Wilbur Mexicana Restaurant

It is no secret that I love Mexican food, especially tacos so it was shocking that I hadn’t yet tried Wilbur Mexicana Restaurant given that it opened over a year ago. A few weeks ago I was finally able to check this restaurant outwith my friends Lynsey and Sarah.

The restaurant is named after the chemist Wilbur Scoville, who created the Scoville scale which is used to measure the heat of peppers. No, this isn’t something that I just randomly know because I am a huge history nerd (which is true); the restaurant provides fun facts on the menu and the table numbers.

The restaurant’s interior is industrial and resembles a 19th century laboratory. There is a combination of sleek countertops, high-top tables and lower tables clustered around tufted-leather booths. The back wall of the restaurant is a feature wall: there is a large, apothecary-cabinet like wall piece that houses dried chilies and other supplies, ready for scientific experiments. The light fixtures are appropriated scientific beakers, giving the restaurant that hipster-industrial cool edge that King West craves.

The restaurant features casual ordering: you order from the front counter, they give you a number which features a stylized drawing of a pepper on the front and the back provides various factoids regarding the pepper. How could I not love Wilbur: good food and knowledge! We each ordered 3 tacos, and starters to share: chips with guacamole, chips with queso fundido and Mexican street corn.

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Coffee

For a long time there was a common misconception that I didn’t like coffee: I don’t drink coffee every morning, I don’t own a coffee maker and my hot beverage of choice is tea.

IMG_3395Latte from Buds Coffee Bar in The Beaches.

IMG_5154Latte from Sorry Coffee Co. in Yorkville.

When I was in high school and everyone was starting to drink coffee, I made a conscious decision to not become a coffee drinker. I didn’t want to become reliant on coffee. I didn’t want to wake up and be a zombie until I had a cup of coffee. I would enjoy the sugar-packed, whipped cream covered coffees from Starbucks on late night coffee dates with the girls but no other coffee.

IMG_3422Flat White from Early Bird Espresso & Brew Bar on Queen West.

IMG_5219Americano from Portland Variety on King West.

In university I spent hours in Second Cup but again, not drinking coffee. Al worked at Second Cup and would fill espresso cups with whipped cream, caramel sauce and chocolate shavings – if and when I get diabetes, I will clearly point to events like this. Coffee was still a vehicle for ridiculous, sugary toppings and not about the coffee itself.

IMG_3435Latte and cranberry scone from I Deal Coffee, uptown.

My love for coffee began with my love of brunch. I switched from orange juice to coffee in order to take advantage of free refills and longer brunches. One cup of coffee slowly turned into two or three and sometimes even coffee before brunches.

IMG_3590Latte and biscotti from Fabricca at Shops at Don Mills.

In 2015 my brunch habits changed. It wasn’t financially viable or healthy to continue with my excessive brunching ways. While I still brunch more than most people, I have taken to going for coffee on weekend mornings with Giancarlo. We are discovering the city, grabbing coffee and visiting different neighbourhoods.

IMG_3920Chai latte from Boxcar Social in Summerhill.

IMG_5388Latte and empanadas from Odin Hus on King East.

Anyone who knows me, knows I don’t go east of Yonge. But lately, you can find me there on weekends. The East side of Toronto has so many more coffee shops and the coffee shops are not all clean, simple and modern. They future coffees brewed with local blends and treats that go beyond your typical scones and croissants. They are big, lofty spaces, conducive to long sits alone or with someone.

IMG_5486Flat white for him and chai latte for me from Boxcar Social in Riverside.

IMG_5430Flat White from Crafted Coffee on Ossington Avenue.

We are working on our coffee game at home. We have the traditional Italian Moka machine and a larger espresso maker. We are making espressos and lattes. I want to take a latte art course and buy a coffee bean grinder to make the freshest coffees. I want to perfect my biscotti recipe (actually, find a biscotti recipe and make it my own) and constantly have some sort of treat to accompany a good cup of coffee. I want our house to be the type of house where people can randomly drop by and there will be coffee and pastries/desserts to be enjoyed.

IMG_5492My relationship with coffee has revealed how great coffee can be. Coffee can be sipped from a huge mug while snuggled on the couch with a good book. An espresso can be enjoyed in the backyard in the summer while looking on to a homegrown tomato garden. A latte can be clutched while strolling in and out of vintage shops on Queen West or Queen East.

The city can be discovered through good cups of coffee.