Hey Good Cooking (closed)

38 Dupont St 
Phone: 416-929-9140

Closed Fall of 2007

Hey Good Cooking has been around since 1987. It’s a very casual cafe located on the Northern cusp of the Annex at Dupont and Spadina. The cafe itself is funky with multi-coloured rectangular shapes on the walls and one huge mural on another wall. The colourful mural actually looks like a scene where people are enjoying their food and beverages at Hey Good Cooking.

The cafe is spacious with plenty of room. With only about 10 tables (i.e. 30 seats), Hey Good Cooking offers exclusively vegan and vegetarian meals for takeout or to dine in. The menu is written on a black chalkboard in front and Meals are not prepared fresh but pre-made so expect them to be warm as opposed to piping hot (all food is served microwaved).

Offers healthy tofu dishes as well as vegan desserts and many roti dishes. Wendy and I went there for dinner and we started with appetizers of 2 hot rotis (Indian chick pea curry and a adzuki sesame roti for $10). They also have a yummy lentil and spinach roti which is excellent.

For our main meal, I ordered the multi bean baked enchiladas with salad. The portion size was hearty and I felt that I got my money’s worth ($7.50). Wendy ordered a veggie Shepperd’s Pie with corn, beans, and other veggies with salad. She also found her dish to be quite filling. Prices are under $10 and include tax. Food is the opposite to LIVE which is raw, vegan, and organic. Hey Good Cooking is definitely cooked, feel good, and hearty. Menu includes southern spiced tofu, veggie burger, shepherd’s pie, squash and spinach pie, mushroom nut loaf, sweet potato and spinach pie, aussie veggie loaf, baked enchiladas, spanakopita. Rotis include adzuki sesame, lentil and spinach, caribbean, mexican, east indian, and lentil chili. Special offer of 6 pack of rotis for $9.90 no tax.

Also offers an assortment of healthy natural sodas and juices (while quantities last).

Bathrooms are funky, artsy, but unfortunately not that clean. Hey Good Cooking only accepts cash but at least there is an ATM in the store. Since I now live in the neighbourhood, I’ll definitely be making some appearances at Hey Good Cooking. Open Mon-Sat 11:00am-9:00pm and Sun 11:00am-4:00pm. All prices include tax. Limited quantities on food and drink so don’t go there for dinner one hour before closing.

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World Class Bakers

690 St Clair Ave W
Phone: 416-654-0606

This spacious and elegant Italian Cafe and bakery is located at St. Clair and Christie in Wychwood Park, across from the famous Mediterranean restaurant Mezzetta

Offers freshly baked croissants, bagels, specialty breads, cookies and a large variety of cakes (all home made). You can also try the amazing buffet of traditional Italian dishes like veggie Lasagna, Roasted Vegetables, Roasted potatoes, Green beans in a tomato stew (YUMM), and Roasted Chicken. ($8.99 veggie, $9.99 non veggie buffet). A definite excellent deal. Food is fresh, delicious, and constantly refreshed. I must admit, it does not have the look of a buffet where people are desperate going back to stuff themselves on seconds and thirds. There is a laid back casual ambiance that I love in World Class Bakers. I went here quite often for food and beverages in January when I was dating a local. We quiote enjoyed the food and healthy veggie selections and super affordable prices. World Class Bakers resembles a cafe where locals hang out, read, and relax.

World Class Bakers offers free wireless internet access so locals are encouraged to drop by, have a coffee, read, and surf the Internet for as long as they want.

With a full espresso bar you can order a latte, cappucino, and just regular coffees. Don’t forget to try the samples at the cash. Exceptionally friendly service.

Also offers programs like Spoken Word Series (monthly on Wednesday evenings from 7:30pm-9:00pm) and a Discussion Group that meets every second Wednesday evening (8:00pm). A real community hangout for locals of the Wychwood Park neighbourhood. Also offers home cooked hearty breakfasts. Hours are Mon-Sun 7am-11pm. Cafe sits 36 seats. Only accepts cash but has an ATM in the cafe.

La Paloma Gelateria & Cafe

1357 St Clair W.

416 656-2340

La Paloma is one of “the places” in Toronto for homemade gelato. They have over 50 different flavours (all names are in Italian!) at any one time, all made onsite. They all taste amazing and have that soft and airy texture found only in gelato. Seasonal flavours include fico (fig) or marron glace (glazed chesnut). This place is very busy in the summer, expect to wait before being served — but the wait is well worth it!

Reviewed by Erin Toole

Madeleine’s Cherry Pie and Ice Cream

1087 Bathurst Street
East Side of Bathurst , just south of Dupont
416 537 3131

I was very excited to spot the Kawartha Dairy logo as I was driving up Bathurst Street one evening, and so I had to investigate. Relatively new to the ice cream scene, Madeleines is a quaint and friendly place which has been here for almost 2 years. This is the only place I know of in the city that sells Kawartha Dairy ice cream, which is, in many people’s opinion (including mine), the best ice cream in the world. (If you are unfamiliar with Kawartha Dairy, the original dairy is in Bobcaygeon and their ice cream is made the old fashioned way with only the freshest of milk and cream). If you’ve never heard of Kawartha Dairy ice cream, you must try it! Check out Madeleines this summer – you will certainly want to go back again and again!

– Erin Toole

Tequila Bookworm

490 Queen W. 
504-7335.

As of Dec 26, 2006 cafe moved to 512 Queen St. W (10 doors west)- smaller, cleaner, more trendy

I first went here many years ago, as someone said it had a very �Montreal vibe� & decent bagels. Right on both counts! Located in the super trendy Queen St. West, this is an artsy, funky little hole in the wall, furnished with old couches, old bookshelves filled with older books, & a collection of new magazines. How could you not love the exposed brick wall & comfortable casualness? The service is relaxed� Perhaps a little too relaxed if you are planning to do anything at all later in the day � oh, like see a play, do groceries, go home�. It is very mellow, which is great if you have the time to spare, or are in the mood for it.

The food is absolutely delicious & completely affordable. On my last visit I had a very tasty sandwich & salad. The realness of the food is appreciated � my focaccia sandwich was made with a real chicken breast � not processed � yum! I found it a little odd that there were so many sandwiches with avocado, yet they had none on site � they had to go to a local corner store to pick some up. Maybe a little too relaxed, but I guess good things come to those who wait. One of T.O.�s best kept secrets.

Sugar [Mark Aaron]- [closed Fall 2007]

942 Queen Street West
(416) 532-5088

Aaron and I met for brunch last Sunday after my crazy-ass 35 km run. I had a crappy headache, was starving and Aaron was a bit annoyed since I was late in timing my run (I thought 2 hrs but it turned in 3.5 hrs) so we met for brunch at 2pm (quite late) and Sugar was definitely less busy.

Sugar is a small hip and trendy cafe on Queen and Shaw in the West Queen West district. It looks hip and cool and modern like Salad King but the furniture does not match the decor. Think Salad King with antique furniture and old woodsy church benches and oversized beautiful hardwood tables. Ecclectic and cosy and modern and trendy all in one.

In any case, we were served a one page brunch menu with many egg options but not many vegetarian or fruity alternatives. I did see a muesli (granola) and fruit and oatmeal and fruit but most mains were $9 (kind of weird) and they were out of muesli and oatmeal by the time we arrived (similar to Aunties and Uncles). Definitely not a good sign. They were apologetic, unlike Aunties and Uncles who were more arrogant about it (tough luck on you that you came too late).

I started with an overpriced mochachino (a hot chocolate with a shot of espresso) for $9 (shi shi poo poo hot chocolate and a shot of espressor equals $9, don’t ask) in a big bowl. It was quite delicious. Aaron has a normal coffee but they did not have drip or perculated, only an Americano would do, and no free refills. Aaron was less than impressed.

I ordered an egg white omelete of the day with spinach, roasted red peppers, onions, (omited the cheese) and replaced my home fries with a side of salad. The dish was very yummy and not too small or big on portion size. Aaron had the same dish but he ordered a real omelete. Decor was clean and slick and minimalist like most artsy upscale brunch places on Queen West. I have passed Sugar many times and I was always curious to try their brunch. I must say I liked it but it did not have the character or hominess that Mitzi’s, Ten Feet Tall, or Three’s Company has. I found it similar to Swan, a place to be seen, with really good food, excellent service (Sugar did have very friendly, accomodating, and helpful servers), but there was nothing special about it.

Prices are a bit high for what you get. Expect typical brunch fare. Accepts all cards. Does serve funky mimosas for brunch (orange juice and champagne). Weekend brunch 11am-4:30pm.

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