By Claire Desmarais
Where: Dock Lunch Off Main (152 East 11th Ave)
Neighbourhood: Mount Pleasant
Hair of the Dog: For Main Street coffee purists, the home brew at Dock Lunch must be what infamy tastes like. In the percolator is the exclusive Coffee and Chicory blend of the famous Café du Monde, a New Orleans institution since the 1860s, enhanced with whole cinnamon sticks and cardamom for an even richer spice. The process produces a flavour reminiscent of Turkish coffee but distinguishably unique. The only reason we stopped drinking it was out of guilt for abusing the bottomless policy.
What we ate: One of each of the only two items on the menu that day: a giant buttermilk biscuit split and filled with egg, pork carnitas, smoked chili sauce, leafy greens and tomato, accompanied by roasted potatoes and peppers, and a bowl of creamy stone-ground cheese grits with pulled pork, poached egg, watercress, hot sauce and scallions. Quality trumps quantity here; only seasonal, local, organic, ethically sourced ingredients are ever used, and their micro-sized menu (typically two or three choices) changes daily.
What we loved: Hominess redefined; Dock Lunch is literally the former home of owner Elizabeth Grace Bryan, who began by selling food out her window before moving out of the building so it could be transformed in to a bona fide restaurant. Much of the décor and mementos from when the room served as a living space were left behind, providing a deeply inviting and intimate environment full of stories.