Toronto Eats: Kub Khao

The opening of Kub Khao Thai Eatery in Scarborough is a game changer. Before this, good Thai food used to be something we had to schlep to the downtown core for, all while suffering through interminably long subway rides, incessant track work delays or slow-moving streetcars. But not anymore! Now we get to contend with the bus system!

Presently, Kub Khao is in a plaza at Birchmount and Sheppard with a striking view of the gas station. Scenery aside, this little restaurant and take out spot, promising lemongrass-scented coconut curries, caramelized grilled meats (the kind with the burnt crispy edges–yum!), pad thai and noodles, warm soups (khao soi, tom yum) and all sorts of heavenly goodies (fried chicken, curry puffs, chicken toast, etc), has so much variety on the menu that it’s almost impossible to settle on just one thing. This means repeated visits will be very, very necessary.

Am I already in love with Kub Khao? Yes. Yes, I am.

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Ihaw-Ihaw at Kanto by Tita Flips

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A few years ago I had the pleasure of eating Filipino food for the first time at Diona Joyce‘s Kanto by Tita Flips, one of the many bright food stalls at Market 707 on Dundas and Bathurst streets. If like me you haven’t had a lot of experience with Filipino food, I couldn’t recommend a better person to visit. Everything we’ve had at Kanto has always been carefully prepared, and the flavour combinations blows my mind each time; there’s always the right amount of sweetness and/or acidity that balances out. So far at Kanto we’ve had the lechon (roast pork), sisig (offal, boiled and grilled and then turned to crunchy bits) on top of fries, ukoy (squash fritters), balut (fertilized duck egg), lumpia sariwa (vegetables rolled in very thin crepes), and palabok (noodles coated in golden shrimp sauce).

Last summer, Diona introduced ihaw-ihaw, grilled and barbecue foods (usually meat and seafood). I missed the whole thing because I was away for school, and I almost missed the summer ihaw-ihaw again because of work this year. But the last ihaw-ihaw–don’t you love that word?–coincided on the first week I didn’t have to work late. There were some skewers on special, but my eyes were big and my stomach hungry, so we ordered the prix-fixe. It came with grilled fish, pork, chicken, squid….and an unlimited supply of garlic rice, salads and calamansi (Filipino lime) iced tea. I couldn’t think of a better way to end the day.

If you missed the ihaw-ihaw this year, make sure to check it out next summer!

More about Kanto by Tita Flips on my old blog and visit to TO Food Fest 2013.

Kanto by Tita Flips
707 Dundas Street West | Website 

Uncle Tetsu’s Japanese Cheesecake

I had Uncle Tetsu’s cheesecake! And it was good. The secret is to line up at eight in the morning. EIGHT IN THE MORNING. Even then, my friend only waited a mere 45 minutes — as opposed to the minimum two hours. So there you go, that was a pro-tip for your next attempt at acquiring Toronto’s latest fad.

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Before tasting it, I had balked at the idea of waiting so long for a six-inch cake, but I kinda get the appeal now. It’s very different from North American cheesecakes. It’s lighter and fluffier, many have said it’s like a cross between a sponge cake and soufflé, but it’s also very subtle tasting — plain tasting, I guess — which I liked.

Come August I imagine the line to the bakery will more than double as Uncle Tetsu will soon be introducing a matcha version of the cheesecake. (Can we just have a collective groan?) So, Toronto, there is no hope of the queue dying down by the end of summer.

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The Tempered Room

A pastry shop in Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood full of rustic charm, and surprise, surprise — good coffee from Sam James. The exposed bricks, wood accents, and beautiful bouquets make it a lovely homey space for relaxing and catching up with friends.

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The Tempered Room
1374 Queen Street West | Website

Odin Cafe

A morning coffee scene from a few weekends ago at Odin Cafe + Bar. The space was gorgeous and bright, and the coffee was as good as at any independent coffee shops in Toronto.

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