Location: 3067 Lake Shore Boulevard West, Etobicoke
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 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.
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.
Location: 828 Saint Clair Avenue West, Toronto
I was watching the Dominican Republic-centric episode of No Reservations, and a hearty soup called sancocho was highlighted as that country’s quintessential dish. After a quick consultation with my good friend Google, I found myself at Mi Tierra — though it’s technically a Colombian restaurant, they’ve got the ‘cocho on the menu (what’s that? No one calls it ‘cocho? Okay fine. Your loss).
It’s alright, I guess. It’s perfectly tasty, but I have a hard time imagining anyone getting too hot and bothered over it (but again, like with my recent experience with doubles, it’s possible that I got a mediocre version of an otherwise great dish).
The base is a pretty basic chicken stock; it’s a nice clean broth, but there isn’t a whole lot of flavour there. It’s filled with some fairly sizable chunks of potato, plantain, cassava (which is like a starchier potato), oxtail, and roast-beef-esque chunks of meat.
It’ll certainly fill you up, though I wish there was a little bit more meat in there; there was only one piece of oxtail, which was really tender and probably the best thing in the bowl. There were maybe three or four chunks of beef, which were a bit dryer than I’d like, but otherwise pretty good. The rest was all potato and cassava and plantain. It was hearty and very filling, no doubt about it, but a little bit ho-hum. The dish primarily consists of starchy vegetables that all taste like starchy vegetables; there’s not much here that elevates them.
It came with a coleslaw-esque salad on the side, which had a bright, citrusy flavour, but which was a little bit too strong on the onion for my tastes (but I’m admittedly not a huge fan of raw onion).