Barista Magazine

OCT-NOV 2018

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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quality coffee with incredible bar culture. Founded in 2014 by Alex Castellani, Joe Papik, Chris Ioannou, and John Baker on the premise of paying attention to taste while constructing dishes and beverages to their ultimate fi nest, Boxcar Social's focus is to show- case the world's best coffee roasters, winemakers, craft breweries, and whiskey distillers. Debating which of their four locations I should try first, I final- ly selected the Harbourfront site so I could take in some amazing views, as well. Lunch offerings include sandwiches and salads and lots of beverages. There is also a dinner menu and light bites. Alex Castellani oversees the curated coffees with Edward Anderson, and the rotating coffee menu includes such superstars as New York City's Parlor Coffee, George Howell out of Boston, Berlin's The Barn, and Copenhagen's April Coffee Roasters, to name just a few. Here's my takeaway advice: Drink anything. Boxcar does a great job with every selection. I came back that night for a cocktail and to "assess" Boxcar's range. I had a fresh drink with gin and basil. It was so nice, I had it twice. On the advice of barista Rose Trinh, I headed for Little Pebbles on a morning stroll down Baldwin Avenue through Kensington Market. Little Pebbles is owned by Chang Baek and Dada Ahn, a warm couple who is serious about craft. They make all their own Japanese desserts from scratch with a French infl uence. They use traditional ingredients shipped in from Japan like premium shade- grown matcha powder and Johakuto sugar, and, for their coffee, Little Pebbles serves De Mello Palheta. I thoroughly enjoyed a fl at white and a fresh fruit daifuku mo- chi—the best I have ever eaten (and I have tried quite a few in my travels through Japan and South Korea). My mochi had red-bean paste and fresh strawberry. Other treats include yuzu cheesecake, matcha tiramisu, and chocolate milk tea panna cotta. A stop at Little Pebbles is a serious must during a Toronto visit. Another can't-miss spot is Rustle & Still located in Koreatown, which pays tribute to its Vietnamese heritage. Owners Tri Ngo and his wife, Hang Vu, source high-quality Arabica from the cen- tral highlands of Vietnam, which they have roasted by Toronto powerhouse Hatch Coffee, owned by Alfonso Tupaz. Try Rustle & Still's Vietnamese ice coffee and banh mi sandwiches. Their side dishes like fresh slaw with various twists and flan are exception- al, as well. Arvo Coffee is an Australian-style multiroaster shop located in the Distillery District. The café features exposed brick and great coffee from Phil + Sebastian and Transcend. Guest roasters have included Melbourne, Australia–based Code Black and girl-powered Newcastle-based Floozy Coffee. Owned by Kristy Mujana (aka Kmac) and Priscilla Fisher (aka Cill), Floozy is popular with To- ronto cafés: Its brand of female empowerment and social outreach are inspiring, especially when paired with the company's signature delectable roasts. Can't make the trek to Toronto? Then check out www.theroast- erspack.com, a Canadian subscription-based coffee program that allows you to sample many a fi ne northern roaster and is shipped directly to your Kalita Wave. For a visual feast of Toronto's coffee scene, I recommend following Ashley Tomlinson's Instagram feed @thelittleblackcoffeecup. I spent fi ve days in Toronto walking a lot and drinking even more coffee. I met several amazing people like Grant, Seth, Siarhei, Cill, and Ashley, and amidst the city of nearly 6 million former strangers, I never once felt like an outsider. 41 www.baristamagazine.com

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