After settling in at our B&B, we walked over to Kensington market. Our first Toronto food was a spicy beef Jamaican patty. Why don't they have these in Brattleboro?? They seem so simple, and cost less than $2 each. Check out Hungry Canuck's patty post for a photo and musings.
After a lot more walking, we had a late dinner on Baldwin Street at Etsu, an adorable Japanese place nestled next to a Chinese place and a Korean place. It had a cute water feature and lovely planters full of flowers creating a mini-jungle on the minute patio. My companion had Bulgogi (below), a Korean beef dish that was highly spiced and highly succulent. I had a Japanese sampler (sushi, tempura, teriyaki). We both got awesome seaweed salad & miso soup for starters, and tiny scoops of ice cream for afters--one tasted like Thai basil and the other like burnt caramel. Afterwards the owner came out to chat. Baldwin Village is ADORABLE.
This below is at Shi Shawarma for lunch the following day. We'd walked MILES down shopping streets Queen St. West and Yonge St before we finally agreed on a lunch spot.
I was very happy with my chicken shawarma--it had strange flavors and large skinny peppers that I wasn't expecting but totally loved. The fries were clearly handcut and served with a dollop of mayo (see blob in center). They tasted like a Middle Eastern vacation. Shi Shawarma had free wifi and said they were open til 4am to cater to drunk Torontonians. I highly recommend Shi Shawarma.
Next is another photo fail--I did not take a picture of the yummy PEI oysters or the sautéed mushrooms with bleu cheese & toast, that we enjoyed in Leslieville's Ceili Cottage for dinner that evening. But they were SO GOOD. I'll blame it on the local hoppy beers that I was trying, which were also so good. We sat out on the patio on a perfect summer evening, but The Ceili Cottage was so cozy inside I almost wished it was winter so we could pile in to the Irish-looking bar area and recite poetry scraps.
After Ceili Cottage we retired to Fynn's of Temple Bar on King Street West--more Irishness. At 1am it was imperative that we have some snacks from Hero Certified Burgers. The beef in these burgers is described as 100% hormone free and antibiotic free. I didn't have a burger though.
I had a giant container of poutine. This made me feel very happy and very Canadian.
The next morning, my ultimate brunch request: dim sum.
I've been to a few places that are OK, but I wanted something new. So we wandered Dundas St. in Chinatown until we found the answer. Dim Sum King.
I may have some problems chilling out in life, but quality dim sum is so grounding and satisfying. What are these dumplings? Who knows! Bloody good though.
What I loved about Dim Sum King was the Chinese-speaking ladies who Did Not Care if you couldn't understand them, the amazing flavors that I really can't remember ever tasting before, and the little chin-lift-smile that you learn, which indicates: "Please show me what's on your cart because I have no idea what you said."
There is even dim sum with greens in it! This fantastic rice noodle roll was filled with some bitter yet perfect tender green, a little like pea shoots, a little like nettles. Fabulous.
The last items we got were the first I recognized--shrimp har gow and pork siu mai. I wish I could come back here every week with 20 people each time and try everything. Maybe even the chicken feet.