There are too many brunch places in Toronto to label one as a favourite. When it comes to early morning fried chicken and waffles though, I haven’t had any better than The Stockyards’.
If you follow the blog, you already know how excited I am that Jollibee has named St.Clair West as the location for their first Toronto outpost. The overlooked stretch of streetcar lover’s lane has harboured old gems (Albert’s Real Jamaican, Dutch Dreams) and welcomed newer tenants like Gourmet Gringos and Starving Artist more recently. Sandwiched between is the still newish Stockyards Smokehouse and Larder. Stockyards isn’t exempt from the peak-brunch line experience, but it’s one made entertaining by chatty staff and a full view of their bustling diner-style kitchen. What better way to decide on an order than while watching them pump out a menu’s worth of Carolinian breakfast food (though the waffles are Belgian) before you even sit down. After several visits, the star of the show remains the fried chicken, but I’ll just point out that their house-smoked thick cut is the best I’ve had next to Benton’s from Tennessee. What we ate:
- Fried Chicken & Waffles w/ chili maple molasses citrus glaze
- Griddle Cakes w/ whipped citrus butter, maple syrup, and bacon
- The Stockyard (deep-fried poached egg, bacon and cheddar on a biscuit)
Since March, they’ve announced the fried chicken will now be served daily :)
The Stockyards: Smokehouse and Larder
699 St Clair Ave. W. | Website
Previously: Aunties & Uncles, Bristol Yard, Lady Marmalade, Rose and Sons
Ever since seeing David Chang make one on Mind of a Chef, this Salt Cod omelette has been one of my favourite things to make (and eat). It’s so easy to prepare, with ingredients so simple and affordable that we now keep a slab of dried salt cod in our fridge exclusively for the dish. In Toronto, dried salt cod is available at pretty much any Chinese, Caribbean (as “saltfish”), or Portuguese (as “bacalhau”) market – you can take your pick, the preparation is the same. In case you’ve never bought salt cod, thicker pieces are choice since thinner portions tend to be over-salted and lack meaty flavour. Don’t be intimidated by the bone-in skin-on cuts either, both are easy to remove. This recipe is “adapted” simply because I didn’t have parsley at the time:
- Dry salted cod (palm sized portion)
- 4 Eggs
- Onion (1 half)
- Chopped fresh chives (much better with fresh parsley)
- Olive oil
- Ground black pepper
Preparation: Salt cod needs to be pre-soaked overnight, cooking time is 15 minutes.
Step 1 Salt cod arrives in the form of dehydrated fish jerky preserved in a layer of salt, it requires reconstituting before cooking. Cut out a portion (the rest can be refrigerated or stored in any dry place practically forever) and rinse away as much salt off the fish as you can under some cold water. Then submerge it in clean water overnight, for at least eight hours, at room temperature – repeated rinsing and changing the water to remove more salt if desired. Be careful of pointed fish bones and fins when handling.
Step 2 Drain the softened salt cod and pat dry with a towel. Peel away all skin and rinse off any scales that are removed in the process. Debone the fish by hand and break the meat it into small bite-sized chunks. Squeeze out any excess water from the chunks of cod and place them in a bowl. Add a bit of milk and allow it to absorb.
Step 3 Thinly slice half an onion and caramelize with olive oil over medium heat. Remove caramelized onions from the skillet. Add more olive oil to the hot skillet and pour in your beaten eggs. When the eggs begin to solidify add on the caramelized onions and salt cod, making sure to spread them out across the omelette. Sprinkle finely chopped chives over everything as the omelette finishes cooking.
Aaand you’re done! Plate and serve topped with ground black pepper and a few drops of olive oil. If you aren’t confident in your omelette making skills here’s jamie oliver showing you how to do it.
Checking in on an old favourite within a sprawling roster of breakfast outlets – Rose and Sons in the Annex:
Rose and Sons has been a darling in the brunch circuit since opening back in 2012 – that circuit has grown considerably since, but judging by the lines, Rose hasn’t lost its foothold in the boom of haute-comfort spots.
If you prefer a lighter brunch fare, Rose might not be for you. No concessions found for the diet-conscious on a menu consisting of up-done diner foods and a focus on the meatier plates. The portions are compact in size but the richness of everything put us into an early afternoon lull. The tidy side streets of Dupont made for a nice walk along the foot of Casa Loma to stave off some calories, perfect way to cap off an indulgent brunch. What we ate:
- bread pudding topped with wild blueberries and bacon
- fried chicken on “sexy” grits and poached egg
- griddled brie cornbread topped with brisket, fried egg, maple syrup, chili sauce
Once it warms up, we’ll be back to try Big Crow, their more recent backyard BBQ addition.
The signage shot was from my Olympus XA. Instagram credit to Thisis_Angelo for the food shots on the grid above.
Rose & Sons
176 Dupont St. | Website
Previously: Aunties & Uncles, Bristol Yard, Lady Marmalade
Next Toronto Brunch Club: The Stockyards