It's All Good (68 Wales, at Leonard, 416-504-0222) Complete meals for $10. Average main $6. Open Tuesday to Friday 10 am to 6 pm, Saturday 11:30 am to 5 pm. Closed Monday. Unlicensed. Cash only. Access: four steps at door, no washrooms. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
Tucked away behind Toronto Western Hospital, It's All Good has to be the most obscure café in town. It's so inconspicuous, this take-away on the fringes of Kensington Market has been open for nearly two years and I only tripped over it the other day.
Not that obscurity is what It's All Good's owners, self-taught foodies Ezan Shanta and Nicole Sech, are aiming for. They've tried to get Good off the ground several times by leafleting the nearby hospital, but it seems most of the staff either brown-bag it, hit the food court or like institutional food.
"We get quite a few people from the emergency room, though," deadpans Shanta.
They won't be short of customers for long, especially once word gets out that the low-key luncheonette's team offers three terrific tacos for only six bucks every Tuesday. Built on a thicker than usual blue-corn tortilla base, they come in three varieties. The veggie version gets piled with grilled eggplant, green pepper, mushroom and scallion, the chicken with grilled breast and sweet red chilies, the beef with chopped steak and caramelized onion ($2.25 apiece the rest of the week).
All arrive garnished with organic leaf lettuce, thick slices of block mozzarella, optional guacamole and sour cream (25 cents each) and as much incendiary salsa as you can take. The same first-rate fillings find their way into commendable quesadillas (all $4.25), but surprisingly not burritos. I'm sure that if Sech and Shanta added the trendy meal-in-one wraps to their card there'd be lineups out the door to rival those at Burrito Boyz.
I'll kick-start the queue by heaping praise - along with a heaping spoonful of salsa - on the house's signature tomato soup, a spectacularly creamy made-to-order purée of ripe organic field veggies ($2 small/$3 large). Once it catches on, there'll be a conga line of regulars dancing through the spot daily. Lucy's Chicken Sandwich ($5.50) is another reason to celebrate, a large, pounded-tender breast layered Italian-style with sweet red peppers, caramelized onion, the house salsa and old-school tomato sauce on a pressed ciabatta bun.
Weighing in at 2 pounds-plus, Malaysian Fried Rice could be Kensington's biggest meal deal. We did shrimp ($8.25) - there's beef or chicken ($6.50) and all-veggie ($5.50) as well - and received 10 loonie-sized shrimp on a massive bed of rice strewn with slivered garlic, onion and skinny dried red chili pods. Pass the salsa.
We're less than impressed with tiramisu ($3) but find a soft spot in our hearts for lattice-topped blueberry pie ($3), just the kind of marvellously retro comfort food that desperate housewife June Cleaver could have whipped up in her Wisteria Lane kitchen circa 1958.
Now, don't all race over there at once. It's tiny, with only a small window counter and a few tables out front on a makeshift patio. Service can be painfully slow. Call in your order, show up later and you'll still end up hanging around. But when it comes to tacos and tomato soup, It's All Good is very good indeed.