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Cork Independent

Bia Sasta

Eat your way through a new city!

Wednesday, 4th July, 2018 4:07pm

Do you know the best way of experiencing a strange city? By having a local showing you the best spots and eating your way through the city you are visiting.

Mr T and I went to Toronto for two weeks and were lucky enough to have stayed with the parents of the son’s girlfriend (now wife – wonderful news for us, as she is simply awesome). We experienced the best of hospitality with Dale and Glenn and with Dale having her roots in Barbados, you can only imagine the food we enjoyed.

Fishcakes, trout, shrimps with her mum’s secret spice mix (her mum gave me a jar of the mix, now I have to figure out what is in it) and overall delicious food with Glenn making the fluffiest pancakes you can imagine.

The supermarkets are brimming with fresh produce and I ate a year’s supply of fresh cherries. The highlight was when Lewanne (the new wife) took me on a trip through Kensington Market (yes, that’s a district in Toronto) with an eclectic mix of small shops run by Italians, Barbadians, Canadians, Indians, Chinese, Mexicans and any

other nationality you can imagine.

No Starbucks or Subway or any other international chain eatery can be found in Kensington and most of the shops are there for many many years – the feel of a tight knit neighbourhood can be felt at every shop you step in.

Smiles, laughter and jokes all around and the food… oh, the food. I tasted something called doubles in an Asian shop – a light bun filled with chickpea stew.

The bread had a texture I have never seen; it kept the stew nicely inside while still being soft and fluffy.

Sugarcane is chewed for a quick fresh sugar rush, salt fish is chopped into manageable pieces, and empanadas with a delicious spicy salsa – the list can go on. Rasta locks next to a business suit – people are here for the flavour and not any politics.

Little gems of beer gardens, cafes and little eateries make Kensington a place you have to visit when you are on Toronto.

But Lewanne didn’t stop there. On the next day, we wandered off to St Lawrence Market – the indoor market has been in existence in one form or another since 1803 and you are drawn into comparing it with our very own English Market. It is bigger with two floors and an interesting array of stalls.

I ate the best veal schnitzel sandwich – ever – at the Uno Mustachio stall. It was simply delicious. I also discovered garlic chips – not sure how I can describe the texture. It was light and airy and of course very garlicky.

Another stall sold delicious maple syrup smoked salmon – unusual for me but I loved the deep colour and proper maple flavour that went so well with the salmon.

Dale and Glenn also took us to Niagara Falls and we visited a lovely village called Niagara by the Lake, which is surrounded by vineyards. Canadian wine was never on my radar – a mistake on my part.

We visited the Reid Estate and had a great walk around the estate including a tasting with the enthusiastic guide Jenna who explained so well why the region around Niagara by the Lake is so well suited for growing grapes for wine.

A more detailed travel write up including photos is up on my website biasasta.ie – did I love Toronto? Yes I did apart from the terrible traffic.

The people were warm and welcoming and I have to say a huge thank you to Lewanne, Dale and Glenn for showing me the real Toronto.

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