ago and while I was walking, I see their menu taped to the inside of their front window and knew off the bat I had to come back for some delicious eats.

ViVetha weekend brunch menu offers a little bit of everything – plenty of different egg breakfasts (lots of omelettes and eggs benedict), pancakes and French toast, and salads, sandwiches, and pasta.  Yes, pasta!  It wasn’t until I started going to Italian and European-style brunch spots that I became used to seeing pasta on the brunch menu.  You’re talking to a girl who grew up eating congee for breakfast when she was a tiny tot, then Fruit Loops cereal, and eggs and ham as a kid and then dim sum woven in every so often.  I was always used to having noodles for breakfast as well, but pasta is a little different.  It’s like how I had my spinach pappardelle bolognese pasta dish at Terroni Centrale last November .  It was the first time I ordered pasta for brunch and I have to say, I LOVED it.  You think you’re not hungry enough to eat it but trust me, you are.

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Anyway, prices are incredibly average and reasonable.  I’m accustomed to seeing weekend brunch prices hovering around the $11-$15 range but at ViVetha, you can easily order a meal for under $10.  Many meals come in at $8 or $9 with some of the more entree type plates (like pasta and such) averaging $11-$14.

They also offer weekly brunch specials that are separate from their permanent menu.  I love that!  It keeps things exciting, new and fresh that way, especially if you’re a regular.  I had the hardest time choosing between my meal and one of the weekly specials (an eggs benny with beef tenderloin tips, smoked salmon and bocconcini – OH MY GOD).  But I went for my potato pancake meal because I really wanted to have something pancake-related, plus there was PLENTY to make my mouth water in this dish!

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ViVetha actually has two potato pancake menu options, one that is served with bacon and sausage, and the other that’s served with smoked salmon and eggs.  You can probably guess which one I chose.  That’s right, the one with my beloved smoked salmon and eggs!  My potato pancake platter ($11) was comprised of two big potato pancakes (shredded potatoes and green onions fried golden brown), slices of smoked salmon, 2 eggs any style (I had mine fluffy scrambled!) and a generous helping of sweet sauteed apples, sour cream and capers, and some fruit on the side.  EVERYTHING I LOVE!  Potatoes, sour cream, apples I could eat (recall my raw apple allergy!), smoked salmon, eggs, and some nice salty capers.

I was so happy.

The meal really plays on eastern European flavours (apples/applesauce with potato patties!) and the whole dish was just really balanced as there were equal portions of everything.  There were lots of different textures and flavours going on that complemented each other: the crispiness of the potato pancakes which was crucial to preventing the meal from being too “soft”, the sweetness of the apples that cut through the saltiness of the capers and smoked salmon, and the sour cream which gave a nice punch of cool tanginess and creaminess to the whole dish.  Truly though, the apples make this dish.  Anybody can say that they had potatoes with their breakfast (hash browns, home fries, whatever), but not many can say that their potato brunch came with a sweet order of apples!

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ViVetha is truly a gem in the neighbourhood and in the city in general.  I have French toast, pancakes, pasta,  and more eggs benny calling my time for future visits!

*****

ViVetha (or ViPei as it is also known as) serves 4 locations in the city.  This particular location is located in uptown Toronto at 3334 Yonge Street, right by the corner of St. Germain Ave., in the Yonge & Lawrence neighbourhood on the west side of Yonge Street.  Even though it’s somewhat in between York Mills and Lawrence, trust me when I say that it is much easier and faster to get here from Lawrence!

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.

Cupcakes in Richmond Hill! Lemon Creme and Black Forest Cupcakes at the Sweet Pink-and-Brown Crumbs & Co.

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It feels so nice to be writing another bright and happy post on cupcakes right now.  After a topsy-turvy week last week where nothing seemed to be going right (I was sick with one of the most painful migraines of my life, which in turn threw me completely off schedule and left me playing catch-up on everything for most of the week), it feels really good to start the week off fresh.  There’s so much I’m working on right now (surprise, surprise, when am I not?!) including the May Food Calendar, several new scrapbook layouts, my new cookie and baking scrapbook project, gearing up for the upcoming spring and summer farmers’ market season, and of course, continuing the Cupcake Tour! 

You all knew this was coming: cupcakes in York Region!  I know I’ve written about Old Firehall Confectionery and their adorable square cupcakes, but don’t forget that Old Firehall is a shop with multiple sweet treats and goodies and not an exclusive cupcake bakery.  After doing 69 posts on cupcakes in Toronto, a cupcake bakery post situated in Markham, Richmond Hill, and all surrounding regions was a long time coming.  I live in Markham for goodness sake!  Why has it taken me so long to do one?  I honestly don’t know.  I have a huuuge hit list and bucket list that will probably never be completely checked off simply because I’m always adding to it, but I always get around to the things I want to do even if it takes some time.  So here we are, with the first cupcake bakery in York Region post, introducing Crumbs & Co.!

Crumbs & Co. is a sweet, adorable little cupcake shop bakery located in the Richmond Heights/Major Mackenzine Village neighbourhood north of Major Mackenzie Ave. West. with two other locations in York Region.  In addition to cupcakes, they sell cookies, macaron gift sets by the dozen, and themed cupcake sets.  As well, they host and cater party events, create custom cakes (branding, logos, weddings, and special events), and even have a Cupcake of the Month Club where members enjoy a special cupcake delivery every month in 3, 6, and 12 month subscriptions! 

There is no shortage of flavours at the shop: 18 flavours of macarons including apricot fig, black currant, mocha, and caramel, and over 25 cupcake flavours including Black Forest, Lemon Creme, cappuccino, chocolate coconut, strawberry shortcake, and so much more.  It’ll take me forever and a half to get through all the flavours I want to try, but I cannot wait for the day I get my sweet teeth into their white chocolate lemon (OH.MY.GOD), lemon lime, apple pie, cookie dough, and Boston Cream.

Even though I’m a little more unfamiliar with this area of Richmond Hill compared to other neighbourhoods (I’m much more familiar with the neighbourhood just south of Major Mackenzie on Yonge), I will say that if you continue walking/driving/bussing further up north, there’s a lovely little village similar to that of Main Street Unionville and Main Street Markham with cute shops and cafes and it’s definitely worth a nice spring or summer day out to explore.  This begs the question then, “how in the world did you find Crumbs & Co.?!”  In short, when I was practising my driving a few years ago, my parents and I would drive up to Aurora via Yonge Street and during one of these trips, I noticed the Crumbs & Co. pink and brown storefront from the car window and did a double take (mind you, not with me behind the wheel!) when I realized there was a cupcakery in York Region!  That was a very happy day.

Fast forward to the happy day in which I made my first visit!  Crumbs & Co. had 13 cupcake flavours on hand that day: apple pie, Oreo, raspberry chocolate, Black Forest, strawberry shortcake, coconut creme, double chocolate, mocha espresso, lemon creme, After 8 mint chocolate, vanilla, caramel, and one that looked like a chocolate coffee cupcake.  Part of me really, really wanted to go for the apple pie, the coconut, and the strawberry shortcake, but I snatched up a lemon creme one instead along with a Black Forest.  Two great things about the cupcakes at Crumbs & Co. are the tax inclusive prices ($3, flat) and the fillings!  Most of their cupcakes actually have fillings in them (much like For the Love of Cake in Liberty Village) and they always specific what the fillings are on the little cupcake signs in the display cases.

If you enjoy your cupcakes sweet, Crumbs & Co. is definitely for you.  Everyone has a different take on cupcakes and everyone has a different preference for sweetness and frosting texture, but if you enjoy the sweetness, you will LOVE their cupcakes.  Their frosting is definitely more of a thick sweet frosting as opposed to a mousse or a whippy buttercream or meringue and between the two, I enjoyed my lemon one more.  While the Black Forest was great because of the rich cocoa flavour (more cocoa flavour as opposed to fudgy) and the cherry filling, it was a little on the sweeter side for me and I wanted more of a whippy, mousse-like buttercream, but that’s totally my preference for a Black Forest cupcake.

The lemon one was much more my speed with a sweet and citrusy lemon sugar frosting, sprinkles, and a dense and thick vanilla cake bottom.  It wasn’t until I actually started eating my lemon cake that I realized just how nice and big the cupcake was.  There was a good two and a half to two and three-quarter inches of cake alone, without the frosting, and the vanilla cake had a great pound cake-like taste and texture.  It never ceases to amaze me just how different cupcakes can be from bakery to bakery.  I’ve had vanilla cake bottoms that have been super fluffy, pound cake-like, sponge cake-like, with vanilla bean dots strewn throughout, vanilla buttermilk, the list goes on.  The texture and more mild vanilla flavour was a really good pairing to the stronger lemon flavour in the frosting and the filling, and unlike the Black Forest, I didn’t feel that this one was overly sweet. 

The ratio of cake to frosting was PERFECT (I wasn’t left with too much frosting or cake in the last few bites) and it was just an all-around delicious cupcake, especially with the special lemon curd filling that tasted just like the lemon filling you find in lemon jelly doughnuts!  Their boxes are pretty (pink and with a cellophane window like Prairie Girl Bakery), their cupcake shop is sweet and cute, and it’s in my neck of the woods.  I’m so happy I finally got around to coming to their shop and I’ll be looking forward to my next visit and future cupcake visits in my area!

*****

Crumbs & Co. is located in Markham at 10220 Yonge Street, about three blocks north of Major Mackenzie Drive West.  Other locations will be added to the post shortly!

The Sushi Lunch Special Series – Dynamite & Avocado Rolls, and Rice & Noodle Sets Galore at Sushi One

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Lunch just keeps getting better and better.  With Toronto Lunchtime Office Markets to look forward to and an infinite number of sushi bar lunch specials to tick off the list one by one, lunch is at its finest.  I’ve always loved looking through sushi bar menus (100 items?!  That should keep me occupied for awhile!), but ever since I started the Sushi Lunch Special series last month with Sushi Sky, I’ve been paying extra, careful attention to menus with the best lunch special variety and deals.  I’ve even spent some afternoons in the last month just browsing take-out menus and doing online searches with The Food Network on tv in the background.  Obsessed?  I prefer to call it enthusiasism. 

Over the past few weeks I’ve come across a handful of new sushi places (new to me, not new to the city) in North York and west Eglinton that I’m so excited to eventually try, thanks to the nice weather and my walking shoes that took me around different neighbourhoods in town.  But I have to hand it to the online community for introducing me to unchartered territories and by online community, I mean the e-mails that flood my inbox every single day.  Let it be known that I subscribe to almost every single collective buying site: Groupon, Living Social, Dealfind, Team Buy, you name it, I’ve probably subscribed to it.  Regardless of whether or not I’m interested in anything I receive in my inbox, it’s an amazing resource.  I know there are mixed feelings and opinions concerning the politics of doing business this way, but at the very least, these sites have really helped me get to know businesses I never would have been aware of otherwise.          

Each time I see something I might be interested in revisiting in the future, I tuck the e-mail away in a special folder to review at a later date.  Thanks to Dealfind, Sushi One caught my eye as a prospective place to check out.  Thus, lunch at Sushi One has been a long time coming.  A REALLY long time.  Since LAST MARCH long time.  I was shocked out of my pants when I went back to give the e-mail I had saved a quick once-over and saw the date of the e-mail: March 24, 2011.  Good god.  I know I take my sweet time getting to certain spots (it’s a big city!), but this is embarrassing.  Oh well.  I least I have a delicious sushi lunch to show you all now.

Sushi One, located on Yonge Street in North York just north of Sheppard Ave., is a fabulous sushi lunch spot.  Not only are their lunch special prices enticing, their selection is to die for.  We’re talking 10 sushi roll combinations, 12 Japanese rice and noodle options, and 6 special lunch combos.  That’s 28 items alone and that’s not even scratching the surface of their regular dine-in menu.  I thought Sushi Sky‘s lunch special deals couldn’t be beat but I was wrong.  While I still stand by the lunch meal set I had (soup, salad, 12 rolls, and 2 salmon sashimi cakes) at Sushi Sky as being in the Top 5 best and The Sushi Shop as my absolute favourite spot for rolls, Sushi One’s selection and prices are out of this world (21 items ring in at only $6.50) and I would have to come here at least another 6 times just to try all the ones I’m in love with.  My hit list includes the curry mushroom rice, curry tofu rice, mushroom udon in soup, the maki lunch bento, the salmon lover lunch, and the mushroom udon with sushi lunch.  What I have for you all today: the simple, yet delicious, dynamite and avocado roll lunch special set.

Sushi One has 10 different roll combinations as part of their lunch special menu and what makes these sets so appealing is the price combined with amount of rolls.  With the exception of one item, all rice, noodle, and roll meal sets in the lunch special menu are priced at $6.50.  Half of Sushi Sky’s lunch menu comes in at $6.99 and Sushi on Bloor has theirs at the same price point, so $6.50 is ridiculously reasonable in the context of sushi.  Furthermore, their roll sets come with 14 rolls as opposed to 12, which is the amount many and most places offer.  The rolls at Sushi One aren’t the largest, mind you, (that award goes to Sushi on Bloor’s lunch rolls) but they’re delicious and of good quality so that’s what I take away from it. 

Almost all their lunch specials include soup and salad (a few of the larger sets come with one or the other as opposed to both) and while I know salad is probably nothing to get to excited about, I love the salad that comes with sushi lunch specials.  They’re always so fresh and crunchy and made with the yummiest mix of Thousand Island dressing and vinegar at most places.  I know, I go out for sushi and I get excited about the salad!  It’s a highlight worth mentioning though!

In terms of the rolls, the great thing about Sushi One’s rolls is that they aren’t overloaded with sushi rice.  It’s a necessary component, yes, but it’s a turn-off when you’re given rolls that are disproportionately made with rice as opposed to filling.  It’s the filling that you are primarily paying for and when you’re stiffed in that manner, it just doesn’t sit well.  Their rolls were drizzled with a sweet sauce that gave the rolls a mix of sweet and savoury flavour and all the rolls were incredibly soft.  It’s a great sushi spot and one of the best for lunch for more than one person because you can totally go crazy and mix and match for the purposes of sharing without blowing up your wallet.  I am beyond excited to go back and inhale a bowl of curry mushroom rice or mushroom udon in the near future! 

*****

Sushi One is located at 4924 Yonge Street in North York on the west side of Yonge, north of Elmhurst Ave., in between North York Centre and Sheppard subway stations.  From Monday-Friday they are open at 11am and at 12 noon on weekends.  Their lunch specials are served from 11am-4pm.  You can view their website and menu here.

Rainbows and Artwork at Petite Thuet – Yuzu Chocolate & Chocolate Coconut on Macaron Day, Part III!

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After nearly an entire week of macarons, I have learned something very important: 1) I should only ever bring a macaron home for my brother and 2) putting them in the fridge makes them last longer and they taste just as delicious the day after.  And the day after that.  And the day after that.  That’s right, folks.  I brought home four perfect, plump, beautiful macarons on Tuesday (I ate four all on my own during the day.  Don’t judge me, you know you’d do the same) and I still have one sitting on my kitchen table waiting to be devoured.  And most likely, it will be devoured by me.  I know, I live a tough life.  My family has exasperated me to the point of no return.  Anybody else would be empty-handed by now.  Or at the very least, swatting somebody else’s hand away for attempting to eat mine.  But noooo. 

My brother happily ate his, but my parents have repeatedly rejected my beloved macarons day after day and the only reason I didn’t just eat their share after a day is because I didn’t want to be selfish.  That, and also a pig.  Even if I have boundaries as blurry as they may be.  But for goodness sake, I think I’m the only person on this earth who still has a macaron left from Macaron Day!  And for that, I am embarrassed.  Note to self: save one for the brother and call it a day to save yourself from the face-palming and head-on-wall-banging.  Sigh.       

You’d think that after a day of macaron trick-or-treating and a week of macaron eating I’d be pooped out.  Nope, far from it.  Macaron Day has only fueled my giddiness over macarons and now I can’t get enough.  They’re delicate, cute, and as colourful as watercolour paint pucks.  They are delightful.  This love is going to be just as bad as cupcakes, if not worse.  One of the very first macaron posts I wrote on the blog was for Petit Thuet but this time around, I have the goods from a different location!  On Macaron Day, I paid a visit to the Rosedale location for the first time and I really fell in love with the space, much more so than the one on King St. in the financial district.  The Rosedale location, located in the heart of midtown Toronto on Yonge Street, has beautiful paintings and artwork on the walls and gorgeous wooden accents including a wooden light fixture and a wooden table bench by the storefront window.  The space is a little sunnier with more pop and personality to it and even though it’s small, I like it a lot.

Petit Thuet is a French bakery/boulangerie and gourmet shop that serves croissants, baked goods, pastries, and desserts, along with gourmet meats, jarred preserves, salads, and more.  Pastries and desserts include lemon bars, meringue tarts, fruit tarts, danishes, almond pastries, small cakes, and the ever popular macarons that have put Petit Thuet on the macaron map.  My very first Petit Thuet macaron was their rosewater one and while I really enjoyed it then, I LOVED the macarons I picked out on Tuesday even more!

There was literally a rainbow of macarons to choose from on Macaron Day and right off the bat, I picked up on the noticable differences.  The macarons were larger and plumper than I remember and there were a number of flavours that were completely new and exciting to me!  I snatched a bright yellow yuzu chocolate macaron (the yellow one you see on the far left in the macaron photo up top) and a creamy chocolate cocoa coconut one (the chocolate one with the toasted sprinkled coconut on top) and there were plenty of others that looked sweet and delicious.  My brother took the yuzu chocolate (his first macaron ever!) while we shared the chocolate coconut between the two of us and both were deeply loved. 

While I can’t give you an excited assessment of the yuzu chocolate yet, I can tell you that my brother was over the moon over it and loved it to itty bitty pieces.  He prefers citrus fruits over others such as berries and he’s a mega chocoholic so it was perfect for him.  It was his very time eating a macaron and he was hooked after the first bite.  And if you love coconut milk, the chocolate coconut macaron needs to be in your life.  Coconut and lemon are my two dessert flavour weaknesses so this made me all sorts of happy, especially because the filling was so creamy and so true to what coconut milk tastes like.

Macarons are $2.20 a piece which puts them in the middle price range as macarons in the city go for $1.50 to $3.  The new flavours and bigger sizes took me by surprise in the best way possible and I couldn’t be happier with the changes and additions.  They are fabulous and I am going to have the hardest time staying away.  Between Petit Thuet, La Bamboche, Bobbette & Belle, and other patisseries, I am going to be one very macaron-occupied girl for quite some time!  The last time I was this excited about a food event was last Septemeber during Vegetarian Food Fair and Macaron Day totally lived up to the fun and excitement I was expecting, and then some.  I had some of the most delicious flavours, the funnest time taking photos, and sharing the sweet treat stories with all of you and I can’t wait to do it all again next year now that the event has come to the city.  I hope you all enjoyed the macaron posts these last few days – it’s the beginning of a whole new delicious adventure!    

*****

Petite Thuet serves 3 locations in downtown/midtown Toronto:

  1. 1162 Yonge St. (between Summerhill and Rosedale subway stations, on the west side of Yonge St.)
  2. 1 King St. West (at the corner of Yonge and King St.)
  3. 244 King St. East (between Sherbourne and Princess St.)

Easter Eggs and Springtime Macarons at Patachou Patisserie – Macaron Day Toronto, Part II

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First Macaron Day stop on Ate by Ate: Patachou Patisserie!  Technically, my first stop for the day was La Bamboche but I wanted to show you all the beautiful spring and Easter decorations and delicious baked goods from Patachou first.  I’ve passed by and even been inside Patachou a few times but I’ve never stopped to sit down for a meal.  Coming here yesterday for macarons only strengthened my resolve to come back for a relaxing brunch and lunch sometime in the future because the food and decorations are completely up my alley!  Everything looked so bright, happy, and colourful with vibrant Easter eggs sitting in meringue shells on the counter, beautifully wrapped robin’s egg chocolates sitting on the shelves, and flowers and Easter eggs suspended in the air.  If I can swing it, I definitely want to return for an Easter springtime lunch, complete with more macarons and maybe a sandwich and a pastry or two!  I dream big. 

Patachou is a bustling French bakery and patisserie with everything from cakes, pastries, croissants, quiches, salads, grilled sandwiches, and hot cross buns.  They have a number of baskets by the front where you can pick up some baked goods to go and they have plenty of dine-in seating for that mid-morning coffee drink, noon hour lunch date, and afternoon tea date.  Their macarons are some of the most affordable in the city at $1.50 a piece and they normally have about 6 flavours on hand every day.  Flavours include raspberry, chocolate, vanilla, lemon, and pistachio among others.  You won’t find anything wild and wacky, but what you will find is rock solid flavour and fabulous texture.

Lemon and pistachio macarons are two of my favourites in terms of classics.  I love lemon desserts in general and I fell in love with pistachio after having my giant hockey puck of a macaron from Metro over a year ago!  I love how the macaron shells are nice and thick and so full of flavour here.  The thickness of the macaron shells lends a richness to it that makes every bite and mouthful melt in your mouth and because of the thickness, the macaron stays intact after you bite into and it doesn’t cave in or collapse.  I know macarons are pretty and dainty, but a little durability goes a long way – the last thing you want is the filling to spill out or the macaron shell to fall apart! 

The lemon and pistachio macarons that I had yesterday are two very solid flavours and I’m excited to have their vanilla one sometime.  If you can believe it, I’ve never had a vanilla macaron before, the simplest of all flavours!  I’m always drawn to the really unique combinations and colours and because of that, I never get around to having any of the simple classics, so the vanilla is definitely the next on my list.  I’m really happy that I stopped by yesterday on my macaron tour and hopefully within the next few months I’ll have more food reports from Patachou to share with you all!       

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Patachou is located at 1120 Yonge Street between Summerhill and Rosedale subway stations in the Rosedale neighbourhood at the corner of Yonge and Macpherson Ave.