Rise & Shine to a Mexican Fiesta! Weekend Brunch in the Beaches at Xola

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Rise and shine to a Mexican fiesta!  If you’re looking for a weekend brunch spot to add to your list of foodie escapades, head to Xola in the Beaches.  Located in the east end of the city on Queen Street East, Xola is a fun and colourful cantina serving up delicious weekend brunch, lunch, and dinner options with Mexican flair and flavour.  Truth be told, I stumbled on Xola last summer during a day out in the Beaches neighbourhood but didn’t get around to eating here until I did an assignment for Eat In Eat Out magazine for their feature on Mexican restaurants earlier in the year but because I’ve been so on and off with blogging for the last little while I haven’t gotten the chance to post about them here on Ate by Ate until now.  Phew!  It’s actually not such a bad thing now that I think about it because the weather is beautiful now which makes Xola’s fun and fiery interior and menu pop that much more.  It screams summer more than it screams winter in January!  Before I dive right into divulging the yummy details of my first meal here though, let me rewind and talk a little bit about the assignment I took on that led me back to Xola in the first place.

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When I took on the assignment for Eat In Eat Out magazine knowing that it was for a feature on Mexican restaurants across Canada, I wanted to approach it in a non-traditional way.  I didn’t particularly want to choose any old Mexican restaurant in Toronto for lunch.  So I racked my brain for something different, something special.  The light blub came on and Xola came to mind.  I quickly searched through my photos from last summer for the photo I took of Xola’s menu taped to their front window, did a little digging online, and found out to my utter delight that they served weekend brunch on Saturdays!  Seeing as how Mexican weekend brunch is a pretty neat and unique thing in Toronto (it’s not like the city is crawling with places that serve it.  Not yet anyway), I knew it was the perfect place to write about.  And it totally and wholeheartedly was.

Xola is barely a year old but I’ve seen and heard folks talk about lineups out the door some nights!  Thankfully for me I was planning on having my meal during the day and arriving right when they opened at 12 noon so I wasn’t too fussed or worried about that.  I was much more interested in what I was going to stuff my face in.  Xola’s weekend brunch menu, served on Saturdays from 12pm-2pm, serves everything from burritos with slow braised beef and slow braised pork to fish tacos, omelettes with goat cheese, and THREE kinds of huevos rancheros with fresh corn tortillas, eggs, chorizo sausage, potatoes, different salsas, sour cream, fresco, and black beans among other dishes.  Prices range from $8-$15, making it an incredibly affordable weekend brunch spot.  NOTE: Xola accepts CASH ONLY.  They are a CASH ONLY establishment much like Lady Marmalade in Leslieville.

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When I think back to this meal and this visit, I smile because everything about Xola is just so fun and vibrant.  They have this gorgeous, colourful mural on one wall that I love to pieces and while the place is small, they more than make up for it in flair, food, and personality.  For weekend brunch that day I enjoyed a handful of yummy things: a cold and delicious glass of horchata ($3.50), a Mexican drink made with rice, milk and cinnamon; a ridiculously large dish of chilaquiles ($9): homemade tortilla chips covered in creamy red salsa, drizzled with sour cream and sprinkled queso fresco cheese; trio de gorditas ($8.95), my meal of corn masa patties topped with an assortment of refried beans, red salsa, and green salsa with sour cream and queso fresco cheese and served with guacamole and scrambled eggs; and last, but not least, a freshly made Mexican margarita!

I can honestly say that I enjoyed everything so much because they were all delicious in their own way and because all this food was so new to me, I was seeing it with fresh eyes and tasting it with fresh tastebuds.  The horchata drink was so unbelievably delicious.  It was like dessert in drink form.  It had just enough sweetness from the cinnamon and the milk and rice gave it substance while the ice kept it cold and refreshing throughout the meal.

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The chilaquiles?  Out of this freakin’ world.  This is like the appetizer to end all appetizers.  So messy but so fun!  The red salsa (which is the consistency of a sauce, not to be mistaken with the pico de gallo style of salsa) is thick and creamy and with the sour cream and queso fresco, there was savouriness, there was tanginess and of course there was fun and crunch from the tortilla chips.  My trio de gorditas dish makes my weekend brunch and breakfast-loving heart all warm and fuzzy because the inclusion of scrambled eggs just screams happy breakfast to me.  It makes me think of warm sun streaming in through windows, hot eggs coming out of sizzling pan, and enjoying that first meal of the day on those wonderful weekend mornings where the remainder of the day stretches out in front of you and the possibilities for loveliness are endless.

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And finally, the margarita!  I know, I know, I don’t drink!  But my server was so sweet and so gracious that the drink was on the house so I did what any good patron would do: I thanked her profusely and enjoyed it.  Not all of it because I’m such a lightweight when it comes to alcohol (drinking is honestly not my thing) but enough to know that heck, it was REALLY good!  The lime just made it so juicy and refreshing and for me, it helped to tame the strength of the tequila.  At the very least, you all know now that you can certainly raise a happy glass here!

So, if you’re looking to enjoy Mexican food in a fun and different way, Xola in the Beaches is just the ticket.  Happy Friday and early weekend, everyone!

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Xola is located at 2222A Queen Street East in the Beaches neighbourhood in Toronto. Weekend brunch is served on Saturdays from 12pm to 2pm. Operating hours all other days: Monday (5pm-9pm), Tuesday (closed); Wednesday to Friday (12pm-3pm for lunch, 5pm-closing for dinner); Saturday (12pm-closing); Sunday (4pm-closing).  CASH ONLY.

Partying Alongside Peppers, Corn, and Beans – A Spotlight on the Best Shrimp Burritos at Burrito Boyz!

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I’ve come to the realization that I just love seafood tacos and burritos (and veggie ones!) more than I love ones that have poultry or red meat in them.  I daydream about having seared ahi tuna tacos, flaky white fish on corn tortillas with seafood sauce (or tartar sauce) and guacamole, fish with tons of beans and corn and peppers, and finally, the shrimp burritos and quesadillas from Burrito Boyz!  Although I have a mega soft spot for the mind-blowingly delicious pulled pork taquitos from Tequila Sunrise just down the street on Adelaide St. West, I can’t get over how delightful the seafood burritos and quesadillas are at BB, especially the shrimp ones.

If you love seafood and if you enjoy noshing on big burritos of amazing quality, you need to eat and savour the shrimp here.  I love shrimp and it’s the honest to goodness truth when I say that I haver never had shrimp that tasted this wonderful, not even in dim sum!  Shrimp in dim sum is heavenly, but the shrimp burritos at Burrito Boyz?  Out of this world and over the moon.  The burritos (shrimp ones are $7.08 for a small and $7.96 for a large) are stuffed with jumbo shrimps that are soft, juicy, and plump and, given how all the prices at Burrito Boyz are under $10, you really appreciate the quantity and quality of food.  A large burrito could easily feed me for two meals and during my very first Burrito Boyz meal two and a half years ago, even my small veggie burrito rewarded me with leftovers to eat on the bus ride home at the end of the day!

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It was my lucky day – Burrito Boyz wise – the day I had this fabulous shrimp burrito because if you’re familiar with the popular eatery or if you remember the first post I made about them back in July, you’d know that crowds line up out the door for the great food here.  There must have been a guardian angel looking out for me because for the first time in two and a half years, I passed by the famous T.O. burrito hole-in-the-wall, glanced through the front window, and saw several empty seats beckoning at me like blinking radars.

I could not believe my eyes.  There were spots to sit?!  There wasn’t a line curving around the ordering and waiting area and up the stairs, out the front door?!  People weren’t shouting orders at the top of their lungs so they could be heard over the chatter of the hungry?!  I didn’t have to stand outside right at 11am and run inside to snag a spot?!  Well, colour me shocked and ecstatic!  Opportunities like this didn’t come easy (or at all, really) so I pounced and had myself one of the most delicious lunches ever.

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You have free reign when it comes to toppings – if you don’t like it, don’t pick it!  Along with refried beans and rice, and sour cream on the side (I love dunking stuff in or spooning it on myself), I chose black beans, corn, lettuce, green peppers, green onions, guacamole, and burrito sauce to party-harty alongside the juicy, scrumptious shrimps.  The combination of toppings was fantastic and I can say with absolute certainty that THIS is my favourite burrito from here!  It took a few tries to hit the nail on the head, but the process leading up to uncovering my ultimate favourite was incredibly yummy and enjoyable.  If every process was like this, we’d be smooth sailing.

*****

Burrito Boyz is located at 218 Adelaide St. West, west of Simcoe St. and east of Duncan St.  They have a number of locations in Toronto and the GTA, including Bramption, Mississauga, Streetsville, and Waterloo.  Their 2nd Toronto location resides in the neighbourhood of Little Italy at 575 College St. West, just west of Manning Ave. in between Bathurst St. and Ossington Ave.  For more info on their menu and other locations, click here.

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!

*****

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!

I’m More of a Burrito “Girl” – Fish, Veggie and Cheese Burritos and Shrimp Quesadillas at Burrito Boyz

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Imagine yourself in a small hole-in-the-wall place with a topping bar piled high with shredded cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, rice, beans, guacamole, sour cream, onions, jalapenos, bell peppers, and seafood sauce.  The place is full to bursting with people spilling out through the restaurant’s doors and onto the steps that lead down to this popular hub-bub of Tex-Mex.  There’s a buzz amongst the hungry crowd and workers need to shout out loud in order for everyone to hear them.  Arms are flinging about left and right, grabbing food, making food, and by the time you know it, there isn’t an extra inch of space to sit down to eat.  THIS is what it’s like at Burrito Boyz during lunch time!

I can’t vouch for dinner hour, but this is the scene that has come before me every single time I’ve come here and it’s simaltaneously exciting and overwhelming!  It’s exciting to see a business with great food thrive on a daily basis, but at the same time overwhelming when you’re racing against the clock to get here when they open so you can snag yourself  a seat!  Remember what I said in my Tequila Sunrise post?  Although the atmosphere here is very “grab n’ go”, I like to stay and eat if I can which requires me to park my tooshie at this fab burrito place no later than 11:15am.  After that…well, grab a number!

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An old friend of mine actually brought me to Burrito Boyz (the location on Adelaide St. West) almost 2 years ago and because of the crowds and my own timing, I’ve only been able to eat here about 3 times.  I have enjoyed everything I’ve eaten here though and I wholeheartedly understand why this place has the business that it does.  Burritos and quesadillas are their specialty and they have 7 burrito options and 5 quesadilla ones.  There are two sizes of burritos (small and large) and prices for all their food range from $4.87 to $9.73.  Burrito options include meat (chicken and steak), seafood (haddock, halibut, and shrimp), and veggie (veggie and cheese, and veggie soy), while quesadillas can be filled with all of the above excluding the halibut and haddock.  I’ve tried their veggie and cheese burrito, their shrimp quesadilla, and their haddock burrito and although I loved them all and am looking forward to trying their veggie soy, I have to say that their seafood ones totally do it for me.  YUM, LOVE, YUM.

What I absolutely adore about the food at Burrito Boyz is how crunchy and crispy everything is.  You know how burritos and such can get weighed down by the filling inside?  And how the heavy filling can sometimes make the burrito soggy and fall apart thus creating a Mexican fiesta on the table, or worse, on your lap?  Yeah, that doesn’t happen with the burritos or quesadillas here.  If stuff falls out, it’s only because it’s stuffed to the brim with veggies and beans and rice and burrito goodness, not because of its lack of sturdiness.

The burritos and quesadillas are pressed and toasted and the texture is fantastic.  You have this sturdy toasted tortilla shell that keeps everything in, and the only word that comes to mind that can accurately describe how good the filling tastes is, “Mmmmmmm!!!!”  With the exception of hot sauce and jalapenos, I order all toppings for my food and the combination of green onions, green bell peppers, diced tomatoes, and melted cheese along with everything else is amazing.  So perfectly melted and ooey and gooey.

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The value is great because not only can a small burrito tide me over onto the next meal (no joke, I could only finish 3/4 of a SMALL veggie and cheese my first time here and ate the rest near the end of the day on my way home), but they don’t skimp on product.  They seriously pack the toppings in and you can distinctly taste each and every veggie, bean, cheese, and sauce topping.  Not to mention the “meat” of the burrito is well worth it.  My shrimp quesadilla was packed with large shrimps that were plump and juicy and my haddock burrito was flaky with moist fish.  The seafood sauce that came with my quesadilla was delicious and you know how I am with sour cream and guacamole; I mop the stuff up 😀

I know it seems like, “well, they’re just burritos” or “it’s just Tex-Mex type food” but that’s kind of the beauty of it.  Sometimes it’s the “simplest” things that are the easiest to mess up because people can make too much of it and they muck it up with their attempt at complexity.  Burrito Boyz excels at what they do and I think that should be the philosophy of any restaurant business.  The point isn’t to do a million things and then not do anything well.  It’s better to stick to what you know you’re awesome at and let those things do the talking.  It’s delicious, simple, commonplace food done right.

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Burrito Boyz is located at 218 Adelaide St. West, west of Simcoe St. and east of Duncan St.  They have a number of locations in Toronto and the GTA, including Bramption, Mississauga, Streetsville, and Waterloo.  Their 2nd Toronto location resides in the neighbourhood of Little Italy at 575 College St. West, just west of Manning Ave. in between Bathurst St. and Ossington Ave.  For more info on their menu and other locations, click here.

Scrapbooking materials used: terracotta, goldenrod yellow, emerald green, cornflower blue cardstock; green patterned paper (Choco Mod Patterns by DCWV); sparkly starburst adhesive embellishments (‘Wild Saffron’ Grand Adhesions by K&Company); forest green alphabet stickers (Recollections); Mexican themed stickers (Sticko and Paper House); cowboy hat sticker (Jolee’s Boutique); corner paper rounder (ek success).

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!

Walking Into a Tex-Mex Saloon – Pulled Pork Taquitos at Tequila Sunrise

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I have a weakness and its names are Tex-Mex and Mexican.  Fajitas, corn tortillas, and empanadas stuffed with the most savoury meats and served with refried beans, rice, sour cream, cheese, and guacamole??  OH.MY.GOD.  Insert hungry rumbling noises from my stomach right here.  We all have our “naughty” foods, things we know are bad for us but are just so damn good.  Things we eat when we allow ourselves that one indulgent day or meal out of our otherwise healthy week.  I LOVE Tex-Mex and when I want to be bad, THIS is my indulgence that satisfies me from top to bottom.  Tequila Sunrise was an unplanned, accidental outing in my foodie repertoire and am I ever ecstatic that I ate here over a month ago!  This meal was delicious, so satisfying, and such a sweet surprise.

On that day, I had a hankering for burritos and skipped on over (well, more like bussed, subbed, and then skipped) to Burrito Boyz (blog post to come in the near future!), hoping to sink my teeth into either a veggie and cheese burrito or some form of quesadilla.  Burrito Boyz was packed and although I’m not against taking my food to-go, you know how I am with the pictures and all, so my sweetie and I said to hell with it and contemplated Plan B.  I was hungry, it was 1pm in the afternoon, I didn’t want to go far, and I still had that craving for a burrito!  Enter Tequila Sunrise just down the street!  I was aware of Tequila Sunrise but just hadn’t gotten around to trying them out so when Rich suggested it, I shrugged and thought, “why not?”

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I loved this meal SO much.  The decor and atmosphere were adorable.  Okay, so the disco ball hanging from the ceiling is snicker-worthy, but seriously, I felt like I was eating in an old-time Tex-Mex cowboy saloon out in the desert 😀  I half expected men in chaps to walk right in and tip their hat at me.  But the real winner here is the food.  SO EFFING GOOD!  Their menu has a plenty of choice and there are lots of traditional Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes with Spanish and Columbian influences to choose from: chicken mole, tortilla soup, chimichangas, enchiladas, empanadas, pozole stew, chili con carne, huevos rancheros, tostadas, as well as plenty of guacamole and chirizo, and margaritas, mojitos, sangria, and of course, tequila to wash it all down!  I ordered the taquitos dish with pulled pork: 2 crispy fried corn tortillas in the shape of tubes (or flutes), filled with pulled pork and covered in chipotle sauce, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, and guacamole, served with rice, refried beans and corn chips, and salad.

This meal was perfection in so many ways.  The refried beans were so smooth and the meat and dish in general wasn’t salty, greasy, or overly seasoned at all.  The corn tortillas had the most delightful crispy texture and corn flavour and they didn’t collapse or get soggy because of the filling.  They maintained their crunchiness and texture and perfectly complemented the sauces and pork.  The flavour of the pulled pork really shined through and it was soft and juicy and SO delicious.  The flavour was subtle and natural because it wasn’t masked or overshadowed by anything; you knew you were eating pork and it was just slow-cooked so perfectly.  You could taste the leanness of the meat and there wasn’t an ounce of gross fat hanging off of it.  Fat doesn’t equal flavour and Tequila Sunrise got their pulled pork bang on.  Quite possibly the BEST pulled pork I’ve ever had.  I inhaled this and I think I said, “oh my god, this is so good” about four times during my meal!  It’s a dish I can envision myself ordering time and time again.

Tequila Sunrise is a gem.  Wonderfully nice staff, delicious food with plenty of choices to boot, and cute decor to match an equally cute atmosphere.  Prices are very reasonable meal-wise.  They have plenty of $9, $10, and $11 meals as well as platters for multiple people to share (such as fajitas and enchiladas, and combo platters).  So if you’re looking for something simple, you can definitely manage with $10-$12 and if you’re looking to go all out (meal, drink, dessert, the whole nine yards), it’ll probably be a $20 meal.  Well worth it for the fan-freakin’-tastic food 😀  I’m so happy I got the chance to eat here and I’m looking forward to my next noshing!

*****

Tequila Sunrise is located at 212 Adelaide Street West, west of University Ave and situated between Simcoe and Duncan St.  Adelaide St. is north of King, south of Richmond St.  They are open for lunch and dinner Monday-Friday, serving lunch at 11:30am.  Dinner only on Saturday and Sunday is served at 4pm.

Scrapbooking materials used: cobalt blue and buttercup yellow cardstock (Recollections); green patterned cardstock (“Green Tea” stack by DCWV); red and blue alphabet stickers (Recollections); journalling card (“Darcy collection” by Anna Griffin); Mexico stickers (Jolee’s); Mexican embellisment stickers (Recollections).