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Where Patois chef Craig Wong gets to-go al pastor tacos, savoury pastries and beef bourguignon

Where Patois chef Craig Wong gets to-go al pastor tacos, savoury pastries and beef bourguignon
Chef Craig Wong Photo by Ian Brown

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Craig Wong has been keeping busy this year. Besides constantly pivoting with Patois and hosting CTV Life’s Cook Like a Chef (a reboot of the classic culinary series), he also opened Bar Mignonette, a wine-and-seafood spot, this summer. Since indoor dining services have been kiboshed yet again, both of his restaurants have transitioned to offer takeout and delivery. However, just in time for the holiday season, Wong has also launched ready-to-heat dinners, plus gift-worthy cocktail kits, like the Patois Rum Punch for four.

“Between running two restaurants and being a father of two young sons, time is at a premium, so we get takeout three to four times a week,” Wong says. “I love every aspect of restaurants, and takeout is the closest we can get to eating at a restaurant. Most importantly, we need to support our industry right now.”

Taqueria Itacate

998 St. Clair Ave. W., 647-701-0420, @itacate_to

Serving grab-and-go Mexican street food from the back of a butcher shop, this family-run taqueria is a go-to spot for Mexican expats who want a taste of home. Between April and June of this year, Itacate provided free meals every Tuesday to neighbourhood families in need, those who lost their jobs due to Covid-19 and health care workers. “It’s hands down my favourite place to get tacos and Mexican street eats in the city,” Wong says.

Go-to item 1: Al pastor taco Dish description: This popular taco features sliced-to-order marinated spit-grilled pork and pineapple on two soft flour tortillas. It’s topped with chopped onions, cilantro, tomatillo salsa verde, hot sauce and lime.

Go-to item 2: Tacos campechanos Dish description: Two soft flour tortillas are piled with a combination of several proteins including chorizo, steak, suadero (a cut of beef between the belly and the leg) or a mix of meat and cheese. Of all the permutations, Wong’s recommendation is the chorizo con bistec y queso.

Go-to item 3: Lengua taco (beef tongue) Dish description: “When it comes to the lengua tacos, if you’re like me, always order an extra one. You’ll need it when your wife says, ‘I’m just gonna have one bite.’”

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Barbershop Patisserie

Helmed by pastry chef Jill Barber (Osteria Rialto, Blackbird Baking Co.), this new Trinity Bellwoods pastry shop serves coffee and tea alongside house-baked bread, savoury snacks and pretty French pastries. “I’m so glad Jill’s in our neighbourhood. During these times we may not be able to celebrate special occasions with friends, but we still need to make it count. I’m planning to pre-order one of her cakes for an upcoming celebration.”

Go-to items: Savoury snacks Dish description: “The grab-and-go sausage rolls and chicken pot hand pies make a great snack in the middle of a work day. Get there early, they sell out fast.”

 

Toben Food by Design

150 Symes Rd., Unit #130, 647-344-8323, tobenfoodbydesign.com, @tobenfoodbydesign

“Chef Toben Kochman’s catering company delivers healthy and delicious family style meals right to your door. The menu changes often, so you’ll always get something new and exciting. My family’s favourites are the wild mushroom gnocchi and beef brisket bourguignon for comfort food cravings.”

Go-to item 1: Toben’s famous handmade gnocchi funghi Dish description: Made with wild mushrooms, green peas, black truffle in a light white wine cream sauce the handmade pasta can be found in portions that feeds two or four.

Go-to item 2: Braised beef brisket bourguignon Dish description: Made in a red wine-sherry vinegar braising reduction, this gluten-free course also serves two or four.

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