A Top Notch Sandwich at Otto’s Berlin Doner

Otto's Berlin DonerLocation: 256 Augusta Avenue, Toronto
Website: http://ottosdoner.com/

I tried Otto’s Berlin Doner around when it first opened and quite enjoyed it; I’m happy to report that not only has the place not missed a step, I think they’ve actually gotten better.  I just had the veal and lamb doner, and I was pretty blown away by how good it was.

Otto's Berlin Doner

Every element works so well — it’s got that great bread, which is delightfully crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, and it’s got the perfect balance between tasty meat and fresh veggies, with the sauces all complementing it so well.

You can choose between garlic, yogurt, and hot sauce — or you can do what I did and get all three, which is definitely what you should do because it’s a very tasty combo (the hot sauce isn’t hot at all, but it’s hard to complain when it’s all this tasty).

Otto's Berlin Doner

But it’s the veal and lamb that really makes the sandwich sing.  It’s super tender, with a great meaty flavour from the lamb and a punch of rosemary-tinged herbiness.  And it’s absolutely crammed with the crispy bits that make a sandwich like this so addictive.

I mean, look at this picture.  Look at the crispy bits.  That’s a thing of beauty.

Otto's Berlin Doner

You can also add feta cheese and/or fries to your sandwich for a buck a piece, and again, you should definitely do that.  The fries add more delightful savoury crispiness, and the feta brings creamy pops of saltiness that really rounds out the sandwich.

Untraditional (but Tasty) Sandwiches at Tut’s Egyptian Street Food

Tut's Egyptian Street FoodLocation: 567 King Street West, Toronto
Website: http://tutsrestaurant.com/

Tut’s is a bit of an odd one; the menu features a variety of Egyptian sandwiches, but instead of being served on the pita bread you’re expecting, they’re served on soft, squishy buns that are similar to the potato rolls you’ll find at so many burger joints around the city.

It’s not the most traditional choice, but hey — tasty is tasty, and yes, the sandwiches here are quite good.

Tut's Egyptian Street Food

A combo comes with two sandwiches and a side; I went with soguk (sausage) and kebda (pan-fried beef liver).

Both were really good.  Soguk (more commonly spelled sojuk or sujuk) is a very distinctively-spiced Middle Eastern sausage, and while the one they’re serving here has a much milder flavour than any version I’ve had before, it’s tasty nonetheless.  It comes topped with what they’re calling caramelized onions (they tasted more pickled than caramelized to me) and mustard mint sauce.  That sauce, in particular, is nicely zippy and really brings the sandwich together.

Tut's Egyptian Street Food

The liver comes topped with tahini sauce and a lime wedge for spritzing; like the sausage, it has a surprisingly mild flavour, but it’s tender, meaty, and delicious.  Even if you’re normally iffy on liver, this sandwich might surprise you — it’s really good.

And the soft, fresh, and slightly sweet bun works surprisingly well.  I thought I might miss the pita bread, but I did not.

Tut's Egyptian Street Food

I went with pickles on the side; I think fries are probably the more popular choice, but the occasional pickle slice does a great job of cutting through the richness of the very heavy sandwiches.

An Interesting Flavour at Boho Gelato

Boho GelatoLocation: 160 Baldwin Street, Toronto
Website: https://www.instagram.com/boho.gelato/

Kensington Market seems like the kind of area that should have a whole bunch of ice cream shops, but it’s surprisingly slim pickings.  There’s a location of Dolce Gelato, a temporary outpost of Good Behaviour, and now this place — but that’s about it.

(There have been other shops over the years, of course, but the turnover in this area is bad even when there isn’t a pandemic to deal with.)

Boho Gelato

Boho Gelato has a pretty standard assortment of flavours, though there are a couple of unique ones.  Rosewater particularly caught my eye; I don’t think I’ve ever seen that in gelato before.  It’s a common ingredient in Middle Eastern desserts, with a very unique flavour that’s somewhat of an acquired taste (I hated it with a passion as a kid, but it eventually won me over).

The gelato itself is definitely above average, though it didn’t knock my socks off.  But that rosewater flavour is clearly a winner.  I got it with a scoop of pistachio, and not surprisingly, the two flavours go perfectly together.

Decent Mexican Food at Tacos 101

Tacos 101Location: 178 Baldwin Street, Toronto
Website: https://www.facebook.com/tacos101toronto/

After a long hiatus (their original location on Dundas East shut down three years ago), Tacos 101 is back, this time in Kensington Market.

I don’t think I ever visited the original location (or if I did, it wasn’t memorable enough to stick in my brain) so I can’t comment on how it compares to the Dundas location, but it’s a decent enough addition to the area.

Tacos 101

Their specialty is al pastor, a style of taco that’s filled with pork cooked over a rotating spit, shawarma-style.

Tacos 101

Mostly, it’s pretty good — the various sauces are zingy and tasty, the pork is nicely seasoned, the pineapple adds a brightness that contrasts nicely with the savoury pork, and the two corn tortillas are fresh and hold up very nicely to the overstuffed taco.  But the pork is almost entirely lacking in the crispy bits that makes this style of cooking so delightful, and it’s crazy dry.  They’re supposedly using pork shoulder, but the meat has the texture of the driest piece of pork loin that you’ve ever had.

Tacos 101

Everything else about the taco is tasty enough that this isn’t a huge issue, but it’s a shame nonetheless.

I also tried the tortilla chips with refried beans and guacamole — both dips were quite tasty, though the refried beans were a bit underseasoned, as were the chips themselves.

Tacos 101

In the case of the chips, apparently the lack of seasoning is on purpose to highlight the flavour of the dips, and, uh, I don’t think that’s the way food works?  All of the elements of a dish need to be seasoned or the whole thing will lack flavour (this is why, for example, you have to aggressively salt your pasta water, even if you’re going to toss the pasta in a flavourful sauce).

Nani’s Gelato: Still the Best Gelato in the City

Nani's GelatoLocation: 6 Charles Street East, Toronto
Website: https://www.nanisgelato.com/

I wrote about Nani’s Gelato a few times before this blog went on hiatus; back then they were operating out of a truck, and I mentioned that I think they might serve the best gelato in the city.

They upgraded to a permanent location near Yonge and Bloor last year, and there’s no longer any “might” about it.  It’s easily the best gelato in the city.

Nani's Gelato

The combo of delightfully unique flavours (they come up with a new assortment every couple of weeks) and top-notch quality ice cream is irresistible.  On this particular visit I went with salted olive oil candied pecan and toasted coconut, and both flavours were perfectly creamy and intensely delicious.  Some of the flavours here sound odd in theory, but always work — you never, ever get the sense that they’re odd just for novelty value.  The flavour combos are as tasty as they are unique.