Old Nick [Mark Aaron]

123 Danforth Ave,
416-461-5546

Conveniently situated along the Danforth near Broadview, the Old Nick is a pub that serves pub fare and beer but on the weekend they supposedly serve on the best brunches in Toronto with a supplemental menu of organic options. Decor is nothing to cry home about, with that typical “pub” motif, stained varnished wood tables, a large bar, and hardwood floors, The Old Nick does not remind me of a place where I would brunch on the weekend but we figured we would try this place out since we heard from Now Magazine that it was voted one of the best brunch places in Toronto.

Aaron and I met up with his friends Brad and Steven and we all entered the empty place on a quiet Sunday at 1:00pm. We all started with drinks. Brad and Steven ordered fresh orange juice and they commented that it was good but not “freshly squeezed”. I ordered a freshly squeezed Diet Coke and I think Aaron had a coffee. Unfortunately, they DO NOT have espresso drinks, so a minor drawback for the Old Nick, but, afterall, it is a pub, right?

Most of the menu contains egg dishes, hence I felt that this place was slightly egg-centric. I would have prefered other options. I did see on the non-organic menu some non-egg options like pancakes and French toast with fresh fruit, as well as waffles with fresh fruit and whipped cream. I was looking for some healthier options but the rest of the menu contained mostly egg dishes. I was happy to see that egg dishes came with spelt toast and organic homefries.
The organic menu for January 8, 2006 contained items such as Divine Decadence (3 egg omelete stuffed with portobello mushrooms, gorganzola cheese, organic homefries, organic greens, and organic toast $12), Yawn and Stretch (omelete stuffed with organic spinach, roasted red peppers, feta, with organic homefries, organic greens, and organic toast $12),That’s Amore (Eggs benny with parma prosciutto, shaved parmesan cheese, organic greens, organic potatoes, and organic toast $13), and Oh My Goodness (French toast with organic apple walnut bread, with blueberries, raspberries, and cream, served with organic maple syrup $12).
For my meal, I ordered the Mexican egg white omelete ($8.95) with spring greens in a
yummy ginger viniagrette. The egg white omelete came with a 3 cheese blend and spicy
salsa with a lot of cilantro. It was extremely delicious, fresh, not greasy, and flavourful.

Steven ordered the Well Hung (3 eggs any style, organic lamb or organic chorizo spicy 4 pepper sausage, organic toast, organic greens, and organic homefries- $15). He thought that the salad dressing was tasty and it was great to have salad and the organic homefries which were pretty tasty too. He thought that they could have brought the food out a little hotter then it came. He also had the chorizo sausage which was good, but it didn’t blow him away as a great sausage. It wasn’t as spicy as he thought it would be. The spelt toast was very hearty and grainy. Steven liked the idea of a set menu and also the weekly special menu. That way you are not stuck getting the same thing over and over if you are a
returning customer.

Brad and Aaron both ordered the Razzle Dazzle (eggs benny with guacamole and cheddar cheese chunks- $13). He
thought it tasted REALLY good — perhaps a bit greasy, but with all that cheese
it was hard for it not to be (it was definitely a “two-Lactaid pill” breakfast!). He also found that his meal did come out “luke-warm” — he thought it could have been served hotter. The portion was pretty big (he thought there were 3 eggs — most places serving eggs benny only give you two eggs). The “organic potatoes” were pretty good as well. Brad did not recall them
being oily or greasy, which was his main complaint with breakfast potatoes. Accepts all cards. Open for Brunch Saturday and Sunday 11am to 4 pm, bar open daily 11am to 2am. Secluded outdoor patio seats 40

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Easy [Mark Aaron]

 1645 Queen Street West
phone number: 416-537-4893

On Sunday January 7th, 2006 my friend Daniel moved into his new condo at Queen and Bathurst. After a 3 hour move, we all decided to celebrate with brunch in funky Parkdale. We were going to go to Mitzi’s but the lineup was crazy as hell. Pathetic how on Sunday afternoon it is almost impossible to compete for a brunch table. This is not New York City but I wish I lived there sometimes. Sunday afternoon Torontonians go brunch crazy and flock from their boring suburban haven to places where they would never roam during the week, like Parkdale, Queen East, or Queen West. Even a friend of mine and her hubby live in Woodbridge and they consider it an outing to venture to the Danforth for a nice Greek meal. I will never move to the suburbs for fear that Parkdale and The Danforth will be considered special outings. I want access to these funky urban neighbourhoods and I am happy I live downtown. I do enjoy going from time to time to the suburbs (i.e. the COSTCO at Dufferin and Wilson) but the suburbs are my outing.

After Mitzi’s rejected us, I begged the crew to try Easy since Aaron had gone there and he loved it. Easy is a small and funky brunch place/diner in Parkdale at Queen and Roncesvalles. Easy is named the 1960’s movie Easy Rider. Decor looks like the diner from Happy Days with 1950’s and 1960’s movie posters and images of a rugged diner with the theme of motorcycles, toughness, and testosterone. Easy is pretty small, with old 1950’s style diner tables and booths huddled very close together. Specializes in brunch items like eggs, omeletes, and extra large and thick smoothies (try the chocolate peanut butter smoothie) and the mango smoothie looks smashing. They also serve many other brunch items like burritos with salad. I ordered the tostadas (deep fried corn tortilla) with black beans, salsa, and veggies. Daniel had the breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs and bacon and veggies with a side order of salad. Paulo had the eggs overeasy with bacon, sausage, homefries, side order of salad, and toast, and Rob had the omelete with home fries, side order of salad, bacon or sausage, anf toast. . I would have preferred a veggie burrito with black beans and veggies, but oh well, people make mistakes. They also have my signature brunch dish (that i try to avoid) organic granola with fruit and yogourt. They also serve massively thick and large mango smoothies as well as their classic peanut butter and chocolate “to die for” smoothies which I chose not to have (Daniel was treating us for brunch and smoothies were almost $5). They only accept cash (like Mitzi’s), which sucks the bag. Expect a 15-20 minute lineup on the weekend