Archive for the ‘Breakfast’ Category

Breakfast Crawl: La Palette

2009 March 9

La Palette is unassumingly located at the northern border of Kensington market, where one might not expect to find a classic French bistro.  It’s not fancy, but the food is great and the atmosphere is very charming.

Apparently this place is a gem of a dining location, offering a small wine list full of great values and delicious and authentic French cuisine.  I’ve only been there for brunch, and for that it’s proved to be pretty great.

On my first visit I opted for the croque madame, which was savoury and delicate.  It quite a while ago though, so I’ll focus on my more recent experience.  This weekend I went for the Omelette La Palette – with brie, roasted peppers, and something else that I can’t recall.  The omelette was not the best one I’ve ever had (plus I rarely opt for an omelette at brunch anyway.)  It seemed to be made with about 2 eggs and was not overwhelmingly filled up with stuff – hence me not even remembering what was in it.  My date, however, had the Pain Farci – thick challah French toast stuffed with fresh berries and mascarpone.  It looked amazing, and based on her enthusiasm tasted as much.  Additionally we had the grilled camembert as a first course (a multi-course brunch, whodathunkit?) which was a great starter.  It was served with grapes and an apple coleslaw.  Mmmm.  The coffee was also good, although not included in the price of breakfast which is a big pet peeve of mine.

On the service side of things, the Garçon was very nice and was patient as we spent about half an hour sort of talking and sort of deciding what we were going to have.  He basically told us we could wave him over when we were ready, but he would be by occasionally to fill up our coffees and waters in any case.

The décor is kinda fancy-French-restaurant and kinda Kensington.  Our colourful tablecloth was well-worn but beautiful, which I guess could act as a metaphor for the market or anything therein.  Additionally, there are a bunch of really beautiful French cookbooks lining the place which we flipped through while finishing up our meal.  There’s also a nice little patio that’s open in appropriate weather.

All in all, La Palette is a nice brunch location that I’ll return to, but not every weekend.  It’s a tad pricy and there are a lot of breakfast spots that I love which are closer to my house.  They do have good food and the atmosphere is very enjoyable.

La Palette is located at 256 Augusta Avenue, just south of College Street.  It’s open for brunch Saturday and Sunday only from 11 – 4.  If you need to call the restaurant for some reason (i.e. a dinner reservation) you can reach them at 416.929.4900.

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PR-type by Day, Passionate Home Cook by Night

2009 January 27

My friend Amanda has a (relatively) new blog, mise en place, about cooking and eating in Toronto.

On a related note, Amanda and I share the passion for going out for breakfast.  Recently we discussed our favourite breakfast spots in the city, and her list was full of places I’d never been to.  Her #1 place was simply called B and was located in the Roncesvalles area.  B has sadly closed down.  Her other recommendations are still around, however.  I’ve already checked out the French bakery Le Gourmand (Queen/Spadina), and she also suggests Zoë’s Bakery Cafe (King West),and The Epicure Cafe (Queen West).

Happy eating!

Quote of the Day!

2008 November 21

“I threw my shoe at the car, and yelled ‘I am not a prostitute!'”

– my waitress this morning at Boom Breakfast & Co, recounting a typical morning in her neighbourhood of Parkdale.

Breakfast Crawl: Boom Breakfast & Co

2008 November 21

I haven’t done a breakfast review in a long time, although I still eat out in the morning on a pretty regular basis.  I’ve lived in Toronto for a while now, and I’ve learned which breakfast eateries are of high quality, which have convenient hours, and those whose prices keep me coming back.

Probably my most regular destination for breakfast in the city is Boom, which really excels in all the above categories.  Plus it’s right around the corner from my house (as well as at two other locations in the city – although I’ve only been to the original spot.)

The Boom website claims that it aims to offer an “eggceptional” customer experience every time you visit – and it does.  Boom operates in a comfortable diner setting with an open kitchen and an extremely friendly team of staff-members.  As I go there so frequently, the main servers as well as one of the cooks pretty much know me by name and most of the time remember exactly what I usually order.

Although they have a large and diverse menu of morning delights (many of which I’ve tried), I usually go for the regular 2 egg breakfast.  As with any respectable breakfast establishment, you can choose your eggs any style you’d like, you have the choice of the 3 normal (very high-quality) breakfast meats, and breakfasts feature excellent wedgie potatoes (or sweet potato fries), a few different choices of toast, and a roasted tomato garnish.  The breakfast I get also includes bottomless coffee (on weekdays), although most of the other things on the menu require you to pay an additional $2 for your brew.  Although I resort to the boring, regular meal, my roommate swears by the T.O.P.D. Special Sandwich and the Threesome.  They also do pretty great smoothies – my favourite being the Honey Bee (including blueberries, bananas, yogurt, and honey.)

There are some other noteworthy things about this place.  They always have a variety of current newspapers to read including varying combinations of the Toronto Star, NY Times, Globe & Mail, National Post, Now Weekly, and Eye Magazine.  The background music is always a great mix of oldies but goodies, and although there are some recurring songs, you’ll always hear something you don’t mind humming along to.  This  morning they played Lola, by The Kinks, which reminds me of one summer I was in high school for some reason.

The only thing I can really think of that isn’t ideal about this place is that with a normal breakfast you only get one slice of toast.  However, if you kindly ask for an extra slice, they will include it at no additional cost!

Boom also has a customer appreciation program where you get stamps for breakfasts and take-out coffee:  Buy 10, get one free.

This is pretty much as near as you can get to a perfect breakfast joint: local, good-value (breakfasts run $4-10), tasty, with friendly servers (especially one girl with platinum blond hair.)  Boom is also open for lunch.

Boom Breakfast & Co has 3 locations:
808 College Street, 1036 St. Claire Avenue West, and 174 Eglinton Avenue West.
The College Street location is open daily from 6am – 4pm, while the other 2 open at 7am.

The Blog I Wanted To Write

2008 March 14

This morning I came across a blog that I thought more than once about creating myself.  Oh well, just more proof that there’s not that much original stuff left to do.

Click here to check out Breakfast in the City, which reviews and comments on just about any breakfast place in TO.

Quote of the Day!

2007 October 11

Man (alone, reading newspaper, and speaking to me and the woman next to me out of the blue): “Even the damn Bikers are suing these days, when they get shot.”
Woman: “It’s a free country.”

Breakfast Crawl: Le Petit Dejeuner

2007 October 1

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This morning, following rowing, one of the other coaches and I visited this great little diner Le Petit Dejeuner.  My companion had been here before and highly recommended it, so I was pretty pumped for my breakfast.  The atmosphere of this place really sets you up for an excellent experience:  most of the seats are booths made out of sparkly green naugahyde, and some smooth Aretha Franklin-type soul was playing from the sound system.  The waitress/proprietor (Corrie) approched us to take a coffee order and to inform us that she had not been able to visit the market today and thus fruit was running low.  The crêpes were also apparently not ready yet.  I always kind of like restaurants that are running low on, or out of, some menu items because it indicates (for the most part) freshness of food as well as the lack of mass-production.

LPD’s menu was interesting for having many exceptional items: potato latke instead of hashbrowns, apple coleslaw as a side dish, and the option of fish cakes as a non-traditional alternative to the regular sausage/bacon/ham breakfast meat options.  My friend had an omlette, which looked absolutely delicious.  I had the Hungry Gal Breakfast (which, I was told, was just fine for a hungry guy): a couple of poached eggs, brown toast, the potato pancake + apple coleslaw, and (I couldn’t resist trying out) the fish-for-breakfast.  The cakes – a mixture of salmon & haddock – were fried up nice and crispy and were actually quite tasty.  However, later in the day, I was repeatedly treated to a slightly unwelcome reminder of the the taste; perhaps a reason these have not hit the breakfast menus at Denny’s or The Golden Griddle yet.  I had a regular coffee under the false assumption that it might be included in the price of the (kind of expensive) meal.  I was wrong – it actually cost an additional $1.75.  It was organic and it was good, but I probably would have gone with an espresso or one of the many loose leaf teas had I known.

All in all, this was really a choice place for breakfast in Toronto.  I will surely go back as I’m eager to try some of the other stuff on the menu, especially the delicious-looking eggs benedict that the person in the next booth over was eating, and the Belgian-style waffles that one reviewer claims are “almost too sinful to eat.” 

Le Petit Dejeuner is located at 191 King Street East, just east of Jarvis.  It’s open from 8 am on weekdays, from 9 on Saturdays and from 10 on Sundays (again, affirming how much a non-breakfast city Toronto is; if this place was in Montreal, it would be open from 7 am every day!)

Breakfast Crawl: Friendly’s Grill – All Day Breakfast

2007 September 26

Although the sign above this place reads: Friendly’s Grill – All Day Breakfast, apparently its official name is Friendly Sports Bar & Grill.  Regardless, the people who work there are pretty darned friendly.  I spotted this place en route to St. Joe’s Hospital last night after a crazy opened their driver’s side door into the bike lane on College St., sending me flying into oncoming traffic.  Luckily, I suffered only some road rash and minor soft tissue damage.

So I decided to check it out this morning.  Upon arrival, the chalkboard in front announced the special: before 11:45am, the 4 egg breakfast is just $4.95!  Sold.  I inquired as to whether is was okay if I sat at the front table by the window, and the cook seemed perplexed as to why I was even asking in the first place.  Before sitting down, he had already taken my order (which basically consisted of asking what kind of meat I wanted and what colour toast – egg variety, apparently, is not a choice).  I went to buy a paper, and when I came back my coffee was waiting for me on my table.  This place is a bit dark, so I suggest sitting up front unless you want to watch SportsCentre on the giant screen tv at the rear.

The breakfast arrived shortly, served by another friendly employee.  I got 3 strips of excellent-quality bacon, 4 eggs (over easy), 2 slices of wheat toast, and some delicious potatoes.  Simple and sweet.  The server came back often to refill my coffee while I lingered over my Toronto Star.  The place was not busy, so I was never rushed and I received my friendly cheque just as I was finishing the last section of the ‘voice of the GTA’.

This place is not ultra close to where I live, nor is it really on the way to any place that I frequent.  I might not make the trek there again for no reason, but if I happen to find myself in the area, I’d definitely give Friendly’s Grill another go.

Friendly’s is located at 1116 Queen St. W (near Dovercourt).  It’s open daily from 9 am.

Breakfast Crawl: (Czech out) The Prague

2007 September 6

This morning I made my way to The Prague Fine Food Emporium for breakfast.  Mmmm.  This charmingly ethnic restaurant/grocery store, located at 638 Queen West, has been operating for close to 40 years.  And boy, have they worked out all the kinks.  I had a delicious breakfast consisting of poached eggs, toast, potatoes, fresh tomato & cucumber, coffee, and the house specialty: grilled restaurant-made kielbasa.  My bill (including tax) came to exactly $9, and was well worth it considering the most excellent service I recieved including pleasant banter with the server and many coffee refills.  The atmosphere of this place is also very warm and interesting.  Being, I assume, owned by a Czech expat, this is kind of a meeting place for those interested in Eastern European food and culture.  A bulletin board has multiple listings for Czech language lessons and cultural events, they sell many imported Czech food products, and the menu boasts a few delicacies I’m definitely interested in trying in the future.  This place doubles as a bakery/deli as well, so there were a bunch of regulars who popped in during my meal for some take-out + conversation with the clerks.  Also notable was the fine selection of free reading material:  I read today’s entire Toronto Star while I was there!

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The Prague is open Monday – Saturday from 7:30 am, and from 10 on Sundays.

Quote of the Day!

2007 August 4

“What’s the worst part about taking time off?  You have to pay it back with interest!”

-message on the coffee cup of my buddy Tim at Musa, where we went for brunch today.

By the way, this is amazing place to eat.  Yummy yummy in my tummy.  It’s at Dundas and Euclid.