Kensington Market is one of my favourite spots to shop for food in Toronto. There is no other area where I can find so many unique foods that I love. I make a trip there whenever I can spare a couple hours to wander around, check out the ever changing new eateries and gather up my growing list of favourite items. Here’s my tour:
Caribbean Corner (171 Baldwin Avenue) -I stop in here for fresh callaloo they get flown in from Jamaica, caribbean hot sauce, and/or jerk sauce, among all things caribbean.
Essence of Life (50 Kensington Avenue)-is the stop for any health food or supplement you can think of with great selection and prices.
Salamanca(204 Baldwin Avenue)-I have been buying nuts and other dry goods here for over 10 years.
La Tortilleria (198 Augusta Avenue)-makes fresh tortillas daily, with organic blue available on the weekends only.
Jumbo Empanadas (245 Augusta Avenue)-I have been stopping here for a bite of lunch for over 10 years. Their homemade salsa is unbelievable. The chicken empanada with the salsa and Chilean salad are absolutely delicious.
Perola’s (247 Augusta Avenue)-This is a shop I just started frequenting this summer, as I developed serious taco obsession when I missed out on eating at Rick Bayless’ Torta in the Chicago airport. Tacos seem to be the trend of the moment as well. This shop has all the authentic fixings you could want.
Wanda’s Pie in the Sky (287 Augusta Avenue)-Sometimes I stop here first. Amazing dessert is required. This shop is even more fun here than it was when it was located in Yorkville. I love the dulche de leche coconut macaroons (gluten free) and the small fruit pies (which I cut into 4 pieces and share, maybe).
Seven Lives (69 Kensington Avenue)-My top pick for tacos in Toronto. There can be a bit of a wait, but service is quick and the tacos are incredibly flavourful and inventive.
Food Inspiration Moments of 2012
Here are some of my favourite moments of food inspiration in 2012 in no particular order:
Callaloo: A great tasting, super nutritious green veggie that I enjoyed and learned about on the South Coast of Jamaica this year. There was nothing better than being shown where and what the plant looks like growing wild.
Sea Asparagus Pesto: Another highly nutritious, delicious and naturally salty veggie made into a unique delicious pesto product that I discovered in Hawaii.
Blue Hawaii Acai Bowl: This antioxidant packed sorbet like treat topped with granola and fruit was delicious in addition to the energetic boost it provided. I nicknamed the acai bowl ‘superjuice’, as I felt superjuiced after I ate it.
Galerie au Chocolat, Fire: The heat really builds up from the chili in this chocolate. I amused myself just a little by having various friends sample the chocolate and watching their reaction to the heat.
Minisyrup: This unsweetened flavouring was a surprise discovery that led to further inspiration in the idea of adding flavour to club soda and water to create your own beverage. Adding flavour to water is common practice in the UK. I was reminded of Ribena (available at Sobeys), a sweet, blackcurrant concentrate syrup in production since 1938 that I enjoyed as a child. What’s old is new and water flavouring will reach new heights here.
Beer and Cheese: Who knew? However, someone seated beside me at the Gabardine had a plate of beer battered cheese and I had to order it as well. Very tasty. www.thegabardine.com
I was convinced to sample Spearhead Hawaiian Style Pale along with some cheese at the LCBO and found the crisp, slightly fruity beer to be a great complement to the cheese. Very tasty and very smooth combination.
Jiro Dreams of Sushi: A most inspirational and beautiful film about one man’s passion in his work, his creation of sushi.
Societe Orignal Churned Seashore Honey: This honey is the best ever with its fluffy texture that tastes of caramel, marshmallows and a hint of flowers all at once.
Salted Caramel Icecream: I had amazing salted caramel icecream at BiRite Creamery in San Francisco. XocoCava (1560 Yonge Street) has an outstanding salted caramel hazelnut icecream. One young hipster told me she is so over salted caramel…and I still love it.
Ps. The best salted caramel macaron is at Petite Thuet www.petitethuet.com
Vinamit Chips: These are the most amazing fruit and vegetable chips that are made through dehydration and are sold at T&T. My brother introduced them to me and I am hooked. Mixing together one bag of the mixed fruit and jackfruit chips are the perfect combination.
All things Austrian: Are up and coming as spotted by the eagle eyes of the man behind Making Life Good…thank you JK.
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Posted in commentary, product review, Recommendation, Vivian Law
Tagged Acai Bowl, BiRite Creamery, Blue Hawaii Acai cafe, Callaloo, galerie au chocolat, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, La Societe Orignal honey, Minisyrup, Petite Thuet, Ribena, Sea asparagus, Spearhead Hawaiian Style Pale Ale, The Gabardine, Xococava