The Best Six in the Six: Americano (I’m Runnin’ through the Six for some Joe and how Norm Kelly has changed the game)

When you have a teenage daughter you are often are exposed to terminology you have no business knowing and/or using in a conversation, especially when she is a Drake fan.  Like the majority of girls in this age range, she bounces around humming the gospel according to Aubrey while I pull up my khakis and ask why she’s obsessed with a guy named after a duck.  The battle continues in the car.  The Sirius radio is constantly switched between classic rock channels and those which spout the slang of modern day teen angst.  Long gone are the days where Meatloaf recalled the difficulty “seeing  paradise by the dashboard lights” when he 17 (and barely dressed..scary thought).  Instead, Drake reminisces about the hardships of working as a night manager at Shopper’s Drug Mart and his inability to throw a strike while bowling in  “Started from the Bottom”.  

While meatloaf became an advocate for…well..meatloaf, Drake has been crowned the hip-hop ambassador for the City of Toronto. His high profile association with the Raptors and the more infamous OVO festival has opened the doors for old white guys to weigh on things.  City councillor Norm Kelly, once known primarily for trying to harness the bronco actions of Rob Ford, is now a spokesperson and liaison between those with street cred (yes, I can use that term because of Mr. Kelly) and those who are just try to understand current pop culture.  His twitter feed is approaching 132 K followers, many of which are in the 15-25 year old demographic.  His last tweet (at least the last one I read while writing this) was a Tupac quote.

Thanks to Norm, I finally feel comfortable paying homage to Toronto’s dining scene through verse.  Never mind a top 5 or 10 list; it only seems fitting that a top 6 in the 6 list is most appropriate.  This is the first of series of a top 6 lists which identify great food and drink in Toronto.  I’m merely scratching the surface.  These lists are by no means comprehensive but are based on my travels through Toronto and the identification of places that are aight and worth dropping into.  I’ll start with my go-to drink at any coffee shop; the Amerciano. So, let’s travel through the Six for so joes…..

6. Dineen- 140 Yonge Street

Location, location, location..

For students and wall street vocations.

Good people watching when they meet,

with a decor that is quite boutique

And an Americano that is quite unique.

Why I think it’s aight: Unique tasting Amerciano and great people watching in an area saturated with Starbucks.

Dineen's Americano
Dineen’s Americano


5. Big Guy’s Little Coffee Shop– 2861 Lakeshore Blvd West

The sequel didn’t survive

but the original continues to thrive

offering a hipsterless vibe,

he may look like Notorious BIG

but he sure was nice to me.

Why I think it’s aight: Cozy coffeehouse outside of hipster ground zero with great service

Big Guy's Americano and Latte
Big Guy’s Americano and Latte

4.  Te Aro- 983 Queen Street East

Located on the Queen street strip

These guys really know their shit

they have classes where you get taught

to drink coffee at the perfect spot.

and they have a right to be boasters

they are afterall..pilot coffee roasters.

Why I think  it’s aight: Extremely knowledgeable, offer tastings and appreciate the science and complexity of roasting.  Coffee source for many other shops.

3. Red Rocket– 1364 Danforth Road

The coffee selection is absolutely sick,

although it’s name sounds like

Addictive treats and a friendly staff

You won’t leave here at half mast.

Why I think it’s aight: Crazy coffee concoctions and an extremely welcoming environment.

2. Jimmy’s Coffee- 84 Gerrard Street West (plus other locations)

With homage to Carter, Hendrix, Fallon and Page

Jimmy’s coffee is all rage

But there’s one Jimmy they’ve overlooked

Drake’s Degrassi name: Jimmy Brooks.

Why I think it’s aight: One of the best Americanos in Toronto in a fun and upbeat environment.

Jimmy's Americano and Iced Coffee
Jimmy’s Americano and Iced Coffee
  1. Mercury Espresso Bar- 915 Queen St. E

Whether Mercury, Venus, Earth or Mars,

One of the inner planet’s finest coffee bars.

On earth’s Queen street is where it’s furled,

with an Americano that’s out of this world.

But like space the  thing that I fear

is it’s lack of atmosphere.

Why I think it’s aight: Best Americano I have had in Toronto despite the fact it doesn’t have the same vibe as some of the others.

My Take

As I said, this list is by no means comprehensive as I haven’t ventured into most of the coffee shops in the city.  That said, I think these establishments offer a good product and overall experience.  I suppose I’m obliged to update it should I find a better joint. In the meantime, I have a number of go-to choices throughout the city and look forward to trying more as I travel through the six for my joes.

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