It’s June, it’s warm out (well, actually, it was a bit nippy today, but it sure was humid and gross over the weekend!) and that means it’s time for some tacos on Ate by Ate! With so many weekend brunch posts making their way into the Weekend Brunch Series, I thought, “hmm, I should really do some more lunch posts”. After all, on an every day basis lunch is the highlight of my day! I cherish my lunch hour downtime at work. And lunch is what got me by throughout all my years in university, keeping me sane, fueled and content.
Doing weekend brunch has been so much fun though and it’s so easy to get caught up in the allure of having different menu items that are only available to me when I’m available during the week and I know many people who work the grind during the week feel the same. But I mean, it’s not I calculate these things! I eat what I eat based on cravings and where I feel like going, and sometimes I truly do feel like going for weekend brunch 5 times or weeks in a row! But a little planning and strategic munching go a long way, especially when you just need to give yourself a kick in the butt to go to a place you’ve meaning to go to for ages but just haven’t.
And that is how this post was born. I felt like going to Peter Pan Bistro on Queen West, I felt like having lunch as opposed to brunch and by golly I felt like tacos! Summer just screams tacos to me and it’s anybody’s guess as to why I haven’t posted more yummy taco photos and posts on here. Because I do love them, especially fish ones (like the fish tacos from Wish Cafe!). But for whatever reason, I haven’t showed them off here as often as I have other things, so I think it’s high time we plump up the taco lovin’ on here! Introducing the Southern Californian Pulled Smoked Chicken Tacos with Root Beer Sauce from Peter Pan Bistro on Queen Street West!
Peter Pan Bistro, located at 373 Queen Street West at the corner of Queen and Peter St., is lunch and dinner bistro cafe that has quite the history here in the city (you can read more about it HERE on their site). It’s a peaceful, pretty space with a lot of history and character to it: pale yellow paint on the walls, stained glass in the windows, high ceilings, flowers in vases on the tables, a super long bar and seating booths that look like church pews to boot! It has this charming, old-school (their daily menus are hand-written and photocopied) meets culinary luxe vibe to it (if you ever order or get a glimpse of their salmon lunch you’ll know what I mean!) and it just shows their culinary philosophy: be modern and grow with the times and trends, but don’t sacrifice heart or ingenuity to do it. They serve pulled smoked meat and po’ boys but they sure haven’t transformed into a hipster dive to do so, that’s for sure.
Their menu is chock full of daily specials (daily soup, omelette, pasta, pizza and quesadilla) and they have a scrumptious regular menu that reads like a sweet and simple storybook: salads and appetizers (PEI fresh water mussels with chipotle cream sauce and calamari with dill-caper aioli and Mediterranean salad?! Sign me up!), sandwiches (panko crusted chicken, smoked white cheddar and brie grilled cheese, and their newest addition, a fish po’ boy, among others), pasta dishes (penne mac n’ cheese, basil pesto linguine and seafood fettuccine just to name a few) and mains and entrees which incorporates the daily omelette, pizza, and quesadilla within it.
Before I stuffed my face with tacos, I enjoyed their potato and leek soup of the day ($5) with their special complimentary bread that was so nice and warm and herby and yummy! I know there are two camps when it comes to bread served before the meal: those who love it to pieces and would probably eat a whole basket of it and those who couldn’t care less and stare off into space as they wait for their food to come.
Let’s just say Peter Pan’s bread will put you in the first camp. You’ve been warned.
Then came my beloved tacos. I was all over their pulled smoked chicken in root beer BBQ sauce tacos ($14) like mud on a pig! The pulled meat was such a treat for me (I don’t eat pulled meat much and not because I don’t enjoy it, but because I simply don’t have it very often) and the pulled smoked chicken taco filling was smothered in guacamole and cheddar! With a mountain of mixed green salad on the side! In olive oil! Did I mention the guacamole and cheddar?! OH MY MOTHER OF PEARL. I am not kidding when I say that I felt like a roly poly ball afterward when I left! I was full and happy and full. I know I said that twice but it was so good it deserved a second mention.
Their pulled smoked chicken tacos were served in 2 big grilled flour tortillas with guac and shredded cheddar cheese melted inside and just dripping in savoury sauce. Even their salad was fantastic and boy was there ever a lot of it! It wonderful having half the plate in tacos and the other half in veg. THAT’s the kind of meal that makes me wiggle.
Let me say though that I am not about to specifically write about the root beer BBQ sauce that smothered my chicken. I don’t drink beer. I don’t even drink root beer. EVER. So for me to yap about the complexity of root beer flavour or to discuss the flavour profile of BBQ sauce would be very silly, so I will just say that my tacos felt like heaven in my mouth because they were so soft, seasoned perfectly (it’s always a good thing when you don’t feel as though someone dumped a whole salt shaker into your food), didn’t fall apart or get mushy, were so far from skimpy (did I ever feel like I got my money’s worth!) and were perfectly melty and ooey and gooey on the inside.
And let me say that after this great lunch and meal, that I will be back for those po’ boys and salmon dishes. And calamari. And penne mac n’ cheese. Oh! And their patio. This ain’t Neverland; it’s honest-to-goodness delicious food land.
Peter Pan Bistro is located at 373 Queen Street West at the corner of Peter Street and Queen. They serve lunch and dinner daily from 12 noon to 10:3opm from Sunday to Wednesday and 12pm to 11:30pm from Thursday to Sunday. They’re also a main fixture in both Winterlicious and Summerlicious!