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Friday, August 13, 2010

Hoof Cafe :: Charcuterie Brunch Love































Outside, seating area, bar


What better way to start the week than Sunday Brunch with a friend? After a fantastic
dinner at Black Hoof, I had to try Hoof Cafe. Open for brunch as well as late night cocktails with bar snacks, Hoof Cafe sits just across the street from the Black Hoof.

Hoof Cafe
Verdict:  Go! Run there! NOW! Best meal yet...
Meal: Brunch
Price: $20-$30 + tax & tip
Location: 923 Dundas Street West, Toronto


Before I start, I must say with complete honesty that this was the best meal that I've had in Toronto. Everything was ridiculously delicious and well-presented with fabulous service. I went with a girl friend, and we both thought the savoury & sweet meal was fantastic.

My friend and I happily feasted three mains and an appetizer. That's not to say that the portion sizes aren't generous - because they are! It was just that good. Instead of picking two out of three entrees that we really wanted, we just tacked on another plate. You gotta make the visit count, right?

After hitting the Night Market on Friday, Taste of Danforth on Saturday, and Hoof Cafe on Sunday, I'm going to call this my Weekend of Gastronomic Delight. I've never been so satisfied. Everyone needs a weekend of bliss, where total restraint is thrown out the window. Mine just happen to involve delicious, delicious, food. And what better way to cap off a wonderful weekend than a slice of pizza in Little Italy? But that's another post for another day.
Excited to Hoof-it-up, I got there a bit early and was surprised to find a line quickly gather behind me. Luckily, I was relaxing on the bench & enjoying the Sunday morning otherwise I wouldn't have gotten a table (not that the bar would've been bad). By 9:45AM, quite a few fellow brunchers were eagerly peering through the window in anticipation of the 10AM opening time.
Mouth-watering menu
The cafe itself is quite small, so go early if you want to avoid a wait or would prefer a seat by the window. Similarly, I arrived at Black Hoof right when they opened at 6PM, and just managed to grab a table. I wouldn't mind sitting at the bar though, they have fantastic cocktails and the service is jovial and chatty. However, for a group of more than 3 people a table is clearly better.
 
Bone Marrow Strawberry Beignets
Winning Combination: Cinnamon, Sugar, Bone Marrow, Strawberries & Long Peppers


These delicious little bone marrow pastries are coated in sugar and cinnamon. Enriched with bone marrow, the fritter dough was oh-so-tasty. The donuts were hot, fresh, and filled with a sweet strawberry and long pepper jelly. Deep fried bits of joy, these were the perfect size and a tasty $5 appetizer. More please!

There were two other starters are currently available for $5; a pastry filled with bacon as well as ribs in a beer sauce. While curious about the others, these donuts were a winning choice. Well...honestly based on the entire meal, I'm convinced that anything would be a solid option!

Beef Tongue Grilled Cheese


How many tongues does it take to fill a Hoof Cafe sandwich?
Friends were always surprised to hear that I've never had a grilled cheese sandwich before. I've simply never had the urge to order it from anywhere. Until Hoof Cafe. When I spotted this on the menu, succulent memories of Beef Tongue on Brioche from Black Hoof wafted through my mind. Slathered and fried, the buttery bread had toasty grill marks and neatly sandwiched an extremely tender and generous portion of beef tongue. I needed to erase the disaster that was Friday's T&T's rubbery beef tongue from my mind and this just blew it away. Hello satisfaction.

Packed with comforting flavour, every bite made me stop to savour the combination of Provolone, Brie, crispy-buttery bread, and amazing thinly-shaved beef tongue. The little piggy-skewer with 4 pickles was a nice touch, similar to Black Hoof's Beef Tongue on Brioche Sandwich. Between the two, I'd say that this was better...but trust me...they are both delicious. Not bad for my first grilled cheese sandwich!
Spiced Provolone & Brie: Creamy & Delicious

Suckling Pig Eggs Benny

Perfectly runny egg yolks, light Hollandaise sauce over pickled jalapeƱo
The Eggs Benny was perfectly poached. Warm yolk slowly oozed out when pierced with a fork, and every bite was covered in heavenly Hollandaise sauce. The sauce wasn't too rich, and did not mask the wonderful porky flavour on top of the fresh biscuit. The suckling pig had a barbecue flavour, and reminded me of very tender pulled pork without the sauce. The arugula had a lemony zip and the dish was surrounded by pork rinds. I could be wrong, but the rinds tasted like they were made a bit earlier as they were a bit soft rather than hot and crispy. They were spiced with barbecue powder. While a nice touch, I didn't care so much for them.

I recently told a friend that my next food-hunt would be for Toronto's best Eggs Benedict. However, I'm pretty sure that now I've tasted this, there is no need. Even without the suckling pig, this eclipses all other Eggs Benny dishes I've ever had. [Click to Compare]

Brioche French Toast with Foie Gras
 O-M-G.

I could easily leave the description as that, because that is all that was running through my mind when we received it, while I was eating it, and after it was done.

The Brioche French Toast was perfect - the thick French bread was perfectly battered & fried, covered in sweet-syrupy goodness, roasted macadamia nuts, a dollop of creme fraiche, and bright red strawberries. Oh, and quite possibly the largest serving of Foie Gras that I've ever seen in my life.

Words can't describe how great I thought it was - sweet syrup, hot fresh brioche, seared Foie Gras, macadamia nuts, creme fraiche, and fruit. How could this not be amazing?! Now I want every restaurant to start making French Toast with brioche. Like the Eggs Benny, this wins the C&T prize for Toronto's Best French Toast. Sorry Kalendar, but your banana & mango stuffed French toast was just trumped BIG TIME.  [Click to Compare]

A $26 plate French Toast might sound quite steep (it's $12 for the French Toast and $14 for the Foie Gras) but I definitely think that it's worth a try at least once. Go with a few friends and split it if you need to...

The Foie Gras was as thick as the bread! So curious as to what their stock looks like pre-sliced...



I so badly wanted to take a picture (and gorge) on the Waffles, Bananas and Bacon dish that many other patrons were enjoying. Chocolate chip waffles with caramelized banana, roasted banana ice cream, and pork belly?! It looked so delicious, but I didn't feel comfortable interrupting someone's brunch for a picture ("Hi, excuse me do you mind hungrily waiting for a sec? I'll risk you impatiently forking my eye out while I snap a photo. Thanks!").

I guess this just means that I'm forced to return to try it myself for the sake of this blog. Sigh, such hardships. I also really want to try the Smoked Pigs Head, Pig Tails & Grits, and the porky pastry appetizer.

Piping hot, these quickly disappeared...into our bellies
Everything about the the meal was great. From the upbeat and friendly service to the colours and presentation of each plate.

The waiter was mighty impressed that two girls polished off three entrees and an appetizer. Frankly, I'm impressed that my heart hasn't stopped from a combination of meat-overload and excitement from this weekend. I left Hoof Cafe very happy and satisfied and I can't wait to go back. Stay tuned. Or better yet, join me.

Hoof Cafe
Verdict:  Go! Run there! NOW! Best meal yet...
Meal: Brunch
Price: $20-$30 + tax & tip
Location: 923 Dundas Street West, Toronto






Coming soon...
Black Hoof, Round 1 of 2
Verdict: Go! Outstanding quality, service,& food.
Meal: Dinner
Price: $40-$50 + tax & tip
Location: 928 Dundas Street West, Toronto
Website: http://charcuteriesundays.blogspot.com/




and...
Black Hoof, Round 2 of 2
Verdict: Go, but stick with the menu. Special was awful.
Meal: Dinner

Price: $40-$50 + tax & tip
Location: 928 Dundas Street West, Toronto
Website: http://charcuteriesundays.blogspot.com/





Hoof Cafe on Urbanspoon

5 comments:

Chris (tinytines.com) said...

HOLY CRAP!! I MUST'VE BEEN LIVING UNDER A ROCK! HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS BLOG???!
AND WHY AM I YELLING?

Sorry, I couldn't contain my excitement! This blog is all kinds of spectacular, Erin. From one foodie to another, I give you standing ovation. Your pictures and words are transcending. I feel this strange satisfaction from reading your stuff.. as if I consumed the goods that you've documented.

AND DUDE, MUST TRY HOOF FACE AS SOON AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE!! Ahhh I adore you so, Erin.

Signed,
Your biggest fan

arodericks said...

For some other eggcellent Eggs Benny options - http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/restaurants/article/838878--benediction-for-eggs

Enjoy!

And that brioche/french toast/ foie gras looks to die for. OMG indeed.

Erin said...

Aww thanks Chris :) You made me blush!! GO TO HOOF!! I hope you love it as much as I did! Your blog is superfun, love the cute pics!

Ohh man...roasted portabello mushroom caps? Duck eggs? Those both sound like all kinds of awesome. Must go on an Eggs Benny hunt. I have an upcoming Insomnia brunch too, can't wait! I love breakfast food!

Me ... said...

Omg I am addicted ... I can't stop reading your posts ...
not a good idea when I am trying my best to shed those few extra pounds before the wedding ...
but I am living through your posts !!!

arodericks said...

For some other eggcellent Eggs Benny options - http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/restaurants/article/838878--benediction-for-eggs

Enjoy!

And that brioche/french toast/ foie gras looks to die for. OMG indeed.

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