Drew and I headed to Toronto for the first time a few weeks ago for NXNE, their version of SXSW to hang out with some of our Canadian friends, because Drew was on a panel, and I wanted an excuse to go on a trip. Below is an account of everything I ate, because I am the type of person who emails ten people for suggestions before I go anywhere.
Cheese curds had me like…
Toronto is actually super easy to get to from NYC with just an hour long flight. My roundtrip flight was $215 and left at completely reasonable times. I arrived later than Drew and took a shared ride shuttle from the airport to our hotel because it was $18 vs. a $60 cab (book online to keep it as inexpensive as possible). Once I figured out where it was picking me up, this was super easy and I would highly recommend it.
Pro but obvious tip: don’t use your phone in Canada except on wifi or your phone bill will cost the equivalent of a flight to Paris, which is a much better use of $800 imo.
I had high expectations for Toronto after everything I’ve learned from Drake’s discography, and wasn’t let down. I did a lot of fun things and most importantly ate a lot of good food. Let me break down the food part of it for you.
Smokes Poutinerie I referred to this place by an internet friend. I went my first night and lost my poutine virginity. We chose one that had chicken, bacon, peas, mushrooms, ON TOP of the usual cheese curds and gravy. At the time, I was thinking it was so dope, but you will see if you scroll, I soon learned the true ways of poutine. tldr; this is good but has too much extra shit on it, I just want the OG curd vibes. More food below Aunties and Uncles Drew and I were referred to this place by the lovely Kate Killet . We walked quite a bit to get here past what looked like a very basic university area (on College street, even though College in Canada means high school I think?). This brunch spot had outdoor seating and a modest wait, so we went for it. I was very into the Jew vibes of challah as all of the bread choices. Drew got a fancy peameal bacon (which is what they call Canadian bacon in Canada- weird) grilled cheese and I got a pear and brie sandwich on challah with a side of potato salad because I love carbs.
The Burger’s Priest
Cute burger joints seemed to be really popular in Toronto. We ended up at The Burger’s Priest, whose theme I truly do not understand, our second night in town. I got a cheese burger and added “smoke” which was panko crusted fried jalepenos. The theme is some sort of old world biblical vibe, with hebrew on the walls, it honestly makes no sense. Despite not being in a burger mood, it was great. I heard rumors of a secret menu as well, a la In-N-Out. On the regular menu, there was a grilled cheese with ice cream sandwiches as buns or something ridiculous that I am so mad I didn’t try that I might fly back up.
Grand Electric This specialty taco joint is also a bar, where I got an amazing watermelon cocktail after browsing Queen St (one long street where almost every restaurant recommendation I got was located) and copping a sick vintage Adidas track jacket. My friend told me that at night it is actually a go-to spot for people to turn up, which is weird to me because it looks so restaurant-y. I’m bummed I didn’t end up getting food here, especially the lengua. *tongue emoji*
Poutini Also known as: THE PLUG. The lord Slava took Drew and I here after a very eventful night that included dancing in the basement of Parts & Labour and a quick trip to Club Paradise (Drake referenced Strip Club). I am still dreaming about this and really don’t know why poutine isn’t popular in the US. Cash only solidifies the OG-ness of this establishment. 10/10 would eat again at any opportunity.
On my last day in town, after Drew headed to the airport, I went over to Hudson Kitchen to meet up with Kate again. We sat outside for a perfect Sunday brunch and I got a “cider glazed” chorizo dish with poached eggs, braised apples, and potatoes. I love ordering rare brunch entrees that I would not be able to make myself (at least not quickly) to fully take advantage of my brunch experience, and this nailed it. This + mimosas + sunburn helped me relax even though a two hour wait at customs.