Showing posts with label tortilla. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tortilla. Show all posts

CLOSED: Maiz Revisited in 2022 (Toronto)

Sometimes tipping can be an awkward encounter… what percentage should you leave to allow you to express your gratitude, without leaving a burning hole in your pocket? It’s a custom widely found in North America, where restaurants tend to underpay staff with the promise of gratuities to make up the shortfall. Hence, when a traveller is not accustomed to the 15% - 20% North American expectations, it can create animosity between the diner and staff.

Maiz adopted a stance to alleviate this awkwardness by building in a fair wage (at least $20 an hour, according to their website) into their menu prices and removing the need for diners to tip at the end of their meal. Whether this custom is attractive to their staff, only time will tell.

To begin, Maiz runs rather leanly. During our Monday evening dinner, there were two people – one person cooking and another doing everything else (sitting people, taking orders, finishing up plates, serving, checking in on customers, and ringing check through at the end of the meal). At the same time, there weren’t too many patrons, only three tables when other restaurants in the area were closed or fully booked.

I hadn’t return since their opening years ago, my first experience with arepas and the dinner platters left me underwhelmed. Yet, their menu has really expanded along with a lightened and brightly lit dining room that makes Maiz seem more inviting.

The house made tortilla chips served with guacamole ($14.95) were amazing – thick enough for dunking but still breaks easily creating a satisfying crispiness. It’s also surprisingly un-oily for a chip that gives off such a lovely crunch. There’s enough smooth guacamole to get through most of the chips with a small side of smoky salsa roja to finish off the rest, which consequently goes nicely mixed into the moros cristianos.

Before getting into the mains, I suggest you choose wisely and order something that offers a side of the moros cristianos or soft-fried rice and beans. If it doesn’t come with it, order the side ($3.95) as it was our favourite part of the meal. The spice-laced rice is mixed with black refried beans and heated through creating a flavourful creamy mixture that’s like a thick dairy-free risotto. I liked having it solo or heaped on a crunchy tortilla, give me more!

The rice comes with the quesadillas. While the menu describes the vegetable quesadillas ($19.95) as being stuffed with soft-fried chickpeas… they weren’t soft at all. Maiz should just keep it simple and used a grilled vegetable filling instead. Heck, add in more moros cristianos … anything is better than hard chickpeas. At least it contained a decent amount of cotija cheese creating a lovely gooeyness around the chickpeas and the tortilla was well-toasted creating a crunchy crust.

I’d skip the churros ($11.95 for three), which were overly dense. A restaurant should only attempt making this dessert if they churn out enough daily to warrant creating fresh batter and having hot sizzling oil ready. Otherwise, it’s just an overly sweet chewy concoction that leaves me wanting a Tim Horton’s crueller more than a churro.

Maybe create a creamy Mexican-spiced rice pudding instead. After all, if it’s anything like the moros cristianos, the rice pudding will be fantastic.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 3220 Yonge Street

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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!

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Simply Snacking: Pepperidge Farm's Baked Cracker Chips & Tortillas

Finding substitutes to potato chips is a continuing quest – anything that offers that satisfying savoury crunch without all the fat! A great alternative that I return to time and time again are Pepperidge Farm’s Cracker Chips or Tortillas.

Firstly, they’re available in a variety of their flavours I often like in chips: ketchup, nacho cheese and chili lime. If Pepperidge Farms add sour cream & onion and jalapeno to the mix, it’d be even better! Moreover, each crispy piece is covered with enough flavouring to be satisfying without leaving a dusty mess on the fingers.

Although still good to eat on its own, the neutral taste of the multi grain version lends itself for pairing with dips – a nice substitute for fried tortilla chips.

There is even a sweet variety: the cinnamon sugar reminding me of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal in a thinner form. It was worth a try but not something I’d be rushing to buy again.

Of course what has me continually purchasing the product is their “healthiness”. With 20 chips only setting me back 90 calories, I also don’t feel guilty about reaching in for another handful. 

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