I’m always on the hunt for new food experiences, some may even go so far as calling me a food huntress! You’ve never heard of a food huntress before? Dubious about my title? I’ll lend you a little food huntress wisdom… Sometimes the greatest reward is found by scouring overlooked strip malls and suburbs for the best hidden secrets.
One strip mall in particular, located at Dufferin near Lawrence is what a food huntress like myself would call a gold mine. It’s here where I found my go-to Italian market Lady York Foods, one of my fave fishmongers City Fish Market, and my new-to-me-since-yesterday bakery Columbus Panaderia Colombiana, a Colombian snack lovers’ dream. I’m not too familiar with Colombian culinary traditions, but I do know the tiny place was bustling and the smells were too darn good to keep walking past the front door, so I stopped in after grabbing some fresh alici (anchovies) and mussels from City Fish Market next door.
There were racks of freshly baked breads, a case of drool-worthy desserts, trays of fried items like empanadas, buñuelos which are basically fried doughy balls of cheese, pasteles, chicharrones and more. I also spotted a small freezer filled with packaged frozen fruit pulps like mango, mamey and guanabana as well as yucca (cassava) and arepas (corn cakes). My eyes were also adverted to a refrigerated case housing fresh cheese and a neat row of glass jars filled with homemade salsa.
I stepped up to the cash register and asked the young woman behind the counter, which fried item I HAD to try (my savoury instincts outweighed my sweet ones), she suggested the empanada, so I took one of those ($1) and a glass jar of the homemade salsa which I learned is called ajì ($5) she even gave me a taste of the ajì so I could be sure that I liked it. (via YouTube)
Behind the cash register was a wooden shelf filled with Colombian packaged cookies, crackers, coffees, and one of my faves – bocadillo (guava paste). If I didn’t already have a container in my fridge I’d have purchased a package of that too.
It’s a warm and friendly cafe filled with good smells and lively music. It’s the kind of place to sit and enjoy a sweet or a fried treat along with a cup of coffee before going about your day. I know one thing for certain, I’ll definitely be back for the ajì, it’s addictively good. (Photos via blogTO)