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Warming Winter Chow-Treats - what are some of your local favourites?

Okay, it's c-c-c-old out today. I was at Tea Emporium and picked up a tempting little box of masala hot chocolate -French cocoa with cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove that you mix with hot milk. I also love the hearty soups at Prague Deli.

Forecasters are calling for a cold, snowy winter this year. What are the chow-treats that will help keep you warm in the coming months?

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    1. re: sloweater

      Ditto. Or their Mayan hot chocolate shot. Or their bicerin.

      1. not specifically a winter treat since i have it all year round, but i love the walnut ave latte (soy, lightly sweetened) from tealish. green tea with some walnut and a little undertone from candied pineapple and almond (i think)... the nuttiness of plain soy plays off it all so well.

        totally agree with tripe soup at prague.

        6 Replies
        1. re: pinstripeprincess

          Thank you for this! I got that walnut ave latte for the first time yesterday and it was the perfect thing.

            1. re: peppermint pate

              i'm so glad you both enjoyed it! it's a great drink. i brew a large amount of tea at the start of the week so i can begin my mornings with the walnut ave with little effort.

              the next time you're in there you need to sniff the patisserie blend! it doesn't brew as intensely but the aroma of the dry blend is quite intoxicating.

              another food suggestion would have to be the poutine at great burger kitchen. big enough to feed two, the best poutine for me in the city, and enough belly warming deliciousness to keep you going in the cold.

              1. re: pinstripeprincess

                Squeaky curds in GBC poutine? If so, I'm getting one tomorrow for dinner.

                1. re: tjr

                  unfortunately no. the curds haven't ever been squeaky for me but i'm a melty curd girl so it works for me. it's really their gravy that does it for me, a strong substantial chicken backbone. they're also good at picking potatoes and have a very good natural sweetness in the fries.

                  1. re: pinstripeprincess

                    I'll give it a try based on your rec :-)

        2. Netsu ramen (spice level 2) at Kenzo. Careful because spice level 2 at Kenzo is pretty powerful (not far off from the armageddon hot sauce at Duff's).

          Oh yeah, and my mom's chicken soup.

          138 Dundas St. W., Toronto, ON , CA

          1. How can a nice bowl of Pork Bone Soup that arrives bubbling at your table not make you warm all over?

            2 Replies
            1. re: Wiley

              nice bowl of congee from mkt village and some spicy korean tofu stew

              1. re: caitlink

                It was -6 with the wind last thursday so i ordered an extra spicy tofu stew with seafood at Buk Chang Dong. It was perfect.

                Buk Chang Dong
                691 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6G, CA

            2. Oh my gosh, the baked-to-order chocolate chip cookies at Delux. They come out steaming and taste better than homemade.

              92 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J2Z4, CA

              1. Surprise to hear this question from you!! Thought YOU should be the one telling us where to go?! Ha!
                My 2 cents worth - Almost all 'cook yourself' Chinese Hot-Pot in the Richmond Hill/ Markham area. Also season for mutton or goat stew in hot-pot. Not to mention the 'snake soup'! Ha!

                2 Replies
                1. re: Charles Yu

                  Charles, which hot pot restaurants do you recommend?

                  1. re: TorontoJo

                    Dow's noodles and hot-pot on Hwy#7 is my favourite. A touch more expensive, but quality of the ingredients are all fresh and good. Their new outpost at the corner of Chalmers and Hwy#7 next to the bank entrance has cozier decor and better ambience.

                2. Mmm... the hot apple cider at By the Way Cafe! It's so fresh and crisp, and such a nice pause while strolling around the Annex.

                  (Or we get jugs of cider from Fiesta Farms to heat and spice ourselves - with a little kick of bourbon!)

                  Weekend trips to Denningers in Burlington this time of year are great when they have samples of mulled wine while you browse the imported Christmas delicacies... The taste of the stuff is nothing Chow-worthy, but it's a nice way to feel warm and fuzzy while you're looking for more Chow-worthy chocolate delights!

                  But the one I'm most excited to load up on when I get home (two weeks!) is the Casteleyn Belgian chocolate mocha in Burlington. It's perfectly rich, slightly sweet, creamy, and I love the little foil-wrapped chocolate cars they pass out with hot drinks - I usually slip mine in a pocket, forget about it, and then get a second fabulous treat the next day while I'm waiting for the GO train...

                  Fiesta Farms
                  200 Christie St, Toronto, ON M6G, CA

                  1. Any bowl of Swatow's soup (I'm particularly fond of the seafood) and use LOTS of their yummy red chili oil. I remember walking out of there last winter after lunch on a particularly cold day and got three blocks before I had to zip up my coat...

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: PoppiYYZ

                      Seconded. I particularly love Swatow's shrimp dumpling soup.

                      1. re: PoppiYYZ

                        In case you didn't know, they sell jars of their red chili oil.

                      2. On a chilly evening last week, I stayed in the neighbourhood and enjoyed the butter chicken at Melanie's Bistro. The meal and wine was warm and hearty and walking home was actually enjoyable.

                        Melanie's Bistro
                        1870 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4C1J4, CA

                        1. I'm a sucker for a good bowl of Tom Ka Gai (coconut chicken soup). Sukhothai's is particularly good.

                          274 Parliament St, Toronto, ON M5A, CA

                          1. I've tried A LOT of hot chocolate in the city - so far my favourite is XOXO Cava's. I love drinking it out of their big cups when there is room to sit down. They offer a richer, chocolate sipping type or you can get one made with steamed milk and not as thick.
                            Have a churro ( or 10) to dip in it.
                            Warming and delicious!

                            1560 Yonge St., Toronto, ON M4T 2S9, CA

                            1. Wow, wow, wow - an embarrassment of riches! Agree with many of the recs that are familiar to me (how could I forget about congee and ramen???) and lots of new and inspiring ideas to try -Charles, I'd be lost without recs from my fellow hounds. even for recs on what NOT to eat (T&T har gow!).

                              Adding to the list, I love dim sum for a warm in the tummy winter breakfast - looking forward to trying Crown Princess and I'll search the board for some Richmond Hill/Markham recs. I must say that I also find Copper Chimney to be an incredibly cozy room to eat in so I'll add the kadai chicken and a methi paratha from there to the list. Also love Tabule's lentil soup.

                              1. Goulash at the Coffee Mill (or Coffee Mill to-go), Europe , and/or Cafe Polonez (with the potato pancake!)

                                Followed by Palascinta at the Coffee Mill or Europe. Does anyone know of any restaraunts serving Flaming Palascinta these days?

                                Coffee Mill
                                99 Yorkville, Toronto, ON M5R3K5, CA

                                Cafe Polonez
                                195 Roncesvalles Ave, Toronto, ON M6R2L5, CA

                                3030 Bathurst St, Toronto, ON M6B3B6, CA

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: phoenikia

                                  Potato pancake with goulash at Cafe Polonez, yes! Awesome comfort food!

                                  Cafe Polonez
                                  195 Roncesvalles Ave, Toronto, ON M6R2L5, CA

                                  1. re: TorontoJo

                                    I second this. Cafe Polonez, and that dish in particular are pure winter foods!

                                    Cafe Polonez
                                    195 Roncesvalles Ave, Toronto, ON M6R2L5, CA

                                  2. re: phoenikia

                                    Ooh yeah, Cafe Polonez! I pick the hunters stew, awesome.

                                    Cafe Polonez
                                    195 Roncesvalles Ave, Toronto, ON M6R2L5, CA

                                    1. re: phoenikia

                                      I checked the Coffee Mill's online menu and can't find any mention of Palascinta. Is it listed as something else, or is it a special rotating item? In addition, have you tried the schnitzel or cabbage rolls there?

                                      Coffee Mill
                                      99 Yorkville, Toronto, ON M5R3K5, CA

                                      1. re: LTL

                                        They might be listed as apricot jam-filled crepes instead of palascinta. As far as I know, they are still offered on the hard copy dessert menu, along with the chocolate banana cake that has been recommended by TorontoJo. Not sure why the desserts are not listed on the online menu: http://www.coffeemillrestaurant.com/m...

                                        I have tried the schnitzel, and it was fine. Have not tried the cabbage rolls, mostly because I'm ridiculously finicky when it comes to cabbage rolls, and I end up disappointed by most restaurant versions.

                                        I also like the schnitzel (usually offered), goulash (not always offered), and other Mitteleuro specialities found at Honey Bear Deli's hot table during the winter, on Sheppard between Yonge and Bayview. Take-out only- nowhere to sit!

                                        Also like visiting California Sandwiches, Ciccio Sanwiccio and Centro Trattoria & Formaggio's hot table on St. Clair West on cold days.

                                        Has anyone tried the hot table that replaced Trezzano Bakery, located at Dufferin & Wilson?

                                        Centro Trattoria & Formaggio
                                        1224 St Clair Ave W, Toronto, ON M6E 1B4, CA

                                        California Sandwiches
                                        244 Claremont St, Toronto, ON M6J2N2, CA

                                    2. I'm another fan of the hot chocolate and bicerin at Soma. I've also recently discovered the honey-ginger lattes at Rooster Coffee House on Broadview which are perfect on a cold day.

                                      1. Cassoulet at Le Select. I know the place has a reputation for being hit and miss but when I had the dish that evening, it was superb and oh so comforting.


                                        Le Select
                                        432 Wellington St W, Toronto, ON M5V1E3, CA

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: sugarcube

                                          had the beast cassoulet from their comfort saturdays last month and thought it was superb. really moist, tenderl and not too rich that it sat at the bottom of your stomach, it was one of the highlight dishes of the year for me. they've got a jazzed up version on their regular menu now and i hope it retains the delicious simplicity of the prior one.

                                          1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                            I had the cassoulet there for brunch a couple of weeks back, and it was superb. I'll have to check out the new version.

                                        2. Pho ..........................

                                          1. Kimchi soup - I make it at home, but maybe someone has a restaurant recommendation...

                                            1. Green Tea Latte! But only from Williams Coffee Pub..the other chain's are gross..

                                              1. anything oxtail.....

                                                lemongrass oxtail noodle soup at grotto house (metro square) is a guilty pleasure even though i do leave that place thirsty, but its hella worth it

                                                oxtail pho, asian braised oxtail, jamaican oxtail, ggori gomtang (korean oxtail soup).... mmmm have yet to find decent places.. any recommendations?

                                                1. Definitely a beef brisket sandwich from Camel (near Rosedale subway). I go to school in Guelph and just thinking about that sandwich is making me consider forgoing studying for the day to drive into town and get one. With the warm BBQ sauce making the bread all goopy...GOTTA STOP THINKING ABOUT IT

                                                  1. Based on last night's visit, I'm adding Guu's yakiudon to the list. Mmm.

                                                    398 Church Street, Toronto, ON M5B 2A2, CA