All posts by Crave Kyle

Light Cafe Toronto

6 Places for Charcoal Desserts in Toronto

Strangely, the hottest food trend in Toronto this summer has been charcoal.

Trend starters iHalo Krunch opened in June and instantly became a destination for their now famous charcoal ice cream and house-made charcoal waffle cones.

Lineups at Ihalo Krunch Charcoal Ice cream

Toronto foodies can’t get enough of captivating black desserts. Instagram Photo: @munchkyin

Many restauranteurs have since jumped on the trend, leading to a new wave of innovative and unique charcoal desserts.

6 places for your charcoal fix:

  1. Millie Desserts: All Locations

Charcoal “Stardust Crepe Cake at Millie Desserts

Stardust Crepe Cake at Millie’s. Instagram Photo: @millie.desserts

Millie didn’t just create a new dessert, they created an entire collection of charcoal desserts! Try charcoal infused crepe cake, milkshake, or parfait.

2. CutiePie Cupcakes: 235 Spadina Avenue #2, 416-593-9323

Charcoal and Black Sesame cupcake at CutiePie Cupcakes

Charcoal Cupcake at CutiePie Cupcakes. Instagram Photo: @cutiepiecupcakes_to

Known for their outrageous unicorn lattes, CutiePie has boarded the charcoal hype train with a charcoal and sesame cupcake!

3. Bake Code: 4910 Yonge Street, 647- 346-3888

charcoal croissant variations at Bake Code: Matcha, Thai Milk Tea, Roasted Milk Tea, and Earl Grey

Charcoal Custard Croissants at Bake Code. Instagram Photo: @bakecode

Start your day off in North York with a charcoal custard croissant filled with Matcha, Thai Milk Tea, Roasted Milk Tea, or Earl Grey.

4. Wooffles & Cream: 8360 Kennedy Road #81, 647- 281-0487

Charcoal Vanilla and Black Swirl ice cream served with an egg waffle at Wooffles & Cream

Charcoal Vanilla and Black Swirl Soft Serve at Woofles & Cream. Instagram Photo: @woofflesandcream

Specializing in Hong Kong styled egg waffles, Wooffles & Cream’s newest addition is a vanilla charcoal soft serve that pairs heavenly with their egg waffle.

 5. Light Café: 23 Baldwin Street, 647-347-3883

heart shaped Charcoal Black Sesame Waffles at Light Café

Charcoal Black Sesame Waffle at Light Cafe. Instagram Photo: @lightcafe

You can brunch on charcoal black sesame waffles topped with a house made black sesame sauce at this Taiwanese cafe.

6. Canadian National Exhibition: 210 Princes’ Boulevard, 416-263-3800

the black velvet funnel cake and charcoal soft serve at Bacon Nation at the CNE Food Building

Black Velvet Funnel Cake at The CNE Food Building. Instagram Photo: @torontoeatings

Vendors at the CNE Food Building are known for innovative and whacky food creations. The black velvet funnel cake from the Bacon Nation booth served with charcoal soft serve is no exception.

Related: 6 must-try vegan eats.

Top 10 Restaurants in Toronto’s East End

After 25 million dollars and three years of renovations, Toronto’s East End has a bonafide food and drink destination.

Before hitting The Broadview Hotel, why not dine at an East End restaurant?

Top 10 East End Restaurants:

10. Goods and Provisions: 1124 Queen Street East, 647-340-1738

The steak frites at Goods and Provisions

Heavenly steak at Goods and Provisions. Instagram photo: @vobot_

Be transported back to the Prohibition era: Admire the vintage wooden cabinets, chandeliers, and photographs, sip on an Old Fascist (Bourbon, Amaro Nonino, Ginger Syrup and Cardamom bitters) and enjoy a plate of Steak Frites ($39) topped with bone marrow butter. Arrive between 5:30pm-7pm to enjoy their happy hour.

9. Eastside Social: 1008 Queen Street East, 416-461-5663

East Side Social Toronto

The naval themed dining space at East Side Social.

A contemporary restaurant space outfitted with naval decorations will immediately transport you to the Maritimes. As you relish the east coast vibes, enjoy one of their seafood entrees such as the Pan Seared Scallop and Tiger Shrimp ($18.50).

8. Allen’s: 143 Danforth Avenue, 416-463-3086

A hamburger at Allen’s on Danforth

Allen’s burgers are made with 100% grass fed beef. Instagram photo: @likepeasandcs

Stick to what Allen’s is known for: Their selection of incredible grass fed burgers. For a classic bar atmosphere sit inside, otherwise request a table on their gorgeous willow tree shaded back patio. Allen’s is not your typical pub.

7. Batifole: 744 Gerrard Street East, 416-462-9965

the dining room at Batifole in Toronto

French dining experience at Batifole. Instagram photo: @jetset737

Batifole is the quintessential French bistro: Inviting chandeliers, wall portraits, and wooden counter tops will remove any doubts of being a pretentious French restaurant. The food has an unmistakeable home cooked quality – their “Cassoulet Royal” ($26), a hearty stew of white beans, duck confit, sausage, and pork belly is a must try.

6. The Wren: 1382 Danforth Avenue, 647-748-1382

A burger from the Wren Toronto

The Wren is known for their mouthgasmic burgers. Instagram photo: @menuegram

A go-to for locals craving the social atmosphere of a modern bar, with stellar Southwestern styled comfort food. Indulge in one of their Instagram famous burgers.

5. Carbon Bar: 99 Queen Street East, 416-947-7000

Pitmaster Platter at Carbon Bar which features barbecue ribs, sausage, turkey, and pulled pork

The Pit Master Platter at Carbon Bar is meant for sharing. Instagram photo: @tonkaaaap

Somewhere between casual and upscale with their modern artsy décor, impeccable service, and down-home comfort food make Carbon Bar an East End gem. Come in specifically for their Pit Master Platter ($32 per person): a smorgasbord of delicious southern inspired barbeque including ribs, sausage, turkey, and pulled pork.

4. Maple Leaf Tavern: 955 Gerrard Street East, 416-465-0955 

Maple Leaf Tavern Toronto

The dining room at Maple Leaf Tavern adds a modern spin on the long history of the building. Instagram photo: @mapleleaftavern

Located in a 100-year-old building, recent renovations create a vintage-modern feel with brick walls, hardwood floors, and wooden cabinets. The menu is highlighted by their selection of wood grilled dishes such as the Ribeye ($48) and Mutton Chops ($29).

3.  Pinkerton’s Snack Bar: 1026 Gerrard Street East, 416-855-1460

Pinkertons snack bar in Toronto

Vibe to the catchy soundtrack of alt-rock blasted over the speakers, grab a drink and revel in the chill atmosphere which features industrial décor and local art.

bulgogi steamed bao buns from Pinkerton’s Snack Bar

Bulgogi baos are ideal drink pairings at Pinkerton’s. Instagram photo: @lilynjen

Order a variety of Asian-inspired snacks such as their Bulgogi Steamed Bao Buns (2 for $12).

2. Ruby Watchco: 730 Queen Street East, 416-465-0100

Ruby Watchco Toronto

The modern dining experience at Ruby Watchco. Instagram photo: @sandraechow

The creation of celebrity chef Lynn Crawford, this Canadian restaurant operates a pre-set menu system ($54) for each day of the week (check the menu in advance before making a reservation). While expensive, you get a three course meal crafted by one of Canada’s top chefs.

three course meal at Ruby Watch Co

The three course menu at Ruby Watchco is seasonal driven and constantly changing. Instagram photo: @wherejessate

1. Gio Rana’s Really Really Nice Restaurant: 1220 Queen Street East, 416-469-5225

Dining at Gio Rana’s Really Really Nice Restaurant The Nose

The quirky atmosphere at “The Nose”. Instagram photo: @karloalas

Known as “The Nose” because of a giant nose sculpture that hangs at its entrance, this restaurant’s weirdness doesn’t stop at the front door: The interior is decked out with quirky mannequins and funky Italian art pieces. One thing that isn’t strange is their classic Italian comfort food.

House made gnocchi ($9) highlights the menu at “The Nose” Instagram photo: @6ixsenses

Which of these restaurants will start your next East End adventure?

Best Filipino in Toronto

Toronto’s Most Exciting Cuisine Right Now

The cuisine known for its sweet, salty, and sour flavour profile is getting its due.

Rising from hidden-off pioneering restaurants like CASA Manila, a new wave of Filipino restaurants are pushing culinary limits and Toronto foodies are seeking them out.

Filipino cuisine is on the rise.

4 best options for a Filipino foodie adventure:

4. Lamesa: 669 Queen Street West, 647-346-2377

Lamesa Restaurant Queen Street

Modern atmosphere at Lamesa makes it a foodie favourite. Instagram photo: @rebel_remixlife

Lamesa is your gateway option. Easily accessible on Queen Street West, its marble countertops, picturesque chandeliers, and contemporary art pieces create an attractive atmosphere.

Modern adaptations of Filipino classics rule the menu. Come in for their chicken adobo- moist chicken thighs drenched in a rich garlic and soy sauce.

Lamesa's Adobo dish

The chicken adobo at Lamesa. Instagram photo: @suburbian_ghurl

Plan a Sunday adventure: Lamesa’s Kamayan “hand to mouth” feast of traditional meats (chicken, pork), seafood (clams, mussels, milk fish), and accompaniments (garlic rice, deviled eggs, grilled corn) are served over a plate of banana leaves- only available on Sundays from 5-9pm.

3. Platito: Pop-ups and events

Filipino food toronto

Chicken and ube waffles from Platito served with house maple butter and syrup. Instagram photo: @whatsinmybelley

Platito lives on despite a fire that destroyed their restaurant. Popping up at food festivals, they attract long lines for their trendy ube (a purple yam native to the Philippines with a subtle vanilla flavour) inspired dishes. While their Baldwin Street location is closed indefinitely, follow their Instagram and Facebook to find upcoming pop-ups.

2. Tinuno: 31 Howard Street, 647-343-9294

kamayan feast in Toronto

The Kamayan at Tinuno is a Filipino feast. Instagram photo: @danieitran

Tinuno roughly translates to “cooking over a fire” which perfectly encapsulates the food at this low key East end spot. While the basic space won’t excite you, the food will- they serve the best Kamayan in the city.

Looking for a quick snack? Their little BBQ out front serves street food skewers to go.

1. Dolly’s: 1285 Bloor Street, 416-551-0355

bar at Dolly’s Toronto

Dolly’s chill bar. Instagram photo: @dollysmojito

Dolly’s is the brainchild of Dave Sidhu, the man behind Toronto’s Playa Cabana restaurant chain. You will immediately feel his signature vibe: Dim lighting, neon signs, and graffiti walls. Perfect for sipping mojitos (their variation is sweetened with fresh pressed cane juice) and snacking on Filipino classics such as lumpia (deep fried spring rolls) or pancit bihon (stir fried noodles).

signature mojito at Dolly’s Bloor Street bar

A mug of Dolly’s mojito sweetened with real cane juice. Instagram photo: @dollysmojito

Craving more Filipino?

  1. Lola’s Kusina: Located in Etobicoke, this classic spot serves up traditional Filipino dishes and doubles as a bakery dishing out specialty cakes.
  2. Barrio Fiesta: Scarborough is home to many Filipino restaurants serving classic dishes.
  3. Lasa by Lamesa: This fast casual restaurant serves extra-crispy fried chicken seasoned with a tangy spice blend.
  4. Bistro Manila: In between sets of live music or singing karaoke, snack on tasty Filipino sides.
  5. Tocino Boys: Specializing in Filipino styled bacon, they pop-up at downtown bars and events.
Strange Love Coffee Shop

The Only Toronto Coffee Shop You Need

You’ve been looking for that perfect “second home”.

A comfortable place where you can catch up on work, catch up with friends or simply catch up on some alone time.

Not your grab ‘n go coffee spot

Strange Love comes complete with a picturesque plant wall, fine art pieces, crafted communal wooden tables, and delicious food and drink.

strange love spadina

You will be deceived by a seemingly small storefront and might make it out as a grab ‘n go. As you walk through the space, you will notice the keen attention to detail and might become inspired to take a shot for your next Instagram post.

Wide variety of snacks and drinks

With coffee from different roasters on offer, you have options. In the mood for something icy? Try their “Iced Lover’s Latte”, which is brewed with special Brazilian beans and has a subtle vanilla flavour.

strange love coffee

Don’t miss the opportunity for a dreamy snack: Strange Love partners with Gouter to offer wonderful pastries like a buttery, flaky, and moist croissant.

Tip: A recently launched gelato program might be worth a try.

Next Stop

Conveniently located on Spadina close to King, you have a variety of legit options for after:

Kensington Market: Wander the streets and visit the quirky shops for a cultural adventure.

The AGO: If you were inspired by the art pieces at Strange Love, discover a new art exhibition.

Roy Thomson Hall: Feeling musical? Catch a Toronto Symphony Orchestra performance.

Will Strange Love become your new go-to coffee shop? Visit them at 101 Spadina Avenue a little North of King Street and let us know what you think.

What Toronto Foodies Say About Charcoal Ice Cream

You are scrolling through Instagram when your thumb stops on a foodie’s photo.

toronto best ice cream queen street

“Charcoal ice cream?!”

You NEED to know more.

4 things to know about charcoal ice cream:

1. Is there really charcoal in it?

Pioneering Toronto shop Ihalo Krunch buys real charcoal in powder form at a “special health food store in the city” and infuses it into simple soft serve ice cream. On its own, active charcoal tastes chalky. However, when mixed with another flavour such as coconut or vanilla, the chalky taste becomes muted, and makes for a smooth tasting experience.

2. Could ice cream now be magically healthy?

Active charcoal is said to provide many health benefits such as teeth whitening, gas relief, and detoxification. While it’s not scientifically proven that eating charcoal ice cream produces the same effects, it is proven to turn your teeth and tongue black!

charcoal ice cream toronto iHalo Krunch

 

3. Is it worth the hype?

Many complain about the obnoxious lines, high price point, its quick melting messy nature and underwhelming flavour:

Ihalo Krunch Instagram

However, others have fallen for the new taste, beautiful aesthetic, and subtle not so sweet flavour:

4. Where to get your charcoal fix.

Ihalo Krunch opened on June 17, 2017 (across from Trinity Bellwoods Park at 915 Queen Street West) giving Toronto its first taste of charcoal and instantly Toronto’s hottest new food trend was born. Lineups for their black on black (charcoal ice cream served in their house made charcoal waffle cone $6.50) have been steady since.

Others businesses have quickly jumped on the trend adding their own touch:

Wooffles & Cream serves charcoal ice cream with sprinkles and an egg waffle skewer.

Millie Café offers a wide variety of charcoal desserts such as their Stardust Crepe Cake.

CutiePie Cupcakes offers charcoal dipped cones to go along with their vanilla or champagne-flavoured ice cream.

Light Café in Baldwin Village makes charcoal infused waffles topped with a house made black sesame sauce.

Bake Code in North York makes charcoal croissants filled with a variety of fillings such as Matcha, Thai Milk Tea, Roasted Milk Tea, and Earl Grey.

Is charcoal ice cream this summer’s must-try or is it a pass? 

Top 10 Toronto Bars – Reader Voted

You’re planning drinks out in Toronto with friends.

You want to make a cool suggestion, but with so many options, thoughts start racing through your mind: “What part of the city should we go? Should we go to an old favourite or somewhere new? Will it be busy? Will it be too busy? Will they want to hit another place after?”

No need to panic. We surveyed our readers to compile a list of the best bars in Toronto.

Top 10 Toronto bars:

10. Hi-Lo: 753 Queen Street East, 416-551-3459

Hi Lo Top 10 Bar Toronto on Queen Street East

Vintage concert posters and refined drinks make up for the lack atmosphere. Rum mixed with carrot and ginger (“Watership Down”) will make you feel like the responsible adult you are.

9. Northwood: 815 Bloor Street West, 437-993-1433

Northwood Bar Top 10 Toronto on Bloor Street West

A massive selection of drinks makes Northwood the perfect destination to satisfy all the personalities in your circle of friends. Browse their menu for the perfect cocktail, craft beer or glass of wine.

8. Get Well: 1181 Dundas Street West, 647-351-2337 

Get Well Top Bar in Toronto with Retro Video Games

Dim lighting, quirky décor, and a wide selection of retro video games will get you drunk on nostalgia. While you escape the problems of adult life with Miss Pacman, sip on a new featured craft beer.

7. The Walton: 607 College Street, 647-352-5520

The Walton Top Toronto Bar with patio

As you sip a drink and notice the wood paneling, antique décor and vintage jazz sounds,  you will start to feel like you’re in The Great Gatsby.

6. Burdock: 1184 Bloor Street, 416-546-4033

Burdock Top 10 Bar and Brewpub Toronto

This Bloordale brewery offers brewpub quality with the classiness of a sit-down restaurant.  For a light beer with summery hints of pineapple, mango, and lemon order an “APA 223”.

5. Pray Tell: 838 College Street

Pray Tell Top 10 Bar Toronto on College Street

Sit-down, relax, and admire the crafted tabletops, plant wall and other “Modern-Toronto” decor. With a selection from their Ontario beer, international wine and cocktail menu, any occasion will quickly become lively.

4. Bar Fancy: 1070 Queen Street West, 416-546-1416

Bar Fancy Top 10 Toronto Hip and Modern Bar

Be transported to a world of dimmed lighting and old school hip-hop. As you begin to feel the intoxication from the chill vibes, don’t let your glass of beer (Beau’s, Howe Sound, Muskoka) or wine (labels from Austria, France, Greece) slip through your fingers. Bartenders take special requests for something stronger.

3. Bellwoods Brewery: 124 Ossington Avenue, 416-535-4586

Bellwoods Top 10 Brewpub and Best Craft Beer in Toronto

Bellwoods makes the best craft beer in the city. Get hopped up on a “Witchshark” then pick up some bottles at their bottle shop to take home.

2. Bar Raval: 505 College Street, 647-344-8001

Bar Raval College Street best Bar Toronto

Step inside this bar and immediately be transported to Europe. While Raval is known for better tapas than spots like Patria and Carmen, they offer a great selection of cocktails such as their award winning “Scarlet Carson” (Beefeater, Lemon, Cordial, Amontillado). You may find yourself spontaneously Googling flights to Barcelona.

1. Home of the Brave: 589 King Street West, 416-366-2736

Home of the Brave Best Bar in Toronto on King Street West

This American themed restaurant and bar received the most votes from our readers. Located in the hottest bar/restaurant area in the city, your friends and acquaintances could already be out in, HOTB makes an easy pit stop any night of the week for awesome food, drink and fun. Just go up the stairs, it could be your new happy place, especially if it’s happy hour.

Keep Reading: Top 10 East End Restaurants