It’s been two months and I’m gradually settling into my new home located in my old neighbourhood: downtown Toronto’s best village-within-a-city, Kensington Market. (By the way, this downsized version of my former Kensington house looks, said a friend recently on staring speechless at my chandelier/mirror/and cherub-bedecked living room, “a lot like New Orleans.”)
After almost 30 years of living in the heart of Kensington, I misguidedly left in 2005 in search of what I then hoped would be a more peaceful, serene, semi-rural life in Stratford, Ont. Erratic VIA rail service, lack of diversity, the 401, isolation, snow and other bad things I couldn’t change have brought me back to the Big Smoke – more specifically to the feisty, colourful, never-dull Market, this edgy hub of ethnic food, motley crew of eccentric people and, most recently, home of three fantastic food finds.
See an earlier blog for my raves about the new butcher Sanagan’s in the former location of Max Meats on Baldwin St. His chicken and filet mignon (not usually my favourite cut of beef but superlative here) are my new addictions.
On the other side of the street, a few doors to the east, is Akram’s Shoppe, a re-incarnation of husband-and-wife team Akram and Hiyam Dow’s falafel shop, formerly in the same location,
The pair have expanded their take-out repertoire to include a huge selection of Middle Eastern groceries along with a fabulous hot table where a delicious, filling lunch of your choice is a mere $4.99. Several kinds of stew, with or without meat, a couple of kinds of rice and various superb salads are always fresh and flavourful.
The price and warm welcome are both bonuses at this must-visit spot.
North on Augusta, a block south of College, is the fairly new Debu’s: casual, mostly take-out sister eatery to the more well-known Mount Pleasant regular sit-down restaurant by the same name.
My chef friend Deborah and I picked up dinner for two the other evening as a pre-birthday celebration for moi – I turned 64 on August 27.
The fare here is reasonably priced and delectably fresh-tasting – a welcome alternative to the brown-sauced, overcooked, one-note brand of Indian food found at some places. Seated at my kitchen table, we dined on spicy lamb curry, yummy eggplant with peppers, creamy dahl, perfectly cooked basmati rice and properly-charred naan.
This place is around the corner from my house and I’ll be back.