El Catrin Mexican Restaurant in Toronto’s Distillery District

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!

The Feast:

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

Guacamole

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

Chile Xcatic

guero chili pepper stuffed with mahi mahi stew with axiote sauce, black bean puree, guacamole

Ceviche Atun

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

Pastro Taco

corn tortilla, shaved pork marinated in guajillo with pineapple, cilantro, red onion

Baja Taco

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

Churros

cajeta, chocolate and strawberry sauce

Tres Leches Cake

sweet crispy corn crumble

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