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LAZY DAISY’S (1515 Gerrard East, at Coxwell, 647-341-4070) Complete meals for $15, including all tax, tip and a coffee. Average main $8. Open Monday to Thursday 7 am to 6 pm, Friday 7 am to 7 pm, Saturday and Sunday 8:30 am to 6 pm. Unlicensed. Access: barrier-free, washrooms in basement. Rating: NNN
Though there seems to be an all-day lunch cum brunch spot on every corner of the west side, east of the DVP they're as rare as Rob Ford at the Pride parade.
Frankly, there's Frankly and Lady Marmalade in Leslieville, Bonjour Brioche in Riverside and quirky Teatree up on the Danforth, and that's about it. So, you can understand how the launch of Lazy Daisy's Café in Little India has the east side, if not exactly forming a conga line down Coxwell, dancing in the street.
Yes, Daisy's got the decor down pat, from the regulation funky chandeliers overhead to the whitewashed brick walls hung with abstract acrylics and tables fashioned from reclaimed barnboard. Why, there's even a map of southern Ontario by the door that indicates where virtually everything on owner Dawn Chapman's short card is sourced.
Come noon, the SUV stroller brigade has staked out nearly every seat, leaving us the last four-top next to the children's holding-pen play area. Dodging a rubber pterodactyl tossed by a petulant three-year-old, we start with the Joy of Veg ($5.25) or - as we like to call it chez nous - crudités with dip, in this case a lemony chickpea hummus lashed with parsley-infused olive oil and toasted pine nuts.
Rib-sticking Farmstead Chili ($8.75) thick with Berretta Farms ground beef, chunky tomato and the occasional kidney bean delivers more sweet than heat, though its sensational side of a mini-cornbread jalapeño whoopee pie (!) filled with Fifth Town goat cheese from Picton and smoked Mennonite bacon (!!) adds the necessary firepower. Full-size versions would cause a stampede.
But don't order the naturally raised Cha Cha chicken salad sandwich ($8.25) with roasted hazelnuts and bits of dried pear on a St. Urbain bagel if you want more of it to end up in your mouth than your sweater. Better to go with the toasted whole wheat from nearby Knead Bakery instead.
Knead also supplies the terrific broccoli and Woolwich cheddar quiche ($4.95/$6.95 with dressed local greens) - love that buttery croissant crust - and both salted caramel ($2.50) and cheesecake chocolate brownies ($3). And what junior Star Wars fan could resist a Princess Leia cinnamon bun ($2.95)?
"We've sold twice as many now that we've started calling them that," says Chapman. "I'm good at thinking up names."
She also came up with the café's handle.
"When I was a kid, my grandparents had a cow on their farm called Daisy," Chapman explains. "I used to help milk her and feed her calves."
Was Daisy unusually lazy?
"Come on! She lay in the grass under a tree all day long."