It was a rainy day in pizzaland and Beautiful American is excited about our planned excursion to Kensington Market and El Trompo; she has been there before with sis. Kids are down for the holidays and my sister and hyper-active niece are along too. We actually find parking on Spadina near Baldwin. I’m out numbered and relent as Pashminas are the focus. I wait outside the Chinese shop chomping at the bit.
Finally, we are walking down Baldwin. The bakeries, the cheese shops, the fish; it has been a long time since I have been here. I stop by a small shop that has nuts and stuff and I see a sign for chilies. A teen on the steps gestures to me to come in see the offerings inside. I bite because I want to see the chilies. A half-full, canvas bag of chilies with a cardboard sign for the price above. Fine, give me 200 grams of Ancho. I think I've been rooked but I have them. The coffee house on the corner of Baldwin and Augusta has Beautiful American all excited. She picks buttered pecan and we're out.
Ok we're hungry off to El Trompo. Walking up to the store front, I'm unimpressed but it seems homey. There are a few people already sitting and seemingly enjoying. As a party of 6, we take the last of the available tables and chairs and we are in the middle of the small room. Beautiful American with a brow raised points out kitchen staff in the corner table of the dining room shredding chicken. Margaritas for Beautiful American and sis, me a Corona, kids pineapple pop, oh and did I mention my Mother was along too. Oops, sorry Mom. Two kinds of salsa; green and red arrive with chips. Sis points out on the menu..." do not Deep the chips "...we understand and follow directions accordingly using the plates provided. Awesome red salsa, chipotle inspired for sure (hope it isn't Herdez).
Beautiful American immediately wants the Guacamole and hyper-active niece needs nachos. Guacamole arrives soon and it’s a hit. It’s passed around and around quickly. Nachos are nachos. An uncomfortable long time between ordering and the arrival of the Margaritas has Beautiful American and sis getting anxious. All is forgiven when they arrive as Beautiful American grins with delight at first sip. I beg a taste and wow, holy Tequila. Soon after our order arrives. Tacos Al Pastor for me and a few others at the table. Beautiful American had ordered a Quesadilla Gringa and when she discovered the lime squeeze over it she was squealing with delight. Tacos for me were unenthusiastic. I watched hyper-active pick every onion and pineapple off all hers; then she enjoyed. I was actually impressed she dobbed some red salsa on it and waved franticly at her mouth every time. Ok, we're done and the bill comes. Sheesh, with the take-out Guacamole for Beautiful American we are just under $100; it seems excessive to me for what we had. Oh right, alcohol; fine.
We are walking back to Baldwin and the gurls see a flea market and I see Perolas. We split and I see where I should have bought my chilies; I knew I was rooked. Awesome place and the cantina in the back is as frightening as it is inviting. It is full of satisfied customers. I find Queso Fresco cheese and take to the cashier. I see across the street a butcher; there must be chorizo there. Indeed and I buy some medium and hot. We're done, I meet with flea market gazers and we're back to the car. Overall, a generally good experience.
After this expedition, I am truly crusading for all Mexican. I can't even remember what pizza tastes like as every Friday is a search the next Mexican. Beautiful American and I are actually find good luck in Durham region as there are a few places. As I mentioned before, there are these Mexico Lindos. We try the Whitby north one again and I experiment with the Pollo a Mole and she orders the Fajitas. I crave heat and order an appetizer; shrimp in a spicy red sauce. I am blown away and dream of this dish to this day. Dinner arrives and Beautiful American is not impressed with the large pieces of green pepper and onions, but she eats anyway; later, simply picking for the meat. The mole for me is quite different. It has an after taste that recall from long ago and I remember that I didn't like it then. The chicken is really a disgrace but I'm still trying to understand and assimilate the mole. It doesn't ever work and I don't finish; I just can't. I don't even know if this is truly good authentic; I hope not. The spicy shrimp, I'll be back for more.
On recommendations from work-buddies, I find the Eldorado restaurant on Winchester Road. Actually the golf course's restaurant, it has a full Mexican menu. Drinks first; Beautiful American orders the Margarita and I a Corona. A green colour she has not seen before in a Margarita puts her off right away. Tasting, she can't get past four sips and eventually leaves most of it. Reminiscent of Tang I suggest to her as she agrees. She orders steak Fajitas and I order a beef burrito and chicken enchilada with their homemade Diablo sauce. I'm on fire and it is almost too much. I was warned by the waitress so I must finish to save face. Beautiful American rolls her eyes. She finds her steak a little tough though and asks for a box for take home. After paying the bill and getting half way home, we realize the box is still on the table. Oh well.
Beautiful American through all of this has not really been satisfied and still craves; “I need some Guadalajara’s”. She actually liked El Trompo’s Quesadillas and wanted to go again, when we returned today to Kensington. We debated and while not really hungry, we decided to shop instead. Back to Perolas, I picked up the rest of chilies I think I need according to Rick Bayless. Beautiful American got some more cheap Pashminas for friends.
I have been dabbling in Mexican cooking at home. I’ve been cooking weekend breakfast with chorizo I got from the first trip to Kensington. Fried up with hash browns, scrambled eggs, and some shredded old cheddar all mixed together with a typical jarred salsa on the side; Saturday breakfast has a new kick from the usual. Beautiful American is looking forward to Super-bowl weekend. No pizza planned as I will try my hand at enchiladas and burritos inspired by Rick’s recipes along with homemade margaritas. Hopefully I get the thumbs up.