Tim Horton Ain’t Got Nut’in on This

In food on 07/24/2009 at 9:59 am

Life is rough for a foodie when you gotta work. No time/$ to eat good fixin’s (partly cuz you’re forced to labour for free) or to make your favorite treats. The only thing I have plenty of time for is fantasizing about food combinations whilst riding the train.

The other morning, half asleep, I was trying to figure out how I could capture the essence of a banh mi in a handy, easy-to-eat package – no drip, no mess. Perhaps a freeze-dried nuoc cham that melts on the tongue? Alas, my molecular gastronomy skills are a lil’ rusty.

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup warm water
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 of a lime, juiced
5 cloves of garlic , minced
2 Thai chili pepper, minced

The “Newspaper of Record” once ran a graphic which elucidated the mystery ingredients that give the authentic flavor profile. All I’ve got down so far is the Taylor Pork Roll available at the deli counter of the nearby Stop n’ Shop.

fo' reals?

For awhile, I was making sandwiches with bread for lunch, but saw these red chile handmade 365 (Whole Foods brand) tortillas and started making wraps with the same filling – deli meat, cheese, greens and mustard. The other half hates wraps, but we discovered if you use bulkier tortillas, the QQ factor makes up for a lot, and they stay fresher, longer. The worst thing to eat is a soggy sandwich.

Last week I was hankering for more flavor and texture, i.e. the fish-saucy scrumptiousness mixed with vinegar and sugar, and the crunch that only comes from marinated veggies of a banh mi. I’m still working on how to transform the original into a handy dandy workingman’s lunch. Southeast Asian cuisine could stand a little modernization, I think. But how to mask the delicious stench from passersby and funnel directly and only into my own nostrils? And, pork liver paté = Viet liverwurst? Perhaps a visit to Baoguette is in order. If only they delivered to the ‘pit.

It’s the little pleasures in life these days, and one new one is the North Avenue Bakery cinnamon sugar rolled donut. It is hands down the best donut I have ever tasted for $1. Sure if you want exotic $4 BFE stuff, the Doughnut Plant is still the king, but this place is conveniently in my neighborhood.

yeast yeast baby

So now on weekends, the first thing we do when we wake up is walk up and over to get these delectable babies. The QQ yeasty magic of the sugared dough is balanced perfectly with the grainy granulated sugar-cinnamon dusting all around. It’s so poofy I can barely get my big mouth around the top and bottom of the ring.

stack 'em up

not a piece o' cake!

sandy, like a beach

The bakery is open at 3am, and usually by 8am, they run out of this particular pastry. They have other types of donuts, but this one is by far the best seller. You’d think they’d get a clue and make triple the amount of this one so I didn’t hafta get up so early on my days off… All the other stuff they sell pales in comparison to this carbalicious juggernaut. We’ve tried their Italian cookies, ham n’ cheese croissant, filled donuts (oddly made with an almost savory dough), butterfly crisps, and Portuguese square whole wheat bread. I really was about to give up on the place until the other half’s Father brought these back for the gang one day on one of his early morning jaunts during the in-laws’ visit. Wow.

These are more über Dunkin’ Donuts airy than Krispy Kreme melt-in-your-mouth simple syrupy. Speaking of which, the other day I sampled the new Tim Horton’s inside Penn Station – my home away from home. It’s been the week of Canadian donut invasion all over town. The free AM paper touted it as the best thing since the Niagara Falls. I snacked on a  small bucket of Timbits, which is their version of donut holes, given that they’re normal-sized donuts suffer from dwarfism. I figured it was a better value.

It was a good sampling of their flavors: glazed yeast, sour cream cake, chocolate cake, apple pie yeast. The only one I didn’t get in the mix was their blueberry filled jelly donut. I have to say, besides being a tad too sweet, the flavors and textures are surprisingly good for a mass chain product, substantially hearty and not stale at 7pm. As for supporting local business however, North Avenue Bakery still tops the list.

The bakery is on the corner of Mom St. and Pop Ln. In addition to the donut palace, there’s a simple diner next door, which hadn’t been open any time we passed by before today. I can’t really tell what they serve.

a mini diner?

According to the dictionary, a lucheonette (an Americanism) serves light meals which are easily prepared whereas a diner is a small, informal, usually inexpensive restaurant. Whichever it really is, it was packed along the long counter inside, which took up most of the space. Just around the corner off North Ave is a pizzeria, and across the street from that, a Portuguese BBQ joint, Algarve’s. Both are in the throes of renovation, but the former had a more interesting storefront.


Hopefully this tiny place will churn out better pies than the one closer to our apartment, Tommy’s. It’ll be just the thing when we don’t want to drive to retrieve one from Santillo’s. As for Algarve’s, maybe we’ll stop by tonight for some takeout after seeing the circus (complete with camels and donkeys) that has invaded a school parking lot a couple blocks down. Life in the ‘pit ain’t so bad after all.

  1. pork liver pate? whoa. whoa. maybe i try that. maybe not the pig ear tho. yikes.

  2. no pig ears? offal is the best man! one day, at french laundry ima order the offal-only menu. oink oink

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s