Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Got Me On My Knees, Laila

Since I was there anyway, I tried the food at Laila and wrote about it for Torontoist:

I got to meet the cook, Fariha, who has been there ever since Sam opened the place as an Aida's Falafel franchise back in about 1996. She's a Lebanese grandmother who makes everything from scratch with the exception of the baklava. So the hummus, falafel, sauces, stews, and salads are all made fresh. People call her "Speedy Gonzales" because she can work so fast. In addition to doing all the cooking, she manages the ordering and inventory.

I can't believe how cheap this place is considering everything is homemade. I didn't write about it, but Darcy had the shish taouk sandwich and it was full of really good quality chicken breast. They make their sandwiches by lopping off the top of a pocket pita and loading it up instead of wrapping it, so there's quite a bit in there. My personal preference is for pitas that are wrapped, so I'll probably stick to the plates.

On our way out we picked up some tabouli, which she told us is really good. I love how proud she is of her food.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Laila, Darling, Won't You Ease My Worried Mind?

My post about the mysterious posters lambasting Laila restaurant went up today on Torontoist: Josh Glover, a Torontoist reader, sent us the tip on Tuesday.

I was so nervous initially when I went to talk to Laila owner, Sam. I hadn't ever been to Laila and I didn't know what to expect. I was afraid he was going to get upset, but he turned out to be the sweetest man. He spent a long time telling me about the restaurant and his family. Regarding the posters, he wasn't upset or really surprised at all. He didn't think it was interesting enough to write about but didn't mind if I did.

I also spoke at length with Jim Chan from Toronto Public Health who has been working there for 31 years. In addition to being an inspector and manager, he has worked on, among many other things, investigations of tobacco sales to minors and unregulated retirement homes. He was so knowledegable and helpful and it was inspiring to meet someone whose life's work has been to protect public health. I learned a lot about Toronto Public Health that should make us all feel very secure and well cared for.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Chicken Hot Pot Broth at RaviSoups

I've now tried everything on the menu except for the Beef Miso soup and the RaviStew. A couple of days ago, even though we brought our lunches, Jessica and I went down and I had the Chicken Hot Pot Broth for the first time. Reviews of this soup have been lukewarm, but I loved it. The broth is coconutty, but still spicy and it's full of goodness like thin ramen-like egg noodles, napa cabbage, baby bok choy, and tonnes of shredded chicken breast. It's an extremely hearty, feel good soup.

Monday, March 9, 2009


Saw this site mentioned on Gothamist today. It's very much like the This Is Why You're Fat format, but it's colour scans of sandwiches in cross-section. Very fun:

Desperate Times Call for Free Beer

My post about the "beerbistro bailout" is up on Torontoist: Had a great dinner at beerbistro at Yonge and King in the name of research. Something I found out that I didn't know before was that everything there is homemade with the exception of corn and flour tortillas. So, they make their own bacon, ham, sausages, sourdough bread, baguettes, buns, condiments, desserts, etc. Incredible.

I only mention the corn dogs and smoked chicken pizza in the post, but we also had the excellent fries and the new chickpea tikka masala. The fries are to die for and in such a generous portion. The masala was served with brown basmati, I think. It was nice and spicy and full of vegetables, but it may not be the most exciting thing on the menu. It's definitely healthy though.

Everything on the winter menu is under $25 so it's affordable luxury. You'll love it.

Many thanks to Marcelo for taking such beautiful pictures for me.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Hot or Not?

My article about the chilli scale at Salad King just went up on Torontoist today. I went with Marcelo to see how spicy "20 chillies" really is:

Bottom line was that we're weren't blown away. When we were in India for work, I ate a unbattered deep-fried green chili in one bite because it looked like a green bean. Now that was hot.