Cafe California

Standard

Cafe California exterior

Another Winterlicious joint, Cafe California, was a big trip into my past.  For one thing, it is named after the State I was born in, which is also a bit of a reminder of the politics that lead to my family being deported [don’t even ask what they were, if you’re curious watch a Michael Moore documentary], and as if that wasn’t enough, it was in the exact same neighborhood as my old school, Church Street Public School, and what happened there is personal too.  If you’re really curious about it… stop being a busybody [a joke, of course].  This was also when a big snow storm was supposed to arrive, but the hordes of shoveling neighbors and trucks skidding on slush was the day after we went, so we made it just in time.

snow storm toronto

Ironically for a restaurant named after a State where the only seasons are hot summer and not that cold winter, Café California was adorned with snow flakes everywhere that added a really nice touch [or just honoring Winterlicious].  Right next to it is Acme Burger, which also stirred memories of the time my sister worked at one, for two seconds.  Why it’s called that, is like asking a teenager about Sir Francis Drake, and the only answer they get is because of the video game series Uncharted.  For those who don’t know what that means, it’s like asking someone about Nazis but without telling you something from Indiana Jones.

Since there wasn’t a TNT explosion or an anvil that beaned someone on the head, I’m assuming it isn’t related to the factory.

image courtesy of ohbythewayblog.blogspot.com

image courtesy of ohbythewayblog.blogspot.com

Now let’s finally step away from memory lane, indestructible coyotes, and gun-toting archeologists  and back to the restaurant that I’m supposedly reviewing.

Cafe California interior

Another place that is armed with a coat rack, which is a big plus, and also really friendly service. The décor was pleasant as well, including the beads on the windows, and the square lay-out of the seating area.

But all this is mostly irrelevant if the food is bad.  Actually, it’s rather like a summer blockbuster movie with 3-D HD Surround Sound special effects when the story is bad.

Winterlicious menu

Winterlicious menu

About the menu above, I noticed that a lot of the foods, especially when they came to the table, where Indian in some way.  If an Indian person, by that I mean someone born and raised there, had eaten here, they would’ve enjoyed it.  I had the spring rolls, my grandmother had the beet and goat cheese salad, and my mom had the daily soup, which was a mild curry.

Clockwise from the top: My springrolls, Mom's curry soup and Nana's beet salad

Clockwise from the top: My springrolls, Mom’s curry soup and Nana’s beet salad

All were actually really nice, the beets and goat cheese were not too strong in anyway, the curry was likewise really good in a more herbal way, and the vegetarian spring rolls had flavour that worked most excellently with the plum sauce.  I also liked how there were warm but without a giant steam pocket that burns your mouth after biting into it.  Note: the curry soup had something  in it that sank to the bottom of the bowl, and my mom couldn’t finish it because of her nut allergies.  I would say that you should ask the waiter about the ingredients used if you have any food allergies.  I noticed how, along with other cultural cuisines, Indian dishes were quite popular, and were handled well.

Complimentary bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping

Complimentary bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping

The free bread was great, since they offered fancier marble and rye breads with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, instead of cheap and easy garlic bread.  I think that shows some extra care.

For the main course, I had the beef stir fry with mango, my grandma had the curry chicken, and my mom had the grilled Atlantic salmon.

Beef Tenderloin and Mango Stir-Fry

Beef Tenderloin and Mango Stir-Fry

The stir fry was splendid, the beef was perfect for it along with the sauce, and I thought the tropical salad went with it surprisingly well.

Chicken Madras

Chicken Madras

The chicken had a nice sauce, and was milder, and I’d recommend it to people who don’t like as much spice as I do.

Atlantic Salmon Fillet

Atlantic Salmon Fillet

I really liked the salmon, which surprised me because usually I don’t care for that type of fish, I think the grilling helped with that.  We all agreed the veggies were done just right; the carrots in particular weren’t over cooked.

At this point I was thinking that they’d have to really tank [top] the desserts to get a bad score, which is very unlikely to happen.  Or is it predator drone the deserts in this modern era?  Maybe it’s F-18, but I’m just guessing. (Editor’s note: I believe Callum is doing a play on words with the use of “tank”; leading to the drone and F-18 reference.  We’re not sure.)

Sometimes the author of this blog goes off on some weird tangents

Sometimes the author of this blog goes off on some weird tangents

I had the, surprise, surprise, chocolate mouse cake, my mom had the crème caramel, and my grandma had the five berry desert.

Chocolate Mousse Cake

Chocolate Mousse Cake

The chocolate cake was okay, but not as moist as it sometimes is, I’ve often said that they are hard to mess up, but some places actually have had better chocolate cakes, but this one hasn’t fired its missiles completely.  I’ve had far better at other places but I’ve also had far worse, but this wasn’t the highlight of the meal for me.

Five Fruit Crumble

Five Fruit Crumble

The berry dessert was probably the best, it was crunchy and the berries were sweet and a little bit sour, and yes, it had walnuts.

Creme Caramel

Creme Caramel

The crème caramel was light and had a sweet, caramel taste that.  Actually I find that there’s hardly any flavour in most crème caramels, I personally think they taste like sugared aerosol would[aerosol’s an incredibly light and air-like solid used by NASA to get comet fragments in space], so I don’t like them that much.  All I can say is that this didn’t taste eggier than an omelet, unlike the one from Le Petite France.

All in all, Café California, although the name [coming from the guy who rambled about F-18s] makes no sense, is quite a nice place, and the multi-cultural techniques were really good.  This is recommendable for sure, and perhaps even a good go-to place. So, final verdict—ah, what’s this?

Oh great, it’s the F.B.I..  I think they’re not too pleased about those political cracks.  All right, I don’t have much time, they’re inside the house.  I recommend this place immediately foavopwhnv avho[ry9 bklgt=t8yqaun b

[Anyone who doesn’t get that that was an elaborate joke needs to stop taking things so seriously.  Peace.]

Cafe California 538 Church Street
Cafe California on Urbanspoon

About callumeatstoronto

Hi, my name is Callum. Even though I am only 13 years old, I have been working on my palette and enjoy many foreign foods. I've been doing this blog for a year now, it's mostly for family-owned restarants in Toronto. As I've gotten familiar with this whole blogging thing, I've started to add posts on other food related topics and not just do restaurant critiques. My interests include; space, astro-physics, Sci-Fi, dinosaurs and of course Food. I hope you enjoy my blog!

3 responses »

  1. Well Callum that was quite good felt like I could have eaten it from the descriptions. Would love to try that Carmel cream.

  2. I like the helpful information you provide in your articles. I will bookmark your weblog and verify again right here frequently. I am fairly certain I will discover lots of new stuff right here! Best of luck for your next!

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