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Any chow worthy cheap eats in Kensington Market since last year

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itryalot Mar 12, 2012 11:33 AM

Haven't been since summer of 2010. any new places that are great for foodies (eat in, take out, groceres)?

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  1. TorontoJo RE: itryalot Mar 12, 2012 01:58 PM

    This also answers your "tortillas from scratch" question in another thread -- La Tortilleria has a location in Kensington Market. Fantastic, cheap and delicious tortillas made fresh all day long. Pick up some addictive tortilla chips and fresh salsas while you're there. They also have a few types of tacos you can order there, though I've never tried any, so can't comment.

    Here are their locations:

    http://latortilleria.ca/locations.htm

    1. TorontoJo RE: itryalot Mar 12, 2012 02:02 PM

      And here's a thread from last summer that may have some places that are new for you:

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/787598

      The little food court area of El Gordo is a worthy stop for Agave y Aguadente or the pupusa guy.

      1. h
        helenhelen RE: itryalot Apr 2, 2012 08:05 PM

        i used to work right there so i have eaten at almost every spot at least once. my fave is the street food place on augusta with the (mostly) latin american street food stalls. the vendors tend to change every so often (probably due to lack of business which is sad). i was there the other day and there are a bunch of new spots. agave y aguacate remains very good (the green tostada, the lime charlotte, and the unique hot chocolate (to die for.. it's his own recipe) are my faves off this current menu.. noticed he changed it recently.. green tostada has been on every menu since day 1, i think, because it is amazingly good!).. the food here is creeping up in price though so i wouldn't call it cheap, but it sure is good! plus, he is a trained chef. this time around, my bf tried the beef tongue dish and said it was good. i had the steamed cauliflower with avocado tomato sauce (like a thinner guacamole with lots of tomatoes) which was only ok. sauce was good, cauliflower didn't do much for me (would have preferred the sauce on something else, like a tostada perhaps.. or maybe on something fried?).. i wouldn't order this one again because there are other more interesting things on the menu.

        there is a new peruvian stall. we tried the papas rellanos (stuffed potato) which was reportedly good (i didn't have it since i am veg and it contains meat, but i did try the delicious accompanying sauces) and the tamale made with fresh ground corn (not masa!) and stuffed with manchego cheese, and served with a salsa fresca of onions and chiles. so good! $5 each for what are small portions but worth it because of the extreme tasty factor! she has other stuff on offer too that we didn't try. i heard she is usually at boulevard cafe on harbord st. but is here just on weekends (can anyone confirm?).

        also tried a fried vegetable fritter and french fries dusted with portuguese paprika from the portuguese/brazilian stall and both were very tasty. super cheap as well.. a serving of the fries was only $1.50. i know fries don't sound that exciting but these were very good fries, especially with the paprika. the piri piri sauce they serve is very good! they have many other menu options, all for super cheap. they said they just want to share the food they grew up enjoying and break even on it. nice bunch of people.

        finally, my bf tried the beef tongue taco from rebozos (yes, they have a stall here now.. and yes, he was on a beef tongue kick). he loved it and said it was his fave eat of the day.

        also here are a mexican bakery (i am not usually a sweet tooth so i tend to only have the churros which are tasty), a place with arepas, the usual empanadas place, and 2 places with korean offerings (one half of the husband and wife ownership team of this building is korean). i hope i didn't miss anything!

        the place next door (just to the right) is owned by a family member of this one and also sells latin american fare... i noticed the menu has expanded lately.. weekends only, except for the empanadas and a few other offerings.

        other fave food spots in the market, off the top of my head:
        -the mexican food stall at the back of perola supermarket on weekends.. but they weren't here this sunday.. are they gone now?? we noticed the back area looked kind of like a storage area now.
        -mexican salsas (burritos for only $5! cheap options for tacos, tostadas, quesadillas, tortas, soup...)
        -wanda's pie in the sky (love the home-y meals).
        -hibiscus (buckwheat crepes and soup and interesting mix of salads).
        -akram's ($4.99 hot meal deal everyday! good sandwiches and soup too).
        -trinidadian doubles from patty king (definitely not the best or even that close, but they are only $1.50 so come on...)
        -burritos and tex mex style hard tacos from big fat burritos.
        -humitas and cheese empanadas from jumbo empanadas (i don't like the jumbo empanadas themselves because i find they are mostly filled with air.. at least the veg ones are.. and the rest of the filling is bland).
        -spinagels (spinach & feta stuffed flaky pastry thing) and spudagels (potato & onion stuffed) at my market bakery. these are about $1.50 or so each (i forget the exact price).

        you could also grab some bread or a bun from my market bakery, some cheese from cheese magic or global cheese (unfortunately, mendel's creamery is now gone), some sandwich-suitable meat (if you eat it) from one of the meat shops, and some tomatoes/avocados/sprouts/lettuce/whatever from one of the fruit & veg stores and make a nice little sandwich to munch on at the park...

        19 Replies
        1. re: helenhelen
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          itryalot RE: helenhelen Apr 3, 2012 04:11 PM

          I have to go there around late lunch time.

          1. re: itryalot
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            caitlink RE: itryalot Apr 3, 2012 06:39 PM

            I second the agave mex place.

            Not sit down. But we like to pick upbread from cobbs.
            If u like chinese, the tofu placeis run by these elderly ladies who make fresh steamed rice rolls or cheung fun. Fresh tofu fa. Black sesame soup for dessert. and white sugar steamed pastry. Everything is around two or tnree dollars and made fresh daily.

            1. re: caitlink
              c
              cutehinano RE: caitlink Apr 4, 2012 01:48 PM

              What is the name of the tofu place? Or where abouts in Kensington is it? I love cheung fun but it's hard to justify a trip to markham for them. Thanks!

              1. re: cutehinano
                c
                caitlink RE: cutehinano Apr 4, 2012 04:55 PM

                Will get english name for u next time i go. It,s made fresh so it's soft not hard like the ones u buy at supermarket.
                Sixty cents per roll. So good.

                1. re: caitlink
                  h
                  helenhelen RE: caitlink Apr 4, 2012 11:08 PM

                  it's the one on kensington ave. by st. andrew st... next to essence of life natural foods store.

                  1. re: helenhelen
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                    cutehinano RE: helenhelen Apr 5, 2012 11:52 AM

                    Is it called fong on foods with a yellow sign outside? It seems to fit your description based on what I'm seeing on google maps street view. Thanks!

                  2. re: caitlink
                    c
                    cutehinano RE: caitlink Apr 5, 2012 11:48 AM

                    Omg that's so exciting I want to go right now!! Do they give you the different sauces too? Ie. soy, hoisin, peanut and sesame seeds?

                    1. re: cutehinano
                      c
                      caitlink RE: cutehinano Apr 5, 2012 07:14 PM

                      Yes fong on. Very small store front. U go up the steps and it's an 'open kitchen'. They do not provide sauces. I ususally get takeout so i don't know if they will steam or nuke rice rolls for u.
                      There is plain. Or rice rolls with minced pork inside. The tofu fa u can get with the sugary syrup. Best and fresh tasting downtown.

                      1. re: caitlink
                        h
                        helenhelen RE: caitlink Apr 5, 2012 07:34 PM

                        also, it's not any sort of sit down place or even cafe. it's just a storefront for the food items they make there. you pick up and you take it home.

            2. re: helenhelen
              Breadcrumbs RE: helenhelen Apr 5, 2012 02:38 AM

              What a helpful post Helen, thanks so much. I'm starving now!

              1. re: helenhelen
                h
                helenhelen RE: helenhelen Apr 5, 2012 10:17 AM

                i forgot pizza via mercanti! it's a new pizza spot that is on par with places like libretto and queen margharita. not necessarily a cheap eat (if cheap eat is $10 and under) but a very tasty one. good pizzas, and a really excellent eggplant parmigiana. have not yet tried anything else on the menu, aside from arugula & tomato salad (but that is just your basic salad that you can easily make at home).

                king's cafe is okay and has a happy hour menu that is under $10 (i think about $5.99 or so?)

                hot beans is a place where you can get vegan burritos, tacos and donuts. vegan TVP chorizo and jackfruit pulled pork, anyone?

                hearty vegan sandwiches, big salad or grain bowls, or moroccan stew or veg curry on your choice of healthy grain (rice, quinoa, millet, etc.) at urban herbivore. i don't love this place but many others tend to.

                don't forget just around the corner in chinatown as well.. a TON of cheap eats available there!

                1. re: helenhelen
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                  Yongeman RE: helenhelen Apr 5, 2012 05:32 PM

                  Helenhelen, that is a fantastic post. l just have one question...have you tried the stand, in the El Gordo spot, that sells paletas (Mexican popsicles)? When I was in a month or so ago, it was too early in the am for them to be open. These things are ridiculously good when I've had them elsewhere (Nashville), and I'd love to hear if anyone has tried them here in Toronto. Flavours like avocado or cucumber, lime and chilli are killer. Hope, hope.

                  1. re: Yongeman
                    h
                    helenhelen RE: Yongeman Apr 5, 2012 07:36 PM

                    no, i haven't tried that stand but now that you mentioned it, i am not 100% sure they are still there. turnover of the stalls is really high there. the flavours you mention sound amazing and i wish i got to try it!

                    not sure if this is anything similar at all but i noticed latin american popsicles in the freezer by the cashier at the place across the street (i forget the name - not perola, but next to it.. they sell some groceries and also food from a kitchen in back, and they have seating in front of the store).

                    1. re: helenhelen
                      y
                      Yongeman RE: helenhelen Apr 5, 2012 07:59 PM

                      Oh, interesting. And those paletas flavours are so amazing. I'll try to go back and have a look around soon. The place in Nashville is called, Las Paletas. Here's a link: http://thehungrysoutherner.com/2010/0...
                      Wish it was here in TO.

                      1. re: Yongeman
                        h
                        helenhelen RE: Yongeman Apr 5, 2012 08:14 PM

                        drool! those paletas look and sound tasty! however, i am uber curious about the avocado and cucumber, lime & chili flavours you mentioned.

                        if you like avocado flavours as dessert, you should try a vietnamese avocado shake. it's basically avocado, condensed milk, ice...

                        1. re: helenhelen
                          y
                          Yongeman RE: helenhelen Apr 6, 2012 03:47 AM

                          Ahh, we have Brazilian friends who only eat avocado sweet, not savoury like guacamole. They make avocado ice cream and avocado smoothies in Brazil.

                  2. re: helenhelen
                    n
                    neighborguy RE: helenhelen Apr 7, 2012 04:36 AM

                    helenhelen, thank you for the list. It's so great to be able to get good snacks that don't come from an anonymous far-off conveyor belt...

                    1. re: helenhelen
                      c
                      Chitlin RE: helenhelen Apr 9, 2012 06:04 PM

                      The trinidadian doubles from Patty King are rich in flavour but pre-assembled and a tad soggy/damp. Off topic, but does anyone know where to get good doubles in the downtown area otherwise? Can only think of Ali's in Parkdale, which although made- to- order are bland.

                      1. re: Chitlin
                        h
                        helenhelen RE: Chitlin Apr 9, 2012 08:39 PM

                        i think they have them at roti palace on bathurst (south of bloor) but have never tried them. if you do, please report back! i agree that patty king's are soggy. i onc had fresh made doubles at one of the festivals at queen's park (it was either afro fest or the muhtadi drumming festival, i think) and oh my god, so good! definitely not soggy.

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