Port Credit is notorious for being busy during the summer months, especially come time for the Buskerfest and the Mississauga Waterfront Festival. Despite such a pleasant waterfront stroll lying so close to home, the congestion on Hurontario and horrendous state for parking cause the trip to be a weary mission on its own.
Library parking fills up quickly, which pushes restaurant-goers and harbourfront explorers to cram their vehicles into meter-enforced spots along Lakeshore. Arriving early (on a weekday especially) is usually the key to avoiding traffic Hwy 10 and securing a (free) parking spot within reasonable walking distance.
While I was essentially set on sharing an appetizer, and perhaps a main or two, my dining partner was having none of it. Her ill state brought about total bitterness, regardless of the situation. Sitting on the patio was "too chilly", the menu options were "too greasy", and her overall demeanour just encumbered our server. I hadn't been informed of this condition prior to planning, and was absolutely frustrated that I was confronted with a sick soul that not only overturned my morning routine, but wanted no part in this meticulously-scheduled get-together.
My spirits plummeted, though personal efforts were made to salvage the remainder of the visit. Gas had been surrendered and parking had already been secured; "No further opportunities shall be lost" was my rationalization.
The patio, which could comfortably thirty plus occupants, was my pick. Sitting along the edge instead of the bar stools provided a clear view of the colourful mural while dining.
Numerous interesting picks were listed on the menu, including a Chicken Chimichanga ("deep-fried burrito) and Con-Queso Street Corn ("fire roasted corn). Devoid of a background with education on the Spanish language, majority the names were quite difficult to pronounce and picture the relevant dish of accurately. Thankfully, detailed descriptions compensated for this.
My Virgin Mojito, priced substantially less than its alcohol-infused counterpart, was refreshing with muddled mint leaves and an adequation amount of carbonation. It maintained the fizziness of ginger ale without the rupturing aftereffects. Ice cubes were of standard size and portion, unlike the excessive amount witnessed at Planta; in addition, it did not cause the beverage to turn watery.
The beverage was undeniably more acidic than anticipated, which actually made for a pleasant surprise. Lime, once again, made an appearance in the form of a citrusy garnish.
It adopted a sleek, unrivalled presentation: unmashed, in a weighty stone pot. Three halves, or possibly more, of avocado were delivered in the dark speckled mortar alongside whole garlic cloves, diced red pepper, Spanish onions, cilantro, and a dash of paprika. Not until the view of its raw state was observed by customers did the server take grasp of the pestle and skillfully incorporate its contents into the luscious, fatty acid-packed paste fondly known as guac.
The reason behind its deconstructed state was to ensure freshness and transparency of the ingredients. Lime juice added zest and prevented browning; crispy nacho chips sprinkled with paprika and fine salt accompanied the flavour-packed Mexican favourite, which was somehow pulpy yet smooth at the same time.
Customers were presented with choices of flour or corn tortillas for their soft shell tacos. The flour-based version was chewy and satisfying; a single sheet was sufficient in upholding its various components. The gluten-free alternative of corn was stacked in twos to prevent leakage from lack of wheat-based adhesive. Admittedly, the corn tortillas tasted starchy and even a bit stale.
I definitely preferred flour over corn - the flour tortilla possessed a flat, uniformly smooth surface and did not contribute any latent flavours to the taco itself. A more unique texture resided with the kernel-based variety, but not one that I found particularly enjoyable to tear away at.
Matadero emerged as a rather solid choice: the beef was of an ideal texture, a mix of coarse and fine, and the overall composition was less spicy than Carnitas. Nonetheless, it persisted in hotness beyond my level of tolerance. I could perceive little beyond the spice, meaning that neither pico de gallo nor cheese was tasted.
Fish tacos is generally the safest choice in terms of flavour and mildness. Milagro pescata was my favourite of the trio, since it was both citrusy and savoury, and contained a lower spice content than the other two.
Pineapple-marinated chicken sounded interesting, but few comments were overheard besides the fact that it was spicy.
His visits became less frequent and attitude more lacklustre at this point. He was spotted intently conversing with the bartender with his back towards our table on several occasions. I was taken back when not even a faint smile was offered during payment time.
Bathrooms were easily found next to the kitchen area. Given the age of the restaurant, spotless stalls were not a surprising sight to behold. With the passing of seasons though, it can be predicted that facilities will function at lower efficiency and dust will gather in the corners.
El Jefe probably isn't the spot to hold a family gathering, for dimness and loud atmospheres never really click with more reserved company. Attempting it with friends of similar age and driving capabilities is your best bet.
I'm unsure why someone would take the time to ruin another's scheduled activities for the day while simulatenously inflicting pain upon one's own health, but it happened. It happened before my eyes, and it was happened to me. The inevitable truth came around: I would be abandoned after that strenuous drive and hunt for parking in Port Credit.
Having bid farewell with a sigh of exasperation, I took advantage of the opportunity to trek about Lakeshore, seeing as the sun had finally emerged from behind the tops of grey clouds.
The stall, which appeared largely industrial and a tad grimy at first, was actually quite pristine and spacious. A double hook on the back of the door enabled me to hang my belongings and continue with business in peace. The infograph of coffee roast personalities was another amusing addition.
The chocolate sauce tulip was an charming topping, albeit a bit childlike. It was just a shame that the sauce quickly sunk to the bottom, rendering the beverage neither smooth nor indulgent.