On Day 2, I woke up at 11:30am. I didn’t feel rushed to get out of bed – I was just happy to be away from daily mundane activities and other responsibilities.
My only responsibility in the morning was to find a brunch restaurant. So I slowly rolled myself off the bed and sat on the comfy couch in the living room and started browsing away through Instagram again.
My list of brunch restaurants narrowed down to the following:
- The Good Fork
- The Lady Marmalade
- Old School
Finally, we decided to “Go Back to School”. ;D Not Old School, but just School – located near Bobbie Sue’s Mac + Cheese, just under Little Portugal. It was, again, a beautiful sunny day with blue skies and not a patch of clouds in sight.
Back To School
We left our little Airbnb home at 2:00pm and then realized we needed to rush. We had forgotten that it was a brunch restaurant and that it would close at 3pm. Considering it took 30 mins to get there, we thought they’d rush us out.
From the outside of the restaurant, it seemed like there was no one in there. But as soon as we walked in, it was packed with people who were still just getting their food at 2:30pm. No one seemed rushed and they were happy to seat us even if we got there 30 mins before they were going to close.
As soon as we sat down, we started looking around – the decor, the staff, the hungry eaters.
The decor was brilliant – keeping up the concept of “school”. They had hanging mobiles of class notes and doodles. They had bookcases of textbooks and novels.
I think the most brilliant decor and “personal touch” that they added to their restaurant decor/concept was this:
At every table, there was an apple – the “teacher’s apple”. It was there, not only as decor, but for hungry eaters to savour. And then they’d replace it for the next hungry person.
The waiters made us feel like comfortable. Despite having arrived 30 mins before closing time, they were happy to accommodate us. They were patient and friendly people! They checked back on us a couple of times despite it being super busy and packed. The service was fairly quick and never did I feel rushed even when we had stayed until 3:30PM. Our waiter (we should’ve gotten his name!) was nice and started a conversation towards the end – asking us where we were from and what we had planned for the weekend. He was friendly and just made us feel like we wanted to go back. Of the restaurants I’ve visited during my Toronto trip, I’d definitely want to return to this one.
The Hungry Eaters
I looked around at the people who were eating there and I noticed something different from my previous Toronto restaurant experiences. On my family trips to Toronto, we would always stick to mainstream restaurants (Baton Rouge, Red Lobster, etc.). It’d always be the same type of people around. You’d find a lot of tourists and “normal city people”. In other words, I’d have a normal experience as though I was at a Baton Rouge back home. However, trying the good local eateries meant that I was eating with real local Torontonians who really knew the local good stuff. It felt like discovering a whole different side of Toronto restaurants. It made me wonder why I never tried going outside of my comfort food zone.
Andy ordered a freshly-pressed orange juice that came in a lab beaker. It had such a strong and rich flavour. It seriously felt like I was biting into a really juicy orange.
I obviously had a cup of coffee (a morning “must” for me to kick off my day!) and it was one helluva cup of coffee! It was really smooth. Sometimes when you add your cream/milk and sugar, and then let your coffee sit while you eat, you’ll notice a layer at the surface of the coffee that seems unappealing. You see white lines forming and such. This coffee just .. kept its nice creamy and smooth appearance. It was yummy to the last sip.
And then the food came…
Black + Blue Flapjacks
I definitely recommend this beauty to anyone who LOVES pancakes – especially the fluffy type! I had planned to order this dish, but Andy made a good point in suggesting to order different items and then sharing. That way, we’d end up trying different foods.
So I ended up ordering this other beauty:
Super Cheesy Bacon French Toast
I unfortunately only realized later that I should’ve taken a picture of the french toast from the side. It was really thick!
What I loved about this plate was the real gooeyness of the cheese. It was so thick, but it didn’t overdo it. Sometimes, the cheese gets too thick to the point that you feel like you’re chewing soft plastic or rubber. It was a mix of Cheddar and Jack cheese – a great combination. However, what really surprised me was the salad. I don’t exactly know what the vinaigrette was, but it was fantastic. With every cheesy bite of the french toast, I’d take a small bite of the salad. I never thought I’d have such a memorable experience with salad. I took a bite and immediately froze. I just wanted more. I never craved for more salad in my life. I always searched for meat refills, not veggies. The cheesy french toast reminded me of the Wetzel Pretzel Cheese pretzels. It brought me back to a few years back when I used to eat it on break at work as a meal. The taste – along with the real bacon stuck onto the gooey cheese – was unforgettable. I mean, how can you? It was, bite after bite, something that made me want to go back for more. Thanks to my friend, I got to try this delicious dish that I highly recommend to anyone who is familiar with french toasts.
Another cute “personal touch” to their school concept that I really enjoyed was how they presented our bill. We were given a report card. We’d find the bill inside the enveloppe.
I obviously kept the envelope. I marked our names and the date of our visit as a souvenir. 🙂
Next on our agenda for Day 2 was shopping at the Toronto Eaton Centre. In the past years, I used to go through the entire mall and spend 5-6 hours there – considering the size! Then, I finally realized that there was no point in exhausting myself by visiting stores we already had back home. So this time around, I had planned to visit 4-5 stores only. So after 2 hours of shopping (yes, I spent almost an hour at Hollister!), we drove back down to the west of the big city and picked up Andy’s friends who we had planned to have dinner with.
Dinner with Piggy’s
Unluckily, we were stuck in traffic around the time that we were driving up North to head to our next food destination. So it took us about 45 mins to get to the restaurant in Thornhill and unlucky for us again, the restaurant entrance had a lineup and a wait-time of 30 mins. We had no other Plan B and we really wanted to eat there, so we waited. Finally we were seated after about 40 mins – it was Saturday night, after all.
Piggy’s restaurant is a Korean BBQ restaurant. Although they include a lot of many other Korean dishes on their menu, their specialty is BBQ.
I was in charge of ordering, so I went with the following:
- Dolsot Bibimbap (served in a hot stone pot)
- So Galbi (Beef Ribs – non marinated)
- Dwaeji Galbi (Pork ribs – marinated)
- Naengmyun (Cold vs. Spicy)
(On a side note, I have an unpublished blog about Naengmyun. I promise I’ll publish it once I finish my Toronto blogs)
To be quite honest, I eat this kind of stuff quite often. So other than saying that the food was really good, I can’t really say much. It’s the same stuff and it’s not necessarily intriguing only cause I’m familiar with these tastes almost everyday. The cold noodles, however, was quite something – only because the homemade stuff and the Montreal Korean restaurants don’t serve GOOD Naengmyun. And this is why I need to have my Naengmyun fix every time I visit Toronto – they have it almost as good as the ones in Korea.
At the end of our heavy meal, the waitress gave each of us a shot of plum juice to rinse out the lingering taste in our mouth. I just couldn’t get over how cute the shot glass was.
On my Toronto trip, every night would end up the same. I’d have food coma and then pass out.
It. was. the. best. thing. ever!
To be on a vacation and then eat until you pass out – any foodie’s dream!
Stay tuned for Day 3 of Toronto… where we had tacos for breakfast and had ramen noodles & fried chicken for dinner at a fancy restaurant owned by Chef David Chang who’s featured on many cooking shows.