My ‘Hood: Rachelle

I live near Mount Pleasant and Eglinton, which I like to think of as a small nook of the city that’s still slightly under the radar. Some people call it Mount Pleasant Village, I like to call it the really great strip that has pretty much anything you need and more. It is home to amazing small shops, great eats and unique boutiques, where you can find everything that’s just a little bit different. 

A weekend doesn’t go by without a family outing (dog in tow, who gets tied up outside) to the very authentic French bakery, Thobors Boulangerie Patisserie Café. Being from Montreal, I can say this bakery rivals the best when it comes to pastries and breads. I always go for the classic plain croissant (hands down, the best in the city!), hubby opts for the Danish aux abricot (Danish pastry filled with apricot) and our son goes for the richer pain au chocolat (chocolate croissant). 

We never leave without a couple of sesame baguettes (voted Toronto’s best baguette in Toronto Life Eating + Drinking 2011) to go. These have just the right blend of crisp and chewy texture. Throw on some butter, sip on a café au lait and you may just feel like you are in Paris. The owner Marc Thobors, a Parisian-trained bread baker, is typically hard at work in the kitchen (he can be seen kneading dough through his peek-a-boo window), but he always comes out to greet a friendly face. Oh, and did I mention that all of the staff speak French fluently, so I get to practice!

We shop for our produce and specialty food items at Culinarium, a gourmet food store, specializing in locally produced Ontario food products and culinary events. They have a great selection of seasonal produce, cheeses and organic milk (Harmony in glass bottles is our milk of choice). They also offer really unique cooking classes and events, as well as vegetarian and meat share programs. I love their recipe of the week feature (recipes can be found in-store on postcards or online), which is designed to help you get one locally focused dinner on your plate each week without all the fuss of planning, searching out recipes or travelling to multiple stores to get groceries. The Roasted Squash Soup with Chipotle Aioli Drizzle is one of my recent faves.

With all this eating, I need to get a little physical sometimes. I usually opt for an ‘ohm’ fix at Yoga Plus (Eglinton studio), a hop skip and a jump away from my place. Christine is my go-to instructor for incredibly relaxing, yet challenging Hatha classes. When I want to get my cardio on (and weather permitting), I usually go for a brisk walk with my dog in the glorious Sherwood Park, truly a green oasis in the city. 

There are great trails, open spaces to throw a Frisbee or ball around, spots to have a family picnic (or make out!). And if you have a pooch, this is literally doggie heaven, with one of the city’s best off-leash trails. If you have kidlets, there’s a terrific playground and splash pad in the summer.

My hood is such a great area for me and my family that I sometimes feel like I never want to leave. I love supporting small shops and local businesses without having to get into my car.