Where Leña chef Julie Marteleira gets to-go wonton soup, chicken shawarma and almond croissants

Where Leña chef Julie Marteleira gets to-go wonton soup, chicken shawarma and almond croissants

We’re asking Toronto chefs and restaurateurs which takeout dishes have been getting them through the pandemic

More Takeout Diaries

Since being temporarily laid off from her role as executive chef at Leña last October, Julie Marteleira has been keeping busy. The Lisbon-raised chef started Petisco Kitchen, an Instagram-based food business, with her mother and sister at the end of January. Pestico’s menu showcases regional Portuguese cuisine, including some dishes based on Marteleira’s mother’s traditional recipes. “So many clients have told us that the only time they’ve had food like Petisco’s was in Portugal, so it’s nice to have that recognition.”

The trio make only a limited number of meals each week out of a ghost kitchen, taking orders only through Instagram. Recently, Cheese Boutique and Newport Fish Importers started carrying an assortment of their products. Cheese Boutique owner Afrim Pristine has also invited Marteleira to join the lineup of chefs taking part in the west-end fromagerie’s new food truck takeover series. Pestico will be serving its Portuguese fare March 13 and 14, starting at 11 a.m. each day.

“It’s been really nice to work with my family. The cooking duties are split between my mom—who had a restaurant in Lisbon— and myself, while my sister manages the orders and our social media. It’s fun to see that everything has come full circle. As much as it’s kept us busy, I also think it’s nice for my mom to see all her recipes and food out there.”

While it’s been fun, Marteleira will be returning to Leña when indoor dining is permitted once again. When she needs a break from cooking, though, Marteleira enjoys grabbing some takeout. “I’ve tried many new places during the pandemic that I hadn’t had a chance to try before.” Here are some of those finds.

Sang-Ji Fried Bao

1 Byng Ave., North York, 647-346-9199, @sangjibaotoronto

Go-to item 1: Sang ji bao (fried)
Tasting notes: “I love the contrast of the steamed bun and the really crispy seared base. Adding the house-made chili crisp sauce is a must.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Sang-Ji 生煎 (@sangjibaotoronto)

Go-to item 2: Wonton soup
Tasting notes: “The mini wontons in the soup are so delicate and flavourful. I’ve had this meal a lot as of late on these cold days we’ve had.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Sang-Ji 生煎 (@sangjibaotoronto)

Ghadir Meat and Restaurant

1848 Lawrence Ave. E., Scarborough, 416-750-7404, ghadirmeatmarket.com

Go-to item 1: Chicken shawarma
Tasting notes: “The shawarma plate with all kinds of pickled veg is my go-to. The chicken is very flavourful, you can taste all of the spices. I really notice the difference in flavours from other shawarma places I’ve tried.”

Blackbird Baking Company

172 Baldwin St., 416-546-2280; 635 Queen St. E., Unit 101, 416-465-0043, blackbirdbakingco.com

Go-to item 1: Chocolate cork
Tasting notes: “These are small treats that still manage to satisfy chocolate cravings. They have a soft centre that’s almost mousse-like and the outside is like a refined brownie. I usually get a few.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Henrietta Lane (@henriettalane)

Go-to item 2: Almond croissant
Tasting notes: “The croissant is exactly what it should be: flaky with just enough frangipane filling. The crunch from the toasted almonds on top is exquisite. It’s definitely a classic French pastry and one of my favourites. At Leña, my staff always joke that I use almonds, olives and oranges so much. I love almonds!”