All Tarted Up
I learned this weekend that the road to tasty sweets is paved with puddles, grandmas, and cheap lamps. Waking up hungover this Saturday was made even more difficult when I heard the rain against my window - I was scheduled to get together with some lady friends to go garage sale-ing, and it was pouring outside. After downing some Tylenol and grabbing an umbrella, I shuffled down to the local cafe where we had agreed to meet.
Once the four of us had assembled, we set out into the "rain" (which was more of a mist, rendering our umbrellas essentially useless), in search of some sweet deals. After a bit of a hike in the residential area north of High Park, we happened upon a soggy garage sale sign. We located the address, and found a pile of your typical garage sale "junk" on the front porch with no purveyor in sight. Browsing through some squirrel-themed hooked rugs, we were eventually joined on the porch by the owner, an elderly lady who seemed surprised to see us despite the numerous sale signs posted in the neighborhood. After some disjointed "conversation," she led us back to the garage.
There was not much of interest in the car-hole, with the exception of a punch bowl set with a crazy retro etched design, and a floor-to-ceiling vintage lamp. With the benefit of little-old-lady pricing, the 6 glasses from the punch set and the lamp came to a grand total of six dollars ("Is that too much?" she asked us). Score!
Packing around a nine-foot lamp in the rain, and finding another promising garage sale shut down already, we decided to call it a day. By that point, we had wandered down to Roncesvalles and we were hungry for something warm and comforting. A delicious plate of perogies at Staropolska fit the bill, but left us with a collective sweet tooth. Luckily, Queen of Tarts was just down the block.
As you step into Queen of Tarts, the first thing you notice is the incredible smell of baked goods. Despite being full of potato dumplings, my mouth started to water immediately. A display case greets you at the door, filled with a variety of (surprise!) tarts. The description for the Snickers Tart (peanuts, caramel, peanut butter mousse, and dark chocolate ganache) sounds amazing, but my attention is quickly drawn to the rows and rows of gingerbread man cookies on the right wall. Each is exquisitely decorated to look like different characters, from Saddam Hussein to Darth Vader to Jesus. While these make fantastic novelty gifts, they do not come cheap ($6 for a cookie!?) - nevertheless, I was suckered in and bought Dave a Bubbles from the Trailer Park Boys (pictured above). I also picked up a bag of chocolate cheesecake cookies to share, and some chocolate-covered homemade rasberry marshmallows. The shop carries a large variety of cookies, marshmallows, cakes, and tarts in addition to some great-looking loaves of bread. All are extremely high quality and, despite the expensive gingerbread, fairly reasonably priced considering.
After making our purchases, we headed back to the dry warmth of my apartment, copies of Hackers and Empire Records in tow (not to mention the lamp). Settling in to watch Angelina Jolie on rollerblades, gushing about her 28.8 kbps modem, we dug in to our Queen of Tarts finds. As we sampled melt-in-your-mouth coconut marshmallows, creamy chocolate cheesecake cookies, and spicy gingerbread bites, it was clear that there is nothing better than warm tea, delicious baked goods, and Jonny Lee Miller after a walk in the cold rain.
Labels: restaurant review