Hailed Coffee has quickly established itself as a great addition to the stretch along the lonely but up-and-coming stretch of Gerrard near the beer store (and neighbour Saturday Dinette). There are many reasons to visit this wholly unique take on coffee culture but perhaps the best reason for people not coffee-inclined might be their chocolate.
Specifically, their cardamon-infused chocolate, which could possibly be the closest you'll get to divinity outside of your place-of-worship. Brilliantly, owner Salim Bamakhrama has created tiny bite size samples in the shape of coffee beans that melt into your mouth after a hit of java (or not). A tiny satchel of these little droppings of gold goes for about $5 and you might find yourself dropping in any afternoon when you need a boost. We sampled bags and bags of the stuff and passed them around to staff and people we know, and the feedback was positively hyperbolic. Along with the cardamon-flavoured stuff, there's also a white chocolate version, and a coffee flavoured version (with a slight crunch), but for us, the cardamon one is the standout.
We at Best of Riverdale are serious foodies. We're also long-time residents of the 'hood, and are always looking to stretch our dollars in the direction of great eating and drinking experiences. We only give our stamp to those exceptional experiences, whether they be a restaurant (*everything Cafe Fiorentina does), an individual food (Ella's plum, juicy olives come to mind) or top ten under $10 wines at the local LCBO.
Most important to note: We don't do paid placements of any kind. We select the places we publish based only on quality, and if we've introduced ourselves to you, you're already doing something amazing. While it's not really a big secret who we are, we try to fly under the radar so no favouritism is shown. Think Joanne Kates circa 1989 incognito. Stealth is where the goodness is found!
One of our favs is Hailed Coffee. Here's our sticker in their window. Good feelings all around! People who care about what they do and work hard to make something exceptional should be applauded!
Are you listed in our "Best" section and don't have a sticker yet for your window. Drop us a note in the "contact" section, and we'll pop one over to you!
There are lots of places to buy meat in Riverdale, but few places have the spirit and fun of Ella's on Pape. Tucked in just south of The Danforth next to the green P on the west side of Pape, Ella's is a neighbourhood place through and through. On any given day it bristles with energy, as old and new generations bray for the attention of the (mostly) young Greek staff.
Ella's has been around since 1977, but in 1985 father Theo Laganas bought the business and built it into the Danforth institution it is today. While Theo has a friendly charm and solidly anchors the store, it's his son George who is the swirling, wisecracking presence that lends energy and mirth.
It is perhaps the highest praise that many of us in the 'hood shop there as much for the community and conviviality of the staff as we do the products. They have the theatre and dynamism of a great shop.
For the older crowd, there's tons of inexpensive options. For the socially conscious kids, there's a range of reasonably-priced free-range and antibiotic and hormone free fare, and it's priced well below some of their near competitors. They also have all kinds of super fresh cheeses (Dodonis is my fav), spices, olive oils and condiments of all types.
Oh yeah, they also have what we think are the best olives in the city, and are part of our best of list.