Los Tacos de Mauro

I keep getting a hankering for tacos, so after my haircut this evening I left my car and walked down to Los Tacos De Mauro. I almost walked past it (okay,… I did walk past it but realized one step too late that it must be where I was standing) and nonetheless was disappointed by the tiny stand outside directing traffic upstairs. Well, hopefully this means an extra delicious meal right? Hmm… walking in to an absolutely empty restaurant I truly wished I could do a pivot turn and sachet down the stairs again, but the waiter caught a glimpse of me and told me to choose my seat.

Being a taco joint, the menu had various other items on it other than tacos but when ‘taco’ is in the name you probably should order a taco. I admit, being the only one in a restaurant that barely looked like it was expecting any guests, I decided to order one delicious item and hightail it out of there. But to my dismay none of the tacos looked particularly ‘authentic’. I sat there on my smart phone doing a little quick history to see which fillings are most common in Mexico, and sure not potato and chorizo, but this is what I selected among the few taco options.

My dish came out with three heated taco shells filled with chunky potato-sausage puree, a few spoonfulls of refried beans and guacamole…soup? Burning my tongue along the way, I downed the three small tacos and waited for my server to hand me the bill….and then…my worst nightmare. ‘We only take cash”. grrr… he directed me to the cash machine that charged me two dollars, I left him a generous tip and scurried to my car.

Los Tacos de Mauro on Urbanspoon

Burnt Butter Italian Kitchen

It was one of those nights I worked late, and was way too lazy to make any food at home. So I made a reservation at Burnt Butter and headed to westboro. Walking in, Burnt Butter looked a lot like Urban Pear in the Glebe – the long restaurant with a gorgeous bay window allowing eaters to look out and passer-byers to peer in.

Towards the back (or end) of the dining room is a large chalkboard which reads the entire menu. A little daunting in my mind, as it would be more craftily utilized for daily specials. But there they were, all the delicious menu items starring me in the face. To my surprise there were several items which included burnt butter – and this surprises me because I was always under the impression we as humans could not digest burnt butter…

Now, one would think you’d order pasta at an Italian restaurant but its one of those things where, if I’m going out to spoil myself, I’d rather order something I cant make at home. Looking through all the specials and all the regular menu items, I decided to ask my gracious waitress what she recommended (or rather, what they were especially good at). Not a moment to waste, she told me the scallops were tough to turn down.

Scallops are one of those very finicky seafood that can be overcooked very quickly, but I took her word for it and ordered the scallops with lime pasta. They were perfectly cooked, lightly seared on the outside with some blackened char, but tender and meaty on the inside. I would border on saying it may have been slightly undercooked but I have a strong suspicion it was actually cooked properly and I’m just not used to the cuisson. The lime pasta was fresh and thin (perhaps vermicelli) with a hint of lime and seasoning. There were several other dishes that were at the top of my list to choose from and each one that came out (for other patrons of course) looked absolutely delightful.

I can see that the overall impression made by the restaurant is a modern take on classic Italian cuisine. The menu itself admits, ‘Italian inspired. Inventive in spirit” allowing diners to realize they wont be getting Mama’s classic spaghetti and meatballs but perhaps a Curry Rasta Linguine with grilled chicken & shrimp, roasted peppers, chiles, olive oil and pineapple salsa. It won’t jive with everyone in the city, but its worth trying to go in with no expectations.

I admit I will be back to try many more dishes and perhaps dessert next time.

Burnt Butter Italian Kitchen on Urbanspoon

The Exchange Pub and Restaurant

If you recall, this was the Elephant and Castle before. Then some genius (seriously) decided to redesign the interior, revamp the menu and add a new sign to the outside. What a difference. It wasnt like the Elephant and Castle was bad, especially when you are hangry after shopping all day, but what a nice improvement. I know you’d think “a restaurant in the mall? Cant be that good” but you’ll be pleasantly surprised. The prices are descent for each item and the menu has a nice selection of meats, cheeses, sandwiches, pizzas and authentic English pub food.

An English friend ordered the Ploughman’s plate and was quite happy with the authenticity of the plate, as well as the selection of meats and cheeses. I have had the chicken curry – surprisingly fantastic. My sister ordered the small meatball sandwiches – what a great idea. There are three meatballs all on their own bun with chipotle mayo and what tasted like delicious pesto. Their soups are all very tasty if you decide to have a small bowl instead of salad or fries.

One night a girlfriend and I decided we’d go there for some drinks and we ordered a few things on their summer menu. Each one was so creative and tasty. Then we selected some drinks or them to make off the menu and each time they came back with exactly what we wanted.

I keep end up going back to the Exchange and I would be very surprised if you didnt find something on their to feast your appetite.

The Exchange Pub + Restaurant (aka The Ex) on Urbanspoon