Category Archives: Restaurants

The Burger, The Croissant and The Cookie

First things first, here’s what my elbow is looking like today:

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I need to get another surgery in about six months to take out that bottom screw. They put a big one in there to make sure it held, but it will hit my other bone once I’m able to move my arm again.

To quote my surgeon: “Your elbow is holding together well given the likelihood it could fall apart.” Awesome.

I’ll have to continue regular follow-ups with a surgeon in Moncton to ensure that it indeed does not fall apart.

I also need to step up the physio and work on moving it more. Which I’ve only been doing gently so far because it’s so painful to do.

Overall, I didn’t leave the appointment feeling great. But there’s also nothing I can do to make it magically better. Just gotta wait it out I guess!

Anyways, in order to start fresh in New Brunswick next week (!!!) I have a few more “bloggables” from the Tee Dot I’m going to handily wrap up all in one post.

Three places: A burger place, a bakery, and a Holy experience. Let’s get started, shall we?

1. The Burger

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You may remember back in December when my roommie and I checked out The Burger’s Priest. A teeny tiny burger joint in the East End that has burger enthusiasts foaming at the mouth. I liked it a lot, but I didn’t love it. I feel like I still needed to find “my” burger in Toronto. 

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Great Burger Kitchen at Gerrard and Jones is supposedly also one of the best. Megan and I came here on a whim one Sunday evening because that’s what we did when we had spare time and no recipes to be made at home.

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We may have gone home after and watched Rockstar Supernova circa 2006. We may have re-watched the whole Rockstar INXS series at one point too. Watching old reality TV shows is fun. You feel like you’re from the future.

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Anyways, GBK. It looked like they had great poutines. I can’t confirm this as I was after the meat only.

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I had the classic burger which comes with lettuce, tomato, red onion, ketchup, mustard and pickles.

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Made with all natural Ontario beef served on a bun from the well known local joint Brick Street Bakery.

First, the patty. Flavour-wise it was all there. I loved how thick it was, compared to the thin and salty patties at The Burger’s Priest. It was however a touch too dry for my tastes.

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Also, the patty-to-bun ratio borderlines absurd. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the bun. Actually, it was probably the best hamburger bun I’ve ever had. White, fluffy, but sturdy enough not to crumble in the presence of the burger. But it was twice the size of the patty. I’d say half my bites were easily bun only and contained no meat.

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FYI: eating giant hamburgers with one hand is tricky business. I could probably teach a class on eating with one hand by this point.

2. The Croissant.

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Right. So y’all know I have this undeterred fondness for pastry wrapped in butter. I never specifically set out to find the best croissant in Toronto. Amazing croissants are the kind of thing that find you, ya know?

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But again, in my intense foodie research, I found that Clafouti on Queen West was consistently praised for their croissants.

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I walked in on a late Sunday morning after brunch not sure of what goodies would be left.

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Roommie Megan snatched up the Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Croissant. Ohyes. But I had my eyes on something else.

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An almond croissant. I feel like apart from chocolate and butter, almond croissants are about as “classic” as you can get. And I’ve never had one!

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I tucked it away in my purse, having just scarfed down brunch and all, and gingerly pulled it out come dinnertime. Okay, I only made it till 4pm.

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The croissant easily broke in half, each side coated with a sweet almond paste. Nothing like the marzipan found in chocolates. This was a like a nutty, sugary, dreamy spread.

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The centre of the croissant was soft, but dense! And a little tough on the outsides. I’m not sure if all almond croissants are this thick. I’m better versed in the airy, flaky, greasy sorts. Overall though, it was a damn good croissant. I polished it off with an apple and called it a balanced meal.

3. The Cookie.

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Remember when my sister took me to Le Gourmand at Queen & Spadina?

She actually brought me there for croissants, which I will say were quite good. But I spotted these trays of cookies and knew they were mine. Walking past there the other day I popped in to get the cookie that’s been calling my name ever since. They only had chocolate chip and chocolate chip walnut. I went with the latter.

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I brought it home and immediately broke a piece off to taste. An inch thick and almost the size of my hand, one cookie is actually equal to about four. It was SO soft. With the perfect sized little chocolate chips. I thought about it for the rest of the night.

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The next morning I took another piece at zapped it in the microwave. It was at that point I melted into a giant puddle in the middle of my kitchen floor. Just like Alex Mack. I was in confectionary heaven.

So that ends my torrid tales of foodie adventures in Toronto. Just in time too, because my last pair of jeans are starting to get tight. Now it’s time shape up and get cooking in my brand new kitchen. Which you’ll have to wait till Sunday to see. Have a great weekend!

“The Slump” and My Saving Grace

I have something of a confession.

Before the accident that broke my arm, I was going through a bit of a “workout” slump.

I know this is a pretty common occurrence, but what made mine notable is that it lasted for almost a year.

Ever since leaving my much loved gym in Fredericton last April, working out has been a challenge. More of a challenge than it was in the past. Before, I legitimately loved exercise. Working out was my favourite time of day. I had to consciously limit my workouts to 60-90 minutes, otherwise I’d just want to keep going. I had the proverbial fire in my belly about exercise. I mean, it’s why I quit my blossoming career as a radio reporter to become a personal trainer.

And then it just went away. After leaving Fredericton, I stayed with my mom in Moncton for a month. I felt like I was dragging myself to the gym for mediocre workouts every day. I blamed it on my newfound unemployment making me lazy. Or the fact that the gym there didn’t have my favourite classes or lifting equipment.

When I arrived in Toronto in July, I immediately found work as a personal trainer. This had to get me excited about exercise again… right?

Wrong.

It turned it into work. I’m not talking about my sessions with clients, but about my own personal fitness. After a long day of training, the last thing I wanted to do was stay at the gym an hour longer to get my own workout in. Training on the same equipment I worked on made it feel less fun. Not to mention, the gym was far away from where I lived, and getting there was a real hassle when I wasn’t getting paid for it. I hardly ever went to the group fitness classes at my gym because peak class hours coincided with peak training hours.

When I injured my arm six weeks ago, I admit, I was a little relieved by the prospect of not feeling pressured to work out. The only reason why I have consistently exercised during this extended “slump” is to maintain my health and fitness. Because that’s what a personal trainer is expected to do.

It has been 10 months of bored workouts + 6 weeks of complete rest and I am finally, finally, starting to feel enthusiastic about it again. I feel like setting fitness goals again. Like following a training program. Jeez, I could even sign up for a race! I’m starting to get a bit of a smoulder in my belly again. I know it will be a while yet until I’m back in my full fighting form. But I have a lot of hopes for things I’ll be able to do this summer. Activities I’ll be able to do outdoors in the Maritimes – even with my rehabbing arm. First step is getting the okay to run again. I’m going to bug my surgeon about it again tomorrow!

Anyways, it is with this that I bring you my final Toronto brunch.

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I only just heard of Saving Grace after it made the #3 spot in BlogTO’s latest Best Brunch in Toronto list. I’d already tried the one and two spots, so I had to round out the top three!

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Saving Grace is this reeeeeally small place in Little Portugal. So small they make you wait outside for a table because there’s no room for people to stand in the doorway. It wasn’t that big of a deal on the spring-like day we were there. But that’s not cool in the dead of winter.

We arrived there at 10:30am not knowing it opens at 10am. We had to wait for the first round of brunchers to finish up before we were seated. Rookie mistake!

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I of course ordered a coffee right away as my eyes glazed over considering both the brunch menus.

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Gah! Fish tacos? Savoury french toast? Poached eggs on lentils? ROSEMARY MAYO??

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Roomie Megan went for that last one. More specifically the Old White Cheddar Sandwich: tomato, avocado, lettuce, rosemary mayo, toasted whole wheat raisin bread w/ greens & potatoes.

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Roommie Jocelyn went for the two poached eggs with toast, potatoes and greens.

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Me? After gathering my wits, I decided on the Corn Pancakes with blueberry maple syrup & breakfast sausages.

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Real bits of corn! These were actually very light and not too sweet. Nothing like the dense cornbread I’m used to. I’m not sure how I feel about that yet.

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I did love the combo of corn + blueberries. The maple syrup with cooked blueberries was divine.

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And breakfast sausage!! I love breakfast links. Preferably when smothered in a healthy dose of ketchup.

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I ate the whole darn thing and didn’t even feel that full. Perhaps it speaks to how light the pancakes were. Or maybe it’s just that I’m ready to go pro with brunching ;)

I’m working on a personal Best Of Brunch list and a Best Of Toronto list for next week. But you can always find a list of restaurants visited under the Restaurants tab!

See ya tomorrow with a doc update and some sweet treats ;)

Check Ya Later T.O.

Well my friends, I officially say goodbye to Toronto Thursday morning. I’m taking a train to Ottawa for my final check-in with my surgeon on Friday. Then I fly home on Sunday where I’ll be staying… For good!

When I first decided to move home around Christmastime, this is certainly not the goodbye I had anticipated. I planned on working until the last minute and tearing the city up in my spare time.

Instead, I’ve spent three of my last six weeks in Ottawa recovering from surgery and meeting with doctors. The days I have spent in Toronto have been noticeably low key. Read: no partying in the big city (not that I, ugh, like to, ugh, party or anything).

In some ways though, my injury has been a bit of a blessing. I haven’t been able to work or workout during these last weeks. Instead, I’ve spent many hours walking around the neighbourhoods of Toronto soaking it all in. I’ve spent a lot of time in my own neighbourhood, which I never really did before. I leave feeling quite relaxed, even if it’s without a bang.

Tuesday night, my roommies and I hosted a “Susan’s Leaving” potluck.

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This is the only picture of the three of us! Megan, me, Jocelyn. Ignore me awkwardly holding my injured arm.

As a side note, I’m wearing this sweater. I love it. Expensive, and worth every single penny. Makes staying warm with my injured arm a million times easier.

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Anyways, the potluck. We ended up with tons of great food, despite the fact that everyone showed up with bread.

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I think we had four loaves? Earlier in the day, Meg had the last minute idea to cook meat. Thank god she did. These pork chops were the only protein we had! Ever notice that no one brings protein to potlucks?

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Pardon the blurry pics. This isn’t everything, just a few highlights!

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Balsamic strawberries. Saucy chickpeas.

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My best hummus yet:

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2 cans chickpeas + 1 jar Classico pesto + 2 cloves garlic + a dash of lemon juice + a handful of fresh basil leaves. Seriously, make this now. So flipping easy.

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Tabbouleh! I had a bag of bulgur in my cupboard I’d been stressed about using up before I leave. Now instead of a bag of bulgur, I have a ginormous bowl of tabbouleh. Not sure how I feel about that trade-off.

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Beer!! Can you believe I have not had a single drink since the Maritime Kitchen Party? My accident happened the weekend after that, and drinking since then has been dicey. I made sure I didn’t take any painkillers for 24 hours before this party so I could indulge in a brew! Callie brought me this Blue Moon from the States. I may or may not have squealed when I saw it :)

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My plate! A little bit of everything. Of course, the best part was dessert…

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These cookies made by Callie were definitely the highlight of the party. A soft chocolate cookie stuffed with marshmallow fluff and topped with a peanut butter frosting. Basically, my dream cookie.

Afterwards my friends and I went to a sketchy bar down the street called The Duke. Best known for a fatal shooting that happened there a few years ago. It’s a class act. We spent most of the night talking about journalism-y things seeing as most of us are ex J-schoolers. I’m going to miss my old university friends here in Toronto!!

But if there’s one place that I had to go to in my ‘hood before leaving, it was Strat’s.

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Stratenger’s was one of the first places I ate at in Toronto (read here) and now it will be my last! It’s not necessarily a classy joint either. Just a big, comfortable bar with pretty good food.

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I’ve only ever had their salads, but I’ve heard lots about their pizzas. Cooked in a stone pizza oven. Today was the day to try one!

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Megan and I split the Tandoori Chicken with spicy chicken pieces and hot peppers. Wonderfully spicy, flavourful sauce, lots of cheese and extra crispy crust. Pretty damn good actually.

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Nothing too exciting for my last day in Toronto, but it’s just the way I wanted it. These last nine months have been some of the most intense of my life. I’m looking forward to being home again and getting back into the relaxed pace of the Maritimes :)

As side note, thank you for all the encouraging comments on my last post. I just want to say, I did not write that post for sympathy. I know you all know me better than that. It was just a topic weighing very heavily on my mind, and writing it out felt good!

See you from Ottawa!!

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