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Feb 11, 2005 10:31 AM

El Trompo

  • m

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!

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  1. 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

      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

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

      2. re: Susan

        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

          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. 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. Marmalady,

          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. 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

              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

                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

                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

                  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

                    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

                  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

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