Mylk Uncookies is the epitome of homey; freshly made sweet treats, family photos on the wall, and two women eager to make you feel as comfortable as possible.
"Yep, that's our family," co-owner Toni says of the nostalgic shots she and partner Elaine have blown up and displayed on the cafe walls. We get to talking only after the women have made sure I have a fresh Americano in front of me and something to nosh while we chat.
"That one is my mom in Italy," she says, pointing a summertime shot of a youthful girl. "That one," she says, motioning to the right, "is my dad and his army buddy. And the last one is Elaine's grandparents."
The old photos are part and parcel of the "modern take on nostalgia" that Toni and Elaine have tried to create for their Cabbagetown cafe. On Gerrard west of Parliament, Mylk Uncookies is pretty easy to spot, standing out from the browns and reds dominating this part of the city.
"We found that espresso machine," Elaine says, motioning towards the retro-looking Victoria Arduiro on the counter. "And we just built from there."
The cafe is bright and airy and almost everything white, except for one wall painted a Tiffany blue. But, as Elaine tells me, the design of the space was not purely based on looks.
"Everything here is earth-friendly," she says. "From our hand soap, to the low-VOC paint on the walls, to the high content recycled vinyl floors, and our organic coffee beans."
And if you couldn't tell from the name, Mylk Uncookies offers vegan treats that are naturally gluten-free, as well as coffee and tea drinks, such as its sweet tea latte ($3.32), made with Elaine's homemade almond milk.
I tried a Lucuma bite ($2), a moist and rich little macaroon that was deliciously chewy and flavourful. Toni's favourite is the Rawtella bite ($2), which "totally satisfies that craving to stick the spoon in the Nutella jar." Along with other vegan treats, such as the raw vegan uncheese cake ($3) and 'Carawmel' square ($3), Mylk Uncookies also has traditional cookies and brownies that it sources from two local bakers. "We just wanted to have something for everyone," Elaine says.
The cafe also offers free WiFi and plans to serve raw shakes as a cooldown in the summer. But the home-vibe clincher for me was the Scrabble box I spot among a few other games on a shelf. Toss in some fuzzy slippers and maybe and old Croce record, and I could certainly see myself getting comfortable.
Photos by Dennis Marciniak