Considering that I had this meal on Cinco de Mayo this past May, this post is waaaayyy overdue. But you all know how I am with the scrapbook pages and I’d like to think that every day is a fiesta of sorts, so we’ll celebrate the tail-end of the long weekend celebrations with some REALLY delicious Mexican food! La Mexicana and I were actually acquainted for the first time back in 2009 during the winter holidays and I loved the food so much that I’ve been daydreaming about it ever since. Located in Yorkville just north of Bloor St. West, it’s conveniently located right near the subway and to many other neighbourhoods in the city that I adore. You can stroll on Yonge St. or Bay St., browse Yorkville, walk the underground malls of Cumberland and Manulife Centre and so much more. When I’m in this area, I never have to wonder how I’m going to plan my day because there are so many options.
I love Mexican, Tex-Mex, the whole bit. The thought of fajitas, taquitos, empanadas, beans, tortilla soup, and enchiladas has my stomach growling and my taste buds panting. Although the piping hot fajita plates look amazing here, my favourite thing about La Mexicana has to be the small plate lunches (the antojitos) and sides. They have a lunch menu and a dinner menu and to my surprise, there are a number of vegetarian options on the menu as well as gluten-free. Vegan options are a bit harder to come by though. I’ve really enjoyed going to places with a menu that caters to different diets and lifestyles because I’m able to tuck these places away on mental sticky note for future places to consider for outings with friends or larger groups of people.
Their meat options include chicken, beef, and seafood (shrimp and cod fish, for example), and they have a variety of vegeterian small plate lunches and mains. Dishes like Queso Fundido (bell peppers covered in melted cheese and pumpkin seeds), Ensalada de Calabacita (grilled zucchini and corn salad), Elote (corn on the cob with feta and cayenne pepper), black bean and vegetable burritos, and vegetarian enchiladas, chimichangas, and quesadillas.
I adore fish tacos so back in 2009 my friend Sally and I ordered their pescadillas, corn empanadas filled with salted cod fish (bacalao) with spicy avocado salsa and sour cream. This meal was so delicious and yes, very spicy! The corn empanadas were a dark, almost black, colour (think blue or black corn chips) and they were stuffed with soft, flaky cod fish. The empanadas themselves weren’t spicy, it was the avocado sauce that had us tearing up! It was insanely good and it was this scumptiousness that had me coming back for more. Fast forward to Cinco de Mayo this past May. I adore the same thing, along with a side of black beans and feta cheese, and to my surprise, the dish looks different.
Back in 2009, the corn empanadas with fish looked like this, up top.
Instead of dark coloured empanadas, the corn pockets were a light golden brown. And instead of 2 medium to large-sized empanadas, there were FOUR medium-sized ones! Finally, instead of the huffy-puffy-blinking-back-tears avocado salsa, it was a MUCH milder creamy avocado guacamole. The difference in appearance completely threw me off, but I recall that La Mexicana had recently revamped their menu a bit and had also launched a website for the restaurant since the last time I had gone, so I chalked it up to them trying something new and interpreting the dish in a different way. Just as delicious. The fish was savoury and flaky and I had an absolute FIELD DAY dunking my empanadas in the thick avocado sauce and in my black beans. My black beans side dish also took me by surprise. I was expecting a dish of whole beans, but instead, it was a baking dish of smooth, creamy, whipped-like-butter black beans with feta cheese sprinkled on top. Oh my god was this ever amazing. You could literally spoon the stuff and stick it in your mouth because it was that good.
They give you a basket of corn chips with lots of dipping sauces and prices for lunch will run around $8 to $13 if you order a meal like mine ($10 for the pescadillas and $3 for the side of black beans and feta). If you order the laaaarge platters that include sides of black beans and rice with fajitas, enchiladas, burritos, etc., it’ll come up to around $13-$17. Prices are on par with Tequila Sunrise and what I like about the menu is how you can mix and match with the lunch plates (antojitos) and sides. I’m waiting for the day I get to try some more of their food (like their potato and chirizo stuffed empanadas!). Meanwhile, I’ll peruse their online menu, admire their beautiful and adorable decor (they have painted cactus outside their storefront, ha), and let my tummy grumble over the thought of guacamole, sour cream, and corn pockets.
La Mexicana is located at 838 Yonge St. in between Yorkville Ave. and Cumberland St., north of Bloor Street. They are open 7 days a week at 11am. They are open until 10pm from Sunday-Thursday and until 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays. For more info, visit their website here.
Scrapbooking materials used: to be added!