Monday, November 21, 2016

"Berry" Happy in Toronto


Everyone keeps asking me if I had Poutine while in Toronto. The answer is No, I didn’t.

What I had was better.

I know what you're thinking: what could be better than greasy fries smothered with brown gravy and cheese curd? Right?! Unfortunately I've yet to experience that culinary wonder, but I did eat pretty much everything else in Toronto during my two-day trip, some things twice, and others for the first time.

After arriving in downtown Toronto, Gurpreet and I promptly headed uptown for an early bird special at the popular Banjara Restaurant.

The service was outstanding, but we were left feeling underwhelmed by our bland sampling of Chicken Makhani and Shrimp Tandoori. As the saying goes, all is fair in love & war, and food is what I love, or in this case, what broke my heart. If you look closely you can see the tears in my eyes, but hey it happens...

After dinner we strolled around Bloor Avenue for some seriously upscale shopping... First stop: The “Poop Café” !

Our restitution came, not at the Poop Café like you might have guessed, but the next morning at Le Petit Déjeuner, a quaint Belgium-Canadian joint popular with the locals.

Conveniently located down the street from our hotel, Le Petit Déjeuner served up one the most unique breakfasts I’ve ever had: Duck Confit-Eggs Benedict and Apple-slaw served on a bed of potato rosti with a side of traditional French Crêpes. If that sounds too delicious to be true, you should visit and taste for yourself. This place is for real!

The meat fell from the bone and into my mouth. It was salted to perfection. The crisp apple slaw showcased the brilliant flavor of the duck. Succulent. Savory. Transcendent.

Gurpreet went traditional: Belgium Waffles and Eggs, which was no less délicieux. This place gets "Two Tongues Up" for its charm, friendly service and haut nourriture! Merci Beaucoup Le Petit Déjeuner!


With a hearty breakfast under our belts, we made our way to the historic district of Toronto, known as the Distillery District

While there, we found some cool street art...

                                                                 And creepy dolls....

Not to mention one of the coolest 'junk' stores I've ever been in...

        Yay for Cat Maracas!

Or as I call them: Purrr-acas   

But the real treat came when I found the cheese,

And just in time for Christmas

Well I guess I have some time, but I couldn't leave without purchasing an early stocking stuffer, Fig Pear & Orange Compote, yum! 

By now you might be wondering if there are any actual distilleries in the Distillery District. The answer would be yes, but not the historic distilleries famous for distilling whisky and bourbon long ago. Beer seems to be the mainstay now, and there are no shortage of breweries.

Located in the same building that was once home to the steam-locomotive train, Steam Whistle Brewery specializes in perfecting one, and only one craft pilsner, hence their slogan: "Do one thing really, really well"

Gurpreet and I took a timeout from eating to tour the brewery,

 learn some lesser-known facts about Toronto's history,

and of course, have a beer.

By dinner-time we were still feeling happy from our beer (tour). We headed to BeerBistro, a pub style restaurant and ordered, more beer?

That would make sense, but...

by the time we arrived, our mood had become so mellow, we just couldn't suppress the desire for a dreamy bottle of Malbec, warm and spicy against the backdrop of a frigid November evening in Northern Canada. 

So we drank wine and ate cake instead.

Cheesecake that is! And not just any cheesecake, but the best lemon cheesecake I've ever had. What made it so special? Maybe the Blanche De Chambly ? Perhaps, the luscious layer of torched merengue on top ? Or the scrumptious homemade graham cracker crust ? 

While my friends, it could have been any one of those, but it wasn't one. It was all, and more. It was the symphony of flavors in harmony with notes of blackberry, currant, and plum, all alive in every sip of petal-soft malbec. It was knowing with every sense that yes, you can have it all: beer, cheese, wine, even the cherry on top...

Except it wasn't a cherry on top, or a cherry tomato as I initially thought; it was a Cape Gooseberry on the side, an exotic delicacy that I've never before tried, or even heard of! 

Without further adieu, I present to you

BeerBistro's Exquisite Lemon Cheesecake (& Gooseberry)
(The photo is small for dramatic purposes, like the MonaLisa)

See, you try something new everyday, or at least you should :) 

I was so taken with this little berry that it even inspired the hokey title of this entry. It also inspired a thought, however, which is to be the theme of a future entry: Are there others out there? I have since begun researching different types of berries, the berries we are NOT eating, but should be!

There is no doubt that this little gooseberry was really the "cherry on top" of this trip, at least for me.  In that moment, nothing could be better. But the voyage would not be complete without our last meal in Toronto, which was Gurpreet's "cherry on top" (or cardamom seed if you will), not to mention, the entire reason we headed across the border in the first place...

                      Glorious Indian Food.

Yup. Now I'm Happy.

And this time, it tastes as good as it looks.

It's all gravy, baby! 
Poutine aint got nothin' on this! But the Poop Café might : / 

Pictured Above: (from bottom to top) Palak Paneer, Me ;), Garlic Naan, Chutney, Chicken Makhani.

Someone is very happy after Indian food!

All's well that ends well, and this trip ended very well, thanks to some delicious fare at The Host Indian Restaurant, and the equally delicious memories that are forever ours to savor.

With our bellies full and our hearts content we drove off into the sunset. Until we eat again Toronto!

I'll be seeing you...