Happy New Year! Seems like a bit of an oxymoron to be discussing the best of 2020. Rather than dwell on the negative, let’s instead take a look back at some of the best eats of the year. With a fresh set of eyes, cataracts removed, we enjoyed many a fine meal this year… even if most were of the takeout variety.
The Toronto Food Blog is aligned with supporting local small businesses as much as we can right now. Who knows how long it will be before we can grace dining rooms again? For now, let’s tip our caps to a dozen places across the GTA grinding to keep their lights on and to put food on our tables.
We spent many a Wednesday in Scarborough in 2020, and Kim Kim (1188 Kennedy Rd) was one of our favourite stops. A Hakka mom & pop trying to keep things afloat with elevated takeout & delivery offerings… like this Mirchi Corn dish. Mirchi loosely translates to “having an overly high temperature.” We could eat this as a main course. Dry chilli corn fry-up? Yes, please!
Our sandwich of the year comes from a new(ish) Westside spot, Lambo’s Deli (176 Bellwoods Ave). Their Classic Combo is loaded with soppressata, prosciutto, salami and provolone. We added muffuletta because, well, it’s just awesome on sandwiches. These two-handers travel really well, rolled up tight!
Keeping an open mind about food and eating new things is always very exciting. We tried Dinuguan for the first time in 2020. This Filipino Pork Stew was full of organ meat (offal) and tenderloin in a spicy dark gravy of pig blood, garlic, chilli and vinegar. Our first (and favourite) rendition can be found at Banahaw Food Mart (458 Dawes Rd). Laila the chef tells us that this is a popular farmers dish back home, emphasizing not wasting any part of the animal. We have since tried this dish at a few other Filipino restaurants around the GTA. Really glad we got out my comfort zone and ordered it; thoroughly enjoyed on garlic rice.
#TacoTuesday was something everyone looked forward to throughout 2020. Our favourite find was Itacate (998 St. Clair W). Al Pastor (pork + pineapple) & Volcan (steak + cheese) tacos come with all the salsas & fixin’s (chopped to-order). A great little taqueria, bringing the tastes of Mexico City to the heart of #StClairWest
One of the best finds this past year was, without a doubt, One2 Snacks (8 Glen Watford Dr), a Malaysian takeout counter doing a half-dozen noodle dishes really well, all for super cheap. Their curry laksa was enormous and came filled to the brim with chicken, shrimp, fish ball and tofu. Spiced to order, we absolutely loved this #lunchunder10bucks
The Grilled Squid & Potatoes at Churrasqueira do Sardinha (1213 Dundas St W) was, quite possibly, the best lunch the Toronto Food Blog ate in 2020. Finished with coarse ground pepper and the tastiest olive oil, sometimes simple is better. ‘Nuff said!
Working in #EastChinatown for the past ten years, we’ve tried most of the restaurants in the ‘hood. There’s this one spot a little further east, though, that’s always eluded us. Bach Yen (738 Gerrard St E) is a Vietnamese mom & pop with some really interesting menu items… like this bowl of Bun ca Kien Giang which is a Mekong-river-style grouper & shrimp soup that’s heavy on the fish sauce. Great find; great #lunchunder10bucks
#MeatlessMonday never looked (or tasted) so good with this Hercules Bowl from Thrive Organic (3473 Lake Shore Blvd W). Almond Hummus, avocado, grilled tofu, diced veggies and all the crunchy seeds & sprouts. Available for curbside pickup in #Etobicoke
The Toronto Food Blog had been meaning to get to Simone’s Caribbean Restaurant (596 Danforth Ave) for ages, and they didn’t disappoint. Their brown stew beef is an enormous plate of food, bursting with flavours of cassareep. We’re told it’s been stewed for hours and hours. Not what you’d expect to find in #Greektown
Hong Kong style Beef Brisket, heavy on the five spice & chilli, served with greens & egg noodles at Beefing with 7 (382 Spadina Ave) in the heart of #ChinatownTO
Birthday dinner this year came b/w/o Lucky Lin’s (5833 Finch Ave E). Recommended by Scarborough legend Mike Groves, this place specializes in Guyanese cuisine. Their shrimp and potato curry was an enormous portion, accompanied by legit dahlpuris that were used as a utensil.
Two of our absolute favourite things culminating in a near perfect dish… Rendang Goat at Lion City (1117 Central Pkwy) is a must try for any curry enthusiast. We’ve been chasing Rendang since visiting Amsterdam a lifetime ago. This was a very memorable family meal in the Lion City dining room about a month before lockdown happened in #Mississauga
Bless this Jerk Chicken on Coco Bread at Tata Hot Sauce Emporium (219 Rexleigh Dr). #Lunchunder10bucks stuffed to enormous proportions with peppery salad and homemade vinegary hot sauce. Pro tip: try everything loaded onto a salad instead (if you’re making a New Year’s resolution). #EastYork in the house!