Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Week In Yum May 10-16 Mothers Day at Pukka, School and North of Mexico


somewhere along the line my little, baby boy has turned into a tall, lanky man

We started Mother's Day off with a bang this year. The kid helped The Neighbour and I garden all day after a trip to the garden centre to buy bags and bags of dirt and mulch - so exciting. After my afternoon playing in the dirt, the boys then whisked me away to a land far, far away. We went to Bathurst and St Clair to Pukka, my new all time favourite restaurant in the city that I reviewed just recently here on The Yum Yum Factor. Shack can be a bit picky...IMAGINE THAT.... about Indian food but, generally, once he is eating it, he is happy. It's just getting him to choose to eat it in the first place that gets tricky for me but I have a feeling that now that he has eaten at Pukka, this might prove to be an easier task.


Pukka was just as good as the first time 
Even the Indian indifferent Shack could not stop raving about everything he ate. I knew he would love their butter chicken, which he did, but it was the tandoori chicken tikka that he couldn't stop raving about. There wasn't even a morsel of food or a wipe of sauce left on anyone's plate by the end of the meal, which The Kid topped off with the dessert trio up there although next time I think he would be happy with nothing but a giant bowl of that chai caramel corn. From beginning to end, the meal was a great success and ensured that I will feel suitably appreciated for the rest of the year.

On Sunday, Shack and I put the lid down on the car and went out for an aimless drive, not wanting the beautiful day to end. We found ourselves in the west end and so we called up our friends, Ivy and Craig, to see if we could coax them into giving us a little sneak peak of their new restaurant, Patois, which is currently under construction on Dundas just west of Bathurst. Even though they had just returned home from a long day of working, they came back and showed us around. We are soooo excited for Craig and wish he would hurry up already so that we can spend our summer eating his special take on the foods of his Jamaican Chinese heritage.

We were going to just walk to Baldwin to eat when we realized that we could all hop in the hot rod and go wherever we wanted, despite the fact that Craig is a giant and the car is not terribly giant friendly. Since both boys are very big but both girls are very not, we hunkered down in the back seat with hour knees up around our ears and set off for Ford Nation. Shack decided to drive them out to Etobicoke for pizza at Dino's, his favourite, new pizza place that we found out there in March and I raved about here.

Okay, here is the really weird thing that happened. As we were driving out there, hair blowing in the wind like starlets, Ivy was texting with a good friend who told here they were just finishing up dinner but didn't say where they were. We pull up to the restaurant (remember, we are downtown folk out in Etobicoke, of all places) and sitting right there, on the patio of Dino's, was that very friend.
doo doo doo doo
doo doo doo doo

we turned two large pizzas into four and each was a delicious as the other
It's not like we all jumped out of the car to eat at one of their mutually , much frequented downtown restaurants in chinatown or something. We were in Etobicoke, a place where Ivy and Craig don't often visit to dine, at a place they had never been to before. Their friends had just finished eating so they pulled up some chairs and sat with us while we enjoyed our pizzas and had a nice chat. I still think they are witches and that their secret plans are to put Shack and I in a pizza pie but if the pizza pie tastes anything like those pizzas up there, I guess I can live with that. There are worse ways to go.

You would think that after our Sunday outing that Ivy had seen enough of me but she sent me a panic text on Tuesday morning asking if I could race over to Liberty village to assist her. She had to get the entire Tafflemusic ensemble camera ready in 45 minutes and one of her makeup artists backed out last minute. Now, since I live in the Beach and the Gardiner/Lakeshore sitch is a disaster, there is no such thing as racing over to the west end at any time of the day, never mind first thing in the morning. It took me a solid hour to crawl over there and I have to say, Google maps need to fire their damned GPS lady because not only is she blissfully unaware of the Gardiner/Lakeshore debacle, she also seems unaware that YOU CANNOT EVEN MAKE A LEFT ONTO KING FROM BAY LIKE SHE CONFIDENTLY ADVISED ME TO DO.

me and the lovely Ivy Lam, makeup artiste
My reward for dragging my sorry, old ass all the way out there was a lovely lunch with Ivy at School in Liberty Village. I used to know Brad Moore, the executive chef, in my previous life and am ashamed to say that I have never been to this restaurant despite the fact that it opened in 2009. His former college St restaurant, Xacutti, was one of our very favourites but by the time he opened School, we had a ten year old and were firmly ensconced in the east end of the city. Xacutti was one of the first places to do modern Indian (hello, my obsession with Pukka makes so much sense now) and although well thought of, School was like the polar opposite of Xacutti and there were too many great places to have brunchy food between here and there for me to travel all the way to King and Dufferin.

pulled pork and salsa verde with a poached egg and an ahi tuna sandwich to share
Since we are kindred spirits who are mistrustful of people who won't share their food, we mutually chose the ahi tuna sandwich and a skillet of pulled pork topped with a tangy salsa verde and a perfectly poached egg. My only beef with the sandwich is that I don't believe anyone could actually consume that thing as a sandwich. I had to take it all apart and we ate the components with a knife and fork. Maybe we just have incredibly tiny mouths but I am really not a fan of these mile high sandwiches and I rarely order them but the elements were all tasty, the generous portion of tuna was well cooked. I just can't imagine being able to squash the whole thing down flat enough to facilitate sandwiching.

I prefered the pulled pork with salsa verde and poached egg but I am a sucker for all three of those things on their own anyway. The hash brown potatoes were kind of salty but I like salty so it was A Okay to me. It's a nice, bright space with good service and tasty food that is on the expensive side for a quick lunch, so keep that in mind.

School Restaurant on Urbanspoon

One of my MVPs took me grocery shopping mid week and after hitting all of the usual east end grocery shopping spots like Costco and Al Premium,  we decided to pop into the newly opened Adonis supermarket at Warden and Eglinton. This is a Quebec chain that boasts a Greek sounding name, the olympic flame as it's logo and even Greek looking font but sells Lebanese goods. Even though I was expecting a Greek grocer, I was not unhappy to find a squeaky clean middle eastern emporium, complete with a glassed in pita factory in the centre ,spitting out warm, pillow soft pita bread. $1.66 got me four good sized falafels, it was 79 cents for a small bag of warm pita and another $3 for a container of freshly made tabule and I had lunch wraps for The Kid for the following two days. This place is a welcome addition to Scarborough and I can't wait to go back and try more stuff.
A wall of tempting Lebanese dishes at the food counter of Adonis


Thursday found us back at The Wren but this time we dragged The Neighbours along with us for their maiden visit. We are always talking about The Wren but when we go out with them, it's always to My Place for wings in the Beach so they were looking forward to seeing what all the fuss is about. He got the burger after finding out that the guy at the next table took the last cubano (the special of the day) and she got the buttermilk fried chicken sandwich and this is how new Wren fans are born. I had the chicken sandwich as well and after taking a couple of small bites, I broke it down, scraped all of the great condiments off and ate it like that. As I just said, I am not a fan of these giant sandwiches but I am a fan of fried chicken and this was as lovely a piece of crispy fried chicken as you are going to find anywhere. The rhubarb tart dessert special was really nice - much better than the last desserts we had there.
speaking of mile high sammys, I had to take this chicken sandwich apart to eat it
We ended the week at North of Mexico, in Scarborough, to celebrate our friend's birthday. They have been there before and were excited to go back and to introduce us to this place. It's not as great as some of my favourite Mexican places downtown but it's the best thing to happen to Scarborough in a long time. After ordering a really big Mojito that wasn't really a true mojito but it was tasty enough, we split some guacamole, lobster quesadillas and carnitas. The $6 taco was actually big enough to split into a couple of tacos if you get some warm corn tortillas on the side so it eases the initial sting of $6 for one taco and it was nicely done. Again, the guacamole was good but I don't expect to pay $10 for an order unless I am somewhere a bit more high end. We needed two orders for the five of us so we are talking almost $50 just for guacamole and one taco each.

a bit of seafood and a whole lot of veggie filler

The real star of the show was a seafood platter that the chef offered to put together for us. Like idiots, nobody even asked about price and I have to tell you, after realizing that four tacos and two orders of guac was setting us back $50, I was afraid to look at the bill. I am happy to report that they charged us $128 for it and although I still don't think it was that great of a price for what amounted to 1 1/2 lobsters, a bit of fish and a handful of shrimps, it was way less that I was fearing and everything was perfectly cooked. The food was on par with the quality of food at, say, Mexican Salsas in Kensington but at much higher prices. On the other hand, it is the best Mexican food you are going to get out there so if I lived that far east, I would go there regularly anyway.

North of Mexico on Urbanspoon

Pin board of the week: i love the stuff pinned to this board

Facebook share of the week: could The Kid be any creepier?????

Instagrammer of the week: Beautiful photos of Oaxaca

Tweet of the week: 

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