Let’s just say bicycling from Yonge and College up Mont Pleasant Road to Eglington is not advisable unless you have recently competed in the Olympic Triathalon. I was huffing, I was puffing, muttering explitives and enduring the pounding of my heart beat which I could feel on my sweaty temples. The hills finally plateaued and I was able to catch my breath for a few minutes before entering Pimenton.
This past summer I met the owner, Chef Jose on a farm tour of Pristine Gourmet. We sat in the back of the car and chit chatted about each others work. Jose is a Venezualan Toronto based Chef with a passion for Spanish cuisine. He is best known for his famous pop up Paella which you can find at the Toronto Underground Market.
I arrived around 5pm to catch up with Jose, get a tour of his Spanish culinary emporium and sit in on his Paella cooking class. Jose immediately had me sample his two Bocadillo, a traditional Spanish sandwich, meaning “little bite.” I enjoyed his little torpedos of Serrano ham and the absolutely fantastic Tortilla Sandwich (potato and egg omelette with spicy aioli and oven roasted tomatoes).
Once finished snacking I set myself up in the kitchen where several tapas plates smiled up at me. We munched on croquetas (Serrano ham and chicken), arancinis (Italian rice balls with sweet green peas), home made hummus and olive oil doused roasted eggplant.
Jose started the class by serving up a bottle of his favorite Rioja and watched our chopping skills as we created an Escalivada salad, originally from the region of Cataluña. Next we paired up into teams and laced up our aprons. The group made two paella’s that night for the seafood and chorizo lovers.
I hadn’t been to a proper cooking class in ages and had good fun meeting my other classmates and watching Jose liven up each pan over the hot stove. Once finally finished our beautifully adorned dishes took us straight to risotto heaven. Be sure to pop by and visit Jose if you are looking to pick up any imported culianry treats from Spain. He offers the cities best Serrano and Manchego as well as prepared meals to take home. If you are looking for a fun and delicious date night check out the classes he offers HERE.
As I said my final goodbyes to the group I packed my leftover paella into my backpack. I hopped on my bike and on the last warm(ish) night of the Fall I zoomed down Mount Pleasant Road bound for Yorkville. I have never been so delighted to piggyback on the wings of gravity. I couldn’t stop smiling, this effortless journey home was maximized by the excitement of tonights leftovers transforming into tomorrows lunch.