Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Taste of Mexico in Kensington

Chef Francisco Alejandri

Sometimes the best food is found in the most unlikely places. Not that Kensington Market is an unlikely place to find great food, but if I told you that some of the best food I've tasted in a while is being served from a humble table in an unassuming storefront, and that food was cooked using hot plates and a portable fryer, I think you'd agree that's unlikely. The talent behind the table is Chef Francisco Alejandri. Francisco is making everything himself under the business name of Agave y Aguacate, which I believe translates to Agave and Avocado!

After graduating from Stratford Chefs School, Francisco spent time working in some top restaurants for some amazing chefs, but now he's doing things on his own terms and making his own food! Not only is Francisco preparing and cooking the food himself, he also painted the gorgeous backdrop behind his table, and decorated his cashbox to match.

I ordered the tinga tostada made with Luis Suarez's chorizo (the best in the city according to Francisco); and my friend chose the green tostada, which is made with Monforte Dairy's queso fresco. Thank you, Ruth Klahsen. Both were absolutely delicious and bite-sized enough for a mid-afternoon snack, and if we had more time we would have stayed to order another! We washed it all down with Francisco's homemade red hibiscus juice. Refreshing and authentically Mexican.

Tinga Tostada

After we devoured Francisco's scrumptious creations, we couldn't leave this shared space without tasting the decadent churros that everyone within a three block radius seemed to be lining up for -- granted, they are a Spanish dessert and not Mexican, but they topped off our late lunch on a tasty, sweet note. Essentially a long tube of pastry filled with either chocolate or dulce de leche, churros are a sublime, sugary treat.

The churros prior to frying and filling

Inside this shared storefront, there are also 2 more food vendors representing their own countries. I was too focused on the food I was eating to remember the details of the other food vendors, but if you're in the Kensington area you can drop by and discover them for yourself!

There was such a sense of community in that space -- families, tourists and city-dwellers alike all squeezing by each other to line up for churros, buy some take-home food or sample some of Alejandro's culinary treats. There was a real sense of a global village right within the city, and I found myself wondering why I hadn't discovered this during the years I actually lived in Toronto.

If you're in the area, why not stop by Agave y Aguacate -- I don't know what his plans are for the future, but I look forward to the day where I can sit and dine in his restaurant and enjoy more of Chef Alejandri's delicious food! If you're looking for more info, just search Agave y Aguacate on Facebook!

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