Quick Bites: Amanecer Salvadoreño Restaurant, Frenchie’s Doughnuts, 3 Mariachis Mexican Restaurant

Amanecer Salvadoreño Restaurant
Papusas and a combination plate at Amanecer Salvadoreño Restaurant

This is a fantastic hidden gem in north Etobicoke.  I heard that the papusas are the thing to order here, and yeah, they’re top-notch.  But the rest of the menu is no slouch; I also tried the combination plate that came with steak, shrimp, and plantain, and everything was very, very good.

Frenchie's Doughnuts
Blueberry cheesecake doughnut at Frenchie’s Doughnuts

Frenchie’s has a fun gimmick that makes them feel delightfully distinct from a run-of-the-mill doughnut shop: they fry their doughnuts fresh and then top them to order (you can either pick from one of their pre-topped selections, or customize your own toppings). I went with the blueberry cheesecake, and the highlight was the doughnut itself; it’s cakey and still warm when you get it, like a full-sized version of Tiny Tom’s.

3 Mariachis Mexican Restaurant
The Mariachi Platter at 3 Mariachis Mexican Restaurant

That beast of a plate is the Mariachi Platter, which comes with a chicken enchilada, two chorizo tacos, a shredded beef burrito, Mexican rice, guacamole, beans, pico de gallo, and a zippy green sauce.  As the menu says, “why have one when you can have it all?”  Why indeed.  I shared this, obviously — I’m not Andre the Giant — and pretty much everything was quite tasty, particularly the burrito, which was crammed with tender, tasty beef.  The taco was a bit dry, but aside from that it was a delicious (and huge) plate of food.

An Amazing Turkey Sub at Good Behaviour Submarine

Good Behaviour
: 342 Westmoreland Avenue North, Toronto
Website: https://goodbehaviourto.ca/

The last time I went to Good Behaviour, I tried a couple of the hot subs, and found them to be tasty, but not much more than that; they were a bit too one-note rich.  Well, clearly the cold subs are the way to go, because I just tried the turkey and it was very, very good.

The turkey, as per their menu: “smoked turkey, smoked gouda, grainy mustard, salsa verde, pickled artichoke, iceberg lettuce.”

Good Behaviour

The key here is that, unlike the hot subs, there are a variety of tastes and textures — the meaty turkey, the creamy cheese, the crispy lettuce, and the sharp mustard and salsa verde are a winning combo.  It seems like a lot of lettuce, but it’s nicely dressed, so it adds a ton of flavour, not to mention the very satisfying crunch and freshness.

It’s a great balance of flavours that’s all held together by a fresh, tasty bun; it’s a seriously top-notch sandwich.

Good Behaviour

I also got a scoop of ice cream, because it’s an ice cream shop, so of course I got some ice cream.  I got the coconut cream pie, which is rich, creamy, and thoroughly coconutty, with tasty cookie chunks interspersed throughout.

Sticky Bun Perfection at Sticky Bakery

Sticky Bakery
: 621 Saint Clair Avenue West, Toronto
Website: https://stickybuns.ca/

I was thinking recently about how much I miss the Prairie Girl Bakery, which served the best cupcakes in town for years, and then became a tragic victim of the pandemic.  A quick googling revealed that the owner has subsequently opened a new place which, as you might surmise from its name, specializes in sticky buns.

Sticky Bakery

I’m not sure why it’s not getting more hype, because it’s seriously, seriously good.

They serve a stellar sticky bun.  It’s sweet, saucy, and perfectly moist.  The pastry itself is ultra-fluffy and delightful, and the cinnamon/caramel flavour is right where you want it to be.

Sticky Bakery

I just checked their website and apparently the default version has pecans, which I either didn’t see or they didn’t have when I visited.  Clearly, I’m going to have to go back, because it seems pretty clear that pecans would enhance this thing.

Sticky Bakery

I also tried the version topped with cream cheese frosting, which was very good, though I have to admit that I preferred the plain.  The frosting was tasty, but the sticky bun was already so incredibly delicious on its own that the cream cheese kind of just got in the way.

Seriously though, pecans??  I need to go back ASAP.

Asian Fusion at the Smorgasburg Food Festival

Nozomi at SmorgasburgLocation: 7 Queens Quay East, Toronto
Website: https://www.smorgasburgtoronto.com/

If you haven’t checked it out yet, Smorgasburg is a local offshoot of an American outdoor food festival, and finds a whole bunch of tasty-looking eats crammed together near the waterfront.  The vendors have been curated by food writer Suresh Doss, which means that unlike at a lot of food festivals like this, it’s a safe bet that everything is as good as it looks.  And there’s a lot of good-looking food on offer, with dozens of vendors each serving up a handful of tempting dishes.

Nozomi at Smorgasburg

I got a couple of things from Nozomi, who describe themselves as serving “Asian inspired comfort food,” and yeah, it was top-notch.

Nozomi at Smorgasburg

I tried a couple of things.  First up is the bulgogi kimchi cheesesteak, which is exactly what you want it to be.  Sometimes fusion dishes can feel a bit like they’re cramming together two things that probably didn’t need to be combined, but everything here really works: the flavourful beef, the gooey cheese, and the zingy kimchi all go perfectly together.  The soft roll does a great job of holding it all together without getting in the way.  It’s a great dish.

Nozomi at Smorgasburg

The other thing I tried is a dish they call “pocos,” which based on my attempts to google this, seems to be something they made up.  It’s basically a poke taco (it’s filled with salmon and seaweed), but with a crispy wonton-style shell instead of a tortilla.  It’s super tasty, with the tenderness of the sauce-coated salmon contrasting very nicely with the crispy shell.  Like with the cheesesteak, it takes something that could have come off as gimmicky and unnecessary, and makes it absolutely delightful.

A Pleasant Cheesy Scone from Prairie Boy Bread

Prairie Boy Bread
: 201 Geary Avenue, Toronto
Website: https://www.instagram.com/prairieboybread/

I mainly came to Prairie Boy to try the double-fermented multigrain sourdough, which Toronto Life recently called one of the best loaves of bread in the city.  And yeah, that’s a serious loaf of bread; it’s dense, hearty, and has a delightfully aggressive sourdough flavour, with a sour tang that’s almost too intense (tang for days!).   It’s very good.

Prairie Boy Bread

(Alas, I completely forgot to take a photo, so you’ll have to use your imagination; it’s round, rustic, and seriously seedy.)

I figured I’d try one of their pastries while I was there, so I went with the cheesy scone.  I wish they had heated this up, or served it fresher, because it was a bit clammy.  But aside from that it was quite tasty, with a nice buttery flavour and a good amount of cheese.

Prairie Boy Bread

Also, I don’t think this bakery has any affiliation with the sadly departed Prairie Girl Bakery, but man, remember that place??  Because I do.  RIP.