SalivAte – August 2010

There was much good eating to be had this past month, as we checked out a selection of restaurants both old and new. If you haven’t been to Delux Restaurant (92 Ossington Avenue) for their awesome Cuban lunch, don’t delay. Above is the roast pork dinner featuring sweet fork tender pork, fried plantains and rice and beans.

And in case the pork doesn’t appeal, or you just want to go for the healthy option, this salad of bitter greens, avocado, green olives and citrus segments is a really wonderful dish.

Still at Delux, the Cubano special features a pressed Cubano sandwich, fries and a Coke. Best ham and cheese sandwich ever.

And you can’t leave lunch at Delux without having the coffee and donuts. Made to order donut balls arrive hot and only slightly greasy, tossed in cinnamon sugar and accompanied by cups of slightly sweet cream and dulce de leche for dipping, and a shot of thick and sweet Cuban-style coffee. Mind-blowingly good.

From the looks of this post, you’d think all we ate this month was fried stuff. But who can resist perfect fries and crisp onion rings like these ones from The Counter at the Thompson Hotel (550 Wellington Street West). With its retro 60s vibe and slate of diner food, the devil’s starchy fingers are impossible to resist.

The last time Greg ate a shrimp po’boy, it came from a divey joint on Tchopitoulas Avenue in New Orleans, and he ate it while sitting on the curb and drinking beer out of a paper bag to wash it down. No po’boy is ever going to compare to that one, but this sandwich from The Counter is a pretty good facsimile for Toronto.

If you’ve heard good things about Enoteca Sociale (1288 Dundas Street West), they’re all true. Yes, it’s a bit loud, and yes, the AC is a little flukey, but this heavenly pile of grilled octopus with potatoes and fava beans makes up for everything else.

Enoteca’s grilled Cornish hen with pepperonata. Lovely.

The appetizer everyone is talking about – buffalo mozzarella with marinated anchovies. And don’t say you don’t like anchovies, this dish just might change your mind.

Nice, simple Italian food – Bucatini All’Amatriciana (aka. spicy tomato and guanciale), with just enough spiciness to make it memorable.

With so many pubs in Toronto pushing out plates of nachos and burgers, it’s easy to forget that some of the stuff they do is actually kind of unique. Like these blackened fish tacos from Mitzi’s Sister (1554 Queen Street West), which remind us of the amazing fish taco places in southern California.

And when you’re a big city dweller with no backyard, a picnic on a plate is a fine, fine thing. Mitzi’s serves this fried chicken with corn on the cob, a biscuit and both potato salad and coleslaw. The three-legged race is optional.