Showing posts with label guacamole. Show all posts
Showing posts with label guacamole. Show all posts

Campechano (Toronto)

Campechano is a great place for vegetarians and meat eaters alike. Their menu contains options for both and items are sold by piece, so everyone can order whatever they want.

Most tables start with the guacamole ($8) where it arrives with two cups brimming with thin crispy chips, which they refill if you finish the tortilla before the dips. The salsa roja is great, with just a bit of spice and plenty of zest. It leaves the guacamole feeling fairly neutral, jazzed up with pomegranate - an interesting twist, though personally I do enjoy my dip without fruit.


If you’re feeling hungry than order a sencillo sopes ($6) for yourself; otherwise, it’s hearty enough to share. The tortilla is thicker and soft, almost like naan but not oily. A layer of refried beans is spread on top with lettuce, cheese, and two types of sauce covering the pillowy tortilla. A different alternative to Campechano’s tacos, but not nearly as exciting.


If you can handle spice, the hongo ahumado ($6) has a healthy kick of fiery sauce drizzled on top. This heat was unexpected as the taco’s description made it sound earthy tasting, from the smoked mushroom base, with a hearty finish, thanks to the white bean puree. In reality, aside from the spice, it's rather fresh with plenty of herbs sprinkled over top and very tasty, despite all the water you’ll have afterwards.


On the other hand, the healthy sprinkling of cotija cheese on the rajas ($5) makes the roasted poblano peppers taco richer than you'd expect. Additionally, the peppers aren’t spicy at all, instead having a deep earthiness. With little bits of corn added for bite, this was another tasty taco.


Campechano’s dining room is small and cozy, so try to make a reservation. Regardless, there seems to be plenty of walk-ins and on our weekday dinner visit, the wait wasn’t long… their service is friendly and efficient so most tables turn over quickly.

Becoming a flexitarian has been a breeze with restaurants like Campechano. Their vegetarian tacos are so delicious that I definitely don’t miss the meat. 

Overall mark - 8 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 504 Adelaide Street West

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____________________________
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!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:



Campechano Taqueria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Oyamel Cocina Mexicana (Washington)


Biting into the thin non-oily tortilla chips dipped in the slightly spicy salsa was the first hint there’d be good food to come. Mexican cuisine is a meal I always look forward to in America. Where choices are abundant and things just taste more authentic compared to Canada.


Oyamel Cocina Mexicana didn’t disappoint. Their tacos were each four delicious bites. The palm sized shell could barely contain the lengua guisada ($4.50), to the point I had to finish the second half with knife and fork as the thick slices of tender beef tongue fell out. Braised until permeated with flavours, this is the way tongue is meant to be served: bites of the soft meaty properties while the unsightly bumps are hidden from view.


The pollo a la parrilla ($4) had lovely smokiness with the chicken even the green onion garnishes getting some time on the grill. If you order multiple tacos, eat this one first as the flavours are mellow. The smear of smashed heirloom Resboseros beans at the bottom were the perfect condiment, just thick enough to hold everything together but fluid enough to not get sticky.

Cheese lovers, the quesadilla huitlacoche ($10) is for you with tons of soft gooey Chihuahua cheese studded with corn and bits of bell pepper, onion and tomatoes. There’s something magical about the preparation of the cheese, slightly crusted so the caramelized parts breaks into pieces that tastes like bacon bits. We had to double check with the waitress to make sure it was indeed vegetarian and pork free as it tastes so real.


Of all the items, the guacamole ($15) seemed the most run-of-the-mill. But, to be fair, it’s a dish that’s easily made at home. At Oyamel, a staff member stands in the dining room making it fresh with mortar and pestle, before topping each with queso fresco and a green tomatillo salsa. I would have liked a more of the Serrano chile for heat, but did enjoy that the acid was balanced so the creamy avocado was present.


Oh land of stars and stripes, just remember how lucky you are to have such tasty Mexican food. Just why would anyone ever want to build a wall to keep out something so delicious?

Overall mark - 8 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 401 7th St NW

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!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:

Oyamel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


El Catrin Destileria (Toronto)


Torontonians love patios during the summer and El Catrin, located in the Distillery District, has one of the best patios. It’s cheery and spacious, but best of all away from any automobile traffic given its location in the middle of the Distillery compound.

El Catrin Distillery Toronto

To really get the good times started, a bowl of guacamole ($12.95) works wonders. The menu notes it’s “made” tableside, but in reality it’s just a quick crushing of halved avocados with a pestle in front of you. It’s not exactly an extravagant tableside experience, but nonetheless the fruits resist browning.


The guacamole includes plenty of creamy avocado that’s simply flavoured with cilantro, onion, a bit of Serrano chili, and tomatoes. Dip a chip into the creamy concoction while you sip on a cold drink… what else do you need on a nice day?

El Catrin Distillery Toronto guacamole

Weekday lunches are a good time to visit as El Catrin’s not overly busy and they offer a special lunch menu ($16.95) with a choice of soup or salad and two tacos. It also includes a non-alcoholic juice of the day, which was watermelon during my visit, sweet and refreshing.


With my love of shrimp tacos, I had to try their camarones en adobo. Although small in size, the shrimp were cooked well and being tiny there were more to spread out across the taco. The hand-made corn tortilla was a key ingredient for creating an authentic taste and there were plenty of flavours from the salsa verde, pineapple chipotle adobo sauce, and pineapple pico de gallo. Despite all the condiments, I had to add on some of the habanero hot sauce, which made it even better.

El Catrin Distillery Toronto shrimp tacos

The accompanying bowl of ensalada de kiko is a quinoa based salad topped with diced cucumber, tomato, avocado, and queso fresco cheese. The smoked corn aioli dressing was more citrus than smoke and could have been saltier. Luckily, with the complimentary salsas, a few spoonful of the roasted tomatillo salsa helped give the salad interest.


In hindsight, I’d forgo the lunch special for another taco as they were the best part of the meal. The Baja fish tacos ($16.95) were your typical fried battered version with coleslaw wrapped in a soft flour tortilla. Despite there being nothing unique about El Catrin’s version, there’s nothing disappointing either: the fried fish was crispy and not overly oily; the coleslaw nice and crunchy; the tortilla fresh and soft; and the chipotle lime mayo providing sufficient flavours.

El Catrin Distillery Toronto fish tacos

When the sun is shining in Toronto, it’s difficult not to be in a great mood. Get outside and enjoy it while it lasts! With El Catrin’s colourful décor and cobblestone flooring, for a moment you feel like you’re transported somewhere foreign and exotic.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 18 Tank House Lane

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!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:

El Catrin Destileria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wilbur Mexicana (Toronto)

Wilbur Mexicana Toronto


You know Wilbur Mexicana is serving something good from the constant line that forms at its doorway – having passed by the eatery on numerous occasions, I’ve never seen it clear. So, when a casual meal was required, after an event in the King West area, this bustling restaurant came to mind. Part of the growing quick-service industry, the concept is simple: grab a menu, order, sit down anywhere with your sign on display and they’ll bring the food to you.

Wilbur Mexicana Toronto

Not realizing that every meal already comes with crispy warm non-greasy tortilla chips, we started with the guacamole and chips ($5), which came shortly after settling down at one of the large communal tables. For the price, Wilbur provides a relatively large cup of the rich creamy dip, a simple combination of avocado, cilantro and lime juice.

Wilbur Mexicana - guacamole and chips

For those who can’t decide between seafood or meat, the S&T burrito ($12) solves your dilemma since it contains both brisket and shrimp. What a hefty burrito, its grilled tortilla brimming with rice, beans, peppers, onions, jalapeno, cheese, sour cream salsa and lettuce. All the ingredients were fresh and delicious: a good portion of the soft shredded beef, the hot shrimp just barely cooked through and even the rice retaining its individual grains and giving off a fragrant aroma.  

Wilbur Mexicana - S&T burritoWilbur Mexicana - S&T burrito

The bulgogi taco ($4.25) was stingy with the beef, although what was on there was well marinated and tasty, but did contain plenty of crunchy red cabbage and pear slaw. Not remembering the taco contained sriracha, the blast of spice was unexpected but contrasted nicely with the otherwise sweeter elements.

Wilbur Mexicana - bulgogi taco

In a way, it’s such a shame that the burrito and taco were already so flavourful, really not requiring additional salsa or hot sauce, since Wilbur Mexicana has such a great selection of both. The salsas range from a mild pico de gallo (which was delicious with the chips) or sweet pineapple to more lethal pureed sauces that hide devilish chilies such as ghost peppers. Even the middle-of-the-range asada, made from smoky chipotles, already had enough of the burn quotient for me. With the jalapeno in the burrito and sriracha in the taco, I didn’t even bother venturing to the hot sauce shelf.

Wilbur Mexicana - crazy range of hot saucesWilbur Mexicana - fresh salsas

I rather enjoyed the laid back brightly lit environment at Wilbur. You wouldn’t necessarily go there for a long meal filled with meaningful conversations. But, for a quick bite or a re-fueling while doing a King Street bar crawl, I can’t think of a better place.  

Overall mark - 8 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 552 King Street West

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!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:



Wilbur Mexicana Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

CLOSED: Ici Bistro (Toronto)

Location: Toronto, Canada
Address: 538 Manning Avenue
Type of Meal: Dinner



Ici Bistro has a chef that certainly sounds French – Chef Jean-Pierre Challet.  Having been born and raised in Lyon, it’s refreshing to eat creations from individuals who have actually lived and breathed the lifestyle.  At Ici, the menu offer classics with a twist of fushion – think flavourful sauces and rich ingredients synonymous with French cooking but also additions of guacamole, ginger and Asian pear.


To begin, an amuse of salted cod and butternut squash fritters were presented.  Served warm, the fritters were soft, doughy and had a nice brininess from the fish.  






Ici has a fairly limited menu but each dish can be ordered as a small or large portion, allowing you to customize what you want as a starter. With the exception of the scallop, all dishes and prices listed below are for the small option.  Although many of us opted for two small choices (rather than one small and one large) we were more than satisfied as the dishes are so rich that it’d be hard to eat more of it.


My starter of avocado fritter, crispy squid and guacamole ($15) was very tempura like with the various nuggets of fried goods.  The guacamole was extremely citrusy but leant itself to being paired with the fried squid helping to cut through some of the oiliness.  The avocado “fritters” were actually just pieces of avocado battered and fried so I wouldn’t actually consider them fritters.  They were okay, but a bit much when there’s already guacamole on the plate, a different vegetable would have been preferred.


In tasting my friend’s lobster bisque ($16) I found it was very gingery from the minced pieces they put in the oil topping the soup.  It was calmed down once my friend had the chance to mix it into the bisque.  The presentation was nice with the crème fraiche foam (?) and the fried shrimp on top.


Duck is one of those proteins I love but never cook at home.  So, when I’m out and it’s on the menu I love to get it.  The breast in Ici’s duck magret ($22) was rendered well giving it a thin layer of toasted skin while the meat was a nice medium and tender.  The cherry wine sauce covering it was tarte and delicious, I just wished everything could be hotter (although it’s likely because they had to rest the duck prior to cutting). On the side, was a plump duck confit ravioli, though based on the thin wrapper is more like a dumpling, which was filled with flavourful confit meat.  Another strong tasting element was the truffle croquette; as soon as you broke through the bread crumb coating an ooze of chopped up truffle with cheese/cream flowed out.  The creamy truffle mixture actually went well with the slices of potatoes and green beans, the sole elements of the dish that were more neutral tasting.


My friend’s scallops ($36) were exquisitely presented in a tower form, cut in half with a layer of king crab in between then sandwiched in slices of crispy Asian pear.  Overall, was delicious with the scallop cooked well.  I found the pear accompaniment intriguing but the scallop’s flavour was masked by the other ingredients.  On each side of the scallop were a poached lobster claw and a potato and spring onion (?) risotto.


Having been slow cooked for four hours, the braised beef ($21) was tender despite the lean cut of meat. Sitting on a bed of mashed potatoes with a vegetable medley on the side the small portion was still quite a substantial meal.  Little nuggets of deep fried bone marrow mixed with slivers of beef were intense despite their size – I had a quarter of one and as soon as it hit the tongue a beefy fat flavour flooded everything (so watch out before you pop an entire one into your mouth).


For dessert we ordered two soufflés ($16 each) to share - grand marnier and chocolate griottine.  They were beautifully risen and each served with a sauce to pour in - vanilla custard for the grand marnier and a dark chocolate ganache with the chocolate griottine.  The only bad element was the pieces of fruit inside the batter - big pieces of orange rind and drunken cherries.  Personally, I hate fruit in desserts (with the exception of sponge cake, cheesecake, pies and crumble). Especially with the light bubbliness of a soufflé, the harsh pieces of fruit somewhat ruined it and I had to pick them out.


Despite having a relatively lean staff, service was friendly and attentive. The only strange occurrence happened when we asked the server a question about the menu; she had to revert to the lone waitress to answer that instead. Really, everyone who works for a restaurant should really know what they are serving.   Nonetheless, I enjoyed the experience and left full and sedated.

Overall mark - 8 out of 10



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____________________________
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!


Frontera Grill (Chicago)

Location: Chicago, USA
Address: 445 N Clark Street
Website: http://www.rickbayless.com/restaurants/frontera-grill/
Type of Meal: Lunch



Having arrived 10 minutes just before Frontera Grill’s opening time (11:30am), there was already a line up down the length of their patio. Luckily, the line was actually for two restaurants (Frontera Grill and its slightly more upscale sister restaurant Topolobampo) and once the doors opened patrons were sat quickly.

What makes Frontera special is their dishes made with simple fresh ingredients. Take their guacamole ($9.50), it seemed to be comprised of the bare essentials - avocado, onions and maybe some salt. Without the typical zing of lime and jalapeños the guacamole tasted surprisingly creamy and somehow richer. The accompanying chips were crispy and not oily while the subtle salsas were also good when mixed with the guacamole.



The quesadillas ($14) were chocked full of grilled chicken and Indiana jack cheese (and pretty much just that). On the side was more guacamole, thick refried beans and some dressed lettuce leaves (covered in a Parmesan-type cheese). Overall, it was a satisfying quesadilla but personally I would have liked it more if there was some stronger salsa accompanying it.



My chicken in mole amarillo ($15) was a bit timid. I imagined a rich mole stewed for hours with tons of ingredients (Oaxaca mole amarillo guajillo, tomato, tomatillo, hoja santa, corn masa was what was listed on the menu). Nonetheless, the tender pieces of smoked chicken and fennel braised in the sauce were nice, especially with the warm fresh tortillas. I jazzed it up with the red chili sauce on the table and even sprinkled some tart and peppery arugula salad in the wrap for good measure.


All in all, Frontera Grill offers traditional options that may seem a bit bland to those who grew up on Tex Mex and the crazy fusion tacos in today's restaurants. But, if you want to get back to the simpler side of things than they are the place for you.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10

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
  • - 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!

Frontera Grill on Urbanspoon


Milagro Cantina (Toronto)

Location: Toronto, Canada

Address: 
5 Mercer Street
                 783 Queen Street West
                 
Website: http://www.milagrorestaurant.com/Welcome.html
Type of Meal: Dinner


Before the expansion of taquerías there was Milagro Cantina, one of the first Mexican restaurants that deviated from tex mex in Toronto. At Milagro, jalapeno laced cheese isn’t sprinkled liberally on top everything, but rather flavours are added with smoked peppers, creamy avocados and freshly made salsas. It’s my go-to location for tacos and burritos, since I can make reservations, am not required to share a table with strangers and actually get plates and cutlery to go with the meal. 


Having visited all three locations, my favourite is the uptown Yonge site (pictured in this post. Update: this location has since closed) but each has their own appeal.  The Mercer location is by far the largest and best for large parties and its proximity to the entertainment district. Meanwhile, Queen West is intimate and quieter so good for casual meals where conversation is key.  The Yonge location is the happy medium – still fairly large (with two floors) and a nice vibe (bustling bar but not so loud that you can’t carry a conversation).    
At all the restaurants, complementary house made tortilla chips and salsa is handed out after ordering.  Although delicious, the salsa is rather small and never enough to last past 10 chips, so we added on an order of guacamole ($11.50 for large) to satisfy ourselves (so much so that we had to get a refill of chips).  The guacamole is simple with the tomatoes and onion, muted so that the fresh creamy avocado shines through with some salt and citrus.  A bit of serrano peppers is scattered throughout but sparingly so there isn’t much heat.


On this visit I’ve decided to finally try their ceviche; with five to choose from and two sizes each, we ordered the snapper ($15 for large) to share. It’s too acidic for my taste and all you can taste is lime, lime and more lime - perhaps, if they strained the mixture out of the liquid rather than serving the ceviche in it the citruses’ can be calmed. Additionally, if there was more mango the sweetness could have better counteracted the pungent lime. The dish does have a nice heat to it with more of the serrano peppers. Certainly, it was nicely presented in an oversized ice cream container – although it’s a bit messy to spoon out for the first person.


Milagro’s camarones burrito ($14) is the one dish I’ve ordered on multiple occasions and is my favourite burrito. Having eaten it at both the Yonge and Queen West locations, they were both delicious but at the Yonge location has more heat and seems saucier. It’s a substantial meal with the well toasted tortilla shell jam packed with ingredients – aside from several large grilled shrimp, there’s also thick black refried beans, flavourful rice, smoky roasted peppers, guacamole, chipotle-may, jalapenos, onion and cilantro. On the side is some spicy warm corn (at Yonge) and more rice (at Queen West).


What makes this burrito my favourite, other than the fresh ingredients, is that the shell is so nicely grilled adding a toasty crunch to it. Also, the burrito has sauce but not so much liquid that it becomes a huge mess to eat.  So, if you generally like super moist burritos, this wouldn’t be the one for you; the beans and guacamole are much thicker and there’s no sour cream or blended jalapeno sauce adding unnecessary liquid to it.


My husband ordered the tacos le perla ($18 for the entrée version).  The battered snapper wasn’t really crispy so being deep fried didn’t matter, so I’d prefer it just be grilled so that it’s healthier.  But, the fish was fresh and topped with a lot of great ingredients including a sweet tropical slaw (could be pineapple?) and chile crema that contrasts it with a spicy finish.


In the past, I’ve tried other tacos and find the capital ($11, ribeye steak, cilantro and salsa verde) and rosarito ($12, shrimp, refried beans, crema and avacado) were both wonderful.  In terms of mains, the pescado Rodrigo ($21) is good if you want something lighter as it’s a simple piece of pan seared snapper with zucchini and topped with olive oil, lime and cilantro.  Regardless, I’ve eaten at this chain five times and have loved it more each time.  Milagros is the place I head to when I need a Mexican fix, and it’s nice to know you don’t have to wait forever to be satisfied.  
Overall mark - 8 out of 10



Like the blog? You can now follow me on twitter for notifications - 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!




Milagro Cantina on Yonge on Urbanspoon Milagro Cantina on Queen on Urbanspoon Milagro Cantina on Mercer on Urbanspoon