Love Letter to the Distillery District: El Catrin & Other Eats

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Dear the Distillery District,

I love your brick walls (bitches love exposed brick walls.). I love your history. I love your cute boutiques and design/furniture stores. But most of all, I love your food.

A grand way to spend an expectedly free Friday, Jill and I decided to make our way down to the Distillery District to do a little exploring. Something about the Victorian Industrial buildings combined with modern design elements makes me a little too excited. 

I've only really been there during the Toronto Christmas Market (a wintertime must!), but this was my first time seeing the area lit up by sunshine. 

We were trying to find a place for dinner, but there's no harm in a little pre-supper snacking right? I quickly spotted a corn-on-the-cob stall, and I had my cash out within seconds. 

I'm a very appealing person.

Finger-lickin' good. 

We wandered around a bit while I munched away, but it wasn't long before we found something else to eat. 

What can I say? I like to always have something in my mouth. ~sexual~

Stumbling upon Maisonette was like stumbling upon buried gold. 

Ok, c'mon. Artisan, handmade ice pops? No-brainer for wannabe hipsters like us. Jill chose the raspberry pink lemonade flavour, while I eagerly picked the chocolate-dipped cookie dough.

They also had the cutest artisan chocolates and other sweets inside the little shop. I used what little self-restraint I have to keep myself from buying out the whole place.

After a lap around the area, we finally decided on a restaurant: El Catrin 

We wanted to enjoy the evening sun so we chose to wait 15 minutes for a patio seat. Drinks were available for purchase while in line -- quite thoughtful.

Jill and I were not too familiar with the tapas-style eating El Catrin specialized in, so we asked our waitress for some tips and recommendations. When we finally decided on our dishes, she told us not to worry and that we'd be stuffed full by the end.

We scoffed at that. How could these little dishes fill us?! She just didn't understand that the limit does not exist when it comes to eating for us.

She soon proved us wrong.

We started off with, of course, some good ol' chips and guac (we declined to add crickets for an extra $9), and cocktails to slurp down. A mango margarita for me, and a lemonade for Jill. Not typically a margarita fan, but I must say, this was the best one I've ever had.

First round soon arrived. 

Pollo con mole tacos: loaded pulled chicken served on corn tortillas. At $15 for three, these seemed a bit small for their price, but you certainly get your buck in flavour. The corn tortillas were a bit lackluster, but this is a minor complaint.

The pulpito emilia (under: botanas - small bites) found its way to our table next. 

Octopus dished with avocados, corn, cilantro leaves, black bean, serrano chile, shaved fennel, lime juice, clementine pieces, and olive oil. 

Jill is not huge on seafood, so I enjoyed this plate by myself. It's the perfect summer dish, fresh-tasting and light. Though I would have preferred it if they were a little more heavy-handed with the octopus and less with the fennel. 

We didn't stop there -- oh, far from it. 

Next on the menu was the gringa tacos. Same price as the pollo, but certainly more filling. Shaved pastor gouda cheese, flour tortilla, pineapple, red onion, and cilantro. 

Whew, by this time, I was already ready to implode, but I did my duty and worked away at the tacos. This, my dear friends, is what they call good work ethic. 

Ok ok, I promise, this is the last dish. 


Perfectly crispy on the outside, warm and doughy on the inside. Strawberry, chocolate, and caramel sauces completed our dessert. 

Can churros be "on fleek"? 

So our waitress was right: we were stuffed to the brim by the end of our meal.

But hey, we walked out of there with the biggest smiles and the most satisfied bellies. 

Looks like I just got another reason to love the Distillery District. 

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