I’d like to tell you a bit more about Claire and Alex’s great neighbourhood in Toronto. I feel I got to know it fairly well after staying with them for three weeks and getting out and about quite a bit.
(P.S.- can you believe the Junction was a dry neighbourhood until 2000?? That explains why there are still very few liquor stores…)
The Beet is a cute, funky restaurant and cafe. We had lunch here once and stopped in another time for juice and dessert. The atmosphere is very casual but they do have table service, as well as coffee and sweets to go. The wrap I had was absolutely delicious: bursting with black beans, quinoa, avocado, and lots of other good stuff. The side salad was topped with some crunchy seeds that added spark to the plate.
The focus at The Beet is on organic, local food. They have lots of gluten-free and vegan options, including GF bread for sandwiches and wraps, and GF desserts. The lemon chia seed cake was moist and flavourful. They also do delicious fresh juices. I had a grapefruit, pear, and lime juice that was incredibly refreshing and tasty.
Bunner’s is a completely gluten-free, vegan bakery. This neighbourhood definitely seems to cater to people following those two diets! I stopped at Bunner’s a few times (I was tempted to stop there waaaay more often) and sampled some of their baked goods.
The bread they make is very good, and has a nice texture and flavour. I also enjoyed the curried chickpea empanada. The dough for the empanada is also used in the butter tart, and it’s flaky and delicious. The butter tart (or should I say “butter” tart) was also great – very sweet, but that’s to be expected. I also tried the supersonic gypsy cookie when I was at Crema, and really enjoyed it – it’s chock-full of chocolate, raisins and nuts, with a nice flavour of brown sugar.
Unfortunately, the cinnamon bun and cupcakes we tried weren’t so successful. The cupcakes were very dry, and the chocolate one has a strange bitter flavour. The frosting was the highlight. The cinnamon bun was also dry, and too sweet. Though I really appreciate the existence of such a bakery, they might have some tweaking to do.
I visited this natural foods grocery store many times during my stay. A few times I was rushing through grabbing things as fast as I could while Lu bawled her head off in the wrap or the stroller …
It’s a really nice store, with lots of selection, lots of local produce, and mostly reasonable prices. They had a fantastic GF bread selection too, and I tried a few loaves from a place called Queen Street Gluten-Free in Toronto that I really enjoyed.
The cashiers at the Sweet Potato were also very helpful. They usually offered to load up the stroller for me, and once one of them gave me a deal on a bag of carrots. It’s the little things.
Claire and Alex are actually moving out of The Junction and back to Halifax in January, so who knows when I’ll be be back there. So long, Junction. I had fun discovering you.