Welcome back to another segment of Buffet Buds, the show where Toronto comedians JJ Liberman and Marc-Anthony Sinagoga search for the best in buds and buffets. In our second episode the buds went to Toronto’s Free Times Café, a 40-year-old staple of the city established by Judy Perly. The recipes passed down from generations make this one of Toronto’s cultural and culinary institution. A versatile hot spot in that hosts the best and most authentic club for live music, comedy and home cooked food. When you think of buffets, you automatically think of Sunday brunches, and what’s a Sunday Brunch without, Challah French toast, bagels, fresh cream cheese and lox. Now we can all agree that no one can make a meal like that better than an Authentic Jewish Bubbie (grandmother). With Judy Perly at the helm with a binder full of family recipes and a staff alongside her for the past 30 years.
The Sunday Brunch at Free Times Café called “Bella! Did Ya Eat?” is a showstopper…. Oh, did we mention there’s a live fiddler playing legit Yiddish Music? It’s incredible.
In this episode we got an opportunity we couldn’t refuse. Judy offered us to come and see the prep the staff gear up for their Sunday brunch. We got to see them make blintz skins in advanced, apple sauce being made from scratch in a 3-foot-tall cauldron, and a tour through the old Toronto basement kitchen. This 6-foot-high basement had Marc-Anthony looking like Hagrid in a day care center. They had their own tour through old culinary Toronto, truly an amazing experience that made this episode one of our favorites. One of the coolest things we learned about Free Times was how their menu has evolved over time. Judy has spent years and years watching people enjoy her buffet, and she would notice how people pair foods together, which inspired her to add signature dishes found on the menu to this day. The smoked salmon slider served on a potato latke and the braised brisket slider served on a latke were invented by watching customers build their own creations while eating at the buffet. Let’s talk about the potato latkes for a split second! Marc-Anthony Sinagoga and JJ Liberman both agreed that Judy Perly’s passed down authentic potato latke recipe is the best potato latke they have ever had hands down! That’s right, Free Times Café in Toronto is home to the best Potato Latkes in the City, Buffet Buds approved!