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Scarborough Gems

Just chiming in to give another big thumbs up to the fabulously fresh, delicious, and extremely inexpensive Shawarma Empire on Lawrence near Pharmacy. Both the falafel and the shawarma there are top notch. Very charming staff, too. I've eaten there many times. Wish there were somewhere as good downtown.

Feb 09, 2010
trumpler in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Coffee quest: Is there a Toronto equivalent of Vancouver's Cafe Artigiano?

The consistently excellent coffee at Artigiano seems like a distant dream. Can't wait for them to bring that to Toronto.

Feb 09, 2010
trumpler in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Coffee quest: Is there a Toronto equivalent of Vancouver's Cafe Artigiano?

Yeah, I found Ezra's Pound's and Manic's offerings very thin, too. Dark Horse on Spadina did have a very hip vibe, but not very good coffee. Dark Horse on Queen E. wasn't close to Artigiano's standards but was the best I've had in Toronto so far. Very good to know about Balzac's. I have to go down to Liberty Village soon anyway, and I look forward to checking it out then.

Feb 09, 2010
trumpler in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Coffee quest: Is there a Toronto equivalent of Vancouver's Cafe Artigiano?

Can't wait to try Te Aro. Thanks for the advice.

Feb 09, 2010
trumpler in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Coffee quest: Is there a Toronto equivalent of Vancouver's Cafe Artigiano?

food_whiz and jwhitereview, I'm very happy to know about The Communal Mule, which is now on my list. Many thanks!

Feb 09, 2010
trumpler in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Coffee quest: Is there a Toronto equivalent of Vancouver's Cafe Artigiano?

Canadian Gourmand, thanks for your post. Fantastic news about Artigiano. I wonder how long it'll be before we see one here.

Also, I've heard the controversy over Bulldog, but now that you've mentioned that their coffee is on the darker/richer side, I've put it high on my list of places to try next.

Today I tried Dark Horse on Spadina for the first time and was disappointed. My latte was very bland, weak, and creamy. I actually threw half of it away. Earlier in the week I made it out to Cherry Bomb on Roncesvalles. That latte too was weak, though not so weak as Dark Horse's, but it was also thin and bitter, and not so creamy. Incidentally, Dark Horse on Queen E. gave me a *much* stronger, richer, more flavourful, overall much better latte than the Spadina outlet did.

So I'm still searching. Sam James, Lit, Bulldog, and Crema are next.

Feb 09, 2010
trumpler in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Is Better Than Bouillon available in Toronto?

In Kensington Market, just south of the cheese shops on Kensington Ave., there's a place that sells organic/natural dry foods (canned, boxed goods, supplements, etc.). Sorry I can't think of the name of the place, but they carry it.

Feb 03, 2010
trumpler in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Bloor and Jane

We had an absolutely appalling meal at My Place on Sunday night. $14 for a BLT on oily, foamy bread with ONE slice of pale grey limp blubber on it, apparently uncooked, plus a heap of the heaviest, oiliest fries I've ever had. All of us reported feeling nauseated during the night afterward. Never again!

Feb 03, 2010
trumpler in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Coffee quest: Is there a Toronto equivalent of Vancouver's Cafe Artigiano?

I'm very excited to try Crema. Thanks!

Jan 28, 2010
trumpler in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Coffee quest: Is there a Toronto equivalent of Vancouver's Cafe Artigiano?

Will check out Sam James and report back! Thanks for the suggestion.

Jan 28, 2010
trumpler in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Coffee quest: Is there a Toronto equivalent of Vancouver's Cafe Artigiano?

I actually did go to the Dark Horse on Queen, but went only once, so I agree that I should try them again. I'd actually forgotten about the one in Chinatown and definitely have that on my list now! Since I am often in Kensington Market, I'll try Louie's as well. I didn't know about Crema, so thanks for that suggestion, too! I appreciate all the help!

Jan 28, 2010
trumpler in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Coffee quest: Is there a Toronto equivalent of Vancouver's Cafe Artigiano?

Hey, peppermint pate,

Mostly I'm interested in finding a really great cup of coffee. Atmosphere is a bonus, but that's not what I'm most interested in. I usually order latte, and that was my favorite coffee at Artigiano (consistently across the three branches I used to frequent). So that's what I've mostly been trying here in TO, although at some of these places I've made more than one visit and have also tried hand drips and Americanos.

I've heard Cherry Bomb is awesome, and it's on my list but I haven't made it there yet mainly because it's pretty far from me geographically. Will put Lit on my radar as well. I noticed Sam James the other day and wondered about it. Will definitely go there next. Thanks!

Dark Horse was quite decent, pretty good, but not the excellent cup I'm still looking for. Ezra's and Manic were surprisingly mediocre. I Deal was awful. Forgot to mention that I also tried the coffee at Clafouti (Clafoutis?)--also disappointing. And the coffee at Wanda's Pie in the Sky was so bad it was undrinkable (and the pie was dry).

I'm glad to know about 49th parallel--haven't tried that yet in Van!

Many thanks for the advice.

Jan 28, 2010
trumpler in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Coffee quest: Is there a Toronto equivalent of Vancouver's Cafe Artigiano?

Vancouver's Cafe Artigiano has the best coffee I've found in Canada. Now I'm living in Toronto and can't find anything even close. Is there any coffee that compares in Toronto? So far, I've tried Manic, Ezra's Pound (Dupont), I Deal (Nassau), Alternative Grounds (Roncesvalles), Dark Horse, Cafe Mercurio (both of the ones on Bloor), Aroma (Bloor), and Remarkable Bean. Dark Horse was the closest to what I'm looking for, but it wasn't on par with Artigiano. The others were quite disappointing. Any suggestions?

Jan 28, 2010
trumpler in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Do you find Winterlicious a rip-off?? Or is it just me.

Six of us went to Bangkok Garden last year for Winterlicious. We were treated like second-class citizens by an officious hostess and given the worst table in the place. Most disappointingly, the food was terrible. For less money we could have eaten better off the regular menu.

Jan 28, 2010
trumpler in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Best dirt-cheap breakfast in Queen West, Kensington, or West College St. area?

P.S. I was pleasantly surprised to find that KOS serves fresh-squeezed orange juice that was not only sweet, delicious, and truly fresh (not the day-old fermenting stuff one sometimes runs into) but a fairly reasonable $4 for a very large glass. My friend and I split a single serving and each had plenty.

Jan 28, 2010
trumpler in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Best dirt-cheap breakfast in Queen West, Kensington, or West College St. area?

Thanks for all the suggestions; it will be great to check them out.

This morning we ended up going to KOS in Kensington Market (corner of Bellevue and Nassau), and it was quite good. I had a big plate of 3 poached eggs with toast, oniony potatoes, and bacon for 5 something before tip + tax. Nice, relaxed atmosphere, uncrowded, comfortable seating, good light, OK coffee, and excellent service.

After looking around This Ain't the Rosedale Library (the book store just across the street), we tried the much-hyped coffee at I Deal (Ideal?) next door and were sorely disappointed.

Jan 28, 2010
trumpler in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Best dirt-cheap breakfast in Queen West, Kensington, or West College St. area?

Looking for the best *super cheap* place to get a decent eggs-and-toast type breakfast. Great coffee too would be a bonus, but I realize that may not be possible. Starting around Dundas and Bathurst; willing to walk! (NB: This is for a weekday breakfast, not a weekend brunch.) Any suggestions? Thanks!

Jan 27, 2010
trumpler in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

In search of Mae Ploy curry paste

Thanks, all. I'd been wandering around the Dundas/Spadina Chinatown area looking for it. Went yesterday to the T & T on Cherry Street, and it was there! I appreciate the advice.

Aug 11, 2009
trumpler in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

In search of Mae Ploy curry paste

Does anyone know specifically where in Toronto to find Mae Ploy curry paste? I searched the Chowhound boards and found references to its wide availability in Asian groceries, but I've been unlucky . . . not one Asian grocery I've been to has had it, and I've looked in non-Asian ones too to no avail. If anyone has any tips on where it can be found, I'd be very grateful. Thanks!

Aug 09, 2009
trumpler in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Le Creuset, All-Clad, Where to get the best deals in Ontario?

The Homesense just off of Lawrence East (Ashtonbee Rd.) had periwinkle blue and classic flame dutch ovens in various sizes and shapes (round and oval) around the holiday season last year; I scored a large periwinkle round one for $99. I saw similar stock during the same season at the Homesense on Yonge across from the Eaton Centre. Haven't seen them at either store since, but it might be worth checking again around the holidays this year.

Aug 09, 2009
trumpler in Ontario (inc. Toronto)