Little Fin

I am slowly discovering my new neighbourhood at work: there are trips to St. Lawrence Market to gawk at cheese and meat, wanderings down to the lake to soak up some sun and getting lost on side streets that you otherwise wouldn’t notice unless you pass them ever day.

A few weeks ago I wandered down a side street, Temperance Street, which is just south of Richmond. This little street is being obscured by construction but is the location of Little Fin. Little Fin is a restaurant that I have been eyeing on Instagram since it opened in October 2014 and have been drooling over and wondering when I would get to try ever since.

The restaurant is small, with a nautical/East-Coast vibe to it including marlins on the wall and fresh lobsters walking around in their sea water tank. You order at the counter and then wait in anticipation for your number to be called. On a Friday afternoon the wait was about 20 minutes which isn’t crazy but in the future it might be better to order ahead.

I ordered the Lobster Roll.

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Yes, I contemplated ordering the fried chicken BLT but I thought rationally that the first time trying something at a seafood restaurant, I should probably order the seafood.

The sandwich is $16.00 which seems a little pricey but is fairly standard for a lobster roll: the lobster roll at Buster’s Sea Cove in St. Lawrence Market is $15.00. For your $16.00 you get your choice of sides and I chose the garlic potato wedges and the house salad.
This sandwich looks beautiful but unfortunately, did not have enough lobster for my liking. Half of the sandwich was filled with lettuce, to give the illusion that it is filled with lobster when really it is not. The lobster salad itself it good: large chunks of lobster, fresh dill, small pieces of celery to give the right crunch to the softness of the sandwich and topped with fresh green onion giving a hint of heat and freshness to the sandwich. I would like this sandwich more if it was all lobster, with little to no lettuce but that would probably cost me $40.00.

The garlic potato wedges were amazing. I am not a huge fan of potatoes (much to GC’s chagrin). I hate home fries and baked potatoes, would much rather have rice than mashed potato, scalloped potatoes are eaten as a vehicle for cheese and French fries are often left to grow cold and limp on my plate or at the bottom of my take-out bag. But these wedges. These could convert me to being a potato person. The wedges are sweet and garlicky, with the right amount of kick from the garlic but not the amount that would give you the breath to ward off vampires and attract Italian Nonnas. The outside is crispy and tough with the skin still being on the potato but the inside is fluffy and starchy. These are a definite must as a side to anything ordered from Little Fin.

The house salad is a safe bet – nothing remarkable but solid and fresh. The next time I visit I will be trying the seaweed salad.

Little Fin is a cute spot that is quick and convenient for me to indulge in seafood during my lunch hour. As an indulgence it will be saved for pay days and definitely not once a month. I will likely not be having the lobster roll again but I wouldn’t say no to trying the crispy haddock sandwich or fried chicken BLT. Oh, and they do breakfast and have a chicken-waffle sandwich. So yes, I think it is safe to say I would be trying a few more items off this menu. Eventually.

Happy munching!

Maker Pizza – The Bodega

I’m currently on a huge sandwich kick: I’ve been eating various iterations of Cubano sandwiches, I recently munched a lobster roll from Buster’s Sea Cove in St. Lawrence Market, I’m planning a burger date in the next week or so with my pal Lynsey and I’ve been eating copious amounts of breaded chicken sandwiches from California Sandwiches thanks to Uber Eats.

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While the excessive eating of Uber Eats has to stop (or I at least have to walk to California Sandwiches location that is 10 minutes away from my house), the sandwich eating does not. Sandwiches are the most convenient way to eat meat and cheese. On the weekend GC and I put this theory to the test and headed down to Maker Pizza to try their sandwiches. Yes, we went to a pizza joint to eat sandwiches but I suggest you do too. We both ordered the Bodega which is arguably one of the best sandwiches I have ever eaten.

IMG_5815The Bodega with mortadella, ham, turkey, salami, mozzarella, provolone, tomato, white onion, iceberg lettuce, roasted red pepper, roasted jalapeno, pepperoncini, sub sauce and served on a sesame bun.

This sandwich is as intimidating, epic and ridiculous as it looks. Despite having four types of deli meat (which I now think all sandwiches should), the sandwich is not greasy or heavy. This is because the veggie portion of the sandwich is made into a slaw with a vinegary tartness to it, which lightens the sandwich. By making the vegetables into a slaw, you do not have any of that wet, sliminess that can sometimes happen with having lettuce on a sandwich – which is why GC does not put lettuce on his sandwiches. The lettuce doesn’t shift and pull with each bite, leaving your sandwich intact until the very last bite. The jalapeño and pepperoncini add a nice level of heat to the sandwich which also helps break up the greasiness of the deli meat. The heat doesn’t overpower the sandwich or your palate, simply highlights the peppery tastes of the mortadella and salami. The cheese combination is perfect. Provolone and mozzarella play together to create a smoky and creamy cheese duet that can stand up against the strong flavours of the meat quartet.

I fell in love with this sandwich and Maker Pizza. I am already planning my next date with this sandwich (hopefully this Saturday) and future picnics that will happen in Alexandra Park with various pizzas from this restaurant.

Happy munching!

Jumbo Empanadas

A couple of weeks ago, GC and I were looking for a quick bite to eat in Kensington Market and strangely enough, this was not as easy as it would seem/should be. Our first attempt was The Grilled Cheese and I’m pretty convinced I am destined to NOT eat here. We were told it would take 25 minutes for us to get our sandwiches. Why? In what world should it take 25 minutes to make a grilled cheese sandwich, especially when that is pretty much all your restaurant makes? Hipster fail. I think this is just another reason why my heart still belongs to Cheesewerks.

After our first failed attempt to satisfy our hungry, we wandered into a few more restaurants and still no luck. Hungry, cranky and pressed for time, GC suggested we go to Jumbo Empanadas.

For those who don’t know, an empanada is stuffed bread/dough that is fried and is common in Latin American cultures. Jumbo Empanada draws on inspiration of Latin culture in Texas and the decor has a southwest feel to it.

The menu is pretty straight forward but a little daunting if you don’t know anything about empanadas. We should have asked for a suggestion/what the best selling item on the menu is – next time we will do this. This is a good tip for any restaurant you go to where the menu is large and you are overwhelmed with options. You will get the best and most popular item as a suggestion and insight into the restaurant and it’s staff.

We opted to each get a chicken empanada – the empanadas are made in the morning and then warmed to order. You can get your empanadas to stay or to go or to eat on their patio.

This is the empanada before I tore it apart. The outside was crunchy but when you bit into it, it was doughy and soft.

Here is the inside of my empanada. Shredded chicken, herbs, spices, peppers and a hard boiled egg. The salsa added the perfect amount of heat and complimented all the ingredients. The egg kind of threw me off at first but it was cooked perfectly so there was no grey around the yolk and the yolk was soft and creamy.

These look huge but I think I could have eaten two but maybe I’m just a glutton. Despite its size, the empanada was light and didn’t leave you feeling like you had a rock in your stomach.

I want to go back in the summer and sit on the patio and make the people walking by jealous of my delicious food. If you are in Kensington Market and need a quick bite to eat, this is the place, and would be even if there was a plethora of options.

Caplansky’s Smoked Meat

Caplansky’s is a traditional, Jewish deli located on College Street, near Kensington Market. They are known for their smoked meat sandwiches and their newest addition to the team, a food truck called Thunderin’ Thelma.

GC passes Caplansky’s on his way to work every day and therefore, he has been tempted every day for over four years. So we decided to succumb to temptation and go for Sunday brunch.

Caplansky’s is everything a good deli should be – busy, tables full of regulars, a deli counter where you can buy meat and bread, mismatched tables and chairs and checkered floor tiles. I would love to become a regular at this place but I would have to be careful what I order in that this is traditional, Jewish deli food – salty, fatty deliciousness.

I love when my place mat is my menu. I don’t know it’s just something that I get a kick out of. I think it’s because after I have ordered I can still look at the menu and salivate over all the options. I am already thinking of what to have on my next visit. I also love that you can order a side pickle. Sometimes when I go out for food I base my order on the fact that I will get a side pickle. Yes, my background is Eastern European and I love pickled products.

GC got the “Fresser” Smoked Meat sandwich. Fresser is Yiddish for glutton. I do love when Yiddish makes it way into every day conversation/menu and when it can find itself into a pun, The servers were wearing shirts that said something along the lines of being “old schul.” Perfection. Back to the sandwich. When you order your smoked meat sandwich you choose between lean, medium and fatty cuts of meat so you can be a little more sensible or a complete fresser. The meat is flavourful without being too salty, and can be complimented by a range of different mustards. And then topped with a pickle! And a side of sweet, vinegary coleslaw. This could be my new favourite meal. And I didn’t even order it.

This burger was the special that day – the patty is a combination of smoked meat and ground beef topped with a latke, a sunny side up egg, and some smoked meat. Juicy, tender, meaty yums. My only complaint – I wanted more smoked meat. And maybe a whole pickle.

On our way out we ran into a few old friends that I lived with in university. Good food bringing people together. Does it get much better than that on a Sunday morning?