Fave Five: Brunch

brunch. If there is one thing the 416 and the 905 can agree on, it’s that brunch is bliss.
Persistent scorn for frigid February – and the accompanying lament: why am I
still living here? – melts away to reveal a fondness for the winter wonderland
we call home when we’re cozied up at one of our favourite joints crunching on
bacon and buttering scones. It’s more difficult to choose a top brunch spot in
Toronto than whether we want a coffee or a Caesar with our eggs benny so, heck
lazy-Sunday-lovers, we’re not gonna do it! 

Here are five faves. We’re open to
suggestions for our next post (tweet us @rockitpromo) and maybe a mimosa too…

Celebrating its ninth birthday next week (with a kick-ass To The Nines bash), The Drake Hotel is a neighbourhood staple. Offering comfort food with it’s signature casually opulent flare, we love everything on the menu. Bonus points for the larger-than-average seating area (with a choice between casual café, lounge and dining room) and extended serving time (brunch goes until 4 p.m.). Must try: warm scone share plate.
1150 Queen St. W.

Only a couple years ago this bright, cheerful locale – where coffee is served in romantic china tea cups – was a dingy, dark illegal after-hours club. We’re glad a passion for food and elbow grease (thanks Orwell?) led to the operation of L’Ouvrier by Angus Bennett. The menu is modestly sized, but contains something for everyone, from the health nut to the heart-attack-challenger. Must try: potato rosti, smoked salmon, crème fraîche, arugula, fried shallots, and capers.
791 Dundas St. W.

Somehow Saving Grace comes off as cozy rather than tiny. There is no arguing the fact that elbow room is at a premium but the large windows and potted plants make the space bright and welcoming. The food is spot on and specials vary daily, just be prepared for a wait to get in. Must try: French toast with caramelized bananas.
907 Dundas St. W.
Welcome to a less complicated time. Aunties and Uncles is unpretentious (we love the retro décor!) and operates on the fresh-is-best mentality. Inexpensive and a reliable hangover cure we can’t imagine the brunch scene without this old standby. Must try: omelette of the day.
74 Lippincott St.

Not all our Sundays are lazy. And when we’re looking for a little excitement we turn to the cultural hub of downtown: Toronto’s Soho House. They pair extravagant, healthy brunch spreads with event programming. It’s a members-only club, so if you haven’t got a membership, cozy up to someone that does. It’s well worth it. Must try: to die for croissants.
192 Adelaide St. W.


Fave Five: Best Eggs Benny

A good eggs Benedict can be hit or miss. Luckily, we consider ourselves brunch connoisseurs, and have done tons of research into what’s tops in Toronto. We’ll trek all over the city for a well-executed Benny. Here, we serve up some of our favourites:

A weekend staple for many of us, the Drake’s Eggs Benedict ($13) offers the classic favourite with eggs over smoked pork loin with a generous dollop of Hollandaise. There is also a delicious Eggs Caleb with smoked salmon. Enjoy it with a DIY Caesar you can share with your friends. 

While not a traditional Benny, the vegetarian Eggs Milestone ($9.99), a delicious combination of goat cheese, sliced Roma tomatoes and avocado salsa topped with hollandaise, makes it an easy brunch decision. Top it off with a Sunshine Mimosa and your weekend’s off to a great start. 

If you’re in the Leslieville area, Lady Marmalade has a great selection and offers a more decadent version with brie, avocado and bacon ($13.50). Enjoy it with your cup of joe and be sure to bring some bills – the restaurant only accepts cash. 

A Rosedale option is The Rebel House’s Rebellion Eggs ($10.75). Your choice of peameal bacon or smoked Atlantic salmon with a tangy fresh H-sauce. They offer a little Bailey’s in your morning coffee, a great addition to any breakfast choice. 

Out at Bloor and Landsdowne, The Bloordale Pantry has a great diner vibe and a Benny menu titled “Hello my name is Benny.” To set them apart, their eggs sit atop a house-made griddle scone and their Classic Benny with peameal bacon ($11.99) is an easy choice when we’re in the area. A glass of freshly squeezed juice tops off a well-rounded brunch. 

Where’s your favourite spot to enjoy a Benny? Let us know @rockitpromo.

Rave: High Tea

Whether it’s an alternative to coffee in the morning, a cozy drink on a cold rainy day or a relaxing way to end a meal, there is nothing like a good cup of tea. As lovers of tea, one of our favourite indulgences is going for High Tea. 

We were first introduced to High Tea while living in London, England one summer. It was a friend’s birthday and instead of going out for dinner, we opted for traditional afternoon tea. Dressing up in our most elegant summer dresses, six of us headed to the Savoy Hotel to enjoy scones, tea sandwiches, pastries, tea, and champagne for the birthday girl. It was divine.

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Whether it’s for a special celebration, or simply an outing with girlfriends (it’s a great alternative to brunch), we’ve found three places in Toronto that offer both traditional and variations of this popular British custom.

The Windsor Arms Hotel –  18 St. Thomas St.
Perfect for a bridal or baby shower, or even just an afternoon tea, we’ve found that The Windsor Arms offers the most authentic High Tea experience in the city. With options to sit in the French-style lobby tea room or the majestic purple room with its original 1927 working fireplace, you feel as though you’ve been transported to another time and place. The price ranges from $30 during the week to $38 on the weekends for “Full Tea”, which includes scones, tea sandwiches, desserts and a selection of teas. While the Windsor Arms is definitely on the more expensive side, it is well worth it for the experience and delicious food.

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Red Tea Box – 696 Queen St. W.
While High Tea at the Red tea Box is not exactly traditional, it is most definitely a whimsical experience. When walking into the store/restaurant, you feel as though you’ve just stepped into the world of Alice in Wonderland, with colourful, ornate pastries and quirky mismatched furniture, silverware and tablecloths. A variety of prix-fixe options are available including the “Mad Hatter’s Tea Party” (including scones, sandwiches, tea cakes and tea for $27), Tea Bento, South East Asian Tea, Tea Feature, and Dessert Bento. We’ll be heading back again to try each of these cool options.

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T Buds – 3343 Yonge St.
For a more casual yet equally fun and delicious High Tea experience, T Buds on Yonge (north of Lawrence) offers an extensive selection of teas and sandwiches available for afternoon tea. For $22, you’re served the traditional High Tea spread upstairs in the Tea Lounge. A bonus at T Buds is that it is first and foremost a tea shop. The staff are very knowledgeable, and if you enjoyed the tea you sipped, you can buy it downstairs to recreate a tea party at home.

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If you’re looking for something new and different to do in Toronto then we definitely suggest you try High Tea; if not for the tea, then at least for the tea sandwiches! Who can say no to delicious little crustless bites of goodness? 

Yum, yum: Hot chocolate

While we personally recommend layers of cashmere, there is another way to stay warm this winter. Pair your Vince sweaters with hot chocolate, and you’ll stay fashionably hot in even the coldest of Canadian winters. From Dark Horse Espresso to Cloud Espresso Bar and Aroma Espresso Bar, here are some of the city’s best cups of cocoa.
Dedicated to improving Toronto’s coffee scene one latte at a time. With its third location, Dark Horse Espresso is changing the way Queen Street does hot chocolate. Prepared with cocoa powder-based syrup made in-house, the hot chocolate from this super popular Queen Street coffee joint is skillfully blended. Heavy on the milk side, with just the right amount of slightly sweet cocoa, this Dark Horse Espresso specialty drink strikes the perfect balance of milk to chocolate.

Cloud Espresso Bar
Just steps away from the new Oliver Spencer store, Cloud Espresso Bar is churning out fresh pressed paninis and cups of creamy hot chocolate. A hot spot for the creative crowd, former Bonjour Brioche chef, Vladimir Martinez, is the culinary brains behind this inspired menu. You can order with skim or one per cent milk, but any way you have it, Cloud Espresso Bar’s hot chocolate is the stuff of foodie dreams.
From one of our favourite lunch spots in the city comes one of the sweetest hot chocolates in town. Aroma Espresso Bar is famous for its Israeli salads, exotic fruit juices and mint lemonade, but it’s their hot chocolate that keeps us coming back for more. 
In true DIY fashion, drinkers will mix together their own bowl of steaming hot milk with bars of chocolate. Calling all die-hard chocolate lovers – this is one serious cup of choco made just for you.
Pile on those layers and drink up. Where’s your favourite ho-cho spot? Tweet us @rockitpromo!