My Mediterranean Weekend

A friend of mine is leaving for Spain soon and I have to admit I am very jealous.  We went for drinks a couple nights ago and the conversation (not surprisingly) ended up on food.  She told me about the food she was about to eat and I began salivating.  Europeans sure know what they are doing when it comes to food.  This weekend was a true testament to that statement.

DSC08428

On Friday night a friend of mine made a reservation for the restaurant Trio up in the Yonge and Lawrence area.  I’ve been meaning to try this place for a long time because I heard that they had great pizza and I’m always in search of great pizza.  My obsession with pizza started years ago when my friends from home would order Chicago style deep dish pizza from this place in Calgary called Chicago deep deep deep deep dish pizza (the one with four deep’s is much better than the one with five deep’s if you are ever there…don’t be fooled by the extra deep). From then on, I’ve indulged in dive shops for 99 cent slices (not recommended) to Grimaldi’s in Brooklyn (which to date is one of the best meals I have ever had…the pizza was so good I almost started crying).  Moving on.  We were greeted by the friendly staff and were given the choice of sitting in the darker, intimate interior or a brighter spot by the window.  We chose the window seat for no particular reason and ordered a bottle of wine (a Tuscan Sangiovese).  We decided to order four dishes between the three of us since I was really hungry and everything on the menu sounded delicious.

DSC08436This is the Penne Calabrese.  The pasta was perfectly cooked and the tomatoes were very fresh.  The dish was a little spicy too which was a pleasant surprise.  In terms of portion size it was a decent size and for $12.50, given the tastiness and quality of the sauce, I thought it was a steal.

DSC08435This is the cannelloni.  The sauce was smooth, rich and creamy.  It reminded me of a butternut squash at first and then my friend mentioned that it was probably tomato sauce with cream added.  That’s probably a more accurate depiction and given how fresh and tasty the tomatoes were in all the dishes, it explains why the sauce was so good.  Inside was ground veal.  The consistency was very unusual and reminded my friend of canned tuna.  I thought it kind of tasted like corn beef since it was pretty salty.  On it’s own, I thought the veal was okay but mixed in with the sauce, it was really good.

DSC08434When I was a kid my late night snack indulgence were pizza pops.  I LOVE those things!  I remember  I could eat half a dozen of those things in one sitting (man…I probably sound like I was one of those fat kids…oh well).  It’s pizza wrapped up in doughy goodness so really, what’s a boy to do.  When I first came across a calzone I was very excited since it looked and tasted like a giant pizza pop.  The calzone at Trio was pretty good.  The olives and mushrooms were amazing.  There was a generous portion of ham and and cheese was gooey and delicious.  There wasn’t enough sauce though.  I love the tomato sauce at this place so adding more sauce would have made this dish superb.

DSC08432A couple friends of ours just came back from Italy and the first thing I had to ask was, “How was the food?”  They began describing the pizza to me and mentioned that the crust is so thin and flimsy that you can’t really hold it.  The pizza at Trio reminded me of their description.  The outside of the crust is crisp so you can still hold on to it but the center almost melts apart.  The sauce, like all the other dishes, was awesome.  There was plenty of cheese and the toppings (italian sausage, peppers, onions among other veggies) were fresh and delicious.  There was a big hunk of goat cheese on one of the slices which I probably would have divided up had I noticed it was the only one.  I ended up popping the whole thing in my mouth since it was at the front of the slice.  I was in heaven but felt like I probably should have spread it out to savor the flavor amongst several bites instead of one giant one.

I’ve been watching the Sopranos lately too so I’ve been craving Italian.  Trio really hit the spot!  Good pizza, good pasta, good sauce…what more can you ask for?  Oh, we also took this picture because I started laughing when they brought out the pepper.  Hahaha!  AMAZING!

DSC08437

For dessert we made our way down to little Italy for gelato.  I’ve only had gelato on a few occasions but this place is definitely the best gelato I’ve had.  Welcome to Dolce!

DSC08442The selection is amazing.  I felt like a kid in a candy store.  Well, I guess I act like a kid so I can literally say I was a kid in a gelato shop…I wonder if they have that expression in Italy?  I ordered the passion fruit, my one friend ordered some berry one and our other friend ordered a caramel one I think.

DSC08444The gelato comes in these small cups and it is a little pricey given how much you get.  At first I didn’t think it was worth it until I put the first bite in my mouth.  It was a burst of flavor.  So rich!  So sweet!  So good!  It was the perfect way to cap of a night of eating.

DSC08445

The next day we helped a few friends of ours move from Greek town to the Yonge and Eglington area.  They were a little sad to leave the Danforth neighborhood and I don’t blame them, Greek food is great!  After the move, they took us to this place that they said I would love since I’m all about good food, cheap food, and a lot of food.  Walking a couple blocks east of Broadview we came upon the place, Messini.

DSC08448We all ordered the same thing, the chicken gyro lunch combo which includes the gyro (which I like to pronounce JIRO because it sounds cool), a greek salad and a drink.  I was pretty hungry after the move so I also ordered a plate of deep fried cheese balls to start.  I think I might have a mild obsession with cheese but seriously, if you saw deep fried cheese balls on a menu, wouldn’t you order it?  Deep fried = good.  Cheese = good.  Balls….well…in cheese form they are awesome.

DSC08450The batter was light and a little salty which balanced out the smooth cheese underneath.  The cheese was warm, tasty and had a viscosity such that you didn’t really have to chew but you would chew anyways just to keep all that goodness in your mouth just a little longer.

DSC08449When the menu said that a salad was included I was expecting a small bowl but when they arrived, my mouth dropped since it was HUGE!  The peppers, olives, onions, cucumbers and tomatoes were all very fresh and lightly dressed with the salad dressing.  Another outstanding characteristic was the amount of feta cheese.  I told this to the people at the table and I will probably never ever say it again, but I think there might have been TOO much cheese.  There were numerous bites where all I was eating was cheese.  I love feta cheese so obviously I finished all of it and was tempted to scoop up some of my neighbors but I managed to restrain myself.

DSC08451The gyro was pretty big and stuffed with a lot of meat.  The chicken was moist, well spiced and even a little crispy in some areas.  The fries were a bit of a surprise but were also pretty good.  The veggies were fresh and the taziki sauce was delicious.  For under $10, getting a huge greek salad with a ton of feta cheese, a gyro with delicious meat and a drink to wash it all down, this place is a steal of a deal.  If I find myself in Greek town, I’ll definitely make my way to Messini.  I hear the dinner combo is marginally more but you also get a even more food (like roasted potatoes…mmmmmm…potatoes).

My weekend touring the culinary delights of the mediterranean, Toronto-style, was magical.  I love how Toronto is a mosaic of some many cultures, especially when those cultures bring their food with them.  To my friend going to Spain, take a few extra bites for me while you’re out there…and try to bring some of it back if you can.

Advertisements

~ by jlowjlow on September 1, 2009.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: