January 13, 2011

{Travel} A "His and Hers" Afternoon in Toronto

My husband and I love to share new dining experiences together, but there are plenty of times when we differ on where to go and what to do. (Remember our afternoon in Chicago?)  When we were in Toronto, we agreed to disagree and each dragged the other to a place (or two) of his or her choice.  So if you're like him, you'll enjoy this account of the fine craft beers he enjoyed. But if you've got a sweet tooth like me, you'll definitely indulge in the desserts I found.

The first stop was Bar Volo, one of the few bars in the Toronto area that serves craft and cask beers.  Bar Volo also hosts craft beer festivals and special brewery nights throughout the year.  My husband started off with the Saison 7 from Quebec's Hopfenstark Brewery, a citrusy, slightly sweet and easy drinking farmhouse style beer.  He also had a pour pint of the Duggan's Brewing Porter, which was slightly creamy and chocolaty with a hint of roasted coffee bitterness.  It's a smooth Winter sipper.  Bar Volo overall had one of the better draft and bottle selections he has seen in Ontario, including some hard to find beers from B.C. and even Saskatchewan. 
My choice was the nicely decorated chocoholic destination MoRoCo.
At the back of the brightly-lit storefront is a large, ornate lounge space.  It evoked a "ladies who lunch" atmosphere - which was also reflected in the pricey menu.  
Cappuccino (C$7) served with a macaron
I wished my server gave me the option to choose the flavor of macaron (He gave me the lavender cassis one - which I noticed might have been the unpopular one as it was the only flavor that was in abundance in the store).  I prefer macarons with a rich, creamy filling, so I wasn't overwhelmed by this one with a sweet jammy filling. 
I liked the presentation of this beautiful chocolate sculpture with caramel flan, sorbet, and warm molten chocolate cake (C$18). The caramel was luxurious (as expected when you're eating gold!) and the cake had a nice soft center.  The sorbet was refreshing at first, but when it melted on my tongue, it was quite gritty.    
We ended our afternoon at our favorite beer spot in Toronto:  beer bistro.   We started off with a beer tasting flight (like we often do here including samples from Unibroue, Black Oak and Urthel), the smooth St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout and crunchy Belgian frites (C$6) fried in duck and beef fat and served with a smoked ketchup and house-made mayo.  (Truthfully, the fries were mainly for me - other than sweets, they're my other vice!)
The surprise of the visit was finding a big bottle of the the Cantillon Zwanze 2009 (C$32) - a Belgian lambic that's usually expensive and hard-to-find in the U.S.  We knew that beer bistro is known for having one of the best imported and vintage beer selections in Toronto but this was truly a nice surprise.  The floral, almost wine-lie Zwanze is brewed with elderflower and is nicely carbonated with a slight sourness.  It's a very balanced beer and would be a fantastic pairing with most meals. 

Overall, we had a lovely afternoon. Sometimes it works to agree to disagree.

Bar Volo on Urbanspoon MoRoCo on Urbanspoon

Beerbistro on Urbanspoon

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