EGLINTON SQUARE – Today is Saturday. It was such a lovely morning, so my wife and I went out shopping. We went to Eglinton Square in Scarborough. I try to avoid any malls, especially around lunch time. Not only ‘cuz of the general craziness you might expect, but the pressure to eat that awful convenience food. But there we were, stuck in fast-food tornado, with so many (unhealthy) options all around us. But I had to eat something – sugar levels were droppin’.
My wife likes to support the smaller, Mom-and-Pop type places. I usually stick with the familiar: JUNK! The common choices – McDonald’s, Timmies, Pizza – were really busy today. I didn’t want to wait in line for 20 minutes to order, so my wife pointed out this little Mediterranean-looking place tucked neatly into a corner. It was called “Cactus Sandwiches & BBQ Chicken”. I typically don’t like veering off into uncharted waters when it comes to food. I have a sensitive gall bladder, and I get bad heartburn easily and often. Also, I like foods that I’ve eaten before, which is why I stick to the familiar. This venue looked like your typical food court, European-gyro-kabobby kinda’ place. They all look similar, and not overly appealing to me. Sorry. However, the mature couple that ran this place kept looking, expecting us to order. Hesitant at first, I eventually did.
At approximately 1:40 pm, I ordered the Philadelphia Beef Sandwich, with a side of salad, and fries. While waiting for the food (about 3 minutes), the gentleman behind the grill came over and gave us a complimentary glass of peach juice that couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. I said to my wife, “What a nice gesture!” You don’t really see that kind of service anymore, it seems. So he neatly packaged up our food, and we proceeded to the food court area.
I was impressed with the salad. Very light, flavorful, and good quality! I’ve worked for many years in produce – so I know the good stuff! French fries are all the same: salty, greasy, and inconsistent. But at Cactus, they were seriously some of the best french fries I have ever eaten! I usually can’t eat any fries without Ketchup, but these potato sticks were just fine naked! Crisp, hot, and no sharp ones that hurt to swallow. The Sandwhich, though? Wow. It honestly didn’t look like anything special, but that first bite… …unforgettable! The beef was seasoned like I’d never experienced before! It was pulling apart beautifully, and had the perfect amount of sauce oozing out the sides. This “Cactuswich”, as I call it, was out of this world – delicious! It had green and red peppers and onions. I kind of regret NOT getting the cheese (gall bladder probs!), as it would have only made the experience better. But no complaints whatsoever! Oh, the bun. The BUN! The bun was perfectly toasted on the outside, yet fresh and doughy on the inside. The portion sizes weren’t massive, but since it was such good quality food, I felt satisfied halfway through.
Lastly, I have to mention what many would feel is most important – the PRICE! Based on the quality of meal and service I had today, I would expect to pay about $12-$16 for my meal. But my meal at Cactus was only $7 (without a drink…just my free peach drink!). I don’t know HOW, or WHY it’s only $7 – but that’s the price and I have the receipt to prove it! I still feel a bit guilty.
While it’s not uncommon to get a good sandwich here or there, I find it’s VERY unlikely you’ll ever get a great sandwich, plus incredible side dishes, complimentary juice, great SERVICE, and all at an unbelievable price! This food booth didn’t initially jump out at me. I usually don’t even eat this type of food, but I’m glad that I tried something different. They say you’ll never know, unless you try, right? I’m glad I tried this one. WOW. Whenever I go to ANY food court again, I will first look for that giant green Cactus image. Thank you, Madam, Sir.