On Wednesday my Mum and I met up for lunch. With class until noon, we decided to convene at Leva for salad, pizza and chai lattes.
The place was packed with hungry students, university staff and others, but we managed to squeeze in at a table for two along the window. I meant to mention after our visit last Saturday, that Leva under went a small renovation recently; the 'ledge' that previously ran along the window has been replaced by square wooden tables that comfortably seat two, while the round tables that filled the rest of the space have been replaced by tables that more easily seat four (or a couple studying students). There are also some fancy new lights that run the length of the space.
After heading up to the front to order, we soon found a salad each in front of us and dug in. Like the roasted pear salad I had on Saturday, this one was beautiful, with roasted zucchini, yams, red peppers and onions providing an enjoyable sweetness amongst the spinach. Our pizza came out soon after our plates were cleared. Although this pizza featured mushrooms, I think it's also comparable to a version I love at Da Capo, with potatoes and blue cheese also making an appearance here, along with porcini cream and mozzarella. Both my Mum and I enjoyed the flavours, but I think next time I'm at Leva, it's just going to be a simple Margherita, which is where they really seem to shine pizza wise.
Beyond our dinner this past weekend and this recent lunch, Charles and I have been finding ourselves at Leva fairly frequently during evenings for several reasons. It's always a good place to study/read, with excellent music at a volume just loud enough to tune others out. They also make a latte that Charles finds enjoyable, they have an excellent selection of Kusmi teas for me, the almost-always-irresistible desserts, and best of all, they are open fairly late (until 11pm on weekdays) and are only three blocks or so from our apartment.
I should also mention that I have become addicted to their muffins. Last semester, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I had an English class in Humanities 'early' in the morning. With Leva on my way to class, there was no reason why I couldn't stop to grab a freshly baked muffin. There are new flavours daily, usually with two types per day.
The situation on Tuesdays and Thursdays is the same this semester (although 'Reading Class and Ideology' has been replaced with 'Canadian Literature: Writing and Colonial Contact to 1900'), and I stopped on Tuesday for a lovely blueberry version. There's much to love about these muffins, namely that they aren't cloyingly sweet, with just a little sugar sprinkled on top. But they are also slightly over-baked so that the edges get a little crisp and caramel-y - my favourite - and the flavours are always fresh and enjoyable (there was a fig and pistachio version awhile back that I loved).
This evening we did head to Leva for tea and coffee (and a rhubarb square and molasses-ginger cookie), and I picked up a muffin for tomorrow morning's 'early' class venture (sadly it happens on Fridays too, though the 112th street route is far more convenient). A carrot, apple and raisin muffin will surely make my History of Archaeological Thought lecture just a little better... or at least I like to think it will.
Leva Café and Bar
11053 86 Avenue
Hours - M-F (7am - 11pm); S (9am - 12am); Su (9am - 6pm)
P.S. One day last semester I ordered a breakfast croissant. It was incredible - a fried egg, spicy salami, mozzarella, potato and pesto all sandwiched between a flaky croissant and grilled in the panini press. Needless to say this 'sandwich' was a little more indulgent than my usual morning muffin, and I only ordered it once so as not to become addicted. But if you're in the neighbourhood, I'd strongly recommend one of these beauties. Like the muffins, there are daily versions, usually one vegetarian and one meat.