Queen Mother Cafe

Queen Mother Cafe

On Friday, we went to see the Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland ballet, and, since we obviously had to eat first, we wandered down the street to the Queen Mother Cafe. It’s housed in a historic building (apparently more than 150 years old!) and has been around since the 70’s.

Their menu consists of mostly fusion/pan-global cuisine, as you’ll see from what Ro and I ate.

I like what I affectionately refer to as “brown food”: you know, traditional foods from Sri Lanka/India, etc. So I often end up ordering a curry or some sort of roti dish when I’m at a place like this.

This was a traditional Sri Lanka roti, and I can confirm that it tasted exactly like what my mom (well, actually my aunt) makes. It was also essentially a “brown” version of a burrito, and since I love burritos, this was amazing! It was stuffed with sweet potatoes, eggplants, chickpeas, and a few other vegetables, plus a spicy* curry sauce.
*I have a high spice tolerance, so it was a bit of a kick, but not nearly as sweat-inducing as the stuff my dad makes.

Ro, meanwhile, had a spinach and ricotta cannelloni because she has always favoured Italian food over “brown” food. I stole a piece of her garlic toast and it was crunchy but tasty.

The cafe has a window full of dessert options; unfortunately, I gave up chocolate for Lent, so I couldn’t try any of their decadent-looking chocolate cakes. I did, however, have a piece of key lime pie: it wasn’t too sour, the cream was smooth and refreshing, and the granola (oatmeal?) crust was a nice balance between crunchy and chewy.

Ro had a lemon dacquoise, which is a type of cake made from layers of hazelnut meringue and lemon buttercream. It was airy and delicious (like all meringues)!

Final verdict: Satisfied! I enjoy fusion cuisine, and, even though the menu was surprisingly similar to The Rivoli (which is only about a block away), the food was still done well. We didn’t try any drinks, though, so maybe next time we’ll have to have a cocktail to see which restaurant wins (sidenote: the Long Island Iced Teas at The Rivoli are some of the greatest things I’ve ever tried).

Factory Girl

Factory Girl

Normally when I’m on/around the Danforth area, I eat Greek food (since that’s what it’s famous for). But since we were going to the Taking Back Sunday show, we didn’t want to eat too much and end up feeling sick while jumping around. So we settled on Factory Girl, which is literally a 30 second walk away from the venue.

Ro ordered cocktails for us. She wouldn’t even let me see the menu before she (correctly) picked the best drink for me. Rum, orange juice, pineapple juice, lemonade, grenadine, and bitters – yep, that sounds like something I’d like (I loved it).

We also decided to split the main course, and, since I’m addicted to pizza, we obviously had to order something from the menu that claims to be one of the “best pizza restaurants in Toronto”. Spoiler alert: it was one of the best pizzas I’ve ever eaten (in Toronto or otherwise).


The Francesca: olive oil, mozzarella, mascarpone, prosciutto, pear, and spinach, drizzled with balsamic vinegar. It was delicious.
Because I eat pizza backwards, the first thing I tasted was the crust – and it was amazing. It wasn’t tough or heavy; it was as light as thin-crust frozen pizza, but tasted about a million times better. The pear and balsamic vinegar gave it a sweetness that wasn’t overpowering and perfectly complimented the normally-salty prosciutto.

Then we had dessert, because after a pizza like that, how could we not want to try dessert.

I had Jerry’s Famous Bread Pudding; I don’t know who Jerry is, but I applaud him. It tasted like a cinnamon bun, but there were different spice flavours running through it that gave it an extra kick. The top of each piece was a little crunchy, but in a good way – a solidified sugar way.


Ro had the Banana Caramel Cheesecake in phyllo pastry. It was exactly what it sounds like, but that didn’t stop it from being delicious. The phyllo pastry was soft and the cheesecake squished out of it (or, at least, it did when I tried it), but that was part of the fun. I wouldn’t have thought throwing phyllo pastry anywhere near cheesecake would be a good idea, but they proved me wrong.


Final verdict: Very satisfied. I was full even after splitting the meal (though, to be honest, I probably could have eaten the whole pizza. I’m not saying I should, I’m just saying it’s possible), and it was an overall delightful experience. Plus our waitress was very nice and on the ball, which is always a bonus.

Jelly Modern Doughnuts

Jelly Modern Doughnuts

I meant to post this yesterday…

Ro and I had been stoked to find out that there was going to be a new jelly doughnut place opening up in the underground (the pathway we take to our respective office buildings). Last week, they opened a little pop-up shop around the corner from where the actual store will be as of January. Naturally, we decided to try it out.


She had the coconut, I had the peanut butter.

For one thing, we both assumed that there would be jelly – like, gloopy, drippy, red jelly that you normally only see on TV – oozing out of them. This was not the case (it was really more wishful thinking, though). I guess the “jelly” part of each doughnut is whatever the topping is: that is, my “jelly” filling was the swirl of peanut butter at the top, and hers was the coconut cream.

The peanut butter topping was delicious: it literally tasted like peanut and butter, i.e. it tasted real (sidenote: there’s nothing wrong with Kraft peanut butter. I eat that stuff all the time. But when you’re paying $2+ for a doughnut, you kind of expect the filling to be handmade, you know?).

The cake part of the doughnut was standard: it tasted the way Tim Hortons used to taste. It had a nice consistency, not too doughy or dry, but it wasn’t anything special.

I had sampled the coconut the day before (I saw a guy in a pink apron giving out free samples, which is how I knew the pop-up shop existed), and, while it was good, it wasn’t the most amazing thing I’ve ever tried.

We also sampled the mini red velvet doughnuts before making our purchase: they were adorable, but they didn’t taste like red velvet. They weren’t even that chocolatey.

Final verdict: They were good, but not great. I suppose they satisfied my need for jelly doughnuts, but at $2.50 each, they’re not something I’ll be rushing out to try again soon.

C is for Cookie

Last Saturday, I went on a miniature baking spree. By “baking spree”, I mean I found a can of pumpkin puree – you know, the one I bought before Thanksgiving because I ambitiously thought I would make a pie again, only to remember that I’m actually really lazy? Yeah, that one – and used it to make two types of cookies. TWO! That’s twice as many as I would normally bake.

The first was a recipe that I (relatively successfully) tried last October, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.


Not as pumpkin-y as I thought they would be, but they came out looking – and tasting – like muffin tops, which everyone knows is the best part of a muffin, so it wasn’t all bad. I think I was a little overzealous with the amount of dough I used per cookie (in my defence, the recipe says it yields “about 18” and I ended up with 16, so I really don’t think making two more would have made a big difference). I’ll get the hang of these eventually, but I probably won’t try them again until next year (no more pumpkin for me, it’s almost Christmas cookie season!).

Next, I tried a new recipe – pumpkin molasses cookies – for no other reason than because I had half a can of pumpkin left, and a carton of cooking molasses leftover from when I made a pecan pan for my mom’s birthday.







These cookies are not the most attractive when photographed…but they were tasty! Again, I had the muffin-top consistency (either I under-stir, or over-stir, I can’t figure it out). Plus, because I ended up with slightly-more-than-half-a-can of pumpkin, I had to add a few extra spoons of flour, otherwise the dough was way too liquidy to do anything. The recipe doesn’t tell you to refridgerate the dough, but I did, which made it easier to scoop. I have no idea how to roll them in sugar though (without making a really big mess), so mine definitely weren’t as pretty as the ones on the Crosby’s website.

Overall, I have a hard time making cookies and I’m going to blame it on the baking soda (or baking powder, whichever one makes the dough rise), but really it’s because baking is not my forte. I am, however, exceptional at eating baking goods…