Photos taken from Starving Artist Profile on UrbanSpoon
by Julie Reitsma
Another evening of wine with subsequent morning grumblings, and waffles continue to be front and centre on our brain (read tummy). There may not be much that comes to mind, beyond vacant lots and train tracks, when you think Bloor and Lansdowne, but as the creative folk get pushed farther north and west, wee epicurean oases pop up in what may seem the most unlikely of locations – enter the Starving Artist Waffle Espresso Bar…easily the most top notch breakfast we’ve had this side of 30.
The premise of the Starving Artist is simple enough – waffles are delicious and fresh ingredients are key. The traditional flavours are here and well executed, but for us the shining stars are when the waffles go beyond the Belgian. Breakfast waffles are the potato’s answer to waffling and were met with a resounding “ohmygod” – crispy outside, creamy, pierogi-like innards, were chive tanged and topped with the perfect, white and wobbly, poached egg. The Hitchhiker’s Breakfast is (sorry in advance for going there) seriously out of this world, especially with the upgrade to Waffle Bacon. Fluffy and thoroughly cheesed scrambled eggs are framed with thick strips of crispy caramelized bacon (you can sub for avocado, a comparable meaty option, gratis!). And the aforementioned Waffle Bacon? Holy mother of all that is sweet yet savoury. Take some bacon, dip it in batter, iron it up and then go nutty with the maple syrup – dip, dip, dip. What else can we say? This is bacon disguised as a waffle. Amazement. To seal the deal, every brekky comes with a lightly dressed green salad and your choice of fruit, potato salad or baked beans. We opted the fruit route and were not disappointed. Jurassic sized blackberries, strawberries, hunks of watermelon and pineapple that clearly did not come out of a can made what was perhaps not the most trim-inducing meal still feel good on us.
Two patios – back and front – plus an artful, well-fanned and fish tanked interior will accommodate any of your morning moods; whether you’re bright eyed beaver or hung well over, you can follow the sun or hide from it while you munch and sip. And while we realize we’re a couple of weeks too late, the massive TV (dedicated during our visit to Transformers (the thankfully Megan Fox free sort)) meant that you could World Cup while you waffled. Open 7 days a week, the Starving Artist extends the waffling past breakfast into lunch and dinner with Funk Fridays serving up a non dough based reason for returning (if you were actually looking for one).
This is no greasy spoon (you’ll leave full, but not feeling like your insides need a shower), but the value is definitely diner-sized, especially compared to some of the more hipsterized spots along the usual corridors – and these guys leave out the pretension. After all, brunch isn’t about being seen and wearing weird flowy linen pants and designer specs, it’s about food! And by 11 am it’s full hunger rage mode for us, so you’d better deliver. Starving Artist, with its delightful wafflescape of a menu – it’s really a whole new breakfast topography – does so in crispy golden spades.
584 Lansdowne Avenue