Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Toronto Ahoy!

I'm in Toronto for a few days, attending a work conference.  The food in this city is rather renown.  There is quite a lot of character, with an eclectic mix of flea and farmers' markets, ethnic markets, fine-dining restaurants and casual cafes.  Here are a few of my top picks this trip (in no particular order):

1. Carousel Bakery's Peameal Bacon Breakfast Sandwich:

Peameal bacon is a type of Canadian bacon that is traditionally rolled in pea meal to ensure better curing and shelf life.  These days, most peameal bacon is rolled in more commonly available corn meal.  The taste of this bacon is much leaner than regular bacon, it is still juicy, tender and briny nevertheless.  When sandwiched in a soft roll and topped with fried egg and American cheese, it's divine!

Carousel Bakery
St Lawrence Market
On Front Street East, between Jarvis and Market Streets
Closed Sundays and Mondays

2. The Canadian Sausage Cart

I LOVE getting hotdogs in Canada.  They are far and away so much better than what we typically have in New York.  The 5 reasons I love them so much:
(i) Their dogs are grilled over charcoal.
(ii) They have selections of dogs - spicy, chicken, bratwurst etc.
(iii) The buns are toasted over charcoal.
(iv) There is an array of free condiments - pickles, olives, sauerkraut, ketchup, mustard, chili sauce, bacon bits, mayonnaise (sometimes).
(v) They are all over the city!  This is not a one-off gourmet truck.

Just look:

Northwest corner off Spadina Ave and Dundas Street West
Baldwin Street between Kensington and Augusta Avenues

This area is a collection of little stores that sell everything from edgy clothing and 70's odds-and-ends to fresh produce, meats, seafoods and baked goods.  It has a wonderful neighborhood atmosphere that blends the young and the old and is a great place to wander around and stroll in-and-out of.  It's also right next to Chinatown, so another added benefit is that you have yet another neighborhood to explore afterwards.

4. The Distillary District
This is a little far out to the east, further east after St Lawrence Market.  It is walkable from St Lawrence Market on a nice day.  It is a restored distillary area.  The warehouse facades are still largely maintained, giving the whole area a really nice feel of old and modern.  One of the best foodie stops in this area is Soma Chocolates - a gourmet chocolate shope.  You MUST get a cup of Bicerin while you are there.  It is a wonderful concoction of hot espresso, chocolate and cream, soo yummy.  They have some really good chocolate confections too.  There are also little bakeries and pastry shops dotted here and there, all with thoughtful selections of goodies to choose from.

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