Monday, November 29, 2010

The Brunchcapades: Part Ten

Date: Sunday November 28, 2010

Time: 12:45 pm

Location: Lola’s Commissary, 634 Church Street just south of Bloor

Who is Lola? She was a showgirl at Barry Manilow’s Copacabana, a transvestite that gave The Kinks a hit song, the name of the previous owner of Lola’s Commissary, what the waitress would name a dog, what I would name a daughter and what someone kept calling me in Montreal when they couldn’t remember ‘Rita’.

Lola’s Commissary made Blogto’s list of best new brunch spots for 2009 and after spending a couple of hours there, I can see why.

The space, a renovated and converted Victorian house is spacious, bright and airy; a bit whimsy and a lot fresh.

Lola’s has a bunch of bennies to choose from and it takes everything in my being to not order some pork and hollandaise. Eggs Lola ($12) finds two large poached eggs on two corn tortillas with a smattering of sour cream, a chunk of avocado, a light green salsa verde and ancho chilli braised chicken. It’s tangy, smoky and spicy all at the same time. The cream cools the mouth and then the salsa wakes it up again.

There is a choice between a side salad, frites or sexy potatoes. The sexy potatoes are just mixed home fries; sweet and regular. That doesn’t seem sexy to me so frites it is. They are house cut, skinny and crispy like McDonald’s fries but not as good.

There is a daily scramble that they call ‘The Kitchen Sink’ ($9) and on this day it takes eggs and messes them up with spinach, cheddar, mushrooms, chorizo, onions and tomato. Every other plate that whizzes by is the scramble. It’s comforting, colourful and really who doesn’t like chorizo?

The coffee is good. The mimosas with freshly squeezed OJ are even better. The service is friendly and flawless.

Add another Lola to the list; she is also a nice place to brunch.

Friday, November 12, 2010

L'Unita, 134 Avenue Road

The room has a warm sexiness thanks to exposed brick, mirrors and the soft glow of candle light.

Northern woods mushrooms ($7) squirt juicy browned butter into your mouth as you bite down on the earthy morsels. Ricotta salata adds a bit of lusciousness and chives a bit of spike.

Butternut squash risotto is rolled into arancini ($7) and stuffed with mozzarella and guanciale. The guanciale escapes me but I'm not bothered, I'm too busy getting intoxicated off of the truffle honey that has been splashed on the rice balls. They serve three but I could eat thirteen.

Brown butter makes a second appearance; this time with bits of fried sage and duck liver tortelli ($26). The tortelli are little bundles of creamy, rich liver mousse. L'Unita changes their menu to reflect the season and nothing says autumn better than this dish.

Nothing new with rocket on a pizza but twisting it to include lamb sausage ($16) over prosciutto is a nice idea. The crust is thin and the sauce competent.

Fries aren't exactly Italian but L'Unita has the crispiest fries ($7) in the city and so I'm letting it slide.

Unlike the fries, the cannoli are right at home. Smooth mascarpone cheese is highlighted with orange and stuffed into a crunchy but not too crunchy pastry.

Add an espresso and I am one happy girl.