Tag Archives: Toronto restaurant

Agave Y Aguacate and Rock Lobster

19 Jun

Menu for Agave Y Aguacate, Kensington Market

When I was a kid, I knew two types of Mexican food.  I had Taco Time, which was my food court staple, and I had Chi Chi’s, which was known for its sour cream-ladden chimmichangas and deep-fried ice cream.  As you can tell, Winnipeg wasn’t much of a Latin American food hot spot and, truth be told, neither was Toronto until a decade ago.

Agave Y Aguacate is hidden in the back of a non-descript food co-op in Kensington Market.  The chefs prepare your meal for you on top of hot plates, which allows you to smell the heavenly aromas that fill the air while they cook up your lunch.

Lunch at Agave Y Aguacate, Kensington Market

We ordered the anita tostada and beef tongue. I’ve had the anita tostada before and declared to Robin that it was one of the best dishes in Toronto.

Anita tostada at Agave Y Aguacate, Kensington Market

A toastada is covered with pinto beans,tomatoes, onion, garlic, mint, habanero and Luis Suarez`s chorizo. Honestly, do I need to go beyond that description to tell you how amazing this dish is? The mixture covered sits on big slices of fresh avocado and is covered with pecorino fresco, puya sauce and home made crema fresca.  The smoky, savoury chorizo “stew” combined with the fatty, creamy goodness of avocado, pecorino fresco and creme freche makes this a comforting yet incredibly detailed dish.

Beef tongue at Agave Y Aguacate, Kensington Market

Beef tongue is served as a mole, which is a spicy cocoa Mexican sauce. This mole is pumpkin seed based and is flavored with ancho, pasilla and guajillo chiles, cloves and black pepper. On top were crispy pieces of dried cassava. The mole itself was delicious, but if you’re not comfortable eating tongue you may find the meat ‘s texture to be off-putting. Its served in cubes instead of shaved, which was perfect for me.  The meat is incredibly soft and tender with a tender give to it that steak or stewing beef doesn’t have.

Lobster taco at Rock Lobster, Kensington Market

We noticed that, set up across from Agave Y Aguacate, Rock Lobster’s new kiosk was newly open.  Rock Lobster’s more known for its popular food truck, but as of last week, they set up a retail space in Kensington Market. Since it was literally a 3 step shuffle to walk over and order from Rock Lobster, we thought we would give it a try. They had their famous lobster roll on the menu, but we had ordered too much from Agave Y Aguacate already, so we stuck with the lobster taco.

While the store front is non-descript, the chefs cooking inside definitely aren’t. Kengington market has won us over with the amazing lunch options at Agave Y Aguacate. Chi Chi’s, I’ll never forget thee (unfortunately)!

Agave Y Aguacate and Rock Lobster

214 Augusta Ave
Toronto, ON

Words by Richard, Photos by Robin

Leslieville Pumps

14 Jun

What do you get when you combine southern barbeque, a gas station/convenience store and vintage kitsch and plop it down in the heart of Leslieville?

We present to you:  Leslieville Pumps

Leslieville Pumps General Store and Kitchen

Here, what once was a Leslieville  eyesore  old gas station has been spiffed up to look like a Wild West storefront. Reclaimed wood is used to give it that chic tack that will either make you squee or rub your eyes in disbelief. Inside the decor continues with the southern theme, but also includes bits of Canadiana, like a Hudson’s Bay tin and a flock of mallards dangling above the grab & go fridge.

Inside Leslieville Pumps General Store & Kitchen

Inside Leslieville Pumps General Store & Kitchen

It was hard to choose just two sandwiches to eat because all four looked irresistible. We ended up getting the beef brisket and the chicken thighs.

Chicken thighs sandwich at Leslieville Pumps General Store & Kitchen

First we tried the smoked chicken thighs. The thighs themselves were moist and had hints of cinnamon. I liked the idea of the garnishes, especially when I learned that Judd, the owner, grows as much of his own produce as he can and incorporates it into his food when it’s available.  Chicken, in my opinion, doesn’t smoke as tastily as beef or pork, and while we liked the sandwich, it wouldn’t be our first option. It was more taste neutral, but don’t take that as a bad thing.  If I’m eating chicken, I like big and bold versus subtle and kind. I wouldn’t kick that sandwich out of bed, that’s for certain.

Beef brisket sandwich at Leslieville Pumps General Store & Kitchen

The beef brisket was really amazing. It had a distinct smokey taste without tasting too much like a campfire. Judd told us that he smokes his meat with a mix of mesquite and hickory. The beef was tender and served in chunks and the homemade barbecue sauce was sweet and smokey. The grainy mustard and crispy onions were perfect complements. If the pulled pork is half as good as the brisket (and I’m sure it is), then I know when I’m getting next time I visit.

Poutine at Leslieville Pumps General Store & Kitche

We were both pretty full, but when the owner, Judd, told us that he used goat cheese curds and gravy mixed with his homemade barbecue sauce in his poutine, we decided that we might have room for that, too. It was still steaming when it came to the table and the garnish of oregano leaves was a nice touch. There was a generous amount of both cheese and gravy on the fries, and the goat cheese curds were perfect. I tend to enjoy a thicker, fattier chicken gravy rather than beef gravy on my poutine, but this was still very satisfying.

Poutine at Leslieville Pumps General Store & Kitchen

We ended our meal by grabbing a string of Fizz candy (remember them? How the colour on the pouch never matched the flavour inside?) to eat on our drive home.  Its a dangerously short drive to the Pumps, and the temptation to try their pulled pork and fried pickles means that we’ll be back very soon.

Leslieville Pumps General Store & Kitchen
929 Queen Street East
Toronto.
416.465.1313
leslievillepumps.com
@LPumps

Words by Robin and Richard. Photos by Robin

Leslieville Pumps on Urbanspoon

Folia Grill

31 Mar

When people hear that we live near the Danforth, they usually remark, “You’re so lucky! You’re within walking distance to a bunch of great Greek restaurants!”  They’re kind of right, since we can walk to Danforth East to grab amazing Ethiopian (Dukem) or great beer (The Only). As far as Greek fare goes, most Greektown restaurants are pretty pedestrian.  You know; flaming cheese and generic Greek salad for appetizers, souvlaki and lemon potatoes for your main, and an anise candy that comes with your bill.  In our eight years of living near the Danforth, we haven’t really met a Greek restaurant that’s been opa!-worthy.

Folia Grill in Greektown

Chicken gyro at Folia Grill in Greektown, Toronto

Then one summer day, as we were driving down Pape Avenue, we noticed a large, inflatable pig perched above a newly renovated storefront. The sign had a happy, reclining pig holding a skewer of what was likely one of his cousins or next-door neighbours. Harmless enough, so we figured that we might as well try one of the only clean looking restaurants on the street.

Fast forward two years and you can count us as regulars at one of the East end’s hidden gems.  Their chicken gyro is one of the most flavourful, juiciest and tender chicken dishes you’ll find.  Size-wise, it challenges the hefty portions you get at Burrito Boys, so be sure to go to Folia Grill when you’re hungry.

The menu at Folia Grill in Greektown

I’ll admit that, until recently, I was guilty of not straying far from my regular chicken gyros.  While Folia Grill offers grilled items like chicken breast, pork chops and NY strip loin, my love for their chicken gyros made me a believer in food monogamy. That is, until the owner asked me to try a sample of their new pork gyros.

Today, we ambitiously ordered one chicken and one pork gyro with a side of zucchini fries.  Robin claimed the never-disappointing chicken, while I tackled the pork gyro.

Chicken gyro pita at Folia Grill in Greektown

Robin’s chicken gyro was stuffed full with sliced white and dark meat, fresh tomatoes, onions and house-made tzatziki. Give Folia bonus points for stuffing their pitas with french fries, which is what you’ll find at most Mediterranean falafel and gyro restaurants.  The starch from the fries pairs well with the tzatziki. The real star of the show is the chicken. Perfectly seasoned with olive oil, paprika and lord knows what other spices, the chicken is cooked slowly and tenderly, leaving you with bite after bite of seasoned goodness.  The pictures speak for themselves.

Pork gyro pita at Folia Grill in Greektown

Close-up on the pork gyro from Folia Grill in Greektown, Toronto

I had the other white meat; the pork gyros is accompanied by the same pita stuffings as the chicken gyros, but is filled with large, moist chunks of pork. Charred on the outside, juicy on the inside, the pork has an amazing lemon and thyme marinade that ranks this dish as one of my top pork dishes I’ve had. No lie.

Zucchini fries at Folia Grill in Greektown

Dipping zucchini fries at Folia Grill in Greektown, Toronto

We were stuffed after we gobbled down our gyros (and a word to the wise: go to Folia Grill with someone you feel comfortable with, since the tzatziki somehow ends up on your cheeks, nose and lips), but still had to tackle the zucchini fries. The “fries” are freshly-sliced zucchini spears that are lightly breaded and seasoned and then fried to perfection.  The outside was crisp and the inside was juicy, perfectly cooked and marvellously tender. Fries come with aioli, which makes for a perfect dipping companion.  We tried to share the size order between the two of us, but would have gladly welcomed a third (or fourth) person to help us finish the plate.

Enjoying at chicken gyro pita at Folia Grill in Greektown

Each pita is $5.25, which is a dangerously good deal. Be sure to try Folia Grill before one of the East end’s best kept secrets is out.

Folia Grill
1031 Pape Ave
Toronto, Ontario
416.424.2800
foliagrill.com
(Closed Sundays)

Folia Grill on Urbanspoon

 

Photos by Robin & Richard

Words by Richard

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