Miss Cora's Kitchen
Miss Cora's Kitchen is a bright, cozy bakery and take-out spot tucked under an orange awning in Kensington Market. Miss Cora DeVries herself presides over the warm wood counter with a welcoming grin and friendly, neighbourhoodsy small talk.
My eye is caught - nay, captivated - by a tray of Mini Chocolate Cupcakes on the counter. They're gorgeous; dark velvety little things, topped with a riot of confetti sprinkles. The cake is fluffy, deeply chocolatey, and generously topped with thick ganache frosting, yummers. Though small, the obvious quality of the ingredients nicely justifies the $1.50 price tag. Beside them, Mini Carrot Cake Cupcakes (also $1.50) are another delight- moist cake with a subtle crunch of carrot and coconut threads, capped with fluffy, creamy white frosting.
Moroccan Spiced Nuts ($4) are slightly sweet, with a complex, spicy flavour that hints at cinnamon, cumin, chili, and who-knows-what else (Miss Cora wouldn't say). There's a sample dish on the counter, and they're so tasty, and the atmosphere is so friendly, that I have to remind myself not to up-end the entire dish into my mouth.
In service to you, blogTO readers, I pick a whole box of goodies. And good they certainly are. Vanilla-laced biscotti have the perfect texture, soft enough to eat dry, but crisp enough to dunk. I generally distrust macaroons, but Cora's are fluffy and delicious. And seven-layer bars ($3) include layers I can only identify as Chewy, Tasty, Yummy, Chocolatey, Sticky, Sweetie, and Eatie. Everything is impressively delicious, and soon I begin to experience a pleasantly addling sugar buzz.
Miss Cora's has already been featured on blogTO for her butter tarts ($2.50), so of course I'm totally obligated to try one. They look average, but taste fantastic. The thick, short pastry encases plump raisins or crisp pecans, and, in the centre, I find the hallmark of a great butter tart: a flood of light caramel syrup that runs out when you bite in.
Miss Cora's Kitchen also features $3 pizza slices with gourmet toppings (today, Chicken Pesto with Oven-Roasted Tomatoes and Moroccan-braised Short Ribs with Caramelized Onions), and a fridge full of savoury take-away goodies, including salads, sandwiches, and ready-made dinners in the $8 price range. Miss Cora's Catering options include hors d'ouevres, savoury tarts, and homemade breads. Cora mentioned plans to expand the menu even further this summer; and man, I can't wait to go back.