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It's Patty Time!


Toronto's biggest and brightest street party is about to begin. And if you plan on joining in on Caribana, you'll want to prepare yourself with lots of sunscreen, bottled water, and of course, the perfect festival fuel - some spicy Jamaican beef patties.

But before you grab just any patty, consider your options. It's a simple concept, but mastering this handheld snack isn't easy. Each element must be carefully attended to: the beef must be moist and flavourful; the pastry tender and flaky; the spice bold but not overpowering.

Where, then, can such a "delicate genius" be found? I'm no patty expert, but I suspect that Eglinton West is the place to go for perfect patties.

Randy's Patties, for example, has built quite a repuration for its exquisite beef patties. (Jamacains.com voted Randy's patties the best in Toronto for 2000, 2002, and 2003. Strangely, there was no best-patty vote last year.)

Of course, Albert's Real Jamaican Foods remains a staple across the city, and their franchises do well to satisfy the patty-hungry. Albert's was my first real patty, and, as they say, you never forget your first.

For an on-the-go patty, I like to stop in the Bathurst subway station, where a little bakery taunts travellers with heavenly smells. While their patties aren't particularly notable, the sheer convenience is a nice bonus - just hop off the train, grab your snack, and hop back on.

For a longer list of patty purveyors - and other Carribean restaurants - check out Caribana.com's extensive list. Or, for the home cooks, Jamaicans.com offers you their recipe.

Chances are, though, you're already loyal to your favourite patty guru. Come on, don't keep it to yourself, share with us your patty secret!

Randy's Patties, 1569 Eglinton West, 416 781 5313

Photo courtesy of Jamaicans.com


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