Showing posts with label pancakes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pancakes. Show all posts

Louix Louis (Toronto)


In the aftermath of the Trump presidency, Toronto’s tower lost the blue and red stripes and rebranded to become the St. Regis Hotel. The flagship restaurant located on the 31st floor also morphed from America to something much more colonial - Louix Louis.

In line with their name, the menu is a mix of English and French offerings. On the French end, the croque Madame ($18) arrives as a thick piece of toast topped with ham, poached egg, and gruyere smothered in a cream sauce that looks more decadent than it tastes. The bread could be thinner and could use a few extra minutes in the pan. As it stands, it covers all the elements and the cheese inside isn’t even melted.


The English version of the main, the eggs benedict ($24), was executed better despite not being on the ‘Signatures’ section of the menu. Diners are given a choice of smoked salmon, pea meal bacon, or creamy spinach to include in the traditional recipe of English muffin, poached egg and hollandaise. With the thicker slab of pea meal, the main is tastier but really no different from most benny offerings.


With nary a potato accompanying anything, there was room for bressert (breakfast dessert… get it)? Personally I found the brioche French toast ($18) a bit dry, but I’ve been spoilt by really good French toast that gets soaked in the egg bath so the bread tastes like a thick custard. Louix Louis does include a variety of condiments - whipped mascarpone, blueberries and toasted almond – to make sure it’s at least flavourful.


The buttermilk pancakes ($18) were fluffier and served thinly so that a toasted flavour permeates the pancake. Topped with bourbon and caramelized apple chutney, the condiments were a nice touch and went nicely smothered with maple syrup.


For the most part, the restaurant feels the same with the impressive finishes and soaring ceiling in the dining room. But, like the old vs. new world differences there are signs of wear. Their bathrooms are no longer gleaming and opulent feeling; the walls in the stalls are marked with holes and a sad handwritten ‘out of order’ sign is placed on one of the toilets. Even the service is slow and tiresome – it takes a reminder and over 15 minutes before tea arrives (for something that’s boiling water and a tea bag). If you’re thirsty you better ask for the water upfront as it’ll never arrive otherwise.


So while the classic breakfast options at Louix Louis are good, the whole experience lacks the luxurious poise you’d expect from a luxury hotel. Trump has left the building, but St. Regis needs to step up their game.

Overall mark - 6 out of 10



How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 325 Bay Street (in the St. Regis Hotel)

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____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:

Louix Louis Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Hazel's Diner (Toronto)


After seeing the queue forming outside Hazel’s Diner, I’ve been intrigued by the all-day breakfast establishment… what flap jacks are they serving that makes people line up from 9am to noon (sometimes even during weekdays)? Having finally made it through the door, my conclusion is Hazel’s is so popular due to its location (being part of a busy neighbourhood where there’s no other diner) and their reasonable prices.

Their all-day breakfast includes the staple two eggs, bacon, toast, and home fries. While it’s normally $9.95, on Monday and Friday before 11am the price decreases to $6.99. Everything is done solidly: the scrambled eggs fluffy and actually tastes like eggs, the bacon crispy, and the home fries incorporate well caramelized onions giving it interest.  


In retrospect, had I known how large their pancakes were, we wouldn’t have added on a half stack ($8) to share. Each pancake is about the size of a plate and even the half stack is more than enough to satisfy a person. I could only muster through a small half of one pancake given it was so doughy and dense; they are also rather tasteless so relies heavily on maple syrup for flavour.


Their freshly squeezed orange juice is a great alternative to caffeine and available in small ($3) and large ($5) sizes, a rather reasonable price for a freshly squeezed variety.


Would I ever wait in line to return to Hazel’s? Likely not. But, their food is respectable and well-priced, so if there’s ever not a wait again, I’ll return for another savoury breakfast fix.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 3401 Yonge Street


Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:

 Hazel's Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


One Kitchen has you covered for breakfast


Let’s be honest, I’m LAZY when it comes to breakfast. Nevertheless, since it’s the “most important meal of the day”, I’ll eat breakfast, but what I consume is pretty routine and boring: on weekdays a staple of peanut butter toast or cereal (with berries thrown in on occasion). On weekends my effort goes up a bit – scrambled eggs or pancakes sometimes make their rounds. Don’t get me wrong, I love breakfast dishes! But, it takes a while to get my creative juices flowing, so throwing together an extravagant meal first thing in the morning is difficult.

Having used One Kitchen for dinner, I was excited to hear they now offer breakfast options providing you a hearty start to the morning without all the prep work. With a couple dishes offered weekly, I tried their sweet and savoury selection.

Admittedly, I’ve only made pancakes with powdered mix from a box. So, when One Kitchen’s recipe called for vinegar, I was thoroughly confused. Even so, I followed directions and the cappuccino pancakes turned out fluffy and cakelike. Much more aromatic than my typical pancakes (thanks to the espresso powder and egg added to the batter), so they didn’t rely solely on the sauce for flavour. In this case, rather than maple syrup, a dulce de leche glaze was included, and was thinned out with milk so it didn’t become overly sweet (great if you’re not into overly sugary foods first thing in the morning).


Meanwhile the huevos rancheros were so filling that we took the meal for two and turned it into four. Having had the dish on a number of occasions, I expected it to be harder to prepare. However, the bean mixture was quick to whip up, the three ingredient salsa not much harder, so what ended up taking the most effort was frying the eggs without breaking them. I would have liked the beans a little saucier (so would suggest thinning it out with some water or stock), but it was still a great rendition of the Mexican staple.    


Soon they will have smoothie options for those who prefer to drink their meals. I’m normally not a liquid diet fan … there’s something about biting and chewing something that’s oh so satisfying. But, having tried the berry smoothie it’s surprisingly satisfying. The morning I had the concoction, it wasn’t until around 11:45 my stomach started warning me to get ready for lunch. Maybe it’s the thicker Greek yoghurt or chia seeds that gets added, but the smoothie ends up being fairly thick and has a chewable quality to it.


If you’ve never heard of One Kitchen, they’re a Canadian meal-kit delivery company that sends weekly customizable boxes containing all the ingredients (and recipes) you’ll need to prepare meals. You can choose between two or four people plans with three to five recipes – the more you purchase the cheaper it gets: for two people it ranges from $10.49 - $11.49 per serving, while for four people it drops to $9.49 - $10.49. Although they can deliver every week, if you ever need to stop, just put your account on hold and nothing will get sent until you start up the account again. For a fuller account of their service, check out my dinner post.  
Now that One Kitchen has expanded their offerings to breakfast, it’s even more convenient for customers to feed their families (and even caters to those who like having breakfast at dinner). Intrigued? You can try it out for yourself by visiting their website, selecting any of the meal plans (including the largest) and using Gastroworld as the coupon code. You'll see the 40% applied off the subtotal.  Get cracking!

Disclaimer: The above meal was complimentary. Rest assured, as noted in my mission statement, I will always provide an honest opinion.

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog

Café Belong (Toronto)


Nestled within the Evergreen Brickworks, Café Belong benefits from its proximity to the year round farmer’s market. Perhaps perusing the fresh food stalls beforehand influenced my meal choice, but their vegetarian dishes sounded fantastic and I didn’t miss an ounce of meat!

Replacing ham, the sautéed kale and mushrooms eggs benedict ($23) incorporated plump mushrooms that provided a meaty bite. As the poached egg oozed over everything, the molten yolk was captured into the not overly done kale’s crevices, making for a cleaner dish.  A layer of sweet caramelized onions sat on top of the doughy soft buttermilk biscuit; it was a bit sugary for my taste, but thankfully the buttery hollandaise helped to add back a savoury element.


Although the frittata ($19) is listed under the “cold kitchen” section of the menu, it still arrives warm. The cubes of roasted butternut squash at the bottom makes the egg dish heartier and I rather enjoyed the grilled red onion and wilted spinach that adds a bite and colourful contrast to the frittata. Just make sure to smear on some of the creamy goat cheese (?) purée from the plate, the tangy saltiness makes for a great addition.


A perfect “dessert” for sharing is their fluffy pancakes ($20 for three). It starts with the requisite eggy and buttery batter and is topped with ricotta, granola and stewed apples. Personally, I found the crunchy granola clusters detracted from the pillowy soft pancakes, but it did pair nicely with the large soft cinnamon apple chunks. The toppings aren’t overly sweet, so you’ll want to pay the extra $4 for warmed maple syrup – pancakes  aren’t the same without this wonderful nectar.


If you’re like me and tend to opt for meaty options during brunch, I encourage you to head to Café Belong and give our plant-based friends a try. After all, maybe Meatless Mondays could easily become Botanical Brunch Saturdays?

Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 550 Bayview Avenue (at the Evergreen Brickworks)

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:


Cafe Belong Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

CLOSED: Hudson Kitchen (Toronto)

Location: Toronto, Canada
Address: 800 Dundas Street West
Type of Meal: Brunch






Hudson Kitchen, an airy but cozy two-roomed restaurant along Dundas, has had its share of celebrity sightings. During TIFF, Jennifer Aniston, Brad Pitt and Colin Firth dropped by and on a weeknight Adam Sandler stopped in for dinner. But, on a day-to-day basis, non-celebrities like you and I can visit and now that the hype has died down, reservations no longer need to be made weeks in advance.

Their brunch menu is a limited selection but covers the crowd favourites. The Spanish omelette ($11) smelled so good when it arrived. It may have something to do with the thinly sliced potatoes on the bottom being cooked in butter. Then finished off with some onion (?) and eggs, it’s a simple but flavourful omelette. On the side, some aioli (personally didn’t use with anything) and a thick tangy tomato soffrito on baguette.


Not remembering that Spanish omelettes contain potato, I also ordered a side of duck fat roasted potatoes ($4). Arriving piping hot with a golden crust these were delicious and well-seasoned.


In hindsight, the dark greens salad ($4) my friend ordered would have likely been a better choice. It’s a surprisingly generous portion topped with walnut brittle and champagne vinaigrette.


I particularly enjoyed the tarte cider vinegar that glazed the chorizo ($13), which cut against the greasiness of the plump dense sausage. This dish is a full meal served with roasted potatoes, a slow poached egg and braised apple.


The buttermilk pancakes ($12) are fluffy, light and has a great rich egg flavour. Unlike most pancakes, there’s no syrup but rather served with a peach caramel compote, almonds and bourbon whipped cream. I loved the addition of mint slivers over everything which really lightened up the pancakes.


Although we didn’t see any A-list celebrities during our brunch, I was nonetheless pleased with the meal and service. The traditional dishes are prepared with simple but fresh ingredients and are seasoned perfectly for my taste. A return visit may be warranted to experience their full leaf to root philosophy.


Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog

____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!