Last night, I checked out this neat salad place at Queen and Spadina. Only open since February, The Baro is redefining the chopped salad.
At The Baro, you can build your own salad or you can choose from a menu of salads. I went with the baby spinach walnut and I added dried cranberries and chicken. Once you’ve picked everything, they throw it on the board and chop it up for you using a mezzaluna (super fancy knife), to your liking (there’s actually a chopped scale). My boyfriend went for the nicoise, a salad that has me until the olives.
I chatted with one of the owners, Bill – who was super friendly and very patient as I mulled over my salad options. He told me that him and the co-owner John built the restaurant themselves. Which is crazy! The space is fun and open, which bench and bar seating to enjoy your salad. Most of the people in there last night appeared to be coming from or heading to the gym (or they just love their yoga pants – no judgement).
Bill also told me that they are obsessed with fresh. Everything to the best of their abilities is sourced locally and they make all their dressings and juices in house. And they are also obsessed with being sustainable. All of their utensils, bowls, cups and napkins are biodegradable. Nothing goes in the garbage, it either goes in the compost or in the recycling bin.
The best part about the chopped salad is every bite has some toppings. The best part of the salad is never the lettuce, so its perfect for me as a person that would actually just eat a salad of cheese and nuts (I don’t think that’s a salad anymore).
If you’re looking for something healthy in the Queen and Spadina area, which might be a great thing because there is so many yummy dessert places there – definitely check out The Baro.
West Queen West is a bit of a trek for me, so I don’t make it out to that neighbourhood too often. Last week, I was seeing Venus’ Daughter and my boyfriend and I needed to grab dinner before. I don’t know the area too well so we just started wandering along Queen and then I remembered that I had once had amazing fish and chips at The Gladstone, so The Gladstone it was.
Unfortunately the Melody Bar has changed their menu since I was last there but the options looked good so I wasn’t worried.
I went with the fried cauliflower sandwich, clearly something I enjoy (see Maha’s) which came with fries that were really good. The sandwich was great, there was coleslaw, mayo and sharp cheddar on it. I didn’t notice the sharp cheddar in the description so it was a delicious surprise. My boyfriend got the tempeh “bacon” BLT, I’m not exactly sure what tempeh is, but his sandwich was also good (mine was better, just saying).
I forgot that the Melody Bar always has fun things going on, on Wednesday nights, they have Music Bingo. What is Music Bingo you ask? Well, you get a bingo card with songs on it and a couple of dabbers and the DJ/caller calls out the songs and plays a short clip. People are singing and shoulder dancing. We only got to stay for a few songs because we had to head over to the show but it was fun and I’d definitely recommend it if you’re looking for something fun and not-to-crazy of a thing to do on a Wednesday. They also have adult colouring and wine drinking on Thursdays, I mean it’s not too far off of my typical Thursday night, but perhaps I could be more social about it 😉
I usually don’t like eating around Yonge and Dundas, it’s so busy and touristy which usually means over-priced and not very good but a couple weeks ago, I was going to the Mirvish Theatre and didn’t have a ton of time, so Yonge and Dundas area it was for dinner.
We tried to get into a couple different places but it was all busy but we walked by a brightly lit Asian restaurant and decided to give it a try. We ate family style, which is usually my favourite way to eat because you can have a bit of everything.
We started with the lotus wrapped rice and spring rolls. Turns out, the lotus leaves were not my cup of tea. My boyfriend loves them so he got to eat his and half of mine. The spring rolls were really good. I try not to get spring rolls if they’re the frozen ones because they’re just terrible but these were definitely made on site and delicious.
For our mains, we got the cashew chicken and the singapore noodles, we also added a side of steamed rice because you need something to soak up all that saucy goodness. Both dishes were really tasty and I think you can tell from the size of the photo, they were also gigantic. We definitely had enough to have lunch the next day.
Service was pretty quick, we were in and out in less than an hour which was perfect for us. For dinner, we spent less than $40 including tip although we didn’t have any drinks (it’s crazy how much of a price difference it can make adding drinks even non-alcoholic to the bill). So, if you’re in the neighbourhood and want to avoid a chain restaurant, I’d recommend Asian Bowl!
TWO POSTS IN ONE DAY?! I just had to share this Thirsty Thursday with you and I had to tell you about Venus’ Daughter in case you still needed things to do this weekend.
This week’s Thirsty Thursday is actually how I spent my Valentine’s Day because my valentine is a pretty cool guy. I saw that Left Field was having a beer and chocolate pairing and I just had to go. Side note: Left Field seems to have a ton of awesome stuff going on in the next couple of months so make sure you check them out.
For Valentine’s Day, they paired up with chocolates x brandon olsen, a fancy chocolate maker in Toronto. They did a chocolate and beer pairing for 2 people for $25 and it was totally worth it. At first, I was a little concerned about the chocolate flavours but they were amazing. I’ve included the tasting menu, so you can recreate it at home, if you desire.
My favourite by far was the lime ginger black pepper, not something I would think would go in chocolate but absolutely it does and it was delicious. Not only was the chocolate (and beer) delicious but the chocolates were such beautiful works of art. The chocolates would be a fantastic gift (again, with the beer).
So if you’re looking to spoil yourself or someone else, definitely pick up some locally made chocolates x brandon olsen and left field and make somebody’s day.
Until last week, I had never been to indie ale house and every time I said that people said – what?! People know my love of beer and food and so it seemed like a natural fit and indeed it was.
They have a constant rotation of beer and a bottle shop in the front. You have to go to see what they have available on tap, the website isn’t really kept up to date. But for this post, I’ll stick to the food.
I had the mac and cheese, which was a natural choice for me, I’m a huge fan of mac and cheese. This one was a goat cheese and butternut squash, they have another brisket one.
I was quite surprised by a number of things in the dish, pleasantly surprised I should say. The toast that came with it was huge and tasted like a grilled cheese which I realized is just taste of buttery bread. I also expected the sauce to be the butternut squash component but it there was actually chunks of butternut squash in it. It was so good, and looks small but was so filling I had some to take home.
My friend got the margherita pizza and added prosciutto because as she said, if that’s an option you should always say yes. It was a decent thin crust pizza but I definitely preferred my mac and cheese.
I would recommend indie ale house if you haven’t been if you love good beer and great food, the kitchen does close before midnight so make note of that and like most good places in the city, be prepared for a wait.
Have you been to indie ale house? What did you get?
Normally when you think brunch in the city you think of waffles and eggs benny and long lines but not at Maha’s (although… there is still lines).
Maha’s is an Egyptian restaurant in Leslieville known for it’s brunch. It is very very tiny and very very popular so pack your patience as they don’t take reservations. I went with a group of bloggers, as part of Happy or Hungry’s Eat The World project. I was surprised that the most popular Egyptian restaurant in the city is known for it’s brunch and it’s delicious.
We started with dokka, pita triangles with olive oil and nuts and sesame seeds. It was really good but a very small portion for the 5 of us but it was tasty.
Everyone at the table was getting lentil soup so I decided to try it, I’m not sure I’ve every really had lentil soup. It was creamy (but vegan so no real cream) and really flavourful. I would definitely get it again.
It was pretty hearty but my main was on the smaller side so I was glad I got it. My main was a fried cauliflower sandwich. I love fried cauliflower because well… fried and this sandwich was perfect. I was expecting the sauce to be more like a tahini but it was actually more like a garlic mayo, which was fine by me.
I would recommend Maha’s if you’re looking for a new brunch place but beware that you will have to wait, as the place is super tiny.
So, I finally went to Bannock this past Saturday. If you’re not familiar, it is a “casual” restaurant from O&B that’s basically in The Bay Queen Street. I knew I was in good hands when I arrived and saw my favourite baco noir and my “favourite” beer (that’s in quotes because I could never choose a favourite) beer on the menu.
It was a chilly winter night so I decided to try the “Arcadian Court Chicken Pot Pie”. It came with mashed potatoes, which are my weakness. Chicken Pot Pie isn’t something I’d normall order while I’m out, I’m always afraid that I’m going to be disappointed but this was one of the best meals I’ve had in a restaurant in a while.
I wish I took a photo of that crust popped open so you could see the goodness within! My boyfriend had the turkey burger, which he said was really good. I couldn’t try it because it was all covered in avocado and I didn’t want to be itchy all night (weird allergy). Although, his burger didn’t really come with a side, just a few chips but we were both pretty full and didn’t have dessert so I guess it’s all good.
It wasn’t the priciest dinner but I put casual in quotes earlier because it definitely wasn’t cheap. The two mains and a drink each with tax and tip came to around $70 but it is definitely one of the best meals I’ve had in a while and in that neighbourhood, probably ever (although I’ve never been to Chase).
About two weeks ago, I headed to Niagara for a little getaway. I’ve always loved Niagara, it’s so silly and cheesy, I like to get out there about once a year. I have not been in a long time, I hadn’t even been to the brewery on Clifton Hill. A really cute little brewery with lots of beer selections and a few snack options.
I tried the Honeymoon Peach, named because Niagara is the honeymoon capital of the world. The Honeymoon Peach is a refreshing and light beer. It’s only about 3.5% but it’s not quite a radler, definitely has more of a beer taste than a typical radler. If you’re out in Niagara, I would definitely recommend checking out the brewery and having a little Honeymoon Peach!
This past Thursday, I went to Evening at the Market at St. Lawrence Market. I bought the tickets as an anniversary gift for my boyfriend because I know how much he loves St. Lawrence Market.The event was in support for FoodShare Toronto and essentially the market was transformed into a tasting market, with virtually every vendor offering something delicious to try. I realized that I didn’t take a ton of photos of the actual venue, it was just the things I ate (and only a portion of them) but they had circus performers walking throughout the event and in the middle of the market, they had an aerial artist performing. The event was busy but not insane, and line ups weren’t too long to get food or drink..
Our first stop was Paddingtons, where they were sampling a few drinks they offer all the time, including Hogtown and Waterloo (I did not know you could get beer at the market!) and delicious cheese pies and baklava.
Throughout the rest of venue, Amsterdam beer and Union wines were on offer, some of my favourites.
As I mentioned, I ate a lot of stuff, mostly cheese and pasta things (of course). I had fresh ravioli, fondue and risotto out of the parm wheel. The parm wheel!!
I think my favourite dessert I had was the french macarons from the lower level. They also came with little chocolate nuggets.
I didn’t take photos of everything I ate because it would just look excessive but I promise it was all great. It was actually one of those times I wish I liked more food because there was a huge seafood section that was basically wasted on us. It was a great event, that I hope they run again next year (this was the first year they hosted it, this way). It also reminded me how much I love the St. Lawrence Market, I’ve been a little more often (again, because my boyfriend is in love with it) but it makes me want to come back and buy more cheese, pasta and fresh meats!
Did anyone else go to the Evening at the Market? What was your favourite part?
I had the chance to visit Pretty Sweet in Toronto, on Bathurst, just south of St. Clair this weekend. This adorable bakery offers everything from macaroons to brownies to donuts to cookies and custom orders, so basically anything your sweet tooth can conjure up.
I tried some of the confetti biscottis, I think they were my favourite. We also picked up some brownies and macaroons to share at a party we were going to. The bakery is only open for walk-ins on Saturdays but Jen offers up delicious samples and hot coffee.
Pretty Sweet offers delivery in the GTA with lots of options for events and even high tea (for those super fancy afternoons). They are also offering delivery for Christmas gifts, which would be great for teachers, family, neighbours or to bring in to be the holiday-office-hero! They can also make great birthday, wedding or everyday cakes.
If you’re in the neighbourhood, be sure to check out this delightful bakery or place your orders for all your sweet needs!