If you are looking to go to Mexico but find yourself short on money or time, then look no further than Kensington market in Toronto. There, you will find El Trompo, a place that will transport you to the country that defies spiciness.
As I am waiting for my girlfriends to arrive at El Trompo, I decide to order a Michelada, also known as beer with lime juice and salt. The place is warm, welcoming and on a hot summer night like this, blasting all possible fans available. Yet the heat of the night has overtaken this place. But it is not an uncomfortable heat, is one of those smooth, pleasant, relaxing and breeze kind of heats. As I sip my beer and look around the place with its fans, Mexican inspired decor and the Spanish speaking staff, I realize, I am no longer in Toronto…for the next 2 hours, I will be visiting Mexico, and this will cost me a mere $15-$20.
This is not the first time I come to El Trompo, in fact I am a regular here. So my menu plans have already been decided and selected from the moment we planned coming here. My Mexican night starts off with some lovely guacamole.
According to my friends, this is the best guacamole they have ever had, and I will have to concur. The “gauc” is fresh, chunky and smooth. The tomatoes are visible, which makes it even more fresh. With it comes some corn tortilla chips, which according to the owner, Lucero, are especially brought from Mexico. And for those of you who would want to have more of these, they also sell them at the restaurant by the bag.
Next up, my lovely Queso Fundido or Molten cheese. This is a special Mexican white cheese, melted and covered with sauteed mushrooms. I have yet to guess what kind of sauce they use on the mushrooms, but the whole dish, is just delish.
The Queso comes with flour tortillas, which you then use to spread the cheese and mushrooms on, wrap it up and proceed to eat it. Yum.
Next up, my favourite and El Trompo’s most popular dish, Tacos al Pastor!
Tacos al Pastor
The tacos come in an authentic corn tortilla with pork marinated in a special traditional Mexican sauce. The pork has a kick to it, but it’s not spicy. If you want to add heat, just turn to the salsas on the table – Verde or Roja (green or red sauce), they are both amazing, just one spicier than the other.
Back to the tacos, on top of the lovely pork comes pineapple, onions and coriander (also known as cilantro). All tacos are served with a lime on the side. In Mexico, the formal way to eat tacos is to squeeze the lime in before you eat them. The tacos are great as they are, but once you sprinkle the lime juice on them, then the real party begins in your mouth. Is as though the sourness turns on the marinate from the pork and makes the flavours come together. Exquisite!
My night finished off with some sweet churros and cafe the olla (coffee made on a pot). Overall, a great dining experience. Thanks to Lucero for being such an awesome restauranteur and for bringing this lovely place to our sometimes cold city!
Dining Experience: Dinner
Location: Kensington Market, 277 August Avenue, Toronto, ON
Menu items: Guacamole + Queso Fundido + Tacos al Pastor
Drink Pairing: Michelada (Beer with lime juice and salt)