I have posted blogs about restaurants, fast food in Food Courts and the like. However, I have not written about coffee shops in particular which have become my favorite place to head to when I get the mid-afternoon "munchies". Here in Toronto and - I believe - in most if not all North American cities - are coffee shops catering to the need for a beverage and a quick snack and in Toronto there are chains of coffee shops. The most commonly encountered are Tim Horton's.
In the 1940s and '50s Tim Horton was a star player with the Toronto Maple Leafs ice hockey team and - when he retired from playing hockey - he opened a Tim Horton's Coffee and Doughnut Shop. It was so successful that he opened others here in Toronto and elsewhere in Ontario. Now the franchise can be found in every Canadian province and in many of the US border states.
A few years ago more than one person thought up the idea of driving across Canada stopping for refreshment only at a Tim Horton's and that became the idea for TV advertisements sponsored by the chain.
The complex in which I am living faces onto Bay Street. About 2/3 of a block north of here is a large Tim Horton's and - three blocks south - can be found another (albeit smaller) franchise. Both are open 24 hours a day and are almost always busy.
What do I order when I visit? A coffee and a doughnut and - sometimes - either a sandwich or a bagel with cream cheese filling. I take these items to a table from where I will have a view of most of the eatery and people watch.
A few days ago a good sized group of Oriental girls came in, were lucky to find a fairly large table which was not occupied, gathered there and - as more and more friends arrived - began moving empty chairs to the chosen table. There are no items on the menu that can be classified as 'Oriental food' so they each ordered what many of the rest of us were consuming, sat and began chattering with each other - as all young people can chatter - while consuming their chosen items.
Occasionally I will get the 'late night munchies' and walk up there for a snack and - even at that late hour - I am not alone. What do I order? Usually either the plain bagel with cream cheese or the 'turkey/bacon/club' sandwich, a medium coffee and a 'chocolate dipped' donut. Up until a year or so ago egg salad sandwiches were also on the menu but they - along with chicken salad - were dropped. I suspect that it was due to more danger from food poisoning from those ingredients than from the usual fare like turkey/bacon/club, grilled cheese and the like.
The Tim Horton outlet down the street is very near the Provincial Government offices so the lineups at the serving counters during the lunch hour are daunting.
The chain with a similar name are the 'Timothy's World Coffees' shops. They are franchised and the owners of one franchise are friends of mine so I walk over to there on many an afternoon. Along with a wide range of different types of coffee, there is tea, cakes, cookies, squares and - yes - even sandwiches to order (I like the egg salad and the feta cheese ones).
While at Tim Horton's the other customers usually are strangers to me while - at Timothy's World Coffees - often I know other patrons so visit while enjoying the coffee and whatever munchies I have chosen for that day. Of late fresh made soups have been added to the menu at Timothy's and I love two of them - Cream of Potato soup with bacon bits and Split Pea soup with ham.
Yes - those coffee outings are rather hard on a tight budget but the upside is that I am not becoming a hermit but am socializing with others.