The last week, the spotlight gang has been out and about checking out restaurants and cafes from Roncesvales to the Danforth.
I wasn't planning on posting about Keriwa Cafe again so soon but I can't help myself when they make Red Fife and fry bread doughnuts with cinnamon sugar and maple chili glaze. The Red Fife and fry bread lend a resiliency to the doughnuts that is a little disconcerting so it is probably best to think of them as chewy deep-fried dough balls. They are rolled in the sugar and then the glaze before being sprinkled with more sugar and served in a shallow pool of glaze that is perfect for dipping. Sweet and pungent with a little heat, they kickstart brunch. They were a special item on the day I was there but let's hope they make it onto the regular menu
The Ace on Roncesvalles is an old Chinese restaurant/diner that's been transformed in the vibe of the Dakota Tavern and Three Speed. It's cosy, busy and serves some delicious dishes (try the Nutella perogies). Their cocktails are must-try too. The Ace Manhattan is made with Crown Royal Black, sweet vermouth and a dash of bitters and garnished with an apricot stewed in cinnamon and red wine.
Mike Di Caro
Lately I've been in the mood for blue cheese. Although they can be an acquired taste, good blues possess a distinct savoury tang you can't find anywhere else. At the Danforth branch of Pizzeria Libretto I was offered a beautiful little cheese plate when I asked for a taste of blue to close my meal. The Blue Di Fabossa, a sheep's milk blue from Piedmonte, had just enough blue tang without overpowering the delicate creaminess. It went beautifully with the fresh figs and orange compote on the plate. But the blue that stole my heart was Cashel Blue, which I picked-up in the St. Lawrence Market. The Irish cow's milk cheese has a beautiful contrast between that strong blue tang and a rich cultured butter-like creaminess. But what got me coming back was the hints of hay and grass that really capture the Tipperary County pastures where the cows are raised.
I visited Evergreen Brickworks and had an amazing crepe called "the works". It was so delicious! Prepared right before my eyes while my mouth watered for it. They have these food booths set up by the skating area. They offered soups, burritos, crepes, and other foods I didn't get around to eating.
A friend of mine had the excellent idea of making his birthday party cheese themed and invited guests to bring a wedge or round of their favoured cracker partner. I had planned to stop at the Thin Blue Line on the way to the party but since they were closed (for hiking and surfing the sing said) we found ourselves in the cheese department of Benna's, one of Roncy's Eastern European food stores. Figuring that I might as well go the full mile I looked for the most esoteric selection I could find. Naturally, my eye fell on this twisted rope of obviously smoked cheese; the only English words on the package were "specialties from Polish mountains". With its firm, slightly dry texture, and really strong smoke flavour (no light fruit woods here, this might have even been oak smoked) this was one of the most unusual cheeses at the party but also one of the most popular.
This past week, Mark and Jen ate at Allen's not once, but twice. Specifically, they went for Allen's annual Steak Festival, which features a double-sided menu with the focus nearly completely on steak (although there are a few sides available, as the steaks come totally sans sides). The steak portion of the menu offers about 7 different cuts of meat, and about 5-10 different options within each cut (based on regionality, breed of cow and type of feed), for a total of 37 different options. The food was excellent, and while the event is over for this year, be sure to mark it on your calendar for next year.
I had the opportunity to eat at the newly opened Gusto 101 restaurant twice last week, for lunch. The italian focused menu with a commednable wine list is impressive, and so far I've really liked all the appetizers from the grilled octopus to the carpaccio and sausage.
Contributors and where you can find what they're up to; Nina Popovic @popnina, Catherine Solmes @ccath, Pauline Dong @paulinedong, Jennifer Bylok @jenniferbylok, Mike di Caro @mikedicaro, Allison Slute @allisonslute, David Ort @ortdavid, Mark Bylok @markbylok, Millie Castaneda, Suresh Doss @spotlightcity