Great Fish Tacos at Seven Lives

Seven LivesLocation: 69 Kensington Avenue, Toronto
Website: http://sevenlives.restaurantsnapshot.com/

Seven Lives serves what is frequently called the best fish taco in the city, which makes deciding what to order there quite easy.  It’s the fish taco.  It’s gotta be the fish taco.

I’ve actually been wanting to try this place for quite a while, but it’s popular; the place routinely has a line-up going out the door, and it’s a tiny restaurant.  If you don’t get a seat on one of the two benches out front, or at the one table inside, you’re out of luck.  You’ll just have to eat and walk, which is a bit of a challenge with their generously-stuffed tacos.

Seven Lives

It’s worth the wait and the hassle.  It is as advertised: it’s clearly one of the best fish tacos in the city, if not the best.

It consists of a very generous piece of fried haddock topped with cabbage, pico de gallo, and a garlicky sauce.  Everything works really well together.  The fish, in particular, is delicious; it’s super tender and flaky with a very satisfying crispy exterior that never overwhelms the fish itself.

Seven Lives

The toppings are great — the cabbage and the pico de gallo add some nice freshness and crunch (not to mention an acidity that helps cut through the fried fish), and the creamy sauce brings a nice garlicky bite.

My only real issue here are the two corn tortillas, which were a bit stale (corn tortillas are one of those things that pretty much have to be consumed within minutes rather than hours of being cooked — they get stale fast).  But that’s a minor complaint for an otherwise superlative taco.

Carrot Cake Doughnut at Dipped Donuts

Dipped DonutsLocation: 161 Baldwin Street, Toronto
Website: https://www.dippeddonuts.ca/

Dipped Donuts: still great.  I tried the blueberry basil doughnut from this place last year, and it was seriously tasty.

The one I just had — the carrot cake — might have been even better.  It’s outstanding.

Dipped Donuts

It’s a raised doughnut topped with cream cheese frosting, carrot cake chunks, candied walnuts and ginger, and a caramel drizzle.

It’s definitely sweeter than the last doughnut I tried, but it was just right.  The frosting was gooey and satisfying, and the chunks of cake were seriously tasty.  The nuts and the ginger amps up the flavour, and the caramel?  Come on.  It’s indulgent and amazing.

Dipped Donuts

And of course, the doughnut itself was just as good as I remembered, with a nicely substantial texture and a great flavour.  It’s a top-shelf doughnut.

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.

Decent Breakfast Sandwiches at Egg Bae

Egg BaeLocation: 189 Augusta Avenue, Toronto
Websitehttp://eggbae.ca/

I’ve been meaning to check out Egg Bae pretty much since it opened, though I’ll admit that the name kinda makes me cringe.  I can’t help but think about this moment from 30 Rock every time I see it.

But regardless of the name, I just can’t say no to a tasty breakfast sandwich.  Who can?

Egg Bae

The menu is admirably focused, with breakfast sandwiches, breakfast sandwiches, and more breakfast sandwiches (they also have hash browns if you want something on the side).  I went with the eponymous Egg Bae: “Soft Scrambled Eggs, Chives, Muenster Cheese, Slow Cooked Onions, Bae Sauce.”

It’s decent enough, but alas, it didn’t quite knock my socks off.

Egg Bae

All of the components are really good (in particular, the eggs themselves are perfect — they’re amazingly soft and creamy with zero sliminess), and the hearty bun does a great job of holding up to the very gooey sandwich.

But all of the flavours and textures are basically on the exact same wavelength; it’s one-note soft, salty, and rich, and as good as it is, it gets monotonous.  It really needed some texture to balance out how soft everything is, and something acidic to cut the richness.  It’s not a large sandwich, and I was still sick of eating it towards the end.

Egg Bae

Certainly, Gold Standard, which serves my current favourite breakfast sandwich in the city, remains the… well, gold standard of breakfast sandwiches.

This will probably flush my credibility down the toilet, but I think even a McMuffin is better (I’m partial to the Egg and Sausage).  Yes, the quality of the ingredients at Egg Bae are clearly superior and the eggs are better prepared, but the McMuffin is just more satisfying.  The toasted English muffin gives it some much-needed textural contrast, and the flavours are better balanced.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Tasty and Unique Flavours at Dipped Donuts

Dipped DonutsLocation: 161 Baldwin Street, Toronto
Websitehttps://www.facebook.com/dippeddonuts/

Though Dipped Donuts has been serving their tasty treats at various events throughout the city for a few years, they’ve only just recently opened a permanent outpost in Kensington Market.

They keep things pretty simple; as far as I can tell, they only serve classic raised doughnuts — nothing with a cakey base, and on the day I visited, nothing filled (though they do have filled doughnuts in their rotation).

Their menu mostly consists of quirky flavours like rosewater pistachio, mango ginger, and London fog.

Dipped Donuts

I tried the blueberry basil, and yeah, it’s good. The doughnut itself is a little bit more dense and chewy than the norm, which is actually quite satisfying.

The glaze was seriously delicious, though I’ll admit that I couldn’t taste any basil flavour.  It was bright and fruity, with a mild tartness and a pronounced blueberry flavour.  It’s also admirably restrained in its sweetness; it’s basically the polar opposite of the in-your-face sugar bombs you’ll find at Krispy Kreme.

Most of the time, I’m ready to tap out from the sweetness after one doughnut.  Here, I could have happily eaten another one (or two).