Sunday, June 23, 2013

Panino & Co.

Cafe: Panino & Co.
Address: 127 East Liberty St. Unit 127A
Phone: 647-345-2305
Store Hours: Mon-Fri 11 AM - 5 PM, Sat-Sun Closed
Website: N/A

Wi-Fi?: Yes
Study Appropriate?: No
Stamp Cards?: No



Drinks - Soy/Almond/Lactose-Free Options?: Soy and lactose-free only
- Coffee beans imported from Italy

Food - Vegan/Vegetarian/Gluten-Free Options?: Vegetarian only
- Different specials available everyday


Choice of Drink: Regular Latte, $3.24

In the heart of Liberty Village, Panino & Co. was previously known as Barista Espresso Bar. However, the name was not changed on the Indie Coffee Passport this year so I heard from others who had difficulties finding this place!

Originally a cafe for 52 years in the owner's family, competition arose when Aroma Espresso Bar opened nearby, forcing for a concept change. Transformed into a popular lunch spot, Mike the owner, received great response. The coffee sales went down every since Aroma, but the food sales went up. Having visited the restaurant previously last year when it was still known as Barista Espresso Bar, I thought the change was great. The overall layout always felt more like a restaurant where people would come out to eat a hearty sandwich on the marble tables, rather than just drinking coffee alone.

I do note that while I was there, there was no coffee menu nor a station to obtain your sugar and milk. There were not many coffee options, just you basics such as a latte or an americano.  All they had available was sweetener and sugar for your coffee. Therefore, I would not recommend people to go here for a "cafe experience" since it's no longer a cafe but rather more suited for a lunch drop-in.

Panino & Co. on Urbanspoon

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Cafe Unwind - CLOSED

Cafe: Cafe Unwind
Address: 68 Wales Ave.
Phone: 647-352-7724
Store Hours: Mon-Sat 8 AM - 5:30 PM, Sun Closed

Wi-Fi?: No
Study Appropriate?: No
Stamp Cards?: Yes



Drinks - Soy/Almond/Lactose-Free Options?: Yes to all
- Chai made in-house
- Offers French toast latte during the winter (using a secret recipe!)
- Coffee beans from Merchant of Green Coffee and then roasted at Fresh Coffee Network
- Tea from Pippins Tea Company Inc.

Food - Vegan/Vegetarian/Gluten-Free Options?: Yes to all
- Everything made in-house
- Muffins made every morning
- Gluten-free cookies available
- Offers a chili special every week during the winter

Japanese Treasure Tea, $1.86


Choice of Drink: Chai Latte, $3.10

Located outside of Kensington Market shopping district is Cafe Unwind. It is conveniently beside the Toronto Western Hospital, which makes it a hotspot for the workers to drop by in the morning and during lunch.

When I arrived to this cafe back in March (I know, and it took me this long to review!), I was taken by the size of it. Similar to Fahrenheit Coffee, ten people would completely crowd out the space. Whilst I was there, I got to chat with Maddie, the barista. She was absolutely sweet and talkative and I learnt that she was going to Peru for community work sometime this year (best of luck to her!). When I asked if the cafe used stamp cards, she pointed to the tear-outs taped against the wall under the menu. Since there was really no use for Yellow Pages anymore, the owner turned them into stamp pages for the regulars. Another fun thing they do is that they have two tip cups, each one with a different food or snack written on a paper attached. The cup with the most tips will have that food made as a special for the following week!

The chai latte I had was simple, but not as sweet as I wanted. However, I thought their Japanese Treasure tea smelled heavenly. It was very light and had a bit of peach to it, I believe. Their high chairs were not the most comfortable since the tables were a bit higher (or it was the chairs being a bit lower than it should). With no Wi-Fi, it was not exactly the most ideal place to work either. I do think that it's a nice place to be early in the morning since it's so tiny and quaint. You would be able to sip on your tea or coffee and observe the outside in peace as the day begins.

Cafe Unwind on Urbanspoon