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Will It French Toast? Pancakes.

This week on Will It French Toast, things get a little ridiculous. Just the way I like it.

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It’s one of the most important questions of the weekend: pancakes or french toast??

Well, why not both!

I started by making one large pancake using this stuff:

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Pancakes from scratch are a cinch, but I had this on hand so why not. I dig it.

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Once said pancake was done, I drenched it in egg whites. Again, one could also make a proper egg & milk wash. I used egg whites to get more protein because I actually eat these things! Plus, I never said french toasting was a classy affair.

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Then it becomes a refried pancake. In the best way possible.

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Served with fresh fruit, a dollop of peanut butter, and syrup. Proof that you can have your (pan)cake and eat it too.

I’m sorry, I hate puns.

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The french toasted pancake was good, especially the eggy bits on the end. But it was a little too dense to bring out the french toast texture and flavour. I knew I could do better.

To be continued…

A Frittata For Your Thoughts

Happy Sunday!

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As I lay in bed this morning thinking about food, as I am wont to do, I realized we had the makings of a great frittata sitting in the fridge as leftovers.

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Have you ever made frittata before? I used to make them all the time during my weight loss days. One giant slice is usually low in calories and high in protein.

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All you have to do is pick the veggies you want as the filling, sauté them with whatever spices you like, turn the heat down, then pour an egg/milk mixture over the veggies in the pan. How many eggs you use depends on the size of your pan, but a medium pan is generally 6-8 eggs. I like to use buttermilk or yogurt instead of milk sometimes too to make the eggs fluffy.

From there you let the eggs “set” on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. Until the edges are solid, but still liquid in the middle. Sprinkle cheese on top, wrap the pan’s handle in tinfoil if it’s not cast iron, and stick the whole thing under the broiler for about 3-5 minutes.

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Today’s mix included potato, mini portobellos, corn, green onion, smoked paprika, and goat yogurt instead of milk. Sprinkled with old cheddar on top. A nice surprise for my dad and sister to wake up to this morning!

Instead of yammering on today, I want to ask you for some feedback. I have never done this before and I find myself increasingly curious about it. For new and old readers alike, what brings you to my blog? What about this blog in particular keeps you coming back? What are some of your favourite topics? Are there any other topics you’d like to see featured more often? I’m a big girl, I can handle constructive criticism. Please comment below, leave a note on my Facebook page, tell me on Twitter, or pop me an e-mail at thegreatbalancingact@gmail.com. Thank you!!

Toronto’s Top Brunch

It’s no secret I’m a tad obsessive about brunch.

All my life, breakfast and the foods that go with have been one of my favourite parts of the day.

Now, I’m the type of person who needs to eat the second I open my eyes in the morning. Before moving to Toronto I hated eating out for breakfast because I’d feel sick from being so hungry in the morning. I couldn’t wait.

But the best thing about specialty brunch places are the hours from 10 to 3. All I’d need is a little snack to keep me going till 10. Or just wait and eat breakfast food for lunch. Then I’d have the rest of the day to work off said brunch ;)

Toronto is a big city filled with tons of restaurants. Ten thousand to be exact. Eating at every place that serves brunch would probably be a decade’s worth of work. And a solid 30 lbs. While I didn’t have the chance to try every place while I was there, I do like to think I got to try some of the best. Places known around the city as well as some of the lesser known gems.

I haven’t done this by myself either. For you, dear reader, have been along for the ride the whole time! Here with me as I write about my adventures brunching around the city. People always ask me what my favourite places are or how they shape up against one another.

It is with this that I bring you my Top 5 Toronto Brunches.

1. Mitzi’s on College

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Home of the best pancake I ever ate. I was so awed the first time eating it, that in a rare occurrence I went back a second time and ordered the exact same thing.

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A thick oatmeal buttermilk pancake topped with something different every time. It’s like the cornbread of pancakes, made with hearty oatmeal in a thick skillet.

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Mitzi’s on College is a cool little spot in Little Italy. Bonus points for having a waiting room instead of forcing hungry brunchers to line up out the door on weekends. They also had the best coffee of any brunch place. Not to mention, an outstanding menu outside of the famous pancake.

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2. Bonjour Brioche

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Located on the cusp of Leslieville and the Riverdale District, Bonjour Brioche is mainly a bakery that fills to the brim with brunchers on the weekend.

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I came here with my sister who thankfully wanted to split something sweet and savoury. The best of both worlds! We split a croque madam made with toasted brioche, ham, gruyere and a fried egg. The bread was obviously the best part.

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The real reason why this place captures the number two spot is the french toast. Hands down, the best I’ve ever had.

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Made with day old pastries. Every person gets a different kind of french toast based on whatever they have around. We happened to get some kind of flaky chocolate bread. Soaked in eggs and topped with maple syrup, it was even better than bread pudding.

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3. Toast Restaurant

Another Leslieville location. Not surprising, seeing as my neighbourhood in Toronto had the highest brunch-per-person ratio.

Honestly, Toast was not originally on my brunch radar. But my roommate seemed pretty excited to try it out and I’m never one to turn down brunch. The place was super cute, sort of like a “classy but relaxed” pub vibe.

I ordered the Monte Cristo, with shaved black forest ham and Swiss cheese on challah. It came with a potato hash instead of the usual home fries, which I loved!

Any place that does french toast on challah is automatically good in my book. The portions sizes here were huge, with tons of ham and cheese piled into my “sandwich.”

4. School Bakery & Cafe

School Bakery & Cafe

School was an afterthought before leaving Toronto. I’m so glad I made it there!

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Themed to remind you of all aspects of going to school, right down to the menu that comes on looseleaf. It’s in a brick institutional building on the outskirts of Liberty Village. It’s expensive, and we waited for a long time to both be seated and served. But in the end, it was still worth it.

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The menu is divided into sweet & savoury, featuring tons of original french toast, pancake and eggs benedict ideas. I ended up with the Spiced Benni on a Cheddar Chive biscuit. Even though I don’t like hollandaise, I still enjoyed the spicy kind that came with.

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The best part though was the biscuit the benni came on. Perfectly soft and spicy without falling apart under the runny eggs.

Bonus points to School for also making a mean Nutella Scone.

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‘Nuff said.

5. Free Times Cafe

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This was one of my first places to brunch in Toronto, as recommended my by sister at the time. I later came to know Free Times on College & Spadina as a bar. But I continued to yammer on about their unique brunch to anyone who’d listen every time we were there.

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Featuring live Klezmer music, Free Times offers up a “traditional Jewish brunch” buffet on Sundays. It’s not cheap, but worth it once just for the experience.

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I tried lots from the buffet, including challah french toast, smoked salmon scrambled eggs, potato latkes with apple sauce, blintzes, pickles and beets.

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Round two included in-house smoked fish, bread, cheese, smoked salmon cream cheese and a beet salad. All “my kind of food.”

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And what’s breakfast without dessert?

Years from now when I look back on my time in Toronto, I will always fondly remember the time I spent eating brunch. Researching brunch. Discussing brunch. And basically just loving and living through some of the best food the city has to offer. Even though I tout a “healthy lifestyle” on this blog, I think letting go and truly enjoying the food in that city was probably one of the healthiest things I’ve ever done.

Okay, and it was pretty damn fun too. All in the name of research, right?

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