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United Bakeries

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Herne Jun 25, 2012 12:05 PM

Going for the fist time Wednesday or Thursday am. What should I order? Are there any strange/unguessable traditions ( eg getting told you can't have something you ordered a la The Bagel on College)

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  1. k
    kwfoodiewannabe RE: Herne Jun 25, 2012 12:19 PM

    I am a lox platter guy myself (boring...) but I know the blintzes get a lot of love from regulars as does the whitefish.

    1. m
      magic RE: Herne Jun 25, 2012 12:45 PM

      You can't go to United Bakers without ordering their split pea soup. Although that's not really a breakfast food I guess. For brekky I really like their french toast. Simple but good.

      Also, the potato latkes are amazing!

      (No odd traditions that I am aware of - they are straight shooters)

      1. t
        TheWheel RE: Herne Jun 25, 2012 01:10 PM

        Well I wouldn't consider it ungueesable but you cannot get meat there as it is a dairy Kosher restaurant, if you were hoping for Bacon you are SOL. The two best items on the menu IMHO are the Pea Soup and the Spinach Salad, nothing fancy about either just simple and tasty.

        4 Replies
        1. re: TheWheel
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          Herne RE: TheWheel Jun 25, 2012 01:47 PM

          I had been warned about the staff at the Bagel but I was surprised when I asked if they had borscht with meat and was told yes. I'll have a bowl I said and the waitress said "No". And I didn't get it. Must have be about 20-25 years ago.

          Looks like its pea soup and something else so far.

          1. re: TheWheel
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            Doctormhl1 RE: TheWheel Jun 25, 2012 05:00 PM

            United Bakeries is NOT under Rabbinic Kosher supervision. Therefore, strictly speaking, it cannot be considered a kosher restaurant for observant Jews.

            1. re: Doctormhl1
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              rivelli RE: Doctormhl1 Jul 22, 2012 08:08 PM

              It can't be considered Kosher for anyone cuz it's not Kosher.

            2. re: TheWheel
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              rivelli RE: TheWheel Jul 22, 2012 08:07 PM

              United Bakers is NOT Kosher.

            3. Dr. John RE: Herne Jun 25, 2012 03:26 PM

              The soups are all excellent. The split pea is available every day and the others rotate depending on the day. The blintzes are pretty good, but I'm no expert so I'm sure others might have a lot to say about them. I also have an unhealthy attachment to the vegetarian "chopped liver", which is some weird mixture of egg and other stuff.

              1. p
                peppermint pate RE: Herne Jun 25, 2012 04:05 PM

                +1 for the pea soup - get it to go and you can warm it up for lunch or dinner later. I've had the blintzes, lox platter and a few of their salads - all good. The tuna melt is also tasty.Not sure that anything there is out of the ballpark great but it's the combination of well executed dairy comfort food, old school servers, bustling crowd of characters and an old world no frills charm that makes it special. As for strange/unguessable, my one piece of advice would be to watch yourself and your car ever so carefully in the parking lot - I've been within a whisper of getting hit (in my car or in person) on several occasions.

                5 Replies
                1. re: peppermint pate
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                  Herne RE: peppermint pate Jun 25, 2012 05:59 PM

                  I thought the plaza turned into an auto zoo usually on the weekend and it was not so bad during the week. Am I misguided?

                  1. re: Herne
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                    pearlD RE: Herne Jun 25, 2012 06:16 PM

                    The pea soup is as amazing as everyone has told you but so is the mushroom barley...I actually get the 'pickled pike' plate or the 'boiled whitefish' since it's something that reminds me of my Mom's which was fabulous...UB's are the only place in my knowledge that still does the 'old school' of Jewish cookery....also the long ago but not forgotten 'dirty' Bagel still fondly remembered on College Street..!!!..RIP!!

                    1. re: pearlD
                      h
                      Herne RE: pearlD Jun 25, 2012 07:38 PM

                      I guess I'll order a pea soup and a mushroom barley to go. I'm getting a little nervous about the parking lot. Can I expect it to be "normal" during the week?

                      I recall the "dirty" Bagel name although I don't recalling it that. It was a place with a lot more character and characters than I was used to 2 - 3 decades ago. In that vein, I recall Morgan's Department store in the plaza where UB now is way back in the 50's.

                      1. re: Herne
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                        peppermint pate RE: Herne Jun 25, 2012 08:00 PM

                        Okay, I'm sorry I freaked you out about the parking lot - it's a bit bad, but not that bad, and as much a running joke as anything else. Haven't been there on a weekday in a long time but it's undoubtedly less busy/crazy - honestly, don't sweat it.

                        1. re: peppermint pate
                          h
                          Herne RE: peppermint pate Jun 25, 2012 09:13 PM

                          OK Thanks. My favourite parking is on Bloor virtually beside Paupers and a dozen or so restaurants and my least favourite is the Longo's lot at Leslie and York Mills.

                2. t
                  Toronto Fastfoodie RE: Herne Jun 26, 2012 06:17 PM

                  For sure the pea soup. And the macaroni and cheese (if you're bringing kids…its the best in the city). And the pizza bagels. And the greek salad with spinach dressing.

                  1. m
                    MeMeMe RE: Herne Jun 27, 2012 07:36 AM

                    My husband always gets the lox platter. I always get pea soup. Once in a while we get the perogies which are good. The mac and cheese isn't bad. My sister always gets the greek salad. I like the kasha and bow ties with lots of sauteed onions on top (the appetizer size). During the week it shouldn't be a zoo.

                    1. h
                      Herne RE: Herne Jun 29, 2012 11:34 AM

                      Well I finally got there about 11 am Friday morning. The place was half empty when we arrived and an hour later was over 3/4 full. I had the mushroom and cheese omelette and it was great. Also took home a litre of pea soup and the macaroni and cheese for the weekend. Everybody was polite and although I read not to I thanked the server several times and she thanked me once --not as advertised elsewhere.

                      By the time we left the noise level was quite high and it reminded me of the cafeteria at Vaughn Road Collegiate back in the late 50's. The parking lot wasn't too bad but I can see how it could be a real challenge when shopping heats up on the weekend.

                      Then it was off to Winners and Jones of NY and then up Bathurst to get some cream cheese at Daiter's. All in all a pleasant start to the day.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Herne
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                        pearlD RE: Herne Jun 29, 2012 02:33 PM

                        Nice to hear your adventure was a success...I, too was at VRCI in the 50's...Didn't have such a great adventure / or success...and I don't even remember the Cafeteria! (that's probably age related or perhaps just totally a blocked memory) LOL!!

                        1. re: pearlD
                          h
                          Herne RE: pearlD Jun 29, 2012 06:16 PM

                          I have now sampled the pea soup and the macaroni and cheese and they are great. After one day's time I have decided to call United Bakeries the masters of commercialized home cooking. I'll be back in early August.

                          My days at VRCI were anything but successes. When I managed to escape and get to U of T I got a class exam mark of B+. Never had seen anything like it before. There is a long story not appropriate for this site. But one day in grade 10 I was pulled out of the line between classes and told to go the Guidance office. I was told I would probably not get out of grade 10 and never get out of grade 11. 5 or 6 years after I got my PhD I went back only to find the Guidance guy had retired and maybe died.

                          The cafeteria was on the main floor in the hall heading towards the auditorium I believe.

                          United Bakeries is now a destination for me. I have a 94 year old aunt who lived near VRCI and is now living alone and I'll see if she wants to go in August as well.

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