toronto eats

the wall coverings at the drake hotel

I confess while in Toronto, I ate sushi from a hospital kiosk (it was surprisingly fresh), and ordered room service late at night because I was craving french fries.  Such is the nature of business travel…

I was fortunate to have three good meals in my three days there.  First a welcoming lunch with my SickKids hosts at Midi Bistro, which is a short hike to the hospital and just up the road from the Art Gallery of Ontario.  My memory becomes blurry, but I do recall eating an open faced sandwich and stealing my colleague’s fries in a hopping French bistro.  Somehow there was only one serving staff for the entire place, and it still all worked.

If I’m a true food and travel blogger, I’d be running all over the city, checking out diverse restaurants.  Here’s how you can tell I’m a hack:  I went to the same restaurant three times in two days.

Bannock has self-professed Canadian comfort food and was a block from my hotel. I discovered they do take-away breakfast, and I love their concept, so I returned there for a Friday night dinner.  I was dining solo again (sad but true), and here’s what I wrote:

So I’m at Bannock, drinking a vodka, maple syrup and lemonade cocktail.  The staff are sooooo nice to me, the solo diner.  I ordered the tourtiere and poutine because this is regional Canadian cuisine and this seemed appropriate.  Bannock is a lively room with an open kitchen, and the chefs are all wearing rather endearing funny little fedora-like hats.  I’m guessing this is Canadian decor – homemade Christmas wreaths and white washed wood walls.  Maybe if I had a cottage in the Muskokas, it would look like this.

The poutine is the most awesome ever.  Soft rosemary flavoured fries immersed in gravy, stretchy cheese curds that I had to twirl like pasta.  Apple pie crust tourtiere with pulled and ground pork instead of apples.  Cheeky peas and carrot coins on the side.  This is fun food.

The next day, I hiked way up Queen Street West to The Drake Hotel.  I love that this hotel is a renovated old dive hotel.  It is like an exercise in recycling in the best possible way. Their press says, do believe the hype, and although I’m normally suspicious of hipster joints, well I can happily admit it is true.  Brunch at The Drake was leisurely served in the lounge, which really was like my living room.  I had freshly squeezed mango juice, and my waiter kept saying ‘cheers’ which kept me happy.  Then I was presented with a huge egg, sausage, cheese and homefry burrito – breakfast held in the hand.  Next time I’m in Toronto, I’m bringing my husband, and we are staying at The Drake.  (Mike, there’s DANCING!).

More hiking to Kensington Market, which I really adored.  If I had an extra stomach and more time, I would have eaten there too.  Sadly, I had to rush to the airport and then eat at a brightly lit Swiss Chalet.

Thank you, Toronto. Until we meet again.


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