Country 081 – Saint Kitts and Nevis (Michael’s West Indian Flavor)

Michael's West Indian FlavourLocation: 3067 Lake Shore Boulevard West, Etobicoke
Website: None

I’ve eaten a lot of seriously tasty stuff since starting this blog, but the meal I just had at Michael’s West Indian Flavor might just be the tastiest.  Certainly, it would be in the top five.  It was amazing.

Michael's West Indian Flavour

Michael’s is a tiny little take-out joint (they have a few stools, but most people get their food to go) with just a handful of things on the menu: oxtail, curried goat, and chicken (which you can get stewed, curried, or jerk).  Everything comes with a generous serving of rice and peas, and a side of coleslaw.

I got the oxtail, and it was an absolute taste bonanza.  The oxtail itself was fall-off-the-bone tender, and the curry sauce was meaty and spicy, with a wonderfully complex flavour that never gets old; it’s one of those meals where finishing it makes you profoundly sad.  And the zingy coleslaw does a great job of cutting the richness of the sauce.  It’s absolutely perfect.

Michael's West Indian Flavour

It’s a great deal, too.  I ordered the small, which is loaded with a very hefty amount of delicious food for an even ten bucks.  I challenge you to find another meal in the city with a better price-to-deliciousness ratio.  It’s impossible.  It can’t be done.

Advertisements

Country 080 – El Salvador (Tacos El Asador)

Tacos Al AsadorLocation: 689 Bloor Street West, Toronto
Website: None

My one sentence summary of Tacos El Asador: tasty, but bland.  I tried a couple of things, and they were both good, but neither really jumped out at me.  Which is fine.  Not everything can be a taste bonanza.  Some things are just good.

It’s probably at least partially my fault.  “Tacos” is right there in the name of the restaurant.  I did not order a taco.  I wanted to stick to El Salvadorian specialties, so I ordered a tamale and a papusa.

Tacos Al Asador

My dining companion, on the other hand, ordered a couple of tacos and thoroughly enjoyed his meal, so I think that’s the thing to get.

I started with a corn tamale (well, technically I ordered a chicken tamale, but they brought me a corn tamale.  Things have to be pretty dire for me to complain at a restaurant, so I just ate what was in front of me).

Tacos Al Asador

It’s a good quality tamale, though flavour-wise there wasn’t much going on.  It was basically just plain corn meal with pops of sweetness from the whole kernels of corn.  The two hot sauces on the table helped to bring it some flavour, as did the little cup of sour cream that comes on the side.

Tacos Al Asador

I also tried the pork chicharron papusa, which was kind of like an arepa, but with meat baked right in.  And again, it didn’t exactly explode with flavour, but the pork was nice and tender and the exterior was satisfyingly crispy.  It also came with a little cup of hot sauce that suited it quite well.

Country 003 – Cuba (La Cubana)

cubana
Location392 Roncesvalles Avenue, Toronto
Websitehttp://www.lacubana.ca/

I wasn’t even sure if I was going to write about La Cubana — it feels more trendy than authentic, but I’ve got 196 countries to get through, so I’ve got to take ’em where I can get ’em.

I started with the Corn Frituras, which are kind of like hush puppies, only way lighter and fluffier.  Dipped in the perfectly tangy sauce that came on the side, they were addictive and amazing.  I could eat about a million of them.

One of the reasons I wanted to check this place out was the episode of You Gotta Eat Here that featured La Cubana.  In particular, the Medianoche, which comes with braised short rib, looked quite enticing.

Apparently the brunch Medianoche is completely different, because I got a ham and cheese sandwich with a fried egg on top.  I googled it, and it seems like this is a more authentic version of this dish (sans the fried egg).  I probably wouldn’t have ordered it if I had known, because I’m not a huge fan of ham and cheese, but yay for authenticity I guess?

Anyway, it was a fine ham and cheese sandwich; there just wasn’t anything particularly interesting about it.  My biggest issue was the bun, which was unpleasantly dense, and honestly just got in the way.  The sandwich was also a huge, greasy mess, so after a couple of bites I tossed the top half of the bun and ate the rest of the sandwich with a fork and knife.

The sandwich comes with rice and beans, red cabbage slaw, and tostones.  Rice and beans has a tendency to be a bit dry, but not this version. It’s definitely above average.  The slaw was kind of like a much more subtle sauerkraut — also tasty.  The tostones (essentially a mashed and fried plantain) had a pretty good flavour, but had the approximate texture of rubber cement that’s just about to harden. I’ve never had tostones before, but I’m going to assume something went wrong there.

La Cubana - Corn Frituras La Cubana - the brunch medianoche