Since we’re almost upon another weekend, I guess I should write about a couple new-to-me places that I checked out last Saturday, my first Saturday back in Canada after being away on vacation for a couple weeks.
The first place we visited (well, the first place after my friends’ house), was The Gaslight, a new-ish bar found at Bloor W. and Symington. Located in the spot formally occupied by Zocalo, this place is the definition of cozy. There’s lots of wood, some Edison bulbs and you’ll-meet-your-neighbours seating (though I don’t believe there are any actual gaslights). I went there with four people at 9pm and amazingly, there was one table left, intended for four people. I feel that we only lucked out because it was -20 outside.
The Gaslight is very much a bar though it does have a small list of food available. We didn’t have any but the chips and dips plate that our neighbours had looked pretty good and ideal for sharing.
We did partake in some alcoholic beverages. The boys opted for beer, a number of Ontario craft beers are available on tap, while I ordered my favourite, a bourbon sour and my friend went for the daily cocktail special, which happened to be a hot apple cider when we there. My egg-free sour was adequate, better than most I’ve had but not the best. The cider was…interesting. It was surprising sweet and was one of those drinks that you’re going to sip slowly. It wasn’t bad but after one, you didn’t need another. Both it and my drink were $10 each, which was a nice surprise.
The Gaslight definitely feels like it could be some people’s local, a trait that I find can sometimes lead to less-than-great service if you’re not a regular. Thankfully that wasn’t the case at The Gaslight. Our waiter was friendly and attentive without being hover-y and we always felt welcomed.
Adding to the great atmosphere was the music. It was at that perfect volume level that let you hear it but still let you have a conversation. Everything we heard was indie rock/pop/dance and was stuff I would listen to at home, like Miike Snow, the Chromatics and yes, Arcade Fire. It’s too bad that this place wasn’t just a little bit bigger so that it could have a dance floor.
Our night ended at Junked, which recently opened next to the 7-11 at Dundas and Dovercourt. Not to be confused with Junk, a yet-to-be-opened restaurant currently in the works from Matt Blondin and The Food Dudes, Junked is all about showing “…Toronto fun inventive dishes Junked style.”
And what are those dishes? They’re junk food, and I mean legit junk food like pizza, waffles and Doritos made, well, junkier. There’s a whole section called Grilled Chz Doughnuts, which takes a “grilled crisp sugar doughnut,” slices it in half and fills it with cheese and other goodies. I went with the Crispy Goo, which I guess is the equivalent of a classic Grilled Chz Doughnut as it only has cheddar cheese on it (other options include bacon, crushed Doritos, Dr Pepper pulled pork, Jolly Rancher BBQ sauce, you get the idea). The sweetness of the doughnut combined with the sharpness and cheesiness of the cheese was weird, there’s no denying that, but it was also pretty tasty. especially when the dipped into the perfectly tangy Kentucky ketchup, which accompanied the dish.
My Husband picked the Tots Poutine from the Junked Tots section of the menu. “Daily handmade crispy tater tots packed with hot melty cheddar cheese” are “…loaded with cheese and gravy” in this poutine knock-off. The cheese and gravy portion was great but neither Husband nor I were crazy about the actual tater tots. That’s not to say that we didn’t finish it, we totally did, but I wouldn’t order it again.
Opened from 4pm-11pm Tuesday-Thursday and 4pm-4am Fridays and Saturdays, Junked knows its market: late night drunks. But I think that come summer it’s going to have quite a few people after its C-Cups, which are “icing layered with cake and topped with candy,” and come in a variety of candy flavours. As it was -20 outside, I didn’t get one this time but I definitely be devouring one come the first sunny day.
Then maybe I’ll get the White Chocolate Wack Mac that comes with smoked brie, the rustic tomato basil soup and the Legit Pizza Pie, a deep dish pizza that comes with “a pull away dessert filled crust.” Yeah, I’ll definitely be back at Junked.
Portion sizes are a bit small though that’s probably for the best. And to be fair, prices are low, especially considering the high novelty factor.
There is minimal seating in this small space though there are a few stand-up tables if you can’t wait until you get home to eat your Smore Hot Waffle. The décor is bright, colourful and encourages you to post about Junked and its food on social media. Though really, with food like the Smash Bag, which is “a bag mixed w/ your favourite Doritos flavours, filled with tomato, onion, lettuce, sour cream, chilli sauce, shredded cheddar and jalepeno,” do you really need any encouragement?