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Favourite Places in Toronto – Kensington Edition I

Kensington is my favourite place in Toronto and deserves it’s own series of posts

1. Blue Banana

My friends had been talking about this place for weeks, so I went with them this week to see what all the hype was about! This is a huge unique, crafty gift-ish store that sells many neat little collectible items. From hand-painted teapots to unique looking beer mugs, they sell something for everyone. My personal favourite item is the oldschool little coke bottles! They also sell cute little buttons, each one with a subway stop name on it. Adorable. If you’re ever stuck on what to get someone as a gift, Blue Banana will have something they love, I promise!

2. Hot Box Cafe

A cafe you can go to to light up? I’m down. The Hot Box promotes and allows smoking weed, but strictly enforces their “BYOP” – Bring Your Own Pot – policy. They have a 1-hour seating limit, and rent out pipes and bongs to customers, as long as they purchase something off the menu that is at least $4.20. The atmosphere is mostly relaxed – I mean, you’re smoking pot and drinking latte’s for heavens sake – but you do have to keep in mind you’re smoking at your own risk and police keep a close watch on such activities – the cafe is allowed to do what it does as long as the owner/staff doesn’t partake in illegal activities on site. You also have to be 18, understandably. I totally recommend it though, it’s a good place to let loose after a day of shopping in Kensington

3. Good Egg

I never even knew that this little store existed until yesterday. It’s mostly a kitchen store, with tons of adorable little cook books and kitchen appliances. Not just your typical, boring kitchen appliances but decorative egg holders and silicone whisks! I don’t know about you, but that kind of stuff really excites me. They have tons of books as well and not just cook books. From travel books to art books and even cannabis culture books I’m sure there will be something that’s right up your alley. It has an intimate little boutique-y feel to it which makes shopping there a really pleasurable, personal experience.

4. Krepesz

A lovely little crepe restaurant. My friends and I discovered it one day after shopping when we were all desperate for food of any sort, and I really needed to pee. The interior is really modern and nice, even the bathrooms were a lovely experience. I actually didn’t order anything at the time but I’ll definitely go back to do so, all my friends either got crepes or fruit which looked extremely fresh and delicious. This is definitely a unique restaurant that I’m so happy to have stumbled upon by chance.

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Favourite Places in Toronto – Part 1

I love discovering amazing little parts of Toronto.

1. Honest Ed’s – Bay and Bathurst

This is probably the biggest bargain store I’ve ever seen. Actually, it’s probably the biggest store I’ve ever seen, period. I could spend hours going through everything at Honest Ed’s, not including the other hour I get lost throughout the many different levels, sections and walkways throughout the store. Honest Ed’s sells probably everything you could ever think of. You know when you need something, and think “where the heck would I buy a _____ ?” Honest Ed’s will have it … for a cheap price. From clothes to appliances to groceries, they have everything, and in lots of varieties too. I could honestly spend a whole day in there. The lights, recognizable logo and exterior colours are a bonus.

2. Frans – College St. or Victoria St.

My first time going to Frans was my first week in Toronto, I met up with a friend from Oakville there and I ordered a milkshake. The milkshake so good that I went back the next week for onion rings. The onion rings so good that since then, Frans has become almost a weekly occurence. It’s open 24 hours, so typically after a night out or even a night in, my friends and I head to Frans for some delicious late night food. I’ve only ever been to the one on College Street where the interior is like a fifties diner – red seats, checkered floor, flashing lights outside and all which makes for a fun environment. Frans is known for their all day/all night breakfast food, while they also serve lunch/dinner foods like sandwhiches and burgers. My personal favourite is their sweet potato fries!

 

3. Bulldog cafe – Granby St.

Even though Bulldog is about two blocks north of my residence which I moved to in August, I only heard about in October, and I’ve actually only ordered from it once; this past weekend. But it was so delicious and satisfying I know I’ll start going regularly, so it made the list. It’s just that good. For one of my journalism classes, I had an assignment where I had to interview candidates running for ward councilor. One of the candidates I interviewed, Ben Bergen, suggested we meet there. As I was sitting at a table outside waiting for Ben, the people sitting at the table next to me struck up conversation with me and mentioned that they’re regulars at Bulldog and on a first name basis with the owner. They mentioned that it’s “the best coffee in Toronto.” So this past weekend as I was coming back from some morning Christmas shopping, the need for coffee suddenly struck me. I was about a block away from Granby at the time and remembered Bulldog. I decided to go, and after some confusion about the menu, the friendly staff suggested I try a latte for my first Bulldog experience. I’m never going to Starbucks again.

4. Mod Club – College Street (really far west of Yonge)

This is another place I’ve only been once but I loved it. A friend of a friend is a singer in an indie band that performed here one night, and what a night it was. Mod club is not your typical club, at least the night I went it brought out a really great crowd. It’s a club that also serves as a little intimate concert venue.  There’s non of that fake-tanned-fake-blonde-boobs-hanging-out shenanigans you’d see at your typical club. (Okay that’s a lie – we did see a boob that night. A full boob. Out of a dress.) No one seemed to think they were hot shit, everyone seemed friendly and approachable. No one at Mod club seemed to be there to show too much skin or to mack with someone all night. Everyone was just there to have a good time whether it be dancing, casually drinking and chatting or enjoying the live music, which is definitely my type of crowd. It was a really good club experience for me and I’ll definitely be going back.

5. Tequila Sunrise – Adelaide and Simcoe

I ended up at this Mexican restaurant after after the journalism formal in October with some friends. I was kind of tipsy and very confused about where we were going and what to expect but it ended up being a lot of fun. I’ve only been on Thursdays, so I don’t know what goes down the rest of the week, but I do know there is kareoke on Thursday nights which is right up my alley. I have yet to actually take part in it – I think I’d need to be a little more liquored up – but the people here always seem to be really in to it and probably wouldn’t care if I made their ears bleed anyways. Even just watching people go up there and belt out classics, regardless of what people think of them is entertaining enough! They have an open bar, a very friendly/happy atmosphere and seem to draw in a really fun, outgoing crowd.Definitely go with a big group of friends … when it comes to kareoke, the more the merrier!

 

My list will continue as I remember/discover new places