The Annex is my favorite little neighbourhood in downtown Toronto and it's where I've been living for the past eight years. Located South of Dupont, West of Avenue, North of Bloor, and East of Bathurst, you can find a seemingly unlimited number of shops and restaurants! Along the stretch of Bloor Street, you can find cuisines from around the world: Mexican, Indian, Chinese, Hungarian, Vietnamese, Middle Eastern, Japanese, and more. With our new release of Wannathis Sticker Sheets, I thought it would be fun to talk about some of my favorite shops and restaurants in the area! We first found these Wannathis stickers while travelling in Seoul back in October 2019. They’re some of favorites because the quality is amazing; the colors are vibrant, the material is tough (removable and reusable if needed!), and the illustrations are cute and funny.
Bakery: The Wannathis Bakery stickers definitely have a cake and café vibe similar to the that of LaLa Bakeshop! Just steps away from my apartment, this new modern Vietnamese bakery celebrated its grand opening just last month. I tried its black sesame croissant ($4.80) and its scallion and cured sausage bun ($3.80). The croissant had a deliciously sweet sesame cream in the middle and was very filing. To be honest, I wasn’t anticipating it to liquidy, so I had to rip the croissant and dip it in the cream. I think I would have preferred a thicker cream that stays inside the pastry, but I’ll definitely be back to try the Vietnamese coffee tiramisu ($14) and matcha pandan ($14) though!
Fish & Meat: Bespoke Butchers has three locations in Toronto: The Annex, St. Lawrence Market, and Leslieville. This is where I go to pick up local, ethical, and sustainable meat. The company works with lots of small Ontario farms, so I know that I’m getting quality food when I buy here. The feature I like the most about this butcher is that you can purchase its “boxes”, which contain meat essentials for the week. For example, The Fridge Essentials Box ($85) includes 1 whole chicken, 1lb ground beef, 1 dozen free-run eggs, 1 pack Perth bacon, 3 sweet italian susages, and 3 hot Italian sausages.
Cereal: The Cereal sticker sheet features more than just cereal; it looks like an entire pantry of food: boxes of cereal, sauce, pickles, candy, and pasta! The restaurant that comes to my mind right away is Future Bistro. One of my top spots! Despite restaurants coming and going all the time in the Annex (some survive for only a few months), Future has been there for at least fifteen years. I normally go for a piece of cake or a slice of pie since its selection is one of the best in the city: cheesecakes, cakes, tortes, pies, squares, cookies, and pastries. If you friends don’t have a sweet tooth (how could they not?!), then they can order from the cafeteria-style menu.
Fruit: Although not technically in the Annex (but I recently learned that many people refer to this as "the West Annex"), Bloor Fruit Market is just on the other side of Bathurst in Koreatown. Known for its fresh fruit lined up against the wall and around the corner, you'll find that the prices here are much cheaper than what you see at Metro! Before you go, stop by an ATM because it's cash-only here. I can’t wait to use these Fruit stickers in my journal when I go for my weekly fruit run!
Morning: Fuwa Fuwa means “fluffy fluffy” in Japanese and that’s exactly how their pancakes taste. Eating soufflé pancakes is like eating a warm and sweet cloud. Airy, delicate, and fluffy, they’re an absolute must-try if you’re in the Annex. Interestingly, this is the first Fuwa Fuwa location and it was originally opened up by one of my former English students! One day I was walking by and saw her working and then the next week, her face was in the news during the grand opening. They’ve since expanded to locations in Mississauga and Vaughn. My favorite is Matcha Tiramisu ($15.30) paired with the sesame latté ($5.85).
Coffee: To be honest, I’m not a coffee-lover like my sister is, but I do love a good cup of Hong Kong milk tea! And if I’m not mistaken, our Wannathis Coffee has some tea stickers on it, so I’m just gonna go with it! Cuppa Milk Tea opened its doors in the Annex just a few years ago and I’ve been obsessed ever since. I’m sad that since the beginning of the pandemic, it’s been closed for indoor dining, but I’m glad it didn’t shut down altogether. I love to work and study in this location because the back room area is really quiet and cozy. My pick is the Cold Signature Milk Tea ($4.79) with Red Bean.
Hamburger: Burger's Priest is one of the best burger joints in the city, so I’m lucky to have one in my own neighborhood! With beef that’s ground daily, I can never go back to frozen. These burgers are so juicy and tasty that the extra money is worth it. They have a HUGE menu, but I always go with the classic: The Priest. It’s got an original beef patty topped with American cheese and The Option (breaded, cheese-stuffed Portobello mushroom cap). The Hamburger sticker sheet doesn’t include The Option, but it does have waffle-cut fries, which are my second favorite after curly fries!