El Catracho: really good!

The family and I got takeout from El Catracho on Jane this week. It was very good, and I’m sorry that I hadn’t been earlier. They serve Latin American food from a Honduran foundation.

We ordered enchiladas, Mexican-style tacos, nachos, and tacos flauta (fried tacos). I’d happily do the same again; each mains came with three servings, and we passed them around (except to my wife, who is a vegetarian).

I think the tacos flauta were best. They were filled with chicken, and the shell was golden and crunchy. They were topped with cabbage, sauce, and cheese, and looked as good as they tasted.

Tacos flauta

I didn’t get to try the enchiladas, but my son, who knows a thing or two about eating (not food, eating) said they were “very good” and had “lots of flavour”. The nachos, he said, were “excellent”. I agree. The thinly-sliced peppers were beautiful, too.

Nachos

My parents’ carne asada tacos were also good. They are, however, served in the Mexican style—which shouldn’t have been a surprise, since they are called “Tacos Mexicanos”. I didn’t know, though, that Tex-Mex tacos have sour cream and shredded cheese, while true Mexican tacos do not.

Tacos Mexcianos—w. sour cream from the fridge

If you’d survived my cooking, you’d know I’m in no position to give suggestions. Still, I would love to see some vegetarian (or even vegan?) options on the menu. The chef was extremely accommodating when I asked if they could make something for my vegetarian wife. She got very nice looking meatless enchiladas with beans in place of the beef. Still, I felt a little awkward ordering off the menu.

Vegetarian enchiladas

El Catracho is at 1808 Jane, just south of Queens Drive. The restaurant is small and bright, and the staff couldn’t have been better. Dinner was about $20 a person, and well worth it. They don’t have a liquor license.

Two new food franchises coming to Weston.

Walking along Weston Road on Sunday, two new franchise eateries were in evidence. One is Osmows; advertising ‘Modern Mediterranean Cuisine’ and at 1971 Weston, the other is Fahmee Bakery – a Jamaican / West Indian specialty dish take out restaurant with mainly good reviews on Yelp. Fahmee’s top dishes (according to Yelp reviewers) are jerk chicken, jerk pork and spiced beef patties. Fahmee has no web presence and their Landsdowne location couldn’t tell me when they’re opening here. This is the former location of Perfect Blend that sadly closed in September.

Fahmee Bakery at 1971 Weston.
Osmow’s at Weston and Elsmere.

Osmow’s is a large chain founded by Sam Osmow in 2001. Specializing in shawarmas and wraps, they have an extensive menu that might complement the Greek dishes at P&Ms. They’re setting up at Elsmere and Weston in the old TD bank location. Readers may remember that TD moved (all but a machine) back in 2018.

When news about opening dates comes in I’ll post it here.

Update: Dolkar Tenpa at Osmow’s Head Office tells me that they’re hoping to open next month.

Mission failed.

I sent my son out to do some undercover investigative reporting. It was like Veronica Mars, but without the beaches, beautiful people, or Backup.

Sam’s job was to dig into the smoothie story. Armed only with his point and shoot camera, he was to find out who is behind the Weston Smoothie Café and what their plans are. Global expansion? World domination? Grilled sandwiches?

I should have known better. Instead of a full report, I got a single usable photo and a bill. Worse, I had to do the interrogating—of my own boy.

His report was curt, as you might expect of a hard boiled 11-year old.

I leaned over, placing my hands on the table. He could feel my breath on his face. “How was it? Tell me, son, and this will go better for you.”

He slurped the bottom of the cup and the slurples turned my stomach. “Tastes like real mango” he said when he was done sucking.

I stood and looked at the mirror, straightening my neck. “Not good enough, pal. Tell me everything. You know how this goes. I need the details.”

“Very good. Would recommend. Worth the price.” He put the cup on the table, leaving his sticky prints all over it. I’d have to pick it up later.

“We’re getting there. But I know you didn’t make the smoothie alone. You’re not good enough. Tell me who was in on it.”

A smile brightened his chubby little face. “The service was very good.There were three people there, the dude who takes your order and two other people who make it. They were nice.”

I knew then what had happened. For the price of a mango smoothie, he’d been bought. He wasn’t working for me; he was working for them now.

My son had been mixed up and turned by the smoothie man.

Town Wings: Good!

I know I’m late to this party, but I had to wait until my all-organic wife was looking the other way.

Last night, the kids and I ordered from Town Wings, the new place on Gary Drive. They have more than 100 flavours, from delicious (mesquite, dry jerk) to daring (dill pickle). The kids and I kept it simple: mild and hot (which, oddly, aren’t on the menu).

My son, who knows a thing or two about grease and salt, said only they were “good”. Judging from the number he ate, I’d say that’s a dry understatement.

My daughter, who is matters of food is somewhat more knowing, said that “the mild is better than the hot”. When pressed for tasting notes on the terroir and body, she demurred with a smile hinting that she had some secret knowledge she was unwilling to share.

Me, I liked them. They were great. There were lots. Too many. Never again. Tomorrow.

The fries were terrific, just like I like them: cooked to the point of being almost hollow. Super. I ate the salad, and that was… well, a mistake. Nobody goes there for salad.

The prices are very good, I think: $40 for enough wings and fries to kill three by hypernatremia (and a salad as atonement). A bonus: everything, including the fries, travelled really well, which was a bit surprising. It all arrived home crispy.

Another food outlet for Weston

The site of the new Church’s Texas Chicken in 2018. (file)

Atlanta based Church’s Texas Chicken (formerly known as Church’s Chicken) will soon have a franchisee occupying the old Bank of Montreal building (the bank where time stood still™) on Weston at John Street. It will be a stone’s throw from the Popeye’s Chicken just up the street and directly across from P&M Restaurant. Close by are Pizza Pizza and Zeal Burgers to name but a few. Yet another food outlet in a small area seems to be a gamble on the part of the chain but at least it’s one less prominently empty building in Weston.

Church’s will begin renovations after July 1st when they take over the building.

It will be interesting to see what happens to the exterior of the old 1906 building constructed for the Bank of British North America. It was in continuous use as a bank for over a century, gaining the Bank of Montreal name in 1918 when the two banks merged.

Let’s hope the exterior renovation won’t be too garish. Perhaps the Weston Historical Society knows when and why the second storey was removed. The brick building further along John Street looks to be where Peter the Barber’s is today. Could it be the same building?

The bank building during construction in 1906. Adapted from the Toronto Public Library image. (Click to enlarge)