I spent the majority of my summer and fall gallivanting around the globe. While away, I tried my best to stay connected to my home sweet home by reading Toronto Life religiously, taking notes on all the new restaurants popping up across the city. An always growing edible to do list. The buzz over the Distillery District’s new hotspot El Catrin had me craving nachos and margaritas from Denver to Dubai.
After what seemed like months of planning I was able to coordinate three very busy schedules to meet for a Toronto Mexican restaurant feast just days before the holidays. Snow floated across the Distillery’s cobblestone streets while the Christmas Market’s towering tree sparkled through the early evening. Bursting open the doors I sailed past a towering tequila adorned bar and magical Mexican motif with whispers from The Day of the Dead.
We spent the next two hours catching up at breakneck speed. Each of us had been busy as bee’s over the last few months press tripping near and afar. While gulping down freshly pressed margaritas we chit chatted about our goals for 2014, family holiday traditions, and the shifting media landscape.
Highlights at El Catrin include table side smashed guacamole, tostada duo featuring raw beef with pineapple and hot seared foie gras, crispy baja taco and melt in your mouth beef short rib. Tequila and Mezcal lovers, prepare to happy dance!
Reposado Margarita – Rested
milagro reposado, grand marnier, agave nectar, citrus
Fuego Sandia – Watermelon Fire
tromba blanco, st germaine, agua sandia, lemon, tajin rim
Pepino Diablo – Cucumber Devil
tromba blanco, muddled cucumber, serrano peppers, agave nectar, citrus, tajin rim
avocado, tomato, onion, cilantro, serrano chili
Tzic de Res Tostada
marinated raw beef with pineapple, cilantro, purple onion, serrano chili
Higado de Pato Tostada
hot seared foie gras, mezcal mango syrup, poblano onion relish
guero chili pepper stuffed with mahi mahi stew with axiote sauce, black bean puree, guacamole
fresh tuna, lime, pomegranate, grapefruit, scallion, cilantro, habanero mignonette, roasted amaranth
Ceviche “Vuelve a la vida el Catrin”
pacific oyster with ceviche of shrimp, octopus, bay scallop, red onion, cucumber, jicama, acapulco cocktail sauce
Ceviche Tribilin (Old Goofy Style)
shrimp, beef, mahi-mahi, tomato, onion, cilantro, marinated in lime juice
corn tortilla, shaved pork marinated in guajillo with pineapple, cilantro, red onion
crispy fried haddock, chipotle lime coleslaw, flour tortilla
Camarones al Ajillo
jumbo shrimp sauteed with guiajilllo, garlic, lime juice, white wine over red rice, black bean puree, guacamole
Costilla Corta en Mole Almendrado
beef short rib braised 24 hours with almond mole, sweet potato puree, sauteed sugar snap peas
Manjar de Queso con Dulce de Manzana
cream cheese mousse, cinnamon apples, almond crumble
cajeta, chocolate and strawberry sauce
Tres Leches Cake
sweet crispy corn crumble