Did you know that in the past it took 35 gallons of sap to produce one gallon of maple syrup or several pounds of maple sugar?
The production usually starts about mid-March. Cold nights and warm days cause flow of the sap in the trees. Maple syrup is less caloric than honey and contains no preservatives, so as a natural sweetener it is added to every breakfast. For me the best combination is with bacon and pancakes however I have tried also green tea with maple sugar (I did not feel it in a taste tough) and maple cream chocolate bar. And I can really say I am in love with maple syrup, it really is better than honey.
As I have already talked about maple syrup I need to mention pancakes as they taste the best with it. Canadian breakfast is full of ingredients, sometimes it looks like a sister of full English breakfast. Bacon, eggs and potato are necessary and toast is accompanied with nothing different but pancakes. This kind of morning meal is very filling and maybe this is a reason I loved it so much. I also tried Blueberry Fields in Cora (breakfast restaurant, Toronto) but it was more like a dessert, I was really missing bacon. It is funny how I have never been a fan of it and now all I can think about in the morning is bacon! I feel like Canada has left huge impact on me, maybe even marked me, so I can come back once again.
But Canada is not only about maple syrup. It has way more to offer for food lovers and it was pleasure to eat every day in a different place. I like to think that we do not eat to live but live to eat and I love going out to restaurants. Fresh air and very clean environment was very helpful, I swear I was hungry every 2 hours which does not happen to me when I work. Canada was good to me all the time, treating me with nice weather and food. So if you happen to be in this country, there is a list of things you should check out.
I am not a big fan of burgers, it is really hard to find a good place. However North America is a mother of burgers and Toronto is too close to US so I could not resist for a long time. Actually I did not have to wait long because this was my first meal in Canada. I was looking for breakfast place but got bored after 30 minutes and my friend suggested Jackson’s which was the first place that got our attention. I liked the way they create burgers to be similar to other national tastes, so you can get Canadian, Italian, Greek, Mexican or even Polish style burger. Fresh ingredients, the best free range beef and perfectly matched proportions – delicious! I visited this place more than once and trust me it is like heaven in your mouth. But burgers are not the only famous meal you can find in Canada. Hot dogs are so American, in New York even in financial district you may find people in very expensive suits eating hot-dogs from a food truck. This habbit can be seen in Toronto and Montreal as well, however the best hot-dogs were in that second one just outside a corner of Parliament. $2.5 for a hot-dog garnished with pickles, onion&mustard? I cannot complain 😉 It was perfect for a small bite!
Although PIZZA is an Italian dish I have to say that those pizzas I have tried in USA or Canada are better. Boston Pizza is Canada’s no.1 casual dining brand and they really deserve it. Not only have they got delicious&fresh food but have outstanding service and I am not only talking about those handsome waiters I have met 😉 What is really important for me, contrary to European concepts, they serve food till they are open. They have never disappointed me, I was looking for this place for like 40 minutes in Toronto trying to navigate with google maps (because someone forgot to check it on the map before and I will not be that bad to post a name :P) just to find it on the next avenue and the prize for getting there was awesome Loaded Baked Potato Pizza. They also have a lot of Mexican styled dishes, worth to try.
Speaking about pizza I need to say I do love the way they serve food in Canada. Just look at this slice of pizza, it would look boring on a plate, but served on a basket with breakfast paper it looks yummy and encourage to eat. (P.S. this pizza is not from BP )
And if you are looking for something sweet and warm, definitely make an effort to visit BeaverTails for hot pastry with sweet syrups, chocolate or any other topping.
Canada is a multinational country, anyone can feel like at home bringing along own habits or food customs. China Town is in every city in Canada and it is worth to pay a visit to those districts. However since I was disappointed too many times with Chinese food I never eat there. But Asia is not only about China and I have not been to Asia for two years already so I did not hesitate to look for Thai and Vietnamese food in Toronto. The best one I found was in Thai Express (chain restaurants in Canada) and a restaurant in CN Tower on the observation deck. Admiring view over the city I treated myself with steamed Asian dumplings with green onion and ginger relish.
Enoough about junk food or asian one. Let’s talk about Canadian cuisine. Poutine is a very famous dish in Quebec province. French fries are topped up with goat cheese and barbecue sauce. I was told the best one ever I can find are served in LaBanquise in Montreal. There is a line every day and people actually have to wait around 1 hour to be seated. I was not an exception and waited too. Was it worth? I guess the portion we were served contained like 1500 calories, I could not move after and I have not finished all but something that surprised me is the fact Canadians love to eat it before or after party. Ok, I can agree to the after party hunger but before? If I had poutine before party I guarantee I would not have reached a club 😛 Did I like it? Well, poutine has some taste but I think I really prefer crispy fries with ketchup. LaBanquise is famous because they use fresh potatoes whereas other places (including food trucks) use frozen fries. And if so, then I do not feel like trying those from the street 😛 I will not post a photo here as the dish itself is not very photogenic 😉 But if you insist, you may find it on my Instagram. But bad taste must be replaced by a better one and here is a place to talk about smoked meat, which is also popular in Canada. I left this nearly at the end because now you may see how much I love food. I will not lie if I say I went to Quebec City mainly with aim to go to Phil’s Meat, a place with the best smoked meat as in the night before the journey I searched Internet looking for a good place to eat. Smoked meat is very similar to polish taste which could be the reason why did I love it so much. However I also enjoyed a service. Owner is a ceo, cook and waiter at the same time! There is a great atmposphere inside, so you can feel like at home and it does help when you can talk with owner about food and beer, besides Okanagan Spring was the best beer I have tried in Canada.
I was studying marketing so I always like to pay attention to business concept of restaurants I visit and for me it does matter if someone treats you as a human or a customer with money. Phil definitely passed this exam, service and quality was excellent so all I can do is wish him good luck because he follows a good path.
After all of those pictures you might be hungry but I have a different question for you. Would you like a beer? My answer would be yes. Tasting local beers is always fun and they really accomplish food so I have to mention that my favorite was Okanagan Spring and Molson Dry. But I did try more of them 😉