Every time I think of salad, I laugh to myself as I think of the episode of the Simpsons when Lisa becomes a vegetarian and the scene with Bart, Homer, and Marge dancing in a little conga line chanting, “you don’t win friends with sa-lad! You don’t win friends with sa-lad!” with Lisa scowling on the couch. Oh, Simpsons, how you fit into every aspect of my life. We know the truth though: salads kick butt and some are so much more worthy than their appetizer and side status at the meal table. One of my all-time favourite salads is a tomato salad with fresh bufala mozzarella or bocconcini cheese with basil or a caprese salad. Slices of tomato and cheese, cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that there is basil, the tomatoes are juicy and sweet, and the cheese is soft and melt-in-your-mouth delightful. I love it with a really great olive oil but a sweet and tangy balsamic works just fine too.
I’ll never forget the day I found out about bocconcini cheese. I was still in university doing my undergrad and I was with a coworker at the flower shop I used to work at and it was dinnertime. She had brought a whole container of bocconcini to nosh on and I looked over, was curious, and asked her what she was eating. She told me bocconcini cheese and gushed about how great it was with tomato salad. And from that day on, I was in love with bocconcini cheese, buying it from the supermarket to have on hand for snacks and salads at home, and looking out for any bocconcini or bufala mozzarella cheese menu items at restaurants. All that time this wonderful cheese was absent from my life and now I can’t imagine my life without it! I am such a cheese fanatic and this is definitely one of my favourite varieties. And here to deliver a fantastic caprese salad bursting with tomatoes and soft fresh cheese is The Commissary!
Their caprese salad is part of all 3 menus (brunch, lunch, and dinner) and comes in both main ($8) and side ($6) portions. Oh my gosh, trust me when I say that you need to disregard this salad as merely a side and always, ALWAYS order it as a main. I mean, if you can. And want to. You should! I had mine as a separate side and thought, “holy bejesus I could eat this endlessly!” and vowed that the next time I was there, I would have their caprese salad as a main with a side of The Commissary’s breakfast potatoes to go with it!
This caprese screams fresh and juicy. The multicoloured grape tomatoes and bocconcini are covered in delicious pesto, sweet and tangy balsamic, and a fresh as air chiffonade of basil. What makes this salad is the fresh cheese and, combined with the balsamic and basil, it is over the moon delicious! I felt like I was having bocconcini for the first time all over again, only 10 times more amazing! I could not believe how soft and melt-in-your-mouth it was. I barely even had to chew because it was that soft. And I loved how they weren’t skimpy on the cheese either! This is the real deal and while the cheese I’ve had at the supermarket was good, this blows everything out of the water.
It’s a great variation of the traditional sliced tomatoes and fresh mozzarella salad and if my love for this salad and their baby arugula and mango salad with goat cheese salad is any indication, I’m not just friends with salad, I’m kind of bffs with it.
The Commissary is located at 889 Queen Street East at the southeast corner of Queen and Logan Ave. in Leslieville. They serve weekend brunch, and lunch and dinner during the week. Weekend brunch is served from 9am-3pm on Saturdays and Sundays and from Monday to Friday, they are open from 11am-10pm.