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Thursday, 15 August 2013

Mambo Italiano

As we all know, we spend more time with our coworkers than we do with our friends and family.  A sign of the times in modern society, but I however, am truly lucky to have some pretty great coworkers at this point in my life (not always the case as for the majority of my working life I have worked with some effed-up characters).   I am even lucky enough to call some of these coworkers friends. 

So when you spend this much time with a group of people it is only natural that they have an influence on your life.  So, as per Audrey, Carlos and Peter, I am officially the "honorary scozzese italiano amico" - or honorary Scottish Italian friend. 

I prefer the term "Britalian" because our culture exchange works both ways.  Peter has introduced the phrases "mi piace" and "no mi piace" into my everyday vernacular.   I have introduced the phrase "blokey" into Carlos' vocabulary.  Audrey (after being horrified by the fact that I had never tried Nutella) promptly procured a jar for me to try (thanks for putting that delicious monkey on my back Audrey!).  I returned the favour by turning her on to the "proper" sour flavour of British pub-style pickled onions.

I am hooked on all things Italian.  Therefore a trip to Toronto's Little Italy was in order.  Little Italy is officially the area that borders around College Street between Bathurst and Ossington up to Harbord Street.  Although it cannot compare to Little Italy in Manhattan (there are now various Thai and shawarma restaurants scattered in the area), there are still some great gems to be found.

Bar Italia is one of these gems.  The staff are informative and friendly and the food is authentic.  Without exaggeration, it is probably the best Italian meal that I have had this year (and trust me - thanks to my work mates I have eaten at a LOT of Italian restaurants this year).

We started off with the Crostini Al Gorgonzola, served with roasted red peppers and marinated mushrooms.  Don't let the small portion fool you - it is super rich and it is just enough for two people.  I highly recommend pairing this with one of their fine red wine selections.

When in Rome (or a reasonable facsimile)...I had the Chianti...The Fella had the Moretti Forni beer.

I had the Bucatini Con Broccolini - fresh pasta with broccolini, roasted cipolini, roasted garlic, chili peppers, basil, olive oil and parmesan cheese.  It was out of this world delicious!

The Fella had the Spaghetti Bar Italia - fresh pasta with a home made tomato and basil sauce topped with locally made hot Italian sausage.  I could not help but to steal some of his meal.

"Britalian" at it's finest - the Italian Scooter a la British Mod chic!
A stop in little Italy is not complete without stopping at the legendary Sicilian cafĂ© for a scoop of gelato.   Mi piace my friends - mi piace!

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