It’s Crab Cake Day on Ate by Ate! Crispy Crab Cakes With Cabbage Slaw and Chipotle Mayo at La Mexicana

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It’s Crab Cake Day on Ate by Ate today!  I’m quite excited because this is the first of many crab cake posts to come!  Now before I get into all the delicious crab cake details, I want to share and discuss some blog related goodies with you all first.  You guys are well aware of how much I love thinking in and working with themes and categories, and I’m always thinking of new things to add to the blog.  When I first started Ate by Ate, I brainstormed a number of categories and had a backlog of material ready so that I’d be ready to go when I launched and went “live”.  I started off with the categories I knew I wanted to attack and come back to over and over again such as the Cupcake Chronicles, the Sushi Bar, and the Veggie Eats.  Over the past year, I continued adding to the list (which has grown like a beanstalk as you can tell from the right hand sidebar!) and not too long ago I came up with a great idea, thanks to an amazing beauty blogger.

Along with food stuffs, I’m a beauty junkie (someday I should show you all my lip gloss collection!) and I frequent Christine’s beauty empire, Temptalia, on a regular basis.  I was majorly inspired by her series, “5 Ways” and in a nutshell, Christine’s posts for “5 Ways” encompass 5 different ways to do wear something or 5 great products in a given category.  Things like 5 ways to wear purple eyeshadow, 5 great teal nail polishes, 5 great coral lipsticks, and so on and so forth.

It got me thinking of all the different ways you could incorporate old and material and her series inspired me to think of a way to do something similar here.  Just think, the possibilities are endless when you put it into the context of food.  I could do 5 great sprinkled donuts, 5 great smoked salmon dishes, 5 great apple baked goods…you get the idea.  And I am so excited about it!  I haven’t introduced this particular series on the blog just yet, but I’m hoping to have the series up and running by the new year.  As you could imagine, it’s going to take a lot of cross referencing, organization, and compiling on my part, not to mention I’ll need to have enough material to make a “5 Great” post for a specific category of food, but I’m up for the challenge!  I can’t wait to get started on it and if you have suggestions or ideas, let me know!  Oh, and if you’re curious as to why I’m bouncing around ideas in this particular post, it’s because crab cakes are going to eventually be a part of the series 😀

These amazing crab cakes are from the wonderful La Mexicana in Yorkville.  La Mexicana is always a huge temptation for both myself and my boyfriend whenever we’re in the area (and Mela Cafe, my favourite vegetarian and vegan place) and I know I’ve found a gem in them because I’m always looking up their menu online and daydreaming about what I’d order during my next visit.  You know a place has your heart when it does crazy things like that to you.  Anyway, I love crab cakes to death.  I don’t eat them often because they’re such a treat to me, but I get incredibly excited at the thought of them.  To my recollection, I’ve only ever had crab cakes 3 times and all 3 times were lovely and delicious, including the lunch I had here at La Mexicana.

Their crab cakes come in sets of two ($8) and are available on both their lunch and dinner menu.  The crab cakes (which are about the size of my palm) are lightly breaded and fried with the most savoury, soft, flaky crab meat you could imagine and are placed on a bed of carrot and cabbage slaw with shredded red and green cabbage and carrot.  You know the crab is real and fresh because when you  break the cakes apart, you see that stringy, shredded quality that’s common with fresh crab meat.  When I ate the cakes, I felt like I had bitten into the meat of the ever-popular messy crab legs.  The crab cakes just melt in your mouth and the breading has that great crispiness to it that’s not so crunchy the cakes are hard and difficult to eat, but not oily crispy either.  The soft, flaky crab meat was mixed with some green onions and red pepper flakes and the cakes were drizzled with chipotle mayo sauce which I LOVED.

The fun thing about crab cakes is not just the different ways they’re breaded but also the different sauces that are served with them.  I remember having crab cakes two and a half years ago at a pub that was served with this tangy seafood sauce that was a cross between salsa and shrimp cocktail sauce and the flavours were completely changed and revamped based on that difference.  The crab cake sauce at La Mexicana is delicious and that very subtle kick of spicy flavour is delicious and it envelopes every part of your mouth with the salty savouriness of the crab meat and breading.

Oh!  And do you all remember the black beans and feta cheese that I had the last time?  I dipped my cod fish empanadas in them that time, but I also discovered that they are amazing with the corn chips that are you given to every table during a meal.  I know because I ordered the creamy black bean side dish again because it’s just that good.  I hope everyone is having a fabulous long weekend and I hope you all enjoy the new upcoming “5 Great” series as much I will preparing for it.  Enjoy the rest of the weekend, everyone!

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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.  They serve two other locations, so for more info, visit their website here.

Scrapbooking materials used: to be added!

Mi Casa es Su Casa – Cod Stuffed Corn Empanadas & Creamy Black Beans at La Mexicana

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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.

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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!