Windup Bird Cafe

Months and months ago when we ate brunch every weekend and it was warm and sunny, we went to Windup Bird Cafe. This restaurant is super cute. It is brightly painted, has a wooden bar, exposed brick and sleek metal accents. There is a cute patio facing Borden Street with potted plants and brightly coloured plastic chairs. Although the patio was inviting, we opted for a spacious booth at the back of the restaurants. We were the only ones in the restaurant. We viewed this as intimate but it is always concerning when a restaurant is deserted at brunch.

The menu is very unique, focusing largely on fusion and fresh, seasonal ingredients. The restaurant is very active with its programming – offering cooking classes, talks and seminars.These programs cover a range of topics from making sushi to food literacy. It’s great to see that kind of active fostering of a food community in Toronto.

GC ordered the Fried Chicken and Waffles.

IMG_1398The Chicken and Waffles with deep-fried chicken karage, roast potatoes and seasonal veg.

I’m not going to lie – it’s rather disappointing that the waffles are not perfectly round. The piece of chicken was a little small but it was tasty. Karage is a Japanese cooking technique where meat is marinated soy sauce, garlic and ginger and then coated and fried. There is subtle, underlying umami flavours.

I ordered the Smoked Salmon Benny.IMG_1399The Smoked Salmon Benny with avocado, spinach, and house hollandaise.

I am seldom of the opinion that eggs Benny should be healthy, but this was yummy. It was light and fresh, tasting of spring. The hollandaise was buttery and spicy, with tastes of dijon. This is a very adult take on the Benny and would be perfect for an Easter brunch.

I’m not into kale salad as a side for my brunch. Brunch should be served with potatoes, toast and any other type of carbohydrate. There is no room for salad at brunch.

After a delicious brunch, we headed north to check out the Cheltenham Badlands. The Badlands are easily one of the coolest place in Ontario I’ve had the opportunity to check out and I would highly recommend it if you live in the area. Indie88 (do we view them as an authority on travel?) recently named it one of Canada’s 10 Underrated Landmarks.

IMG_1403 IMG_1405 IMG_1414 IMG_1422IMG_1409IMG_1410IMG_1416 IMG_1423Happy munching and hiking!

Baker and Scone

A few weeks ago, ampoule GC and I headed to Hamilton for a day hiking but first, see we needed sustenance. We headed down to St. Clair to check out a new bakery, stuff Baker and Scone.

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This is an adorable bakery. It is bright, airy and has a very French-vibe to it. The walls are a soft green, with accents of white and marble. The scones are displayed in whimsical containers, constantly being refilled with fresh baked goodness. The bakery is simple, but thought out, allowing you to focus on the pastries.

We ordered six different flavours: 1. Buttermilk Double Vanilla 2. Gruyere, Chive and Dill 3. Lemon Poppy Seed 4. Blueberry Vanilla 5. Lemon Currant and 6. Orange, Cardamon and Date.

The day we went, the scones were cooked a little too crispy. Scones should not have a hard, crusty exterior to them; a little firmness, yes, but not a dark, golden brown colour. This level of crispiness was perfect for the savoury Gruyere, Chive and Dill scone. It was cheesy, with fresh flavours from the herbs. The crunchy exterior gave the satisfying crunch with every bite.

The sweet scones were not helped with this level of crunchiness. However, once you broke through the crispiness, the insides of the scones were soft, delicate and full of fruity flavours. The flavours were intense and bright, using fresh ingredients. All the scones with lemon flavour had intense, natural, lemon zest flavour to them – they were delicious.

A simple and thoughtful touch is that all scones can be accompanied by a small container of real butter and you can purchase a small jar of Greaves jam too. These are the perfect toppings to create a perfect light breakfast or a snack for a road trip. As you can tell, my only complaint with the scones was that they were a little too-well done for my liking. I have talked to a few other people who have been and they said that their scones did not suffer this affliction. This is reassuring because I would love to have a close-to-home-scone option. I will be going back to see if this is the case and will keep you posted.

After we picked up our scones we headed to the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton for a day of lilacs, hiking and chipmunks.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHappy munching!