Roasted Tomatillo, Jalapeno Black Bean, & Chunky Guac – A Photo Spotlight on Mad Mexican Dip & Spread Delights!

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You won’t believe what I did on Saturday.  Or maybe you will based on how well you know me and my craziness passion for food!  I ran out out of my beloved dips and spreads from Mad Mexican.  You know, the ones I purchased during my last visit to Evergreen Brick Works last month.  Me, my mum, and my brother gorged on Tw0-Way Jalapeno Black Bean dip and Roasted Tomatillo and Avocado salsa and polished them off in a heartbeat, spreading them on grilled tortillas, dipping samosas, falafel, and chicken nuggets in them, and mixing them into a little bit of rice for that yummy kick of flavour.  These dips and spreads are SO, SO delicious and realizing that I had nothing left in my fridge made me so sad.

So against my better judgment, I rushed over to Evergreen Brick Works after noon hour on Saturday for a quickie trip.  And I do mean quickie!   I caught the shuttle at Broadview station, hopped off at the Brick Works, speed-walked to Mad Mexican’s table at the market, quickly chose 2 dips from what they had left, and caught the next shuttle back, all in a matter of half an hour.  In the sweltering heat.  Interrupting my day of planned blogging activity.  All for dip.  I am a nut.  But I am happy nut now because now I have a fresh new container of their Roasted Tomatillo and Avocado and a deliciously delightful Chunky Guac!  I cursed and whined with every step to the streetcar and shuttle stop in the sticky heat, but I’m so glad I bit the bullet and shoved aside my wussy baby feelings for these guys because it was well worth it.  They currently have 6 dips, spreads, and salsas to choose from including a spicy salsa verde, a juicy pico de gallo, and a morita salsa made from dried, smoked morita peppers.  They’re $6 a pop with discounted rates available for multiple purchases with their delicious corn chips.

I’ve really relied on the farmers’ market at Evergreen Brick Works to get my fix but after reading over their list of retailers and shops where there products can be found, I’ll most likely check out some of the spots just to see what they have if I don’t happen to have Evergreen market plans on a Saturday.  Mad Mexican is always hooked up with Chocosol and Gabriel’s Tortilla Project and Maizal Quesadilla Cafe when they’re at the markets, so it’s triple food fantastic because you get to ogle their Mexican chocolate and drool over and eat their mouthwatering corn tortillas and quesadillas while you’re there!  Mad Mexican makes some of my very favourite spreads and dips so if you get the chance, definitely give them a whirl and just be careful when you do, because you’ll never want your kitchen and palate to go without them every again!

*****

Mad Mexican is a Toronto-based business specializing in gourmet Mexican food products.  They are located in the west end at 383 Jane Street, just south of Annette Street to the east and Baby Point Rd. to the west (Annette Street turns into Baby Point Rd. at Jane and vice versa).  Your best best though is to purchase their products from retailers and farmers’ market if you can’t conveniently access the west end.  You can find Mad Mexcian at the Saturday farmers’ market at Evergreen Brick Works from 8am-1pm and their products in a slew of different food shops around the city including Noah’s Natural Foods, Summerhill Market, The Big Carrot, Fresh & Wild, and many more.  You can check out the comprehensive list of retailers HERE!

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Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Bagels & Bread, and Glorious Dips & Spreads at the Leslieville Cheese Market!

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I have a wee bit of an obsession problem at the moment.  Let it be known that I am all over dips and spreads like a bad rash and that because of 1) the scrumptious homemade beet hummus from Luscious Dips (which, to my heartbreak, has relocated to Niagara Falls) during my blogging run at the Toronto Lunchtime Office Markets, 2) the fabulous spinach basil pesto and sprouted chickpea hummuses I purchased from my girls at Earth & City, and 3) the black bean and roasted avocado with tomatillo dips I bought from Mad Mexican at Evergreen Brick Works, I am hunting dips and spreads down the same way I hunt for lip gloss.  Oh yes, it’s THAT bad.  Granted, I don’t have a deep sliding drawer full of the stuff like I do lip gloss, but let’s just say that if these condiments didn’t have a shelf life and if my fridge was bigger, I would have swept Leslieville Cheese Market clean!  And this, my dear friends, is the long-awaited introduction to the Leslieville Cheese Market! 

It’s about darn time.  Considering how much I love cheese it’s any wonder I haven’t been here every week since I found out about its existence last year.  I finally stepped inside this glorious little gourmet food shop and market for the first time this month though, after pining over their grilled cheese sandwiches for months.  And now I almost wish I hadn’t.  Gone to the shop I mean.  There is way too much food I love here!  Not only is the shop teeming with fresh cheese, it also carries Fred’s Bread, St. Urbain bagels, smoked fish and cured meats , jams and jellies, fruit and nut bread loaves, crostini and crackers, a whole menu of grilled cheese sandwiches and soups, and dips!  Loads and loads of fantastical dips!  I’m positive most people come here for the bread, cheese, and grilled cheese sandwiches.  I will come back because I want several containers of dip and spreads.  And a grilled cheese and soup.  But not before I buy a dip.  I can’t help it.  The second I slathered on my beet hummus dip from Luscious Dips onto my veggie sandwich back in March, it was all downhill from there.  I had been bitten by the homemade dip and spread bug and as a result, I have had a bad case of, “I just dip and dunk and spread this stuff on everything!”        

  

Leslieville Cheese Market, located at 891 Queen Street East (with 2 other locations in Toronto and 1 outside of the GTA), has an entire refrigerated section dedicated to spreads brimming with savoury flavours such as smoked salmon, roasted red pepper and white bean, basil pesto, red lentil dahl, baba ganoush, sundried tomato and tapenade, and artichoke blue cheese and walnut among numerous others.  It’s a little pricier than what I normally pay for (most of my spreads and dips have come in at around $5 with a few for $6) with most of the ones at Leslieville Cheese Market priced at $6.75, but the containers are relatively big and many of flavours are really unique so they just might be worth the extra $1 or $2 to check out and try.  My absolute favourite thing to do with my dips and spreads is to spread them on a tortilla, fill it with spinach and other vegetables, shredded cheese, and maybe some smoked turkey or tofu, and fold it over in half to make a quesadilla on the grill.  So, so delicious.

Another highlight of the Leslieville Cheese Market is their fresh bread.  I’m not even that much of a bread head (that would be my mum), but I LOVE fruit and nut breads and I’m a sucker for anything with herbs, so I was super excited to see that they had breads like pecan and fruit, and rosemary and olive oil.  Loaves of bread are also priced around the $5 to $6 range depending on the loaf.      

 

And of course, no discussion of the shop would be complete without a thorough breakdown of their grilled cheese!  I wanted to feature them during the month of April (read: National Grilled Cheese Month) but just wasn’t able to get around to it.  Even though I don’t have any photos of grilled cheese for you all in this post, I promise I will and in the meantime I figure we can drool over their menu.  Their grilled cheese sandwiches ($7.91 including tax) are made on light rye bread with your choice of the following grilled cheese filling combinations: provolone and beef summer sausage, ham and gruyere, chipotle tuna swiss melt, sundried tomat, artichoke, and chevre (goat cheese), a combo of white cheddar and a cheese called muenster, and cheddar cheese and bacon. 

And, there are dipping sauces!  There are 3 to choose from (balsamic ketchup, sweet thai chili, and piri piri which is a spicy blend) and if that’s not enough to get the motor running, there are also soups to accompany your grilled cheese such as corn chowder and potato leek.  Finally (I know, there’s more!), the cheese market also hosts cheese and wine night classes!  I may not drink, but learning about cheeses and pairings and nuances and regional differences and specifics sounds like a lot of fun and maybe in the future I’ll spring for something like it.  Right now though, I’m just feeling excited at the thought of sitting out on bench in the neighbourhood with a yummy grilled cheese and soup on a nice fall day and I can’t wait to do that sometime soon.

*****

Leslieville Cheese Market in Leslieville is located at 891 Queen Street East, east of Broadview Ave., with 3 other locations including a brand new one on Donlands Ave. just south of O’Connor Dr.