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  #201  
Old Posted Jun 14, 2015, 10:42 AM
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That sandwich looks good, Pinion. How was the bread?

I'm looking forward to some serious eating when I get back to Vancouver in 10 days. I have a friend who is a wholesaler of fine European food stuffs, so I basically just follow him around, and eat where he eats. Stoked!

When I lived in Taiwan, it was so exotic to go back home, and eat all these foods that I had little to no access to in Taiwan. Living in Shanghai though,. it's not as exciting. I can find pretty much everything back home here, and in many cases better (French and Turkish food, for instance, is amazing in SH).

Last edited by giallo; Jun 14, 2015 at 11:57 AM.
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  #202  
Old Posted Jun 14, 2015, 4:38 PM
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Originally Posted by hipster duck View Post
What we lack in tapas we make up for in Izakaya.
España on Denman is quite good for tapas.

España on Yelp
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  #203  
Old Posted Jun 14, 2015, 11:32 PM
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^ Wow. Great feedback on Yelp. I'll give it a try.
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  #204  
Old Posted Jun 14, 2015, 11:43 PM
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Espana is terrific. I would definitely recommend it for tapas. I would say the best in the city.
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  #205  
Old Posted Jun 15, 2015, 12:25 AM
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I've mentioned it earlier in this thread but went again last weekend for a proper meal at Bar Raval in Toronto. Tapas came up and apparently this is as close to Barcelona as you can get in Canada. If on a visit to Toronto I would HIGHLY recommend it. Not really a sit down place and unless you are lucky you will probably be standing at a counter. It's still worth it though.

Didn't take as many pics as I should have in retrospect but oh well.

Starting off with some cocktails - I honestly forget what this is but it was bourbon based and amazing. They don't charge $14 for nothing…





This was octopus fried in pork fat. Very simple but I can't stress how amazing it was. I don't think I've ever had better octopus, including at Bar Isabel by the same owner (Grant Van Gameron) which is renowned for their octopus.





Next up was one of the several Pinxtos dishes we had. I guess this is pretty standard Barcelona fare and I wish I had pics of the others. This one is quail egg, chorizo and some sort of sweet pepper. We also had shrimp and creme, and some sardine like fish on cheese. Highly recommended and relatively affordable.




Finished off with some Basque cheesecake. It's extremely simple, light and flavourful. Charred on the outside and moist just below. It reminds me of the Japanese cheesecake trend that has spurned 2 hour long lines in Toronto, except this is better.






Also checked out a new place near me this weekend which is a collaboration by some of my favourite places - Porchetta and Co, and Libretto Pizza teamed up to do a Napolese street food restaurant called A3 Napoli. The menu is pretty limited so far and it's either fried food or pizza. The fried food is surprisingly light as they do it at very high temperatures apparently. The highlight was the Pizza Fritta which is kind of like a panzerotti but with ricotta and cured meat.

Here's the BlogTO article with pics: http://www.blogto.com/restaurants/a3-napoli-toronto

I will be making this a takeout staple when I want something unhealthy, or after a bike ride!
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  #206  
Old Posted Jun 15, 2015, 5:55 AM
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Everything you just posted looks amazing. Octopus cooked in pork fat? Um, yup.
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  #207  
Old Posted Jun 15, 2015, 6:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by giallo View Post
Everything you just posted looks amazing. Octopus cooked in pork fat? Um, yup.
Yeah it's out of control! If you are ever in Toronto definitely check out Bar Raval or anything by Grant Van Gameren. He's really influenced the food scene here and works his ass off. He's only one year older than me too which kind of saddens me haha.

http://www.torontolife.com/daily-dis...eren-meathead/
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  #208  
Old Posted Jun 15, 2015, 8:36 AM
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Great post niwell. Love the look of the little sandwiches.
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  #209  
Old Posted Jun 15, 2015, 1:03 PM
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Great post niwell. Love the look of the little sandwiches.
I think I just heard the collective gasp of Toronto foodies, all the way out here in K-W!
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  #210  
Old Posted Jun 15, 2015, 3:12 PM
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Like, god, did he just call a Pinxto a sandwich?


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  #211  
Old Posted Jun 15, 2015, 4:17 PM
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Sorry, girls.

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  #212  
Old Posted Jun 16, 2015, 9:48 PM
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Raymond's won Top Restaurant in Canada for the second year in a row. It's the first time this has ever been done. I'll have to suck it up and go. Mallard Cottage, which I do love, is there as well.

Top 10 Restaurants in Canada 2015

1. Raymond's, St. John's
2. Joe Beef, Montreal
3. Toque!, Montreal
4. Bar Isabel, Toronto
5. Hawksworth, Vancouver
6. Splendido, Toronto
7. Mallard Cottage, St. John's
8. Buca, Toronto
9. Bar Raval, Toronto
10. Edulis, Toronto

http://toprestaurantsincanada.com/bl...nds-wins-again
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  #213  
Old Posted Jun 27, 2015, 11:00 PM
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So non-Mexican-run gourmet taco bars are a thing now, it seems. Or, let's be honest, more accurately, hipster taco bars. They've been in Toronto for several years, and I've noticed that they've now filtered down into the smaller cities (Hamilton, Waterloo, etc.).

I'm of two minds about this: The prices are always outrageous at $5 to $6 each for a tarted up version of dirt cheap Mexican street or taqueria food, and you need four or five to fill you up, so with a drink that's going to run you over $30 with tip. Though, to be fair, this is Canada, and not Mexico. We simply don't do dirt cheap food in this country (much less dirt cheap food that's any good).

On the other hand, some of the taco concoctions they've come up with are rather delicious.

Seven Lives in Kensington Market gets rave reviews, and you'd think the half-hour lineup would merit them, but they only just do. The pulled pork taco I had the other day was inedible, like chewing on rubber. I'm assuming they were having an off day with that one. But the blackened mahi was really tasty, and the spicy shrimp was fairly good, though the cheese made it taste a bit odd to my palette.

If you want to get something more authentic, you could go to El Trompo over on Kensington, closer to College, and get a plate of five tacos al pastor made by real chilangos (natives of Mexico City) at a more reasonable price that will give you a glimpse of what they actually taste like in Mexico. In a pinch I would take El Trompo before Seven Lives, but both are worth going to.

Taco Farm in Waterloo does an okay take on tacos al pastor, the signature street food of Mexico City. Instead of the standard spiced pulled pork with onions and pineapple, you get a thickish slab of pork belly with your pineapple. I've now gone several times in the last year, and it's definitely hit and miss: sometimes the pork belly is soft and succulent, and other times it's hard like beef jerky. They're not consistent there at all, but I pays me money and takes me chances.

Now there's Mezcal in Hamilton on James South. I recently had a half-decent pork belly taco and a Baja fish taco, though they were sauce-heavy in a verging-on-the-unpleasant way, mostly because the sauces had a consistency that seemed suspiciously like they came off a supermarket shelf.

I do enjoy some of the innovative flavours you get at this new wave of taco bars, but it's hard not to feel a little uneasy about how expensive they are. It will be interesting to watch and see how long this trend lasts.
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  #214  
Old Posted Jun 28, 2015, 1:15 AM
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As far as "hipster tacos" go I'd go with La Carnita on College St. (which Niwell reviewed earlier). I still prefer El Trompo though. Tacos El Asador on Bloor is also highly recommended (though it's El Salvadorian rather than Mexican).
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  #215  
Old Posted Jun 28, 2015, 4:06 AM
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Interesting read, rousseau.

Surprisingly (or unsurprisingly if you follow Shanghai's food scene), Shanghai has been on the whole "gourmet taco/Mexican food" thing for a while too. All these places are run by expats of the American and Canadian variety, and range from pretty good to awful. The bad ones don't last, but one in particular; Dogtown, is quite good, and has been around for a couple of years. It's all about their roadside tacos with reasonably price beer. I'll snap some photos next time I'm there.

Last edited by giallo; Jun 28, 2015 at 3:11 PM.
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  #216  
Old Posted Jun 28, 2015, 6:30 AM
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SSP is so strange sometimes. I'm sitting here embarrassed about my city's taco scene. What an abnormal thing to be concerned about.
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  #217  
Old Posted Jun 28, 2015, 6:42 AM
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There's a taco place opening near my house. It looks like it is being opened by Mexicans. Or Guatemalans. Don't know. All I know is that I suspect that they have a relationship with the authentic Mexican tienda next door - the tienda where I buy my Mexican Coca Cola.
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  #218  
Old Posted Jun 28, 2015, 2:19 PM
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My friend from Mexico City lovvveessss tacos from La Carnita. So I feel justified in enjoying them. I'm only making fun of the need to be authentic a little bit. Ok, a lot. I enjoy whatever as long as it tastes good.

Apparently they do have hipster tacos in Mexico City too though - that made me laugh a little bit.

I'm in New Orleans at the moment and feel like I may gain 5 lbs this trip. Pictures to come.
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  #219  
Old Posted Jun 28, 2015, 6:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SignalHillHiker View Post
Raymond's won Top Restaurant in Canada for the second year in a row. It's the first time this has ever been done. I'll have to suck it up and go. Mallard Cottage, which I do love, is there as well.

Top 10 Restaurants in Canada 2015

1. Raymond's, St. John's
2. Joe Beef, Montreal
3. Toque!, Montreal
4. Bar Isabel, Toronto
5. Hawksworth, Vancouver
6. Splendido, Toronto
7. Mallard Cottage, St. John's
8. Buca, Toronto
9. Bar Raval, Toronto
10. Edulis, Toronto

http://toprestaurantsincanada.com/bl...nds-wins-again
Nothing on that list from Quebec City??? I'm very surprised. Seems as though the focus was only on certain cities.
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  #220  
Old Posted Jun 28, 2015, 8:30 PM
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Originally Posted by giallo View Post
That sandwich looks good, Pinion. How was the bread?
Oops just saw this. Bread was good, not great.

Vancouver's Mexican food is the one thing we can't seem to do right. I can't find a good place. And they knocked down my favourite Spanish tapas place for yet another condo.
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