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El Trompo

Marmalady Feb 11, 2005 10:31 AM

An instructor at the U of T, I have a 3-hour break between courses one day of the week. That doesn't really allow enough time to commute home by TTC, so it's a good, built-in time for marking papers/reading and supper. That said, it's that odd hour when many restaurants are closed and busy prepping for dinnertime.
Solution? Kensington Market, which is mere blocks from the building where I re-convene with students at 7. My most recent exploration lead me to El Trompo and it was AWESOME. Paintings on the walls were a real bonus, and staff greeted me with warm surprise: most patrons seem to have been Mexican/Latino.
I haven't had authentic Mexican since I was in Chicago and this stuff is genuine Mexico City fare. I'm going back for a cool cinammon-vanilla beverage and yes, to check their guac.
Try the yummy El Nostro soft-taco with pork, pineapple and coriander: I am seriously jonesing for it a week later.
Much as I am a creature of habit, I plan to make my way around this neighbourhood every single week for new nosh experiences. Next up: the freaky fusion of Hungary Thai---unless someone pipes in and warns me not to go.
Happy eating y'all! I'm counting the days till our trip to San Francisco!

  1. s
    Susan Feb 11, 2005 11:48 AM

    I have to give it a try sometime. We don't get to Kensington all that often. We're in Mexico in 3 weeks time and I'm really looking forward to the food!

    4 Replies
    1. re: Susan
      Marmalady Feb 11, 2005 03:06 PM

      Thanks for the Jerk chicken sandwich tip: I'm crazy for that bread!
      Dinner looks decided for this coming week.
      Have a great cow-filled week-end, fellow hounds!
      I think I got the name of my pork taco dish wrong, many apologies!

      1. re: Marmalady
        Marmalady Feb 11, 2005 03:13 PM

        I meant to say chow-filled.......yikes.

      2. re: Susan
        Jar Feb 11, 2005 03:50 PM

        Love Mexico, exploring the very many Mayan ruins/cities as opposed to the beach/tourist traps. As always, ask the locals for anything. Even watch, see where they eat. This paid off big for us in Hawaii, even after doing lots of pre-arrival research!

        1. re: Jar
          Susan Feb 13, 2005 06:31 PM

          We love Mexico as well. I've been there more than 15 times and we usually try to go somewhere new. This time though, we're back in Oaxaca and Puerto Escondido, two places we last visited about a dozen years ago, and Mexico City (just for a night at the end). Already looking forward to the food!

      3. s
        Siri Feb 11, 2005 02:10 PM

        I love this place too. My favorites are the guacamole and the Tacos al Pastor which is pork with onions, pineapple, and lime (maybe the same ones you had)

        Also you can get the same type of meat but called Gringos and with gooey cheese. Yum. The other interesting menu item they have here is cheese. We once had a cheese craving and ordered crispy cheese, melted cheese with chorizo along with gooey cheese Gringos.

        What great Mexican, possibly the best in Toronto!


        1. s
          Shiro Miso Feb 11, 2005 02:28 PM


          The tamarind juice is to die for as is the molten cheese, guac, crispy cheese and gringo tacos someone else mentioned. Sometimes they have Churros for dessert which are a real treat.

          Enjoy! And... Patty King on Baldwin has a fab Jerk Chicken sandwich on Coco Bread. $3.75... can't go wrong. Try their Ginger Cake also. And the mango butter cake. And the doubles. Heck, try everything and have fun!

          1. k
            Kerr Feb 12, 2005 06:24 AM

            You probabably haven't had "autherntic" Mexican food in Chicago or anywhere else. It is virtually impossible to get outside Mexico. What most people think of as Mexican food, the enchiladas, tacos, tamales, etc, are only snacks in Mexico and only in some regions. I know Mexicans who get highly agitated when people call this Mexican food. In most of Mexico, real Mexican food is mainly very plain grilled fare. Not hot, not spoicy and not strongly seasoned.

            7 Replies
            1. re: Kerr
              shan Feb 12, 2005 03:11 PM

              I'm pretty sure I saw a Food TV program about Rick Bayless visiting a Mexican market in Chicago and eating street food. His restaurant is supposed to be authentic.

              Anyhow where is El Trompo exactly and how vegetarian friendly is it? If you'd like to try veg fare, King's Cafe at 192 Augusta is pretty tasty - good portions, great prices and super staff. Their fried beancurd in seaweed sheet tastes almost like grilled unagi.


              1. re: shan
                Kerr Feb 13, 2005 08:14 AM

                Rick Bayless 's is far from real Mexican food. I've been here and it is a yuppified cross of New Mexican and Mexican.

              2. re: Kerr
                Marmalady Feb 12, 2005 09:00 PM

                In fact we did have authentic Mexican food in Chicago. We were directed to a small family-run no-English-spoken place in a fairly dicey nabe and when we walked in the woman looked both surprised and worried for us, two young women travelling alone in a not-good area. There we ate very simple, absolutely fantastic and subtle mole and sipped Mexican sodapop--no nachos and Tex Mex crap, etc etc. The only way we could communicate our gustatory ecstasy: the universal OK sign and a big smile as left.
                So. Street food and home-cooked are possible in many languages in many places.

                1. re: Marmalady
                  Kerr Feb 13, 2005 08:17 AM

                  Your credibility is destroyed by usung the term "Tex Mex crap." Tex Mex is like anything else - it can be very well or very pooly. And it is a real style of cuisine found in Texas.

                  1. re: Kerr
                    Marmalady Feb 13, 2005 07:29 PM

                    Point taken regarding my greatly diminished chow-credibility: there IS some excellent Tex-Mex out there.
                    I suppose I should have clarified by saying I am simply weary of being lured into various restos by the words "authentic Mexican." If they said "authentic Tex-Mex" or posted a menu I could scan in their window, that would be fine with me. Peace.

                2. re: Kerr
                  sunburn Feb 13, 2005 11:29 AM

                  El Trompo has authentic Mexican food from the Mexico City region of the country. The food at El Trompo is good and is pretty close to what I've had in Mexico city just more expensive.

                  1. re: sunburn
                    gsjameson Aug 6, 2007 07:50 AM

                    I went last weekend to El Trompo and it was faaantastic. And awesomely inexpensive. Great time, great service (and Augusta always seems to have this nice afternoon breeze when the rest of the city is sweltering, without a breath of moving air).


                3. JonasBrand Aug 6, 2007 01:05 PM

                  Im a fan of El Trompo. And yes... it is authentic.

                  1. i
                    itryalot Aug 16, 2007 05:15 AM

                    Do you need reservations?

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