Brunch: My Top 10 Picks for Toronto

Brunch is my favourite meal to eat out. I like arriving before the crowds and enjoying a nice, leisurely meal and good conversation. I like ordering something ridiculous and massive off the menu and feeling satisfied until dinner. I like getting my caffeine fix for the week in the matter of an hour or two as I down four or five cups of coffee. I like restaurants that have a comfortable and homey décor and feel to them but with an interesting menu. I don’t want to eat a “big breakfast” with eggs, toast and three types of breakfast meat. I want something I can’t make at home or something that I can’t be bothered to make at home because it will dirty about 27 different dishes. I want a restaurant that is in an interesting neighbourhood, somewhere I want to wander in and out of shops for the rest of the afternoon looking at furniture, records and prints.

On this list you won’t find anything east of Yonge Street. The west is my Toronto. I know that is terrible and very limiting but its brunch. I don’t want to waste an hour or more of my time trying to get to the East End to have brunch at Lady Marmalade only to wait another hour or more in line. I will acknowledge that Lady Marmalade is delicious, unique and cozy. But it’s not my favourite. If I ever move east of Yonge Street this list will dramatically change but for now, west is best.

10. Smith

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Ok, I lied. Smith is east of Yonge. I have only been to Smith once for brunch but I was completely enamoured by it when we visited. It was a quiet fall afternoon, just a few weeks before our wedding and we were seated on one of the most romantic and cozy patios in the city. The patio has taken over a back alley and looks out onto a side street just off Church Street. We were alone on the patio which allowed us to take in everything: the exposed brick walls, the various textures and patterns on the cushions, the lights strung up in a zigzag pattern over head, the single piece of lavender in a antique porcelain cabinet knob turned vase on the rustic wooden table. The whole atmosphere was so simple but so well thought out and put together. This attention to detail and capturing of comfort in décor would translate into the capturing of comfort and warmth into the food.

The Eggs Benedict manages to turn an already adult breakfast item into an even more sophisticated and decadent meal. Instead of traditional hollandaise sauce, the Benedict is drenched in a parmesan leek fondue. Any restaurant that is going to allow me to justify eating fondue at 10 am on a weekend morning is a place that warrants another visit.
I also consider this restaurant worthy of a top-ten spot because Smith is one of the preferred brunch spots of Al and I trust her opinion on most everything.

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Meals in Minutes: Rogan Josh

Meals in Minutes: Rogan Josh Curry. Photo courtesy of the cookbook.

1. I have officially come to terms with curry. For the longest time I could not stand it – the spice, the texture, the smell and the foods that are typically curried, particularly chick peas. Since experimenting with my own cooking and food choices I have developed a palate for curry. It is warm, inviting and completely comforting.

2. I love the combination of vegetables in this: onion, butternut squash, cauliflower and chick peas. It is hearty and the perfect recipe for fall. The chick peas were enough protein for me to find this feeling but unfortunately, GC was not satisfied by them. I have to make him curry with actual meat he said. Because of that, I will not be making this again. It is way too much food for me to eat and I don’t think it would freeze well. But if you love curry and you are cooking for someone who also loves vegetarian curry, you should make this recipe!

3. I liked that the basmati rice was infused with the flavour of the cloves. However, basmati rice is not my rice of choice. It’s texture is too granular for me.

4. Curry does not photograph well and I need a new camera.

Recipe below the cut and happy munching!

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