Catching up with the Queen’s Mum

As I am sure many other twenty-somethings would agree, one of the most popular ways to socialize and catch up with old friends is to meet up for some good food at one of Toronto’s many restaurants.

I recently met up with three friends who I became very close with during my four years at McMaster University. It was Asha’s turn to pick and she suggested we get together at Queen Mother Cafe. As the name implies, this restaurant is located on Queen St, just steps west of University Ave (and Osgoode Station). I was slightly shocked that I had never visited or even heard of this restaurant before given the countless times I have walked past it over the last ten plus years; it really goes to show just how saturated (yet ever-changing) the restaurant industry is in this city we call home.

I was the last to arrive and felt like I was in a maze to find my friends who were on the other end of the restaurant. The set-up for Queen Mother is strange; because there are stairs to a lower level right in the middle of the restaurant, it is one big U-shape that you need to navigate around. None the less, I eventually found my friends who had a table by the window.

The restaurant was packed and I’m surprised that we didn’t have to wait for a table. However, the servers felt the pinch of the busy restaurant and our service was quite slow. It took a considerable amount of time for our first drink order, have the drinks delivered, order food, receive our food and finally pay our bills.

Although service was slow, the menu made up for it. I started with a vegetable lentil soup and then split two salads with Asha; she ordered the kale, roasted tomato and green lentil, while I ordered the quinoa salad. Mixing the two salads into one was probably one of the best decisions I made all evening; the fusion was absolutely phenomenal. Asha chose not to mix hers and commented that they were equally as delicious solo. Portions ended up being considerably larger than I expected and if I had known this, I probably would have skipped the soup; although I’m glad I got to try it. Everything on the menu seemed to be fairly reasonably priced. My meal was under $20 which is usually rare when ordering more than one item. Check out how yummy it all looks:

Vegetable Lentil Soup

Vegetable Lentil Soup

Quinoa Salad

Quinoa Salad

Kale, Roasted Tomato and Green Lentil Salad

Kale, Roasted Tomato and Green Lentil Salad

In terms of atmosphere, this was a great place to catch up. Although the restaurant was very busy during our visit, the noise level was bearable and I could easily hear what the rest of my table was saying. When all was said and done, I was happy that Asha introduced me to this spot; I will definitely be back.

Have you been to Queen Mother Cafe, what did you think? What other restaurants around the city would you like me visit?

For more information on Queen Mother, visit: http://www.queenmothercafe.ca

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Fall Treats: Brunching on a Patio!

Last Sunday, my friend Anna and I had the opportunity to experience something very rare for this time of the year – brunch on a patio! My friends and I are still complaining about the sad excuse of a summer we experience in Toronto this past season… it was too cold, not enough sun and there were even a few days that I had to wear a SWEATER to work in July!!

By June I was telling everyone, “Don’t worry, September is going to be amazing.” But then September came around and I waited, and waited, until FINALLY, on the second last day of September, I was able to have brunch on a patio.

Anna and I headed to Flo’s Diner, a nice, little second-level restaurant overlooking Yorkville Ave. In the heart of trendy, and usually expensive, Yorkville, this spot was a perfect place to catch up with an old friend. The menu was equally as fabulous as my company. Of course it had your standard ‘bacon and eggs’ option, but it also had a variety of other items to choose from. I had an omelette with avocado, onions, ham and swiss (although I passed on the onions). It was fairly priced, at around $12, and delicious! I would have shared a photo, but I was too hungry to wait any longer!

The staff were friendly and attentive. Other patrons were a decent mix of twenty-something’s and ritzy Yorkvillers.

I just checked the forecast and it looks like there may be a few more brunches (or after work brews) on patios between now and Thanksgiving. Be sure to take advantage now – it won’t be long until parka season!

For more about Flo’s Diner, visit: http://www.flosdiner.ca/