December 2, 2023


Taste the Home & Environment

Inside the kitchen area of Juan Alvarez, the head chef at Rosalinda

Stocked with Mexican sweet, an amazing scorching sauce selection and vegan ice product

Making rooster nuggets doesn’t sound notably romantic—especially for a pair of chefs regarded for their plant-primarily based culinary prowess. But, unlikely as it may possibly be, Juan Alvarez and Itziar Hernandez fell in like though cooking nuggets and other all-American meals for little ones at a hoity-toity right away camp in upstate New York.

Back again in 2012, Alvarez was an aspiring chef, Hernandez was a tourism and administration university student, and they both of those took gain of US short term worker visas to make some excess revenue concerning semesters. These days, they are the electricity few running Rosalinda, an upscale vegan Mexican restaurant: Alvarez is the head chef, and Hernandez is in demand of pastry.

Associated: What’s on the menu at Silent H, a new Mexican cafe on King West with a tequila lounge and scorpion-garnished cocktails

Half of Juan Alvarez's kitchen, including his table and fridge
Neither of them experienced flirted with veganism whilst growing up in suburban Mexico, but they’ve organically drifted into a generally plant-based mostly diet regime given that transferring to Toronto in 2017. “In Mexico, it is really hard to be vegan. Right here, we consume vegetarian about 90 per cent of the time. We’ll probably come to be fully vegan one particular day,” claims Alvarez. “The only time we normally try to eat meat is when we go again to Mexico. Who can say no to their mom’s cooking?”

They’re not that amazed by the the vast majority of the Mexican food stuff in Toronto. “If we’re craving one thing, we’ll normally just make it ourselves,” claims Hernandez. But they say the ideal indicator of a Mexican restaurant’s good quality is its tortillas. “If a cafe isn’t making use of home made tortillas or types from Maizal, we possibly won’t take in there,” claims Alvarez, introducing that, of all the city’s Mexican kitchens, Quetzal and Fonda Balam are both of those really worth the splurge. Generally, though, they go out when they’re craving Italian (Gia, Superpoint, Pizzeria Libretto), Japanese (Ramen Isshin, Ajisen Ramen, Sushi on Bloor, Tsuchi Cafe) or Vietnamese (Saigon Lotus).

Half of Juan Alvarez's kitchen in his Corso Italia apartmentMainly because they frequently get property from do the job about 10:30 p.m., they have a tendency to tumble again on uncomplicated evening foods. Hernandez will make a loaf of focaccia or sourdough just about each week for put up-change sandwiches, or they’ll mix it up with quesadillas and mushroom tacos.

When it will come to stocking up on the fundamentals, Hernandez thinks No Frills—especially the Dufferin Mall location—can’t be defeat. “They have the actual similar stuff as Loblaws but for a way reduced price. Their organic aisle is specifically good—it’s so structured and has a wonderful assortment.”

Juan Alvarez's kitchen table, which has some small snacks on itThey also recurrent connoisseur boutiques like La Spesa (Alvarez describes it as Eataly but little and superior) and Cheese Boutique (which they say carries an attention-grabbing assortment of vegan cheeses). For tortillas and dried peppers, they imagine the people at Maizal are unbeatable. They’ll both pop by their location on Ossington or check out them at the Trinity Bellwoods Farmers Marketplace.

The couple frequents Cheese Boutique, which they say carries an interesting selection of vegan cheeses.Hernandez and Alvarez really do not acquire numerous Mexican groceries in Toronto. With the exception of Pacho’s Benefit, they obtain most of the specialty stores overpriced. So, every time good friends or relatives visit, they have them bring around all kinds of Mexican pantry materials, treats and candies. Listed here are a number of of their favourites.

Alvarez and his wife have a massive stash of Mexican candySalsagheti is 1 of Hernandez’s favorite sweet treats. The gummy noodles are spicy and sour and occur with a tangy tamarind sauce that you slather on major.

Salsagheti is one of Hernandez’s favourite sweet treatsNo snack collection worthy of its salt is total with no some savouries. They are inclined to gravitate towards chips seasoned with chili and lime.

The duo tends to gravitate to chips with salt and limeIf anything doesn’t have plenty of punch on its very own, they have loads of scorching sauces and chilies to carry up the Scoville depend. They use Valentina to year junk food—Alvarez will even deliver it to the motion picture theatre to medical professional up his popcorn. The eco-friendly El Yucateco is his go-to hot sauce for anything else (he suggests it is in particular excellent on pizza). Whilst the couple both equally enjoy spice, they really do not take pleasure in extraordinary heat. “Habanero is about as very hot as I can handle,” states Alvarez.

If something doesn’t have enough punch on its own, they have plenty of hot sauces and chilies to bring up the scoville count.To harmony out the sweet and chips, there is generally a cornucopia of fruit in the fridge. They are hyper-seasonal grocery buyers. In the summertime, they hit up outside farmers marketplaces (their favourites are Wychwood Barns, Sorauren, Trinity Bellwoods and the Junction). For wintertime make, they recurrent Fiesta Farms and St. Lawrence Marketplace. Don’t let their spectacular junk foods selection idiot you—the couple eats mostly balanced total foods.

They keep a drawer stocked with fresh seasonal fruit.Almond butter and oat milk are fridge staples, mainly made use of for producing early morning smoothies. Hernandez prefers to take in breakfast at home, earning french toast or pancakes when she can. Alvarez normally rolls into function on an empty stomach. Once there, he’ll whip up a breakfast quesadilla.

This is a look inside the couple's fridgeThey never maintain considerably in the freezer apart from straightforward-to-reheat leftovers (like mushroom soup), some smoothie popsicles (crucial for very hot days when the AC is having difficulties to amazing their Corso Italia apartment), Brazilian cheese bread (which Hernandez is imagining of veganizing), non-dairy ice product (they think Ben and Jerry’s can make the best mass-sector stuff), and a backup sourdough starter.

They don't keep much in their fridge

They don't keep much in their fridgeHere’s a peek in the pantry. A several standout goods include vegan Nutella (Hernandez is a huge fan of Vegetation by Deliciously Ella), Fody’s onion-cost-free marinara sauce (the pastry chef is allergic to alliums) and a total lotta beans. There is a notable dearth of coconut oil in here a large amount of people today who practise plant-based baking choose for it, but Hernandez does not like the aftertaste. Rather, she prefers Becel’s plant-based mostly bricks.

You’ll note there’s a dearth of coconut oil in their pantry

A look inside Juan Alvarez's pantry“We experienced virtually absolutely nothing when we moved in this article,” says Hernandez. “We put in three months with just a mattress. We didn’t even have a sofa.” Over the earlier 5 many years, they’ve furnished their kitchen area with the essentials, such as a slow cooker, a stand mixer (mainly for bread baking) and a cast iron pan (their initial kitchen area order and nonetheless employed often for earning quesadillas and veggie stir fry).

Over the last five years, they’ve furnished their kitchen with the essentials, including a crock pot, stand mixer (essential for bread baking) and cast iron pan (their first kitchen purchase, and still used regularly for making quesadillas and veggie stir fry).Right here are their prized knives: a Hatsukokoro from Tosho Knife Arts, a Santoku from Knifeware and a pink-taken care of petty knife from President’s Selection, which Hernandez states cuts completely even with only costing $3. Enjoyment fact: Rosalinda now presents just one of these pink knives to each new cook dinner who joins the group. They swear it’s the great knife for small employment.

Here are their prized knives: a hatsukokoro from Tosho Knife Arts, a santoku from Knifeware and a bright pink-handled petty knife from President’s ChoiceAlvarez’s favorite cookbook is Food From My Heart by Zarela Martínez. A person forgot it at Rosalinda, and following it went unclaimed for a extended time, he decided to adopt the abandoned tome. He appreciates that the guide isn’t comprehensive of glossy pictures like other cookbooks, which he normally finds way too prescriptive. “It’s much more of a guidebook for common Mexican recipes,” he suggests. “I like to browse it for inspiration extra than something.” Pictured future to the book is lotería, primarily the Mexican version of bingo. The few performs a ton of games at house (which include Scrabble and Rummy), but Hernandez’s favourite is this recreation of probability.

Alvarez’s favourite cookbook is Food from My Heart by Zarela Martínez.The couple are not large drinkers, so to make a dent in their bottle of Tres Generaciones tequila, Alvarez begun a New Years custom where he brings it to the kitchen on December 31. Any person functioning the countdown change gets a celebratory shot. Other bottles in his assortment incorporate Agua Santa (his favourite LCBO-available mezcal) and Fino, a mezcal label not long ago introduced by his sister.

The couple aren’t big drinkers, so they have a small booze collection