1554 Queen Street West
Brunch for two with all taxes, tip, plus coffee and juice: $40
I have a love/hate relationship with the brunch at Mitzi’s Sister. I love the homey, laid back vibe, the friendly servers, the eclectic tunes, and the constantly changing garnishes on what is likely my favourite brunch menu in the city. If it weren’t for the hate bit, I’d be here every weekend. But the hate thing is something I can’t get over. It’s got nothing to do with the place itself, but everything to do with the clientele. Mitzi’s Sister seems to double as a daycare centre on weekend mornings, where local hipster parents come with their kids and pretty much set them free.
Now before I get piles of cranky comments, let me be clear. I don’t have a problem with well-behaved kids who can sit politely through a meal. I don’t have a problem with breastfeeding. And I understand that kids have short attention spans and lots of energy to burn. What I have a problem with is the Parkdale locals who let their kids literally run around the place, annoying other patrons and making life dangerous for themselves and the servers while the parents sit by oblivious, comparing tattoos and discussing their guitars. I watched a kid make it out the door and onto the street one day before his father clued in that he was gone and rushed frantically around the place looking for him. I witnessed a toddler wander into the kitchen, only to hear the crash of plates as the server avoided knocking her over. When I’m looking for a quiet breakfast that doesn’t include top-of-the-lungs screeching, I tend to end up somewhere else.
Which is a drag, because as mentioned, this menu really does put a creative twist on classic dishes, with toppings that change on a weekly basis. The Oatmeal Pancake ($11.95) is a massive, fluffy yet hearty buttermilk and oatmeal pancake approximately 7 inches in diameter and an inch high in the centre, grilled to a toasty brown on the outside. On the day of this review it was topped with a smooth and fragrant ginger custard and roasted pears, but I’ve had this with everything from cranberry to mango and rum sauce to orange curd. It’s a real stick-to-your-ribs breakfast, made even better after 11am when a pint of oatmeal stout from the bar compliments it exquisitely. It comes with a serving of Mitzi’s famous oven-roasted spicy homefries (best in the city, hands down) and a selection of carefully chosen fruit slices that are fresh and, unlike the brunch garnish at so many places, actually worth eating.
Similar in quantity, the French Toast ($11.95) also comes with toppings that change weekly. This week, pomegranate coulis and berries graced the huge slices of egg-dipped challah bread. Other specials include an omelette ($11.50) and a Scrambled Special ($11.50), which came with chives and Boursin cheese, but will be something completely different next week.
Menu standards include Eggs Benedict ($11.95), Florentine ($10.95), a Tofu Breakfast Burrito ($10.50) and a truly spectacular Huevos Rancheros ($10.95), with what must be four eggs scrambled to light fluffy perfection, garlicky guacamole, refried beans and a housemade salsa. And of course, a serving of those much-loved potatoes.
Coffee ($1.87) is dark, strong and bottomless, served up in mugs from nearby Dollarama or the Sally Anne across the street, while juice ($2.50) tastes fresh-squeezed.
Opening at 10am, the place fills up fast, and a line at the door is not uncommon. Arriving early is usually a good trick for those wanting to have a meal in relative peace, before the kitchen gets slammed and small people start running in the aisles.