A Visit To Tori's Bakeshop by Ama Scriver

It has been five months since Tori's Bakeshop (2188 Queen St. E., 647-350-6500, torisbakeshop.ca) popped up on the Queen Street East strip offering delicious baked goods. This gluten-free vegan friendly bakery opened by namesake Victoria (Tori) Vaccher has been enjoying praise from customers and media alike. Why has Tori's become so popular? Great tasting baked items that are rich and full in flavour, friendly service staff who make you feel comfortable, and a keen sense of what people want in vegan/gluten-free goods.

Vaccher began whipping up vegan-friendly treats in her kitchen after she decided to follow her heart, "I loved baking but was never classically trained as a pastry chef. I started my career in theatre but decided one day to follow my heart and open up the bakeshop." Following her heart has paid off. Since opening the shop, the menu has seen many changes and expansions, including the Vegan BLT ($10). This sandwich houses together hickory-smoked coconut in between slices of homemade spelt bread with lettuce and tomato and soy-free mayo. The results: crispy coconut with a hint of peanut butter flavours. Vaccher mentioned that to achieve the full smoke flavor, they have a smoker in their backyard instead of opting for the cold smoke route.

Quick to listen to her regular customers, Vaccher has also added some other items they were asking for: savory was what they wanted. New to the menu is the Campfire Cornbread ($3.25 per slice) which has taken off as a huge hit. With just a hint of jalapeno, this corn bread was light and airy. For myself personally, I always find cornbread to be a bit too heavy. But Vaccher has found a way to make this just right. This corn bread has apparently become such a hit, there are other restaurants asking to have it sold to them. An old savory favourite on the menu is the Cheese and Chive Biscuit ($3), which is heavy but delicious.

But we can't forget all the sweet items: Vaccher brought out a selection of cupcakes ($3) including S'more, Coconut and Caramel Hazelnut. She mentioned that in the coming weeks, she would be taking part in the Vegetarian Food Festival and that she was competing in the cupcake challenge. It's no wonder why: these bite-sized treats are just big enough for dessert without leaving you feeling underwhelmed. Each cupcake also had a little kicker to it, be it a nutty caramel inside for one or cream filling for another. Out of the three, my personal favourite was the S'more cupcake. Perhaps she will bring it to the cupcake competition.

Since most items range between $2-$10 and are all natural and organic, I asked Vaccher how it important it was to keep price points low and if they planned on incorporating any daily specials. “I know costs can be very high. But I think we do very well at keeping the price points of the baked goods on-point with most regular shops. We just recently purchased a Polaroid camera to display on our board outside what is special (for the day) or what we've got inside the shop that day." Vaccher tells me that she believes 70% of the foot-traffic that comes in probably does not realize that the delicious treats they are eating are vegan or organic. Which speaks to just how delicious and tasty everything is. So much so, people travel to the Beaches for a Cinnamon Bun ($4.50 - most popular sweet item) or Spelt Chocolate Chip Cookie ($2). They know this eat-in shop has quality items.

So with the first five months down, what does Vaccher plan to do for the future? She mentioned that since fall is just around the corner, they will be looking to expand the menu into soups and more sandwiches that cater to what is in season. Another thing she would like to do is introduce wine and dessert nights. But most importantly, she loves to hear from her customers on what they would like to see next. She tells me after the first summer, she is always looking to improve the menu and make her customers happy. So it's time to hop aboard the 501 Streetcar, go east and journey out to Tori's Bakeshop. She has everything you're looking for: sweet and savory and in-between.


Photos by Yuli Scheidt.

Amanda (Ama) Scriver is a foodie and music fiend. She is a food writer for Pink Mafia with her 'Eats' column and works as an event planner full-time. She enjoys random adventures that you can follow each and everyday through Twitter (@amapod) or follow through Instagram (username: amapod).


Afrodille Jobin said...

The picture at the bottom reminds me so much of the s'mores we used to make during camping. I love camping since I was little and eating them surely makes up for a really nice memory.

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