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.
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.
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.
Location: 65 Front Street West, Toronto (inside Union Station)
It’s been a while since I’ve had a sandwich from Toronto Life’s list of the 25 best in the city, but clearly, the list is still cranking out the hits. The jerk chicken sandwich at Roywoods is good eatin’.
It’s quite simple: cocoa bread, jerk chicken, coleslaw, sliced tomato, and onion (I skipped the onion, because raw onions are the worst and why anyone thinks differently will forever baffle me).
You can’t really tell from the picture, but the jerk chicken is abundant, and it’s perfectly cooked. I wish it were a bit spicier (it has a mild kick, but not much more than that) but the satisfying jerk flavour makes up for the lack of spice.
The only real issue is the slightly stale cocoa bread, but there was so much moisture from the saucy coleslaw and the juicy chicken that the dryness of the bread was just barely an issue. Eating it is definitely a multiple napkin experience.
I tried a couple of sides as well. The fried plantains had a nice combo of crispy and creamy, and the callaloo — featuring flavourful, tender greens — was just as good.
Location: 181 Baldwin Street, Toronto
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.
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.
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.
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.