Supporting Local in Lockdown Mini Blog #4
This is the fourth in my “mini blogs” series to spread the word of the amazing local hospitality businesses in our area who will be offering takeaway/delivery services over the coming weeks. I wanted to share my experiences of those I have had this year in condensed write ups to support the industry and also show all the amazing treats we have to choose from!
It is always super exciting when you hear of a new restaurant opening its doors near you. Seeing all the hype on social media and reading press releases to learn a little bit more about what you can expect from this new venture. It becomes even more exciting when you learn that this new restaurant will be offering something totally different to what our ‘Little White Town’ is used to, making it unique, as well as brand spanking new. Time for an extremely excited food blogger (that would be me) to dig out my sombrero because I am going to Mexico! Well, El Toro Loco would eventually be coming to us due to current travel restrictions, but it was pretty much the same thing.
Bright in Colour and Taste
I was lucky enough to visit El Toro Loco, located at Affinity Devon Shopping Outlet, in mid September before lockdown 2.0 after they opened their doors and released their crazy bull upon North Devon in August. Obviously no wild animals started roaming their way around our streets; El Toro Loco means “crazy bull”. Every day is a school day! The decoration of the restaurant was a feast for the eyes and put you straight into a festival fiesta mood; huge day of the dead themed murals, expertly painted in the most vibrant of colours, the perfect match for the equally vibrant tasting and looking food.
Warmly welcomed by a friendly waitress and Mexican inspired background music, the menu was vast with many meat, fish and vegetarian options for me to indecisively choose between and a simplistic cocktail menu for me to immediately decide upon a raspberry daiquiri to buy more thinking time. Cog turning completed and appetite wetted by the sweet taste of raspberries and a glorious kick of rum, the spice had arrived in the form of a generous abundance of plump prawns plated upon a beautiful sky blue plate. The prawns were juicy, having soaked up all of the five spice coating they had been roasted in, making my tongue tingle with happiness, albeit grateful for the creamy avocado and lime dressing to soothe my mouth, perfect timing for the show stopping swordfish.
Anyone ever visualise something to then have your amazing mind built picture totally blown away in real life? *Puts hand up*. The grilled swordfish kebab did just that to the masterpiece I had built in my foodie head. Towering above the colourful pots of freshly made salsa, chunky guacamole, smooth sour cream and buttery corn spiked with chilli flakes, the kebab hung in all its glory. Cubes of delicate swordfish were layered with green, yellow and red peppers and onion to form the best looking kebab I have ever seen. The swordfish was soft and flaked easily with the charcoal grill flavour ever present, along with vegetables torched by the flames to become sweeter and slightly soft. A sight to get everyone looking in the restaurant, but it was all for me!
Mexico at Home
Deciding what takeaway to treat yourself to on your lockdown birthday is a difficult decision, but one that was made easier when realising I could bring that vibrant and spicy El Toro Loco experience, cocktail and all, to my very own sofa whilst again wearing my most comfy pyjamas (the mini blog theme continues). Using their ridiculously easy app, the restaurant favourites were described just as they were in-house, along with some brilliant extra drink options (indecisive cocktail decision this time round). Pre-ordered and paid for on Wednesday afternoon to avoid disappointment, Friday evening between approximately 7:30 and 8:30pm could not come soon enough.
*Doorbell rings*. I was like a kid in a Mexican sweet shop, so excited to have had the opportunity to order this unique takeaway that was now available to us in our quaint town. Opening each white package, you could smell the spices instantly and were comforted by the same stand out Mexican flag themed paper each dish was lovingly placed upon. To kick the birthday spice train off? Polenta Calamari; a super crunchy coating encasing soft, translucent squid, paired with a power packed garlic and lime sour cream. I could have eaten trays of it; garlic breath would not be a turn off! The next spice stop on our Mexican journey? Prawn Chimichanga; those five spiced juicy prawns made their way into a soft flour tortilla, cuddled up with flavoured rice, sweet pepper pieces, earthy beans and melted cheese. Our journey had made its way to texture central, with the cheese giving the indulgent edge. A side of veg? Yes please! (If that means nothing to you, you haven’t read my previous blogs, then all will become clear). Grilled corn with chilli butter and a sprinkle of coriander. Who knew corn could taste THAT GOOD. Soft and sweet golden corn nuggets, so sweet they were almost creamy thanks to the dousing of chilli butter they had been swimming in during cooking. It made me realise that I need to up my butter game when cooking corn at home. All hail the butter!
You can imagine the fluffy pyjama wearing food happiness bubble I was in during the approximate time of 7:46 and 8:20pm and that had nothing to do with the fabulous rum kick of the raspberry daiquiri. The bubble almost burst with too much excitement when I dived into the very kind and unexpected addition of complimentary Churros. Was this the best birthday ever? It was close, I give you that. The shaped dough pieces were warm in temperature as well as the cinnamon spice that adorned the sugar coating. Each deep fried piece dived their way generously into the pot of glossy and sweet chocolate sauce that accompanied. Silence fell upon the house. Leanne was in her happy little food bubble.
De nada El Toro Loco for two very happy and wonderful spicy trips to Mexico! Now to perfect my corn on the cob in a pool of melted butter.