The premise of the column is simple; work with restaurants of all kinds to explore what they have to offer and what makes them unique. In a city like Toronto, the choices are sometimes daunting and the food reviews and critics can be snotty and too complicated for their own good. So why not keep this easy?
Drinks. Appetizer. Main Course. Dessert. All along with a bit of information about what makes them my choice for Daniel’s Dish and why you should try them right away!
If I had to pick one kind of food to eat for the rest of my life, I think I would have to choose some form of Mexican or Latino food. There is something quite unique about it all with its fresh acidic flavours in contrast to its earthy spices. A world of dichotomous combinations that unite to make dishes like no other. That is just my wordy way of saying this style of food is delicious. One of the best interpretations of this style of authentic Mexican cuisine is that of Chef Arturo Anhalt and his team at Milagro Cantina. With three locations in the city of Toronto, Chef Anhalt spoke to us during an intimate evening of food and friends. He told us of his inspiration taken from family recipes that are meant to channel the life and passion of his home in Mexico City.
The moment you enter the space you feel as though you are stepping into Mexico. The decor, the smells and the beautiful people who surround you truly embody the Latino life. I have actually been a fan of Milagro for quite some time and am so happy to be finally bringing this favourite of mine to you all. Alongside some of the social media influencers that I have come to call dear friends, I was able to work my way through dishes and drinks that best represent what Milagro Cantina is all about.
Their website says it best:
“We strive to honor all aspects of the Mexican culinary and beverage tradition with our flavorful, rustic cuisine, warm and engaging service, our hand-crafted drinks and carefully selected spirits, and most importantly, the good times and lasting memories that come from enjoying a great meal.”
Without further ado, let me tell you which you wont want to miss upon your next visit.
Although I could sit here and write that you need to try a glass of Sangria or a signature Margarita (both of which are perfect for any occasion as far as I’m concerned), I would like to recommend something different. The Michelada is a combination of classic Mexican Negra Modelo beer, fresh lime and a salt rim. Many cultures have their own variation of this beverage, and all of them are delicious. The German in me is reminded of Beer and Gingerale, or the French Canadian Beer and Clamato. The point of a cocktail so simple is to be clean and crisp in order to be both enjoyed on its own or with food. A beer like Negra Modelo is heavy and almost sweet, but when combined with fresh lime it is changed entirely. Pair this beverage with a spicy dish or salty chips with the Guacamole Con Totopos and you’re in for a treat.
Although a lot of the menu could be deemed shareable, the one dish that had me literally licking my fingers is the Tostadita de Pulpo. Side bar, I usually get Julio to order when we visit Milagro Cantina because I sometimes end up butchering the names of the dishes. Thankfully the staff are kind enough to not be nasty about my broken Spanish and helped me get through the vocabulary lessons of the night. Atop a crispy tortilla, fresh octopus and chipotle ceviche literally embody the word refreshing. As for most of the dishes on the menu, please do yourself a favour and get dirty. This dish is meant to be picked up and crack and drip in your hands as you enjoy it. And if you attempt to use your fork and knife, you are doing nothing but a disservice to how it is intended to be eaten. Get messy. Please!
In my mind, the idea of a main course can go in one of two directions. Either it is so delicious that I devour the entire thing on my own or I put it in the middle of the table and share it with others. For me, food is an experience. And to share that experience with someone else truly does embody the power of food and the romance of its flavours. The Cochinita Pibil is a perfect main course for two that represents rustic Mexican cuisine. Achiote marianted pulled pork, pickled habanero onions and fried plantains served with tortillas create a build your own experience. Put as much or as little as you want and enjoy the clean flavours of one of the best pulled porks I have tried in the city of Toronto.
Let’s not think that just because I enjoyed a meal at a Mexican restaurant that I am going to tell you to have the churros. Though they might be considered a food group in our household, there is a gamut of decadent desserts in Mexican cuisine. Chef Anhalt’s Flan de Queso Al Caramelo is a beautifully creamy flan with burnt sugar sauce. A comparison in flavour would be a lighter version of cheesecake with a crème brulée sauce on the side. Two desserts on one plate? Sign me up! After beautifully earthy and spicy dishes, it is the perfect way to calm the palette and end the evening.
Secret You Should Know:
Julio recently celebrated his birthday and we both love Milagro Cantina so much that we decided to join for the second time in a few weeks. For a food blogger who loves to visit restaurants of all kinds, the chances of this happening are few and far between. But when it comes to authentic Mexican cuisine and a Latino atmosphere like no other, there was no other place I would have celebrated that special day with the man I love. It is just that good and this is just one reason why you need to visit the next time you’re in the mood for a great experience.
So what is your personal favourite from the menu? Make sure to tweet @Milagro_Cantina & @ElChefdeMilagro to let them know what you believe is their best dish upon your next visit. Tag @DoTheDaniel so I can come along with you all thanks to DoTheDaniel.com
For more behind the scenes of this and other Daniel’s Dish visits, follow my Instagram!