Many things in life unexpectedly remind us of the past. Recently I met with Ted Tsonas, one of the owners of AppleJack's Restaurants, and he was mentioning that he once owned a place called Pints on Church, where I used to go with my friend Sam Walton.
Everyone who knew Sam loved and admired him, and it was truly tragic when he died a number of years ago from AIDS. I will never forget Sam or stop missing his energy. In fact, Tom Kanaridis, the manager of the AppleJack's at Highway 7 and McCow
an, has that same kind of joy for life. He always seems to be laughing, and he has energy that shouts out "Welcome!" to everyone who comes in. AppleJack's is about family and friends coming together.
For breakfast, AppleJack's is the place to be, and the prices won't hurt your wallet. Bacon and eggs are a steal at $3.69 and extra eggs are only $0.70. Belgian waffles, pancakes - and unbelievably - low-fat French toast are also staples at the restaurants.
Eating crepes always makes me feel a little French. AppleJack's signature breakfast is the Crepe Mediterranean, made with red peppers, asparagus, mushrooms and goat cheese. Oh, to be by the Mediterranean right now!
And Jack's Big Breakfast is indeed big. It consists of two buttermilk pancakes, two eggs, two slices of bacon, two sausages, toast, jam, and potatoes for only $8.99.
Omelettes are another favourite here, and the selections include more traditional breakfast fare such as the ham-and-cheese option, as well as exotic varieties such as the AppleJack's Frittata. The restaurants also offer you the option of having Egg Beaters (no cholesterol, no fat and a lot of healthy living) instead of whole eggs.
Dinner is great for the whole family. Jack's Smokin' Baby Back Ribs deserve an ovation. And salads at AppleJack's are more than just appetizers: while they offer a great assortment, we tried the Honey Mustard Spinach Salad, the Greek Salad, and the Jack's Country Steak Salad.
But only try the latter if you are really hungry. It's loaded with grilled Triple A steak, peppers, mushrooms and onions, and topped with spicy potato wedges.
There are four AppleJack's locations, including the newest at 3107 Bloor St. W. This week, we dined at two of them- first at Tom's, and then the location at 5328 Highway 7, which is run by Tom's brother Leo.
Visiting AppleJack's brought back memories of happier times. Sam Walton was my friend and always will be, but life is about living and enjoying the things it offers - moving ahead, but always remembering the past. I miss you Sam.