Imagine a place where you can grab a coffee, pop open your computer, enter a clever password (I won’t give it away but it has something to do with a very tasty pork product) and expose yourself to seasons of scents which go from smoked vegetables to pickled onions to freshly baked bread. Welcome to the Hogtown Cure, a newish joint open at the corner of Dufferin and Dundas. Part cafe, part deli and part grab and go, I was keen to sit down and see if it would cure my wintertime blues.
Although the hot beverages are a bit pricy, Hogtown Cure offers a wide variety of coffee elixirs, notably the red eye and black eye featuring one and two shots of espresso in a cup of drip coffee respectively. Both the coffee and espresso had a balanced tone and were of good quality and I’m pretty sure that the red eye even gave me wings.
The Hogtown Reuben was a unique spin on the classic sandwich. It was proportional from an ingredient standpoint. The homemade pastrami was super tender and reminded me of slow-cooked roast beef as opposed to the boiled, shriveled balls of meat from Shopsy’s I associated with this type of meat during my youth. The brine and the seasoning was subtly appropriate. The sauerkraut and cheese were flavourful. My only issue was that the bread was toasted and not fried on the grill. Call me picky but I crave the chewy texture of some lightly grilled fresh bread as part of a hot sandwich vs one made with crunchy of toast.
The mushroom soup was good as well. It has the earthiness of….well…earth. Not dirt, earth. The mushroom was the star and the surrounding broth was neither too flimsy nor too intense.
Although I enjoyed the constant olfactory stimulation, I left smelling a little like a smoker…meaning a food smoker, not a chain smoker. My wafting scent coupled with my unwavering stare after sucking back a red-eye may have had resulted in a few odd glances my way afterwards, but I really didn’t care. I had a gut full of reuben and was strolling into a strong head wind which aired me out like Grandma’s pantaloons on a brisk summer day.
In most cases, I have an unnatural admiration for slaw and wasn’t fond of Hogtown’s offering. I found it had the monotone taste of wine vinegar which overwhelmed the harmony of sweet, sour and sulfur present in a great slaw.
The Final Sip
I love the concept of this place. It’s kind of like hanging out at your mom’s place doing work all afternoon while she’s slaving away at the stove concocting a plethora of her favorites. Your attempts at intellectual advancement are challenged by sultry sensations of savory sundries. The coffee is decent, the food is pretty good and you can find an electrical outlet here and there. You can even grab a few hundred grams of unique local cheese, few slabs of duck bacon or a confit leg on the way out. Let’s see mom serve that with her scalloped potatoes.