UNCLE BETTY’S: a diner with a twist

UNCLE BETTY’S DINER is one of my favourite, laid-back restaurants it Toronto for three reasons:

  1. The classic diner menu has a unique and contemporary twist
  2. The donuts are home-made, and the traditional donut is only 120 calories
  3. The atmosphere is fun, family-friendly, and the service, despite what many reviews say, is good. (It’s a diner, not a 5-star restaurant!) Plus, the servers are customer focused, polite and memorable.

I have been to UNCLE BETTY’S for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. My favourite part of every meal is, of course, the dessert. Having had a lot of desserts in my life and being somewhat of a sweet-tooth maniac, I profess that the chef has absolutely perfected the home-made Twink ‘EH, donut and milkshake recipes. Every time I visit, I am treated to a donut special that in the past included: chocolate covered donuts, sautéed banana donuts and cinnamon sugar ones.

You also can’t ignore the famous Ultimate Grilled Cheese that was featured on The Food Network. I’ve had it, it’s that good! I’m also a big fan of the blueberry stuffed french toast. The thick pieces of bread are grilled to perfection and stuffed with blueberries and ricotta cheese. Just YUM!

The famous Ultimate Grilled Cheese with Mac-n-Cheese and meatloaf.

Frothy milkshake, the best one I’ve ever had

Home made Twink’Eh in the top left with Uncle Betty’s famous Donut ice-cream sandwich

Outside of Uncle Betty’s Diner

All images are personal

SNAKES & LATTES

 Combine a coffee shop with more than 1500 family board games, a liquor license and long hours of operations and you have Snakes & Lattes – heaven for university students, hipsters, geeks and anyone who’s fun.

I would definitely suggest a cappuccino with Baileys and their Queen B fruit milkshake, although I’m sure all their drinks are delicious. If you’re interested in spending hours playing games with your friends, you get access to all the games for $5. The coffee shop is set up ideally for large groups and will also accommodate couples in for a quick warm up.

My favourite part about Snakes & Lattes is that it has a liquor license. I have always said that coffee and liqueur is a match made in heaven!

Located west of Bathurst St. on the north side of Bloor St. ENJOY!

Real Sports Bar & Grill

I am surprised it has taken me such a long time to write about Real Sports Bar & Grill – voted #1 sports bar in North America by ESPN. I have been there numerous times in the past few weeks. I can honestly say that it’s one of my favourite places to go with friends, and I can’t get enough of it.

Firstly, the food is the best that you can ever have at any sports bar, thanks to Toni Glitz – the Executive Chef. Secondly, the service is sparkling and perfect, and let’s hope it stays that way. Thirdly, everywhere you look there is a teli staring back at you – a perfect ‘tune out’ from a mind-numbing conversation (a bad first date maybe?). It’s also a perfect place for a party, as the upstairs is equipped with the most comfortable leather chairs and the 39 feet in diameter TV is certainly a conversation starter.

Even if you’re not a big sports fan, going there with a group of friends will most certainly create great memories. Real Sports Bar & Grill is located in the Maple Leafs Square (15 York St. right across from the ACC).

Il Gelatiere

                                                                                                                                    Best authentic Italian gelato joint in Toronto, even the plastic spoons are imported from Italy. The gelato is homemade and comes in many different, amazing flavours that even the pickiest eaters will enjoy. I seriously can’t get enough!

Located south of  Ave. and Mt. Pleasant Rd. (647 Mt. Pleasant Rd.), Il Gelatiere is a must visit if you have a sweet tooth.

INDIE COFFEE PASSPORT, Toronto

This is one of the most exciting ideas I’ve heard in a while…. You can get a free beverage (costing up to $5.00) at 24 different independent coffee shops all over Tdot, for one sweet price of $20.00 by purchasing an Indie Coffee Passport. If you’re interested in discovering what our amazing supreme coffee shop owners have to offer, get your Indie Coffee Passport at http://www.indiecoffeepassport.com/

 The Passport is valid between September 1st 2010 and March 31st 2011. Some of my favourite coffee shops included are: Crema Coffe Co., i deal coffee, Quaff Café, and Red Rocket Café. What a fabulous way to get to know new places, support the community and enjoy some of the greatest coffees!! And it’s a bargain!

* Photo: Crema Coffee Co. http://cremacoffee.ca/ourcoffee/

BONJOUR BRIOCHE

When was the last time you had a fresh homemade breakfast and the most spectacular, creamy latte at a restaurant? If you’d like to experience the flavour, the ambience and the openness of a Parisian cafe in Tdot, visit bonjour Brioche (812 Queen St. E).

For those living in the neighbourhood, bonjour Brioche has been a weekend morning staple. The warm, inviting smell spreads through the small cafe that serves some of the most delicious, healthy French breakfasts under $10. My biggest surprise was the bowl of latte, two of which I drank over the course of 3 hours, and I still can’t forget how heavenly they were. I wake up every morning thinking about those lattes, hoping that Starbucks would steal the recipe somehow. Bonjour Brioche is also a bakery that would be on the top of my list for a party gift, as their tarts – so many I don’t even want to start naming– are nothing less of perfect.

If you would like to experience the amazing food and atmosphere of bonjour Brioche over the weekend, I would advise to be at the door before 9:30am (they open at 8am!). Also, keep in mind that it is only open till 4pm daily and closed on Mondays. As for menu suggestions, I doubt any customer has ever left unsatisfied, thus order what your stomach desires and do not forget to taste the latte! Check out the menu online (links section).

MoRoCo Chocolat

MoRoCo Logo and Truffles

The true beauty of Toronto is that it has plenty of unique spots that let you escape from North America to make you believe that you’re in a completely different city, country, and continent. MoRoCo Chocolat (99 Yorkville Ave.), is a luxurious multi-purpose boutique and lounge that enables you to escape from Toronto into a sophisticated Parisian café with delicious food and desserts, spectacular atmosphere and luscious décor. 

 MoRoCo is a truly unique place. It is a multi-purpose hideaway that serves high-tea, brunch, lunch and dinner; has a chocolate boutique with delicious truffles, macarons and other chocolate goodies; has a luxurious dinning room and a bar as well as a bright and spacious outside sitting area. Overall, it’s a perfect place for anything from a breakfast business meeting to a birthday party, to a night out. It is difficult to decide what I enjoy most about MoRoCo, but its location is certainly exceptional. It’s hidden from the daily hustle of Yorkville. This lets you enjoy the company you’re with in addition to the great food and treats served there. The dark sipping chocolate is must try, so are the liquid salted chocolate balls from the chocolate boutique, they are to die for! You will also have to taste one of their macarons – it’s impossible to walk into MoRoCo and not get a macaron.  

 Ladies, MoRoCo is a perfect place to relax after a long day of shopping. Gentlemen, an ideal spot to take your ladies for a treat is MoRoCo Chocolat.  

LITTLE NICKY’S COFFEE

Little Nicky's Cappuccino and Donuts

 

For a delicious, creamy cup of Cappuccino and mini-donuts (with a choice of cinnamon or cocoa sprinkles) made right in front of you, head over to Little Nicky’s Coffee on Peter St. and Queen St. West. 

The name and the logo are inspired by Renee’s, the owner, love for her Chihuahua, Nicky. Everyone who works at Little Nicky’s are Renee’s immediate family, and they do a fab job at creating a friendly, authentic Queen St. West atmosphere (which is almost absent from that area now). After ordering 6 mini donuts with our cappuccino, my fried and I decided to get an extra dozen and did not regret it at all! I swear that the calories are worth it. Daily sandwiches, fresh squeezed juices and an array of coffee drinks are also offered at Little Nicky’s. That in addition to the 1930’s inspired atmosphere with pleasant customer service makes Little Nicky a hit in my books. I can’t wait to go back! 

Fresh Donuts at Little Nicky's

The Grilled Cheese: Kensington, Tdot

The Grilled Cheese Menu July 2010

 

To open a restaurant that serves only grilled cheese sandwiches is pretty gutsy. Firstly, not everyone likes grilled cheese sandwiches. Secondly, as a business owner, you’re limiting your options. Thirdly, making a profit must be difficult because of the first two.  That said, The Grilled Cheese, a restaurant in the heart of Kensington that’s appropriately named after it’s one and only dish, is a gem.  

The Beast

 

The Grilled Cheese restaurant was put together from scraps of wood and lots of hard work, and it reminded me of an old, comfy cabin rather than a Tdot restaurant. There were ten different grilled cheeses to choose from and a soup of the day, but because it was extremely hot and being Kensington market air-conditioning is rare, soup of the day wasn`t appropriate. My friend Amy and I decided to split THE BEAST – a grilled cheese sandwich with jalapeño havarti, cheddar, bacon, turkey, spinach, tomato, and onion – served with half a pickle and crisps. And what a delicious beast it was! It wasn`t as greasy as I expected, and it tasted fresh (the sandwiches are made from ingredients bought every morning at the Kensington Market)!  

I have to admit that I prefer a grilled cheese to a hamburger, and would return again for an unhealthy lunch option. Worth mentioning is the fact that everyone who left The Grilled Cheese was very satisfied, and let the chef/ owner know that.  

The Grilled Cheese is located at 66 Nassau St, Toronto in Kensington.  It’s worth checking it out.

A MATTER OF TASTE: Fulvio Bonavia

“A Matter of Taste” by Fulvio Bonavia combines my 2 passions – fashion and food – into one in a very creative and professional way. Every image is breathtaking, inspiring and ingenious thanks to Fulvio’s wide-ranging experience. I do have to say that I am quite surprised at his interest in creating this spectacular book that perfectly captures cuisine and couture since he is mostly known for his luxury car ads. Even so, “A Matter of Taste” is spectacular and I can’t wait to see some of these creations on the runway!

Enjoy the pics.

Images from "A Matter of Taste" by Fulvio Bonavia