Emma’s Country Kitchen

Last weekend we went for brunch to a small spot on St. Clair West called Emma’s Country Kitchen. This spot was suggested to us by our friend, Rachel.

This is probably one of the cutest and most comforting restaurants I have ever been in. It is warm, sunny, and country cute. There are vintage housewares all through the restaurant, making the restaurant slightly kitschy but not to a nauseating level. In the washroom the mirror was decorated with a border of antique mini tart tins, alternating between diamond and square shaped = cute.

IMG_3780Just an example of the country cuteness at ECK – fresh daisies in a mason jar, tied with a gingham ribbon. Simple but cute. Daisies are just one of those flowers that are simple and slightly ordinary but whenever you see them, you can’t help but smile.

IMG_3782 GC ordered the I Know What You Did Last Night Burger AKA The Hangover Helper. 5 oz sage and onion sausage burger, topped with house cured bacon, and cheddar. served on a house made bun with all the fixings. Served with frites tossed with sea salt and herbs.

This burger was juicy and had so much intense flavour. The sage and onion brought a garden freshness that is typically not found in burgers. And now I know what you are thinking, and no, this won’t make you think you are eating a veggie burger. It’s just a burger that is a little different, and a little fresh. The sausage meat allowed the burger to be moist, juicy and adds a little spicy.

I love the fact that they cure their own bacon in house. It is something that most restaurants wouldn’t take the time to do but it makes a different. It was smoky, salt and perfectly crispy.

These fries were amazing! They were reminiscent of hobo chips which were my love affair last summer. Salty, crispy and with hints of rosemary – these are the perfect fries. If you are a lover of french fries you should probably give these a try. And if you are not the biggest fan of french fries, much like myself, you need to try these.IMG_3783I ordered the Banoffee Pie Pancakes. Light and fluffy pancakes, studded with chocolate chips and toffee pieces. Topped with whipped chantilly cream and dulce de leche. Served with orange scented maple syrup. And an order of sage and onion sausage.

THESE ARE THE BEST PANCAKES I HAVE EVER EATEN. They are the perfect size which ensures that they are fluffy, but crispy along the outside. They were dotted with the best quality chocolate chips. I can’t even believe how good these chocolate chips were. They were creamy, milky and rich. The toffee added hints of caramel. Despite all chocolate and toffee they were not overly sweet, just the perfect hints of sugar for a morning pick-me-up.

The chantilly cream was light and creamy and the dulce de leche with the perfect bit of sweetness to top it all off. The orange flavour of the maple syrup did not stand out but it wasn’t necessary: these pancakes were perfection.

And of course, the side of sausage was the same as the burger – moist, fresh and a perfect dash of spice.

I would highly recommend this place for brunch or just a quick coffee and donut. The day we went in they were serving pina colada, root beer float, maple bacon and cinnamon sugar donuts that all looked so tantalising. We are planning on going again (and again and again) for coffee and donuts.

If you are looking for a brunch date and place, me and this place will work!

Happy munching!

La Carnita – Brunch

Last Sunday was Cinco de Mayo. Now I’ll be honest, I don’t really know anything about Cinco de Mayo besides that it is Mexican and is an excuse for me to eat Mexican food. I used this excuse as a reason to go to my favourite Mexican restaurant in the city, La Carnita, and enjoy brunch with GC.

Brunch at La Carnita is a recent addition to their line up and is something worth checking out. For anyone who has tried to go for dinner and waited hours and hours for delicious tacos, go for brunch. There is no waiting, no crowds but still great Mexican food. We went shortly after the restaurant opened around 11 AM and we were seated quickly. The whole meal, from sitting down to paying, was between 30-60 minutes. That’s my idea of a power brunch. I assume this is a craze that will catch on so go now – but more accurately, this Sunday! But seriously, brunch date this weekend?

We started off with cocktails – GC ordered the Pina Colada that was on special that day, made with tropical fruits of pineapple, mango, and banana with caramel and rum and I ordered the Southside, St. Ambroise Apricot with fresh squeezed orange juice. This is one of the best cocktails I have ever had. I am very much into the “beer cocktail” as an alternative to the traditional cocktail, an idea inspired almost a year ago by Cynthia. This is a cocktail you should definitely all try at the next brunch you host. It is as simple as it seems: half St. Ambroise Apricot and half orange juice in a pint glass. Mix and enjoy.

dsc0433Crispy Chicken Torta – Guacamole, cream, habanero honey glaze and salsa fresca. All images stolen from It Looks Could Fill.

GC ordered the Crispy Chicken Torta. The chicken was crispy and incredibly moist, with a slight hint of sweetness from the honey glaze. The guacamole added a creaminess that offset the kick of heat that accompanied every bite. The sandwich is not as small as it looks but you may need a little something more than this to feel full. A delicious way to start off your morning.

dsc0412Potato & Yucca Homies (Hash) – Beef cheek, green onions, salsa fresca, pickled jalapenos, oaxaca cheese with a fried egg.

This is one of the most unique things I have ever eaten. It had a little bit of everything you could possibly want at breakfast: potatoes, meat, veggies, egg and a little bit of heat. The beef cheek was incredibly tender and moist, it just continued to fall apart when you tried to scoop it with your fork. The potatoes were crispy and served as a sturdy base for this mountain of food. The various vegetables added a nice crunch and freshness to the dish.  And of course, that necessary Mexican heat from the jalapenos that topped this dish.

The presentation was simple but comforting. For some reason, anything served in a bowl is more comforting to me. I imagine curling up under a quilt, hugging the bowl while I eat the deliciousness it contains on a cold and stormy day. This is my Mexican comfort food.

We finished off our brunch by sharing a cinnamon roll that was rather lack luster. It didn’t taste as if it was made fresh that morning and was not served warmed. The cajeta sauce wasn’t able to save it for me. Skip the cinnamon roll and order a breakfast taco or churros instead.

This was a great way to start our Cinco de Mayo and a great way to start our last day of the weekend. You should try it too! Happy munching!

Thompson Diner

Two weeks ago Saturday brunch found us at Thompson Diner.

Brunch that Saturday was an ordeal – we had tried to go to Farmhouse Tavern, Beast and Cheesewerks. Apparently 10 AM is too early to go for brunch in the city. Our last stop was Cheesewerks which left us in the area of Bathurst and King so we checked out the Thompson Diner.

It has a very retro, classic 1950s diner vibe, complete with deep booths with patent leather seats and velvety upholstery.  The menu matches the decor – classic, diner comfort food.

IMG_3675GC ordered the All Day Breakfast.

IMG_3676A diner classic with peameal bacon rather than your regular, old bacon. Simple, but delicious. The presentation of a mini cast iron skillet was a nice touch.

I ordered the Fat American.

IMG_3678 IMG_3679Turkey sausage and bacon stuffed pancakes, topped with crispy battered onions and a fried egg.

The pancakes were incredibly fluffy, light and had a slight sweetness from the buttermilk. There was four pancakes which is a ridiculous serving and will keep you full for hours. I wouldn’t really call the pancakes stuffed, but rather had chunks of bacon and sausage in them. There was not nearly enough sausage or bacon for the amount of pancake there was, but really, is there ever enough bacon? The egg was perfectly fried but the best part of this breakfast was the crispy battered onions. I wish I could put those onions on everything.

I wouldn’t order this again but I would order the regular pancakes which is saying a lot because I typically only eat pancakes if they are silver dollar sized.

A classic diner that is open 24-hours. If you live in the area it’s worth checking out for some early morning brunch or some late night drunken eats.

Happy munching!

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