A Delicious Sandwich at V’s Schnitzel House

V's Schnitzel House
Location
: 448 Brown’s Line, Etobicoke
Website: https://www.vsschnitzelhouse.com/

I’ve heard nothing but good things about the schnitzel sandwich at V’s Schnitzel House, so that’s what I ordered.  It was delicious.  I wish I hadn’t ordered it.

Specifically, I ordered the pork schnitzel sandwich (chicken is also an option), which comes topped with lettuce, tomato, and “Magic dill sauce.”

V's Schnitzel House

It’s a top-notch sandwich — the fluffy Kaiser roll has just enough heft to hold up to the meat without overwhelming, the lettuce and tomato add a nice dose of freshness and crunch, and the Magic dill sauce is seriously delicious.

V's Schnitzel House

I ordered the house salad on the side.  It also comes with the Magic dill sauce, and man that stuff is so good.  It’s creamy, a little bit sweet, garlicky, and has a pronounced dill flavour.  You can buy a bottle of this stuff for ten bucks, and I’m very tempted to go back and pick one up.

V's Schnitzel House

But I mentioned that I wish I hadn’t ordered the sandwich (in spite of how delicious it was), and that’s because the schnitzel itself was amazing.  It was hard to tell in the context of a sandwich, but I think this might have been the best schnitzel I’ve ever had?  The exterior was perfectly crispy, the seasoning was great, and the meat itself was thoroughly tender.  Clearly, I need to go back and try the schnitzel on its own ASAP.

Enjoyable Health Food at iQ

iQ
Location
: 3401 Dufferin Street, North York (inside Yorkdale Mall)
Website: https://www.iqfoodco.com/

Though I hadn’t heard of iQ until very recently, they actually have nine locations as I write this, mostly downtown.  The whole place kind of comes off as a parody of a trendy health food joint, with various bowls and avocado toasts on the menu, but based on the bowl I tried, it’s actually pretty tasty.

iQ

I got the Steelhead + Veg bowl: “roasted steelhead trout, avocado, roasted sweet potato, steamed broccoli, cucumber, pickled onion, jalapeno, brown rice, chopped romaine, lime wedge, carrot ginger dressing.”

iQ

It’s not bad at all.  It’s got a good variety of tastes and textures, the dressing was nice and zippy, and the quality of the fish (which is served cold, like the rest of the ingredients here) is quite good.  I don’t think it’s going to blow anyone’s mind, but for something that’s so blatantly healthy, it’s pretty satisfying.

Outstanding Greek Food at Mamakas Taverna

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

I had an idea that Mamakas Taverna was probably something special when I tried their pork souvlaki at the recent OssFest street festival and was completely blown away.  I was finally able to visit the restaurant itself, and yeah.  Yeah.  That souvlaki wasn’t a fluke.  Everything is so good.

Mamakas Taverna

It’s the type of place where you order a bunch of stuff and share, which works out well because everything is so incredibly delicious that you want to try the whole menu.

Mamakas Taverna

There’s the spanakopita, which is basically the platonic ideal of that dish, with a crispy, buttery exterior and an intensely flavourful spinach filling.  The filling was actually quite unique, with a mildly sweet, citrusy tang that does a great job of balancing out the richness of the dish.

Mamakas Taverna

There were these keftedes — perfectly-spiced beef and pork meatballs with a delightfully crispy exterior from the fryer.

Mamakas Taverna

This looks like a pretty standard salad, but the meaty lentils combined with the fresh herbs and the nice pops of sweetness and crunch from the pomegranate — not to mention a dressing that complements it perfectly and isn’t over-applied — made it just as memorable as any of the other dishes.

Mamakas Taverna

The octopus was probably the simplest dish I tried, and proof that if you’re working with great quality ingredients and preparing them well, further ornamentation is unnecessary.  The meat had a great amount of char from the grill, with a mild sweetness and nice meaty bite.  If you’re queasy about eating octopus, you need to get over yourself; you don’t know what you’re missing.  Bad octopus can be rubbery and horrible, but good octopus is like the delicious love-child between a scallop and a pork chop.

Mamakas Taverna

My favourite dish of the night was also easily the least photogenic.  No, this braised short rib doesn’t look like much, but holy moly it was ridiculously good.  Insanely tender (but not mushy) with just the right amount of perfectly creamy fat and an intensely beefy flavour, it was basically like the best pot roast you’ve ever had.

Mamakas Taverna

The dessert — a walnut spice cake with yogurt mousse — was just as delicious as everything else, because of course it was.  The cake was nutty and rich, and the tartness of the creamy mousse complemented it perfectly.

Quick Bites: Sweet Jesus, Parka Food Co., and Bakerbots Baking

Sweet Jesus
Apple Fritter Crisp from Sweet Jesus

This was actually pretty tasty.  Here’s how Sweet Jesus describes the Apple Fritter Crisp: “Vanilla soft serve, Apple pie sauce, Apple fritter pieces, Apple fritter crumb, Caramel sauce.”  I enjoyed it, mostly — it pretty much nails the apple pie/crumble element, with a cinnamon-infused flavour, and a nice hit of caramel and apples.  But the “apple fritter crumb” it’s rolled in was more chewy than crispy (there was a disconcerting lack of crispiness for something with “crisp” in its name), and the apple fritter pieces were entirely absent.  Still, the creamy vanilla ice cream and the apple-crumble-infused flavour are a tasty combo.

Parka Food Co.
Caesar Salad at Parka Food Co.

I recently found myself back at Parka Food Co., a place that specializes in vegan eats; on my first visit I had a sandwich and found the bun to be fairly horrifying, so I skipped the sandwiches and went with a Caesar salad instead.  It was fine, I guess?  Caesar dressing traditionally features very non-vegan ingredients like anchovies, egg yolks, and cheese; whatever vegan alternatives they used here were decent enough.  But the dressing was overly vinegary, and the pickled onions on top are a bizarre choice — they only amplify the puckery vinegar flavour.

Blackbird Baking Co.
Lemon Tart and Raspberry Rosewater Tart from Bakerbots Baking

Both of these tarts were absolutely fantastic, particularly the Raspberry Rosewater tart, which featured an ultra-rich custard with a pronounced rosewater flavour that complimented the tart raspberries on top perfectly.  And unlike the last pie I had at this place, the crust was superlative; it was crispy, buttery, and perfect.

More Delicious Pasta at Shiso Tree Cafe

Shiso Tree CafeLocation: 3160 Steeles Avenue East, Markham
Website: https://www.facebook.com/ShisoTree/

I mentioned recently that I generally prefer checking out restaurants I haven’t tried over revisiting ones I have.  There are, however, exceptions to that rule, such as: Shiso Tree Cafe, a restaurant that fuses Japanese and Italian cuisine with some seriously delicious results.

On this visit I had the shoyu mushroom spaghetti: “shimeji, enoki, king oyster mushrooms in mentsuyu butter sauce.”

Shiso Tree Cafe

It’s so good.  It looks a little bit dry in the photo; a lot of the sauce is at the bottom of the bowl, but once you mix it up, it becomes creamy and amazing (and the sauce is rich enough to cling perfectly to the pasta — there wasn’t any left in the bowl when the spaghetti was done).

It has an incredibly satisfying buttery/savoury flavour, and the various types of mushrooms add a nice variety of textures and flavours.  It’s a top-notch bowl of pasta.

Shiso Tree Cafe

It’s also an incredible deal; every pasta on their lunch menu costs twelve bucks and comes with a salad, soup, and a slice of garlic bread.  The salad looks a little sad, but features a sesame-infused dressing that’s a cut above the standard Japanese-inspired salad dressing you’re expecting.  The creamy seafood soup is rich, flavourful, and packed with tasty chunks of seafood — it’s way better than a free soup has any right to be.  The garlic bread is quite tasty, too.