Reviews

ONE PIZZA

Location: 169 King St. East, Toronto, ON
Price point: $-$$

IMG_6195When I first heard of this gem…I mean One Pizza, the shop that serves up individual, flatbread style pizzas with an all-you-can-eat buffet of fresh toppings to select from, I knew it had to have been too good to be true!

But I was mistaken…I was joyfully mistaken! This place is like a candy shop for pizza feens, and that’s me…I’m a pizza feen! You walk in to this beautiful rustic meets new world ‘take-out’ style pizzeria that smells better than your wildest dreams! It’s decked out with communal tables, industrial fixtures and a large, open-style kitchen/countertop!

I knew going in I was ordering a create-your-own, but for those that find themselves overwhelmed with such pressure, there’s also 8 signature pizzas to choose from!

How does this work you ask?

IMG_6112Well, the ordering counter is divided into 4 stations; base, toppings, garnish and the bar.

Naturally you flock to the sign that reads “Order Here,” where you can also grab a clipboard menu to get a better feel of the options that lie ahead!

First you select the dough and sauce accompaniment…

Station 1 – Base

Classic dough, Whole wheat, Gluten free (extra charge)
Classic tomato, Spicy tomato, Pesto, BBQ, Roasted red pepper hummus, Béchamel 

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Station 2 – Toppings

 Need I remind you that you can choose as many toppings as you’d like? All of which are either made in house or brought in from the St. Lawrence Market, that just so happens to be located around the corner…how convenient! Might I also add that that this only costs $11.86? So guys, go wild!!

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Veg

Artichoke Hearts, Caramelized Onions, Cherry Tomatoes, Jalapeños, Garlic Confit, Kalamata, Olives, Pickled Red Onions, Pineapple Salsa, Pitted Dates, Rapini, Roasted Red Peppers, Sautéed Mushrooms, Spinach, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Wild Mushroom Blend, Zucchini

Protein

Chorizo Sausage, Falafel, Farm Eggs, Fennel Sausage, Lemon Marinated Chickpeas, Napoli Salami, Pepperoni, Smoked Bacon, Chicken

Next comes the cheese…

Fresh Mozzarella, Shredded house blend, Ricotta, Blue, Feta, Goat cheese, Daiya Mozzarella (dairy free/extra charge)

After you’ve carefully selected your smorgasbord of toppings, and by carefully I mean carelessly, they pop it in their pizza oven for what I calculated was approximately 4-6 minutes.

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Once the crust is crisp, the cheese is melted, and the yolk is slightly baked, they’ll call your name and it’s time to garnish! With a selection of gourmet oils and fresh herbs to choose from, this is the time to perfect your masterpiece!


IMG_6113Station 3 – Garnish

Chili Oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Garlic Oil, Rosemary Oil, Balsamic Glaze, Arugula, Basil Leaves, Capers, Cilantro, Cracked Black Pepper, Crushed Chilies, Fresh Parmesan, Lemon Wedge, Oregano, Prosciutto (extra charge), Sea Salt, Tzatziki

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The toppings I selected were in hopes of making a somewhat coherent flavour profile, and I think I did a pretty good job at nailing it (thanks Food Network)! Although in the hangry state that I was in, I probably would have enjoyed just about anything!

IMG_6108 I chose…

Classic dough with spicy tomato sauce, caramelized onions, jalapeños (lots of them), kalamata olives, spinach, wild mushrooms, chorizo sausage, farm eggs, fresh mozzarella and goat cheese! To top it off, I selected basil, arugula and rosemary oil (although the garlic oil is to die for as well!)

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Station 4 – The Bar

 Not many ‘take-out’ style pizzerias serve booze…but what have I already told you about this place? It’s a GEM!

Beer – 16oz

Beau’s Lug Tread or Beau’s Festivale

Vino – 5oz

Vineland Cabernet or Vineland Pinot Grigio

Oh but if you’re not into the whole drinking alcohol thing, then they also have classic glass pop bottles or fountain drinks available!

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IMG_6115After obediently restricting my date from eating prior to my typical 3.5-minute photo-shoot, we finally dug in…insert silence.

The crust was the perfect texture, light and crispy, and the semolina gave it the perfect, dusty grittiness!

The spicy tomato sauce had just enough of a bite to detect that it was there (although I wouldn’t mind if someone had been a little heavier handed in the kitchen that morning), because the sauce mixed with the creaminess of the goat cheese and mozzarella made the spice obscure (hence my need for extra jalapenos).

The caramelized onions gave it the perfect sweetness, the olives just enough salt, and the mushrooms/chorizo sausage gave it the perfect meatiness without having to go overboard with proteins! I won’t lie though, when I saw the woman in front of me requesting raw egg yolks I was a little freaked out, so naturally I followed suit! Low and behold, the farm eggs ended up being the star topping for me! The creamy yolks were a little too over cooked after sitting in the pizza over, but certainly not enough to leave me disappointed! They were still runny and gave the entire pizza this creamy, rich depth that I otherwise wouldn’t have known I was missing!

The basil was the other star of the dish! I could eat basil like people eat spinach, no lie…I do sometimes! But this basil in particular was massive, and they didn’t go chincy like most pizzerias do with a Margherita! So to get 2 big leaves per slice is heaven!

IMG_6109The rosemary oil gave it this subtle aroma that you could more or less smell as opposed to taste, which was a nice change actually!

I wouldn’t have been able to detect the rosemary by taste through all the other overpowering ingredients anyways, so smelling that hint of pine/mint gave the pizza another dimension!

Overall this place is superb! The service has been impeccable both times I’ve been, the place always appears to be clean, their work stations are spotless and organized and to boot they serve some of the best pizza in town!

Thank you Raffaele Esposito for pizza, and thank you Andrew Hay & Tim Gordon for One Pizza! Not only have you changed my life, but also my waistline!

xoxo

Editor’s Note: Now called True True

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Reviews

La Carnita

Location: 501 College St, Toronto, ON
Executive chef: Andrew Richmond
Price point: $-$$

LCMy stomach grumbled and the giddy shakes began as I approached College and Bathurst…mmm, it was as if I could smell the street corn from a mile away!

09I saw the light bouncing off a small sign that displayed one simple, but creative sugar skull outlined with taco favourites; hot peppers, cilantro leaves, pigs heads, etc. and I knew I had arrived! That, and I’d only been there 100 times…too busy stuffing my face though to ever think clear enough to write an article!

It was a Monday night, and the place was bumping…obviously! I can’t imagine there’s any better way to cure the Monday blues than with tequila (or gin, spoiler alert) and of course tacos…right? Even better than ‘Taco Tuesday’ because the hopeful thought of having tacos a second day in a row gets my heart racing (could very well be the cholesterol, but we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one).

gordoWe were even lucky enough to snatch a communal right away…score! That’s about as rare as Gordon Ramsay following me on Instagram (very slim…but then it happened…and I just needed to openly talk about it again).

We were sat next to the famous neon La Carnita sign, which at times was probably photographed more than the food. I don’t know what lit up the room more…the flash from people’s iPhones or the neon sign itself…either way the room was lit just enough to make you blissfully aware of what was about to go down!

Our hip little server came over with menus and a cocktail list…although I already knew what beverage I was having. Of course it’s no longer on the menu though (just my luck) but their kickass staff aim to please regardless!

04“I’ll take an Astroturf please!!!” I spit out before our server even had a chance to open her mouth! She giggled at my abrupt rudeness but knew it came from a place of sincere excitement, so she brushed it off! Dillon’s gin, Cointreau, lime juice, Bittermens Celery Shrub, agave and soda…1 astroturf, 2 astroturf, 3 ass on the turf! They’re potent but delicious! Definitely worth that micro Tuesday morning hangover!

We started with a couple of the classic staples…guacamole and the famous Mexican street corn!

06Chips were fried to perfection but seasoned almost a little bit too much this time. The guac on the other hand was a completely different story…it was spectacular! Creamy and velvety, not too chunky but far from being a puree! I always request a little extra ancho chilli powder with mine as well because anytime I can opt for an extra dose of heat, I do!

08Now I’m about to get corny…ha ha…ha…ok fine it was a terrible joke! The char-grilled corn topped with Mexican crema, queso anejo and again, ancho chilli could nearly pass as a steak! For the vegetarians out there…this is your chance to trade in that fake soy garbage for what could easily pass (flavour profile wise) as a slab of juicy, tender meat…hold the meat of course!

I won’t lie, I’ve never seen anyone look good while eating this, and yes, I’m also talking about myself! Maybe I could pitch an expose to Buzzfeed on the many faces of Mexican street corn eaters? It has viral potential in my opinion!!

07Then it was taco time!!! I ordered my two favourites, In Cod We Trust and the Tostada de Ceviche! I may have also ordered a third one just for good luck…the Crispy Cotija!

In Cod We Trust is, you guessed it, battered cod loaded with a lime crema, cilantro and green apple salad, pickled red cabbage and a Tamari (richer, gluten-free soy sauce) based condiment better known as “Voltron” sauce! It’s such a simple but well-balanced dish that always has me yearning for more! The savouriness from the battered cod, paired with the refreshing lime infused crema and tartness from the apple and cilantro salad was more than enough to deem it a killer dish! But thennn they went ahead and topped it with pickled red cabbage and the salty/spicy “Voltron sauce” which tied every carefully selected ingredient together!

01Then I decided to try the Crispy Cotija for my virgin time! What if I didn’t like it? Then I certainly had to play it safe and save my favourite for last! The “star” of this dish was the fried cauliflower, pinto bean and cotija cheese stick? I don’t know how else to better describe it? But to be honest, it was no “star”…I couldn’t even finish it! The texture of the stick was incredibly off-putting, dense and almost soggy on the inside! However there were still other memorable components in the taco! The chipotle sauce was the perfect ratio of smoke to spice and the pickled carrots were divine! At first glance, I didn’t even realize they were carrots! They had this deep red-orange hue to them, but the orange had gone completely undetected under the dimmed lighting! It wasn’t until I took a bite that the natural sweetness made it prevalent as to what I was eating! I could have eaten an entire taco filled with just those pickled carrots though, mmmm!

10But when I locked eyes with my favourite menu item, it was game over! The earlier part of the evening was but a distant memory because the Tostada de Ceviche was calling my name, and I wasn’t about to be rude! So I attacked it…in a loving, respectful way of course!

I’m a sucker for crunch…and mess…so tostadas are the perfect combination! This one in particular!

The crunch from the tortilla with the creaminess of the guacamole and coconut milk made for the perfect base! Then came the habanero tuna ceviche, which it read on the physical menu…but online read swordfish? Though I’m afraid I’ve never tried swordfish before so I wouldn’t be able to decipher it from chicken…although fish compared to chicken should be an easy assumption!

Either way, the ceviche was out of this world! The subtle heat with the coolness of the “fish” beautifully enhanced each of the flavour profiles! It was like the heat and the coolness took turns making an appearance, leaving you wanting more! But if I didn’t think there was enough texture from the tostada shell alone, it was then topped with fresh, crisp sprouts that once again, just completely rounded out the dish! I could eat 11 of these bad boys regardless of how full I got…and still want more! Because sometimes great food just trumps all etiquettes…including unbuttoning your pants…no shame!

Unfortunately this time around I wasn’t able to complete a full three-course meal wrapping up with dessert! Although my evening could have been classified as a 5-course meal if you counted the 2 appetizers and 3 tacos I devoured…but who’s counting!

I will however briefly speak about the desserts I have had in the past though, because let’s face it, who doesn’t love dessert?

churrLet’s start with the churros, because they are truly some of the best I’ve ever had! Light, moist and paired with the most amazing cajeta (a Mexican sweetened caramelized milk) that is just to die for! Although contrary to my earlier statement (and by earlier I mean 3 sentences prior), I’m actually not a big sweets fan! I’m all for the salty or savoury desserts, which is why churros are such a big hit in my books! The cajeta is sweet, don’t get me wrong, but the caramelization gives it just enough depth to subtly counteract it!

02Then there are the paletas! House made Latin-American style ice pops featuring fun daily specials such as banana split, lemon meringue pie and cereal milk…to name a few! They’re incredible and are always something to look forward to ending the meal with (how ironic of me to say that this time around).

If you haven’t been to La Carnita yet…GO! If you have been…GO AGAIN!

Muchas gracias!

Reviews

Thinking outside the box: Toronto’s most unique street food and retail market

Proud to share my first published article as the Social Media and Blogging Intern at Savour Toronto!

Market 707With spring finally here, and the remnants of this lingering winter being swept off the sidewalks, Toronto’s most unique street food and retail market is bustling yet again.

What is Market 707 you ask? Imagine a food truck and a food cart having a baby and Market 707 is the product of that wild, but amazing circumstance!

NomNomNom CrêpesLocated at the corner of Dundas and Bathurst alongside the Scadding Court Community Centre (SCCC), the year-round, outdoor market has become a fixture in the neighbourhood and a focal point for a once desolate intersection.

CrepesThe original idea came about after the SCCC’s very own executive director, Kevin Lee, found himself inspired during a youth exchange trip to Ghana in 2009. Lee had noticed the innovative use of businesses operating out of recycled shipping containers, and decided to bring the idea back to Toronto which eventually led to the opening of Market 707 the following year.

ShinjiToday, the market is a tight-knit community of small business owners who are able to take part in a social movement that encourages the use of economical space and resources. “Business out of a box,” Lee likes to call it.

The market offers up an array of delicious bites from Montreal-style crepes, to one-of-a-kind mac-n-cheese, to Japanese-style poutine, people are bound to leave with full bellies and tingling taste buds.

Gushi OriginalAn interesting perk to Market 707 is that for those who are on a tight schedule or want to avoid the outdoor elements, many vendors are able to take orders via text message, to save people from standing anxiously and hungrily in line!

And although the market will soon be celebrating its fourth birthday, it is still considered one of the city’s greatest hidden gems. I highly suggest you go see what all the fuss is about!