WANDA'S PIE IN THE SKY (7A Yorkville, at Yonge, 416-925-7437) Complete lunches for $15, including all taxes, tip and a bottle of ginger and lemon grass pressé. Average main $6. Open Monday to Wednesday 8 am to 6 pm, Thursday to Saturday 8 am to 7 pm, Sunday noon to 6 pm. Unlicensed. Access: barrier free. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
For those who still eat - rather than do - lunch, this little cubbyhole of a sandwich shop has to be the best bet in Yorkville. Serving wholesome, fresh food, it's not only affordable and quaint, but you're in and out in less than half an hour. The only proviso: you must get there early before they sell out of what you desire.
Thinking I'll avoid the rush, I go on a Tuesday at 1:30 pm. They're out of pizza, bread and quiche, so I get the eggplant parmesan with a Greek salad ($7.95). Thick slices of lightly breaded eggplant are layered with tomato sauce and melted cheese, making a filling hot lunch. The use of a little balsamic on the salad works well with the feta and black olives mixed with baby greens.
Though I'm full, I must try a slice of pie ($4.25), and the choice is difficult. Cherry is the most popular, lemon is topped with a mountain of meringue, but my favourite is strawberry-rhubarb. I eat the large wedge of perfect not-too-sweet pie and go home to nap.
Returning before noon the next day, we get a slice of ratatouille pizza ($4.95) and a sandwich of extra-old cheddar with mango chutney, apples and lettuce on muesli bread ($5.95). The excellent pizza is like an open-face focaccia melt, so laden with chunks of zucchini, onion, tomato and Gruyère that it's impossible to pick up. My finicky guest cleans his plate.
The sandwich arrives heated just enough to melt the cheddar onto a thick layer of chutney. I lost my sweet tooth with my virginity, so it's not to my taste, but very well executed. The bread is wonderfully dense and loaded with raisins and grains.
The Brie with cucumber, watercress, lettuce and lemon-garlic mayo on a pumpernickel baguette ($5.95) that I get to go is more my speed.
The better half of a baguette is stuffed with slices of Brie, liberal amounts of watercress and cucumber. The mayo is sparse, the creamy cheese liberally portioned.
The wise will call ahead with their order and pick it up at noon. A combo soup or salad and half-sandwich goes for $6.95, and topped off with a two-bite butter tart for a buck more it's a wholly satisfying $10 lunch.