Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Poutine Penance

This Saturday, the final Sweet Ride of 2012: Poutine Edition will take place.  In the aftermath, cyclists may feel the need to abstain from food for a week.  No need to starve and feel weak on your bike; try the following menu/route to healthier eating and an easy, long ride.
Suggested route: http://goo.gl/maps/ojhWM

Appetizer: Cajun Alligator
The Fish House (7501 Woodbine Avenue)
Alligator is lower in fat and cholesterol than chicken.  It is worth the ride to Markham.

Main: Cheese Burger
Live Food Bar (264 Dupont Street)
The Cheese Burger does not actually contain cheese nor a beef burger, but it is a hot sandwich.  Live features raw, organic food, as well as gluten-free, and sugar-free options, notably gluten-free beer. 

Dessert: Dairy-free Ice Cream
Hibiscus Cafe (238 Augusta Avenue)
A vegan and gluten-free restaurant in the heart of Kensington Market with a reputation for great service.

The route from The Fish House to Live Food Bar involves travelling on a few large, suburban roads. I recommend walking your bikes, or if there are no pedestrians (not unusual in the suburbs), biking on the sidewalk.  Those who are intimidated by the first leg should note that the route is largely downhill, takes place in scenic parkland, and the route from the Live Food Bar to Hibiscus Cafe is super easy.

Friday, September 28, 2012

All Night Long!

Nuit Blanche is happening this weekend, and you'll need a good meal to keep you going all night long.  So, forget the appetizer and dessert; you get three main courses.  Admittedly, the event is not bike friendly due to the crowds, so the aim of this menu/route is to avoid road closures, and hit restaurants that are open 24 hours.  Park your bike when possible, and enjoy the art by foot, because being reamed from behind by a bike while trying to appreciate art is the worst.

Suggested route: http://goo.gl/maps/eU5gM

Main 1: 
King Palace (820 Church Street)
An overwhelming selection of Indian and Pakistani dishes. Portion sizes are equally huge.  Just select whatever catches your eye.

Main 2: 
Xe Lua (254 Spadina Avenue, Second Floor)
A personal favourite of mine for Vietnamese cuisine. The BBQ meats on rice are good, the vermicelli is excellent, and you can't go wrong with the basic rice noodle soup, which is huge and value priced.

Main 3: 
The Lakeview (1132-1134 Dundast Street West)
Serving 24 hour breakfast, you can end your night or begin your morning whenever you please. Brunch also served 9 to 5.

The route is one that will allow you to hit the most densely packed exhibition areas of Nuit Blanche, but feel free to take detours to check out exhibitions off the beaten path.  Please note the road closures that I have marked in red on the map; closed to vehicular traffic means closed to bicycles, too.  

Friday, September 14, 2012

Sausage Party

A route for the men while their female friends are doing the September Toronto Girls' Cupcake Ride that will allow them to meet up at the Brick Works for the Red Bull Mini Drome.  While the women start with sweets, the men will enjoy three courses in reverse order.

Suggested route: http://goo.gl/maps/SfECb

Dessert: Mancakes
For the Love of Cake (171 East Liberty Street, Unit 117)
Cupcakes for men featuring masculine ingredients like beer, whisky, and bacon. However, no one will judge you if you choose the Strawberry Shortcake.

Main: Sausage
WVRST (609 King Street West)
Modelled after a Munich beer hall, WVRST serves manly game meats like wild boar, elk and kangaroo.  The Duck Fat Fries are a must.

Appetizer: Nachos
Hair of the Dog (425 Church Street)
Located in the Toronto capital of manly love, Hair of the Dog purportedly prepares one of the best nachos in the city.

This is mainly a city route with a relaxing ride up the DVP after the final course.  The Mini Drome qualifiers begin at 2:00 pm, main event at 7:30 pm.  See a video of last year's competition here.  I was there and it was riveting. Hope there are more female competitors this year.

Last Toronto Girls' Cupcake Ride of 2012

If you're reading this blog, chances are you enjoy eating and biking. If you're lucky enough to also be female then you will definitely want to check out the last Toronto Girls' Cupcake Ride of 2012 on Saturday, September 22.  This ride will end at the Red Bull Mini Drome, which was pretty exciting when it first came to Toronto in October 2011. Buy extra pastries at the starting point so you have something to munch on as you watch cyclists whips around near-vertical track.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

West to East - Updated!

Like the sun, the usual lingo goes 'East to West', but biking west to east is better if you don't want the sun shining in your eyes.

Suggested route: http://goo.gl/maps/iCLxI

Appetizer: Soup
Soup 'n Such (2285 Dundas Street West)
Lots of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free choices, the soups are made fresh on site, daily.  You will want to fill up here if you object to eating meat, or horse, in particular.
Update: The Potato & Bacon (pictured above) and Vegetable Lentil are highly recommended.

Main: Quack 'n' Track
La Palette (492 Queen Street West)
One of the few restaurants in Toronto to regularly serve horse tenderloin.  Combine horse with duck, and you have the best of both land and sky.  Update: they were both excellent.  La Palette also serves bison, musk-ox, and a meat-free entrée called Le Végétarien.  Please note that the dinner menu is available from 4:00 pm onwards.

Dessert: Pie
The Pie Shack (2305 Queen Street East)
There are currently two locations, but the Beaches branch is open later six days a week.  Fresh, fruit pies or savoury pot pies are available to enjoy on-site, in decor that I would term 'post-modern Canadiana', or to take home.
Update: If they suggest ice cream on the side and a spot of tea, don't turn them down.

The route is a basic tour of the lakeshore.  While biking down Roncesvalles Avenue, enjoy the raised bike lanes, but don't forget to stop for passengers boarding and exiting the streetcar.  The route between Harbourfront Centre and Yonge is surprisingly treacherous considering it is the natural route of recreational cyclists following the Waterfront Trail.  Be sure to stop along Woodbine Beach if you need a breather before dessert.
Update: On one of the wettest days in September, we biked through heavy rain, and were rewarded with a rainbow (picture above) followed by a double rainbow (not pictured; we were too overwhelmed).

Photographs by Joe Sinbandhit.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Seven Course Wheels

This was the inaugural event that my friend and I created to celebrate our birthdays last year.  We chose ease of travel over exclusivity of taste.  Hence, both foodies and seasoned cyclists may take issue with some of our choices.  I will try to provide more scenic routes and independent restaurants in the future.

Suggested route: http://goo.gl/maps/d7TE2

Bread basket
Brick Street Bakery (255 Logan Avenue)
A popular bakery in the east end.  Le Matin (5 Coady Avenue), which had not yet opened during our original ride, is providing stiff competition in the neighbourhood, nowadays.

Le Gourmand (152 Spadina Avenue)
Only a few of us actually had soup, because there were so many delicious choices at Le Gourmand. The fruit salad with yogurt and granola is a personal favourite.

Akram's Shoppe (191 Baldwin Street)
Homemade Middle Eastern food that is highly recommended on the internet.  Unfortunately, it proved so popular that we didn't manage to purchase any food.  There is a lot of choice in Kensington Market, so substitute at will.

Urban Herbivore (64 Oxford Street)
One of the best salads I have ever had. The second location at Eaton Centre had yet to open, at the time of our ride.

First Entrée: Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Cheddar Mashed Potatoes
Thompson Diner (550 Wellington Street West)
By the time we arrived at the Thompson Diner, then known as The Counter, we could barely fit in the ample booths, much less eat the Buttermilk Fried Chicken.  Nevertheless, the crispy chicken went down easy.  One friend had a salad instead, while another made the poor life choice of substituting with the Fat American: bacon and sausage stuffed pancakes topped with a fried egg.  Sadly, it appears that this challenge on a plate is no longer available in the Thompson Diner.

Second Entrée: Fish
Chippy's (893 Queen Street West)
The fish was good, but the chips were even better. Guests waved away the proffered entrée with their bloated fingers before pawing at the irresistible chips.

The Big Chill (566 College Street)
The original final destination was Dutch Dreams (78 Vaughn Road), our favourite, because they care enough about our health to stick fruit on top of generous mounds of ice cream.  But, having endured a summer storm, and finding it hard to move post-binge, we shortened the route, and settled for ice cream at The Big Chill instead.

Biking and munching

Biking and munching - two of my favourite past times.  I have been an avid attendee of the fabulous Toronto Girls' Cupcake Ride and the wonderful Sweet Ride co-organized by Biking Toronto, but didn't feel that eating at the beginning and end of a ride were sufficient.

So, my friends and I organized Seven Course Wheels (details in the next post). In spite of an impractical dress code and a rather short route that did not justify the avalanche of food, we all had a great time.

It seemed a shame that we couldn't share our route and menu with others. I fear leading a pack of strangers to unsuspecting restaurants. So, I will post my suggested itineraries and menus for other hungry cyclists of Toronto here at Prix Fixie.

Bon appetite and bon voyage!