Joanne Kates on the New T.O. Brunch: Benny There, Drank That

Frybread and biscuits edge up eggs benny


Published:

Frybread arrives topped with smoked salmon at Pow Wow Café

IMAGE: CJ BAEK

Pow Wow Café
When eggs Benny met a Kensington Market indigenous restaurant, English muffin morphed into native frybread, hollandaise turned into genteel cream sauce spiked with melting goat cheese atop the oozing eggs, and smoked salmon replaced the usual ham, all to good effect. Pow Wow’s other brunch staple is the Ojibwe taco. Instead of a tortilla there is the classic frybread, a non-yeasted soda bread deep-fried to order for warmth and crunch. It’s the base for a carnival of flavours and textures — multi-bean chili with the kiss of heat, high-flavoured salsa, grated cheddar, shredded beats, corn shoots and coriander under a roof of fried eggs and sour cream. Everything comes with fried potato cubes, salad and fruit — plates big enough to support humanity for a week.

The room is tiny and funky, its decor owing more to rough plywood than to any other esthetic, its open kitchen in the middle of things with cooks singing along to the music. Let’s not forget, this is Kensington Market. On a nice day, life is sweet on the patio out front, especially thanks to the fabulous fence built of horizontally stacked cedar trees.

Pow Wow Café, 213 Augusta Ave., 416-551-7717


Homemade buttermilk biscuit is a mattress for this Benny at Emma's
 

Emma’s Country Kitchen
The room could not be more ordinary: a plain white room with pale wood chairs and tables. That’s it. Why, then, is the St. Clair West neighbourhood plus le tout Forest Hill gaga over Emma’s? Crowding the place for their all-day brunch even on weekdays? 

Two reasons: first, the staff are deluxe. One day there’s no table for us, yet, the guy seats us at the front and brings coffee and cheer. Second, the food is as yummy as it gets. The Benny is superb, maybe the best in town these days, with perfect runny yolks oozing into rich hollandaise, atop a big buttermilk biscuit (house-made of course) with a soft heart and crispy outside. They do splendid cloud-light blueberry pancakes, topped with dreamy whipped ricotta, and a renovated Cobb salad with crispy pork lardons and grated cheddar.

Emma’s Country Kitchen, 810 St. Clair Ave. W., 416-652-3662


LIQUID LUNCHEON
T.O.’s finest tipples for noontime sipping — Karolyne Ellacott

A) Cafe Belong
The Ploughman’s Caesar uses pork-infused vodka, a process that takes 36 hours to nail. 
550 Bayview Ave.

B) Planta
Cold-pressed cocktails? This beet juice with coconut is so healthy you can excuse the rum.
1221 Bay St.

C) Rose and Sons
Putting their spin on a Caesar, the Extra Vaganza adds in duck salt and kabanosy sausage.
176 Dupont St.

D) Harry’s 
This ain’t your average vanilla shake, thanks to the addition of bourbon. This be smooth.
160 Springhurst Ave.

E) White Lily Diner
This diner’s small-batch Caesar uses Dillon’s White Rye and Walter’s Caesar mix, plus fixin’s.
678 Queen St. E.

Edit Module

Join the conversation and have your say by commenting below. Our comment system uses a Facebook plugin. Please note that you'll have to turn off some ad-blockers in order to see the comments.

Edit Module

Joanne Kates trained at the Ecole Cordon Bleu de Cuisine in Paris. She has written articles for numerous publications, including the New York Times, Maclean’s and Chatelaine. Follow her on Twitter @JoanneKates.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

You may also like...

Eat this Minute: ‘The Pile’ at Parkdale’s Tennessee Tavern

Eat this Minute: ‘The Pile’ at Parkdale’s Tennessee Tavern

This quirky new Grant van Gameren haunt offers up a smorgasbord of eastern European fare.
Posted 15 hours ago
Restaurant Review: Atlas is a boîte with bite

Restaurant Review: Atlas is a boîte with bite

I continue to adore the food at Cava; Chabrol is a triumph of la cuisine française; and Atlas, their third resto, follows their model of both impeccable food and service.
Posted 16 hours ago
McEwan Food Market this weekend at Shop at Don Mills

McEwan Food Market this weekend at Shop at Don Mills

Surprisingly, it looks like gelato season has been extended until late September this year. So, with high temperatures forecasted to reach solidly into the 30s attendees at Mark McEwan’s farmers’ market this weekend will be happy to find that Death in Venice is one of the featured vendors.
Posted 5 days ago
Taste Test: Victor Barry helps pick the best options for pint-sized, plant-based eaters

Taste Test: Victor Barry helps pick the best options for pint-sized, plant-based eaters

We had chef Victor Barry of Piano Piano and the new restaurant Cancan — along with his two daughters, Sofie, age two, (left) and Charlotte, age three — sample the best kid-friendly vegan food from around Toronto.
Posted 7 days ago
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleEdit Module