Tasty Fried Veal at San Francesco

San FrancescoLocation: 5101 Dixie Road, Mississauga
Website: http://sanfrancescos.com/

There’s nothing quite like a veal sandwich.  It’s just a whole bunch of fried veal and rich tomato sauce in a hearty bun.  It’s probably not something you want to be eating on a regular basis (unless you’re keen on getting a massive heart attack), but every now and then it has to happen.  It’s pure, unadulterated comfort food.

My go-to is California Sandwiches, but a location of San Francesco recently opened near me, so I figured I’d give them a shot.

San Francesco

You can choose from all kinds of toppings for an additional fee, but I went with the basic sandwich and ordered it spicy, which meant it came with a generous amount of blazing-hot jalapenos.

The thing that stands out the most about the sandwich is how incredibly tender the veal is; it might just be the most tender veal I’ve ever had in a sandwich like this.  Your teeth glide right through it like butter.  It’s amazing.

San Francesco

The exterior is moderately crispy, but not quite enough to hold up to the sauce — it sogs up almost instantly.  It’s not quite as good as California Sandwiches in that regard.

Speaking of California Sandwiches, I think their sauce is marginally better; the sauce here is quite tasty, but it feels like the flavour could (and should) be amped up by a notch or two.

San Francesco

I think California has the overall superior sandwich, but it’s very, very close.

The sizes are a bit funny.  They have two sizes: baby and regular.  I ordered the regular, and my dining companion ordered the baby.  As it turns out, I (and anyone with a normal-sized appetite) would be perfectly happy with the baby.  Regular is enormous.  Baby should really be called regular, and regular should be called jumbo.

Fish and Chips at McDonald’s

McDonald's Fish and ChipsLocation: 25 The West Mall, Etobicoke
Website: https://www.mcdonalds.com/ca/en-ca.html

I just posted about the Nanaimo Bar McFlurry, which is part of McDonald’s soon-to-end (on the 17th) Great Canadian Tastes promotion.  And now I’ve tried the other item in that menu, Fish and Chips.  Because of course I did.  What did you think, that McDonald’s was going to introduce fish and chips and I wasn’t going to try it??  Get out of here.

McDonald's Fish and Chips

It’s fine, I guess.  When I first heard about it, I assumed they were just going to throw a Filet-O-Fish patty on some fries and call it a day, but this isn’t that.

The meal comes with two pieces of fried haddock that basically taste like any number of middle-of-the-road frozen fish filets you can get at the supermarket (it’s not reconstituted fish pieces, so it’s got that going for it).

McDonald's Fish and Chips

They’re nice and crispy, and when I had them at least, they were freshly fried — but they definitely have that distinctive processed flavour that lets you know they were made in a big factory many miles away and then frozen.

The fish itself was dry, but it could have been worse.  Like I said, it was fine.  Not great, but perfectly edible.

The meal comes with a little tub of tartar sauce, which is zippy and surprisingly oniony.  I wasn’t crazy about that (raw onions are the worst; why everyone thinks they’re acceptable to eat is a complete mystery to me), but it was definitely a bit more interesting than you’d expect.

Tasty Peanut Sauce at Nimman Thai

Nimman ThaiLocation: 1060 Eglinton Avenue West, Toronto
Websitehttps://nimman.ca/

I think a really good peanut sauce is one of those things that can make pretty much anything taste delicious.  It really doesn’t matter what it is; slather enough peanut sauce on it, and hey, what do you know, it’s delicious now.  How about that.

Nimman Thai

Case in point: the Nimman long song at Nimman Thai, which features some kind of saucy chicken on top of rice, with a side of Chinese broccoli and, of course, the aforementioned delicious peanut sauce.

The chicken was tough and its sauce was pretty bland, but once you dip it into the intensely flavourful peanut sauce, you’re off to the races.  That peanut sauce!  I would have dipped anything into that.

Nimman Thai

I got the dish as part of their lunch special, which is actually a really great deal — for twelve bucks, you also get a bowl of soup, a salad, and a spring roll.  The soup was pleasantly zingy, and the salad had a really interesting dressing that tasted strongly of fish sauce.

Nimman Thai

The spring roll, on the other hand, had a funky flavour and an overly thick wrapper.  It wasn’t great, and since the peanut sauce wasn’t on the table yet, I couldn’t even dip it into that to save it.

A Very Memorable Meal at Cava

Cava TorontoLocation: 1560 Yonge Street, Toronto
Websitehttp://www.cavarestaurant.ca/

I tend to focus mostly on places that offer prices on the cheaper end of the spectrum; aside from the obvious (they’re cheap!), I generally find them more satisfying.  There aren’t many things in the world that I love more than a really great bowl of noodles from a hole in the wall.

Still, it’s nice to venture out to pricier restaurants every now and then.  There’s a level of craft and a quality of ingredients that you just can’t get without shelling out some cash.

Cava Toronto

Cava is a great example of this.  It certainly isn’t cheap, but holy moly the food was good.

They focus on Spanish-inspired tapas, so I got to try a handful of things.

Cava Toronto

The chicken liver and foie gras mousse was deeply flavourful and luxuriously creamy.  It’s served with a little bowl of grainy mustard on the side, which does a great job of cutting the richness of the mineraly pate.

Cava Toronto

The “Supergilda” features a deliciously fishy sardine on tomato-spread toast, speared with olives and anchovy.  It’s simple, but immensely satisfying.

Cava Toronto

Next up was the jamon croquetta, which was a crunchy fried tube of creamy goodness.  It was a bit light on the jamon, but was otherwise really tasty.

Cava Toronto

The beef salpicon was one of my favourites of the evening.  It had a seriously intense beefy flavour, a tasty combo of high quality olive oil and acidity, and a fantastic contrast between the tender beef and the crispy bits on top.

Cava Toronto

My absolute favourite dish of the night was the eggplant with queso fresco, bonito, and tomatillo sauce.  Holy crap, this dish.  The contrast in textures here was insane — the deep fried exterior was shatteringly crisp, and the eggplant within was absurdly creamy.  The combo of those two textures was bonkers, and the gooey cheese, smoky/funky bonito flakes, and zingy tomatillo sauce complimented it perfectly.  So damn good.

Cava Toronto

The last savoury dish was the roasted pork belly and morcilla in a kidney bean stew.  This was basically an upscale version of pork and beans.  It was almost absurdly rich, with the blood sausage really amping up the luxurious flavour of the beans.

Cava Toronto

We had the churros for dessert, which was probably the only real disappointment of the night.  The cinnamon- and sugar-dusted churros were certainly tasty, but nothing about them stood out from the churros you can get at any number of places throughout the GTA.

Cava Toronto

It did, however, come with a small cup of drinking chocolate that had an amazingly intense flavour.  Just give me a big mug of that and I’ll be a happy man.

Fake Burgers and Real Onion Rings at Fresh

Fresh Yonge and EglintonLocation: 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Toronto
Website: https://freshrestaurants.ca/

The original plan was to review the veggie burger from Fresh for my burger blog.  But then I actually ate it, and to be honest… I didn’t want to.

It’s not a burger.  They call it a burger, and it basically looks like a burger, but the taste and the texture both contain zero hamburger-like properties.  I only post a review on Tasty Burgers every couple of weeks, and it just didn’t feel right wasting one on something that absolutely, positively isn’t a hamburger.

Fresh Yonge and Eglinton

We started with the much-lauded onion rings, which are frequently called the best in the city.  And yeah, they’re good — maybe not best-in-the-city good, but they’re quite tasty.  They actually reminded me a lot of what they serve at A&W — they’re similarly hearty, with a crispy breaded exterior encasing a perfectly cooked onion.

Fresh Yonge and Eglinton

They were slightly underseasoned, however, and a little bit greasier than you’d like (which is particularly odd given the restaurant’s health food pedigree).  I think I like A&W’s version slightly more, especially given how crazy expensive the ones at Fresh are (eight bucks for five substantial rings).

Fresh Yonge and Eglinton

As for the “burger,” I ordered the banquet burger, which features fake bacon and fake cheese on a fake hamburger patty.

It’s fine.  It’s actually not bad for what it is, but as I mentioned earlier, it’s not going to satisfy anyone’s hamburger cravings.  The taste and texture are quite falafel-esque (but without the crispy exterior).  Like most veggie burgers, it’s on the mushy side — a problem that’s compounded by how incredibly dense the wheaty bun is.  It’s so unforgivingly brick-like that it’s actually quite difficult to eat, but I got through it.

Fresh Yonge and Eglinton

The fake cheese is basically a thick, salty paste, and the fake bacon literally could not have tasted less like bacon.  It was sweet and vaguely plantain-like.  It wasn’t bad, but comparing it to bacon is absurd.