Crispy Pork Gyros at Alexandros

AlexandrosLocation: 484 Danforth Avenue, Toronto
Website: http://alexandros.ca/

I knew as soon as I looked at my wrap from Alexandros that it was going to be tasty.  It’s a pork gyros wrap (chicken is also an option), and I mean, come on.  Look at that.  Look at those crispy bits.

Alexandros

And yeah, it was good.  Again: look at it.

It was maybe even too crispy?  They clearly waited a bit too long to carve it; some of the pieces were dried out.  But that’s a minor complaint.

Alexandros

Mostly, the meat is fairly tender, with a decent amount of fat, and — of course — a substantial amount of flavour and texture from the deeply browned exterior.

The bread wasn’t anything too special, nor was the tzatziki, but the pork was tasty enough to make the whole thing worth eating.

Tasty Miso Ramen at Ramen Isshin

Ramen IsshinLocation: 421 College Street, Toronto
Website: https://www.ramenisshin.com/

Ramen Isshin is a beloved ramen joint on College near Bathurst — so beloved, in fact, that my phone popped up with a notification out of the blue to recommend it to me, and told me there’s a 97 percent chance that I’ll like it.  97 percent!  It’s hard to argue with that level of certainty.

Ramen Isshin

And yeah, I liked it.  My phone was correct.

I went with the miso ramen: “Isshin Red Miso blend, wok fried pork, onions, bean sprouts, carrots, wood ear mushrooms, chives green onions, pork belly cha shu & thick twisty noodles.”

Ramen Isshin

It’s quite tasty.  The tonkotsu broth has a vibrant flavour that’s a bit one-note in its salty/savoury intensity, but still quite satisfying.  It’s not the best bowl of ramen I’ve ever had, but even average ramen is better than most other dishes.

Ramen Isshin

Aside from the broth, all of the add-ins are quite tasty: in particular, the bean sprouts add a nice fresh crunch that helps to balance the bowl’s richness, and the ground pork amps up its meaty flavour.

As for the noodles, they’re thick, chewy, and satisfying.  It’s a tasty bowl of soup.

Mind-Blowing Souvlaki at Mamakas Taverna

Mamakas TavernaLocation: 80 Ossington Avenue, Toronto
Website: https://mamakas.ca/

Mamakas Taverna had a booth at the recent OssFest street festival on Ossington, serving up chicken and pork souvlaki.  It was almost improbably good.  Like, is the food at a street festival even allowed to be this good?  It was easily the best souvlaki I’ve ever had.

It’s simple enough — it features pita bread slathered with tsatziki, and topped with chunks of pork and tomatoes (onions are also an option, though I skipped those).

Mamakas Taverna

Every element here is amazing.  The pork is cooked on a spit over coals, giving it a nice smoky flavour.  It’s perfectly cooked and amazingly juicy.

They chop the pork up and toss it in some kind of magical, zesty sauce; little touches like this make all the difference.  The pork would have been perfectly delicious if they had just served it as-is, but that sauce kicks up its flavour, adds additional moisture, and elevates the wrap from good to great.

Mamakas Taverna

The creamy, mint-and-garlic-infused tzatziki is just as delicious as the pork, and complements it exceptionally well.  And the bread is the perfect vehicle — it’s fresh, a little bit chewy, and amazing.  The whole thing is exceptionally delicious.

(Mostly) Tasty Eats at The Ex

The ExLocation: 210 Princes’ Boulevard, Toronto
Website: https://theex.com/

Though I haven’t been in a couple of years, I enjoy going to the Ex.  I mean, they have an enormous building dedicated entirely to food, not to mention vendor after vendor selling junky carnival food, so of course I enjoy it.

I didn’t get to try quite as much as I would have liked (this stuff was all extremely heavy), but I sampled a few things.

The Ex

The Big Chief from Porkies Sandwich Co.

This place specializes in porchetta and pork belly, and serves a sandwich that’s crammed with both of them.  The two meats are topped with caramelized onions, arugula, provolone, salsa verde, and chipotle mayo.  It’s not bad — the two types of pork are a bit bland and textureless (they’re super tender, but there are zero crispy bits or crackling), but they’re still porky and satisfying.  The cheese was unmelted and basically added nothing to the sandwich, but the onions and the sauces are tasty and do a good job of cutting through the extreme richness of the belly and the porchetta.  I will say, however, that this might have been the greasiest sandwich I’ve ever eaten in my life.  Grease was leaking everywhere.

The Ex

Scorpion Burrito from Burrito Co.

Though Burrito Co. advertises this as “Canada’s hottest burrito,” that’s a dubious claim; the burrito itself is barely spicy at all.  It does, however, come with a tiny dropper filled with a legitimately fiery hot sauce.  This stuff isn’t kidding around, though I wish they had added it right into the burrito, because having to reapply it every couple of mouthfuls was a bit of a pain.  As for the burrito itself, it was fine, I guess?  It was decent enough, but nothing about it particularly stands out (other than the comically absurd $19.25 price tag).

The Ex

Pickle Pizza from Rick’s Pizza

This is the only thing I tried that was outside of the food building.  The slice is basically exploding with pickle flavour; it’s topped with pickle slices, and features dill ranch instead of tomato sauce.  It’s a novelty food and it tastes like a novelty food, but it’s actually kind of satisfying.  The pickles are nice and zingy, and the pizza itself is decent.  I don’t know that I’d want to eat this all the time — but isn’t that the whole point of carnival food?  If it’s something you’d want to eat on a regular basis, it’s probably not doing its job.

Middling Ramen at Sansotei Ramen

Santosei RamenLocation: 100 City Centre Drive, Mississauga (inside Square One)
Websitehttps://www.sansotei.com/

Sometimes, I just don’t have all that much to say about a particular dish.  When something is fine — not particularly good, but not particularly bad — it can be difficult to muster up all that much enthusiasm to write about it.

Santosei Ramen

The tonkotsu ramen at Santosei is one of those dishes.  The only exceptional thing about it is how exceptionally middle-of-the-road it is.

Santosei Ramen

There are some things about it that I liked, however.  You can choose thick or thin noodles — I went with thick, and they were chewy and satisfying.  And the broth has a rich porkiness that’s pretty tasty.  But it’s a bit one-note in its flavour, and it’s intensely salty.

The chasu wasn’t bad, but I think it needed to cook for slightly longer, as it had a vaguely rubbery texture.   The egg was nice, but ice cold.

Santosei Ramen

Even by the standards of ramen in Toronto, what they’re serving at Santosei is quite ho-hum.  But…  I don’t know.  It’s fine, I guess?