Showing posts with label Jamaican. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jamaican. Show all posts

Patty Queen (Toronto) for delivery


One positive thing coming out of COVID are the budding new businesses springing up across Toronto. Search on Instagram and you’ll find at least a dozen local chefs who are creating delicious eats and delivering them across the city.

When Patty Queen came across my feed, the photo of the yellow pastry made me stop. It’s something I ate a lot of in high school – a cheap lunch from the cafeteria and my parents always had a box of frozen Patty King around in case I was hungry before dinner. After high school, it’s something I ate less of: after a night out, at a TTC station, when the food cravings were too strong; or most recently with co-workers as we sampled the three options around the Yonge and Dundas neighbourhood.

As I’ve grown, my palette has become fussier: I want something with a flaky crust, something that’s flavourful, and a filling with discernable ingredients and not merely a brown paste. Those three things seem difficult to find unless I was willing to travel to the city’s outskirts and wait in line for the greats like Randy’s.

The founders of Patty Queen seemed to be facing the same dilemma – where could they easily get a freshly made Jamaican patty to feed their love of Caribbean cuisine?  After one owner lost her job, she decided they would start making it for the masses. After all, they already served them to friends with great fanfare.

Their spin is to use quality organic ingredients, ensure the patties are made-to-order, and deliver them fresh to customers (every Wednesday and Saturday). Their motto: Always fresh; never frozen.

After getting them delivered to my doorstep on the weekend, my husband and I immediately heated two of the Man Down or vegetarian patties to try ($28 for a dozen; $18 for six). Since they were fresh, a quick 8-minutes in the toaster oven yielded hot fragrant patties. We marvelled how the crust was flakey, crispy on the outside, but soft on the inside.

And the vegetable medley (carrots, peas, onions, and potatoes) sat in a thick peppery sauce – not like the flavourless versions I’ve had at work. I only wish there were more of it in the patty as I found the first couple of bites along the curved sealed end sometimes lacks filling… perhaps due to the patties being stood up in the box when packaged.

That evening we tucked into the Pon de Replay or mild beef patties ($25 for a dozen; $16 for six) and it too had the coveted flakey crust. While the filling looked like a uniform paste, upon biting into it, we tasted the meaty bits and the beef flavour was much stronger. Imagine this to be the Black Angus of the patty world.

The mild patties were a manageable level of spice with a restrained heat that tickles the tongue. For future orders, I think I can move up to the Sasha Fierce (spicy beef patties) instead. After all, having supported Ree Ree for my first order, I’ll get a touch of Queen Bey next time.

Overall mark - 9 out of 10
How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 How to Purchase: email pattyqueenalwaysfresh@gmail.com

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____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never order again
  • - decent for delivery and takeout, but there's better
  • 7 - this is good, for delivery and takeout
  • 8 - great for delivery and takeout, it's almost like you're in a restaurant
  • 9 -  wow, it's like I'm eating at a restaurant
  • 10 - I'd happily order this for delivery or takeout instead of dining in any day!

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Scotthill Caribbean Cuisine (Toronto) for delivery


Note: Prices in post are based on regular menu prices and may be higher when using delivery services

The Friday dinner began on a low note, with one of the longest delivery times despite the restaurant being a 5-minute drive from our place. Luckily, having endured a couple of system crash leading to cancelled order experiences the weeks before, we knew to put in our Uber request early – 5:20pm by the time to final confirmation button was pressed. Hence, when the order was delayed two times (at the restaurant’s request), everything still arrived by 6:40pm (compared to the original latest delivery time of 6pm).

As an aside: A big thank you to Muhammet of Uber Eats, the third driver to visit the restaurant, who contacted us to let us know why other drivers were leaving and proceeded to wait another 5-minutes for the order to finish.

Was the meal a particularly complicated order? I didn’t think so. Two entrees of jerk chicken and oxtail, an extra side of jerk chicken, and roti shells.

Maybe it was the plain roti ($4.75) that led to the delay. Since Scotthill Caribbean Cuisine offers these as a main, I would have thought they could be prepared easily. In retrospect, they were dry and mealy and was only edible after dipping them into the thick complimentary vegetable stew. So, if the roti is what’s holding up the kitchen, I suggest dropping it as a side to simplify operations.

Scotthill’s jerk chicken ($15 for the meal and $8 for an extra leg) doesn’t hit you with a punch of flavour. It’s definitely not bland. Rather, instead of just relying on heat, the seasoning tastes of a complex mixture of spices - the allspice and nutmeg (?) creates a subtle earthy finish that also has a fragrant element.

While the restaurant does provide hot sauce on the side (and boy does this have heat), I wish it was built into the marinade to begin with so that it combines with the other spices and into the chicken better … perhaps I should have painted the hot sauce onto the chicken instead of drizzling it on top?

The oxtail ($22) is meaty and deliciously braised in a savoury gravy. Scotthill adds diced peppers into the sauce that gives an extra boost of flavour to the already tasty rice and peas. Oh, and the plantains… the caramelization is amazing and so sweet and soft that it could be dessert. Forget the roti, get plantain!

For my first taste, I decided to stick with the staples, but will need to return to try their king fish – a dish other reviewers rave about. Although, I sense this is something that tastes better at the restaurant and will not fare well waiting around in a take-out container when things get backed up and delayed. 

Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 1943 Avenue Road
 Delivery: Uber and Doordash
Referral Discount Codes
 Support the blog by using my referral code
 UberEats: use eats-ju6ta to get $5 off a $15 order 
 DoorDash: click link to get $20 off

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never order again
  • 6 - decent for delivery and takeout, but there's better
  • 7 - this is good, for delivery and takeout
  • 8 - great for delivery and takeout, it's almost like you're in a restaurant
  • 9 -  wow, it's like I'm eating at a restaurant
  • 10 - I'd happily order this for delivery or takeout instead of dining in any day!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:



Rap's Jamaican Restaurant (Toronto) for delivery


Note: Prices in post are based on Uber menu prices and may differ when using other delivery services or purchasing directly from the restaurant


I’ve driven by Rap’s Jamaican Restaurant on a handful of occasions and from a distance see the smoke rising from a large black steel-drum grill. The intoxicating scent of barbequed meat fills the street and despite it being 10pm it’s still busy and bustling. “Do we want to stop and try whatever’s cooking?” I ask. But we’re always driving home after a big meal and having a fourth meal of the day, at 11pm, isn’t in the cards.

Rap’s is in the Eglinton West district or “Little Jamaica”, a neighbourhood that’s teeming with activity into the wee hours of the morning. In fact, under normal conditions, they usually don’t even start serving “dinner” until 8pm in the evening, a time when my hungry stomach is already sedated. The restaurant is surrounded by similar establishments, but Rap’s bright signage catches the eye.

Under the “new normal” food is available earlier in the day and it’s offered through delivery services. There’s a strong charbroil aroma that escapes the jerk chicken ($14.99 for a ‘big’ meal or $12 for a sizeable box of just chicken), even after being delivered. That charbroil flavour stays as you bite into the meat – the other occasion I’ve had something similar was a kebab at Shombal North. While Raps is not quite as strong, it is a taste that makes the jerk chicken different. It’s a flavour that takes some getting used to: I enjoy the extra depth in flavour but found it overwhelms the jerk seasoning.

The chicken itself? Oh, wow is it tender! The skin rendered of all it’s fat so that it just sits on the meat as an extra layer of flavour. In future visits, I’d opt for the spicy sauce as the regular one is too tame even for me. And since the rice and peas (red kidney beans) is fairly neutral, you need something flavourful to go with it.

Such as the oxtail ($14.99 for a ‘big’ meal) where the gravy mixes into the rice so well. The oxtail is equally tender, falling off the bone and the cartilage soft like jelly. The meal is a good option, aside from the rice there’s a vinegary coleslaw that has a hint of sweetness. The salad is tarte and refreshing, helping to tame the heaviness of the meal.

During our Friday evening order, Uber only had the ‘big’ size available (other options include the ‘regular’ and the even more sizable ‘massive’) – maybe to keep operations easier to manage. Even if you’re hungry, there’s more than enough for another meal. Whether it’s the third or fourth for the day.

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 1541 Eglinton Avenue West
 Delivery: Uber, Doordash, Skip the Dishes
Referral Discount Codes
 Support the blog by using my referral code
 UberEats: use eats-ju6ta to get $5 off a $15 order 
 SkipTheDishes: click link to get $5 off a $15 order
 DoorDash: click link to get $20 off

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never order again
  • 6 - decent for delivery and takeout, but there's better
  • 7 - this is good, for delivery and takeout
  • 8 - great for delivery and takeout, it's almost like you're in a restaurant
  • 9 -  wow, it's like I'm eating at a restaurant
  • 10 - I'd happily order this for delivery or takeout instead of dining in any day!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:





Chubby's Jamaican Kitchen (Toronto)


For being such a multi-cultural city, Toronto is sadly devoid of non-fast food Jamaican restaurants. While I have no objections with having a huge stuffed roti or plate of jerk chicken for $10, I also like to enjoy the food slowly, with friends, and preferably with a drink in hand. Enter Chubby’s Jamaican Kitchen, where there’s plenty of drinks to be had and food to share.

You can’t go wrong with any of the likkle bites, such as the saltfish fritters ($12), each two-bite pastry lightly packed with plenty of fish in a deliciously hot crispy crust. The miniature Jamaican patties ($10) arrives four to an order: two tasty curry turkey ones incorporating the right amount of spice and tons of gravy along with two vegetarian coconut patties, which after the turkey feels a bit plain. Nonetheless the pastry is great and the filling heartier than the typical frozen variety.


If you like scampi shrimp, Chubby’s pepper shrimp ($16) incorporates a base of garlic butter then adds scotch bonnet chili sauce to make it fiery red. They’re juicy and flavouful where you’ll definitely feel the heat, in a bearable way.


The slow-baked jerk wings ($16) were a sizeable portion and great for sharing. With a sticky dry rub made from honey, scotch bonnet dust, and lime zest, the spice slowly builds on the tongue and leaves a light burn to remind you it is jerk. While the wings were enjoyable, they should be cooked less as the chicken was bordering on dry.


There’s also a variety of jerk offerings for mains. Having had the chicken wings, we opted for the jerk pork ($17), which arrives as two cuts: a fried pork belly and a grilled buckeye loin. Surprisingly, the leaner loin was the moister of the two; the pork belly so overdone that it was chewy. Chubby’s smartly pairs the meat with sautéed seasonal vegetables, a mixture of kale and collard green that’s just cooked until wilted with bits of kale stalk added for crunch. This is one dish where the vegetables are just as good as the protein.


My favourite dishes were the saucy ones with rice. The curry chicken ($16) contained bone-in pieces boiled until tender in a flavourful light curry sauce. A bowl of jasmine rice accompanies the curry with papaya chutney and shaved coconut if you want to make it tropical, I just liked it plain. While not pictured, the Caribbean veggie stew ($15) was rich and satisfying, where the pumpkin and sweet potato helped thicken, coconut milk made things creamy, and the corn and beans added texture.


With a ton of sides to choose from, a large group is ideal so you can mix and match: the rice and peas ($5) actually contains red kidney beans and goes nicely with the jerk pork, Chubby’s slaw ($5) has a great vinegar base and cools any spice, the fried okra ($6) is surprisingly large with the bigger pieces split in half so there’s no sliminess, and the jerk tempeh ($7) reminds me of a hearty mung bean side, great by itself or with curry.


The rum and raisin bread pudding ($10) got me so excited that I forgot to take a picture of the dessert. Cut into cubes and then deep fried, the dessert is crispy on the outside and soft and cinnamonny on the inside. They’re like hot delicious beignets with a warm caramel sauce and cooling vanilla gelato.

While it’s best to go to Chubby’s Jamaican Kitchen as a larger group, the circular tables are so small that you can hardly fit anything else if everyone orders drinks and the hot sauce is placed on the table. We had to ask the staff to take away the tea light and strategically place items on our seats to allow the food to fit.


Nonetheless, we managed and enjoyed our dinner. Perhaps it’s the environment, sit on the second floor and you’ll feel like you’re transported to a Caribbean destination: the skylights let in the sunshine, while the slowly spinning fans and tropical décor give you a lazy feel. Everything, is gonna be all right.

Overall mark - 8 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 104 Portland Street

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

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Patois (Toronto)


Location: Toronto, Canada
Address: 794 Dundas Street West
Website: http://www.patoistoronto.com/
Type of Meal: Dinner


Patois recently opened in the Trinity Bellwoods neighbourhood, just a stone’s throw away from Bent. And like its neighbor, Patois offers Chinese fusion inspired dishes, except in their case, the tastes of the Caribbean (predominantly Jamaica).

According to their website, the restaurant’s philosophy is simple - to offer delicious affordable dishes so customers will return weekly. Although prices aren’t suburban cheap, they are reasonable for its downtown Toronto local. Cocktails cap at $10 when $15 seems to be the new norm. And for $35 you can get a whole teapot of it – a bit fancier than the “cold tea” of the China Town days.

Patois

Patois’ whole vibe is down-to-earth from the simplistic décor, to the top 40 in the background and friendly staff. Despite not being a huge dining room, they were still accommodating taking large group reservations and manipulating tables so we would all fit. Admittedly, I’m not an expert when it comes to Jamaican Chinese cuisine, so luckily I was able to bring a couple of friends who were to sample the creations. One friend’s subject matter expertise (“SME”) has been supplemented with my thoughts below.

To start, “pierogi style” kimchi pot stickers ($11) made with tender ground pork and diced kimchi which is enveloped in a chewy dough before being pan fried crisp. The wrappers are thicker than other Asian dumplings (much more than a gyoza from an izakaya or even the pan-fried variety from a Shanghai restaurant) but then these are modelled after pierogi. Topped with sweet caramelized onions, crispy salty bacon, a spicy sour cream and scallions this was a tasty dish merging many textures and flavours.

Patois pierogies

Between my husband and me, we shared the yard bird special ($32) with a half order of juicy jerk and O.G. fried chicken, dirty rice and coleslaw. Indeed, the juicy jerk was aptly named as moisture just permeated from all pieces (even the often dry white meat). Patois notes that they rotisserie roast the chicken rather than using a BBQ or smoker. The result, is tender succulent pieces of chicken that are even moister than any rotisserie version I’ve ever had.

Patois jerk chicken

However, it lacked the in-your-face boldness of jerk. Perhaps it’s because Patois uses a dry rub rather than a wet marinade. Or maybe it’s because I had it after the strong kimchi pot stickers and fried chicken. In the end, the flavours were too subtle for me. I was expecting that spicy tangy heat with an earthy kick to it. Alas, there was none of that, just a spicy habanero yoghurt on the side.

The SME agrees and compares the spice level to what tourists would be served in Montego Bay. Except there restaurants use similarly spiced sauces which compliments the chicken rather than the disparate habanero. However, he did like the jerk seasoning rubbed on the chicken skin finding it had great authentic tastes.

Interestingly, Chef Craig Wong had told The Grid that “[jerk] has to have flavour that lingers on your palate. It’s definitely not a subtle taste … because jerk just blows your head off. Jerk chicken should be spicy and isn’t mild.” I encourage Chef Wong to go back to that philosophy and not dilute the flavouring to please all palettes. At the very least, offer two levels of spiciness so patrons can experience jerk the way it’s meant to be.

The O.G. (Original Gangster) fried chicken was the hit for me. Although not to the level of Willie Mae’s Scotch House, Patois’ offering was nonetheless delicious - pieces of tender, moist meat surrounded by a crispy crust. I loved the various condiments: cubes of watermelon with Thai basil, a spicy sweet sriracha sauce (like tamarind sauce accompanying samosas) and what I believe were pickled watermelon rind and cucumbers (tart and crunchy).

Patois fried chicken

In the end, it was a satisfying fried chicken meal. But, if I could offer one suggestion, it’s to bring it up to the next level. A lot of Toronto kitchens offer well done fried chicken – with Momofuku selling one that is similarly Chinese inspired. To date, restaurants keep the chicken simple with the cultural twist coming from the condiments. But, why not change the chicken itself? Something simple like dusting the “golden sand” that’s used on Luckee’s spicy squid on top of the batter would be delicious. Or I’m sure there’s other great Caribbean choices available such as a tropical pineapple glaze.

What may keep my husband and I coming back is the dirty fried rice. The menu describes the dish as rice stir fried with the Cajun trinity (onion, celery and bell peppers), sweet cured lap cheong sausage, peas, scrambled eggs and sweet soy sauce. But, there must be something else as the dish had an underlying richness to it. Traditional Cajun dirty rice also mixes in chicken liver so perhaps that was used here as well. Whatever it was, we loved it and polished off every grain.

Patois dirty fried rice

And the last dish of the yard bird special was a creamy coleslaw mixed with carrots and scallions. Made with napa cabbage, this slaw was softer and had a subtler taste than the traditional green cabbage variety.

Patois coleslaw

Other eats that were ordered amongst the table included the Jamaican patty double down ($7) consisting of two mini beef patties sandwiching bacon, melted cheese and a drizzle of sriracha.

Patois beef patty

Another dish ordered by the SME was the ackee n’ saltfish fritters ($14). Unfortunately, it was the shape of the fritters that disappointed – typically like a pancake rather than a ball - so the textures seemed off. Additionally, it lacked the characteristic scotch bonnet pepper flavours often accompanying the dish.

Patois ackee n saltfish fritter

The spaghetti vongole ($14) presented the distinctive pungent black bean aroma mixed with tarragon, little neck clams and sweet cured lap cheong sausage.

Patois spaghetti

As a whole, Patois should successfully accomplish what it’s set out to do – to offer delicious affordable dishes. Certainly, the yard bird special was a great combo with plenty of food; more than enough to satisfy me and my husband. My only hope is that Patois doesn’t try too hard to please the masses and ends up mixing into the melting pot rather than creating a distinct identity. After all, crispy and juicy chicken is fine (and will satisfy) but daring in-you-face flavours is what will wow.  

Overall mark - 7 out of 10



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____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


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