Sipping a cup of orange pekoe, gazing out the floor-to-ceiling windows of our Yorkville Airbnb condo, I was eager to join the masses below. Reflecting on happy memories from years past when I lived in the neighborhood, I watched the usual suspects pass by… individuals decked out head-to-toe in designer fashion walking their equally coiffed fur companions, business executives slipping into Uber XLs with a phone already glued to their ear, patrons enjoying their ritualistic alfresco breakfast at the espresso bar, and construction workers weaving cement trucks through the bevy of Rolls-Royces, Ferraris, and Lamborghinis.
Keen to show my step-sons around my old stomping grounds, I coaxed them out of bed with the promise of breakfast at Pusateri’s Fine Foods. Visiting the market on previous trips to Toronto with their father, the boys were well acquainted with the store’s expansive selection of gourmet foods.
Pusateri’s has been a mainstay in the lives of Toronto’s “foodies” since 1963. With locations in Bayview Village, Lawrence-Avenue, and Yorkville, this luxury market draws comparisons to Harrod’s market in London, UK.
Groaning with excess the store’s selves lay host to some of the world’s most desired sweets, preserves, oils, and spices. In addition to its selection of imported delicacies, Pusateri’s is equally renowned for its ready-to-go meals, artisan baked goods, and local produce.
With a plethora of options to choose from, the four of us wandered through the market. My step-sons decided to order sandwiches from the deli-bar, while my husband and I perused the premade options and breakfast bar. On the menu board, Scott spotted an all-time-favorite, avocado toast, and promptly placed his order.
As for myself, I needed time to get acquainted with my options. The majority of vegan items seemed to reside in the frozen goods, produce, or pastry departments. While their selection of baked goods looked tempting, I thought sitting down to a cookie-dough tart, slice of fudge cake, or Nanaimo bar would set a bad precedent. However, I did start to formulate an argument as to why eating espresso cheesecake at nine in the morning would be entirely acceptable.
Sadly, the fresh breakfast items available for plant-based individuals were limited; unless you wanted to go with a non-traditional breakfast item. There were a few soups to choose from, including creamy coconut carrot, Mediterranean lentil, and golden cauliflower. The salad selections were also impressive, with unique dishes such as tofu korma, peanut soba, and tempeh buddha, catching my eye. Not feeling like a salad first thing in the morning or hot soup in 30+ degree weather, my remaining options required thawing and a moment or two in the oven. Returning to the pastry aisle, I settled for an apple cinnamon muffin and a wheatgrass juice cube, for good measure.
Overall, I was disappointed with the plant-based breakfast items available at Pusateri’s. That said, I was happy to see there were expanding their vegan lunch and dinner inventory.
If you do find yourself in Yorkville hungry for breakfast, may I suggest heading to Sorelle and Co.? Located slightly west of Pusateri’s on Yorkville Avenue, they offer a full selection of hot and cold vegan items. All their dishes are gluten, soy, sesame, nut, and preservative free.