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The Best Of The Kensington Market

It seems like ages since I've been to the Kensington Market and after seeing the recent article in the Toronto Star, I was reminded how much I miss it there.

So, that said what are the not-to-miss spots at the Kensington Market these days?

What ingredients, food items or kitchenware are you making a special trip there to pick up?

Where & what do you love to eat?

Best spot for kitchen kitsch?

Best latte or coffee?

I'd love to hear your feedback!

Here's the Star article if you're interested:

http://www.thestar.com/living/shoppin...

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  1. Kensington is amazing. My personal faves are El Trompo (Mexican sit down restaurant), El Gordo and crew (Chilean empanadas and great back patio), and the Brazilian feijoada at Segovia's. Also, they have great Jamaican patties and doubles at Patty King.

    www.spicecitytoronto.com

    -----
    El Trompo
    277 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2M1, CA

    El Gordo
    214 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON , CA

    2 Replies
    1. re: Spice City Toronto

      Thanks so much for this great info SCT, I've marked all these spots on my map!

      1. Go to the back of Emporio Latino (an itty bitty grocery store) and get a cheese and chorizo pupusa from the ladies in the back.

        Head over to El Gordo, which has a bit of a food court set up and see if you have the patience to try something at Agave y Aguacate for some freshly made Mexican food.

        Tap Phong is the best place for kitchen gear (though it's officially Chinatown and not Kensington Market).

        Moonbeam Coffee does an apple cider slushie that is so refreshing on a hot day.

        Oh, and stop into La Tortilleria to pick up a kilo of fresh tortillas to toss into your freezer. Their tortilla chips are particularly good, too.

        -----
        Tap Phong
        360 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T, CA

        El Gordo
        214 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON , CA

        7 Replies
        1. re: TorontoJo

          The art of the pupusa has been taken to another level at Pupusa Gourmet, one of the stalls at El Gordo. They are made freshly, are significantly larger, and use many of the different Segovia chorizos in their options of fillings. They offer the typical slaw salad with them, but what they also do is offer three (choice of or all) different freshly made hot sauces that are utterly fantastic. He's the queit guy at the back who is patiently waiting while the A y A lineup that dominates the little space foes through. One of the family that is also responsible for the empanadas.

          -----
          El Gordo
          214 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON , CA

          1. re: Snarf

            Oh, hey, thanks for the tip! That might very well be lunch tomorrow...

            1. re: TorontoJo

              If you do, there's now a patio with tables and chairs out the back. The fruit smoothies are also pretty darned good. Try the lolo!

              1. re: Snarf

                I saw that about the patio -- nice. What's in the lolo?

                1. re: TorontoJo

                  TJ & Snarf you guys are amazing, thanks for these recommendations! I can't wait to check these places out!

                  1. re: TorontoJo

                    It is the local name for a kind of South American fruit. Not sure what name we would know it buy, but it has a great flavour and texture. Many other flavours available, and the pricing is somewhere around the 4 dollar mark for a large.

              2. re: Snarf

                So I did end up going for lunch on Friday with a friend. We got the Colombian pupusa from the pupusa guy and the chicken tinga, steak salad, side of guac and a lime charlotte from Agave y Aguadente. We sat out back in the sunny and wholly urban (read: trees, weeds, parked cars, open brick garage, random stuff being stored outside) back patio. The day couldn't be more beautiful and we both enjoyed our lunch. The pupusa filling (chorizo, cilantro and something else) was very good and the hot sauces were all tasty, with the green one being our favourite. Best to eat fresh, when the edges of the pupusa are still a bit crispy. The tinga was delicious, if very rich. The steak salad had beautiful fresh flavours, but we both disliked the texture of the shredded beef. It was pale and chewy, and almost seemed to have been citrus cured. Guacamole was excellent. Lime charlotte was delicious and rich (my friend dubbed it a "Mexican tiramisu").

                Not a destination spot for me, but certainly worthy of a meal when I'm in the area.

            2. Miss Cora's Kitchen - AMAZING chocolate chip cookies. Pretty much all of their baked goods are incredible.

              Krepesz European Palacsinta Cafe - any Palacsinta is great. So yummy. Can't understand how it is so under the radar.

              My Market Bakery - for the banana bread. Sooooo good. Sooooo cheap. Like 3 bucks I think.

              And of course, Jumbo Empanadas.

              3 Replies
              1. re: magic

                Miss Cora's butterscotch chip BACON cookies are even more amazing.

                For kitchen kitsch and tchotchkes, there's Sasmart. And for cookbooks and more designy tchotchkes, there's Good Egg.

                -----
                Good Egg
                267 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T, CA

                1. re: num nums

                  I'll have to try those, thanks!

                  1. re: num nums

                    Huh what? Butterscotch chip bacon cookies? Maybe I can finally drag my husband to the market!

                2. Akram's - good combination plate specials and broaster chicken.

                  taco stand at the back of Perola's - new incarnation of an old favourite.

                  Segovia - best sausages in the city

                  Sanagan's - great butcher shop, not outrageously expensive like other high end butcher shops in the city.

                  -----
                  Perola
                  247 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T, CA

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: aser

                    I agree with Snarf that the pupusa stall inside El Gordo is outstanding. This is one good looking pupusa!

                    www.spicecitytoronto.com

                    -----
                    El Gordo
                    214 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON , CA

                     
                  2. I'd kick off with the Hot and Sour soup at E-Pan on Spadina - it's loaded with shrimp and pork. Then I'd have tacos at Salsas, the Mexican place at 249 Augusta Avenue, followed by a lemon crepe and wonderful coffee at the Hungarian place a few doors north. Around the world in one lunch!

                    -----
                    E-Pan
                    369 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T 2G3, CA

                    1. Inspired by TorontoJo's suggestion to pick up a kilo of fresh corn tortillas at La Tortilleria, I decided to put Huevos Rancheros on the weekend menu and make a trek to the Kensington Market yesterday since I had the afternoon off.

                      Sadly we were still full from a lovely lunch at The Chef's House so despite the tantalizing aromas of the market, we simply didn't have any room for noshing. With the weather being perfect for al fresco dining, we did see a number of tasty plates and handfuls we'll definitely be back to sample though.

                      Here are a few highlights of the places we visited:

                      Bungalow: 2 locations almost right across the street from each other. Loved the retro vibe and pursuing the racks of vintage apparel. Impressed w the classically designed teak pieces, especially a fabulous low profile sideboard in excellent condition towards the back of the store. Selection of housewares was a bit light.

                      The Good Egg: Definitely could spend more time than we had in this unique shop. Loved the comprehensive and smartly organized selection of cookbooks and food inspired books. Fun and functional housewares share shelf space with kitchen kitsch. Great little sale area at the back of the store. A real gem in the market, we'll be back!!

                      Blue Banana: How do you describe Blue Banana? A fun, eclectic collection of ... well, just about everything! Whether you're in search of a hand woven silk scarf, bowls made of recycled materials, a unique gift card, a whoopee cushion or a tongue-numbing hot sauce, Blue Banana has you covered on all fronts! An off-the-wall shop that gives you plenty to talk about.

                      La Tortilleria; Thanks to TorontoJo, picked up a kilo of white and yellow corn tortillas that were as fresh as they come, carefully packaged and, ridiculously inexpensive. I'll definitely be back for the blue corn version evidently available on weekends only. Also delighted to pick up a variety of Mexican cheeses, some crema and the softest, freshest dry chillies I've ever seen. Love this store and since I love to cook Mexican food, we'll be back here sooner rather than later!

                      My Market Bakery: The aroma of freshly baked bread was intoxicating and definitely drew us into this terrific shop. A wide variety of breads, bagels and baked goods. Picked up a Potato Sourdough and a Sun-dried Tomato & Olive loaf that were truly scrumptious and a $2.99 banana bread (thanks magic!!) that was one of the bargains of the day!

                      Cheese Magic: It's been far too long since I've paid a visit to this wonderful shop and we were simply delighted with the 2 cheddars I picked up yesterday. The 4 year old Quebec cheddar (thanks Marion Kane for the recommendation!) was rich and smooth with a creamy tang but the shop's recommendation of the Pine River Extra-Old Cheddar was spot on and this was the hit of our cheeseboard last night. So delicious and both cheeses were very reasonably priced.

                      Spice House: I'm not sure if my memory is failing me but somehow I thought this shop used to carry a lot more spices than it does today . . . and didn't they used to be in bulk? Perhaps I'm thinking of another store. Today's spice house does have a selection of herbs and spices but also stocks imported pantry items such as teas, salts, sauces, condiments and other canned goods. Picked up some vibrant and beautifully soft sun-dried tomatoes and, some hard to find, not crushed curry leaves. No Aleppo pepper here so we then headed over to:

                      Akrams Shoppe: A wonderful combination of Middle Eastern Grocery and tempting take-out counter my quest for Aleppo Pepper ended here and, in a very happy way. The shop grinds their own pepper and the aroma was drool-inducing as the kind shop-keeper opened the jar to scoop out our order. I've been using this pepper for years and never, ever, have I had such a fresh and flavourful batch. I'll never purchase this anywhere else and can't wait to come back to spend more time browsing and sampling from this lovely, inviting shop.

                      Though we didn't have time to go inside, I can't wait to get back to the Market to purchase some of the beautiful meats that were on display in the window of the quaint, old-fashioned looking Sanagan's butcher shop.

                      Thanks to all of you who have shared your recommendations and experiences so far. I'll come back to report on future visits and hope you will too!!

                      -----
                      My Market Bakery
                      184 Baldwin St, Toronto, ON M5T, CA

                      Good Egg
                      267 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T, CA

                      13 Replies
                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                          Glad you had a good afternoon there! We probably passed each other on the street, as I was there from 1 - 3 or so... was also in the Good Egg during that time!

                          -----
                          Good Egg
                          267 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T, CA

                          1. re: TorontoJo

                            Oh that's funny TJ!! We just may have been in the Good Egg at the same time! Were you asking about preserving/canning by chance? Loved that shop and can't wait to go back when I have more time to take a closer look.

                            -----
                            Good Egg
                            267 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T, CA

                          2. re: Breadcrumbs

                            I think the other spice store you're thinking of is Casa Acoreanas, at the corner of Augusta and Baldwin. They have an unrivaled collection of spices and teas in bulk, as well as baking ingredients, coffee beans, and a great collection of international candies! I also buy my vanilla in bulk from them- it's the real thing, and it's delicious. The little cafe attached to the store has one of my favourite lattes in the market, and is an ideal spot for people watching.
                            I <3 the Market.

                            1. re: SpiceMustFlow

                              SMF, I'm so sorry I missed your post previously but I'm glad I've returned to this thread and found it! We're off to the market tomorrow and I'll be sure to stop in at Casa Acoreanas for my spices and...a latte. Big thanks!! (albeit much belated!).

                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                Since you've bumped up this thread, I thought I'd add my 2 cents. Ka Chi for awesome Bi Bim Bap, Tofu Stew and Grilled Mackerel.

                                Also like Via Mercante.

                                And how could I forget...Churros from Pancho's Bakery.

                                1. re: kwass

                                  I am SO glad you did post kwass because mr bc had just said that he really felt like Italian for lunch and I didn't know of Via Mercante!! We'll definitely grab lunch there and I will definitely be sure we get churros...I love churros! Thank-you so much!

                                  ...btw, I'll save Ka Chi for a lunch trip sans mr bc...your recommendations all sound amazing!

                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                    Well please be sure to report back :)

                                  2. re: kwass

                                    kwass, thanks for your recommendation of Via Mercanti, we had a nice lunch there.

                                    We ordered a Capricciosa pizza, the porchetta sandwich w a salad and cappuccinos. The pizza was piping hot with a beautifully blistered crust and an exceptional tomato sauce. It was the highlight of the meal. The salad was delicious with a light and flavourful dressing. The orange segments were a nice, unexpected touch. The porchetta sandwich was good but not great. It suffered from soggy bread due to too much olive oil or perhaps drippings being drizzled atop. Also, the sweet delicate flavours of the meat were overpowered by all the other elements of the sandwich.

                                    Service was the real weak spot though. Our server seemed distracted and disinterested. Our orders were very slow to arrive and there was a lot of confusion. One sandwich was placed on our table and then the server arrived back about a minute later and removed it from our table and took it somewhere else. She didn't ask whether it had been touched in the interim (it hadn't since we were waiting for our pizza to arrive). While other tables were being offered chili oil, chillies, cheese, pepper etc, we had to keep asking for whatever we wanted. Coffees were served lukewarm.

                                    We'd definitely return and be sure to sit in another section if that server is still there. We really enjoyed the atmosphere and the pizza.

                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                      I'm glad that you enjoyed your overall experience. Sorry to hear that there were a few problems though. Service is usually really good there. Maybe it was just an off day.

                                      1. re: kwass

                                        That's quite possible kwass. We did see examples of great service elsewhere so perhaps our server was new. Glad our experience was the exception vs the norm and we very much look forward to a return visit. I'd love to try some of their antipasti and the folks at the next table ordered the Mercanti salad that looked excellent too.

                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                          I'm so glad you're going to give it another try :)

                                        2. re: kwass

                                          i think i have almost always had bad service there.. whether eating in or taking out

                              2. All of my usuals have been mentioned - well all but Torito. Very cozy back patio for the summer months and a lovely white wine sangria. Not to mention I've never had a dish I didn't enjoy.

                                -----
                                Torito
                                276 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2L9, CA

                                1. Just bumping this thread to see if folks have any new recommendations. Unfortunately I've only made it back a couple of times since my visit (summary posted up-thread) and I figured it was worth checking back to see if there is anything new and worth a look?

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                    rebozos has a stall in the market that agave y aguacate is in. they have tacos and pozole, but i have yet to try them as they were closed last time i was by. however, if they are up to the standard of their main shop on rogers, then they should be very good.

                                    i would like to try agave y aguacate but literally every time i'm there, the stall is closed. dunno if they have hours posted anywhere.

                                  2. Anyone been to Krepesz? I stopped in the other day and was impressed by the interior. I'm ok with Kensington shabby but this was a nice step up. However I thought the prices were a bit steep for the snack I was looking for and moved on. Now I'm reading their Yelp page and am actually quite impressed with the owner's gracious & informative answers to complaints. I think I'll go back for a walnut/apricot paliscinta as that's what my friend's Hungarian grandma always served.
                                    http://www.yelp.ca/biz/krepesz-toronto

                                    13 Replies
                                    1. re: julesrules

                                      I went a couple of years ago for a walnut/apricot paliscinta and was very impressed. Very tasty. Can't believe I haven't returned, I keep on forgetting.

                                      I actually mentioned Krepesz on this very thread.

                                      1. re: magic

                                        What are paliscintas? I've never heard of them.

                                          1. re: magic

                                            Forgive my ignorance, but what's the difference between a Hungarian crepe and a French crepe?

                                            1. re: kwass

                                              The fillings, mainly. Mostly eastern European flavours like apricot, plum, and cherry jams, walnuts and ricotta. Things you don't typically find as routine in French crepes. And as far as I know they are not usually, if ever at all, folded into triangles. They are served rolled.

                                              It's total Hungarian comfort food that reminds many of their grandmothers.

                                              1. re: magic

                                                I've usually found palascinta batter to be a little eggier than French-style crepe batter, and sometimes slightly thicker/denser. I'm pretty sure I have had a folded palascinta at a Hungarian restaurant at some point, but I agree with magic that they're usually rolled.

                                                1. re: prima

                                                  Hmm, very well. I'm sure you're right prima.

                                                  1. re: magic

                                                    Completely agree with you that it's mostly the fillings that make palascinta different from the French crepes. I just also happen to think the batter is distinct. :-)

                                              2. re: kwass

                                                The owner also mentions the batter is made with more oil etc on the yelp page.

                                                1. re: julesrules

                                                  Ya the texture of the crepe is different too. Of course. A little more chew, a little more crisp and rich I find. They are mighty wonderful.

                                                  1. re: magic

                                                    Wow! Sounds delicious! Thank you everybody for explaining the difference to me. They actually sound a little like blintzes.

                                                    1. re: kwass

                                                      I guess it's all the same idea, yeah....

                                        1. re: bbbradk

                                          Thanks bbradk. I hadn't noticed it before but the enticing aromas of the wood oven drew me there yesterday. I picked up 3 sesame & 3 poppy seed bagels to bring home and we haven't tried them yet. I loved that they were still warm from the oven and thought $5 was very reasonable for 6 freshly baked bagels. Though we'd already enjoyed lunch elsewhere, I must say we were really impressed with the delicious looking sandwiches and salads coming from the kitchen and the place was bustling.

                                          I'll report back on how we like the bagels.

                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                            Did you try Via Mercante and Pancho's?

                                            1. re: kwass

                                              And I have to correct something...I keep calling it Via Mercante, but it's Via Mercanti ;)

                                              1. re: kwass

                                                We must have been typing at the same time kwass. We did make it to Via Mercanti and I've responded to your post above. Unfortunately we didn't make it to Panchos because we were running late by the time we left Via Mercanti. We'll definitely head there next time though and I sincerely appreciate your recommendations.

                                              2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                NU BÜGEL

                                                Just thought I’d add onto my post above and report that we toasted a couple of the bagels this morning and they were terrific. Nice and crisp on the outside but still dense and tender on the inside for the perfect “chew”. We tasted a hint of sweetness…perhaps more than you might expect in a Montreal style bagel but we quite enjoyed them. We thought the fact that they were baked in a wood oven would have imparted a smokiness but there was no discernable smoky flavour present. A nice addition to the market IMHO.

                                                Does anyone know if they have plain bagels?

                                                http://nubugel.com/

                                                 
                                                 
                                            2. seven lives on kensington street is the best place currently serving food in kensington market

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: disgusti

                                                disgusti can you tell us more about this place? Is it a restaurant or take-out spot? What type of food are they serving?

                                              2. Had another fun visit at the market this weekend.

                                                Two "new-to-me" shops to report on and add to this thread:

                                                SASMART:

                                                Be sure to set some time aside if you decide to visit Sasmart, there sure is a lot to take in! Part kitchen kitsch, part restaurant supply store with lots of vintage kitchen items thrown into the mix (many in new condition it seemed) this shop is a whole lot of fun to explore. There is a clothing section as well (I mean, why not?!!) but I didn't venture over there so I can't comment on it.

                                                I'm delighted to have discovered this market gem. I was really surprised by the great selection and prices of kitchen ware. Quality items at reasonable prices included: commercial grade sheet pans, cooling racks, roasters, Lodge cast iron ware, measuring cups and glasses, wooden spoons. Among other things, I picked up 3 Emile Henry wooden spoons with one corner for scraping for $1.49 ea. (found similar ones online for $6+). The vintage items were fun to see. The beautiful vintage Wearever Hallite aluminium pans with turquoise lids were in pristine (perhaps new) condition with original stickers still in tact were priced below current market values - I have to say, those pieces really tempted me! Oh and if you're ever looking for a fondue or fondue accessories...this is definitely your place. Their selection is vast...museum collection worthy! I've honestly never seen so many fondues, never mind in one place!!

                                                Here's a link to a feature on The Grid in case anyone wants to take a peek in this shop and see some of their wares:

                                                http://www.thegridto.com/life/design/...

                                                KID ICARUS:

                                                How is it I've never noticed this cute little print studio and art/stationary store before? What a treasure this place is. Aside from handmade, indie notebooks, wrapping paper, greeting cards, prints and even jewelry, this shop is great for the cook and entertainer too with lovely screen printed recipe cards, dinner party invitations (the tiki party invites were great!!), grocery lists etc. Though not food-related, I couldn't resist a few of the Ikea monkey and grumpy cat greeting cards! I see now that some of their merchandise is available online so I'll paste a link below. That said, the shop is fun to explore and I'd highly recommend a visit!

                                                http://kidicarus.ca/

                                                5 Replies
                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                  Sasmart is something else, isn't it! I had been looking for a cherry pitter everywhere a few summers ago, and I'd almost given up. Then I wandered into it and asked them if they had any cherry pitters (expecting to hear yet again "What??"). Instead they said "Sure.. what kind"? They had about three different ones! It made cherry jam much easier..
                                                  Good Egg is a big weakness of mine in Kensington.. I usually have to avoid it because I almost never make it out without spending money!

                                                  1. re: rstuart

                                                    Oh no! The secret is out! Sasmart has been my favourite Kensington shop for probably 20 years. I've gotten so much great kitchen stuff there - Emile Henry seconds, fantastic commercial cookware, beautiful French olive wood cutting boards. Don't miss the Fondue Museum at the back of the shop! Love that place.

                                                    1. re: rstuart

                                                      That's good to know about your cherry pitter. I may have to go get one!! I too have a weakness for the Good Egg and I rely on her for great cookbook recommendations too. That said, I just can't bring myself to buy cookbooks there unless they're on sale because they are so much cheaper online. I do love her unique cookware, tableware and "tchotchkes" as she calls them. Last weekend I bought some beautiful Weck jars and I have a weakness for her Falcon Bakeware. I bought the Bake Set as a birthday treat (for myself of course!) and I keep adding to my collection every time I go to the store.

                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                        I am also coveting the Falcon Bakeware.. and oddly enough, my birthday is coming up!

                                                    2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                      That's a new location for Kid Icarus. The old one was next to Ronnie's, a spot with noticeably less foot traffic.

                                                      And yes, SASMART! I grew up in the Market and that's where my mom would bring me on Sundays. Our kitchen was loaded with mismatched items from there. Such great memories!

                                                    3. SANAGAN’S MEAT LOCKER

                                                      This is the first opportunity I’ve had to spend a little time in the shop since they’ve re-located to this new location. I wished we were hungry as the sandwiches (on Cobb’s bread) smelled and looked incredible and those fries…simply drool-inducing! There’s a great selection of meats and the various cuts of beef looked especially appealing. We purchased 2 strip steaks with beautiful marbling. They grilled to perfection and we’ll definitely be back for more as grilling season kicks into high gear (read – if it ever warms up here!!).

                                                      The variety of prepared pies was impressive and I appreciated that there was a nice mix of traditional and unique offerings. This is the first time I’ve ever seen a Timpano commercially available and I decided to purchase one ($25 for a large pie) and give it a try. I was thinking this would make a terrific gift to take to a friend on her moving day if it was a hit. Well, guess what? The pie was terrific. There was a nice balance of ingredients in the pie with just the right amount of pasta. Though the dish contained sausage and smoked ham, it was the ham that imparted the dominant flavour. This was mr bc’s favourite part but for my tastes, I’d have preferred less of that smoky flavour. I’ll share some pics of the pie if you are interested.

                                                      I’d love to hear what others recommend from here too.

                                                       
                                                       
                                                       
                                                       
                                                       
                                                          1. re: kwass

                                                            They set up a twitter account, in case anyone's interested.

                                                            https://twitter.com/fikakensington

                                                              1. re: justxpete

                                                                Thanks for keeping us posted justxpete! Can't wait for this one!

                                                            1. re: kwass

                                                              I LOVE Fika.
                                                              Excellent lattes (freshly grounded cardamon), great house-made cookies for dipping. Very quaint and welcoming space.
                                                              PS. They are part of the Indie Coffee Passport this year.

                                                              1. re: happycamper

                                                                According to their Facebook page, Fika will start serving brunch next weekend on Saturdays and Sundays, cooked by Chef Barry, no less. Should be interesting. Not sure how he's going to cook in that small kitchen - but we'll see!

                                                            2. According to BlogTo, another new Mexican Restaurant just opened in Kensington. Here's the link:

                                                              http://www.blogto.com/restaurants/pan...

                                                              1. I was impressed by Carlos' knowledge about spices. At Carlos'Spices.

                                                                1. Does anyone know when the mini doughnut place is opening? I know I read the date somewhere, but I can't remember where.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: kwass

                                                                    I found my answer. Opening day is today. It's called Lightweight Mini-Doughnuts and the address is 214 Augusta.

                                                                    I guess I know where I'm going after lunch @ Pancho y Emiliano on Monday :)

                                                                  2. Kensington Market is really buzzing with openings almost every week.

                                                                    In addition to Pancho y Emiliano that just opened, just read about yet another Mexican restaurant opening in what used to be Bellevue's space:
                                                                    http://www.postcity.com/Eat-Shop-Do/E...

                                                                    1. i used to work right there so i have tried a lot of places! still go pretty often to grocery shop and grab a cheap eat. my faves (keeping in mind that i'm vegetarian):

                                                                      -almost everything at wanda's pie in the sky.. great quiche, soup, sandwiches, salads, and daily specials (i'm not a sweet tooth so haven't had their desserts much)

                                                                      -i like the burritos, potato tacos or tostadas, and bean soup at mexican salsas. a mexican friend told me this place has his favourite meat fillings in the city.

                                                                      -humitas and cheese empanadas from jumbo empanadas (i don't like their veg "jumbo empanadas" - too little filling and too much air)

                                                                      -empanadas from the place across from there (the one with the food stalls)

                                                                      -the french-caribbean sandwiches from le ti colibri are tasty but a bit too expensive for what you get which is why i rarely go there. that said, they are not very busy and i do hope they survive.

                                                                      -veg reuben sandwich (with cheese) and veg sausages from thomas lavery cannery. didn't like the veg banh mi enough to get it again (especially seeing as you can walk around the corner to chinatown and get a good one for 1/3rd of the price)

                                                                      -vegan tacos from hot beans (though i haven't been there in ages cuz there are cheaper and still tasty taco options elsewhere in the market)

                                                                      -tamales and the corn tortillas at pancho y emiliano (i am slowly making my way through the veg menu items there.. just posted a "review" response to another thread about the place: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9002...

                                                                      )

                                                                      -churros from pancho's bakery

                                                                      -soup, buckwheat crepes and salad at hibiscus

                                                                      -the cosy vibe of moonbean cafe (they have decent coffee too)

                                                                      -tamales and pupusas from of one of the latin american grocery stores on augusta (i forget the name)

                                                                      -soup, daily hot meal special (only $4.99!), dips, and middle eastern sandwiches from akram's

                                                                      -the mushroom and cheese tacos from el trompo

                                                                      -the pizza and eggplant parmagiana from pizzeria Via mercanti

                                                                      -the coffee at i deal coffee. i last had a really good cortado

                                                                      -i have never tried the ka chi there, but the one on bloor has really good veg soon dubu (tofu stew). i hope the kensington market one is just as good (i keep meaning to try it)

                                                                      -tapas at torito (haven't been in a long time though since i tend to be in the market at lunch time and not dinner, and torito is only open for dinner)

                                                                      -not in kensington market per se, but just south of it on dundas is chinese traditional buns.. dumplings, dan dan noodles, "jellied bean curd" (sounds nasty but actually very cheap and delicious savoury silken tofu dish), and other tasty northern chinese dishes (beijing dishes, i think? not sure though). you can also help yourself to free fresh soymilk (chinese style with strong soybean flavour.. yum!)

                                                                      i'm probably missing a bunch but this is what i can remember off the top of my head...

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: helenhelen

                                                                        Helen, the Ka-chi in Kensington is fantastic! The tofu stew...out of this world!

                                                                      2. Does anyone know if Miss Cora's Kitchen moved somewhere else in Toronto when Seven Lives took over their spot?

                                                                        Neither their website or Facebook page mention the shop's closing.

                                                                        Like they just vanished.

                                                                        Weird.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: magic

                                                                          no idea, but seven lives is delicious. a must try for sure. their tacos are very stuffed so two makes a good lunch.

                                                                          1. re: helenhelen

                                                                            I agree, seven lives is good. Last time I went they really put alot of meat in there. First time not so much but maybe because it was a seemingly slow day they filled it nicely.

                                                                        2. ...a quick bump on this thread.

                                                                          I'll be heading back to the KM on Saturday, anything new I must check out? Any old faves that may no longer worth a stop?

                                                                          Other than a visit to the Good Egg, I'm looking to pick up the fixin's for our New Year's Eve meal. Your thoughts and recommendations on some special/unique to the KM ingredients would be most appreciated. I plan to make our meal and we're dining at home w guests...I love to cook so any ideas are welcome.

                                                                          16 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Sadistick

                                                                              ditto to 7 Lives. Get the carnita, mmm...with cheese....it gets sickening after a while but those first few bites..

                                                                              1. re: flonie

                                                                                Sadistick and fionie, thanks so much for your tip on 7 Lives. I should have Googled it first for the address as I couldn't find it yesterday and my hunger got the best of me so I just grabbed a couple of Empanadas. I now have it in my phone so I won't miss it next time around. (on Kensington for anyone interested). Thanks again!

                                                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                  It's closed til the new year anyways

                                                                            2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                              You may run into me at Good Egg! I made the mistake of going right before CHristmas, and of course, couldn't resist picking up a few more stocking stuffers!
                                                                              Not sure if it was in the market the last time you went, but Sanagan's Meat Market is supposed to be really good..

                                                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                So how was your trip? Did you discover any place new (to you)..?

                                                                                1. re: rstuart

                                                                                  Hi rstuart! Did you go yesterday? Unfortunately by the time I arrived at the market (after some serious post-Christmas clothes shopping), I didn't have a ton of time to explore the market as much as I would have liked. I stuck to Augusta Ave & Baldwin.

                                                                                  As always, I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to The Good Egg. I've been getting so much use out of my Falcon Ware pieces, I couldn't resist adding to my collection and purchased the lovely little tea kettle. I thought it would be ideal for a couple of cups of green tea. I also picked up some wonderful silicone spatulas there.

                                                                                  No stop at the market would be complete without a stop at La Tortilleria for some fresh tortillas. They'll be perfect for my New Year's breakfast of Huevos Rancheros.

                                                                                  I was also tempted by a beautiful Dansk soup pot at Bungalow but in the end I took a pass. Nevertheless, it was fun spending a couple of hours there.

                                                                                  For anyone interested, the Blue Banana is having a massive sale on all their holiday/Christmas merchandise and if I'd had more time, I would definitely have picked up some of the bargains there.

                                                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                    No, didn't make it.. was at Yonge and Bloor for some Boxing Day shopping! Huevos Rancheros for a NYD breakfast sounds great..
                                                                                    The Falconware does look great.. what set do you have?

                                                                                    1. re: rstuart

                                                                                      I have the Bake set - purchased from TGE earlier this year along w some tumblers. I'd hoped to pick up the Pie set yesterday (deeper pans) but unfortunately they didn't have it in the store. I ended up ordering it online last night along w the Serving Tray and a couple of the Spring Blue tumblers!!

                                                                                      http://www.falconenamelware.com/colle...

                                                                                      I love how neatly these store and I plan on getting rid of some of my old mis-matched pieces that have seen better days.

                                                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                        What are the prices like for Falcon Ware @ The Good Egg?

                                                                                        You can ignore my question. I just went to their site and saw that it's $90 for 5 pieces.

                                                                                        1. re: kwass

                                                                                          Actually I believe their price has increased since they posted that on their website kwass. I believe that set was $110.

                                                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                            Is that still a good price in your opinion?

                                                                                            1. re: kwass

                                                                                              It is kwass. It cost me more to purchase pieces from the Falcon Ware site in the UK as you have the shipping and duty charges. Even at $110, it's a good price. The quality of these pieces is very good and there's even a good market for vintage pieces.

                                                                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                Thanks breadcrumbs. I'm going to try and stop by the store sometime in the next few weeks.

                                                                                                1. re: kwass

                                                                                                  Just a quick suggestion kwass. It might be worth calling ahead if there's a particular colour combination you're interested in. When I wanted the blue & white it wasn't in stock but they had an order coming in so they just called me when it arrived and I popped in to pick it up. You might save yourself a trip if that's all you were going to the KM for.

                                                                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                    Good to know. Thanks Breadcrumbs!