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Forget mainstream, mass-produced coffee joints that lure you in with offerings of fancy-schmancy whipped drinks. Any die-hard coffee lover will tell you that’s not real coffee. Why mask pure, roasty goodness with synthetic sugary flavors? It just baffles the mind and the tastebuds.
It’s our first-ever fully edited video here on the site and we’re ecstatic to bring you this terrific tour of Toronto’s Pantry hosted by owner Greg Bolton. Pantry (974 College St.) is an absolutely lovely family-run café, take-out counter, caterer and gourmet store. They use only farm-fresh, local, sustainably raised produce and meats, and from what we tried, you can really taste the difference. Most people come for the prepared foods, but we sat down at their communal harvest table to check out the new weekend lunch menu.
The words “food” and “school” conjure up nightmarish memories of lunch ladies’ in hairnets, bland chicken burgers and lumpy gravy over limp fries. So it’s a treat to have those experiences erased and replaced with images that are much more visually appealing. Brunch time at School Bakery and Café (70 Fraser Ave.) in Liberty Village is a something I’ll have fond memories about for a long time.
We all know the economy has taken a nose dive, but why do our taste buds have to suffer? Good food shouldn’t break the bank, especially when it comes to lunch. If you happen to find yourself wondering the streets of Soho, head over to Local at 144 Sullivan Street. Sandwiches are the thing here and they’re cheap. Take this Farmer’s Market Egg Sandwich on ciabatta bread for only $4! Add extra toppings for $0.50 a pop, or try the Ham & Fig with fresh mozzarella for $7.
There’s something to be said about the name “Local” since this pint-sized coffee shop is primarily full of exactly that. Visit often and you can expect to find the usual suspects perched (like our friend Naomi) at tables sipping on lattes and reading the NY Times.
I am crazy about French Onion Soup. Sure, it’s one of the most unhealthy soups around, with all that bread and bubbling cheese. But oh man, it is ridiculously good. My brother Jonathan and I used to make this at home all the time, then took to the streets to find the best bowl in Toronto. For a while, Le Papillon took the crown, but now I have to hand it over to Patachou (1120 Yonge St., at MacPherson). They’ve managed to make a very hearty and heavy soup taste lighter, thanks to their vegetable broth. Plus, this is the only French Onion Soup where I didn’t run out of cheese towards the end of the bowl. For $4.95, it certainly doesn’t break the bank either.
A spoonful of this will warm your soul. When you get that perfect bite of oozing Emmental cheese, softened bread, a few slices of onion and their savoury broth, everything else melts away.
Patachou is a terrific bakery and café serving a range of salads, sandwiches and pastries. There’s another location at 835 St. Clair Ave. W. at Winona.
If you can’t get to Patachou, here’s the Martha Stewart recipe I use at home with beef stock, and here’s an option using vegetable stock. Where have you had the most delicious bowl of French Onion Soup? Leave a comment and let us know.