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I’m a stressed-out U. of T. student in the middle of midterms, and I’m always looking for good places to study. I’m sick of campus and tired of Starbucks, which is usually overcrowded (not to mention overrated, overpriced etc.). I know Futures has good food and it’s open late, but it’s too loud. I just want a friendly neighborhood place to get good coffee and some work done. Do you have any suggestions?
Do we have any suggestions? Come on, Eileen! “Suggestions” is our middle name.
Assuming the neighborhood you’re referring to is somewhere in the College-Spadina-Bloor-Bathurst quarter, we have the perfect place for you. Linux Caffe (326 Harbord, at Grace) is just off the backpack path, but hopefully not too far from your digs; even if it is, we think it’s worth the trek. If low-key and lower-priced is what you’re looking for, you’ll find a second home in this Kensington-vibey joint, a favourite of grad students who sit hunched over textbooks and iBooks for hours. The coffee is i deal: “hot, dark and organic,” says the website, and fair trade to boot. (Looking for a new addiction? Try the “Canadiano.”) Food is healthy and homey (think veggie stew with burnt-and-buttered toast), wi-fi fast and free. Best of all, while the music can be anything from college rock (Pavement, Wilco) to live cello, it’s never too loud.
For java-fuelled cram sessions, Linux is open ’til “11ish” Monday through Saturday. They close early on Sundays, around 5 p.m.
I’m addicted to Starbucks chai lattes, but I just found out they’re 300 calories each! Help! Where in the city can I find a less fattening version?
Ugh. At chain coffee shops, most tea lattes are like muffins; they sound (and sometimes even taste) healthy, but it’s just a big fat lie.
You’re ordering the venti regular, right? Try going one size down and ask for nonfat milk, and your daily fix will be more like 200 calories; get it “half-sweet” to scale back even more. Still, Starbucks makes their Tazo chai lattes so addictive by using a syrup that, while delicious, is packed with sugar and artificial flavours.
For a lower-cal (and local) alternative, try the Drake’s Corner Café. They make their tea lattes with real tea, in bags, and add steamed milk and sugar to taste. If you get yours made with skim milk and honey, it’ll be downright good for you.