Tag Archives: breakfast

Brunch with Hipsters at Aunties and Uncles

My brother is visiting from SF with his girlfriend. I always like it when my brother comes to visit. This is the second time he decided to arrange his trip schedule in such a way that he spent some time in TO with me and M before we headed out to the country to join our parents. My brother and I used to have a terrible case of sibling rivalry but sometime, somehow, in the process of growing up, I actually started to enjoy spending time with him. And L is just fun.

I took work off Friday afternoon in order to actually be able to spend some time with them. We spent the day romping around the city, drinking coffees, checking out hipster knitting stores (post to come!), and riding street cars. To set our appropriate mood, we had breakfast at the most hipster place we know of in the city. (Not that we know of many hipster restaurants or haunts. We aren’t particularly hipster.)

Aunties and Uncles is one of those restaurants built into a hollowed out, 100-year-old house. Upstairs, you can still see where there used to be walls separating the space into bedrooms. It seems a little grungy, a feeling confirmed by the state of the bathroom upstairs. If I remember correctly from our first visit, the sink was held up by an old cane and the presence of the old, cracked and dirty family shower was a little disconcerting.

But in reality, all of that is part of the charm of the restaurant. It’s filled with authentic 50s memorabilia, covered in a thin layer of dust as if the whole place has been carefully preserved in time. Tables and chairs are mismatched, beat up, well-worn. Old suitcases, posters, toys, and knickknacks are packed up to the ceiling. The place is adorable.

Unfortunately, the service seems to be a little less adorable. We didn’t mind the wait to get a table. The entry way is rather cramped and, with staff moving between the rooms, inconvenient for everyone. And, we didn’t mind the wait for our order to be taken, especially since they were relatively quick with the coffees. We did, however, mind the wait for our food. Mostly because they forgot it. Or, rather, just mine. J and L sat with their food infront of them waiting for 5 minutes until I told them to go ahead and eat. My food was nowhere to be seen and our waiter hadn’t come around in a while. 10 minutes later, he made his rounds, saw the empty table infront of me and turned in annoyance toward the kitchen. Since the kitchen is open to the rest of the restaurant, we quite audibly head the cursing response of the kitchen staff.

5 minutes later my BLT finally sat infront of me.

Simple, delicious. Mmm… bacon.

And that salad? Their vinegrette is delicious.

Here’s something that’s not quite so charming: they don’t take plastic. This doesn’t exactly work for someone like me who doesn’t carry cash for reasons of cash flow control — I am far less likely to get coffee or make impulse purchases on little things if I have to swipe a card to do it. It didn’t exactly work for the American and Almost-American sitting across the table from me either. I left them there and scurried down the street to the Scotiabank on the corner, spent the extra $1.50 with a cringe to withdraw cash from a bank that is not my own and scurried back so we could get away from the restaurant we had already spent too much time at.

Bottom line: They’re hipster and they know they’re hipster. But they’re friendly. It’s a warm, relaxed atmosphere. My stomach thought maybe a little too relaxed. But they make good breakfast food and just for that, the next time an almost-hipster friend comes to town, or even a not-at-all-hipster friend comes to visit, I’d gladly take them there. I’ll just remember to bring enough cash next time.

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Happy Family Day!

This is the first year that M and I fully get to enjoy a proper family day. McGinty quite thoughtfully dumped the new holiday on the Monday of Reading Week, so while we were students, we hardly noticed its coming and going. This year, we slept in, gloriously languishing under our warm duvet until Mocha started jumping all over us.

Muffins are a late morning breakfast. They come together fast and bake while you drink your first cup of coffee. They wake you up in the gentliest, tastiest way possible.

 

This is just a simple, humble, chocolate chip, whole wheat muffin. The ingredients are so familiar, the same ingredients I pull out any number of times in a week in any number of combinations.

Perfect for a made-up holiday.

Chocolate Chip Whole Wheat Muffins
Adapted from 1 Recipe, 100 Muffins by Susanna Tee

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips or chunks

Mix the above ingredients together in a large bowl.

In another bowl, whisk

2 eggs

Then, beat in

1 cup milk
6 tbsp canola oil or sunflower oil

Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients in. Mix gently. Do no overmix. If there are a few bits of unmixed flour still visible, don’t worry too much about it.

Spoon the batter into 12 muffin tins that you have either lined or greased. Pop the muffins into a 400*F oven for 20 minutes. When you pull them out of the oven, hopefully, they’ll look delicious and tasty and golden brown.

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Crunchy Peanut Butter Muffins

An early meeting pushes me out of bed at 6:00 in the morning, half an hour before I would generally be moving. Mocha is still fast asleep, heavy on the blankets between us. The quiet left after I hit the snooze button is far too comfortable, far to dark, and the world outside the comforter is not appealing at all. I would love to just lie here indefinitely.

As difficult as it is to get out of bed, I kind of like these early mornings. (But ssshhh… don’t tell my boss…) There’s less pressure and more preparation. Oh, your hair is a mess today? Understandable. You had to be here at 7:30.

Since I knew last night that I would be up early, a situation that is not so good for my breakfast eating habits, I pulled out my muffin book, a little book full of delicious looking muffins. (Though there are really only a handful that I have any desire at all to make — odd how that is.) I wanted something that would give me a good amount of energy, not be too bad for me and, of course, be delicious.

You don’t want to eat too many of these all at once since they are about 289 calories each — I kind of missed the ‘good for you’ requirement. If you want healthy, opt for a Timmies donut instead — but um, peanut butter is awesome. Enough said.

Crunchy Peanut Butter Muffins
Adapted from 1 Mix, 100 Muffins by Susanna Tee

Muffins

2 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
6 tbsp canola oil
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter

Topping

1/3 cup chopped unsalted peanuts
3 tbsp brown sugar

Make the topping first. It’s really simple. Chop your peanuts if all you have is whole peanuts. (Chopping peanuts is fun!) Then, in a small bowl, mix the peanuts and brown sugar together. Set aside and start preheating your oven to 400*.

For the muffins, mix together the dry ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the well. Mix, but don’t overmix. If you overmix, the texture of the muffins will be off. So, just mix until the dry ingredients are wet. It will all clump together a bit in the bowl. This isn’t really a wet muffin batter, so don’t be too concerned if your mixture isn’t fully mixed and you feel like you might be overmixing. You probably aren’t.

Spoon the batter into a greased or lined muffin tin. Sprinkle with the topping and pop into the oven for 20 minutes.

The other wonderful thing about early morning meetings? When 3:30 rolls around, I can pack up and be home an hour early, which means supper is well underway long before M gets home, the kitchen is clean(-ish) and our evening has suddenly grown by an hour or even two.

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