Where former Globe Bistro chef and owner Ed Ho gets to-go kebabs, dim sum and porchetta in Etobicoke

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Where former Globe Bistro chef and owner Ed Ho gets to-go kebabs, dim sum and porchetta in Etobicoke

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

It wasn’t that long ago that chef Ed Ho, an early adopter of the farm-to-table philosophy, was running three Toronto kitchens simulataneously: Earth Rosedale, Earth Bloor West and, his O.G. spot, Globe Bistro on the Danforth. Last year, right before Covid hit, Ho decide to step away from the industry, closing Globe after 14 years of business.

“I still have mixed emotions about that,” says Ho. “I miss my team and the guests. At the same time, I feel very lucky that I am not in the restaurant business right now. Anyone with a dining room is suffering. I marvel at the innovation and pivots I am seeing across the board. But I know restaurateurs would like to offer normal service again with full staff and lots of guests instead of packing bags and takeout containers.”

Now that he’s no longer running restaurants, Ho is trying to make it in the entertainment industry, picking up gigs for TV shows and commercials. “This pandemic has also been a disaster for the entertainment industry, especially theatre,” says Ho. “TV and film production has come back a bit, but with limitations. It’s really fun, but it’s hard to pay the bills. Maybe I’ll be discovered one day! I built a sound studio in my house where I can play music and do voiceover work without disturbing my wife.”

While he’s not navigating the pandemic like many of his peers, he’s been supporting the industry as best he can. A resident of Etobicoke for nearly 25 years, Ho admits to having made great efforts to try every restaurant in the area. “I think that we’ve done a pretty good job so far,” he says. “Etobicoke is vast and there’s no real centre, so it’s all pretty spread out. Selfishly, everything that I am recommending here is in pretty close proximity to my new house in Long Branch.” Here are some of his favourite nearby spots for meals to go.

Kebab 49

5308 Dundas St. W., 647-348-4525, kebab49.com

“While the name may seem generic, this is Turkish through and through. I would say that they make some of the best Turkish food I’ve ever had and I’ve eaten my way through Turkey at least half a dozen times. Kebab 49 continues to be very busy—they do takeout very well. They have quite a large menu with a lot of different meats cooked over coals on the mangal.”

Go-to item 1: Pide ekmek
Tasting notes: People in the know get the doner sandwich instead of the wrap because the bread they use for it is so very good. It’s pide ekmek which is not pita, but a leavened inch-thick disc. It’s the perfect vessel for doner or a kebab. I always try to buy more to go with my meal but my requests are refused—I guess it’s popular and they make just enough to go around.”

Go-to item 2: Ali-nazik kebabs platter
Tasting notes: “I drool just thinking about this. It’s traditionally made with lamb, but here it’s a veal and lamb skewer on top of yogurt garlic eggplant. Then they drizzle tomato and a little butter on top with a couple hot peppers. It travels well and can be warmed up in an oven.”

Go-to item 3: Appetizer platter
Tasting notes: “This is basically a compilation of all the dips and salads that they make: eggplant, hummus, cucumber yogurt, Russian salad. I particularly love the white bean and the ezme, a tomato-chili dip. It’s one of my favourite condiments.”

Go-to item 4: Adana kebab platter
Tasting notes: “This dish is popular in the city of Adana in the southeast of Turkey, close to the Syrian border. The texture on the grind is coarser than normal. It’s well spiced and cooked over coals. They serve it on bulgur with roasted tomato and peppers. And yes, you should use the bread as the vehicle to eat it!”


 

Jade Dim Sum

2280 Dixie Rd., 905-273-6663

“Dim sum is a staple in my life. When we moved to Long Branch, I needed to find a reliable place reasonably close. This is my new local—and they know me and my wife now. The folks who run it are so nice and hospitable. They have no website or delivery, but there’s always a lineup on weekends for takeout. There is a regular menu on top of the dim sum menu and everything that I have tried is good. They also have frozen dumplings to go. Everything is good here, so it’s hard to pick favourites. But if I had to pick a few standouts, it would be the following dishes.”

Go-to item 1: Parsley and shrimp dumplings
Tasting notes: “The parsley is actually cilantro. It’s basically har gow with cilantro, but that elevates the flavour quite a bit. Eat them hot and with chili sauce.”

Go-to item 2: Deep-fried taro pork
Tasting notes: “The crust is light and crispy and not too thick, and the filling is great. I always eat these when they’re still too hot and burn my mouth. It’s quite a delicate dish and so many places fail at making it properly.”

Go-to item 3: Cantonese chow mein
Tasting notes: “This is not fancy, but very well done. It’s a huge portion for the money, with good fry on the noodle and lots of components.”


 

Khao Gaeng

3583 Lake Shore Blvd. W., 647-343-8019, khaogaeng.ca

“This was the first place that I was thrilled to find in my new neighbourhood. It’s a small Thai restaurant with only a few tables, for when dining-in is allowed. But they have a great little ordering engine on the website, which makes life so easy right now. I could just eat their pad gra prao kai do and be very happy, but everything on their menu that I have tried is good. There is a lot of love in their cooking.”

Go-to item 1: Pad gra prao kai dao
Tasting notes: “This is a great dish. It comes as a disassembled bunch of ingredients: stir-fried Thai holy basil, Thai red and green chilies, garlic, bamboo shoots, white onion, long green beans, soy sauce and oyster sauce. You can choose your protein—I generally get the beef. There is rice, a fried egg and fish sauce on the side. You mix it all up in a bowl and get ready for a taste explosion. It’s quite spicy and the fish sauce takes it over the top. This is one dish that I would rather not share with anyone, it’s that good.”


 

SanRemo Bakery

374 Royal York Rd., 416-255-2808, sanremobakery.com

“This place is an institution. I’ve lived in Etobicoke for almost 25 years but I only came here for the first time around five years ago—boy, was I missing out! Sadly, SanRemo’s patriarch, Natale Bozzo, passed away recently. He started the bakery over 50 years ago with his brothers after immigrating from Calabria. His three sons have now taken the reins of this family business. Pre-covid, if you got there before noon, the front display was completely packed with sandwiches—and it would be empty by 3 p.m. They also have good pizza, a hot table and phenomenal baked goods. There’s also a deli where they’ll custom make you a sandwich, too. I usually have to park a few blocks away—but that’s probably a good thing, as I generally need the walk after.”

Go-to item 1: Porchetta sandwich
Tasting notes: “If this sandwich is available, get it with some hot Italian peppers and have them warm it up. They slice the porchetta thin and pile it high. The bread is freshly baked in-house and absorbs the juices perfectly. I like to add hot peppers to balance the richness of the meat. My fallback sandwich is the muffuletta—it’s excellent and huge. It’s a joy to eat either of these sandwiches.”

Go-to item 2: Pistachio cannoli
Tasting notes: “I generally don’t have a sweet tooth, but this cannoli is great. I would crawl over glass to eat this. The pastry has the perfect amount of crunch, and the pistachio cream is rich but not too sweet. There is hardly room to eat this after one of the sandwiches, but I am an all-in kind of guy.”

Go-to item 3: Apple fritter
Tasting notes: “All of SanRemo’s donuts are great, but if they have apple fritters, get one. They are dense and delicious and huge! You’ll need two hands to eat one. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the zeppole for San Giuseppe, which is coming up in March. If you want zeppole be sure to pre-order them soon!”