Jumping on the Poke Bandwagon at Calii Love

Calii LoveLocation: 367 King Street West, Toronto
Websitehttp://www.caliilove.com/

I’m not sure why, but the poke trend that swept through the city a couple of years ago completely passed me by; this was actually my first time trying the now-iconic Hawaiian dish.

The version you’ll find at most Toronto restaurants tends to have a bit more stuff than the real-deal Hawaiian version, which is basically just raw fish, dressing, and maybe some onions and herbs mixed in.

Calii Love

The “Clever” poke bowl I had at Calii Love, on the other hand, comes with: “Raw Yellowfin tuna, gochujang broccoli, crispy shallot, wakame seaweed salad, jalapeno, edamame, sushi rice, wasabi aioli.”

So I don’t know how authentic it is (not at all, I’m thinking), but either way, I quite enjoyed it.  There’s a whole lot going on, but all of the components were fresh and tasty, and the overall balance of flavours was really satisfying.

Calii Love

There was also enough of a balance of textures — the crunchy seaweed, the meaty tuna, the soft rice — that it never felt one-note or monotonous.

It actually reminded me a lot of Korean bibimbap, but with a very different flavour profile.

Tasty Greek Wraps at Oh My Gyro!

Oh My Gyro!Location: 155 John Street, Toronto
Websitehttp://ohmygyro.ca/

Oh My Gyro serves what’s probably one of the better gyros in the city, though it’s a pretty clear case of “too much of a good thing.”

I got the chicken gyros wrap (you can also get beef doner, chicken souvlaki, or falafel), which comes crammed with chicken, tomato, tzatziki, garlic sauce, and hot sauce (and onions, which I elected to skip).

Oh My Gyro!

Seriously: it’s a hefty wrap.  The photo makes it look pretty normal, but it was filled with a dense reserve of chicken, probably about the size of my forearm.  It must have weighed about a pound.

It’s good quality stuff — the chicken is super tender, with a good amount of crispy bits (I probably could have used more, but then you can never have enough crispy bits).  This might have been my imagination, but it had a slightly lamby flavour, like they had mixed lamb fat in with the chicken.  Whatever it was, it was good stuff.

Oh My Gyro!

But there was a little bit too much of it.  It made the wrap ridiculously difficult to eat without making a huge mess, and the balance of flavours was a bit off.  The wrap only cost about eight bucks, and would have still been a great deal with about half the amount of meat.

That’s a fairly minor complaint, though.  Everything about this wrap worked really well — the herby flavour, the delicious garlicky sauces, the zippy hot sauce (I went with extra hot, and it wasn’t kidding around), the fresh tomatoes, and the soft and chewy pita bread.  Even the fries worked really well — I’m normally not a huge fan of fries in a sandwich, but these were fresh and tasty, and complimented the wrap’s other flavours perfectly.

Sandwich Perfection at Tortería San Cosme

Tortería San CosmeLocation: 181 Baldwin Street, Toronto
Websitehttp://www.sancosme.ca/

I recently mentioned that the sandwich at Egg Bae was fine, but that it was a bit one-note; the flavours and textures were all monotonous, and it was kinda boring to eat.

The Conchinita torta from San Cosme is the exact opposite of that.  It’s an almost absurdly well-balanced sandwich.

It was my first time back there since it opened; it was very good then, and it’s even better now.  The torta I just had was dangerously close to sandwich perfection.

Tortería San Cosme

The sandwich comes with pulled pork, refried beans, habanero onions, and fried plantains.

It’s ridiculously good.  All the elements work together in such perfect harmony.  There’s the tangy pork (which is super tender, but still has some texture) and the creamy beans, which balance perfectly with the mild sweetness of the plantain.  The pickled onions add crunch, and their vinegary bite helps to cut the richness from the pork and beans.

Tortería San Cosme

Then there’s the crispiness from the fried plantains, not to mention the amazing bread, which is lightly crispy on its exterior and delightfully fluffy inside.

It’s kind of absurd how good the sandwich is.  The contrasting flavours and textures are like a perfectly orchestrated symphony.

Tortería San Cosme

And it’s made even better with the house-made pickled jalapenos they have on the counter.  These things are so good, with an assertive crunch, a vinegary bite, and a mild spiciness.  You assume the sandwich can’t get better than it already is, then you add a few of those, and yeah — somehow it gets even more delicious.

FYI: Tom’s Dairy Freeze is Closing for the Season Soon

Tom's Dairy FreezeLocation630 The Queensway, Etobicoke
Websitehttp://www.tomsdairyfreeze.ca/

…Specifically, it’s closing in just over a couple of weeks, on the 25th of November.  So you should probably head over there while you still can.

Yes, it’s starting to get a bit chilly outside, so an ice cream joint with no indoor seating probably isn’t too high on your list of priorities.  But delicious is delicious — cold schmold.

I just tried the Jack and Jill sundae, which features vanilla soft serve topped with chocolate and marshmallow sauces.  The soft serve was as creamy and tasty as ever, and the chocolate/marshmallow combination is a clear winner.

Amazing Khao Soi at Khao San Road

Khao San RoadLocation: 11 Charlotte Street, Toronto
Websitehttp://www.khaosanroad.ca/

The Khao Soi at Khao San Road is improbably good.  It’s the type of dish where you have your first mouthful and think “wait… is this as delicious as I think it is?”  Then you take another mouthful, and yeah: it really is that good.

Khao soi is a Thai noodle soup that features a super rich curry broth topped with crispy fried noodles for texture.

Khao San Road

The version at Khao San Road is outstanding.  That restaurant is one of those places with a perpetual line out the door; once you try the food, it’s easy enough to see why.

The curry-infused soup — made indulgently rich thanks to creamy coconut milk — is so damn satisfying.

There’s nothing subtle about it; it’s an absolute flavour bomb, but with a complexity that ensures it never feels one-note or overwhelming, despite how assertive the flavours are.

Khao San Road

I had it with chicken, which complimented it quite well; you can also get tofu, beef, or shrimp.

The combination of the crispy noodles on top, the chewy noodles in the bowl, and the ultra-creamy soup is seriously addictive.  It’s ridiculously good.