A Mind-Blowing Burrito at Comal y Canela

Comal y Canela
Location: 1692B Jane Street, York
Website: https://www.comalycanela.com/

I’m a bit late to the party here, but I feel like there was a time on Instagram recently where every other post was someone dipping a beefy taco into a cup of soup.

I’m talking about birria tacos, a dish in which braised beef and cheese are crammed into a tortilla, dunked in a beefy soup, griddle-fried, and then served with even more soup for dipping.

Comal y Canela

You can get this at Comal y Canela, and yeah, it’s good.  How could it not be?  Tender beef, gooey cheese, flavourful soup?  It’s like a French dip sandwich but better, with amplified flavours and textures that are an absolute delight to eat.

The really surprising thing, however?  The birria tacos weren’t even the highlight of the meal.

I also tried the michoacano burrito, which the menu describes as “giant flour tortilla with a cheese crust, black bean puree, braised pork, onion, jalapeno, avocado, crema fresca and queso fresco.”

Comal y Canela

Good lord, that burrito.  I don’t want to overstate this, but I think this might have been the best burrito I’ve ever had?  I’m skeptical that a better burrito exists.  Okay, maybe I’m overstating it a tad, but I really, really enjoyed this burrito.

Comal y Canela

Every part of it works so well, though that cheese crust (I’m guessing they just take a pile of cheese and let it brown on the griddle) is downright genius.  The combination of the gooey, crusty cheese and the ultra-tender pork (not to mention the creamy avocado and literally every other ingredient in this thing) is pure magic.  I guess I could do without the raw onions, but there’s so much else going on here that they really just add some crunch.

Comal y Canela

It’s hard for me to say that this is the best burrito I’ve ever eaten, because I’ve had quite a few burritos in my lifetime, but I can honestly say that I cannot remember eating a better one.  It’s that good.

Amazing Roast Pork at Luen Hing Barbecue

Luen Hing Barbecue
Location
: 888 Dundas Street East, Mississauga (inside the Mississauga Chinese Centre)
Website: None

If a restaurant has an enormous slab of tasty-looking roasted pork hanging in the window, you should eat at that restaurant.  That’s just a fact.  Is that a law?  I think that might be the law.  If you see a restaurant like that you have to eat there or you’ll go to jail.  That sounds fair to me.

Luen Hing also has chicken and duck hanging in the window, and clearly I have to go back, because that pork… wow.

Luen Hing Barbecue

I ordered the roast pork and barbecue pork on rice, which comes with a seriously generous amount of tasty eats for about twelve bucks.  It’s a great deal, that’s for sure.

I actually brought this home instead of eating in the food court, and I had resigned myself to the fact that the pork skin probably wouldn’t be particularly crispy.  It’s hard to retain your crunch when you’ve been steaming in a sealed take-out box.  But oh man, that skin was crisp.  It was at delightful, kettle chip levels of crunchiness.

Luen Hing Barbecue

And the pork itself was so good.  Super flavourful, nice and tender, fatty but not too fatty, and of course, the aforementioned super crunchy skin.  Delightful.

The barbecue pork wasn’t quite on the same level — it was a bit dry — but it was still quite tasty, with a nice balance of sweet and savoury.

The steamed cabbage and the sauce they poured on top were also quite good.  It all adds up to a seriously satisfying version of this dish, and a restaurant that I’ll almost certainly be returning to in the near future.

An Upscale McRib at Aloette

Aloette
Location
: 171 East Liberty Street, Unit 127A, Toronto
Website: https://aloetterestaurant.com/

Aloette has recently added a few new things to their menu, including a McRib-esque rib sandwich, and yeah, obviously I’ve gotta try that.

The Ribette Sandwich, as per the menu: “Slow cooked pork ribs, coleslaw, pickles, pickled onions, BBQ sauce.”

Okay fine, it’s actually not much like a McRib, which features a ground pork patty and is only tangentially related to ribs.  This one contains actual ribs (but with the bones conveniently removed), and it’s extremely tasty.

Aloette

It’s not smoky at all, which is too bad, but it’s porky and tender, and features some nicely crispy/charred bits from the grill.  It’s slathered in a deliciously sweet and tangy BBQ sauce, and topped with pickles and pickled onions, which do a great job of adding some crunch and cutting through the richness of the fatty pork.

It also comes with a little tub of zingy coleslaw that you’re supposed to add to the sandwich yourself; BBQ sandwich + coleslaw is always a great combo, and yeah, it works quite well here.

Aloette

It’s served on a fluffy, lightly chewy bun that holds up nicely to the saucy sandwich.  It’s great.

I also tried the fries, which are crispy, fluffy, and perfectly cooked.  Good stuff.

Quick Bites: Aquarela Restaurant, Hey Noodles, Good Taste Casserole Rice

Aquarela Restaurant
Mofongo at Aquarela Restaurant

After realizing that I had never tried mofongo — a Puerto Rican dish in which plantain is mashed with garlic and crispy pork skin — I quickly discovered that Aquarela is pretty much the only game in town.  Thankfully, they seem to be doing a pretty great job of carrying the torch for the dish in the GTA; I have nothing to compare it to, but it’s tasty, that’s for sure.  It’s rich, creamy, garlicky and abundantly delicious.  It’s kinda like mashed potatoes on steroids.  It also comes with your choice of meat; I went with the crispy pork belly, and yeah, that’s a great combo.  Something to cut through the plate’s overwhelming fatty richness would have been nice, but that’s a minor complaint for a very tasty dish.

Hey Noodles
Noodle Soup at Hey Noodles

The noodles at Hey Noodles are great (as you’d hope for from a place with “noodles” right in the name of the restaurant), but what really blew my mind was the price.  I ordered the Chongqing Street Noodles, which is a very large bowl of soup that’s absolutely crammed with noodles, and that somehow only costs $6.99.  The egg was an extra dollar, but even still, that’s a fantastic deal, especially considering how tasty it is.  The noodles are nice and chewy, and the soup is delightfully zingy, with that addictive combo of spiciness and numbing heat that you get in this style of Chinese cuisine.

Good Taste Casserole Rice
Clay pot rice at Good Taste Casserole Rice

Clay pot rice is an extremely simple dish — it’s basically just plain white rice that’s topped with meat and cooked in the eponymous pot, which makes the bottom layer of rice nice and crispy.  It’s simple, but immensely satisfying when done well.  The one I ordered was  topped with eel and various meats and sausages, and yeah, it’s super satisfying.  The fluffy/crispy rice, the tasty meats, and the sauce they have on the side (which was in a soy sauce container, but I’m fairly certain was more than just soy sauce) was a great combo.

Quick Bites: King’s Tacos, Bakerbots Baking, Hanyang Jokbal

King's Tacos
Tacos at King’s Tacos

The most interesting thing about the tacos at Kings Tacos might just be the way they serve them — an order comes with a very generous platter of meat (in this case the King’s Special, which comes with pork, beef, chorizo, onion, bacon, and cheese) and tortillas on the side, and you build it yourself.  It’s interesting, and it’s a great value, because that pile of meat is not kidding around.  That’s not to mention the very generous bowl of free (and tasty!) tortilla chips and sauces that comes with the meal.  It’s not just a good value, however: it’s quite tasty, too.

Bakerbots
Cinnamon Bun at Bakerbots Baking

I’ve heard the cinnamon bun at Bakerbots referred to as one of the best in the city, and yeah, that sounds about right.  It’s absolutely fantastic, with a slightly crispy exterior and a gooey (but not overly gooey and sweet, like a Cinnabon) interior.  The pastry itself is top-notch, with a nice chewy texture and a flavour that ensures that the cinnamon bun isn’t just one-note sweet.  Is it the best in the city?  It could be!

Hanyang Jokbal
Jokbal at Hanyang Jokbal

I mean, look at that glorious pile of pork.  Do you even need me to say anything?  Jokbal is a Korean dish featuring braised pig trotters; I tried the half and half, which is half jokbal and half bossam (pork belly, if I recall correctly).  You eat it wrapped in lettuce with some of the tasty sides and condiments on the table, and yeah.  It’s delicious.  Again: look at it.