Marcel Explore: Kensington Market

If you haven’t been to Kensington Market, you’re truly not from the 6; the 6 God himself, Drake, might even have to banish you from his city. Kensington is an eclectic Toronto hood in which many characters congregate: hipsters, (actual world-peace-seeking) hippies, harmless recreational drug enthusiasts, picture perfect families, people from all over the globe. It’s essentially a multicultural hub where one can walk, eat (!!), and shop. Walking down the street, you’ll hear Spanish being spoken, banter bouncing back and forth in Jamaican Patois, children laughing, skateboards rolling on pavement. Once you step foot in Kensington, you forget that you’re in Toronto; you’re transported to another country or other countries. Kensington is very reminiscent of Mauritius–the colourful shops, the ever-changing odours as you walk down the street, the narrow sidewalks. People look alive as opposed to the typical Torontonian with brooding eyes marching down the street.

On Saturday, we had the chance to walk around Kensington and bask in the sun with our new part-time photographer and full-time friend, Darryl. We pretended that we were on vacation. “We’re in Mexico,” we joked. In retrospect, our getup screamed “TROPICAL!” and “TOURISTS!”. Instead of committing to one restaurant, we decided to eat our way through Kensington and take advantage of a four-course meal:

  1. But first, coffee: Jimmy’s Coffee
    191 Baldwin St
    We started the day off with some coffee. I had a cold brew with a shot of lavender syrup. I wish I could start off each day this way. Steph on the other hand had the JVO which involved caramel and coffee–an excellent choice as well.
  2. First course: NU Bügel | ~$4.50
    240 Augusta Ave
    When Darryl told me that he wanted to try this wood-fired bagel place, I was immediately sold. He came out with an everything bagel with avocado and cheddar cheese – by the way, this definitely topped avocado toast. What a freaking way to excite our appetite. My stomach was ready for more; my taste buds were awake.
  1. Second course: Top Gun Steak | $19.99
    251 Augusta Ave
    Darryl’s kryptonite, besides all-you-can-eat sushi, is Philly steak sandwiches. He’s been raving about them for months now and we finally tried out his favourite spot. As per his suggestion, we got the B -52 ($14.99) which is a French baguette topped with thinly sliced 1/2 lb. steak, grilled onions and mushroom, mozzarella, cheddar, mayo, and ketchup. Naturally, we also indulged in a large side of Top Gun fries ($5). Come to mama.
  1. Third course: Jumbo Empanadas Inc. | $9.50
    245 Augusta Ave
    The beef empanadas were the perfect end to our meal before we tackled dessert. We enjoyed a bottle of guava juice and a bottle of Sprite as accompaniment.
  1. Fourth course: 7 Lives Paletria | ~$10
    72 Kensington Ave
    I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!!! As soon as we walked in, we were welcomed by vibrant walls (an Instagrammer’s dream) and a plethora of ice cream (any rational human being’s dream). If you’re from the 6ix, you get all of your food suggestions from BlogTO – the Toronto Food Encyclopedia.I immediately fell in love with the concept of vegan pineapple soft serve. Being a tropigal (wink wink, nudge nudge), I have an affinity for anything and everything tropical–hence, pineapple! Soft! Serve!I decided to go for the Dole Whip Float which contains pineapple soft serve floating on pineapple juice and topped with a maraschino cherry and a cocktail umbrella. I don’t even need to go to Disneyland to enjoy this! Steph had a fresh Watermelon juice float with Coconut/Lime ice cream.

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