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Kensington Market

Great day at KM today.

Stopped at Patty King for one the better Jamaican patties in town. Very delicious.

Then got a chorizo empanada with mixed vegetables and cheddar at El Gordo. Not bad, but a little understuffed and not enough chorizo. Next time, I will try the plain chorizo. And, had their Dulce de Leche pastry; quite good, but the pastry didn't seem fresh. The DdeL filling was scrumptious.

Finally, a latte at Louie's Cafe. Excellent.

Didn't have room for Akram's falafel or a comparative empanada at Jumbo.

What a great neighbourhood for grazing and chilling. Did I miss any chow-gems?

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  1. I don't know the name of the place, but there is an ice cream place on Baldwin that is great. We were there last weekend. Also tried El Trompo (before the ice cream) - really enjoyed it - reminded us both of Mexico, especially the chicharones de queso.

    1. Yes!

      The Latin grocers have ladies that make papusas in the back of the shop on the weekend. For $2 you get a papusa (either meat and cheese or beans and cheese or meat bean and cheese) plus some coleslaw-like salad and loads of hot sauce.

      These are really good!


      1. I just have one problem with some of the Latin grocers. They have open bushels of various food stuffs and the pigeons seem to like them a lot. It's bad enough they eat them but they often have their rear ends over another bushels. Echh.

        1 Reply
        1. re: faijay

          Agreed! It is gross. I just don't buy the bulk foods they offer.


        2. I had a great day in Kensinton market yesterday as well! Started off the day with brunch at the Bellevue Diner with a decent egg's benny. Then I made a pit stop at El Gordo as my friend wanted a vegetarian empanada. I'll have to go back there myself to try on of those along with the dulce de leche pastry you described. A few minutes later, we stopped at Patty King as I picked up a beef patty. It was my first patty I've tried since coming to Toronto in October and I've a found a great new snack! Hoping to try ones from Randy's or Queen of Patties to compare though. After buying groceries for the day, we stopped at Market bakery where I picked up a strawberry rhubarb square for later. What a glutinous afternoon!

          1. Akram's is one of the best places in the city to get quality falafels- he doesn't use chickpeas which means they're not soggy and greasy like other places make them. El Trompo as was mentioned is always a good choice. I like the pupusas at Perola's- the oldest running Latin Grocery Store (operated by a Potuguese family) in the area- over 30 years and going. I'm also a fan of Torito- it's more of a night spot- where you can graze on excellent Tapas with a contemporary twist, a good selection of Jerez (Spanish Sherry), great Sangria, or good Spanish Rioja wines. I'm also a huge fan of the Kensington Organic Ice Cream shop- yummy flavours to boot!
            As for patties- Randy's on Eglinton makes the best in my humble estimation... Happy chowing.

            1 Reply
            1. I guess they're made with fava beans--some Middle Eastern countries do that (Egypt?). But I'm not sure why 'cookbook' says that those made with chickpeas might be "soggy and greasy". I have rarely found any to be like that.

              1. Fava beans, mung beans and soy beans go into Akram's falafels and if you have one of his, wrapped in Arz bakery whole wheat (or white if you ask for it) freshly made pitas- you'll TASTE the difference. According to Mr. Akram Dow himself- the combination of these three beans, plus the varied digestion-helping herbs and spices he uses leads to a better falafel that doesn't soak up as much oil (he made the chickpea reference when I interviewed him last year- and after tasting my way through many a falafel, have to agree wholeheartedly).

                He also makes a wonderful hot pepper paste that he'll gladly spread on your pita if you like a hot kick- YUM!

                1 Reply
                1. re: cookbook

                  akram's falafels are not bad but he's blowing a bit of smoke. quality isn't measured by kind of beans (if they were, his would be awful -- mung beans? soy beans???? neither are traditional/crucial, but clearly he does other stuff sort of right). and the soaking up the oil thing is a load of crap. like any deepfried food, if the oil's to cool, the food gets greasy/oily.

                2. Normally I'd agree with tuqueboy- but having tasted my way around copious falafel offerings in TO- I have to disagree. Akram's are some of the best I've ever had. Hands down.

                  But let your tastebuds be the judge- the proof as they say, isn't in what we think at all- it's in the proverbial pudding (or falafel in this case).

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: cookbook

                    I'm late to the game, but Akram's falafel is stellar. And I do think the fava beans make them great.


                    1. re: cookbook

                      I have no idea what they put into them, but a new place called Sofra Grill opened up on Dufferin just south of Langstaff. Their falafel is the best I've had.

                    2. Visiting Toronto in October for the first time in many, many years. Judging from this thread, am I to assume Kensington Market is the best spot in town to get into some street-type foods?

                      1. Personally, the combination of Kensington and Chinatown is my favourite area for street eats - papusas, falafel, empanadas, spring rolls, banhi mi, Chinese buns, fresh coconut juice, etc. I recall a recent thread on this topic (street eats) that you can check out as well.

                        1. You're right...The Best Street Eats thread is an excellent guide. I guess my angle is: what areas offer best bang-for-your-buck re:concentration of vendors? A kensington/chinatown combo sounds promising...

                          1. Definitely good bang for you buck in the area- from great coffees and Chilean empanadas to pupusas and vegetarian food. Lots of great Vietnamese pho shops and Chinese places to boot- a friend of mine recently tried New Sky and RAVED about it. You can read about it yourself at: http://asiancuisine.suite101.com/arti...

                            1. Two great places in Kengsingotn are Big Fat Burrito and jumbo empanadas.....yummmm. Both are on Augusta.

                              1. Was lucky enough to chaperone a grade 9 field trip to Kensington Market this morning, so ducked into the back of Latin American Emporium (243 Augusta) for a delicious made-to-order cheese-bean-meat pupusa ($1.75) and watery, disappointing poblano-cheese tamal ($2) whose problems stem from being previously frozen.

                                Jumbo Empanadas' tasty baked Chilean beef-olive-raisin empanada ($3.99) provided more dough than filling for many bites. I prefer El Gordo for less dough but they were closed (we were wandering around KM before 11 am on a Monday). Didn't get to try BFB or return to El Trompo for the same reason.

                                Patty King's "homemade" ginger beer ($1 for small cup) couldn't beat the more enjoyable bottled varieties.

                                The highlight of the morning was finding queijo da serra (Portuguese mountain cheese made with both cow and sheep milk, according to the Big Cheese himself) from Global Cheese, and locally-made queso fresco at the smaller cheese shop next door (Mendel's, I think).

                                1. Finally got around to trying a falafel from Akram's today after months of putting it off. It was very nicely prepared with the fixings and I enjoyed tasting the parsley-herb mixture in the patties unlike the blandness I've had at other places. I would have preferred the patties to have been a little warmer but that's just a small quibble for the price they come at. I will be back for more!

                                  1. Is the organic icecream place still operating in Kensington? It took up residence in a Korean restaurant, but wasn't open the last couple of times I've been there. It had black pepper and anise icecream to die for, not to mention the heated ginger.