Sometimes, typically around about 3 o’clock on a late summer evening, an old girl can get a hankering for a coffee. And an ice cream. The Italians (inevitably) understand these mature longings. Did they not create the affogato? A scoop of vanilla gelato drowning in a shot of hot espresso, sometimes an added splash of Amaretto as lifesaver. It happened to be 3 o’clock as this girl was ambling east along Wellington West, en route to the Parkdale Market when she spied, through the fragrant screen of pink petunias and hydrangea bushes, a little outdoor café.
There was something mirage-like about it. Was I dreaming? This place was a parking lot just the other day… but no, here, inside black iron fencing, were tables and chairs and pretty green umbrellas clustered around a mature maple wrapped with fairy lights.
And at the back, a little coffee and gelato bar lit with a shimmery chandelier and equipped with a handsome young charmer ready to scoop and pull and pour my every need.
Trii Outdoor Lounge is the brainchild of Adele Lantos, whose brother owns Euphoria Hair Salon next door. Open for about a month now, and equipped with propane heaters for cool evenings, Trii stays open until 11-ish with a menu of coffees, cookies, granita and gelato, smoothies and affogato.
Later, the plan is to offer small plates of savoury things to go with the newly acquired liquor license. Perhaps as early as this season, but more likely next.
The affogato handed me — vanilla gelato (sourced for now, from Piccolo Grande, but with a plan to make her own), a shot of strong espresso (Francesco’s Coffee Company), a crumbling of chocolate biscotti (Adele-made), and a flourish of (what tasted to me homemade) chocolate syrup — scratched every itch. Trii will go into dormancy, of course, when the gentle season leaves us, but come May, let’s hope it comes back green and lush.
I will look forward to grazing the savoury side of this charming outdoor lounge in 2014.
My affogato cost $4.25
Open: Daily, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. until the big chill sets in.
Trii Outdoor Lounge, 1195 Wellington St. W. (tucked beside Euphoria, just west of the Parkdale Market), 613-795-6705.