Celebrating el Cinco de Mayo

I was catching up with some old friends at the Drake Hotel  enjoying their cinq a sept menu deals for appetizers and drinks when we found out the Drake was celebrating Cinco de Mayo with a salsa showdown.

It's not what you think, no sexy latinas shaking their booties and dancing the salsa; foodie Ivy Knight was hosting a salsa battle between 5 amazing restaurants to see who would reign supreme and we could participate as judges!!  The exception was for the gorgeous Anastasia who entertained us with her burlesque show during an intermission while the ballots were being tallied..   Ivy host's a series called "Monday at the Drake" showcasing different restaurants in the city competiting against each other with deals from Amsterdam 86 beer. 

Tonight it was battle salsa and the contenders were: 
Rebozas Mexican Food- 126 Rogers Rd. (at Boon) - making a salsa roja with refined beans.  The opinion of our group was that this was the most authentic salsa of them all.  The feelings were mixed about the beans.  Those who enjoyed the taste said that this was a great salsa with an earthy flavour from the beans and a good punch. 

Sabrositos - http://www.sabrosito.ca/ - making an avocado and tomatillo salsa with 12 different chillies.  The chef, Carlos Fuenmayor provided his own tortillas that he specified were not fried.  Carlos had the most personality of all the 5 restaurants as he was busy selling his dish and talking us up.  I found the salsa mild and I didn't get the spice from the chillies but I enjoy the taste of the avocado 

L.A.B - which stands for Live and Breathe, a new restaurant that opened up on 651 College street provided us with a smoked tequila salsa with a pineapple reduction.  This was the sweetest of all the salsas and felt like a palette cleanser between the first 2 salsas and the next ones to come. 

Buddha Dog - http://buddhafoodha.com/ which is a restaurant at 163 Roncesvalles Avenue that specializes in locally sourced artisan hot dogs and sauces.  He made a sweet salsa verde.  This salsa for me was the most unimpressive, I felt it just got lost with all the different flavours and textures from the other contenders.  My friends could taste the cumin and lime in the salsa but those flavours are still very subtle.  

Niagara Street Cafe  www.niagarastreetcafe.com tucked away at 169 Niagara Street came in with a decadent chorizo and lobster salsa.  They make the chorizo in house as well as their rice tortillas.  I enjoyed the different textures of this but my friends thought it strayed too far away from a traditional salsa. 

Bellfountain Inn www.belfountaininn.com   This contender came all from Caledon and wowed us all with her salsa which was a hearts of palm, avocado and tomato salsa with the option of giving it a kick with her home made hot sauce.  This salsa was exceptional- it had the texture, the flavour and the uniqueness that we all loved and she was crowned the salsa champ!  

So the results came in and in third place was the sweet and fresh salsa from L.A.B.
In second place - the most authentic salsa - from Rebozas  
and our winner was our long distance chef - the Bellfountain Inn

For more details on Ivy's dinner series and upcoming events, check out: http://www.ivyknight.com/upcoming-events--contact.html

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