Toronto:Coffee:Queen East:Mercury Espresso Bar

It’s a daunting task when you driving down Queen East from downtown at 7:30 am looking for a place to grab a coffee and maybe a bite. The classic hot spots such as Lady Marmalade, Bonjour Brioche and Tulip are still waking up so the liquid remedy of coffee with the possibility of a pastry may be all that exists.

I progressed down the empty street, sun in my eyes and  saw a Starbucks on the right and parked, ready to succumb to over roasted coffee and a generic breakfast sandwich.  Instead, I spied the Mercury Espresso bar, which has a relative smallness of the planet itself.  I walked into a small line, staring down as I flipped the plastic between my fingers, almost convincing myself this was a cash only joint and I would have to cross the street or find a high service ATM in the vicinity.  I let the question “Do you take credit?” squeak out of my mouth. The answer was a resounding yes…minus AMEX  of course.  With that, I ordered an americano.  He did have a shade of baristattitude, but he kept it in the realm of confident versus cocky.  In order to get the bill  up a bit, I ordered a nutella cookie as a compromise to the sandwich I would have ordered at Starbucks.  I was also interested in the coffee on the shelf and chose a Matalapa from El Salvador roasted by George Howell which subsequently has turned out to be a fabulous cup of joe at home.

The americano is one of the better I have had in a while. It was smooth and like a flower garden; complete with fragrant blossoms and was  neither under or over watered.  The cookie was pretty good too.

Nutella Cookie
Nutella Cookie
George Howell Coffee
George Howell Coffee

My Take

Mercury will be a regular stop on my way to the office, although I’m only there half a dozen times a year. I will also grab a bag of coffee while I’m at it. There’s nothing special about the place other than the brew (and maybe the daily trivia question) and I suspect  the bright sun, slight breeze and serenity of an empty Toronto street may have catalyzed the experience, but I’ll take it over of the many possible destinations of the  timbucktoos scattered along the route regardless of the time of day.

Mercury Espresso Bar on Urbanspoon

Review:Toronto:Leslieville:Lady Marmalade

Hey hipster, go hipster, soul hipster, go hipster
Hey hipster, go hipster, soul hipster, go hipster

He went Marmalade down in old Leslieville
Struttin’ his stuff on the street
She said, “Hello, gimme some  Joe
And maybe an order of french toast”

Mmm, fruity fruity ya ya da da
Coulis coulis  ya ya here
Mocha latte  ya ya
Here at  Lady Marmalade

Voulez-vous manger avec moi, ce soir?
Voulez-vous manger avec moi?

He savored his coffee whch she freshed up
Cuz he couldn’t get a beer or wine.
On the formica table tops where
He started to eat.

Tofu tofu ya ya da da
Lots of veggies options here
All day breakfast ya ya
Here at  Lady Marmalade

Voulez-vous manger avec moi, ce soir?
Voulez-vous manger avec moi?

Seeing the hollandiase sauce silky smooth
Along with a cafe au lait
One bite of the eggs bennie inside
Makes you wanna cry, “More, more, more”

It’s only open from 8 to 4
And 8 to 3 weekends (and holidays)
But when he sits down to eat
He wants to order more, more, more

Mexi mexi ya ya  da da da
Tortita-gordita ya ya here
Six dollar smoothies ya ya
at the trendy Lady Marmalade.

Voulez-vous manger avec moi, ce soir?
Voulez-vous manger avec moi?
Voulez-vous manger avec moi, ce soir?
Voulez-vous manger avec moi?

Annoying annoying  ya ya da da da
Cash only ya ya here
No reservations either ya ya
Here at Lady Marmalade

Tomato and Basil Eggs Bennie with Potatoes and Salad
Tomato and Basil Eggs Bennie with Potatoes and Salad
Tortita-Gordita Dandwich with Soup
Tortita-Gordita sandwich with Soup

Translation

Pros– One of the best eggs bennie going. I think the hollandaise  sauce has nicotine or something addictive in it because on occasion  i wake up wanting it injected in my veins.  Great menu with lots of veggie options. Food is fresh and environment is buzzy and fun.

Cons– Cash only and no reservations and the whole party has to be there seat policy. Blah, blah, blah. Ugly walls. Hardy Boys (I was partial to Nancy Drew).

Lady Marmalade on Urbanspoon