Location: 209 Dovercourt Road, Toronto
Sandwiches! I think I’ve mentioned in the past that there are a few dishes that I think are the perfect food. A margherita pizza, for one. A great bowl of ramen. And of course, you’d have to add sandwiches to that list — but is that cheating? A margherita pizza is a pretty specific thing, but with all the different combos of bread and fillings, a sandwich can be about a billion different things.
Still, who doesn’t love a sandwich, particularly when they’re as great as they are at Vilda’s?
(That’s mostly a rhetorical question, but if you’ve legitimately never had a sandwich that you loved, then there might be something medically wrong with you. Go see a doctor.)
I tried a couple at Vilda’s: the Duca di Zucchine, and the Tuna à la Mediterranean. Both were very good, but the Duca di Zucchine (which the menu describes as “Hard-roasted, lemon-marinated zucchini ribbons. A vibrant spread of garlic scapes and tahini. Parmesan cheese! Bacon AND mint?! Together? Yes.”) was the highlight. The combo of the tender zucchini, the crispy/meaty bacon and the zingy vibrancy of the various sauces was extremely delicious.
The Tuna à la Mediterranean (“Cut up artichokes, whipped tuna, melted cheddar, olive-dressed butter lettuce and mayo”) was a bit less impressive, but still quite tasty. This one tasted more like something I might be able to make at home (or more accurately, something I think I could make at home, but could never actually make at this level of deliciousness). It was also a bit odd in that it was ostensibly a tuna melt, but featured cheese that was completely unmelted. You’d think that this would be an issue, but it was delicious regardless. It’s hard to go wrong with the combo of the creamy tuna spread and the crispy freshness of the veggies, not to mention the great bread.
Location: 161 Harbord Street, Toronto
Emmer is a bakery that recently opened to pretty much immediate success — if you check this place out (and you should definitely check this place out), expect to be in line for a while. It’s worth it.
Everything here is so good. On a previous, unblogged visit, I tried the roast beef sandwich and a chocolate croissant, and both were thoroughly delicious.
On this visit I was able to sit on their patio for their newly introduced lunch service. I tried the tuna melt, which is 100% pure comfort food. This isn’t any kind of “elevated” tuna melt; it’s like a tuna melt you might make at home, only so much better.
The tuna is perfectly creamy without being overly rich, and the gooey American cheese complements it perfectly. The sandwich also features some kind of zippy chili sauce, which adds a very mild kick and generally makes it all a bit more interesting.
And of course, Emmer’s specialty is their baked goods, so the bread in the sandwich is house made and amazing. It’s also slathered in butter and nicely crisped up on its exterior, so yeah, it’s very good.
Location: 367 King Street West, Toronto
I’m not sure why, but the poke trend that swept through the city a couple of years ago completely passed me by; this was actually my first time trying the now-iconic Hawaiian dish.
The version you’ll find at most Toronto restaurants tends to have a bit more stuff than the real-deal Hawaiian version, which is basically just raw fish, dressing, and maybe some onions and herbs mixed in.
The “Clever” poke bowl I had at Calii Love, on the other hand, comes with: “Raw Yellowfin tuna, gochujang broccoli, crispy shallot, wakame seaweed salad, jalapeno, edamame, sushi rice, wasabi aioli.”
So I don’t know how authentic it is (not at all, I’m thinking), but either way, I quite enjoyed it. There’s a whole lot going on, but all of the components were fresh and tasty, and the overall balance of flavours was really satisfying.
There was also enough of a balance of textures — the crunchy seaweed, the meaty tuna, the soft rice — that it never felt one-note or monotonous.
It actually reminded me a lot of Korean bibimbap, but with a very different flavour profile.