Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Only Cafe

Courtesy of blogto.com ..I hope
This is my next stop on my Indie Coffee Passport Adventures - that dance card is almost full!

Is it a cafe? Is it a bar? Is it a juice bar? It's all three! I had a seat at the back patio on a lovely Friday and enjoyed a latte along with a scrumptious "Italian Job crepe - a slight nudge from the vegan bandwagon but it was so delicious it is worth any scorn or lambasting I may suffer. Mushroom, egg, cheese and their own homemade pesto.  I ordered at the cafe bar (there is table service for brunch on weekends) Quite possibly one of the best I've ever had. Seriously.

I was also entertainment for a toddler who was very attracted to my colourful outfit as her mother pointed out.  For adults there is musical entertainment in the evenings here. as well as a very very extensive beer selection...

They are located at 972 Danforth Avenue just east of Jones.

I also visited the Niagara Veg Fest this past weekend..the mildly inclement weather didn't discourage too many people, however, the line for Beechwood Donuts was much shorter and faster this year. We picked up Pina Colada, Carrot Cake, White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookie and Pink Lemonade flavours..as always devastatingly good. We also sampled some Buffalo Wings from Rise Above, a Roasted Cauliflower, cheese samples (and purchases) from Nuts for Cheez and some delectable raw chocolate items - macaroons and a "snickers bar"...I neglected to note the name of the business.

Fashionwise I scored another Espe bag....mine is gray but I can't find a picture of it..needless to say they have lots of great colourful styles...I have my eye on a couple more...Espe.ca or on Facebook...wallets, key chains with flowers,cellphone holders etc. etc.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Redline Espresso and Field Trip

Image result for redline espresso
(photo from BlogTo)
I am a little delayed in posting about my next two passport stamps on my Indie Coffee Passport. So here's the update...last week I went to Redline Espresso on Queen East...and I kind of wish they were in my neighbourhood..I guess that's what makes it special though is that you have to venture further afield!

It looks very unassuming from the outside but inside it's pure welcoming warmth. I think this is probably one of the best vibes I have ever experienced in a cafe. The staff were very friendly and obviously enjoy their work as one of the ladies was singing along to The Jackson Five and other Motown hits..

This is a neighbourhood which is in transition as they say, sitting near the corner of Queen and Parliament and in the ever evolving Corktown. Customers (who are greeted enthusiastically like long lost friends) run the gamut from newly resident hipsters with babies to those whose cup of joe is an opportunity for contact with human kindness and sadly quite possibly the best part of their day.. All are welcome. No attitude here. I could have sat here all day enjoying one of the oversized chairs to lounge in...enjoying my delicious cookie.  Redline Espresso is located at 364 Queen Street East.

Today I ventured east along Bloor on a field trip to...Field Trip which is located at 3 Westmoreland Avenue just west of Ossington. It was a nice walk today from Bathurst subway station.

Again from BlogTo this photo
http://www.blogto.com/listings/cafes/upload/2015/08/20150717-fieldtripcafe590-16.jpgI sat oustide on this very spacious patio..which is quieter than the usual cafe patios because it is located off of Bloor on a side street. There was a very comfortable plastic molded armchair...which I should have taken a picture of!

Okay...the cafe...I was served by a Matthew Modine look a like (you kids can Google that or better yet watch the great "Married to the Mob" featuring not only Mr. Modine but Alec Baldwin, a hilarious Michelle Pfeiffer channeling Long Island housewife and Merces Ruehl) The iced latte with soy was great - they used Propeller beans and I also got a vegan Chocolate Cherry Muffin..which I have yet to consume...can't wait. They do all their own baking and prepare sandwiches or order as well as having some delicious ones pre-made.

They are also licensed and have an extensive indie beer list including Beau's Brewing on tap. Matthew 2 kindly pointed out when marvelling at the stamps I have collected on my passport, I should check out The Only on the Danforth as well - they are a cafe/bar/juice bar and have entertainment in the evenings. Currently Field Trip is only open until 8...hmmm you COULD have some afternoon jazz on the patio on a weekend though....

Again, it would be so nice to have this place in my 'hood. I would love it if someone would open a place with a patio further away from traffic i.e. in a house or something off a side street. I do realize however that real estate prices are a little steeper downtown. 

Since I was in the neighbourhood I picked up a peanut butter and dark chocolate cookie and a raspberry donut from Bloomers as well as two slices of pizza from Apiecalypse Now...hey all this reviewing and exploring is hungry work! I got the Reunion Tour and Pepperphony. To balance things out I picked up some great deals (as always) at the Bloor Fruit Market (at Manning) on berries, green beans and King Oyster Mushrooms.

I still have a few more places to go..and now I am extra intrigued about The Only....

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Further Indie Coffee Passport Adventures - around Roncesvalles/Parkdale

Image result for golden coffee shop torontoToday I made further use of my Indie Coffee Passport and checked out a hidden gem on Golden Avenue - just off Dundas West near Howard Park Avenue at 35 Golden. It's a fun building housing some interesting offices - it sure would be fun to work there. I had a cappuccino here in the "common area" which features a long table, a couch and two comfy armchairs. There is a Soma roastery/factory in this complex which I believe used to manufacture uniforms in another life. It's located at the end of the street just before the railway tracks.

After some shopping on Roncesvalles I decided what the heck why not caffeinate some more? That meant checking out the Ideal Coffee location on Sorauren Avenue. (221 to be exact). I think this used to be a different business that has been taken over by the Ideal Coffee folks - it's all to the good...

This kind of gives you a rough idea of the space but its much bigger and warmer - there's even a patio and of course they make great coffee (roast their own) and treat their staff well! I had a delicious latte here and enjoyed a breeze from the open door and the conversation between the baristas but not the garbage truck that was making its' rounds. Ha.

I also used my passport at The Strong One on Wales Avenue in Kensington Market - I have blogged about them before. On Monday I was able to sit outside and use their patio for the first time....

R.I.P. Guy Clark who I had the pleasure of hearing on a few occasions at the Edmonton Folk Festival - such a talented singer/songwriter from the Lone Star State. "Homegrown Tomatoes" is one of my favourites...look it up on You Tube..or better yet check it out here....

Wednesday, May 4, 2016


 This annual feast...a veg take on the Winterlicious and Summerlicious Toronto prix fixe restaurant menu extravaganza was launched at an intimate lunch hour get together over at the 519 Community Centre on Church Street Community last Friday April 29th.

There were of course lots of wonderful nibbles and even beer! See Beau's Brewing Company below...I sampled two of their selections and they were hoppin delicious...The Farmtable I.P.A. and the Kissmeyer Nordic Pale Ale. Lots to share as they come in large bottles...

I did sample dessert first as in these delicious Apple Pie squares from Sweets from the Earth (one of my fave vegan baked goods purveyors). I also got to try their new Chocolate Almond Biscotti - which are gluten free and Coffee Cake muffins..

For something a little more substantial I filled out the beer and sugar with a salad from Kupfert and Kim, a butternut squash risotto and falafel  from Fabarnak (right in the 519 Community Centre) building and an appetizer sampling from Taboule (which included hummous and a baby falafel). They also had an amazing rice pudding with rosewater and orange for dessert (that's part of their prix fixe offering).
I was a little busy eating so didn't take as many photos as I should..however you will be able to take photos of your own to your heart's content starting May 6 through the 22nd. There are many participating restaurants including Doug's Public Kitchen, Grasshopper, D'Beatstro, Bloomers, Free Times, Fresh, Lettuce Love...and on and on including restaurants not normally listed as veg. I think the Windsor Arms offering looks particularly tantalizing...so many places so little time.

Sponsored by Yamchops, Kupfert and Kim, Prairie Girl Baker, Tabule, Foodora and Beau's. Foodora...you won't even have to leave your house!


Friday, April 22, 2016

Indie Coffee Passport adventures

When I was at our April meetup for Cafe Happy at Creeds on Dupont I decided to splurge and get an Indie Coffee Passport...which consists of 26 independent cafes in Toronto. You get your passport "stamped" at each place and they have a list of offerings including cappucinos or lattes or even the special drinks of the house..the passport costs $28 plus tax  and is well worth it! It also gets one out exploring neighbourhoods you wouldn't normally visit and even discover cafes that your might have overlooked in your own 'hood! The program operates in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Chicago, Washington, Vermont and East Bay.

By the way Creeds features lots of snacks and even vegan meals from Yamchops! It's a huge space with a dry cleaning business at the back so if you need to host a big event/meetup and get some drycleaning done at the same time..Bob's your uncle.

Image result for cygnet coffee torontoOne of the first cafe lands I journeyed to was at 1691 Dundas Street West sometimes known as Brockton Village...the Cygnet. It is charming and cozy and faces a beautiful church across the street...

I had a house made mint Matcha which they kindly allowed me ...a little off menu because I am always excited about places that offer Matcha lattes!

I also sampled a delicious Almond and Matcha cookie..they have lots of great baked goods...I felt that the walk from King and Bathurst justified this..ha ha. Photos are from BlogTo.com

Cygnet Coffee
On my way back I stopped in at  Tucana which is a bite sized takeout spot at 1413 Dundas Street West..they have vegan cookies...yumm....great latte too.

Image result for Tucana Toronto
Tucana Coffee

Sufficiently caffeinated for one day I left my new explorations for a few days...to one of my fave spots which I have written about before - Fika in Kensington Market. Because the weather has finally decided to become more spring like I could also enjoy the back patio..one of the areas not so hidden gems anymore. Not to worry because there's space inside and also a front deck! Always great music selections and dangerously good baked items...with cool staff. Look for the teal green house on Kensington Avenue

Image result for fika cafe kensingtonImage result for fika cafe kensington

Yesterday it was the Coffee Bar Inc on Front Street (346 Front St. West). The staff and I think perhaps the owner was super friendly and made me a Velvet Latte which is the specialite de la maison. They have a private upstairs seating area which apparently is used by visiting celebrities (such as Will Smith and the Bieber) who venture over from Soho on Wellington so they can relax, chat and not be harassed/gawked at...

 Image result for coffee bar front street toronto


As you can see they do amazing coffee art too...and take pride in their coffee. The person I was chatting with said she has had a Indie passport for the past two years as well and had been less than impressed with some places (no longer in business big surprise) She took a couple of sips and in those cases promptly and discreetly poured it out after she left the premises. I understand completely ...I visited a place south of my residence amongst the new condo developments on Lakeshore and sheepishly ducked out leaving my full latte on the table.  I also an atypically less than stellar experience yesterday at a certain French cafe in the Thompson hotel with tea...it was quite frankly weak and flavourless..perhaps they know how to do coffee better than tea. I now understand Brits frustration with getting a good cuppa abroad. New rule: from now on let people know you are disappointed in a good polite Canadian way!

Back to the Coffee Bar... great choice if you're on your way to or from a ball game. I was on my way to the Ripley's Aquarium...although I felt very guilty about going there with all the imprisoned fish I must confess it was secretly thrilling to watch sharks swim overhead along with manta rays and sea turtles...plus one of my faves..seahorses! I could watch the graceful undulations of flounder for ages - their bodies move like the ruffles on a flamenco dress...

5 down only 21 to go..