Category Archives: Food ?

Do it for the insta! No wait! The ICE CREAM

With summer finally here, it’s officially time for ice cream. From Toronto staples like Summer’s to newer additions to the city, here are five of the best ice cream places close to campus — for ice cream that tastes as good as it looks.

1. iHalo Krunch (831 Queen St W)

Serving Toronto’s best black charcoal ice cream, this queen street joint offers four signature soft serves —  ube, matcha, vanilla and charcoal-coconut — in their freshly made, charcoal-infused cones. IHalo Krunch is definitely the perfect place for one of the most unique ice cream experiences.

2. Summer’s Ice Cream (101 Yorkville Ave)

Definitely a Toronto staple, Summers is ideal for a good old-fashioned cone of ice cream. Their birthday cake flavour is perfectly paired with sitting in the Village of Yorkville Park.

3. Fugo Desserts (205 Dundas St W)

Fugo is the perfect one-stop ice cream stop for a wide choice of flavours influenced by a range of cultures. A favourite is definitely the Cookie Monster Ice Cream.

4. Taiyaki NYC Toronto (128 Dundas St W)

Serving soft serve in cakes shaped like fish, this little store front is the perfect spot to try something new while you take pictures in front of their pink rose wall. Their taro slush in a unicorn floatie is definitely a highlight.

4. Milk Bar (190 University Ave)

Part of Momofuku, this New York staple definitely lives up to its hype. Started by chef Christina Tosi, Milk bar is known for its Cereal Milk Soft Serve. The birthday cake truffles and cookies, especially the blueberry cookie, sold here are also definitely worth a try.

Best specialty grocery stores in Toronto

Don’t be scared: specialty does not always mean expensive. A trip to a specialty grocery store is well worth the time and effort if you are curious about cuisine and pretty packaging. Specialty grocery stores are like soulmates: there is some place for everyone.

Pusateri’s Fine Foods: “I don’t want to cut my vegetables”

With three locations in downtown, personal service is Pusateri’s mantra, and it rings true. Spotty foot traffic makes the staff to patron ratio seem like 1:4 and most of them are happy to find items for you, as opposed to just pointing in its general direction. Butchers cut both meat and produce. Carrots can be washed and julienned, pomegranate seeds can go home with you without the stubborn rind, and someone else can cry over onion chopping for once. These veg-butcher services come at no extra cost, and neither does the help of a personal shopper.

Bring home what your roommate needs without taking responsibility for choosing the wrong sort of kale for her potluck. English shortbreads and beloved speculoos cookies are always in stock. Sample the sweets of the world without having to dig into your OSAP loan reservoir for airfare and accommodations.

Pusateri’s is my shrine, lay me in a bed of their ready-made quinoa when I die.

Organic Garage: buying rare expensive things at a marginally cheaper price

There is only one Organic Garage, sorry folks. One in the very west of Toronto, the part that doesn’t conveniently sit on the subway line. I haven’t visited their other location in Liberty Village, so I am vouching for the aforementioned location. Keele and St. Clair West can seem like a trek, but the trip is well worth it if you are interested in stocking up on vegan goods and organic produce. Despite the bougie brown brick facade, produce prices here tend to be cheaper than those at Metro. There, organic green kale goes for $2.99. Here, it costs a little less than half the price: $1.47. Produce is always fresh, and neatly arranged for easy access.

The space emits a warm ambiance with its wooden paneling and string lights, turning shopping for groceries into a welcome adventure. Their variety of organic foods (fresh and pre-packaged) is unparalleled. Yes, they have all the flavors of Daiya’s dairy-free cheesecakes (my favorite is key lime). Be sure to call in advance, if you are searching for a specific product. Parking at this location is free, and spots are abundant. The parking lot is nearly as great as my affinity for this hidden gem.

Cheese Boutique: for the cheese addict in you

This cheese haven has been around since the 70’s, bringing cheeses, charcuteries, and exotic fungi from around the world. Despite being on the pricier side, you get what you pay for and staff offer free cups of espresso and biscotti in store. With over 500 varieties of cheeses and three aging rooms, this is the spot to find the rarest of cheeses. The location also has a small produce section for fresh vegetables at slightly higher-than-normal prices. However, the pates and mousses they import from Quebec go for $7 in sizeable blocks. Their sandwiches, made with house-baked breads and cured meats, are also a popular choice; they’re priced at around $3.00 per 100g.

While gelatos and most bakery items are made in store, you can also find Nadege products like blue velvet bars and cinnamon cakes. This is the spot to be for unique food items and their aging room (open to the public) makes for an unforgettable experience.

The ten best vegan restaurants in Toronto

The popularity of plant-based eating has skyrocketed in the last few years, as evidenced by the mounting number of restaurants dedicated to vegetarian and vegan cuisine in the city. The following 10 gastro-tastic places to eat offer options ranging from deliciously indulgent to heartily healthy that omnivores and herbivores alike will enjoy!

1. The Hogtown Vegan: Specializing in Southern-style comfort food, their meaty seitan sandwiches like the Philadelphia “cheesesteak” and Unchicken Burger could fool even a true carnivore.

Location: Kensington Market

2. Planta: For a more upscale dining experience, Planta offers a beautiful ambiance and freshly made gourmet food. Try the artichoke heart crab cakes and cocktails.

Location: Yorkville

A delicious meal from Planta. MADELEINE KELLY/THE VARSITY

3. Fresh: One of the OG veggie restaurants in the city, with a large menu featuring fresh cold pressed juices, salads, burgers, bowls and offering brunch on weekends.

Location: all over the city.

4. Urban Herbivore: Offers everything from generous helpings of protein-packed salads to gluten and nut-free vegan cupcakes!

Locations: Kensington Market and The Eaton Centre.

5. Mythology Diner: This retro-inspired diner was opened by Chef Doug McNish last year, located in a community that is now known as Vegandale. It offers all the comfort food classics. The menu is constantly being updated with seasonal favourites. Staple menu items include seitan wild wings and the Reubonator sandwich.

Location: Queen and Dufferin.

Mythology Diner brings classic diner treats with a vegan twist. MADELEINE KELLY/THE VARSITY

6. Doomie’s: Mythology’s former neighbour, Doomie’s recently relocated to the Vegandale Brewery, but still offers a huge assortment of burgers and other greasy gluttonous goodies to devour, like deep fried oreos and waffles. Try the vegan Big Mac!

Location: Queen Street West.

7. Copenhagen Vegan Cafe & Bakery: The newest edition to Vegandale, Copenhagen is a classy little bakery offering savoury and sweet baked goods, milkshakes, and specialty caffeinated drinks. It’s a great place for a coffee or study date.

Location: Queen Street West.

8. Cosmic Treats: In the heart of Kensington Market, Cosmic Treats has out-of-this-world desserts like scrumptious sundaes, brownies and baked goods galore. They also have a menu full of comfort foods like lasagne and chicken pot pie.

Location: Kensington Market.

9. Grasshopper: With one location close to UTSG, Grasshopper is a great place to hit the books while munching on some mac and cheese or deep fried Mexican rice balls.

Location: College and Spadina.

10. Apiecalypse Now!: Donuts, pizza and punk rock! Located across from Christie Pits, the Pig Destroyer Destroyer pizza is a must-try, and they recently opened a bar above the diner!

Location: Bloor Street West.

Vegan Pizza from Apiecalypse Now!. MADELEINE KELLY/THE VARSITY

 

Six unique restaurants in Toronto

Toronto prides itself on being an extremely multicultural city, and with that assertion comes the effects: we are littered with amazing food options here. Now, I’m not going to talk about the standard cuisines of some countries – such as Italian, French and Lebanese –which are universally praised in every major city around the world. Instead, this list will showcase the six best restaurants from underrated cuisines.

Check these places out if you are looking to take advantage of the multiculturalism of this great city!

1. Tuk Tuk Canteen: Although somewhat similar to Thai food, this Cambodian joint will give lovers of Thai food great exposure to a plethora of new flavours.

2. African Palace: A great Ethiopian and Eritrean restaurant, which showcases the many flavors and unique cuisine of the Horn of Africa.

3. Cookie Martinez: Although not massive in geography, this place is massive in personality, from the lovely owner to the beautiful and vibrant colors. This is a must-try for anyone who loves Latin-American cuisine – especially those who love arepas.

4. Vos Restaurante Argentino: Argentinian steak is something everybody should try. Period. Popular around the world – especially in parts of Europe and Latin America – this spot is a must for anyone looking to try something new in Toronto.

5. Royal Myanmar Restaurant: From the interior of the restaurant to the food itself, this place screams traditional and it is perfect just the way it is. Located in a very unassuming area, this restaurant will provide you with great traditional Burmese meals.

6. Borrel: Although a prominent nation, The Netherlands has never really been able to bring their cuisine to the forefront in outside markets. Borrel tries to change that as they provide great Dutch comfort food and creative cocktails.

Top five Insta-worthy Toronto bars

Do you ever scroll through your Instagram feed and see people posing in front of signs at bars or clubs and say to yourself: ‘how basic! I’ve seen that background like 100 times!’

But secretly you are dying inside because you totally want a picture there, you just have too much pride to ask that person where the picture was taken?

Don’t worry. Below is a list of the top five bars to snap a great Instagram picture.

Sooner or later, everyone will think you are really cool and are down to totally go out clubbing all the time. Even though, let’s be real, it’s obvious you do not because otherwise you would just know about these places.

1. Convenience: This bar has an area with a pink background and rotary phones under an illuminated sign that reads “Party Line.” If that does not scream – I need attention, I don’t know what will.

2. REBEL Nightclub: A wall painted with bushels of flowers and a red illuminated sign that reads, “Please Do Not Feed the Animals.” This is a great place to snap a pic and or pretend you are a jungle animal. Either or works.

3. Wallen: This place just has great wall designs. Not much else has to be said. The club isn’t that great but remember this list is purely to take a picture and impress others.

4. Pravda Vodka Bar:  A bunch of red drapes and soviet flags. Big gold heads of Vladimir Lenin. This place is amazing.

5. Mahjong Bar: This place is rather hidden behind the guise of a small storefront but with its brightly illuminated red interior, anywhere in the bar will make for a great picture.