Lovin' Latkes at Free Times Cafe
After turning down a string of Hanukkah "Latke Party" invites last past week due to work committments, I was craving those greasy taters so badly come Sunday night.
Walking along College Street at this point, a couple emerges from the Free Times Cafe and I can smell the latke take-out order in their hands from half a block away. Considering it a personal calling, I ring up a friend to join me and settle in to a booth at Free Times to satiate this craving once and for all (well, for the season at least).
Along with an order of potato latkes, we order the sweet potato, ginger and carrot soup and a falafel snack plate to share.
The soup ($3.25) is an absolute marvel to me. Light and intensely flavourful (thanks to the ginger), it comes with a couple slices of Rye and starts this meal off right. I've tried making similar soups at home, but achieving a consistency that isn't too thick nor too watery has always eluded me. Here, it seems just unreally perfect. They serve it up without any fanfare... but I've got to offer kudos to whoever masterminded this blend. Mmm.
Pictured at the top, my longed-for latkes ($5.50 for a dish of 5) are served with sour cream and applesauce. Don't let the photo fool you as the oversized plate makes them appear bite-sized. These were a little larger than my palm, distinctly dark and crisp on the outside yet oh-so-soft and supple within.
Greasy? Definitely, but nothing unreasonable for this kind of indulgence. I figure you either embrace the oils or go home and bake some homefries in the toaster oven.
On a related note: Free Times offers take-out latkes for $9.95 a sizzling dozen.
The falafel plate arrives shortly after, featuring six falafel balls, hummus, pita, salsa, grilled veggies, eggplant and couscous salads ($11.50). There wasn't one item on this plate we didn't love.
The falafel balls were, much like the latkes, really dark and crispy on the outside yet with a really soft (almost buttery) centre. Each dip and salad had it's own very distinct flavour (spicy salsa, parsley-infused eggplant, couscous with plump sweet raisins, etc.) making the plate a terrific pick for the indecisive diner.
The drink special on Sunday nights is a spiked apple cider ($5) but having to head to another meeting, I opted to wash the din down with a fair trade organic coffee ($2.10) instead. Nice, but I might just have to return next weekend for that cider.