May 19, 2013

Canada Day Trip

The other day, my friend Jenn and I decided to take a day trip up to Toronto, which happened to be my first time in that city. It's only about 100 miles from Buffalo so it's not a long trek to the city.
CN Tower in Toronto (my view from Chinatown)
I couldn't go to Canada without eating poutine. Just in case you are unfamiliar with poutine, it's pub fare in Canada, aka drunk food. It's fries topped with gravy and cheese curds that's oh-so-delicious but oh-so-bad-for-you. I first had poutine when I spent a summer up in Banff five years ago. There were many nights that ended in getting poutine delivered and then scarfing it down with my friends.
Banff's Poutine
After finding not so great versions across America over the years, I decided the only way to eat proper poutine was in Canada. I did some research and found a poutine place that Anthony Bourdain visited while he was in Toronto for his Travel Channel show, The Layover. Poutini's House of Poutine serves several different kinds of poutine: vegan, vegetarian, topped with bacon, pulled pork or maple syrup. Jenn's a vegetarian so we split the vegetarian option. 
Poutini's poutine was pretty darn good, I only wish the cheese curds were more gooey melty. But Poutini's boasts that their fresh cheese curds are extra squeaky. And squeaky fresh (and not melty) they were. The vegetarian gravy was super tasty and I wasn't missing the meat gravy at all. 

I had a list of potential cupcake bakeries to go to but managed to stumble upon Le Dolci bakery on the way to an Anthony Bourdain recommended bar in Little Italy (which we never got to since it was closed). Lucky for me, I didn't have to scour the streets for a cupcake, it fell right in my lap. Too bad it wasn't a great cupcake. The frosting didn't taste like anything but it was supposed to be Cookies 'N Cream on top of a chocolate cupcake. Only plus, it was a pretty moist chocolate cake. Each cupcake is $2.50.
I love Asian bakeries because I love Asian pastries! I made sure to patronize one while in Chinatown. To my surprise, I saw a cupcake staring right at me on the shelves of Ding Dong Pastries (normally the shelves are lined with curry-filled, red bean-filled or taro-filled buns; not your-average-super sugary American pastries) . The cupcake was a frosting-less Chinese-style sponge cake called a Paper Cup Cake. It is supposed to have a rich egg flavor. The one I consumed actually had a nutty flavor rather than an eggy overtone. Not quite a cupcake but was a different treat that I might never have purchased at an Asian bakery. Fluffy, mild and just okay. I'll stick to eating taro buns. Each paper cup cake is 70 cents.
Toronto was an eclectic, diverse and accessible city. The trip was short but I hope to visit again soon to explore the city more and also try some more cupcakes.





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