Where Charlie’s Burgers’ Franco Stalteri gets to-go Italian pastries and pasta, tacos al pastor and omakase dinners

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Where Charlie’s Burgers’ Franco Stalteri gets to-go Italian pastries and pasta, tacos al pastor and omakase dinners

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

Securing a ticket to the exclusive—and sometimes elusive—Charlie’s Burgers pop-up dinners was once a rite of passage. The innovative culinary experience featured top Toronto chefs, and in 2010, the underground “anti-restaurant” was No. 3 on Food and Wine’s list of the 100 best new food-and-drink experiences in the world.

Since stepping out from his role as the mysterious persona behind Charlie’s Burgers, founder Franco Stalteri has gone on to also start a monthly wine program that brings unique imported wines to its oenophile members. The pandemic also saw the introduction of the CB Butcher program, an online grocery store offering products once reserved for some of the city’s best restaurants. Looking for a two-pound Wagyu chateaubriand? Look no further. “Our goal has always been to offer meaningful wine and culinary experiences, whether they’re enjoyed at home or at our CB dinners,” Stalteri says. “Offering culture, education and enjoyment is more important now than ever before.”

And while Stalteri has been cooking more than ever over the last year, he does get takeout a couple times a week to support local restaurants. “It’s a great way to escape, pretend to travel, find comfort in foods we love, and support the businesses and people that are part of our community.”

Enoteca Sociale

1288 Dundas St. W., 416-534-1200, sociale.ca

“We miss putting on CB dinners so much. Our last dinner before the pandemic was with the team from Rimessa Roscioli, a Roman institution. Here in Toronto, Enoteca Sociale has always nailed Roman specialties.”

Go-to item 1: Maritozzi alla panna
Tasting notes: “They recently started making maritozzi alla panna—brioche-style bread with whipped cream. This is the quintessential Roman breakfast, and I’m obsessed with it. One bite transports you instantly to the Eternal City. Add a couple espressos and your day is starting off on a high note.”

Go-to item 2 and 3: Cacio e pepe and bucatini all’amatriciana
Tasting notes: “Enoteca has been executing these classic pastas perfectly for years. This is simple Roman food at its finest. Both pastas are made with a handful of ingredients and define what cucina povera is: where the simplicity of the ingredients coupled with perfect execution really make all the difference. They are such perfect comfort foods on cold nights.

Latin World

1229 Bloor St. W., 416-603-3311, latinworlddelivery.ca

“This place is down the street from my house. The food is super authentic and tasty. The family that runs it is so friendly, and they deserve the neighbourhood’s support. If you’re ordering tacos, order all of them and pretend you’re laying out a spread on the hood of a parked car in Mexico City for a late-night feast.”

Go-to item 1: Tacos al pastor
Tasting notes: “They really nail the classics with bang-on execution. They keep their al pastor tacos simple with just a little pineapple and terrific sauces.”

Go-to item 2: Tacos de chorizo
Tasting notes: “The tacos de chorizo are simply topped with onion and cilantro, just the way you would have them late at night from a street vendor in Mexico City.”

Go-to item 3: Pozole
Tasting notes: “The pozole is a delicious and warming winter dish. There’s also freshness and brightness from the chili, onion and lime. It’s a very uplifting soup!”

Skippa

379 Harbord St., 416-535-8181, skippa.ca

“Skippa is a prime example of a passionate and hard-working team putting out absolute gold in takeout form. Sushi is really an experience best enjoyed at a counter within glaring distance of the chef, however the team at Skippa have really perfected the new art of takeout sushi. I still miss sitting at the Skippa counter but this is a great alternative for now.”

Go-to item: Trust Skippa menu
Tasting notes: “The multi-course Trust Skippa menu is a real journey. It starts with the nori pan sourdough bread. It’s made with seaweed from Japan and served with house-whipped miso butter—it’s just stupid good. For the sushi itself—in keeping with their ‘dip, no dip’ tradition at the counter—they include details in each takeout order outlining which pieces should be dipped in soy sauce and which should not be. It’s a nice touch and you can almost hear chef-owner Ian Robinson in the background saying ‘Dip!’ or ‘No dip!’”