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How Keriwa chef Aaron Joseph Bear Robe would spend a perfect Saturday on Roncesvalles

My Perfect Saturday: Aaron Joseph Bear Robe

I work on Saturdays, but my sous chefs hold down brunch so I can spend the day with my family and come in for dinner service. We live in Bloor West Village. My wife, Marta, and I would take our year-and-a-half-old son, Elijah, for a walk down Bloor to the Astra Deli (2238 Bloor St. W.), to pick up deli meats and Polish food. It’s a great family-run place—everything’s made from scratch. I might pick up a schnitzel sandwich for myself and corned beef and pierogies for my son, as well as snacks for my kitchen crew. Then we’d browse through the fruit markets in the area and make our way over to Chapters (2225 Bloor St. W.). The Bloor West location is cool because it’s in the old Runnymede theatre. Elijah would play with Thomas the Tank Engine, and I’d read books like Kurt Timmermeister’s Growing a Farmer, so I can dream about having a farm someday. After heading back to our place, we’d take a walk through High Park to enjoy the nature. We’d go to Barque (299 Roncesvalles Ave.) for brunch, where we always order the hash skillet. Dave, the owner, is cooking really good barbecue over there. We also like Café Polonez (195 Roncesvalles Ave.). They have this huge dish called the Polish Combination Plate, which can feed three people. I’d also stop by my favourite bike shop, Set Me Free (381 Roncesvalles Ave.), to tune up my ’70s Raleigh six-speed. Then I’d pop into Cherry Bomb Coffee (79 Roncesvalles Ave.) to grab an Americano. I’d also check out what’s at the Thin Blue Line cheese shop (93 Roncesvalles Ave.), which is where I get my cheese for Keriwa. I like to support the local shops. After work, the kitchen crew and I would pop over to Parts and Labour (1566 Queen St. W.) to say hi to Chef Matty and have a beer to wrap up the week.

“I take in the nature, browse the markets, tune up my bike and, eventually, head to work”

Bear Robe outside the Thin Blue Line.
Cherry blossoms in High Park.
Barque at brunchtime.

(Images: High park by Emma McIntyre and Barque by Jess Baumung)