Fall is by far my favorite season of the year. It isn’t crazy hot, it isn’t crazy cold, the leaves start to change color and the harvest of vegetables and produce makes for amazing comfort food. It’s a season that is both a feast for the eyes and for the belly. Root vegetables like squash, yam and beets are my favorite but when it all boils down – fall is about comfort food. Nothing better than spooning into a warm bowl of soup when you get in from a chilly fall day, or curling up with a cup of tea. Below are a few fall menu items from some of Toronto’s restaurants:
PAPAS AL CHIPOTLE – FONDA LOLA
Potatoes. The ultimate comfort food. The one at Fonda Lola ($6) packs in some heat with a chipotle confit of baby potatoes. Just the smell of this dish brings you comfort. It is confited in a duo of avocado and olive oil with garlic. The taste reminds me of a tomatoe-y, shrimp paste although none of those ingredients show up in this dish at all. One thing I’ve learned, confit = explosion of flavors!
SOPA DE TORTILLA – FONDA LOLA
Crispy tortilla soup with vegetables, avocado, cotija cheese (think Mexican feta) and jalapeno ($9). What I love about this soup is the crispiness of the tortilla strips. It adds a little extra oomph and textural balance to an otherwise liquid-only meal.
CORNED BEEF LUMPIA – LAMESA FILIPINO KITCHEN
The new executive chef at Lamesa is definitely someone you need to start following. The young chef, Daniel Cancino is but 25 years-old but is dishing out some next-level Filipino cuisine at the Queen West eatery. His corned beef lumpia ($7) are irresistible and served atop Lamesa’s banana ketchup. I have never enjoyed housemade ketchups, but this one is the exception.
UBE LECHE FLAN – LAMESA FILIPINO KITCHEN
Skip the Halo Halo and feast your eyes on this boys and girls. The custard-like dessert ($8) is adorned with seasonal fruit such as Concord grapes, green apple tapioca and figs, this dish is almost too pretty to eat. I said almost. The puffed rice gives good textural balance and this is definitely one dessert you don’t want to share.
PUMPKIN CURRY – PUKKA
It is no secret that one of my favorite ingredients of the fall season are pumpkins/squashes. It is also no secret that I am a carnivore, but I’ll gladly devour a bowl of this and not miss the meat. This dish ($11.80 as a side) started out as a staff meal at Pukka but once co-owner Derek Valleau tasted it he just had to put it on the menu. It’s so good that it knocked aloo ghobi off the menu! Order this with a side of their piping hot naan ($2.70 – $2.90) and you have a meal!
HERB-INFUSED CHICKEN TIKKA – PUKKA
This tender, juicy chicken ($14.20) is marinated for 24 hours in a yogurt, garlic, ginger, Kashmiri chili and coriander paste then cooked in a Tandoor clay oven. You wouldn’t even know it was white meat.
What are some of your favorite fall dishes to cook? To eat? Share with me in the comments below!