Hello everyone! My lovely friend, Elizabeth invited me to join her for the last day of Estrella Damm’s inaugural Tapas Journey in Toronto. This was a 10-day culinary event at different Toronto restaurants featuring a $20 sampler which included 3 Signature Tapas and one Estrella Damm beer (I opted for ginger ale and water since I am not a beer fan.) We stayed in the Queen West area and popped into Carmen first. I wish I had taken more pictures of the actual restaurant – it is so cozy and welcoming. We got to sit on the back patio since it was a beautiful evening out. Our first dish was Montadito of Lobster: braised lobster tail with brie and greens (they had run out of the jamon Serrano.) A very rich start to the tapas journey, the lobster was flavourful and the brie provided that extra boost of richness. Next was the Pintxo “El Jefe” (or as I like to call it, el Jeff lol) which was a skewer grilled shrimp with guindillas, pardon pepper, and pan con tomato. The peppers brought some heat, while the olive brought distinct flavour. This dish had a variety of textures and was a nice follow up to the richess of the first tapas.
Finally, we were served the Salmorejo Toronto: spicy tomato sauce with crispy bread, garlic scapes, hard-boiled egg whites and egg yolk. This was our favourite dish of the evening! You really can’t go wrong with tomato soup, and the additions just brought it all to a whole new level! I would gladly go back to Carmen! Service was fantastic and the staff were very knowledgeable and friendly. The lighting wasn’t as great at our next stop which was The Good Son, so I didn’t take as many pictures. To be fair, it was later in the evening and we were indoors. The tapas menu at TGS was hearty and delicious. My favourite was the first platter that came out, which included Steak Tartare with soft boiled quail egg and hand-cut fries. The next 2 came out together – Grilled Shrimp Crostini (was supposed to be octopus but they had run out) and Papas Bravas (potato wedges with scallion aioli, San Marzano tomatoes, and chicharone. Definitely a heavier tapas meal, but was perfect for a chilly fall-like evening. I had walked past The Good Son many times before and am glad I finally went in. I would also love to return to try their regular fare.
I hope this event comes back next year – such a great opportunity to try a bunch of different restaurants that you normally may miss!
Thanks so much to Elizabeth for taking me on the Tapas Journey, and thanks to you for stopping by!