May 23, 2010

Gluttony on the go: Toronto, part II

After an afternoon of browsing through the shops of Kensington Market and eating empanadas outside in the sun, we headed over to the ever-affordable Java House Café for some fruity, girly, alcoholic winding-down time. 

Address: 537 Queen Street West 
Phone: (416) 504-3025
Style: an eclectic mix of sandwiches, Asian and pub fare
Hours: I quite honestly have no idea, though I have heard that they open early enough for people to get their morning coffee, and they close at least after 11pm on a Saturday

First off, this is not a place to go if you're looking for a fantastic food experience. Judging by that one evening that we spent there, I'd say that drinks---not food, is this place's forte. Well that, and location (right at the corner of Queen W. and Spadina) and its ridiculously well-priced menu. A sandwich will barely set you back 4$, whereas their generously-sized cocktails start at just over 6$. All in all, my group of three paid a bit over 100$ for 5 pints of the local Steam Whistle brew, 8 cocktails, a pad thai, a BLT sandwich and a plate of nachos. So in other words, it's a great place to hang out with your friends and knock back a few on a breezy  evening. 

Things started out well enough with a delicious piña colada. Sweet, with nice whiff of rum and just enough pineapple flavour---just the way I like it. 

Then came this disappointingly bland pad thai. I could see the colouring, but couldn't taste any of that beloved sweet-tangy flavour. Even the chicken was bland. *sigh*

But a nice lychee martini (sans lychee fruit though) and a very good gin&tonic later, I was ready to try another one of their plates. A BLT was ordered and...well, it tasted like a BLT. Bacon, lettuce and tomato doused in mayo and slapped in between two slices of white bread. Had I tried to make this at home one rushed morning, it would have probably ended up tasting the same. 

They slightly redeemed themselves with the nacho plate. It was appropriately greasy and unhealthy, and they didn't skim on the toppings. (I was however to be once again disappointed when I was informed that they had no desserts that day.) 

So bottom line: go there for drinks, ambiance and the terrace, but not for food. Should you get peckish though, go with failproof dishes that won't set you back too many dollars, in any case. (Oh, and I also hear that they make pretty good coffee in the mornings. That I'd be willing to try!)

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