Carb city: all the bread on Bathurst
Head to this busy midtown ’hood in April as many of its residents prep for Passover
For seven or eight days this April, observant Jews will celebrate Passover. As well as family gatherings and plenty of matzo, the week-long holiday includes a strict prohibition on leavened food, or chametz.
For those not in the know, this means that any food made from wheat, rye, barley, oats or spelt must be prepared in less than 18 minutes.
To get set for this holiday from bread, we’ve put together a tour of one of T.O.’s most established Jewish neighbourhoods. On Bathurst, from Lawrence to Wilson, you’ll find some of the most delicious ways to carb up before Passover starts.
With both savoury and sweet offerings, Grodzinski’s is one of the generalists among the many bakeries on the Bathurst strip. Despite the wide array of baskets to choose from — cookies, danishes, loaves and buns are all represented — there are a few important specialties.
The sold-by-the-pound rugelach are good but it’s really the kokosh and bubka that draw the weekend lineups. Obviously, you’ll want to arrive before the last chocolate babka is eaten. 3437 Bathurst St.,
The Gryfe family has been in the bakery biz for long enough (about a century) and been through enough recipes that they have created their own hybrid of the Montreal and New York bagel. With a small hole, just a touch of richness and a light chew, this bagel is great eaten straight from the paper bag but perfect for a sandwich.
At the Bathurst HQ, the flavour selection runs 10 varieties deep. Cream cheese and lox are on hand for sandwiches, but do you really need anything more than a dozen poppyseed? 3421 Bathurst St., 416
DR. LAFFA ON THE GO
After the original partners split, Dr. Laffa on the Go kept the faux doctorate and strict adherence to kosher rules. The menu includes everything from the various dips and spreads on the excellent sabich plate through to steaks, skewers and chops from the grill. The obvious heart of the restaurant are the seven varieties of sandwiches (lamb and beef kebab is best) that are based on the eponymous Jewish-Iraqi flatbread.
The unmissable wall mural is a smaller version of the one from Dr. Laffa’s original T.O. location and features the cast from the ’70s
Israeli comedy Charlie and a Half. 3027 Bathurst St., 647-352-9000
Hearkening back to a time when doughnuts were glazed or sprinkled — and definitely not trendy enough for flavours like s’mores, caramel corn or PB&J — Amazing focuses on the classics. The selection leans to the yeast-risen style and is essentially a delivery mechanism for sprinkles and icing. They’re also known for their cakesized doughnuts, custom-made for special occasions. 3772 Bathurst St.,
SEA-HI FAMOUS CHINESE
And for the less observant among us … if you feel a pang of nostalgia for a time when an egg roll was the mandatory start to every meal in a Chinese restaurant, Sea-Hi should be a go-to. They pull liberally from the chop suey canon (think pineapple chicken chow mein), but the North Americanization reaches an early apogee with item number four on the long menu.
These are chicken sticks wrapped in bacon, battered and deep-fried — just as indulgent as it sounds and perfect with the housemade plum sauce. 3645 Bathurst
Clockwise from left: Grodzinski’s swirls of chocolate babka, a shawarma laffa at Dr. Laffa On The Go, Sea-Hi’s famous bacon-wrapped chicken sticks