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Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Cora - May the Sun Shine

("May the Sun Shine" is a very awesome song by the very awesome band Nazareth, if you are wondering. There is a smiling sun in Cora's logo and, hence, the connection.)

But now, musical diversions aside, to the matter at hand: breakfast at Cora's. I've heard many polarizing opinions of Cora, the Canadian breakfast juggernaut that originated in Quebec a number of years ago. Cora is known for its generous servings of fruit that accompany most of its dishes, and I've heard complaints that "all you are paying for is a heap of fruit cut in fancy pieces" to accolades that promise "the huge heap of fruit is a treat." I implore you, as I would with any restaurant, to decide for yourself.

We find ourselves in the mess of roadways and shiny franchises known as Mayfield and stop at Cora for breakfast. First up, Maple Crespelles. Crespelles are, judging by appearance, large and folded crepes of Quebecois or French origin. The waitress suggests to have the maple butter on the side instead of slathered between the crepe layers; this is a suggestion well worth heeding, as the maple butter is diabetes-inducing sweet (but goes oh so nicely on the crispy bacon). The crespelles are decently tender but a bit flavourless on their own. Bacon and maple butter are needed to bring them alive. A smattering of fruit (including a slice of cantaloupe, which I absolutely despise) ride shotgun. The fruit is ripe and nicely offsets the crespelles' richness.

We also dig in to Eggs Benedict. The eggs are properly runny and their subfloor of English muffins nicely sops up their drippings. An eye-popping fruit arrangement is both daunting and visually delectable. Pears, pineapple, bananas, strawberries and a complex tower of carved apple slices seem too pretty to disassemble. I wonder how many of those apple towers they have to carve and assemble per day. I'm secretly glad that is not my job.

And so, our meal concludes with the agreement that Cora, while a bit pricey, is indeed a tasty breakfast that implores one to consume at least half their daily recommended allotment of fruit. As with any restaurant, Cora has both lovers and haters. The haters seem be hatin' on the fruit. Don't be hatin' on the fruit. Fruit is good for you.

Cora (WestPoint) on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Caffe Sorrentino - Go North, Young Man

Brevity is difficult, particularly with respect to food writing. No one wants to read a novella of your most recent meal, but at the same time, the writer cannot excise crucial details that leave the memories of your meal as little more than guesswork. It remains a supreme challenge, especially when the writer is prone to verbosity.

Hence, very brief meals are an easy solution to this vexatious issue. In the interest of brevity, of both meal size and word count, I dropped by the newest addition to the Sorrentino's group, Caffe Sorrentino Clearwater Plaza, which is way up on the northern reaches of 97th street. I enjoy the Caffe Sorrentinos for several reasons, namely, predictably delicious coffee, sleek interior, and a decidedly less "franchisey" feel than other coffee cafes.

This newbie is dressed in sharp blacks, reds and whites, and features a number of low-backed tall stools. A word to the wise: do not lean back in these chairs. They are not for leaning. Soccer highlights play on a flat screen TV and Italian pop music meanders through the background.

I'm jonesin' for some espresso but am also beguiled by the gelato cooler. Caffe affogato is a clever compromise. A judicious scoop of gelato is surrounded by a moat of freshly pulled espresso. Brilliant. Here, pistachio is a non-intuitive but supremely agreeable partner to a dark and smoky java. It's worth the trip of 97th to visit this little escape from the surrounding clutches of subdivision cloneville and also to exercise one's propensity for brevity.

Caffe Sorrentino (Clearwater Plazza) on Urbanspoon


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