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Review: Brunch at La Carnita, Toronto


Torontonians are so obsessed with Sunday brunch I often avoid participating in the “what’s your favourite,” conversation in order to avoid the unnecessary terse. Passionate peeps stomp their fists on the table and lay claim to what they feel are the very best weekend mid day breakfast/lunch synergies. They are not about to let your honest opinion trump their darling go-to-spot. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy a good brunch but am the last to identify as part of the “love to wait in line on a Sunday morning for an hour to eat a plate of eggs,” cult. I respect the fact that for many brunch is a ritualistic weekly routine, where friends and family gather to catch up, feast and nurse their hangovers.

So, this past Saturday I channeled the passion and professionalism of method actress Meryl Streep and found myself sipping on vodka cranberry while dancing until 4am. Sunday morning I awoke looking supremely haggard, I had my brunch face on. It was a “beautifully sunny day,” which was rather painful for me on four hours of sleep so like most brunchers I affixed a pair of shades. Fragile as ever, I hopped on a tram heading west  on College Street and hopped off at Palmerston.

It had been some time since I last feasted at La Carnita and was thrilled to have been invited to the restaurants brunch preview for friends, family and media. I was the first to arrive and slithered like a zombie to the bar where I ordered a bad ass glass of ice water. New faces trickled into the space as hugs and kiss, kisses were shared. I spotted Hassel, my go to girl at Toronto Underground Market and gave her a big hug before sitting down at a long table in the centre of the dining room. I was thrilled to sit at a communal table with the wild and wonderful group who make up the TUM committee. I first ordered a hot cup of coffee which was served with a wee cup of condensed milk (La Carnita’s head honcho Andrew gets 10 points here).

The coffee slowly “brought me to the table,” and once I felt present enough to indulge in conversation I started to come alive. Over the course of the next two hours our table feasted off a playful mexican inspired brunch menu. After sampling what seemed like hundred of dishes it was clear that La Carnita has succeeded in creating a unique and inspiring brunch collection. On February 10th (when brunch officially launches to the public) I have no doubt that a long line will find itself snaking across College Street. Brunch monsters, start your engines!

I sampled (* notes my favourites):

Coffee with Condensed Milk

Potato and Yucca Homies *

beef cheek, green onions, salsa fresca, pickled jalapenos, oaxaca cheese, fried egg

Guillijo Granola and Yogurt *

yogurt, honey, mint, guava, banana, pineapple and hibiscus flower

Braised Lamb Frijoles

salsa fresca, queso anejo, tortilla chips

Cochinita Pibil Tostada *

guacamole, achiote braised pork, fried quail egg

Chorizo Sausage Taco

spicy maple syrup, crema, green onions, confit tomato

Roasted Pork Belly Sope *

roasted pork belly, poached egg, arbol chili brown butter hollandaise, chicharron

Scrambled Egg Taco

eggs, lime avocado, red chili, chipotle, cilantro

Crispy Chicken Torta *

guacamole, crema, habanero honey glaze, salsa fresca

Lamb Bacon and Eggs Taco

egg, lamb bacon, confit tomato, habanero sauce

Mexican Hot Chocolate

with house marshmallow and ancho

Cinnamon Bun *

cajeta frosting

#424 restaurant reviewed in Ontario since moving to Toronto in 2010. 

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