I’m writing this blog in English primarily for my Spanish friend Alexandre Moreno, who took me yesterday to “Toasteria Café,” and swore to high heavens that to him, this is the place where the best sandwiches in Taipei city are made. I promised Alex that I’m going to write a blog about our Toasteria experience in English and that he better read this.
We met before 7pm yesterday at Zhongxiao Fuxing and walked all the way to no. 2, lane 248, section 4, Zhong Xiao East Road. It’s a very quaint café, maybe just the size of a big bedroom with three tables and around five stools which neatly stood in the middle main bar. Just like the bars and cafes in island resorts, the inviting interiors had a tropical feel to it that we immediately felt at home. There were two service crew staff who greeted us, but it was this English speaking young lady who assisted us, gave us the menu and explained that there is a buy-one-take-one promo of white wine for that night.
“No…no wine and alcohol for us please,” I told the lady quickly remembering that just a few nights ago, our group had one too many tequila shots in Ximen.
Like a doting tourist guide, Alex gave me a run through of the menu, quickly explaining that as the name suggests, “Toasteria” prides itself of whole wheat panini, the pressed and toasted sandwiches, usually made with grilled cheese, vegetables and different kinds of meats.
“But you don’t eat meat, don’t you?” he curiously asked me.
“Well I try not to,” I said trying not to make a big deal out of my recent waging a war against beef and pork.
In the end, Alex settled for his favorite Cubano, a medley of slow roasted pork, ham, caramelized onion, house pickles and mustard topped with grilled cheese. I, on the other hand, chose the salmon tapanade, a panini with grilled feta cheese, roasted pepper and fresh salmon. The toasts were served with house pickles, olives and aioli, a traditional dip made of garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and egg yolks. We had additional orders of fries and soft drinks to complete the meal.
And what a yummy meal it was. The salmon had a sweet tang and its combined taste with feta cheese and peppers created a delicious hot and salty sensation in my mouth. The fries were exceptional, too. Not the usual ones served in fastfood chains—this had a cheesy twist to it. I have never been a fries person but this one I finished with much gusto.
Toasteria’s price is reasonable, although it cannot really be considered cheap. But hey, where else can you find good paninis in Taipei?
Alex explained that he and his girlfriend Sylvia are already regulars to the place and that the members of the service crew already know his favorite orders. To complete his voluntary promotion of his favorite sandwich hideout, he pointed at the sign written on the menu board. “See that? It says no Diet coke, no skim milk, no low fat cheese, no credit cards. Only the good stuff!”
“Talk about a cool tagline,” I said laughing.
We hanged out for a while with me opening my laptop and showing to my friend the pictures I took of beautiful Boracay island. “You and Sylvia should come here,” I said.
“We would love to,” he replied
We talked more about bread and cheeses, cayenne pepper, photography, his upcoming trip to Beijing, the chain of lovely coffee shops and teahouses in the Dunhua area, and our happy lives in this city.
And then it was time to go, and I told my Spanish friend that I will definitely go back. And yes, I will blog about our Toasteria experience—in English, no less.
Misión cumplida, Alexandre! Nos vemos pronto!